5 Reasons Sam Harris Is So Dominant In Debates

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Charisma on Command

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Sam Harris has been one of the world's most formidable debaters for nearly 20 years. Sam has gone toe to toe with other people we've covered on the channel, like Ben Shapiro & Jordan Peterson, and he has held his own.
In this video, we will break down 5 reasons Sam Harris is so excellent in his debates, and how you too can use these tactics to your advantage.
0:50 Tip #1: Identify the premise
1:14 Tip #2: Apply your opponents logic to extreme situations
3:41 Tip #3: Use conciliatory statements
5:08 Tip #4: Frequently crack jokes
6:22 Tip #5: Use vivid, specific imagery
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one world
one world 12 өдрийн өмнө
sam harris is just about the most interesting person I've ever come across with Hitchens 2nd.
Alexander Stefanov
Alexander Stefanov 27 өдрийн өмнө
Uhh maybe because he's usually right, it's hard to argue against logic and truth
Charles Warren
Charles Warren Сарын өмнө
Joejoe Brian
Joejoe Brian Сарын өмнө
We will never have another Vidal.
ANGRON Сарын өмнө
Sam is great, but GOD I MISS HITCH
Michael Wooten
Michael Wooten Сарын өмнө
Odd Thor cameo.
Richard Avery
Richard Avery Сарын өмнө
Great video, good content. Love Sam as well, he's my favorite speaker alive...
Apocalyptic Сарын өмнө
Do you like Matt Dillahunty or Jordan peterson too?
Robert Giles
Robert Giles Сарын өмнө
Affeck really thinks he's Batman but he's just batty. ISIS murdered and raped untold victims but Benny never saw or worried at all. He's got celebrity Security everywhere he goes.
GOD6 Сарын өмнө
2:53 you missed the point... Sam is not denying that the church has at some times at some places been a champion for science, which he shouldn't since is this is correct. He was just saying that its incorrect to say that the church has been essential in the development of science.
Robert Light
Robert Light Сарын өмнө
Stick with logic and evidence. Do not let a religionist draw you over the shoals to quoting Bible scripture and arguing within their paradigm. And stay calm.
StAnthony Сарын өмнө
Harris lacks the charisma, whit, and general bonhomie to make a genuinely good debater. Also he simply isn´t knowledgeable enough on most of the cultural and religious subjects he tries to address.
Andrew Murphy
Andrew Murphy 2 сарын өмнө
The goal of any debate should not be to win, 'destroy' or 'demolish'. It should be to learn, to educate, to persuade.
s f
s f 2 сарын өмнө
I think the most important point with Sam Is, he has a lot of integrity and shows in to the detriment of his own interests. Like the time he left Patreon as one of their biggest creators as he disagreed with their policy and banning of others. Also he is one of the few public figure people I've known that debates, only with good intent
Devina Ayona
Devina Ayona 2 сарын өмнө
That guy's a savage
Toyman Blood
Toyman Blood 2 сарын өмнө
When Sam Harris gets in an argument or a rebuttal, at times he stutters and sometimes buffers his words to incorporate his conversations with other people. His biggest flaw he has is double-talking, which is commonly used by other "intellects" to legitimize their points, but done so with incompetence.
Mark 2 сарын өмнө
“So dominant”?? He got massacred in his debate with William Lane Craig. And not only him, but Craig destroyed the whole premise of his book, The Moral Landscape as well, pointing out how Harris equivocates on the meaning of the word “good” throughout. We are talking about the same Sam Harris, right?
Paul Keohane RE
Paul Keohane RE 2 сарын өмнө
Jordan Peterson is better ...
Harry Wakatipu
Harry Wakatipu 2 сарын өмнө
Isn't reductio ad absurdum a logical fallacy?
P. Ness
P. Ness 3 сарын өмнө
Not a beast master like Jordan
Buff Garlic Hero
Buff Garlic Hero 3 сарын өмнө
I think this video misses the point. Sam Harris is not trying to dominate or score points, but he is trying to shed light on topics. He is deconstructing arguments not to "own" his opponents, but to produce more clarity for everyone listening. The best debates he had weren't even debates, they were collaborative discussions, with no side trying to win.
