Noam Chomsky calls Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris “Religious Fanatics”

78 Comments on "Noam Chomsky calls Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris “Religious Fanatics”"

  1. i have been refused an opportunity to rebut a previous chomsky dissertation .

  2. Anarchy Pony | Aug 12, 2012 at 7:26 pm |

    I dunno about that, but they were definitely both assholes.

    • Jin The Ninja | Aug 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm |

      i think he’s right about it. i mean instead of an esoteric belief in a mystical being using text- they hold mystical belief in an esoteric government using law as text. they’re fundamental uber nationalists. although instead of direct allegiance to a specific nation-state they hold all western knowledge and power as righteous. it’s everything about institutional religion minus the morality. which i find, personally, more insidious.

  3. Belief in “NO GOD” seems to produce similar behavior in people who believe fervently enough to belief in any mainstream Deity or [insert nominally secular belief system name]ism.

    • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 2:52 am |

      Yeah maybe but Harris and Hitchens are at war with religion so it’s obvious that they are going to be pretty single bloody minded about it. I dont mind so much because they are right.

      • Harris and Hitchens aren’t at war with religion, they’re just
        the latest in a long line of proselytizers in a throughout history. It’s not
        even necessary to listen to them because they’re just repeating the same phrases
        more or less of other proselytizers. “Our belief system is correct,
        everyone else is ignorant” and  for people
        Harris we can expect lines like “since our enemies are so primitive and
        we’re so enlightened, we have a duty to convert them through military
        force”. Hate to break it to you but people who subscribe to the newest
        religion always think they’re the most intelligent and enlightened individuals
        around.  In a few years once some new
        religion pops up and becomes popular, I’m sure we’ll hear the same kind of
        lines from these people as we did from the “new atheists” and every
        other religion.

        • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 3:56 am |

          Several things. Firstly I’m pretty confident you could say Hitchens and Harris are ‘at war with religion’. I might point to various texts which allude to this idea but here’s one at our very own disinfo:

          I also feel that Hitchens, Dawkins and others have important things to say about religion, science and thinking for oneself. And even if these chaps were repeating (which they are not) what others have said, it’s worth repeating.

          I don’t see science as a belief system. The scientific method uses evidence and experimentation to confirm it’s presuppositions. Sure science has it’s theories but they only remain until proven otherwise. Grossly erroneous to heap science and religion into the same basket. 

          I can’t stand it when people who say ‘hate to break it to you’. Please don’t write that you come across as arrogant. If you feel so uncomfortable about correcting me maybe you shouldn’t.

          I have never read anywhere where Hitchens or Harris use the term primitive? Even so science has yield us many wonders (and horrors) but regardless of these judgements one thing is irrefutable – science works, prayer 50/50.

          Can you please reference where Harris says something like: “since our enemies are so primitive and we’re so enlightened, we have a duty to convert them through military force”.

          •  Hitchens, Dawkins et al were/are self-promoting, preach to the choir/cult of personality blowhards with virtually no philosophical nuance whatever to their arguments, who have inspired a generation of trolls who confuse saying: “unicorns”, “santa claus”, and “spaghetti monster” with making an intelligent argument.  And if those guys have something important to say about thinking for yourself, then its funny how whenever I talk to someone who is influenced by New Atheism, I can actually hear the Hitchens, Dawkins, et al youtube video that their taking their half-assed arguments and “jokes” from, VERBATIM.

            “Science” and “religion” shouldn’t be heaped into the same basket, but atheism, and particularly evangelical atheism, have little or nothing to do with the scientific method.

          • Atheists shouldn’t really have to make any intelligent arguments with people who invent things that aren’t there. Religious people drag atheists into an unending argument which can’t be won because one side has the liberty to invent any response that fits their view.

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

            actually if a person claims faith in a specific religion- they really can only use textual and historical examples to make an argument. but you see, atheists and religious persons alike- don’t get to co opt reality for themselves. just because you believe there is a void, i may not. that is true liberty of consciousness.

          • From my book: Merriam-Webster : Reality: “something that actually exists”

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm |

            but what determines what ‘exists’ ? experience? knowledge? quantified analysis? consciousness? existence has been the subject of literally thousands of years of philosophical discussion, and you think you can reduce it to an online dictionary entry? i think when people criticise new atheists as being reductive, anti-intellectual, and limited- this is what they meant.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm |

            Well I don’t know your brand of atheism. Mine involves well reasoned arguments and the application of science. Evangelical Atheism sure is a cute oxymoron though!

