Sam Harris

Author, The End of Faith

The Future of Ideas
32 minutes, 15mb, recorded 2005-10-22
Sam Harris
In this Future of Ideas session at Pop!Tech 2005, Sam Harris debates many points relating to religion, particularly the dangers that can be brought about by religious extremists -- in any faith -- around the world, and in our own country. Even religious moderates play a role by allowing the intolerance of extremists to grow.

Sam mentions that often people tend to feel uncomfortable about questioning the depth of someone else's religious conviction, possibly out of fear or concern that calling to question the depth of another person's religious conviction would interfere with that person's religious freedoms.

But where does one draw the line? Can a person's faith, personal beliefs in a personal God and infallible holy writings, their very religion cross the line? Does the fundamental depth of someone's, or some religious group's belief system make them intolerant of others and promote intolerance of other belief systems?

And if so, can these religious beliefs put another group of people or a country at risk, or even put the world's peace at risk? Sam contends that religion, faith and inflexible fundamentalist belief systems do allow and often encourage intolerance of others who may not believe the same way. This intolerance can threaten the peace of particular groups of people, entire countries and the world. He shares that even religious moderates can be apathetic about the intolerance pushed by others.

Sam candidly pulls no punches and plays no favorites as he goes through a methodical path of arguments to show where his concerns are and why. He shares some insightful and provocative nuggets of truth. Sam Harris certainly provides something for everyone to ponder in this session.

This talk was from the The Future of Ideas session at Pop!Tech. The other speaker in this session was Susan Blackmore. The question and answer period can be heard at the end of Susan Blackmore's talk.

Sam Harris is the author of the international bestseller, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. He is a graduate in philosophy from Stanford University and has studied both Eastern and Western religious traditions, along with a variety of spiritual disciplines, for twenty years.

Sam is now completing a doctorate in neuroscience, studying the neural basis of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). His work has been discussed in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, and many other journals. Sam makes regular appearances on television and radio to discuss the risks that religion now poses to modern societies. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. Several foreign editions are in press.


This free podcast is from our Pop!Tech series.

For The Conversations Network:

  • Post-production audio engineer: Paul Figgiani
  • Website editor: Fran Parker