Morality (Sam Harris is Wrong, part 7 and conclusion)

Morality is perhaps the most philosophically difficult part of Sam Harris’s worldview. He argues against moral relativism, in favor of objective morality. This objective morality is based on maximizing "wellbeing for all conscious creatures." I doubt this article will change people's minds. It is much easier to do that in conversation where you can instantly react … Continue reading Morality (Sam Harris is Wrong, part 7 and conclusion)

Profiling (Sam Harris is Wrong, part 6)

Sam Harris has argued in favor of profiling (in airports, for example). He explains his position: we can exclude from inspection some people who we so obviously don't need to worry about. He even euphemistically calls it "anti-profiling." It's insane, he says, to search the old Chinese granny's shoes just as vigorously as the 22 … Continue reading Profiling (Sam Harris is Wrong, part 6)

Identity Politics (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 5)

In one notorious podcast episode, Sam Harris discussed identity politics with the very socially progressive Ezra Klein. Ezra made unsurprising appeal to consequences arguments, but what I want to talk about is one specific thing he said. He accused Sam of supporting an identity of his own, a reactionary identity of those marginalized by social … Continue reading Identity Politics (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 5)

Malevolent Artificial Intelligence (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 4)

I don't think this post was very good as originally written. However, it is part 4 in a multi-part series, so in lieu of deleting it, I have re-written the arguments I made as part of a larger post, here. The arguments from this post made it into part 1 and part 4. There is … Continue reading Malevolent Artificial Intelligence (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 4)

Theism, atheism, and antitheism (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 3)

Harris fails to appreciate the narrative power of religion, or the importance of belief. Here is an excerpt from a debate between Harris and Jordan Peterson, moderated by Bret Weinstein.  Harris: I'm not saying that stories aren't incredibly powerful and useful and inevitable... Peterson: You are. You might be saying that they're inevitable. But you … Continue reading Theism, atheism, and antitheism (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 3)

“All we have is conversation or violence” (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 1)

This is the first installment of a series in which I look at various beliefs of Sam Harris and explain why they are wrong. Why am I picking on Harris? Although I believe Harris is wrong about many things, the way he is wrong is usually interesting: the intellectual consequence of mental traps that are … Continue reading “All we have is conversation or violence” (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 1)

Third Order Thinking (Or: Is a Whale a Fish?)

Between 1:53:30 and 1:55:30, physicist and economist Eric Weinstein (to the right of his brother, Bret Weinstein, who I have a whole post about), asks a simple question: “Is a whale a fish?” You might read that and think I’m an idiot. A whale isn’t a fish; a whale is a mammal. But let us step … Continue reading Third Order Thinking (Or: Is a Whale a Fish?)