I doubt you will read this, but since there is a chance you could it will be worth the effort. I just wanted to THANK YOU for taking the time to elucidate the mother (considering its potential origin as a social organizing construct) of all dogmas, religion/supernatural phenomenon. I was inspired by your last work, The End of Faith, to put some effort into your forum discussions but found them woefully ineffective in finding "sensible" common ground with absolutist rhetoric (potential evidence of religion as a conversation stopper). I found the discussions talking at cross purposes (like two ship passing in the night), respondents cherry-picking easy questions and not responding at all when cornered, preschool name calling, and other forms of human energy expenditure not worth the destruction of life that sustains it. It appears conversational tyrants are popular in their online castles, unlike yourself who must courageously defend his ideas and respond to direct questions out in the open (another reason to THANK YOU on behalf of the reasonable "Brights"/agnostics who are otherwise cowardly, somewhat justifiable in the face of the unreasonable, or apathetic). Maybe your next book should be about those of us, as opposed to the complict religious moderates you did address, who espouse a similar position to yours but are too cowardly to face their families, too apathetic toward delusional individuals who are yet to be diagnosed, or too complacent in waiting for the second european enlightenment to wash over our "backsliding" colony.
My humble suggestion to fostering compatibility within divisive groups (secular/religion, religion/religion) would be a four year public high school course combining epistemology with the history of religious groups as an adjunct within world history. This world history could replace our current U.S. history (we are all geographic and genetic immigrants anyway), and foster a global consciousness befitting a global economy. I think the combination of studying 'claims of truth' and 'how we know' with there impact in the history of theological/metaphysical zeitgiests will begin to lay the pluralistic perspectives in counterpoint to the parental indoctrination of fundamentalism.
As much as I am relieved by, support, and enjoy both your books, I think your future work with ethical correlations in neuroscience will bear more ideational fruit, memes, and entrain more neural circuits than has yet to be seen with these works. Of course you'll have to sacrifice in exponential magnitude your current fame/infamy for a more quiet/SAFE ivory tower existence of mostly civil journal discourse. I guess you could still fan some poplular flames with empirical contributions to the God in the temporal lobe/genes theories. In any event, I look forward to reading your journal articles and potential books/editorial anthologies in the future. I will continue my critical interest in your works, even more so now that you are involved with a science (neuroscience) that has already shed more light on the origins and nature of our humanity than all the past theological divinations combined. Thank You for your candor and courage SAM.
Hear hear! Someone on this forum call it something like “the biggest mindf**ck of all time.” I liked that one.
I look forward to reading your journal articles and potential books/editorial anthologies in the future. I will continue my critical interest in your works, even more so now that you are involved with a science (neuroscience) that has already shed more light on the origins and nature of our humanity than all the past theological divinations combined. Thank You for your candor and courage SAM.
I wouldn’t doubt that future journal articles by sam (peer-reviewed, of course) will find their way into these discussion forums, regardless of how their topic. Remember, this is samharris.org.
There’s lots of discourse here that is puzzling and lots that wants to appear puzzling. But I find among my rational siblings many brilliant minds. A friend of mine joked that they’re probably university professors who are having their teaching assistants grade the homework while they post here! Still, it might not be a good idea to assume that they’re airing their views only on web forums. We don’t know what they say “live”.