Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sam and Dan Chat

 Dan Carlin is a well known podcaster for producing the history podcast, Hardcore History, and his political podcast, Common Sense. I am an avid listener of Hardcore History.  My undergraduate degree is in history, and I have maintained an interest in the subject.  While Carlin’s History podcast may not win awards for breaking any new ground (Carlin is quite upfront he is a fan of history but not a historian), he gives a highly entertaining narrative of whatever history is the topic.  Common Sense, on the other hand, I may have listened to one or two in the past.  Carlin is engaging, but his politics are a bit too libertarian for my tastes.  As a close friend likes to note about himself, which probably fits me as well, “I have a libertarian stripe down my back.”  I just do not have libertarian anything covering my torso or face.  My knee caps are very liberal.  Carlin--I would call a libertarian, hands off-ish yet realist in his views.

This is where I imagine this chat occurred in my
mind's eye. 
Carlin engages in a dialogue with Sam Harris.  This is not either one interviewing the other.  It is just two dudes talking.  Harris is well known within scientific skeptical circles and is both highly regarded and less regarded at the same time within the same general crowd.  Harris has his own podcast, Waking Up, which I have not heard, and he is one of the more popular and widely known New Atheists.  He has also stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest on his thoughts on how science can guide morality that sure did bring up the pointed disagreement of Dr. Massimo Pigliucci.

Carlin and Harris produced an episode to be released on both their podcast feeds where Carlin and Harris chat about various topics and discuss their different takes and possible solutions to various challenges in the modern world.  At times, I found myself ping-ponging in alternative agreement and disagreement with each.  Other times, I found myself thinking they were both nuts, and other times just perplexed.

A lot of time is spent with them discussing the problems facing the world today on the rise of terrorism and its connection to Islam.  Harris takes the view that Islam itself is a motivating factor in the newest round of terror and disagreement, with Carlin taking a view that it is the same old, same old human turmoil wine in a new Islam bottle.  They clash to what extent the world as a whole and the U.S. in particular should intervene to fix local problems as well as the underlying reasons the U.S. has intervened in past and present military operations.  The duo also tackle the current issues over the flying of the Confederate Battle flag, but tend to pretty much agree that it ought not be a thing of pride.

I also enjoyed the segment where the men discussed how they handle others who disagree with them, and the frustration they feel when they are attacked for things they did not say or statements taken out of context.  It is sometimes easy to forget that semi-well known public figures are people after all.

It was a two hour discussion that went by pretty quick.  This really was not a Skeptical podcast, but the discussion was thought-provoking and each man is a skilled speaker in this type of forum.  I can’t say I came down for or against either one.  At times I disagreed with both of them.  Since listening to this episode of Common Sense, I have listened to a couple more of Carlin's Common Sense episodes.  I appreciated them.  He is a good foil for one's views, but I am not sure I will have the same impatient desire to listen to new episodes as I do for Hardcore History.  I sure would enjoy having a beer with Carlin one day.  I am not sure it is the same with Harris.  I think that is more a statement about me than it is about Harris.  

*edit for clarification*

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