Showing posts with label sam harris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sam harris. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Batons of Christopher Hitchens; The natural underpinnings of social conservatism; Jordan Peterson's work

Recently I engaged in a debate with a muckety muck in the Church of Sam Harris regarding Jordan Peterson. The man is highly upset at my 'slander' regarding Harris.

Some people fancy themselves as the quintessential sons-of-Christopher-Hitchens. They have their profile photos permanently set as a cartoon of a cigarette smoking Hitch, and they never change that photo to something else, ever.

From my perspective the batons of Hitch have passed to several people, and several of those people are on the current right-side of the political spectrum, much the chagrin of fervent Church of Harris believers.

Partial list of people who've been the recipients of a Hitchian baton: Andrew Breitbart, Douglas Murray, Mark Steyn, Gad Saad, and even Dinesh D'Souza.

List of people who're traitors to the legacy of Hitch: Sam Harris; Church of Sam Harris priests who get upset at 'slander' against Harris; and all atheists who voted for Her.

One person interviewed by Saad is Jordan Peterson. Peterson recently engaged in a discussion with Harris, and Harris could not wrap his brain around what Peterson was saying. Understandable for more reasons than one.

Peterson speaks valuably against social constructivism and Marxism (as does Saad). He also speaks valuably regarding the nuclear bomb level impact of artificial birth control upon the human animal. And even before I heard of Peterson, I wrote the exact same type of thing.

https://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2016/02/lies-present-in-conservative-religion.html

Regarding Peterson's religiospeak, it's important (and mostly required) to interpret the totality of it within an enlightened naturalistic framework.

Dennett's 'dangerous' idea regarding religion being natural cuts several ways. One way it cuts is that fully evolved human moral codes are couched within religious contexts. Another is that every single syllable emitted from the vocal orifice of Jordan Peterson needs to be interpreted within context.

A highly valuable project: more accurately (and without leftist SJW prejudice) describing the inherent, evolved, and high value to enlightened social conservatism, and naturalistically articulate evolutionary psychology.

Peterson approaches such a merging more than Gad Saad, in his own way Petersonian way.

Thus a great thanks to Peterson for opposing Marxism and social constructivism, on campus and off. And thanks to him for revolutionarily speaking the truth regarding one specific concern of social conservatives (widely available artificial birth control).

Valuable and fully natural scientific work.

-----------

The Harrisian (Sam Harris and his aficionados) brain has problems grasping many things. For example:

1.) That free will fully exists within the human animal, in a natural, reasonably adequate, and compatiblist sense. Dennett is right. Harris is a myopic hack on this front.

2.) That consciousness is not an ineffable humming glow.

3.) That male circumcision is highly abhorrent.

4.) That there was high utilitarian value to voting for Trump.

5.) That voting for Hillary was a huge betrayal to the legacy of Hitch. The crooked racketeering Team Rape versus a pro-American and thus pro-Enlightenment good-hearted businessman who used His Own Money to block the raping racketeering Clintons.

Also Harris engaged in malpractice regarding his psychological diagnosis of Trump, one which was petty, shallow, moronic, analy retentive, boring, stupid, and obtuse - and fully on par with most Harrisian projects and pronouncements.

So thanks to Peterson, Gad Saad, and others.

Saad is a social liberal. Peterson seems to be a moderate. When more scientists get some balls and brain cells, and finally see value to fully evolved social conservatism, then there'll be progress. But until then, the pro-eugenics pro-death nihilistic hacks aren't scientists but rather they're just worse than worthless nihilists.

At least Saad is willing to entertain conservative ideas without becoming an utter nutter. And Peterson is closer to the truth of the evolved situation, in his own Petersonian way.

What evolutionary process is involved when decidedly childfree denialist abusively permissive SJW leftists just want want want to import admittedly also abusive Muslims to breed on their behalf?

The SJW children of let-it-all-hang-out 60s hippies love forcibly-hijabbed women and abusive Islamic Puritanism and Islamic large families.

Whodatthunkit.

Yes Islam warps natural evolved processes in highly wrong headed ways.

A better course would be for children of the Enlightenment to wake up, reject baby killing and artificial birth control, and breed themselves rather than to import rapey barbarian savages to breed on their behalf.

In any case Harrisian logic is rather like a weak cog in a half baked pie, to mix a metaphor. Krausian logic isn't any better by the way.

