Sam Harris Podcast Episode on Safe Spaces

Oct 26, 2017
2,153
Not a safe space indeed. People clicking on the thread dolling off one liners to shout someone down are the same who would show up to a 'To Kill A Mockingbird' reading wearing a PETA shirt. "Harper Lee hates birds and I hear she's liberal *and* right wing funded by Koch... at the same time!"

How about engaging the material instead of being an absolute parody of yourselves. Everyone has an axe to grind because Sam Harris discussed something they hold dear. He's like a shapeshifting Boogeyman for daring to be Liberal and still discussing difficult topics .
How about reading the posts that aren't the few you're constantly complaining about?
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,474
All the outrage surrounding safe spaces always sounds like another dumb conservative moral panic.

I always picture the people whining about them like sociopathic assholes who’d walk into an AA meeting, sit down, proudly claim they have no addiction, and proceed to interrupt the speaker every 2 minutes to give their opinion.
Or bring a bottle of alcohol to drink during the meeting and share with the group.
"What's wrong, don't want to be challenged?! What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Etc. etc."

And the whole idea that good people vs. evil people is an "untruth" just sounds like something an asshole who doesn't want to be called "evil" would come up with (even calling it "evil" seems like an over-exaggeration to make the asshole more justified in saying "nuh uh, I'm not evil I just have a different view than you!".

Are your views/ideals/actions/voting habits actively demeaning or hurting or making life worse for other people? Then you're an asshole. And if people want a few moments in their lives where they don't have to suffer around these assholes, then more power to them.
I find it extremely offensive that these idiots say shit like 'coddling the American mind' when the reality is that people are just intolerant of racist/sexist bullshit, as they should be. It has nothing to do with protecting people from these ideas, people who are in college already know about this shit and don't need to learn more about it.

When are people going to get that there's no more room for tolerating this kind of shit anymore? Freedom of speech be damned, racists can go to hell.
Exactly this.

If anything it's not coddling people, it's strengthening people who have been put down for generations and making them realize they don't have to put up with or "engage" with their racism/sexism/homophobia/etc just to make their lives easier.
 
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Jan 11, 2018
985
That's not the argument (with the caveat that I've just started reading the book, so my paraphrase should be taken with a grain of salt). He's arguing that a variety of forces, all of them well-intended, have conspired to encouraged tribal thinking, something that human beings are very susceptible to. He's pushing back against the idea that the people at odds with you over morality/politics/whatever are motivated by malicious intent rather than honest disagreement. He's not arguing, by my reading, that universities are *teaching* this explicitly.
Human behavior is complex and varied, and I find it frankly asinine to boil down contemporary campus culture to "three great untruths", as if any one of his statements could be used to accurately describe the teaching environment of any accredited institution in the country, let alone the prevailing culture. It's corny narrativizing more than a legit argument.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,587
Human behavior is complex and varied, and I find it frankly asinine to boil down contemporary campus culture to "three great untruths", as if any one of his statements could be used to accurately describe the teaching environment of any accredited institution in the country, let alone the prevailing culture. It's corny narrativizing more than a legit argument.
Yup. If anyone comes along peddling 3 great untruths you can pretty much immediately dismiss them as a huckster.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,727
Not a safe space indeed. People clicking on the thread dolling off one liners to shout someone down are the same who would show up to a 'To Kill A Mockingbird' reading wearing a PETA shirt. "Harper Lee hates birds and I hear she's liberal *and* right wing funded by Koch... at the same time!"

How about engaging the material instead of being an absolute parody of yourselves. Everyone has an axe to grind because Sam Harris discussed something they hold dear. He's like a shapeshifting Boogeyman for daring to be Liberal and still discussing difficult topics.



I can reply to responses. I've even quoted new posts inside older posts of mine like this one. If it's boring take a nap.

If there is no content then the thread will die. Try not to hide behind that point. You weren't forced to provide a reaction.
You ok there, buddy? How is whether or not free speech is under attack a "difficult topic"? It's not (especially on the right wing, from where most of these opinions are coming in the first place). There, I solved the entire discussion for you.

If you want to have a discussion, make a valid point worth responding to in the first place. You honestly seem more like the type to show up in a PETA shirt than any of the other people ITT. Not that I'm sure why having a PETA shirt would inherently be bad, but like everything else in your posts, you didn't bother explaining that either…

How about reading the posts that aren't the few you're constantly complaining about?
Don't take this poor fella's safe space away :(
Why, if they had to engage with actual arguments, they might risk saying what they really mean! It's so much easier to say a bunch of nothing over and over again.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
1,088
I have nothing to add to this topic other than I'm starting to feel like the "market place of ideas" concept is heavily flawed.
the "marketplace of ideas" is flawed because appealing to the lowest denominator oftentimes sells best and the marketability of a complex idea is unrelated to its truth

"appeal to popularity" is even a formally defined fallacy!

