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← Sam Harris Interviewed on MSNBC's 'The Last Word' with Lawrence O'Donnell

Sam Harris Interviewed on MSNBC's 'The Last Word' with Lawrence O'Donnell - Comments

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins

Sam is so very very good.

Richard

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 14:53:04 UTC | #549285

mgjinich's Avatar Comment 2 by mgjinich

Brilliant!!!! As always.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:11:34 UTC | #549303

John_Geeshu's Avatar Comment 3 by John_Geeshu

Yes. Crystal clear; no babbling, no mincing words, no hyperbolic rhetoric. He uses ideas like a scalpel.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:13:06 UTC | #549305

Sample's Avatar Comment 4 by Sample

What an opening:

"It's inconvenient for our democracy that only our own religious demagogues are making sense and speaking candidly about the nature of Islam." -Harris

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:15:25 UTC | #549308

Letsbereasonable's Avatar Comment 5 by Letsbereasonable

Sam Harris presented a good case here. I found his 'Islam is going through its 14th century' particularly resonant. And also that we didn't have 500 years to wait for them to work their way out of it. Nevertheless an Islamic Reformation does not look likely soon.

But is this true? What about Dubai and Bahrain, and the Emirates? They look sort of reformed to me. Money and corruption were instrumental in formenting the European Reformation, and I dare say money and corruption may yet save us from the menace of Islam.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:15:37 UTC | #549310

Callinectes's Avatar Comment 6 by Callinectes

The end of that video was interesting. "Psychically enslaved subjects of the Queen of England." I see.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:25:46 UTC | #549315

DerekMorr's Avatar Comment 7 by DerekMorr

Regarding the lack of "reform Islam," I wonder why Sam Harris didn't mention the work of Irshad Manji, who is trying to create just such a movement. I know Dr. Harris is aware of Ms. Manji, since he praised her recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on the Park 51 project - http://twitter.com/#!/SamHarrisOrg/status/22986624796

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:34:32 UTC | #549319

dinc12964's Avatar Comment 8 by dinc12964

Love Sam! He always delivers his message with ease and confidence.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:35:57 UTC | #549321

Neil5150's Avatar Comment 9 by Neil5150

The pastor isn't the only one hot on the heels of of this issue, faux news pushes this almost on a daily basis. I'm sure also for the wrong reasons, (paint POTUS as with THEM against US), however I think we are on the precipice of regional conflict with Islam. Another major terror attack is inevitable, and when it happens my guess all hell will break loose. There is already a formidable push back in Europe, and with a much larger Muslim population than in the US, the next terror attack will most likely happen in Europe. We couldn't prevent a major cholera outbreak in a peaceful country 100 miles off our shore, stemming from a relatively small catastrophe. Pakistani flood victims, most of which cannot return to their farms, are only starting their journey of misery. Discontent in Islamabad is sure to grow (and spread), and will be steered in our direction. Af-Pak til 2014, Iran, Israel/Palestinians, seems Bush is gonna get his religious war sooner or later......

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 15:48:54 UTC | #549327

Blaine McCartney's Avatar Comment 10 by Blaine McCartney

There's nothing more annoying than being automatically being labelled as "Islamaphobic" for making any criticism about Islam, and more to the point, any correlations between it and terrorism. I will certainly be keeping some/all of Harris' points in mind.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:09:26 UTC | #549339

Haymaker's Avatar Comment 11 by Haymaker

Comment 1 by Richard Dawkins :

Sam is so very very good.

Richard

I totally agree, he is brilliant!

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:11:51 UTC | #549340

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 12 by Stafford Gordon

The fact that Islam is at the same stage in its history as Chritianity was in the fourteenth century must be made clear at every opportunity; and fast.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:20:51 UTC | #549346

inquisador's Avatar Comment 13 by inquisador

Sam Harris is so clear-thinking and precise that his comments are exactly right. He says it all about religion, just perfectly.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:21:21 UTC | #549347

ridelo's Avatar Comment 14 by ridelo

It's a pity that I have to wait until March before I can buy his last book according to my book store because it is in reprint. And: about martyrs. I remember from my catholic youth that being a martyr for your faith was a very admirable deed. Lots of saints who chose to die in agony rather than renouncing their faith. But they never told me you had to take a bunch of infidels with you in doing so.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:36:56 UTC | #549356

The Plc's Avatar Comment 15 by The Plc

Good video, even the bit at the end describing the vacuity of those who care about and want to maintain the British monarchy was spot on (See Republic.org.uk to fight this absurdity.) Sam's words about the nutjob Pastor, 'right for the wrong reasons' might describe the British National Party in the UK, though their obvious racist motivations are different from superstitious motivations of religious demagagues.

