#139- Sacred & Profane A Conversation with Bill Maher and Larry Charles

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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03 October 2018 11:43
 

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris gets together with Bill Maher and Larry Charles to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their film “Religulous.” They discuss religion, politics, comedy, and other dangerous topics.

#139- Sacred & Profane A Conversation with Bill Maher and Larry Charles


This thread is for listeners’ comments.

 
 
Crimsonspork
 
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Crimsonspork
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03 October 2018 19:48
 

Sam,

I do not know if you read the forums or if this is the proper place to address this. I was very interested to hear your thoughts on the Kavanaugh debacle. I was surprised. You began by stating the case made by the other side in a mostly satisfactory manner. You detailed most of the key points.

For Kavanaugh:
1. No corroborating evidence of any kind.
2. Senate hearing focused on pointing out things in Kavanaugh’s past that are perfectly normal.
3. This happened 36 years ago.

Against Kavanaugh:
1. Lied about things in yearbook under oath.
  a. Boof
2. Like Clinton, not a good guy.
3. Can not explain Blasey Ford’s behavior if she was lying:
  a+. Not attention seeking.
  b+. Willing to risk her own life being destroyed for no gain.
  c+. Recounted witnesses in her story that would make a lie easier to disprove.
4. Kavanaugh’s behavior can easily be explained if he really did do it.
  a-. Mostly compatible with innocence as well.
5. Mistaken identity does not explain this situation.
6. Willing to seem less than innocent by not endorsing fbi investigation.

I think you are almost wrong in everything you said against Kavanaugh and I hope to address them point by point.
1. You are right, he lied. You claim that there is no good reason to lie here though and that is either a failure of imagination or empathy. He is lying about ingesting alcohol through his asshole… I agree this is an IQ test. He should tell the truth here, but the reason why you would obfuscate that fact is obvious. That is an insanely embarrassing thing to have done in high school. It is obvious why you would lie about this and completely compatible with innocence.
2. Kavanaugh is not comparable to Clinton in any way. This is analogous to:
  Crazy Person: Obama tried to kill all jews.
  You: Obama was like Hitler.
  Me: There is zero evidence that Obama tried to kill all jews and the mere claim he did does not make him in any way comparable to someone who actually did want to.
3. The problem with this argument is that there is no amount of evidence about the facts of what actually happened that could falsify this point. You are pretty much saying that you can not explain her behavior if she is lying and thus it is more likely she is telling the truth, but if we discovered that there was no party, that she never met him, that Ford and no one she knew had ever met Kavanaugh or anyone he knew, if all these things came to light your probability argument would still say it was likely. It’s an argument not contingent on evidence and as I write this new evidence has come out against her claims of fear of flying and claustrophobia. This may be all besides the point, because your mistaken identity argument is not convincing enough. It seems entirely possible to me that Ford had this trauma and falsified her own memories by seeing Kavanaugh somewhere in media. All it would take is for her to know that they lived near each other when they were younger for her to falsify her own recollection to place Kavanaugh instead of her actual attacker. This is all assuming she is not lying though. I think you are right that she was not lying well. If she lied, it was a bad lie. I was convinced she was not lying when I heard her testimony.
4. This point is really addressed by addressing point 6.
5. Addressed in 3.
6.  You seem to think that if he is innocent he would openly support an fbi investigation. I think this is a failure of empathy.  He is being hounded by people who are trying to destroy his life. The narrative the democrats want:
Democrats and Kavanaugh implore Trump for fbi investigation.
  1. This would make it seem as if there is good reason to investigate the claims further.
  2. Of course Kavanaugh would want a ‘thorough’ investigation which would go on for an arbitrary amount of time until either they take the house or more claims come
      forward.
  3. It would make it seem as if everyone but the republicans want an investigation.
Kavanaugh is probably confident that if he rides out the storm and the vote is not delayed to long, he will get appointed. If he is innocent there is no reason in his mind he should not be appointed and calls for an investigation he is siding with the people who are trying to destroy his life. He has no reason to believe they will not continue to delay his appointment if he gives them any ground. (It is common knowledge that giving SJW’s any ground is a mistake because they will never return the favor.)

Should Kavanaugh be appointed? No, but it has nothing to do with the accusations against him. I find any case made that he should not be appointed because of these accusations against him sickening. A claim with zero evidence should not be enough to ruin someone’s reputation and poisons the credible claims of other women in the metoo movement.

I am probably thoroughly confused and I hope you dedicate more time to this subject.

 

 
huh
 
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huh
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05 October 2018 23:46
 

