Is Sam Harris the World's Dumbest Atheist? His Latest Rant on Guns Points to Yes
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There are many mysteries posed by this world for which science offers no answer: Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Who let the dogs out? And, perhaps most confounding, why does anyone take atheist pundit Sam Harris seriously?
In response to the Sandy Hook massacre, Harris stopped sputtering about Muslims long enough to weigh in with a post Sandy Hook essay, " The Riddle of the Gun." Unlike the above mysteries, however, the gun is no riddle. As the NRA recently reminded us, firearms are merely a tool. They can be used as a sturdy hammer, a nifty paperweight, a handsome tie clip, a rather crap spaghetti strainer, and, in a desperate pinch, as a convenient murder weapon! Guns are as far from a riddle as one can get. The numbers are brutally simple. According to this Harvard study, and the least bit of common sense, more guns = more gun homicides. And expounding on this topic, without accepting that fact as the moral epicenter of your argument, is tantamount to protecting gun rights over the lives of innocents. Harris, in his continuing quest to overcome the vicious stereotype that atheists are typically rational people, takes a page from NRA President Wayne LaPierre's handbook of douchebaggery, and suggests the answer to the "riddle" of guns should be, in fact, more guns. Only a corporate shill or a professional philosopher could arrive at this position without realizing (or admitting) how utterly full of shit they are.
Sure, we'd all prefer for this to be a "don't feed the troll" type situation, but as of this writing Harris's gushing paean to gun violence (and considering the research cited above, describing it as anything other would be incredibly disingenuous) has received 44,000 Facebook likes, so perhaps it's best to feed this unwitting troll the fatal poison for which he has apparently no natural immunity: logic! And, after nearly a decade of ostensibly sincere intellectual sewage, Harris is straining Poe's Law with introductions like this: "Fantasists and zealots can be found on both sides of the debate over guns in America." Ah, yes, all those awful zealots with their fanatical designs on protecting small children from senseless, preventable gun-murder -- based on the simple truth that guns cause death. Tell us more, o convoluted one!
"On the one hand, many gun-rights advocates reject even the most sensible restrictions on the sale of weapons to the public. On the other, proponents of stricter gun laws often seem unable to understand why a good person would ever want ready access to a loaded firearm."
The lesson here is that Sam Harris has two hands. Two extremist and falsely equivalent hands. And he can count them both! But rest assured, good reader:
"Between these two extremes we must find grounds for a rational discussion about the problem of gun violence."
Phew! I was beginning to think this was going to be yet another one of Harris's patented fake-smart-for-dumb-people routines wherein he constructs a series of strawmen then proceeds to knock them down. Oh wait. That's exactly what this is. Harris fails spectacularly to provide the advertised rational discussion.
Before delving further into this NRA wet-dream of an essay, let us reflect on an important facet of Harris's personality. The common thread running through all of Harris's logic-abortions, the key to understanding how a purported "intellectual" can be so consistently wrong and so morally repugnant, is his unbridled cowardice -- both of the intellectual variety and an all-pervasive, crapping-his-pants fear that manifests itself in the form of sophistry and a brazen disregard for following the available evidence to its logical conclusion.