Phil Torres is an author. His blatant dishonesty and lack of principles first caught my eye in 2017 when he published an article in Salon titled “From the Enlightenment to the Dark Ages: How “new atheism slid in to the alt-right”. The poster boys for this article were Sam Harris and Milo Yiannopoulos. Sam Harris isn’t alt-right (he’s a Jewish liberal) and Milo Yiannopoulos isn’t even an atheist (he’s a Catholic clown), but facts shouldn’t matter when you have an axe to grind.
The article is the usual mix of the guilt by association and misrepresentation we’ve come to expect from Salon’s output on Sam Harris. However, one shining example of Phil’s unscrupulous methods is exemplified in how he attempts to paint Richard “we are all African apes” Dawkins as a promoter of white supremacist propaganda.
I wouldn’t know the name ‘Andy Kindler’ had I not noticed his bizarre Twitter obsession with Ricky Gervais some time ago. It appears Andy has a problem with vocal critics of religion and is unable to separate dislike of ideas from bigotry towards actual people. He’s also a comedian, I’m told.
It seems Sam Harris has also been on the receiving end of the same sort of treatment for quite some time too:
Back in pre-Twitter 1996, a Physics professor from New York named Alan Sokal engaged in a legendary act of trolling. Sokal submitted a hoax article to a postmodern academic journal which was, in Sokal’s own words, ‘salted with nonsense’.
The idea was that the journal’s grip on reality had become so loose that they would publish any old rubbish just so long as it played to their biases. And so it proved. Sokal’s article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” made the summer issue.
You can learn a lot about a person’s agenda and objectivity by how willing they are to share unfavourable claims about their ideological opponents without scrutinising them first.
It’s been a fun day today on that platform of common sense, Twitter.
First we had CJ Werleman share this video with the below claim in service of his on-going mission to demonise all that is Israel.
What he fails to tell you however, is that not only is the footage from 2008, but the Palestinian detainee was shot with a rubber bullet, in the foot. Hardly desirable behaviour I’ll grant you – but it paints a slightly different picture than the one presented by Werleman. As a side note, the soldier responsible was arrested and convicted for his actions – by Israeli authorities.
This week on Taking The Myth, Stephen Knight and A Scotsman Abroad discuss the big topics. We talk about: Episode 77 of The #GSPodcast, The Catholic Church refusing to make reporting abusers mandatory, Sam Harris Vs. Maryam Namazie on The Waking Up Podcast and Salman Rushdie’s fatwa. Also, Nathan Lean is definitely a coward, but is he a Muslim? And of course, The ASLAN Awards and more!
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I recently highlighted the fact that Ed Husain chose Darwin Day to out himself as an evolution denier. This was particularly disappointing as I had considered Husain to be an ally of secularism and enlightenment (he co-founded Quilliam with Maajid Nawaz). Many had hopes that this would prove to be a temporary ailment and Ed would ‘get well soon’ so to speak.
Well, in response to the public drubbing he received for his evolution comments, Ed appears to have now completely gone off the deep end. Or ‘gone full Werleman’ if you will: