Dark webs

I’ve been trying to think of what to say about this New York Times articles discussing an alliance of heretics, and I’ve been struggling. I think it’s important to have people who challenge the orthodoxy, and who express views that are typically regarded as controversial, but the whole article about them just seems silly. They’re academic renegades, iconoclastic thinkers, who are the vanguard of this new intellectual dark web, all accompanied by rather odd, darkly lit pictures of these mavericks.

I guess I’m just struggling to see what all the fuss is about. A group of people with quite substantial platforms get to say controversial things. They don’t always get taken seriously, and sometimes they get quite strongly criticised. Sometimes the criticism is justified, sometimes it isn’t. Similarly, some of what they say is worth considering, some of it is not (quite a lot, in my view).

If what they were saying was widely accepted and rarely criticised, then it wouldn’t really be controversial and wouldn’t really be challenging societal norms. Surely this is all part of the process? If you really want to change how society thinks about things, it’s going to take some time, and it’s not going to be easy. Also, just because some people say things that others might not say, doesn’t suddenly make them mavericks. They could simply be wrong.

I think one of the issues I have with this whole scenario is that it seems that most who are elevated to the status of public intellectual eventually end up saying silly things about something they don’t understand very well. Some may learn from these blunders, but others seem to simply carry on, and then find reasons to criticise their critics.

My preference would be that people who regarded themselves as public intellectuals were more careful about what they say, that their critics were careful to engage with what they actually said, and that the media tried not to elevate individuals to a status that they can never really attain. Of course, this ideal can probably never really be achieved, and so the whole intellectual dark web scenario just seems like a natural consequence of the rather messy environment in which this is all taking place.

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211 Responses to Dark webs

  1. TTauriStellarBody says:

    Relatively articulate social conservatives re-branded in the most melodramatic fashion.

  2. My preference would be that people who regarded themselves as public intellectuals were more careful about what they say, that their critics were careful to engage with what they actually said, and that the media tried not to elevate individuals to a status that they can never really attain. Of course, this ideal can probably never really be achieved,

    It sounds like a modest request, actually.

    Also, just because some people say things that others might not say, doesn’t suddenly make them mavericks. They could simply be wrong.

    Is it my limited English or could a maverick also simply be wrong?

  3. Victor,

    It sounds like a modest request, actually.

    Maybe it sounds easy, but might – in reality – be more difficult than it would seem.

    Is it my limited English or could a maverick also simply be wrong?

    Yes, fair point.

  4. TTauriStellarBody says:

    Thinking on this I can see this being trouble (up to a point) for engagement on action on climate. The more that this kind of movement is seen as being socially transgressive “speakers of truth to power” and “upholders of common sense”\”free speech” (your mileage may vary to the levels of truth you may see in that) the more that other fringe psuedo intellectual rebels might coast on the back of their popularity such as climate change luke warmism.

    Another draw back to climate having been successfully dragging into the US (and increasingly anglophonic) culture wars.

  5. If the intellectual dark web is the equivalent to the science wannabees of Tallbloke’s Talkshop or WUWT, it’s not worth looking into.

  6. Willard says:

    There’s of course a much better epithet than “Dark Web Intellectual”:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/05/13/freedom-fighters/

    That being said, I rather like the association between these entertainers and the place where you can buy heroin and child porn and debate which cryptocurrency is the best.

    Another advantage is that you can easily deform “Dark Web”:

  7. Steven Mosher says:

    “I think one of the issues I have with this whole scenario is that it seems that most who are elevated to the status of public intellectual eventually end up saying silly things about something they don’t understand very well. ”

    Ya some guys talk about economics, science communication, etc, when they should be back in the lab doing science.

    Once upon a time not so long ago I had a walk across campus with an award winner ( science type) and I asked him why he had not taken a public position on X. He mentioned what he called the Nobel disease. “Some guys think once you win one it gives you licence to talk about anything” It was obvious he was self aware. “You spend years trying to think of every way you could wrong, and then you end up being right about one big thing. And after that success what else is there to do, except look at other stuff? Except there’s a difference. If you are not careful you lose your self doubt. After all, you’be just been rewarded for being right about a big thing. Why shouldn’t you be right about the next thing you look at”

    not a real quote, but substantially correct.

  8. Steven Mosher says:

    “That being said, I rather like the association between these entertainers and the place where you can buy heroin and child porn and debate which cryptocurrency is the best.”

    There’s no debate, just bitcoin deniers. unless you are doing illegal stuff, then Monero.

  9. Sceptical Wombat says:

    I found this video (which has nothing to do with climate science) interesting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37ck9UPiJc8

  10. Joshua says:

    I think we should have more quotas to ensure that social conseevatives have equal representation.

    Further, we should be sure to provide them with safe spaces (and issue trigger warnings whenever possible).

  11. TTauri,

    Thinking on this I can see this being trouble (up to a point) for engagement on action on climate.

    Well, Jordan Peterson seems to be quite taken with some of what Matt Ridley writes (although, maybe I’ve interpreted this incorrectly).

  12. “My preference would be that people who regarded themselves as public intellectuals were more careful about what they say”

    Unfortunately I suspect this is at odds with the personality traits that leads someone to regard themselves as (rather than merely being) a public intellectual.

    “Nobel disease” it doesn’t take a Nobel prize, there are plenty of academics who just “go emeritus” without that level of success, all that is required is a loss of self-skepticism.

  13. Steven,

    Ya some guys talk about economics, science communication, etc, when they should be back in the lab doing science.

    I’m certainly not suggesting that people should not speak out 😉

  14. Dikran,
    Maybe it’s bit early, but what is the significance of your link?

  15. The book was apparently the source of the phrase “going emeritus” in the sense of losing your academic marbles and promulgating nutty theories. The book is mostly about the effect of languages on the way people think, but the planet of mad scientists/academics has a certain resonance for the public debate on climate ;o)

  16. Marco says:

    “Some may learn from these blunders, but others seem to simply carry on”…and yet others go completely bonkers.

    Nassim Taleb comes to mind.

  17. paulski0 says:

    Finally, a platform for wealthy white guys.

  18. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    It’s difficult not to like the completely not-contrived pictures of the members of the Rebel Alliance posing in the dark, mysterious shrubbery.

  19. Everett F Sargent says:

    You did sort of notice that this is strictly a North American pseudo-phenomenon? The rest of the world is safe from the USAnians and CAnians. For now …

  20. Eli Rabett says:

    Newly emeritus and seeking income, Eli must send a letter of application to the Dark Web Lords. Folks, it’s all grift, that’s all it ever has been and taking it seriously just plays into their hands. They are clowns

    https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-long-con

  21. Everett F Sargent says:

    “Finally, a platform for wealthy white guys.”
    … more like …
    Finally, a platform for poor young white male trash. Kind of like TrumpTV, you can say anything and get away with proverbial murder.

    The Jordan Peterson Demographic Isn’t Going Away
    https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/04/jordan-peterson-male-democraphic-isnt-going-anywhere/
    tv

    “Rather than grousing that the wrong people are reaching out to this demographic, it would be more productive to think honestly about why the demographic exists at all.”

    They exist because it isn’t the 1950’s anymore. Although TrumpTV would like to show you reruns of Mr. Peepers …

    When did JP show up? Right around the time TrumpTV got into full swing (fall of 2016).

  22. Joshua says:

    Speaking of wealthy white guys*:

    The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/06/the-birth-of-a-new-american-aristocracy/559130/

    *Trigger warning: for smug, self-congratulatory alarmists who are so concerned about those who taint “pure data” on the relationships among race, IQ testing, social science, class, etc., with discussion of the societal context: You’d better not read that article. It prolly isn’t a safe space for you folks

  23. Joshua says:

    Just ’cause it annoys me sometimes that Judith won’t allow my critique of her advocacy to pass through her moderation…in response to her most recent post:

    Joshua | May 16, 2018 at 1:38 pm | Reply
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    The focus of my testimony is on adaptation.

    Good to see that you stayed away from anything that could conceivably be misconstrued as policy advocacy,

  24. Ragnaar says:

    The NY Times articles talks about their success, the Renegades. This thing call SJWs is grown. Over decades using methods. You are not opposed to it, and if you were you may see what it can do and ask if this thing defines you.?

    It defines me to an extent. Reserved elsewhere with my opinions, and usually empathizing with other’s opinions. Rarely do I feel need to set someone right. I still think AA is wrong and liberals don’t get economics and spend too much time hating corporations.

    The SJWs define a lot, but not me to a great extent. We have loyal soldiers though. They heard the call to arms when Trump was elected. The SJWs tripped and Trump was elected. If Clinton had been elected, they’d have sucked her in and extinguished any sensible positions she had.

    Into this steps the Renegades, and any smart capitalist would. There’s a market, starved of product. To imply the Renegades are wrong misses what it is. As proving a lukewarmer wrong likewise accomplishes nothing. We must have had 5 years of that by now.

    Returning to value. Does Jordan Peterson have value? In my opinion yes. But over half the market doesn’t see it. So the trick is not to snake oil sell Peterson, but teach. I must have spent 3 hours watching videos of him. He teaches a lot.

    The SJWs made a lot, they made Jordan Peterson famous. They’ve accomplished this and that. They’ve defined this country. How much of us remains?

  25. Joshua says:

    Ragnaar –

    I must have spent 3 hours watching videos of him. He teaches a lot.

    What did you not know before watching Jordan thst you now know after having done so?

  26. verytallguy says:

    Just ’cause it annoys me sometimes that Judith won’t allow my critique of her advocacy to pass through her moderation

    Yoda knows best in this situation.

    But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.

  27. Chris Colose says:

    Since I have been on Twitter talking about this, and probably just digging deeper holes, I’ll dig more here. Apologies for a long post:

    A few bullet points that I will then elaborate upon:
    1) IDW is indeed a silly concept, both as a name and as a conceptual grouping of its members- and as some like Alice Dreger wrote about, more “teams” is probably counter-productive to the entire point of what some of them profess to be wanting to do. I feel odd using IDW as a label, but I will below for shorthand.
    2) It is easy to find a lot of silly things that IDW members say, but also easy to find a lot of interesting or relatively uncontroversial things. Most people have no idea what any of these things are.
    3) At the same time, almost all of the critics of IDW are not serious and do not bother to address the number of interesting things they do talk about, and instead appeal to shallow psychological explanations of what is driving them (or their millions of listeners), very selective and uncharitable interpretations of things being said (or fair but unrepresentative ones), a very irrational hatred toward their popularity that would not conceivably exist if not for a few subjects they touch upon (even if they were fringe or uninteresting). Lately, there’s also been some irrelevant statements about how they aren’t actually being censored and are rising to fame and fortune status and are dominating podcast lists, etc. (in the very same conversation, you will often hear that they are upset about “losing status” ). Most of the harshest criticisms concerning their alt right status and intense bigotry could be dismissed upon casual inspection, although it is possible to find things that are off-putting but, upon deeper inspection, come from a very different angle than you might initially think.
    4) I have found the intense and disproportionate reaction to IDW to be far more interesting than IDW themselves, in particular since people who are otherwise very intelligence and nuanced (and whom I share political views with) have behaved completely irrationally and displayed utter credulity with bad criticisms of IDW.
    5) As a starting premise, I *do* think we need more “public philosophy” and big picture systems thinkers engaging in public discourse, a phenomenon that will necessarily be somewhat but not entirely removed from sharp expertise and scholarly journals. One can debate whether IDW members count as optimal participants in this model (I’ve had arguments with Peter Jacobs on Twitter about this), but I do think several of them are serious enough and sometimes have the credentials to be engaged with seriously.

    #####
    Building on point 2, IDW consists of members of very disparate political backgrounds, most of which are actually left-leaning or libertarian types (I do not believe any Trump supporters are among them – Ben Shapiro is a conservative, although I find him to be a proactive and trolly type with few interesting things to say). Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying are experts in evo and have a lot of interesting insights about evolutionary biology and try to link it is to modern social dynamics (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYJFgyqs0sM). Sam Harris is well known and talks about many things, including atheism, spirituality, morality, neuroscience, etc. (see a conversation with Weinstein https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20ku1H4VzfQ&t=2135s).

    People like Jonathan Haidt or Steven Pinker are social or clinical psychologists that also talk about a number of things, including morality, linguistics, and yes, lately things like political correctness or “The Enlightenment.” Whatever, it’s not that big of a deal, and it’s not all wrong.

    As far as I can tell, one of the few unifying themes among IDW is that they criticize a branch of left-wing politics where so-called “identity politics” has become an influential epistemological and moral framework through which to describe (and prescribe) insights and solutions toward a better society. I suspect this is why all the backlash exists, although I can’t understand why these are still so touchy subjects….like, can we grow up a bit?

    Jordan Peterson is an odd case, given the very wide-ranging conversations/dialogues on moral structures, inequality and hierarchies, Jungian psychology, religious narratives and mythology, self-improvement, ideology, etc. (for a sense of his mindset on these things, see e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Sw1bZlsd0&t=897s or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V32WHDuy-Do). He’s had long conversations with Harris on what “truth” means: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pLQl3fG8MQ&t=2009s

    Peterson’s entire view of the world comes from thinking about ideology, first principle axioms, narrative, religion, and reading people like Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, etc. while thinking a lot about how the West differs from other social-political models such as Communism (and was influenced by the Cold War) and is thus operating with a very different structural framework than almost anyone you’d hear. He could be labeled a crank, one obsessed with liberty, ideologues, the Soviet Union, etc., but it’s just not correct to say that he is coming from an “angry white man, “far right-wing,” or bigoted angle. In fact, he has criticized far right wing ideas frequently. To the extent he is a crank, he’s wrong in more interesting ways than a usual one, but maybe I’m a crank for thinking that is more interesting than most? There is a lot that he says that is wrong, but understanding his worldview is a bit complicated (see e.g., https://www.chronicle.com/article/What-s-So-Dangerous-About/242256/#.WvnlqkGFBRs.twitter and here is a fair critique of where he he goes off into the incoherent and not-careful establishment of “rules for life” that could misguide people. https://areomagazine.com/2018/01/29/the-guru-appeal-of-jordan-peterson-in-our-post-everything-world/

    (I’ve linked to hours of video and unusually long reading content already, and I suspect no one will go through them, but there ought to be some minimum requirements for having opinions on this whole thing).

    There are good ways to critique IDW things, such as Jordan Peterson’s confused concepts on truth and religion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwXAB6cICG0 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMhP59FnXgw&t=523s), although rarely will you see this look like: “X said something about Y and took a half hour to arrive at conclusion A, where B, C, and D was interesting but had an error in logic 20 minutes in, and E and F are unjustified, and person Z had a better argument about…” Instead, critiques are usually pure nonsense that reflect laziness. Even Alice Dreger’s recent piece suggesting that the entire collective IDW are just spewing opinions (okay?) and trying to be provocative was incredibly disappointing, given how good she is.

    It shouldn’t be hard to be specific, nuanced, and rational with this subject. And a little bit of internal consistency in criticism would be nice (like, if your favorite climate scientist had an article written about them, would you find it odd, empowering, neutral, etc to have a portrait next to a bush). IDW is not the profound bastion of deep philosophical thought they might pretend to be, nor are they a complete waste of time, uninteresting, or as evil as we’re being told by puff pieces I keep seeing linked all over Twitter. But this has all been very confusing to me. I see a lot of ideology being expressed in the backlash.

  28. Ragnaar says:

    Joshua:

    How evolution is sort of hardwired into things. Are men and women different? I think he’d say yes and there’s a reason for it. An evolutionary reason.

    A McMaster U video showed me the shallowness and bullying demonstrated by University SJWs.

    They show some more depth to what Trump had tapped.

    They reaffirmed my confidence in Canadians.

    They emphasized what happens when a movement become unhinged.

    Yes, I am predisposed to some of this.

  29. Chris,
    Thanks for the comment. Your commentary on Twitter partly motivated this post, but I’m still trying to digest all of what you’re saying. I have actually watched a number of the videos and read some of the articles. I do find it hard to identify with those associated with the IDW and am sympathetic to the critics, but then I’m aware that I shouldn’t really be judging things on the basis of whether or not I identity with the person making the argument.

  30. Joshua says:

    Ragnaar –

    How evolution is sort of hardwired into things. Are men and women different? I think he’d say yes and there’s a reason for it. An evolutionary reason.

    So do you just take Peterson’s word for it… and thus that is how you learned (not just that they’re different, but the “reasons for it?”) ?

    How do you explain that many with expertise in that field disagree with his conclusions?

    How do you discount what he teaches for his political biases?

    For example, when he explains why women don’t get promoted asuch as men (essentially, he says because they aren’t as effective at self-promotion), how does he control for the possibility that when are explicitly sefl*promotional they are judged negatively for thst behavior, relative to how men are judged for that behavior? How does evolution explain that?

    Yes, I am predisposed to be skeptical of evolutionary just-so-storfying (especially when it lines up, ideogically, with the just-so-storyteller’s ideogical briefs).

  31. Joshua says:

    Ragnaar –

    They show some more depth to what Trump had tapped.

    I’d be curious to read what comparisons you might make between what you learned from Peterson about what Trump has tapped, to what that Atlantic article (I linked above) has to say about what Trump has tapped.

  32. Crhis,

    It shouldn’t be hard to be specific, nuanced, and rational with this subject. And a little bit of internal consistency in criticism would be nice

    I agree with this, in principle, but can’t one make the same argument with respect to those associated with the IDW. Can’t they try harder be careful as to what they say, so that it’s not as easy to criticise?

    In a sense that is what I was getting at in my post. Be wonderful if everyone behaved rationally and tried to be careful as to what they said, but they don’t (which isn’t an excuse, but an observation).

  33. Willard says:

    > they made Jordan Peterson famous.

    Freedom Fighters made JordanP famous, Ragnaar. The market for yelling at clouds is an old one. From the top of my hat I could name Thomas Sowell, Allan Bloom, H.L. Mencken, Lewis Lapham. Most of them had style and gusto, something that isn’t the darker web’s trademark. A pity, for preying on nostalgia should be easy.

    What isn’t so easy and might contend at being the hallmark of current Freedom Fighters is to portray their reactionary act as counter-revolutionary. Take your own bandwagon – luckwarmers and IDWs are winning. Finding a smaller feat may be tough – Freedom Fighters are defending an old establishment.

    That the Dark Web is fighting for freedom should be obvious:

    What Kanye West seeks is what Michael Jackson sought—liberation from the dictates of that we. In his visit with West, the rapper T.I. was stunned to find that West, despite his endorsement of [Donald], had never heard of the travel ban. “He don’t know the things that we know because he’s removed himself from society to a point where it don’t reach him,” T.I. said. West calls his struggle the right to be a “free thinker,” and he is, indeed, championing a kind of freedom—a white freedom, freedom without consequence, freedom without criticism, freedom to be proud and ignorant; freedom to profit off a people in one moment and abandon them in the next; a Stand Your Ground freedom, freedom without responsibility, without hard memory; a Monticello without slavery, a Confederate freedom, the freedom of John C. Calhoun, not the freedom of Harriet Tubman, which calls you to risk your own; not the freedom of Nat Turner, which calls you to give even more, but a conqueror’s freedom, freedom of the strong built on antipathy or indifference to the weak, the freedom of rape buttons, […]; freedom of oil and invisible wars, the freedom of suburbs drawn with red lines, the white freedom of Calabasas.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/05/im-not-black-im-kanye/559763/

    Nothing much can get through this fog of entitlement, except perhaps the reminder that Freedom Fighters are mere stealth advocates for the wealthy.

    I pity the fool who would rejoice in having predicted getting screwed.

  34. Willard says:

    > It shouldn’t be hard to be specific, nuanced, and rational with this subject.

