1. OH MY LORD this was really fun to watch… Cenk, you could not possibly have been a more hospitable host or unequivocal voice of reason. I actually bought and read two of Sam’s books before starting to question his perception of Muslims and, well, the world. His phobia of people tarnishing his oh so precious reputation is both totally hilarious and super annoying. I would never have believed his gross arrogance or infelicitous incapacity to practice even basic conversational tact before watching this interview! Which comes full circle back to his dire need to “clean up YOUR mess” ???? TYT, I love you.

  2. Wow, how many time does Cenk Uygur want to commit the “Tu Quoque” fallacy?

    “Yes Islam can be violent, but what about Christianity…?”

    What is it the Mr Uygur fears so much will happen if he admits that Islamic thought can so easily be co-opted for violent jihad against non-believers? He seems to have a desperate mental block/cognitive bias on this issue. 

  3. Cenk, something to think about. While the Arab world and followers of Islam did much to preserve and advance knowledge from antiquity, you must not give them a pass on related criticism. Hamid al-Ghazali as Caliph made every effort to destroy all that knowledge. Revelation replaced investigation, and all that effort to collect copies of all known books was virtually made for not with book bonfires. The first emperor of China (Qin Shi Huang) would have approved.

    “Mathematics is the work of the devil. ” — Hamid al-Ghazali

  4. I have not made it through this entire video yet, but since this interview dovetailed off of a previous TYT episode involving Bill Maher and Ben Affleck, I think it’s relevant to point out a claim by Mr. Uygur in that video.

    He berates Mr. Harris for Harris’s claim that the two circles of extreme Muslims (jihadists and more moderate Muslims who nonetheless, favor Islamic extremes) represent “arguably 20% of the Muslim world.” Mr. Uygur states, “that 20% number–totally made up.” In reality, that number is actually closer to 36%.

    36% of Muslims in the countries cited in that Pew Research poll support the death penalty for individuals who renounce the Islamic faith. That figure is based upon the same Pew Research statistics reported in the 2013 report cited by Mr. Uygur. The math is pretty simple: a certain portion of each country’s population is Muslim; a smaller portion of that number are in favor of sharia law; a portion of that population is in favor of death for those who renounce Islam.

    854,938,289 – Muslims in the countries at issue
    310,129,255 – Muslims who are in favor of death to those who renounce Islam

    Pew did the research, anyone can do the math.

  5. This was really tough to get through with Cenk saying “SAM” non stop like he is talking down to some inferior. And a tip: raising your voice and laughing doesn’t make you look competent on the matter, it just makes you look like you are trying to over-talk Dr Harris. The conversation played out very circular because Dr Harris had to keep coming back to explain the same thing over and over. He doesn’t WANT a first strike. He is just claiming a scenario where it could make sense. I guess we can all return to his work on Free Will to better understand our inability to be persuaded or even listen to rational discourse.

  6. I love how Cenk brings up the Ottoman empire but stops before he mentions “The Young Turks” the group he named his show after, was the group that committed the Armenian Genocide where the Young Turk Muslims killed off the Armenian Christians. Why does he fail to bring up this point when saying Muslims didn’t kill millions of people? I guess it was because it was only about 1.5 million Armenians.

  7. Love Cenk”s jovial frat boy takes on many issues but when he is in a room with a real intellectual shut your Cenk hole trap and listen. By opening your mouth you simply helped derail the topic of discussion and expose your light weight understanding.

  8. Cenk lost my support in the first couple of minutes. He committed himself to a factual error in stating that 2+2=5 and 2=2=6 are “equally” wrong – and then reiterated it later in the discussion. Obviously the former is 25% wrong and the latter is 50% wrong. So the latter error IS objectively worse. Thus, I found it difficult to take him seriously on much of anything else he said…

    1. His argument (Which I don’t agree with), was that the probability of Jesus returning in any form is 0.

      Thus, adding complication does not increase the improbability. It remains at 0.

      But, this is a pretty arrogant and ignorant view. Sam rightly states that the probability, while unknown, is not zero, perhaps in Sam’s mind it’s 0.00000000000001%. But whatever it is, it cannot be zero, as nothing is certain to be 0 in this universe.

      Sam is technically correct, and Cenk is ignorant of the details Sam’s presenting, so he gets it wrong.

  9. First and foremost, I was happy Cenk’s misquoting of “vast majority” vs. “vast numbers” was corrected. I’m holding out hope he looks back and corrects his misquoting of Maher saying “all muslims hold these beliefs” during the Affleck segment.

    Also, I was relieved to see Cenk’s disagreement with Harris on the influence of religious beliefs on behavior is a disagreement on the magnitude of the influence, not its presence, whereas, someone like Resa would say, “religions are just a language, they’re not inherently anything” or some bullshit (it’s amazing atheists are able to talk without language). It would have been nice if Cenk could’ve conceded that it’s not just the amount of violence in the books per se that influences behavior (as they both agreed, the OT is as bad or worse than the Quran), but also concepts such as sharia, the sunnah, the emphasis on martyrdom, pre vs post reformation that can impact behavior as well.

    I found the last part especially interesting because I found myself agreeing much more with Cenk. I think the key distinction is, as Harris brought up, that Harris was approaching these questions as a philosopher not a political scientist. In doing so, he ignores a whole lot about human behavior and history, such as corruption, rationalization, cognitive dissonance, self-denial etc, and he’s right to ignore them from a purely philosophical point of view. Yes, in principle you can have a benevolent dictator, in practice, history has proven the quote “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” is more often accurate. In principle you could make the argument that torture to avoid collateral damage is justifiable, in practice people will stretch this rationalization until it’s lost all meaning as has been done with Obama’s drone policy and the meaning of “imminent threat” and “enemy combatant”, and torture becomes standard operating procedure.

    Anyway, you gotta at least give Cenk credit for having him on, with basically unlimited time, to air his views. It restored my faith to some degree that he’s not purposely misrepresenting Harris and Maher like Aslan is, which, after all the misquoting, I was beginning to wonder.

  10. I don’t understand why Cenk cares so much about what factor is the biggest? It’s not the point.

    If a decision is made to be a suicide bomber, and the factors weigh up like this:

    * 70% socio-economic, 30% religion

    The point is that the 30% influence of religion is a big deal and can be the tipping point or the reason between becoming a suicide bomber and not.

    Also, the point is that some religions are worse than others, and when you have people on a knife edge, you don’t need a shitty religion to tip them over.

    Let’s say you need at least 80 points of insanity to become a suicide bomber.


    Socioeconomic reasons can give a maximum of 70 points, religious reasons can give a maximum of 30 points.

    One religion, like buddhism, may only give 5 points, not enough to tip people over the edge, regardless of how bad the socioeconomic reasons are, another, like Islam, may give 25 points, enough to push them over the edge.

    That’s why islam is a problem and should be discussed, and why Cenk saying “all religions are more or less the same, and don’t really matter” is ignorant and dangerous.

    1. I agree with your point about the degree of influence religion A can have on behavior X, vs the impact religion B can have on that same behavior.

      I don’t think Cenk said “all religions are more or less the same” although an annoyingly large amount of people do. I think he conceded Harris’ example that a fundamentalist Jain vs. a fundamentalist Muslim would behave differently. He was, however, very stubborn on the fact that Christian and Jewish scriptures can be just as easily used as Muslim scriptures to justify violence. They both agreed that the OT has possible more violence than the Quran, but Cenk ignored a lot of good points Harris made about conceptual differences between the the respective scriptures that could be useful in explaining some behavioral traits (the concept of martyrdom, the concept of conquest etc).

  11. This was an extremely intelligent conversation between two people I highly respect, both of whom make excellent points and hopefully opened up some minds through their discussion. I sincerely hope that the slew of ignorant, biased, asinine, “my guy is right and your guy is a total moron” comments on this thread are not representative of the reaction most people had to this video.

  12. Cenk – Islam is a part of the problem but not the whole problem.
    Sam – True. But it is the main problem with actionable beliefs beyond other religions which are inherently detrimental.
    Cenk – No it’s not. Other religions encourage people to do bad things too.
    Sam – Yes but Islam is worse and here’s why. Source. Source. Example. Source.
    Cenk – But other religions are bad too and Islam was good once.
    Sam – True. But Islam has not evolved past the point of taking its religion literally unlike Christianity and Judaism.
    Cenk – But politics matter more and it’s wrong to single out one religion.
    Sam – Words and actions as a reflection of beliefs matter. Islam has particularly bad ones and they are being used to justify doing bad things now.
    Cenk – But people will use your words to justify dong bad things.
    Sam – WTF?

