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QUESTION The interview that made Sam Harris Famous - YouTube

This is actually several clips from several interviews. This will give you a very good overview of Sam Harris' views. A little on the long side, but just stop it and come back to it if you don't have time for the whole thing.

BeeHappy 9 Mar 1
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7 comments

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1

Love Sam Harris!

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I like Sam, but the first clip started with some logical fallacies. Personally, I would love to see a secular interpretation become more commonplace in society.

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VERY good..

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All the Atheists since 1996 have come forward to fill the vacuum left when America's First Family of Atheism was kidnapped and beheaded. ...Hitch became and American citizen Dawkins rose to the top of British Atheists Sam Harris boldly took on zionists muslims and Buddhism AND A GREAT FLOOD OF Atheist comics rode the waves of Carlin Kinnison & Gervais. ....music has had many Atheist rockers but Feminists took all the backlashes of patriarchal theocracy apologist Atheists

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I do generally life what Sam Harris says, but I do not agree with him at all regarding Free Will being an illusion. He somehow claims that we have no free will, but we are still able to make choices?

Yes, I agree that a lot of who we are is determined at birth and by external forces acting upon us. There are absolutely restrictions in which we operate, but I am just finding his overall argument for free will being an illusion to contain a lot of hand waiving.

I was first introduced to him regarding his thoughts on religion, which I do like. Especially to say brave things that no one is willing to say. It is fashionable in the US to crap on Christianity, but if you say something bad about Islam, you're being a bigoted asshole.

He is very clear that he is talking about doctrine, not individual people. I can dislike Christianity and still be friends with Christian people. Speaking out against Islam has become taboo it seems.

That was part of the question I wanted to bring up at the Harris/Dillahunty talk here in Phoenix. Never got to me! My position is that many things are "wired-in" by many factors, but we have to go with Free Will as the default position in order to do or be responsible for anything.

Look up the "Split brain" syndrome - also known as the "Alien hand" syndrome. It is when people lose the connective nerves between their two brains due to accident.

It supports the idea that you do things without you knowing - and when you realise this, you don't freak out.

It also suggests that what you're thinking is likely the product of what your body is reacting to or what you are acting on - instead of thought being the origin of action/reaction.

@phxbillcee I completely agree. If Harris really feels that way, I am not sure why he would even try to have debates and lectures to change anyone's mind, except of course... he has not choice but to do so lol

If anyone has a good explanation as to how his position makes sense, please explain it to me. I have been trying really hard to understand it, but it just seems inconsistent to me. If this is really the state of reality, how can anyone disavow anything as he so vehemently does?

@SamKerry I am familiar with this. But what are you and I actually doing right now? Are we not participating in deliberation, dialogue, and conscious thought? Is this seriously the one and only thing that can be happening and is this as causal as a rock rolling down a hill due to gravity? It seems so unsatisfactory. Perhaps its true, or perhaps I am misunderstanding the premise.

@Loudpaintings It's a little more complicated than that. Generally think of it as being who you are, and being in that situation in that moment, you were determined to do what you did. And that is simplifying what takes up a lot of ink in a lot of works. It's probably easier to just go with, "We have no free will, but since there is no way to know that, the illusion doesn't matter a bit." --CLA

Try reading some Daniel Dennett for ideas of compatibilist free will, as he gives a better description of both sides of the argument than Harris can.

@ChrisLAbbey Hi Chris, thanks for the comment! I have read quite a but of Dennett. I have a degree in philosophy, so I was introduced to these ideas a lot. In my opinion, it is a self contradictory statement. "No" free will implies an absolute value of zero. That would imply that we are just natural processes of the universe, like two plates colliding to create a mountain. The idea of our consciousness and thoughtful deliberation is just an illusion created but a bunch of particles bouncing around, when really there was no other alternative to the exact present state of the universe. That would be hard determinism. That stance is perfectly fine with me. I don't adopt it, but it is a fine argument with a lot of merit.

However, to somehow insert that we have choice in the situation seems kind of difficult. And without choice, we do not really have a basis for actual justice or reward. It would be like trying to put a volcano on trial for erupting. "Why did you do that?" If this is truly how the universe works, us being alive has no difference than a volcano if we are ultimately just a product of cause and effect and have no agency to make an actual decision, and change the course of the future. This argument for no free will almost invalidates what it means to be alive in my opinion. Agency to make deliberate choices is what gives life value.

Now just because I like choice doesn't make it real. I understand that. But I see "No" Free Will as being irreconcilable with any notion of choice. I really cannot wrap my head around how this would even work. If you can explain it to me, I would love to hear it. I have been searching for awhile =)

Ultimately, it doesn't matter regarding how we live, because like you quoted, we cannot even try to live without the feeling of choice, regardless if it is real or not. I personally just find it hard to swallow, but it is fun to think about.

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Well if God knows everything then he must be aware of MONEY being religion & politics God & dictator & has been for a long time which in my book is not good! This has caused most of the problems in the world! Our leaders are not as worried about fixing the problems as they are interested in how much MONEY can be made from the problems! Give me your thoughts.

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Imagine that. We are responsible for what we are doing? Crazy, right?

jeffy Level 7 Mar 1, 2018

That's the funny thing about him though. He says thinks free will is an illusion. It seems to negate everything else he says if that were true.

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