HomeArticleCredulous Atheist Believes Evidence-Free Establishment Russia Narrative

Credulous Atheist Believes Evidence-Free Establishment Russia Narrative

The other day RT reporter Dan Cohen flagged how New Atheism guru Sam Harris recently had a shady cold war manipulator on his podcast promulgating the establishment narrative that Russian hackers and trolls interfered in the 2016 US election, despite the fact that there is no more publicly available evidence for this than there is for the existence of biblical Jehovah. I find this both fascinating and hilarious.

Harris, author of The End of Faith and commonly mentioned in the same breath as atheistic thought leaders like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, once wrote the following:

“While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society. Religion is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about. It is telling that this aura of nobility extends only to those faiths that still have many subscribers. Anyone caught worshipping Poseidon, even at sea, will be thought insane.”

Belief in the establishment Russia narrative is very much the same. As Ray McGovern of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity recently documented in an excellent article for Consortium News titled “A Look Back at Clapper’s Jan. 2017 ‘Assessment’ on Russia-gate”, the entire election meddling narrative was built upon an ODNI assessment by two dozen analysts hand-picked and overseen by James Clapper. McGovern notes how Clapper, then the Director of National Intelligence, is notorious for having helped sell the lies that led to the Iraq invasion, for lying to congress about NSA surveillance, and for multiple instances of claiming that Russians are genetically predisposed to nefarious behavior.

We the public have never seen the evidence that led to this extremely shady assessment’s findings, yet those findings have gradually been integrated into mass media reports as infallible fact upon which the rest of the establishment Russia narrative has been built. Like belief in mainstream religions, the only reason its lack of evidence fails to come into question is because it has been made popular by mainstream politicians and credulous media talking heads who have been reporting it as fact day in and day out for two years, without adding any solid, tangible evidence to the equation beyond the unsubstantiated say-so of intelligence agencies with an extensive record of lying to the public to manufacture support for preexisting geopolitical agendas. It’s an entirely faith-based narrative, only instead of placing faith in the words of priests and books authored by long-dead men, faith is placed in the authoritative say-so of the imperial intelligence community.

It’s funny then, given the aforementioned quote, that Harris escalated his already highly credulous relationship with the CIA Russia narrative in a podcast earlier this month titled “The Information War” in which he nodded faithfully along with a guest whose organization was recently exposed as having manufactured the appearance of Russian election meddling in an Alabama Senate race. His guest, Renee DiResta, is named in a December New York Times report for her involvement in a project by narrative control firm New Knowledge, which claims in an internal document to have “orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the [Alabama Senate candidate Roy] Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.” This same narrative control firm which manufactured the bogus story that Moore was being amplified by Russian bots also authored two reports on Russian social media meddling for the US Congress in December which set off a week’s worth of hysterical shrieking headlines.

At no time in Harris’ interview with DiResta does he question any of her cold war rhetoric or baseless assertions, and indeed he eggs her along with agreeable questions along the lines of the CIA/CNN Russia narrative.

“Many people, certainly most Trump supporters, continue to doubt whether Russia interfered in anything in 2016,” Harris said, as though skepticism of the unproven claims of shady intelligence agencies is a bad thing, then asked point-blank, “Is there any basis for doubt about that at this point?”

“Nope,” DiResta replied.

“This is just crystal clear as a matter of what our intelligence services tell us, and a matter of what people like you can ascertain by just studying online behavior?” Harris helpfully added.

“It happened,” DiResta replied. “There’s really nothing else to say about it. The intelligence agencies know it happened, foreign governments know it happened, the platforms acknowledge it happened. There may be some small group of people that continues to live like ostriches, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

Intelligence agencies know something happened, therefore it happened. The Pope knows bread and wine transubstantiates into the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ, therefore it happens. Sam Harris went right along with this, completely unquestioning like a good little cult member.

In an article for The Nation, journalist Aaron Maté breaks down how the data within the establishment Russia narrative itself shows that Russia’s social media involvement in US politics was “small, amateurish, and mostly unrelated to the 2016 election,” with only a tiny fraction of the Russia-based Internet Research Agency’s US content having anything to do with the election at all, a very small amount of funds allocated to the total project, and making up an infinitesimally small percentage of total social media content viewed by Americans. Maté has also noted that the total expenditure on IRA posts for the entire US election is actually comparable to what New Knowledge spent on its “false flag operation” in the Alabama Senate race alone, which New Knowledge claims was too small to have impacted the election.

