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Sam Harris
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Entries by Sam Harris

Drugs and the Meaning of Life

(409) Comments | Posted July 6, 2011 | 9:43 AM

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(Photo by JB Banks)

Everything we do is for the purpose of altering consciousness. We form friendships so that we can feel certain emotions, like love, and avoid others, like loneliness. We eat specific foods to enjoy...

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On Spiritual Truths

(83) Comments | Posted June 16, 2011 | 1:08 PM

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(Photo by Matthew C. Wright)

One day, you will find yourself outside this world which is like a mother's womb. You will leave this earth to enter, while you are yet in the body, a...

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The Perils of the Print Interview

(38) Comments | Posted May 24, 2011 | 9:54 AM

Strange bonds of trust and self-deception tend to grow between journalists and their subjects. Janet Malcolm examines these fraught encounters in a fascinating book, The Journalist and the Murderer, which focuses on the relationship between Joe McGinniss, the best-selling author of Fatal Vision,...

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How to Meditate

(140) Comments | Posted May 12, 2011 | 8:04 PM

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(The one who does not judge, by h.koppdelaney)

There are many forms of introspection and mental training that go by the name of "meditation," and I have studied several over the years. As I occasionally speak about the benefits...

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Why I'd Rather Not Speak About Torture

(626) Comments | Posted April 29, 2011 | 3:00 PM

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Photo by DOH4

I have long maintained a page on my website where I address various distortions, misunderstandings, and criticisms of my work. I take it to be either a sign...

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My Response to Rep. Keith Ellison

(305) Comments | Posted March 15, 2011 | 1:36 PM


In the aftermath of the House hearing on American Muslims, Representative Keith Ellison appeared on HBO's Real Time to further testify to the benign nature of Islam. Attempting to bring some glint of...

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A Response to Critics

(181) Comments | Posted January 29, 2011 | 1:46 AM

Among the many quandaries a writer must face after publishing a controversial book is the question of how, or whether, to respond to criticism. At a minimum, it would seem wise to correct misunderstandings and distortions of one's views wherever they appear, but one soon discovers that there is no...

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A New Year's Resolution for the Rich

(1632) Comments | Posted December 29, 2010 | 5:36 PM

While the United States has suffered the worst recession in living memory, I find that I have very few financial concerns. Many of my friends are in the same position: Most of us attended private schools and good universities, and we will be able to provide these same opportunities to...

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Can There Be a Science of Good and Evil?

(195) Comments | Posted October 3, 2010 | 9:47 PM

Since the publication of my first book, The End of Faith, I have had a privileged view of the "culture wars" -- both in the United States, between secular liberals and Christian conservatives, and in Europe, between largely irreligious societies and their growing Muslim populations. Having received tens of thousands...

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The Moral Landscape: Thinking About Human Values in Universal Terms

(482) Comments | Posted August 25, 2010 | 3:07 PM

The following is a series of 12 questions relating to my forthcoming book, The Moral Landscape, and my answers to them.

1. Are there right and wrong answers to moral questions?

Morality must relate, at some level, to the well-being of conscious creatures. If there are more and...

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Bringing the Vatican to Justice

(446) Comments | Posted May 10, 2010 | 11:37 PM

I confess that, as a critic of religion, I have paid too little attention to the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Frankly, it always felt unsportsmanlike to shoot so large and languorous a fish in so tiny a barrel. This scandal was one of the most spectacular "own...

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Toward a Science of Morality

(867) Comments | Posted May 7, 2010 | 1:47 AM

Over the past couple of months, I seem to have conducted a public experiment in the manufacture of philosophical and scientific ideas. In February, I spoke at the 2010 TED conference, where I briefly argued that morality should be considered an undeveloped branch of science. Normally, when one...

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Moral Confusion in the Name of "Science"

(254) Comments | Posted March 29, 2010 | 6:35 PM

Last month, I had the privilege of speaking at the 2010 TED conference for exactly 18 minutes. The short format of these talks is a brilliant innovation and surely the reason for their potent half-life on the Internet. However, 18 minutes is not a lot of time...

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Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks

(249) Comments | Posted May 5, 2008 | 11:13 AM

Geert Wilders, conservative Dutch politician and provocateur, has become the latest projectile in the world's most important culture war: the zero-sum conflict between civil society and traditional Islam. Wilders, who lives under perpetual armed guard due to death threats, recently released a 15 minute film entitled Fitna ("strife" in Arabic)...

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What Barack Obama Could Not (and Should Not) Say

(1010) Comments | Posted March 21, 2008 | 1:59 PM

Barack Obama delivered a truly brilliant and inspiring speech this week. There were a few things, however, that he did not and could not (and, indeed, should not) say:

He did not say that the mess he is in has as much to do with religion as with...

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In Defense of Witchcraft

(300) Comments | Posted June 26, 2007 | 4:40 PM

Imagine that the year is 1507, and life is difficult. Crops fail, good people suffer instantaneous and horrifying turns of bad luck, and even the children of royalty regularly die before they have taken their first steps. As it turns out, everyone understands the cause of these calamities: it is...

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Jewcy's Big Question: Why Are Atheists So Angry?

(163) Comments | Posted November 29, 2006 | 4:09 PM

Earlier this year, Newsweek religion columnist Marc Gellman confessed that atheists had lately befuddled him: "What I simply do not understand is why they are often so angry," Gellman lamented. "I just don't get it."

Why are atheists so angry? Sam Harris and Dennis Prager inaugurate Jewcy's "Big Question"...

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Pope 'Rottweiler' Barks

(60) Comments | Posted September 17, 2006 | 8:59 PM

Cross-posted at Truthdig

The world is still talking about the pope's recent speech--a speech so boring, convoluted and oblique to the real concerns of humanity that it could well have been intended as a weapon of war. It might start a war, in fact, given that it contained...

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Who Are the Moderate Muslims?

(83) Comments | Posted February 16, 2006 | 8:59 PM

Ever since the atrocities of September 11th, 2001, there has been a lot of hopeful talk in the Western press about the vast majority of Muslims who are religious "moderates." Being moderates, they necessarily repudiate the theology of Osama bin Laden and disavow terrorism. Nor would they ever dream of...

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A Contemplative Science

(90) Comments | Posted February 2, 2006 | 7:38 PM

I recently spent a week with one hundred fellow scientists at a retreat center in rural Massachusetts. The meeting attracted a diverse group: physicists, neuroscientists, psychologists, clinicians, and a philosopher or two; all devoted to the study of the human mind. In many respects it was like any other scientific...

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