Let's look in:
1) Atheists believe that life is meaningless.
"On the contrary, religious people often worry that life is meaningless and imagine that it can only be redeemed by the promise of eternal happiness beyond the grave."
Harris believes religious people embrace meaning because they fear meaninglessness.And what sort of evidence does provide? None.So it's nothing but baseless accusations.
"Atheists tend to be quite sure that life is precious. Life is imbued with meaning by being really and fully lived."
As wonderful as this may sound on the surface,it also presents a few problems for Atheists:Firstly,Atheist regimes have slaughtered 100's of millions of people,falsifying Harris' universal statement that Atheists are quite sure life is precious.And secondly,a life "fully lived" without objective moral principles leads to hedonism and excessive materialism.
"Our relationships with those we love are meaningful now; they need not last forever to be made so. Atheists tend to find this fear of meaninglessness … well … meaningless."
Harris is engaging in a strawman.Theists don't make the argument that only relationships which lasts forever are considered meaningful.Besides the partners we choose to marry,nearly all our relationships with others are not expected to last forever.
To charge religious people who embrace meaning into their lives as fearing meaninglessness is poisoning the well since Harris has presented no evidence to back up his accusation.
2) Atheism is responsible for the greatest crimes in human history.
In essence what Harris is saying is that when Atheists behave badly then they are being religious. Is this a fair and honest assessment of Atheists when they're committing atrocities?Harris is attempting to shield Atheists from ever having to take responsibility for their criminal actions because the blame gets automatically shifted to religion,who now has to answer for crimes that the proudly godless folk have perpetrated.
"There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable."
The presupposition here is that only Atheists are reasonable and no true Atheist behaves unreasonable.I see no reason why not to charge Harris with a No True Scotsman fallacy.Furthermore,I have news for Harris,only him and his fellow Atheists believe Atheists are reasonable - a fallacy of self-validation.
3) Atheism is dogmatic.
Jews, Christians and Muslims claim that their scriptures are so prescient of humanity’s needs that they could only have been written under the direction of an omniscient deity. An atheist is simply a person who has considered this claim, read the books and found the claim to be ridiculous. One doesn’t have to take anything on faith, or be otherwise dogmatic, to reject unjustified religious beliefs. As the programmer Stephen F. Roberts* once said: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
The claim Harris is supposed to refute is "Atheism is dogmatic".Instead he engages in a red herring by redirecting the reader's attention to religious scripture.What ever problems exists in religious books does nothing to refute the accusation that Atheism is dogmatic.
For example: If a UFO believer points out the unscrupulous and unscientific practices that have plagued Psychiatry over the years - would that somehow validate UFOs and prove that aliens exist? Of course not,that's an absurd conclusion.Likewise,Atheism must be scrutinized in isolation,without the crutch of religious issues.
And yes,Atheists are dogmatic about pushing their agenda which goes way beyond mere criticism of religion.Atheists have very specific beliefs about the nature of reality which is not validated by science but simply accepted on the basis of appeal to authority.They even have Atheist churches and split into different denominations due to dogma differences.They proselytize,erect monuments and billboards,send their children to Atheist only summer camps and pimp each others unscientific godless books.
4) Atheists think everything in the universe arose by chance.
"No one knows why the universe came into being. In fact, it is not entirely clear that we can coherently speak about the “beginning” or “creation” of the universe at all, as these ideas invoke the concept of time, and here we are talking about the origin of space-time itself."
Leading cosmologists and physicists like Hawking and Penrose agree the universe and space-time itself had a beginning.Harris is very cautiously trying to avoid answering and pleads ignorance instead.As an Atheist, he is a failure because Atheists have no choice but to believe our universe arose either from nothing and by chance or to evoke the unproven multiverse hypothesis,where anything and everything is possible.
"The notion that atheists believe that everything was created by chance is also regularly thrown up as a criticism of Darwinian evolution. As Richard Dawkins explains in his marvelous book, “The God Delusion,” this represents an utter misunderstanding of evolutionary theory. Although we don’t know precisely how the Earth’s early chemistry begat biology, we know that the diversity and complexity we see in the living world is not a product of mere chance. Evolution is a combination of chance mutation and natural selection. Darwin arrived at the phrase “natural selection” by analogy to the “artificial selection” performed by breeders of livestock. In both cases, selection exerts a highly non-random effect on the development of any species."
