‹ First  < 7 8 9
 
   
 

Noam Chompsky calls Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens Frauds!

 
After_The_Jump
 
Avatar
 
 
After_The_Jump
Total Posts:  538
Joined  31-01-2016
 
 
 
09 February 2016 11:25
 

However, using the same logic, I could say “There is proof in the Bible that God exists, it’s on you to read it and understand that”,

That’s an altogether not analogous comparison, for a few reasons. (1) the Bible isn’t written by the person it claims to be about, so it’s not the same thing as citing the actual person. (2) “The existence of God” is certainly not an analogous concept as “Reza Aslan downplayed the role religious belief plays in behavior during a debate”.

Again - just my opinion, but I don’t see this as particularly backing up the assertion made above

I didn’t figure you would. Quite a while ago, someone asked you what would constitute - in your mind - good evidence on this topic, and you never responded. I’m beginning to wonder the same thing. I just gave you reference to Reza Aslan saying Bin Laden’s justifications were not religious (perhaps Aslan doesn’t actually know what a “fatwa” is?) - I’m not sure how much more direct a statement downplaying the motivation of religion as it relates to extremist behavior can be.

It’s a somewhat ambiguous quote

I can only chuckle here. You insisted on being given one quote, in text form only, and then lament that the quote ‘seems ambiguous’.

but to me Aslan does acknowledge the role of religion here - he says himself that it is entirely possible to turn said conflict into a “cosmic battle” (presumably this would not be possible if people didn’t actually believe in religious tribal ideals) and that this is the same thing the extremists are doing. To me, ‘same thing’ pretty well does acknowledge at least some religious motivation, no? Otherwise, what does he mean by that term, ‘same thing’?

Yeah, I directly addressed this in the comment you’re responding to. I think I’ll just copy and paste that exact narrative again here since it seemed to be missed the first time:

What I love about this often-used line from Aslan (he broaches it again at the 1:09 mark) is that he uses it as a refutation of Harris’s point, when all it does is validate Harris’s point. Aslan tacitly acknowledges that, yes, extremists do indeed view their actions as being motivated by a “cosmic battle” of religious principle (again, a point Aslan disagrees with when Harris makes it). Yet, virtually every second he’s not conceding this point, he’s arguing against the notion that the point exists at all (for example, at the 58:00 mark Aslan disagrees with Harris that Bin Laden’s justifications were religious in nature…)

Like I said, I wouldn’t argue that Aslan doesn’t hedge on this point repeatedly, but he always comes back to deny the point outright over and over (the quote I exerted was Aslan responding to Sam Harris’s statement that the conflict in mention was primarily a religious conflict - Aslan said it wasn’t, and then gave the quote I offered).

The best that could be said for Aslan’s position is that Aslan acknowledges the hypothetical possibility that religion can play a primary role in motivating behavior, but that he can’t cite one instance where it actually does. In that sense, Aslan’s “acknowledgement” of the role religion plays is that it only plays a primary role in a fantasy world.

Again, my interpretation, but all he seems to be saying is that at this point such thinking is more limited to extremists,

And so limited in fact, that he can’t even bring himself to acknowledge that Bin Laden falls into that ‘limited’ pool.

I’m not sure what functional difference there is between saying “Religious belief is never a primary motivator for behavior” and “Religious belief *can* be a primary motivator for behavior, but it’s never been a primary motivator for anyone’s behavior”.

But, this does bring me back to an interesting point you made earlier. Specifically, this:

I think religion may have more influence in other areas - women’s rights, for example - but this is not the topic of this particular thread.

I find this peculiar. You acknowledge religion may play a more influential role in behavior as it relates to treatment of women, but not as it would relate to treatment of infidels? What evidence spurs this seemingly arbitrary dichotomy? Why wouldn’t religious belief motivate treatment of infidels just as influentially as it does treatment of women?

 

 

 

 

 

 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
09 February 2016 12:15
 

I hope you’ll forgive me for pruning a little here, as you are possibly the only person on this board whose mind seems to spin off in more sub-topics and directions than even mine. I think it would literally be impossible to follow up on every point that then creates a dozen or so more thoughts in your mind - all interesting, just time consuming - but if I miss anything that’s particularly key or important to you just let me know.

That’s an altogether not analogous comparison, for a few reasons. (1) the Bible isn’t written by the person it claims to be about, so it’s not the same thing as citing the actual person. (2) “The existence of God” is certainly not an analogous concept as “Reza Aslan downplayed the role religious belief plays in behavior during a debate”.


