2019-05-13

Sam Harris still appealing to the equally bigoted

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by Neil Godfrey

I haven’t the patience to sit through any more of Sam Harris’s ignorance and special pleading so I’m glad PZ Myers has done the “honours” or at least has cited some one else who has done the (surely painful!) work:

Sam Harris’ very special pleading

(Who IS this Sam Harris fellow, anyway? Why does he even have a platform alongside names I can understand being of some note, like Richard Dawkins?)

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Neil Godfrey

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15 Comments

  • Steven C Watson
    2019-05-13 22:56:10 GMT+0000 - 22:56 | Permalink

    I doubt PZ has anything particularly accurate to say about octupii let alone anything else. I haven’t followed up anything he writes about that hasn’t proven a misrepresentation; wrong; a lie; a smear; or just outright defamation more than one time in twenty.

    I go straight to the source if I can and make my own mind up; I don’t take my information second-hand from people who are occasionally, but significantly, wrong; let alone obvious dishonest actors like PZ Meyers.

    Surprise, surprise though: it isn’t just filtered through PZ. He is getting it filtered through someone else himself.

    Well done Neil; you are now another unreliable source where I have to check the spoons.

    • 2019-05-15 04:57:08 GMT+0000 - 04:57 | Permalink

      Steven: I agree that PZ seems more focused on generating controversy (perhaps because controversy means clicks?) than giving useful insights or information.

      (This opinion is based on what he seemed to be some years ago, so I can’t speak with any authority on the content today.)

    • Geoff
      2019-05-16 10:59:50 GMT+0000 - 10:59 | Permalink

      I do not find PZ Myers’ content unreliable, and I recall someone (you?) making this smear before and then refusing to back it up with a single example.

      Why not just admit that you have a dog in the culture wars fight? I strongly suspect that you simply disagree with PZ, which is a valid position. This sort of ‘poisoning the well’, with no supporting evidence does you no credit.

      Most of the pushback against PZ comes from people who object to his positions on feminism, “me too”, sexual harassment and trans rights. I’m not saying this is the case here, but it is what I’ve observed.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2019-05-14 10:53:30 GMT+0000 - 10:53 | Permalink

    Well I did give you the link to lead you to the source itself. Does that make me unreliable?

    I don’t know why you think PZ is a “proven liar, smearer, defamer” or whatever. I haven’t read many of his posts but I don’t recall anything like that with respect to people I have known about. I have certainly posted my own analyses of Sam Harris’s views. Perhaps you think PZ is smearing and mispresenting Sam Harris. I don’t.

    • Ellen
      2019-05-17 17:33:37 GMT+0000 - 17:33 | Permalink

      I tend to read blogs whose authors are intellectually humble and cautious and have the capacity to direct my thinking productively. Perhaps, it is that sensibility which has drawn me to vridar over many years.

      I was, then, disheartened when you sent me over to PZ Myers and Paul Campos, who assert, in Campos’ words, “that white supremacy is absolutely at the ideological core of the political movement that at the moment happens to control the government of the most powerful nation in the world?”

      Niel — please assure me you do not approve such wild, arrogant ravings.

      P.S. For what it’s worth I’m an American and an atheist. I consider myself a liberal and a leftist. I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life.

  • The Many
    2019-05-14 17:52:05 GMT+0000 - 17:52 | Permalink

    Are you sure you want your blog to become this?

  • Sili
    2019-05-14 18:43:46 GMT+0000 - 18:43 | Permalink

    I appreciate that the previous posters don’t bother to explain why they object to your criticism of Harris. It saves me having to present an argument for why I’d have to seriously reëvaluate my following your blog if you were to suddenly defend Harris’ stand.

    • The Many
      2019-05-15 18:03:00 GMT+0000 - 18:03 | Permalink

      Oh they did in the past, only to get moderated and banned.

      Many people hate Harris’ guts, and I couldn’t care less, but such immature flame wars don’t look good and don’t do good for the blog and its main topic, which I’m interested in for a change.

      • Neil Godfrey
        2019-05-16 08:10:55 GMT+0000 - 08:10 | Permalink

        Baloney. No-one here got banned for explaining a contrary argument. In fact I look forward to contrary arguments. But I do not take kindly to repeated insults and abusive language.

        • The Many
          2019-05-17 13:01:15 GMT+0000 - 13:01 | Permalink

          You can’t possibly be talking to me, you know I know how it went down.

          Looking forward to contrary arguments eh? Great, we’ll see in time.

  • Steven C Watson
    2019-05-17 22:19:58 GMT+0000 - 22:19 | Permalink

    Lets see. Off the top of my head Abbie Smith, Richard Carrier, Lawrence Krauss, Jordan Peterson, Elevatorgate, Gamergate, Carl Benjamin, Brexit, Atholic schoolboys… and on it goes. I go to the source of PZ’s whinge du jour and 95% of the time he’ll be off by 180 and reading all sorts of malevolence into feck-all.

