1. Territories Unknown
    Joined
    05 Dec '05
    Moves
    20408
    03 Feb '14 22:50
    Sam Harris is described by Skeptic Magazine's youtube account as...

    the author of the New Work Times bestsellers, The Moral Landscape, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation.


    Personally, I've never heard of New Work Times, but I might just be a colossal smartass.
    Hard to say, really.

    This is the link to the video:
    YouTube

    At the onset of this video, Sam is fawned over, presumably well-deserved.
    We are told how Sam can take 10,000 words and convey points which would require most philosophers 40,000 to produce the same results.
    Over the next hour, he uses a little north of that former number to convey a mess of contradictory claptrap.
    I would have spotted him 40,000 words, but he would have wasted those as well.

    He purposes in this speech to do two things:
    1. "...convince you that free will is an illusion... and incoherent idea..."
    2. "... understanding this truth about the human mind actually matters as it will change the way we view questions of morality and human justice."

    We could easily pick apart the next hour and 15 minutes, but let's start with just the premise.

    He hopes to convince.
    If we are to believe any of the dialogue which follows, Sam has a feeling of optimism and that this feeling is a direct result of chemicals and electrical impulses within his brain.
    Sam has no choice but to hope for this: his brain (and all attendant aspects thereof) are responsible for this feeling.
    This hope is pinned to an expectation that the hearer's mind will perceive the concepts presented and, as a result of chemicals and electrical impulses within their brains, will then change their normal thought patterns.

    How freaking high does a body have to be in order to believe such nonsense?
  2. Standard memberSwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    2014.05.01
    Joined
    11 Apr '07
    Moves
    92274
    03 Feb '14 23:21
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Sam Harris is described by Skeptic Magazine's youtube account as...

    the author of the New Work Times bestsellers, The Moral Landscape, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation.


    Personally, I've never heard of New Work Times, but I might just be a colossal smartass.
    Hard to say, really.

    This is the link to the video:
    https ...[text shortened]... thought patterns.

    How freaking high does a body have to be in order to believe such nonsense?
    I don't agree with him that Free Will is an illusion. (Then again, I am a Compatibilist, and he's probably thinking of Libertarian free will, which I would agree is incoherent.)

    He may be intentionally omitting this distinction to help sell books.

    Someone with more of a Philosophical background would handle the topic better.
  3. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    04 Feb '14 08:54
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    We could easily pick apart the next hour and 15 minutes, but let's start with just the premise.

    He hopes to convince.
    If we are to believe any of the dialogue which follows, Sam has a feeling of optimism and that this feeling is a direct result of chemicals and electrical impulses within his brain.
    Sam has no choice but to hope for this: his brain (an ...[text shortened]... thought patterns.

    How freaking high does a body have to be in order to believe such nonsense?
    OK, I have watched to the end of his speech so far, I will continue to watch the rest (question time).
    I don't see what your objection is. Can you express it any better perhaps? You seem to be calling it nonsense without explaining why.
  4. Territories Unknown
    Joined
    05 Dec '05
    Moves
    20408
    04 Feb '14 13:16
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    OK, I have watched to the end of his speech so far, I will continue to watch the rest (question time).
    I don't see what your objection is. Can you express it any better perhaps? You seem to be calling it nonsense without explaining why.
    He is using terms and concepts (hope, convince, reason, justification, and so forth) to describe what he says doesn't really exist: they're simply chemical and electrical reactions within the brain.

    If these thoughts are nothing more than chemical and electrical reactions of the brain, there's no reason to do anything with them but discard them... certainly one wouldn't appeal to the rationality of another person if the former didn't consider rationality as an objective, fixed position.
  5. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    04 Feb '14 13:59
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    He is using terms and concepts (hope, convince, reason, justification, and so forth) to describe what he says doesn't really exist: they're simply chemical and electrical reactions within the brain.
    You are still not clear.
    Are you saying Sam Harris says hope, convince, reason, justification, and so forth are 'simply' chemical and electrical reactions and that they do not exist? If so, I don't think you are right. In fact I think he specifically denies making such a claim.

