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Noam Chompsky calls Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens Frauds!

 
 
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nimbus
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03 June 2010 16:31
 

Extract from an interview with Noam Chompsky by Matt Kennard:

MK: So what do you think of the current atheist revival. The books out by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris. They all think it’s a very important war to fight.

NC: Dawkins is serious. The others are frauds. I mean what’s the debate about. Do people like us have to debate about whether God exists? I mean, yeah, we know it doesn’t. In fact, take the religious people. Go to most of the religious faiths, they don’t literally believe in the Bible.
I mean there’s a sector that believes literally in the Bible, but first of all we don’t have to argue about that because nobody who’s going to read one word you are writing believes it, so you are talking to an audience that’s already convinced. And those who believe in the literal word of the Bible you are not going to convince them, so what’s the point?

I wonder if Chomsky didn’t like what Sam Harris wrote about him in The End of Faith? As for Chomsky saying most religious people don’t actually literally believe the bible.. I mean has he been living under a rock? When was the last time he talked to a Christian or a Muslim about what they believe? In The End of Faith it says “According to Gallup, 35% of Americans believe that the bible is the literal and inerrant word of the Creator of the universe.” p17. Chomsky must not have heard of this statistic. Nor am I guessing has he heard that Four out of every 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country.

And I believe that it is false to say, “those who believe in the literal word of the Bible you are not going to convince them, so what’s the point?” Personally, I know several people who have changed their minds over what they believe after reading the likes of Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens.

 
 
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SkepticX
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03 June 2010 17:25
 
nimbus - 03 June 2010 08:31 PM

I wonder if Chomsky didn’t like what Sam Harris wrote about him in The End of Faith?


Chomsky’s often pretty much the most brilliant possible idiot. He’s obviously extremely intelligent, but he also seems to lack intellectual self-discipline—way too prone toward allowing his passions to hijack his most formidable intellect, unfortunately.

 
 
 
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nimbus
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04 June 2010 12:33
 

I have to admit that my knowledge of Chomsky only extends to a documentary I watched about him. But I’ve heard similar statements that he is a very intelligent man but simultaneously an idiot. I have been meaning to get one of his books out from the library but haven’t got around to it. Though I have a feeling it will be the usual mix of academic far-left drivel - anti free trade, anti capitalist and anti-science.

His ‘What’s the point?’ view of the current reason vs religious faith debate is sad to see as well as also being a commonplace sentiment among secular people. For instance, I recently read an article in my local newspaper where a journalist was writing about the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne said, An atheist convention does seem a bit pointless, a bit like holding a convention for meat-eaters. I’m bored with hearing non-believers blame religion for everything. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/religion-and-beliefs/news/article.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10633665).

 
mpbrockman
 
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mpbrockman
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06 June 2010 22:21
 
nimbus - 03 June 2010 08:31 PM

Extract from an interview with Noam Chompsky by Matt Kennard:

NC: Dawkins is serious. The others are frauds.

What do you think, in Chomsky’s mind, distinguishes Dawkins from the other authors?

 
 
 
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nimbus
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08 June 2010 00:31
 

I don’t know why Chomsky distinguishes Dawkins from the other authors. I searched on the internet for his opinion of Dawkins but could not find much. To take a guess, maybe he has an academic respect for Dawkins which he does not extend to the other authors. Dawkins has introduced the concept of memes and also the concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism’s body, but can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms (last part from wikipedia). He also has more of a reputation as being an ‘educator’ of the life sciences and theory of evolution to the public than Harris or Hitchens.

 
 
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SkepticX
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08 June 2010 04:17
 
nimbus - 04 June 2010 04:33 PM

I’ve heard similar statements that he is a very intelligent man but simultaneously an idiot.


In some ways. I’m hesitant to actually call him an idiot, but it does seem to fit in some cases.

Maybe he’s some kind of savant?

 
 
 
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Julioet
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18 August 2010 22:49
 
mpbrockman - 07 June 2010 02:21 AM
nimbus - 03 June 2010 08:31 PM

Extract from an interview with Noam Chompsky by Matt Kennard:

NC: Dawkins is serious. The others are frauds.

What do you think, in Chomsky’s mind, distinguishes Dawkins from the other authors?

If I were to venture a guess, I would say that it is Dawkins’ credentials.  He certainly cannot discredit this man.  And Harris has written badly of him.

 
 
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lnarcomey
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27 August 2010 17:27
 

I had forgotten that Sam Harris critiqued Noam Chomsky (it’s “Chomsky”, by the way, not “Chompsky”). Thanks for reminding me.

Chomsky, besides being the originator of the “langauge instinct” idea (just finished Steven Pinker’s book of that title; it was good), is also known as something of a radical leftist (an anarchist, or more specifically, “anarcho-syndicalist” or “libertarian socialist”) and strong critic of US foreign policy.

I read Chomsky on Anarchism during the summer, which is a collection of essays and interviews from 1975 to 2005. I am grateful in that it crystallized and articulated some of my nascent political ideas but I am as yet agnostic on the plausibly of anarchism. Anyone interested in his political and economic views should instead read his short pamphlet Government in the Future, which I read in an hour or two at the public library.

