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Any Sam Harris fans here?

PhillipMiller 3 Oct 27

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I liked his book "Waking Up", but I got a lot more mileage out of Michael Pollan's "How to Change Your Mind" recently.

Orbit Level 7 Oct 29, 2018

Yes I'm somewhat of a Sam Harris fan but most recently I've leaned more towards Matt Dillahunty

I really like Matt as well.


Can't say that I'm a fan.


This is an agnostic/atheist site. I'd be surprised if there weren't a few here.

Jnei Level 8 Oct 27, 2018

Love that


He is definitely interesting. I don't know if I would say fan but I definitely appreciate his discussions and public discourse.


Watch all of his stuff. Listen to him with at least an attempt to learn.


Not a fan as such but I do read his books with an open mind.


I've really enjoyed his discussions with Jordon Peterson.


I'm a Sam hater 🙂

Dietl Level 7 Oct 27, 2018

does the smiley indicate irony? If not: what are the reasons?

Hater is a bit of an overstatement. I think he says many true things but his stance on morality for instance or his excuses for American imperialism are very misguided and naive in my view.

@Dietl Is it what he basis’ his morality on that you have a problem with? Can you point out an imperialist view Sam has take? I am not aware of any.

Concerning imperialism you can check out his email exchange with Noam Chomsky where Sam seems to suggest that the US only has good intentions with it's foreign policies. He seems to think that the US is morally superior to the terrorist regimes it helped create and still funds.
I don't really have a problem with his moral system per se even if it is not interesting and has obvious flaws but with his claim that it is objective. He claims he can infer an "ought from an is" when he is only using circular reasoning.
Of course he might have recently changed or softened his views but that was the picture I got some time ago when I paid more attention to him. I still like a lot of his views. For instance, I think he's right on free will, atheism in general or on domestic policy issues (at east from what I can gather).

@Dietl I didn’t get from the email exchange that Sam was arguing that the US only had good intentions. The message I got is that the US doesn’t intentionally commit crimes against humanity as apposed to ISIS, taliban, etc.
On morality, if we can agree that not suffering “is” more desirable than suffering and conscious minds wish not to suffer, then doing that which reduces suffering is something we “ought” to do. Circular reasoning is a logical fallacy in which the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with. The components of a circular argument are often logically valid because if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true.

(1) "the US only had good intentions"
(2) "the US doesn’t intentionally commit crimes against humanity"
The outcome of Harris arguing for these two things is basically the same.
I think we can both agree that the US commits crimes against humanity. So the US does this either ( a ) with good intentions in mind, meaning they want to do good but there are casualties (which is what Harris argues in my view). Or the other possibility, ( b ) the US commits crimes and doesn't care about doing good and doesn't care about the casualties.
Harris' defending the US for ( a ) or ( b ) is both imperialist in my view. ( a ) is naive while ( b ) is just heinous and worse in my view. Is there something I'm missing here?
On morality: Your conclusion presupposes something, namely ( 3 ) that we ought to do what is more desirable for conscious minds. Harris has no justification for ( 3 ) as far as I know. All I ever heard from him was circular arguments in that regard. Keep in mind I'm not saying ( 3 ) is a bad starting place for a moral system but you should acknowledge that you presuppose this "ought" and don't act like this is some scientific fact.


You bet,

gearl Level 7 Oct 27, 2018

I'm most certainly a Sam Harris fan.


I enjoy listening to Sam's podcast but despite it's title his voice always makes me sleepy. I'm not sure if it's just calming or my brain is tired from working overtime to keep up with the content, which admittedly goes over my head at times. Especially when he discusses free will & consciousness.

I am with you there.


Waving! Yesss!

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