Sam Harris and Ben Shapiro Debate

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Sam Harris and Ben Shapiro Debate

Post by EquALLity » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm

Sam Harris recently had a discussion with Ben Shapiro that I thought was interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ5CaG2QiaI

I used to not like Ben Shapiro, and I still disagree with most of his political views, such as pretty much every social issue, climate change, money in politics, and well, pretty much everything. But I am starting to like him as I watch more of his content, and I agree with him about freedom of speech and identity politics. I agree with him that people should be allowed to espouse whatever political view they have (especially in educational environments, like college campuses) and that peoples' ideas matter, not their background. I also think he is genuinely open-minded and reasonable, which I used to not think... For example, he referred to the Obama administration as "borderline Jew-hating" based on a policy it had regarding Israel... which completely disagree with. I don't understand how you can conflate the current government of Israel with Jewish people... I think he was being dramatic to make a political point, which I am not a fan of, but I no longer think he was being dishonest. On the contrary, I admire how he criticizes people like Roy Moore, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump, when it is unpopular among conservatives to do so, and I think shows that he is open-minded.

So, I just wanted to clarify that, because once I referred to him as a dishonest asshole. :lol:

The debate is long, but I enjoyed watching it. If you have time, let me know what you think. Or, you can just talk about your thoughts about Sam Harris and Ben Shapiro.
One interesting topic they discussed was free will. Sam Harris argued that free will doesn't exist, but that it doesn't have to for people to strive more morality. Ben Shapiro argued that free will must exist for people to strive for morality. What do you think?
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Post by knot » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:20 pm

In general I find Ben to be right about a lot of things, especially regarding culture, but he is kind of an ideologue on some topics, like religion, Israel, the constitution. He seemed more open-minded and less hostile than usual in this debate. I felt like Sam could have hammered him on religion, but for some reason didn't. Sam's defense of secular morality wasn't very convincing. On the other hand, Ben didn't seem very excited to have to try and defend religion, or even talk about it. Some major cognitive dissonance vibes there.

Free will doesn't exist, but morality is not contingent on its existence. There are still bad and good decisions, it doesn't really matter "who" made the decision. The difference is Ben would probably consider serial killers evil, whereas Sam would just consider them unlucky to be born under a specific set of circumstances that would cause them to become murderers.

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Post by EquALLity » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:17 pm

knot wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:20 pm
In general I find Ben to be right about a lot of things, especially regarding culture, but he is kind of an ideologue on some topics, like religion, Israel, the constitution. He seemed more open-minded and less hostile than usual in this debate. I felt like Sam could have hammered him on religion, but for some reason didn't. Sam's defense of secular morality wasn't very convincing. On the other hand, Ben didn't seem very excited to have to try and defend religion, or even talk about it. Some major cognitive dissonance vibes there.

Free will doesn't exist, but morality is not contingent on its existence. There are still bad and good decisions, it doesn't really matter "who" made the decision. The difference is Ben would probably consider serial killers evil, whereas Sam would just consider them unlucky to be born under a specific set of circumstances that would cause them to become murderers.
Oh, hi knot. You haven't been on in awhile. I remember that it was you who posted a video of Ben Shapiro talking about Black Lives Matter, and it pissed me off. I think that was the topic where I referred to him as a dishonest asshole. :lol:

Yes, they were both very polite, which I enjoyed, because I like both of them. I'm not sure Ben Shapiro is an ideologue, but rather just incorrect. I think he is open-minded and reasonable, just wrong. I agree with you about Sam's defense of secular morality.
I found it interesting that Ben downplayed the relevance of Judeo-Christian values, which he typically says are extremely important to society. There were times when he defended it, but he also said he doesn't really think it has relevance in public policy. He also said that the necessity for reason is regarding philosophy, not religion, but that religion is necessary for people who won't contemplate.
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Post by Jebus » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:29 pm

I only saw parts of this discussion.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
I agree with him that people should be allowed to espouse whatever political view they have (especially in educational environments, like college campuses) and that peoples' ideas matter, not their background.
Wow. Quite original, ground breaking stuff there.

I don't think he is dishonest. I find his voice and demeanor whiny and annoying, and it annoys me how people perceive him as an intellectual when he is clearly not.