    It might not be as easy as to get snark on the Internet, but it’s far from being impossible. All one needs is to look at the proper places, e.g.:

    We can start with “reason.” Pinker is an advocate of reason. As the subtitle announces, the book presents “the case for reason, science, humanism, and progress.” Pinker frequently refers to the Enlightenment as the “Age of Reason” (a rather old-fashioned label that seems to have been drawn from Will and Ariel Durant’s 1961 Story of Civilization).

    But throughout the book reason is treated as an unproblematic given, as if we all know what it is and are happy to sign up to Pinker’s version of it. Alas, reason is a notoriously slippery notion. Problematizing it and challenging its authority turns out to be one of the signal achievements of the Enlightenment. Pinker seems blissfully unaware of this.

    The most cursory sampling of just some of the key figures of the period helps establish the point. If we go back to the beginning of the scientific revolution – which Pinker routinely conflates with the Enlightenment – we find the seminal figure Francis Bacon observing that “the human intellect left to its own course is not to be trusted.” Following in his wake, leading experimentalists of the seventeenth century explicitly distinguished what they were doing from rational speculation, which they regarded as the primary source of error in the natural sciences.

    In the next century, David Hume, prominent in the Scottish Enlightenment, famously observed that “reason alone can never produce any action … Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.” And the most celebrated work of Immanuel Kant, whom Pinker rightly regards as emblematic of the Enlightenment, is the Critique of Pure Reason. The clue is in the title.

    Reason does figure centrally in discussions of the period, but primarily as an object of critique. Establishing what it was, and its intrinsic limits, was the main game.

    http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2018/02/20/4806696.htm

    Again, style matters.

    One problem with asking for more than scorn is that it may fall for the Freedom Fighters’ bait:

  35. Ragnaar says:

    Joshua:

    I should’ve pick my words more carefully. Whether the science supports evolution as a cause for say the Father’s knows best model of society isn’t the point. He has an audience. With no more knowledge of the society/evolution question than the average person, hearing this on a youtube video is not that unusual. Similarly I could learn about global warming from a video while having average knowledge of the subject. So then I form some point of view from both videos.

    What do I know about society. Not a lot? I am a libertarian for gosh sake. And what he’s saying does align with my world view, Men are aholes. But there are many explanations and reasons for that. Especially look at poor societies. We used to be like that in the 1800s and 1900s. Yet it worked to an extent. Turned us into some successful country. Gave us wealth and free time to comment here.

    There are winners and losers in this world. We won, with all our shortcomings and injustices. Did we win from a wheelhouse of evil or of nature?

    We stand at the apex of nature. Finding ourselves as the evolutionary winners. As we killed this and that without remorse. It his our history. But now shall we claim, that’s not me. I had nothing to do with that. I renounce it.

  36. Willard says:

    > Especially look at poor societies.

    You go first, Ragnaar.

    Meanwhile, enjoy Yannis schooling a Freedom Fighter:

  37. Everett F Sargent says:

    CC,

    tl:dr

    You do know that there some who are rather old in age but still consider themselves 247 free thinkers until they die? When you get older you will understand. When I get even older I too will understand.

    Where are the 65+ IDW’s?

    I remember Michael Shermer from the teevee during his RAAM efforts …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_Across_America
    An exercise in sleep deprivation. Stupid. I mean really stoopit.

    INTP’s are not very comparable with ‘so called’ public intellectuals. Or so I’ve been told.

  38. Chris Colose says:

    ATTP- Yes, I’d advocate for more clarity and nuance from many people, especially someone like Jordan Peterson who is remarkably clear, nuanced, and articulate on some subjects, but extremely opaque, roundabout, and sidesteppy on others (him being asked if he believes in God was painful to hear). However, I am skeptical that most of the harsh criticism of IDW comes from a frustration over them being unclear. In many cases, they are far more clear (even if they happen to be wrong) than whoever happens to be criticizing them in the moment. But I am interested in the connection between ideas and ideology (and social taboo), some of which emerged fro my interest in climate, but which also seems glaringly obvious to me on the more “left” end of the political spectrum.

    It’s interesting to observe, however, that large segments of the general population do not typically take a strong interest in being experts in the history of Enlightenment figures, in the landscape of Marxism or postmodern doctrine, the politics of the early Soviet Union, the evolution of traits that we see in human behavior, etc. I actually view the discussion of these things as a net positive, since I’m quite sure it is getting people to talk about more interesting things than anything mainstream left or right-wing political commentators have to offer in the moment, and it is not even close.

    While I appreciate Willard’s post above talking about how old philosophers like Immanuel Kant and other Enlightenment thinkers actually had a rather constrained or confused version of “reason,” 1) On closer inspection I’m not sure this is really relevant to Pinker’s argument 2) It doesn’t matter too much; in criticizing Pinker, this seems to be far more esoteric of a disagreement than one would normally expect in popular discussion, and so for many people (not necessarily the author of the article or Willard), I suspect the many citations and retweets you’ll get on Twitter to these articles are really a proxy argument/signal for something else, just like when people cite articles about Mann’s proxy work. I’m not sure what it is. Are many hundreds of people on Twitter *really* upset about the intricacies of stringing together tree ring records and statistical procedures in paleoclimate? Are countless people really upset that this cognitive psychologist out of Harvard is telling people life has been better now than, say, 400 years ago?

    I should correct myself and say that I partly understand the disproportionately strong resistance to IDW- they do talk about things that are “hot and touchy topics” in social dynamics right now, regarding inequality, gender, political correctness. But I confess to not understanding the social taboo on thinking coherently about these subjects.

  39. Everett F Sargent says:

    “I should correct myself and say that I partly understand the disproportionately strong resistance to IDW- they do talk about things that are “hot and touchy topics” in social dynamics right now, regarding inequality, gender, political correctness. But I confess to not understanding the social taboo on thinking coherently about these subjects.”

    Nope. There were no ‘so called’ “hot and touchy” topics in the 50’s or 60’s. W-H-O-O-S-H right over your own head.

    Their main problem is that they don’t appear to be thinking coherently. There are these things called writing and peer review and the scientific method, they should use those avenues of communication more so then they currently do. But it is to s-l-o-w, way too s-l-o-w, for today’s real time reality pop culture. All bones and no meat.

    What the ISW’s give us is the exact same thing that Trump gives us via Twitter.

  40. Everett F Sargent says:

    ISW’s/IDW’s close enough i guess (S would stand for Shady). I’m not in the Army anymore.

  41. Willard says:

    > 1) On closer inspection I’m not sure this is really relevant to Pinker’s argument 2) It doesn’t matter too much; […]

    StevenP wrote a book on Enlightenment, Chris, getting the concept of Reason right seems kinda crucial. It’s also crucial to his main point, which makes Reason-with-a-big-R the motor of all the progress over which he panglosses. (I say “crucial” to address your two points, which are not that different, and I say “plangloss” for the pun.) If you missed that, I suggest your closer inspection wasn’t close enough.

    That example showed that SteveP is biting more than he can chew on the very concept he’s supposed to clarify. The same could be said of JordanP. Take his interpretation of postmodernism, on which rests most of his cultural marxism crap:

    In depart­ing with the seem­ing­ly dras­ti­cal­ly dif­fer­ent approach­es of struc­tural­ism and phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy, Der­ri­da and Fou­cault left behind a total­iz­ing ide­al­ism shared by both schools of thought, which had left their adher­ents unable to explain the dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed and uneven real­i­ties of both phi­los­o­phy and his­to­ry. It is not Der­ri­da and Fou­cault who repro­duce this total­iz­ing ide­al­ism, but Peter­son. Con­trary to his self-pro­fessed rep­u­ta­tion for straight talk and hard truths, Peterson’s con­cep­tion of all the var­i­ous phe­nom­e­na of social life as expres­sions of a curi­ous­ly inter­pret­ed intel­lec­tu­al episode hap­pens to be con­sis­tent with the most spec­u­la­tive of philoso­phies: an ide­al­ism that claims ideas descend from heav­en to earth.

    https://www.viewpointmag.com/2018/01/23/postmodernism-not-take-place-jordan-petersons-12-rules-life

    The point here is quite simple – it’s not a matter of interpretation, but of basic undergraduate reading comprehension. And I’m not talking about some arcane concepts – it’s their main targets. Yet JordanP and StevenP opine on that stuff as if misleading their respective audiences did not matter. So there’s nothing genuinely “intellectual” in that Freedom Fighters farce. They’re entertainers, first and foremost.

    Imagine if Bill Nye, who plays a scientist on TV, started to say stuff about the Tyndall Effect on his Twitter feed. There’d be some pushback, ranging from reasoned response to pure scorn. Now, imagine a luckwarm ClimateBall player who’d insist that we should take his concerns Very Seriously.

    I duly submit that this thought experiment provides a better explanation than your provocative thesis.

  42. Chris Colose says:

    Willard,

    Yes, I have seen the criticisms of the criticisms of the criticisms. This is another useful framing of the issue: https://areomagazine.com/2018/02/25/enlightenment-contested/

    I actually do not like ‘Enlightenment’ as the operating word. But the salient issue here is that there was a *process* of thought revision that became prevalent on a widespread scale and that separated the “premodern” from the “modern”– one in which notions of democracy and liberty, the individual as an atomic unit of society, reason and science, etc. came to the forefront and older models of feudal states, religious authority, etc. were left behind at a systemic level- obviously this is a complex function of space and time, but the the detailed thoughts of the individual philosophers during this time (which, indeed, in many cases are not consistent with modern views of “reason”) is mostly beside the point. The argument is that this cultural shift is unique in history and is directly related to the elevation in quality of life, technological revolution, and that “reason” is the best mechanism to continue the project forward and to make society even better.

    It’s a fairly basic case to make, one that many might find too simplistic to even be interesting, but that was sort of the point. I would not defend every detail in Pinker’s argument (I suspect historians could add value) but I’m not sure why the meat of his premise is as controversial as it is.

    Ironically, the fact we are having this discussion is almost exclusively the point of what some of these people want to do.

    On the other issue, I thought the viewpointmag article was awful, but for reasons that I have to write another treatise on, and cannot now. Maybe soon…

  43. Willard says:

    Just to prove I’m not alone:

  44. Ragnaar says:

    Jordan Peterson | The Difference Between Men and Women

    Accomplishment versus feelings. He proposes that as women have raised infants, they have evolved to do that. To protect them, to say they are always right as part of that. They (women) are agreeable people and avoid conflict.

    In a competitive situation, recognizing accomplishment and to hell with feelings generally is a good strategy. We can all sit around and worry about each other’s feeling or produce something valuable.

    To trace back to how women ended up raising infants, I suppose we could blame it on a bunch of long dead men. But I’d argue that at some point they evolved to do that. Maybe it was cave women.

    When it comes to raising infants being agreeable and looking after their every need is a good thing. And societies that did that, had an advantage. If women had refused to do that and been more aggressive, their society may have failed. But as all things are, it would have still been the man’s fault. I am married.

    My reference to poor societies was an attempt to wind back the clock on ourselves. Where they may be more traditional than we are. Showing our past.

    We are adapting. But it helps to understand what the hell got us here besides men are evil and we need to hate them.

  45. Willard says:

    > Showing our past.

    Here’s how a Jungian interprets JordanP’s moment:

    The initiatory ordeals characteristic of many primal cultures, which mediate the transition of the individual from adolescence to adulthood, provide a structure for the inevitable suffering that can lead to the psychological death of the relatively undifferentiated youthful self. Out of this death emerges a more mature consciousness which, in Jungian terms, is less identified with ego. Extending this process to the collective domain, privileged white men can perhaps be considered as having constituted something like the egoic center of our cultural consciousness in modern North America and Europe. As philosopher Richard Tarnas and psychologist James Hollis (both of whom I would offer as much better Jungian alternatives to Peterson) have suggested, we may be undergoing a collective initiatory ordeal in which the adolescence of Western culture characteristic of modernity is dying and being subsumed in the emergence of a more mature, compassionate, and sustainable cultural mode. But lacking initiatory rites, the main streams of our culture do not offer a narrative container that renders intelligible the suffering which generally accompanies the transition from adolescence to adulthood, not on the level of the individual initiate, and certainly not for the culture at large. In this light, [Donald and Jordan] are not merely regressive, though they certainly are that; they’re primary manifestations of the ego’s instinct to cling to its habitual structures, to protect itself against the chaotic, unconscious forces, “the ocean of the dark things,” as Jung puts it, upon which the ego floats, and through the encounter with which the self is transformed. As Jung understood, this unconscious other has historically been constructed as the “feminine,” literalized in the oppression and othering of women by men. This oppression, of course, has caused great suffering for women, but also for men who have been taught to repress their relational, emotional, and intuitive capacities, and to project these qualities onto women, a lack of self-knowledge that causes many men to experience profound anger, sadness, and isolation, often driving them into traditional modes of patriarchal masculinity.

    https://blog.apaonline.org/2018/02/20/why-are-so-many-young-men-drawn-to-jordan-petersons-intellectual-misogyny/

    Straight from what is supposed to be the theorical underpinning of JordanP’s crusade. All these poor men, traumatized out of a sudden by all the things everybody else had to endure since the dawn of time. Either because those they dominate Made Them Do It, or because their hegemony made them suffer too. Finding the proper causality doesn’t matter much – the end result is that suffering is far from being redistributed.

    Finding good criticisms of the Dark Web is not that hard.

  46. Chris,

    However, I am skeptical that most of the harsh criticism of IDW comes from a frustration over them being unclear.

    Yes, I wasn’t really suggesting this. I was more simply suggesting that they themselves are not always as clear as they could be.

    I should correct myself and say that I partly understand the disproportionately strong resistance to IDW- they do talk about things that are “hot and touchy topics” in social dynamics right now, regarding inequality, gender, political correctness.

    Yes, which is why the manner of some of the responses seem obvious, even if the critics are not engaging as ideally as they should. It strikes me that this is similar to deficit model thinking. The idea that if only people behaved rationally, everything would progress in some sensible fashion. In a social/political environment this is often unrealistic (even if we would like it to be the case).

    But I confess to not understanding the social taboo on thinking coherently about these subjects.

    I think I understand why there is a taboo, but it would be good if we discuss these topics without the discussion degenerating.

  47. Willard says:

    > The argument is that this cultural shift is unique in history and is directly related to the elevation in quality of life, technological revolution, and that “reason” is the best mechanism to continue the project forward and to make society even better.

    The author’s point above wasn’t about the word “enlightenment,” Chris. It was about the precise “cultural shift” that you take for granted. It did not exist. It is a myth, just like conceiving reason as a mechanism. These myths serve a very specific function – it rationalizes progress and conceals that industrial revolutions come at a cost. StevenP has never been shy about his scientism:

    In this conception, science is of a piece with philosophy, reason, and Enlightenment humanism. It is distinguished by an explicit commitment to two ideals, and it is these that scientism seeks to export to the rest of intellectual life.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/114127/science-not-enemy-humanities

    Once again, SteveP butchers a philosophical conception without paying any due diligence. That alone suffices to see that he’s not exactly following the precepts he’s trying to sell. This contrasts with the Viewpoint article: whether you like it or not, the author shows that he knows what he’s talking about.

    A more appropriate term for SteveP’s project could be good ol’ positivism. Less sexy, perhaps. There’s always a trade-off.

    ***

    As for your Winegard & Winegard reference, I’m not sure you realize who these authors or whom they cite come from. If their romantic strawman rocks your boat, more power to you. Just to give you an idea of a more deleterious liberty they take:

    In this essay, we follow up on the work of other scholars who have recently cautioned about the dangers of ideological uniformity in the social sciences. We forward the paranoid egalitarian meliorist (PEM) model to help account for bias in the social sciences. Paranoid is not a pejorative term, but describes a sensitivity to perceived threats to egalitarian meliorism. We argue (1) that many social scientists are paranoid egalitarian meliorists; (2) that they are therefore very sensitive to threats to a sacred egalitarian narrative; (3) that this sensitivity may be excessive (at least in the domain of science) and may cause researchers to unfairly reject research that challenges egalitarianism; (4) that this may then lead to the marginalization of individuals who forward controversial theories and/or data; and (5) that these tendencies lead to bias in the social sciences.

    I don’t always use “paranoid,” but when I do I don’t pretend it’s not a pejorative term. More so when it’s backed up by handwaving to sacredness.

    Since you referred approvingly James A. Lindsay to Alice over the tweeter, I’m starting to feel you do have a dog in this fight. So here’s the deal – pick a topic from one Freedom Fighter of your fancy. I’ll try to find a criticism of it that I find robust. That way, we’ll be able to meet your request of finding robust criticism while sharing the workload.

  48. From the article:

    Many others in the I.D.W. were made nervous by her sudden ascendance to the limelight, seeing Ms. Owens not as a sincere intellectual but as a provocateur in the mold of Milo Yiannopoulos. For the I.D.W. to succeed, they argue, it needs to eschew those interested in violating taboo for its own sake.

    It is not clear to me how those involved in the I.D.W. can be clear that they are sincere intellectuals rather than provocateurs, I would have thought that they (like most of us) are a mixture of motivations, not all of which they are fully conscious (I know my motivations are not always as I would want them to be). Ironically “the iconoclast” is a classic intellectual stereotype, and provocation is pretty central to iconoclasm. It seems to me that banding together (and thus reinforcing the iconoclasm) is likely to encourage people to become provocateurs rather than sincere intellectuals (which requires balance). IMUO*, of course.

    * In My Uninformed Opinion.

  49. Dave_Geologist says:

    Re Emeritus disease/Emerititis

    Gosh, I haven’t read The Languages of Pao for decades. I know I did read it because I recognised the character names (Jack Vance does like his wacky character names 🙂 ).

    I was inspired to invest £2.50 in the Kindle version. Sounds pretty prescient:

    And then, inexorably the dominie would approach his Emeritus status: he would become less precise, more emotional; egocentricity would begin to triumph over the essential social accommodations; there would be outbursts of petulance, wrath, and a final megalomania—and then the Emeritus would disappear.

  50. Dave_Geologist says:

    liberals don’t get economics and spend too much time hating corporations.

    Do you actually know any liberals Ragnaar? I ask because I actually know a few and not one is like that. It’s not hard to find that caricature an right wing websites, but then they’re written by the sort of idiots who thought Pizzagate was true.

    You need to get out more. Broaden your social circle.

  51. Joshua says:

    Ragnaar –

    Was you 4:12 an answer to my questions?

  52. Ragnaar says:

    Joshua:

    The Atlantic, The top 9.9% of wealth or income story. I don’t care. The same argument applies to the United States versus Mexico or pick one of half the countries of the world. We will always find people less well off than us. If you don’t save them all, you’ve failed. I don’t want to play that game.

    How do you explain that many with expertise in that field disagree with his conclusions?

    I don’t know if he’s right. We can have a discussion of it without being vilified for having a discussion about it. Look for the parallels. I can’t believe how wrong the AGW skeptics are. They are out of bounds. Yet Trump won. But they are really, really wrong. President Trump.

    “…how does he control for the possibility that when are explicitly self*promotional they are judged negatively for that behavior, relative to how men are judged for that behavior? How does evolution explain that?”

    I had one psychology class in the 1980s. Men too evolved. How to explain the movie North Country starring a bunch of Minnesota rednecks. Sure we can be the sensitive white guy who never did that. And say Rangers are pretty stupid. And write textbooks mentioning that. Let’s throw in coal miners as well, who are about on par with Big Oil.

  53. Ragnaar says:

    “Freedom Fighters made JordanP famous, Ragnaar.”

    A thing creates its own counter-thing. Yin and Yang don’t cha know? Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. The thesis is not the one to rule them all. So we can scratch SJW > Nirvana and draw up a new map.

    The Three Little Pigs was a capitalist conspiracy. There are no brick houses. There are hungry wolves and less than three pigs as the other two could run faster.