You totally took that out of context. wink

 

Quite a while ago, someone asked you what would constitute - in your mind - good evidence on this topic, and you never responded.


Really? Apologies, I genuinely didn’t see that, can you cut and paste it?

What I love about this often-used line from Aslan (he broaches it again at the 1:09 mark) is that he uses it as a refutation of Harris’s point, when all it does is validate Harris’s point. Aslan tacitly acknowledges that, yes, extremists do indeed view their actions as being motivated by a “cosmic battle” of religious principle (again, a point Aslan disagrees with when Harris makes it). Yet, virtually every second he’s not conceding this point, he’s arguing against the notion that the point exists at all (for example, at the 58:00 mark Aslan disagrees with Harris that Bin Laden’s justifications were religious in nature…)


Well, for Aslan to be acting hypocritically, you’d have to assume that he could not in good faith or reasonably believe that Bin Laden’s justifications weren’t religious vs. political, and I can actually see his point on that. In his “Letter To America”, Bin Laden peppers it with a few “Allahs”, but by and large it reads like an unhinged unabomber psycho type giving a long rant about perceived political persecutions. So, on the one hand, I disagree somewhat with Aslan, I think Bin Laden’s motivations were partially religious (Aslan kind of waves this away by saying militants act like militants all over the world, and I do agree there, but that doesn’t mean that it’s illogical to say the Zetas are not motivated by gang pride to some extent or that Bin Laden wasn’t motivated by religion to some extent. The fact that this type of behavior is not unique to gang tribalism, or religious tribalism, or territorial tribalism, or whatever, doesn’t change that semantic point.)


But I don’t think him saying this specific person’s motivations don’t seem religious to him is the same as saying that he doesn’t believe in religious motivation at all - I haven’t seen a quote where he’s said that, although again, it’s not like I follow his work closely, so if you have one, feel free to post it.

The best that could be said for Aslan’s position is that Aslan acknowledges the hypothetical possibility that religion can play a primary role in motivating behavior, but that he can’t cite one instance where it actually does. In that sense, Aslan’s “acknowledgement” of the role religion plays is that it only plays a primary role in a fantasy world.


Eh. I hear this a lot in discourse these days, the idea that you should play both sides of the fence in a debate. Quite frankly, appeals to this idea seem opportunistic to me, not evenly applied. Aslan is a Muslim and pretty pro-his-religion, I don’t think he makes any secret about that. If he out and out spouted falsehoods, like “Religion can never be a motivating factor in behavior”, I think that would be wrong, but the idea that he has to actually go around giving statements in debate about “Ok, well now let me pause and give examples from your side for a moment” seems to defeat the purpose of debate. I don’t fault Harris for not giving a bunch of examples of times when loss of religious faith caused problems (societal instability, personal emotional problems for individuals, etc.). That’s not his thing, his topic, what he argues about, but I don’t think he denies they exist. I don’t think there’s an onus to argue the other side of the debate, and again, requests for people to do this seem to be applied rather unequally.

 
 
After_The_Jump
 
Avatar
 
 
After_The_Jump
Total Posts:  538
Joined  31-01-2016
 
 
 
09 February 2016 12:57
 

@ Niclynn

Bin Laden peppers it with a few “Allahs”, but by and large it reads like an unhinged unabomber psycho type giving a long rant about perceived political persecutions.

Bin Laden’s letter to America quotes the Quran a dozen times. It’s not that long of a letter. And he mentions “Allah” 30 times, which is the same number of times he mentions America. To say that it’s only ‘peppered’ with a few “Allahs” is - again - quite the act of downplay. And his Letter to America is a truncated version of the Fatwas previously mentioned, which are explicit in their religiosity as well.

But I don’t think him saying this specific person’s motivations don’t seem religious to him is the same as saying that he doesn’t believe in religious motivation at all

Aslan doesn’t just say this about Bin Laden. Watch Sam Harris’s words from the 54 minute mark on. For 2 minutes, Harris cites Ayman Al Zawahiri, the 19 hijackers, and Bin Laden as requisite examples of people who’s primary motivations are religious. And Aslan responds by explicitly disagreeing on all accounts. Additionally, during the debate he disagreed that the behavior of Hamas was religiously motivated (again, in spite of a charter which is explicit religious). Also, Aslan has blamed the Charlie Hebdo shooting not on religious belief but rather on Europe’s ‘failed multiculturalism’ . He’s downplayed the motivation of religion as it relates to Boko Haram by saying the Boko Haram group isn’t “Islamic”. So, it’s not just one individual; it’s seemingly every individual Aslan’s ever been asked to comment on, or has voluntarily offered a comment on.

