The Raving Theist

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Join the Fun

November 8, 2006 | 9 Comments

[UPDATE: The thread with Sam Harris responding to questions about Letter to a Christian Nation and related subjects is available here.

Many thanks to Eva and Professor Chaos for their expert moderation of the discussion.].

There’s now (7:14pm est) a large crowd hanging out in The Raving Atheists Forums ( chat room — including myself.– on the occasion of Sam Harris answering questions on a thread in the Open Mic/General Chat section of the Forums. Feel free to join us, and/or to post a question for Sam in the “Questions for Sam Harris” thread. The moderators will pose the questions to Sam roughly in the order received.


9 Responses to “Join the Fun”

  1. EK
    November 8th, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

    Thanks for your visit RA. Feel free to stop by anytime. Some of us may be harsh, bitter children but we still enjoy your company.

  2. Eva, Mod.
    November 8th, 2006 @ 9:45 pm

    thanks for showing up. i am extremely happy with the way this worked out and i hope sam harris felt the same way too.

    too bad we did not have any of our resident theists show up and post questions. it would have made an already interesting topic even more so.

    maybe next time!

    ps. we still love ya!

  3. Professor Chaos
    November 9th, 2006 @ 8:25 am

    Yep, ’twas very nice chatting with you last night, RA. It’s funny how the internet works. You were always kind of a nameless, faceless blogger to me until I got the opportunity to chat with you in real time. Now you’re…well, still nameless and faceless, but you get the drift. Stop by again!

  4. Choobus
    November 9th, 2006 @ 11:57 am

    I agree, your assclown rating was reduced by several points yesterday. I hope you will drop in again.

  5. gordonliv
    November 10th, 2006 @ 4:24 am

    I missed the live chat :-( but last night I read through all the questions and answers on the thread. Inspiring, Sam. Well done. I’m heading out this morning to buy a copy of your book, and I can’t wait to dive into it. After I’d read through all of the Q & A last night, it was enough to make me immediately head back to a little forum I contribute to regularly ( and try to take the argument straight to the theists. As you say, we’ve got to “make as much noise as possible”! People CAN be argued out of their beliefs!

    Congratulations Sam! You’re an inspiration. So good to know we’ve got smart guys like you on our side!

  6. Forrest Cavalier
    November 10th, 2006 @ 2:58 pm

    I am not a resident theist, but I was too busy at the time.

    I don’t know that I would have asked anything compelling anyway. Sam Harris already appeared in previous entries.

    Reading the questions and responses, I am curious about two things…

    1. Mr. Harris seems to indicate that science can supply all moral guidance. This is painfully and obviously untrue.

    Good science is essentially atheistic, being based on what can be demonstrated, not relying on what is merely believed faithfully. That is what science is. (RA’s bit about requiring schools to teach atheism as science is kind of a tautology.)

    There have been some pretty interesting threads on about the incompleteness of atheism this way. Mr. Harris must have been reading something else.

    Faith and Reason are not antagonists. Neither are they complete by themselves. Anyone who excludes one over the other is doomed either to arbitrary meaninglessness or fire and brimstone fundamentalism.

    2. Apparently, there were plenty of smart people at the conference Mr. Harris attended who were already wise enough to have concluded that science is incomplete.

    Mr. Harris lives in a pretty judgemental world of his own if his reaction is to see them as hosts for alien seed pods.

    Why not try wrestling with the heavy topics of free will and morality, instead of lining up behind Richard “free will is not interesting” Dawkins? Making good choices is hard. Science helps, but is not anywhere near adequate.

  7. Godthorn
    November 11th, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

    F.C., Dawkins dismisses “free will” as being uninteresting because (or so I strongly suspect) he understands that it is an irrational construct. If you try to discover the freedom involved in any act you commit or any belief you evolve, you will find yourself in a labyrinth of deterministic causes and effects. Your will is not “free.”

  8. Forrest Cavalier
    November 12th, 2006 @ 1:06 am

    Godthorn, BTDT. See our exchanges in other threads. The belief that we choose freely trumps what the science says about it. We choose anyway.

    You and Dawkins try to stop there, as if declaring our free will irrational and illusory ends the discussion.

    The discussion is the harder question about how to better choose good over bad, assuming we make choices. Saying choice is an illusion or that the question of free will isn’t “interesting” doesn’t win the argument, it just admits that you don’t comprehend the importance of the argument.

  9. Godthorn
    November 12th, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

    Forest C, you said it yourself: “The BELIEF that we choose freely trumps….” We have no choice but to behave as though we posess “free” will, since we behave as we must and we are aware of our volitions. Consider this: If you were able to ask a dog or a turtle whether its actions were freely determined, how do you think it would answer? And consider this: If humans can think and act with autonomous freedom, why is it that so many who are otherwise fairly rational people cannot think and behave rationally in respect to religion?

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