Sunday, March 31, 2019

Requiem for a literary talent

I was first introduced to Jonathan Kay, unknowingly, via his work on Justin Trudeau's biography "Common Ground" which I liked a lot. Eventually I learned about his work on Trudeau's book and discovered to my surprise that Kay was conservative.

But I was inclined to agree with Kay on the absurdity of "cultural appropriation."

And then Kay got involved with Quillette, the Fox News of the international right, first writing articles and then as an editor.

The articles published by Quillette are generally very bad, selected mainly, it appears to me and to others on how much grievance it expresses at one or another aspect of the twenty-first century.

I haven't crunched the numbers yet, but it seems that a large portion of its articles are on the following topics:
  1. The Left is Bad
  2. Trans People are Scary
  3. Muslims are Dangerous
  4. Feminists are Stupid
  5. Race is a Biological Reality and Useful for Evaluating Intelligence

Although they have not been pushing topic 5 as much lately, I think.

Putting aside the politics, it must be incredibly boring to edit for Quillette. The subject matter is monotonous and since most of the pieces are selected on the basis of grievance, literary ability is not a priority. What a waste of Kay's talents, editing political hackery, even if he mainly agrees with the sentiments, of people who don't have the literary talent that he has. I think this, from Kay's piece on writing "Common Ground" in The Walrus, is beautiful:
I spent more than thirty hours interviewing Trudeau. He told me hundreds of stories, not all of which made their way into the book. But there is one, from his young childhood—during the period after his mother, Margaret, abandoned the family—that stands out clearly. 
“Whenever I knew my mother was on her way to visit 24 Sussex, I could barely contain my excitement, and began planning my welcome,” is how Trudeau tells the story in Common Ground: 
On one occasion I decided to mark her arrival with a musical theme. I had received a small record player as a gift and enjoyed playing the hits of the day—“the day” being the early 1980s—especially Journey’s romantic ballad “Open Arms.” I had heard my mother say how much she liked the Journey song, and I decided that this would be the soundtrack to her entrance at 24 Sussex after one particularly long absence. I waited for her to arrive in her VW Rabbit before cueing up my tiny, tinny record player in my room upstairs. As she opened the door and entered the foyer I cranked up the volume and rushed to the top of the stairs. “Listen, mom,” I yelled down to her. “It’s our song!” Her reaction was to stare up at me, happy to see me but a little confused because she couldn’t hear the music at all. The volume on my record player was about half the level of a modern cell phone. I remember being crushed by that, so desperate was I to inject a sense of magic into every moment that we did have together as a family.
When Common Ground was published in 2014, and the Trudeau camp chose to disclose my role in preparing it, lots of friends asked me some variation on the question: “What’s he like? ” I would say, “Read the book.” And like clockwork, they would roll their eyes and reply, “No—what’s he really like? ” The underlying assumption is that books of this type are mere propaganda. Depending on the politics of the person asking me the question, there usually was some suggestion that, behind closed doors, Trudeau is either a closet socialist or a corporate shill. That he is a thumb-sucking ignoramus who is spoon-fed his lines by Gerald Butts—or a tactical genius who wears his glibness and childlike enthusiasms as a political mask. That he is a tormented scion who is desperate to rise to his father’s epic legacy—or who bitterly detests the old man’s oversized shadow. Since we have spent the last decade trying to figure out the “secret agenda” of Stephen Harper, it was perhaps inevitable that the country would become convinced that there is some “real” Justin Trudeau lurking below the surface.
You can find the real Justin right there, at the top of those stairs, playing his record player.
Beautiful and generous given Kay's rightward leanings. And now he spends his time editing a rag like Quillette and even worse, mobbing a Canadian academic for expressing her opinion of those writing for Quillette.