If that’s not enough reason for you to be skeptical, Maté and the Moon of Alabama blog point out that there is no evidence that the Internet Research Agency had any intent to influence the election, nor indeed that it is anything other than a for-profit clickbait operation. Looking at the content of the posts we’ve been shown and the statistics we’ve been told about them, this is very difficult to argue against, which is probably why nobody ever tries to.

Sam Harris the credulous atheist never brings any of this up, uncritically letting his guest spout faith-based doctrine about both Kremlin social media interference and Russian hacking.

“Let’s talk about the WikiLeaks data dump,” DiResta said later in the podcast. “So as you mentioned at the start, the GRU had this hack, they had these emails and they laundered these emails through WikiLeaks. They gave them to WikiLeaks.”

There is no more publicly available evidence that this happened than there is that the Qur’an is the actual, literal word of actual, literal Allah, yet Sam Harris the credulous atheist never asked her for evidence of her claims. He uncritically let her advance not just establishment narratives but establishment agendas as well, nodding agreeably along as she called for social media platforms to collaborate with intelligence agencies and grieved about America being legally unable to respond with propaganda of its own to Russian online manipulations.

Support for establishment cold war narratives against Russia is not the only front along which Sam Harris finds himself in alignment with neoconservatism, whose push for a more aggressive posture toward the USSR was one of the early tenets of the movement. Harris’ extensive history of Islamophobic comments and his sympathetic attitude toward the so-called “war on terror” and US military interventionism in Muslim-majority nations play right into the hands of neoconservative agendas in the Middle East, and he’s been accused of being a closet neocon so much he’s had to publicly address it. Neoconservatives have been consistently wrong about literally everything to do with foreign policy for decades, yet Sam Harris the credulous atheist finds theirs a sufficiently rational ideology to ride alongside. There is no more evidence that US interventionism in the Middle East is helpful than there is for the existence of Vishnu, yet Sam Harris the credulous atheist uncritically endorses it.

Establishment-fueled Russia hysteria is a religion. It is an entirely faith-based belief system which has toxic effects on the people who subscribe to it, and toxic effects on the world as it manufactures support for insane escalations between two nuclear superpowers. As we discussed yesterday, if you don’t have a functioning radar for detecting malignant narratives, you might get lucky and find yourself in opposition to some pernicious belief systems, yet also find yourself selling CIA narratives to your very large online audience as well.

Credulous atheist Sam Harris doesn’t oppose all religions. He is critical of some of them, and he is a zealous bishop of others.

____________________________

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Latest comments

  • Why on earth do you work so hard to defend the autocracy of Putin? Doesn’t bother you at all that millions od Russian oligarch money id flowing into the NRA and Republican congress coffers?

  • A zionist does not have to be religious, they simply support the theft of land of indigenous people of Palestine.

  • Sam Harris is a zionist tool.

  • Sam Harris is a zionist tool.

  • If you read William Blum’s book Killing Hope, you can see the CIA narrative at work: First you print an article in a publication (which is either a CIA front or gets CIA funding) with whatever lie you are promoting, then every newspaper in the world reprints your lie, citing your original lie as its source. And the commenters below are actually awfully nice about Sam Harris, who is a raging asshole!

  • “It’s truly baffling to see a mass hysteria take over a populous.” Geo, I believe it’s the *apparent* perception of a mass hysteria, rather than an actual hysteria. Mainstream media is ubiquitous: we are surrounded by the media like a fish is surrounded by water. And since 90% of the media is controlled by a handful of large corporations, it seems logical to conclude that the Deep State controls the Official Narrative: in this case, the never-ending, round-the-clock trumpeting of Trump – Russian Collusion. *brrrrrrrrrr* This creates the ILLUSION of vast numbers of people who want to remove Trump from office. The truth, I submit, is quite the opposite…

  • Never impressed by this guy and furthermore, if he was such a genius he would know that:

    “Atheism is speculatively as unfounded as theism, and practically can only spring from bad motives.”

