Episode 81 - Where Should Seculars Stand Today and Tomorrow on Questions of Religion and Belief? P.2
Posted: 27 June 2011 01:45 PM   [ Ignore ]
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The conclusion of a two-part dialogue between the bestselling authors Robert Wright and Sam Harris.

Robert Wright is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Evolution of God. His previous books include The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life and Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny. Wright has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has taught philosophy at Princeton and religion at Penn, and is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, and co-founder and editor in chief of Bloggingheads.tv.

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times best-sellers The End of Faith (winner of the 2005 Pen Award for Nonfiction), Letter to a Christian Nation, and The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. His writing has been published in over fifteen languages. He is co-founder and CEO of The Reason Project, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society.

The session was chaired by Ronald A. Lindsay, President and CEO of the Council for Secular Humanism and the Center for Inquiry.

On October 9, 2010, the Council for Secular Humanism presented its 30th anniversary conference at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. This dialogue was the conference’s keynote event. This episode includes selected questions from the audience and the panelists’ replies.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/centerstage/episodes/episode_81_-_where_should_seculars_stand_today_and_tomorrow_on_questions_of/

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Posted: 28 June 2011 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Sam Harris clearly won this debate hands down.  Since religious fundamentalists feel “confronted” by the smallest indication that you don’t agree with their insane belief system, it is a matter of personal survival in some cases to avoid engaging them.  The New Atheists clearly have had a positive impact overall by making atheism more socially acceptable.  The analogies with the civil rights and gay rights movements are very apt.  In both the civil rights case and the gay rights case, by becoming more assertive, the positions of the bigoted opposition to human progress did, in fact, harden, but now it is not socially acceptable to express a belief in the supposed “natural superiority” of the white race, and it is becoming increasingly seen as a mental aberration to obsess about (and insist on the “need” to interfere in) the private lives of gay men and women.  Being clear about one’s atheism does not preclude forming alliances on specific issues with moderate religionists.  Social progress, like science, moves forward one funeral at a time.  By publishing their clear arguments against blind faith and in support of the scientific world view, the New Atheists are reaching the young of all but the most cloistered of the fundamentalists, and ensuring that in the (hopefully not too distant) future, religion itself will generally be seen as the mental aberration that it is.

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