I hear that things are tough in the literary world right now, and I think Kay's career is part of the fallout of a changing financial model. It's a damn shame Kay can't do what he's good at, for a better cause.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Slate: We Annotated That Horrible Article About How Women Don’t Like Physics

Last fall, physicist Alessandro Strumia was suspended from CERN, birthplace of the Higgs boson, after he gave a lecture on why his field skews so male in which he argued that it’s about inherent ability, not discrimination. He was ultimately let go this month, but now he’s back in the press, being profiled in the Sunday Times, where he talks about his theories on gender and his disgruntlement that particle physics seem to have stagnated in the post-God-particle years (the story is paywalled but available via a free trail). The piece, and Strumia’s apparent befuddlement at the fallout his lecture received, has just a few problems. In the interest of scientific discourse, let’s examine the evidence:
1. The headline of the Sunday Times piece includes the words: “the data doesn’t lie—women don’t like physics.”
 
If you are wondering if this is a case of an engagement editor gone rogue in search of hate-clicks, the headline that ran in print was even worse: “My Big Bang Theory Is: Women Don’t Like Physics.” 
The “data” here, and throughout the article, seem to be the number of women who are in physics right now, and how often their papers are being cited right now. In the U.S., just 20 percent of undergraduate and doctoral degrees are awarded to women, according to a report released this month by the American Institute of Physics. This is like observing of a lifeless early Earth that the planet is simply fundamentally hostile to human beings, or of a pre–Niels Bohr human race that humans are simply not meant to understand the inner workings of atoms. Systems evolve.

More at Slate


PZ Myers writes:
We may anticipate being subjected to more of this drivel from Strumia in the future.
Strumia has apparently turned his lecture into a paper, which he hopes to have a peer-reviewed journal publish. “Whether he finds one ready to brave the inevitable backlash remains to be seen,” writes Conradi.
I would wonder what journal would stoop so low to publish that crap before I would be concerned about an imaginary “backlash”.
Maybe Quillette? It sounds perfect for them.

Pinkerite agrees - the claim that "it’s about inherent ability, not discrimination" is just sooo Quillette.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Razib Khan, Jerry Coyne and Steven Pinker can't say exactly what "race" is - but whatever it is they are sure it is not a social construct

Razib Khan believes that race is not a social construct, and that race is not only real but predictive of intelligence. And yet I have found that in spite of the title of his article "Why race as a biological construct matters" he in fact failed to demonstrate the existence of race as a biological phenomenon


Jerry Coyne, Ph.D is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, and is certain race is not a social construct:
So when people say “race is a social construct,” they’re simply wrong. The only sense in which they’re right is that the designation of a finite number of easily-distinguished human groups (“races”) is a futile exercise, because we have differentiation within differentiation, making the whole exercise purely subjective. (You can, for example, distinguish subgroups of “Caucasians” within Europe, distinguishing those of Scandinavian from Italian ancestry simply by their genetic differences.) 
But that’s not what people mean, I think, by “social construct.” What I think they mean (since they are rarely explicit) is this: “There is no biological difference between human ethnic groups.” 
Coyne engages in the most blatant straw-manning. Yes, you can distinguish Scandinavians from Italians. And these days both are considered members of the "white race." 

How do we know with great certainty that both are considered  members of the "white race" and have been for some time? Because during Southern segregation, both Italians and Scandinavians would have been allowed to use the accommodations designated "whites only."

And thus we see that when people say "race is a social construct" almost everybody except Jerry Coyne understands they do not mean "ethnic groups are a social construct." It's hard to tell if Coyne is honestly confused on this point or if he is deliberately ignoring the difference between ethnicity vs. race.

Steven Pinker is also certain that race is not a social construct as he explains in this video. 
Here he is on Twitter, referring to an article in Quillette.



I have so far been unable to discover what Steven Pinker thinks "race" actually is. But his support for the Quillette article On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism and its anti-empirical, postmodernist scheme for the classification of race is truly bizarre and I will talk about that next.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

So exactly how many Quillette articles are republished by white supremacist American Renaissance?

American Renaissance is, per the SPLC:
Founded by Jared Taylor in 1990, the New Century Foundation is a self-styled think tank that promotes pseudo-scientific studies and research that purport to show the inferiority of blacks to whites — although in hifalutin language that avoids open racial slurs and attempts to portray itself as serious scholarship. It is best known for its American Renaissance magazine and website, which regularly feature proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists. The foundation also sponsors American Renaissance conferences every other year where racist "intellectuals" rub shoulders with Klansmen, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists.