    Chauncey Wright to Francis Ellingwood Abbott, 28 October 1867, LETTERS OF CHAUNCEY WRIGHT, 133.

    • Ninety percent of his credibility stems from his presentation, his demeanor. Soft-spoken, articulate, “thoughtful”, dispassionate; never strident or angry. All of which contributes to a very skillful crafting of his “look”. After that it’s the usual mix of deceitful, devious, or just plain crappy logic, mixed in with just enough obvious fact to make the “punch” dip-able and drinkable between the turds.

      Like other skillful hucksters, he’s very good at his schtick, but he’s just a different brand of televangelist, a televangelist for the know-it-all, we’re-better-than-the-deplorables, “elites”.

      It’s a living. One of the many evil voices, mind-raping humanity by feeding poison into the media shit-stream.

      As Bob Dylan intones in “Neighborhood Bully”,

      Freedom, just around the corner from you,
      But with truth so far off, what good will it do.

      • very true and thank you

  • This is off subject, but you gotta see this film. The UK/US Empire, the Special Relationship, City of London/WallStreet, the shadow govt, the 1%…

    Since we’re all learning together, here’s a good one.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=np_ylvc8Zj8

  • We don’t have to think about any of this. It all comes from fake news-purveying alt media. Or, We could judge the ‘book’ by its contents. Just a thought Caitlin.

  • At every opportunity, whether slightly relevant or completely “manufactured” because it has nothing to do with relevance, you never cease to create a space for your ongoing venomous, vicious, and vile attacks against anything relating to an actual God. It is not even enough to equate believers (of all faiths) with Nazis – since your blinded bias is so lost and grounded in a propagandistic warlike fashion, where everyone else beyond your belief system can be damned in an evolutionary survival of the fittest. You, “[Caitlin Johnstone, one of the worst examples of a double-faced atheist never directly bring] any of this up.” Instead, the subject and references to be mocked and vilified are repeatedly inserted through tangential veils. “I find [it] both [consciously evil and utterly contemptible].” Ever heard or read the quote “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

    Of sacred importance, obviously, you’ve never had an undoubted spiritual experience which left you with, in the least, absolute proof of a spiritual realm, or, in the utmost, “infallible” knowledge of the very Holy Spirit and God’s existence/family as Fact. Therefore, “placing faith in the words of [inspired] priests and [miraculous] books authored by long-dead men” is far times more beneath your capability than those who are completely resolute through only basic (learned) Wisdom and evolved Faith: “blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

    As written previously, these barbarously provoking actions may serve to fulfill temporary (vomit-worthy) agendas. But, they also reveal, expose, and ruin your overall reputation, permanently (if without atonement), leaving everything about your credibility suspect and wholly tainted as the worst type of (supposedly Progressive) Hypocrite.

    Truth: “[You are] a zealous bishop” of Atheism – with no more respect for anyone who is not an Atheist than the 1% zealots had for the hundreds of thousands who died through recent worldwide lie campaigns. To further your heretically slanted focuses against God and all intertwined, inclusive of all lines that can be crossed, why not mark these targets more openly as directly vengeful atheistic narrative plots? Being unapologetic about everything you stand for, why not clearly state the extreme levels of goals within your nihilist stances, and to hell with any repercussions?

    New Atheists and Evolution
    https://seaclearly.com/2009/07/13/new-atheists-evolution/

    • Sorry, “Thinks he/she Sees Clearly”, Too bad you don’t understand what she is saying. But I can understand that the truth of it would make those who plan their lives around unproven fairytales would feel naked and afraid without them. Hard to give up, But its ok, you’d get over it. You have every right to believe whatever you want. Just don’t rule others or the world based on your faithful unproven reality.

    • Judge not that ye be not judged.
      – Matt. 7
      .
      Try it.

    • Christianity provides the ethical rationale for the totalitarian state. The author of Matthew in 5:28 attributes these words to Jesus, “But I say to you, that whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Since Jesus explicitly states that thinking about “committing a sin” is the same as actually doing it, His established church naturally usurps the state’s rightful obligation to control expressions of antisocial behavior and legitimizes, even demands, that citizens’ thinking be regulated.

      Christianity has a seventeen hundred year track record of vigorously fighting every advance in human progress. Its policy of denying full human rights to half the members of the human species on account of their gender is beneath contempt. Christian “values” are the ideology that enabled the genocide of the western hemisphere. Even at best, Christian beliefs are shallow and unsatisfactory. Jesus was not a great moral teacher. He merely made arbitrary assertions, and most of these were merely paraphrases of the existing body of Jewish thought. He never deigned to advance arguments for their validity, unlike the great philosophers of the classical tradition.

      When confronted with such baseless declarations, there are only two choices: to accept them or to ignore them. We cannot logically “prove” them false, because no evidence is provided to demonstrate that they are true. Christianity was the best that men could devise within the limitations of the ignorance, magical thinking, and superstition of the ancient cultures that spawned it. Today, the Christian system of belief and morality is collapsing because it does not reflect the true expansiveness of our human nature, and because it is mistaken in its understanding of the natural world and the human place in it.

      • Historicvs, just about everything you said about Christianity can equally be said of the other two Abrahamic religions, islam and judaism. So why only attack Christianity?

        • Very true. Thank you.

        • Perhaps because it was a response to a comment by a Bible thumper (if only they would read what they thump.)

          It would make little sense to respond to a comment with I formation irrelevant to the comment being responded to.

          • John, pointing out the inconsistency of your opponent’s argument is a legitimate debate tactic.

  • With few exceptions, atheists and anti-deists are some of the most cult-like, credulous, non-critical thinking people I’ve ever met, which is really funny because they think the opposite. Sam Harris is a crackpot, so is Dawkins. There’s no free thinking in their circles, just self-righteous, narrow-minded dogmatism that’s as grotesque and wrong-headed as kooks like Steven Anderson on the far-right.

    • I have to take issue with your assessment of Richard Dawkins. He is not a crackpot. Though his arguments against religious beliefs may seem harsh, they are also carefully reasoned and virtually unassailable, except in an irrational manner. That some people find this offensive is to be expected. Sam Harris is not a simply a crackpot, but an overbloated, malignant self-promoter.

    • You’re absolutely spot on. I call them fundamentalist atheists, and they behave like their fundamentalist counterparts everywhere. I love how every mention by Caitlin of Sam Harris includes “the credulous atheist.” Once I saw how these “atheists” reserved their particular venom for Muslims, while ignoring the violence regularly preached and engaged in by Christians and Jews, I knew their supposed skepticism was highly suspect and reserved for handy political targets. And you’re right about Dawkins!

  • The American taxpayer is paying a billion dollars a year or so for the regime change operation in Syria.

    The American taxpayer is obviously being ripped off, as the American intelligence agencies tell us quite authoritatively that all it takes is a small internet outfit, a small budget in the six figures or perhaps a million, and a few Facebook and Twitter ads to derail the multi-billion dollar Clinton campaign and for Russia to insert their own operative as President of the United States.

    Why pay for boots on the ground and expensive jets firing expensive missiles when all it takes is two geeks and a computer?

  • Sam Harris is a dangerous phony. He poses as a beacon of free-thinking while, in fact, he is a racist and a hate-monger. People need to be aware of his full agenda, which Caitlin has neatly outlined.

  • Listening to MIinnesota Public Radio, it is astonishing to me the way so many Liberals take for granted that Trump is a plaything of Putin, that Hillary lost because of Putin (and that ‘misogynist pig’ Bernie), with every new word of conspiracy from the msm and intelligence community, acting like it is the veritable breath of the One. They tend to be incredibly righteous about it too, defensive even more than most of the Christians I have known about their faith.

    I didn’t ever think I could detest democratic ideology as much as Republican fraud, but ever since Hillary ran it has been nothing but fraud from establishment Dems. Both sides are so sure of their sanctity. They all look to this American like ecocidal maniacs determined to go down in flames.

    • Towards the end, I’d substitute “Bill” for “Hillary” and make it “ever since Bill ran.” The Clinton-Gore DLC killed the old Democratic Party by the time they took power in 92. The Dems weren’t great before then, but ever since they are a party built on the Big Lie that they are for the people when they are really for the money. With that Big Lie at the core of the modern Democratic Party, they can not possibly deliver anything but Fraud.