    And the right is used to losing and has watched a lot of the David Carradine as Kung Fu. Redneck Dao is alive and well.

    Peterson has the style of a college prof. Which beats 99% of shallow SJWs striking poses in a selfie and liking a post about global warming.

  54. Willard says:

    > A thing creates its own counter-thing. Yin and Yang don’t cha know? Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

    Freedom Fighters are more or less occupying the intellectual landscape since at least Herbert Spencer, Ragnaar:

    Spencer, who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest,” thought about natural selection on a grand scale. Conceiving selection in pre-Darwinian terms — as a ruthless process, “red in tooth and claw” — he viewed human culture and human societies as progressing through fierce competition. Provided that policymakers do not take foolish steps to protect the weak, those people and those human achievements that are fittest — most beautiful, noble, wise, creative, virtuous, and so forth — will succeed in a fierce competition, so that, over time, humanity and its accomplishments will continually improve. Late 19th-century dynastic capitalists, especially the American “robber barons,” found this vision profoundly congenial. Their contemporary successors like it for much the same reasons, just as some adolescents discover an inspiring reinforcement of their self-image in the writings of Ayn Rand .

    https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/the-taint-of-social-darwinism/

    As for your motto, it can be traced back to the Godfather of German idealism, which by serendipity reifies Reason like Freedom Fighters usually do:

    This revolution in Marx’s thought was misunderstood by most Marxists. Some ignored it completely, and described it as Marx “coquetting [flirting] with the Hegelian mode of expression.” This is rather like physicists rejecting Einstein because he “coquetted with the quantum mechanics mode of expression” to solve the problem of the photovoltaic effect.

    Others confused Marx’s approach with the mumbo jumbo of “thesis, antithesis, synthesis.” This is not only virtually impossible to pronounce (you try saying it five times in a row without sounding like Daffy Duck), let alone apply, but also it belongs to Fichte, not to Hegel or Marx.

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/426249-karl-marx-capital-labor/

    Since Keen did not even bother to check that Marx’ thesis wasn’t on Hegel but on Greek economics, you might take his hawt take on Marx with a grain of salt.

  55. > Peterson has the style of a college prof. Which beats 99% of shallow SJWs

    Freedom Fighters usually don’t win on style points, Ragnaar. They’re more like UFC cage skirmishers. As far as style is concerned, my vote goes to NathanR, e.g.:

    Orwell flat-out says that anybody who evaluates the merits of socialist policies by the personal qualities of socialists themselves is an idiot. Peterson concludes that Orwell thought socialist policies was flawed because socialists themselves were bad people. I don’t think there is a way of reading Peterson other than as extremely stupid or extremely dishonest, but one can be charitable and assume he simply didn’t read the book that supposedly gave him his grand revelation about socialism.

    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/03/the-intellectual-we-deserve

    Seems that Massimo also liked that take-down.

    ***

    As for your “99%” number, it indicates a metric. TedN tried the same rhetorical trick yesterday:

    The concept of metric has a well-defined meaning. Counting fallacies is not a trivial matter. He should have owned his tribal figure of speech.

  56. Ragnaar says:

    Joshua:

    I’ll have my cake and eat it too. I recall Peterson said:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_distribution

    Old white guys, but a lot of their widows too, have all the money.

    I tried to explain: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Bejan#Constructal_law to my son adding to my tailored list of things he’ll never learn about while specializing in physics.

    As physics applies everywhere, nature is in everything. And we identify rules that describe both. Then we get a Nobel prize. But it was just there for us to find. Sometimes it’s not even there, but men are aholes so you get a prize anyways.

    In order to get rid of the the Pareto distributions, we have to at least poke nature in the chest with our finger. We could tell nature it’s wrong. Unfriend nature. Suppose we find a Pareto distribution in corals. Are some corals exploiting others?

  57. Many of the thinkers categorized as IDW ( and they kinda defy categorization other than they are all popular on YouTube ) are opposed to the so called post-modernist movement.

    This is relevant to global warming.

    Remember that because postmodernism tends to reject science because of the philosophical perspective that there is no objective truth. So they’d be of dubious intellectual value to the cause.

  58. Joshua says:

    Ragnaar –

    The following strike me as a couple of quick sketch, fundamental questions/issues – which I think would need to be addressed for me to “learn” something:

    It’s awfully easy to just-so-storify evolution in ways that fit one’s ideological predispositions.

    Evolution would likely favor flexibility w/r/t any tension between agreeableness and competitiveness. As such, evolution would likely favor both men and women who are easily able to apply competitiveness and agreeableness across contexts as contexts determines which is maximally optimal. There is no particular reason to think that evolution would bestow the traits favorably for one gender w/r/t the other, and, in fact, there is probably a reason to think that evolution would disfavor a process by which those attributes are disproportionately distributed across gender boundaries.

    There are competitive (or business) contexts where agreeableness is more advantageous than competitiveness. There are community/communal/family contexts where competitiveness is more advantageous than aggreeableness. Looking at agreeableness and competitiveness as opposite ends of a spectrum is likely creating a false dichotomy.

    The differences in means of men vs. women in agreeableness and competitiveness is likely smaller than the intragroup differences. Unless the relationship of those two frames is reconciled, it is likely more projection than reality to try to explain success in a business environment to an innate competitiveness vs. agreeableness ratio of men vs. women. W/o such a quantification, how would we know whether competitive women are punished for their competitiveness (in comparison to competitive men being rewarded for competitiveness) as opposed to held back by a lack of competitiveness?

    My guess is that backward engineering social constructs from evolution is rather like explaining behavior by weighing in on nature versus nurture. These questions, IMO, are rather like Rorschack tests – which tell you more about the person interpreting the ink blot than about the reality in and of itself. They are extremely complex. Perhaps they are unresolveable. And most importantly, what it is clear the advantages of gaming agendas with these questions, ultimately, what is important, is what is to be gained in doing so?

    I absolutely agree that these issues are worthy of discussion. Hiding under plausible deniability to advance an associated agenda isn’t useful.

  59. Joshua says:

    Ragnaar –

    I don’t care.

    Interesting. I do care. I don’t really find many fundamental differences across these issues. I hvae to wonder if this is an exception, or perhaps (I think more likely) a function of framing.

    The same argument applies to the United States versus Mexico or pick one of half the countries of the world. We will always find people less well off than us. If you don’t save them all, you’ve failed. I don’t want to play that game.

    This suggests a difference in framing. I don’t get that argument, at all, from the article. I don’t think the article is saying that if you don’t save them all, you’ve failed. Not in the least.

    I don’t know if he’s right.

    Except you were describing what you learned. I have trouble putting together that you don’t know that he’s write, with saying that he taught you something – given that he steadfastly avoids uncertainty in his approach to these issues. For me, such a lack of uncertainly might be very manly, but it isn’t confidence-inspiring.

    Men too evolved. How to explain the movie North Country starring a bunch of Minnesota rednecks. Sure we can be the sensitive white guy who never did that. And say Rangers are pretty stupid. And write textbooks mentioning that. Let’s throw in coal miners as well, who are about on par with Big Oil.

    I’m not picking up what you’re putting down, there. Like I’m always asking Willard, be careful not to overestimate my comprehension abilities.

  60. Ragnaar says:

    Whomever came up with thesis, antithesis, synthesis had the right idea. My source was my Russian Studies teacher back in 11th grade. When describing systems one can get a lot of mileage out of these three words.

    Thrust, drag, resultant. Not just thrust unless you are in space. But in the solar system you always have the sun’s mass. Thrust plus gravity equals, well we hope not drifting beyond reach of recovery.

    These three terms are close to if not a universal. Try ignoring them.

    Your objective description of robber barons may not give sufficient due to Nature. It sounds to me like anti-nature. A rebellion against nature. The replacement with something better than nature. Because robber barons. It may be nature of a different kind. Where the King is overthrown in another way. By a mass assault of peasants with pitchforks. These things were not inspired by Castro or Ho Chi Minh but stolen from nature and dressed up.

    I saw an educational program where an urban monkey king had the females. The loser monkeys worked together to overthrow the monkey king. But if we can wrap it up in stuff college profs say, it could be thought of as something else. Virtuous, that sounds nice.

    Of course we can’t leave out Rand. Complaint one: Teenage boys. Complaint two: Young college people exposed to not their parents and not having to work exposed to college profs with the most vocal being men. In this food fight, one sold the most books. Yes she had a few lose screws, as we all do.

    This may sound bleak. But do not wallow in despair. Understand the system before trying to fix it.

  61. Ragnaar says:

    Joshua;

    In the: Jordan Peterson | The Difference Between Men and Women

    video, he describes a 2 X 2 matrix. Some thing like accomplishments versus agreeableness. There are some trade offs between the two but it’s not ruled out that one can be both. But the tried and true model favors accomplishments.

    “So, from the perspective of biology, it would be very surprising if human males and females did not have distinct, hardwired behavioral tendencies. As someone who is both a biologist and (I like to think) a feminist, this puts me at odds with much of traditional feminist theory.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/04/13/a-feminist-biologist-discusses-gender-differences-in-the-animal-kingdom/#6c8f33aa19b5

    The above is not a one sided screed. She also makes some of Peterson’s points.

    In the quote above, she sets up questioning feminists using science. Also Peterson’s crime.

    You discuss an optimal balance of the two traits. That’s Darwinism, with failed values ending or weakening those with bad combinations. This optimal balance is being searched for by the United States, Australia, China and Mexico. Who will win? We will not get the answer from a treatise on philosophy or epistemology.

    While we can argue what the optimal balance is, it’s another thing to make an agreed upon value be the optimal balance. Yes would could criminalize values to that are too low or high, heck a democracy can do that.

    It’s like making wind and solar at level X being the optimal balance of a grid’s energy sources. It has one, taking into account many factors. The best shot at getting close is what the libertarians say it is.

    Let’s walk through the weeds. Money is the nature(the force of nature, its laws) of capitalism. You can take, print it, waste it, you’re the government. You can deny it. You are trying force the optimal balance when money just does that on its own. Denial is fun word. I like it. Thanks Dana.

  62. Joshua says:

    Actually, that was the wrong Forbes article. I was thinking of one I read a while back but can’t find now – the theme went something like this:

    https://piie.com/publications/wp/wp16-3.pdf

    In the quote above, she sets up questioning feminists using science. Also Peterson’s crime.

    I happen to think that science exists in context. I tend to be very distrustful of those who make claims that they and their group “use science” while others in other groups corrupt science. I don’t think that making those arguments is a “crime.” I just think it is usually quite problematic – often a reflection of a general tendency towards leveraging victimization to advance an agenda.

  63. Willard says:

    > Whomever came up with thesis, antithesis, synthesis had the right idea.

    Depends how far you’re willing to stretch it, Ragnaar. If you stretch it too far, you become an idealist. If you strech it even more, you can fall for historicism:

    Hegel’s philosophy of history is perhaps the most fully developed philosophical theory of history that attempts to discover meaning or direction in history (1824a, 1824b, 1857). Hegel regards history as an intelligible process moving towards a specific condition—the realization of human freedom. “The question at issue is therefore the ultimate end of mankind, the end which the spirit sets itself in the world” (1857: 63). Hegel incorporates a deeper historicism into his philosophical theories than his predecessors or successors. He regards the relationship between “objective” history and the subjective development of the individual consciousness (“spirit”) as an intimate one; this is a central thesis in his Phenomenology of Spirit (1807). And he views it to be a central task for philosophy to comprehend its place in the unfolding of history. “History is the process whereby the spirit discovers itself and its own concept” (1857: 62). Hegel constructs world history into a narrative of stages of human freedom, from the public freedom of the polis and the citizenship of the Roman Republic, to the individual freedom of the Protestant Reformation, to the civic freedom of the modern state.

    A more mundane version of the model is indistinguishable from an old storytelling technique that scientists are rediscovering:

    Opening a book about science communication by talking about Comedy Central’s hyper-vulgar South Park is likely to lose many readers. And among these readers may be the mature scientists who most need to rethink how they communicate. But Randy Olson’s new book, Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story, starts off exactly this way. Therefore, we’ll talk about his interesting insights into science communication.

    See what I just did there? And, but, therefore—ABT. Olson taps ABT as the winning formula for communicating science, but it’s not his invention; Olson writes that a documentary about the making of South Park hit him “like a bolt of lightning” and “changed [his] life.” In this documentary, South Park co-creator Trey Parker talks about how he edits South Park scripts:

    I sort of always call it the rule of replacing and‘s with either but’s or therefore… this happens, THEREFORE this happens, BUT this happens.

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-newton/and-but-therefore-randy-o_b_8813330.html

    South Park’s creators are known Freedom Fighters, or rather South Park Republicans:

    The term has come to have two definitions, with one being neutral and the other having more negative implications.

    A socially liberal/libertarian conservative. Basically a moderate libertarian, though many New Democrats come close to this as well.

    Someone who calls themselves libertarian but supports and votes for the Republican party because having low taxes is more important than having certain freedoms. It helps if the freedoms lost don’t affect them personally. Alternatively, someone who calls themselves “libertarian” or something similar to distance themselves from the Republican party but holds positions that are nearly indistinguishable from the GOP.

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/South_Park_Republicans

    Here could be one way to formulate the stance:

    [Thesis] And Republicans suck.
    [Antithesis] But Liberals suck harder.
    [Synthesis] Therefore we Freedom Fighters are still gonna vote GOP.

    Compare and contrast:

    [Thesis] And Skydragons are swivel-eyed loons.
    [Antithesis] But the IPCC is alarmist.
    [Synthesis] Therefore we’re luckwarm.

    As you can see, there’s narrative power behind these stances. But science ain’t about providing narratives. It’s about understanding the world. And the first thing you need to accept when trying to do science, as per StevenP said in his scientism piece, it’s that (a) reality is complex and (b) doing science is hard. So StevenP’s scientist crap isn’t scientific history – it’s feel-good storytelling. Therefore, two things obtain: scientists can still communicate their results using the ABD method; science isn’t the place for “thesis-antithesis-synthesis” types of explanations.

    All in all, it should be easy to see many affinities between climate contrarians and Freedom Fighters from the Dark Web.

  64. TTauriStellarBody says:

    Thinking on this I cant help feeling that this “movement” is following the well worn path of Desmond Morris, Yuval Harari and John Gray in selling 1 part academic analysis and 2 parts reader bias as a deep analysis of the world for £10.99 at WH Smiths.

  65. Ragnaar says:

    Joshua:

    We are searching for the optimal value of accomplishment versus agreeableness. So is China. What if they win? Are they exploiting women. Yes. Well let them win then. We can always say, we aren’t exploiting women.

    So we have competition and evil. And preferably they are the same thing. Hitler had victories and was evil while competing. And the answer delivered by Roosevelt was to make Rosy rivet. Rosy didn’t get to fly a Mustang into combat and was much too agreeable.

    Now our way of dealing with him was to compete. It may have been agreeable would have worked better. Especially when you consider the path that we went down. It was competition that is has rarely been seen. Many considered it the correct response.

    We spun up competition to such a high level and sprayed it at Germany and Japan. It is our history. And it involves a trait of nature. Protecting one’s pack.

    During that time, we first tried agreeable. And limited ourselves to mostly supplying England and the Russians. While the engines of competition started turning. During this period of our agreeableness, I suppose a few countries suffered. Then Japan missteped and attacked our pack. We might say, our agreeableness was exploited for a number a years.

  66. Willard says:

    > Thinking on this I cant help feeling that this “movement” is following the well worn path of Desmond Morris, Yuval Harari and John Gray in selling 1 part academic analysis and 2 parts reader bias as a deep analysis of the world for £10.99 at WH Smiths.

    Thanks for the pointers, TT:

    If Pinker and Harari debated each other, I’ve no doubt that Pinker would win. Because Harari argues like a self-doubting intellectual, whilst Pinker argues like a ruthless debate club president. His certainty is at times annoying, as is his preachy style. You want an argument but feel like you’re getting a sermon. I doubt that he’s actually an ideologue (in real life); but he sure does write like one. Be that as it may, I suspect that these men agree on most matters and want the same things of the future. If Pinker paints a rosy picture of human progress and its achievements in the hope that both will continue, Harari sketches a dystopian future in the hopes that doing so will prevent it. Like all prophets, he prophesies to prevent the prophecy, not to predict it.

    http://quillette.com/2018/03/18/wizard-prophet-steven-pinker-yuval-noah-harari/

  67. Willard says:

    > Remember that because postmodernism tends to reject science because of the philosophical perspective that there is no objective truth.

    Remember that postmodernism isn’t a movement, and that Teddie falls for Freedom Fighters’ caricature of it. Postmodernism is about, wait for it, modernity, not truth per se. It’s quite possible to be critical of the ideals of modernity while holding an objective conception of truth. It’s also quite possible to endorse (some of) these ideals and reject an objective conception of truth. For the latter, JordanP would be a case in point:

    So Jordan’s rambling boils down to this:

    (1) The truth of a statement or process can only be adjudicated with regards to its efficiency in attaining its aim.

    (2) Any goal directed action has an internal ethic embedded in it.

    (3) If what you do works, then it’s true enough.

    (4) The proposition that the universe is best conceptualized as subatomic particles maybe true enough to generate a hydrogen bomb but could lack pragmatism (and thus be wrong in some Darwinian sense) if it led to the demise or our specie.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/jordan-peterson-speaks-the-truth/#comment-105811

    This transcendental conception of truth isn’t objective in the usual sense of the word, i.e. independent from our own cognitive apparatus.

    For a portable POMO, see:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/portable-pomo/

  68. Ragnaar says:

    Joshua:
    Why Women Make Different Leaders Than Men

    Okay, it may work out as she says. And the better product will include more female decision making. Things are changing and evolving. Probably more so in the United States.

    And we’ll be able to measure that success by counting money. Where are we on this changing in regards to women curve? Ahead of or behind Europe?

  69. Steven Mosher says:

    “Whomever came up with thesis, antithesis, synthesis had the right idea. ”

    Some people misuderstand this and think the synthesis is BETWEEN two camps.
    It’s not. Its not an average of the two camps.
    It stands above and subsumes.

    So this

    :[Thesis] And Republicans suck.
    [Antithesis] But Liberals suck harder.
    [Synthesis] Therefore we Freedom Fighters are still gonna vote GOP.

    is NOT aufheben

    A good example is Einstein & Newton: Einstein sublates newton.

    Lots of folks dont get Hegel

  70. Willard says:

    > Its not an average of the two camp

    Neither is voting ROP.

    In any event:

    Hegel never used the term himself. It originated with Johann Fichte.

    […]

    According to Walter Kaufmann (1966), although the triad is often thought to form part of an analysis of historical and philosophical progress called the Hegelian dialectic, the assumption is erroneous:

    […]

    Gustav E. Mueller (1958) concurs that Hegel was not a proponent of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, and clarifies what the concept of dialectic might have meant in Hegel’s thought.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thesis,_antithesis,_synthesis#History_of_the_idea

    ***

    > Lots of folks dont get Hegel

    Yvon Gauthier interprets Hegel’s idea of a dialectics in terms of dynamic logic. Not sure he succeeds. Him neither. Definitely not the same idea as Fichte’s.

  71. Steven Mosher says:

    yes hegel never used the term… hence the original German— Auf heben
    normal translation is Sublation

    meaning ( auf is a separable pre fix ) Lift Up. So physically if you raise something up,
    like move a book from a lower place to a higher place, it can also mean to store away
    or preserve

    So applied to ideas you are lifting an idea or original thesis to a higher place. As applied to ideas, the orginal thesis and antithesis are preserved or still “present” in some way in the sublation.

