Sam Harris makes a modest proposal

One of the Four Horsemen of New Atheism, Sam Harris, appears to have undergone some sort of conversion. This is serious stuff.

The people over at Edge have been talking about Jerry Coyne’s book reviews and thoughts on the incompatibility of science and religion (mentioned here previously). The authors of the books, Karl Giberson and Ken Miller, have both responded to the reviews.

Yet it is Harris, a former militant atheist himself, who responds most resoundingly to Coyne (and his supporter, Dennett), in a sweeping, magisterial essay whose sophistication, not to say length, rivals the work of William Lane Craig. I commend it to you.

<lj-cut text=”Just one more thing you should know before you comment”>This is a joke, people. Do read Harris’s essay, though, it’s laugh out loud funny in some places.

8 thoughts on “Sam Harris makes a modest proposal

  1. Strange, he now professes faith in the God of Abraham??? It’s a wind-up, no? So will he offer to buy back all his books from his former life? I think it’s some class of early April Fool joke. I had just put down “the end of faith” only to now see it’s rebirth, which was predicted in a manner of speaking in that book’s final chapter. completely baffled!!!

    1. Subject: Re: Sarcasm
      Hello anon. I’m not sure whether you intended to reply to my original posting or to this comment (comments here are threaded, unlike a lot of blogs). If it was intended for me, I had realised that Harris was making a modest proposal, but thought it’d be fun to carry on the joke (“sophistication rivals that of William Lane Craig”, indeed). If you read the rest of this blog, you’ll see I’m actually a neo-atheist militant rationalist militant.

      Updated, after checking the IP: Hello, and welcome. I did like your original article.

      1. Subject: Re: Sarcasm
        It occurs to me that not everyone may be aware of the connotations of the term “modest proposal“…

        And yes, btw, Sam Harris’s thing was fantastic. (And I liked your little jab at William Lane Craig, who richly deserves it.)

        1. Subject: Re: Sarcasm
          I think there’s some rule of the Internet that anything satirical has to contain the words “modest proposal”. Perhaps Sam Harris’s failure to follow the convention is what’s lead to all this confusion 🙂

        2. Subject: Re: Sarcasm
          Anyhoo, I’ve updated the visible and cut text to make it slightly more obvious that this is a joke (including changing the title to use the standard code-phrase). Prof Coyne (for it was he) has confirmed that he thought I hadn’t taken it as a joke, but now knows I did. So all’s well that ends well.

  2. Subject: Grilling Dawkins
    User pw201 referenced to your post from Grilling Dawkins saying: […] Dawkins finds curious. Not everyone is convinced that single-mindedness is a virtue, though, as recent convert Sam Harris argues: “If Francis Collins wants to believe that the historical Jesus was actually raised from the dead and still … […]

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