After reading Chomsky I picked up God and the State, a pamphlet by the Russian anarchist Michael Bakunin. Turned out it was more about atheism than anarchism, or at least it seemed that way to my already godless eyes. One passage of his stood out to me as being imminently quotable:

“If God existed, it would be necessary to abolish Him.”

A delightful paraphrasing of Voltaire, and in the “Heaven is a celestial North Korea” style of God Is Not Great.

 
Frently Frent
 
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Frently Frent
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06 October 2010 07:37
 

Prof. Chompsky does have certain style - a Jesuit approved/used style.

 
str8forward
 
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str8forward
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14 February 2012 17:05
 

you guys obviously haven’t read much chomsky. i have always looked up to sam harris when it comes to the topic of religion, however when it comes to american domestic and foreign policy, and the middle east crisis, he is out of his element.

the reason why noam endorses richard dawkins and labels the other frauds is because richard is an actual scientist with credentials and more importantly, he doesn’t use his knowledge of religion and science to pretend he understands other topics, like the israeli/palestinian conflict.

sam harris and christopher hitchens over time, have proven themselves to be mouthpieces of the establishment. both harris and hitch display an amazing ability to think outside the box, think critically, and follow the truth when it comes to religion. however, both ignorantly accept the establishments propaganda regarding policies and history.

ever notice how sam harris goes above and beyond to disprove and discredit, sometime demonize christianity and islam? however, he when it comes to judaism he walks on egg shells, so as not to upset his highranking and important zionist friends like alan dershowitz, a proven academic fraud and liar.

 
genuinelsutiger
 
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genuinelsutiger
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19 February 2012 15:33
 
nimbus - 03 June 2010 04:31 PM

Extract from an interview with Noam Chompsky by Matt Kennard:

MK: So what do you think of the current atheist revival. The books out by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris. They all think it’s a very important war to fight.

NC: Dawkins is serious. The others are frauds. I mean what’s the debate about. Do people like us have to debate about whether God exists? I mean, yeah, we know it doesn’t. In fact, take the religious people. Go to most of the religious faiths, they don’t literally believe in the Bible.
I mean there’s a sector that believes literally in the Bible, but first of all we don’t have to argue about that because nobody who’s going to read one word you are writing believes it, so you are talking to an audience that’s already convinced. And those who believe in the literal word of the Bible you are not going to convince them, so what’s the point?

I wonder if Chomsky didn’t like what Sam Harris wrote about him in The End of Faith? As for Chomsky saying most religious people don’t actually literally believe the bible.. I mean has he been living under a rock? When was the last time he talked to a Christian or a Muslim about what they believe? In The End of Faith it says “According to Gallup, 35% of Americans believe that the bible is the literal and inerrant word of the Creator of the universe.” p17. Chomsky must not have heard of this statistic. Nor am I guessing has he heard that Four out of every 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country.

And I believe that it is false to say, “those who believe in the literal word of the Bible you are not going to convince them, so what’s the point?” Personally, I know several people who have changed their minds over what they believe after reading the likes of Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens.


I rejected my Christian faith (raised Southern Baptist) about 4 years ago at the age of 40.  The writings of all of these authors helped me to understand the weak underpinnings of the beliefs I was raised with.  Of course, an individual must be open-minded enough to investigate and read the books initially, but all four authors helped accelerate the evolution of my thinking towards non-belief.  I think Chomsky is somewhat out of touch if he thinks these books are simply preaching to the choir (no pun intended).  If nothing else, they have made the consideration of nonbelief more socially acceptable.  And that is a huge start for many on the fence.

 
 
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gsmonks
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23 May 2012 00:56
 
str8forward - 14 February 2012 05:05 PM

you guys obviously haven’t read much chomsky. i have always looked up to sam harris when it comes to the topic of religion, however when it comes to american domestic and foreign policy, and the middle east crisis, he is out of his element.

I’ve read every mainstream thing Chomsky has written and have to say that Chomsky has OFTEN strayed out of his little area of expertise. I grew tired of Chomsky because of the university crowd that crowned him the modern guru of the known universe, and uncritically began repeating everything he said, whether it was true or not. Yes, he made some interesting contributions to the field of linguistics. Beyond that, when he opens his mouth before an uncritical, attentive crowd, he’s more philosopher than academic, and stoops to the level of self-important pratt.

In any event, the information Chomsky regurgitates is out there for all of us to find. Neither Chomsky nor any other academic (of which I’m one) has a proprietary claim on information, its dissemination, or a right to discuss that information and be taken seriously.

One good thing about the Internet is that the academic hubris such attitudes entail aren’t backed up by the academic thugs that reside safely within the walls of our universities.

This being the Internet, where the axiom “all things being equal” holds more true than anywhere else on this planet, Chomsky is no more entitled to his opinions than anyone else.