Sam—
GREAT PODCAST!!!
Got me through the last few horrible days of Kav madness. BRILLIANT analysis of hearing.
I have found this entire process both terrifying and horrifying. I never imagined I would live to see this all over again.  Someone once told me you can never over-estimate the hatred men have for women. I guess that is still true. But I thought that women at least had finally gotten beyond their own internalized misogyny. Your comments about the tribe were eye-opening. And I have had to keep reminding myself about Andrea Dworken’s seminal work, Right Wing Women, and that women senators are not immune to the corrupting influence of power any more than their male counterparts.
I now think Flake’s move was purely theatre. And who was it who waved off (female) demonstrators hollering “Grow up!” These lawmakers of ours really are embarrassing. Their lust for power and privilege and limelight blinds them to their own and their children’s future. What will they do when they have out-reproductive-righted their wives and daughters and mistresses and porn stars? What will they do when “their women” need help?  Punch them in the stomach or throw them down the stairs like in the bad old good old days of Trump’s childhood?
I personally have been sexually assaulted, many details of which I happily no longer remember, although, like Dr. Ford, I can tell you by whom and where. Statistically, over one third of women are estimated to be so violated; the numbers are skewed in favor of their attackers due to understandable fears of reporting. I know many if not most of my friends have also been likewise violated. Women who do not support their sisters are suspect, not to mention brainwashed and probably also under threat. Their despicable Stepford-esque collusion also smacks suspiciously of personal denial of similar personal experience.
Kavanaugh himself appeared drunk to me during the hearing. At the very least, his behavior is rather classic so-called dry-drunk behavior. He should have been sent home from the job interview the moment he began ranting and whimpering and crying. Or when he turned on his interlocutor to ask repeatedly, smirking, if she had ever had a blackout. McDonald’s would be hard-pressed to hire him.
Kavanaugh’s much touted childhood as an altar boy, if true, in itself disqualifies him from the job of Supreme Court Justice, speaking not at all to his integrity, but rather and merely to his religious upbringing and training and current bias.
I fear for the future not only of women but also of our country and our world. I see this step back into a life of women’s enslavement to men and to their own bodies as a step into eventual global darkness and eventual mayhem.  I personally see no way back to sanity. I only hope greater minds prevail and the rest of the world looking on does not follow suit. I found your reasoned, calm assessment in the podcast somehow somewhat comforting but far from reassuring. Truly, and not for the first time in recent years, I am glad I have no children to leave to deal with this accelerating madness.
Thank you for your brilliant work both now and over the years. Your books on religion saved my sanity right when I needed them most.
I also enjoyed your guests immensely,  especially Bill Maher, not so incidently.

[ Edited: 17 October 2018 01:30 by huh]
 
edgecumbe
 
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edgecumbe
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15 October 2018 17:52
 

In this podcast Sam yet again made the claim that 0% of young Muslims in the UK find homosexuality acceptable. Knowing quite a few Muslims in the UK this strikes me as deeply implausible. I can find a very small 2009 poll which makes a similar claim (though there is no age split) and a much wider IPSOS MORI poll from Feb 2018 that finds around half of Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal. However, in the number falls to about 20% among young Muslims, who Sam appears most worried about.  This number is not very different from other religious communities in the UK.

I don’t think there’s any malign intent here, but there’s definitely a danger of confirmation bias creeping in. Can anyone point me to the data supporting this claim?

 
fifthsunset
 
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fifthsunset
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17 October 2018 10:00
 
edgecumbe - 15 October 2018 05:52 PM

In this podcast Sam yet again made the claim that 0% of young Muslims in the UK find homosexuality acceptable. Knowing quite a few Muslims in the UK this strikes me as deeply implausible. I can find a very small 2009 poll which makes a similar claim (though there is no age split) and a much wider IPSOS MORI poll from Feb 2018 that finds around half of Muslims think homosexuality should be illegal. However, in the number falls to about 20% among young Muslims, who Sam appears most worried about.  This number is not very different from other religious communities in the UK.

I don’t think there’s any malign intent here, but there’s definitely a danger of confirmation bias creeping in. Can anyone point me to the data supporting this claim?

I came here to raise this point. Also the other statement regarding muslims in the UK he cited was that more muslims joined ISIS than serve in the UK armed forces. That just doesn’t stand up to analysis. Firstly you’d have to compare how many British muslims joined both over a given period, not compare a snapshot membership figure for one to an aggregate figure for the other. Secondly even when you do load the data in this way, the official figures show 500-600 joining ISIS, and 972 in the armed forces. Even if you dispute the official figures, you still have your work ahead of you to make the statement true.

The source of this statement appears to be Donald Trump in 2015, who linked to an article in National Review that doesn’t provide evidence. Hardly reliable.

I’ve followed Sam to a lot of his conclusions on the understanding that they are evidence-based. But if he’s using flimsy data like these, I need to rethink that.

 
edgecumbe
 
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edgecumbe
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17 October 2018 18:26
 

Yes, it’s weird to hear Sam quoting Trump verbatim! I don’t think the ISIS claim is as bad in terms of its factual base though.  The guardian article below cited around 640 people in the UK armed forces versus around 750 who have, at least at one time, fought for ISIS. But I’m just not sure how much that actually tells you. The overall numbers are quite low so I’d be hesitant to draw strong inferences. I don’t think joining the army is a particularly good indicator of people’s identification with the country.  There are lots of other factors pressing down on numbers joining the army (e.g. it’s quite racist). You can see this in the relatively low numbers from other faiths. You might also expect Muslims to not disclose their religion.  The broader (and better) IPSOS MORI polling tells you much more about the Muslim population at large.

https://amp.theguardian.com/news/reality-check/2015/dec/11/donald-trump-needs-check-facts-british-muslims-isis

Regardless the presentation of both ‘facts’ trouble me, particularly in the context of the Ezra Klein debacle. I think it’s a fair charge that Sam doesn’t tend to invite the guests on who’ll call him on this stuff. 

 
edgecumbe
 
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edgecumbe
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17 October 2018 18:35
 

PS his (and Trump’s) specific claim is that more UK Muslims have JOINED ISIS than the UK army. The fact check above doesn’t address that specific claim, looking instead at numbers currently serving. As far as I can see, there’s no reliable data available on this either from the UK government (army side) or researchers (ISIS side) so it is at best unsubstantiated.