------------------------------------------------------------

Excerpts from an exchange with a Church of Harris priest (COHP) on all the above:

"Peterson's ideas are only valuable inasmuch as one is willing to take his epistemologically foolhardy presuppositions for granted."

My response:

Hardly. No more than one must assume the god believer does everything in his life >because< his god is a 100% actual fact, as opposed to a perceived fact - one which exists within the required/knowledge support structure of the meme-gene system in which he exists.

Why do people do the things they do? A combination of biology, biological history, genes and memes, which all inseparably play off each other.

Biology, evolution, life, and ideas which are rooted in various aspects of being alive, and a processing machine which can (by happenstance and not) be used for other purposes also. But even those other purposes tie into the fundamentals of existence.

For example the mathematician and physicist usually want humanity to survive, and they can be driven to use their realms of knowledge for fully biological-imperative type purposes.

How does the world work, and thus by extension how do humans work.

Peterson is concerned about what happens when humans toss the baby of morality with the bath water of religion.

Since religion is a fully natural memetic-encasement of evolved morality, it's reasonable to add 'evolved' as a preface word to the terms 'religion' and 'morality.'

COHP: "Again, his epistemology is predicated on an exceptionally precarious conceptual foundation"

Response:

It's a fundamental fallacy and also myopic to assume that expressed-views are only valid if the person expressing them can articulately state a reasonable fully-scoped foundation for those views.

Peterson uses religiospeak which must be taken within a naturalistic context. There's no other context which is reasonable. And a lack of understanding on the part of the naturalistic evaluator can lead to fundamentally flawed conclusions.

Aside from the terms he uses, Peterson has concerns about the state of humanity, concerns which do directly relate to Dennett's dangerous idea regarding religion being natural, Peterson's concerns are highly relevant, telling, and apparently factual.

The baby of evolved human morality tossed with the bath water of evolved and fully natural mysticism.

There's big costs and impacts.

COHP: "His entire philosophy collapses beneath the weight of its own incoherence."

Response:

He seems pretty coherent to me. His concerns are highly valid and valuable to make note of.

The memetic bathtub he's in is interesting and nuanced, and must and can only be understood within an enlightened naturalistic context.

COHP: "an epistemology anchored to an ontological fact is conceptually unsustainable."

Response:

How does the world work.

How do humans work.

What is human nature.

Why do humans do what they do.

Why are we here.

How can we survive.

The noob atheist, the rebellious leftist and weed smoking libertarian, all assume that without (the concept of) a god everything is permitted. Such people, and their abusively permissive and denialist meme sets, simply do not understand how the world and humans work.

COHP: "It's based on essentially circular logic"

Response:
You're stuck in the weeds of philosophical word games and forced paths which fully fail to understand what's going on, with Peterson and with religious believers in general.

Idea sets which are inadequately contextualized need not be 100% self consistent nor 100% 'reasonable' to be 'valid.' 'Valid' meaning having naturalistic causes, and meme sets which can result in reasonable naturalistically-rephrased ideas and natural material useful facts.

As for circularity, humans are evolved animals, and many aspects of human nature circle back to this fact and the general facts of how the human animal works.

COHP: "any truth claim he makes atop that foundation instantly fails."

Response:

...only for those who lack a fully contextualized and enlightened materialistic understanding of what's going on.

COHP: "It's important that one's conception of truth can at least sustain itself."

Response:

Religions do sustain themselves via and for natural reasons.

COHP: "Peterson's truth eats its own tail in a million different ways."

Response:

Not that I've seen. And the truths within religions need to, and can only be, properly understood within natural contexts.

COHP: "If his definition of truth ultimately leads to the extinction of the human race..."

Response:

He wants us to survive, and rightly so.

COHP: "...does that mean that it was never true?"

Response:

Properly contextualized truth, yes.

COHP: "It makes absolutely no sense."

Response:

He makes sense to me.

Marxism: Peterson observed highly negative impacts. He doesn't like what he saw. He doesn't want a repeat.

One of Peterson's points is that rejecting traditional religion can lead to errors in thinking, and to incredibly high levels of abusiveness, denialisms, and moronity, as was and is the case with Marxism. The utter stupidity continues on campus today.

COHP: "The soviet union"

Response:

...was an anti-human-nature identitarian leftist utopian totalitarian evil corrosive human spirit destroying dead-end endeavor. Peterson knows this.

COHP: "It was the result of disillusionment in the church..."

