on Sam Harris

My first time listening to Sam Harris.

It would be difficult, honest, and helpful for Sam Harris to identify and compare moral frameworks.

Instead he does what is easy, dishonest, and damaging.

1. Rely on emotional arguments and analogy
2. address the most literal interpretation of scripture (shooting fish in a barrel)
3. completely ignore the role of tradition and sanctity in society’s survival
4. conclude with a blatant lie: “if there is a less moral, moral framework, I have not heard it.”

Has he not heard of atheistic communism which is not only indifferent to the suffering of the unfortunate (the charge for which he condemns Christianity), but actively creates and justifies such suffering???

That thing at the end is the slight of hand you often see. You get hooked on the emotional arguments he feeds you, and then boom, the subject changes. All of sudden it isn’t that literal religion does correspond to our moral intuition, but rather, religion is the WORST THING EVER. Study Haidt for the role of sanctity and tradition in a society’s survival.


So I had to eventually listen to this Sam Harris – Jonathan Haidt discussion:


(It starts at 27:00.) If anyone has already read some of Haidt’s work, this discussion reveals more about the participants than the subject.

Harris seemed out of his depth. His shtick seems too much like Frankfurt School “deconstruction” — using partial explanations to ridicule and condemn a whole social framework while applying no scrutiny whatsoever to the vague plan you have for improvement.

I think he’d do great work if he did comparisons instead of criticisms.

Harris gets no traction with his usual emotional appeals and analogies, and a couple of times, when Haidt introduced new ideas, it seemed like he responded with “word salads” — basically saying, “Look! I know things too! I’m relevant!”

In the end, Harris does the gentlemanly thing and relegates himself to the role of interview.

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