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Lack of tolerance
Posted: 04 December 2006 06:07 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I recommend everyone to reread the last parts of the two chapters “The Problem with Islam” and “The Science of Good and Evil”. May be you will discover the “Cockeyed” logic of Mr Harris (I deliberately use the same kind of language that Harris and Dawkins frequently use).

As a defender of the torture on Guantanamo and a supporter of a country who has caused more suffering than any other country in the world after World War II, Mr Harris should be cautious about teaching the rest of us anything about ethics. His recommendations, to wage war against enemies, real or imagined, have resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq and immense suffering in this and other parts of the world. And regarding the danger of nuclear weapons, I seem to remember that general Schwarzkopf argued for the use the atomic bomb in the first Iraq war. And by the way, have all this suffering resulted in a safer World? Certainly, there are more monsters loose in the world than the members of Al Qaida. You will find one of them in The White House

Pacifists, people like me, are dismissed as “flagrantly immoral”, and Gandhi as “Highly immoral”. Of course, pacifism raises a lot of difficult questions, but “flagrantly immoral”? He should not expect anyone to take this part of the book seriously.

Mr Harris is obviously stuck in the view that war, and use of bombs, tanks and weapons, will solve the problems. By now, he should have learned the opposite.

Though I appreciate and share much of his and Mr Dawkins view on religion, I have to admit that Alistair McGrath is quite right when he characterized Mr Dawkins last book as “Intellectually lightweight”. I think the same applies to parts of this book.  In fact, I think Mr Harris' lack of tolerance is doing harm to his Cause. Tolerance is a difficult task!

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T E Jelstad, Norway (apologize for my bad English)

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Posted: 05 December 2006 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“thjel”]In fact, I think Mr Harris’ lack of tolerance is doing harm to his Cause. Tolerance is a difficult task!

Regards,
T E Jelstad, Norway (apologize for my bad English)

1. How might Sam’s book cause harm?
1.1.  How likely is it that Sam’s book might cause harm?
2. How is it that Sam’s book is actually causing harm?
2.1. Evidence?

Respectfully, Quentin

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Posted: 05 December 2006 06:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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First of all, I would like to say that much of his book is very good and interesting.

I guess his ultimate cause is to make believers reconsider their faith. With his uncompromising stance, I am quite sure the effect will be quite the opposite. Moderate Christians (like most Europeans) will probably find parts of his book insulting.

How do you think Muslims (and evangelical Christians) will react when they become object of ridicule? Do you think they will say “Of course he is right!”?

Consider the statement about pacifism above. And consider this statement:

“Any honest witness to current events will realize that there is no moral equivalence between the kind of forced civilized democracies project in the world, warts and all, and the internecine violence that is perpetrated by Muslim militants, or indeed by Muslim Governments”

So those who disagree, because they might think his analysis on Muslim Terrorism is far too shallow, are dishonest persons? Is it so simple? You will find this kind of logic in other parts of the book.

I recommend Alistair McGrath’s book, “Dawkins God, Genes, Memes and the meaning of Life”. Though I am not a Christian, I think McGrath has succeeded in articulating this kind of critic in a much better way than I can do.

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T E Jelstad, Norway

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Posted: 05 December 2006 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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[quote author=“thjel”]How do you think Muslims (and evangelical Christians) will react when they become object of ridicule? Do you think they will say “Of course he is right!”?

No, of course they won’t. Not right away at least. But there nonetheless they will be, up in the spotlight, while honest people point out that their religions are based on nonsense, while the believers shout the same old nonsense all the louder. Are we supposed to be afraid of the infantile tantrums of believers in the face of an honest critique of religion’s dishonest, violent, and hypocritical fantasy world?

Publish a cartoon about Muhammad - get riots worldwide. How’s that for a tantrum. “Let me have my way or I’ll huff and puff and blow your house down”. Eventually the tantrum will get bad enough so that its roots in insanity become apparent to anyone but the already-insane.