          • Antediluviancurrent | Aug 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |

            We could call it proselytic instead of evangelical, it doesn’t take away the fact that New Atheists have adopted the attitudes of hardcore evangelicals.  It’s not enough for them that they don’t believe in God, they want to make sure you don’t believe in God either.  This is another case of mimesis, typical for movements that lack a well thought-out ideology.  So it’s not surprising a lot of New Atheists are routing for the state and its fight against people around the world with an “underdeveloped rational.”

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm |

            I think we need a new word even ‘proselytic’ seems to have religious overtones – still nice word! I think many atheists see an irrational belief in the supernatural or god as the cornerstone to many of the world’s evils. If it were just a matter of religious people going to church and mumbling a few words before dinner it wouldn’t be a big deal. But as we know religious people sometimes use their belief as a justification for a whole bunch of heinous acts. It is this use of religion as a weapon that has some atheists up-in-arms. Religion and beliefs have always been seen as irreproachable for various reasons and I think many atheists question this notion. Not believing in god is seen by atheists as a sane and rational position. It’s not a matter of us wanting you to join us because there is nothing to join – there is no atheist doctrine. It’s just seen as a more functional and realistic way to view the world. It’s true … there is no god. Most people – even religious ones know this. But of course there are other reasons for ‘remaining in the fold’. The last thing atheism wants or needs is a “well thought out ideaology”. That is the antithesis of what the atheist movement is about.

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm |

            “The last thing atheism wants or needs is a “well thought out ideaology”.
            That is the antithesis of what the atheist movement is about.”

            there is no movement with ideology, so it’s seems hypocritical to me to claim a movement sans ideological standards.

            and nationalism, protectionism and other political constructs are used as justification in the modern era for military intervention/neo-imperialism about 90% of the time. so perhaps a feature of ‘atheist’ ideology should be the rejection of state. after all, nationalism requires an uncritical, mystical reverance for the institutions of governance. if you replace god/goddess/divine with nation-state, it seems to me, you are placing material power, wealth over the divine. at least codified religion has ethics. nation-states are all about self-preservation. a bit ethically problematic to say the least.

            and atheists do not get to claim sovereignty over sanity or logic. that also is deeply problematic for a number of reasons.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm |

            I never said sanity and logic was the exclusive domain of atheists. I like your idea about atheism having rejection of the state as a goal. I’d never thought about it in those terms and I tend to agree with you. No point replacing the divine with a secular god. But we are going a bit beyond the confines of Atheism now …

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm |

            i can see we agree on quite a few things, but i still maintain that buddhism is metaphysical, and has an undeniable religious AND supernatural component.

          • The problem with that statement is atheists like Harris and
            Hitchens have used it to support wars. In the passage I sent in another one of
            my replies, Harris makes the statement that if an Islamic country obtains
            nuclear missiles that can strike the U.S. than we have the right to hit them
            first. I don’t think he would be saying the same thing if the country who had
            obtained the nuclear weapons was a western country.

            Harris portrays Muslims, for example as irrational and
            incapable of being reasoned with, which leaves only one option open. That’s why
            he finds it acceptable to kill tens of millions of people with nuclear weapons
            because “they can’t be reasoned with”. I know a lot of his supporters
            believe Harris is very articulate and intelligent but he bases all problems on
            religion. He completely ignores actions the U.S. and other western countries
            have taken and instead suggests that Muslims are upset with the U.S. because
            they’re “irrational belief system” not the fact we’ve been
            interfering in their countries for the last 60 years.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 6:47 pm |

            I’d like to see what Harris wrote as opposed to your paraphrasing … no offense but he’s just about the most misquoted guy on the planet. But from what I do know, and I think this might be where people like Harris draw their concern, Islamic fundamentalists seems to be determined to convert the world to Islam – at least the Quran does make this demand. And as such a nuclear capable Islamic country in theory should be working towards this goal. Be this a realistic assumption or not it does seem to be one of the issues that motivates some to treat Islamic countries as people who “can’t be reasoned with”. It’s not uncommon for people to use their idealologies as justification for war. The problem of course is when one group of people with a certain view wants to wipe you out because you don’t subscribe to that view – we have a problem here and the aggressor is never justifiable. Still it happens …
            I very much agree with your end statement. I don’t know about Harris’s thoughts on this – I simply haven’t read enough of his stuff and have no intention of defending the guy on matters I haven’t had any exposure to.