TOTAL: 7
All except one since 2018

On the Reality of Race and the Abhorrence of Racism
Bo Winegard, Ben Winegard, and Brian Boutwell, Quillette, June 23, 2016

Black American Culture and the Racial Wealth Gap
Coleman Hughes, Quillette, July 19, 2018

The Dangers of Ignoring Cognitive Inequality
Wael Taji, Quillette, August 28, 2018

The Racism Treadmill
Coleman Hughes, Quillette, May 14, 2018

Is There Room in Diversity for White People?
Steve Salerno, Quillette, May 10, 2018

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity—A Review
Gregory Cochran, Quillette, July 1, 2018

Public Education’s Dirty Secret
Mary Hudson, Quillette, February 10, 2019

BONUS - an article by Jerry Coyne has also been reprinted in American Renaissance.

If ISIS Is Not Islamic, Then the Inquisition Was Not Catholic
Jerry A. Coyne, New Republic, September 13, 2014

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Michael Shermer is possibly the sleaziest member of the Intellectual Dark Web

And that's saying a lot considering that the Intellectual Dark Web, per the canonical Bari Weiss article in the NYTimes, includes Milo Yiannopoulos and Mike "Pizzagate" Cernovich.

Here we see Shermer hawking the absolute garbage right-wing swill written by sleazy Quillette author Terry Newman. The one that smeared me personally while joining the mobbing of a Canadian academic by the Quillette/Intellectual Dark Web/Rebel Media gang.



Because of course he would.

Here he is praising "racist alt-right" Stefan Molyneux.


Lest you think that Michael Shermer's sleaze is only about promoting crappy websites or alt-right racists, he's also made a name for himself as a creep in "New Atheist" circles:
“Shermer has been a bad boy on occasion — I do know that,” Randi told me. “I have told him that if I get many more complaints from people I have reason to believe, that I am going to have to limit his attendance at the conference.
“His reply,” Randi continued, “is he had a bit too much to drink and he doesn’t remember. I don’t know — I’ve never been drunk in my life. It’s an unfortunate thing … I haven’t seen him doing that. But I get the word from people in the organization that he has to be under better control. If he had gotten violent, I’d have him out of there immediately. I’ve just heard that he misbehaved himself with the women, which I guess is what men do when they are drunk.”
So now he's on Twitter bragging that he's going to write a piece about the trumped-up "witch-hunt" invented by the Quillette/IDW/Rebel Media gang that will apparently be an even bigger load of bullshit, enough to make heads explode.

I think the Canadian academic targeted by the Q/I/R has dealt with enough so I don't wish Shermer to go after her again - but Pinkerite is ready to address any and all lies and smears that Shermer may publish.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Quillette and racist white identity politics

Good piece by Alex Leo in The Daily Beast focusing on the IDW gang: Quillette, Ben Shapiro, and the Myth of Conservative ‘Facts’

It gets into just how bad Quillette articles really are. 
Quillette, a site that fancies itself intellectually contrarian but mostly publishes right-wing talking points couched in grievance politics, recently published a piece by Richard Hanania, a research fellow at Columbia University, called “It Isn’t Your Imagination: Twitter Treats Conservatives More Harshly Than Liberals"... 
“...I began my analysis by compiling a list of every prominent individual or political party known to have been banned from Twitter since its founding,” Hanania writes. One would expect this to be quite an undertaking since Twitter has suspended thousands of users in its decade of existence, but when you opened the supporting evidence, it was merely a list of 22 cherry-picked names. 
And if I were a conservative, I would be offended by those he claimed to own that label. David Duke is a Klansman. George Zimmerman a killer. Tila Tequila is a reality show “star” who dresses in Nazi cosplay. Other people on the list like Baked Alaska, Richard Spencer, and James Allsup are prominent members of the alt-right, also known as neo-Nazis. The tacit admission that modern conservatism is inextricably linked to racist white identity politics should not go unnoticed.
Done. I noticed it.