David Bow Wow
David Bow Wow 3 сарын өмнө
Love this analysis! Could be a little slower in explaining but the content is great!
CauseOfDeath 3 сарын өмнө
He isn't really good at "debating" per say. He is good at making jokes at the expense of his opponent and usually insulting their position to gain favor with the audience. It's a form of character assassination to make the audience like inclined to take the opponents position seriously, even if they make good arguments. He would make a great politician in this regard but not really a good debater. Debating should be about discussing a certain topic in a more academic and professional way, referencing evidence to make ones argument. Not making fun of your opponent so that people will laugh at your jokes. You're not a stand up comedian.
قلم رصاص
قلم رصاص 3 сарын өмнө
I wanna c him debating mohammed hijab then will c how smart is he
Derek Holcomb
Derek Holcomb 3 сарын өмнө
After that panel, I haven’t watched anything Ben “asshat” Affleck appeared in. I still haven’t seen Batman vs Superman.
eric welch
eric welch 3 сарын өмнө
ben afleck is a giant tool ...an awful actor who if not for the great actors around him would have been booted from hollywood long ago, and who has zero understanding of logical fallacy, something which seems to be his only MO for conversation
gamerjoe.a 3 сарын өмнө
wait can someone explain the difference between reductio ad absurdum and strawmanning?
Kadui Saui
Kadui Saui 3 сарын өмнө
Mr. Furious
Daniel Cairol
Daniel Cairol 3 сарын өмнө
Reason 1: because he’s right
ninthRing 3 сарын өмнө
Ben Shapiro is a good debater - seriously..!? The man is a master at the Gish Gallop & so often mis-characterizes his opponents arguments, that he might as well be facing the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz (an actual "straw man").
The Revolution
The Revolution 3 сарын өмнө
I'm not sure its accurate to see Sam Harris as exceptionally brilliant. Most in both the neurology and philosophy communities of academia don't think he's all that clever. But he's a decent enough debater as far as that sport goes
Marc Baxter
Marc Baxter 3 сарын өмнө
Nobody ever thinks he got some ears?
stavros741 3 сарын өмнө
When nothing else works, you can always punch babbling Harris out. Useless of course, but gratifying
Richard Collier
Richard Collier 3 сарын өмнө
Is it considered fair play to summon Blue Steel during a debate?
Nick215961 4 сарын өмнө
its called the socratic method ...
Thang Tran
Thang Tran 4 сарын өмнө
I liked him on Meet the Parents.
Oh yeah yeah yeah
Oh yeah yeah yeah 4 сарын өмнө
Step 1: Be intellectually superior to everyone in the room.
Mike Degregorio
Mike Degregorio 4 сарын өмнө
How to win a Debate! Argue from a point of nothing and consume your opponent like a Black Hole.
XCell Noah
XCell Noah 4 сарын өмнө
Conciliatory statements to me seem like such an unnecessary disclaimer that illuminates the common sense in the matter (common sense doesn't need to be translated or spelled out, so it's just a waste of time and words).
Senna 4 сарын өмнө
Except when he was destroyed by Reza Aslan.
sfurules 4 сарын өмнө
I may have misunderstood your argument here, but the reductio ad absurdum thing is actually a logic fallacy, and something to NOT be used in intellectual debate. What Sam is doing isn't reductio ad absurdum. He's just good at applying the same logic to scenarios outside of the context of religion, which shows how silly the beliefs are. That's just good argument.
EpicMusicLemon 4 сарын өмнө
It is also because he is factually right about most of his topics......
Lucy Haddant
Lucy Haddant 4 сарын өмнө
Sam will never be close to the ONLY debater who made grown men cry: the late Christopher Hitchens. God bless Hitch 😀
Abraham Jebaze
Abraham Jebaze 4 сарын өмнө
"God bless?" damn!!!
Imran M
Imran M 4 сарын өмнө
Sam Harris vs any reputable Islamic Scholar, any videos??
carpballet 4 сарын өмнө
You talk way too much. Find and play the examples.
