The “After On” Interview A Conversation with Rob Reid

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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05 October 2017 22:20
 

This episode of the Waking Up podcast features an interview that Sam did with Rob Reid on the After On podcast. They speak about publishing, psychedelics, terrorism, meditation, free speech and other topics.

The “After On” Interview A Conversation with Rob Reid


This thread is for listeners’ comments.

 
 
Brahm
 
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Brahm
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06 October 2017 22:39
 

In the “After On” podcast, Sam talks about how Reza Aslan and others deliberately misrepresent the views of people like Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, knowing that these misrepresentations increase the security risk to these individuals.  I was curious as to where Sam Harris would draw the line on free speech in that context.  I.e. Should free speech protect the right of people like Reza Aslan to deliberate misrepresent the views of others in ways that put those people at increased risk of death?

 
yamishogun
 
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yamishogun
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07 October 2017 08:38
 

I realize that Sam Harris is not a scientist - his area of neuroscience isn’t a science quite yet. Harris discusses embryonic stem cells and rightfully argues how much potential they have for treating and even outright curing many serious and often fatal ailments.

Then Harris adds: Basically, we dragged our feet for a good twenty years.

Reid: Yep.

Harris:  And who knows what medical insights weren’t had as a result of that.

The answer is, essentially none. Billions were still being poured into the major American stem cell research centers like Stanford, Harvard, the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin and many labs around the world including in Japan (Tokyo U and Kyoto U) and China so the *federal* ban was cosmetic, and we have started to see remarkable progress in treatments. For example, see Stanford’s trial results from last summer: a woman can move her limbs better and speak noticably better after the therapy. Twenty heart failure patients who were all expected to die within two years have lived beyond two years.

[ Edited: 07 October 2017 16:16 by yamishogun]
 
yamishogun
 
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07 October 2017 13:36
 

I listened to more and again Harris doesn’t have the basics down on nuclear terrorism. He says “it’s not hard to render much of Los Angeles uninhabitalble for 10,000 years.”

Reid doesn’t understand this either as he replies: “It’s far less hard…”

Think about it. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were easily livable within a week of being nuked. Even a nuclear explosion far larger on many ICBMs don’t make area uninhabitable. That is simply Hollywood distopianism that has no reality in the physical world. Terrorists can’t just slam two metal plates together, to put together what calls the “ultimate dirty bomb.” A “dirty bomb” would kill almost nobody through radiation but only from a blast and the panic that would likely follow.(1) You can *not* get a “multi kiloton yield” that way (with a gun) as Harris said. A bomb the size of Little Boy that Harris thinks could be hauled to the Capitol building also weighs 10,000 lbs.

I understand why Sam made these errors since International Relations academics make them too since they also watch movies. Harris needs to go with the physicists when he talks about nuclear weapons or power. The Perry animation is ridiculously overly simplified and exaggerated. The terrorists aren’t making dirty bombs but a bunch of Litttle Boys with just a few engineers. No.
And no mention of radiation detectors.

The comedy relief part was with Reid then saying: “Right now only George Church (can build bioweapons)”

(1) From the Nuclear Regulatory Comission: “Most RDDs [dirty bombs] would not release enough radiation to kill people or cause severe illness - the conventional explosive itself would be more harmful to individuals than the radioactive material.” (Their website)

[ Edited: 07 October 2017 13:40 by yamishogun]
 
dhave
 
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dhave
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07 October 2017 17:37
 

I enjoyed this.  The interviewer was good.  Mostly familiar material.  The background on Sam’s parents and zig-zag path through academia was new, I always enjoy stories about peoples’ life journeys.

Regards,
Dave.

 
 
no_memory
 
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no_memory
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09 October 2017 14:55
 
yamishogun - 07 October 2017 08:38 AM

I realize that Sam Harris is not a scientist

What is your definition of a scientist? Do you mean a practising scientist?
Sam understands science as well as any practising scientist.

Doing a science degree and then working in a lab doesn’t necessarily mean you have some special scientific insight that others don’t. I’ve met lab scientists who have a much shakier understanding of scientific methods and the dangers of bias than I do, and I’m just a translator.