          • I think this article by Sam Harris covers most of the issues
            I addressed:



            I have several issues with him regarding the things he wrote
            in the above article I linked to. First, he completely ignores other factors
            other than religion and in the case of Iraq, disregards the idea that we’re
            making situation worse  by saying:

            ” The war in Iraq, while it may be exacerbating the
            conflict between Islam and the West, is a red herring. However mixed or
            misguided American intentions were in launching this war, civilized human
            beings are now attempting, at considerable cost to themselves, to improve life
            for the Iraqi people.”

            I find that incredibly naive considering almost every
            interventionist claims to be starting wars for one noble goal or another.
            Saddam Hussein claimed to be liberating Kuwait, the Soviets claimed to be
            intervening in Afghanistan to “help the hapless Afghan people to defend
            their freedom, their future” (Kransnaya Zvedzda, January 5, 1988), Nazi
            Germany claimed to be only trying to “liberate” the German minority
            still in the “Polish Corridor” and Danzig, and there’s plenty of
            other examples.

            I would argue he attempts to portray Muslims as primitives
            and that there’s a need for the West to fix them, for example he states:

            ” The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam
            contains specific notions of martyrdom and jihad that fully explain the
            character of Muslim violence. Unless the world’s Muslims can find some way of
            expunging the metaphysics that is fast turning their religion into a cult of
            death, we will ultimately face the same perversely destructive behavior
            throughout much of the world.”

            ” This is one of the many delusions borne of political
            correctness. Rather than continue to squander precious time, energy, and good
            will by denying the role that Islam now plays in perpetuating Muslim violence,
            we should urge Muslim communities in the West to reform the ideology of their
            religion. This will not be easy, as the Koran and hadith offer precious
            little basis for a Muslim Enlightenment, but it is necessary.”

            I think the following passage is interesting as well because
            he again tries to portray Muslims as primitives, ungrateful of our noble
            intervention in their country:

            ” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is not George Washington with a
            hood. Sawing the heads off of civilian contractors, humanitarian workers, and
            journalists is not “resistance” to oppression. It is the work of men who left
            their hearts in the 7th century. Civilization really does have its enemies, and
            we have met — and, perhaps, made – many of them in Iraq.”

            Harris is very selective in his criticism and only really
            focuses on portraying Muslims as primitive or savage. When it comes to an
            atrocity carried out by his own country he completely ignores it or writes it
            off as just a few bad apples. He frequently criticizes how Afghan women are
            mistreated yet never once have I heard him complain about how one third t is swept under the rug.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm |

             Yes Harris is very selective with his truths however he does not lie either. The whole picture lies somewhere in between. I also see religion – all religion as ‘primitive’ – for want of a better word.

          • Well, give me a well-reasoned argument as to why the assertion There is definitely no deity (of any kind) is any more scientific than the assertion There is definitely a deity.  Essentially, explain to me the flaw in the assertion of TH “Darwin’s Bulldog” Huxley that agnosticism is the proper scientific attitude towards things which do not know with any degree of certainty, and cannot begin to establish by virtue of scientific proof.  (And please refrain, if you can, from appealing to unicorns, santa claus, and so on, in your argument.)

            It is far from a cute oxymoron!  The silent majority of atheists are doubtless hip and intelligent people, but a certain percentage of vocal atheists are steam-rolling their way to being every bit as blinkered, narrow-minded, and flat out OBNOXIOUS as their nemesis on the religious side of the spectrum.  The fact that I’m more likely to be killed by a religious extremist isn’t exactly a massive feather in the New Atheist cap – I’m more likely to be killed by falling household furniture anyway, so a pox on both your houses!  You guys deserve each other, carrying on your My unproven ( and possibly unprovable) assertion is better than yours! pissing contest into eternity!

          • Exactly, well said.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm |

            This is hardly the place for a debate on the existence or non-existence of god. I agree with you on all other accounts … I’m part of the doubtlessly hip.

          • Nice done!  Although the question I asked didn’t relate at all to the existence or non-existence of god, but to whether such claims were scientific  or not.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm |

            Well from my perspective there is a distinct lack of evidence in the god camp. I tend not to believe if I don’t have the requisite proof. One can’t prove non-existence as we would be looking for non-evidence. So far I found no justification scientific or otherwise to make the assumption that there is a supernatural being.

          • “I tend not to believe if I don’t have the requisite proof.”

