Some excerpts from an interview with Sam Harris in the Jewish publication Tablet:
My argument is that no group of people, and certainly no society, has ever suffered because everyone became too willing to hear arguments and data and got too interested in other people’s points of view. The zero-sum contest is between believing things for good reasons and believing things for bad reasons, you know? And it just so happens that science, 99 percent of the time, is on the right side of that cut. And religion more or less 99 percent of the time is on the wrong side.
All I’m arguing for really is that we should have a conversation where the best ideas really thrive, where there’s no taboo against criticizing bad ideas, and where everyone who shows up, in order to get their ideas entertained, has to meet some obvious burdens of intellectual rigor and self-criticism and honesty—and when people fail to do that, we are free to stop listening to them. What religion has had up until this moment is a different set of rules that apply only to it, which is you have to respect my religious certainty even though I’m telling you I arrived at it irrationally.So, if there is an argument for why the Quran is so good, please bring it forward. I’ve read the Quran several times and it’s not that good. In fact, it’s conspicuously bad as a moral map, and a spiritual map. You can wander blindfolded into a Barnes & Noble, and the first book you pick off the shelf will have more wisdom than the Quran. The Quran is uniquely barren of wisdom relevant to the 21st century. It’s got a few good lines about patience and generosity, and the rest is just vilification of the infidel.
The full interview is here.