Milo Yiannopoulos (although more entertaining and less annoying) also falls into the category of wannabe republican intellectuals.
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Post by EquALLity » Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:39 pm

Jebus wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:29 pm
I only saw parts of this discussion.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
I agree with him that people should be allowed to espouse whatever political view they have (especially in educational environments, like college campuses) and that peoples' ideas matter, not their background.
Wow. Quite original, ground breaking stuff there.

I don't think he is dishonest. I find his voice and demeanor whiny and annoying, and it annoys me how people perceive him as an intellectual when he is clearly not.

Milo Yiannopoulos (although more entertaining and less annoying) also falls into the category of wannabe republican intellectuals.
I am glad that is obvious to you, because it isn't obvious to many college students.

I don't find his voice and demeanor relevant, but rather his ability to reason and honesty.

Milo Yiannopoulos is no Ben Shapiro; he's no anything. He just tries to offend people by saying the most outrageous things possible, whereas Ben Shapiro has real discussions.
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Jan 14, 2018 4:53 pm

EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
Sam Harris recently had a discussion with Ben Shapiro that I thought was interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ5CaG2QiaI
That's the problem with these discussions. Harris is neither qualified nor interested in really challenging these people. It effectively amounts to promotion when he's being so soft on them and just giving them a platform.

The same happened with his interview with Gary Taubes.

I think Harris is jumping the shark here the same way Rubin did, having all of these conservatives on and not adequately challenging them. I've lost pretty much all respect for Harris.

Yaron Book looked downright sensible in his interview on the Rubin report, but he's a nutcase.

This is just slightly less grotesque than Andy Warski streaming with Rechard Spencer, which only served to legitimize him and his views.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsBL0Xpiz7g
(Dusty is one of very few balanced skeptics left on youtube.)
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
But I am starting to like him as I watch more of his content, and I agree with him about freedom of speech and identity politics.
There are other people perfectly capable of arguing those views. It seems a little silly to like somebody because they agree with one thing that seems obvious to a lot of people (I think Jebus hinted at this; although I think you know my views on free speech and I don't agree).
I'm sure Richard Spencer agrees with a few things like that too; the trouble is when you platform people and let them talk about something reasonable, that makes people like them and lets them put their foot in the door.

If these people are platformed they must have their feet held to the fire on their odious beliefs so they can be exposed for what they are. Otherwise, Harris should have had on somebody less terrible to discuss those things.

A spoon full of reasonable helps the conservative agenda go down, and Harris is packaging it up really nicely for his audience.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
I agree with him that people should be allowed to espouse whatever political view they have (especially in educational environments, like college campuses) and that peoples' ideas matter, not their background.
If it's a publicly funded school, they must by necessity of law in free speech zones. Of course I think some speech should be outright suppressed; people are not educated enough or rational enough to sort dangerous pseudoscience from reality.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
I also think he is genuinely open-minded and reasonable, which I used to not think...
If you think that, that means his interview was frighteningly successful at doing exactly what he intended for it to do.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
On the contrary, I admire how he criticizes people like Roy Moore, Steve Bannon, and Donald Trump, when it is unpopular among conservatives to do so, and I think shows that he is open-minded.
The rats are scurrying off the sinking ship. A number of Republicans (the smartest ones) are starting to turn on them.

EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
So, I just wanted to clarify that, because once I referred to him as a dishonest asshole. :lol:
It's never productive to assume somebody is just being dishonest. Delusional is safer. I think intellectually dishonest asshole is safe, though. ;)

EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:04 pm
One interesting topic they discussed was free will. Sam Harris argued that free will doesn't exist, but that it doesn't have to for people to strive more morality. Ben Shapiro argued that free will must exist for people to strive for morality. What do you think?
It would have been nice if Sam had had on a progressive Rabbi to discuss that instead of a conservative political commentator doing a public relations interview to legitimize his harmful political beliefs by association by making an appeal to a populist and reasonable sounding position.

I think Knot covered the free will stuff well above.

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Post by EquALLity » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:That's the problem with these discussions. Harris is neither qualified nor interested in really challenging these people. It effectively amounts to promotion when he's being so soft on them and just giving them a platform.

