Young Turks host Cenk Uygur hammered neuroscientist and atheism advocate Sam Harris on Wednesday, saying his “thought experiments” are similar to the anti-Muslim policies actually being suggested by Republicans.
“It’s funny how all these ‘thought experiments’ have Muslims as the victims,” Uygur said of Harris, while noting that Harris has not only come out in favor of profiling Muslims based on ideas regarding their appearance, but stated his agreement with Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) that Syrian refugees be allowed into the US if they are Christian, but not Muslim.
“These are not just ‘thought experiments.’ These have real effects,” Uygur said.
Uygur also criticized what he described as Harris’ penchant for trying to soften anti-Muslim ideas by stating that “maybe” they should be considered, even if he did not support them, going so far as to compare it to a tactic commonly used by GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
The host specifically mentioned a passage from Harris’ book The End of Faith in which he contemplated how the US should react if faced with an “Islamist regime armed with long-range nuclear weapons”:
If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action available to us, given what Islamists believe.
Harris described the idea as “perfectly insane,” while insisting that it represented a “plausible scenario” that could bring about the decimation of the global population. But Uygur rejected Harris’ argument.
“There is no ‘maybe’ there. If you think ‘maybe’ and you think, ‘Ten million innocent civilians,’ think about that, man — family upon family, kids on top of kids, grandmothers, aunts, uncles,” he said. “You know what happens in a nuclear explosion? Their bodies explode. And you think, ‘Maybe.'”
He also closed the segment by mockingly challenging Harris fans to send in their complaints.
“Even though I’ve given you full context, tell me how the beloved Dr. Harris is once again misrepresented by his own words, and misunderstood by feeble minds like Noam Chomsky,” Uygur said.
Watch Uygur’s commentary, as aired on Wednesday, below.