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Sam Harris published a podcast yesterday in the wake of the Paris attacks. It builds off of an essay he wrote last year called “Sleepwalking Toward Armageddon,” but very little has changed since then.

This part stood out to me (4:40):

People are referring to these events in Paris as a “wake-up call.”

Who on Earth, at this moment, needs a wake-up call? If you didn’t “wake up” on September 12, 2001, there may be no hope for you. What will it take to get your attention? There are no surprises anymore. We have to relinquish our capacity for surprise here. There is nothing so destructive that these people won’t attempt it. The only thing that has prevented them from killing millions of people is a lack of technology, and we have to ensure that they never get it.

But the idea that our enemies are sufficiently like ourselves, and that they won’t set this world on fire, is pure delusion. Most of you aren’t even comfortable with the word “enemy.” To refer to jihadists as our “enemies” — somehow, that is provocative…

Religious fundamentalism coupled with nuclear weapons would be a danger to our own existence. And if we don’t find a way to stop the ideology from flourishing, we’re the ones who will suffer.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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