Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Sam Harris on taboo topics, Jordan Peterson, and getting sent to PC hell

Sam Harris 2016 (cropped).jpg
Sam Harris/ Christopher Michel (Creative Commons)

Readers will remember Sam Harris as one of the Four Horsemen of the atheist apocalypse (with Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens). Recently, he fell out with the progressives and ended up on the Dark Internet. He talks with Dan Hall at the Independent:

Sam Harris is a neuroscientist, best-selling author, philosopher and host of the podcast Waking Up. He describes his job as ‘someone who thinks in public’ and has established a reputation as one of the leading lights in both New Atheism and secular spirituality. We sat down ahead of the biggest live event of his career – his upcoming show at the O2 Arena with psychology professor Jordan Peterson and Centre for Social Cohesion founder Douglas Murray – to talk intellectual honesty, the crisis of meaning, and how public intellectualism became the new rock and roll.

protein folding
Four Horsemen of Apocalypse (1887)/Viktor Vasnetsov

[Peterson and I] had two podcast interviews, and they were painful to one or another degree. We disagreed about some fundamental things and found it difficult to converge and I am expecting that Douglas’ presence on the stage will make for a far more fruitful conversation because I think Douglas and I go way back and agree about many things but disagree about some others, and I think there will be a very interesting synergy between the two of us and Jordan. So I think for instance Jordan and Douglas are both far more concerned about the importance of maintaining quote “Judeo-Christian values” and think it’s the historical and religious underpinnings of our civilisation that are somehow put in peril by secularism and multiculturalism and other modern trends. And I have some of the same concerns about values and politics that they do but I have, as I think you know, very little concern that jettisoning Christianity and Judaism will undermine our values. So I don’t think our values are anchored to religion in the way that they seem to. But I think that will be an interesting conversation to have. But more generally we share this common experience of touching taboo topics and paying a price for it in the mainstream media and yet these topics are no less important to touch, topics like religion and differences between cultures, the West vs the Rest, race, intelligence, wealth, power, terrorism. These are all topics which when you talk about them, unless your speech is passed through the filter of political correctness, you get a lot of pushback. And I think the time for political correctness is over. So as much as we may disagree, we are of like mind about that, and I think that’s what people are eager to hear more of. More.

When a public figure as scrupulous as Harris is at hewing the naturalist (nature is all there is) line is getting pushback, like he was Bret Weinstein or something, you just know the pussyhat’s gotta go…

See also: Jerry Coyne defends Sam Harris Harris had wandered off the farm again, it seems.


Shambolic atheist community faces some tough choices

With Douglas [Murray], he and I agree about so much, and yet I consider myself a liberal; he tends to consider himself a conservative.
"liberal"? "conservative"? could he coherently explain what that means? I doubt it.
So in that sense, the analogy to the dark web is fine. It’s an unfortunate analogy in that, you know, the real dark web is chock full of child pornography and drugs and armaments and whatever else people go there to buy and sell.
could he coherently explain what is wrong with all that stuff? I doubt it.
We are united in that, whatever our views are on certain topics, we are all committed to free speech and not being cowed by taboos, or illegitimate taboos. That unites us. But I don’t know how useful the affiliation is, it’s not something I’m going to self-consciously endorse or wear.
self-consciously? "self"? " conscious"? could he coherently explain what that means? I doubt it. Cheap pseudo-philosophy chat? PaoloV

Leave a Reply