I say “Let’s get on with it”. If critiquing religion is going to bring about the apocalypse, I say it’s high time humans cleared themselves off the world stage once and for all. Evolution shows clearly that Homo sapiens is a contingent and temporary experiment, and has no ipso facto right to think it will be The Eternal Species, the one that cheats natural selection simply by being aware of it.

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Posted: 05 December 2006 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“thjel”]How do you think Muslims (and evangelical Christians) will react when they become object of ridicule? Do you think they will say “Of course he is right!”?

Can you provide an example of this for me?

[quote author=“thjel”]Consider the statement about pacifism above.

[quote author=“Sam Harris p. 199”]It is almost never branded as flagrantly immoral, which I believe it is. While it can seem noble enough when the stakes are low, pacifism is ultimately nothing more than a willingness to die, and to let others die, at the pleasure of the world’s thugs.

Is this offensive or just strong opinion and wording? If you are a pacifist is he calling you immoral or your belief in pacifism? Is there a difference?

[quote author=“thjel”]And consider this statement:

“Any honest witness to current events will realize that there is no moral equivalence between the kind of forced civilized democracies project in the world, warts and all, and the internecine violence that is perpetrated by Muslim militants, or indeed by Muslim Governments”

So those who disagree, because they might think his analysis on Muslim Terrorism is far too shallow, are dishonest persons? Is it so simple? You will find this kind of logic in other parts of the book.

I get the feeling that you want a watered-down, neutered book—without the emotion Sam feels for the topic. Much of the criticism of Sam’s book is along this line. I think one can reasonably reply that people respect strong opinion (at least I get that feeling here in the US). I think something like this would not be convincing, even though it is ‘respectful’ of the reader:[quote author=“Reworded Sam Harris”]I humbly and respectfully submit for you to consider that perhaps, and this is just a thought, it might not be the case that forced civilized democracies project, warts and all, is morally equivalent to internecine violence that is perpetrated by Muslim militants, or indeed by Muslim Governments. I could be wrong though, but maybe it is something to think about if you find it worthy.

[quote author=“thjel”]I recommend Alistair McGrath’s book, “Dawkins God, Genes, Memes and the meaning of Life”. Though I am not a Christian, I think McGrath has succeeded in articulating this kind of critic in a much better way than I can do.

Ok, but I have lots of books already on my bookshelf that I am wanting to read. Are you looking to discuss this topic, or just make “this kind of critic[sic]” known to us?

Respectfully, Quentin

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Posted: 05 December 2006 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]I say “Let’s get on with it”. If critiquing religion is going to bring about the apocalypse, I say it’s high time humans cleared themselves off the world stage once and for all. Evolution shows clearly that Homo sapiens is a contingent and temporary experiment, and has no ipso facto right to think it will be The Eternal Species, the one that cheats natural selection simply by being aware of it.

A quite successful channeling of Bush I must say! LOL I would have to disagree with this course of action; I think it is a stupid idea (not that “Salt Creek” is stupid—there is a difference between people that their ideas). I agree, basically, with the first part though.

Respectfully, Quentin

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Posted: 05 December 2006 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“czrpb”][quote author=“Salt Creek”]I say “Let’s get on with it”. If critiquing religion is going to bring about the apocalypse, I say it’s high time humans cleared themselves off the world stage once and for all. Evolution shows clearly that Homo sapiens is a contingent and temporary experiment, and has no ipso facto right to think it will be The Eternal Species, the one that cheats natural selection simply by being aware of it.

A quite successful channeling of Bush I must say! LOL I would have to disagree with this course of action; I think it is a stupid idea (not that “Salt Creek” is stupid—there is a difference between people that their ideas). I agree, basically, with the first part though.

Respectfully, Quentin

That’s okay, Q. I think you mistake the irony in my initial statement. That’s okay, too. To clarify for you (and anyone still confused by the remark):

I say, let’s get on with critiquing theism. We’re gonna do it anyway!

