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Making Sense with Sam Harris
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Making Sense with Sam Harris

Author: Sam Harris

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Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events.

Sam Harris is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. His books include The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, Waking Up, and Islam and the Future of Tolerance (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.

Harris's work has been published in more than 20 languages and has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. He has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.

Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.
224 Episodes
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In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Tristan Harris about the ways in which social media is fracturing society. They discuss the rise in teen depression and suicide, political polarization, conspiracy theories, information warfare, the decoupling of power and responsibility, the distinctions between platforms and publishers, the cancellation of Alex Jones, social media-inspired ethnic cleansing, concerns about the upcoming presidential election, culture as an operating system, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with John McWhorter about race, racism, and “anti-racism” in America. They discuss how conceptions of racism have changed, the ubiquitous threat of being branded a “racist,” the contradictions within identity politics, recent echoes of the OJ verdict, willingness among progressives to lose the 2020 election, racism as the all-purpose explanation of racial disparities in the U.S., double standards for the black community, the war on drugs, the lure of identity politics, police violence, the enduring riddle of affirmative action, the politics of “black face,” and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Graeme Wood about the breakdown of social order in the U.S. They discuss the recent eruptions of violence, the loss of trust in the media, the cases of Jacob Blake and Kyle Rittenhouse, how to understand police videos, the risks of vigilantism, the politicization of race, the problem of deep fakes, Trump not actually wanting to be president, the prospect that Trump might attempt to pardon himself, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#215 — August 21, 2020

#215 — August 21, 2020

2020-08-2149:2617

In this episode the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with David Miliband about his work with the International Rescue Committee. They discuss the crisis of internally displaced peoples and refugees, the problem with open borders, the vetting of refugees, the limits of nation-building and diplomacy, the realities of globalization, global risks, defending human rights, a “post-values and post-competence” America, the breakdown of trust in institutions, the prospects of a second Trump term, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#214 — August 13, 2020

#214 — August 13, 2020

2020-08-1346:2915

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Siddhartha Mukherjee about our ongoing failure to adequately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the significance of asymptomatic spread, the lack of Chinese cooperation, the failures of testing, travel restrictions, the missteps of the FDA and the CDC, controversy around masks, the lack of coordination among the states, conspiracy thinking about mortality statistics, the political contamination of public health information, electronic medical records, preparing for the next pandemic, the immunology of Covid-19, the long term consequences of the disease, concerns about a vaccine, the coming prospect of school openings, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#213 — The Worst Epidemic

#213 — The Worst Epidemic

2020-08-0402:11:1628

In this episode the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Gabriel Dance about the global epidemic of child sexual abuse. They discuss how misleading the concept of “child pornography” is, the failure of governments and tech companies to grapple with the problem, the tradeoff between online privacy and protecting children, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, photo DNA, the roles played by specific tech companies, the ethics of encryption, “sextortion,” the culture of pedophiles, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#212 — July 29, 2020

#212 — July 29, 2020

2020-07-2949:1917

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Kathryn Paige Harden about public controversy over group differences in traits like intelligence and ongoing research in behavioral genetics. They discuss Harden’s criticism of the Making Sense episode featuring Charles Murray, the mingling of scientific thinking with politics and social activism, cancel culture, environmental and genetic contributions to individual and group differences, intellectual honesty, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Robert Plomin about the role that DNA plays in determining who we are. They discuss the birth of behavioral genetics, the taboo around studying the influence of genes on human psychology, controversies surrounding the topic of group differences, the first law of behavior genetics, heritability, nature and nurture, the mystery of non-shared environment, the way genes help determine a person's environment, epigenetics, the genetics of complex traits, dimensions vs disorders, the prospect of a GATTACA-like dystopia and genetic castes, heritability and equality of opportunity, the implications of genetics for parenting and education, DNA as a fortune-telling device, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#210 — The Logic of Doomsday

#210 — The Logic of Doomsday

2020-07-0901:46:1723

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with William J. Perry and Lisa Perry about the ever-present threat of nuclear war. They discuss the history of nuclear weapons, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the present threat of accidental nuclear war, nuclear terrorism, unilateral disarmament, the psychology of deterrence, tactical nuclear weapons, cybersecurity, details of command and control, nuclear proliferation, the steps we could take toward safety, strategic missile defense, nuclear winter, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#209 — A Good Life

