Harris on Palin

Be sure to have a look at Sam Harris’ excellent editorial about Sarah Palin in the current issue of Newsweek magazine:

We have endured eight years of an administration that seemed touched by religious ideology. Bush’s claim to Bob Woodward that he consulted a “higher Father” before going to war in Iraq got many of us sitting upright, before our attention wandered again to less ethereal signs of his incompetence. For all my concern about Bush’s religious beliefs, and about his merely average grasp of terrestrial reality, I have never once thought that he was an over-the-brink, Rapture-ready extremist. Palin seems as though she might be the real McCoy. With the McCain team leading her around like a pet pony between now and Election Day, she can be expected to conceal her religious extremism until it is too late to do anything about it. Her supporters know that while she cannot afford to “talk the talk” between now and Nov. 4, if elected, she can be trusted to “walk the walk” until the Day of Judgment.

Well said! Now go read the whole thing.

Comments

  1. #1 Rosie Redfield
    September 23, 2008

    It’s a bit unfortunate that the piece is titled “When Atheists Attack”.

  2. #2 Oldfart
    September 24, 2008

    When emailing directly from the page the title is Sam Harris on Sarah Palin and Elitism which is also unfortunate. I changed it to Sam Harris on Sarah Palin in the hope that someone in my email group might actually read it…..lol.

  3. #3 heddle
    September 24, 2008

    Did Sam Harris write that on Earth, or did he mentally project the copy while enjoying a “rational and empirical” eastern mysticism inspired out-of-body experience on a loftier astral plane? Inquiring minds want to know!

  4. #4 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    September 24, 2008

    It’s a bit unfortunate that the piece is titled “When Atheists Attack”.

    Especially ironic when you remember that Harris is the one who was making a case for atheists not identifying themselves as such. Apparently he’s not doing so great at ‘flying under the radar.’

  5. #5 Bayesian Bouffant, FCD
    September 24, 2008

    With the McCain team leading her around like a pet pony between now and Election Day,…

    OMG, he called Palin a horse’s ***. Cue another round of phony outrage.

  6. #6 Jason Rosenhouse
    September 24, 2008

    heddle -

    Wow! What a gratuitous misrepresentation of Harris’ views on Eastern mysticism.

    Changing the subject, you ignored the comment I left at your blog in response to this post, so I’ll try again. You wrote, as a prediction of the Old Earth creationist view of things:

    Life should appear in the order that the Genesis account gives (it does–vegetation and then in the oceans, birds, and finally mammals)

    This is not correct. Ocean life long predates vegetation, and mammals long predate birds. Reconciling Genesis with science is easier when you have an erroneous view of the science.

    And since we are talking about the sequence of events in Genesis, we should also point out that Genesis has both the Earth and land plants appearing before the Sun, and it has oceans appearing before dry land. Both of those are rather dubious propositions.

  7. #7 Jason Rosenhouse
    September 24, 2008

    I’m sure Harris did not select the headline for his article. It’s a pity Newsweek chose to go with such an obnoxious title.

  8. #8 heddle
    September 24, 2008

    Jason,

    Yes my language was a bit sloppy on my blog. I should have provided the standard day-age boiler plate (courtesy of Hugh Ross):

    1. Big-bang, creation of the universe.
    2. Singling out the earth for a series of creation miracles. At its beginning it is unfit for life; the earth’s primordial atmosphere and the solar system’s interplanetary debris prevent the light from the sun, moon, and stars from reaching the surface. (End of day 1)
    3. Clearing of the interplanetary debris and partial clearing of the earth’s atmosphere so that light now penetrates to the surface of the ocean.
    4. Formation of tropospheric water vapor and a stable water cycle. (End of day 2)
    5. Formation of the continental land masses and the ocean basins.
    6. Creation of plants on the land masses. (End of day 3)
    7. Transformation of the atmosphere for perpetually translucent to occasionally transparent. For the first time, the sun moon and stars are visible on the surface as distinct objects. (End of day 4)
    8. Creation of swarms of small sea animals.
    9. Creation of sea mammals and birds. (End of day 5)
    10. Creation of various kinds of specialized land mammals.
    11. Creation of man. (End of day 6)

    Having said that, I’ll add that my own view has shifted away from the Day Age and toward the Framework View.

  9. #9 windy
    September 24, 2008

    This is not correct. Ocean life long predates vegetation

    And it’s clear that the ‘vegetation’ discussed isn’t algae and liverworts:

    “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”

    Those are actually separated by hundreds of millions of years in the fossil record, and seed comes first, then fruit, then grass.

  10. #10 heddle
    September 24, 2008

    windy,

    I will not get into a long drawn out defense of the Day Age Theory, because I no longer am a proponent and so I don’t have the stomach for it. But that is why I italicized swarms which appears in Genesis (ESV). That is, the day-agers would argue that Gen 1:21 does not refer to the onset of animal life in the ocean, but the rapid increase of complex ocean-dwelling species.The “great sea creatures” as it states in Genesis.

  11. #11 SLC
    September 24, 2008

    Re Heddle

    And Prof. Heddle, the nuclear physicist, has a perfectly good scientific explanation as to how Joshua caused the sun to stand still in the sky for a day. Maybe he used quantum indeterminacy.

  12. #12 Blake Stacey
    September 24, 2008

    And since we are talking about the sequence of events in Genesis, we should also point out that Genesis has both the Earth and land plants appearing before the Sun, and it has oceans appearing before dry land. Both of those are rather dubious propositions.

    Like I always say, marijuana before sunlight. God really needed to smoke a joint after doing all that heavy lifting of the firmament.

  13. #13 windy
    September 24, 2008

    I will not get into a long drawn out defense of the Day Age Theory, because I no longer am a proponent and so I don’t have the stomach for it.

    That’s alright.

    But that is why I italicized swarms which appears in Genesis (ESV). That is, the day-agers would argue that Gen 1:21 does not refer to the onset of animal life in the ocean, but the rapid increase of complex ocean-dwelling species. The “great sea creatures” as it states in Genesis.

    Which rapid increase is that?

  14. #14 Nick
    September 24, 2008

    Whoever wrote Genesis did not know the natural history of the Earth or the Universe. How could they?

  15. #15 386sx
    September 24, 2008

    Whoever wrote Genesis did not know the natural history of the Earth or the Universe. How could they?

    I dunno. But let’s assume, as the book worshipers wish us to assume, that they got everything right about the natural history of the Earth or the Universe. I wonder what it would look like if they got everything wrong! Quite the mess that would be, I’m sure.

  16. #16 386sx
    September 24, 2008

    Whoever wrote Genesis did not know the natural history of the Earth or the Universe. How could they?

    That’s easy. God knows the natural history of everything, and God wrote Genesis too. How could you forget!

  17. #17 windy
    September 24, 2008

    Wow! What a gratuitous misrepresentation of Harris’ views on Eastern mysticism.

    What would be a correct representation of his views? What do you think about Meera Nanda’s? I haven’t read End of Faith but Harris does not appear to be very consistent with what he’s saying. His ‘clarification’ on his website makes it sound that he’s only saying that meditation is interesting, which seems to be backtracking from the significantly more woozy views in his book.

  18. #18 TheDarwinReport
    September 25, 2008

    Creation everywhere but not a drop of an explanation how the process actually worked. How did god create? By what process? Please fill in the blank. I don’t expect a reasonable answer, only more nebulous gibber jabber and inane bible quotes.

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