The same happened with his interview with Gary Taubes.

I think Harris is jumping the shark here the same way Rubin did, having all of these conservatives on and not adequately challenging them. I've lost pretty much all respect for Harris.

Yaron Book looked downright sensible in his interview on the Rubin report, but he's a nutcase.

This is just slightly less grotesque than Andy Warski streaming with Rechard Spencer, which only served to legitimize him and his views.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsBL0Xpiz7g
(Dusty is one of very few balanced skeptics left on youtube.)
Why is Harris unqualified? Why do you think he's not interested in challenging people? He disagreed with Shapiro and debated him about multiple topics, one being free will.

I disagree that it's slightly less grotesque, as Richard Spencer is a white supremacist, while Ben Shapiro has typical conservative views.

By the way, I started to like Ben Shapiro before I watched this debate.
There are other people perfectly capable of arguing those views. It seems a little silly to like somebody because they agree with one thing that seems obvious to a lot of people (I think Jebus hinted at this; although I think you know my views on free speech and I don't agree).
I'm sure Richard Spencer agrees with a few things like that too; the trouble is when you platform people and let them talk about something reasonable, that makes people like them and lets them put their foot in the door.

If these people are platformed they must have their feet held to the fire on their odious beliefs so they can be exposed for what they are. Otherwise, Harris should have had on somebody less terrible to discuss those things.

A spoon full of reasonable helps the conservative agenda go down, and Harris is packaging it up really nicely for his audience.
I disagree that free speech being good and identity politics being bad is obvious to so many people. It may be obvious to some, but on college campuses, it isn't obvious, or we wouldn't have the problems that we currently do.

Why do you think Ben Shapiro is terrible? What about his viewpoints distinguishes him from a typical conservative?
If it's a publicly funded school, they must by necessity of law in free speech zones. Of course I think some speech should be outright suppressed; people are not educated enough or rational enough to sort dangerous pseudoscience from reality.
I disagree, I don't think any speech should be suppressed, except under extreme circumstances (such as advocating violence). If you ban certain speech that you disagree with, then when people who agree with it are in power, they will ban speech that you agree with. Additionally, banning speech gives people who support it the ability to claim that they are victims.

If you think speech is bad, I think you should speak against it. If you are correct, it will be shown through your argumentation.
If you think that, that means his interview was frighteningly successful at doing exactly what he intended for it to do.
Ben Shapiro? Yes, he probably had the interview to spread his message. So what, though?

As I mentioned above, I liked Ben Shapiro before watching this interview.
The rats are scurrying off the sinking ship. A number of Republicans (the smartest ones) are starting to turn on them.
Actually, Ben Shapiro criticized those people from the beginning, so he's not just running off a sinking ship.
It's never productive to assume somebody is just being dishonest. Delusional is safer. I think intellectually dishonest asshole is safe, though. ;)
You think Ben Shapiro is an intellectually dishonest asshole?
Why?
It would have been nice if Sam had had on a progressive Rabbi to discuss that instead of a conservative political commentator doing a public relations interview to legitimize his harmful political beliefs by proxy by making an appeal to a populist and reasonable sounding position.

I think Knot covered the free will stuff well above.
Not everyone is progressive, though. Since Sam Harris, is there is value in him debating a conservative.
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:49 pm

I think most of your questions can be answered with two words: Gish Gallop.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm
Why is Harris unqualified? Why do you think he's not interested in challenging people? He disagreed with Shapiro and debated him about multiple topics, one being free will.
The free will topic is the only thing he was probably qualified to debate. The thing is, these people get free reign to make a lot of claims that Harris can not challenge.
The Gary Taubes interview is a good example. Harris is smart, but not smart enough to realize he doesn't have the background to adequately challenge every false claim these people make on the spot (or even recognize when false claims are being made) -- OR he doesn't care.

I know more about nutrition than Harris does, and I would never dream of debating somebody like Taubes in real time. It's not because Taubes is right or smarter than I am, but that you have to be exponentially better informed than an intellectually dishonest opponent like Taubes because he will employ a Gish Gallop. You need to be able to instantly, off the top of your head, shoot down these claims, and that requires a degree of expertise and immediate knowledge that far exceeds the person you're debating by a margin so great that it's no contest. It has to be second nature. I wouldn't have the chance to pause and look things up.