Response:

...which led to something far worse. And the Soviet Union was a de facto religion, as is Marxism.

Visit most any atheist (or humanist or Unitarian Universalist) group in America.

State to them that you enjoy Duck Dynasty, and that you're a pro-life anti-gay-"marriage" atheist. See how long it takes for them to boot you: faster than a Mormon Bishop. A de facto religion with dogma, doctrines, heresy trials, and excommunication.

COHP: "Most Nazis were devout Christians."

Response:

Fascism is a left spectrum endeavor. National Socialism.

There is identitarianism in both Marxism and fascism. Group rights and group blames. Utopianism. De facto eugenics. Racism. Dogmas. Doctrines. Heresy trials.

Yes I see that Communism/Marxism and fascism all have corrosive tribalistic elements and religious ones too. Peterson rightly points out negative impacts.

COHP: "You've COMPLETELY misconstrued Dennett..."

Response:

Many hours listening to Dennett.

COHP: "Sam's positions."

Response:

Ditto.

Harris is a myopic hack.

https://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/search/label/sam%20harris

...on many fronts.

No Hitch-honoring Hitch-appreciator could or ever would vote for a Clinton.

The micro differentiations between spandrels and other effects are weedy sticky mud, regarding arguing about differences between what's one and what another. False choices based on myopathy. Why? Because here's the situation as previously noted:

Religion is a natural phenomenon which couches evolved traits.

There's synergies between memes and genes.

Not all religions are equal regarding positive and negative impacts.

Harrisian woo (Chamlers and Harris):

https://youtu.be/qi2ok47fFcY

https://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-woo-of-sam-harris-consciousness.html

Harris didn't learn from:

Dennett.
Hitchens.
Gad Saad.
Jordan Peterson.
Me, whom he censored.

------------------------------------------------------------ end of quote of direct exchange

Am I a quintessential 'son of Hitch?' Hitch isn't more important than my family & I don't claim he was correct on all issues. During his tenure I was partially swayed to the pro-Iraq-war side, but now I'm much more skeptical regarding the value of it. Moron Bush and even-worse moron Obama screwed up the place big time.

Time for Trumpian pragmatism now. But Hitch did free many brains from dogma, especially from leftist dogma.

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:
and

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.

Addendum:

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

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Moral Blindness of Sam Harris: Horrors of Male Circumcision | Problems with Harrisian Veganism

Recently Sam Harris gave some shallow, grudging, tepid, and also highly reprehensible statements regarding male circumcision.

My response:



============


On Harrisian Veganism:

My video also talks about the risks involved with veganism. Harris is a new vegan. Parkinson's awaits this fledgling neuroscientist.

Veganism represents a f-ing holocaust for insects (!). Think of all the insects much must die to support a vegan diet. All those slave worker bees. All those other insects who're killed, just so that all those f-ing selfish vegans can chomp on a carrot! It's inhumane, or it's ininsectane, or some such thing.

Bottom line is that insects are animals too. Insects are slaves and they die so that vegans can eat their lunches.

Leftist denial of evolution and human nature. It's not a new thing, not at all. Harris is generally speaking in the traditional leftist camp - the mostly non-regressive camp I suppose. A classic liberal / somewhat leftist libertarian. But leftists can and do fall prey pitfalls of denialism.

Veganism is a fundamental dangerous denial of human evolutionary history. Small stomachs. Big brains. Cooked Meat is required. If our ancestors had been vegan, they never would have developed large brains. But the children of Harrisian Veganism are headed for a separate evolutionary track: Parkinson's & small hobbled brains.
Rest In Peace (RIP) Robin Williams, a victim of Parkinson's and probably of veganism (same diff' apparently).

Further links, regarding veganism:

Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies
https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/lack_of_DHA_linked_to_Parkinsons.aspx

10 Reasons Why I’ll Never Be Vegan
http://empoweredsustenance.com/is-vegan-healthy/

5 Reasons Why Vegan Diets May be a Bad Idea
https://authoritynutrition.com/top-5-reasons-why-vegan-diets-are-a-terrible-idea/

I’m not vegan anymore
http://alexandrajamieson.com/im-not-vegan-anymore/

10 vegan diet dangers
http://butternutrition.com/10-vegan-diet-dangers/

Angelina Jolie - The Vegan Diet that Almost Killed Her
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/17/angelina-jolie-says-vegan-diet-nearly-killed-her.aspx

