You have waited all week for this…. This week’s ATTIE award!!!!
As you remember, dear readers, we awarded this prestitious award to the creation museum. Not only did they get the first award, but they insipred the name. Thank you, creation museum. Your attack dog legacy will forever go on.
Oh, and quick note, Ray S. suggested that I expand the possible award winners beyond Christians and atheists. A great idea and we will do exactly that, choosing next weeks award winner from the field of ufology.
So, in order to be fair, this week’s award winner had to be an atheist. There are no sacred cows here at the Thomas Society. Everyone, which includes ourselves, is a possible canidate for this award. But, we try to be fair about the whole thing, so I did some research among atheists. One of them said about this week’s award winner, “His history is awful. He irritates me because he keeps asserting that fundie Christianity represents true Christian belief. He forgets that the fundie American Christinaity has only been around 150 years.” And then a talk with another atheist, “He thinks that just because he spends time studying neurobiology, that he actually undestands it.”
So without further ado….. Mr. Sam Harris, come get your award.
I first read Sam’s book when it came out. I found his tone irritating and obnoxious, claiming knowledge about things he knew nothing about. I really don’t think he belongs in the Four Horsemen of the atheist, a place that should go to PZ or Michael Shermer. Dawkins is a great scientist, Hitchens is just hilarious, Dennett is first class philsopher, PZ a great scientist and Shermer a first class critical thinker. Harris fits none of those categories. He reminds me of a frat boy who took philsophy or history 101 and decided to write a book about it. Then pretends he is the smartest kid in the room.
And to add insult to injury, he particiated in that absurdist piece of cinema, The Jesus Who Wasn’t There. If you notice in the line up of that documentary, they didn’t have any serious history scholars, nor serious New Testament scholars. And I’m not even talking about believers. I’m talking about people like John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg who could give Sam Harris a basic understanding of how the study of history works. You don’t have to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. But to say he never existed in history is, frankly, a complete lack of understanding of the historical process.
And then there is the whole Francis Collins thing. I have worked really hard to understand the objections to Collins by Harris. I don’t want to misrepresent his argument, so I have read his column a few times.Then, I read his larger essay on the issue. I suppose this essay was a further attempt to clarify his objections, but it made it worse. He doubt Collins’ previous atheism (No True Scotsman), and continues his distortion of the historical process. That is, he leaves out the whole history of science, which has been dominated by people who hold Collins’ belief. It didn’t hold back their scientific investigation and it obviously hasn’t held back Collins. Collins’ assertion that science can’t solve the problem of morality is held by many atheists as well. Having said that, I think Collins is a philsophical and theological light weight. But, that’s beside the point.
Harris begs so many questions on the nature of science, belief and how our worldviews interact, I don’t even know where to begin.
It seems to me is that his objections to Collins rests on his above problem with fundie Christianity, his complete failure to make distinctions and his willingness to lump everyone in the same Fundie Christian boat. It’s things like this that make Christian and atheist dialogue so difficult.
So, congrats Sam Harris, you win this week’s Attie awards for poor history, poor critical thinking and bad logic. Your picture will be hung up right next to Ken Ham’s. I’m guessing that’s the first time it’s ever happend.
St Thomas, release the hounds…..