#209 — A Good Life

2020-07-0357:3466

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Scott Barry Kaufman about human well-being. They discuss intelligence and creativity, wisdom and transcendence, the history of humanistic psychology, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the connection between well-being and ethics, self-esteem, psychedelics and meditation, peak and plateau experiences, mortality salience, the pre-trans fallacy, fear of uncertainty, work and meaning, intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards, pathological altruism, intimacy vs. belonging, two aspects of self-transcendence, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#208 — Existential Risk

#208 — Existential Risk

2020-06-2301:04:1137

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Toby Ord about preserving the long term future of humanity. They discuss moral biases with respect to distance in space and time, the psychology of effective altruism, feeling good vs doing good, possible blindspots in consequentialism, natural vs human-caused risk, asteroid impacts, nuclear war, pandemics, the potentially cosmic significance of human survival, the difference between bad things and the absence of good things, population ethics, Derek Parfit, the asymmetry between happiness and suffering, climate change, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
In this episode of the podcast, Sam discusses the recent social protests and civil unrest, in light of what we know about racism and police violence in America. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#206 — May 26, 2020

#206 — May 26, 2020

2020-05-2646:4320

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with David Frum about the shifting political landscape. They discuss the secularization of politics, distrust of the media and other institutions, voter suppression, the 2020 elections, what happens if Trump gets a second term, the role of money in politics, conspiracy theories around Covid-19, the Michael Flynn controversy, the prospect that Trump will refuse to leave office, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Daniel Markovits about the problems with meritocracy. They discuss the nature of inequality in the United States, the disappearance of the leisure class, the difference between labor and capital as sources of inequality, the way the education system amplifies inequality, the shrinking middle class, deaths of despair, differing social norms among the elite and the working class, the ethics of taxation, scales of philanthropy, universal basic income, the need for a wealth tax, the relationship between meritocracy and political polarization, the illusion of earned advantages, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#204 — May 18, 2020

#204 — May 18, 2020

2020-05-1801:05:4225

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Jonathan Haidt about the maintenance of a healthy society. They discuss the problem of orthodoxy, the history of political polarization in the US, the breakdown of public conversation, remaining uncertainty about Covid-19, motivated reasoning, the 2020 election, the future prospects for Gen Z, the effect of social media on the mental health of girls, Jonathan's experience with psychedelics, positive psychology, loss of self, the experience of awe, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#203 — May 13, 2020

#203 — May 13, 2020

2020-05-1301:07:355

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Caitlin Flanagan about her cancer recurrence and the response to her recent article in The Atlantic discussing it. They discuss the dynamics of apologies and forgiveness, the #MeToo movement and the allegations against Biden, modern feminism, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#202 — May 11, 2020

#202 — May 11, 2020

2020-05-1138:0212

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Andrew Yang about the Covid-19 pandemic. They discuss the future of the middle class, Andrew’s experience campaigning for President, the need to build new digital infrastructure, universal basic income (UBI), concerns about the Biden’s age and #MeToo allegation, hostility between the United States and China, problems with the global supply chain, concerns about social cohesion, market failures, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#201 — May 1, 2020

#201 — May 1, 2020

2020-05-0101:08:5543

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Yuval Noah Harari about the Covid-19 pandemic and its future implications. They discuss the failures of global leadership, the widespread distrust of institutions, the benefits of nationalism and its current unraveling in the U.S., politics as a way of reconciling competing desires, the consequences of misinformation, the enduring respect for science, the future of surveillance, the changing role of religion, and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris speaks with James Clear about habit formation. They discuss the difference between creating good habits and discontinuing bad ones, the role of the environment, the misalignment between immediate and long term outcomes, the remembering self vs the experiencing self, goals vs systems, the compounding of incremental gains, the role of attention, the four laws of behavior change, “temptation bundling,” and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
#199 — April 23, 2020

#199 — April 23, 2020

2020-04-2437:5819

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Caitlin Flanagan discuss the ethics of abortion, the fact that universities with immense endowments are laying off staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Woody Allen autobiography, the moral hypocrisy of Hollywood, the lessons of "Tiger King," and other topics. SUBSCRIBE to continue listening and gain access to all content on samharris.org/subscribe
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Comments (1593)

Joe Weyek

I must be a freak. I spend many hours per week on YouTube, and none of the advertisements interest me, and I very soon grow tired of the video recommendations. Big Data can't figure out what I want.