I could do a great job of debating any of these people non-real-time, because I could look things up and take my time debunking them. But on the spot like that? No.

Only somebody like Jack Norris would be qualified to take on those claims in real time.

Sam Harris is not qualified on nutrition, politics, or any of the other major topics these people are discussing. He's downright ignorant on most of those topics.

EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm
I disagree that it's slightly less grotesque, as Richard Spencer is a white supremacist, while Ben Shapiro has typical conservative views.
The subject being interviewed is less disgusting on a personal level, but probably MORE dangerous politically. There is zero chance of white nationalism ever being a thing, and even despite favorable exposure like that, white nationalists are never going to gain any real ground.
Conservatives like Shapiro are much more dangerous in that respect.

The most damaging thing your opponent can do is create the appearance of being reasonable in a context where his unreasonable views can not be brought up or challenged.

If he were actually reasonable, he wouldn't be a conservative.
We must not confuse likeability or civility and even personal honesty with positions that are reasonable or intellectually honest.

Shapiro is much more dangerous to the world than Spencer.
I mean, look at Trump: he's in effect bringing down the Republican party in flames.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm
I disagree that free speech being good and identity politics being bad is obvious to so many people. It may be obvious to some, but on college campuses, it isn't obvious, or we wouldn't have the problems that we currently do.
The "problem" on college campuses in itself isn't really a significant problem in the grand scheme of things. These kids are rebelling against something, looking for a cause. It's nutzo, but I don't think it's really catching on. I was worried when riots started, but that died down.
We just hear about it a lot because the Triggly Puffs are very vocal and visible. But the only reason it's a serious global problem is because it undermines liberal politics and empowers conservatives. It's a problem because conservatives are a problem; they're the ones who use this and do actual damage with it.

I think we need to clean house among liberals for the same reason we need to work on cleaning house among the unreasonable vegans: because progressive change is important, and we can't have very vocal nutcases making us look unreasonable.

Allying with conservatives to take on a fringe on our own side that is only a real problem because it empowers conservatives seems counterproductive, particularly if it gives them a platform.

EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm
Why do you think Ben Shapiro is terrible? What about his viewpoints distinguishes him from a typical conservative?
Nothing in particular. That's why he's terrible. Even more so because he's charismatic and seems reasonable to people. His positions are terrible.

EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm
If you ban certain speech that you disagree with, then when people who agree with it are in power, they will ban speech that you agree with.
They were going to do that anyway.
It is not true that if you DON'T ban speech, that the other side will respect that and play by the same rules.

Might as well do the most we can while we can.

I also don't think that all things that go around come around. It's entirely possible to kill off a belief to the point it no longer poses any reasonable threat of coming into power. Christians destroyed a number of religions so completely that people trying to revive them have no idea what they originally believed or practiced except that it has something to do with Stonehenge so they have to make things up.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm
Additionally, banning speech gives people who support it the ability to claim that they are victims.
...Not if you ban that speech.
They can complain about it in the privacy of their homes, but it's no longer a memetic virus threatening the world.
EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm
If you think speech is bad, I think you should speak against it. If you are correct, it will be shown through your argumentation.
How many children will die in the mean time?
If we prohibited advocacy of anti-vaccine beliefs from the get go, many lives would have been saved. Maybe not the crazy people who seek that stuff out, but the average mom at home who never even would have heard the claims anti-vaxxers have made loudly on TV and that were shared on facebook.

The right ideas might win eventually, but only because people learn the hard way they are right -- by (for example) children dying of once eradicated diseases. It's not argument that has weakened the anti-vaccine movement, it's the blood of their own children on their hands.

Again, Gish Gallop. It's virtually impossible for advocates of reason to keep up with the claims of dangerous quacks.

EquALLity wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:02 pm
It's never productive to assume somebody is just being dishonest. Delusional is safer. I think intellectually dishonest asshole is safe, though. ;)
You think Ben Shapiro is an intellectually dishonest asshole?
Why?
The beliefs he holds are evidence of that.
He's been involved in political discourse. This isn't the average imbecile who has only heard one side of the discussion because he only gets info from Fox.

