Thursday, July 31, 2014

Human Conflict is NEVER About Religion, Sam Harris!

If this depicted French 'settlements' in Spain,
can you imagine Spain NOT bombing France?
A post directed at Sam Harris, motivated by his post about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict of 2014, which was an 'offensive' (pun intended) begun by Benjamin Netanyahu, a career 'hawk' who's most vocal supporters, not surprisingly, are the extreme right wing in Israel who claim to be fervently religious, but whose principal aim appears to be to 'squat' on ever bigger properties (with swimming pools!) on land that it has been repeatedly agreed upon by everyone with a stake in the matter is not theirs to 'settle on'.

Sent July 31, 2014 to Sam via his 'contact' page:

Sam, in following you and the few who can operate at your level of ability to understand ("Hitch", Noah, Richard, et al) I often see the same expression of anger and frustration on your faces when confronted by religious fervor (read: the inability to see beyond indoctrination).  What is that?  I believe that it's your individual (and collective) comfort with having brains that can see the 'threads' of rational thought that wind through idiotic dogma, revealing that it is all based upon patently ridiculous assumptions (indoctrination).  All of you are naturally dismissive of the fallacy that underpins every religion and so you get exasperated in trying to explain, to not-so-clever folks, your insights into the fallacies they hold so close to their chests.  (e.g. 55% of Americans believe in 'guardian angels'; '07 Harris Poll -- coincidentally, on the IQ bell curve, most people just are of average to low cleverness.)

My point (which I know will dismiss as obvious, but bear with me), is that we all see other humans and their behaviour through our own filters, 'lenses' that are determined by our nature/genetics/brain chemicals and nurture/early indoctrination/experiences.  These lenses allow us, due to the limitations of any human brain, to only focus on just so many things/topics at any given time, 'filtering out' conflicting or problematic things that get in the way of what each of our individual brains most enjoy contemplating (another subject for a different debate -- our individual 'addictions' to what pleases our unique brains most.)

Very smart people ALL have that same expression when confronted by idiotic conviction about fallacies, be they old wives' tales, superstitions, conspiracy theories (the 'new religion' of youth), or religious stories.  It's a look of incredulity and exasperation.  But I have that look whenever I read about just one single conviction of yours: that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is religiously motivated.  Sam, your roots are showing.  ;-)

I grew up in a largely Jewish neighbourhood in Toronto and had mostly Jewish kids as friends.  I listened to the fervor with which people with ZERO actual ties to a newly formed country supported this far-off nation.  Some of the boys wanted to go over and die to defend it!  (A point for another day -- many teenage boys regardless of family indoctrination would volunteer to die to defend the wizards, or the muggles, if given the chance.)  Religion, especially early indoctrination combined


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