Monday 7 March 2011

Sam Harris — three UK appearances

Last night I eagerly followed a link on Twitter to discover that Sam Harris is coming to the UK next month, and will appear in London, Bristol and Cambridge. This is something for which I'd been on the look-out, as I'm a big fan of Sam Harris's writing. I have to admit that The Moral Landscape doesn't have quite the literary sparkle of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation, but I nevertheless consider it a highly important work.

Naturally I'd like an opportunity to hear Harris speak in person. My anticipation has been dampened, however, on discovering that his appearance nearest to me — 11th April in London — will be a discussion with the Rev Giles Fraser. Who on earth thought that would be a good idea? To me it seems like a complete mismatch. Giles Fraser is a woolly-thinking theologian whose utterances on BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day range from the somnolently bland to the jaw-droppingly vacuous.

Sam Harris's appearance at the Cambridge Wordfest on 16th April will be a discussion with Ian McEwan. That's something I'd be keen to hear, though Cambridge is a bit far from Portsmouth for an evening event. The other date, 13th April at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, appears to be Harris on his own, and is even farther from me. Regrettably, therefore, I may just content myself with the Intelligence Squared live video stream from the 11th April London event.

(I note from the Lecture Schedule on Sam Harris's website that he is this very day debating William Lane Craig — I wonder if a recording will be made available....)