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Thread: Sam Harris on the Joe Rogan Podcast

  1. #1

    Sam Harris on the Joe Rogan Podcast



    I just found out that Sam Harris came onto the Joe Rogan podcast to discuss his research and personal experience. I haven't seen the whole thing, but Rogan is an interesting and intelligent guy if a little nutty/conspiracy-theory minded, so it should be a good chat.

    One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, the other to the Lord.

    Looking back at the footprints in the sand, he noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

    The Lord replied, "My son, My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

  2. #2
    If this is the last time Sam was on, it's probably one of my favorite podcasts in recent memory. As you say, Rogan definitely leans towards the CT viewpoint on many things. Sam is almost the other extreme--nearly to the point of thinking that the government can do no wrong. The first 30 minutes or so were tense as shit, I almost felt uncomfortable listening. I could be wrong, but I don't think either one was really familiar with the depth of the others' beliefs. However, what developed was awesome in my opinion. They somehow reached this equilibrium where Joe was just casually probing (insert gay joke) the depths of Sam's beliefs, without any judgement, and what comes out is just fascinating. I don't share Sam's view, but to see exactly why he holds it, to what level, and how it effects his perceptions was really edifying. I've always wondered how the mind of someone who is so enamored of logic, to the point of denying some truths out of hand because they appear illogical--ie: not even giving them the chance to hold up to scrutiny (in my humble opinion), actually works.

    To end this thought jumble, I think Sam did make me question the logic of some of my beliefs, and truly realize that they were baseless (yah, some things he said did get me)....but also startled me with his unwillingness to take certain questionable elements at anything but face value.

    This was a really unusual podcast for the JRE. Very interesting.
    OSWALD

    What dost thou know me for?

    KENT

    A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
    base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
    hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
    lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
    glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
    one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
    bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
    the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
    and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
    will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
    the least syllable of thy addition.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by nakedrear View Post
    If this is the last time Sam was on, it's probably one of my favorite podcasts in recent memory. As you say, Rogan definitely leans towards the CT viewpoint on many things. Sam is almost the other extreme--nearly to the point of thinking that the government can do no wrong. The first 30 minutes or so were tense as shit, I almost felt uncomfortable listening. I could be wrong, but I don't think either one was really familiar with the depth of the others' beliefs. However, what developed was awesome in my opinion. They somehow reached this equilibrium where Joe was just casually probing (insert gay joke) the depths of Sam's beliefs, without any judgement, and what comes out is just fascinating. I don't share Sam's view, but to see exactly why he holds it, to what level, and how it effects his perceptions was really edifying. I've always wondered how the mind of someone who is so enamored of logic, to the point of denying some truths out of hand because they appear illogical--ie: not even giving them the chance to hold up to scrutiny (in my humble opinion), actually works.
    I'm curious which points you were thinking of exactly. I'm only halfway through, but I definitely agree with your description of it, both in it being unusual and it being Joe probing exactly what Harris thinks. It is unusual in that it is usually--when the guest is boring--Joe talking about the stuff he is interested, or--if the guest is cool and chatty like Bas--Joe having a back and forth conversation with the guest, telling stories, etc.

    I was really interested to find out Sam's political beliefs, which I believe he has only addressed tangentially.

    To end this thought jumble, I think Sam did make me question the logic of some of my beliefs, and truly realize that they were baseless (yah, some things he said did get me)....but also startled me with his unwillingness to take certain questionable elements at anything but face value.

    This was a really unusual podcast for the JRE. Very interesting.
    Curious what he got you to reconsider.

    Also, I don't think it is Sam's willingness to take everything at face value or his embrace of logic that runs him into trouble. Frankly, I think he hits the trouble with conspiracy theories directly on the head--it is absurd to believe that so many people could keep silent about a secret as big as they are usually talking about for so long, particularly when the ends desired (invading Iraq for instance) could have been achieved through much simpler and less nefarious means.

    I think Sam's most central error is his almost unbounded faith that dialogue wins culture wars and that good ideas (and by mistaken analogy, good values) drives social progress. Culture wars are won and lost by the success that the culture imparts to society. While truth and reason are highly adaptive cultural meme, they are not the only useful cultural meme, and the social returns on science vary depending on the environment they arise in. For a poor farmer who only cares about growing potatoes, the truth regarding quantum mechanics is almost entirely irrelevant to his well-being (and probably most of his neighbors). Complex philosophies of knowledge, religion, and spirituality almost never precede great revolutionary discoveries or adaptations. Rather, the philosophies follow the realization that the old philosophy is obsolete.