    Hmm Master Slave Dialectic might be a good example and most pertinent to the discussion of freedom

  72. Steven Mosher says:

    “Remember that postmodernism isn’t a movement, and that Teddie falls for Freedom Fighters’ caricature of it. Postmodernism is about, wait for it, modernity, not truth per se.”

    Yup.

    One ( overly simplistic way ) to view the intellectual history is that.

    A) the Enlightment starts with the death of tradition ( church and monarch) as the foundation
    of things. and a search for a replacement authorities — broadly “humanism” with several varities:
    theistic ( personal relation with god), Reason, or science. When the church and the monarch
    die, that launches a search for a replacement authority some englightenment thinkers hang
    on to theism ( see des cartes) some suggest Reason, and some follow science/empiricism as an authority.

    B) Modernism ( say starting with Neitzsche ) is going to be attacks on all those substitute
    authorities.. neitzsche with the death of God, Freud with idea that our actions are governed
    by our unconscious thought rather than concious reasoning, and ( this is harder) perhaps Quine on Empiricsim ( hmm maybe willard can offer some precursers ) Godel on Math.

    C) Post modernism. Ya we get the modernist attacks on the enlightenment. What happens next?
    For some post modernist tactics you are simply showing how a modernist response to the englightenment really reinscribes the englightment, so its just modernism done better.
    hmm the best way to describe POMO is that it problematizes. Willard had a great quote somewhere

  73. Dave_Geologist says:

    Remember that because postmodernism tends to reject science because of the philosophical perspective that there is no objective truth. So they’d be of dubious intellectual value to the cause.

    Eddie, you have to get your head round the reality that the world is made up of more than two sides. Not just yours and everyone you disagree with. Lumping post-modernists, scientists, AGW-non-deniers, librulz and I presume commies and socialists together into one homogeneous group is just plain dumb.

    In fact, you have more in common with postmodernists (those I have read – Willard will tell me they’re not all like that or I’ve misunderstood 🙂 ) than the average scientist does. For example, you both reject reality and evidence when it comes to scientific truths you don’t like. You think your opinion is worth the same as that of specialists with decades in the field. So do philosophy, lit-crit or sociology background post-modernists when they venture into relativity or quantum physics (I’m referring here to the stuff Sokal took the mickey out of, not history or philosophy of science). And the IDWs and their acolytes are masters and mistresses of fake news and false beliefs. Look at Ragnaar: judging by his posts, he live in a fantasy world of imaginary enemies with imaginary designs on his real and imaginary freedoms. There are a few people out their who actually hold the caricatured beliefs he assigns to “liberals”, but they’re a tiny number of cranks hardly anyone listens to.

    Are you familiar with l’affaire Sokal? He’s a Marxist physicist, and admits to no common ground with post-modernists. Explain that.

  74. Dave_Geologist says:

    “As someone who is both a biologist and (I like to think) a feminist, this puts me at odds with much of traditional feminist theory”
    From Jordan Peterson’s Wiki:

    Jordan Bernt Peterson (born June 12, 1962) is a Canadian clinical psychologist, public intellectual, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.

    So, not a biologist then. But maybe he started out as a biologist? Or as an M.D with undergraduate biology training? Nope, political science and English literature. But as you’d expect from a psychologist, he does have sufficient understanding of audience psychology to play the argument-from-authority card. And a low enough opinion of his target audience to think he can get away with it. Interesting.

    I do wonder about the feminist claim too. His Wiki page has only one mention of feminism, and that’s in the context of Peterson critiquing it. Is he a feminist in the same way a certain political scientist is an Honest Broker. and a certain hurricane expert Not An Advocate?

  75. Dave_Geologist says:

    Ragnaar, in my experience when someone says “That’s Darwinism” in a societal discussion, several corollaries automatically follow (think of it as Darwin’s version of Godwin’s Law).

    1) The writer has never read “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life”. Or, more appropriately in this case, “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex”. “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” may also be appropriate.

    2) As a corollary, the writer hasn’t a clue about Darwin or his ideas. In a Darwin exam, he’d score a negative mark out of ten, because the falsehoods and misconceptions he carries around exceed the sum of his knowledge on the subject.

    3) As a further corollary, he knows even less about the modern evolutionary synthesis. Even if you’ve read Darwin (I recommend it: he’s surprisingly readable and probably didn’t say what you think he said), he’s of most interest for the historical perspective. He wrote 150 years ago and Science Moves On.

  76. Dave_Geologist says:

    Like all prophets, he prophesies to prevent the prophecy, not to predict it.

    Unless you’re Paul Atreides of course, in which case you feel bound to act out the prophesy, even though you know it will lead to your own blindness and death or exile, and to catastrophic interplanetary wars and massacres.

  77. Marco says:

    Dave, that quote regarding biologist and feminist didn’t come from Jordan Peterson.

  78. Yes, that quote seems to be from this article and seems to be from someone called Suzanne Sadedin.

  79. Dave_Geologist says:

    OK, my mistake. Thanks for pointing it out Marco.

    Feel free to snip that comment, ATTP or Willard. Or leave it up as evidence of my error.

  80. Having read the article and watched the video “She also makes some of Peterson’s points.” seems a somewhat nuanced account! ;o)

    The interesting aspect for me was the contrast between argument by evidence and by anecdote (although it was made clear it was an hypothesis).

  81. Willard says:

    > Are you familiar with l’affaire Sokal? He’s a Marxist physicist, and admits to no common ground with post-modernists. Explain that.

    Easy. He strawmans it. To see how, looking at how Freedom Fighters portray it may help. Take Bo & Ben’s crap:

    In this article, we will accept Pinker’s broad description of the Enlightenment, which Kant best articulated in a single sentence: Enlightenment “…is the freedom to make public use of one’s reason at every point.”

    This characterization is enlightening.

    First, it comes from ImmanuelK, whom is supposed to be the end point of modernity. This bypasses all historical difficulties of tracing back how came to be crystalized into a very specific text ideas expressed through by a variety of competing thinkers across very far apart from one another, both in time and space. This abstracts the conceptual analysis required to establish a unity of method, of attitude, and of thought.

    Second, it is moot at best. The second part is circular: explaining reason by the freedom to make public use of it at every point doesn’t tell us what reason is. The first part is unclear: what does using one’s reason “at every point” even mean? The only certain thing is that Bo & Ben appreciate the emphasis on freedom, which they interpret as individual freedom. They kinda forgot the very fat caveat at the end:

    But only the man who is himself enlightened, who is not afraid of shadows, and who commands at the same time a well disciplined and numerous army as guarantor of public peace–only he can say what [the sovereign of] a free state cannot dare to say: “Argue as much as you like, and about what you like, but obey!”. Thus we observe here as elsewhere in human affairs, in which almost everything is paradoxical, a surprising and unexpected course of events: a large degree of civic freedom appears to be of advantage to the intellectual freedom of the people, yet at the same time it establishes insurmountable barriers. A lesser degree of civic freedom, however, creates room to let that free spirit expand to the limits of its capacity Nature, then, has carefully cultivated the seed within the hard core–namely the urge for and the vocation of free thought. And this free thought gradually reacts back on the modes of thought of the people, and men become more and more capable of acting in freedom. At last free thought acts even on the fundamentals of government and the state finds it agreeable to treat man, who is now more than a machine, in accord with his dignity.

    http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/CCREAD/etscc/kant.html

    The only man who is absolutely enlightened in that model is the Enlightened King. It would be hard for the bootstrapping of the enlightenment to obtain without one. No wonder authoritarians like that. Yet this is not a prescription for anarchy – for every other individuals, freedom of thought still needs to submit to the rule of law. Social conventions are also required for freedom of thought to obtain.

    Third, it doesn’t really capture the main idea, which is the famous Sapere Aude. I’ll return to that later. My time is up for now.

  82. Ragnaar says:

    “Hegel’s philosophy of history is perhaps the most fully developed philosophical theory of history that attempts to discover meaning or direction in history.”

    So we have story telling as better communication. Tell a story. I often do that. My client has a sucky story. I tell them a story, preferably involving me. Contrast to, here are the numbers, pay what you owe. Reevaluate your life. You did X and Y, therefore pay a lot of money.

    Hegel was smart. The goal or what we are evolving to is certainly subject to interpretation. A libertarian will put their own spin on it, and Greenpeace another. We settled the United States. The rules that emerged were, own guns, invent stuff like wheels, pray to God. Hang bad people. And because we followed those rules, here we are, as we are. We did not randomly turn out to live as hunter gatherers. If we had, we would be Canadians by now and care about some wedding.

    I know a bit of what South Park is. I’ve missed whatever I might have learned from the show. So the South Park Republicans sounds like the libertarian story. No one wants us. We smoke too much pot. We want private roads. Open borders too. But this is Okay. Can’t spend my whole life fighting the man. You or somebody does describe the political middle. We aren’t monsters. We exist in some banished place where there be dragons. In the middle of a barbell distribution. Neither yin or yang but a lot of high school boys. Some of us have doing this for awhile. Immune to all criticism by now. Kind of like being the United States. Everybody hates us. After awhile you don’t care. But the transition zone between yin and yang, that was the recent election.

    Your first 3 parter above:
    That Republicans suck yes is the boring shallow status quo and when spoken by youth puts me to sleep and has me wondering what’s wrong with this country?
    The anti-thesis is the liberals overplaying their hand and stepping on the gas as beating up on Republicans is fun and seems to work. And they’re so stupid we can say just about anything and get 100s of thousands of likes.
    The synthesis is not Freedom Fighters. The aren’t that many of them and they just happened to be located in the middle void along with a bunch of dope smoking libertarians who actually may have no more intelligence than weasel figuring where the food is.

    It is the two wings create the void by being the two wings or ends of a barbell distribution. The middle void must exist. Nature whispered in my ear and told me so. Middle void denial as a long history with the occasional challenger. Okay it might exist, but you just stole the voters that would have voted for Gore so Bush won. So it does exist but it shouldn’t because Nader made Gore lose. Plus they smoke too much pot.

    So the thesis is the 2 party system and much is done to screw down the anti-thesis of the middle so it doesn’t combine with the thesis and give us a new synthesis. But when it happens anyways, people lose their minds about what nature does.

    It’s been a quite interesting discussion Willard.

  83. Willard says:

    > The middle void must exist.

    It exists more and more:

    Source: http://www.people-press.org/2014/06/12/political-polarization-in-the-american-public/

    ***

    > We aren’t monsters.

    At least Freedom Fighters are people, not just animals:

    Speaking at the White House press briefing on Thursday afternoon, Sanders said: “I don’t think the term [teh Donald] used is strong enough.” She added: “Frankly I think the term animal doesn’t go far enough and I think the president should continue to use his platform and everything he can do under the law to stop these types of horrible, horrible, disgusting people.”

    At the meeting about sanctuary cities on Wednesday, [teh Donald] said of members of the gang: “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/17/trump-animals-ms-13-sarah-sanders-white-house-response

  84. Ragnaar says:

    “Some people misunderstand this and think the synthesis is BETWEEN two camps.
    It’s not. Its not an average of the two camps.”

    And why our politics seems less than satisfactory. It is the average of the two parties when we want something better. The better banishes the alternatives to the extent it is more powerful.

    The way to maintain the synthesis is to feed it a weak anti-thesis. The skeptics have mostly fed weak anti-thesis (whatever the plural is) to the thesis. The thesis must meet a worthy challenger to lose to it.

    SkS devotes itself to proving the anti-thesis (whatever the plural is) are weak. At some level of arguing as they do, you may violate the rules of nature. If you get carried away.

    When arguing against Curry while many Republicans support her, the theme is often weak anti-thesis. GCMs are strong. LC18 is weak. Who said so? Anti-thesis judgers.

    But no matter what the judgers say, the 3 part flow chart discussed, will win.

  85. Ragnaar says:

    “Remember that because postmodernism tends to reject science because of the philosophical perspective that there is no objective truth. So they’d be of dubious intellectual value to the cause.”

    I like it.

    Do you mean to say that after we’ve thrown tons of science at the issue, our reliable allies are a bunch of people whose motivation is how they feel about the climate? They certainly can’t understand what the hell’s going on.

    Now to continue to reach people that feel before they feel something else. I don’t want to do that. I am better at shoveling science onto skeptics. But we need the feelers. Put someone on that will you?

  86. Willard says:

  87. BBD says:

    SkS devotes itself to proving the anti-thesis (whatever the plural is) are weak. At some level of arguing as they do, you may violate the rules of nature. If you get carried away.

    Can I haz an example of SkS getting carried away and violating the rules of nature?

  88. Willard says:

    Psychologists say the darnednest things:

    That profile pic looks vaguely familiar.

  89. Joshua says:

  90. Ragnaar says:

    Enforced monogamy:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/too-many-men/?utm_term=.797f0f7c86a6

    He was addressing a nut job that may by described as having problems dealing with the world as it is.

    And say 98% of people rule this solution out. Even though recommended monogamy occurred not too long ago. And is still recommended by some.

    Now we really think he wants monogamy police or is he saying, look at where we are compared to where we used to be?

    “My favorite part is the deliberate attempt to ignore the anthropological meaning of “enforced monogamy” (meaning non-genetically conditioned monogamy, i.e. socially-promoted monogamy) instead substituting “government-enforced monogamy” for the meaning.” – Ben Shapiro

    And what we have I am going to say is outrage according to Google, but not a discussion. We don’t care about the violence the question related to, we care that Peterson must go. Regulated to an ash heap would work.

  91. Willard says:

    Since you like BenS point, Ragnaar, perhaps you may help since he hasn’t responded:

  92. Ragnaar says:

    “Can I haz an example of SkS getting carried away and violating the rules of nature?”

    I don’t have any. I was arguing for the strength and universalness of: Thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis. As being part of nature as evolution is. I was pointing out what their role appears to be to me. A thesis defender. And I get a zeal vibe from them.

    Here’s an example of a failed thesis or one that met a powerful anti-thesis. Father Knows Best. Hard to find a lot of that still around. But it had/has its defenders.

  93. Joshua says:

    I’m just now realizing that I just don’t really get the full impact of what Peterson says unless I read a transcript. Watching a video just doesn’t cut it. Reading a transcript gives you enough time to really study it and appreciate his brilliance.

    “It makes sense that a witch lives in a swamp. Yeah,” he says. “Why?”

    It’s a hard one.

    “Right. That’s right. You don’t know. It’s because those things hang together at a very deep level. Right. Yeah. And it makes sense that an old king lives in a desiccated tower.”

    But witches don’t exist, and they don’t live in swamps, I say.

    Yeah, they do. They do exist. They just don’t exist the way you think they exist. They certainly exist. You may say well dragons don’t exist. It’s, like, yes they do — the category predator and the category dragon are the same category. It absolutely exists. It’s a superordinate category. It exists absolutely more than anything else. In fact, it really exists. What exists is not obvious. You say, ‘Well, there’s no such thing as witches.’ Yeah, I know what you mean, but that isn’t what you think when you go see a movie about them. You can’t help but fall into these categories. There’s no escape from them.”

    Good god, that’s spectacular. So deep and so profound. I learned so much!

  94. Joshua says:

    Reading that article….. and thinking about Peterson’s popularity….

    Oy.

  95. Dave_Geologist says:

    But witches don’t exist, and they don’t live in swamps, I say.

    Yeah, they do. They do exist. They just don’t exist the way you think they exist. They certainly exist. You may say well dragons don’t exist. It’s, like, yes they do — the category predator and the category dragon are the same category. It absolutely exists.

    Ahhh… how sweet. Jordan P is a closet post-modernist 🙂 . All you need to do is to swap in the word “signifier”. (Cue corrective education from Willard 😉 ).

  96. Joshua says:

    Dave.

    It hangs together.

    At a very deep level, doncha know.

  97. Joshua says:

    I’ve posted this before, but just to prove that Sam does have some usefullness:

  98. Willard says:

    > ll you need to do is to swap in the word “signifier”.

    “Signifier” (or signifiant) comes from Ferdinand de Saussure, a Swiss guy who wrote a book in 1916 that presents language as a formal system. He’s usually revered among structuralists. One of the earlier works associated with postmodernism is JacquesD’s Grammatology, which is a critique of linguistic structuralism.

    Just like science, philosophy is both complex and hard to do.

  99. Ragnaar says:

    “Teh Scholar gives me studies on frogs, drosophilia, and mites.”

    Some birds.

    Upon further reflection, I am married. The married people, please report back on you spouses opinion of enforced monogamy. The theory of liberation is nice. In practice, well.

  100. Chris Colose says:

    I thought the thread would fade away but now that another robotic piece has come out profiling Peterson, it’s worth dissecting Ben Shapiro’s point, along with other things in the article.

    A few points:

    1) Jordan speaks with, ironically, a rather postmodern structure. His language is often in the “not even wrong” category, it is unfalsifiable in principle, obfuscates, and is usually unclear. We do not need appeals to chaos dragons and elves and witches and the like.
    2) Still, anyone who thinks JP thinks dragons exist is not interested in an honest or nuanced conversation about the mindset he is operating with (it really doesn’t matter for now if it makes sense). They can either choose to ignore him or engage deeply with the mythology and psychology that he trying to make contact with, but they shouldn’t half *** it. Personally, I have no interest in chaos dragons and choose to ignore this entire foundation of his messaging.

    3) Anyone who has done their homework and the extra credit should probably agree with Ben’s interpretation of what he suggests Jordan meant concerning monogamy (again, I am focused on intent here and not the validity of it). Unfortunately, Jordan was probably unclear and we are left with the incomplete context of the quote, from the author, whom I don’t think wrote this piece in an ethical way and obviously injected her own worldview into the interpretation. That is fine, but it is causing me to re-think my position on the role of journalist subjectivity in these sorts of articles (I was reminded of a conversation Gavin had on this recently https://twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/990993568855707651).

    However, Jordan is almost always trying to think about problems from a systems perspective, the game theory of any particular proposal and whether that is stable across time and space, evolutionary mechanisms, and millions-of-year old principles of social structures. This is why he talks about lobsters, primitive organisms, etc. as well as author sell lists and platinum record sellers and scientific publications in the context of hierarchies, e.g., see his answer to this question (1:42:49, please, it’s just a few minutes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=qT_YSPxxFJk&feature=youtu.be&t=6167 where he talks about his timescale for biological thinking, and btw expresses disagreement with the emphasis on Enlightenment in the context of modern value structures). He’s obviously not interested in the government taking over mating choices or whether monogamy/polygamy is the fashionable social choice of the time. He’s interested in the emergence of these structures.

    Again, *you have the ability* to say that this is a sub-optimal lens to see the world through, or that he is arriving at incorrect conclusions through that lens, or you can ignore him altogether. But *you do not have the ability* to say that he is trying to look at the the world through a 2018-popular lens focused on male entitlement or women giving up their bodies for the good of the state, and then use his statements as evidence of his badness. That just not in the cards if you are trying to proceed honestly. It just isn’t.

    4) I realize the timing of Jordan’s statements relative to the political landscape. Again, my position is that it is completely reasonable to examine current norms and the evolution of phenomena around sex, dating, marriage, relationships, etc. in western society. and others.

    As to whether Jordan is correct from *his* perspective, no idea… I’m not an expert, and I suspect most of Twitter is not either, but for an anthropological citation, I have seen this linked and discussed e.g., http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1589/657.short

    Now, *to be clear,* it is also perfectly valid to look at this entire problem from a modern lens focused on equity, issues of male entitlement, consent, mutual partner agency, female empowerment and choice, violence as being a product of the perpetrator and not the fault of his environment, etc. THESE ARE NOT WRONG. In fact, the emphasis on these is not just valuable, but perfectly in line with advancing a universal liberal and a just ethic. These discussions are almost certainly beneficial not just for the individual but for the state.

