Sam Harris in Newsweek: Rips Palin a new one, defends elitism

Hambydammit
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Sam Harris in Newsweek: Rips Palin a new one, defends elitism

full article here: http://www.newsweek.com/id/160080/page/1

Quote:
The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth's surface (she didn't have a passport until last year), or that she's never met a foreign head of state. The point is that she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to deciding the fate of a nation. In her interview with Gibson, Palin managed to turn a joke about seeing Russia from her window into a straight-faced claim that Alaska's geographical proximity to Russia gave her some essential foreign-policy experience. Palin may be a perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American success story—but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history.

 

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Harris has an amazing

Harris has an amazing ability to hit the nail squarely on the head. I could never understand why elitism is considered a dirty word in American politics. Elitism isn't just a good thing, it's a necessary thing. We wouldn't have a functioning society without it! I simply cannot understand why so many people could possibly make a decision about who they think should be the most powerful person in human history on the basis of such absurd criteria as "I could have a beer with him/her". It's ridiculous.

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

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As I pointed out in another

As I pointed out in another thread, the righties like to call anyone more intelligent than a kumquat an "elitist. " Don't we want more intelligent people leading the nation rather than morons? Even slightly above average isn't good enough to be president as far as I'm concerned. Look at the damage a president who's a moron that people'd like to have a beer with has done!

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Brian37
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MattShizzle wrote:As I

MattShizzle wrote:

As I pointed out in another thread, the righties like to call anyone more intelligent than a kumquat an "elitist. " Don't we want more intelligent people leading the nation rather than morons? Even slightly above average isn't good enough to be president as far as I'm concerned. Look at the damage a president who's a moron that people'd like to have a beer with has done!

I am going to play devil's advocate here. Someone can be educated, intelegent, and still be out for themesleves, by any label.

I am not sure we should be focused on "eletist" being a judge, because the view in most societies throughout history, is anyone who looks down on others.

If one wants to argue that humans should be more educated, I am fine with that. But even educated people have bias and agendas and may not care about anyone outside their club. "Eletist" is a word clubs use to demonize those outside the club.

"Let them eat cake" is a retort most with any common sense would call "eletist". If we as a species want to gain more knowledge, we cant forget that there will be others who are not on the same page.

We can sound like we are better, or we can show, not through force, but through leading, that we are(in our thinking).

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Vote for ME ME ME, I like

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You'd make more sense in

You'd make more sense in your speaches than the current prez does.


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Brian37 wrote:I am not sure

Brian37 wrote:

I am not sure we should be focused on "eletist" being a judge, because the view in most societies throughout history, is anyone who looks down on others.

To be fair, everyone looks down on someone. "Elitism" used to mean excluding others from a club because they didn't meet certain criteria -- money, political power, and so on. The neoconservatives have usurped the term by using it to mean, "Anyone more educated than you, or more famous than you, or richer than you. Except us. We're not elitist."

"Elitist," like "liberal," is a word that has lost all real meaning, and is used as a perjorative by those who are unable or unwilling to think critically.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


Brian37
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You are right. I wouldn't

You are right. I wouldn't want a low IQ person who didn't know how to swim serving in the Navy Seals. "Elite" merely means someone with top qualifications for a particular spot.

"Elite" is now a term used to slur opposition as being snobish.

 

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I've often wondered why we

I've often wondered why we automatically associate having more knowledge with looking down.  Have you noticed that when people ask rational, genuine questions about science, I do my best to answer thoroughly and respectfully?  That's not a sign of looking down on others.  If I looked down on everyone who didn't know as much as me, wouldn't you expect me to be condescending to all of them?

Instead, I save my venom for people who come in looking down their nose at me because I don't believe their myth.  The beauty of evolution is that if you only learn it well, it's damn near impossible not to believe it.  This is how deludedgod and I can be so certain that our tactic of asking simple questions of nonbelieving interlocutors will pretty much always work.  With very rare exceptions, a thorough understanding of evolution makes it as obvious as anything else we take for granted, like gravity.

So, if a desire to improve other people's level of knowledge is elitist, then I'm guilty as charged, but I will not sit by while being accuse me of looking down my nose at others.

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I don't look down my nose at

I don't look down my nose at someone who simply doesn't know, but I do at someone who refuses to look at the evidence honestly.

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