EXTREMELY HOT TAKE that i just made up: the "marketplace of ideas" does not want hours of meandering interviews and instead wants a transcript - CHECKMATE HARRIS, the marketplace has spoken
 
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Oct 25, 2017
1,088
I can reply to responses. I've even quoted new posts inside older posts of mine like this one. If it's boring take a nap.

If there is no content then the thread will die. Try not to hide behind that point. You weren't forced to provide a reaction.
i think i've made some posts that balance accessibility, humor, and content

but shockingly you've ignored all the actual discussion! almost as if the best ideas in the marketplace get passed over
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,727
the "marketplace of ideas" is flawed because appealing to the lowest denominator oftentimes sells best and the marketability of a complex idea is unrelated to its truth

"appeal to popularity" is even a formally defined fallacy!
If your idea is something you have to “sell”, speaking from an academic standpoint, maybe (rather, certainly) it's just not a very good idea. Fuck viewing debate as a “marketplace”. I mean, of course alt-reich personalities would – for them it literally is a market place their livelihood depends on.

I don't know why you guys are indulging such an obvious troll. Just report his ass and move on.
I know you're right but can't I have a little fun in the process?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,485
the "marketplace of ideas" is flawed because appealing to the lowest denominator oftentimes sells best and the marketability of a complex idea is unrelated to its truth

"appeal to popularity" is even a formally defined fallacy!
It also enables bad faith actors/ideas to legitimize themselves by offering them a seat at the table where there doesn't need to be one. For example how news channels cover climate change as a "debate".
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,088
It also enables bad faith actors/ideas to legitimize themselves by offering them a seat at the table where there doesn't need to be one. For example how news channels cover climate change as a "debate".
this is a really good point as well
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,355
the "marketplace of ideas" is flawed because appealing to the lowest denominator oftentimes sells best and the marketability of a complex idea is unrelated to its truth

"appeal to popularity" is even a formally defined fallacy!
yeah it sort of becomes about what gains attention as opposed to the validity and strength of a single idea.
 
Oct 27, 2017
267
The great irony of the whole 'free speech is under attack!' argument parroted by conservatives is that it comes as a result of conservatives having their opinions and beliefs challenged which they absolutely cannot stand. So they twist and contort and bend until their argument becomes them wishing people would stop engaging them.

They're afraid of free speech.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,088
If your idea is something you have to “sell”, speaking from an academic standpoint, maybe (rather, certainly) it's just not a very good idea. Fuck viewing debate as a “marketplace”. I mean, of course alt-reich personalities would – for them it literally is a market place their livelihood depends on.
i have the opposite opinion - i think it can be harder to convince people of ideas that make them feel potentially guilty or complicit in negative occurences, and thus they would rather just ignore those ideas in favor of the "just world fallacy"

a lot of science is also hella complicated and people have a tendency to stick to what they learned in high school
 
Oct 27, 2017
761
The great irony of the whole 'free speech is under attack!' argument parroted by conservatives is that it comes as a result of conservatives having their opinions and beliefs challenged which they absolutely cannot stand. So they twist and contort and bend until their argument becomes them wishing people would stop engaging them.

They're afraid of free speech.
Yep, when your ideas are shit and are rejected, that's when this whole "free exchange of ideas" crap comes up. These blowhards are no different than flat earthers or anti vaccers.
 
The great irony of the whole 'free speech is under attack!' argument parroted by conservatives is that it comes as a result of conservatives having their opinions and beliefs challenged which they absolutely cannot stand. So they twist and contort and bend until their argument becomes them wishing people would stop engaging them.

They're afraid of free speech.
That's the gist of it really, at the end of the day the crying about "safe spaces" is mostly projection. It's literally their playbook.
They want to spout their bullshit unchallenged. The_Donald being a good example.
 
OP
OP
activepassive
Oct 28, 2017
470
Cincinnati, OH
I don't know why you guys are indulging such an obvious troll. Dude's posted under 50 times in almost a year. Just report his ass and move on.
Thank you for attributing false motives to me. What would you report me for?

I am in the forum almost daily, but I don't post very often. I have already clarified in the OP that I'm not trying to stir up unnecessary controversy. Even before that, what would you report me for?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,346
Kentucky
Thank you for attributing false motives to me. What would you report me for?

