Friday, May 27, 2016

The Woo of Sam Harris: Consciousness, Censorship, Drug trips, and Woo

Sam Harris, previously a horseman of the new atheist apocalypse, is full of woo.

Today I posted a long analysis of Harris's recent podcast where he chatted at length with Chalmers. I posted this text on a few Facebook forums and on Harris's page. The posting on Harris's page was deleted after about 10 seconds - probably by Harris or his family I bet.

Here's the text which Harris deleted or allowed to be deleted from his Facebook page:


Harris & Chalmers vs Dennett on Consciousness:

Harris & Chalmers:
Dennett v Chalmers & then more of Dennett:

As per Dennett and as per my own evaluation, Harris and Chalmers apparently see consciousness as an ineffable glow or hum. You know, mostly the same fluffamuff glow one sees with 'light' ghostly mystical deistic Christianity (Anglican, Catholic, etc.).

I've tried very hard to wade through the first video with Sam's podcast. But every time I listen to a few minutes, I feel as if every single step further & further is chock full of woo filled treacle.

Harris & Chalmers sometimes partially and sometimes fully misrepresent Dennett's views. I don't think Dennett is saying consciousness doesn't exist. He's saying the woo-type doesn't exist. However the biological-computer virtual-machine type *does* exist, and he's not saying otherwise from what I can tell.

Related articles:

A lot of verbal & mental masturbation that happens during Sam's podcast (and I say this with the greatest respect for all forms of masturbation) is just plain crazy woo. Examples: We live in a simulated world? Woo. One *key* thing about even beginning to consider such a possibility is one of *perspective.* Who's watching the 'screen or monitor' of such a simulation? Computers who run sims respond to *us* and show *us* what they are doing.

If we did live in a simulation, the >simulating computer< would be generating results, presumably, for an *observer*. Thus there's no need for simulants to have any perception whatsoever of a *real* inner life, really. The hardware on which the sim is running has presents the sim world to an observer, period, right?

As independent biological machines we perceive our inner life because we're independent. If we were in a simulation, there would be no need (nor mechanism?) for simultants themselves to have any perception. The *observer* of the *entire* simulation just needs to be presented with a reasonable simulation, end of story - perhaps.

That's one objection. There's others. But assuming exponential curves for growth is perhaps misplaced. Just seems woo-ey.

Lastly Harris had plenty of time to read up on Dennett's views on consciousness before this most recent podcast with Chalmers, and to chat first hand with Dennett about these matters in detail, before Harris felt inclined to quickly publish a very rough hewn pamphlet on free will - thereby creating a new distance between himself & Dennett, and which is why I believe Dennett doesn't wish to engage in first hand chats with Harris on these matters now.

Harris's entire approach, to free will, and now to consciousness, seems lazy, woo-ey, and hobbled in part by previous exposure to woo Buddhism, and an over ascribing of far too much analytical experiential value to a past drug trip.

Buddhist ideas polluting science & reason: free will, the self, and consciousness

Free Will and The Self Are Not Illusions

I posted the above text on Sam's own page over at

It was deleted within about 10 seconds. I don't think he liked my critique of his podcast & so on, if it was his hands on the delete button - probably.

----------------- end of quote of my edited Facebook post where I note the observed censorship down toward the bottom.


In another forum someone asked how big the batteries shall be on the future simulating computer. My response:

As big as Sam Harris's and David Chalmers' egos.

The brain which must be uploaded first is Dennett's. 

Feels like if it weren't for his matter of fact common sense evaluations, woo-meisters like Chalmers and Harris would have free reign.

The Hard Problem of Consciousness (Chalmers, Dennett, & Hoffman)
The New Woo of Chalmers and Harris sounds and feels very much like Deepak Chopra smokey long time running woo.

The Future of God Debate Sam Harris and Michael Shermer vs Deepak Chopra and Jean Houston

Sam has gone off the rails since the above debate.

And Harris has been very lazy regarding his entire approach to free will and consciousness. 

Harris has these 'deep' chats with people now on his podcsst. But Dennett rightly apparently doesn't want to play Harris's game.

Harris had all the time in the world to read up on Dennett's writings and talks on both subjects. And even to talk to him first hand.

Instead he lazily revealed his own uneducated illformed poorly crafted naive Buddhist hippie drug trip views as some sort of 'revelation.' 

Harris is lazy and sloppy, and has revealed himself slowly and concisely to be a petty woo-meister himself.

B. Alan Wallace and Buddhist Dualism

"...he utterly mangles quantum mechanics theory in an attempt to argue that – science says the world is weird, and my beliefs are weird, therefore science supports my views. The logic of this argument fails, but it doesn’t matter because the premise if wrong – quantum weirdness disappears at the macroscopic level.

In the end Wallace does no better than anyone who tries to subvert science to support any ideology..."

---end of quote

Chopra & Chalmers & now Harris do also. Woo-meisters all. The conflation of science with mystical charlatanry

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