The entire paragraph above is completely beside the point.Unless that point is to pimp Dawkins' book,then it's a job well done.The point and myth Harris is supposed to refute is that Atheists believe the universe,space-time,its mathematical laws and first-life erupted from nothing and by chance.Harris has done nothing to refute that,he merely gives a shout out to his buddy Dawkins.
5) Atheism has no connection to science.
"Although it is possible to be a scientist and still believe in God — as some scientists seem to manage it — there is no question that an engagement with scientific thinking tends to erode, rather than support, religious faith. Taking the U.S. population as an example: Most polls show that about 90% of the general public believes in a personal God; yet 93% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences do not. This suggests that there are few modes of thinking less congenial to religious faith than science is."
First of all, the National Academy of Science (NAS) consists of about 2000 scientists while the overall number of scientists employed in the United States is more than 2 million.Clearly this is a gross instance of hasty generalization on Harris' part.A much more recent survey from the PEW Research Centre reported that 33% of scientists believe in God while 18% believe in a Universal Spirit or Higher Power and 41% reject either notion (aka Atheists).That's a total of 51% of scientists that are Dualists as opposed to Materialists.Harris' dishonesty and dogmatism is exposed as he so desperately clings to any unreliable statistics that could make his position seem attractive and rational.
6) Atheists are arrogant.
"When scientists don’t know something — like why the universe came into being or how the first self-replicating molecules formed — they admit it. Pretending to know things one doesn’t know is a profound liability in science. And yet it is the life-blood of faith-based religion."
Harris starts with a fallacy of false association.Scientists are not tautologically equivalent to Atheists and neither is Atheism equivalent to science,as I've already shown above in myth 5.And since arrogance is claiming credit one is not entitled to - therefore the charge that Atheists are arrogant remains accurate.
"One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse can be found in the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility, while claiming to know facts about cosmology, chemistry and biology that no scientist knows. When considering questions about the nature of the cosmos and our place within it, atheists tend to draw their opinions from science. This isn’t arrogance; it is intellectual honesty."
Theists make no such claims about science,in fact they insist God is non-physical and science is limited to testable predictions on physical phenomena. Harris is perpetuating the myth that science and religion are at war.
7) Atheists are closed to spiritual experience.
"There is nothing that prevents an atheist from experiencing love, ecstasy, rapture and awe; atheists can value these experiences and seek them regularly. What atheists don’t tend to do is make unjustified (and unjustifiable) claims about the nature of reality on the basis of such experiences."
Not even religious people make such bold claims,they freely admit the limitations of human nature that could prevent them from having spiritual experiences but Harris asserts Atheists are immune to natural human failings.You don't get more arrogant than this.
"There is no question that some Christians have transformed their lives for the better by reading the Bible and praying to Jesus. What does this prove? It proves that certain disciplines of attention and codes of conduct can have a profound effect upon the human mind. Do the positive experiences of Christians suggest that Jesus is the sole savior of humanity? Not even remotely — because Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and even atheists regularly have similar experiences."
This is an argument against nothing.It does nothing to prove that Atheists are open to spiritual experiences.It's a strawman argument at best.Christians do not make the claim that positive experiences are reserved for Christians.
8) Atheists believe that there is nothing beyond human life and human understanding.
Atheists are free to admit the limits of human understanding in a way that religious people are not. It is obvious that we do not fully understand the universe; but it is even more obvious that neither the Bible nor the Koran reflects our best understanding of it".
I wonder if Harris has even met a religious person because accepting the limits of human understanding is a common theme in most religions.
"We do not know whether there is complex life elsewhere in the cosmos, but there might be. If there is, such beings could have developed an understanding of nature’s laws that vastly exceeds our own. Atheists can freely entertain such possibilities. They also can admit that if brilliant extraterrestrials exist, the contents of the Bible and the Koran will be even less impressive to them than they are to human atheists.From the atheist point of view, the world’s religions utterly trivialize the real beauty and immensity of the universe. One doesn’t have to accept anything on insufficient evidence to make such an observation."
I thought Atheists only draw their opinions from scientific facts and now Harris accepts the possibility of advanced intelligent life on other planets without zero empirical proof.He then further speculates from his position of no-evidence what those aliens' thoughts might be.