    Not sure if all of that made sense. In short, you have to let certain groups be free, provide them access to your culture, and eventually they may reach a point where our developments become useful to them, at which point they will start to utilize them (or a variation on them). Until then, we just have to sit back and let them slaughter each other, chop off each others' clitorises, and do all of the other crazy things they do.

    It is not unlike interfering in the animal kingdom. You could nurture every animal and make sure none of them experience pain and suffering, but that would be disrupting the natural equilibrium and development of their species--maybe destroy their social structure irreparably by letting them rely on you.

    One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, the other to the Lord.

    Looking back at the footprints in the sand, he noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

    The Lord replied, "My son, My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

  4. #4
    I'll say more on this later, but as for what Sam got me thinking about, a few things:

    Minor stuff, that I think comes late in the podcast, like anticipating telephone calls and the myth of the "hot hand". Feels retarded to say it out loud, but I've been in both of those scenarios a few times, and it felt "for sure" like something special was happening. I don't know what you would call that something, synchronicity, or some quirk of the mysterious quantum underpinnings of our universe where your intentions can spontaneously provoke a reaction...who the fuck knows. But to hear him spell it out, I had to agree that it was more likely that my mind simply latched onto the 1/1000 success it had in anticipating the call or nailing another 3-pointer while jumping out of bounds....thereby elevating those events to something beyond mere chance.

    On more serious matters, his no-negotiating view on Muslim extremism and anti-pacifist views. In particular:

    For religious extremists, as crazy as it is, I guess I unconsciously held the belief that humans with even the most disparate views can gain something from a dialogue. But as he repeatedly re-emphasized, "imagine you really believed this", it definitely made me reconsider. Put that way, it's obvious that one party has to drop the crazy before a conversation can really begin. It's one thing if you are on the fringe, but when you are in the center of the bullseye of crazy as he put it, you have to at least move to one outward ring before you can start talking with other people in a somewhat meaningful way. I suppose this just "drove the point home" rather than radically altered my beliefs on this matter.

    One last thing that did affect me a good deal, is his view on pacifism. In particular, what it means to not be a pacifist. His statement (paraphrasing), "If you are not a pacifist, the only question is, when do you pick up the guns?" stays with me. Put that way, it seems quite apparent that a non-pacifist is really just someone who needs the right reason. We all fit that bill. If you can't say, "I would never harm another human being", then you are saying, "Yes, I would harm another human being, and these are the circumstances I would do it under...". What scares me about the truth of that statement, is that it means we all have a fear button, that if pushed, will bring out the worst in us. While that might seem natural and good, how hard would it be to put any person in a situation where he felt that his "fear button" was being pushed, or a group of people....and indeed isn't this the cause of every war and conflict?

    I guess that wasn't a win for Sam over my mind. It more made me wonder how many Sam Harris' were plotting the extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany. And I'm not trying to say that HE is a bad guy, because I was shocked to see how easy my mind could agree with him, and might be there right along with him.

    Well, I guess in retrospect Sam didn't really win me over, despite the minor win on synchronicity, but he did give me much food for though...and perhaps his thought seeds will pay dividends in the future?? lol


    blah, blah...like I said, it was a great episode. I'll rant more stuff later.
    Last edited by nakedrear; 04-23-2012 at 07:03 AM.
    OSWALD

    What dost thou know me for?

    KENT

    A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
    base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
    hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
    lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
    glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
    one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
    bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
    the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
    and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
    will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
    the least syllable of thy addition.

  5. #5
    I'll be back to defend the honor of (some) conspiracy theorists, but I did want to say that I agree with your assessment of Sam's theory of dialogue and too-high faith in the inherent power of ideals. And yes, the death of the old idea is virtually always the birth of the new idea, and not the other way around. And this makes perfect sense, you can't move forward while you are living in the past...so even if a new idea did come around, you'd already have to be open to change for it to have any effect. The best you can do is expose the party to the idea, so that it's accessible when they are ready to start searching for an alternative. Presenting the shiny new alternative won't cause everybody to drop everything and come running for it. Their culture has to fail first...or more accurately, for them to perceive their culture as a failure. How does that happen? I wonder. Is it by comparison? "Oh, those people seem happier...", which might give some credence to the "power of new idea" theory, if only that it makes comparison easier. Or is it something else? My hunch is that we have to take all our mistake beliefs to their logical endpoint before the wheels fall off and we start looking for alternative paradigms. So this does kind of happen in a vacuum, in a sense. We stay locked in our perceptions until we decide thy aren't going to give us what they want, like a gambler who keeps trying double or nothing. The tolerance for the mental pain of "belief failure" might vary from person to person, explaining why some people can hold unfruitful beliefs until it nearly kills them, while others quickly decide their must be a better way. You could conclude this is purely a matter of intelligence, and that surely has it's sway....but we can talk about smart people who cling to negative beliefs that make them grouchy and miserable all day, as well....and certainly there are many smart Muslims (see: your algebra textbook)
    OSWALD

    What dost thou know me for?

