Jordan Peterson: Gender Pronouns and Free Speech War

Chu

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I think I know why. I had a conversation with my roommate not long ago who is a declared atheist. I proposed that life is ultimately about lessons and learning. I was a little dismayed when he got a little condescending and implied that that was believing in a form of fantasy. There is no underlying purpose for the atheist. So of course well being has as much value as suffering if not more.

But as the C's have told us, we've chosen what they call the short wave cycle. (i.e. learning the hard way) Suffering is a far greater motivator for change and for learning.

It's interesting that atheist have a desire to be 'moral.' They want to take the moral high ground to validate their position. The rational goes something like this; We've got our feet on the ground. We're not delusional or hypocritical like those religious people.

My roommate feels it's important to be moral and just, specifically to represent being an atheist in a positive light.
IMO, what's funny about this is that they miss the point that in order to be truly "moral" and "just", you DO need to learn lots of lessons, thus making his argument false. You're not just born with it, and although you may have a "sense" of morality or justice, you need suffering, experience and learning to live as right as you can. It didn't fall from Heaven (certainly not for them, LOL!).

That's more like a PARAmoralistic stance, IMO.
 

genero81

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IMO, what's funny about this is that they miss the point that in order to be truly "moral" and "just", you DO need to learn lots of lessons, thus making his argument false. You're not just born with it, and although you may have a "sense" of morality or justice, you need suffering, experience and learning to live as right as you can. It didn't fall from Heaven
After I posted that, I went to make breakfast and it occurred to me that Collingwood's writings might be of assistance here. Collingwood talks of the 'evolution' of thought as going from implicit to explicit. It occurred to me as I was making breakfast pretty much what you just said; atheist haven't yet made what's implicit in their thinking explicit yet. It would take recognizing the error in thought and moving beyond it.
 

mkrnhr

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I always think about Huxley's Brave New World here: everyone's well, happy, satisfied, has all the food/sex/entertainment one could ever want etc, yet we are all instinctively disgusted by such a totalitarian nightmare.
For most atheists and techno-worshipers, it's not a nightmarish totalitarianism but exactly their dreamed utopia. They want a world were everything is controled by a technocratic super elite, utlimately computers or robots, where a "logical well-being" is enforced on everyone. One can already see that in the discourse of scientism today: "believe everything "science" says without question, "vaccines are safe because "science" says so --> mandatory vaccinations", "humans are a plague therefore we need strict regulations" etc. Since they do not believe in free will (it's an illusion for them), their utopia replaces humans with machines.
 

Pashalis

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After I posted that, I went to make breakfast and it occurred to me that Collingwood's writings might be of assistance here. Collingwood talks of the 'evolution' of thought as going from implicit to explicit. It occurred to me as I was making breakfast pretty much what you just said; atheist haven't yet made what's implicit in their thinking explicit yet. It would take recognizing the error in thought and moving beyond it.
Actually I think it would be quite interesting and fruitful if Peterson would read Collingwood since there is so much in there so beautifully and brilliantly thought through, that he would probably find a number of answers to his questions there.
 

Joe

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Listening to Peterson's talks with Harris from Vancouver, with Weinstein as the mod. JB comes out with some great one liners. His response to the question from Harris "what is this God you talk of":

Peterson: "God is a transcendent reality that is observable only over the longest of iterated time frames"

In which case, uncovering and studying the truth of history would be necessary to 'know God'.

He obviously doesn't limit his answers to one line, so here's how he expanded (in part)

"God is how we imaginatively and collectively represent the existence and action of consciousness across time as the most real aspects of existence manifest themselves across the longest of time frames but are not necessarily apprehensible as objects in the here and now.

What that means is that you have conceptions of reality built into your biological and metaphysical structure that are a consequence of processes of evolution that occurred over unbelievably vast expanses of time and that structure your perception of reality in ways that it wouldn't be structured if you only lived only for the amount of time you're going to live. And that is also part of the problem of only deriving values from facts because you are evanescent and you can't derive the right values from facts that portray themselves to you in your lifespan.

God is that which eternally dies and is reborn in the pursuit of higher being and truth. God is the future to which we make sacrifices. "
 
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Joe

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Btw, in ref. to the above talks. Harris sets himself up as the guy who is responsible for "being worried" about religion (and its effects on people), while himself apparently unable to understand the deeper meaning behind mainstream religion, a meaning that Peterson is in the process of teasing out (for perhaps the first time in centuries for a mass audience), while Harris resists that process all the way by repeatedly appealing to the profane and literal interpretation of religion. It starts to get boring (from Harris).