Veganism Is Bad | Top 5 Reasons Why Vegan Diets Are A Terrible Idea
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juObXMcjZRk

How the Ethical Argument for Veganism Fails and One Possible Way to Fix It
http://letthemeatmeat.com/post/1141998663/how-the-ethical-argument-for-veganism-fails-and

Cooking Up Bigger Brains - "Our hominid ancestors could never have eaten enough raw food to support our large, calorie-hungry brains, Richard Wrangham claims. The secret to our evolution, he says, is cooking..."
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cooking-up-bigger-brains/

Meat, Cooked Foods Needed for Early Human Brain
http://www.livescience.com/24875-meat-human-brain.html

Why Fire Makes Us Human - "Cooking may be more than just a part of your daily routine, it may be what made your brain as powerful as it is..."
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-fire-makes-us-human-72989884/?no-ist

Raw Food Not Enough to Feed Big Brains
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2012/10/raw-food-not-enough-feed-big-brains

Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter
http://www.npr.org/2010/08/02/128849908/food-for-thought-meat-based-diet-made-us-smarter

============

Joint Conclusion


By becoming vegan & touting that veganism is one pinnacle of morality on his Moral Landscape, Harris shows just exactly why there's problems with any "scientist" trying to define morality, particularly one with as many moral blind spots as Harris has.

A morality which actively denies human evolutionary history, while ignoring the horrors caused by the genital rape of young boys - that really is telling.

Keep your "morality" to yourself Mr. Harris. Your pinging & beeping MRI machine cannot & will not determine the morality of any human. The "logic" you use in determining exactly where the valleys and peaks are for human morality is fundamentally flawed.

I have been in general a fan of how exactly Mr. Harris takes apart the arguments of his opponents, and how he engages in dialogue with people. But when I find myself on the other side of his apparently sometimes very faulty arguments, I can now see more clearly how Mr. Harris can also be very blind & boring & pedantic & morally flawed & petty himself.

Human morality is largely determined by evolution. As per Steven Pinker there've been improvements over time. But veganism is a de facto cultistic religion which seeks to separate humans too far from our evolutionary roots. Religions which seek to mutilate the genitals of children also do this! A forced separation from our evolutionary roots. Abuse is abuse. And when we are forced to become separated too far from or evolutionary roots we as evolved human animals are hurt by such acts.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dalia Mogahed is an abusive Puritan and cult member

In my view Dalia Mogahed is an abusive Puritan and cult member. Advocates for the hijab / niqab / burqa are basically Puritans. Liberals just hate Christian-originated Puritanism, but they love Puritanism which emanates from any flavor of Islam (eg: the widespread worldwide Saudi-funded & CAIR supported version), or when it comes via any idea that counters or casts doubt on any aspect of the dominant leftie paradigm.

Video interview of Dalia Mogahed on the Daily Show:

short url: http://on.cc.com/1RnSWKp

longer: http://www.cc.com/shows/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah/interviews/lnkifi/exclusive-dalia-mogahed-extended-interview?xrs=synd_FBPAGE_20160108_326082216_The%20Daily%20Show_N/A&linkId=20219197

Response to the following point made by
Dalia Mogahed:

---quote begins

What a Hijab does is it basically privatizes a woman's sexuality.

So what are we saying when we say that by taking away or privatizing a woman's sexuality, we're oppressing her? What is that saying about the source of a woman's power [in the media]?

---end of quote

My response:
13.8 billion years of evolution by natural selection has not "selected for" a privatization of female human sexuality.

Maryam Namazie's response to the hijab, a most excellent response!:

World hijab day - as celebrated by Maryam Namazie, the way the day should be celebrated (ie: without a hijab):

In my view
Dalia Mogahed is simply a member of an abusive human spirit destroying cult.

Women within Islam are not free to go without the hijab, even in Western countries:

Why is Puritanism ok when it's expressed by a Muslim woman who's in a hijab, but not ok when it's expressed by a conservative Christian?

Puritianism is abusive in it's own right, whether that Puritanism is expressed by someone like Dalia Mogahed, or whether it's expressed by past Mormon prophet Spencer Kimball or by John Harvey Kellogg.

Maajid Nawaz, a near lone truly-liberal Muslim voice, on the hijab:

Quote: "...Even when adopted through individual choice, it is the religious-conservative assumption, this modesty theology, that women who do not wear headscarves are somehow sinful, less modest and not pious, that we liberals must critique. For at the root, it is this same attitude that is invoked in honor killings, and heinous acid attacks..."
Women in Iran who sneak & go without the scarf:

The hijab is abusive, abusive for exactly the same reasons why Puritanism in general is abusive: It/they attempts to warp human sexuality into something it is not by default and by (evolutionary) design: hidden.

