Sam Harris: We Should Racially Profile

Fuck Sam Fucking Harris. I’m just too angry to even make a coherent argument. Bascially, Sam Harris thinks that:

We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.

PZ Myers said what I was thinking (and did it better than I could right now). This showing of islamophobia is just too much for me. After reading Lying (which I could barely make it through) I was already starting to dislike Harris’s writing, but reading this blog post just makes me realize that I’m done with Sam Harris entirely. I now regret even buying that Kindle Single for $2.99 and I won’t be buy any of his books in the future (I’m not trying to boycott him or anything; I just don’t like giving the little bit of money I have to bigots of any kind or even to writers whose writing I don’t enjoy).

This is the reason I’m active in the atheist/skeptic movement: I don’t want people like this to be the public face of atheism.

13 Comments

Filed under Atheism

13 responses to “Sam Harris: We Should Racially Profile

  1. He said what now? Well, I’ll try to look on the bright side. I now don’t feel as bad about profiling him as a [please excuse my sexist language] douche due to his haircut.

  2. Pingback: In Defense of Profiling : Sam Harris « SINMANTYX

  3. Tili

    I think it would be more disturbing if someone like you got to be the public face of atheism. You’ve said nothing of substance in this post as to why Harris might be wrong or partially wrong or anything of the like. The rather sad thing I’ve found about critiques of some of his views are how they are clearly made by people who haven’t read them. That’s not skepticim; that’s stupidity.

    • You don’t read too well, do you? I linked to PZ Myers take-down of this because he addressed the points that I wanted to better than I could (I said that in the article almost exactly). Why would I repeat what has already been said by someone who can say it better? It’s not my fault that you’re lazy.

    • Oh, and you want to know that I think is sad? Defending someone from criticism just because you like them. That’s not very skeptical.
      At least I don’t do that. For example, PZ is someone I greatly admire and agree with most of the time. However, I’ve openly criticized him before when I thought he was wrong (just search this blog for PZ Myers and you’ll see).

    • It’s not fair to criticize a critique that isn’t actually framed as a critique. You are also running the risk of appearing hypocritical by condemning name calling by several paragraphs of personal attacks.

      I have no idea what underlying substance you think Harris’ article had. Why don’t you spend your time going to blog posts that are critiques and having a substantive conversation instead of personally attacking people for what you see as personally attacking people.

  4. Tili

    I read PZ’s piece. But you’re the one who’s lazy. All you’re saying is, “Ditto!” Really? You don’t have a mind of your own? If your point is to say, “Ditto!” why even bother? Oh, because you have to slam all things Harris. But this is exactly why there’s not real complex discussion that we need on the internet and in ever day life. It’s because people like you just point and say, “Ditto, ditto!” and then bash someone. Personally I wish Sam and PZ would engage in discussion. Sam has definitely missed important points in his piece, but I think that his underlying idea that there may be situations in which profiling is justified, is actually true. The knee-jerk liberal reaction is that it is never justified. (As if there wouldn’t be racial profiling in a black neighborhood if white racists began to commit hate crimes.) So while I agree that Sam is mistaken in this case, I’m disappointed that PZ doesn’t acknowledge Sam’s underlying point.

    And as for you, “Ditto” and a diss isn’t really worth a post. Again, things would be much worse if someone like you were the face of the atheist or skeptic movement. You aren’t a real skeptic at all. Really skeptics think for themselves and engage with all points, not just those that are politically correct enough for them.

    • If you don’t like my blog posts, don’t read my blog. I won’t miss you, asshat. I’d rather have readers who are capable of criticizing someone they like rather than defending them to no end.
      I didn’t point to PZ’s post because “I don’t have a mind of my own”. I did so because I thought of the exact points PZ made while I was reading Harris’s article and when I later saw that PZ had addressed those points, I decided to direct people’s attention to them (because he’s a better writer than I am). What about this doesn’t make sense? I figured it was a simple concept, but I guess you’ll ignore it because you’d rather rage at someone who disagrees with your beloved Sam Harris than actually read what someone is saying.

  5. Tili

    I certainly wish google hadn’t led me to your blog. Yes, nice how you have to resort to name calling because you can’t actually engage in a discussion that Harris may have an underlying point even if he has reached the wrong conclusions in this piece. (By the way, I suppose I must be raging against myself as well since I do disagree with the conclusion Harris has reached in this piece. I’ve already said this; you choose to ignore it. Interesting how you instead choose resort to name calling because that fact simply threatens your calcified mindset. ) Since I wanted to see what sort of discussion was being engaged in about this piece I did a google search. Sadly your blog came up in the results. No, I certainly won’t be returning. We have enough of blogs that do nothing but diss and dismiss, when what we actually need is complex thinking and discussion. Instead of acknowledging the truth of Harris’ underlying point, or the fact that we’d have no trouble employing it in the example which I gave (in which profiling would be completely justified), you choose to call people names. It’s folks like you who give atheists and skeptics a bad name. “Fuck Sam Fucking Harris.” That’s not a skeptic’s response. That’s someone who is so invested in their own righteousness that they’ll just ditch a thinker as a whole because he’s said something that so deeply challenges them. The point you refuse to acknowledge is that responses like yours do not encourage skeptical inquiry. They encourage toeing the party line. Once again, Harris is misguided in this particular piece, but his underlying thought that profiling can be reasonable and even justified is true. The fact that you’ve refused to engage with this, even as it’s been pointed out to you, means that you’re not an atheist or skeptic. You may not have faith in any god, but you certainly have faith in a particular party line. Thus, your rage and incoherence at it being questioned. But no worries, I won’t be returning to challenge your worldviews. Oh and by the way, I won’t miss you either, asshat. :)

  6. Tiger

    Ugh, another walking squawking cliche of a liberal atheist woman, dropping tiresome f bombs and self-righteously shrieking, oblivious to your vapid interchangeability and mediocrity of character. We need more subtlety in this world. (Let’s see if this gets through a moderation filter, hah. If you does, you get some points).

  7. I think Sam Harris has a lot of good points to make in his books but I wholly disagree with racial or religious profiling, its no different from the ‘stop and search’ policies operated by the police in London on mainly black young men and only leads to division and fear. If we need to have everyone searched at airports, do it for everyone not just those who fit into stereotypes. It would be all to easy, if this became widespread, for terrorists to cease looking in a certain way and we’re back to square one.

  8. EmbraceYourInnerCrone

    I replied on one of the FreeThoughtBlogs posts about this, I don’t remember if it was PZ’s or not but I thought I would reply here just to give you some support, sorry to be late to the party but I just discovered your blog. What exactly in Sam Harris view does “anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim” look like exactly ? (I am assuming he is using it as shorthand for Arabic looking)

    What the hell is he thinking, Muslim is a religious designation, NOT an ethnic one.

    In case Sam Harris is not aware, there are approximately 150,000 Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina, 4 million Muslims in the Philippines, 23 Million Muslims in China, 160 million Muslims in India. So, again what exactly would a Muslim look like? I believe the statistic now is that one in four people world wide is Muslim, that’s a LOT of profiling !

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Muslim_population
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/oct/08/muslim-population-islam-religion

    Apologies if I come off as too confrontational this sort of thing just bugs me no end. I have actually been to a lot of the countries that people do the
    “they are out to get us” posts about as I was active duty navy for 2 decades and everyone I met was a person with their own concerns , ambitions, family situations. Most people were very happy to talk about their country and learn about what a middle class life in America was like (I can’t speak for all Americans just for my point of view). I am glad I got out before the entire Iraq/Afghanistan disaster…..

  9. Pingback: The security hysteria and discrimination at Purple NoiZe

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