Peterson tries to explore the concept of god in a sophisticated manner. Harris repeatedly responds by bringing it back to down to the childish image of a god who "answers prayers". It has been clear long before now that Peterson is using the adult 'dictionary of metaphysics and spirituality' while Harris is happy with the kid's version. Useful discussion though, if mainly to make that point clear, because it's a very profound idea if thought about in terms of its implications.
 

Windmill knight

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Since the main point in dispute in the debate between Harris and JP seemed to be whether religion (traditions, stories) could or did play any positive role in ethics in contrast to a purely secular (atheist or agnostic) but rational morality based on facts, towards the end I thought that JP could have nailed his case more decisively by simply providing examples of psychological studies that supported his point. That is the evidence - people don't normally go through life behaving in accordance to rationality or observable facts. Most usually, if they have a 'good' behavior, it is because they believe in something higher, something that gives them inspiration, even if they can't define it, and which overrides their lower, more selfish impulses.

I thought of the book The Corruption of Reality, by John F. Schumaker, discussed on this thread. Schumaker explains that human beings are hardwired to dissociate, and if they don't dissociate via something that provides order and meaning, like religion, they will dissociate with drugs, alcohol, sex, videogames or any other vice. So Harris's idea that we can just be ethical through mere rationality and facts (i.e. 'enlightened' as in the Enlightenment) is rather naive. Perhaps some strong-willed intellectual types can, but certainly not the majority.

Having said that, during the debate I found myself sympathizing with both positions at different points, cause I could see merit on both sides. I enjoyed watching it. But most of all, what I really liked was the simple fact that a lot of people were interested in a philosophical debate, as if it were a concert or a sports match. Someone around here commented it was like Plato vs Aristotle in ancient Athens. So maybe there is hope after all - at least for some. :)
 

Joe

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I can't appreciate Harris' main thesis because he seems so limited in his perception and therefore his point. I suspect that Peterson is happy to have these debates with him because he's decided that Harris is the best example of the antithesis of the viewpoint he is trying to put out there, and what better way to test your viewpoint than have long public debates with someone from the other side of the fence.
 

Alejo

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I can't appreciate Harris' main thesis because he seems so limited in his perception and therefore his point. I suspect that Peterson is happy to have these debates with him because he's decided that Harris is the best example of the antithesis of the viewpoint he is trying to put out there, and what better way to test your viewpoint than have long public debates with someone from the other side of the fence.
And someone who’s so articulate, but not that much, I found that the language used by both differed immensely, while it sounds natural in Peterson’s words to use complex terminology that carries a great meaning, Harris sounds like your average guy who doesn’t believe in god and has thought a lot about how to justify it, but hasn’t really stepped outside of himself to study it and test his position.

Peterson seemed always willing to be wrong and learn and concede points to logic, Harris seemed a lot more fixated to his position and unwilling to give any ground.

I found it curious that out of the two, the one most probably to take the stories of the Bible as literal instructions on how to behave, would be Harris... at least because he’s so desperately refusing to see anything other than what the words there describe. Peterson could dig into the meaning and extract fractal value in the stories that have layers of political agendas and revisionism and so on. Harris would be, hypothetically, more likely to be a religious fundamentalist than Peterson.
 

Pashalis

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I don't think JP or anybody needs a nefarious secret agenda to want to tread carefully around a tar ball question like that one. The fact that this clip was seized upon and presented in the way it was should illustrate well enough the concerns any sensible person would have in his position.

I thought he was being really smart and honest about his inadequacy in withdrawing. To have attempted to stumble through an answer without having read the source material the question was based on would have been irresponsible.

Talk about a great way to side-line his efforts: "JP is an anti-semite", or conversely, "JP is hates Palestine!" The Left would have a collective orgasm regardless of what he said or actually thinks. The road through that territory is full of landmines.