    If these thoughts are nothing more than chemical and electrical reactions of the brain, there's no reason to do anything with them but discard them... certainly one wouldn't appeal to the rationality of another person if the former didn't consider rationality as an objective, fixed position.
    I think you need to watch it again. I don't think he is claiming what you think he is claiming.
  6. Territories Unknown
    Joined
    05 Dec '05
    Moves
    20408
    04 Feb '14 14:45
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    You are still not clear.
    Are you saying Sam Harris says hope, convince, reason, justification, and so forth are 'simply' chemical and electrical reactions and that they do not exist? If so, I don't think you are right. In fact I think he specifically denies making such a claim.

    [b]If these thoughts are nothing more than chemical and electrical reactio ...[text shortened]...
    I think you need to watch it again. I don't think he is claiming what you think he is claiming.
    He makes a big deal about the "unconscious machinery," and then uses this vast area of unknown brain activity as support for not being free in our decisions--- first highlighting the timing discrepancy and then declaring that even if the decision was simultaneous with the thought, we can't be free.

    For anecdotal support, he asks the audience to randomly choose a city, declaring that no one was "free to choose that which did not occur to you to choose."

    Wut?

    What about that proves there was no free will?
    What about the members of the hearing audience who refused to choose a city?
    What about the members of the hearing audience who considered ALL of the cities they are aware of, and then--- as instructed--- randomly chose one of them?
    He asked them for a random choice, received a random choice and then declares their random choice was not freely chosen.

    He continues with the nonsense by saying people can't be held responsible for unconscious mental life.
    He confuses the notions of voluntary and involuntary actions, likening the thoughts and decisions a person makes with the bacteria thriving within our bodies.

    There are so many more glaring gaps, the mind reels, but I don't have the time to go into them now.
    It's actually quite embarrassing.
  7. Joined
    16 Jan '07
    Moves
    93531
    04 Feb '14 15:26
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    Sam Harris is described by Skeptic Magazine's youtube account as...

    the author of the New Work Times bestsellers, The Moral Landscape, The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation.


    Personally, I've never heard of New Work Times, but I might just be a colossal smartass.
    Hard to say, really.

    This is the link to the video:
    https ...[text shortened]... thought patterns.

    How freaking high does a body have to be in order to believe such nonsense?
    do you have an alternative theory on how we arrive at thoughts?
  8. Standard memberSwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    2014.05.01
    Joined
    11 Apr '07
    Moves
    92274
    04 Feb '14 16:132 edits
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    If these thoughts are nothing more than chemical and electrical reactions of the brain, there's no reason to do anything with them but discard them...
    Why do you say that? 😕

    A computer user might as well discard Firefox because it's "nothing more than 1's and 0's".
  9. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    04 Feb '14 18:382 edits
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    He makes a big deal about the "unconscious machinery," and then uses this vast area of unknown brain activity as support for not being free in our decisions--- first highlighting the timing discrepancy and then declaring that even if the decision was simultaneous with the thought, we can't be free.
    What is your understanding of 'free will'?

    For anecdotal support, he asks the audience to randomly choose a city, declaring that no one was "free to choose that which did not occur to you to choose."

    Wut?

    Did you go along with the experiment? I get the feeling that you didn't - which is why you seem to have missed the point.

    What about that proves there was no free will?
    If you went along with the experiment you would have understood what he was saying.

    What about the members of the hearing audience who refused to choose a city?
    They missed the point like you did.

    What about the members of the hearing audience who considered ALL of the cities they are aware of, and then--- as instructed--- randomly chose one of them?
    No such audience members existed. There simply wasn't time. And what processes did they use to 'randomly' choose? And which part of their brain made the choice?

    He asked them for a random choice, received a random choice and then declares their random choice was not freely chosen.
    He declared that it wasn't chosen by the persons consciousness. I think you are missing this key aspect of what he was saying.

    He continues with the nonsense by saying people can't be held responsible for unconscious mental life.
    I think he makes very good points on this issue.

    He confuses the notions of voluntary and involuntary actions, likening the thoughts and decisions a person makes with the bacteria thriving within our bodies.
    I think he is claiming that there is no such thing as voluntary actions. I don't entirely agree with his view of the way the brain works, nor the reasoning behind revenge etc, but he does have some very good points. I certainly think he has far better points than any theist I have heard talk on the subject of free will or the concepts of revenge and punishment.
    Certainly your characterization of him as an idiot seems to be based on a complete misunderstanding of much of what he said - which is actually quite difficult because I find him to be one of the best speakers I know.

