r/askphilosophy’s criticism of Sam Harris

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Cirion Spellbinder
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r/askphilosophy’s criticism of Sam Harris

Post by Cirion Spellbinder » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:07 pm

I know there are some fans of Harris on this forum and I recently found a post on the r/askphilosophy subreddit which is considered “frequently asked” exposing the problems with him. Here’s the link: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskPhilosophyF ... h=70e4b146. As someone ignorant of Harris, what do you guys think of the criticisms?

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knot
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Post by knot » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:01 am

Only made it through the first paragraph
Harris is racist - specifically, he's an Islamophobe who thinks that we ought to do terrible things to people with brown skin from predominantly Muslim countries, like nuclear bomb them, torture them, and racially profile them.
That's a cartoonish and wrong representation of his views. I stopped reading since this made the author seem not serious. :|

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Jebus
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Post by Jebus » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:03 am

knot wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:01 am
Only made it through the first paragraph
Harris is racist - specifically, he's an Islamophobe who thinks that we ought to do terrible things to people with brown skin from predominantly Muslim countries, like nuclear bomb them, torture them, and racially profile them.
That's a cartoonish and wrong representation of his views. I stopped reading since this made the author seem not serious. :|
He probably was serious. A serious idiot. A lot of idiots think Sam Harris is a racist. I agree, the author lost all credibility after the first paragraph.
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Post by knot » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:02 pm

At first I also thought the author must be stupid. But looking more into it, I think it's a deliberate attempt at a character assassination, since nearly all dissenting comments have been removed and in the thread the author basically admits to misrepresenting Sam Harris.

If I had to guess, the author(s) don't like his politics or are mad that he has taken shots at philosophy a number of times (even though he holds a BA in the subject), so they think it's fine to slander him.

esquizofrenico
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Post by esquizofrenico » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:15 am

My biggest problem with Sam Harris is his use of the "magic bullet" argument as the sole principle to determine who are the good guys in international politics. Intention is of course important when judging a certain political strategy, but there must be some point in which if you are showing so little worry about the consequences of your politics, just because at the bottom of your heart you have very good intentions, there is no effective difference with someone with evil intentions and you. In general I think that he tends to oversimplify issues in a search for clarity, something that is good and in general we should try to do, but he takes it to the region of cronical reductionism.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:01 pm

There are a lot of serious problems with Harris, this one is a big one:
esquizofrenico wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:15 am
My biggest problem with Sam Harris is his use of the "magic bullet" argument as the sole principle to determine who are the good guys in international politics.
He doesn't seem to want to accept consequentialism. But there's much worse when we look at his response to veganism, when he had personal problems with whatever he was doing wrong, he decided to rationalize and promote people like Taubes.

I've gone into other threads on how he feels like he's qualified to platform and challenge just anybody despite having very limited knowledge on the topics, which ends up just giving them an opportunity for self promotion.

His explosion at Ezra Klein and just refusing to be charitable in any way when he has a chance to be a martyr is pretty indicative of his general behavior as of late.

However, being an actual racist isn't a problem Harris has. I don't think he has a racist bone in his body, even if his actions may be inadvertently promoting racism (the road to hell being paved by good intentions and all).

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Post by esquizofrenico » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:28 am

I agree that Sam Harris is not a racist, but he sometimes is an useful idiot for people that are actual racist. The other day I read a comment in Youtube that pretty much summarizes how people from the right are using guys like Harris to be able to spew pure bigotry. In a video talking against the old far-right bullshit: "JEWS CREATED AND MAINTAIN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNISM!!!!", a guy said: "It's not anti-Semitism to say that Jews have certain genetic characteristics that are associated with certain ideologies". Very nice. "I am not saying that all Jews are evil, just saying that all Jews are genetically determined to be evil... Because... Mmm... Genetics"

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