In this short "big think" video clip on consciousness and the idea of a self, Sam Harris spends the first few minutes saying stuff like
We can't reduce the experiential side to talk about information processing and neurotransmitters and states of our brain. (S1)
People like Francis Crick said famously that you are nothing but a pack of neurons, and that misses the fact that half of the reality we are talking about is the qualitative experiential side. [...] When you are trying to study human consciousness, for instance by looking at states of the brain, all you can do is correlate experiental changes with changes in brain state, but no matter how tight these correlations become, that never gives you license to throw out the first-person experiential side. (S2)
But, bizarrely, 3.5 minutes into the video, he does a complete u-turn and now starts saying that the idea of the self is a complete illusion. He goes on to say several things that completely contradict the first part of the video.
For example, at one point he says that
We know that everything you experience - your conscious emotions and thoughts and moods, the impules that initiate behavior - all of these things are delivered by a myriad of different processes in the brain.
But if this is known to be true, then his second statement (S2) is false. If all of it is delivered by processes, then by measuring these processes, one can obtain a perfectly predictive model and therefore Francis Crick's statement that all we are is a pack of neurons is seemingly correct, and the "tight correlations" that Sam Harris miscredits in (S2) are in fact exact causations! Therefore, we can throw away the first-person experiential side, because it is, according to Harris himself, completely explained by processes in the brain.
He then goes on and talks about self-transcendence, the idea that you can "lose" the center of self, break past the illusion, and actually become identical to the experiences that you have. This is also in contradiction to his earlier statement, in particular S1, where he states we can't reduce the experiential side to the physical bodily processes. But that is exactly what self-transcendence claims to do, and Sam Harris supports the existence of self-transcendence. But then we can reduce the idea of a self to the physical process of bodily experience.
So why does he keep contradicting himself? Why is this man arguing against himself?