BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

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AshvinP
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by AshvinP »

EricLinguist wrote: Wed Aug 11, 2021 2:30 pm I came across Kastrup's ideas for the first time in his podcast conversation with Michael Shermer and was completely blown away. I immediately set out to explore those ideas in more detail and order some of his books, but then I read his twitter thread lambasting Sam Harris with ad hominem attacks a link to a shamelessly slanderous article (but not "endorsing" it?). Not that Harris is unassailable. He's not. A discussion/debate between BK and SH would probably be very enlightening, for listeners as well as the two of them But it's unlikely that Kastrup's combative and petulant online discourse is going to bring that about; in fact it implies a lack of interest in doing so. More importantly, it's not in any way conducive to philosophical inquiry and it also undermines Kastrup's credibility, at least for those of us who believe that there is no philosophy without civil conversation. Really, a public apology is the only way for BK to walk this back.

There is always some social media gamesmanship going on with well-known public intellectuals who are invested in these things. BK had a few choice words for Shermer on Twitter as well, but when they got to talking live a few days ago it looked very cordial from the first 30 min I have watched so far. Think about how much Sam Harris must have been attacked by Christian fundamentalists and atheist PC crowd over the years. He even got ranted at by Ben Affleck for being "Islamophobic" on Bill Maher. What BK said on Twitter is nothing in comparison, IMO, and I doubt Harris or anyone similar takes it personally. When they speak out on topics as sensitive as religion, spirituality, politics, etc., they know exactly what they are signing up for and, moreover, it helps their brand to have the drama. No apology necessary.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
ParadoxZone
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by ParadoxZone »

Hi Eric - I'll bite.

You were blown away by Bernardo's ideas and we're going to order some of his books - but then you checked his Twitter thread. So are you now not blown away by those ideas? How does that work?

"More importantly, it's not in any way conducive to philosophical inquiry and it also undermines Kastrup's credibility, at least for those of us who believe that there is no philosophy without civil conversation. Really, a public apology is the only way for BK to walk this back."

That's a quaint description of how philosophy is done. Do you think an encounter between Bernardo and Harris would not be civil?

Is seeing the bigger picture not important in philosophy? Might it be that you're missing a large part of the picture? Have you read Bernardo's recent essay on "ad hominem", for instance?

You're not the first to lecture Bernardo on issues of style. He has said recently that he doesn't expect an encounter between himself and Harris to ever happen. That article he pointed to should give you some clues as to why that might be - if they were needed at this stage.

Bernardo explained in a recent conversation that in his culture, directness is very much appreciated. Being direct is how people show respect for each other. It's something I've needed to get used to and now appreciate. Enough of the faux politeness and mutual ego massage.

Philosophy is not some game to be approached as entertainment and to suit the sensibilities of some. It has huge real-world implications. I'm sure you'd agree?

So when can we expect an apology from Mr. Shermer for those wholly inappropriate comments at the end of a good discussion? What motivated that style of passive aggression? Does Mr. Shermer have anything else to apologise for, that you can think of?
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

ParadoxZone wrote: Thu Aug 12, 2021 4:01 am Hi Eric - I'll bite.

You were blown away by Bernardo's ideas and we're going to order some of his books - but then you checked his Twitter thread. So are you now not blown away by those ideas? How does that work?

"More importantly, it's not in any way conducive to philosophical inquiry and it also undermines Kastrup's credibility, at least for those of us who believe that there is no philosophy without civil conversation. Really, a public apology is the only way for BK to walk this back."

That's a quaint description of how philosophy is done. Do you think an encounter between Bernardo and Harris would not be civil?

Is seeing the bigger picture not important in philosophy? Might it be that you're missing a large part of the picture? Have you read Bernardo's recent essay on "ad hominem", for instance?

You're not the first to lecture Bernardo on issues of style. He has said recently that he doesn't expect an encounter between himself and Harris to ever happen. That article he pointed to should give you some clues as to why that might be - if they were needed at this stage.

Bernardo explained in a recent conversation that in his culture, directness is very much appreciated. Being direct is how people show respect for each other. It's something I've needed to get used to and now appreciate. Enough of the faux politeness and mutual ego massage.

Philosophy is not some game to be approached as entertainment and to suit the sensibilities of some. It has huge real-world implications. I'm sure you'd agree?