There are people who believe that stuff out of pure ignorance, he doesn't have that excuse.

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Post by EquALLity » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:The free will topic is the only thing he was probably qualified to debate. The thing is, these people get free reign to make a lot of claims that Harris can not challenge.
The Gary Taubes interview is a good example. Harris is smart, but not smart enough to realize he doesn't have the background to adequately challenge every false claim these people make on the spot (or even recognize when false claims are being made) -- OR he doesn't care.

I know more about nutrition than Harris does, and I would never dream of debating somebody like Taubes in real time. It's not because Taubes is right or smarter than I am, but that you have to be exponentially better informed than an intellectually dishonest opponent like Taubes because he will employ a Gish Gallop. You need to be able to instantly, off the top of your head, shoot down these claims, and that requires a degree of expertise and immediate knowledge that far exceeds the person you're debating by a margin so great that it's no contest. It has to be second nature. I wouldn't have the chance to pause and look things up.

I could do a great job of debating any of these people non-real-time, because I could look things up and take my time debunking them. But on the spot like that? No.

Only somebody like Jack Norris would be qualified to take on those claims in real time.

Sam Harris is not qualified on nutrition, politics, or any of the other major topics these people are discussing. He's downright ignorant on most of those topics.
I am not familiar with the Gary Taubes interview, but why do you think Sam Harris is downright ignorant on politics?

I disagree that Sam Harris shouldn't debate others unless he is a complete expert on the topic of discussion. Yes, people can say information that is false, but you can prepare for this by listening to arguments from the other side.

Additionally, if only people who have degrees in subjects are in debates about them, then we have a limited amount of people to spread the truth and counter the other side.
The subject being interviewed is less disgusting on a personal level, but probably MORE dangerous politically. There is zero chance of white nationalism ever being a thing, and even despite favorable exposure like that, white nationalists are never going to gain any real ground.
Conservatives like Shapiro are much more dangerous in that respect.

The most damaging thing your opponent can do is create the appearance of being reasonable in a context where his unreasonable views can not be brought up or challenged.

If he were actually reasonable, he wouldn't be a conservative.
We must not confuse likeability or civility and even personal honesty with positions that are reasonable or intellectually honest.

Shapiro is much more dangerous to the world than Spencer.
I mean, look at Trump: he's in effect bringing down the Republican party in flames.
Given that white nationalism existed throughout a large portion of American history, and nationalism and ethnocentrism have existed throughout human history, I disagree that there is a zero chance of white nationalism gaining significant support in America again.

Do you believe that no conservatives can be reasonable?

I never claimed that Ben Shapiro's positions are correct; I claimed that Ben Shapiro is reasonable.

Yes, Trump has moved much of the American public away from the republican party. However, his presidency has also increased the visibility of white nationalists.
The "problem" on college campuses in itself isn't really a significant problem in the grand scheme of things. These kids are rebelling against something, looking for a cause. It's nutzo, but I don't think it's really catching on. I was worried when riots started, but that died down.
We just hear about it a lot because the Triggly Puffs are very vocal and visible. But the only reason it's a serious global problem is because it undermines liberal politics and empowers conservatives. It's a problem because conservatives are a problem; they're the ones who use this and do actual damage with it.

I think we need to clean house among liberals for the same reason we need to work on cleaning house among the unreasonable vegans: because progressive change is important, and we can't have very vocal nutcases making us look unreasonable.

Allying with conservatives to take on a fringe on our own side that is only a real problem because it empowers conservatives seems counterproductive, particularly if it gives them a platform.
I disagree; college students are the next generation, and they will shape America. If they continue to support identity politics, that is problematic.

Additionally, college students protesting freedom of speech is a reaction to conservative speakers, but that doesn't mean that this is the fault of conservatives. The fault lies in the people opposing freedom of speech.
Nothing in particular. That's why he's terrible. Even more so because he's charismatic and seems reasonable to people. His positions are terrible.
Are you saying that typical conservatives are terrible?

