Dan Arel, trying to show that New Atheists are white supremacists, lies about New Atheists

A while back, Dan Arel, who labels himself an “author, journalist, and activist” was a rational man—and an atheist. Then somehow he jumped the rails, following C. J. W*rl*m*n in his misguided and vicious misrepresentation of New Atheism.  Now Arel’s lost not just his cool, but his rationality, flailing about at his enemies like a bull pricked by a picador. Arel’s new schtick is that New Atheists are all a bunch of bigots, Islamophobes and white supremacists—morally and tactically in the same league as Nazis and right-wing Trumpites.

The Dissolution of Arel is on view in at (appropriately), The New Arab, in a smear piece called “New atheism’s move from Islamophobia to white racism” (I hate linking to this, but feel obligated to). Read it for yourself: he paints not only Sam Harris and Dave Rubin as “white supremacists,” but can’t resist putting me in that camp:

Rubin, like Harris, doesn’t bring these guests on to challenge their views, but instead to give credibility to their previously held biases. Both hosts claim to defend the “free market of ideas”, yet only support one side of those ideas – and that side is chalk [sic] full of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the like.

The rest of the movement is full of defenders of this practice – such as retired biology professor Jerry Coyne, who recently attacked Mother Jones for calling Rubin part of the “right’s independent media personalities”.

Yeah, I’m a huge defender of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. (I note that Rubin, Harris, and I are all secular Jews, which doesn’t give us a lot of cred for being white supremacists!) But put that aside, for I want to note that Arel, in this nasty hit piece, has repeated the recent and widespread slander about Sam Harris, misrepresenting words Sam said on his podcast with Maajid Nawaz.

Arel:

Harris even more recently went as far as to ask: “What is the [expletive] point of having more Muslims in your society? It seems perfectly rational to say, we don’t want any more. We have enough. And certainly increasing the percentage is not a help to anyone who loves freedom of speech and anything else, any of the other liberal values.”

This came during a discussion on his podcast with Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz. During the show Harris argued that US immigration policy would need to figure “out some way to keep the number of Muslims down in any society, whether we’re honest about this or whether we do this covertly. Clearly it’s rational to want to do this.”

While this still reeks of Harris’ previous anti-Muslim rhetoric, it is also a prominent white nationalist talking point. He even went on to say he knows someone like neo-Nazi Richard Spencer would agree.

Arel’s link is to an Alternet piece, but if you went to Harris’s podcast itself, and listened to the discussion starting at 1:10:50, you’ll see that Harris is posing a hypothetical question to Nawaz, espousing sentiments that Harris doesn’t believe. He’s trying to see how Nawaz would react to the hypothetical. This quote by Sam has been used all over the Internet as evidence of Harris’s Islamophobia and bigotry, but it’s taken completely out of context by many, including Reza Aslan and now Arel.  I posted on this egregious cherry-picking not long ago.

Arel fancies himself a journalist, but he’s guilty of either not doing his homework, or (my guess) deliberate distortion. And really, “New Atheism” is full of white nationalists? What a crock!

I’ve responded at that site to Arel’s lies:

And another commenter reminds us of what Arel said less than eight months ago:

I found this one, too:

Sounds like extremist New Atheism! And Islamophobia! Even I wouldn’t say “Fuck Islam”!

Poor Dan.

For more on the pervasive misrepresentation of Sam Harris, see the Areo Magazine article by Malhar Mali, “The Sam Harris Outrage Industry“. One quote:

Until very recently, it was utterly perplexing to witness supposedly rational people reveling in the fanatical joys of degrading someone who has defied any accepted norms of thought or speech regarding the issue of Islamism, but now it’s commonplace enough to be something nearer to sadly boring. Harris’ mistreatment is but one good example of the fate awaiting those who wish even to approach the periphery of this debate. I have watched with growing trepidation: Douglas Murray called a “hate preacher” by Massoud Shadjareh on the BBC; Maajid Nawaz (astoundingly) labelled a “Porch Monkey” by Murtaza Hussain; the late Christopher Hitchens considered a bigot for his strong stance against Islam and the ludicrous notion of “Islamophobia.” These are only the most well known instances. Ex-Muslims and liberal Muslims are constantly defamed for questioning Islam or seeking to implement some type of change.

(By the way, they’re doing a Patreon to support Areo, so check out Areo, and if you like it, you might consider kicking in a few bucks.)

28 Comments

  1. Posted July 14, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    There’s plenty more lies in that Dan Arel piece, for example:

    “Harris doesn’t even pretend to take issue with Murray’s long debunked findings and instead tells listeners: “For better or worse, these are all facts,” and continues, “In fact, there is almost nothing in psychological science for which there is more evidence than for these claims.” The claims, of course, being that blacks and Hispanics in the US are biologically inferior when it comes to intelligence.”