Eh. I hear this a lot in discourse these days, the idea that you should play both sides of the fence in a debate.

This is certainly not what I’m saying. The problem here isn’t that Aslan didn’t go out of his way to identify someone that has been primarily motivated by their religious belief. Rather, he routinely goes out of his way not to, even when faced with the most obvious examples. . This continued up until recently, where he has acknowledged the connection between Islam and ISIS. It really shouldn’t take a group literally naming themselves the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” before Aslan can recognize the connection. And even then, he’s regularly still discounting the connection.

 

 

 

 

[ Edited: 09 February 2016 13:27 by After_The_Jump]
 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
09 February 2016 13:31
 
After_The_Jump - 09 February 2016 12:57 PM

Bin Laden’s letter to America quotes the Quran a dozen times. It’s not that long of a letter. And he mentions “Allah” 30 times, which is the same number of times he mentions America. To say that it’s only ‘peppered’ with a few “Allahs” is - again - quite the act of downplay. And his Letter to America is a truncated version of the Fatwas previously mentioned, which are explicit in their religiosity as well.


Oh now who’s taking things out of context? wink I also explicitly said that I disagreed with Aslan on this point, but I do see how a person could - in good faith - read that letter as largely the ramblings of an anti-government lunatic with a bit of religious language thrown in as window-dressing . You see the religious language as more primary. Ok. Again, subjective opinions, I"m not here to tell you that yours is right or wrong.

 

Aslan doesn’t just say this about Bin Laden. Watch Sam Harris’s words from the 54 minute mark on. For 2 minutes, Harris cites Ayman Al Zawahiri, the 19 hijackers, and Bin Laden as requisite examples of people who’s primary motivations are religious. And Aslan responds by explicitly disagreeing on all accounts. Additionally, during the debate he disagreed that the behavior of Hamas was religiously motivated (again, in spite of a charter which is explicit religious). Also, Aslan has blamed the Charlie Hebdo shooting not on religious belief but rather on Europe’s ‘failed multiculturalism’ . He’s downplayed the motivation of religion as it relates to Boko Haram by saying the Boko Haram group isn’t “Islamic”. So, it’s not just one individual; it’s seemingly every individual Aslan’s ever been asked to comment on, or has voluntarily offered a comment on.


The original point we were talking about was this:

Harris’s point was simply that he takes Jihadists and Islamists at their word when they state their motivations for their behaviors, and that doing so is ‘more empathetic’ than not doing so (Harris attributing the act of not doing so to his critics who often say religion isn’t actually motivating Jihadists/Islamists).


I still think it’s a stretch to say that Aslan explicitly says this (in fact he explicitly says the opposite in some places), although I guess you could say he implicitly implies it. If that’s your opinion, ok, I acknowledge it and respectfully disagree.


I still disagree that this approach somehow makes Harris more “empathetic”, btw, (it’s seems to me that both Aslan and Harris are cherry picking the points they want from people to advance their arguments - when I think ‘empathy’ I think of someone who really goes in and tries to emotionally understand in order to observe and learn more about a person or group, without trying to prove any particular point or theory from the outset) although I’m not sure why this should be a sticking point for you. I don’t get the impression that empathy is some kind of top priority in your worldview regarding how dialogue should be conducted, so not really sure why you care whether his approach is empathetic or not either way. Want to shake hands and say Harris favors deductive reasoning over empathy and call it a day?

 
 
After_The_Jump
 
Avatar
 
 
After_The_Jump
Total Posts:  538
Joined  31-01-2016
 
 
 
09 February 2016 13:38
 

@ Niclynn

in fact he explicitly says the opposite in some places

Yes, I’ve never accused Aslan of being coherent, and I made mention of his hedging before anyone else did.

I don’t get the impression that empathy is some kind of top priority in your worldview regarding how dialogue should be conducted, so not really sure why you care whether his approach is empathetic or not either way. Want to shake hands and say Harris favors deductive reasoning over empathy and call it a day?

I’ve shaken hands and called it day 3 or so times now. I didn’t seek out this conversation again; you chimed in on a conversation I was having with someone else. I don’t have any problem with you doing that obviously, and as I’ve stated multiple times now, I have no problem leaving the conversation where it is (or has been) either.

 

 
Poldano
 
Avatar
 
 
Poldano
Total Posts:  3295
Joined  26-01-2010
 
 
 
09 February 2016 23:59
 
After_The_Jump - 09 February 2016 07:24 AM

@ Poldano
...

