JACQUES ROUSSEAU DEFENDS SAM HARRIS
The first week of August saw the Daily Maverick's Opinionistas comments burning up the net as people for and against religion and/or atheism weighed in on the debate. What we love about the DM is that, for the most part, the arguments are well made, intelligent, informed, provocative and always worth reading.
What we particularly loved about this debate, is that it was the criticism of an author that sparked it. Books and authors that encourage/force/persuade people to think their own thoughts and to argue their positions carefully are the kind of books and authors that we like.
We have recommended a number of books that do just that, in addition to the book that caused all the trouble this week. See our 'We Recommend' list, or type 'god' into the search window, both on the Home Page and see what else we have listed on the website (there are even more in stock, not yet loaded here).
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Opinionista Jacques Rousseau's column:
See what I mean? Or maybe you don't...
Ever played the parlour game in which one person whispers something to another, who then whispers it on to the next player and so on? You have? Then you know the end message is usually much different from the original. This happens because “interpretation” by each player colours the essence of the message. This column is a response to fellow opinionista Mandy de Waal’s interpretation of Sam Harris.
André Gide remarked that “everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again”. So it is with the recent article by Mandy de Waal, who took Sam Harris (and the “new atheists” in general) to task for “hate speech”, “bigotry” and encouraging so-called Islamophobia. It’s difficult to know just where to begin in responding, as I find the content of De Waal’s piece disagreeable in almost every aspect.
Perhaps I could start with concessions to some legitimate charges against Harris that can be detected beneath the emotive rhetoric of De Waal’s article. It is true Harris has a strongly antagonistic stance toward religion and to Islam in particular. It is also true he expresses his antagonism in strong and often dismissive language.
Read the full article, and the ensuing debate, here...