Apparently, Sam Harris is “feared by the pious” and “adored by secularists.” Ooooo. As a former pious individual, I’m so, so scared. I occasionally defend the pious in spite of my current lack of faith. I can’t ever imagine that I’ll defend Mr. Harris.
Mr. Harris is a scientist. Guess what? So am I. What is science, after all? It is knowledge. Anyone who possesses knowledge is a scientist. You can’t live on this earth successfully unless you are a scientist. Therefore, a toddler is a scientist. He has five senses (hopefully), and with those, he ambles from one part of the room to the other in order to pick up a book. He hefts it, learning. He turns the pages, learning. He looks at the colorful pictures, learning. He looks at the strange, black symbols at the bottom of each picture, learning. He knows there is a connection between these characters and the sounds his mommy makes with her mouth. He’s learning. He’s a scientist.
Primitive man observes animals, learning. He figures out that a sharp rock tethered to the end of a straight stick, if shot by a bow he has fashioned, will insert itself in the animal and cause it to die. He’s a primitive scientist.
But Mr. Harris is a special kind of scientist. He wins applause. He’s suave. I think he’s cute. He’s well spoken. When he was a toddler, he ambled across the room to heft books. He was a scientist long before he won accolades from whatever universities he attended. But he’s the only one who gets to call himself a scientist. And much later in the video to which I linked above, he goes totally off the cliff, and tries to prove scientifically that all you straight men reading my column are nothing but a bunch of womanizing sleazebags. Mr. Harris is a scientific misandrist.
He starts off with a complete falsehood, from any scientific standpoint:
“Values are a certain kind of fact.”
He never proves this statement. That’s not the reason it is fallacious, but that is telling. Since he assumes this, everything else he says to his adoring audience is bunk. Watch the video until he shows everybody an “appalling” magazine cover (roughly halfway through). Do you see the fallacy? Are you watching the video?
If not, then I’ll elaborate. (Maybe you have a piss-poor computer. Too bad for you.) Harris shows a picture of women trapped somewhere in the Middle East, where women are subjected to forced behavior, requiring them to cover themselves from head to toe in cloth, obscuring their faces and bodies. This is the essence of religious fundamentalism. It is the height of misogyny. It is the nadir of modern feminist failure that they have done very little about it. But even this is not “immoral,” because no one as of yet has proven the existence of morality outside the human mind. Even so, Harris doesn’t stop here. The next picture he shows is of a gaggle of gorgeous babes, each posing and puckering for the camera. He draws a parallel. The audience responds agreeably. I myself was left dumbfounded. That Harris doesn’t understand the immense differences between these two pictures is beyond telling. It reveals his whole game, and the central problems with modern science.
By using a single example of alleged misogyny, Harris argues: Now that religion is dead, its myths exposed, science can and should tell people what to do and how to think. This “take charge” attitude apparently is intended to warn you straight boys exactly how much ogling is scientifically acceptable. Good luck, Sam. And don’t touch any of those muscle mags!
If science is good for anything, it ought to reveal that religion never should have taken on the mantle of coercing others to do anything. Now, I do not reject all religious views outright. There is non-coercive love in many religious teachings. I have seen a lot of evidence of individuals turning to the greater love within us all as a result of religious conversion. I see the myths and our mistaken attempts to clutch at the remnants of them as temporary solutions, something that can help some individuals scrape through this world a little easier, like carving a god out of wood and putting him in your hut. I have seen religion give people a sense of purpose, and to be honest, I miss a little of that myself. Reject religion if you want, but refusing to study and understand its impact on your life is a serious mistake.
Now that freedom is my purpose, I am reminded of the harshness of scientific truth, and the necessity to embrace not only the idea that truth-seeking can be arduous and saddening, but also the fact that morality is not existent, and therefore, science cannot be in charge of that which exists only in the subjective mind of the individual. How’s that for harsh scientific truth?
I don’t write for an MRA website because I think men are being treated “wrongly” or “immorally.” Those are subjective labels that I feel, but I can’t assert as facts. I write for an MRA website because I see individuals whose volition is violated, which is indeed factual. I see modern-day feminism as being anti-individual, coercive, and death-oriented (all factual), which means it is “bad” for life-oriented men and women. Harris, in showing “despicable” images of scantily-clad supermodels, is kowtowing to the establishment that embraced the “man as machine” idea more than one hundred years ago, according to John Taylor Gatto. Anybody who currently clutches at The Ring, including feminists, has to embrace this ideal, because it is entrenched in the establishment. It did not die out after the sinking of the Titanic (where men gave their lives to save more women) or the advent of World War I (where men were encouraged by their women to stay in the trenches until they coughed up their lungs). Harris still believes that the machinery that makes up a complex, wondrous individual can be made to operate differently with a tweak here and there. He is dangerously wrong.
The very idea that science can teach us how to treat women, who comprise half the population of a planet inhabited by billions, is laughable. How you treat a woman depends on the woman; how you treat a man depends on the man. If you take the anarchist principle of non-aggression as an axiom, it gets a little easier, but to really relate involves circling individual boundaries until they are volitionally broken down by both parties. When will Mr. Harris and his cracker-jack team of researchers ever be able to figure that one out?
There is an entirely different way, a way that probably never even crossed Harris’s mind, of looking at the two images of two groups of women. The first image shows total oppression of an entire sex. It is the physical embodiment of misogyny. It is the fear men have of their own sexuality, and scapegoating the object of desire into subjection.