    But it is not the lens some people are trying to think about the problem of e.g., male violence across cultures. Yes, I get it, the science may be brutal and difficult to grapple with. It’s not a justification, it’s an attempt at observation operating under a premise structure that humans are also animals (no, not in the Trump sense of the term) with millions of years of evolutionary dynamics with which we ought to consider when also thinking about robust liberal values. Bret Weinstein’s podcast (that I linked to above) with Heather Heying argues we need to confront rather than censor these perspectives, not for justifications, but so that we can use reason and liberal values to confront them and dampen the worst of the consequences.

    Frankly, this should not be controversial. And, yes, this is what people mean when they say narratives are being controlled by people who may have great intentions.

    5) For anyone who has spent 20 minutes on this whole IDW thing. Since it’s silly.

    I know I’m in the minority position here, but I’m not defending everything or even most things they argue. I’m arguing they have value and that you may not know anything about the angles they are approaching these problems from, or even that those angles existed, unless you spend a lot of time thinking about it. You *may* be surprised to pick up just one “big picture” topic and approach it from a new conceptual model, which in itself might be worth wading through the weeds of chaos dragons.

    I hope to at least convince the agnostics on that. And also, why these superficial “Peterson is just appealing to struggling dudebros” hot takes are not just wrong, but intellectually dishonest and so far on a different planet from what serious people are talking about. It’s also a communication issue- a neutral person talking about ‘incels’ from an evolutionary perspective can sound a lot like a really bad person from the typical 2018 set of perspectives people start from.

    6) Since I still have everyone here, perhaps treat yourself to Jordan arguing against right wing philosophy in a way that I find concise and compelling https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=qT_YSPxxFJk&feature=youtu.be&t=6167 (1:15:25). Can we all agree on this answer?

  101. Dave_Geologist says:

    I did look up the de Saussure reference Willard, and noted the reference to semiotics. I was thinking of papers where it appeared to be used more as a buzz-word or as a way of signifying your membership of the club. Or, per Humpty-Dumpty, as an excuse for making words mean whatever we want them to mean. We disagree about how common that is in the literature 🙂 .

  102. Joshua says:

    Chris –

    Still, anyone who thinks JP thinks dragons exist is not interested in an honest or nuanced conversation about the mindset he is operating with.

    I don’t think it’s particularly important as to whether Peterson think that dragons exist. What matters, IMO, is that he (IMO) sells the concept of their existence to push his ideogical agenda under the cover of shallow and shiny mysticism.

    I look at Peterson as rather a form of a faith healer. Faith healers can, indeed, promote healing. And I’m actually reluctant to pass judgement in their act of selling healing through a medium of faith, except to the extent that their act of selling causes harm. I see Peterson as promoting a harmful form of reactionary ideology. He doesn’t create it, and he doesn’t force anyone to accept his reactionary doctrine, but that doesn’t mean that his game isn’t pernicious or malignant.

    Personally, I have no interest in chaos dragons and choose to ignore this entire foundation of his messaging.

    I ignore it from a perspective of understanding his ideology, but I don’t ignore the societal impact of his malignant product. I wouldn’t want to overstate his impact (the magnitude of his impact is a product of the times, not something for which he is fully responsible or which generates its own momentum), but neither would I dismiss it merely by saying that he doesn’t really believe in dragons. His belief or lack thereof is largely irrelevant to the impact of his agenda-pushing.

  103. Joshua says:

    Chris –

    Unfortunately, Jordan was probably unclear and we are left with the incomplete context of the quote, from the author, whom I don’t think wrote this piece in an ethical way and obviously injected her own worldview into the interpretation. That is fine, but it is causing me to re-think my position on the role of journalist subjectivity in these sorts of articles (I was reminded of a conversation Gavin had on this recently

    I will agree that a journalist has a responsibility (to the best of their ability) to clarify ambiguity w/r/t an interviewee’s comments, rather than exploit that ambiguity to push their own ideological agenda. That said, IMO (after quite a bit of time listening to what Jordan has to say) I think its important that Jordan regularly exploits ambiguity in what he says, as well as in what others say, in a manner of bad faith to pursue his own agenda.

    I don’t say that as an “he did it first/too” type of justification – but merely to point out that the miscommunication around what Jordan is or isn’t arguing has a bilateral attribution. You can’t engage in good faith with someone who engages in bad faith. One of Jordan’s preferred modes of engagement (exclusively with those who he holds in ideological contempt) is to proffer ambiguity (or more it’s close relative, plausible deniability) to paint a picture of himself and his ideological tribemates as victims.

    IMO, he steadfastly exploits ambiguity to distort scale (magnifying left wing intolerance and victim-playing and diminishing right wing intolerance and victim-playing) in a self-serving manner.

    A journalist has a responsibility to clarify ambiguity and Jordan has a responsibility to clarify his ambiguity. His failure to do so is a feature, not a bug, IMO. As a matter of practice, I am a believer in writer, or speaker, responsible prose – especially when misunderstanding is easily foreseeable (when I look at the exchange in question, I think it is clear that Jordan recognizes the context of ambiguity and fails to clarify – a deliberate choice, made to serve an aim).

  104. Joshua says:

    Chris –

    I could go on a lot more, but out of pity to people who might be reading. I’ll respond on just one more point.

    Frankly, this should not be controversial. And, yes, this is what people mean when they say narratives are being controlled by people who may have great intentions.

    Control of the narrative should be evaluated in full context, not is some alarmist fashion that doesn’t ground the forces of control in relative context.

  105. Willard says:

    Speaking of responsible prose, Junior strikes again:

    I think this qualifies as being sent to clean up one’s conceptual room.

  106. Chris,
    It’s going to be interesting to see this evolves. I read the dragon comment, and the stuff about witches, and the comment about enforced monogamy, and it seemed inconsistent and bizarre. There may well be deeper meanings to this that are being missed, but I can see why people are picking on these things. On thing that might happen is that Peterson (and others) will modify how they say things so what they’re saying becomes clearer and it also become harder to criticise. On the other hand, this might part of the whole narrative. Say obscure things that could have deeper meanings, but could also be interpreted as being slightly nuts. Then, when criticised, you can claim that you’re a deep thinker and that your critics aren’t engaging with what you’re really saying.

    Okay, that sounds really cynical, so I will try to give try spend more time thinking about what Peterson (and others) are really saying.

  107. Ragnaar says:

    Linked above:

    “…see his answer to this question (1:42:49, please, it’s just a few minutes! https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=qT_YSPxxFJk&feature=youtu.be&t=6167 where he talks about his timescale for biological thinking…”

    This helps my clarify what I was trying to say. I said evolution when the better word was biological. Why do two birds seem to attempt to form a sexual relation and in some cases care for their offspring? What drives them do that we they could just goof off all their lives?

    Most people or perhaps I am projecting ask, What’s wrong with me? There are number of easy answers that probably don’t help. We are blending the biological with the current. And the current is changing faster, at least it seems that way.

    It occurred to me in the segment above when he mentioned these famous writers from the Enlightenment, they were just discovering what has always been there. That came from further back. That some things were communicated and codified.

    I had noticed his forays into the Bible and religion without much understanding or further investigation. We can agree, we’ve swept out the Bible. But thinking back to Hegel, the Synthesis still contains part of the Thesis. But what led to the Bible? The same things that got us to now. So we have:

    Pre-Bible
    Bible
    Now

    And some people took offense to the Bible, with some good reasons. So we got rid of that. We threw anti-thesis’s at it and still do. But within biology there is still the reason we went with the Bible in the first place.

    And when you attack someone’s Bible, they take it personally. But in most cases there’s a lot of good in them, if biology is good.

    With our fast moving world, we supposedly see these iterations speeding up. And the old reliable biology can or not be weakened to irrelevance by many iterations or numerous anti-thesis’s being thrown against it. We certainly can proclaim biology is dead. And hear about in on the news. And read about that in studies. Man over biology.

  108. Willard says:

    As promised earlier, here’s a short comment on Sapere Aude:

    Sapere aude is the Latin phrase meaning “Dare to know”; and also is loosely translated as “Dare to be wise”, or even more loosely as “Dare to think for yourself!” Originally used in the First Book of Letters (20 BCE), by the Roman poet Horace, the phrase Sapere aude became associated with the Age of Enlightenment, during the 17th and 18th centuries, after Immanuel Kant used it in the essay, “Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?” (1784). As a philosopher, Kant claimed the phrase Sapere aude as the motto for the entire period of the Enlightenment, and used it to develop his theories of the application of Reason in the public sphere of human affairs.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapere_aude

    Seen under that light, the Enlightenment project revolves around what would could call epistemic courage. This would look like a value. These do not:

    In Enlightenment Now, Pinker describes the values of the Enlightenment as reason, science, humanism, and progress.

    https://areomagazine.com/2018/02/25/enlightenment-contested/

    Let’s go over this list slowly. Is reason a value? No. Science. Neither. Humanism? Not exactly. It needs unpacking. Progress? Come on – nobody is against progress, except perhaps when caricatured:

    Source: https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/excelsior

    My One Rule for a good Philosophical Life would be this – clean up your conceptual room.

    ***

    Since I spent an evening exchanging with a researcher who wanted to study liberal bias by showing a graph where Blacks were profiled and a morning on a silly argument about low status males, I’ll leave it at that for now, except to say that if it’s possible to find any good out of such a baroque book as the Bible, paying due diligence can always give something back. Do read Patrick Stokes’ thought experiment, however:

  109. Ragnaar says:

    So what’s the deal with Peterson and Commies?

    For fun, reference of demonic forces casting a little light on witches.

    So the question is asked, do you want to help the working man or do you just hate the rich?

    So a point he makes is the virtue signaling of help the working class or whomever gives us a mask to do the real emotional kick, tearing down the rich.

    Quick crude example. The Minnesota government favors solar panels through tax incentives. The virtue signal. The MN AG now can attack the rich oil companies.

  110. Chris Colose says:

    ATTP-

    Yes, Peterson has to take a substantial fraction of fault for being annoyingly opaque.

    Fundamentally, part of my interest in him comes from his discussions of ideology- I think he is a poor spokesperson for a good message that is poorly placed in time, owing to the convergence point of intense polarization in every aspect of society that we have asymptoted to. The current political landscape as well as the very core of discourse around almost any complex socio-political subject is toxic and dominated by ideology that the people speaking have absolutely no clue as to the history of, nor the outcomes that must follow as a consequence of following the game theory through. So, I am sympathetic to the rise of a few figures who aren’t just saying “we need to talk to the other side more,” but are trying to chip away at why the current landscape of “sides” is inadequate.

  111. Dave_Geologist says:

    JP’s reply linked to by Chris C

    Curious. He claims that it’s the Judaeo-Christian tradition which gives us respect for things like fairness and rights, not the Enlightenment which came later. He then goes off into experiments which show rats and monkeys punishing cheating or other bad behaviour (which monkeys at least do, even at cost to themselves), and how he thinks like a biologist in terms of millions of years not hundreds.

    Is it just me or does that not shoot his own argument in the foot? IOW such evolved social behaviours are inherent in social animals and nothing to do with intellectual concepts of right or wrong, morality or immorality. We wrote the Bible (at least the Golden Rule parts, not the genocide, ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and incest parts) because we’re social animals, not because of some special Judaeo-Christian morality. And the excuse for the Golden-Rule-breaking bad behaviour in the Old Testament is that it is a written-down oral history so describes good and bad together, which can be read as a morality tale. Surely other religious and ethnic traditions have their own versions of the Golden Rule? In which case Occam’s Razor says it’s a consequence of humans being a social animal, not the product of a particular strain of moral and intellectual thought in a particular place and time.

    Is he just privileging his own tribe? And if so, as an intellectual, why can;’t he see it.

  112. Dave_Geologist says:

    And re the puzzle of monogamy

    http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1589/657.short

    A quick dig shows that the 85% prevalence is among modern cultures and past civilisations, the latter presumably based on texts like the Bible. So that begs a similar question to my previous post, but in the opposite direction (cue someone pointing out that I’m misusing the term “begging the question” 😉 ). These are all cultures with languages, organisation, hierarchies etc. Probably all from the last 10,000 years of Modern Humans’ c. 300,000 existence on the planet. Do we know whether what we might call pre-civilisation humans were monogamous or polygamous?

    IOW is the sequence pre-civilisation polygamy > early civilisation polygamy/most cultures polygamy > Judaeo-Christian monogamy (sorta but chiefs have special privileges) > modern civilisation polygamy (with religious exceptions)? Or is the first step pre-civilisation monogamy and everything subsequent is cultural? So a genetic predisposition which evolved on the savanna has been over-ridden as we developed more complex societies? Which could of course still be seen as evolved behaviour, but of memes rather than genes. As we reach a certain level of organisation, the competitive edge and therefore success and growth of a society depends less on the possession of a few outstanding individuals who are highly rewarded (the top hunter, shaman, battle leader…) and more on a large cohort of males who all need to be given a stake in society, including the opportunity to father children (farmers, footsoldiers, salarymen, factory workers, shelf-stackers, van-drivers…).

    An argument I’ve seen advanced for monogamy in early Modern Humans is our very weak sexual dimorphism. Compare chimpanzees, baboons or hippos (males much bigger with large canines) and deer (ditto with antlers) with songbirds, raptors or swans (pretty similar, female often a bit larger which may be explained by nesting endurance requirements not dominance). We’re more like the latter than the former.

    And please, no-one say that of that lot, chimpanzees are our nearest relative so they should be our model. Bonobos are much, much more closely related to chimps than we are. And yet they have completely different social behaviour:

    Males also associate with females for rank acquisition because females dominate the social environment. Females that have strong bonds keep males away from food and often attack males, biting off their fingers and toes (de Waal 1997). If a male is to achieve alpha status in a bonobo group, he must be accepted by the alpha female.

    I realise this is a Just-So Story which barely rises to the level of a scientific hypothesis, let alone a theory. But are JP’s arguments any better and does he know the difference? Or are we not supposed to take his arguments seriously, but just be aware of them on a know-thine-enemy basis?

  113. Dave_Geologist says:

    That should of course have been > modern civilisation monogamy 😦

  114. Dave_Geologist says:

    Why do two birds seem to attempt to form a sexual relation and in some cases care for their offspring? What drives them do that we they could just goof off all their lives?

    Their selfish genes Ragnaar. Read Dawkins. TL;DR version: the ancient birds who didn’t have offspring … uhhh… didn’t have offspring. The set of birds descended from ancestors who didn’t have offspring is the empty set.

    if biology is good

    It’s not. It’s amoral.

  115. Dave_Geologist says:

    So a point he makes is the virtue signaling of help the working class or whomever gives us a mask to do the real emotional kick, tearing down the rich.

    Still fighting those imaginary enemies Ragnaar. I had an imaginary friend when I was a kid. Is it similar?

    The MN AG now can attack the rich oil companies.

    Did she? Attack the oil companies? Documentation please. And from a real source, not the GWPF.

  116. Steven Mosher says:

    “I don’t block anyone for differences of opinion, but I do block for lack of ability to converse in a civil & adult manner.”

    except she doesnt. Here is the thing

    Say X1… Xn are on side A

    Say Y1…. Yn is on side B

    If an Xn observes a Yn being uncivil toward a fellow Xn, then they block
    If an Xn observes a Xn being uncivil toward a Yn, not so much

    In general. you will of course find that some Xs when given a role of moderating Xs and Ys will perform their duty with honor.

  117. Steven Mosher says:

    ““Right. That’s right. You don’t know. It’s because those things hang together at a very deep level. Right. Yeah. And it makes sense that an old king lives in a desiccated tower.”

    But witches don’t exist, and they don’t live in swamps, I say.

    Yeah, they do. They do exist. They just don’t exist the way you think they exist. They certainly exist. You may say well dragons don’t exist. It’s, like, yes they do — the category predator and the category dragon are the same category. It absolutely exists. It’s a superordinate category. It exists absolutely more than anything else. In fact, it really exists. What exists is not obvious. You say, ‘Well, there’s no such thing as witches.’ Yeah, I know what you mean, but that isn’t what you think when you go see a movie about them. You can’t help but fall into these categories. There’s no escape from them.”

    Standard Jungian. Nothing strange in any of this. if you try to misunderstand it, of course it’s crazy.
    But standard Jungian, standard Campbell. wildly successful stuff.

  118. Steven Mosher says:

    “if biology is good”

    and some point after humans destroy their own habitat, cockroaches will conclude that massive gray matter had no adaptive value in the grand scheme of things.

  119. Steven Mosher says:

    ATTP, the original (campbell) is better than peterson

    hmm why it matters, he’s a little better here

  120. izen says:

    @-Dave_Geologist
    “IOW is the sequence pre-civilisation polygamy > early civilisation polygamy/most cultures polygamy > Judaeo-Christian monogamy (sorta but chiefs have special privileges) > modern civilisation monogamy (with religious exceptions)?”

    Human societies seem to have used most variations on polygamy and polyandry. Until recently monogamy was unusual. When life is nasty, brutish and short, along with a high maternal death rate during delivery, it was more likely than not that a person would have more than one partner because of that morbidity.
    When it became much more likely (civil order, health care) that a monogamous relationship could be life-long, divorce laws became more liberal.

    Paternity tests indicate a significant level of defection, and the Canterbury Tales and Decameron indicate that such failures to live up to the rule are probably not a recent innovation.

    The odd thing about JP calling for enforced monogamy is that it echos old arguments from biological determinism that attributed that ethos to female biological requirements. They need a reliable source of food and protection during the looonnngg childhood of offspring.
    I have encountered biological determinists who argue that the male interest is in maximum polygamy, with support from the gonad/genital anatomy and function that in humans is somewhere between the monogamous Gorilla and the adaptions seen in very promiscuous apes.

    JP claims to be rooting his ideas in deep time and foundational biology.
    But without much apparent insight or knowledge about the historical variants of his approach. I keep thinking that the logical next step for JP is advocating eugenics on racial grounds.

  121. Steven,

    Standard Jungian. Nothing strange in any of this. if you try to misunderstand it, of course it’s crazy.
    But standard Jungian, standard Campbell. wildly successful stuff.

    Can you give a brief description of what “standard Jungian” means?

  122. Joshua says:

    I keep thinking that the logical next step for JP is advocating eugenics on racial grounds.

    He would never do so explicitly.

  123. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I would imagine this is an example:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/transcending-the-past/201605/mothers-witches-and-the-power-archetypes

    The problem (IMO) is that when Peterson says something like “witches are real,” it asserts with complete confidence that (1) Jungian archetypes are an objective reality, (2) their existences reflects the “truth” of evolution and, (3) the implications of such an archetype to modern society are explicit, clear, and certain (and just happen to reinforce his political ideology).

    I think that’s crazy, even though I don’t think that Peterson is say that “witches exist” in a more literal interpretation (e.g., there are women in black hats running around turning men into frogs).

  124. Joshua says:

    I should add, I think it is crazy even though I find the concept of Jungian archetypes to be very useful.

  125. Steven Mosher says:

    Here ATTP. not a bad summary

  126. Joshua,
    Okay, thanks, that is somewhat clearer.

    When I see this kind of stuff I imagine what would happen if physicists went around refusing to explain their terminology and expecting the general public to understand their terminology. My own view is that a key part of public communication is saying things in such a way that people without expert knowledge can understand what it is you’re trying to communicate. Expecting people to understand the framework in which you’re communicating is, in my view, a poor way to communicate publicly.

  127. Steven,
    Thanks, I’ll watch that.

  128. Willard says:

    > Standard Jungian.

    The existence of myths is more than Jungian:

    Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries — not by definition in terms of experience, but simply as irreducible posits comparable, epistemologically, to the gods of Homer.