SmashEX Entertainment
SmashEX Entertainment 4 сарын өмнө
No matter how good Sam Harris is, unfortunately everyone he debates are going to the very next debate with exact same crap and hope next debater will not be able to beat 'em. And even if he does, that changes nothing for the every debate that are yet to come.
Rawle Tucker
Rawle Tucker 4 сарын өмнө
He is smart but he is a whiner!
Abe Somers
Abe Somers 4 сарын өмнө
THIS ISN'T WHAT REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM IS!, That would be restating what they say in an absurd way, what sam harris does is tests their logic under extreme situations. Edit: also it's a logical fallacy DO NOT USE IT!
Mathias Renneberg
Mathias Renneberg 4 сарын өмнө
@Abe Somers No problem, have a nice day.
Abe Somers
Abe Somers 4 сарын өмнө
@Mathias Renneberg No you're right my bar
Mathias Renneberg
Mathias Renneberg 4 сарын өмнө
@Abe Somers Strawmanning is strawmanning. Reductio ad absurdum is about taking a statement to it's logical conclusions to show that the statement is unreasonable. A very quick Google search will tell you all about its place in logical reasoning, mathematics and philosophy.
Abe Somers
Abe Somers 4 сарын өмнө
@Mathias Renneberg It literally means reduced to absurdity, Sam Harris says if you follow logic X, y would be true(in which case y sounds ridiculous), reductio as absurdum would just be mocking the argument and straw maning it.
Mathias Renneberg
Mathias Renneberg 4 сарын өмнө
I think you need to reinvestigate that.
John Connolly
John Connolly 4 сарын өмнө
It’s amazing how all the people you praise on here is some sort of far-right dickwad. Trump, Shapiro, Peterson, this edgelord. You couldn’t find a single liberal who is a good communicator? Really? Or is it just that this channel is actually just a way of promoting these extreme political views?
Laurelindo 2 өдрийн өмнө
Jordan Peterson is more of a left-winger; that's why he is so incredibly open-minded about various different topics and tries to actually have a mature discussion with people.
fritzki1 4 сарын өмнө
"what i would like to see more with public intellectuals" - shows jordan peterson and bloody joe rogan... we live in impoverished times
Scott Mahoney
Scott Mahoney 4 сарын өмнө
I would hardly call Ben Affleck a "public intellectual" 😅
davidich 3
davidich 3 4 сарын өмнө
This Guy is a mélange of ben stiller=macron
J D 4 сарын өмнө
A worm
look at it
look at it 4 сарын өмнө
Because he challenges people who are arguing for a point that doesn't exist.
Ankur Borwankar
Ankur Borwankar 4 сарын өмнө
Sam Harris looks like Ben Stiller, we get it. I'm still waiting for someone to talk about how much Ben Shapiro looks like Kendall Jenner.
zberteoc 4 сарын өмнө
Who the f is Sam Harris? :D
Breambo 5 сарын өмнө
Sam Harris is a hack. He was demolished by William Lane Craig. He claims reason, common sense and the laws of logic yet he cannot account for them. His argument is over before it even starts.
Jp Jp
Jp Jp 5 сарын өмнө
I hate to argue thus when someone tries, I tell them, "I don't care."
nonomos 5 сарын өмнө
who cares?
VIII Maus 5 сарын өмнө
... you like your own comments.
S Z 5 сарын өмнө
I have a question for atheists. What is the meaning of life? Chasing our desires? / who created the first fly? The first ape? The first dog? The first cat? The first tree? The first fruit? The first ant? Their is no possible way all of these creatures just poped on into existence without a creater right?
