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Noam Chompsky calls Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens Frauds!

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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02 February 2016 13:27
 
Niclynn - 02 February 2016 01:14 PM
After_The_Jump - 02 February 2016 11:23 AM

My sense is that you are upset. If I’m misreading that, ok, apologies.

While I didn’t request an apology nor did I desire one, I accept your apology for misreading that.

I go for charitable interpretations when I can. I have no idea why else you would engage in thousands of words of Orwell-speak to tell me that not having a reference is the same thing as having a reference, then claim I’m avoiding the topic when I am - I would think understandably - confused by this. But I have learned to enjoy the Wonder-landian aspects of life as a human being to some degree, so whatevs. I shall think of you as another charming if inexplicable Lewis Carroll character in my life. Peace out and tell the caterpillar I said hey!

Niclynn - Who exactly do you think you’re fooling here?

 
 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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02 February 2016 13:46
 
icehorse - 02 February 2016 01:27 PM
Niclynn - 02 February 2016 01:14 PM
After_The_Jump - 02 February 2016 11:23 AM

My sense is that you are upset. If I’m misreading that, ok, apologies.

While I didn’t request an apology nor did I desire one, I accept your apology for misreading that.

I go for charitable interpretations when I can. I have no idea why else you would engage in thousands of words of Orwell-speak to tell me that not having a reference is the same thing as having a reference, then claim I’m avoiding the topic when I am - I would think understandably - confused by this. But I have learned to enjoy the Wonder-landian aspects of life as a human being to some degree, so whatevs. I shall think of you as another charming if inexplicable Lewis Carroll character in my life. Peace out and tell the caterpillar I said hey!

Niclynn - Who exactly do you think you’re fooling here?


For your peace of mind about my sanity, I do not actually think ATJ is a creature from another dimension, I was trying to end on a light note. Epic fail I guess - my bad!

 
 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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02 February 2016 17:53
 

PS… After some reflection, I can kind of get where you guys are coming from on this one. It took me awhile, but I think it depends on the degree to which you see ‘jihadists’ as individual human beings vs. generic, interchangeable entities. So for example, if I imagine we had this whole exchange over the concept of “dogs barking”, yeah, I can see how from your POV that wouldn’t make sense;


Me: Harris claims he’s heard these animals known as ‘canines’ make a ‘barking’ noise, but I need a specific referent.

You: Look on Youtube, there are tons of dogs barking!

Me: I need to know which dog he’s talking about to know if that’s true!

You: What?! Why?


In that case, I can see your reasoning. Now change it to “people who were arrested for gang crimes, all of whom stated they were defending the honor of their gang”:


Me: He says he’s ‘empathetically listening’ to these people, but I’m questioning that - he never calls them by name, or references the specific circumstances of their lives.

You: There are lots of gang members throwing up gang signs on Youtube! A bunch of them committed crimes, maybe, or are going to. Here’s a gang slogan and a gang oath.

Me: Are they the people he said he listened to with sympathy?

You: They’re in gangs, aren’t they? So that makes them the same. Why don’t you want to talk about how bad people in gangs are? Avoiding the topic?

Me: But his claim was that he listened empathetically to specific people, and typically if you’re engrossed in someone’s life story you at least know their name…


In that case it makes far less sense. So yes, if you are very convinced that religion is so poisonous that it is sort of a ubiquitous delusion that makes people almost indistinguishable from one another in terms of psychology, ok, I understand what you are saying, even if I strongly disagree. Personally, I think the problem of young men turning to jihadism should be examined in detail if we want to come up with effective solutions - I think broad brush stereotypes work against this aim because they encourage oversimplified thinking that is not conducive to problem solving. Just my two cents, though.

 
 
icehorse
 
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02 February 2016 19:22
 
Niclynn - 02 February 2016 05:53 PM

PS… After some reflection, I can kind of get where you guys are coming from on this one. It took me awhile, but I think it depends on the degree to which you see ‘jihadists’ as individual human beings vs. generic, interchangeable entities. So for example, if I imagine we had this whole exchange over the concept of “dogs barking”, yeah, I can see how from your POV that wouldn’t make sense;

Me: Harris claims he’s heard these animals known as ‘canines’ make a ‘barking’ noise, but I need a specific referent.

