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Creepy Sam Harris Loses Debate Then Refuses To Air It

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There’s a debate that Sam Harris doesn’t want published even though he’s the one who asked for it in the first place. His excuse is that it was extremely “boring” and that his nerdy sycophants, who have better things to do wouldn’t want to waste their time listening to it.

Apparently, writer and Yale Law School student, Omer Aziz, wiped the floor with him. (h/t: Tanveer)

via. Salon

Last December, I published an essay in Salon reviewing “Islam and the Future of Tolerance,” a book-length “discourse” on reforming Islam, conducted between neuroscientist Sam Harris and activist Maajid Nawaz. In it, I argued that the book was a simplistic and unoriginal take on a complex topic, more of a friendly conversation than any kind of serious analysis. The piece concluded by lamenting the erosion of public debate, as intellectuals of previous eras have been replaced by profiteers more interested in advancing narrow agendas than in exploring difficult questions.

The piece got Harris’s attention, and he publicly reached out to me on Twitter to invite me on his podcast to “discuss these issues.” Although some of his followers mocked the invitation, I gladly accepted, and we set a date and time for our debate.

That’s when things got interesting, because it turned out that Harris did not want a traditional debate or even an open discussion. As he wrote in one email:

I’d like you to just read [your piece], line by line, and I’ll stop you at various points so that we can discuss specific issues.

This was a bizarre and rather creepy way to structure our conversation. Think of how awkward it would be to read your writing in front of a critic who had empowered himself to stop, critique, and rebuke you whenever he wanted, with thousands of people listening. Even the strongest piece of writing cannot withstand a line-by-line cross-examination because such an exercise puts the writer in the witness box and therefore on the permanent defensive. If Harris’s rules were followed, our discussion would be more like an undignified show-trial than a frank conversation. Is there a single journalist who has ever participated in, much less proposed, this sort of guerrilla attack?

I replied to Harris and noted the absurdity of his invitation:

I really hope you were not literally intending for me to come on and read my essay on your podcast with you stopping me every other sentence as if I was in some kind of deposition or trial. This would be a totally fruitless conversation.

Instead, I proposed an alternative approach: We should each pick a few topics—reforming Islam, radical jihadists, holy war, etc—and have a debate around each one, alternating between who would kick things off. In other words, we should have a normal debate, on equal footing, where arguments could be tested against their rebuttals. Harris rejected that offer and firmly reiterated demand to be  judge, jury, and prosecutor.

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  • ronno

    it was only a ‘draw’ because omer refused to concede basic points like sam publishing an essay as a “get rich quick” scheme. he basically spewed shit for 3.5 hours and never made a single point if you believe omer came out of this with any credibility, you are not capable of serious intellectual inquiry.

  • DarthYan

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-forer/dennis-ross-palestinians_b_6432442.html

    It’s pretty interesting. Basically Forer USED to be an Aipac member. Some of his friends challenged him to do homework. He did and he learned that a lot of the things about the conflict he assumed were wrong (namely that camp david was bullshit.

  • DarthYan

    Part of the thing is that many Israelis are more misguided than evil. They can’t reconcile the fact that Israel committed war crimes with believing Palestinians are people so they blame Hamas for it all. Assuming all Israelis are like Aylet Shaked and Bibi Netanyahu (who even pro israeli people dislike) is like saying all cops are like Jon Burge or all black people were like Coral Eugene Watts

  • DarthYan

    I am actually curious about the links. Would you please provide them (I’m asking out of curiosity)

  • DarthYan

    They and likud both have charters that say the other can go screw. Likud says that the land between the river and the sea is ours, hamas says that all and will be theres. Personally I think both are awful nd that the only reason likud isn’t using suicide bombers is because they have access to missiles.

    Neither side are angels at this point. Israel’s gone hard right to the point even Joe Biden and other Israeli cheerleaders are starting to get weary of it all (I’m not joking.) Even pro israeli people are getting fed up with Bibi’s douch

  • DarthYan

    Except it doesn’t work cretin. Security experts agree with that.

  • DarthYan

    Now your being childish. I’ve been a commenter for years. I’ve openly insulted the Israeli right and compared them to nazis. I personally support a one state solution where neither holds dominance.

    But pointing out that the Khazar myth is a myth isn’t dedendibg has sea. Israel has committed more crimes but at the same time neither is free of warmongers (aylet shakad, Bibi, Avigdor, Hamas’s leader)

  • DarthYan

    Dude I hate hasbara. I described how Israel has repeatedly screwed the arabs a lot. I just point out that there are bigots who mask their hatred in legit critique.

    And fuck off attacking star wars.

  • DarthYan

    Dude, I’ve openly called Netanyahu genocidal and expressed contempt. I’ve openly argued against hasbara talking points.

    And leave Star Wars out of it. There are anti zionists who love it and it’s a good story regardless

  • 1DrM

    No one mentioned the Protocols, so you forget that red herring. It’s obvious you’re a desperate Zionist. The bootleg Jews of Europe(the majority of the invaders) sure as hell aren’t Semitic Hebrews. Is Yiddish a Semitic language? What’s this nonsense about DNA?! I’ve heard this BS HasbaRat talking point before and it holds no water. The very notion & the concept of Jewish “race” is ridiculous. How could that be, there are Black African Jews, Arab Jews, European Jews, Scandinavian Jews, Asian Jews. Jews are present among the citizens and natives of almost every nations on earth. Judaism is a religion, not associated with genes and DNA. They have no right to an inch of Palestine.
    Go back to watching Star Wars and leave the discussion to the adults, hasbaRat.

  • 1DrM

    The Khazar point is valid, they sure as hell aren’t Semitic Hebrews, but European userpers.

  • DarthYan

    I’ve seen way to many anti jewish people play the “Jews are khazars” or imply jews are evil and mask it in criticism of israel. There’s plenty of criticism of israel to go around (Richard Forer was a AIPAC member who did more research and did a 180 on the subject. But there are bigots who mask their hatred with criticism of israel. It’s like those who mask hatred of muslims with legit critique, or those who disguise hatred of the palestinians with criticism of hamas (Hamas is indeed a pretty nasty group.)

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