I am in the forum almost daily, but I don't post very often. I have already clarified in the OP that I'm not trying to stir up unnecessary controversy. Even before that, what would you report me for?
Not you, fam. You're good. I'm talking about PETA shirt dude. Why would you assume I'm talking about you? You've got more than 50 posts, dog.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,680
I was surprised that this thread is still going, and I was also surprised to see my post quoted in the OP. I listened to the New York Times Review of Books podcast that interviewed the author and the tone from one of the authors, Jonathan Haidt, and it's very different than what I'd imagine Sam Harris is going at it... And it's very different than where this thread has gone. Haidt is a Social Psychology professor at NYU, a liberal, and I don't know if he'd reach the sort of conclusions that seem to immediately be drawn out as soon as someone like Sam Harris features your book on his show. But, then again, I don't listen to Sam Harris' podcast, go to his website, or any of that, I just know his reputation and have no interest in giving him any more ad revenue.

Here's a link to that NYT book review episode: https://pca.st/8Sqq (begins at about 0:30:00) and also the print review of this book with another one on a similar topic.

The case in the book as far as I can tell from the NYT Interview and the book review, is less the idea that "free speech is under attack" (though that is definitely the case of the other author, Lukianoff's organization, although FWIW, his organization isn't a right wing org though he may be... WHen I worked in college administration I was very familiar with it, but more so for its defense of the ACLU and what was considered, at the time, to be the "radical left wing" ... I worked at a college that ran afoul of FIRE for not hosting social activists on a particular issue). What I took away from the Haidt interview and the NYT book review wasn't that the books were advocating for the right wing or defending right wing speakers on campus (Although I'm sure that 'FIRE' would defend that today), but rather, that the consequence of colleges not challenging your preconcieved notions about something are precisely what allow for things like the radical alt-right to move into the White House. And the The_Donald is a great example of the rise of a safe space.

What both of these books make clear from a variety of angles is that if we are going to beat back the regressive populism, mendacity and hyperpolarization in which we are currently mired, we are going to need an educated citizenry fluent in a wise and universal liberalism. This liberalism will neither play down nor fetishize identity grievances, but look instead for a common and generous language to build on who we are more broadly, and to conceive more boldly what we might be able to accomplish in concert. Yet as the tenuousness of even our most noble and seemingly durable civil rights gains grows more apparent by the news cycle, we must also reckon with the possibility that a full healing may forever lie on the horizon. And so we will need citizens who are able to find ways to move on despite this, without letting their discomfort traumatize or consume them. If the American university is not the space to cultivate this strong and supple liberalism, then we are in deep and lasting trouble.
If the NYT book reviewer sees this book as a defense of liberal values in the face of something that is perhaps not liberal, then I'm inclined to think that's what the tone of the book is. Though, having not read it as it ... hasn't been out but for a couple days and having a million other books in front of it, I'm not sure if that is the true motive of the book.

One major annoyance of mine is how publishers are lack so much creativity that they just can't avoid referencing Allan Blooms 'The Closing of the American Mind,' in any book that challenges the conventional narrative of higher education.
 
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Aug 27, 2018
431
The claim to a larger platform under the guise of free speech has always been to me, a cry from those who don't understand the central component of Free Speech's existence, which is the free exchange of ideas, with the purpose of separating the good ideas from the bad, and then rejecting the bad ones. These alt-right talking points are merely championed by those who are in the denial stage of seeing longstanding hegemonic ideas fall into the refuse pile of discourse.

It's the equivalent of saying "But wait, before we work to get rid of racism, did anyone stop to ask if racism is actually correct?"

Edit: My main problem with people like Harris, Peterson, or even with Hitchens while he was alive, is that they would use actual reason to build up a point and then draw a conclusion that is either contradictory or hypocritical. And then have no self-awareness of their own hypocrisies (either that or they are aware and simply malevolent).
 
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Oct 25, 2017
9,318
Not a safe space indeed. People clicking on the thread dolling off one liners to shout someone down are the same who would show up to a 'To Kill A Mockingbird' reading wearing a PETA shirt. "Harper Lee hates birds and I hear she's liberal *and* right wing funded by Koch... at the same time!"

How about engaging the material instead of being an absolute parody of yourselves. Everyone has an axe to grind because Sam Harris discussed something they hold dear. He's like a shapeshifting Boogeyman for daring to be Liberal and still discussing difficult topics.



I can reply to responses. I've even quoted new posts inside older posts of mine like this one. If it's boring take a nap.