    KENT

    A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
    base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
    hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
    lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
    glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
    one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
    bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
    the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
    and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
    will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
    the least syllable of thy addition.

  6. #6
    sweet baby jesus, I need to go to bed. Tomorrow!
    OSWALD

    What dost thou know me for?

    KENT

    A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
    base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
    hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
    lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
    glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
    one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
    bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
    the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
    and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
    will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
    the least syllable of thy addition.

  7. #7
    it must really suck smoking weed around you guys

  8. #8
    Even in islamic countries, most muslims are moderates at heart. Radical islam would have died its natural death if US did not support it against USSR.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by nakedrear View Post
    I'll say more on this later, but as for what Sam got me thinking about, a few things:

    Minor stuff, that I think comes late in the podcast, like anticipating telephone calls and the myth of the "hot hand". Feels retarded to say it out loud, but I've been in both of those scenarios a few times, and it felt "for sure" like something special was happening. I don't know what you would call that something, synchronicity, or some quirk of the mysterious quantum underpinnings of our universe where your intentions can spontaneously provoke a reaction...who the fuck knows. But to hear him spell it out, I had to agree that it was more likely that my mind simply latched onto the 1/1000 success it had in anticipating the call or nailing another 3-pointer while jumping out of bounds....thereby elevating those events to something beyond mere chance.
    Yeah, I know what you mean. Although I have a hard time believing that something like that is not true with sports. Sports are notoriously "streaky." You have a guy or team that starts believing in himself and gets comfortable and thinking positive and all of the sudden he is on fire. Almost every baseball game I've ever seen the majority of runs are scored in one or two innings. I think the mental aspect of sports is huge.

    What scares me about the truth of that statement, is that it means we all have a fear button, that if pushed, will bring out the worst in us. While that might seem natural and good, how hard would it be to put any person in a situation where he felt that his "fear button" was being pushed, or a group of people....and indeed isn't this the cause of every war and conflict?
    Depends on what you mean by "the worst." Just because you think that violence could be justified in the service of something you believe in does not mean that ANYTHING could be justified in the service of something you believe in. Asking "When do you pick up the guns?" is not the same as asking "When do you start skinning the babies?"

    The part where I really disagree with Sam is when, oddly, he joins every other moral evangelist. This is a charge often given to the militant atheists, but in Sam's mind, there really is an "evil" that must be fought. That evil anything that opposes his "obvious" secular moral concepts like his embrace of equal gender roles, rejection of "illogical" cultural artifacts like religion, and belief in the overarching goodness of democracy.

    This is also where I disagree with conspiracy theorists. There are so few truly nefarious people out there that I have difficulty calling them "evil" in the traditional sense. There are misguided people--Hitler was a misguided person and probably mentally unstable. Same with bin Laden. It doesn't mean that they shouldn't be stopped or even killed, but it isn't some metaphysical war against the darkness. There is no Eye of Mordor to destroy to set the world right. The world is imperfect and will always be imperfect, and all you can hope for is to try and make your mark on the world in some way and leave it a little better than you found it.

    One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, the other to the Lord.

    Looking back at the footprints in the sand, he noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.

    The Lord replied, "My son, My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by oddtopsy View Post
    it must really suck smoking weed around you guys
    We're a riot on heroin, though
    OSWALD

    What dost thou know me for?

    KENT

    A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
    base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
    hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
    lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
    glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
    one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
    bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
    the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
    and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
    will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
    the least syllable of thy addition.

  11. #11
    POST BOMB COMING UP. I'LL DROP THIS BAD BOY AND THEN I'LL SHUT MY MOUTH FOR A WHILE

    GERONIMOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
    OSWALD

    What dost thou know me for?

    KENT

    A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
    base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
    hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
    lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
    glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
    one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
    bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
    the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
    and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
    will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
    the least syllable of thy addition.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Reaper Man View Post
    This is also where I disagree with conspiracy theorists. There are so few truly nefarious people out there that I have difficulty calling them "evil" in the traditional sense. There are misguided people--Hitler was a misguided person and probably mentally unstable. Same with bin Laden. It doesn't mean that they shouldn't be stopped or even killed, but it isn't some metaphysical war against the darkness. There is no Eye of Mordor to destroy to set the world right. The world is imperfect and will always be imperfect, and all you can hope for is to try and make your mark on the world in some way and leave it a little better than you found it.
    I completely agree with this, and I part ways with many so-called conspiracy theorists on this viewpoint. I don't believe that humanity was moving along just fine, with everybody holding hands and communing with nature...until a few bad apples got together and set up a framework for guiding humanity with ill intentions, that has held until the present day, and spoiled each subsequent generation.....