There is a kind of confused, misguided multicultural relativism that pervades poltical and social debate in the modern western democracies, particularly amongst those who identify themselves as having rather Left-liberal views, which I'm sure intellectuals like Dawkins, Haris, Hitchens, Grayling and so on consider or considered themselves to have. This may be exaggerated slightly, but it's quite clear there is a problem when columnists for the most popular liberal paper in the UK, the Guardian, can have impeccable records of anti-racism, anti-homophobia, womens rights and so on, can associate with and support Islamist clerics and movements and fail to critisce them for their holocaust conspiracies and advocating the burkha. This is true of someone long time regulars to this site are familiar with, Madelilne Bunting. In his book What's Left, which I thought was overall pretty poor and lacked rigour to the point that it resembled a Peter 'bonkers' Hitchens rant, Nick Cohen takes apart this particular tendency of the modern Liberal Left with atomic precision.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:45:15 UTC | #549363

Fouad Boussetta's Avatar Comment 16 by Fouad Boussetta

Comment 7 by DerekMorr

DerekMorr: I don't think Irshad Manji is very much read by Muslims. And I don't really see in what sense she can be considered a Muslim by other Muslims: she's a lesbian, she loves Israel, and so on... Nothing that will help her with her co-religionists. I don't see her as having much success except in book sales. And I don't see any real following of hers.

Anyway, she's nice, but she's emotionally attached to calling herself a Muslim. In her book, she even writes something like that she could have become an atheist if she lived in Iran.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 16:45:55 UTC | #549366

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 17 by Atheist Mike

Comment 15 by The Plc :

Good video, even the bit at the end describing the vacuity of those who care about and want to maintain the British monarchy was spot on (See Republic.org.uk to fight this absurdity.) Sam's words about the nutjob Pastor, 'right for the wrong reasons' might describe the British National Party in the UK, though their obvious racist motivations are different from superstitious motivations of religious demagagues.

I disagree, I'm a humanist and atheist but am also for the British Monarchy. This may seem contradictory since the Monarchy's right to rule is strictly based on religion and tradition but I think they're a great part of the British culture and politics and that this last remnant of majesty left in this world sets us apart as a people (both in britain and the commonwealth). I might only change my mind if Prince Charles becomes king :-) .

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 17:26:31 UTC | #549403

green and dying's Avatar Comment 18 by green and dying

Does anyone have any interesting stuff I can read/watch online about reforming Islam? Has anyone ever put forward ideas of how to do it which seem like they might actually work? So far I've come across stuff about specific passages in the Qur'an where the meanings of words are disputed, and some Muslims who disregard completely the Hadith and rely solely on the Qur'an. These things would be an improvement but still don't seem good enough and I don't see them catching on anyway.

It seems way easier to reform it than to get rid of it completely, at least for now. But the reason it seems like such a difficult thing to do is that Islam relies on this belief about the Qur'an where it's literally true, every word, and it doesn't seem plausible that anyone will be able to persuade many Muslims at all that this isn't the case and they can still be Muslims without believing it.

It's like Muhammad (or whoever wrote the Qur'an) has tied up all of the loose ends. You can't say that parts of the Qur'an don't apply like you can with the Bible because it was literally written by God. You can't say things were mistranslated because it's in its original language. You can't say that it applies only to the time it was written, because Muhammad was the final prophet. You can't say that you don't have to follow Muhammad's example, him not being God, because it says in the Qur'an that you should should follow the examples of God's messengers. There's no human representative on Earth to receive modern revelations. There's no way to make any changes!

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 17:53:59 UTC | #549417

JuJu's Avatar Comment 19 by JuJu

It would be nice if Sam Harris was invited on Kieth Olberman's show. Kieth seems to think anything negative about Islam makes a person islamaphobic. I can't see how anyone could disagree with Sam's description of Islam. It seems that when it comes to politics, they dig deep for the facts and present them well, but when it comes comes to Islam, they don't! Why they don't research the facts about Islam baffles me.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 17:57:23 UTC | #549418

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 21 by Neodarwinian

Is it better to be right for the wrong reasons, or wrong for the right reasons?

Pull the teeth of Islam.