Because their are Islam-run countries which force women to hijab, and because mosques worldwide force women to wear it, it's abusive. It's also abusive because it separates men & women into an inherently abusive and unnatural state & relationship status.

Women should be showing their hair & necks, in public, to men & to other women. Period. And if you see value in "privatizing" the normal natural healthy human sexuality expressed via women's hair, necks, and faces, you are an abuser. And if you're a cult member who believes there's value in such covering, you are an abuser.

More on Dalia from Sam Harris:

As a Muslim woman, I see the veil as a rejection of progressive values Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/20/muslim-woman-veil-hijab

The science of swearing, by Steven Pinker:
http://harvardsciencereview.com/2014/01/23/the-science-of-swearing/
...relates in my view to how some humans also don't enjoy "sexual system" activation in their brains, not-at-all!

Tawfik Hamid talking about how Puritanical Islam fucks up the brains of young Muslim men:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxfo11A7XuA


Why do desert tribes hate sexual system activation? Clothes on humans may well be natural. Otherwise abusive body mutilations humans engage in within various "aboriginal" "native" tribes (eg: male & female genital cutting aka circumcision) may also be "natural." Religions are natural. But not everything that's natural is good nor do all natural things make humans happy generally nor cause them to thrive.

In any case puritanism is abusive regardless of it's source, whether that source is Islam, Islamophiles, lefties who love Islam & the hijab, your local Saudi-funded mosque which forces women to be segregated and to hijab, or Mormonism, or Catholicism, or etc.

Somewhere between letting it all hang out and hanging people for doing so is where humans are happiest and thrive the most. But the hijab is more on the hanging-people side of things than any other.

Related post:
whitewashing history -- sex obsessed ancestors -- nudist hypocrisy
http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2014/09/whitewashing-history-sex-obsessed.html






Monday, November 24, 2014

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

Found this.

Sam Harris’ Buddhist Bullshit
http://chrisdierkes.com/sam-harris-buddhist-bullshit/

I agree that Harris's general views on the brain, free will, and the self may well all be warped by and clouded by his exposure to Buddhism.

Listen to the *whole tone* of Harris's work on free self, consciousness, and the self, and one general path emerges: toward Buddhism masturbatory obsession with getting *all things* out of your head, to find some sort of "peace."

But Harris's views on free will & the self are in my view myopic & simplistic.

When the "software" of the brain is running, the "self" does exist. We feel it does. Is that an illusion? No. Simply because the software or wetware or whatever can be turned off partially doesn't mean that when it is up and running it's an "illusion." No, it's not an illusion. It's quite real, and quite physical.

Free Will and The Self Are Not Illusions!
http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2014/11/free-will-and-self-are-not-illusions.html

And found this today:

"...Much more dubious is Buddhism's claim that perceiving yourself as in some sense unreal will make you happier and more compassionate..."

"...Even if you achieve a blissful acceptance of the illusory nature of your self, this perspective may not transform you into a saintly bodhisattva, brimming with love and compassion for all other creatures..."

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2003/02/buddhist_retreat.html

Ha ha!!! So this is Harris's problem! Even someone like Harris can have his views warped by a religion - one he likes very much, apparently.

I like a lot of what Harris has done in debates, but talk of free will & the self being illusions, well, smells a bit too much of Buddhism, AKA a religion.

Additional thoughts on Buddhism:
the violence of Buddhism - relativism, cult of personality, ignorance, & pacifism
http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-violence-of-buddhism-relativism.html

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Free Will and The Self Are Not Illusions!

Criticisms of Sam Harris & other's view that free will, and even "the self," are illusions:

From Daniel Dennett - on free will:
Moving Naturalism Forward: Day 2, Afternoon, 1st Session
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ob4c_iLuTw

From Mary Midgley:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV48fvJsIrs#t=759

Free Will is NOT An Illusion
by W. R. Klemm, DVM, PhD | October 25, 2010
http://brainblogger.com/2010/10/25/free-will-is-not-an-illusion/

I'm a fan of Harris, but I rather think that the sense of self is no more of an illusion than color is an illusion.

