In case you missed Real Time with Bill Maher last night, Sam Harris was a guest on the show. The video is below:
The good: Harris made the important point (we’ve heard it before from him) that the reason smart people like Francis Collins can believe ideas like “morality is instilled in us from God” is not because they have a “neurological disorder” or are compartmentalizing. Instead, it has to do with the social taboo we have on criticizing religious beliefs. We don’t do it because it feels impolite. The most effective thing atheists can do to spread rational thinking is to criticize it in all its forms.
The awkward: Harris mentioned that his book The End of Faith was the beginning of the “New Atheism” movement. He’s right. It was published in 2004, before any of the other bestselling books. Maher said he thought the movement began with his movie Religulous (which came out 4 years later). It could’ve been a joke, but it sounded like Maher was serious. And miffed. Harris handled it well.