If there is no content then the thread will die. Try not to hide behind that point. You weren't forced to provide a reaction.
There's nothing liberal about a "race realist". He's a piece of shit constantly spouting alt-right propaganda. He's nothing but a fuckwit whose ideas have been thoroughly debunked for ages.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,355
What I took away from the Haidt interview and the NYT book review wasn't that the books were advocating for the right wing or defending right wing speakers on campus (Although I'm sure that 'FIRE' would defend that today), but rather, that the consequence of colleges not challenging your preconcieved notions about something are precisely what allow for things like the radical alt-right to move into the White House. And the The_Donald is a great example of the rise of a safe space.
I read your whole post but I wanna focus on this part. I'm not convinced college safe spaces has lead to such reactionary movements and communities like The_Donald. I know you yourself aren't arguing that but it just seems like the book, if that's it's argument, is focused on something that's really insignificant with regards to that issue.
 
Aug 1, 2018
991
What I took away from the Haidt interview and the NYT book review wasn't that the books were advocating for the right wing or defending right wing speakers on campus (Although I'm sure that 'FIRE' would defend that today), but rather, that the consequence of colleges not challenging your preconcieved notions about something are precisely what allow for things like the radical alt-right to move into the White House. And the The_Donald is a great example of the rise of a safe space.
But I don't know where this is true. College DOES challenge your notions. I don't know which colleges where this isn't the case. Everyone is free to speak their mind and argue their points. If you can't back up your argument with facts then your argument is dismissed and the professor moves on. I'm a Psych major and my classmates have all kinds of different opinions that are expressed without others being hurt. Some believe in spanking, others don't. There are quite a few debates in class about this issue and both sides are allowed to present their case. This is purely anecdotal but I would like to see evidence that suggests colleges are shutting down students for speaking and debating in class wholesale. I don't think it's there.

Clubs and organizations are different. They are designed to be safe spaces and always have been. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Hate speech doesn't need a platform and shouldn't be heard out in college. It doesn't add anything of value to the discourse. And if one wants to teach students to deal with hate speech in a certain way then one must create a safe space without hate speech to show them how.
 

Tya

Member
Oct 30, 2017
540
People have to stop pretending Harris is worth listening to if they expect to be taken seriously by non-white people
Unlike basically everyone else in this thread, I actually listened to the podcast, and now I find out billions of people will no longer take me seriously?

You could have brought this up earlier.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,680
I read your whole post but I wanna focus on this part. I'm not convinced college safe spaces has lead to such reactionary movements and communities like The_Donald. I know you yourself aren't arguing that but it just seems like the book, if that's it's argument, is focused on something that's really insignificant with regards to that issue.
I'm not sure how much the book focuses on 'safe spaces,' e.g., clubs or social organizations, versus language codes and language policing. The right probably hones in more on 'safe spaces,' especially someone like Sam Harris, because they're just an easy concept to criticize when they're not understood. In the Chronicle of Higher Ed interview from yesterday, the author(s) challenge that the language around "Safety" is being used in a way that it traditionally hadn't been used. The example one of the authors uses is that if a student, 25 years ago said, "I don't feel safe," then that would have required a professor to call campus security or take some action because it was usually about physical safety. Today, the author argued (in the Chronicle interview ... I posted it on page 1 and the OP added it to the OP incidentally...) that a student saying "I don't feel safe," could instead mean, "I don't feel comfortable with an opinion." Now, whether that's entirely true or not I'm not sure, although it does seem believable to me.

My point about The_Donald was building off of theory suggested by the NYT Book reviewer. The_Donald is the quintessential example of a safe space in the way the Right vitriolically thinks of them. I think it is the perfect example of a group of people, self-selected by ideology/cult-of-personality, who are incapable of comprehending that opinions other than their own exist, and when they encounter them, they can't tolerate them. While I don't think the concept of safe spaces on campus led to the_Donald (echo chambers like The_Donald have existed long before the 'safe space' was a concept on college campuses), the thing that the NYT Book Review was mentioning -- this breakdown in our inability to comprehend and combat opinions -- is definitely something that contributes to a community like The_Donald becoming so pervasive and powerful. I think it also contributes to the overwhelming partisanship, purity tests, and ideological fervor that many people have today.

This is a major contributor to the rise of Donald Trump, and ideologues like Steve Bannon or Stephen Miller are exceptionally effective at capitalizing on it and making political movements out of it.

Though I'm only going off of the NYT Review of Books & the Chronicle interviews, both of which are left leaning publications. I'm sure a guy like Sam Harris latches onto the more bombastic, partisan, politicized claims in the book and goes off in another direction that might appeal to his political base.