Sep 25th
Reply

Alan Ecker

Of all the podcasters I listen to, Sam Harris is by far the most frustrating for representing himself as standing in the middle taking an objective and rational view of things with one statement and then he (and usually his guest alongside him) jump into an opinion supposedly in support of the objective and rational statement that often borders on contradiction. In this episode I couldn't help but notice that Sam and his guest opened with observations of the crazy state of government control over their citizens and jurisdictions without mentioning one concrete example (person, place or incident) and managing to leave the suggestion hanging that they were saying that Trump was the major player in the lack of leadership and control. I could say a lot more about this particular episode but I am running long and I just needed to put voice to my frustrations even just a little bit. Thank you to those who bother to read this :)

Sep 10th
Reply

RIDD EEKO

does anyone know which episode number (s) are with Renée DiResta please? is there an easy way to search it ? thanks

Sep 9th
Reply (1)

Jonathan Petherbridge

Cops were up for kicking the shit out of peaceful protesters? I think Sam over started the shit out of that.

Sep 6th
Reply

Jarrod Newell

I'm becoming over Sam obsession with Trump and his dislike of him. I think we all get it but the podcasts are becoming repetitive. I know Sam is trying to be rational and objective but he isn't. He criticizes CNN and Fox for being partisan but I think he is the same.

Sep 4th
Reply (2)

Jon Wicke

Thank you, Sam, for continuing to be one of the few rational voices in all this madness. The truth is often a fine line and you always walk it perfectly. The majority of the incidents are not racially motivated and the public is rioting about things they aren't even educated about (people still think Michael Brown raised his hands and said don't shoot, they think Trayvon Martin was killed by cops). This is the most dishonest I have ever seen the country. It's likely caused by the internet, where a person can successfully live in bubbles, only reading information which supports them, living among like-minded people on social media. The rational voices are being drowned out by fear and hate mongerers.

Sep 4th
Reply (1)

Mojtaba Yekta

Thanks to Sam for his true concerns about online privacy. But your example about physical privacy and compare it to digital privacy is wrong. In your room when you do something private that don't want to be watched by anybody it has been done and has finished and there is no evidence of it any more. But in digital world our content is still there. It's like while you're doing something private all the world come to your room and watch you.

Sep 2nd
Reply

Tim Connors

Yes black people commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime. BUT. Data on violent crime and police shootings show that there is no meaningful correlation between police killing rates and violent crime rates. You can find a nice graph of this on mappingpoliceviolence.com It’s shocking.

Sep 1st
Reply

Micah Flajole

The vast majority of what's spoken here is attacking a straw man. I'm a Bible believing Christian and I disagree with almost every single thing that he said I supposedly believe. Granted, some might believe those exact things, but Christianity is a large umbrella, and I think it's kind of pathetic to take the lowest common denominator or lowest hanging fruit. How about take on my best arguments (that's what I instruct my students to do)? If you are confident in what your position is then you'll take on the other sides best arguments unflinchingly. Mischaracterizing the other side says something about that person, that they are being disingenuous.

Aug 29th
Reply

Jonathan Roseland

How many refugees has he taken in his own home? Or invited into his neighborhood?

Aug 23rd
Reply (3)

Artur Kach

thanks for making this political. it's all about this administration. Obama was perfect on this issue. fucking shame when ppl take serious issues and make it political

Aug 17th
Reply

Jv Gelvin

pv

Aug 15th
Reply

Niels Mathot

Sam, you did not understand anything of what you speak of. Listen to for instance, Ram Dass on devinity.

Aug 14th
Reply

John Alessandrini II

"Compassionate and rational understanding of pedophilia" Sam Harris

Aug 11th
Reply

Victoria Muchiri

Great content. Knowledge is power. I'd really love to transcribe your podcasts. People who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, non-native speakers, or suffer from auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder may have trouble following a fast conversation. Transcription provides an avenue for them to absorb everything you are putting out. My email is vickies2cents@gmail.com. Thank you.

Aug 9th
Reply

Wendy

I feel like all social media is full of hypocritical policies.

Aug 6th
Reply

Matt Pando

guess what will help with this even more... defunding the police!!! think about it... leftists want to make Child porn even easier to exploit...

Aug 5th
Reply (12)

Chris Litherland

Everyone here has listened to a different podcast I guess. Or you all hear what you want to hear?

Aug 5th
Reply

Jonathan Roseland

A TRULY sordid issue. What a New York Time reporter WONT tell you is that the reason the problem has exploded is largely because mainstream porn is such a potent and addictive "gateway drug". Ultimately, though, like so many other problems plaguing society, the real fix for this one is better parenting.

Aug 4th
Reply (3)

Michael Pemulis

is this the worst problem of our time?

Aug 4th
Reply (1)
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