    I'm quite pessimistic regarding the nature of humanity, actually. I think greed, selfishness, and every other bad attribute is alive and well in each and every one of us. Some express these things more than others, but we all have it. With that said, and there being billions of people, it's inevitable that these attributes will find expression in every generation. The majority of us who do reign in these less desirable tendencies in their more extreme expression, avoiding blatant offenses like murder, robbery and so on...will gossip against our neighbor, fight someone for a parking spot, or need to go online and badmouth the celebrity they dislike, the fighter who needs to go fuck himself, etc. Few if any people are in a place of genuine peace and selflessness.

    THAT SAID, I have a list of grievances against those who dismiss the notion of the conspiracy in its entirety. Some are "guilty" of these offenses, and some aren't, but here they are:

    1. It does not follow that if one grand conspiracy theory doesn't seem able to hold up to scrutiny, they are all baseless. I see this mentality all the time by people who make a big fuss about being logical. There is nothing logical about queuing up your tinfoilhat.jpg just because someone suggested a conspiracy. Each case should be judged on its own.

    2. Following fast on the heels of number one: actually look at the facts. Many people use sweeping generalities like "so many people couldn't hold a secret" or "it's too complex" to dismiss something out of hand. For that reason, they don't even need to read the article or document in question, etc. It's a foregone conclusion that such things couldn't happen. Again, look at the facts, then have your conclusion.

    3. "It would have leaked", "Too complex", and the like. Why these are ideas are true in principle, but may not apply:

    Compartmentalism. For instance, let's say there was a voting machine that made it easy to rig and falsify results (look up Diebold machine for some fun reading while you are at it). The idea to do such a thing can originate anywhere. The politician himself never has to know. It might be some corporate bigwig with a vested interest in seeing his candidate win, etc. The guy who actually rigs the machine itself doesn't have to know. As a guy who does programming, I can tell you that your average system is far too vast to understand the implications of everything. One guy makes the mail server run, another guy simply focuses on error checking, etc. All the man who programmed the machine to be rigged had to do is design the software to be "flexible", easy to change or update with a new set of parameters or whatever it may be, and he doesn't have to know the reason for it. Probably doesn't care. When it's showtime, black hat hackers don't show up and set each machine to gain the desired result. Perhaps maintenance people are sent to go update the software with some new data to fix a "bug"--or a remote update, the data itself could be encrypted so if one did get a hold of it you couldn't catch onto it if you found it. So, perhaps one corporate "ring leader" has his advisers work out the requirements for the system, deliver it to the so-called company with a hefty bonus (no shady meeting required), and the software company owner will make sure that his underlings shut their mouths and do their work so he can get paid. The likely whistleblowers in this scenario are obviously the ones who know the most. However, the people who know the most are also getting paid the most, if you get my meaning. If Sally Sue worker is particularly smart and catches on, it's unlikely her little voice will do much damage.

    With the above said, facts do leak and the truth comes out, but many times people won't listen because they are already predisposed to believe such things simply aren't possible. I contend that they are. I could give numerous examples, but I'll give limit it to a couple of the best and clearest examples of conspiracies in the making or executed.


    1.Operations Northwoods. The following document INDISPUTABLY suggests false flag attacks as a pretext for attacking Cuba, and it was visiting desks of the most powerful men in the nation. It's essentially a blueprint for a conspiracy. Despite not being executed, this should quite easily put aside any fantasies that conspiracies as such are never batted around in the chambers of powerful men.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...Qf8_osFR_gY3RA

    If I could grab a dyed in the wool Anti-CT person by the lapels and make them look at one thing, this it.

    2. Burzynski Case. How Big Pharma systematically suppressed an advance in medicine in the name of profits.

    Speaks for itself. There should be enough court room footage, footage of documents, and other facts that are easily verifiable, to satisfy the most ardent skeptic. If this doesn't clearly illustrate for someone that certain interests will go to great lengths to satisfy an agenda (again, of profit, not of enslaving the human race), it's unlikely anything will.

    OSWALD

    What dost thou know me for?

    KENT

    A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a
    base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited,
    hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a
    lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson,
    glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue;
    one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a
    bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but
    the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar,
    and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I
    will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest
    the least syllable of thy addition.

  13. #13
    Sam is pretty clueless about politics. He sounded like a neocon.

  14. #14
    It was a great podcast. He makes a lot of good points. Religions are dumb in general but Islam takes it as a challenge to get as dumb and medieval as possible.

  15. #15
    The tragedy of the internet is that people with no background in science or politics think they are experts just because they read some articles.

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