You: Look on Youtube, there are tons of dogs barking!

Me: I need to know which dog he’s talking about to know if that’s true!

You: What?! Why?

So far, so good.

Niclynn - 02 February 2016 05:53 PM

In that case, I can see your reasoning. Now change it to “people who were arrested for gang crimes, all of whom stated they were defending the honor of their gang”:

I’m not sure what you mean here?

Niclynn - 02 February 2016 05:53 PM

Me: He says he’s ‘empathetically listening’ to these people, but I’m questioning that - he never calls them by name, or references the specific circumstances of their lives.

You: There are lots of gang members throwing up gang signs on Youtube! A bunch of them committed crimes, maybe, or are going to. Here’s a gang slogan and a gang oath.

Me: Are they the people he said he listened to with sympathy?

You: They’re in gangs, aren’t they? So that makes them the same. Why don’t you want to talk about how bad people in gangs are? Avoiding the topic?

Me: But his claim was that he listened empathetically to specific people, and typically if you’re engrossed in someone’s life story you at least know their name…

“Empathy” is a complex, sometimes unintuitive, multi-faceted topic. I can imagine several other mindsets Harris could have, and still be well within the bounds of “empathy”. So while he might not fit the facet you’re thinking of, that doesn’t make him wrong.

Niclynn - 02 February 2016 05:53 PM

In that case it makes far less sense. So yes, if you are very convinced that religion is so poisonous that it is sort of a ubiquitous delusion that makes people almost indistinguishable from one another in terms of psychology, ok, I understand what you are saying, even if I strongly disagree. Personally, I think the problem of young men turning to jihadism should be examined in detail if we want to come up with effective solutions - I think broad brush stereotypes work against this aim because they encourage oversimplified thinking that is not conducive to problem solving. Just my two cents, though.

I’m not at all convinced of what you guessed I’m convinced of. Wrong guess, care to guess again? (Or, if you’re uncertain, you could take the radical approach of asking for clarification :0

When it comes to broad brushes, if anything, I think Harris attempts to make more distinctions than the MCPCs are prepared to debate.

In addition, classification schemes are ESSENTIAL to problem solving. Niclynn, after many discussions with you, it seems you have a really black and white view of classification schemes. Does that sound right? If so, why?

 
 
sojourner
 
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02 February 2016 19:58
 
icehorse - 02 February 2016 07:22 PM

Niclynn, after many discussions with you, it seems you have a really black and white view of classification schemes. Does that sound right? If so, why?


Nah, I’d say it comes down more to:

I’m not sure what you mean here?


Conceptually - in terms of how we use perceptual boundaries to carve out concepts the world - we are speaking two different language in some ways. Some things translate, others don’t. Wacky misunderstandings abound.

 
 
icehorse
 
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02 February 2016 20:10
 
Niclynn - 02 February 2016 07:58 PM
icehorse - 02 February 2016 07:22 PM

Niclynn, after many discussions with you, it seems you have a really black and white view of classification schemes. Does that sound right? If so, why?

Nah, I’d say it comes down more to:

I’m not sure what you mean here?

Conceptually - in terms of how we use perceptual boundaries to carve out concepts the world - we are speaking two different language in some ways. Some things translate, others don’t. Wacky misunderstandings abound.

Here’s an example of a classification scheme:

===
An individual Muslim’s beliefs about Islam will fall predominately into one of these categories:

terrorist
Islamist
moderate
Ignorant
===

For now, assume that I could define the terms in such a way that I could defend the claim about how these categories cover all the bases.

It strikes me that you’d have a negative reaction to such a scheme - on principle. If so, can you say way?

 

 
 
sojourner
 
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02 February 2016 20:34
 
icehorse - 02 February 2016 08:10 PM

It strikes me that you’d have a negative reaction to such a scheme - on principle. If so, can you say way?


I’d say:


1. I don’t think you 100% understood my original point

2. Because of this, we are branching off in directions that seem tangential to me but probably not to you. So rather than restate our respective positions for the 100th time, I’m going to call it a day on this one and sign off for now. Hope that doesn’t seem rude, but I thought it would be ruder to just not respond without explanation.