There is a difference between someone's positions being terrible and that person being terrible.
They were going to do that anyway.
It is not true that if you DON'T ban speech, that the other side will respect that and play by the same rules.

Might as well do the most we can while we can.

I also don't think that all things that go around come around. It's entirely possible to kill off a belief to the point it no longer poses any reasonable threat of coming into power. Christians destroyed a number of religions so completely that people trying to revive them have no idea what they originally believed or practiced except that it has something to do with Stonehenge so they have to make things up.
Not necessarily. Maybe the opposite side would restrict free speech when in power, and maybe they would not. If we restrict freedom of speech, they very likely will, and they will have justification for doing so. If we don't, then they are less likely to, and they won't have justification.

Yes, Christians did that, but that wasn't merely through government policies restricting freedom of speech. It also included murder and other forms of violence.
...Not if you ban that speech.
They can complain about it in the privacy of their homes, but it's no longer a memetic virus threatening the world.
It still does, because you cannot completely stop speech. People will spread their message secretly if they have to.
How many children will die in the mean time?
If we prohibited advocacy of anti-vaccine beliefs from the get go, many lives would have been saved. Maybe not the crazy people who seek that stuff out, but the average mom at home who never even would have heard the claims anti-vaxxers have made loudly on TV and that were shared on facebook.

The right ideas might win eventually, but only because people learn the hard way they are right -- by (for example) children dying of once eradicated diseases. It's not argument that has weakened the anti-vaccine movement, it's the blood of their own children on their hands.

Again, Gish Gallop. It's virtually impossible for advocates of reason to keep up with the claims of dangerous quacks.
As I mentioned, if you ban speech that is wrong, even if you are correct that it is wrong (as with anti-vaccine beliefs), then once those who disagree with you are in power, they will have justification for banning beliefs that you agree with.
The beliefs he holds are evidence of that.
He's been involved in political discourse. This isn't the average imbecile who has only heard one side of the discussion because he only gets info from Fox.

There are people who believe that stuff out of pure ignorance, he doesn't have that excuse.
What beliefs are evidence of that, and why?
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:15 pm

EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
I am not familiar with the Gary Taubes interview, but why do you think Sam Harris is downright ignorant on politics?
It's a reasonable assumption about the average person without a degree or professional experience in it.
I wouldn't be prepared to debate this guy on the spot either.

If Harris thinks he can reliably counter anything this guy says on politics is indication of Dunning-Kruger at work. If Harris doesn't think that and doesn't care, then he's just being irresponsible.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
I disagree that Sam Harris shouldn't debate others unless he is a complete expert on the topic of discussion. Yes, people can say information that is false, but you can prepare for this by listening to arguments from the other side.
Something Harris clearly hadn't done...
There are people who are careful debaters and do their research, these are the exception to the rule, though.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
Additionally, if only people who have degrees in subjects are in debates about them, then we have a limited amount of people to spread the truth and counter the other side.
But Harris isn't spreading truth and countering the other side. He's giving the other side a platform and making them look good.

It's important for anybody and everybody to be critical of these harmful beliefs, but having a debate means you put the other person in front of a megaphone too. If the other person has more experience in the subject than you do, it doesn't matter if you're right: they're still going to run circles around you. Not every debate is a win for the side of reason, look at the Nye Ham debate, which just gave Ham publicity and made Nye look absurd since he was utterly unprepared.

EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
Given that white nationalism existed throughout a large portion of American history, and nationalism and ethnocentrism have existed throughout human history, I disagree that there is a zero chance of white nationalism gaining significant support in America again.
It can't happen due to population dynamics.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
Do you believe that no conservatives can be reasonable?
It's very unlikely, with mainstream conservative beliefs today.
They'd either need to have not been exposed to other arguments from living under a rock, or be at odds with modern conservatism.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
I never claimed that Ben Shapiro's positions are correct; I claimed that Ben Shapiro is reasonable.
You can't hold mainstream conservative economic views, like the recent tax reform bill, and be reasonable. Not possible.

