In defense of Sam Harris

Why Evolution Is True

Over at Quillette, Jeff Tayler, late of Salon, has written an eloquent and well documented essay: “Free speech and Islam—in defense of Sam Harris.

I’ve often written about the unconscionable and undeserved criticism, and even hatred, that Sam Harris gets—and not just from religious people! It’s often the nonbelievers and secularists who heap the most opprobrium on him: for supposedly being “Islamophobic,” for supposedly advocating “racial profiling” and torture, for supposedly advocating nuclear first strikes on Muslim nations, and even for daring to suggest that moral judgments may be “objective.”

I say “supposedly” in the last sentence because if there’s anything that characterizes the nastiest criticisms of Sam Harris, it’s that more often than not they’re based on either misunderstanding or deliberate misrepresentation of his claims. Most of us know this, but few people who engage in Harris-bashing bother to go back and read what he actually said. It’s just…

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