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 18:33:01 UTC | #549431

mcek's Avatar Comment 22 by mcek

Besides the point - the last news bite rocked

Thu, 18 Nov 2010 19:14:02 UTC | #549442

lilalindy's Avatar Comment 23 by lilalindy

Comment 21 by Neodarwinian

Is it better to be right for the wrong reasons, or wrong for the right reasons?

I think that a lot of the time, they are wrong for the wrong reasons.

Pull the teeth of Islam.

Islam has more teeth than brains. Like a shark, it is good at killing what it sees as food but doesn't have any idea of the bigger picture. Time for tooth pulling is long overdue with this monstrous religion and it uses a haram method (western, khufar bastard technology >;-> ) to sharpen those teeth. Being haram western khufar bastard technologists, we can use it back on them*.

I suppose something analogous to DNS poisoning would be at least humorous.

  • Make a video where you have coloured salt water and clear sweet water. Shake them up and they mix.

  • Next, take (apparently) the same (white oil will do), hold it over the quran and move it slowly in a circle an odd number of times (like the stones for wiping one's arse) whilst saying what they all chant when they get a deranged kid to cut someone's head off using a blunt pen knife and, holy shamolie, when shaken, they stay separated.

  • then, because it uses safe materials (salt and water and food colouring), it can be tried at home to get the same results.
  • Thus, the quran is truly a divine book with magical powers and you can get it to override the laws of physics by interacting with it - add something about quantum entanglement to get them claiming that it is scientific.

    Trying to replicate experiments at home might and then failing might seed their minds with a bit of doubt. A rich seem of these 'scientific' claims is all over YouTube. Take each one and make an experiment that they can do themselves and draw the quran into it in a magical way. Seed the video with comments about how wonderful the Quran is, how it explains everything and how that nasty haram western khufar bastard science is damaging to the quranic world.

    Flooding YouTube with virals that uphold the bogus claims in the quran, with experiments that the 'enthusiastic' quranophile can try at home, and when it doesn't work for them, they can start asking why.

    * do you think that they like using the word 'khufar' because it sounds like 'fuc**r'

    Thu, 18 Nov 2010 19:22:03 UTC | #549445

    frax71's Avatar Comment 24 by frax71

    Comment 6 by Callinectes :

    The end of that video was interesting. "Psychically enslaved subjects of the Queen of England." I see.

    maybe Sam was referring to the old argument of the left that we are subjects of the monarch which is sort of right and wrong see herelink text

    Thu, 18 Nov 2010 19:23:57 UTC | #549446

    RSingh's Avatar Comment 25 by RSingh

    "Anyway, she's (Ms Manji) nice, but she's emotionally attached to calling herself a Muslim."

    So did (and possibly have not changed his stand) Salman Rushdi. Did not he reaffirmed his faith in Islam post-fatawa episode!

    But the west wants to make hero out of these cowards.

    Thu, 18 Nov 2010 19:42:59 UTC | #549454

    RSingh's Avatar Comment 26 by RSingh

    There is difference between muslim moderate and Wafa sultan/Ibn Warraq/Ali Sina (ex-muslims)!!!!

    If Islamic terrorism pains muslim moderates truly, they should start condemning their prophet's love (and habit)of voilence/torture/sex-slaving etc.

    Thu, 18 Nov 2010 19:47:26 UTC | #549458

    hinata's Avatar Comment 27 by hinata

    As always Sam straightforward and brilliant!

    Thu, 18 Nov 2010 20:02:18 UTC | #549465

    frax71's Avatar Comment 28 by frax71

    sorry, got that wrong as it came from O'Donnell still applies though

    Thu, 18 Nov 2010 20:18:22 UTC | #549475

    DocWebster's Avatar Comment 29 by DocWebster

    The worst part about that interview, aside from it's brevity, was the moron interrupt... I mean interviewer. I have an idea for a news show where every night for 2 hours an interesting intelligent person with fascinating insights into science and humanity gets to smack the living shit out of every so-called TV reporter they have the energy to whack on whenever one tries to talk. That's reality TV I could really go for.

    Thu, 18 Nov 2010 20:19:59 UTC | #549476

    korben's Avatar Comment 30 by korben

    They're saying that the entire podcast will be posted by Nov 22. In the meantime, I'm listening to the previous debate, The great God debate, between Dan Barker and Dinesh D'Souza, and I find it quite enjoyable so far.

    http://www.pcawebcast.com/316/index.htm

    Thu, 18 Nov 2010 21:11:44 UTC | #549503