    Positing building blocks for our stories in our minds should not be that controversial. JordanP’s sleight of hand is to infer causal efficacy from their existence. That witches exist does not tell how (or even that) they make our deep psyche fears the wisdom of women ostracized from human societies. The existence of that deep psyche is more problematic than the existence of witches for the validity of psychoanalysis. Here again, an ounce of philosophical culture can do wonders.

    In that spirit, have a tidbit from Michael Dummett:

  129. Steven,

    except she doesnt. Here is the thing

    I think there was an implicit “in discussions with me”. I block far less than I used to, but if I do it is primarily if someone is rude to me, not simply because someone is uncivil on Twitter. I do, however, find that I tend to withdraw from discussions if it becomes uncivil, irrespective of who is being uncivil.

  130. Steven Mosher says:

    A worthwhile bit.

  131. Dave_Geologist says:

    izen

    Human societies seem to have used most variations on polygamy and polyandry. Until recently monogamy was unusual. When life is nasty, brutish and short, along with a high maternal death rate during delivery, it was more likely than not that a person would have more than one partner because of that morbidity.

    Which is what the publications say. About the past 10 ka. I was querying before that. Frequent death from injury, disease or predation doesn’t rule out serial monogamy though. Or we could have been like bonobos, with a ménage à considérablement plus de trois.

    Bonobos live in fission-fusion social groups where a large community of individuals separate into smaller groups, or parties, of variable size and composition. These “unit-groups” range from lone individuals to groups of 20 or more bonobos (Badrian et al. 1984; White 1988, 1996). These groups are patrilineal and the unit group is multi-male/multi-female, though the ratio of males to females is variable.

    But

    …females dominate the social environment … If a male is to achieve alpha status in a bonobo group, he must be accepted by the alpha female.

    So patrilineal but matriarchal. Interestingly, the opposite of what is (used to be?) thought of as the system practised by the Picts of N and E Scotland. Matrilineal but patriarchal. The chief or king was boss but he became chief or king by marrying the eldest daughter of the previous chief or king. Sons left home, daughters stayed. The just-so explanation is that (a) you know who your mother is but not who your father is (at least pre-DNA) and (b) it ensures strong leadership. You pick the leader when he’s mature and has shown his mettle, not when he’s born.

    And yes, cheating. but DNA evidence shows that pair-bonded birds cheat too. A lot. And not just the males, obviously (because they’re pretty-much obligate-monogamous so have virtually no incels).

    JP claims to be rooting his ideas in deep time and foundational biology.

    Claims to be. But given his undergraduate background is in political science and English literature, his biology will have been limited to some pre-Med for his psychiatry qualifications, and his knowledge of deep time is certainly less than mine. Yes he may be self-taught, but given that he is very obviously a Player in the culture wars, the risk is enormous that he has filtered what he read through the lens of motivated reasoning. And yes a psychologist of all people should know about motivated reasoning, but “Physician: Heal Thyself” comes to mind.

  132. izen says:

    @-Joshua
    “He would never do so explicitly.”

    Of course not.
    Wrap it up in the brown person having a culture they are unwilling to abandon, or the unquestioned assuption that ‘our’ culture is optimal and would derive no benefit from adapting to a changing social environment.
    Authoritarian claptrap, justified by appeals to the status quo as optimaly utile.

    https://www.sott.net/article/376530-Jordan-Peterson-in-the-Netherlands-Immigrants-Culture-and-Identity-Politics
    “When we insist that the immigrants who come to our countries, to become beneficiaries of the game that we’re playing, follow the rules, we are not merely saying; ‘we have a culture, you have a culture, you’re in our culture, so you should follow our rules’, what we’re saying instead is: ‘We have inherited a culture and it seems to work.”

  133. Joshua says:

    . Expecting people to understand the framework in which you’re communicating is, in my view, a poor way to communicate publicly.

    I don’t think that Peterson has such an expectation IMO, he exploits ambiguity. It’s a feature, not a bug. Misinterpretation can easily be leveraged into victimhood.

  134. Willard says:

    FWIW, I have yet to block someone who is rude to me. And I only muted one ClimateBall thread ever. But then my communication objectives vary from a science communicator.

    The only utility I found for blocking is ads, e.g. Elsevier.

    ***

    DaveG,

    I’ve had a quick look at that paper yesterday, and I don’t think the authors have their causal arrows properly aligned:

    [I]t is worth speculating that the spread of normative monogamy, which represents a form of egalitarianism, may have helped create the conditions for the emergence of democracy and political equality at all levels of government. Within the anthropological record, there is a statistical linkage between democratic institutions and normative monogamy. Pushing this point, these authors argue that dissipating the pool of unmarried males weakens despots, as it reduces their ability to find soldiers or henchman. Reduced crime would also weaken despots’ claims to be all that stands between ordinary citizens and chaos.

    http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/367/1589/657.short

    Freedom Fighters don’t always study normative monogamy, but when they do they kinda miss its main point – this is yet another form of egalitarism that saves everyone energy and time, and is better for GRRRRROWTH. Also, they tend to forget that monogamy spreads when warring societies cede to merchant ones.

    You should take a look at how they interpret the Chinese data:

  135. Dave_Geologist says:

    I heard a radio show a few years ago where a couple of Jungians debated a couple of Freudians on the relative merits of the approaches and the insights of their founders.

    After listening I was left with the strong belief that both Emperors were naked.

  136. izen says:

    @-W
    “Positing building blocks for our stories in our minds should not be that controversial.”

    What would appear to be a paradigm of archytypes, symbols that can reveal the deep structure of the psyche, are very difficult to reconcile with Jungian ideas of a collective shared deep unconscious structure.

    Music, deep structural variation is rife until cultural miscegenation.

  137. Joshua says:

    izen –

    Wrap it up in the brown person having a culture they are unwilling to abandon,

    Don’t forget about “far left” totalitarian campus radicals (of the sort who “control the narrative,” of course.)

  138. Joshua says:

    Started to watch a bit of that video that Steven posted at 3:49

    It would by interesting to read a syntactic-like analysis that quantifies the frequency with which he equates his opinion with fact.

    An attribute that strikes me as extremely unscientific.

    On the other hand, it must be quite a burden to be the smartest man in the universe.

  139. Joshua says:

    So now we find out who is really responsible for the recent Texas shooting.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/texas-shooting-santa-fe-girl-rejected-dimitrios-pagourtzis-dead-latest-a8360216.html

    Eventually, we’re going to have to break down this whole #metoo thingy and get back to the historical precedent where women can’t reject men. Thanks god we have someone like Peterson to restore us to the proper evolutionary path:

    MAGA!

  140. Willard says:

    > What would appear to be a paradigm of archytypes, symbols that can reveal the deep structure of the psyche, are very difficult to reconcile with Jungian ideas of a collective shared deep unconscious structure.

    The size of these building blocks seems to matter to settle that question, izen. If you’re looking for are universal components not unlike Chomsky’s universal grammar, then archetypes across cultures could emerge as attractors in the combinatory symbolic field. I’m using “attractor” simply to nudge Petersonians that chaos may not need to be tamed after all. Also note that Chomsky acknowledges that his project is in line with the rationalist tradition.

    An alternative to archetypes would be cognitive models like Lakoff’s, e.g.:

    If you think about it, JordanP impersonates a strict dad that is cool enough not to frighten less conservative Freedom Fighters.

  141. izen says:

    @-W
    “If you’re looking for are universal components not unlike Chomsky’s universal grammar, then archetypes across cultures could emerge as attractors in the combinatory symbolic field.”

    The point I was trying to make, perhaps too concisely, (it’s a bit OT) was there are NOT universal archetypes that emerge from the underlying universal small components in Music.
    The notes of a scale are USUALLY in whole number ratios, but beyond that the number of notes in a scale and the form and structure of music that has emerged in different cultures is deeply disparate.

    It also evolves, changing radically over time, European music abandoned a scale with perfect ratios ~1700s. And encountering the music of a different culture can generate vigorous new hybrids.

    I am not a fan of Chomsky’s ‘Universal Grammar’ ideas. I gather they have failed to be detectable in the wild, despite ad hoc modification.
    A cognitive competence for copying and learning any structured sound stream could be genetically fixed by the Baldwin effect if it has social advantage to the individual.
    The rest is cultural exposure.

  142. izen says:

    @-Joshua
    “On the other hand, it must be quite a burden to be the smartest man in the universe.”

    It’s his own fault.
    The audience his message attracts ensures he is always the smartest person in the room…

  143. Willard says:

    > The point I was trying to make, perhaps too concisely, (it’s a bit OT) was there are NOT universal archetypes that emerge from the underlying universal small components in Music.

    Agreed, izen. I’m not a fan of computationalism in general, so you can guess what I think about universal grammar. Yet Chomsky’s programme is still a thing, so I cannot exclude it:

    https://waset.org/conference/2018/03/prague/ICCUG

    Some do, but the debate is too arcane to be of any relevance for now. Which is a Good Thing as I do not have the interest to look into these things anymore. There are so many other more fascinating stuff. Take this marvelous Strict Dad take:

  144. izen says:

    @-W
    “Take this marvelous Strict Dad take:”

    Given his ‘clean your room advice’ and the male/female, order/chaos, Apollonian/Dionysian archetypes he is so keen on I made a guess about what his university office or private home might look like.

    And then went looking for pictures of him in such a space to confirm or refute my suspicion.

    It’s another dog that didn’t bark….

  145. Willard says:

    About this chaos thing:

    “You know you can say, ‘Well isn’t it unfortunate that chaos is represented by the feminine’ — well, it might be unfortunate, but it doesn’t matter because that is how it’s represented. It’s been represented like that forever. And there are reasons for it. You can’t change it. It’s not possible. This is underneath everything. If you change those basic categories, people wouldn’t be human anymore. They’d be something else. They’d be transhuman or something. We wouldn’t be able to talk to these new creatures.”

    Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/style/jordan-peterson-12-rules-for-life.html

    One quick look at Wikipedia might have saved Buckos their thirty bucks:

    Greek χάος means “emptiness, vast void, chasm, abyss”, from the verb χαίνω, “gape, be wide open, etc.”, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵheh2n-, cognate to Old English geanian, “to gape”, whence English yawn. It may also mean space, the expanse of air, and the nether abyss, infinite darkness. Pherecydes of Syros (fl. 6th century BC) interprets chaos as water, like something formless which can be differentiated

    […]

    In Hesiod, Chaos was the first thing to exist: “at first Chaos came to be” (or was) “but next” (possibly out of Chaos) came Gaia, Tartarus, and Eros (elsewhere the son of Aphrodite).

    […]

    The motif of Chaoskampf (German: [ˈkaːɔsˌkampf], “struggle against chaos”) is ubiquitous in myth and legend, depicting a battle of a culture hero deity with a chaos monster, often in the shape of a serpent or dragon.

    […]

    Chaos has been linked with the term tohu wa-bohu of Genesis 1:2. The term may refer to a state of non-being prior to creation or to a formless state. In the Book of Genesis, the spirit of God is moving upon the face of the waters, and the earliest state of the universe is like a “watery chaos”.

    […]

    Ramon Llull (1232–1315) wrote a Liber Chaos, in which he identifies Chaos as the primal form or matter created by God.

    […]

    Use of chaos in the derived sense of “complete disorder or confusion” first appears in Elizabethan Early Modern English, originally implying satirical exaggeration.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_(mythology)

    The association between primordial water and feminity is not that clear. JordanP also mentions that dragons and predators belong to the same category. I’m not so sure about that.

    Gaston Bachelard analyzed the archetypes of the elements. In his book on water, there’s not one single instance of “chaos.” Linking women to water is quite easy. Linking dreams and women not that difficult: Adam found Eve after a dream. It’s the connection between “feminine” water and chaos that is far from being clear. There are many ways that water expresses itself for the Greeks. The division into four elements is not universal either. Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, for instance, contains fire, air, water, earth, and emptiness, which is a better candidate for chaos than water.

    In any event, since chaos is what was there before anything came to be divided into a multiplicity, it’s quite clear that JordanP can only appeal to the opposition between the Sun and the Moon, which is, symbols that came to emerge later than he seems to presume.

    ***

    To return to the values of modernity, here’s a meme that seems to settle everything:

    How can memes settle anything, you may ask? Because they evoke archetypes. One good way to start daring to know might very well be to stop whining.

  146. paulski0 says:

    “Take this marvelous Strict Dad take:”

  147. Joshua says:

    Chris –

    I note you didn’t respond to my earlier comments.

    Nonetheless, I like the following clip as an example of what I consider to be evidence that you seriously misread Peterson:

    Looking aside from the editing of the clip from a Jordan supporter.

    The question that Jordan raises is, obviously, quite important.

    But Jordan, in his style of earnest curiosity and concwen, fails to address the obvious role he plays in exacerbating polarization (just look at the editing and the title of the clip), and implies (hiding behind plausible deniability) the responsibility that Trump supporters (and Trump) have for contributinf to the hostility polarization.

    As far as I’ve seen, despite his concerns (as expressed in that video), Peterson never actually addresses his impact on polarization (although I have sewn him pay, what I consider to be, lip service to the problem).

    This pattern, IMO, is rather characteristic of Peterson, and is one of the reasons why I don’t think he engages in good faith (despite the good faith veneer).

    And btw, Alex Wagner’s counter-question (once she clarified), IMO, also points to Jordan’s bad faith. He is very much concerned about how he and his supporters are being offended, even as he shows great concern about too much concern (among others) about being offended. This double-standard towards victimhood and political correctness is, IMO, commonplace with Jordan and his supporters. That isn’t to say that the questions of whether political correctness (or identity politics) go too far aren’t reasonable issues to interrogate – merely that to seriously interrogate those issues you need to be careful to avoid making them tribal identify markers that only exacerbate polarization. IMO, Jordan isn’t the least bit careful in that sense. In fact, IMO, he is deliberately incautious.

  148. izen says:

    @-W
    Found an early JP lecturing on the meaning of music.
    Starts with 3mins of stating that what music expresses cannot be expressed in words.
    Then discusses the inability of computor AI to translate natural language or play Chess at Grandmaster level (it’s an old lecture). Then puts up pictures of surrealists and opitical illusions. Lots of stuff about the difficulties of perception, nothing about music.

    At the end of 50 (!!) mins returns to music for ~2 mins, saying that it is complex patterns in time (Bach) and what it does express is real.
    So he painted a picture to represent this.

    I finally found JP in his personal space in a webcast Q&A.
    It is worse than I thought.
    The Archetypal halo he is wearing is his ‘music’ painting.

  149. Steven Mosher says:

    “I think there was an implicit “in discussions with me”

    funny attp.
    on one hand you chide jordan for being unclear and argue that physicicts would always be clear in public comms and then you defend katherine by adding stuff to her text …asserting an implicit meaning. did you see what you did?

    wrt jordan. there are times when you want to be deliberately unclear, deliberately difficult…and obscure. where you want your audience struggling with understanding. where that is part of the point. but, a lot of the confusion in jordans text is un necessary. he is a c student.

  150. izen says:

    @-SM
    “…but, a lot of the confusion in jordans text is un necessary. he is a c student.”

    A lot more is essential obfuscation and self-aggrandising ‘scientific’ camouflage for the normative conventionality of his sermon.

  151. Willard says:

    Lobsterians may appreciate this thread:

  152. Willard says:

    As for terminologists:

  153. Willard says:

    JordanP responds. I have questions:

  154. Steven Mosher says:

    iz3n

    “A lot more is essential obfuscation and self-aggrandising ‘scientific’ camouflage for the normative conventionality of his sermon.”

    that’s unclear. could you be more specific with cites and quotes and detailed readings?

    of course not. you are a D student

  155. Chris Colose says:

    (ATTP, sorry if multiple comments are going through, it is behaving oddly for me)

  156. SM sez: “wrt jordan. there are times when you want to be deliberately unclear, deliberately difficult…and obscure. “

    carry on

  157. “I remember Michael Shermer from the teevee during his RAAM efforts …
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_Across_America
    An exercise in sleep deprivation. Stupid. I mean really stoopit.”

    That’s the least dangerous part of the race. Many RAAM riders have been killed by motorists over the years. Yet, it’s interesting reading the accounts of Shermer and Stuart Stephens (doping in an Outside article) on these endurance rides. My toe in the waters was a double century.

  158. Steven,

    on one hand you chide jordan for being unclear and argue that physicicts would always be clear in public comms and then you defend katherine by adding stuff to her text …asserting an implicit meaning. did you see what you did?

    I can see the point you’re making, but I also tend to take the limitations of Twitter into account.

    Chris,

    (ATTP, sorry if multiple comments are going through, it is behaving oddly for me)

    Apart from this one, I don’t see any other new ones.

  159. izen says:

    @-SM
    “that’s unclear. could you be more specific with cites and quotes and detailed readings?”

    I can show you an example of his almost total avoidance of the subject he purports to be discussing, substituting crass and corny scientific woo about the unreliability of perception.

    Music and the Patterns of Mind and World

    @-“of course not. you are a D student”

    D was a high point, E and F were more common.

  160. izen says:

    @-SM
    Exhibit 2
    2017 Maps of Meaning 10: Genesis and the Buddha
    (I am not going to provide links, others may find any exposure to his nonsense as toxic as I do.)

    In 125 minutes there is a 12 min section on a folk tale about the early life of the Buddha and how it conforms to JPs ‘Hero’ archetype.
    Absolutely NO engagement with the religious concepts or meaning of his teachings.
    Probably because they directly contradict the deontology he is trying to sell.

  161. Steven Mosher says:

    i would say this. skeptics sometimes take advantage of simplified versions of tge science to attack it. the greenhouse metaphor is good example. my advice to them.. read the primary science.

  162. Steven Mosher says:

    izen

    “I can show you an example of his almost total avoidance of the subject he purports to be discussing, substituting crass and corny scientific woo about the unreliability of perception.”

    sorry. you are still not making a case, you are merely asserting.

  163. izen says:

    @-SM
    “sorry. you are still not making a case, you are merely asserting.”

    Copying the JP mode of argument….

  164. Dave_Geologist says:

    Willard, on the JP Strict Dad/crypto-fascist post. I claim two Tabloid Bingo points.

    1) Scare Quotes

    2) A Question to Which the Answer is No

    Interestingly, in Altemeyer terms, that makes him look like an Authoritarian Follower, not an Authoritarian Leader. IOW he likes to enforce rules on others, but doesn’t want to make up his own rules. He wants to have them handed to him (presumably from the Bible) or to emerge from some sort of Natural Order he has deduced (with all the pitfalls of Motivated Reasoning in his path). Followership is not a good look in an intellectual, public or otherwise, IMHO.

  165. izen says:

    @-Dave_G
    “Followership is not a good look in an intellectual, public or otherwise, IMHO.”

    But obligatory in a theological apologist.

  166. Dave_Geologist says:

    Re cause and effect Willard, I presume you refer to this: “statistical linkage between democratic institutions and normative monogamy”. Agreed the arrow of causality is incredibly hard to determine in social sciences. I’ve said on other threads that social scientists and economists don’t get it wrong most of the time because they’re dumb. It’s because they’re dealing with inconsistent and unpredictable human feelings and behaviour. Atoms and molecules, and even rocks and stars, are much, much more tractable because they obey physical laws.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, as you may have guessed from the fact that I proposed conflicting explanations in two successive posts 🙂 . Which is reflective of the fact that it’s hard to get beyond correlations and Just-So Stories. I didn’t give a just-so story for my early monogamy explanation, but Herlihy (referenced by White) does. That pre-humans, early modern humans and primitive hunter-gatherers were monogamous (presumably serially so given high attrition rates) because the combination of sparse resources and low technology meant they had to live in small, widely separated family groups. Only when they developed the technology to feed a village (by hunting with better weapons and/or farming) could you get a large enough population in one place to support polygamy. One man, however talented, couldn’t get or make enough stuff to support his many wives and children, so he needed a pool of subordinate males to get or make stuff for him.