 
 
icehorse
 
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02 February 2016 22:24
 
Niclynn - 02 February 2016 08:34 PM
icehorse - 02 February 2016 08:10 PM

It strikes me that you’d have a negative reaction to such a scheme - on principle. If so, can you say way?

I’d say:

1. I don’t think you 100% understood my original point

2. Because of this, we are branching off in directions that seem tangential to me but probably not to you. So rather than restate our respective positions for the 100th time, I’m going to call it a day on this one and sign off for now. Hope that doesn’t seem rude, but I thought it would be ruder to just not respond without explanation.

You are correct, there are several posts of yours that I don’t understand. So I’m stepping back to make sure we’re using the same definitions of terms. In the interest of making sure I understand your posts, I want to make sure I understand how you’re using some of the terms you’re using. Hence the question about categories.

 
 
sojourner
 
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03 February 2016 06:00
 

From your earlier post - the fact that the first example here makes total sense to you and the second doesn’t is what I’m talking about.

icehorse - 02 February 2016 07:22 PM
Niclynn - 02 February 2016 05:53 PM

PS… After some reflection, I can kind of get where you guys are coming from on this one. It took me awhile, but I think it depends on the degree to which you see ‘jihadists’ as individual human beings vs. generic, interchangeable entities. So for example, if I imagine we had this whole exchange over the concept of “dogs barking”, yeah, I can see how from your POV that wouldn’t make sense;

Me: Harris claims he’s heard these animals known as ‘canines’ make a ‘barking’ noise, but I need a specific referent.

You: Look on Youtube, there are tons of dogs barking!

Me: I need to know which dog he’s talking about to know if that’s true!

You: What?! Why?

So far, so good.

Niclynn - 02 February 2016 05:53 PM

In that case, I can see your reasoning. Now change it to “people who were arrested for gang crimes, all of whom stated they were defending the honor of their gang”:

I’m not sure what you mean here?

 

The second example makes intuitive sense to me, the first it took me awhile to come up with and I had to infer from your responses - i.e., in what framework would those responses make sense? So I’m saying I think now would be a good time for both of us to kinda pull back and reflect a bit until it makes more sense - continually talking past one another tends to only increase miscommunication.

 
 
icehorse
 
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03 February 2016 08:03
 
Niclynn - 03 February 2016 06:00 AM

From your earlier post - the fact that the first example here makes total sense to you and the second doesn’t is what I’m talking about.

icehorse - 02 February 2016 07:22 PM
Niclynn - 02 February 2016 05:53 PM

PS… After some reflection, I can kind of get where you guys are coming from on this one. It took me awhile, but I think it depends on the degree to which you see ‘jihadists’ as individual human beings vs. generic, interchangeable entities. So for example, if I imagine we had this whole exchange over the concept of “dogs barking”, yeah, I can see how from your POV that wouldn’t make sense;

Me: Harris claims he’s heard these animals known as ‘canines’ make a ‘barking’ noise, but I need a specific referent.

You: Look on Youtube, there are tons of dogs barking!

Me: I need to know which dog he’s talking about to know if that’s true!

You: What?! Why?

So far, so good.

Niclynn - 02 February 2016 05:53 PM

In that case, I can see your reasoning. Now change it to “people who were arrested for gang crimes, all of whom stated they were defending the honor of their gang”:

I’m not sure what you mean here?

The second example makes intuitive sense to me, the first it took me awhile to come up with and I had to infer from your responses - i.e., in what framework would those responses make sense? So I’m saying I think now would be a good time for both of us to kinda pull back and reflect a bit until it makes more sense - continually talking past one another tends to only increase miscommunication.

What I am doing in these last posts is the exact opposite of talking past you. I’m specifically asking for clarification.

 
 
After_The_Jump
 
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03 February 2016 10:38
 

@ Niclynn

Me: But his claim was that he listened empathetically to specific people, and typically if you’re engrossed in someone’s life story you at least know their name…

I think it’s important to identify exactly what is being said here. First, as I mentioned initially, Harris’s reference to “empathy” (and sympathy) in the quote you provided here was very specific in it’s regard - it was a direct comparison to the way Liberals who say Islam doesn’t play a primary role in behavior view the same group of people (namely, Jihadists). You’ll notice Harris used the word “more” when he initially introduces the concept:

The irony is I am practicing more empathy and giving them more credit than those who doubt what their reasons are. I am sympathetically listening to what they’re telling us ad nauseam what they care about and believing them,’ he said.