 
ZZYZX
 
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09 October 2017 19:55
 

Sam is not a scientist? Definition of science/scientist?

This topic needs to be explored. Try thinking about it every time (likely many times per day if you watch the news) when you hear those 2 words.
My conclusion is, it’s mainly used as a synonym for ‘truth’ and the reason it’s used rather than truth is because ‘science’ is an attempt to give more credibility to what is being said.
There’s those who think someone labeled ‘scientist’ has the inside track to enlightenment. Other’s think the universe is 5000 years old, so they distrust science.
We’d be better off dropping the word. Tell us why we should believe the speaker, what he’s been doing, why he believes what he believes.

I liked this podcast as Sam was open to telling us more about himself, being a guest this time for someone else.
I saw the Ben Affleck incident live that night. Sam mentions what I assumed all along: when the ‘special guest’ comes out (Sam) the rest of the panel is told to butt out unless they are consulted. Affleck instead butted in.  When he wasn’t talking (which wasn’t often) watch his facial expressions and manerisms. He was obviously high on something. That night I put his movies on my personal black list.

Also about the repercussions that Sam mentioned: the next Monday on MSNBC’s Chris Hayes show, Chris did a segment praising Affleck and calling out Bill Maher and Sam for racism. I found this to be so remarkable, coming from the mouth of an intelligent man, that I could only conclude that some of the stuff he comments on he knows nothing about, and is written for him totally by staffers. I still listen to him at times, but never with the same interest.

 
yamishogun
 
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09 October 2017 20:48
 
no_memory - 09 October 2017 02:55 PM
yamishogun - 07 October 2017 08:38 AM

I realize that Sam Harris is not a scientist

What is your definition of a scientist? Do you mean a practising scientist?
Sam understands science as well as any practising scientist.

Doing a science degree and then working in a lab doesn’t necessarily mean you have some special scientific insight that others don’t. I’ve met lab scientists who have a much shakier understanding of scientific methods and the dangers of bias than I do, and I’m just a translator.

First, look at Sam Harris’ view of telepathy. He says (after a century of research) that he can’t rule it out. Open mindedness to strange phenomena is a positive attribute but telepathy (without brain implants)?

Sam said on this podcast that much of his neuroscience coursework was a “vast memorization feat.” That is unfortunately necesary but his time has been spent far more on pilosophy as his Ph.D. thesis shows. Using fMIR “to conduct research into the neural basis of belief, disbelief, and uncertainty (wiki)”? The science part isn’t nearly developed yet and his Moral Landscape thesis/book is philosophy with little science. That is fine since it is clear by his choices that he prefers the philosophical aspects to the scientfic ones.

Harris got creamed in the Joe Romm [corrected] interview on climate change. That was when it was clear that he doesn’t think too much like a scietnist, but he is often more logical than those he interviews or on equal footing when interview those like David Deutsch. As of now, Harris seems to have learned physics and chemistry topics more through the media as is clear with climate change - and I think CO2 is a major cause but the modeling out to 2050 and 2100 has been ridiculous.

Read my criticsm with respect to Harris’s statements about nuclear weapons at the end of this otherwise very interesting podcast. Harris just didn’t research the issue before presenting is alarmist views. Reid doesn’t know anything about that topic either so no corrections were given. If Harris researches a science topic carefully, he could become quite good at these areas over time.   
 

 

 

[ Edited: 09 October 2017 21:34 by yamishogun]
 
no_memory
 
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no_memory
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09 October 2017 21:15
 
yamishogun - 09 October 2017 08:48 PM
no_memory - 09 October 2017 02:55 PM
yamishogun - 07 October 2017 08:38 AM

I realize that Sam Harris is not a scientist

What is your definition of a scientist? Do you mean a practising scientist?
Sam understands science as well as any practising scientist.

Doing a science degree and then working in a lab doesn’t necessarily mean you have some special scientific insight that others don’t. I’ve met lab scientists who have a much shakier understanding of scientific methods and the dangers of bias than I do, and I’m just a translator.

Harris got creamed in the Joe Fromm interview on climate change.   

