Friday, January 05, 2007
Is Brian Sapient the most dangerous man on the internet? Judging from his appearance on Laura Ingraham's radio talk show, he must be. First thing's first: who is Brian Sapient and if he's so dangerous why haven't you heard of him? Sapient is the leader of the Rational Response Squad (RRS), an online-based, free-thinking Atheist network, and the reason his name hasn't crossed your path is, well, because he's the leader of a free-thinking Atheist network. Sapient employs rather radical methods in order to convey his position. One such tactic is The Blasphemy Challenge. Here he encourages people to record themselves denying the existence of the Holy Spirit (immediately branding them a heretic in the eyes of God and exiling them from Heaven for eternity) in exchange for a free "The God Who Wasn't There" DVD.
Ingraham, sighting a potential opportunity to embarrass someone with a differing epistemological viewpoint, invited Sapient on her show. Her nasty, trifling interview is good theater but prosaic commentary. Sapient revealed the show's most remarkable defense mechanism on the RRS message boards, and it speaks volumes about the way verbose pundits hobble their guests and can control dialogue. As Ingraham attempted to roil Sapient with a few below-the-belt jabs ("Why don't you get a real job?") the producer, according to Sapient, was in his other ear forbiding him to defend himself. When Brian defied the producer's command Sapient's mic was clipped and Laura stated her conclusions unchallenged.
While Sapient broadcasts for over an hour each week on RRS, giving equal platform to Reverends, youth pastors and garden-variety believers, one must ask why does Laura Ingraham hate free speech? I am a firm believer in John Stuart Mill's philosophy of total inclusion when it comes to what we admit into popular discussion and the more points of view on such an important topic the better. With this approach the meritless ideas will, over time, shrivel and fade, and truth will reveal itself against the dull backcloth of falsehoods. The idea being reality is quite persuasive (when was the last time you underwent a blood-letting?). So, I ask, what is so dangerous about Sapient's message?
The highlight from the show: Laura presents Sapient with Pascal's Wager, asking if there is a God isn't it better just to believe because if Sapient is wrong he's going to suffer forever, but if he's right nothing is gained. Sapient counters, Socrates-like, by asking her in which God should one believe: Yahweh or Allah? Laura, without skipping a beat, delivers a pot shot and asks Sapient "So, what does your girlfriend do?"
Check out the full 15 minute interview.
Rational Response Squad
"The God Who Wasn't There"
"The Laura Ingraham Show"
Posted by Rich_Of_Spirit at 4:56 PM