Here's something for Harris to ponder over:What will those aliens think when they discover Atheist regimes have slaughtered up to 259 million people?Or the fact that Atheists murdered scientists and banned Mendelian Genetics and Quantum Physics during the Soviet era?Surely those aliens will be even less impressed with human Atheists.
9) Atheists ignore the fact that religion is extremely beneficial to society.
"Those who emphasize the good effects of religion never seem to realize that such effects fail to demonstrate the truth of any religious doctrine. This is why we have terms such as “wishful thinking” and “self-deception.” There is a profound distinction between a consoling delusion and the truth.
In any case, the good effects of religion can surely be disputed. In most cases, it seems that religion gives people bad reasons to behave well, when good reasons are actually available. Ask yourself, which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering, or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?"
Consistent with his goal to eliminate God,Harris cannot allow himself to accept the facts that religion and Christianity in particular have been extremely beneficial to society.
Here are some of the benefits of religion that Atheists don't want you to know:
-There was no such era as the "Dark Ages".Contemporary historians have debunked the popular myths of Christianity sending Europe into 1000 years of superstition,ignorance,stagnation and continuous bloodshed.
-The Middle Ages was a prosperous and innovative era that gave birth to many inventions,scientific discoveries,charity organizations and hospitals.
-Science is in fact a product of religious people.
-The Church built Universities that were initially religious institutions.
-The Catholic Church were the main custodians of Aristotelian logic that were taught in their Universities,as well as philosophy,science and astronomy,which directly caused the birth of Newtonian (classical) physics.
-Galileo,Newton,Copernicus,William of Ockham,Roger Bacon who pioneered much of the scientific method in Europe were deeply religious scientists and often credited their faith for inspiring their work.
-Jesuit priests have a long history of scientific achievements that were sponsored by the Catholic church
-Even after the Middle Ages,Christians continued their significant contributions to mathematics,science and medicine such as Father Gregor Mendel (genetics),Physicist and priest Georges Lemaitre (Big Bang Theory),Alexander Fleming (inventor of penicillin),Michael Faraday,William Thompson Kelvin,James Clerk Maxwell,Robert Boyle and Max Planck are but a few examples.
-In conclusion: Science,technology and modern civilization are products of religion and are not essential for man's survival.Only water,food,shelter and clothing are essential for man's survival.Humans and animals are biologically adjusted towards self-preservation and adapting to environments that are best suited for reproduction and passing on their genes.Living organisms,whether unicellular or multicellular do not need logic, philosophy,astronomy,mathematics and science for their perpetuation,vitality and succession.These disciplines arose from the need to understand God and His creation.
10) Atheism provides no basis for morality.
"If a person doesn’t already understand that cruelty is wrong, he won’t discover this by reading the Bible or the Koran — as these books are bursting with celebrations of cruelty, both human and divine."
The fact that Christians who took recourse to the Bible were the ones who pioneered our modern day human rights is proof enough that their scriptures had a positive impact on society.
Eleanor Roosevelt,Henri Dunant and William Wilberforce are few examples of Christians who instigated our modern Human Rights,abolition of slavery,Geneva Convention and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"We do not get our morality from religion. We decide what is good in our good books by recourse to moral intuitions that are (at some level) hard-wired in us and that have been refined by thousands of years of thinking about the causes and possibilities of human happiness.
We have made considerable moral progress over the years, and we didn’t make this progress by reading the Bible or the Koran more closely. Both books condone the practice of slavery — and yet every civilized human being now recognizes that slavery is an abomination. Whatever is good in scripture — like the golden rule — can be valued for its ethical wisdom without our believing that it was handed down to us by the creator of the universe."
The above argument is really fatal to Atheism.If our moral intuitions are hard-wired (ie.genetically determined) then those who display immoral behavior like the criminally-inclined have no choice but to act compulsively.They also cannot be held accountable for their actions which are merely based on inclinations,self-interests and instinct.Furthermore,individuals who are in possession of genes that are hard-wired to commit evil acts, will most certainly pass them on to their progeny,resulting in an endless cycle of creating criminals..It's not such a slippery-slope to conclude that Eugenics is the only viable solution to the genetic pollution.Methods for their prevention would include forced sterilizations,forced abortions,infanticide,marriage restrictions and quarantine.This is already a reality in North Korea, an Atheist majority nation.