5 Reasons Sam Harris Is So Dominant In Debates

18 mar 2019
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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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  • sam harris is just about the most interesting person I've ever come across with Hitchens 2nd.

    one worldone world10 giorni fa
  • Uhh maybe because he's usually right, it's hard to argue against logic and truth

    Alexander StefanovAlexander Stefanov25 giorni fa
  • Dweeb.

    Charles WarrenCharles Warren28 giorni fa
  • We will never have another Vidal.

    Joejoe BrianJoejoe BrianMese fa
  • Sam is great, but GOD I MISS HITCH

  • Odd Thor cameo.

    Michael WootenMichael WootenMese fa
  • Great video, good content. Love Sam as well, he's my favorite speaker alive...

    Richard AveryRichard AveryMese fa
    • Do you like Matt Dillahunty or Jordan peterson too?

      ApocalypticApocalypticMese fa
  • 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.

    Robert GilesRobert GilesMese fa
  • 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.

    GOD6GOD6Mese fa
  • 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.

    Robert LightRobert LightMese fa
  • 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.

    StAnthonyStAnthonyMese fa
  • The goal of any debate should not be to win, 'destroy' or 'demolish'. It should be to learn, to educate, to persuade.

    Andrew MurphyAndrew Murphy2 mesi fa
  • 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

    s fs f2 mesi fa
  • That guy's a savage

    Devina AyonaDevina Ayona2 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Toyman BloodToyman Blood2 mesi fa
  • “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?

    MarkMark2 mesi fa
  • Jordan Peterson is better ...

    Paul Keohane REPaul Keohane RE2 mesi fa
  • Isn't reductio ad absurdum a logical fallacy?

    Harry WakatipuHarry Wakatipu2 mesi fa
  • Not a beast master like Jordan

    P. NessP. Ness2 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Buff Garlic HeroBuff Garlic Hero3 mesi fa
  • Love this analysis! Could be a little slower in explaining but the content is great!

    David Bow WowDavid Bow Wow3 mesi fa
  • 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.

    CauseOfDeathCauseOfDeath3 mesi fa
  • I wanna c him debating mohammed hijab then will c how smart is he

    قلم رصاصقلم رصاص3 mesi fa
  • After that panel, I haven’t watched anything Ben “asshat” Affleck appeared in. I still haven’t seen Batman vs Superman.

    Derek HolcombDerek Holcomb3 mesi fa
  • 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

    eric welcheric welch3 mesi fa
  • wait can someone explain the difference between reductio ad absurdum and strawmanning?

    gamerjoe.agamerjoe.a3 mesi fa
  • Mr. Furious

    Kadui SauiKadui Saui3 mesi fa
  • Reason 1: because he’s right

    Daniel CairolDaniel Cairol3 mesi fa
  • 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").

    ninthRingninthRing3 mesi fa
  • 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

    The RevolutionThe Revolution3 mesi fa
  • Nobody ever thinks he got some ears?

    Marc BaxterMarc Baxter3 mesi fa
  • When nothing else works, you can always punch babbling Harris out. Useless of course, but gratifying

    stavros741stavros7413 mesi fa
  • Is it considered fair play to summon Blue Steel during a debate?

    Richard CollierRichard Collier3 mesi fa
  • its called the socratic method ...

    Nick215961Nick2159613 mesi fa
  • I liked him on Meet the Parents.

    Thang TranThang Tran3 mesi fa
  • Step 1: Be intellectually superior to everyone in the room.

    Oh yeah yeah yeahOh yeah yeah yeah3 mesi fa
  • How to win a Debate! Argue from a point of nothing and consume your opponent like a Black Hole.

    Mike DegregorioMike Degregorio3 mesi fa
  • 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).

    XCell NoahXCell Noah4 mesi fa
  • Except when he was destroyed by Reza Aslan.

    SennaSenna4 mesi fa
  • 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.

    sfurulessfurules4 mesi fa
  • It is also because he is factually right about most of his topics......

    EpicMusicLemonEpicMusicLemon4 mesi fa
  • Sam will never be close to the ONLY debater who made grown men cry: the late Christopher Hitchens. God bless Hitch 😀

    Lucy HaddantLucy Haddant4 mesi fa
    • "God bless?" damn!!!

      Abraham JebazeAbraham Jebaze3 mesi fa
  • Sam Harris vs any reputable Islamic Scholar, any videos??

    Imran MImran M4 mesi fa
  • You talk way too much. Find and play the examples.

    carpballetcarpballet4 mesi fa
  • 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.

    SmashEX EntertainmentSmashEX Entertainment4 mesi fa
  • He is smart but he is a whiner!

    Rawle TuckerRawle Tucker4 mesi fa
  • 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!

    Abe SomersAbe Somers4 mesi fa
    • @Abe Somers No problem, have a nice day.

      Mathias RennebergMathias Renneberg4 mesi fa
    • @Mathias Renneberg No you're right my bar

      Abe SomersAbe Somers4 mesi fa
    • @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.

      Mathias RennebergMathias Renneberg4 mesi fa
    • @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.

      Abe SomersAbe Somers4 mesi fa
    • I think you need to reinvestigate that.

      Mathias RennebergMathias Renneberg4 mesi fa
  • 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?

    John ConnollyJohn Connolly4 mesi fa
    • 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.

