I find atheism is quite silly. Sam Harris makes some quick statements about nonduality (which I interpret he means from the term “New Age”) that are attacking straw-men. His statements are flippant and not well-thought-out.
From Sam Harris’ book, Waking Up, Chapter 1:
New Age thinkers usually enter the ditch on the other side of the road: They idealize altered states of consciousness and draw specious connections between subjective experience and the spookier theories at the frontiers of physics. Here we are told that the Buddha and other contemplatives anticipated modern cosmology or quantum mechanics and that by transcending the sense of self, a person can realize his identity with the One Mind that gave birth to the cosmos.
Very interesting that he makes these straw-men claims about “New Age thinking” (i.e., nonduality [mind and body are one] or whatever “New Age” means) and doesn’t go on any more than just stating his opinion as if it’s fact: “enter the ditch on the other side of the road”… “specious connections”… “here we are told”.
I say these are straw-men because they don’t actually address the issue of the existence of awareness (the fundamental of subjective experience) being all that can be known.
Nonduality does not “idealize altered states of consciousness” nor necessarily “draw specious connections between subjective experience and the spookier theories at the frontiers of physics”.
For one to be a truly honest with themselves, they must go where the evidence points them. If the evidence is that mind and body are one, and mind is produced by body, and body is produced by the universe, and nothing in the universe can be fundamentally separate (for true separation would require total inability to influence other parts), then the only accurate interpretation is that the universe is mind.
If the universe is mind, then there is nothing inaccurate about “[realizing your] identity with the One Mind that gave birth to the cosmos”.
If you truly are the environment that produces the body, and you have mind, and there is nothing other than mind, then there is nothing other than You.