After a program airs, Book TV frequently posts video to their website. However, not everything is posted. I can’t tell whether the Sam Harris debate will be posted to the web at this point. I will contact Book TV and do everything I can to (at the very least) get the audio for the debate and post it to the multimedia section of the forums. I’ll be in touch.
[quote author=“wavelength32”]After a program airs, Book TV frequently posts video to their website. However, not everything is posted. I can’t tell whether the Sam Harris debate will be posted to the web at this point. I will contact Book TV and do everything I can to (at the very least) get the audio for the debate and post it to the multimedia section of the forums. I’ll be in touch.
I watched it and found it very low key but still very good. It was fun to watch a Muslim, Athiest and Jew have a look at their spiritual points of view. Apparently according to the Muslim, it is only what they believe tha matters; what they do is something else. But then Christians are often fond of saying that most people who claim to be Christians are not and are faking it.
Invasion of another nation is just something people have to do and there is no moral value attached to it. Killing indescriminately is simply a result of invading. Something is always missing with these religious people and their own moral set of values is completely missing.
The larger the religious groups in any nation, the less any of them have the inclination to think as individuals. We have a mass of people hating other people because it is the thing to do. I wish Sam had been stronger in his power of Atheism and the power of the individual. When humans act as part of a gang, it leaves a lot to be desired in the realm of morals and ethics.
I fought the peer group pressure with all my kids and it was a strain to train them to think and act as individuals. It was interesting that the program had no Christian writer in the group as they are by far the most easily lured into gang operations.
Sam Harris’ debate w/ Reza Aslan is currently available in streaming video from the Book-TV website.
I have also isolated the audio for the debate and included this as a downloadable mp3 in the “Multimedia” section of the forums here.
Check it out.
As usual, Sam was brilliant in this debate. Reza is much less precise, and tends to ramble on & on without making substantial points, much less addressing any of the real issues Sam raises. Reza is closed in principle to the idea that religion is divisive and responsible for a tremendous amount of suffering in our world. For Reza, Sam’s criticism of religion is “unsophisticated” and doesn’t account for the wonderful diversity we find in religion today.
Even if diversity of religious belief exists, should this somehow insulate it from criticism? 99.9% of christians & muslims do not understand their faiths with the clarity and depth of Sam Harris—so just how “sophisticated” does one need to be to launch a valid criticism of religious faith? I think Sam understands the religious enterprise very well, he just sees through the lies and deceptions whereas Reza basks in the bogosity of ancient literature.
Mr. Aslan directed several barbs at Sam over the course of the debate that I think made him look bad and undercut his position. To me, these were instances of desperation, plain & simple. He felt himself losing on key points and in the absence of sufficient reasons to buttress his position, resorted to cheap shots. Also, whenever someone quotes their qualifications to you in a debate —“I’m the middle-east expert who has travelled the Muslim world”—you know that person is getting their ass whipped. Reminds me of a debate Sam had with Hugh Hewitt in which Mr. Hewitt flatly stated “...as a law professor, I’m obliged to say that…”. Please spare me. If you can’t win the argument in the traditional point/counterpoint, argument/counter-argument fashion, then you must admit you’ve lost the debate. Audiences will judge who wins based on the quality of argumentation on either side. You don’t need to tell us your qualifications (which, on the religious demagogue side of things, seem to be rather thin and not too impressive anyway).
In any event, the debate is chock-full of Reza’s frustrating tangential reasoning and dithering ons, but is worth listening to for the Sam Harris parts, which are truly the “diamonds in the dungheap” here.
I do believe that Sam Harris’s rational approach and sound reasoning seems to always give him the upper hand. He’s wonderful at keeping calm. Like Reza, Sam sometimes does stray a bit, but it’s par for the course.
I have to say that it was also nice to hear the two agree on certain points. I don’t know that they had a beer afterward, but still, there’s some hope.