  13. As an interviewer, this Cenk guy is hard going. He actually made it hard to watch this all the way through.

    When you ask a question, it’s a great idea to let the guy finish his point rather than cut across him because you realise that he’s successfully answering your question.

    I’m neutral on Harris but he answered most stuff in a calm reasonable manner – our man Cenk was swivelling on the edge of his seat with an elevated heart rate.

    If you get someone who doesn’t seem to have a personal involvement (which Cenk obviously does) to interview Harris, you’ll have a better result

      1. Yeah , we got that, Admitting he has a bias helps the interview how ?
        His voice goes up half an octave when Harris has a pop at islam – “what about judaisim/christianity etc etc ?”

        It would have been better to have someone else interview Harris

        1. I’m not defending him. I think he set his credibility on fire when he started this whole smear on Harris two weeks ago. Just explaining why he was so dishonest.

          1. Fair point – apologies if I came over as brusque. I agree he did set himself up for a fall with the prior stuff a couple of weeks earlier

  14. I thought this conversation was held like adults.

    On the topic of “Democracy” and nation-states transitioning into democracy….I firmly disagree with Cenk when he remarks that it is dangerous to purport some societies are not ready for democracy. To begin, this is a central topic of argument among political scientist in the academic realm. It is not dangerous to suggest that because Iraq was and for the most part is a hostage state, moving to democracy (cold turkey, as it were) would fail. When you delve deeper into this dilemma of transitioning into democracy; you learn (by professors with PhD’s, mind you) that in the current successful states with democracy (loose definition of ‘sucesseful’)… those that were once ruled by dictators and are currently democractic..went through a stage of authoritative regimes (i.e. Latin America). If you delve even deeper into the question, you’ll soon realize or come to the conclusion that, perhaps, Demorcacy is not for everyone. In fact, just like Sam suggests, many societies just merely do not have the capacity. There is nothing inherently bigoted or prejudicial in this statement. It is an academic, scholarly conclusion from those who have been studying and analyzing said questions for decades. Again, lets not get mixed up in the “political” correctness.

  15. Wow! Talk about a stark difference. Harris speaking truth. Uygur imperious to reason, saying the same things even after Harris dispatched them and THEN at the end embracing the usual conspiracy theories of the Left. Uygur is exasperating and impossible to show the light.

  16. Sam imagines ridiculous scenarios from “Lost” and “24”. Torture is never effective for anything other than promoting Terror, and oppressing an occupied populace. “Ticking Time Bomb” my ass – that never, ever happens, and Harris is a child to hide behind such a fiction.

  17. So Harris wants to “encourage conversation” but one gets the idea that a conversations with him is impossible unless you buy in on everything he says. Of the two men in this discussion, the only one indicating any ability to listen and have an open conversation is Cenk.

    1. Cenk should be ashamed of fleecing idiots like you, et al, paid subscribers — what a bunch of brain dead Leftist, incapable of processing a complex and coherent Liberal-minded, intelligent, and thoughtful discussion from a person of the calibre of Sam Harris. Are you all 9?

    1. Easy now :). High on something? Its just an interview between two people who disagree on something. Like Cenk would say you are at 9, you should be at 2. I didn’t know about Sam Harris before but after the interview i thought he made his points quite clearly and had data to back up. Cenk usually does a good job but in this case Sam clearly had a clearer mind with no agenda so he did a better job.(my impression, i am sure others disagree)
      There is nothing wrong in calling out the elephant in the room. Cenk does that all the time, in this case i just don’t think Cenk is objective enough.

  18. Sam Harris is an Israeli propagandist. I have no question after listening to this entire discussion.

    His whole justification of computers and hard drives is such an Israeli justification. Stanford definition? And then eating babies? Nazis, Good and evil? This man is an Israeli tool.

    1. Instead of spamming this board with 764657806 comments of little substance or insight, your time might be better spent going back to gardening in northern California.

  19. Illegal is never the same thing as unethical? Damn…I don’t think Islamic radicals would ever make that argument….but I can remember times when Israel has made just that sort of argument.

  20. My current intent on Gaza is stop the killing by Israel, but Sam Harris isn’t talking about that is he? No Sam Harris is more about handing control of the Middle East over is Israel.

  21. Genk; as a fan, and an educated mathematician, Sam Harris has about about Jackson Missouri and the return of Jesus. It is utterly provable that the chance of something happening in general, is greater than the chance of something happening in a particular case.

    Think of a real-world situation; are the chances of you get hit bus when crossing the street greater for the whole of your life in general, or for a specific day? Obviously it is for one’s life in general. In the same way, there are more places in the world that are not Jackson Missouri, than are Jackson Missouri.

  22. Like protecting the kids in the basement being abused we can’t protect them ourselves we have to call in someone else to protect the Yazihidis.

  23. The occupation in Palestine does justify the Islamic hatred. For Sam Harris to discount that is an indication of who he works for.

  24. Israel has the bomb the Muslim world according to Sam Harris should never attain it. I think it’s clear Mr. Harris is an Israel propagandist. “Sane collaborators”…Israel I am thinking falls in that category by his distinctions. No one else should be allowed to equalize their force.

  25. Harris is an accurate and deep thinker, Cenk is not. This comes through over and over here. Take just the example the discussion of Mormonism and Harris’ point that Jesus coming back in the US is less likely than that he will come back in a nonspecific place. We his Cenk’s thinking flaws over and over here.

      1. Islam sucks. All religions suck. They suck to varying degrees, based on which of the beliefs the adherents take action on. Currently, Islam sucks to us all because many (not most) muslims in shitty situations take action on violent advice from the text. We’re screwed if a militant gets their hands on a nuke.

  26. I have a feeling the only thing Sam Harris would support is global rule by the banks controlled by Israel interests.

  27. Cast Iron, and Pillar of Cloud, they weren’t forms of jihad and death squads? Muslims don’t want to die, but they don’t have USA support and arms.

  28. What about the doctrinal, solidarity and tribal connections of Judaism and Israel (and the Christian west)? When Netanyahu is upset about the west’s criticism of the bombing of Gaza wasn’t he feeling humiliated? Didn’t he resort to “jihad” by bombing Gasa?

  29. Sam on Ethnic Profiling is wrong. He might be right that looking for Muslims might be the most efficient way to fight Muslims, he ignores the fact that right wing American whites commit more acts of terrorism in this country (even when considering the use of airplanes) than do any other group.

  30. Sam Harris is talking about intruding into the lives of children before they have developed a faith, the height of North Koreans, and benevolent dictators. This man is a neo-eugenicist.

    1. When seen in context, all of these discussions make sense. Watch the last 5 minutes, and you’ll see that you’re just missing the point.

      1. He’s not missing the point. he’s turned around and deliberately walking away from any and all points. “Missing the point” implys an honest attempt to grasp a person’s meaning, this guy isn’tt having any of that.

  31. Through centuries of Catholic hegemony of an iliterate Europe, “Scripture” was entirely dependent on the political needs of the church/state, as related infallibly to the generally ignorant populace. The gobbledygook actualy written in these holy books really has no deterministic power over societies’ development. They reflect a very powerful tool of propaganda and control, but they can be easily be directed by the powerful into any direction made feasible by economic and political conditions.

  32. Sam Harris paints Al El as a role model of intuition and security as objective? I think I know where he stands. He’s Islamophobic.

    1. Islam – phobic: afraid of Islam? I think not. It seems to me that he just dislikes the mistreatment of women, the violence, the barbarism in dealing with apostates etc. Now, all of that is in the book, along with a lot of good stuff – but Islam hasn’t made as many strides as other harsh religions in reinterpreting that crap. No religion is perfect, and I dislike them all, but some are objectively less harmful and Islam needs to go there.

  33. Telling how Harris clearly expresses what the problems were with Cenk’s “reporting” about Harris and then Cenk completely ignores his points and then Cenk tries to point out the problem with what Harris said but his “point” is then completely flawed and demonstrates what Harris pointed out as a problem.

  34. I am not sure why Harris wants to paint Ireland as different. It’s totally the same situation and the important factor was economics co-opted by religion.

  35. Sam Harris believes in Al Qaeda? If you thought you neighbor was abusing kids in your basement why wouldn’t you intercede before calling the cops?

  36. If Christians and Jews don’t have a Jihadist element what accounts for all the Christian (US wars) Jewish bombings today? It appears to me that all three Abrahamic religions fall victim to same failings. And it’s not surprising since they are all the three dependent on the Old Testament…

    1. Harris brought “Data and facts”? A new society on a desert Island gets given a Q’ran and goes savage? Wow – that bit of day-dreaming really nailed it!

      Cenk’s examples were actual real-world situations – the Kurds, Northern Ireland…Harris avoided any and all of these specific discussions, beyond the content of religious scriptures. Harris’s entire argument is made entirely of maleable sophistry and professional defensiveness.

      1. The island analogy was just to demonstrate that we could improve our holy books – that the content matters. Do we plant the civilization with the bible? Or do we plant them there with the bible, liberally interspersed with KKK manifestos and a mandate to murder your wife after she gives birth and smoke crack all day.

        It is beginning to amaze me how thick some people can be in understanding a very basic philosophical point. The content of the book matters and, in almost all cases, it could be better.

  37. Sam Harris is a horrible person but he is even a worse philosopher. He defends his position on torture as part of a prhilosophical argument and then applies this to actual people in the real world. That is a fallacy right there (false premise, among others). Then he wants to tap dance his way out of the horrible things he says, arguing that they were philosophical discussions.

    The cuasi-philosophical positions of Harris on torture hit very close to my real life and my real country, where torture was used on real criminals and real innocents. We were then considered a Banana Republic. The torturer was not a philosopher, he was a Leutenant whose job and possibly his freedom depended on getting information. And the General also depended on showing results. Nobody could come back from the torture chambers saying “Oops… wrong guy… we beat the hell out of his body and his soul and he had nothing interesting to say. Next client, please”.

    In real life the torturer has to show results, whether reliable or totally invented. He is not playing a philosophical game, he is almost as vulnerable as the tortured. The difference between becoming a General and spending half of the rest of his life in prison is in being able to say “I broke him and he gave information”. In one famous case, the information that led to the torture of an innocent man was that he was mentioned by another torture victim and that he had the phone number of the Tupamaros in his phone book. Not the Tupamaros guerrilla, but the Tupamaros music band.

    Please, please, please, when counting heads for the Atheist movements, do not count Sam Harris. He is the philosopher who dreams with the Janes but colludes with the worst right wing fanatics in the United States.

  38. Que : baby crying from the sound board. Yeah it sucks when other people misrepresent your views, how do you think the Muslims feel? this guy is like the Fox News watchers the more true info you give him the more he doubles down on what he believes to be true.
    You are entitled to your own option-but not you own facts

    1. Not accurate.

      And objecting to having one’s reputation ruined by false claims about one’s position is not “crying.”

    2. Not accurate.

      And objecting to having one’s reputation ruined by false claims about one’s position is not “crying.”

      And, this constant type of argument that I see from those on your side which is basically “A is bad but others do B so A is not bad” is a fallacy. Even if some people misrepresent Islam is no excuse for trashing Harris.

      1. And objecting to having one’s reputation ruined by false claims about one’s position is not “crying.”

        Sam Harris claims that he takes great care to not misrepresent other people’s beliefs, but the number of times Cenk has to correct Sam because he’s misstating Cenk’s beliefs shows just how difficult that is. Now, of course, we could make an unsupported assumption to clear this up. We could assume that Sam is always arguing in good faith and his opponents aren’t, in which case clearly Sam is in the right. Or we could assume that Sam is always arguing in bad faith, and his opponents aren’t, in which case Sam is in the wrong.

        Or, we could not make ourselves out to be better than other people, and simply assume that other people are arguing in good faith unless proven otherwise, that is, innocent until proven guilty. I expect that Sam believes he is arguing in good faith, but I also expect that Reza Aslan also believes that he is arguing in good faith. Sam makes a mistake when he says that he’s arguing in good faith but other people aren’t, which is that he’s assuming his mistakes are minor and excusable (being made in good faith) and other people’s mistakes are major and inexcusable (being made in bad faith). In reality, he is misrepresenting other people, because it’s impossible not to. Other people are misrepresenting him, because it’s impossible not to.

        Sam needs to learn to deal with such misunderstandings without being insulting and supercilious about it. I wish he would drop his air of perfect impartiality and admit that he, like everyone, is biased, that he, like everyone, is not objective, and that other people can disagree with him without necessarily being guilty of arguing in bad faith.

  39. Sometimes your math needs to work for logic to work (why Mormons are slightly more absurd than Christianity). So just in case this math/statistics is not well-known.

    Can we agree that if you flip a coin there is a fifty percent chance of either heads and tails?

    Good, we’re going to write that likelihood as simply 0.5. It means 50 percent.

    So if you flip said coin ONCE there’s a 50 percent change heads will show up. Could be (“Jesus showing up” or “the child being a girl”)

    What is the likelihood of 2 heads in a row? 0.5 x 0.5: 0,25 or 25 percent
    What is the likelihood of 3 heads in a row? 0.5^3 = 0.125
    What is the likelihood of 4 heads in a row? 0.5^4 = 0.0625
    What is the likelihood of 5 heads in a row? 0.5^5 = 0.03125
    What is the likelihood of 6 heads in a row? 0.5^6 = 0.015625
    What is the likelihood of 7 heads in a row? 0.5^7 = 0.0078125
    What is the likelihood of 8 heads in a row? 0.5^8 = 0.00390625

    Pile on a number of things that are uncertain and ALL have to be true, and the likelihood drops. That is what Sam means and it’s basic logic. NOT understanding this simple truth throws doubt on whatever logical point that person is attempting.

    Go with Logic.

    1. I find it sad that people keep getting this wrong. The likelihood does not necessarily “drop”, although in the example you gave it does. If you are flipping a trick coin with two tails, then the probability of 8 heads in a row is equal to the probability of 2 heads in a row, which is zero.

      Sam and Cenk are both making assumptions that are not in line with agnosticism. Cenk is taking the stance of an Athiest and saying that there is zero probability that Jesus will return. Sam (and you it seems) is taking the stance of a biased agnostic by assuming there is a non-zero probability that Jesus will return.

      Cenk’s assumption that both options have zero probability does not contradict the math! People seem to easily grasp Cenk’s Athiest bias, but not so with Sam’s bias.

      By assuming that a belief has non-zero probability, the pigeon-hole principle puts a bound on the number of beliefs which are at least as likely. Specifically, by saying that there is a non-zero probability of the return of Jesus you are essentially giving the return of Jesus more weight than an infinite number of unrelated other beliefs. Sam is implying that that there are an infinite number of unrelated beliefs which are less true than belief in the return of Jesus..

      I omitted the formal logic because is extremely pedantic; mathematics is the most pedantic thing humans can do! You cannot simply take mathematical theorems out of context and apply them without rigorously establishing the validity of those theorems in that context. In technical terms, that is called “hand waving”.

      1. He condemns torture, and says it should be illegal everywhere. His only point was that collateral damage is worse than torture. If there ever was a scenario where torture would prevent the need for collateral damage (think normal, peaceful people suddenly have to bury thousands of their children as a result of shelling), it should probably be done, even illegally. It is difficult to measure life in a utilitarian way, but we all have a pretty good intuition that bombing a city full of innocents is worse than torturing someone for an exact location for a targeted strike – even if the torturer selects the wrong person several times.

        It is horrific, and completely condemn-able – but, I am creative enough to imagine a scenario where it would be the better of several options.

        1. Except there he is making the false, pro-torture assumption that torture generates usable information, which it does not, and that you can be sure that the person you are torturing possesses the information you desire, which you can not.

          Sam strikes me as being too in love with his logical arguments to examine the incorrect assumptions and internal biases that he relies on. It’s very easy to confuse what one supposes with what one knows. Sam’s good at making valid chains of logic from invalid assumptions seem plausible, but that doesn’t make him right.

      2. Whoops, posted the torture stuff in the wrong reply thread.

        As for the probability thing, you are correct if we assume that there is 0 probability that any of it is true. That’s from Sam’s or Cenk’s point of view. From the point of view of a christian, there is some probability that any of the claims in the bible are true. Given this, Mormonism is less likely to be true. So, it’s a matter of perspective, and the point stands.

      3. Exactly. One false statement is just as false as any other from a mathematical standpoint. When Sam claims to have math on his side that 2+2=6 is more wrong than 2+2=5 he’s completely wrong. Perhaps he should stay out of disciplines of knowledge he clearly knows nothing about.

