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April 9, 2007

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Religion vs. Atheism Cage Match

I’m finding this Beliefnet exchange between Sam Harris and Andrew Sullivan delectable. Just the juicy, metaphor-happy game of Pong alone would be enough to make me happy. But the real fun of it is watching these two completely irreconcilable worldviews in two supremely intelligent heads honestly, respectfully clashing, striving for reconciliation. The thing is, you know that this debate isn’t going to solve or change anything, or even end in any reasonably cathartic way, and I don’t think I walked away from reading it with a single additional nugget of wisdom in my head. Except maybe that this is the way all hard questions in life should be fought over and decided.

Posted April 9, 2007 at 8:52 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted, Society/Culture


[T]his is the way all hard questions in life should be fought over and decided.

Yes. By cage match. As the founders intended.

My favorite line so far (or the "money quote," as Sullivan would say) is Harris's:

We are invariably told that a mature understanding of the historical and literary contexts of scripture renders faith perfectly compatible with reason, and our attack upon religion is, therefore, "simplistic," "dogmatic," or even "fundamentalist." As a frequent target of such profundities, I can attest that they generally come moistened to a sickening pablum by great sighs of condescension. Present company excluded.

Harris's talk for SALT (no, not that SALT) is free online. Also on Fora. I generally like Harris, think his arguments are right, appreciate that he manages to be less abrasive than Dawkins while still saying what needs to be said. Some of his "the future is a neuroscience of happiness" stuff is weak and out-there.

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