I agree with you. I don't like the comment. I think it is wrong, and that writing it was ill-advised. I wonder if the blow back from it has given him reason to reconsider those words, and if he would still agree with them today. True, using the word "may" gives him a little wiggle room in his own defense, but it's not much of a defense."The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense. This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas.- See more at: http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/respo...
I don't agree with him, nor think that he fully flushed that out. He needed to add "and have demonstrated the propensity for carrying out their desires through actions that have resulted in grievous injuries and deaths."
Incidentally, even with that added in, I still don't agree with the above statement.
Even so, I have read and heard so much inspired material from him that I consider him one of the best sources on the subject. His rebuttal to Craig at Notre Dame was very good. He assaulted both Divine Command theory and the double standard of saying how great the god is when the horse you bet on and pray, but that ed about wins, bu that his ways are beyond human understanding when your kid gets leukemia.
If you read Dennett on free will, your head will explode. Read Harris and its clear and easily assimilable.