        For a informal proof, consider the following: Given that 2+2=5, subtract 2 from both sides giving 2=3. Now restate 2+2=5 as 1+3=5. Substituting 2 for 3, we have 1+2 = 5. Add one to both sides, and we get 2 + 2 = 6.

        Thus, we see that 2+2=5 and 2+2=6 are logically equivalent, and either one is exactly as wrong as the other.

        When Sam says that one wholly impossible event (Jesus returning and going to Jackson County, Missouri) is less likely than another wholly impossible event, (Jesus returning and going somewhere else), he is in fact trying to calculate a ratio between two numbers which are both zero. When Cenk compares Sam’s purported mathematics with dividing by zero, he is right on the money.

        Sorry, Sam, no pages of support from mathematicians for you. Better luck next time.

        Having disposed of the math, let’s talk about the substance. Sam says Mormonism is more ridiculous than regular Christianity, because it makes more claims that are absurd. If he is simply counting absurd claims, then he’s right, because any doctrine that includes an existing ridiculous doctrine and adds more ridiculous claims on top of it necessarily increases the number of ridiculous claims. But if you want to talk about how ridiculous the individual claims are, well, his appeal to arithmetic got him nowhere. To make that claim even make sense would require some kind of quantitative analysis of ridiculousness, which strikes me as being a complete waste of time.

        Why can’t they both just be ridiculous? It’s impossible for Jesus or Joseph Smith to have done the things which are ascribed to them Why does it matter how reliable the source is for a claim that is known to be false?

        1. Look at it this way, the more difficult it would be for a prediction to come true, the less likely it is that the prediction will come true. The problem with the exchange between Cenk and Sam is that they were talking past each other. Cenk reduced Sam’s argument to a bad example. Math facts (2+2=4) are not predictions. Predictions do not have absolute truth values until some time in the future, whereas math facts have immediate truth values. When you say “2+2=4,” that is either correct or incorrect at the time it is said. The value of a prediction is based on two things: The foreseeable consequences of the future event, and the likelihood that the predicted event will occur. “Jesus will return to Earth” is a prediction. “Jesus will return to Jackson County, Missouri” is a more specific prediction. “Jesus will return to Jackson County Missouri on July 3, 2018 and he will be wearing a powder blue leisure suit” is a still more specific prediction. Sam was talking about the probabilities associated with predictions. If you don’t already know if the predicted event will occur (that is, if you do knot the the fact of the matter), all you have is probability theory. And probability theory says that the likelihood that a predicted future event will occur gets closer to zero as the level of specificity increases. This just makes sense – the likelihood that a roll of the dice will result in an even number is far higher than the likelihood that the roll will result in a 2.

  40. It seems that so many atheists are defined by their lack of religion and often times their disdain for it. Many of those commenting in the referenced thread seem to adhere to the text and speaking of Sam Harris in a dogmatic way, as though the word of Dr. Harris is inerrant. I like Dr. Harris and I have for a very long time; however, he is not infallible. Religion is detrimental for many, many reasons, among which is the tendency for malicious leaders to hijack it for violence. This has been proven repeatedly throughout the history of man. It is a tremendous vessel by which to do so. However, it is not the root of all evil by any measure and anyone that cannot see that is blind.

    Mankind is the root of all evil. The pursuit of power and control by some has always been an issue and it will hijack any ideology to achieve that end. Hey, do you remember that time before Islam when the world was peaceful and all of humankind worked together for the betterment of our species? No, no one does because it has never been the case. Appeals to nationalism, racism, freedom, etc.. have all been tools by which violence has been carried out. Violence is the true problem and in order to eliminate it we must exterminate the cause, the pursuit of power and control. Scapegoating religion, and focusing on the flavor of the day, Islam, isn’t going to accomplish that. I was a mindless follower of Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens when I was young, but I have grown and I see the truly multifaceted problems that face us as a species. There are areas in which I would argue that religion is a major hurdle and the primary obstacle to overcome. One example is hindering the progression of science and the education of our students in the Western World. Religion is very much a solitary cause of that problem and the mentality that fuels it. Religion is a problem in general and our species would be better without it.

    Sam is right in many ways; Islam is a problem right now. It is a perfect tool for inciting violence because religion is such a powerful force in so many people’s lives. However, to overlook the underlying causes of such violence is folly. Sam Harris is being myopic in his message and I hate to say that but it is true and the interview by Cenk highlighted that better than anything I have seen. There are more things ailing humankind then just religion and it would behoove us to acknowledge that as a whole, and as atheists. The increase in non-believers will grow much faster if we cease to be so abrasive and pointed in our message.

    1. Islam is no more a “problem” today than is Christianity or Judaism. Currently they are all playing off each other.

    2. He acknowledges that Islam isn’t even the biggest player in much of the violence in the world. What he wants is to cut the crap about being politically correct about it – all religion is a problem, and Islam is currently a bad one and we can’t criticize it without being labeled “Islamaphobes”.

  41. Thank you very much TYT for bringing Sam Harris on to speak and counter.

    Like many other TYT veiwers and supporters, we have a certain faith in the honesty inwhich you conduct yourselves as news women and men. For me atleast, that faith was alittle slighted by having what seemed a one sided ‘Reza’ veiw point of veiw on the whole ‘Sam Harris vs Angry Actor’ situation the week before.

    Giving Mr Harris a platform to retort, is in short, the reason I put alot of value and faith what you guys have to say.

    Again, thank you. Rawiri Amohau

    p.s. Sorry for spelling, trying to type holding a baby.

  42. Performance -wise:
    This conversation was more combative than clarifying, and I detected frustration on Harris’ side, and desperation on Cenk’s. Objectively. it seemed that Harris was tripping over his own analogies – he would raise technically good points which could potentially fly over the head of the average listener and come across as bigoted.. He is articulate to a fault – I’m not sure anybody who debates him truly understands him. Harris even addresses this. Cenk, on the other hand, has one resounding argument – Harris’ ideas are technically correct, but dangerous because (essentially) they may be misunderstood and used to justify further harm. Some of Harris’ points, such as:

    1) Imagine a situation where you would condone torture.
    2) We are too politically correct – shouldn’t we consider religion in profiling?
    3) The content of what people believe matters, especially when they are in a war-torn country

    are refuted by Cenk with his, it seems, best argument, that people are going to misconstrue what Harris is saying and use it to justify nefarious deeds. For point 1) Cenk replies that by justifying torture, we would invite more egregious harm as has been done in the past. This completely sidesteps the point, that in some cases one person’s extreme discomfort is a better alternative to collateral damage. Harris offers caveat after caveat, backpedaling from the assertion that we ought to condone it – but he, rightly, insists that there are situations where it is ethically the right thing to do.

    Anyhow, I enjoyed that they chose to do this. I, like both Harris and Cenk, wish that adherence to religion would simply evaporate and that we could just get on with arguing about the universe without these religious-divisive-teams with barbaric texts as mascots. It seems that we will have to wage a war of ideas, and based on this discussion, I like the two of them as a team: Harris is the brains behind the operation, and Cenk is the face who knows how to present interesting ideas to a general audience.

  43. lets keep it real everyone, sure sam harris sounds logical, and he is, but what you are not seeing is that you can justify something that is not true in so many ways, and harris being an intelligent, logical person can find many justifications to defend his points, it doesn’t make them true.

    at the base of all this is his hatred for muslims, because he is jewish and identifies as jewish.

    for the same reason that a german should not speak of jews in a negative way (such as, saying most jews are terrible people)… for that same reason, a jew who obviously hates muslims should perhaps leave that hatred for someone else to spew.

    1. What?? First, he wasn’t trying to justify anything. Clearly, you did not understand his points. Or, you choose not to. Second, while he is Jewish, he does not at all follow Judaism. He is an atheist. In fact, he has repeatedly stated,
      “I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state. I think it is obscene, irrational and unjustifiable to have a state organized around a religion. So I don’t celebrate the idea that there’s a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to
      real estate based on the Bible.”
      Where did you pull out the ridiculous notion that he hates Muslims? I guess I know where you pulled that bit of BS from.

    2. Keep it real?cwhat is your reality?

      If Harris identifies himself in any way as a Jew, how would that lead him to be anti muslim any more than it would lead him to be anti christian or anti Roman or anti any of the myriad of powers that have tried to exterminate the Jews since their inception.

      Keep it real in the now.

      Currently, There are no Romans or Christians or Byzantinians trying to kill the Jews and drive them into the sea. There are only Muslims. Period.
      We have to deal with the world as it is not as it was or as we wish it would be.
      Fast forward yourself to 2014.
      Now, keep it real….time.

