In this YouTube video from Bill Maher’s show last night, Maher and Sam Harris criticize Islam against the protests of Nicholas Kristof, Michael Steele, and Ben Affleck, who claim that Muslims are terribly maligned. Affleck, in particular, comes off very badly, appearing as a whiny, interrupting brat who loses his temper. Here are the YouTube notes.
October 3, 2014 – Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, Nicholas Kristof, Michael Steele, and author Sam Harris got into what could only be described as a tumultuous continuation of Maher’s comments on Islam from last week, with Maher and Affleck tearing into each other over the influence of fundamentalists in the Muslim community. “We have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards muslims as people,” Harris began. “It’s intellectually ridiculous.”
“Hold on — are you the person who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam?” Affleck, on the show to promote his movie Gone Girl, interrupted, and argued that criticizing Islam, as Maher and Harris were doing it, was “gross and racist. It’s like saying, ‘Oh, you shifty Jew!’”
What follows is a few minutes of Affleck and Maher going at each other and yelling over each other, with the occasional interjection from Kristof and Steele providing intelligent perspective on reformers in the Muslim world, smart statistical analysis from Harris about the spectrum of fundamentalism, and then another few minutes of Affleck and Maher yelling at each other
Reader Derek, one of many who sent me this link, notes:
My favorite part is when Affleck claims that “[the members of] ISIS couldn’t fill a Double A ballpark in Charleston, West Virginia”. I did some math. They could easily fill more than 10 Double A ballparks in West Virginia.
Derek apparently participated in some fact-checking on The Uncertainty Blog; Maher and Harris were, by and large, right, though Maher exaggerated the figure for Egyptians who favor the death penalty for apostasy. Also, Sam tw**ted this, implying some kind of reconciliation. I still think that Affleck acted like a complete ass:
What Professor Ceiling Cat can say about this is to agree in general with Harris and Maher: the polls do paint a dismal picture of Muslim beliefs, and not just in a few countries, either. A while back I did a post on a recent worldwide Pew poll of Muslims, “Pew Report on Muslim world paints a distressing picture.” 39 countries were surveyed, each having more than 10 million Muslims. The survey did not include Iran or Saudi Arabia, where the pollsters euphemistically say, ““political sensitivities or security concerns prevented opinion research among Muslims.” Uh huh.
Read and weep. I’ve shown these bar graphs before, but it wouldn’t hurt to see them again.
Good for liberal Indonesia and Malaysia: only 35% of Muslims in the former state, and 52% of Muslims in the latter, think that adulterers should be stoned (I’ve multipled the proportion of Muslims believing in sharia law by the proportion of those who favor stoning)! Every Muslim country is strongly anti-gay and anti-women (look at the “wives should obey their husbands” statistics). As for sharia law, The proportion of Muslims favoring its adoption as national law for Muslims are 86% in Malaysia and 72% in Indonesia. Pity that Affleck, Kristof, and Steele don’t take those figures aboard.
As for Ben Affleck, I have no words for his brand of unthinking and petulant liberalism that ignores facts when he doesn’t like them.