An Atheist
An Atheist 5 сарын өмнө
“Who created the first fly? Ape? Dog?...” I’ll correct you - “What created the first fly” Answer: They evolved over time, from the first living cell to multicellular organism. “Ok, where did the first living cell come from?” It formed in pores of deep-sea black smokers.
the everythingchannel
the everythingchannel 5 сарын өмнө
Is he dominant in debates though? He "wins" by popular vote. His facts are scattered and random. . Thats all i wanted to say
MrRocksW 5 сарын өмнө
I saw him debate with Jordan peterson in Dublin, hadn't heard of him before that. Hes a great speaker
John Herriot
John Herriot 5 сарын өмнө
He who knows the least, knows it the loudest. This is why Sam always waits for the other person to finish shouting or babbling
Hollow Mirror
Hollow Mirror 5 сарын өмнө
Sam Harris suggested blowing up part the middle east to show "strength" ( overcompensating for insecurity) as if the planet could survive a nuclear war. And he is a neuroscientist? What a clown!
simon lloyd
simon lloyd 5 сарын өмнө
what i always find staggering is how intellectuals like Shapiro and Peterson invoke the most inconsistent and illogical mental gymnastics and semantic word play inorder to cross the bridge between logic, reason, empirical evidence and proof. They will apply rigorous logic in every sphere of discourse EXCEPT religion...so deep is the indoctrination of cultural faith. There are some superb books on the subject of why humans are predisposed to superstitious and religous belief that provide a fascinating insight.
apoc214 5 сарын өмнө
We get it, you have a lot of other videos. Maybe you don't have to say it quite so often...
Random Ashe
Random Ashe 5 сарын өмнө
But Sam Harris didn't cool it down with Ben Affleck because Ben Affleck was just embarrassing himself and looked like he was on the verge of tears. Don't defeat your enemy when they are more than willing to defeat himself.
papi en fuego
papi en fuego 5 сарын өмнө
Great video, great breakdown. One critique though, from what I’ve heard from Harris, he wouldn’t frame these skills as being “dominate” in debate. He’d frame them as facilitating discourse and understanding. That’s a crucial distinction to make when understanding why and how we should enter a debate.
Ruben Sánchez Ramírez
Ruben Sánchez Ramírez 5 сарын өмнө
I hate people who make debating their thing. Not learning something new from others or exchanging opinions, but WINNING a debate. It’s so awfully narcissistic.
YippieKanye 5 сарын өмнө
In the world or America?
Ben M
Ben M 5 сарын өмнө
He's amazing debater on everything except Trump. Then he slips into ad hominems and character attacks because "ORANGE MAN BAD".
Christopher Perry
Christopher Perry 5 сарын өмнө
I was at the life after death debate. The standing ovation for Hitchens brought a tear to my eye.
Allan Nielsen
Allan Nielsen 5 сарын өмнө
One very important reason.... He's just read more than you. Period.
Christopher 5 сарын өмнө
It seems to me one could get so wrapped up in trying to imitate style and techniques of debate that one may easily miss the main reason Sam Harris is so effective: He actually pays attention to what the other guy is saying. And he makes sense. People are often so intent upon winning that this point eludes them. It is often helpful actually to be right.
Taxtro 5 сарын өмнө
I think what Sam Harris achieves is that he's charismatic and can appeal to people while making them feel smart. When he engages in demagogery or over-generalization, it's less than obvious. Also he seems to be genuinely interested in being right.
MrSggurcs 5 сарын өмнө
Ehh... his rebuttal to the Catholicism and universities was kind of bad still...
Victor S
Victor S 5 сарын өмнө
I don't know man, it looks like he's having a hard time in all the clips of the first 3 minutes, not dominant at all.
Adam L
Adam L 5 сарын өмнө
This is effectivly the Socratic Method
Zachary Zarko
Zachary Zarko 5 сарын өмнө
Sam Harris is a master debater.
Anton Yermakov
Anton Yermakov 5 сарын өмнө
5:09 This is exactly what I hate about such public debates. Whoever wins over the audience is the right one. I think Neil Tyson said it best: I dont want to hinder what is true on fact that someone wins the audience or smth like this.
Sebastian Hölzl
Sebastian Hölzl 5 сарын өмнө
They should do a breakdown of Sam Seder. "How to be unbeatable in a debate"
Sebastian Hölzl
Sebastian Hölzl 5 сарын өмнө
Charlie talking about internet intellectuals and showing footage of Ben Shapiro, Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan. How did it come to this?
Uncle Pete Knows!