      1. No the Christians and the Jewish seem to be united in trying to eliminate all Muslims. That’s something we need to deal with.

  44. Hey, Cenk.

    This was one of the best interviews on the topic that I have ever seen. Your qualification at the beginning of the interview, that you would give Harris as long as he felt was needed to articulate his position, speaks volumes both about you as a person (the values you hold), and TYT’s respect for the inherent complexity and nuance of the situation the two of you were discussing. My admiration of you (and the TYT staff who obviously stayed late (presumably without complaint)) is nothing but increased by your approach (humility, respect etc.) to the interview.

    That said, I think the fact that the interview has been heralded as widely as it has been, is telling of a problem intrinsic in the discussion of the subject matter. When the stakes are as high as they are in discussions about Islam (the role it plays in the 21st century etc.) and the need to check Islama/xeno phobia, none of us can help but inflict passions into the conversation. We all get emotionally hijacked when the issues are as salient as they are- our reasoning becomes clouded when we are too close to the issue being discussed (this is why we don’t let the parents decide the fate of the murderer of their child). The interview was informative, well-conducted and all-around unprecedented- but only relative to the conversations that have been taken place, not to any objective standard of how this discourse OUGHT be taking place.

    To articulate, I think you (and Ana and John and everyone else at TYT) would agree that you (Cenk) are not necessarily the perfect person to be defending the apologist position in this inter-liberal dialogue (apologists vs. the more hawkish members of the left) , in large part because you are not a by-the-book apologist yourself. Your expertise doesn’t necessarily lie in this particular field- it’s simply not your focus in the way something like vulture capitalism (or corporate greed or media bias) is. I think there are many cases in the conversation where Harris could have absolutely run you over if he chose to- just via the sheer force of the deductive nature his arguments take (if you accept x it simply follows that you must accept y). I think he played softball here in many ways.

    I really, really, REALLY don’t mean to be demeaning in any way, or appear ungrateful to what you’ve accomplished here. You’re brilliant- this whole channel is brilliant, but we all need to keep demanding MORE. We NEED these conversations to take place, and when so much suffering (or alleviation thereof) depends on how we (the west) decided to answer these questions, we NEED these conversations to take the absolute best form they possibly can.

    Once again, it’s not that I necessarily think Harris’ positions rest on firmer ground than yours, but rather that he was more articulate in defining his positions and arguments these three hours. I go to McGill University, and Glenn Greenwald just spoke here today (on privacy and the recent Canadian tragedies). It would be beautiful to see him debate Harris- the positions you defend in the above interview are so well articulated by him, that it would be a hugely informative and useful debate. That is only to say that I think Greenwald would be better suited (in light of his focus on the topic) to defend the apologist position than you, not to say that the above interview doesn’t set a hugely useful precedent, or that you did not do a wholly brilliant job. For you, the need to HAVE the discussion takes precedent over your ideological agenda, and there is so much to be said for that alone. It’s sad that this isn’t necessarily the case for many of our most brilliant and influential minds (including Greenwald).

    Greenwald, just like Aslan and so many others do, dismiss Harris as an uneducated, un-nuanced (not a word) Islamaphobe. I think the above conversation makes it clear that that is simply not the case. He is concerned, first and foremost, with alleviating suffering; his motives are as transparent and well-intentioned as they come. His arguments deserve to be engaged with on a very, very deep level, and I beseech you to use whatever power/relations you have (with Greenwald or whoever), to ensure that an honest, open, AND articulate discussion does take place. I think your willingness to participate in this sort of debate can potentially shine like a beacon on a hill, and set an immensely useful precedent for further discussions. But it may go mostly unnoticed if TYT doesn’t lobby (hard) for further such conversations.

    Thank you,
    Keep fucking rocking it.

  45. “Bomb em with books and boobs!” Go Cenk! TYT is one of the few places left, to find sincere content.

    Cenk went light on the discussion, about US “intervention” in these regions, over the past decades. We’ve destabilized other regions of the globe, as well; with similar results. We’ve(I’m US) been in and out of many different central and south american countries, for over the last 50 years. Apart from us doing things, like outright funding the the terrorist contras(just like syrian “moderate” rebels), look at the conditions we’ve left, many of these places in.

    Look at the cartels, who are just as barbaric, if not worse, than jihadists. ISIS was ally funded, and we also armed some cartels, via fast and furious.

    I’ll stop there, but great interview!

  46. That was probably my favorite interview, right up there with Oliver Stone’s. Sam Harris and Cenk made good points overall involving religion but I think Cenk had some difficulty looking at some of the issues through Harris’s perspective but overall amazing interview, and 3 hrs to boot.

    1. Agreed, Harris has amazing points and great examples – but I feel that a good bit of the audience, and perhaps Cenk, miss the meaning of much of what he says and only hear buzz words. Perhaps Harris needs a spokesperson who can speak more… to the common man.

  47. I felt like I was watching Steve Doocy debate Einstein. The intellectual gulf between Cenk and Harris is slightly narrower, sure, but come on; let your guest speak and listen to what he is saying before barging in with another blustery proclamation that makes it clear you weren’t really listening.

    I love Cenk for his general good naturedness, his passion for progressivism, and his hard work to get money out of politics, but a nuanced, philosophical thinker he is not.

    1. Sorry to burst your bubble, but what you see as Harris’ intelligence is only skin deep. In reality, if someone showed uncommon intelligence in this interview, it was Cenk.

      I believe Harris is very intelligent, but in this occasion (and many others) all of his philosophy is really made of logical fallacies.

      On the other hand, Cenk’s “street smarts” are, in my opinion, a true indication of great intelligence.

      Philosophical arguments are hard to understand and hard to evaluate, so good orators, like Sam Harris, can pass good speaking skills as good philosophy. But in reality, Sam Harris is just a cherry picker, someone who long ago decided what to believe and looks worldwide for sound bites that seem to bolster his already-made arguments.

      Just think of this: How can you be in awe of people who even try to spare the life of every insect, but also consider reasonable the use of nuclear weapons?

      1. I’m not in a bubble, and thus you didn’t burst one. You’re not educating me here. And your final sentence doesn’t accurately reflect Harris’ views.

        I don’t necessarily agree with you that philsophical arguments are hard to understand and evaluate. They can be, or they can be elegantly simple. I think Harris typically does a good job when speaking of distilling more complex arguments into something more accessible to the average person, though as he mentioned, he doesn’t “write down” to his readers, which is one reason why I really enjoy his books.

        1. I think Harris really clarified himself in the last 10 minutes. The nuclear bomb thing is a thought experiment, in the same vein of the trolley dilemma that he has brought up in previous talks. Harris is concerned with postulating the most extreme of circumstances as a way of dispelling certain notions of moral ambiguity. IE. If you could drop a nuke that would kill 10,000 if you knew for a fact that it would prevent the deaths of 100,000. When he makes these analogies he is not proposing that these are the current circumstances but rather proposing a hypothetical moral dilemma. He suggests that we can extrapolate the ethics from the scenarios he proposes to give us a greater sense of ethical consciousness.

          That’s what his stance looks like to me at least,

          1. That was so well said–the most precise summary of Harris’ thought process and motives that I’ve seen anywhere. Bravo. I agree–that last segment is crucial. I wish it could somehow be spliced into the beginning of the discussion; it would be so helpful for many viewers unfamiliar with Harris to have that context right off the bat.

  48. I don’t care what you say about it not being a debate. That was definitely a debate, and Cenks debating was kinda lame.

  49. Sam Harris died as far as I care.

    If a bunch of people are left on an island with either the Koran, the Bible, the Mahabarata or Moby Dick, they are blessed with a month’s supply of toilet paper.

    Sam Harris just does not understand the difference between tribal dynamics and books that grab people by the ass and force them to commit genocide.

  50. Sam’s arguements are incredibly robust here, amazing he exposes CJ Werleman as a serial plagiarist and Reza Aslan as a strictly ad hominem attacker in 5 minutes.

    All his points are substantiated by evidence immediately, I don’t agree with him on torture or nuclear strikes, but on the link between doctrine and behavior his claims are irrefutable, or at least I have yet to hear a cogent argument discounting them- just more charges of “bigotry” which is laughable at this point to any discerning person who watched this video.