    There are so many more glaring gaps, the mind reels, but I don't have the time to go into them now.
    It's actually quite embarrassing.

    Well until you go into them, I cannot comment.
  10. Territories Unknown
    Joined
    05 Dec '05
    Moves
    20408
    04 Feb '14 21:39
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Why do you say that? 😕

    A computer user might as well discard Firefox because it's "nothing more than 1's and 0's".
    You need to take what I said in context, as I did with his comments.

    These concepts have value beyond their appearance on a monitor screen.
    The on/off of a binary system cannot possibly be compared with the concept of hope.
  11. Territories Unknown
    Joined
    05 Dec '05
    Moves
    20408
    04 Feb '14 22:02
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    What is your understanding of 'free will'?

    [b]For anecdotal support, he asks the audience to randomly choose a city, declaring that no one was "free to choose that which did not occur to you to choose."

    Wut?

    Did you go along with the experiment? I get the feeling that you didn't - which is why you seem to have missed the point.

    Wha ...[text shortened]... them now.
    It's actually quite embarrassing.

    Well until you go into them, I cannot comment.[/b]
    What is your understanding of 'free will'?
    The doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by physical or divine forces.
    Did you have something else in mind?

    Did you go along with the experiment? I get the feeling that you didn't - which is why you seem to have missed the point.
    Whether I did or didn't is beside the point (I did), but how can you say the point he was trying to make was missed?
    You say four times that I missed it, but fail to say where or how.
    Or how he made his point.
    Or what his point was.

    He declared that it wasn't chosen by the persons consciousness.
    And yet it clearly was.
    Every person who made the random decision was conscious.
    Every person who was conscious reached into the storehouse of their knowledge of cities and with the ones which were available to them in the time given, indiscriminately decided to fix their focus on a given city.
    There were no doubt thousand, perhaps millions of activities which occurred in the time between the question being posed and the answer being given, but the limitations of each person's choice were their own: education, experience, vocabulary, memory, etc.

    I think he is claiming that there is no such thing as voluntary actions.
    One of my points.

    I certainly think he has far better points than any theist I have heard talk on the subject of free will or the concepts of revenge and punishment.
    Never having heard a theist touch on the topics from a theological standpoint, per se, I don't have a point of reference for comparison.
    Suffice to say, I'd entertain just about anything in face of this nonsense and contradiction.

    Certainly your characterization of him as an idiot seems to be based on a complete misunderstanding of much of what he said...
    Other than your four-time insistence that I missed some unnamed point, I can't see where you've pointed out any such complete misunderstanding.
  12. Standard memberRJHinds
    The Near Genius
    Fort Gordon
    Joined
    24 Jan '11
    Moves
    12695
    04 Feb '14 22:28
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Why do you say that? 😕

    A computer user might as well discard Firefox because it's "nothing more than 1's and 0's".
    What you seem to not understand is these 1's and 0's are part of a program prearranged in a specific order by the free will of a mind. Evilutionists and atheists seem to think the information code in the DNA of living things, including us humans, just arranged themselves without input from a mind.
  13. Standard memberSwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    2014.05.01
    Joined
    11 Apr '07
    Moves
    92274
    04 Feb '14 22:48
    Originally posted by FreakyKBH
    You need to take what I said in context, as I did with his comments.

    These concepts have value beyond their appearance on a monitor screen.
    The on/off of a binary system cannot possibly be compared with the concept of hope.
    I did. I quote only the one sentence so it is clear where the point of contention is.

    The binary system was being compared not to hope, but the chemical reactions in the brain behind the 'hope' and others.
  14. Standard memberSwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    2014.05.01
    Joined
    11 Apr '07
    Moves
    92274
    04 Feb '14 22:50
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    What you seem to not understand is these 1's and 0's are part of a program prearranged in a specific order by the free will of a mind. Evilutionists and atheists seem to think the information code in the DNA of living things, including us humans, just arranged themselves without input from a mind.
    What you seem not to understand is...the entire course of this discussion. 😞
  15. Standard memberRJHinds
    The Near Genius
    Fort Gordon
    Joined
    24 Jan '11
    Moves
    12695
    04 Feb '14 23:07
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    What you seem not to understand is...the entire course of this discussion. 😞
    You are the one that brought up the 1's and 0's.
Back to Top