So, to focus on whether or not Harris knows their names is an act of non-sequitur. Harris’s focus is the interplay between belief and behavior. What he’s saying - quite directly - is that when he hears a Jihadist say they are doing what they do because their religion motivates them to do it, he believes them. Whereas, some Liberals discount religion as a primary role for such behavior, even in the face of a person explicitly telling us that’s exactly why they do what they do. So, Harris is saying he’s “more empathetic” by default, because he’s taking said Jihadists at their word. That’s the context in which Harris uses the terms “empathy” and “sympathy”, and a given person’s name has no relevance on that front (it’s probably worth noting too that ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Taliban perpetrators often don’t give their names in the kinds of videos Harris referenced).

I think broad brush stereotypes work against this aim because they encourage oversimplified thinking that is not conducive to problem solving.

And virtually no one would disagree with that, including Sam Harris. What you’ve stated here shouldn’t be the end of this conversation; it should be the start. And, it should be the start because Harris and several others have dedicated tens of thousands of words and dozens of hours of dialogue making sure they aren’t stereotyping. If one has indeed watched and read the articles/debates I cited, then one would had to have noticed this.

Specifically, about half of the conversation between Aslan and Harris was Sam Harris meticulously identifying exactly what groups he’s talking about when he talks about the impact of Islamic beliefs. A huge chunk of the Harris/Ungar 3 hour discussion is that too. Same goes with Harris and Hedges. In a few of the blog posts I cited, Harris references the Hamas Charter. In End of Faith, he breaks down the profiles and stated motivations of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. In his podcasts with Douglas Murray and Jerry Coyne, he makes specific references to Jihadists like Adam Gadahn who came from Oregon and the unnamed members of ISIS who’ve released videos before and after a bombing.

And in the Affleck/Real Time discussion as well as his newest book Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Nawaaz), Harris actually puts specific percentages to each demographic he’s talking about. Harris and Nawaaz operationally define Jiahdists, Islamists, Conservative Muslims, and Moderate Muslims. And they come to their percentages for each group through both comprehensive polling and aggregate voting data over the past few decades in Muslim majority territories. They are explicitly clear that when they are talking about Muslims whose beliefs are such that they have a desire to force their religion on others (Islamists), they’re not talking about 80% of the Muslim population, but rather 20%. And when they talk about Muslims whose beliefs are such that they feel their religion should be forced on to others via violence (Jihadists), they’re not talking about 95-98% of Muslims, but rather 2-5%.

Yet, in the face of that information (and I really just touched on a small portion of the work Harris and others have put into it): because Sam Harris didn’t identify a specific referent in the one 6 sentence quote you pulled from a still-yet-to-be-identified larger conversation, that means we can’t engage in a conversation about the impact of religious belief on behavior without being guilty of ‘stereotyping’?

That is, logically speaking, an untenable position to take.

As a closing example of how just how untenable such a position is, imagine how many conversations could be stifled using the same standard. For example, consider your own statement here of:

The thing is, I find I like the conservative right far better on the topic of extremist terrorism because there is no dancing around in circles of self-justification. The justification is, come after me and I’ll come after you, period.

Using the logic you’ve offered regarding Harris’s quote, I could say: “Wait, which specific member of the Conservative right is Niclynn talking about here? And exactly what did said member(s) of the Conservative right say?”

Icehorse could chime in and say: “The attitude toward extremist terrorism Niclynn attributed to the Conservative right is pretty well documented - it’s in their party platform; here’s videos of individual members x,y and z expressing it; and comprehensive polling data shows large majorities of self identifying members of the Conservative right believe it. Also, Niclynn has said a similar thing before, and he’s offered those specific referents”.