Who is Joe Fromm? I did a google search and came up with nothing.

 
yamishogun
 
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09 October 2017 21:20
 
no_memory - 09 October 2017 09:15 PM

Who is Joe Fromm? I did a google search and came up with nothing.

I meant Joe Romm from the 9/05 podcast

 
philosophyminor
 
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15 October 2017 16:38
 
dhave - 07 October 2017 05:37 PM

I enjoyed this.  The interviewer was good.  Mostly familiar material.  The background on Sam’s parents and zig-zag path through academia was new, I always enjoy stories about peoples’ life journeys.

Regards,
Dave.

I really enjoyed it too as it filled me in on where Harris is coming from. For me, the most interesting part was his frank discussion regarding his experimentation with psychedelics. I had a similar experience at about the same age. I didn’t quite school though. The friend who I had the experience with did though.

I really liked Harris’s comment on taking chemicals to change your consciousness. “They are all chemicals.” Brilliant.

 
dhave
 
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15 October 2017 17:26
 
philosophyminor - 15 October 2017 04:38 PM
dhave - 07 October 2017 05:37 PM

I enjoyed this.  The interviewer was good.  Mostly familiar material.  The background on Sam’s parents and zig-zag path through academia was new, I always enjoy stories about peoples’ life journeys.

Regards,
Dave.

I really enjoyed it too as it filled me in on where Harris is coming from. For me, the most interesting part was his frank discussion regarding his experimentation with psychedelics. I had a similar experience at about the same age. I didn’t quite school though. The friend who I had the experience with did though.

I really liked Harris’s comment on taking chemicals to change your consciousness. “They are all chemicals.” Brilliant.

Yes, chemicals let you experience remarkable states with little investment.  These states let you glimpse what is possible.  The bigger challenge is to go from temporary state to persistent stage.  This requires some effort, practice, like anything in life worth working toward I suppose.

Regards,
Dave.

 
 
Paperless
 
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Paperless
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16 October 2017 17:42
 

About Ken Wilber,

I am continuously amazed at how people, including you, misrepresent Ken Wilber. In a podcast where you (rightfully) regret people taking you out of context or misrepresenting your obviously extensive and thoughtful work, you proceed to do the same with Ken Wilber when you say (at 45:30) “New age mysticism ... I’m also reading Ken Wilber and people that are rapping up Eastern wisdom with basically the spookiest exports from physics…”

That is a misrepresentation of Ken’s work. Just read ‘Quantum Questions,” a book that precisely makes the point of clarifying the confusion you just mentioned. I definitely can find many “errors” in Ken’s work, but I think he deserves more credit than you attribute to him.  Have you ever tried to interview him in your podcast?

Anyhow, I am a fan and love your work.

[ Edited: 16 October 2017 17:50 by Paperless]
 
dhave
 
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16 October 2017 19:05
 
Paperless - 16 October 2017 05:42 PM

About Ken Wilber,

I am continuously amazed at how people, including you, misrepresent Ken Wilber.

Welcome, Paperless.  Sam may not read this forum regularly but you are always welcome to talk to us.

In a podcast where you (rightfully) regret people taking you out of context or misrepresenting your obviously extensive and thoughtful work, you proceed to do the same with Ken Wilber when you say (at 45:30) “New age mysticism ... I’m also reading Ken Wilber and people that are rapping up Eastern wisdom with basically the spookiest exports from physics…”

In fairness, I think Sam may have been glomming several memories together here like The Tao of Physics, Pyramid Power, and other popular readings from that period.

That is a misrepresentation of Ken’s work. Just read ‘Quantum Questions,” a book that precisely makes the point of clarifying the confusion you just mentioned. I definitely can find many “errors” in Ken’s work, but I think he deserves more credit than you attribute to him.  Have you ever tried to interview him in your podcast?

There is a nearby thread where you can recommend guests.

And yes, Ken nailed a lot of this stuff years ago.

Regards,
Dave.

 

 
 
Paperless
 
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Paperless
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16 October 2017 19:08
 

Thank you, I would like to listen to LOLan interview with Ken.