Sam Harris has a new podcast (“A Conversation with Jonathan Haidt”) explaining why he refuses to post his 4-hour debate with Omer Aziz. Harris continues to come across as someone who is a) deeply obsessed with his ego and b) is desperately trying to control the narrative. He spends the first 25 minutes asserting, over and over again, just how wrong Omer Aziz is. What’s worse is that he actually posts three excerpts from the “secret debate” to prove his point (as he sees it). Yes, I know this will come as a shock to some of you, but rather than post the whole debate, Sam cherry picked from the debate to serve his objective.
After listening to the excerpts, I would agree that the podcast would be boring. Why? Because in each excerpt, Harris monopolizes the conversation. In fact, after listening to the podcast, I paused and asked myself, “Did Omer actually get a chance to speak?” So I went back and timed their conversion and determined that Sam Harris spoke for 631 seconds to Omer’s 147 seconds. It’s a rough measure, as I didn’t try to account for the few times they both spoke at the same time, or Omer’s attempts to interject, but basically, Harris talked for over 80% of the time.
In fact, here is a graph that outlines the time each man spoke during the three excerpts (in series).
The Y-axis is time in seconds and on the x-axis, S = Sam Harris and O = Omer Aziz.
While Harris sells this debate as another “experiment” to determine how Aziz could be so wrong about everything, the data sure make it look more like a scolding.
If you ask me, Harris made his situation worse. If you are going to cherry pick examples from a 4-hour debate to “prove” how right you are, then why not just post the whole 4-hour debate? The notion that Harris is trying to protect his delicate readers from being bored to death is silly. A simple disclaimer warning people just how boring the debate is would suffice. That Sam refuses to post the debate adds to the perception that he is trying to hide something from the other 3 hours and 45 minutes of the debate.