            The “requisite” here is open to subjective interpretation – some people regard dark energy and matter as having been sufficiently proven, others differ.  The point is that we vary greatly in terms of what standards of proof we require in order to believe or simply  to entertain the possibility of something existing – and our standards tend not to be consistent, but rather to depend on our emotional reactions to the idea in question.  For example, a great many scientists, including Richard Dawkins, take the possibility of a multiverse existing very seriously – despite the fact that there is no more evidence for the existence of a multiverse than there is for Yahweh.  So, we are indulgent regarding ideas that we are comfortable with, and become extraordinarily stringent regarding things we dislike.

            A lack of requisite evidence is not by itself a sufficient logical reason to deny the possibility of something existing.  From the first time the idea of atoms was mooted, it took many centuries for any evidence of their existence to be forthcoming.  Hence, it would have been wiser to have been agnostic regarding the existence of atoms, despite the complete lack of evidence for their existence.

            The idea that you can’t prove a negative is something of a truism – as has been pointed out elsewhere, it is something of a self-negating statement (how could you know or prove that you can’t prove a negative, if you can’t prove a negative?)  The existence of the luciferous ether, for example, was pretty much disproven, and perhaps we could someday similarly to all intents and purposes disprove the existence of any god – but this would require a knowledge of the fundamental nature of the universe far in advance of anything we have today.  Anyway, proving the non-existence of god should only really concern you if you wanted to place your atheism on an unimpeachable empirical and scientific ground – it would be less taxing simply to accept an honest agnostic stance on the issue!

            The word “supernatural” is an emotive and more or less meaningless term.  Anything that lies outside an epoch’s current understanding and knowledge of the laws of nature might be labelled “supernatural” – and since any given epoch’s understanding and knowledge of the laws governing nature will always be partial and incomplete, then there must always be the possibility of things that supersede the laws of nature as then understood.  The word “supernatural” is an intoxicant for fantasists, and a reckless and presumptuous boundary-line for skeptics – and more or less useless in argumentative terms.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 15, 2012 at 1:40 am |

            Thanks for your comment Tristan. I do think we are straying from the topic somewhat but your point about evidence being open to interpretation is obviously true. Some people think god exists because they feel it in their hearts and this for them is good enough. Always makes me hum the line from that Radiohead song “just cause you feel it doesn’t mean it’s there.” Anyways I accept that there are different types of proof for different folk but my position is one where I am looking for evidence of a fairly robust nature. Not quasi feelings of god or second hand tales in an old book. I’m looking for proof – the old fashioned kind that is easy to verify without too much discrepancy. Like if you and I were standing in the park and I said ‘see that brick wall over there, it’s real.’ And you went over to the brick wall and touched it, felt it’s cold hardness and you agreed with me that in pragmatic terms yes, one could state that this indeed was a real brick wall. That’s the kind of proof I need before I am going to believe in god. After all it’s a big deal. The creator of my universe, the maker of me and everything. I want to be very sure and as such I need the evidence to be very clear. So far no dice.
            Yes it is also true that I do dilute my atheism with a goodly dash of agnosticism. I mean yes I could be wrong -the evidence might just be hidden much like your atoms analogy. However with molecular theory it was hypothesised that atoms existed, then it was just a case of finding the proof. I don’t know of any scientific theories that propose the necessity of a god? But I tend to err on the atheist side of things because from a philosophical, moral and scientific view point it seems more likely for there to be no god. It’s also counterintuitive, and whilst that might not count for much it tips the scales for me in the direction of no god.

          • You can recognize these bots from miles away.

          • You can recognize these bots from miles away.

          • My issue with Harris is that he uses the fact that he is an
            atheist to try to justify how noble the U.S. and other western countries are
            compared to predominately Muslim countries. I don’t think he ever specifically
            says they’re primitive and we’re enlightened but that’s the message that comes
            across. Here are some of the statements he’s made that make me come to that

            Sam Harris talks about how we have a moral obligation to
            stay in Afghanistan to take care of the women (despite the fact, mistreatment
            of women is part of Afghan culture not just something that came about due to
            the Taliban).


            Harris goes on to explain that he thinks part of the reason
            we’re in Afghanistan is to rectify the wrongs of that society.


            When talking about the Koran burning, Harris states:

            ” And so, it’s just, we’re not dealing with a culture
            that can have a sane discussion about the proper goals of human life and how
            to.. You know how to safeguard human happiness and, and uh..”


            Harris tries to suggest that we can see our occupation in
            Afghanistan is noble because soldiers who have done multiple tours “feel
            reasonably good about what they’ve done”.