    I’ve been reading/listening to Sam Harris since 2005 and The End of Faith. He has a couple of silly philosophical ideas that don’t have any real-world relevance and are probably down to semantics anyway; but I think he is what he says he is: a liberal in the Whig sense; not a “progressive”; grounded in the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution; an atheist in the lower-case; and a “spiritual” person in the sense of being grounded in whatever the reality is that humans keep mistaking for deity. Ignorance and special pleading? I fail to see any.

    Musings on biblical studies, politics, religion, ethics, human nature(?), tidbits from science(?)

    What is struckthrough I won’t be paying any attention to; what is queried I’ll pay particular attention to and check the spoons thrice. Sorry.

    • Geoff
      2019-05-18 09:15:34 GMT+0000 - 09:15 | Permalink

      Thanks for that. By naming those controversies, you’ve firmly planted your flag in the sand. And I can see it’s way, way over there, on the alt-right side of the beach.

      Over there, with Carl Benjamin and his ‘jokes’ about raping political opponents and gassing the jews. Over there with the Elevatorgate team fighting for the inalienable rights of men to sexually harass women in lifts, and then threaten to rape them on twitter. Over there with the equally misogynist Gamergaters.

      Your spoon counting skills will not be required, thanks.

      • Steven C Watson
        2019-05-22 19:02:31 GMT+0000 - 19:02 | Permalink

        When I go and look at what the contre temps is about, nine time out of ten there is nothing there to get worked up about one way or another or it is being misconstrued. When that happens that often it isn’t likely to be anything other than enemy action. Periodically I will check myself on the Political Compass. Try as I might, I can’t place myself to the right or more authoritarian than the Greens. If anything if I drift anymore left libertatian, I’lI drop of the Compass entirely. 🙂 I’m afraid you don’t know what you are talking about.

        To be clear, in all these instances I am talking about the ORIGINAL of whatever is causing the pearl-clutching. I couldn’t see what the fuss was about with Rebecca Watson: even with “Don’t take this the wrong way…” prefacing the coffee inquiry dropped from the narrative; nothing happened. And then Rebecca punched down from the podium at a member of her audience a few weeks later.

        With Carrier and Krauss there is no way to determine what actually occurred as there was no one else there. The accusers later showed themselves, to put it as charitably as possible, to be unreliable out of their own mouths and on their own behaviour.

        Carl Benjamin you have conflated with Mark Meechan and proven none to bright in falling into what was deliberately contrived as an elephant trap to prove a point. Making a brain-dead response at the time might be forgiven: maintaining or making a brain-dead response several years after the event and having been told on multiple occasions by multiple people the response is brain-dead, why, and you’ve still walked into a prepped artillery fire… You aren’t a descendant of Field Marshal Haig by any chance?

        • Geoff
          2019-05-23 10:45:49 GMT+0000 - 10:45 | Permalink

          I hold my hand up to mixing up my fascies. But if you think that the ‘gas the jews’ dog was just a hilarious jape and a clever trap for SJWs, perhaps you don’t understand how modern fascists operate.
          Fascists know that their central message of white supremacy and genocide is mostly unacceptable to the general public. So they use deniable messaging* to dog whistle to one another and so as not to scare off ‘normies’.
          We know this because they explicitly say so in private forums.
          My favourite transgender intellectual youtuber, ContraPoints, has an entertaining video about it, complete with quotes from actual fascists, explaining what they are doing. “Decrypting the alt-right” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sx4BVGPkdzk
          Then they recruit good people, like you, to defend them and claim it is all a misunderstanding and just a joke to test the limits of free speech.
          But every fascist in town knows which youtube channels to follow.
          * eg Pepe the frog. OK hand sign/emoji. “Subscribe to PewDiePie”.

          • Steven C Watson
            2019-05-25 20:34:56 GMT+0000 - 20:34 | Permalink

            I was writing about Carl Benjamin when refering to an elephant trap. Mark Meechan I don’t think I’d even heard of when that controversy arose; what little of his material I’ve heard doesn’t make me think I am missing anything.

            I think it makes a mockery of the law to prosecute jokes, however poor their taste, but Meechan’s defence was assinine: since his girlfriend wouldn’t see the video, claiming he only made it to get a rise out of her was never going to fly.

            I’m not claiming “it is all a misunderstanding” by the way. It is just straight up lying or making shit up. I dress to the liberal left; I came across almost none of the people and events I referred to directly; I folowed up the links or info in left-leaning and often explicitly alphabet soup spaces. FtB was long a haunt of mine ’til the lying and distortion became just to much. I cottoned on to the lying way before I realised the crazy ideology it served. You’ve been sold a pup, mate.

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