Bakker and Harris

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Conditioned

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« on: May 28, 2018, 01:38:58 pm »
So I have read Bakker since his debut way back when, though I can't really say I had more than a superficial understanding of his writing until I reread the first trilogy after TTT was released... Anyway, I had no prior experience with philosophy or neuroscience, so Bakker really fucked with my head (in a good way, or at least I occasionally like to believe). I none the less find myself in way over my head time and time again.

So I have recently been on a Sam Harris kick and have been finding more and more of his ideas covering the same ground as Bakker. I can't seem to figure out the search function for these forums but I was trying to see if this was already something discussed around here? I find it interesting because Sam Harris is somebody who is thoughtlessly articulate and relatively recently made the decision to turn to podcasting as his media outlet but only makes money from donations by subscribers. While I think Bakker is probably better with evoking vivid illustrations and horribly frightening ideas I think Harris is someone that the mainstream crowds could almost tolerate in the US (if only he would quit fucking around with Jesus lol). Now there are probably people here that are way deeper into these fields than I am that might have a multitude of reasons to disagree with Harris on different subjects... but for some reason I can't help but feel like Harris and Bakker have similar concerns about our immediate future.

I started thinking about whether it might be more beneficial for Bakker to maybe start a podcast to go along with TPB... I personally would love to have his ideas explored with other voices familiar with the subjects he covers.

TLEILAXU

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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 04:35:45 pm »
Bakker would probably hate that. He seems to kinda shun publicity in general. Also, Sam Harris is a racist.

Conditioned

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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 06:17:28 pm »
Yeah, I can't help but think he wouldn't jump at the chance either. But after watching the few videos on youtube that I have found with him, I am starting to think that his social uh 'awkwardness' is all in his head. I do think that podcasting is a better vehicle for his ideas though, for the most part. Podcasting is one of the best long-form discussion tools we currently have... at least for debate-type discussion and introducing new ideas and whatnot.

Yeah, in the last year or so, I have listened and read pretty much everything Sam Harris has had his name on and I have found there to be no real claim to the racism bs that certain people are spouting. Inviting people with different things to say about science is what Harris does. He realized he had put Murray in the "that guy's a racist" category a long time ago and ignored any work that he had produced. He had him on his podcast to admit that it was unfair and had Murray present his findings. There is nothing inherently racist about this, regardless of the findings or opinions of Murray.

Not that I think that it is impossible for anybody to be a racist or anything. I only require more evidence than someone's namecalling.

Corrected Murray's name... that's what I get for not double checking before posting lol.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 03:18:54 am by Conditioned »

TaoHorror

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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 09:33:57 pm »
I enjoy listening to Harris, he's put a lot of elbow grease into his research and expression. But, he is light on formal education into the areas he discusses - which is good, we don't need a PHD in an area to have an opinion, but it is important to know his background for a full understanding of what he is, what he wants to be and what he says. Simply put, he's an impressive layman, not an "expert". But I do like him and feel he's made some cool contributions to the popular consciousness. I agree, nothing he's said is racist and kudos for him not getting weak in the knees like so many do when they're "called out" just by talking about different peoples/cultures ( for a while there, I was afraid to say the word black in any context ). We haven't kicked around Harris much in this forum, but Petersen has been popular. Would be fun to know what connections between Harris and Bakker you see.

Bakker is who he is and it appears he is void of interest beyond his writing, his blog and some post interviews after a release of one of his books. He does seem interested in PON being produced as a tv series or movie(s), but nobody has taking the plunge for it just yet - I'm hoping the slowly disappearing GoT tv show will yield more interest to "fill the void" as I think an episodic tv series of PON would be awesome.
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BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2018, 09:44:05 pm »
There's actually nothing "racist" about Charles Murray, for that matter, regardless of what the herd of independent minds believes to be the case.
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

TLEILAXU

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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2018, 11:57:25 pm »
Just because you don't state something outright doesn't mean you don't have political and/or racial motivations. You don't have to say "blacks are inferior", just imprint it by saying "well, the data says that..."
I haven't actually heard the interview, just heard different statements about it including this (biased) article. https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/5/18/15655638/charles-murray-race-iq-sam-harris-science-free-speech but from what I have gathered, Sam Harris never denied having agreed with these claims, e.g.
Quote
he passively follows Murray to the dangerous and unwarranted conclusion that black and Hispanic people in the US are almost certainly genetically disposed to have lower IQ scores on average than whites or Asians — and that the IQ difference also explains differences in life outcomes between different ethnic and racial groups.
If this is wrong, go ahead and correct me, but if it's true, then he IS racist, by definition, since this view is not supported by genetic science.

I enjoy listening to Harris, he's put a lot of elbow grease into his research and expression. But, he is light on formal education into the areas he discusses - which is good, we don't need a PHD in an area to have an opinion.
Not as a layman of course, but as an influential media person, it would be desirable.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 11:59:51 pm by TLEILAXU »

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2018, 12:20:50 am »
I'm really not interested in pursuing this matter with you much further, Tleilaxu. I don't care for your style. I guess you see nothing wrong with baldly stating "So-and-so is a racist".

Here's a long post from Sam Harris that contains 1) the email exchange between Harris and Ezra Klein (editor at Vox); and 2) two podcasts that further the discussion (the second being a 2 hr. podcast with Harris and Klein)

https://samharris.org/ezra-klein-editor-chief/
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 01:01:18 am by BeardFisher-King »
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2018, 01:39:50 am »
Here's Andrew Sullivan objecting to Ezra Klein's article in Vox:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/denying-genetics-isnt-shutting-down-racism-its-fueling-it.html

I don't think that the relationship between genetic science and the heritability of intelligence is crystal clear at this moment in time; certainly Harvard geneticist David Reich believes it to be an open question (according to Sullivan's summary). So let's not shut down the debate by waving the bloody shirt of racism, OK?
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2018, 01:45:22 am »
I just want to compliment Conditioned on his measured response to Tleilaxu. His take on why Harris interviewed Murray in the first place is exactly correct. Well said.

