You must log in or register to comment.


quadrungle wrote

I find it troubling the way people get lumped together in all regards. The overall excellent article mentions

“the whole Sam Harris, Bill Maher wing” of atheism

Well, I find Harris and Maher a good bit different. Harris is a well-intentioned, sometimes misguided, culturally-biased intellectual thinker and author. Maher is a half-funny simplistic nincompoop in the direction of (that's Malcolm Gladwell's — yes, another imperfect thinker but actually decent often — podcast about how light satire is actually used to diffuse revolution and change and is worse than nothing, actually reinforces the problems and empowers the unjust structures in society).

Harris is far more redeemable and I've heard him say explicitly that he wasn't interested in joining some Atheist movement. He's critical of religious ideas, but is less bigoted than Maher or someone like Dawkins.

It's kind of like Trump criticism versus things like Glenn Greenwald criticizing the groupthink of anti-Russia stuff on the Clinton/DNC echo-chamber. Greenwald gets accused of supporting Trump and Trump folks just because he criticizes the bullshit from the mainstream approach to Trump-criticism.

In a similar way, people lump critics of religion together and notice how actual anti-Muslim bigots are attracted to those critiques. But just like Greenwald might write an article that Trump folks like, that doesn't make him an apologist for Trump. Similarly, Harris isn't an apologist for white supremacy in the slightest even though he says things at times that white supremacists happen to like.

The article does do some quote-mining and cherry-picking. I looked at Harris' profiling argument. He really isn't coming from a racist or bigoted angle. It's like when he suggested Apple was wrong to reject back-doors to encryption: Harris was just stating an ignorant opinion about practical reality. He was flat out wrong about the encryption question, but just because he didn't understand it, not because he dismisses the ideas of privacy and civil liberties. I think his profiling stance is similar. He's right or wrong, but it's coming from a sense of trying to understand the actual safety issues rather than from bigotry (I mean, there's some underlying bias/bigotry in the way he leans, I'll admit that, but it's not like some others who are really bigoted).

To be clear, I think the article you linked is basically right, I just think it's unfortunate that we struggle to tease apart the complex mass of issues going on.