      What is fascinating is the evidence that a large portion of the American people are quite willing to believe a giant lie when the media machine presets it. Which then leads to the rather obvious next question of “How much of the world around you is a Giant Lie?”

      I still love the opening to the movie “The Matrix”. When it first came out and I saw it for the first time, I thought the opening 20 minutes or so was a film maker capturing my concept of the world. Everything around you is a fiction, designed by others who don’t care about you but who need what you can produce.

  • Keep attacking the warmongers, Caitlin!

  • I never heard of credulous Harris before but I’ve seen this same dynamic taking place many times with alleged narrative skeptics on TV. It’s almost as if they’ll agree to positions that put them at a logical disadvantage because they’re so desperate to find some common ground. The problem with this tactic is the person they are agreeing with has a 2-digit IQ and is stark raving mad.

  • Establishment insiders pick whom to promote on teevee, in print, for book advances, for “best-selling authors” lists, for talk shows, etc. If the Establishment, the one with a $3? trillion public budget and the ability to print money out of thin air, promotes anyone in *any* domain, count on those newly “made” people to one day return the favor by promoting establishment narratives.

  • People believe what they want to believe. Good column Caitlin, shows you care about the truth.

  • Nice work Caitlin, been very cautious on Harris when I was introduced to him back in the New Atheist days and it’s good to show up his logic as it is flawed, no doubt about it. I’ve listened to enough of his works to realise that many moons ago. I think recently he was retweeting David Leon hardt’s piece in the New York Times: “The People vs. Donald J. Trump He is demonstrably unfit for office. What are we waiting for?”

    Like Pinker, he’s in their loop.

  • These ‘credulous media talking heads’ referred to: I see them as a version of what we used to call ‘weather girls’ – attractive people reading a script provided by the Bureau or Meteorology with no knowledge of what they’re actually talking about.

    • They are not even Talking Heads anymore. “Talking” suggests something semi-intelligent is being said. Not anymore. Now they are just Yapping Heads.

  • Sounds like China/Huawei. Hysteria about what the “enemy” might be doing is a tell that “our” spooks are already doing it to them.

    • Or to us.

  • It’s incredulous that so many still need to be convinced that narrative does not equate to evidence – and further incredulous that so may have build up a wall (not costing anywhere near $5.5 billion), so that they don’t need evidence to even exist.

  • Apparently the faithful flocks are framing out today because Saint Mueller disproved the latest media myth in this whole charade. It’s truly baffling to see a mass hysteria take over a populous. Claims of increased anxiety cases at ER’s due to Trump Derangement Syndrome, formerly critical thinkers ranting about “we got him” with every new tweet from some retired spook with an ax to grind, the paranoid fear of Purim behind everything from elections to weather…

    It’s bizarre.

    Sometimes the crazy is so overwhelming I start to reflect on my own views and wonder if I’m the one that’s gone mad… but thanks to the rare sane voices like Caitlin, and memories of the pro-war hysteria leading up to Afghanistan and Iraq invasions, I feel reassured that we’re in another bout of mass delusion. How we emerge from this one will be interesting… if we do.

    • Sorry for the horrid typos. Didn’t proof read before posting. 🙁

      • “It’s truly baffling to see a mass hysteria take over a populous.” Geo, I believe it’s the *apparent* perception of a mass hysteria, rather than an actual hysteria. Mainstream media is ubiquitous: we are surrounded by the media like a fish is surrounded by water. And since 90% of the media is controlled by a handful of large corporations, it seems logical to conclude that the Deep State controls the Official Narrative: in this case, the never-ending, round-the-clock trumpeting of Trump – Russian Collusion. *brrrrrrrrrr* This creates the ILLUSION of vast numbers of people who want to remove Trump from office. The truth, I submit, is quite the opposite…

  • Well said, Caitlin. For what seems to be a very good account of hacking of the US presidential election see Al Jazeera documentary Unfair Game. Reports how the oligarch Robert Mercer and associates employed Cambridge Analytica to swing the Electoral College vote towards Trump.

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