Kasich was critical of it. You could make an argument for him being a reasonable conservative, but to a large degree that's just because he's more liberal. He still holds plenty of other unreasonable positions, though.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
I disagree; college students are the next generation, and they will shape America. If they continue to support identity politics, that is problematic.
First, I don't think the support is overwhelming so much as very visible minorities being loud.
Things like intersectionality (Crenshaw style, at least) have serious issues at their theoretical roots like critical race theory.
But most people are cheering these things on naively as part of tribalism.

Secondly, even most of these radicals will move away from radicalism as they get older and grow out of this.

Milo Stewart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZi1vCLW1dE
Laci Green: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQ1ga8yuM50

This is an unfortunate mainstream pressure when it comes to things like veganism, which people may adopts wholeheartedly during college in a stage of not caring about social pressure and having a desire to do the right thing, then abandon after a year or so.
But we have to remember that these moderating psychological pressures exist for extreme political positions too.

There's no evidence that we actually need to worry about any of this beyond the sound bites from the radicals empowering Republicans and driving people to the polls and into the alt right.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
Additionally, college students protesting freedom of speech is a reaction to conservative speakers, but that doesn't mean that this is the fault of conservatives. The fault lies in the people opposing freedom of speech.
These protests are ultimately serving the conservative agenda because they can complain about being oppressed (something they can put on blast because it's not prohibited speech), and take that to the bank.
Students need to be more careful about the optics.

It would be best to HAVE the speaker, and get somebody in there to debate them (or follow it up) who is actually competent.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
Are you saying that typical conservatives are terrible?
Yes.

There are rare exceptions like Kasich who aren't quite so bad (still terrible relative to typical Democrats), but most conservative beliefs are very damaging in virtually every way.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
There is a difference between someone's positions being terrible and that person being terrible.
I don't think there is much of one, no.

You can talk about Hitler having terrible beliefs but being a good person if you want, but at a certain point people are so thoroughly indoctrinated by and identify with their beliefs that in an important existential sense they are what they believe.

E.g. people don't just happen to believe in Christianity, they ARE Christians. So much so that when they convert they consider the old person as good as dead, and they've been "born again".

Both politics and religion tend to be closely tied with personal identity for many people.

If people just happened to believe that trickle down economics was effective in the way they believe any common misconception, and just happened to vote Republican without being Republicans, and could be quickly corrected by pointing to some basic evidence, that would be another thing.

Identity politics isn't as big of an issue as political identity.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
Not necessarily. Maybe the opposite side would restrict free speech when in power, and maybe they would not. If we restrict freedom of speech, they very likely will, and they will have justification for doing so. If we don't, then they are less likely to, and they won't have justification.
Well, if you think that then weigh in that slightly increased probability (since they'd probably do it anyway, and they're perfectly capable of making up a dishonest justification like they do anyway) with the probability of that side (and not a watered down liberalized version of it that survives the liberalization of society in general) coming to power at all.

Near zero.

If we outlaw the KKK's speech, the KKK are not going to come into power next and outlaw any talk of racial equality.

So far, Holocaust Denial is illegal across much of Europe and there really haven't been any notable negative consequences to that.
If it were illegal in the U.S., maybe enough of the people who helped put Trump in office would be silenced that we'd have the first Female president right now.

There's a stir in Poland which you maybe could argue follows from the precedent of restricting speech, but it's started a shit storm large enough to suggest that other nations don't sit by when things go too far and that the slippery slope of restricting speech is not that slippery after all:
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/poland-holocaust-law/552842/
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
It still does, because you cannot completely stop speech. People will spread their message secretly if they have to.
To people who already wanted to hear it. It seriously impairs message propagation, and message extinction is a thing.
If the extinction rate is higher than the propagation rate, it dies out.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
As I mentioned, if you ban speech that is wrong, even if you are correct that it is wrong (as with anti-vaccine beliefs), then once those who disagree with you are in power, they will have justification for banning beliefs that you agree with.
It's not reasonable to believe that if we ban anti-vaccine speech, then the next political term we will see an equal and opposite reaction of banning pro-vaccine speech.

The most likely outcome is that thousands of children are saved and the meme dies out with the people who held it and were unable to effectively spread it.
EquALLity wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:26 pm
What beliefs are evidence of that, and why?
I imagine nearly all of them. Those on the tax bill, for one.

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