Yeah, there’s no question the aggregate interpretation of a given scripture has changed with time. My reference to the built-in process of change and evaluation as it relates to the Constitution is that it’s formal and specific, whereas the change process for interpretation of religious text really has no stated boundaries. While modernity seems to have forced a great many religious people to interpret their books differently, there is no objective theological measure by which to tell a religious person that maintaining a first century interpretation of a given religious book is ‘wrong’. I don’t think you disagree with any of that; just further clarifying the purpose of my reference to the Constitution.

Agreed. I never thought of that before, but it seems obvious to me now.

I think it’s better to characterize the choice via action rather than belief. They can choose to believe what they want without penalty, but they cannot choose to act in any way they want without penalty.

Yes, indeed, the action is ultimately the thing that we should be judging, more or less. And I think your point about someone being able to maintain a belief without acting on it is a salient one as well.

After_The_Jump - 09 February 2016 07:24 AM

With that form of belief, it might not be possible to address the actions without addressing the beliefs.

It would seem the claim to divinity is really where such a distinction has the most application. If indeed one actually believes a divine authority is evaluating one’s chances at eternal happiness on how one behaves, it’s hard to picture a scenario where a believer would maintain the belief in said divine authority, but would choose not to act in the way they think the divine authority wants them to act. Some people may hold the belief about the divine authority and simply not feel they’re capable of living up to the divine authority’s standards, but that would appear to be different than actively choosing to damn one’s self to hell via intentional engagement in unsanctioned behavior.

Indeed. My answer to that is that no human expression can be fully faithful to divine intention. Of course, this would be heretical to most Muslims, so I gather.

After_The_Jump - 09 February 2016 07:24 AM

...

A related side note about empathy: Have you read or listened to Paul Bloom talk about his upcoming book tentatively entitled “Against Empathy”? I found it to be quite interesting. I’m eager to read the full book because his commentary thus far appears to take on some pretty entrenched taboos that seem to be in need of taking on.

The article is great. Maybe I don’t need to read the whole book (too much on the reading list as it is).

Aside for casual browsers: the article separates the “kumbaya” kind of empathy from the “tough love” kind.

 
 
Larry Olson
 
Avatar
 
 
Larry Olson
Total Posts:  139
Joined  09-09-2015
 
 
 
19 February 2016 17:44
 

Noam Chomsky is called a fraud himself. He’s a capitalist and I have posted this elsewhere in other threads years ago.
http://www.hoover.org/research/noam-chomsky-closet-capitalist

It’s one of those types of guys who “doesn’t practice what he preaches” when it comes down to his own bank accounts, bottom line, and book profits. Hey chomsky why don’t you start donating your books to us for free like under a GNU documentation license (copy left communist/socialist) instead of capitalizing on them like a conservative.

Yeah chomsky is your typical conservative business man, pretending to be a socialist, and recommended communism while he laughs all the way to the bank.

Comp Sky did you say? Chomp chomp chomp. How do those green bills taste, chompsky. Bank it buddy. ATM/ABM machine sure finds them tasty.

See http://www.hoover.org/research/noam-chomsky-closet-capitalist for details.

 
sojourner
 
Avatar
 
 
sojourner
Total Posts:  5970
Joined  09-11-2012
 
 
 
19 February 2016 20:57
 
Larry Olson - 19 February 2016 05:44 PM

Noam Chomsky is called a fraud himself. He’s a capitalist and I have posted this elsewhere in other threads years ago.
http://www.hoover.org/research/noam-chomsky-closet-capitalist

It’s one of those types of guys who “doesn’t practice what he preaches” when it comes down to his own bank accounts, bottom line, and book profits. Hey chomsky why don’t you start donating your books to us for free like under a GNU documentation license (copy left communist/socialist) instead of capitalizing on them like a conservative.

Yeah chomsky is your typical conservative business man, pretending to be a socialist, and recommended communism while he laughs all the way to the bank.

Comp Sky did you say? Chomp chomp chomp. How do those green bills taste, chompsky. Bank it buddy. ATM/ABM machine sure finds them tasty.

See http://www.hoover.org/research/noam-chomsky-closet-capitalist for details.


I’m not 100% clear on what his politics are, but I thought he was largely a libertarian socialist, not a communist. I think for him to avoid hypocrisy in that paradigm he should use a small printing press owned by the workers for his books? Not sure if that’s correct or who his publisher is, though.