 
 
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walter_m
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29 July 2012 11:00
 
str8forward - 14 February 2012 05:05 PM

you guys obviously haven’t read much chomsky. i have always looked up to sam harris when it comes to the topic of religion, however when it comes to american domestic and foreign policy, and the middle east crisis, he is out of his element.

the reason why noam endorses richard dawkins and labels the other frauds is because richard is an actual scientist with credentials and more importantly, he doesn’t use his knowledge of religion and science to pretend he understands other topics, like the israeli/palestinian conflict.

sam harris and christopher hitchens over time, have proven themselves to be mouthpieces of the establishment. both harris and hitch display an amazing ability to think outside the box, think critically, and follow the truth when it comes to religion. however, both ignorantly accept the establishments propaganda regarding policies and history.

ever notice how sam harris goes above and beyond to disprove and discredit, sometime demonize christianity and islam? however, he when it comes to judaism he walks on egg shells, so as not to upset his highranking and important zionist friends like alan dershowitz, a proven academic fraud and liar.


Well said.


Harris should stick to religion. When it comes to foreign policy he has something of an authoritarian streak as did Hitchens who, as the late Alex Cockburn described him in his obit, was just an old codger on the right and someone who craved to be an insider.


A bit of shame Harris can’t educate himself a bit more about his countries activities abroad. Maybe it wouldn’t matter.

 

 
 
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johndose
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15 August 2012 23:51
 
str8forward - 14 February 2012 05:05 PM

you guys obviously haven’t read much chomsky. i have always looked up to sam harris when it comes to the topic of religion, however when it comes to american domestic and foreign policy, and the middle east crisis, he is out of his element.

the reason why noam endorses richard dawkins and labels the other frauds is because richard is an actual scientist with credentials and more importantly, he doesn’t use his knowledge of religion and science to pretend he understands other topics, like the israeli/palestinian conflict.

sam harris and christopher hitchens over time, have proven themselves to be mouthpieces of the establishment. both harris and hitch display an amazing ability to think outside the box, think critically, and follow the truth when it comes to religion. however, both ignorantly accept the establishments propaganda regarding policies and history.

ever notice how sam harris goes above and beyond to disprove and discredit, sometime demonize christianity and islam? however, he when it comes to judaism he walks on egg shells, so as not to upset his highranking and important zionist friends like alan dershowitz, a proven academic fraud and liar.

let me first say that sam is an intellectual hero of mine, and i read and watch whatever i can get my hands on like a guilty pleasure. but…

i think this is a great point with the exception of the last bit about judaism.  sam isn’t afraid at all to openly criticize the torah and in fact does so in print and in lectures.  the reasons you may notice his criticism of islam is more prevalent is because it is a much easier target given the doctrine taught in the koran when compared say to janism or buddihism.

however, i think you are quite right about everything else. i believe sam’s weakest argument is that islam is the chief salient of suicide terrorism in the middle east.  anyone who reads, edward said, norman finkelstein, noam chomsky, and especially robert pape about terrorism in the middle east will see that sam is walking on thin ice on this topic.  one can agree that violence via jihad can easily follow logically from the teachings of the koran, but far more salient is in suicide terrorism is occupation. 

now, im no great enthusiast for islam, but nobody can possibly take sam’s arguments about islam acting as the main reason for suicide bombing seriously after reading robert pape’s “dying to win” along with chomsky’s work over the last 30 years.

actually, the only debate i felt that sam lost was when he debated chris hedges and scott atran. if he were to debate robert pape on this issue, i’m really afraid he would look silly given the incredible mountain of empirical evidence robert has amassed on suicide bombing.

for anyone who is interested, just search youtube for “sam harris vs robert pape” for a small window into what it could be like if they ever debated.

 
 
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SkepticX
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08 March 2013 05:44
 
nimbus - 04 June 2010 12:33 PM

His ‘What’s the point?’ view of the current reason vs religious faith debate is sad to see as well as also being a commonplace sentiment among secular people.

Keep in mind the world from which it comes when you hear something like that. In Chomsky’s case he’s a celebrity academic, and that can be a pretty culturally isolated/sheltered existence—similar to Hollywood stars of damn near any degree of note. The tend to be surrounded by a shell of people who have marginal personalities of their own or who have some vested interest in the celebrity being free from too much concern over any disapproval from others.

 

nimbus - 04 June 2010 12:33 PM

For instance, I recently read an article in my local newspaper where a journalist was writing about the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne said, An atheist convention does seem a bit pointless, a bit like holding a convention for meat-eaters. I’m bored with hearing non-believers blame religion for everything. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/religion-and-beliefs/news/article.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10633665).

Sounds pretty egocentric—narcissistic. Why would it even occur to someone to “support” a criticism by “arguing” he’s bored by something. To my mind that’s a critical thinking red flag—a credibility buster. And in fact that’s why a whole lot of what Chomsky says, I would argue, is really about nothing but his own emotional disposition, and outside of that little celebrity shell, I’m not sure why anyone should care about that in the slightest.

 
 
 
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Fullagar
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11 September 2013 02:47
 

Dawkins has introduced the concept of memes and also the concept that the phenotypic effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism’s body, but can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms (last part from wikipedia).

 
 
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