Do colors exist? Yes. It's true that our range of detection depends fully on our evolutionary history. But we do detect them accurately, within the scope of our built in detection equipment.

So to say that free will & "the self" are illusions is not really accurate. It's deceptive

When the "software" of the brain is running, the "self" does exist. We feel it does. Is that an illusion? No. Simply because the software or wetware or whatever can be turned off partially doesn't mean that when it is up and running it's an "illusion." No, it's not an illusion. It's quite real, and quite physical.

Review by Mary Midgley of Dennett's Freedom Evolves:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/mar/01/highereducation.news1

And Dennett's book itself mentions problems with Libet's work.

More generally:

The Self Is Not an Illusion
by Will Wilkinson
May 24, 2012, 3:24 PM
http://bigthink.com/the-moral-sciences-club/the-self-is-not-an-illusion

Free Will Is not an Illusion
by William Klemm, D.V.M., Ph.D.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201010/free-will-is-not-illusion
and also at
http://brainblogger.com/2010/10/25/free-will-is-not-an-illusion/

More criticisms of the Libet experiment:

"...A more direct test of the relationship between the readiness potential and the "awareness of the intention to move" was conducted by Banks and Isham (2009). In their study, participants performed a variant of the Libet's paradigm in which a delayed tone followed the button press. Subsequently, research participants reported the time of their intention to act (e.g., Libet's "W"). If W were time-locked to the readiness potential, W would remain uninfluenced by any post-action information. However, findings from this study show that W in fact shifts systematically with the time of the tone presentation, implicating that W is, at least in part, retrospectively reconstructed rather than pre-determined by the readiness potential..."

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroscience_of_free_will

Sam Harris has apparently been *completely* persuaded by the Libet experiment.

From Dennett:

"...Here, then, are my conclusions: determinism is a red herring, neuroscience has ominous implications only for closet Cartesians, Mr. Puppet is a defective intuition pump, and there is a consequentialist, compatibilist justification of the just deserts clause. Thank you for your attention..."

from Dennett's lecture "My Brain Made Me Do It."
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0ZmSLnUooZuQzZDdVczUENfd1k/view?usp=sharing

But one can reasonably criticize Dennett's view of theaters as well:

There may not be a Cartesian theater, but that doesn't mean there isn't a theater at all.

When the software is "up," it's running, we're conscious. That's it.

Doesn't mean the "self" is an illusion.

Doesn't mean that free will is an illusion.

Colors are real.

Perceptions are real.

Just because there's interpretation going on doesn't mean that nothing is going on, or that everything is just so spooky that we are just slaves to chance or whatever the hell the root causes are of thoughts.

Sam Harris has sadly been derailed by a faulty interpretation of Libet's work.

What do I think is the REAL problem with all this?

Buddhism. Harris's exposure to Buddhism has in my view slanted his. Another religion screwing up people's views.

"Meditate until you feel the center dropping away."
...my interpretation of what Harris is advocating for.

Oooh! Spooky! A ham fisted poorly designed poorly interpreted experiment by Libet is glommed onto by Harris & others.

Sad. So sad. Inappropriately applied reductionism and dogmatically restrictive eliminativism.

A new "god of the gaps," where god = "the illusion of free will and of 'the self'."

Still religion and denialism, just under a new name.

We don't deny there's software or wetware in operation. The fact that timing exists doesn't in any way whatsoever mean that the software doesn't exist in the first place, or that it's not running in the first place.

We have more free will than a carrot, or in other words more ability to choose & decide & calculate.

When a highly complex robot says that he or she has a sense of "self," why not take them at their word? That "self" may be the fact that their software or wetware is "up" - and that's fine. It may not mean they have a soul in the traditional sense. But so what! The "self" is an expression of a currently-operational highly complex self-aware biological system. And secular apology for spooky Buddhism doesn't detract from that fact.

Little robots can derail the thinking of intelligent robots.

I am a robot.

We are the robots.


...therefore "we're an illusion?" "Free will is an illusion?" Our "sense of self" is an illusion?

I don't think so. We're alive, or we're not. The software or wetware is up, or it's not. The loop is running, or it's not.

Also a lot of this back & forth feels very much like a fallacy of only two choices.

Harris's view seems to de facto advocate for throwing up our hands and giving up. "Thoughts just arise," as he might say. Spooky. Ok, let's throw up our hands and say our new god of the gaps did it. Timing exists in thought processes, as Libet may have found. Oooh. Spooky. Therefore we don't have free will.

