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quadrungle wrote

Because he's a classical liberal?

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Jessica wrote

I'd say it's because he promotes "scientific racism" in a dishonest way. He frames it as forbidden knowledge because the discussion of genetics, IQ, and race, is often shut down. He thinks it's because it's taboo, but the real reason is that it is impossible to meaningfully discuss it without its racist implications and historical context. Ezra Klein's reply piece was brilliant.

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robottroymacclure wrote

for what its worth, Ezra klein is scheduled to be the next guest on Sam Harris' podcast so tune in if your interested in this topic.

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quadrungle wrote

I'd agree that Sam frames it as taboo and that Sam takes a clear anti-taboo stance intellectually. In that same sense, Sam opposes laws against Holocaust Denial. But that doesn't mean he's supportive in the slightest of any Holocaust Denial.

Sam has clearly screwed up on many occasions in failing to adequately present the historical context for intellectual topics. I know Sam himself is aware of Rapoport's Rules (per Dan Dennett) that emphasize expressing others' views so well that the others say "yes, I couldn't have said it better". Sam knows conceptually about that idea, but he's done a bad job of it in many cases.

Still, I don't think Sam promotes, supports, or anything like that for "scientific racism". I think he's just failing to take all the necessary steps to avoid that interpretation from others when he wades into controversial subjects.

A good example is that he seems to be truly concerned about humanizing everyone and opposing the injustice of civilian deaths in military conflicts. But for whatever reason, Sam keeps using the term "collatoral damage" and then pissing off others because of that, and he doesn't express a real understanding of why others object to that term. Sam wants to keep using the term and just make it clear that he agrees completely with the awfulness of the reality it refers to. Why stick to the term? My guess is that Sam just lacks a certain level of patience and sympathy with the significance of the power of political language. Sam wants to talk about ideas and science and such and even politics, but just naively wishes the historic connotations and implications of language wouldn't get in the way (but of course they always will, so we'd better just deal with the language issues).

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Pop wrote

I'm pretty sure there's a laundry list of reasons to dislike him

a lot of those new atheists are/were colonialist misogynist islamophobic warmongering pricks though

pretty sure you'd get good info looking around ddg for it

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quadrungle wrote (edited )

I was curious about the justification for the simple assertion above, specifically.

I have some critiques of Sam, but he seems to me to have more issues where he sometimes lacks understanding rather than situations where he's actually supportive of any of those things you just mentioned.

Sam seems to downplay colonialism only because he's trying to emphasize his concerns about religion, but he doesn't seem to otherwise in any way support colonialism. He seems not at all misogynist. The Islam issue is more complex, but Sam's clearly focused on the religion and is not like many people who have racism tied into it. I don't know about warmongering, but Sam seems naively willing to accept the claims of good intentions from capitalists and such when not really justified (I saw Sam saying, effectively, that he'll accept the word of people like Bill Clinton or George W. Bush when they say they are motivated by aiming to help people and stop injustice etc., and in that area Sam seems more like a stooge, but he's not actively parroting the warmonger lines).

Meta-addendum: How can one tell the difference between some reactionary who is crafty enough to couch their language versus a good-intentioned person inadvertently using the same language? E.g. white-nationalists who criticize "globalism" to hide their racism versus others who also criticize "globalism" for other reasons unaware that the term can be a dog-whistle for the nationalists… I actually don't know. But since both cases definitely exist, I feel the need to give benefit-of-the-doubt and assume people to be the latter (well-intentioned and unaware of the significance of their language) until I see evidence otherwise.

P.S. EDIT: I only way later even realized that it was notable that you mentioned ddg for searching. Initially, that was so unremarkable to me. But then I remembered how that's not the norm. DDG isn't perfect but geeze, yeah, I don't remember the last time I Googled anything (years ago).

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Pop wrote

I don't really care what people's intentions are, it's how they affect the world and what they enable that is important to me

in the case of sam harris, i'm not sure but I think that more than enough has been written about him and his ilk to toss them in a dungheap

old atheism was always (somewhat) better, and it didn't stink of imperialist white guy careerists who pretty much only have science as their monolens through which they view everything

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quadrungle wrote (edited )

I think tossing people by group and association in dungheaps is intellectual laziness. Sam doesn't even emphasize identifying as an atheist, he's just critical of fundamentalist religion.

Sam is definitely of the science-lens focus of everything, but I'm not convinced that's necessarily bad, it's just often done badly.

Incidentally, the not-caring-about-intentions is explicitly a different opinion. Sam thinks intentions matter deeply, and it's an explicit point of difference and contention between him and various other people. So on that point, you're not just carelessly prejudging, you've got a clear intellectual difference.

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Pop wrote

I think I'm mostly lasily trying to mention arguments that I think already exist against him more than anything else

I don't have much of a dog in the fight since I think it's a mostly boring fight, but it's enough for me to comment on

did you look at any of the stuff I posted about them today, btw?

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quadrungle wrote (edited )

I guess don't tend to feel respectful toward saying that someone is a piece of shit if you don't actually have much knowledge or opinion and are just repeating hearsay. I mean, there's lots of shitty people out there, but I'm not going to go around asserting that status for anyone in particular unless I feel I actually have enough understanding to make that conclusion. In general, I think we need orders of magnitude more assumptions-of-good-faith in our discourse and less tolerance for parroting groupthink. So, with that in mind, I'm not assuming you disagree with that until I hear otherwise. We all may just say specious quick things here and there. I don't live up to ideals of healthy discourse all the time myself.

What "stuff you posted about them today" are you referring to?