Then I could say “yeah, but in this one quote here, he didn’t reference anyone specific. I know you’ve cited 5 or so people here, I know about the polling data, I know about the party platform - but Niclynn didn’t cite anyone specific in that one quote. Ya know, stereotyping’s bad so I’m not going to discuss this any further”. Icehorse could cite as many individual people and polling data as he wanted, and I could repeatedly say “yeah, that doesn’t really prove anything” and “He really should have cited exactly who he was referring to in that one quote about the Conservative right. Maybe he’s done that elsewhere, but I follow Niclynn’s work relatively closely and I haven’t seen it”.

You can see how this could go on forever, without us ever getting to a discussion about the Conservative right’s beliefs about extremist terrorism.

We could run the same thought experiment on your comment of:

My impression is that the left shares this general self preservation instinct but has never been able to come to terms with it, and so there are all these unnecessarily convoluted justifications that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

What member of ‘the left’ specifically are you talking about? And what exactly did that member of the left say which could be described as “unnecessarily convoluted justifications that don’t stand up to scrutiny”? And so on, and so forth.

This is the conundrum I cited in my very first comment on this thread; how conversation specific to Islam and violence in the name of Islam is paralyzed by some Liberals because of this alleged need for more information so as not to stereotype, all in the name of ‘political correctness’. Of course we should take necessary steps not to stereotype, but we should also be reasonable and consistent in what we expect those steps to be. More than enough steps have been taken on this front to have a conversation without stereotyping, so let’s talk about the relationship between religious beliefs and behaviors.

 

[ Edited: 03 February 2016 11:32 by After_The_Jump]
 
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03 February 2016 10:56
 
After_The_Jump - 31 January 2016 03:49 PM

So, the million dollar question: why do some Liberals often demand this distinction as it relates to Islam, and often times demand it to the point of paralyzing any further conversation on the topic? Personally, I think a primary reason is because many of the adherents of Islam have brown skin.

Excellent post from page 3. I think it part you’re right, but it goes deeper than that. Regressive leftists do not really care that much about skin color. What they look at is this: “Who is getting the most negative press by the Right?” Notice that they do not ask: ” Is this negative press legitimate or justified?” The overarching assumption is that all cultures are equally good, and thus if the Right is picking on certain cultures more than others, it is the Left’s job to defend those persecuted cultures, religions, and skin colors to provide balance and fairness to the world.

This is the mindset of Noam Chomsky.

6 degrees of Noam Chomsky thinking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31FQwiPoSwY

 
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03 February 2016 11:23
 

@ Glacier

I think it part you’re right, but it goes deeper than that. Regressive leftists do not really care that much about skin color. What they look at is this: “Who is getting the most negative press by the Right?”

Indeed, I think there’s a certain element of this that reduces to rather classic in-group out-group thinking. I think I mentioned at the end of the post you cited how objectivity is sacrificed once one identifies their position on any given issue as being wherever their perceived opposition isn’t.

Notice that they do not ask: ” Is this negative press legitimate or justified?” The overarching assumption is that all cultures are equally good, and thus if the Right is picking on certain cultures more than others, it is the Left’s job to defend those persecuted cultures, religions, and skin colors to provide balance and fairness to the world.

Agreed. It’s become a bit of a Pavlovian response I’m afraid, which again suggests a lack of objective thinking about the topic.

 
sojourner
 
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03 February 2016 12:19
 
icehorse - 03 February 2016 08:03 AM

What I am doing in these last posts is the exact opposite of talking past you. I’m specifically asking for clarification.


And I’m saying if it’s not clear at this point, it’s one of those things that requires additional reflection, not more words.

 

After_The_Jump - 03 February 2016 10:38 AM

So, to focus on whether or not Harris knows their names is an act of non-sequitur.


Difference of opinion here, as I said before - sometimes we just have to agree that we’re not going to agree. Thanks for the talk guys.

 
 
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03 February 2016 12:35
 

@ NIclynn

And I’m saying if it’s not clear at this point, it’s one of those things that requires additional reflection, not more words.

And:

Difference of opinion here, as I said before - sometimes we just have to agree that we’re not going to agree. Thanks for the talk guys.

So you’re going to avoid any further discussion about how religious belief impacts behavior, and you’re going to do so because the one 6-sentence Harris quote you cherrypicked doesn’t include information that’s easily identifiable in any number of other places?

Yes, that about does it then~

 
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