Sorry. Lame conclusions.

We are just beginning to learn. But these people who quickly jump to these conclusions about free will (Harris) or even a sense of self (Dennett), are in my view jumping too quickly to their conclusions, or are being too simplistic with them.

Doesn't mean the universe is spooky like Deepak Chopra advocates for with his woo. Doesn't mean there's a god. Doesn't mean that consciousness is "beyond" the realm of understanding.

But the robotic roots of biology have unfortunately derailed some otherwise pretty smart thinkers (Harris, Dennett, and others).

We have more free will than a carrot.

We have more sense of self than a carrot.

Harris should make note of the first fact.

Dennett should make note of the second.

Both free will and the sense of self come as a direct result of evolution by natural selection. The ability to choose (to varying degrees), and the perception that we have a sense of self, all come from evolution and the fact that we've evolved to become more complex biological creatures. Creatures made of tiny robots. But the fact that these two things are processes at all (eg: software or wetware "running") seems to trip up both Harris & Dennett, depending on what you are asking them about (free will, or a sense of self). Dennett seems a bit less susceptible to being tripped up perhaps. But I have the impression that a complete dismissal of the Cartesian theater goes too far.

Maybe the impression of the theater is simply how the wetware works & functions. Does that mean the theater doesn't exist? It exists no less than any other piece of software exists. And even claiming that may be too simplistic.

"...By separating the 'we' who can rebel against our genes and our brain, this avowed materialist becomes a Cartesian dualist in the laudable interest of preserving human agency... I find this abdication unsatisfactory, and instead want to insist that our sense of freedom to act, of possessing agency, emerges inevitably from our biological nature..."

from Steven Rose:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1371044/

How about instead of Cartesian dualism we have Cartesian singularism - or perhaps the "sense of dualism" is simply how the system works. Doesn't mean it's an "illusion" though!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Atheists of Utah is a religion

Found Sam Harris's comments about his recent interview on the Young Turks:
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-young-turks-interview

After reading his further complaints about Glenn Greenwald and similar leftist a-holes I have the following response:

Truth be told I still have nothing but disdain for the Duck Dynasty hating politically correct ignoramuses who head up Atheists is Utah and related groups. These people will never reach the rural middle and right in America, with their reflexive self righteous petty piling on and pouncing. 

As I read what Harris wrote I can see exactly where he's coming from.


Perhaps I'm moderately "ok" with gay marriage now, such as it is. But I think atheism should and must be a big enough tent to allow for all views to be expressed, how ever politically incorrect, of offensive to your average shit for brains ultra-PC liberal - speaking as a general economic liberal myself, but one who's not fucking PC about every little thing.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Curtis White is the liar - The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers

Curtis White has written the following book:

The Science Delusion: Asking the Big Questions in a Culture of Easy Answers

Mr. White is a government employee working at Illinois State University. What department does Mr. White work for? The science department? The history department? No! The English Department! AND IT SHOWS.

I read Mr. White's lame excerpt from his amateurish book at Salon.com.

White seems to be a big advocate for the blank slate view of human nature, a view largely debunked by modern science. Also I'm sure White would be irritated by Sam Harris's book on morality but I doubt he's even checked out the book. 

White seems to believe that the Exodus may have happened. Ok, what's the first f-ing thing you should do nowadays when writing a book? Check wikipedia!
The consensus among biblical scholars today is that there was never any exodus of the proportions described in the Bible,[14] and that the story is best seen as theology, a story illustrating how the God of Israel acted to save and strengthen his chosen people, and not as history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exodus#Historicity

White seems to be a huge fan of liberal religion. But one key thing he misses is this:

Liberal religion serves as an apologetic structure for a.) woo woo unfounded beliefs, b.) calls for "diversity" which deny, among other things, the barbarous nature of key religious leaders - leaders who some naive ultra-left liberals just love, and c.) a taboo against being critical of people's "deeply held views."

The KEY thing about White's book is this: IT'S F-ING LATE. The guy couldn't manage to publish this hanger-on parasite of a book while Hitchens was still alive, and while he could respond in person and in the flesh. But, there's plenty of us who very much appreciated and valued Hitchens' work, who remember his words and his style.

Curtis White is in my view a coward and a liar, and he's unworthy of his role as an "educator" at a public university.

Dinesh D'Souza claims that we shouldn't let biologists out of the lab. However, it's rather more accurate to say that we should keep idiot English professors OUT OF IT.