  51. 1:00 – 6:00 – Right off the bat, Harris laments how Cenk gave Aslan and Werleman a platform to slander him (note: Werleman being outed as a plagiarist happened **after** he was on TYT, as Cenk notes) had slandered him. Harris explains how he regrets the “context” of these former interviews by Cenk and that he now has to thus rid himself of “the slime” produced by Aslan/Werleman (instead of talking about his latest book). Interesting. Notice that Harris has simply disregarded the actual content of the critiques produced by Aslan on TYT and elsewhere – which were not ad hominem in the slightest but actually rational and factual – by launching an immediate ad hominem attack himself. Also, notice how Harris is simply lumping Aslan in with Werleman’s plagiarism, or at least something akin to it, without warranting the claim. Harris then goes on to switch gears into a non-sequitur about Salon. thus not supporting or warranting the claim that his person was attacked irrationally by the slime of Aslan/Werleman (which, by definition, is ironically an ad hominem itself); instead he speculates how Salon has slandered his person through various articles (Harris does not cite actual content nor an actual title/author), one of which called him an outright “douchebag.” Harris claims “much of what you read on Salon is just maniacs in the bedroom typing” — Cenk then counters with an excellent point, stating how Harris essentially just generalized Salon with a broad brush stroke based on these (so-called) several articles that slander his person. Harris quickly and tritely rejects the analogy as not being valid, but, yet again, does not explain how so.

    Are you noticing a pattern here?

    Notice the trend in just the first five minutes of the interview – Harris has made several claims already without backing it up with any actual sound evidence:

    1. He claims Aslan/Werleman slandered him and now he must rid himself of “the slime” – but does not warrant this claim at all (implying or equating Werleman’s plagiarism in with Aslan’s alleged slime)
    2. He claims Salon has slandered him with several articles and warrants this by saying one of them (he doesn’t cite which) called him a “douchebag”
    3. He rejects Cenk’s excellent analogy re: Harris’ hasty generalization of Salon overall, yet doesn’t say how and quickly transitions back into his non-sequitur about Salon, not addressing the details of his original claim that Aslan/Werleman slandered him

    6:00 – 7:00 – Harris likens the treatment by Salon of Harris to that of Cenk and the TYT but then bizarrely says “but hey man, I trust that we are going to have a good conversation.” Harris just got done likening Salon to a place which promotes lazy maniac writers typing away ad hominem pieces in their bedrooms to that of TYT in one fell swoop and then -on a dime- he does a one-eighty and tries to be congenial and reasonable with Cenk…….

    7:00 – Harris then casually wades back into his previous critique of Werleman, but notice the mode in which he does so – he projects this attitude that everyone knows Werleman is a “well established fraud and liar” and a “plagiarist.” Cenk of course notes that he had Werleman on before this came out, but the damage is done —- Harris totally just painted a picture as such: “Cenk invited on a guest that is a well established fraud and plagiarist and gave him a platform to criticize me.” Unless Harris assumes Cenk ought to have the computational power Google – knowing if and when a statement is plagiarized on the spot – this statement is disingenuous on Harris’ part. Also, again, plagiarist or not, Wereleman’s actual argument – the content of it – has yet to be addressed, even though Harris made the claim that he was slandered. Nor is Aslan addressed, still.

    10:00-12:00 – Harris revisits his broad brush denunciation of Salon by stating that it is the place “where journalism goes to die.” Wow. That may or may not be the definition of “slime” juss sayin. Cenk then interjects and reiterates his previous analogy but this time with gusto and he really does a good job of driving the point home, stating that Harris is doing the exact same thing that he claims Salon is doing by slandering all of Salon himself. Harris rejects this analogy by offhandedly saying under his breath “this is going nowhere.” Again, Harris seems to think he can just say things without supporting his critiques. That sounds like a fundamentalist, in a way. I am not saying Harris is a fundamentalist, only that that characteristic is notably a hallmark one of fundamentalism.

    12:00 – Cenk poses the first question – what, if any, distinction do you, Sam Harris, make between Islam and Muslims. Cenk has several quotes on hand which would suggest that Harris is lumping in Islam as a belief system and actual Muslims living out their own interpretation of that belief as it mingles with cultural traditions. Notice, Cenk has actual facts to back up his assertion, something which Sam Harris has yet to demonstrate, now almost fifteen minutes into the debate (as shown above). Sam Harris actually goes on to make a very nuanced response, upon first blush – in short, he is interested in the range of beliefs people have in response to their belief system of Islam. Honestly? From 12:30 – 15:15 I pretty much agree with everything Harris is saying — to be honest, he sounds a lot like Cenk here. However this is *not* what Harris has said in his own literature, which is decidedly more glossed, as Cenk will note.

    21:30 – After a tangent about the validity of religions in comparison, Cenk then again pursues his critique about Harris’ claims in detail, which were glossed by Harris in his initial response.

    According to Harris’ own words in writing: ‘“Muslim extremism’ is not extreme among Muslims” and that the jihadist is the “best example of Islam in practice.” Now, compare that statement to the previous thing Harris just said at the 12 minute mark. They are completely different takes which are dualistic and contradictory. That is not an ad hominem thing to say – those are just the facts. Harris at first says that he is interested in teasing out the range of interpretations in Islam – yet, as Cenk shows, his literature says the complete opposite, that the militant and violent fringe is itself the core. The cognitive dissonance is apparent. Again, this is just according to what Harris is saying.

    25:00 – notice the straw man argument applied to Cenk by Harris. Harris is attempting to argue that Cenk believes that “there is a difference between what people say they believe and their actions.” The example he gives is that while a Muslim might tell a pollster he thinks an apostate should be killed, that doesn’t mean he will do so. That is not Cenk’s argument, nor is it Aslan’s (given earlier TYT segments). The poll regarding whether or not Muslims believe in Sharia Law, or the literal truth of Islam, ranks high among Muslims in certain countries, sure, but that is quite different from polling a specific question like “whether or not an apostate should be killed.” In essence, you are asking a believer whether or not they believe in Koranic law – if you polled Christians whether or not they believed in the literal truth of the Bible, it would score high. Actually, a Pew Poll found that 37% believe in the literal truth, as Cenk will later cite. Now, does that mean 37% believe that homosexuals should be stoned to death or that you can’t mix yer fabrics? No, of course not. Likewise, just because a large percentage of Muslims in Indonesia believe the Koran is the law doesn’t mean they also believe in the killing of an apostate. Things are lost in translation. As Cenk has argued in previous segments, “Sharia law” does not mean you agree with everything, not in practice. It can mean many things: the literal truth of every word; the overall spirit or tenor of the book; or, quite literally, “legislation.” The latter term is actually quite interesting on first blush, as it would suggest wiggle room. Legislation is, by definition, a law as lived by people rather than a law which exists in a vacuum, or a universal and unbending law of the heavens, for example. Also, and here is a key point, unlike the unilateral and unmitigated truth of the Pope, Muslims are not beholden to one single entity; if one Imam declares a fatwa (legal opinion), then only its local adherents must abide by it; which is to say, if the Muslim that attends a different mosque with a different Imam down the street doesn’t agree with the former Imam’s fatwa, then he doesn’t have to abide by it. That qualitatively seems like a practice of Islam which is way more democratic than the papacy. But of course Sam doesn’t deal with that part of Islam.

    32:30 – Harris makes a quite convenient comparison between Jihadists doing horrible things in the ME and Jews in Brooklyn. That is apples and orangutans. How about this one: ISIS and the IDF and its latest incursion into Gaza which was marked by an illegal collective punishment of all Gazans? Or how about ISIS and the founding of Israel, where according to Henry Siegman re: noted Jewish historian Benny Morris, during hte War of Independence, in order to get Palestinians to flee their homes quicker leader David Ben-Guirion was ordering his major general to line up captured Palestinians against the wall and shoot them. That is the definition of terrorism. This was actually a common terrorist tactic which predated the War of Independence by fringe Jewish terrorists. Harris is ultimately using selective logic here rather than being consistent across the board.