So when can we expect an apology from Mr. Shermer for those wholly inappropriate comments at the end of a good discussion? What motivated that style of passive aggression? Does Mr. Shermer have anything else to apologise for, that you can think of?
PZ makes some valid points here. Even as from the perspective of my own predispositions and sensibilities I tend to find BK's, at times, confrontational approach and tone counterproductive to fostering any meaningful dialogos, it's still no reason for one to disregard his overall body of work. As mentioned, it seems a deeply ingrained part of his personality make-up and cultural heritage—indeed, I once worked with a Dutch-born coworker who was exactly like this, who if you were doing anything she disagreed with would be in-your-face confrontational about it, with no pretense of coyness or tact, which made quite a few enemies of those more reserved polite Canadian folks who found it outright crude, even as, at heart, she did have good intentions. So as much as BK unapologetically makes the case that his issues with SH are well thought through, and equally well warranted—i.e. his doubts about Sam's 'neuroscience' credentials and/or lack of any nuanced understanding of metaphysics, or what he sees as the artifice of Sam's well-honed public image—and he's not just making cursorily ad hominem attacks, if he's being honest, he would also concede that there are deeper, subliminal factors at work, beyond just social media gamesmanship, behind his perception of Sam as being a detrimental force within the broader noetic discourse. Be that as it may, I suspect that if they did sit down face to face and hash out their differences, I agree with Ashvin that it would actually be far less antagonistic than one might expect, and that they would even find some common ground and significant points of agreement. However, I don't expect either BK or SH to greatly alter their respective approaches at this point, which may well preclude any such meeting of minds.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Out of curiosity, what do y'all make of this 12 minutes of the world according to Sam, making his plea for reasoned conversation?

Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
findingblanks
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by findingblanks »

Lots of posts are missing here, but I just wanted to update things: Bernardo is now publically claiming that Sam Harris is acting free from an Eastern tradition and just teaching that meditation is to make us calm and feel good. Trust me, you can love Bernardo and his work and be very curious as to why he does this sort of thing and why his voice gets so much louder and starts to screech when he makes this stuff up. I'm open to the possibility that maybe he just felt it must be true and, therefore, said it as a fact.

But nope, love Harris or hate him (I like aspects and deplore other aspects), Sam Harris has studied a specific path, Dzogchen, under Eastern teachers and he has never said that meditation is to feel better or become calm. In fact, Harris has said the exact opposite. Anyway, to some people such corrections matter and to others they are annoying and feel like attacks. I think both guys are pretty great in very different ways.

I think Bernardo might really be triggered by the ways their personalities are so similar. Maybe?!
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AshvinP
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by AshvinP »

findingblanks wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:25 pm Lots of posts are missing here, but I just wanted to update things: Bernardo is now publically claiming that Sam Harris is acting free from an Eastern tradition and just teaching that meditation is to make us calm and feel good. Trust me, you can love Bernardo and his work and be very curious as to why he does this sort of thing and why his voice gets so much louder and starts to screech when he makes this stuff up. I'm open to the possibility that maybe he just felt it must be true and, therefore, said it as a fact.

But nope, love Harris or hate him (I like aspects and deplore other aspects), Sam Harris has studied a specific path, Dzogchen, under Eastern teachers and he has never said that meditation is to feel better or become calm. In fact, Harris has said the exact opposite. Anyway, to some people such corrections matter and to others they are annoying and feel like attacks. I think both guys are pretty great in very different ways.

I think Bernardo might really be triggered by the ways their personalities are so similar. Maybe?!

It's a pretty clear fact that Sam Harris is a pioneer of the "new atheists" who decry everything related to authentic spirituality. So BK saying SH does not take seriously the spiritual reality behind Eastern asetic practices sounds very accurate. Perhaps you agree with Sam that those practices can be divorced from the spiritual reality which gives rise to them, in which case you are disagreeing with BK rather than pointing out some personal bias that he has against Sam.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
findingblanks
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by findingblanks »

And from the beginning Sam Harris has articulated why 'new-atheists' is a horrible term. He's articulated why 'atheist' isn't his preference for framing his particular arguement against the notion of a God up in the Sky who controls things.

And, to boot, Sam Harris has explained in detail why he chooses to use the word spirit to speak of the spiritual experiences that he thinks are valuable and of which he feels humanity is in need of. We don't have to agree with him very much in order to abstain from misrepresenting him. Sam has made it very clear why he is open to idealism. The idealists who get so upset and constantly mischaracterize Sam have not made it clear why they do this. For some of us that's really interesting.
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

findingblanks wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 5:25 pm Lots of posts are missing here ...
What makes you think that there are posts missing in this thread? They are all showing up as far as I can tell. Did you make prior posts that have gone missing?
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
findingblanks
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by findingblanks »

No, there was an odd image that replaced a bunch of posts. Maybe it was intentional. I'll take another look and send a screenshot if it seems unintentional.
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: BK calling out Sam Harris on his "sophomoric ignorance"

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

findingblanks wrote: Fri Oct 15, 2021 6:25 pm No, there was an odd image that replaced a bunch of posts. Maybe it was intentional. I'll take another look and send a screenshot if it seems unintentional.
Yes, please let me know, or others as well, if that is a problem on your device or browser, because if it is then I'll get Simon to look into it.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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