#155- Mental Models A Conversation with Shane Parrish

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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29 April 2019 15:58
 

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Shane Parrish about some of the mental models that should guide our thinking and behavior.

That sounds like FUN.

#155- Mental Models A Conversation with Shane Parrish


This thread is for listeners’ comments.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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02 May 2019 20:39
 

Harris mentions tweeting a link to a WSJ op-ed written by one of the attorneys for the baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake a while back. This attorney claimed to have been defamed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Harris, having been treated unfairly by them in the past, wanted to show another example of how the SPLC has become unreliable as an arbiter of who is racist.

Afterwards, his Twitter followers criticized him because unbeknownst to him, the author/attorney turned out to be “a crazy extremist on the Christian right,” representing an organization (“Alliance Defending Freedom,” as far as I can tell) that advocates criminalizing homosexuality. Harris felt that he was being criticized unfairly because, after all, how was he supposed to know the author was a bigot? In the podcast he says, “What seems to be the case now is that we’re living in a world where unless you fact check the Wall Street Journal, and figure out what they’re not telling you about the person who they platformed . . . .” Shifting the blame from himself to the WSJ.

Harris goes on to say, “This was one of those cases where I felt like had I known what this organization was, I wouldn’t have forwarded his article.”

Parrish asks if maybe Harris has an obligation to do a little research before tweeting: “Do you feel like you have a burden for what you share in terms of your fact checking? As a media outlet . . . you have a bigger reach than most newspapers. Is there an obligation for you to do that work?”

Harris disagrees: “It was a failure of the Wall Street Journal to curate their opinion page.”

I’m not so sure I agree with Harris in this case. It seems to me that he has an obligation to “fact check” articles if for no other reason than one of self preservation. But beyond that, I think Parrish makes a good point when he compares Harris to a “media outlet.” As such, I think he does have an obligation to his followers to fact check articles that he forwards. His failure to do so in this case warranted the criticism he received at the hands of his followers.

Harris didn’t mention the title of the op-ed or the name of its author, but I think it must have been We Were Smeared by the SPLC, by Kristen Waggoner, published on April 3, 2019. You need a subscription to read past the first paragraph, but the organization she represents—“Alliance Defending Freedom”—is named in that first paragraph. Googling “Alliance Defending Freedom” brings up enough potentially troubling information that I think it would have raised a red flag if Harris had taken a few seconds to check. So I don’t completely buy his argument that he doesn’t have the “bandwidth” to fact check WSJ op eds. It wouldn’t have taken that much time.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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03 May 2019 12:51
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 02 May 2019 08:39 PM

Harris mentions tweeting a link to a WSJ op-ed written by one of the attorneys for the baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake a while back. This attorney claimed to have been defamed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Harris, having been treated unfairly by them in the past, wanted to show another example of how the SPLC has become unreliable as an arbiter of who is racist.

Afterwards, his Twitter followers criticized him because unbeknownst to him, the author/attorney turned out to be “a crazy extremist on the Christian right,” representing an organization (“Alliance Defending Freedom,” as far as I can tell) that advocates criminalizing homosexuality. Harris felt that he was being criticized unfairly because, after all, how was he supposed to know the author was a bigot? In the podcast he says, “What seems to be the case now is that we’re living in a world where unless you fact check the Wall Street Journal, and figure out what they’re not telling you about the person who they platformed . . . .” Shifting the blame from himself to the WSJ.

Harris goes on to say, “This was one of those cases where I felt like had I known what this organization was, I wouldn’t have forwarded his article.”

Parrish asks if maybe Harris has an obligation to do a little research before tweeting: “Do you feel like you have a burden for what you share in terms of your fact checking? As a media outlet . . . you have a bigger reach than most newspapers. Is there an obligation for you to do that work?”

Harris disagrees: “It was a failure of the Wall Street Journal to curate their opinion page.”

I’m not so sure I agree with Harris in this case. It seems to me that he has an obligation to “fact check” articles if for no other reason than one of self preservation. But beyond that, I think Parrish makes a good point when he compares Harris to a “media outlet.” As such, I think he does have an obligation to his followers to fact check articles that he forwards. His failure to do so in this case warranted the criticism he received at the hands of his followers.