If all it takes to usher in the apocalypse is to disagree with theists, I don’t think mollifying them is going to be much better, and either way, it doesn’t say much for the ingenuity of humans. This is merely a restatement of the critique of “moderate theology” offered by Harris and Dawkins. I doubt human beings could wipe themselves out in a world-wide religious conflict.

The other statement points to the notion that the social stasis of universal religious belief is no more immune to evolution than is the social openness of universal atheism. Or any mix between the two. Far from channeling Bush, I’m channeling Nietzsche, or somebody like that.

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Posted: 05 December 2006 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”][quote author=“czrpb”][quote author=“Salt Creek”]I say “Let’s get on with it”. If critiquing religion is going to bring about the apocalypse, I say it’s high time humans cleared themselves off the world stage once and for all. Evolution shows clearly that Homo sapiens is a contingent and temporary experiment, and has no ipso facto right to think it will be The Eternal Species, the one that cheats natural selection simply by being aware of it.

A quite successful channeling of Bush I must say! LOL I would have to disagree with this course of action; I think it is a stupid idea (not that “Salt Creek” is stupid—there is a difference between people that their ideas). I agree, basically, with the first part though.

Respectfully, Quentin

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]That’s okay, Q. I think you mistake the irony in my initial statement. That’s okay, too. To clarify for you (and anyone still confused by the remark):

Ah hell! Perhaps there ought to be an irony emoticon for people like me!

[quote author=“Salt Creek”]I say, let’s get on with critiquing theism. We’re gonna do it anyway!

WooHoo! I agree.

Respectfully, Quentin (Q)

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Posted: 05 December 2006 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Sam Harris p. 199 wrote:
It is almost never branded as flagrantly immoral, which I believe it is. While it can seem noble enough when the stakes are low, pacifism is ultimately nothing more than a willingness to die, and to let others die, at the pleasure of the world’s thugs.


[quote author=“czrpb”]Is this offensive or just strong opinion and wording? If you are a pacifist is he calling you immoral or your belief in pacifism? Is there a difference?

My point is that he can make a strong opinion without labeling people
[quote author=“czrpb”]Are you looking to discuss this topic, or just make “this kind of critic[sic]” known to us?

I think it is good book - very well written. May be you have noticed Dawkins “review” in his last book: teapot!

I have to add this: what I most of all dislike with Harris’ writing, is his recommendation to wage war (with sword, not word) against muslim terrorism. It won’t do. And I have a feeling that he does not estimate a muslim life to be of the same value as an American. You have to remember the horrible suffering in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Posted: 05 December 2006 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“thjel”]

Sam Harris p. 199 wrote:
It is almost never branded as flagrantly immoral, which I believe it is. While it can seem noble enough when the stakes are low, pacifism is ultimately nothing more than a willingness to die, and to let others die, at the pleasure of the world’s thugs.


[quote author=“czrpb”]Is this offensive or just strong opinion and wording? If you are a pacifist is he calling you immoral or your belief in pacifism? Is there a difference?

My point is that he can make a strong opinion without labeling people

Yes, labeling is (nearly always) bad; especially calling someone ‘bad’ or ‘immoral’ and of course “stupid” and such. But, I am not sure you have shown him doing so with your pacifism example. Can you give an example of him labeling a specific person or a group of people? I am still missing here Sam does this (or does it systemically and generally throughout his book).

Respectfully, Quentin

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Posted: 05 December 2006 10:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“czrpb”]Yes, labeling is (nearly always) bad; especially calling someone ‘bad’ or ‘immoral’ and of course “stupid” and such. But, I am not sure you have shown him doing so with your pacifism example. Can you give an example of him labeling a specific person or a group of people? I am still missing here Sam does this (or does it systemically and generally throughout his book).

No, I can’t. Dawkins is much worse here. But labeling peoples view on deeply personal matters such as religion will go for the same.

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Posted: 05 December 2006 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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[quote author=“thjel”]No, I can’t. Dawkins is much worse here. But labeling peoples view on deeply personal matters such as religion will go for the same.

