Tag Archives: sam harris

Did Glenn Greenwald And The Guardian Just Get Spectacularly Trolled?

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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.

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A Lesson In ‘Journalism’ With Ansar and Werleman

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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.

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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.

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Taking The Myth – 29 Feb 2016 Edition

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!

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

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Ed Husain Has Gone Off The Deep End

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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:

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How To Shift The Goalposts With Dean Obeidallah

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If you ever need a guide stick by which to measure the integrity of someone’s arguments, you could do a lot worse than familiarise yourself with the most common logical fallacies. These enable you to separate the hack from the journalist and the scholar from the apologist.

Dean Obeidallah and Sam Harris have clashed before, and it’s clear that Dean is committed to the idea that Harris is motivated solely by bigotry. Unfortunately for Dean however, he’s having a terrible time trying to demonstrate as much. Finally, in what must have seemed like the dream ‘gotcha’ moment, Dean took to the internet to accuse Harris of ‘teaming up’ with an ‘anti-Muslim hate group’ in a series of Tweets. The excitement here is palpable:

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Sam Harris Predicted Donald Trump

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Ahead of Sam Harris’s scheduled talk in Australia, the organisers of the event , ‘Think INC.’, shared the above meme on social media. Sam Harris is quoted from his 2006 essay titled ‘The End Of Liberalism’:

‘Increasingly, Americans will come to believe that the only people hard-headed enough to fight the religious lunatics of the Muslim world are the religious lunatics of the West’

Rather than heed the warnings contained within, critics of Harris opted for distortion instead – namely by spreading the lie that Harris was actually issuing a call to embrace fascism rather than decrying the empowerment of it. As Harris clarifies here:

‘The whole purpose of that essay (written in 2006) was to express my concern that the political correctness of the Left has made it taboo to even notice the menace of political Islam, leaving only right-wing fanatics to do the job. Such fanatics are, as I thought I made clear, the wrong people to do this, being nearly as bad as jihadists themselves. I was not praising fascists: I was arguing that liberal confusion and cowardice was empowering them.’

Fast forward nearly a decade and we appear to be catching a glimpse of what liberal complacency looks like in the rise of one Donald Trump. A man who sees the collective punishment of Muslims as a solution to Jihad, amongst other abhorrent views. This man isn’t just some TV rent-a-mouth, but a Presidential Candidate. If alarm bells weren’t ringing for liberals in 2006, they should be now, because the house is on fire.

This is a perfect example of how toxic the ‘nothing to do with Islam’ brigade has been on our political landscape. Whilst this collective can only insist that we needn’t be concerned about Islam, the far-right are able to mine a ceaseless supply of Islamic terror to bolster their narrative. The really bad news is that this supply won’t be decreasing any time soon either.

What is on the decline however is the number of people willing to subscribe to the head in the sand approach from the left – namely individuals who are able to see, read or listen to what’s actually going on in the world.

Without a sensible, mainstream counter-narrative, who are the uninformed, frustrated and fearful going to look to when those elected are clearly lying (at least to themselves) about the problem? It’s no surprise that some people may opt for Trump’s wrong ‘solutions’ over no clear solutions at all. Trump is at least ‘in the right ball park’ as they say Stateside, insofar as the problem is related to Islam. It’s just that he’s swinging like a lunatic and isn’t fit to play the sport.

It’s hard to estimate just how many of Donald Trump’s supporters can be explained by this phenomenon, but the answer surely has to be ‘more than enough’. It’s unlikely that Donald Trump will ever make it as far as The White House, happily. But it makes you wonder just how many warning shots liberals are willing to ignore before they decide to reclaim the stage on this issue. The consequences of my fellow liberals not being up to the task is a future reality too grave to contemplate.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

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