A truthdig debate

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

Part IV:

Sam Harris and Chris Hedges debate one another at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles. Truthdig editor Robert Scheer moderates.

From Wikipedia:
Truthdig is a Web magazine that provides a mix of long-form articles, interviews, and blog-like commentary on current events, delivered from a progressive point-of-view. The site is built around major "digs" led by authorities in their fields, who write multi-faceted pieces about contemporary, often controversial, topics.

Truthdig was co-founded by Los Angeles entrepreneur Zuade Kaufman, who serves as publisher, and journalist Robert Scheer, the website's editor, who also writes a weekly column for the site. Its most significant articles from the 2005-2006 period are "An Atheist Manifesto" by Sam Harris,[1] and "President Jonah" by Gore Vidal, which compared President George W. Bush to the biblical Jonah.[2] Other significant contributors include Chris Hedges, Larry Gross, Sheerly Avni and an anonymous cartoonist who uses the moniker Mr. Fish.

In 2007, Truthdig was nominated for three Webby Awards in the categories of News, Politics and Political Blog. The site won the judges' award as well as the people's voice awards for Best Political Blog.


Anonymous said...

Just a word of warning to future viewers, this gets to be very much a two on one against Harris. Scheer seems to lack the understanding of what a moderator's duties are. Harris still holds his own, though, not that that's a surprise.

M. Lee

ExFundie said...

What is this new confusing strategy for debate that Christians use? I see it here, and from the Intelligent Design supporters. They seem to no longer argue from a Christian perspective, but from a universal religious standpoint. It is like they are trying to hide the fact that thier beliefs are based on that crazy buybull shit. This method just covers the issue at hand, and gives delusional Jesus-believing christians a reason to not feel stupid for believing that buybull bull shit!

Anonymous said...

But the Christian perspective IS a universal religious perspective.

Anyone can join God's side at any time, no matter how poor their record. Humanity is not so welcoming or forgiving.

Anonymous said...

It was nice to witness a debate between two intelligent people, both of whom I felt had good points to make. I'm not sure what Caleb was meaning - both guys are obviously non-religious. As for Andrew - come off it, god's going to burn me in his forgiving lake of fire for eternity apparently.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, Andrew, I'm sure every exian on this site will completely agree with you; that god will never turn one away. I have a pet brick that does just the same; never turned me away once, and it's better than your god as it's not going to burn me in hell either!

ExFundie said...

Boe said;
I'm not sure what Caleb was meaning - both guys are obviously non-religious.

Well, I guess my selective style of watching videos like this got me. I was always that dude in college that didn't read the entire assignment, but still participated whole-heartedly in debates...lol! I didn't pick up on the fact that Harris' opponent was non-religious. I guess that is why it looked to me that he was covering his real beliefs with a sometimes vague argument of some universal diety. I've seen this in other debates where the Christian, in an effort to appear less delusional, will hide the specifics of the religion by using more universal 'god' arguments. Just like this anony person posting here. The Christian God is not a universal god. From my understanding, he sends all those that don't accept Jesus to hell. I know for a fact not all religious people accept Jesus.

Anonymous said...

According to Andrew:
"Humanity is not so welcoming or forgiving"


And God is??????

Sorry to inform you pal, but I'm not the one who ate the apple in the garden of Eden, and I didn't exist back when Jesus was hung on a cross.

So therefore I will not admit to no such crimes, and I don't need God's forgiveness. He's the one who chose to curse man and the world, so fuck him. He screwed everything up, not me.

God needs to learn how to be more responsible for his own screw ups and he needs to stop framing human beings.

eel_shepherd said...

One of the debaters made the point that Islam was always present in a lot of these countries but that you did not run into the aberrant behaviours thematic to Islam until street-level despair also became a reality for those societies. And that it was the despair that was the great enabler for those behaviours. Thus the excitable young men and the members of their personal and emotional ecosphere turn to excesses most compatible with those modes of expression of that despair that lay lurking in better times, waiting to emerge in harder times, rather than expressing that despair along other, nontheistic, lines. And one can't help but notice that, after atheists, the most vilifiable subset in an oligarchy (read: the Fortune 500 world) are socialists, invariably portrayed as "communists". As soon as someone jettisons the religious excesses in favour of the strictly materialistic approach of some kind of class struggle, the religious will waste no time in linking them to, and demonising them for, their irreligion. It's a selling job. The winners of the economic lottery do it to preserve their station in life, and the losers' efforts will be directed against their own interests for the short-term vicarious identification with the winners. Rising above your class, rather than rising with your class, is passed off as the greatest virtue. No wonder religious fundamentalism is never stuck for funding.

fjell said...

I think these guys tend to talk past each other a lot in the "debate", and, for great portions of the spectacle, attempt to make two wildly different and not necessarily conflicting claims about religion.

Religion might very well be helpful AND harmful at the same time. In fact, it almost certainly is. So, there seems to me to be little point in debating its established negative or positive consequences, but this is exactly what these two men are up to for most of their speeches.

I wonder, though, where Hedges finds the basis for what he refers to as religion - it seems as though he has simply conjured up a definition which best showcases religions virtues: it certainly isn't the definition held by the majority, and so while he chides Harris for taking a rather charicatured view of things, he is a fool if he thinks that Harris' view of religion enjoys anything less than mass subscribtion on this planet.

So why defend the views of a mere handful of religious adherents? They aren't the ones whom Harris is "worried" about.


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