And Jerry Coyne even gets a shout-out:
So why would Quillette, a site atheist Jerry Coyne instructed his readers to “think of it as Slate, but more serious, more intellectual, and without any Regressive Leftism,” publish such a fact-free, embarrassing piece? Why would Claire Lehmann, a woman who embraces the label of “intellectual dark web,” get behind it?
That's a good question. Maybe it's because they are political operatives rather than people who care about data science? Because they are incapable of seeing the logical disconnect, just as I speculated was a possible for reason for Steven Pinker's obtuseness?

Leo appears to think that the Yale study of conservatives holds the key:
In 2017, Yale professors did a study and found they could turn conservatives into liberals by allaying fears for their safety. By giving them a thought exercise of imagining they were completely safe and protected from threats, Republicans became significantly more liberal when asked about their stances on social issues. Now we see why Shapiro and his ilk are so invested in fear mongering about the radical left with intellectual dishonesty.
I referenced the same or similar study on Twitter while doing battle with Claire Lehmann's flying monkeys sent to falsely accuse the Canadian academic of creating a blacklist. You want to come up with something reasonable-sounding for why right-wingers do what they do. Concluding "because they are evil and they like to be evil" just feels so medieval.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Trump aligns with the Intellectual Dark Web

Jerry Coyne was all ready to jump on the New Yorker article about the Southern Poverty Law Center but somehow missed the New Yorker article that demonstrates Trump's alignment with the Intellectual Dark Web as well as the free speech grifters called Trump’s Free-Speech Executive Order and the Right’s Fixation on Campus Politics.
Exactly a year ago, at a forum for millennial Republicans at the White House, President Trump was asked by Charlie Kirk, the founder of the conservative youth group Turning Point USA, what he made of recent controversies involving the free-speech rights of conservatives on college campuses. “You go to the real campuses, and you go all over the country, you go out to the Middle West, you go out even to the coast in many cases, we have tremendous support,” he replied breezily, brushing off the purported crisis.“I would say we have majority support. I think it’s highly overblown. Highly overblown.” 
He has since been better at sticking to the script. In a White House ceremony on Thursday afternoon, Trump signed an executive order barring colleges that are deemed unduly restrictive of free speech from receiving federal funds—a move that was previewed in the President’s speech to this year’s cpac conference, earlier this month, and in a tweet that he posted in early 2017, in response to protests that had broken out at U.C. Berkeley over a scheduled appearance by the right-wing agitator Milo Yiannopoulos: “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - no federal funds?”
You better believe Quillette immediately jumped in to praise Trump.
It will be interesting to see if the Trump administration takes a reactive or a proactive approach to restricting funding, warning offending colleges of their intent to strip funding unless something changes. Either way, the Executive Order is a step in the right direction. The requirement that colleges adhere to a transparent speech code which protects academic debate in return for federal dollars is both reasonable and measured. It empowers the Federal Government to be better stewards of public funds, while upholding the rights of its student citizens.
Funny how the American Enterprise Institute, like Charlie Kirk, also changed its mind - from the New Yorker article:
In October, 2017, the American Enterprise Institute published a report recommending that federal funding for schools thought to be insufficiently protective of free speech be withheld either by legislation, at the discretion of grant-making agencies, or, as Trump has now done, by executive action. Interestingly, just months earlier, A.E.I. had issued another report, based on survey data, that challenged the panic over free speech and expression on campuses. “Recent protests against speakers at different colleges have raised questions about free speech on campus, with some critics characterizing universities as increasingly intolerant,” the report’s summary read. “Polls of college students and young people show little evidence of such a trend, although responses differ depending on the nature of the speech in question.”
And as the article points out, this free speech tactic has long been a favorite of the right:
The right’s fixation on campus politics has never had much to do with realities on the ground, of course. William F. Buckley’s jeremiad against the power and influence of leftists in the academy, “God and Man at Yale,” was published in 1951, a time when leftists were being hounded out of their jobs at American universities and elsewhere by a Second Red Scare. The victimization narrative has changed little since then, even as the conservative movement has come to wield an extraordinary amount of power in American politics and life—so much so that they’ve managed to enlist a President of the United States as an ally in their undergraduate squabbles.
So of course the IDW and Quillette are doing it too - because Quillette also leans right, per the web site AllSides. Even though Claire Lehmann claims it's centrist.
In an interview, Quillette founder Claire Lehmann told The Australian that her publication is "independent, not polemical, not writing on behalf of vested interests and reasonably centrist." 

