Is Sam Harris a scientist?
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11-03-2017, 07:47 AM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2017 07:54 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(10-03-2017 01:40 PM)Billanja Wrote:  What I'm having an issue with is that scientific research isn't financed and funded freely. As far I as know how funding and financing of scientific projects function, especially in the USA, it's done by donors who have a particular interest in funding certain scientific projects but other projects get denied and rejected by the donors.

IOW, it's agenda driven how certain projects get funded and others not. And as long as that is the case, it can not be said that we have a free scientific community who are not controlled and regulated by how the funding and financing process currantely is working.

I don't know too much about this. But sure, funding is always going to be an issue.

However, funding doesn't change truth. You don't suddenly get a theory develop that demonstrates a certain thing because a lot of money has been thrown at it. It's just going to be about the truth being uncovered faster in certain areas than others.

Quote:Also, there has been a lot of "studies" done by the german nazi scientists to prove that certain races have certain advantages and dis-advantages and those studies are now all seen as what they have been: The attempt to justify a disgusting theory of the superiourity of the caucasian (blond and blue eyed) race.

Furthermore: There have been experiements on the inmates of the german death-camps regarding controlling the human mind and the brain. By what is called operation paper-clip a lot of those doctors who conducted those experiement came to america via the so called rat-line via south america.

My point is: What is rational and reasonable highly depends on what kind of system the scientific and philosophical community is a part of.

I'm not too sure what to make of what you're saying here. Science can of course be used for moral or immoral things. But facts are facts. Science attempts to model reality. What people do with that information is another matter.

If a "study" is bogus, then the scientific method and peer review will show this to be the case. Even if a study showed one race to be "superior" to another in some respect, and it's a genuine study, then these are just more facts. Science does not determine morality, and sure, people can try to use these things to justify actions. But you can't get from an "is" to an "ought". It would be rational to conclude that the facts of the study are correct, but it wouldn't be rational to jump to, "So it's okay to go kill them". Morality isn't a science, it's a matter of opinion and discussion.

I'm not too sure what else to say. Sure, if you live in a society which considers it rational to kill things if they can be shown to be inferior, then... that's what things are like.

Quote:And I never hear Sam Harris mention that. For me that means he either does not care to know what kind of system he is a part of, or he knows it and does not care or he finds himself on the "right" side of the system, benefits from it and does not care because he benefits.

And yes, I have researched so called conspiracy theories, obviously.

Again, I don't know what you mean. You seem to be talking about the moralities of different cultures at different times. This is nothing to do with science. It deal only with the facts.

If he's offering moral opinions, then they are just that.

As I've said, I find his study of moralty do be inadequate anyhow. But morality isn't primarily about rational thought, it's about value systems. Of course, you can use rational thought to help sort through your moral ideas.

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11-03-2017, 07:50 AM
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(09-03-2017 07:19 PM)Billanja Wrote:  I'm wondering.....

Read for yourself.

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11-03-2017, 07:50 AM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2017 07:55 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(10-03-2017 02:45 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(10-03-2017 01:20 PM)Robvalue Wrote:  One thing I completely disagree with Harris on is his whole "moral landscape" thing, and the idea that science can tell us about morality. I think that's total garbage. Science can help us achieve our goals once we have decided what is and isn't morally desirable, but it can't set those goals for us.

That was a while ago though so I don't know if he's updated his stance on that.

That's not what I understood him to be saying. He was only saying that it's possible to evaluate options scientifically to determine what kind of affect they have on society and then use those results to guide moral choices. I don't think he proposed it as an ultimate answer but rather just to say that science is not isolated from moral decisions.

If that is the case then it's a much more reasonable assessment, and I agree. I hope this is what he meant! I listened to his lecture about it multiple times, and found his treatment of morality to be extremely narrow and even faulty. Maybe if I read his book it would make more sense.

I don't know... the idea that we can assess outcomes (which is, to me, only a small part of morality) is so obvious that I don't know why he even needs to state it, let alone write a book about it.

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11-03-2017, 08:04 AM
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(10-03-2017 01:40 PM)Billanja Wrote:  What I'm having an issue with is that scientific research isn't financed and funded freely. As far I as know how funding and financing of scientific projects function, especially in the USA, it's done by donors who have a particular interest in funding certain scientific projects but other projects get denied and rejected by the donors.

Some funding comes that from companies or the military. Most doesn't. At least not in Europe. Most of it comes from governments, i.e. taxpayers.
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11-03-2017, 08:14 AM
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(11-03-2017 07:47 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Again, I don't know what you mean. You seem to be talking about the moralities of different cultures at different times. This is nothing to do with science. It deal only with the facts.

