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Grizwald

New Atheism and Sam Harris

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Why do so many objectivists seem obsessed with the likes of Sam Harris? I mean he criticizes Islamic Totalitarianism and points out the fundamental problems with theism but so what? He is a determinist through and through (say's free will doesn't exist) has said disgusting things about Ayn Rand and objectivism. Has no problem using state force for any means if he thinks they will benefit the "greater good" of society. Doesn't even know what the concept of free markets are. I mean when it comes to his political commentary the guy is an outright clown, he basically couldn't find any criticisms for the likes of Hillary Clinton. Do people like him because they have a deep-rooted hatred for Muslims and he can articulate the problems with and in islam far better than they could themselves? And also Dave Rubin, he seems like a decent guy but everyone who comes on his show he agrees with, one day you can convince him of objectivism/capitalism one day he can be convinced to be a conservative and the next day a socialist. This whole thing about classical liberals is special because of what, they aren't radical social justice warriors? So what they still don't under stand the concept of individual rights.

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4 hours ago, Grizwald said:

Why do so many objectivists seem obsessed with the likes of Sam Harris? 

I only have a vague, mostly second-hand idea of Sam Harris; but, I agree that he differs from Objectivists in pretty fundamental ways. Indeed, a decade ago, most Objectivists who point out his good bits would probably have focused on his bad bits. I think the reason is that one picks one's battles: and, I assume more Objectivists who listen to Harris, link to him, etc. would also acknowledge his flaws.

Analogously, the defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan took the west from fighting an enemy whose philosophy was based on explicit naturalism and reason (the commies ;) ) to an enemy with a mystical belief in the "uncreated" nature of an ancient scripture. 

 

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On 2/14/2017 at 1:21 AM, Grizwald said:

Do people like him because they have a deep-rooted hatred for Muslims and he can articulate the problems with and in islam far better than they could themselves?

I like him because of his metaphysics and epistemology (I like most scientists simply for that), for the Ted-Talks where he argued for a rational and explicitly scientific morality and for his eloquent-yet-layman-accessible speaking style, among other things.

No, he's not a very good philosopher and he should never be given any sort of political office, but he seems like a guy I'd enjoy hanging out with. I feel exactly the same way about Donald Trump.

 

On 2/14/2017 at 1:21 AM, Grizwald said:

This whole thing about classical liberals is special because of what, they aren't radical social justice warriors? So what they still don't under stand the concept of individual rights.

When people recognize the necessity of reason, we win. Making Objectivism a dominant force in the culture will proceed very rapidly from that.

Whoever Sam Harris succeeds in convincing to adopt his scientific approach to altruism is someone who's ready to hear about Objectivism. Their moral standards will conform to the actual welfare of other people (as opposed to how those people feel or the conservation status of some Brazilian slug) and more importantly they'll judge our moral and political arguments by an epistemology that's almost our own (as opposed to what the Bible says or what so-and-so down the street thinks). Don't forget that -although it is the wrong justification for it- supporting Capitalism is demonstrably the best conceivable way to help the poor, sick and needy, and we can scientifically prove that.

 

That's also why classical liberals matter. If a classical liberal was championing some terrible political idea, you could persuade them to stop (and start championing the right ideas) by appealing to reason, justice, individual rights and their own desire to live. If you tried to make such a case to the wrong Muslim they might just respond with cold, mindless steel.

 

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
Unabashedly Gratuitous Song

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On Tuesday February 14, 2017 at 2:21 AM, Grizwald said:

Why do so many objectivists seem obsessed with the likes of Sam Harris?

I wasn't aware that they were..

 I read one of Harris' anti-religion books (The End of Faith?  I've forgotten the title) in which he declared that only actions that benefit others can be moral. I have no use for avowed altruists, so I haven't bothered to look at anything of his since.
 

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