    Obviously there are natural parallels with other primates, wolves etc. Anthropomorphising, subordinate males hang around in the hope of one day becoming the alpha male, meantime hoping for a sneaky encounter with an unfaithful female. Deferred breeding is a better option than being on your own in the wild and dying before you get to breed. Game theory would predict female unfaithfulness where the new alpha male comes from within the tribe. That gives the junior male an additional incentive beyond social pressure to support what may be his child, and provides an incentive against infanticide when the new male takes over.

    As money and other currencies become available, incentives other than future breeding can be offered. Such as Roman soldiers being given a salary to buy luxuries, support a family in the Provinces or visit a brothel, and a plot of land when their enlistment is over. I take it your objection is to the arrow from dissipating the pool of unmarried males to reducing the despot’s ability to find soldiers or henchmen? I would agree. Why would the despot cut his own throat by promoting monogamy among the wider population? Better to enforce a rule that ordinary men can’t marry until they’re 40, or own land, have served 20 years in the army, or whatever. And modern monogamous society has seen no shortage of despots supported by married henchman. Perhaps the development of a currency is a better explanation? When all you could offer subordinate males was food, shelter and maybe a chance to have children late in life, but none of the above were available outside the village, it was a poor game but still the only game in town. Once money comes along, you don’t have to hold out the tantalising prospect of future breeding to keep the troops in line. They can be gratified now. You’re still the richest guy in town and the only one who can afford to maintain multiple wives.

  167. Dave_Geologist says:

    It’s another dog that didn’t bark….
    I did find a handful of what may be office photos izen. Interesting. Tidy books and symmetrical plant in the window ticks the orderliness box. Commie-murals-on-the wall is presumably because he needs to be constantly reminded who the enemy is (even though that enemy has been dead almost three decades 😉 ). Maybe he’s like Monkton and thinks the fifth-columnists are still manipulating librulz behind the scenes, even though their masters are long gone. Ethnographic stuff behind his desk so visitors can’t help seeing it. Some sort of argument-from-authority I presume. Hey, look at MY anthropological chops!

    And most obviously, even with “office” in the search the vast majority are him-him-him, front-and-centre. Very Me-Me-Me. Arrogance, insecurity or both? See, anyone can be a pop-psychologist 😉 ).

    And this

    https://imgur.com/gallery/g52LQ

    OMG he has patients. I pity them and their families.

  168. Dave_Geologist says:

    Feminine water Willard? Not in Latin
    😉

    Proper words for names of mountains, rivers, and months of the year are normally masculine while names of cities, countries, and trees are normally feminine.

  169. Dave_Geologist says:

    Those on the music sub-thread 🙂 (Willard and izen) may find this of interest:

    Evolution of music by public choice

    They evolved music from randomness using a genetic algorithm and public votes on the likeability of various members of the various generations. And reached an evolutionarily stable equilibrium (usually ESS in the literature, but I don’t like Strategy because it implies intent), which was significantly below the likeability fitness peak. They concluded that it was not because they had exhausted the available genetic variation (a common explanation: a variation on the theme of why-evolution-is-a-tinkerer-not-a-designer), but because there was a trade-off between likeability and transmission fidelity: a variation on the-perfect-being-the-enemy-of-the-good. Evolution doesn’t seek or reach perfection. Good enough is good enough. They emphasised the pre-recording need for tunes to be passed on, initially by memorising, later by sheet music. Both error-prone. I wonder if there is also something about the inability to sing or hum along that makes stuff which is beautiful but complicated just too much trouble.

    They used a Western audience. It would be interesting to see what other cultures came up with. A way to truly test for universality (with the caveat that 99% of the globe has heard Western music and K-Pop, regardless of culture or ethnicity). It would also be interesting to see whether the explosion of digital recording, phone playback etc. releases modern music from the fidelity shackles. Maybe it already has.

  170. Dave_Geologist says:

    Further on the musical theme (with an archetype sting in the tail).

    As a Scot, I’m intrigued by the idea that the evolution of music by subconscious listener choice might explain bagpipes (why we love them and the rest of the world who didn’t grow up with them seems to hate them). I’m no music expert and can’t sing for peanuts, let alone play an instrument. So this is purely from reading and with zero expertise. But here goes, let’s make a fool of myself 🙂 .

    Because of their design, Scottish bagpipes have to be played in a particular Mixolydian mode, which is apparently unusual nowadays. I presume a piano, for example, can be played in any mode, and there are a number of popular songs in Modern Mixolydian. All quite distinctive ones to my ear, e.g. “Hey Jude” and the Star Trek theme 🙂 . I expect the artists consciously set out to write something different and distinctive. The Mixolydian mode was also used in medieval church music (the modern mode is based on that one, so perhaps that is where the pop writers got their inspiration from, rather than from music theory 😉 ). and is used today in Indian music (maybe one reason bagpipes remained popular in post-colonial India and Pakistan?).

    Irish bagpipes apparently play in a non-Mixolydian mode, and Mel Gibson reputedly chose them for the background music in Braveheart 😦 , because they sounded more pleasing to the ear than the Scottish ones he tried first. Not To My Ear Mel!

    Anyway, TL;DR version is that they’re not just loud, but played in an unusual key so perhaps the unfamiliarity is jarring if you’ve not heard them from childhood. Perhaps someone can help me out here: do you dislike them just because they’re loud, or also because they sound harsh, discordant or out of tune?

    Anyway, archetypes. If there were fundamental human musical archetypes you should all like bagpipes. Or Scots should hate them. So, evidence to support Willard’s and izen’s contention that there are none. Bagpipes are also a neat example because of the Irish ones being different. In most of the recently published genetic maps, Scots and Irish come out very similar. Sometimes indistinguishable. Much more similar than (say) east and west Germans. So you can’t appeal to some genetic twist. And the cultures are similar, with a lengthy shared history. Same pre-English language: although the spellings are very different, Irish and Scots Gaelic are mutually intelligible, and I’ve been told a Donegal Irish speaker can understand a West Highland Gaelic speaker more easily than he can a Waterford Irish speaker. Common governance at times (Dalriada came out on top in Scotland, annexing the east and south to become Alba, but lost its extensive possessions in northern Ireland; Robert the Bruce’s brother made a serious attempt at becoming King of Ireland). Lots of to-ing and fro-ing over the centuries, not just recent Irish to Scotland and previous Scots-Irish to Ireland (only 12 miles apart by sea, with lots of sheltered inlets and islands to facilitate coastal sailing). So cultural and linguistic similarities would also argue for similarity not difference.

    What’s left? Perhaps what Stephen Jay Gould called contingency. At some point hundreds of years ago, lost in the mists of time, someone made a decision and Scotland and Ireland diverged. Tastes changed, either because people liked the sound of what they heard, or just got used to it and transmission down the generations was self-perpetuating. A cultural butterfly wing, if you like.

    I’m tempted to say Scotland changed and came up with something new, but I guess it’s more likely, given the medieval origins of the modern Mixolydian mode, that Scotland stayed in the past and Ireland was more tied into the pre-17th century European trends izen referred to. Also, serious bagpipe music (pibrochs played at the Mod, not pipe band competitions) is very rigid and formalised. Resistant to change of any sort, so a change of playable keys would be huge.

  171. Chris Colose says:

    Hi Joshua

    Admittedly, I’m having a hard time following all the comments here, and I’m also struggling to speak the typical language of Peterson support/criticism.

    First, as a general starting point, I cannot make sense of things like “I’m with/against the Intellectual Dark Web.” I’d rather say “Sam Harris has a better perspective on truth than Peterson (truth to him is pragmatic, not objective), and here is why, and Bret Weinstein raises interesting points about the evolutionary underpinnings of X that may or may not be able to be incorporated into 2018 society.” That seems more productive (incidentally, the fact that many people can have those discussions at length, as these comments show, is sufficient evidence for me that some on the “IDW” are worth hearing). If it was all crackpottery or they had nothing to say, this thread would not exist.

    In the above link, I’m not sure precisely what you would like me to respond to.

    I think I have already been clear that Jordan Peterson is often very unclear and opaque. I’m not sure he is contributing to more or less ‘polarization,’ which I think runs substantially deeper than any single person or group. I suspect people like Peterson can only emerge in a landscape of polarization where people want better stories to hear. Whether his story is compelling is another question, but he does reveal a need for inspirational meta-narratives. I sympathize with this perspective: https://areomagazine.com/2017/12/08/the-problem-with-truth-and-reason-in-a-post-truth-society/

    However, I also don’t think he believes in literal witches (although I actually have no interest in Jungian archetypes & only a very passing interest in bible stories and so do not personally participate in critiques of these aspects of his dialogue). However, I suspect we learn much more about Nellie Bowles than we do about Jordan Peterson in the NYT piece. There’s not enough for me to care much about. Evidently, she had a lengthy conversation with JP, and in which the reader is presented with a soundbyte about witches and monogamy, but I have no transcript of the full conversation, no idea if Bowles spent a considerable amount of time digging deeper to clarify things, and so I really cannot disentangle the effects of bad journalism, lack of clarity, obfuscation by Peterson, reader misunderstanding, etc. And while I advocate for JP being clearer, I have no idea if attempts were made by Bowles to follow up on her initial reactions, whether Peterson was simply unclear after multiple attempts, whether more clarity would have entered her piece even if he was, or whether it would have mattered to the reaction.

    BTW Peterson has attempted to clarify his monogamy comments, https://jordanbpeterson.com/uncategorized/on-the-new-york-times-and-enforced-monogamy/ It’s another onion layer we can argue with, but should confirm my argument above that he is at least intending to tackle this question from a very different lens than you may have initially thought.

  172. izen says:

    @-Dave_G
    “Anyway, archetypes. If there were fundamental human musical archetypes you should all like bagpipes. Or Scots should hate them. So, evidence to support Willard’s and izen’s contention that there are none. ”

    The, er… idiosyncratic sound of the great highland pipes is a nice example of the wild diversity of musical forms. They appear to evolve even faster than languages, or fix very ancient choices with great fidelity.
    You are right that bagpipes play a fixed mixolydian mode, at least, nearly.

    But they are tuned about 3/4 of a tone sharp to standard concert pitch. So they start of ‘between the cracks’ and always out of tune with the music you usually hear.

    The small pipe that is fingered plays the 6 notes of the mixolydian scale an octave above (1:2:4 frequency ratios) the drones. But some of the notes are not quite in simple integer ratios as they would be in the ‘standard’ mixolydian mode.
    Bagpipes are one of the few ‘musical’ instruments that plays an out of tune octave.

    While the mixolydian scale puts 6 notes in the octave, as does much other world music, some is based on different notes, some Arabic music puts 24 notes in the scale, still related by integer ratios. Western music has adopted a tuning system that allows massive harmonic complexity, but is rhythmically simple. Indian music has retained simple scales with limited harmonic pathways, but extremely complex rhythmic structures.

    The universality of the effects and practise of music makes it look like a reflection of some Deep archetype in the human psyche. But the multiplicity, and dissimilarity of the forms and structure that music takes, and is taking as musical cultures collide, speaks against our shared humanity inevitably generating Jungian synchronicity.

    Having to watch an HOUR of JP lecturing on Music, that contained 5 mins of “word cannot describe it” and “we like it because it mirrors the complexity of percieving the the world” was more than a little dissappointing.

    I had spotted the JP in an office/ethinc decorated room pictures, but was not sure if it was his office or just university rooms. One had a 40 year old word processor and folding chairs stacked in the corner.
    However I notice both have bookshelves with pictures and ornaments placed in front of the books. A practise I regard as heinous, relegating the books, literally, into an inaccessible backdrop.

  173. Willard says:

    > theological apologist.

    If only, izen. JordanP’s just a Freedom Fighters entertainer. He knows how to work his crowd:

    ***

    > I presume you refer to this: “statistical linkage between democratic institutions and normative monogamy”.

    Yes, DaveG. The authors had to make intellectual contorsions to dodge the fact that democracy comes from societies there weren’t monogamous the way we usually conceive it:

    Moving on to the Greco-Roman world, elite polygyny looms large in the Homeric tradition.21 By the historical period, by contrast, SIUM was firmly established as the only legitimate marriage system: polygamy was considered a barbarian custom or a mark of tyranny and monogamy was regarded as quintessentially “Greek.” However, SIUM co-existed with concubinage even for married men: as far as we can tell, they were supposed to draw the line at cohabitation, which was considered inappropriate. At the same time, married men’s sexual congress with their own slave women or with prostitutes was free of social and legal sanction. As several probable instances among both the Argead kings and later Hellenistic rulers show, polygamy persisted in “hellenized” Macedonia.There is no sign of an early polygamous tradition in Rome. Whether concubinage was feasible concurrently with marriage has been debated in modern scholarship and the evidence is inconclusive: it was not until the sixth century CE, after centuries of Christian influence, that the emperor Justinian claimed that “ancient law” prohibited husbands from keeping wives and concubines at the same time. As in Greece, sexual relations of married men with their own slave women were not unlawful, including relationships that resulted in offspring. Formal recognition of the latter was optional but not unknown. Moreover, ease of divorce underwrote a degree of effective polygyny: while men were unable to have more than one wife at a time they could marry several in a row, thereby raising reproductive inequality overall.

    The relationship between marital responsibilities and lower crime rates is a no brainer. What’s a head scratcher is why Freedom Fighters omit the connection between having a family and having the means to sustain it. If we had a magic wand with one single wish to solve the incel problem, I would personally ask for a drastic reduction of socio-economic inequalities. As a bonus, incels with better means to take care of otters and themselves should be able to pay for therapeutic services.

    One only has to think a New York minute about how African Warlords and ISIS proceed to recruit soldiers to see that JordanP is truly fishing in the dark.

  174. izen says:

    @-W
    “If only, izen. JordanP’s just a Freedom Fighters entertainer. He knows how to work his crowd:”

    Am I mistaking style for substance ?
    His delivery, both the rhetorical structure of the language and the ‘non-verbal’ timing and delivery with gestures is so reminiscent of the less histrionic of the tele-evangelists that I was considering making a side-by-side video of JP and someone like David Pawson.!

    Perhaps it is the unmet need for authoritarian certainty in the crowd that dictates the way they work.

  175. Willard says:

    Where you see authoritarian certainty, izen, I see dream-like guessing:

    Not sure how it can be reconciled with Be Precise in Your Speech.

    If you look at water-based deities from the Greek world, you can stumble upon some who were not exactly feminine:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontus_(mythology)

    Lobsterians might appreciate Phorcys:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phorcys

    Why research your subject when you can simply guess in a dream-like way?

  176. izen says:

    @-W
    “Where you see authoritarian certainty, izen, I see dream-like guessing:”

    There are numerous historical and extant examples that indicate that the authoritarian certainty does not have to be coherent, consistent, and consilient. (Mormonism?)
    It still sells, even if it came to the prophet in a dream.

  177. paulski0 says:

    I’m not sure Peterson’s climate change denial is really quackery. Quackery generally involves coming up with your own theory, whereas he’s just parroting simplistic slogans and memes.

    For all the verbiage and “big system thinking”, Peterson is a fairly standard socially conservative free market advocate, and for all the railing against identity politics he largely conforms to the identity of that tribe – e.g. climate change denial.

  178. Steven Mosher says:

    “Copying the JP mode of argument….”

    ya if billy jumps off the empire state building…

    here is the point. when a sceptic does a takedown of climate science by looking at bits and pieces..we all laugh.

    if you want to engage the science you actually have to read it….lots of it.

    same thing in spades when it comes to the kind of intellectual history jp is trying to do.
    it is ok to find it boring or mistaken. But actually showing that in way that is up to the standards for that discourse you actually need to read all the texts, explicate, interperate and then offer cogent criticisms.

  179. Dave_Geologist says:

    However I notice both have bookshelves with pictures and ornaments placed in front of the books. A practise I regard as heinous, relegating the books, literally, into an inaccessible backdrop.

    My guess izen? Like the ethnic stuff, window dressing. Performance art.

  180. Dave_Geologist says:

    I knew there’d someone musical out there izen 🙂 . So then yes, bagpipes irritate people because they sound loud and out-of-tune. Unless you’re Scottish 😉 .

    Western music has adopted a tuning system that allows massive harmonic complexity, but is rhythmically simple. Indian music has retained simple scales with limited harmonic pathways, but extremely complex rhythmic structures.

    The paper found a selection trajectory of about 45° in normalised chordiness/rhythmic complexity space Since R is a rhythmic complexity score, I presume a high value equates to a complex beat, i.e. the opposite to what I would think of as rhythmic music (simple, repetitive beat). Although since they start from randomness not regularity, even a regular beat would be a rightward move. The chordiness measure CL is explicitly trained on the chords commonly used in the Western repertoire, so music evolving to please a Western audience is pretty much guaranteed to evolve upwards in that space.

    As I said, it would be interesting to test other cultures using these measures and see where they end up. Your statement suggests a hypothesis that Indians would end up further to the right on R but lower down on CL. The null hypothesis would be that all cultures end up more-or-less in the same place, i.e. that there is a global musical archetype. You could also replicate the experiment but change the chordiness measure by training it on, say Indian music (the rhythmic complexity measure is probably cross-cultural). Or, if you believe in musical archetypes, run it but with a suitable test statistic related to clustering between cultures vs. within cultures. You might want to train it on a wider chord set encompassing all the tested cultures, so everyone has a sweet spot to aim for (considering the possibility that there is an archetype, but it is a very broad one and cultures specialise by subtracting from it, not adding to it. Sounds like a job for a psychologist with an interest in archetypes, with a statistician in tow to keep him straight!

  181. Dave_Geologist says:

    I am not a fan of Chomsky’s ‘Universal Grammar’ ideas

    Nor I izen. You’d have thought that if they were there, with gazillions of recordings available on the internet and the power of modern computing, someone would have identified them by now and shown them to be statistically robust. Ditto with linguistic archetypes (not sure if they are/aren’t the same thing?). Languages are just so different: never mind Chinese/Japanese/San/Western, just within Western. Maybe a proponent would say that’s just noise blurring the archetype, which is why it can’t be found. Or that the archetypes are a tiny fraction of the modern language (a few dozen words like mother, father, run, eat, flee etc.). But either way, what use is it? In science we have a term for a signal that fails to emerge from the noise. One is statistically insignificant. Other terms are unpublished and unpublishable. Why hold linguistics to lower standards?

    While checking I didn’t make a fool of myself on my bagpipes post, for example, I came across the statement that Gaelic is an etymological language, not a phonetic one. So had to find out what that means (root spellings are preserved, even if the pronunciation changes regionally, over time, or because a compound or loan word is awkward to say). Irish would appear to be somewhere in between, with three principal dialects (hence presumably Donegal Irish sounding more like Gaelic than Waterford Irish), but some spelling conventions vary between dialects and “individual words may have in any given dialect a pronunciation that is not reflected by the spelling”. English is notoriously non-phonetic but for different reasons: lots of loan-words that were never properly regularised into English phonetics, plus English-origin words are spelt the way they were pronounced hundreds of years ago when the written language was more-or-less fixed, not how they’re pronounced now. French is based on its pronunciation a thousand years ago, so although it is much more regular than English with much stricter rules, it now has “a complicated relationship between spelling and sound, especially for vowels, a multitude of silent letters, and a large number of homophones”. Plus five diacritical marks, nasalisation, diphthongs and digraphs. It’s easier to learn from scratch than English because it’s more consistent, but you still need to learn the rules by rote because the phonemes aren’t phonetic any more. Plus gendered inanimate objects 😦 .

