With all due respect, there is a certain amount of irony here in having a lawyer opine on the ignorance of a neuroscientist regarding studies of I.Q. You should either support non-experts for attempting to promote open discussions (and stating opinions) regarding subjects of interest, or, to be consistent, you should quite literally stop writing about anything not having to do with your area of the law.

That being said (and as one in favor of such open discussions), I generally enjoy Harris' podcasts, and find them a net plus. However, I have to agree with you in that I have detected several surprising blind spots in his otherwise remarkable ability to promote constructive discourse.

The first crack in the wall for me appeared in his frustrating discussion with Ezra Klein, editor of Vox. While Sam Harris felt he was being treated unjustly, it was clear to me from listening that he didn't once seem to accept or even understand Klein's perspective. The discussion was not a debate — there was never even an understanding of the points that were being made, which left no room for insightful rebuttals. It shocked me that Harris could not see this.

His willingness to engage Charles Murray I found to be quite inspirational, and a great example for all with regards to having the courage to face taboo subjects in the name of intellectual progress. Unfortunately, it was only later, after personal discussions with other subject matter experts, that I came to understand the underlying problems in the science of these studies — problems that a lay person like myself might not see, but that anyone else in the subject area will have already taken as resolved, and not worth rehashing in public. When debate revolves around questions already resolved, that is NOT what I'd call "intellectual progress".

What has most disappointed me in the time since then has been the apparently increasing one-sidedness of Harris' guests and subjects. Since Murray, he has not had as a guest anyone in the same field with the opposing view. In can be a problem when one attempts to seem balanced by giving equal time to opposing opinions if in fact the two opinions aren't actually equal (e.g. one climate scientist debating one "denier" does not actually represent the current state of the field), but in this case Harris has done the opposite by promoting ONLY the minority case.

Harris' podcast has become increasingly opinionated. His attempts to promote open discourse by providing light to minority opinions is increasingly becoming a focus only on the minority side, and, most problematically, always on the side with which he agrees. I'm losing faith in his ability to have a constructive discussion with someone who actually disagrees with him.

I thank you for this opinion piece, but disagree that the problem with Harris is vapidness or ignorance. For me, it's his failure at achieving his true objective: open, constructive debate.

Founder of The Canonical Debate Lab

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