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Old 02-17-2018, 08:21 AM
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JohnConstantine (Offline)
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So I listened to much of their second talk. Both Harris and Peterson begin by expressing some regret about the first encounter which they say became bogged down.

Tbh although their interactions are worthwhile what we're left with as a result isn't really much which we could say necessarily builds on either of their two positions. What I mean by that is the duel didn't expose a great miscalculation on the part of either speaker.

For almost the entire talk they managed to get stuck again on what might be the validity and/or danger of exploring mythology and theology as though these aspects of human thought have value.

Harris basically says the danger is such that anything which asserts truth whilst also pertaining to the supernatural should be consigned to the history books and left out of serious philosophical or scientific discussions.

He has two main qualifications for this. One is just the extent of horror made possible by mysticism. He cites the Dobu, I won't go into detail but this tribe he says do some pretty horrible things to each other and live under a brutal set of superstitions. As he says, it's dangerous bull shit and you run the risk of dignifying it when you perform these analytical tricks in order to extract some kind of philosophical truths out of it.

Second he questions the method. Here he says the analytical trick Peterson employs can be used against anything. He proceeds to perform something similar using a recipe. You can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1wWtqCwpFw

In response Peterson goes on to delineate and qualify his method of extracting the ‘wheat from the chaff’. But really I’m not so sure any of this matters. This really doesn’t refute Peterson’s analysis for example of Cain and Abel.

You could even say that it’s pretty cheap to say look I’m not interested in whether you can find deep meaning in the story of Cain and Abel, because I can pretend to find meaning in a cooking recipe. I can pretend to find deep meaning in anything. It’s like OK but I’ve discussed how the story goes, and I’ve explained why it’s important. Harris doesn’t deal with what Peterson actually says here because he simply doesn’t want to lend any countenance to scripture.

The problem he has is every time he says mysticism is dangerous bullshit, or literal interpretations of scripture are crazy Peterson categorically agrees. But this doesn’t negate the validity or the value of the analysis.

To put it another way, if I give you an analysis of Cain and Abel and you want to discredit it, you have to put to me why my analysis does not represent the story as it is. If my analysis holds then we have an important truth extracted from scripture which doesn’t require any supernatural component and it is worthwhile in the same way a philosophical or psychological analysis of any kind of fiction might be worthwhile.
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Last edited by JohnConstantine; 02-17-2018 at 08:35 AM..
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