            When referring to the Palestinians and how “we’re
            innocent” he states:

            “It is they’re living.. they got this 7th century or
            14th century goggles they’ve looking at the world through and you know, if we,
            if we pipe Baywatch over a satellite dish that’s an offense that they’re
            willing to die for.”


            Here’s a passage from The End of Faith:

            What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of
            paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry? If
            history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads
            are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on
            targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our
            own. Needless to say, this would be
            an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent
            civilians in a single day—but it may be
            the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe. How would such an unconscionable act of self-defense be
            perceived by the rest of the Muslim world?”


            Here’s a video of him talking to Chris Hedges, I can’t point
            to a specific part but throughout the whole debate, he insinuates that Muslims
            are backwards.


            There’s a good description of Sam Harris here as well:


          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

            great comment. thank you.

            there has a been a long history of muslim women’s ‘liberation’ being used as rhetoric by western colonial/imperial powers as justification for war and conquest (on the basis of cultural and religious superiority). Lord Cromer, the british Controller-General of Egypt, claimed that by conquering Egypt (for britain)- he had liberated muslim women from the oppression of muslim men- all the while founding the Anti-Sufferage League of the UK, and claiming all women should be property of their husbands. the patriarchy of state, the racism of empire, has been thoroughly adopted by the New Atheists. for them, the rule of the western nation state has simply replaced the rule of god.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm |

            Thanks Zulu! Great stuff. I’ve found this debate very insightful. I can’t say that I went into it knowing a great deal about Harris and others and I must say I have come around to some of the core ideas you and tristan present. The main thing that I have gleaned is the influence that ‘other factors’ – namely US and other Western countries policies have played in determining outcomes. I should have expected nothing less from Chomsky. I still think atheism is a sound idea and probably the most realistic given a choice. But this is not what this article is about. Given Harris’ ‘end-game’ scenario it is difficult to see how it would go any other way. I do however think his scenario quite unlikely. Is religion incompatible with the modern world? I tend to think it is. I think it’s an idea that has long overstayed it’s welcome. Am I going to go war over this? No of course not. Will Islam attack the West? – maybe but it wont be for religion alone. Thank you for your comments – I feel more informed and well rounded as a result.

          • Same here, it was great talking to you.


            Science and atheism aren’t intertwined anymore than religion
            and science is. Atheism isn’t based off the scientific method, it’s based off
            of beliefs just like every other religion. If science was based off the atheist way of thinking, scientists would jump to hasty conclusions like gravity must exist because it’s “logical” without actually looking into it. Without any definitive proof to support either side, agnosticism is closer to the scientific method than atheism.

            The problem with them repeating themselves is they’re saying more or less the same thing as religious people. I don’t need to hear from new atheists anymore from I do Christians that they’re beliefs are correct and anything to the contrary is wrong. It doesn’t matter if they support their beliefs through a religious book or their own “logic”. 

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm |

            Agnosticism isn’t compatible with science as it assumes the origins of existence are unknowable. Science claims to be able to understand everything eventually through the application of the scientific method. I don’t know about other people but my atheism comes about because of the lack of proof of the supernatural. I guess however like science I’m always eager to be proven wrong and as such you could say I am 10% agnostic. No you don’t need to listen either party. I certainly have no interest in ‘converting’ agnostics. This is a ring with two fighters.  

          • I’ll have to disagree with you on this. Although some Agnostics may claim something will forever remain unknowable, there are certainly other Agnostics who believe that at the current time, with out current technology certain things are unknowable but may change in the future.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 8:55 pm |

            Yeah I agree with that. As it stands Agnosticism is the idea that origins are unknowable. This is not what science would like to believe. I’m atheist because I have no proof of god. I have never had a divine experience and I have never seen anything approaching evidence to suggest that there is a god. Of course there still could be a god and his/her/its presence is just hidden. But this idea is of no use to me as he/her/it is unknown and hence ineffectual.

          • mannyfurious | Aug 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

            Someone from the Church of Science recently posted on my facebook page an NPR story about how the success of the latest Mars rover signals that humanity can and will solve all of its major issues. You know, all the same shit that was said after science created the automobile and the steam engine and harnessed electricity and created telephones and televisions and radios and computer and the internet and smart phones and tablets. The same shit people said after science put a man on the moon and sent various hunks of metal to distant planets to take pictures.  