Terry Newman - lousy journalist for right-wing rag The Post Millennial and the IDW mob

The web site Media Bias/Fact Check gives a right-wing rating to the Canadian online magazine The Post Millennial, but I didn't have to check that site to know it - the fact that The Post Millennial decided to praise the Quillette/IDW/Rebel Media gang for mobbing a Canadian academic for an innocuous tweet immediately told me where they stood.

And as I mentioned a few days ago, Barbara Kay, the mother of Quillette editor Jonathan Kay, has written for it.

As I have discovered by taking note of all the Trump supporters who defend Quillette on Twitter, the right loves Quillette, which shouldn't be a surprise since Quillette's founder Claire Lehmann was a contributor to extreme right-wing Rebel Media. And based on Ezra Levant's joining in with her mob to go after the Canadian academic, I think they still keep in touch.

As if joining the Q/I/R mob wasn't bad enough, Terry Newman went after me too.

In case you can't read the text below Newman's tweet in this screen cap, it says:
"There were no responses to these questions. This refusal to provide evidence for accusations is striking considering the number of likes and retweets these dehumanizing statements get on Twitter. So what’s happening here? Let’s explore."
If you're reading this blog you know I have plenty of responses to those questions. There is also my extensive series on evo-psycho bros on my personal blog.

But like the incompetent journalist that she is, Terry Newman never contacted me for the answers.

There are a couple of reasons why I did not contribute more to that tweet thread:

First because I don't remember to follow up on every thread I comment on. And in this case I had no idea others had responded to my comment.

Second because I had said what I wanted to say: that many Quillette articles are so congenial to white supremacists they are reprinted in American Renaissance. Now for some reason Twitter won't let me paste a link that demonstrates all the Quillette articles reprinted in American Renaissance which is why I didn't include it in my tweet. But it is 100% factually correct as you can see via this link.

And how, exactly, is my empirically verifiable statement that Quillette supports race science and many of its articles are re-printed in American Renaissance an example of "dehumanization?"

Once I found out I was being smeared by Terry Newman in the Post Millennial I went to the site and sent a protest via message form - to which I never received an answer.

Then I tracked Newman down on Twitter and informed her that had she bothered to ask, I would indeed have responses to those questions. So when she demanded I provided them I did, immediately.

Rather than reading them she responded that she wasn't going to read them and did I think she was my fan. And when I pointed out what a hypocritical weasel she was, she blocked me. Standard Quillette/IDW/Rebel Media response.

So to recap: Terry Newman wrote an article quoting my tweet, misrepresenting me as not having any responses without reaching out to ask me, and then when I tracked her down and gave her my responses she refused to read them.

And in case you are wondering - yes of course, of course this ethics-deficient hack has written for Quillette.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Jerry Coyne on the SPLC

Christina Hoff Sommers gloating about SPLC
Steven Pinker fanboy Jerry Coyne wonders whether the Southern Poverty Law Center is going to die.

The SPLC has not been shy about criticizing members of the IDW - Coyne mentions two of them in his piece, Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, married to rightwing political operative and sometime economist Niall Ferguson.

SPLC has also made unflattering mentions of other IDWers including Sam HarrisChristina Hoff SommersStefan MolyneuxBen Shapiro, Jordan Peterson,  Milo Yiannopoulos - in fact it looks like Steven Pinker might be the only IDW who isn't mentioned in a negative way by the SPLC.

So of course the IDW bitterly hates this venerable organization devoted to fighting racism and sexism.

Coyne cites a recent New Yorker article about SPLC which details its organizational dysfunctions.

Having worked for a variety of organizations over my career, from huge corporations to tiny start-ups to non-profits to government agencies to food co-ops, it doesn't sound all that remarkably bad. It's an organization run by fallible human beings. An organization that is currently cleaning house, which is exactly what it should do.