    46:00 – Harris attempts to differentiate Jesus from Muhammad, seeing the latter as a warlord and the former as a guy who willingly and passively went to the cross. Yet Harris should refer to what Harris said a couple minutes earlier, where he admits (offhandedly) that with Christianity you have Christ returning in the end of times and engaging in holy war re: Revelation. Harris wants to conveniently partition off this bit of Christian dogma and see Christ only in terms of his lifetime rather than the subsequent religious belief system thereafter, ending with the rapture and holy war. Given this logic, if Muhammad was a warlord it was only in a local sense and he still had to deal with finite reality, whereas according to the tenets of Christianity Christ is a death-defying superman zombie cosmic warlord that is going to engulf a third of the earth in flames…. Gee I wonder why Bush and Hitler both waged crusades in such an irrational and genocidal nature, as Cenk is trying to get across?? And that is another point: Cenk has given *actual* examples of Christian zealousness: the Crusades; Inquisition; World Wars; Iraq. Let’s stack up those millions of kills next to Islam.. Iran and Saudi Arabia are supposedly the most egregious examples of Sharia. How many nations have they invaded? How many kills? The kill count isn’t even fucking close. Iran hasn’t engaged in a war of aggression since 1826 during the 4th Russo-Persian War. Let’s not kid ourselves here.

    ok im tapping out for now.

    1. Seems like you have a dog in this fight and a lot of money riding on it. You sound like a state prosecutor rather than someone looking for reasonable dialogue. I could just as easily log every instance of Cern’s fallacious reasoning throughout the 3 hours. There were plenty on from each end,. but ultimately the dialogue left me with a more nuanced and better articulated understanding of both sides. I suspect that you’ve come out with the exact same attitude you intended to maintain before you even clicked play. You should just repost the whole thing on youtube with the title “Cern Uygur DESTROYS Sam Harris!!”. The brothers of your ilk will flock to you.

      1. The key point here is ‘reasonable dialogue’. Which came against throughout the 3 hours in spades. Both Sam and Cenk got their points across on a complex topic, there was alot of detail got lost or not picked up or left behind as the too and throw between both parties was informal and off the cuff for alot of the time.

        For michealMickLow to pick through the dialogue for splinters of wrong doing against ONLY one party in this some what informal setting, certainly looks like either showing favour to the other party or a dislike towards Sam Harris.

        1. Do you have any specific counters to my analysis or are you just going to speculate about my apparent bias? Step it up.

      2. Boglin88 – You are speculating about an agenda that I have to demonize Harris. That is pure conjecture and immaterial to the above analysis I’ve put together. Do you have any counterpoints in particular?

    2. Glenn Greenwald won’t read this comment thread and won’t check out your twitter feed. Props for being pretty much the only hater on this thread though, and one of the few among TYT fans.

    3. When Harris recommend the New York Times over Salon in the first few minutes of the discussion, it made clear to me where he was coming from.

  52. Cenk…
    Bob predicts that if I flip a coin, it will land on heads.
    Jason, however, predicts that if I flip the coin, it will land on heads AND spin exactly 30 times in the air before landing.
    Which prediction is LESS likely to be true?
    Since Jason’s claim subsumes both Bob’s claim AND an additional claim, the chance of it being true is equal to Bob’s claim multiplied by some uncertain value between 0 and 1.0. Therefore, objectively speaking, Jason’s claim really is LESS likely to be true than Bob’s.
    For you to say, “The fact of the matter is that both predictions are poor,” neglects to acknowledge one prediction is worse than the other.
    This is just basic probability, Cenk.

    1. You should not act condescending when you are doing the math wrong yourself. Cenk’s logic is not wrong. Though he does not express it this way, Cenk’s point is that it does not matter because the probability of both is zero. You are saying “LESS” where you should say “LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO”.

      In the context of your analogy, consider a trick coin with two tails. In this case,, both options are equally likely as they both have a probability of zero.

      1. Except that the probability isn’t 0, we don’t know what it is. This is a thought experiment, it has nothing to do with what will actually happen. If you believe Jesus will come back anywhere, that is less unlikely than believing Jesus will come back in a specific location. Cenk dismissing it as “well it doesn’t matter because the probability of both is 0” is just incorrect. We may all believe its 0, but we don’t know. Also the greater point is that the probability is definitely not 0 to someone who believes this garbage.

  53. jesus christ thank you for this interview. (ironic) how refreshing to watch a debate like this . both sides got to talk and respond. god this was like watching porn to a fan of philosophy.

  54. In truth Sam Harris is one of the most level headed, most articulated writers and thinkers in the secular community. The last 8 minutes describes it all. Too many lacks philosophical wit and logic to be able to debate on the level as he does. When Cenk’s argument becomes something along the line of “you’re writing can be used by others to do bad thing”, Cenk lost on all front. To accuse a victim is one thing, but to think that maybe a country would bomb another and cite Harris’ two paragraph on the subject is in any way Harris’ responsibility is just silly. If a president uses Harris’ work to nuke another country, it says something about the president, not Harris.

    1. Yes, it says our president, was clearly not the person, who should be put in charge of those things. If any nuke(s) fly, both sides have already lost.

      Harris was trying to get away with, calling oil pretexts to war, a conspiracy. He doesn’t seem to be sure(or willing to admit) of who is actually running the US, which hasn’t been the president(s), it’s the corps.

  55. I commend the young turks for offering up such a thorough and levelheaded discussion this is precisely the type of dialogue that we need to have more of in the media. Not 5 minute snippets that can be easily quote-mined and cause inadequate representation. It seems to me that any well thought out worldview requires far more then a 7 minute tv interview to articulate. As an avid reader of Sam Harris’ body of work, the level of misinformed character assassination sent has way has always bothered me. I certainly don’t agree with everything he says but to belittle his character to an uninformed radical bigot is just nonsense. In truth he is one of the most level headed, most articulated writers and thinkers in the secular community. I also think he sucks at short format television spots and that’s why i’m glad to see something like this video scratch beneath the mere surface of the soundbites.

  56. Love Cenk but with regards to Islam he is definitely not objective. Hats off to Sam Harris for calling a spade a spade. In this age of political correctness we need people like him. As for Reza Aslan he is like Fox new equivalent for Muslim propaganda.. Irrelevant statements like “US doesn’t have a woman president where as some Islamic countries have woman leaders so Islam treats women better than US” . This is like Fox news saying since US has black president there is no racism in this country… Pakistan had a woman president yet women regularly get stoned to death what one has to do with the other.

    If Cenk believes Islam is such a peaceful religion, let him throw in a few Quran quotes when he throws in his Bible quotes.. lets see who gives him a Fatwa..

  57. There need to be more people as evolved as Sam Harris on this planet. He knows what he believes and he doesn’t justify or mispeak based on emotions. That is an exceptional skill. Great discussion.

  58. Cenk is actually the best interviewer I’ve ever watched. Great discussion as always.

    And Sam Harris def surprised me as well, I didn’t expect I was going to agree with so many of his views. Brilliant interview overall.

  59. Even when underlying nationalism and economics are part of the mix for violent, what is the last bit of comfort that goes through a jihadist’s mind? That has everything to do with religion and is brewing underneath all else.

  60. What I don’t understand is why people always think when you are discussing Islam you are defending another Religions. They always counter with well the christians did this or the Jews did that.. The idea was that we look into the Muslim world and those who follow the Quran and discuss it and why these “extremist” groups are beheading people or stoning people. If an atheist wants to discuss this its so frustrating to be put in a position over and over of having to defend some other faith to discuss this one.

    1. Firstly, you find the same violent, bigoted types of thought in the other “great” religions (Christianity as interpreted by Christians anyway, not necessarily what Jesus is purported to have said) and Islam is an offshoot of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Hence, what’s found in that tradition informs Islam.

      Secondly, history has a lot to do with extremist movements. Radical “Islam” is primarily the product of the Middle East which has been invaded and reinvaded for centuries. (Yes there are isolated incidences of extremist Muslims in other areas, but they’re about as common as Christian extremists in the US, etc. Hence, also something that factors into the argument.) The Middle East, as a region, is seen as “behind the times” (which may be a valid point) in part because of Western policies toward it and the West is very much responsible for much of the extremism there (see the history of US meddling in Iran for one). It’s not much different now than Europe was pre-Enlightenment and it is outside infringement that has brought it to where it is. Much of the Middle East was much more cosmopolitan than it is now only a short time ago thanks in large part to US invasions.

      Thirdly, what Bill Maher, Sam Harris, etal want to do is critique the messages of Islam in a vacuum and then make those messages solely responsible for the extremists. That’s complete decontextualization of history and nonsense. It’s like saying one makes an ice cream cone FROM SCRATCH by opening the ice cream and cone containers and then blaming some weird Platonic notion of “ice cream” if the cone is broken or the scoop doesn’t work.

      Lastly, those arguing what Maher, Harris, etc are arguing refuse to acknowledge that religion is interpretation and that’s where Christianity is extremely informative as, in the US especially, Christianity is used to justify exactly the opposite of what its tenets state. Hence, even if Islam is the most violence-advocating religion in the world, that doesn’t mean all Muslims interpret it that way. As Cenk has pointed out, most people are just born into a religious category and think of it as part of their identity whether they adhere to it or not.