Harris didn’t mention the title of the op-ed or the name of its author, but I think it must have been We Were Smeared by the SPLC, by Kristen Waggoner, published on April 3, 2019. You need a subscription to read past the first paragraph, but the organization she represents—“Alliance Defending Freedom”—is named in that first paragraph. Googling “Alliance Defending Freedom” brings up enough potentially troubling information that I think it would have raised a red flag if Harris had taken a few seconds to check. So I don’t completely buy his argument that he doesn’t have the “bandwidth” to fact check WSJ op eds. It wouldn’t have taken that much time.

Curating an opinion page more or less goes against what an opinion page is for, especially when one presumes an outlet should be curating the page to one’s own opinions.  In this case Harris just got caught with his confirmation-bias pants down again, and now he’s blaming others for looking bad.  Christ, who wouldn’t suspect the merits of “Alliance Defending Freedom” just from the organization’s name?  Coming from a guy who started “Project Reason,” the irony of his error here is worth a good chuckle.

 
brazen4
 
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brazen4
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03 May 2019 21:28
 

I thought Sam dodged the question re having an obligation to his readers to do fact checking. when I hear him do this (dodge a question) I am disappointed because I expect him to be able to expound further even if it means he may be required to reveal a bias or something else that exposes his humanity. We all have blind spots, some more than others, and I have to admit I don’t always respond openly/honestly when I’m confronted by something I don’t have sorted out real well. I have a feeling Harris may address this question of “obligation” to readers/listeners after the feedback on his response to this question.

 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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04 May 2019 05:26
 

I heard it, nhoj.

 
 
eucaryote
 
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eucaryote
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04 May 2019 20:19
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 03 May 2019 12:51 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 02 May 2019 08:39 PM

Harris mentions tweeting a link to a WSJ op-ed written by one of the attorneys for the baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake a while back. This attorney claimed to have been defamed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Harris, having been treated unfairly by them in the past, wanted to show another example of how the SPLC has become unreliable as an arbiter of who is racist.

Afterwards, his Twitter followers criticized him because unbeknownst to him, the author/attorney turned out to be “a crazy extremist on the Christian right,” representing an organization (“Alliance Defending Freedom,” as far as I can tell) that advocates criminalizing homosexuality. Harris felt that he was being criticized unfairly because, after all, how was he supposed to know the author was a bigot? In the podcast he says, “What seems to be the case now is that we’re living in a world where unless you fact check the Wall Street Journal, and figure out what they’re not telling you about the person who they platformed . . . .” Shifting the blame from himself to the WSJ.

Harris goes on to say, “This was one of those cases where I felt like had I known what this organization was, I wouldn’t have forwarded his article.”

Parrish asks if maybe Harris has an obligation to do a little research before tweeting: “Do you feel like you have a burden for what you share in terms of your fact checking? As a media outlet . . . you have a bigger reach than most newspapers. Is there an obligation for you to do that work?”

Harris disagrees: “It was a failure of the Wall Street Journal to curate their opinion page.”

I’m not so sure I agree with Harris in this case. It seems to me that he has an obligation to “fact check” articles if for no other reason than one of self preservation. But beyond that, I think Parrish makes a good point when he compares Harris to a “media outlet.” As such, I think he does have an obligation to his followers to fact check articles that he forwards. His failure to do so in this case warranted the criticism he received at the hands of his followers.

Harris didn’t mention the title of the op-ed or the name of its author, but I think it must have been We Were Smeared by the SPLC, by Kristen Waggoner, published on April 3, 2019. You need a subscription to read past the first paragraph, but the organization she represents—“Alliance Defending Freedom”—is named in that first paragraph. Googling “Alliance Defending Freedom” brings up enough potentially troubling information that I think it would have raised a red flag if Harris had taken a few seconds to check. So I don’t completely buy his argument that he doesn’t have the “bandwidth” to fact check WSJ op eds. It wouldn’t have taken that much time.

Curating an opinion page more or less goes against what an opinion page is for, especially when one presumes an outlet should be curating the page to one’s own opinions.  In this case Harris just got caught with his confirmation-bias pants down again, and now he’s blaming others for looking bad.  Christ, who wouldn’t suspect the merits of “Alliance Defending Freedom” just from the organization’s name?  Coming from a guy who started “Project Reason,” the irony of his error here is worth a good chuckle.