Coyne writes:
Author Bob Moser worked for a while at the SPLC, and observed some of its dysfunctional culture before leaving. In fact, the racism and sexism was a standing joke at the operation
Then he quotes from the New Yorker piece.

It's hypocritical that he should be so concerned about racism and sexism at the Southern Poverty Law Center when Quillette, which he has praised and which Pinker has written for, is devoted to racism and sexism - carefully couched as science, of course. Utterly crappy science, but the right-wingers who look to Quillette as a shining beacon for their beliefs aren't too picky about the science - it's good enough for them that someone is comforting them: oh no, you and James Damore and Bo Winegard aren't racists and sexists! You're just pro-science!

Quillette's author line-up has long been a sausage party, and looking at every byline currently listed on Quillette today, it still is. I count 31 names of which 6 are women, one of them is Quillette's founder.

Don't hold your breath waiting for Jerry Coyne to complain about that.
  1. Mallen Baker
  2. Jaspreet Sigh Boparai
  3. Tomas Borgardus
  4. Spencer Case
  5. Jonathan Church
  6. Lauren Cooley
  7. Libby Emmons
  8. Jeffrey S Flier
  9. Daniel Friedman
  10. Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
  11. Blake J. Harris
  12. Cameron Hendy
  13. Coleman Hughes
  14. David G. Hughes
  15. Max Hyams
  16. Jonathan Kay
  17. Claire Lehmann
  18. Matt McManus
  19. Kathrine Jenson Moore
  20. Paulina Neuding 
  21. Clay Routledge
  22. Steve Salerno
  23. Gideo Scopes
  24. Zachary Snowdon Smith
  25. Debra Soh
  26. Bradford Tuckfield
  27. Graham Verdon
  28. Russel T. Warne
  29. Mark S Weiner
  30. Bo Winegard
  31. Jacob Willer

A major problem with SPLC, it appears to me, is that it's been run for too long by aging white men with 20th-century mindsets. Much like the New Atheists where Sam Harris, at age 51 is the spring chicken.

Meanwhile Donald Trump is aligning with the IDW. There's even an article in the New Yorker about it and Quillette is celebrating it but for some reason it has avoided Coyne's notice.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Jon Kay, editor at Quillette, refuses to deny Koch brothers funding

During the recent Twitter mobbing of a Canadian academic by the Quillette/Intellectual Dark Web/Rebel Media gang, I asked Jonathan Kay of Quillette several times, directly, whether or not Quillette gets funding from the Koch brothers, as I strongly suspect they do.

Kay refused to deny it.

During this time he called on Claire Lehmann to "smite" me when I was criticizing her and he played the old tactic of the Quillette/Intellectual Dark Web/Rebel Media to claim that if you criticize Lehmann, who is in fact a professional misogynist, that somehow means that you resent a woman for being successful.

But there's being successful, and there's having right-wing plutocrat sugar daddies support your right-wing media entity.

Now Lehmann blocked me on Twitter long ago because I harshly criticized her and "human biodiversity" proponent Bo Winegard for promoting race science.

But she still chimed in at Kay's behest - since she's blocked me I had to log into Twitter with a different account to get this screen shot. Of course she didn't address me directly, since she's a weasel like that.

If you think about this for two seconds you realize
that Lehmann's take on "smiting" makes Kay's
initial use of the term truly creepy.
I've already discussed Claire Lehmann's catty comments (along with Christina Hoff Sommers and Cathy Young) about young fiction author Kristen Roupenian. That, combined with her response when Jon Kay summoned her to smite me demonstrates yet again that Claire Lehmann has the personality of a high school mean girl but without even a high schooler's wit.

It boggles my mind that Kay got to spend time with Justin Trudeau and yet now prefers to spend his time with people like Claire Lehmann and other members of the Quillette/IDW/Rebel Media gang.

Kay's mother, Barbara Kay, is a well-known far right-winger in Canada - yes there is a whole other world in Canada, my American compatriots - and so I guess preferring shit to Shinola is a Kay family tradition.

