Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:47 AM
Douglas Carpenter (19,599 posts)
Sam Harris: The outspoken atheist responds to Sandy Hook by calling for more guns --
Why does anyone take Sam Harris seriously?
The outspoken atheist responds to Sandy Hook by calling for more guns -- and offers the NRA an unexpected assist
By Ian Murphy, Alternet
There are many mysteries posed by this world for which science offers no answer: Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Who let the dogs out? And, perhaps most confounding, why does anyone take atheist pundit Sam Harris seriously?
In response to the Sandy Hook massacre, Harris stopped sputtering about Muslims long enough to weigh in with a post Sandy Hook essay, “The Riddle of the Gun.” Unlike the above mysteries, however, the gun is no riddle. As the NRA recently reminded us, firearms are merely a tool. They can be used as a sturdy hammer, a nifty paperweight, a handsome tie clip, a rather crap spaghetti strainer, and, in a desperate pinch, as a convenient murder weapon! Guns are as far from a riddle as one can get. The numbers are brutally simple. According to this Harvard study, and the least bit of common sense, more guns = more gun homicides. And expounding on this topic, without accepting that fact as the moral epicenter of your argument, is tantamount to protecting gun rights over the lives of innocents. Harris, in his continuing quest to overcome the vicious stereotype that atheists are typically rational people, takes a page from NRA President Wayne LaPierre’s handbook of douchebaggery, and suggests the answer to the “riddle” of guns should be, in fact, more guns. Only a corporate shill or a professional philosopher could arrive at this position without realizing (or admitting) how utterly full of shit they are.
Those familiar with Harris’s record will have already spotted the logical inconsistency. For those blissfully unaware of his many crimes against thinking, the uncharacteristically sound reason Harris gives above for not imprisoning all mentally unstable people is precisely the “common sense” reason he’d previously used to justify a policy of Muslim profiling at airports. (For the satisfaction of reading security expert Bruce Schneier deliver Harris a much-deserved drubbing, see here.) Granted, committing people to a cuckoo’s nest is a great deal more severe than subjecting them to airport screenings, but there’s probably a folksy aphorism I can conjure to make this work–apples and oranges are both fruit, if you get my drift. Yeah. That’ll do the trick, just like a junebug in May, or Dan Rather in a Texas teapot.
The ultimate tragedy of Harris’s article is that he touches on the answer to “the riddle of the gun” only to dismiss that answer as existing beyond the parameters of debate. Unlike god or gods, that’s one of those things that’s true if you say it’s true, and false if you say it’s false. Harris is, confoundingly, a popular figure, capable of shifting the frame of acceptable discourse. Why doesn’t he give it a go? Well, that may be the biggest mystery of all.
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Sam Harris: The outspoken atheist responds to Sandy Hook by calling for more guns -- (Original post)
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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Original post)
Thu Jan 10, 2013, 11:55 AM
sadbear (4,340 posts)
1. A lot of atheists consider themselves libertarians.
I'm an atheist in Texas, so I encounter these guys more than I care to. Essentially, they are republicans who are turned off by the republican party's embrace of the religious right.