Yes, Harris always seems to be quoting right wing religious extremists.

If I didn’t have past links to this forum I would be able to find out it existed. How long before Harris cuts it shy altogether?

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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05 May 2019 04:37
 
Jb8989 - 04 May 2019 05:26 AM

I heard it, nhoj.

I heard it too. I was expecting ‘mental models’. Farnam Street is an interesting site.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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05 May 2019 04:44
 
eucaryote - 04 May 2019 08:19 PM

If I didn’t have past links to this forum I would be able to find out it existed. How long before Harris cuts it shy altogether?


When The Boss runs out of compassion or we cease to earn it. I was told I will be warned. We’ll see…

Perhaps it will resume as The Project Reason Forum attached to another site.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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06 May 2019 15:22
 
eucaryote - 04 May 2019 08:19 PM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 03 May 2019 12:51 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 02 May 2019 08:39 PM

Harris mentions tweeting a link to a WSJ op-ed written by one of the attorneys for the baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake a while back. This attorney claimed to have been defamed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Harris, having been treated unfairly by them in the past, wanted to show another example of how the SPLC has become unreliable as an arbiter of who is racist.

Afterwards, his Twitter followers criticized him because unbeknownst to him, the author/attorney turned out to be “a crazy extremist on the Christian right,” representing an organization (“Alliance Defending Freedom,” as far as I can tell) that advocates criminalizing homosexuality. Harris felt that he was being criticized unfairly because, after all, how was he supposed to know the author was a bigot? In the podcast he says, “What seems to be the case now is that we’re living in a world where unless you fact check the Wall Street Journal, and figure out what they’re not telling you about the person who they platformed . . . .” Shifting the blame from himself to the WSJ.

Harris goes on to say, “This was one of those cases where I felt like had I known what this organization was, I wouldn’t have forwarded his article.”

Parrish asks if maybe Harris has an obligation to do a little research before tweeting: “Do you feel like you have a burden for what you share in terms of your fact checking? As a media outlet . . . you have a bigger reach than most newspapers. Is there an obligation for you to do that work?”

Harris disagrees: “It was a failure of the Wall Street Journal to curate their opinion page.”

I’m not so sure I agree with Harris in this case. It seems to me that he has an obligation to “fact check” articles if for no other reason than one of self preservation. But beyond that, I think Parrish makes a good point when he compares Harris to a “media outlet.” As such, I think he does have an obligation to his followers to fact check articles that he forwards. His failure to do so in this case warranted the criticism he received at the hands of his followers.

Harris didn’t mention the title of the op-ed or the name of its author, but I think it must have been We Were Smeared by the SPLC, by Kristen Waggoner, published on April 3, 2019. You need a subscription to read past the first paragraph, but the organization she represents—“Alliance Defending Freedom”—is named in that first paragraph. Googling “Alliance Defending Freedom” brings up enough potentially troubling information that I think it would have raised a red flag if Harris had taken a few seconds to check. So I don’t completely buy his argument that he doesn’t have the “bandwidth” to fact check WSJ op eds. It wouldn’t have taken that much time.

Curating an opinion page more or less goes against what an opinion page is for, especially when one presumes an outlet should be curating the page to one’s own opinions.  In this case Harris just got caught with his confirmation-bias pants down again, and now he’s blaming others for looking bad.  Christ, who wouldn’t suspect the merits of “Alliance Defending Freedom” just from the organization’s name?  Coming from a guy who started “Project Reason,” the irony of his error here is worth a good chuckle.

Yes, Harris always seems to be quoting right wing religious extremists.

If I didn’t have past links to this forum I would be able to find out it existed. How long before Harris cuts it shy altogether?

I don’t see this “always” you’re seeing, nor do I share any concerns that Harris might no longer sponsor the forum.  I’d be sorry to see it go, sure, but he’d be well within his rights to cut if off.  I wish there was a way to let him know that the money I send is for its use, not the podcast or his public work.  But I wouldn’t even know how to do that, nor do I even know if it would matter.