Barbara Kay is a fan of Quillette and has written for another rag, The Post Millennial which joined in on the Quillette/IDW/Rebel Media mobbing and smeared me while they were at it. I will talk about that soon.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Of course Pinker defends Peterson

Do members of Q/I/R (Quillette/Intellectual Dark Web/Rebel media) ever criticize each other? I haven't found any evidence except for a few criticisms of Candace Owens. Other than they they all seem to watch each others backs.

Cambridge University rescinds Jordan Peterson invitation

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Karen Uhlenbeck Is First Woman to Win Abel Prize for Mathematics

From the NYTimes 
One of Dr. Uhlenbeck’s advances in essence described the complex shapes of soap films not in a bubble bath but in abstract, high-dimensional curved spaces. In later work, she helped put a rigorous mathematical underpinning to techniques widely used by physicists in quantum field theory to describe fundamental interactions between particles and forces. 
In the process, she helped pioneer a field known as geometric analysis, and she developed techniques now commonly used by many mathematicians. 
“She did things nobody thought about doing,” said Sun-Yung Alice Chang, a mathematician at Princeton University who served on the five-member prize committee, “and after she did, she laid the foundations of a branch of mathematics.”

But didn't anybody tell the awards committee that according to Steven Pinker, Deborah Soh and Quillette, men and women are different, therefore women are innately worse at STEM than men?



Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Quillette - IDW - Rebel Media mob gang up on an academic

Anybody who has made any effort to learn about Claire Lehmann's career knows her connection to far-right extremist Rebel Media, run by eccentric Justin Trudeau-obsessed Ezra Levant. Her idiotic feminist-hating videos for Rebel Media are legendary in anti-IDW circles.

Now it's not like Claire Lehmann has ever disavowed her connection to Rebel Media. She stopped making videos for them but there's every reason to believe she still shares the far-right views that Levant promotes.

The UK organization Faith Matters has written a report on Rebel Media...
entitled ‘Rebel Media – a platform promoting division, white nationalism and fear mongering‘ highlights the following: 
Ezra Levant has made a career out of using inflammatory language to gain audiences. He is the founder of Rebel Media and he has previously accused Gypsies of being “rapists, drug-dealers, thugs and murderers”. 
Former contributors on the payroll of Rebel Media have included Tommy Robinson, Lauren Southern, Katie Hopkins and Paul Joseph Watson. They are notorious for their anti-Muslim, anti-refugee and anti-migrant views as well as promoting views of a clash of cultures between the West and the East. 
Central to Rebel Media’s message is the platforming of far right ideology, many would identify as ‘counter-Jihadi’ and with slants that seek to portray a world view of ‘them and us’ – with Muslims in Europe being viewed as ‘them’.

When a Canadian academic tweeted this about Quillette recently, the Quillette gang led by editor Jonathan Kay had a complete meltdown.



And I mean a lot of the gang.






Naturally contemptible Michael "Steven Pinker squashed a cockroach" Shermer and even more grotesque Ben Shapiro were right there with them.




And along comes Ezra Levant. If you want to truly understand who Claire Lehmann, Michael Shermer, Jon Kay, Barbara Kay, Ben Shapiro, Andy Ngo and Steven Pinker are, just look at Ezra Levant. They are a pack of right-wing hate-mongers, almost certainly funded by the Koch brothers and/or other plutocrats, trying to pass themselves off as the voices of reason.





Of course I couldn't get Jon Kay to respond when I asked him outright about Koch brothers funding.





I'm going to see if I can talk Jane Mayer, famous for her New Yorker articles about the Koch brothers, into investigating possible financial connections between the Koch brothers, other plutocrats and the Intellectual Dark Web/Quillette.

It appears that there has already been a connection established between the Kochs and Rebel Media.

Rebel Media’s links to foreign cash and anti-Muslim think tanks exposed:PressProgress is first to report Rebel Media’s Ezra Levant received grant money from the Middle East Forum, a US think tank that promotes anti-Muslim views and is bankrolled by a wealthy right-wing donor network linked to prominent Republican donors like the Koch brothers. Days later, Vice News follows-up and reports the David Horowitz Freedom Centre, an “anti-Muslim” think tank based in New York allied with Steve Bannon and other key figures behind the Trump presidency, is subsidizing the salaries of a number of Rebel Media’s correspondents

And I mentioned the other day that Spiked Magazine received Koch money.