If he's offering moral opinions, then they are just that.

As I've said, I find his study of moralty do be inadequate anyhow. But morality isn't primarily about rational thought, it's about value systems. Of course, you can use rational thought to help sort through your moral ideas.

Yes.

I guess my point is: Sam Harris has nothing new to offer for me regarding the topics I'm interested in. And I find his whole attitude/style of presenting his arguments repelling. I think he is highly overrated as a so called rational and original thinker and public speaker. But that is my personal impression of him, having listened to many of his podcasts and having watched a lot of youtube videos in which he debates and/or talks and/or had conversations with other atheists.

I still don't understand what his moral/ethical standpoint actually is, other than: religion is bad and islam is most bad (" the motherload of all bad ideas"). While at the same time he never even once mentions the world-wide damage uncontrolled and un-restricted capitalism is causing. And that is why I consider him as intellectually dishonest, because dump and stupid he isn't, according to his university degrees.

From my side I don't have anything further to say about him and therefore see no need for me to participate in this thread any longer. But if Sam Harris himself is interested in engaging me here, I would reconsider that.

Thanks for the interesting conversation.
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11-03-2017, 08:25 AM
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(11-03-2017 07:50 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I don't know... the idea that we can assess outcomes (which is, to me, only a small part of morality) is so obvious that I don't know why he even needs to state it, let alone write a book about it.

There are a lot of people that buy into the "non-overlapping magisteria" bullshit and say that science can never answer questions on morality or ethics since we need theology for that. He makes it clear that science can be a tool for choosing ethical systems based on reason.

Harris may be taking it further than I'm suggesting since I haven't read his book on it, just noting what I took from some of his talks about it. If so, I'm happy to stop with what I got since it helps me in framing responses to anybody saying that we need god to talk about morality.

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11-03-2017, 08:33 AM
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(11-03-2017 08:14 AM)Billanja Wrote:  I still don't understand what his moral/ethical standpoint actually is, other than: religion is bad and islam is most bad (" the motherload of all bad ideas"). While at the same time he never even once mentions the world-wide damage uncontrolled and un-restricted capitalism is causing. And that is why I consider him as intellectually dishonest, because dump and stupid he isn't, according to his university degrees.

There is nothing intellectually dishonest about focusing on a single topic. Harris is discussing the harm that is caused by religion. The harm caused by capitalism, communism, strip-mining, deforestation, or drunk tweeting is only related to "the harm done by religion" when religion is the instigator.

If you don't like Harris then don't watch his videos or read his books. If your main complaint is that he doesn't focus on topics that you think he should then that's your problem, not his. He's not under any obligation to discuss things that you would like to hear about. I find him to be a generally eloquent, humorous speaker on topics that I find interesting even when I don't fully agree with him.

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11-03-2017, 09:05 AM
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(11-03-2017 08:33 AM)unfogged Wrote:  The harm caused by capitalism, communism, strip-mining, deforestation, or drunk tweeting is only related to "the harm done by religion" when religion is the instigator.

He's got less of a problem with the above. Apart from blaming religion for anything and everything. And you're right. I don't watch anything made by him anymore, nor would I buy his books.
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11-03-2017, 12:44 PM
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
(11-03-2017 08:25 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(11-03-2017 07:50 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  I don't know... the idea that we can assess outcomes (which is, to me, only a small part of morality) is so obvious that I don't know why he even needs to state it, let alone write a book about it.

There are a lot of people that buy into the "non-overlapping magisteria" bullshit and say that science can never answer questions on morality or ethics since we need theology for that. He makes it clear that science can be a tool for choosing ethical systems based on reason.

Harris may be taking it further than I'm suggesting since I haven't read his book on it, just noting what I took from some of his talks about it. If so, I'm happy to stop with what I got since it helps me in framing responses to anybody saying that we need god to talk about morality.

Fair enough Smile

If someone wants to say their morality is based on theology, then I'm not going to tell them they can't do that. I will argue that it's a bad idea though, and that the kind of morality they are using has absolutely nothing in common with the kind I use.

You could still use science in conjunction with theological morality, such as finding the most efficient ways of harassing homosexuals.

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14-03-2017, 04:54 PM
RE: Is Sam Harris a scientist?
I see the OP has been banned. To bad, really. I was kind of enjoying her/his odd perspective.
I can see where some might find it tiresome, tho'.

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