Sam Harris & Jordan Peterson

by azor 29 Replies latest jw friends

  • azor

    Listening to 2 of my current favorite thinkers debate/discussion. I've been looking forward to this since I found out about it a month ago.

    Hope some of you get a chance to listen.

  • Simon

    I was disappointed. Peterson is making a great stand against gender pronouns and the legalization of political correctness but I think talking about faith does himself a disservice. Anyone trying to defend faith nearly always talks gibberish, it's the only viable approach. It's not quite that bad, but hard going / unproductive IMO.

    Sam Harris podcasts are always good and interesting though.

    Sam Harris, Glad Saad, Paul Rubin (The Rubin Report) all well worth listening to.

  • cofty

    I have been looking forward to this. I started listening to it yesterday but it got bogged down. Peterson tends to go off on long tangents. I will listen to the rest of it.

  • azor

    Can someone post the YouTube link here? I would I just don't know how.

  • cofty

    I don't know if it's on YouTube but the podcast is online

    Here you go..

  • azor

    Thank you cofty.

  • Saethydd

    Does anyone else think it strange that JWs never seem to do any public debates for their beliefs? I mean they even recognize that C.T. Russell engaged in such debates on Bible subjects and that those debates helped to publicize the "Truth." So why don't they do any today defending old-earth creationism, or their own interpretation of the Bible?

  • bohm

    Well that was interesting..

    For those who don't have 2 hours, Peterson defines (I am going to use the word loosely because Peterson does not talk coherently) truth as what is advantageous for our survival. So for instance our knowledge about smallpox might be true now, but if we synthesize smallpox and destroy humanity, that knowledge was not true (or it was only partially true, or a limited truth, or some other undefined term). This view of truth is one Peterson believes he finds in Nietzsche, and he thinks it is connected to an evolutionary understanding of life. No coherent argument was given for the later.

    Sam Harris is very kind to Peterson and keeps prodding him with examples and illustrations of the problems of that view.. it is as if Sam Harris is thinking that Peterson can't really believe what he is saying and it is only a matter of defining certain words the same way and Peterson will accept that, say, the truth of the propositions "101 is prime" or "E=mc^2" does not depend on what happens 100 years from now. That never happens...

    Whenever Peterson got bogged down with the obvious problems about this view, he launches into a random tangent, often just changing the illustration Sam Harris presented to suit his needs. If Sam Harris finally makes him confront an obvious problem with this view Peterson exclaims: "That's just a microexample!". All the while that happens Peterson seems insistent on cramming as many long words into his sentences as possible which just makes it impossible to parse if those words are supposed to do something technical or are just there to look pretty; my money is on pretty.

    Obviously on this definition of truth there is room for God since Peterson just have to say that scientific materialism is not good for our survival and presto, there is a God. Fortunately, they didn't get to that gerbil of an argument.

    What I think was most shocking was how poorly Petersons idea of truth was thought out. What does advantageous to our survival really mean? What is the definition of a microexample (vs. a macroexample)? Are the various words he uses (partial truth, truth, full truth, fully true, accurate, in agreement with reality, etc.) well-defined or just word-salad? (the interview suggests the later).

    What I thought was interesting is that Petersons claim to fame is to misread a recent law in Canada and now believes it "forces him to use made up pronouns" such as "zir" about students (that is not true but Peterson seems completely unable to understand that). This has launched him onto a youtube crusade, bankrolled by thousands of Patreon dollars, where he sternly lectures us for hours about the evils of quite mundane demands put upon him by his employer.

    What he fights against here is relativism, marxism and postmodernism a whole lot of other things which he believe will destroy society and all that is somehow connected to that law.

    It is interesting that Peterson himself believes a variant of postmodern claptrap (what is true today is not true tomorrow if it turned out to be bad for you) and is on a crusade against another variant of postmodern claptrap (that a man can be a woman the idea pleases him). Is there some kind of projection going on here?

    What I wished Sam Harris had asked him about is if the noun-stuff could be true (as in, it could be true a man was really a woman) if that idea helped him survive for some contingent reason. According to Petersons definition of truth that would very much seem to be the case and so his entire argument about pronouns revolves around what is really best for the students and not about biology. That is, if the male students who believed they were females got laid more the would actually be right.

    I should start a patreon account!

  • cofty
    It is interesting that Peterson himself believes a variant of postmodern claptrap (what is true today is not true tomorrow if it turned out to be bad for you) and is on a crusade against another variant of postmodern claptrap

    That was my impression too. I kept thinking Peterson was presenting a position he wanted to critique until I eventually worked out that he meant it.

  • Simon

    That's a good writeup but just to clarify something about Peterson. AFAIK he does not argue that a man can't be a women or vice versa. He argues that the overwhelming majority are one or the other and that the few who are not or think they are the wrong one from birth still want to be one or the other. People are "he" or "she" and it's a perfectly legitimate use of language that serves society a purpose.

    The law is vague but suggests that we have to call people what they want, using made-up pronouns like "Ze", which can change by the hour and if someone gets it wrong, they can be charged with a hate crime based on the person claiming their feelings were hurt. The employer of the person can also be charged for what their employer said, even though not a spokesperson for them. The law, for the first time, doesn't tell you things you cannot do or say but compels you to say what someone else wants. That in itself is bad and the left gone too far (this is Canada, Trudeau will be gone at the next election).

    Combined with the unaccountable human rights tribunals it opens things up for abuse - for faculty to silence and remove people they don't like who won't go along with their leftist PC nonsense. More power to the PC brigade and their fascist socialism.

    That is what his objection to gender pronouns is about, not that men can't be women and women can't be men. More that gender should be more than how you feel you want to be that morning and a club to beat people with.

    As an aside, I think he's been suffering from some heath issues - the stress from the threat to his career etc... so deserves a break for not being at his best.

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