    No, those claims were *not* the claims that those Harris quotes were about.

    And as an aside: “… and that side is chalk full of white supremacists …”. Chock full presumably? But Arel usually is somewhat careless.

    • Posted July 14, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      And another lie: “… even after Yiannopoulos doxxed a transgender student from the stage …”

      He didn’t “dox” the student, he used only public information, no more than was in a TV interview by that activist student.

  2. Bruce Gorton
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Dan Arel, the guy who supports violently assaulting peaceful protesters and yet still doesn’t get that he’s the fascist.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      +1.

      Who the heck is he trying to impress these days? Maybe he’s just trying to make himself as well known as those he criticizes? From my point of view, he’s only creating an increasing level of disdain for himself.

      • Craw
        Posted July 14, 2017 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        He’s like Ann Coulter: the spotlight fades and he’s willing to say anything, or become anything, to keep it.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    “White Supremecist”….

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    What will shut this guy up. A small hand full of lawyers…

  5. Zach
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been following Sam Harris’s career for about seven years now, so I should no longer be surprised by how persistently mendacious and vicious his critics are.

    Somehow, I still am though. It’s remarkable.

  6. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Both Harris and Hitchens had Jewish mothers, making them ethnically half-Jewish and by traditional Jewish law,…Jewish, given the matrilineal traditional definition.

    Poor candidates for white supremacy indeed.

    Their arguments are on the basis of culture, not race.
    This makes a significant difference no matter how vicious or intemperate your arguments are!! Neither engages in any race-essentialism, as did Houston Chamberlain, etc.

    • BJ
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      It doesn’t matter. According to the regressive left’s hierarchy of oppression, Jews are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad white people.

      • Tom
        Posted July 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        That description looks familiar.
        Now where have I seen it before…..?
        Der Strurmer?
        Mein Kampf?
        The Protocols … no not there.
        Henry Fords The eternal Jew?
        This is a puzzle!
        Certainly no left wing anti fascist would ever entertain such opinions….would they?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 14, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        I have a tendency to nod to black people…It’s a way of kind of making contact. You know, like ‘I’m okay. I’m not one of the bad ones’. – Larry David’s character, Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm

        • BJ
          Posted July 14, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          Ten new episodes starting October 1st!!!!!!!!

      • Posted July 14, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        For the regressive Left Jews are the new Jews.

  7. Posted July 14, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    I agree that Harris puts his foot in his mouth sometimes. But Arel’s bit is a slander.

    Also, people don’t seem to understand conditionals.

    (That said, Chomsky is right sometimes to point out that hypotheticals when dealing with a concrete situation are sometimes unhelpful.)

  8. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Arel: “…and that side is CHALK full of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the like”

    Twit!

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Arel’s … flailing about at his enemies like a bull pricked by a picador.

    After the estocada, let’s award an ear each to you and Harris, the tail to Dawkins (and a posthumous ride out of the ring on the shoulders of the aficionados for Hitchens).

    Figuratively speaking, of course.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      What does Sam Harris get? I think the tongue or the spreading of the lies.

      • Craw
        Posted July 14, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        You guys are all too late. The only part of the bull left in Ariel is the ….

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 14, 2017 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          I think we’ve made a mangled killing of Jerry’s bullfighting metaphor. 🙂

  10. BJ
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    “Rubin, like Harris, doesn’t bring these guests on to challenge their views, but instead to give credibility to their previously held biases. Both hosts claim to defend the “free market of ideas”, yet only support one side of those ideas…”

    In addition to the lies pointed out by others, this is a lie as well. Both Harris and Rubin regularly invite people on from the left and center, as well as the right. Arel doesn’t want his readers to know that — it wouldn’t fit the narrative — and he can trust that none of them will check.

    • Craw
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s also incoherent. I only support one side of the “is there a god?” debate. Supporting only one side is having a position. Hardly rare or outrageous.

  11. Posted July 14, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    The trouble is, because of the Regressive Morons (Arel among them), and their constant crying wolf, it became difficult — if not impossible – to discuss the real influence of the Alt Right. They, of course know this, and take full advantage of it.

  12. Posted July 14, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Long before his epic, public, and highly entertaining self-immolation, Dan Arel was regularly posting on his Danthropology blog completely outrageous claims, willful misrepresentations, and disingenuous misquotations or paraphrases.

  13. Pali
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    “Even I wouldn’t say “Fuck Islam”!”

    By Arel’s standards, you just did. 😉

    • Craw
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      Excellent!

    • Colin McLachlan
      Posted July 15, 2017 at 5:22 am | Permalink

      Yes, That quote could be a hostage to fortune. The countdown has started…


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