White's other "contributions:"

http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/mag/contributor/107/

Liberals are still upset at Hitchens over Iraq, and it shows. They dig up every piece of poo they can and heave it onto the grave of an otherwise noble dead man, for profit and attention. Was it right to go into Iraq? Hitchens made the ONLY case I listened to, and it was, at the very least, an intellectually honest and honorable case. Examine Hitchens' work on Mother Teresa & Bill Clinton -  two wonderpeople of the idiot-hippie ultra-liberal-left. Now today people like Reza Aslan has the left by the balls, as he pulls them around teaching them that Mohamed was a man of peace.

Science & history, as shared with us by people like Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens, isn't metaphysics. When idiot White uses the term, it just shows he hasn't done his homework. But that's not surprising. When you're a creative writer you don't need to do much else other than pull crap out of your ass.

For those of us who were members of real religions, like Mormonism, and conservative Christianity or Islam, we remember what's it's like to be brain washed & lied to. People in light & fluffy religions have no idea what it's like, no idea whatsoever. Pompous intellectuals like White would just assume let people continue in their ignorance, because liberal religion does so many good things in their view. But one thing liberal religion does which is particularly bad is that it gives people permission to continue to believe in bullshit, and it maintains a taboo against being critical of bullshit beliefs.

Science IS about being willing to take a step back from all dogmas. And the "dogma" of claiming that the Exodus didn't happen (like White claims) IS NOT A DOGMA AT ALL. It is an apparent fact that there was no real Exodus.

Check wikipedia before you write a book Mr. White. And, next time you're going to shoot out a huge poop from your bum, at least have the decency to aim at a person who's still alive, and who can respond to your tripe.

Other reviews:

“Atheist” Curtis White attacks Hitchens, makes fool of himself
http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/atheist-curtis-white-attacks-hitchens-makes-fool-of-himself/

Faith in the Unseen
Curtis White’s ‘Science Delusion’
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/books/review/curtis-whites-science-delusion.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Evangelical & 'religious' atheism - Utah Atheist Brunch




The Salt Lake Valley Atheists group held their monthly Utah Atheist Bunch, on Sunday February 3rd, 2013. Here's a clip from that meeting, and then subsequent commentary added on from the 5th and 6th:


The talk at the meeting regarded whether atheism is a religion. At the front of his talk the speaker stated that "evangelical atheism" is just as bad as other forms of evangelical religion, and he said that atheists should not be "moral busybodies."

After his talk the speaker took a more conciliatory tone to some extent and said that he was mainly concerned about tactics. Also during his talk he said that it may be appropriate to respond to other religionists if they were procreatory.

Is atheism a religion? Not in the traditional sense. In religions usually there's leaders who cannot be questioned. Atheists tend to value science & try to reject dogma. Scientists get ahead in science by actually disproving, overturning, or adding to previous theories. Usually religious organizations reject and resist change and challenges to their core leaders & doctrines.

There is a lot of provocation going on from regligionists. Mormons send out their missionaries, they interrogate children and adults about masturbation, necking, petting, sex outside of marriage, and even oral sex in marriage. Catholic priests rape children en masse, and Catholics & conservative Anglicans have thrown their pretty women and women who had sex outside of marriage into asylums. Islamic people require that their women live in the prison of the burqa, niqab, and hijab.

More info:
My own writings including info on Islam & Mormonism:
http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com
http://corvus.freeshell.org/corvus_corax/two/life_path/life_path.htm

Related info:
Sam Harris on science being able to comment on morality:
http://www.samharris.org/media/video

Scott Atran & Sam Harris debating:
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sam+harris+scott+atran

Mormon oral sex letter:
http://lds-mormon.com/worthy_letter.shtml
http://lds-mormon.com/worthy_letter1.shtml

Catholic child rape:
http://www.bishop-accountability.org

Christians locking women up who were too pretty, or who had sex outside of marriage:
Magdalene asylums
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdalene_asylum

Related video on the issue - Sex in a cold climate - documentary:



Tawfik Hamid on fear of sexuality in Islam:
http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2013/02/happy-world-hijab-day-its-gonna-be-good.html


A link to Galileo's sentencing document, can be found on my post at
DNA, the Book of Mormon, and Creationists: blowing smoke in response to science & facts
http://jonathanshome.blogspot.com/2013/02/dna-book-of-mormon-and-creationists.html