Just listened to it and you can tell by Reza’s very first sentence how the rest of the talk was going to go; (paraphrasing) “... all interpretations of religion are valid, but some interpretations are more reasonable than others… ” From then on, it’s pretty much frustrating to listen to Reza (is it just me or does his manner of speaking get on anyone else’s goat?) self proclaiming his superior wisdom in all things religious.
We must remember that most ultra-religious minds have a screen to filter out any suggestions that God does not exist. My generation had to face the constant barrage of words of Jesus into our every subject in school and of course at home. I even remember in 6th grade where the class would pray before a test just to pass it. I figured a little study of the subject carried better results. This worship of God always took the edge off of many of our decisions as any failure was “God’s Will.” I couldn’t buy it then and certainly not now.
I remember when one could have an open and interesting debate on God and his many followers but today something has been added to the debate and it is the slamming shut of any question of which God is the top dog? I told a woman who was ushering at her church for a concert my group was going to perform. The subject was mentioned that she was married in this church and when she asked me where I was married, I explained in the home of some of my husband’s students who was now a Judge in California. She jumped and immediately told me that my kids were illegimate as we the parents, were not married by Jesus Christ. I thought I would lose her for certain when I explained that my girls were both married to Jewish men. I waited for the explosion and she stormed off telling me that my whole family would go to hell. When one as to deal with a thinking brain like this woman, any debate on any subject is impossible.
The concert was lovely but I came home with a bad taste in my mouth that millions of people believed as this woman believed and is the reason we have so many damn wars to fight.
Wow Sandy, that lady is the kind of person that we here in (Old) Europe fear the most! As you said, conversation is impossible and that filter is very thick and sadly impervious to anything rational. It is truly a modern tradedy that the people of the most powerful nation on the planet today is divided through design.
Yeah, Reza was using a lot of big words (as was Sam) and speaking with an energy that I felt was distracting from the truth (or lack thereof) of his message. He reminded me of the orators of old, wherein his charisma was the focal point of his speech and not the keypoints of his thesis on religion. He would also agree with Sam on some things and then disagree on others but not really explain the specific reasons why he disagreed. But like always, he cloaked religion in a shroud of vagueness which renders any meaningful conversations about it….well…meaningless.
Roger, both men approach spiritual religion from a different point of view. Sam sees the truth of a factual reality and Reza sees his desire to want what he sees to be reality. Did that make any sense?
I thought their discussions were very good considering they were on a different plain of reality.
I love Dawkins and Shermer’s writings but they tend to be a tad arrogant with the men of God. I never believed in a God or the hereafter and spent many years in the bible stories as they represent a fabulous imagination of people who lived just above the dark ages. I have a great respect for the art of this period and how imaginative they were. They sure wanted a God of their own and made up fabulous stories to sell him.
I watched my own children make up incredible stories of what they wanted to see happen and they would often embellish what they did see just to entertain us around the dinner table. This is the stuff that lores are made of. This is what will make good writers when they mature.
Reza is on the defensive about Allah; he has to be. I felt Sam was very much the gentleman in his remarks made to Reza. I wish I could have that much control around people of faith.
But all Sam was trying to say is that we should have honest and rational discourse about not just religion, but all topics. I don’t think Reza officially disagreed with that, but what he was saying implicity contradicted Sam. However, Sam made the same excellent points which say there is no Christian science or Muslim science…it’s just science. Also, the christian and Muslim truth cannot exist simultaneously, essentially, they cannot both be right. So we can’t say there is room for both of their beliefs if we are to be honest. Because honestly, they couldn’t possibly both be right with two separate belief systems. And it’s not just two, its many beliefs if you consider all the religions and Gods of the world. Reza tried to make it out to be this nebulous language of religion that people relate to the metaphyscial/spiritual world, however, it does not hold up to rational examination.
What strikes me most about Sam Harris is how very good he is at articulating his thoughts without resort to obfuscation. I think the main reason his books have been so influential - and led to us all coming here to discuss them - is that they seem so…sensible. No musty, ivory-tower over-intellectualisms, just an inclusive and eminently reasonable style of argument.
This style extends into public speaking too. Clear, concise and humorous. Reza merely came across as shrill.