Not all Muslims/Presbyterians are like that

In the early afternoon of Monday, February 6, I checked Scott Adams’s blog and read his new post, Sam Harris Induces Cognitive Dissonance in Ben Affleck. Adams linked to a video of a debate with Sam Harris, Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, and a few other less famous guys. Adams’s comment:

Watch for the moment Ben has to hallucinate Sam’s opinion from the reasonable position that many Muslims worldwide have non-liberal views to an hallucination about “All Muslims are bad.” Sam and Bill both clarify their viewpoints, with data, but Ben is struck deaf to it. All he can hear is the absurd absolute “all.” He is literally hallucinating.

Not wanting to bother with the video, I googled it and found a transcript. Here’s the bit where Ben Affleck (“Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt” to his friends) “hallucinates.”

[Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt:]
How about the more than a billion people…

[Sam Harris:]
Those – those Muslims…

[Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt:]
How about more than a billion people who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches…

[Sam Harris:]
Wait a second.

[Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt:]
And don’t do any of the things that you’re saying all Muslims

[Sam Harris:]
Okay wait second, no, no, no wait, wait, wait. Stereotyping. I’m not saying all Muslims are like that

[Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt:]
You are taking a few bad things and you are painting that the whole religion with that same stuff.


Later the same evening, around 5:00 or 6:00, I read a few pages of George MacDonald’s novel St. George and St. Michael, which is set during the English Civil War. Dorothy is a Royalist, but her love interest Richard is a Roundhead. The passage below is from page 390.

The trial and execution of Laud, who died in the beginning of the following year, obeying the king rather than his rebellious lords, was a terrible sign to the house of Raglan of what the presbyterian party was capable of. But to Dorothy it would have given a yet keener pain had she not begun to learn that neither must the excesses of individuals be attributed to their party, nor those of the party taken as embodying the mind of everyone who belongs to it. At the same time the old insuperable difficulty returned : how could Richard belong to such a party ?

As in the Affleck-Harris debate, the party being discussed is called by a religious name (“the presbyterian party”) but is also a political group that engages in politically motivated violence.


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