    With a mess like that just from four closely (by world standards) related languages, how could you expect to extract any primordial signal? No doubt other cultures have similar issues, so using modern languages would be a nightmare of minuscule signal hidden in vast cultural noise. Go back to a “primitive” language? Where? The Amazon? But what about the old agricultural soil and city foundations under the trees? Their ancestors may have been farmers or city-dwellers. The San? But from Wiki “Before the Bantu expansion, Khoisan languages, or languages like them, were likely spread throughout southern and eastern Africa”. So it’s a remnant of a formerly widespread language, no doubt with a long and vibrant history of evolution and word-swapping, not a primitive language. The PNG Highlands? Did you hear about the recent case of a documentary maker who visited a “primitive” tribe and they asked him if he wanted them to do the war-dance or whatever. He was the first visitor to ask “why, do you usually do it” and got the reply “only when film crews come; it’s what they want to see and they give us presents”. Or something to that effect. A time machine to get back to proto-Indo-European or whatever? Probably the only way but there is a slight problem there….

    Oops, did I just make an argument from personal incredulity 🙂 .

    As per my comment elsewhere, I don’t think most social science is wrong because social scientists are dumb. It’s because humans are really, really hard to work with compared to the physical world.

  182. izen says:

    @-SM
    “here is the point. when a sceptic does a takedown of climate science by looking at bits and pieces..we all laugh.”

    Because they are using bad arguements against good science.
    Not good arguments against bits and pieces of bad pop-sociology.

    @-“if you want to engage the science you actually have to read it….lots of it.
    same thing in spades when it comes to the kind of intellectual history jp is trying to do.”

    JP rarely cites, quotes or mentions the figures in the intellectual history of his subject. When he does mention a authority or source it is most often to dismiss them as misguided and useless. He is particularly rude about Campbell.

    His philosophy and theology are shallow, his anthropology crass and his biology egregious. It would have been nice if there was ANY reference to the kind of intellectual history that exists on Music or Buddhism, subjects in the title of lectures that he fails to engage with on any serious level. I have encountered a better grasp of evolutionary biology among Creationists.

    He is by my estimation the Christopher Monckton of pop-psychology. You would be better of with Gurdjieff if you really want that sort of normative mysticism garnished with bad science.
    Deepak Chopra for New Age Woo. JP for that Old Time Woo.

  183. Joshua says:

    Chris –

    Thank you for that response. I certainly get that it’s hard for anyone, that isn’t fanatical, to follow a thread like this one.

    I wrote a very long and complicated comment in response – but couldn’t get past the feeling a bottom line feeling that it was just problematically tl;dr. I tried editing it, but couldn’t get it appreciably shorter….and then I went on to other things and then managed to lose it altogether into the ethernet.

    I agree with much of what you said in your response to me…but in the end, I guess I just come down to seeing Jordan as a bad faith participant. That doesn’t negate the usefulness of many of the issues he speaks to (I happen to have found his discussion with Weinstein about societal evolution manifesting a balance between archetypes to be useful, even if I find Jungian archetypes interesting but primarily just as metaphors).

    I could go into detail into what I see as indications of bad faith on his part in the Bowles interview – but in the end that doesn’t detract from Bowles’ responsibility for clarifying also.

    That situation parallels the one with the Cathy Newman interview.

    This is an interesting clip where he discusses that interview.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aO0Jj-Wo60I would say that if you have a premise that he engages in good faith,

  184. Joshua says:

    Chris –

    Thank you for that response. I certainly get that it’s hard for anyone, that isn’t fanatical, to follow a thread like this one.

    I wrote a very long and complicated comment in response – but couldn’t get past the feeling a bottom line feeling that it was just problematically tl;dr. I tried editing it, but couldn’t get it appreciably shorter….and then I went on to other things and then managed to lose it altogether into the ethernet.

    I agree with much of what you said in your response to me…but in the end, I guess I just come down to seeing Jordan as a bad faith participant. That doesn’t negate the usefulness of many of the issues he speaks to (I happen to have found his discussion with Weinstein about societal evolution manifesting a balance between archetypes to be useful, even if I find Jungian archetypes interesting but primarily just as metaphors).

    I could go into detail into what I see as indications of bad faith on his part in the Bowles interview – but in the end that doesn’t detract from Bowles’ responsibility for clarifying also.

    That situation with Bowles parallels the one with the Cathy Newman interview, IMO.

    This is an interesting clip where he discusses that interview.

    IMO, he diminishes the poor responses of his supporters, fails to be accountable for how he catalyzes such responses, fails to be accountable for the role he played in the miscommunication (the section where he speaks to how a friend suggested that he might have done so is interesting), etc.

    I would say that if you have a premise that he engages in good faith, then he comes across there as quite reasonable. But my take on it is that he is someone who poisons the well and then complains that the water tastes bad.

  185. izen says:

    @-W
    Ha !

    There is a clip where JP answers the question; “What’s your favourite music ?”

    His answer is classic ‘Cool Dad’.
    He claims to enjoy all sorts of music, rock, country, jazz and classical.
    Admits to still listening to the old rock he grew up with, but never names any bands or music. He claims to like more recent rock, and names a few inde style bands that are most likely to be familair to young white males in Canada/USA.

    He says he has not got into hip-hop, but thinks Eminem is very good because he can articulate well. Likes melodies, but dislikes pop because it reminds him of bad 70s disco that he didn’t like at the time.
    ——————

    He never names a piece of music or a musician.
    He only name-checks bands in the cultural horizon of his students/fans.
    He declares his position in the cultural resistence from white against black music in the mainstream media in the 70s that was framed as a ‘Disco sucks’ artistic judgement but (apart from the Bee-Gees?!) was white pop-rock against black soul-dance.

    Pure coincidence that his answer is framed in a form that would be most acceptable to a certain target audience, but is uninformative about any specific favourite composition or performer.
    What a communicator! He can invoke disdain and instil hatred in both his fans and critics.
    For each other.
    (grin)

  186. Dave_Geologist says:

    apart from the Bee-Gees?

    What about Kelly Marie? My street-cred at work took a nosedive when I only took seconds to identify the artist from the song during an after-hours pub quiz :-(. Mind you she did have black dancers so is she black-by-association to a certain demographic? Or is that cultural appropriation? I don’t remember it being so complicated back in the 80s 😦 .

    Careful observers will point out that she probably doesn’t count because she appears to actually be a Borg 😉 (pause at 1:00m, not sure if the freeze-frame will display). So as part of a Hive Mind she presumably surrendered her previous identity. After all, “resistance is futile!”. Pedants will complain that the Borg didn’t appear in TNG until 1989 and this video is from 1980. But as all good Trekkies know, the Borg later discovered time travel and went back to sabotage the birth of the Federation. And she looks like an upgraded, Voyager-era Borg so that fits (second-generation like Seven of Nine). I never knew disco was part of their dastardly plan!

    Pre-MTV music videos were great (for some, that would be great in the same way that the Great Highland Bagpipes are great 🙂 )

    For example more SF presaging: Kate Bush wearing a Fremen stillsuit two years before the Dune movie. Which presumably means she read the book! Cool, it’s one of my favourites* and up with The Lord of the Rings for the most re-readings.

    Hmmm. What about the black and white British dancers playing Australian Aborigines. Is that more cultural appropriation? Or does she get a pass because the lyrics are very condemnatory of the white colonisers?

    The civilised keep alive
    The territorial war
    (See the light ram through the gaps in the land)**
    Erase the race that claim the place
    And say we dig for ore
    Or dangle devils in a bottle and push them from the Pull of the Bush***

    * For those who don’t know the series, the first book was great, the next two went a bit downhill, and as for the co-authored posthumous efforts: they’re so far downhill they’re subterranean.

    ** A reference to British atomic weapons tests, specifically Maralinga: Before the tests could begin the Maralinga Tjarutja, the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land, had to be removed

    *** Forcing them onto Reservations where abundant cheap alcohol was available.

    Plus ça change. Sometimes there really are social injustices to go to (metaphorical) war over.

    Hmmm, I had planned to make this a light-hearted post but there you go. C’est la vie. Mind you, Kate’s early albums did all have downer endings so maybe it’s in keeping: incestuous pregnancy and suicide in the first; an actor haunted by the ghost of his friend who died on set and whose role he took over in the second; Nuclear Armageddon in the third, complete with sampled public information broadcast on how to estimate the megatonnage of a bomb from the duration of the flash (because we all want to know whether we’re dead, very dead or deader-than-dead); and some combination of insanity/home invasion/abusive-ex-partner-insists-on-returning in the fourth.

  187. verytallguy says:

    Hadley Freeman in the Graun has her usual excellent take on proceedings:

    …we’re just told we should cure violent men with our magical vaginas, and if we fail to do so, our vaginas were presumably insufficiently magical.

    https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/may/23/jordan-peterson-public-intellectual-isnt-clever-violent-men-monogamy

  188. Joshua says:

    I might be upset about this, but I know I can rest assured in the knowlwdge that the IDW, Haidt, etc., to pounce on this policy and beat it into submission because of their concerns about political correctness and the “chilling effect” on free speech.

    https://www-m.cnn.com/2018/05/23/sport/nfl-spring-league-meeting-national-anthem/index.html

  189. izen says:

    @-Dave_G

    I was being slightly tongue-in-cheek with the disco/rock, black/white thing.
    And of course there was far more crossover than the BGs doing their Miracles, Temptations acceptable face of black soul harmony shtick.

    One of the more common tropes was the white female singer doing a far imitation of a black soul singer over a funky black arrangement. Often it would be the cover of a black original. On at least one occasion the white ‘singer’ mimed and they used the original black vocal.

    The segregation broke down when the Teutonically white Kraftwerk came along with Autobahn and gave disco a whole new (actually 60s minimalism) genre to absorb and adapt.
    While it went both ways, I find the AWB more enjoyable than Living Color.

    Was never into the Herbert Dune books, love the Lynch film version. Have always been puzzled by the lack of connection made between Dune and Oil, Islam, colonialism etc.
    Disliked LOTR (never finished) films were good visuals, still a stupid story!

    Do you think Kate Bush is specifically referencing the Fremen still suit, or did the costume designer just think the liquid temperature control layer worn under high altitude flight suits looked cool?

    The only SF I have bothered to re-read much are the Ian M Banks ‘Culture’ series.
    (RIP)

  190. Dave_Geologist says:

    Ha Ha. I wasn’t being entirely serious about the stillsuit. It is widely referenced as such on the Intertubes. However I have seen a link where someone goes so far as to identify the suit. And yes, it is an Air Force surplus bodysuit worn under their flight gear by high performance/high altitude pilots. Someone even identified the specific era and likely aircraft IIRC, but I couldn’t remember what it was. Or whether it was a G-suit rather than a temperature suit, with the pipes connected to a pump.

    So of course I had to check. It is indeed a temperature-control suit. First used in hot desert conditions, but that site has a link to a defunct Canberra site which implies it was also used in sub-zero conditions. The Canberra was Britain’s first strategic nuclear bomber, designed to fly high (up to 70,000 feet, rather chilly up there I should think) and fast, beyond the performance envelope of Soviet fighter jets. The USAF built 400 under licence. It only had an 8,000 lb payload so you needed a lot of 1950s nukes to destroy the world, hence a lot of bombers. Of course the Gary Powers incident put paid to that strategy. It was also used as a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft as recently as Afghanistan. There was a story a few years ago about them flying U2-style missions over the Soviet Union, but because there was no proof as the Soviets never shot one down, the UK denies it to this day. And hey! NASA still has three! I’ll bet some of their time is spent on climate missions. They can’t fly as high as a U2 but can carry a heavier payload. And of course there are no modern equivalents because SAMs made that mission profile obsolete.

    I was very disappointed when I found out about it not being a designed stillsuit. Still, given the desert theme, I like to think she was referencing the Fremen and decided that suit was close enough and cheaper than making one from scratch. The site I linked to above shows they were all over SF TV shows and movies of the era, so it wouldn’t take much imagination to think of it. But if she got the idea from SF TV/movies, why was she watching them if she wasn’t a fan? She does have form in the area, at least in Sword and Sorcery if not hard SF. The warrior outfit in Babooshka was based on the cover art for the Raven, Swordmistress of Chaos novels. Or maybe I’m engaging in motivated reasoning to persuade myself that the SF fanbase wasn’t all nerdy teenage boys 🙂 .

    Now I have to find more evidence. Aha! Stranded At The Moonbase, In Search of Peter Pan (as an astronaut), Rocket’s Tail, Rocket Man (cover), Hello Earth (Space Shuttle samples), Oh England My Lionheart (not SF but dressed as a fighter pilot so maybe a connection),
    Cloudbusting (OK Reich thought the rainmaker was real, but I’m calling it SF 😉 ), Snowed In At Wheeler Street (time travel), Wild Man (Yeti, see rainmaker), Sat In Your Lap (the Time Tunnel/Wormhole/Stargate thingy in the video), Deeper Understanding (Internet Addiction, in 1989), Experiment IV (military developing sonic weapon). And she bought a Fairlight CMI and programmed it herself, which very technophiley (OK, that’s a stretch, not all technophiles like SF). And – Tarraa! – it’s even rumoured (but denied) that she wrote a Doctor Who series under a pseudonym.

    Isn’t the Internet wonderful. Except that every time you find a juicy factoid, right next to it is another link to its debunking 😦 .

    Oh, and I first read TLOTR as a teenager, so may have felt differently had I encountered it as an adult. And it is a long time since I read it cover-to-cover…

  191. Dave_Geologist says:

    And how could I forget The Big Sky? Kate in a silvered flight suit consorting with Superman, aviators and astronauts.

    And on Dune, yes aspects of the story borrow heavily from Islam. Plus there’s the obvious parallel of a desert (planet) being fought over for a resource that’s essential for (space) travel. Obvious to me anyway. But the overall culture is more mock-Medieval, the main religious order is female, and golems, I think, are Jewish in origin. And the hero who foresees his own death but feels compelled to follow the prophecy anyway is very Christ-like. The whole Kwisatz Haderach thing is basically a rebadged Messiah. So he borrowed from lots of cultures. The resulting complexity is probably one reason I like it.

  192. Dave_Geologist says:

    Haha. Tinfoil-hat moment: I meant to post a freeze-frame with the astronauts. When I saw it wasn’t what I expected I clicked on it to confirm it was the full video. When I paused, YouTube offered me a couple of Kate Bush videos either side of Jordan Peterson: Danger Race & I.Q. It definitely wouldn’t have done so based on my general browsing history, so maybe Google knows what this thread is about. Not very surprising I suppose. But if it had done a textual analysis it would have realised most posters here disapprove of him. Ah but, maybe that’s why YouTube offered it, as click-bait for angry Internetters. OK, that’s enough. It’s too confusing being a tinfoil-hatter 😉 .

    Try video link in another browser: no J.P. Standalone video in new tab in same browser: J.P. So maybe it’s my internet history or how long a page is open (which would be dumb in a way because I leave pages open all day and visit them only a few times hours apart – OTOH leaving them open is itself a signal – enough, I can hear tinfoil rustling). Incognito window on same browser: no J.P. Reassuring. Whole thread in an Incognito window on same browser: no J.P. You can relax ATTP, it’s me they’re spying on, not you 😉 .

  193. Joshua says:

    Link to long podcast with IDW luminary, Weinstein..

    https://bloggingheads.tv/videos/52832

    I’m proud of myself for managing to get through 30 minutes without freaking out.

    He addresses the main criticism of the NYT article – by explaining that the IDW is identified by being shut out from LEGACY media, so they can still lay claim to being an oppressedinoeitu despite their huge polarity on non-legacy media.

    So I guess that Alex Jones should be joining soon.

    And, in fact, I should be also, as heretofore I, also, have been shut out of the mainstream media.

    Later, Brett is absolutely befuddled as to why people think the IDW is predominantly rightwing. I mean, after all, he is a Bernie supporter.

    Well, I’m sure that the disproportionate amount of attacks against the left from Peterson et al., and the constantly generalizing about the left as being monolitbically anti-“free speech,” and the constant use of SJW as a pejorative to characterize the left, couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it.

  194. Joshua says:

    Ragnaar –

    FWIW, towarss the end of thar podcast is my absolute favorite part:

    Brett explains how his deep understand of evolutionary biology enables him to see how he and his IDW-mates are at the vanguard of a new phase of evolution, and will guide the way for the rest of us plebes to follow their lead into a new post-polarization world.

    It is just about the best example I’ve seen yet for how the Just-so storyfying. like that of Weinstein and Peterson, is stunningly immune to introspection and humility.

    Would be curious to hear your thoughts if you do listen.

  195. Joshua,
    I actually listened to some of that podcast with Bret Weinstein and found quite a lot of it quite reasonable.

  196. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Thanks. Interesting. I’ll have to try to find time to listen again, to see if I can understand how you might have responded that way.

  197. > after all, he is a Bernie supporter.

    Because, aliens:

  198. Joshua,
    I’ll try to listen to more of it too.

  199. Joshua says:

    “evolution-aware governance mechanisms.”

    OK. So in line with Chris’ reaction to the Weiss article, I will try to give benefit of the doubt. But my initial reaction is “oy.”

  200. Willard says:

    FYEO, J –

  201. Joshua,
    I have listened to more of it, and I still find what BW says reasonable in many cases. On the other hand, he does still seem to suffer from the same “I’m not biased” bias that others in the IDW suffer from too.

  202. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Yes, there is that aspect…

    As with Peterson, I find his non-ideologicslly overlapping stuff reasonable…

    But in general, the problem I have (I guess somewhat related) is that I think he doesn’t take critique seriously and will put pretty much anything together to formulate an argument as a ideological defense, without seriously engaging the question at hand.

    For example… when he formulates a defense for the idea that the IDW has been “shut out” of mainstream media, or projects befuddlement as to why people perceive the IDW as predominantly rightwing. Even his defense of Wright’s criticism of the editing of the article, or ye photography, follows the pattern.

    Another example is when Wright says that anthropology has run out of new cultures to discover, as a way to explain why anthropology might be “post-modern,” Brett says that chemistry has run out of “new ground to cover” (wha???) and ignores the point Wright raised about the impact and importance of the question of cultural relativism to the field of anthropology. I just find that to be a dishonest approach to intellectual engagement.

    He equates pushback he gets from the right about being responsible for his own conundrum (from people agreeing with his ideological) with ideological criticism.

    I think the pattern fits with the Toronto Star article Willard (and JCH) just linked, which describes Peterson’s reliance on shallow, bad faith generalizations to create polemical, ideological leverage points.

    It fits with Brett’s argument that he can’t describe “evolution-based governance” but we know that socialism (un-defined, btw) isn’t, even though various governments that excel comparatively, by any number of metrics (standard of living, life expectancy, class mobility, education levels, “happiness quotient,” etc.) are often considered to be socialist.

    Anyway – what was there, in particular, that you found reasonable?

    Also, if you got to the end, what did you think of his argument about the IDW finding a transitional “first principle” nitch that that will enable them to guide us out of our current degenerating (post-modern) state?

  203. Joshua says:

    Been thinking some more about this…

    It’s very hard to evaluate this stuff without actual discussion, and comments on Twitter are mosy useless, IMO… but…

    Brett says that you can’t evaluate the Internet and birth control in terms of their evolutionary influence in shaping society (you need something on the order of 10, 000 years to do that, he says) , and yet, says that socialism isn’t evolution-aware governance (even while saying he can’t describe what that means).

    So is that reasonable, or am I just motivated enough to dismiss reasonable stuff that he says?

  204. Joshua,
    I’ve been trying to listen to again to give you some examples of what I thought was reasonable. I am struggling a bit. Some of what he said about opporunity I thought was okay. Like you, I don’t think he takes the critiques very seriously and I’m not a fan of those who try to paint themselves as rational, while suggesting that their critics are not. Mostly, however, I think I just didn’t really hear anything that I really found objectionable and I did hear some things that made me go “okay, that’s a reasonable argument”.

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