The second image shows the total liberation of an entire sex. It is the physical embodiment of complete freedom. It is a celebration of both men’s and women’s sexuality, and the setting of the object of desire on a level that can only exist in fantasy, that of a goddess. I fear that Harris, like fanatical Muslim men, possesses a fear of his own sexuality that drives him to feel guilty for it. (I’m assuming, much to my own dismay, that the man is straight.) He shouldn’t want to look at women, the way they move their hips, the way their breasts heave when they breathe, to smell the scent they’ve sprayed on their bodies, to observe how tightly their pants cling to their rumps. The feminized Mr. Harris cries, “Exploitation!”, links it to despicable acts of cultural cowardice and the religious intolerance of an entire sex, and receives the approval of a fawning, feminized audience.
Let me tell you something about the “exploited” women on those magazine covers. Every single one of them read countless such magazines as girls. They played supermodel in their rooms with their girlfriends. They hung out with the pretty girls in school. They reveled in the attention from the most attractive boys. They eventually thought to themselves, “Hey. I could make money with this body. I could get lots of attention and approval. I don’t have to play supermodel, I can be supermodel!” I know. I used to hang out with girls when I was a kid. Lots of them.
But then it gets ugly and difficult. These girls grow up. If they want to be models, they have to face rejection after rejection. They need agents. They have to monitor what they eat. They have to obsess about their bodies. They have to wear the right labels. They have to show up early for screenings and auditions. They have to work, and work hard. They have to be dismissive of too many fawning admirers, and focus on the shoot ahead. They have to deal with temperamental and demanding photographers. Through it all, they have more than one opportunity to walk away from it all. It is easy to do so. The demanding world of modeling cannot afford to coerce eager young women. They stay, not because they are starving, or because they have no other choice, but because they are hoping against all hope that the shot where they’ve grabbed their tits and thrust them forward will make it on the cover, and next week they’ll be in the supermarket, seeing that coveted picture in the checkout isle. Where Harris and like-minded, machine-oriented, feminist-indoctrinated individuals see exploitation, there is none to be scientifically found.
The first image is coercion. It is death. That much is scientifically proven fact. (Read my STR article “Coercion Is Death” if you don’t understand how.) The second image is freedom. It is life. That is also scientifically proven. It makes pretty girls rich and gets them noticed. A head-to-toe burqa makes pretty girls invisible and ensures that the rest of their lives will be spent in squalor. So try and dream up a scientific strategy to dig women out of that, my friend. You can start by showing Muslim men that Allah does not exist, and that coercion leads directly and immediately to death — two facts.
Gentlemen, let me clue you in on what I’ve learned about “science” — not the science you use every day to stand up, walk, communicate, fix the car, earn a paycheck, type an article, masturbate to a provocative magazine cover, or wash the windows. The “science” embraced by Sam Harris and a host of others, many in high positions of authority unfortunately, is a religion. This is why Mr. Harris talks about moving in where religion is waning. He doesn’t want to replace religion; he wants to win converts. Step One is regulating sexuality, most importantly male sexuality, something with which virtually every religion has concerned itself since time began. In days gone past (and in the current world of fundamentalist Islam), it meant placing blame and heaping rules upon women, to deflect attention away from men’s embarrassing erections. These days, it is directed by “science,” along with its allies in coercive feminism, at the erection itself. The end result, however, is the same. It is a condemnation of female sexuality, male sexuality, and men in general, who have always been more expendable than women since all a man does is squirt for a few seconds and leave the woman to go through a troublesome and life-changing nine months. Since it takes so long to make another human, you protect those who make them. And when you believe that God is disgusted with virtually every little thing you do wrong, then your constant erections, a sure sign of your animal instincts, must be ungodly. Furthermore, when the hurt and pain evident in errant behavior of children makes itself apparent, and the immediate need for family and nurturance becomes unavoidably obvious, the idea of a man spreading his sperm this way and that becomes more troublesome. Society can’t survive with wild, out-of-control, unloved, and unfathered children. That’s a lot of responsibility heaped upon a man for something that feels so central to manhood, so why not blame the woman and force her to cover her beautiful eyes, nose, and lips, especially since she’s physically weaker?
Take God out of the equation, uncover the scapegoated female, make it easier to raise kids, and what do you have left? Erections, spilled semen, and a whole lot of self-inflicted guilt, now reveled in by a celebrity culture that dishes out autobiographical confessions. Mr. Harris is unknowingly indulging in the same hatred of women as fanatical Muslims and many more men of ancient times, only now it is augmented by hatred of self, or men in general. He may claim he’s replacing religion with science, but all he has succeeded in doing is incorporating the guilt trips of religion’s bible into his supposedly scientific mind. Virtually everything he has to say in his presentation is entirely subjective and unscientific.
“Science” now wants us to feel guilty if we ignore our “depression,” create “greenhouse gases,” cause “extinction” of animals, bury plastic in the soil, fall behind other nations’ governmental schools, not measure up to the “IQ test,” depend too much on oil, carry around too much body fat, and now forbids looking at pretty girls. If there is truly a human need for guilt, then I suppose science will have to step in, now that less and less people believe in Jesus. It’s a pity that science can only give us Sam Harris and his kind as a replacement. Open up the Four Gospels sometime, and you’ll see why I consider myself a “Post-Christian” as opposed to an “ex-Christian.” I’ll take that rhetoric any day over false cries of “Exploitation!” Spare me.