I'd be very interested to hear him speak on the question. I bet he would have a lot of useful insights to offer, but to attempt to grapple such a subject on the spot in an ambush affair like that would probably have been one of those critical mistakes he has repeatedly expressed concerns about making.
That's my take on it, too. Although (if I remember correctly) he tweeted some things that could be seen as "pro-Israel", he generally avoids the topic in his talks and for good reason. In the Rubin Report with him and Ben Shapiro, he did say something along the lines of "careful not to fall into identity politics here" with regards to Judaism and Israel, so I think he is aware of some of the contradictions on the conservative spectrum, such as criticizing identity politics, yet accepting it when Israel plays the same game. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it.
Yes, the topic is very delicate but IMO all that he should have done is saying "I haven't read the book and that's why I can't answer your question" without showing any dismissive and dramatic emotional reactions.
I think it was a difficult situation for Peterson and from the level of knowledge he seems to have about this specific topic (aka. pretty much the mainstream view) he tried to make the best out of it, although it certainly wasn't easy, especially considering that the crowd was irritated by the question as well. From that perspective, he did the best he could considering this emotionally loaded question. I'm sure a lot of things went through his head, and probably also, that what he answers there could be fatal for his further work. So he was especially cautious on what to say in return at all.

After the guy spoke, he also said:



So I don't think we can say that he was totally dismissive, since otherwise he probably wouldn't have stated that he will look into the book to form his own opinion and thanked the guy. It was a loaded question and I think nobody who appreciates what Jordan does, would ask such a question in this way and in this setting, assuming one knows that he has his blind spots but nonetheless does a very good job from the limited knowledge base he has and gets attacked by exactly such loaded questions.

Not anyone can and will have the whole banana ever, so I think we should keep that in mind and not push too hard on "the stuff he doesn't know". Peterson is a warrior for thruth although in a limited way in certain fields. Nonetheless he presents a lot of basic good stuff that needs to be done on a personal basis.

There is the saying "In a Time of Universal Deceit — Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act" and I think that is basically what Peterson is doing. He speaks about simple truths that in this time of deciet are very valuable. The times we are in right now make his simple truth incredibly valuable especially for people that live in the mainstream (and there are a lot).
Coming back to the "jewish question" that Peterson was asked above which he refused to answer. Here is the question again since the above video was deleted:


In the following video he explains his reasons for not giving an answer there. It starts here in regards to a question of ethnic/racial intelligence scores and he brings up the question that was asked above at around this point a couple of minutes later.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="
" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The blockpost he refers to in which he answered the question afterwards can be found here I think.
 
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Pashalis

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Peterson tries to explore the concept of god in a sophisticated manner. Harris repeatedly responds by bringing it back to down to the childish image of a god who "answers prayers". It has been clear long before now that Peterson is using the adult 'dictionary of metaphysics and spirituality' while Harris is happy with the kid's version. Useful discussion though, if mainly to make that point clear, because it's a very profound idea if thought about in terms of its implications.
That is pretty much what Peterson realized already before the debate after having read all the books of Harris. Here is the relevant part explained in a Q&A Session before the debates. Peterson and Harris see things fundamentally different. Here is the relevant part transcribed:

Questioner: "So when you and lets say Sam Harris argue about religion it sounds like you are arguing about fundamentally different things? His conception on what is religious is very different from yours?"

Peterson: "Yeah, well he tends to think of religious thought the same way that a smart thirteen year old atheist thinks about a fundamentalist christian. It is like; yeah ok, you [Harris] just not getting to the heart of the matter! And You know I just finished reading all of Sams books in the last couple of weeks and as far as I'm concerned, he doesn't EVER get to the bottom of the issue. He doesn't address the fundamental thinkers. There are some profound thinkers! Dostojevski is one, Tolstoy, Nietzche, Jung; it is like they are completely absent from [his work/thinking]... and the same with Dawkins! It is completely absent, all that conceptualization is completely absent from their corpus of works. They don't even have an understanding of the psychological utility of religion and it is a big problem!"
[...]
 
... I suspect that Peterson is happy to have these debates with him because he's decided that Harris is the best example of the antithesis of the viewpoint he is trying to put out there, and what better way to test your viewpoint than have long public debates with someone from the other side of the fence.
Jonathan Pageau, an orthodox icon carver, expressed a different and interesting opinion regarding why Peterson was very much interested in discussing with Harris.

He doesn't see Harris as the antithesis of Peterson's ideas, but as an atheist that has dipped his toe in the world of religion through having had spiritual experiences [achieved through meditation and/or psychedelics if I'm not mistaken]. He sees both as having a foot in the two worlds of science and religion, with Peterson saying there is more value than you think in the religious aspects of life and Harris saying there is very little value in religion, basically only discussions about consciousness.

So maybe Peterson saw in Harris some potential to understand his points, at least in comparison with other high profile atheists.

Pageau was at Peterson's house during the second podcast with Sam Harris so he might have an insider's point of view. He is talking about this at ~08:00 in this video:

 

Voyageur

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