            The same shit, basically, people have been saying for a long time. It’s not the scientific method itself that is the religion, it’s the belief that science will bring about the ultimate utopia. The belief that science can actually fix anything meaningful and usher in a new age of enlightenment or some shit. 

            It’s that distinction that people like you have a problem understanding. The distinction between the scientific method and the dogma of those who believe science can actually fix the fact that the Universe is often a cruel and hurtful place.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 7:13 pm |

            I understand completely. Atheism isn’t about to make the world a better place anymore than science is. I think we just feel that we might have a better start if we did away with religion. Once again we are touching upon issues far bigger than just atheism.

        • just because Hitchens and Harris are self-congratulatory blowhards, doesn’t mean atheism is a religion.

      • smooth_operator | Aug 14, 2012 at 2:33 am |

        It must take a person with a pretty strong myopic worldview to claim Harris’s and Hitchens’s are right about God and then go on to extol the scientific method which “uses evidence and experimentation to confirm it’s presuppositions.” Harris’s, Hitchens’s and your own presupposition is God doesn’t exist, correct? And I’m sure at least one of you has proven this presupposition with evidence and experimentation, correct?

        • DrDavidKelly | Aug 14, 2012 at 2:54 am |

          One cannot prove god does not exist.

        • Do you have any understanding of how the scientific method works? “God” is a theory that does not follow the requirements of the scientific method – there’s no testing of the hypothesis. Therefore: Harris, Hitchens, and plenty of others do not take stock in the theory. They don’t need to provide evidence and experimentation that a proposed theory (that didn’t even attempt to do those itself) is untrue. The onus is on the the theory provider.
          What if I told you “Odin is real, he is the all-father of us all, and all the ravens in the world are his eyes and ears. Don’t believe me? Prove me wrong with evidence and experimentation! I don’t need to provide evidence and experimentation if you don’t! Also, your lack of belief in my theory is just as much a “belief” as my belief in it!”
          I don’t think that I would convince you of my theory, and I don’t think you would appreciate it if I called you “myopic” for not being more open to it.

    • Swineherder | Aug 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

      Except that Atheism allows for a rational discourse on events outside of faith-based arguments and ends, whereas belief in god or adhering to a religious organization demands the followers to take on the roles of the organizations that they are involved in/belong to/believe in.  

      • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

        there is so much more nuance to philosophy than a simple theist/atheist binary. which is sort of a point in what noam is saying.

  4. Antediluviancurrent | Aug 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm |

    Inb4 New Atheist butthurt.

  5. DeepCough | Aug 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm |

    In all fairness, I would call them “irreligious fanatics.”

  6. the problem as eye see it is not religion
    but belief
    i have found it helpful to forgo beliefs
    and trust my experience to form a judgement about nouns
    i don’t believe in nouns, i experience them or i don’t

  7. MadHierophant | Aug 12, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

    I’m glad somebody pointed this out. Extremists of all kinds fucking suck. 

  8. He’s exactly right. “Religion” and “theism” are not synonymous (as just one example, Theravada Buddhism is agnostic/atheistic), so atheism and religion are not mutually exclusive. An atheist who uses his or her worldview to justify oppression and death is as much a religious fanatic as an Islamic terrorist.

    • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 3:58 am |

      Buddhism is not considered a religion in the truest sense for that very reason. But your second sentence rings true.

      • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 11:14 am |

        buddhism is very much a religion. it is institutional, codified, textual, regulated and has an active discourse. it’s practice can be loose, but the only thing non-religious about it- is a western atheist reading of it. which by the way is doctrinaire and not universal. have you ever been to asia? ask any cultural buddhist- the institution of buddhism is tied to many socio-cultural practices. monks are members of a religious order. not mountain hermits.

        • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

          I completely agree. It certainly has an institutional dimension to it. I was just pointing out that it does not have a ‘god’ concept and as such is defined by some as not a religion.

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

            by whom? almost every single cultural buddhist/ asian buddhist believes in divine entities. it isn’t ‘god’ but they are metaphysical and exist apart from material reality. only pop culture scholarship in the west has declared buddhist ‘atheistic.’

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm |

            sorry, i posted my reply to this on your other comment.

          • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm |

            Yeah sure whatever … we’re splitting hairs I think. Buddhism doesn’t have a creation myth as far as I know? I would insist that you cannot be an atheist and a Buddhist simultaneously.

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm |

            buddhism is different in every buddhist culture, not to mention sectarian differences within buddhism and within each buddhist country. cultural buddhism borrowed and syncretised. there is no creation myth, but there are saints and spirits.

          • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm |

            buddhism is different in every buddhist culture, not to mention sectarian differences within buddhism and within each buddhist country. cultural buddhism borrowed and syncretised. there is no creation myth, but there are saints and spirits.

  9. Look at all the self-congratulatory blowhards in here patting themselves on the back because they think Noam Chomsky agrees with them. Chomsky is STILL an atheist. Just because Hitchens and Harris were more aggresive in their views than this over-philosophizing limp wrist doesn’t mean they were/are religious fanatics.

    Religious fanatics are fanatical about their religion. Harris and Hitches were/are neither religious nor fanatical. Fervent? Sure. Maybe even a little too much so sometimes. But I’ve never heard either of them preaching violence and hate or fear mongering or blowing up buildings like religious fanatics are sometimes apt to do.

    Harris and Hitchens were trying to make the world a better place by inspiring people action against the encroachment of radical, religious fundamentalists and theocracy. What does Chomsky do? He philosophizes and grammar-nazis. Well whoopty-fucking-doo. He also shoots off at the mouth about things he doesn’t understand. Based on an article of his I read recently, he REALLY does not understand what new atheism is about. 

    Hint, Chom, “playing it down the middle” for the sake of appearing moderate is fucking, goddamned NOT RIGHT. Sometimes there is a clear right and a clear wrong. People who think we should be teaching creationism and ID in science classrooms are WRONG. People who think we should be living in a theocracy are WRONG. People who think we should be allowed to abused children because the bible says it’s ok are FUCKING GODDAMNED WRONG. People who use the bible to support their bigotry against gays, blacks, women, and other minorities are WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.

    That is what new atheism fights against. Is it perfect? No. Of course not. Does the movement have outspoken, unabashed assholes? Of course. That’s human nature. NO group is perfect. I defy anyone to find me a perfect group consisting of nothing but perfect human beings. Won’t happen. But for what it’s worth, new atheism is trying to make the world a better place by combating the forces of religious tyranny. I’d say that’s a pretty damn-good thing and unless you want your Jew-atheist ass ending up in an internment camp, you want to agree with us out of necessity because that’s exactly the kind of shit the opposition strives for. It starts with being lenient and tolerant of their ignorance and bigotry. Then it’s all down hill from there.

    •  wow man. i think its time for you to get re re programmed or something, your a bloody mess

    • Harris has advocated torture, racial profiling, and even a nuclear first strike if an Islamist regime ever acquires long range nuclear weapons. In addition, Harris believes the U.S. has a moral responsbility to stay in Afghanistan and Hitchens supported the Iraq war. 

      • And I disagree with them on every single one of those issues. From whence comes this stupid idea that if you agree with someone’s root cause you have to agree with them on EVERYTHING? 

    •  The difference between Chomsky and Harris and Hitchens is that Chomsky has spent most of his life fighting the good fight on issues of basic social justice and wealth equality.  Harris and Hitchens, on the other hand, have doubtless sold vastly more books spinning the absolute fairy tale that the major way we could improve this world would be to all get on the same page regarding the quite possibly intractable puzzles of God and the fundamental nature of the universe, rather than actually addressing problems of social justice and wealth equality first.  Al Qaeda never posed any serious threat to the sovereignty of the West – that bullshit was shamelessly trumped up by Neo-Con Military Industrial fat-cats – the very type of people that Harris and Hitchens were only to happy to toady up to.  The illegal US war in Iraq and use of torture have probably produced more religious extremists than the Quran ever could have by itself.  Most of the problems that you describe – religious bigotry, scientific ignorance – thrive primarily because of wealth inequality, because of under-privileged people who have no proper access to education and reserves of anger that are very easy to channel into religious hatred – and in most instances, the actual root causes of these conflicts come to this-worldly greed and inequality, not metaphysical positions regarding the nature of the universe.  This world is in the toilet until issues of basic social justice and wealth equality are tackled, and until that happens, questions of theism versus atheism are just so much snake oil to divide and conquer and get the rubes riled up.

      • Jin The Ninja | Aug 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm |

        co-sign. excellent.

      • I absolutely do not agree with Harris’ or Hitchens stance on the wars in Iraq ad Afghanistan. I think they are both very wrong. And I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. However, I also believe that Chomsky’s understanding of new atheism is totally wrong.

