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The Disbelief That Dare Not Speak Its Name

We should not call ourselves secularists. We should not call ourselves humanists, or secular humanists, or naturalists, or skeptics, or anti-theists, or rationalists, or freethinkers, or brights.  We should not call ourselves anything. ~Sam Harris

Wouldn’t that just open them up to charges of being a very literal sort of anti-nominalist?  After all, if nomen est omen, and Harris doesn’t want to be superstitious, he would really have to abandon all names and resort to communicating through a series of hand gestures (and one suspects that he would be more persuasive than he currently is).  Regardless, I guess this means that Harris is against really goofy-looking atheist symbols, too, since both names and images are signifiers of something that Harris doesn’t think should be formally represented.

Read the whole of Michael’s article.  As usual, he has captured the memorable details from the conference very well.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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