Uncle Pete Knows! 6 сарын өмнө
Sam Harris was incorrect (or at least unpersuasive) when he told Ben Shapiro that all people in Europe were Catholic, ergo (by ben's logic) Catholocism is responsible for building all the bridges in Europe. Ben should have countered by saying, "But the Catholic Church did not spend all of its resources building cathedrals; the Catholic Church ALSO built the great Universities. The Catholic Church did NOT have to do that. "
P L 6 сарын өмнө
8:39 Oh, about that...
vazquezb2011 6 сарын өмнө
Harris is not called one of the Four Horsemen for nothing.
Miers Delika
Miers Delika 6 сарын өмнө
So talking is about winning and dominating the opponent and not making actual and honest progress. Got it.
Donna English
Donna English 6 сарын өмнө
When does any give credence to Ben Affleck. Hahaha
TenorMan96 6 сарын өмнө
A Stanford and UCLA grad, he’s a genius
Todd notlastname
Todd notlastname 6 сарын өмнө
Haha JP now Sam Harris? Someone likes the IDW lmao.
Irene Bergadà Camarasa
Irene Bergadà Camarasa 6 сарын өмнө
Yes, Sam harris is very good at debating. But personally I don't like his strategies. The reduction to the absurdity is a very cheap way to make the other feel embarrassed and angry because the other person feels that you are not taking their point in a serious manner. The same with the jokes, it's an other way of humilliation about someonelse's view. Of course I understand we are talking about debating, but in my opinion, a lot of the times when I watch Harris I often have the feeling that he is not listening the other person, he is only listening what he wants to hear.
Peace Prevails
Peace Prevails 6 сарын өмнө
Namaste and love from India!🙏🇮🇳
broadstreet21 6 сарын өмнө
I don't mind saying it but I fully disagree with Sam Harris on everything he says, but I have to respect his speaking style, so disarming and persuasive, you can't help liking the guy and you'll have a hard time finding ways to argue back.
Gabryal Sansclair
Gabryal Sansclair 6 сарын өмнө
Ben Affleck is such a douche...
Fabio Newtempo
Fabio Newtempo 6 сарын өмнө
Christianism is pure joke!!!
B. C.
B. C. 6 сарын өмнө
Anger opens the mouth and shuts the mind.
B. C.
B. C. 6 сарын өмнө
Anger opens the mouth and shuts the mind.
Andrew Kingland
Andrew Kingland 6 сарын өмнө
You're talking about about how to win debates. That's not necessarily how we discover truths or how to distill and ascertain optimal policies to our societal problems. This is a video of how to be a good lawyer or rhetorical mouthpiece. Its Sam vs X. Cool. Good for Sam. Sam wins. But what happens when you set Sam up with someone who knows more or has a deeper, more legitimate and more inclusive analysis? When it's not someone arguing for something as nonsensical as religion? Which is to say; when it's not low hanging fruit? This is a game. And while I admire much about Harris, he does have a lot of shortcomings. Just know that he isnt above the fray. He may be very knowledgeable in some areas but there are others about which he really shouldn't be opining or be taken seriously and it really does seem at times that he has become some what of a halfway grifter. What this video is doing is breaking down how to be a more sophisticated Ben Shapiro. Reality is much more complex and nuanced than two guys arguing within the limits of their subjective knowledge, understanding and interpretations.
Bogdan Florin
Bogdan Florin 6 сарын өмнө
It helps when your reasoning comes from reality..
The COVID-19 Coronavirus
The COVID-19 Coronavirus 6 сарын өмнө
Love Sam Harris. But Dominant? he’s a little spoon kind of guy
Sawyer Smith
Sawyer Smith 6 сарын өмнө
Sam normally takes control of debates but he got absolutely thrashed in his debate with William Lane Craig.
sir you can do that
sir you can do that 6 сарын өмнө
Whats the difference between tip # 2 and straw man logical fallacy
ناصر مباكه
ناصر مباكه 6 сарын өмнө
The strawman is when you argue against a caricature of your opponent's argument whereas reductio ad absurdum is just applying someone's faulty logic to a simple situation and showing how little sense it makes. But if you're not wise and careful you may end up doing a strawman when you do reductio ad absurdum
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