        • DrDavidKelly | Aug 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm |

          It’s very difficult to speak on behalf of all atheists isn’t it Bobbie? Sticking to the topic though you would have to concede that Chomsky is right about Harris and Hitchens insistence on religion as causal factors for all the Islamic world’s ills towards the west as false. How would you define the ‘New Atheists’? The problem or pro is the lack of a grab line.

  10. It’s kind of amazing how many supposedly “intelligent”
    people adore individuals like Hitchens and Harris. They offer incredibly childlike
    explanations for current crises in the world, on parallel with the Christian
    fundamentalists. Rather than looking into the background of different
    situations, like Afghanistan for example, they chalk everything up as an
    example of how religion is bad. It’s just another example of incredibly lazy
    scholarship and narrow mindedness.

    Why do the Iranians hate us? Religion. Why do the Iraqis and
    Afghans use suicide bombers? Religion. Why did the 9/11 attacks happen? Religion.
    The list goes on with a total disregard for any other factors that may have
    contributed to aforementioned events. Whenever someone brings up something
    contrary to these explanation, people like Harris write it off as the exception
    not the rule.

    For example, from the new atheists we can learn that the
    Iranians don’t hate the us because we overthrew their government in 1953,
    supported their arch nemesis during the Iraq-Iran war, shot down Iran Air
    Flight 655 killing 290 people, have been waging constant economic warfare
    against them, and have supported numerous terrorist attacks within their
    country, no they hate us because they’re just a bunch of crazy irrational
    Muslims. In other words, we’re the “good guys” who are always trying
    to do the right thing, while the Iranians and other “evil” countries
    are the “bad guys” who hate us because of their “crazy
    irrational” beliefs.

    The new atheist beliefs are on about the same intellectual
    level as those who think “the terrorists hate us for our freedom”.

  11. FlyingHigh77 | Sep 26, 2012 at 6:49 am |

    What an idiot! A giant intellectual baby. These statements are false and he knows it. Just like he knows that no one in the atheists are telling the mothers of dying children that they will not see them in heaven. Chomsky is poison.

  12. anonymous | Oct 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm |

    chomsky’s hypocrisy is sickening. He (falsely) accuses harris and hitchens of following a state religion and supporting state crimes, while he himself has supported the state religions of socialism, communism, and islamism, and has notoriously apologized for the state crimes of kim Il sung’s north korea, castro’s cuba , north vietnam, maoist china, Pol Pot’s cambodia, Slobodan milosevic’s serbia, The hutu government in rwanda, Chavez’s Venezuela, the Islamic republic of Iran, The palestinian authority, Hamas and hezbollah, Stalinist Russia, Saddam Hussein, Imperial Japan, The Taliban and Al qaeda (which he falsely claims were created by the cia). It is not a total fabrication that chomsky justified 9/11. He, as hitchens pointed out, claimed that the terrorists attacked america in retaliation for imperialism overseas, he even claimed the terrorists were victims. In effect he portayed them as freedom fighters. By the way harris has never supported an agressive foreign policy like hitchens has in iraq and afghanistan that question asker was lying. If you want to see chomsky’s apologetics for tyranny and terror, read Amir Taheri’s, Oliver Kamm’s, Bruce Sharpe’s, David Horowitz’s, Nick Cohen’s, Keith Windschuttle’s, Werner Cohn’s, Jim A. Donald’s, Harry’s Place’s, Nate Thayer’s, Jamie Glazov’s, Benjamin Kirstein’s, Marko Atilla Hoare’s, George Monbiot’s, Adam Jones, Russel Wvong’s, Christopher Hitchen’s, Paul Bogandor’s, Ron Radosh’s, and Alan Dershowitz’s writings about him. Chomsky is a religious fanatic himself, He follows the religion of antiamericanism. he like Bin Laden, believes America is the great Satan, The root of all evil in the world, incapable of doing anything good. In chomsky’s mind any action taken by the state is a crime. Dan Dennett, Steven Pinker, Robert D. Levine, Paul M. Postal, and John Williamson, have exposed Chomsky’s fraudulent linguistics. Peter Schweizer has exposed that chomsky doesn’t practice what he preaches when it comes to his critiques of the us military, capitalism, sexism, and the us government, and his supposed concern for the poor. The ludwig von mises institue,, capitalist digest, and the hoover institute, have exposed his attacks on capitalism and corporations. As Horowitz pointed out chomsky is the world’s most shameless liar and a pathological ayatollahof antiamerican hate. The fact that anyone, including the commenters on this site takes anything he says seriously, is beyond disgrateful and disgusting, it’s a sin.

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