      LaurelindoLaurelindo4 ore fa
  • "what i would like to see more with public intellectuals" - shows jordan peterson and bloody joe rogan... we live in impoverished times

    fritzki1fritzki14 mesi fa
  • I would hardly call Ben Affleck a "public intellectual" 😅

    Scott MahoneyScott Mahoney4 mesi fa
  • This Guy is a mélange of ben stiller=macron

    davidich 3davidich 34 mesi fa
  • A worm

    J DJ D4 mesi fa
  • Because he challenges people who are arguing for a point that doesn't exist.

    look at itlook at it4 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Ankur BorwankarAnkur Borwankar4 mesi fa
  • Who the f is Sam Harris? :D

    zberteoczberteoc4 mesi fa
  • 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.

    BreamboBreambo4 mesi fa
  • I hate to argue thus when someone tries, I tell them, "I don't care."

    Jp JpJp Jp4 mesi fa
    • who cares?

      nonomosnonomos4 mesi fa
  • ... you like your own comments.

    VIII MausVIII Maus4 mesi fa
  • 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?

    S ZS Z5 mesi fa
    • “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.

      An AtheistAn Atheist4 mesi fa
  • Is he dominant in debates though? He "wins" by popular vote. His facts are scattered and random. . Thats all i wanted to say

    the everythingchannelthe everythingchannel5 mesi fa
  • I saw him debate with Jordan peterson in Dublin, hadn't heard of him before that. Hes a great speaker

    MrRocksWMrRocksW5 mesi fa
  • He who knows the least, knows it the loudest. This is why Sam always waits for the other person to finish shouting or babbling

    John HerriotJohn Herriot5 mesi fa
  • 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!

    Hollow MirrorHollow Mirror5 mesi fa
  • 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.

    simon lloydsimon lloyd5 mesi fa
  • We get it, you have a lot of other videos. Maybe you don't have to say it quite so often...

    apoc214apoc2145 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Random AsheRandom Ashe5 mesi fa
  • 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.

    papi en fuegopapi en fuego5 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Ruben Sánchez RamírezRuben Sánchez Ramírez5 mesi fa
  • In the world or America?

    YippieKanyeYippieKanye5 mesi fa
  • He's amazing debater on everything except Trump. Then he slips into ad hominems and character attacks because "ORANGE MAN BAD".

    Ben MBen M5 mesi fa
  • I was at the life after death debate. The standing ovation for Hitchens brought a tear to my eye.

    Christopher PerryChristopher Perry5 mesi fa
  • One very important reason.... He's just read more than you. Period.

    Allan NielsenAllan Nielsen5 mesi fa
  • 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.

    ChristopherChristopher5 mesi fa
  • 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.

    TaxtroTaxtro5 mesi fa
  • Ehh... his rebuttal to the Catholicism and universities was kind of bad still...

    MrSggurcsMrSggurcs5 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Victor SVictor S5 mesi fa
  • This is effectivly the Socratic Method

    Adam LAdam L5 mesi fa
  • Sam Harris is a master debater.

    Zachary ZarkoZachary Zarko5 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Anton YermakovAnton Yermakov5 mesi fa
  • They should do a breakdown of Sam Seder. "How to be unbeatable in a debate"

    Sebastian HölzlSebastian Hölzl5 mesi fa
  • Charlie talking about internet intellectuals and showing footage of Ben Shapiro, Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan. How did it come to this?

    Sebastian HölzlSebastian Hölzl5 mesi fa
  • 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. "

    Uncle Pete Knows!Uncle Pete Knows!5 mesi fa
  • 8:39 Oh, about that...

    P LP L5 mesi fa
  • Harris is not called one of the Four Horsemen for nothing.

    vazquezb2011vazquezb20116 mesi fa
  • So talking is about winning and dominating the opponent and not making actual and honest progress. Got it.

    Miers DelikaMiers Delika6 mesi fa
  • When does any give credence to Ben Affleck. Hahaha

    Donna EnglishDonna English6 mesi fa
  • A Stanford and UCLA grad, he’s a genius

    TenorMan96TenorMan966 mesi fa
  • Haha JP now Sam Harris? Someone likes the IDW lmao.

    Todd notlastnameTodd notlastname6 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Irene Bergadà CamarasaIrene Bergadà Camarasa6 mesi fa
  • Namaste and love from India!🙏🇮🇳

    Peace PrevailsPeace Prevails6 mesi fa
  • 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.

    broadstreet21broadstreet216 mesi fa
  • Ben Affleck is such a douche...

    Gabryal SansclairGabryal Sansclair6 mesi fa
  • Christianism is pure joke!!!

    Fabio NewtempoFabio Newtempo6 mesi fa
  • Anger opens the mouth and shuts the mind.

    B. C.B. C.6 mesi fa
  • Anger opens the mouth and shuts the mind.

    B. C.B. C.6 mesi fa
  • 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.

    Andrew KinglandAndrew Kingland6 mesi fa
  • It helps when your reasoning comes from reality..

    Bogdan FlorinBogdan Florin6 mesi fa
  • Love Sam Harris. But Dominant? he’s a little spoon kind of guy

    The COVID-19 CoronavirusThe COVID-19 Coronavirus6 mesi fa
  • Sam normally takes control of debates but he got absolutely thrashed in his debate with William Lane Craig.

    Sawyer SmithSawyer Smith6 mesi fa
  • Whats the difference between tip # 2 and straw man logical fallacy

    sir you can do thatsir you can do that6 mesi fa
    • 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

      ناصر مباكهناصر مباكه6 mesi fa