 
 
Larry Olson
 
Avatar
 
 
Larry Olson
Total Posts:  139
Joined  09-09-2015
 
 
 
19 February 2016 22:47
 
Niclynn - 19 February 2016 08:57 PM

I’m not 100% clear on what his politics are, but I thought he was largely a libertarian socialist, not a communist. I think for him to avoid hypocrisy in that paradigm he should use a small printing press owned by the workers for his books? Not sure if that’s correct or who his publisher is, though.

He’s said communist before, then changed to socialist anarchist libertarian or some nonsense (as if you can be an anarchist demanding people practice socialism, when in fact all socialist societies require someone dictating/encouraging the socialist policy, i.e government). He thinks it can just work itself out via anarchy and cause socialism to occur or something, via magic. 

He’s changed his labels more than once trying to find the best one.  It’s been so long since I did research on this tool, that I can’t remember exactly what type of communist he claimed to be but it was one of those “not the communism that any other country has practiced but a different one that’s good communism, true communism” types as far as I remember. I.e. famous last words. No not that communism, this one. The better one. The ideal one. Kind of like Marx who thought that same thing, or marxists who think all communism is wrong except one specific type. Same old story. Then when they try to implement it, it turns to sh*t as usual

I don’t have the time to chase down the old videos from about 7 years ago where he made his boring comments on the subject.If I spend time finding the references and links it will just eat up my time which I don’t have. So you either take my word for it or people can find the videos on youtube, and his articles he’s written. I wouldn’t bother, unless you want to confirm he really did say communist, which I could be wrong about but I’m pretty sure he said something of the sorts.

It’s the famous last words “no not that type of communism, I mean a good communism”. Then they implement it, and it goes to sh*t.

Chomp chomp chomp.  And to deepak chopra: Chop chop choppy chop.

 
nonameiei
 
Avatar
 
 
nonameiei
Total Posts:  1
Joined  08-02-2018
 
 
 
08 February 2018 00:36
 
After_The_Jump - 02 February 2016 07:02 AM

@ Niclynn

Except that you haven’t given me specific referents for the quote we’re talking about,

You haven’t given a source conversation for the quote itself, so there’s no way to check whether or not Harris gave an “specific referents” to the quote you plucked. And the Sky News article you just cited doesn’t do that either. That’s the one I found too when searching for the source conversation of the quote, and I’m guessing you may have noticed that Sky News article doesn’t provide a link or reference to the source conversation either.

Thus, is it an accurate assumption that you haven’t actually heard/read the full conversation that contained the quote you offered here? If that is an accurate assumption, then it would appear you don’t know if Harris gave a ‘specific referent’ for the quote you plucked, correct? Rather, you’re simply assuming he didn’t.

you gave me a list of 5-10 people who disagree with Sam Harris, which has nothing to do with the jihadists he referenced in his quote.

As I’ve already stated, you asked for two different pieces of supporting data - one for the Jihadist quote, and one for the ‘regressive left’ quote. The “5 or 10 people who disagree with Sam Harris” were in regard to the request for ‘evidence’ of the ‘regressive left’.  If you’ll recall, when I cited those “5-10 people”, you initially responded by saying you didn’t know “what referents were in my head”, and when I reminded you I’d already told you ‘what referents were in my head’, you responded by saying you didn’t have the time/desire to actually review/discuss them. So, you went from claiming they didn’t exist other than in my head, to claiming you weren’t going to take the time to review them if they did, to now implying the “5-10” referents still wouldn’t be enough evidence even if you did review them.

Ok, you’re welcome to think that. I was responding to your claim that I’m a “regressive leftist” and why making assumptions about people isn’t always a good idea.

And yet, you’re entire premise here is based on assuming Harris didn’t give any specific referents for the quote you’ve plucked. You don’t appear to know whether or not he did, you’re just assuming he did because that information isn’t contained in the few sentences you exerted. That’s correct, right?

So, Harris could have very well cited videos like (UPDATE: I tried to link videos here the kind of which Harris referenced, but the site won’t let me because the videos are blacklisted). But since the few sentences you focused on don’t contain specific references, you’re not only claiming you can’t/won’t discuss the concept of Harris’s quote, but you can’t/won’t discuss the topic generally until such time that you get the exact ‘referent’ you’re looking for (but, appear to have made next to no effort to actually find).

Fair enough - if you’re that insistent on not discussing something, I can’t imagine I’m going to be able to persuade you otherwise.

same to you…..

not anymore…

 

[ Edited: 09 February 2018 07:05 by Nhoj Morley]
 
MARTIN_UK
 
Avatar
 
 
MARTIN_UK
Total Posts:  4857
Joined  19-08-2010
 
 
 
09 February 2018 00:19
 

Spam??

 
‹ First  < 7 8 9