Here at the Guardian (3,868 comments and counting)
A long overdue debate breaks out about whether rational atheism is being used as a cover for Islamophobia and US militarism
Two columns have been published in the past week harshly criticizing the so-called “New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens: this one by Nathan Lean in Salon, and this one by Murtaza Hussain in Al Jazeera. The crux of those columns is that these advocates have increasingly embraced a toxic form of anti-Muslim bigotry masquerading as rational atheism. Yesterday, I posted a tweet to Hussain’s article without comment except to highlight what I called a “very revealing quote” flagged by Hussain, one in which Harris opined that “the people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.”
Shortly after posting the tweet, I received an angry email from Harris, who claimed that Hussain’s column was “garbage”, and he eventually said the same thing about Lean’s column in Salon. That then led to a somewhat lengthy email exchange with Harris in which I did not attempt to defend every claim in those columns from his attacks because I didn’t make those claims: the authors of those columns can defend themselves perfectly well. If Harris had problems with what those columns claim, he should go take it up with them.
Wow, this got really heated, and the personal correspondence between Sam Harris and Glenn Greenwald was also posted. Someone should mention to the neo-atheists that their beloved secular Europe is falling to Islam in large part because secular atheistic Europeans are failing to breed fast enough. Survival of the fittest anyone? Someone should also mention to Harris that he spends too much time moralising, and that he should grow up and be a real atheist and speak honestly as Will Provine does (2 minute video).
That said, what I did say in my emails with Harris – and what I unequivocally affirm again now – is not that Harris is a “racist”, but rather that he and others like him spout and promote Islamophobia under the guise of rational atheism. I’ve long believed this to be true and am glad it is finally being dragged out into open debate. These specific atheism advocates have come to acquire significant influence, often for the good. But it is past time that the darker aspects of their worldview receive attention.
Yes, Harris and his mates attack Christians with lines like “science flies rockets to the moon while religion flies planes into buildings” which is of course a veiled attack against Islam, while also being an attack against logic, akin to saying that all atheists are like the darwinist Adolph Hitler.