      In short, Maher, Harris, etal can critique Islam all they want. But if they critique the messages of Islam the religion in lieu of the extremist interpretations of Islam then they must expand their bases to, at least., include the Old Testament (a very violent book) and Christian misinterpretation of the New Testament because they’re all related in the big picture. Maher and Harris want to confine the picture to such a degree as it aids their argument (which serves to create the impression of bigotry).

      The fact is both Harris and Maher originally predicated their attack on Islam by equating Islam with extremist Muslims. Think about that. They equated the two things whether they want to deny it or not. Maher certainly did. By logical inference, that IMPLIES all Muslims are extremists whether either of them meant to say that or not. If they didn’t, neither one of them is emotionally adult enough to admit to engaging in a universal generalization, which, if they had, would mean all this arguing would never have happened.

      1. Like i previously mentioned in my comment, Sam Harris’ work is quite expansive and adresses a lot of issues youve mentioned. Sam has gone on the record specifically saying that Leviticus and Deuteronomy are more violent and reprehensible religious books than the Koran. Secondly, I think you’re operating under some sort of fallacy that this conversation “started” with this bill maher interview which is once again something i previously referenced. Harris has been writing on the issue of religion for over 10 years, so i would say that isolating one 5 minute clip and speaking as if that’s how he started the conversation is erroneous.

  61. I think we have just seen the difference between a intelligent person and one who wants to show you how intelligent he is.

    1. How right you are ! Cenk is truly a very intelligent person ! BTW ,your statement makes no sense- if one person is simply intelligent, and another person wants to show others how inteliigent he is, how does that exclude the latter from being highly intelligent himself ?

  62. Brilliant discussion, really learnt a lot. Cenk meets his match, but stands his ground well. Sick of interviews where the interviewer is just a soundboard for the interviewee. TYT should do more of these longer interviews

    1. Cenk doesn’t “meet his match.” Harris is world’s past Cenk in intellectual abilities and knowledge. Cenk was unable to in any sense reach Harris’ level. I would get frustrated too if I were in Harris’ place.

      1. You miss my point, which actually is very similar to your statement – Cenk usually dominates these interviews by overwhelming his guest, not so much with knowledge, but with expert debate technique (of course!!!!!). In this interview though Harris manages to overcome this with his cold, calculated replies. Although I wouldn’t say on the basis of this interview that Harris was that far above Cenk in his arguments. After this interview, does he still defend his conclusion that dictatorships should be established in the Middle East as an interim step towards Democracy??? I think they both performed in a refreshing way – hence I was motivated to express my approval. Bravo TYT.

  63. Sam is clearly not an atheist. His impression of the varying probabilities of Jesus returning to Jerusalem and his returning to Missouri is ridiculous. Cenk is right that the 0.0 probability of Jesus returning at all renders any further supposition uniformly moot, whle Sam is conceding a great deal of crediblity to scripture.

    1. Sam does know a great deal of scripture. He has to in order to discuss it accurately. This doesn’t mean he is not Atheist. He says repeatedly that he finds all religions to be absurd and we need to move past believing in these types of fantasies. What I don’t understand is why people always think when you are discussing Islam you are defending other Religions. They always counter with well the christians did this or the Jews did that.. The idea was that we look into the Muslim world and those who follow the Quran and discuss it and why these “extremist” groups are beheading people or stoning people. If an atheist wants to discuss this its so frustrating to be put in a position over and over of having to defend some other faith to discuss this one.

    2. Lol. He’s an atheist. He’s just presenting the probability. He doesn’t actually believe in jesus. Do some more research. Read ‘A Lett to a Christian Nation.’

      1. sirloinbeef’s logic is sound. Sam’s attempt to use statistics to “prove” that Mormons beliefs are less likely to be true than general Christian beliefs requires the assumption that there is a chance that Jesus will return.

        What does “athiest” mean to you? I do not understand how you can call someone who believes that Jesus may return one day an athiest

  64. It was a very good interview, well done Cenk . As someone not very familiar with Mr.Harris’s views, my perception of him has definitely changed after this discussion, he is clearly not a racist or islamophobe. He is coming from a very different place to this argument about how any belief {not just religion} has consequences in terms behaviour, while it is an obvious point, he appears to have thought very deeply about it. He is making very careful judgements based on subtle differences which is very hard to convey and there is always a possibility of error in his assessment, he could make his views more palatable if he did not have such certainty in some of his opinions. I must say that i still believe that the role of politics and economics is greater than religion, but then other people would say role of religion in state directly impacts economics and politics making it chicken/egg problem particularly in the case of Islam {but i would also add judaism/israel}

    1. People use whatever are the strongest ideas to get what they want. In the Middle East you manipulate people with religion (Islam). In the West you would manipulate people based on “freedom” or “democracy”.

      1. I agree with you to an extent , but there is a whole structure associated with those ideas and i guess then you would have to concede to Mr.Harris’s assertion about role of religion{in the middle east context}, that i am not yet willing to concede… would have to think hard about this one :)

        1. I think the different is cause. Harris says that religion is the cause of behavior, and I say religion is a tool to justify the behavior, or at least a tool to quash dissent.

          It’s the doubt, the flipside of the tobacco lobby for instance. The tobacco lobby inserted doubt into the studies that show cigarette smoking causes disease. That delayed action that would have slowed down big tobacco for a long time.

          Similarly using whatever is meaningful to a population, when you are the party doing wrong, inserting doubt about the wrongness, by saying you are doing the right thing makes the average person passive.

          1. I think you are correct. It is possibly most appropriate to think of religion as a tool being used to motivate/direct the believers towards some political or economic objective or to even prevent them showing agency as you pointed out. This view could also resolve the problem of the inherent structure of the specific religion, as it is no longer that relevant since one could hammer in a nail both using a hammer or plier. There could still be a question of what motivates those political or economic objectives, that i think can be attributed to simple desire of power or identity etc without recourse to religious justification.
            It was great discussing with you, i think i have more clarity now. Thanks :)

    1. Seriously. Cenk is so damn obtuse, stubborn and dismissive on so many obvious truths, it becomes hard to watch.

    2. Sam certainly has a infinite well of defensiveness and diversion…stop contextualizing us to death, and try to discuss the issues,..

      Does Sam ever stop whining about how poorly he is being treated?

      …and now when Cenk is leading him through his morass of victimhood by turning the Salon issue back on him, Sam chides Cenk to start talking details…This guy is unbearable.

  65. You have a weak ladder you are standing on, Cenk. The basis of the Muslim religion, the Islamic Teachings, are BY FAR, the most unforgiving and violent that still exist in the world today. No other religion still teaches killing all non-believers. But, Islam does, out front and one of the primary ideologies. The Islamic teachings are also perfect for manipulative propaganda to be used against people like Breschard (who only thinks he understands … and then only about half of what is happening). Now we have the Christian Fundamentalists (around the world) and the followers of Islam ready to get into with each other, at all costs. Perfect for those in true power to manipulate everything to go the way they want.

    1. Islam does not teach killing all non-believers. Those oft-quoted verses are within a context of war. Somewhat like what a general might say going into battle.

    2. @ maddoug You’ve never been to Africa to which Christian fundamentalism has caused the death of millions, this is actually quantifiable. No doubt Islam is just as bad but millions have not died because of it, and you say by FAR, you have no idea the plight people go through everyday…it’s just sad.

  66. You morons. Wasting time discussing religion is exactly what the merchants of death want you to do. Wars are never about religion. Religion is simply used as a recruiting tool and as a way to get young men to put themselves in harms way. You idiots.

    1. Excellent point. War is about attaining or retaining power, wealth, land, resources, etc. Religion is just a convenient means to that end.

    2. Wish it was that simple… it is not. Religion motivates many bad actions. All we need to do is listen to what the perpetrators actually say are the reasons.

    3. Boy, did you hit the nail on the head, breschard ! When will the day come that someone like you will hold real power in the government, who focuses on the real issues and stops all these nonsensical, ruinous wars !

      1. The issue IS NEVER religion-it’s always economics ! If modern man should ever pick a god from amongst his greatest, most certainly should he choose Adam Smith ! It is due to economics that many wars started in our history- Rome was brought down due to prevalent dire economic conditions (not because of gays in the military as right wing jackasses would like to claim)

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