Here we have two clips demonstrating the increasing polarization between Sam Harris and Reza Aslan over a year—or rather, the increasing hostility of Aslan. The first clip is undated, though because Harris cites the Pew Poll on the attitudes of Muslims, which was published in 2013, it would seem to be around then, which means Aslan’s hair got a lot grayer in one year. (This is part of a much longer discussion between Harris and Aslan that you can see here.)
Harris seems fairly conciliatory, asserting that his (Harris’s) rhetorical style is not suited to convincing Muslims to temper their faith (“I’m not a diplomat”); rather, that tempering must come from people like Aslan.
In response, what does Aslan do? At 2:41, he simply asserts his “expertise,” saying that because he doesn’t write books on neuroscience, Harris should shut up about Islam, implying he knows nothing about it. That’s not an answer to what Harris says, but an assertion that Aslan alone should be heard. And Aslan’s Islam isn’t extremist. This is when Harris brings up the Pew results, which, as I’ve said many times before, are disturbing to those who see Islam as a “religon of peace and tolerance”.
As usual, Aslan answers arguments by pulling rank, not by citing figures.
These two clips, put together by HuffPo in 2014, show a brief scene of Aslan accusing Harris of being a Biblical fundamentalist, and then a longer response by Harris. I have to say that Harris shows no stridency here, but rather a calm rebuttal of Aslan’s arguments. I wish I were as eloquent as he!
I append my badge of honor: as far as I know, Aslan is one of only two people who have blocked me on Twitter, despite the fact that I’ve never tweeted at him: