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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most important book written in the last fifty years, 4 Feb. 2008
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This review is from: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (Paperback)
The title says what I think. I have just been through the dozens of reviews above and I am absolutely astounded at how some people can "think". If you had not read the book, but only the reviews, you would think that Harris was not able to philosophise or think things through, or take account of the "spiritual" needs of mankind. It is quite distressing how often people will use emotive terms to oppose him - "rant", "narrow", "intolerant", etc, without actually coolly justifying their position, or facing how he REALLY writes about openness to reason and evidence and justification, or how he is just as opposed to the thought processes of any other religion as he is to those of Islam.

The other really depressing thing about this is how people simply do not understand that "atheism" is just not "another faith"! Listen to me. There is a race of intelligent chocolate biscuits living on the planet Neptune. They have been communicating with me and I am going to start my own spiritual movement based on their guidance. You don't believe me, do you. So that means that you "have faith" that "intelligent chocolate biscuits" don't live on Neptune? Your rejection of my current lack of objective scientific proof for this proposition is not "another form of faith", is it? Is it? Please, just think about it for about five seconds! If you're an atheist about Father Christmas and the Great Pumpkin, but you don't see your disbelief as an "alternative faith" (I'm an "asantaclausist", just because there is a word for it now!) - why is disbelief in gods any different? They're just another concept, handed down from primitive desert-dwelling tribes. You're only an "aNeptuneBiscuisist", which is "just another form of faith".

If you don't like Sam Harris's personal style or some other aspects of his thinking, but you still think you have the guts to confront thinking about religion and atheism and agnosticism - along with an awful lot of other things - try looking up Stephen Law on the net, author of "The Philosophy Gym", and THEN confront the arguments without letting them have anything to do with your perceptions of Mr Harris's "shortcomings". Try dismantling the arguments about how there is an evil God and we have to deal with the "problem of Good", and then start being an agnostic about an evil god as well as a good one.

The world needs the intellectual input of Mr Harris and his like. And yes, it is perfectly possible to use intellectual processes and reason to discuss and legislate about - rather than blow up or excommunicate - animal experimentation, and hunting or looking after endangered species, and the supporters and opponents of such experiments, and those ethically deficient types who would support the use of torture in places like Guantanamo Bay, and whether we should reasonably discuss reasons for the use of abortion rather than killing doctors who may have a well-thought through position for working in abortion clinics. And don't jump on that as if I'm saying "all religious people blow up abortion clinics", of course I'm not. But the ones who DO, ARE religious. And they will not discuss evidence for and against reincarnation before arriving at a position on it which is STILL open to further discussion in the light of possible future evidence - unlike people like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins.
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