Ok, then, how about some Dawkins examples? Any in _The God Delusion_?

Respectfully, Quentin

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Posted: 07 December 2006 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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thjel said

But labeling peoples view on deeply personal matters such as religion will go for the same.

here are several quotes from the q’uran

003.004
Then those who reject faith in the signs of allah will suffer the severest penalty, and allah is exaltedin might, lord of retribution.

066.009
o prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is hell, an evil refuge.

098.007
Those who reject truth, among the people of the book and among polytheists, will be in hell-fire, to dwell therein for aye. They are the worst of creatures.

Here are several from the bible

Judges

19:24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.
19:25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.

Exodus

22:24 And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

Leviticus

25:44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

25:45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.

Do people who use these books as their moral compass not make you leary?

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Posted: 15 December 2006 02:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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[quote author=“thjel”]I recommend everyone to reread the last parts of the two chapters “The Problem with Islam” and “The Science of Good and Evil”. May be you will discover the “Cockeyed” logic of Mr Harris (I deliberately use the same kind of language that Harris and Dawkins frequently use).

As a defender of the torture on Guantanamo and a supporter of a country who has caused more suffering than any other country in the world after World War II, Mr Harris should be cautious about teaching the rest of us anything about ethics. His recommendations, to wage war against enemies, real or imagined, have resulted in hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq and immense suffering in this and other parts of the world. And regarding the danger of nuclear weapons, I seem to remember that general Schwarzkopf argued for the use the atomic bomb in the first Iraq war. And by the way, have all this suffering resulted in a safer World? Certainly, there are more monsters loose in the world than the members of Al Qaida. You will find one of them in The White House

Pacifists, people like me, are dismissed as “flagrantly immoral”, and Gandhi as “Highly immoral”. Of course, pacifism raises a lot of difficult questions, but “flagrantly immoral”? He should not expect anyone to take this part of the book seriously.

Mr Harris is obviously stuck in the view that war, and use of bombs, tanks and weapons, will solve the problems. By now, he should have learned the opposite.

Though I appreciate and share much of his and Mr Dawkins view on religion, I have to admit that Alistair McGrath is quite right when he characterized Mr Dawkins last book as “Intellectually lightweight”. I think the same applies to parts of this book.  In fact, I think Mr Harris’ lack of tolerance is doing harm to his Cause. Tolerance is a difficult task!

Regards,
T E Jelstad, Norway (apologize for my bad English)

Harris is not, in fact, supporting the use of torture unconditionally. He is not supporting the use of torture for the purposes of -punishment-. All he has said is, under some set of circumstances it may be acceptable to use torture.

As for opposing pascifism… He is opposing the total pascifism of Ghandi. Whether you fall into that category or not is unclear.

If someone attempts to rape one’s spouse, the appropriate response is to try to stop them, not to slit one’s own throat to draw attention to the situation.

While Harris supported (and supports) the war in Afghanistan to remove the Taliban from power, he did not think War in Iraq was a very good idea.

Although I haven’t heard him say anything on it one way or the other, I don’t believe Harris feels the Vietnam war was a very bright move either.

Harris’ opposition of President Bush is clear from reading both of his books. He does not want the United States to be forced to rely on our own religious maniacs to defend us from those real threats which do exist.

In your criticism of the United States in the Post-WWII era, you’ve quietly forgotten about the gulags, the chinese famines, etc.

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Posted: 07 January 2007 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Harris is brave. If more Atheists were brave enough to leave the safe confines of liberalism then the world would be a much safer place.

Tolerence is one of those words that sounds good in the theory, but in practice is quite vaccous in it’s pratical application to society. It usually means somebody getting away with something they really shouldn’t

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Posted: 12 October 2007 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Pacifism isn’t rational. There are times when it is appropriate to stand up and defend one’s self and not let tyrants and thugs roll over you. I am not a violent person. I don’t believe in harming others as a rule, but if sonmeone threatens the well-being of myself, or my loved ones, all bets are off.

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