Also a shout out to Tao, who notes the bravery needed to face down the hordes shouting "Racist!". Amen, brother.
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

TaoHorror

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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2018, 03:53:13 am »
If this is wrong, go ahead and correct me, but if it's true, then he IS racist, by definition, since this view is not supported by genetic science.
Well, ok, you're defining in the sense of concrete - if I killed someone, then I'm a killer by definition, even if it was completely unintended ( like I accidentally bumped into someone and they fell off the roof of a building - so I would disagree and blame gravity as the killer, not me ). By definition, someone positing differences in race beyond skin pigmentation is racist. But what we really mean by racist is treating/judging people differently based on pigmentation. Someone researching differences in race is not racism. Harris and Murray are simply incorrect in their conclusions ( well, really everything imho - even their thought to embark on such research ) and are not "racists" in the regard they're coming to the table with ill intent ( well, they could be, of course, I can't read their minds - but from these taped discussions, I simply find them lost, not "bad" people ).

I think the phenomena of IQ has derailed polite society for far too long now. It's a distraction at all levels of consideration. What makes a person outnumbers the number of atoms that make up the planet Earth, so this "IQ" is an odd preoccupation as it is a single thread of focus from the exa-trillion threads that make the human consciousness. So much about our intellect is still mystery, we're not even scratching the surface, barely voyeurs really. Simplistically put, we can be "smarter" today than tomorrow and yet smarter still the next day than today. IQ is combobulation (yes, I know, not a word, but you get me ) ... like a focus on the differences in traffic intersections. I simply see 2 people who went to hell with themselves over the irrelevant and of course anything they would conclude would be false - so they needlessly exposed themselves to ridicule as anyone will indulging in the exercise of IQ. Doesn't make them racists/bad actors ( but they could be ), but simply misguided. They're in good company, quite the ruckus over IQ. I find those suffering the demands of determining the number of possible shades of the color green to be on a more worthwhile path.
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H

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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2018, 12:02:18 pm »
As if an IQ score could, or would, be a definitive measure of anything except "ability to take IQ tests."
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

TaoHorror

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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2018, 12:05:34 pm »
As if an IQ score could, or would, be a definitive measure of anything except "ability to take IQ tests."

So much better said than my banter, thank you, H! It just wouldn't come to me as beautifully succinct as you just did here.
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BeardFisher-King

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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2018, 12:15:05 pm »
Here is an actual expert in the field of intelligence weighing in on the Klein/Harris/Murray matter. Richard Haier is referenced in the Harris blog post upstream, and this was Haier's offered contribution to Vox that was rejected.
http://quillette.com/2017/06/11/no-voice-vox-sense-nonsense-discussing-iq-race/
"The heart of any other, because it has a will, would remain forever mysterious."

-from "Snow Falling On Cedars", by David Guterson

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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2018, 12:55:29 pm »
As if an IQ score could, or would, be a definitive measure of anything except "ability to take IQ tests."

So much better said than my banter, thank you, H! It just wouldn't come to me as beautifully succinct as you just did here.

Well, I don't know about that, but consider that if the "IQ tests" in question were made by, say, people more "similar" to the people who score lowest, do you hypothesize the results would be different?

Also, I might be wrong, but I don't think IQ has a strong correlation to much of anything, let alone something so nebulous such as "life outcomes."  Unless, of course, you tailor make something called "life outcome" and then fit the data.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

TaoHorror

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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2018, 02:25:31 pm »
Here is an actual expert in the field of intelligence weighing in on the Klein/Harris/Murray matter. Richard Haier is referenced in the Harris blog post upstream, and this was Haier's offered contribution to Vox that was rejected.
http://quillette.com/2017/06/11/no-voice-vox-sense-nonsense-discussing-iq-race/

Fair enough, I can accept I misunderstand any/all of this conversation. My point is that those who engage in same, though not necessarily a racist pursuit ( so I'm disagreeing with TL here, motive does matter ), the foundation of the exercise is flawed, so why bother. If you want to map the brain, cool! But making connections/relationships on something too abstract to be true as is IQ is a waste of time and dumb's us down. I scored a 128 on a written IQ test and a 166 on a verbal one ( apparently I got a complex math question correct in my head and that screwed the results big time ). What they think they're seeing could well be a result of oppression ( the fuck you factor, if you will - fuck you, I'm not taking your stupid test because you're a piece of shit who doesn't like me, so why help you ) - groups under-performing as self proving theorem.

Allow me a little room here and I'll tackle this from another angle. Let's say IQ is a real something that has meaning. Let's say genetics has something to do with it. Let's say genetically across groups, it varies. Ok - then what? The person with the highest IQ could still be non-white as these are averages. Also, there's nothing to do about it. All that matters is everyone is treated equally under the law, everyone has the right to pursue their life within reasonably accepted cost to others ( liberty ). Performing well in life is too wide angle to mean anything as most of those who "perform well" "made it" by networking with those with capital better than others and not really contributing much of anything. All of this is a mistake, regardless of intention. This has the odor of humans prioritizing what they think evolution can teach us to improve our lives - Harris should know better, he's being inconsistent as he has argued against Petersen for this very thing. Regardless of how we think our behavior and society are anthropological, that should not influence how we decide to live our lives.
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