It would be very odd if these ideological twins of Quillette received Koch money and Quillette was left out. Especially since Lehmann made a podcast with the Koch-funded Mercatus Center.

I think it's just a matter of time before someone documents a Koch brothers-Quillette connection.

Monday, March 18, 2019

A reminder of just how bad Steven Pinker really is

I was having a look at John Paul Wright's Twitter feed and found him posting this chart for homicide rates.





And here is the line chart for marriage rates from 1860 to 2010 from The Washington Post.



Now according to Steven Pinker in "Better Angels" marriage prevents male violence:
...The idea that young men are civilized by women and marriage may seem as corny as Kansas in August, but it has become a commonplace of modern criminology. A famous study that tracked a thousand low-income Boston teenagers for forty-five years discovered that two factors predicted whether a delinquent would go on to avoid a life of crime: getting a stable job, and marrying a woman he cared about and supporting her and her children. The effect of marriage was substantial: three-quarters of the bachelors, but only a third of the husbands, went on to commit more crimes. This difference alone cannot tell us whether marriage keeps men away from crime or career criminals are less likely to get married, but the sociologists Robert Sampson, John Laub, and Christopher Wimer have shown that marriage really does seem to be a pacifying cause. 

Pinker believes in the magical properties of marriage.

Well thanks to the magical properties of Photoshop you can put both charts together covering only the years 1960 - 2010 and this is what you get. So instead of marriage being a violence preventative what it looks like is the complete opposite. Since 1990 both marriage rates and homicide rates fell.

Has Steven Pinker ever admitted he was wrong about the magic of marriage? I've never heard of Steven Pinker admitting he's ever been wrong about anything, so I don't expect he'd admit to this one.



Sunday, March 17, 2019

Steven Pinker and Spiked and the Koch brothers

Steven Pinker is a right-winger in spite of his claiming otherwise, and his thinking this idiotic & transparent "parody" Twitter account Titania McGrath is hilarious pretty much closes the case.

Predictably Pinker's fan-boy Jerry Coyne also thought it was a laugh-riot.

I'm on the record as having issues with both New Atheists and "Social Justice Warriors" but as low as my opinion is of SJWs, I could see immediately that "Titania McGrath" was fake.

What's more interesting about the incident than Pinker's oafish sense of humor is that it reveals another connection between Steven Pinker and Spiked as well as a connection between Spiked and the Koch brothers.

Spiked columnist Andrew Doyle was behind the McGrath character. Pinker made his infamous alt-right comments at Spiked Magazine’s 'Unsafe Space Tour' panel discussion at Harvard University.

Doyle, who is deeply concerned about "political correctness" as shown by his Spiked output, thinks that Candace Owens, leading influencer of the New Zealand mass murderer was "smeared" by being described as a "far-right media personality." The rest of that article is a defense of members of the Intellectual Dark Web.

But while looking at the responses on Twitter to Pinker's Spiked-related tweet I found this article which says that Spiked has received support from the Koch brothers:
We found three payments over the past two years from the Charles Koch Foundation. They amount to $170,000, earmarked for “general operating support”. The payments were made to Spiked US Inc. On Spiked’s “Donate” page is a button that says “In the US? Donate here”. It takes you to the PayPal link for “Spiked US, Inc”. Spiked US, in other words, appears to be its American funding arm. Beyond a postal address is Hoboken, New Jersey, it is hard to see what presence it has in the US. It appears to have been established in 2016, the year in which the Koch donations began. 
When I asked Spiked what the money was for and whether there had been any other payments, its managing editor, Viv Regan, told me that the Charles Koch Foundation has now given Spiked US a total of $300,000, “to produce public debates in the US about free speech, as part of its charitable activities.” She claims the foundation supports projects “on both the left and the right”. The Koch Foundation has funded “a free-speech oriented programme of public debates on campus titled the Unsafe Space Tour” and four live events, the first of which is titled ‘Should we be free to hate?’. She told me “We’re very proud of our work on free speech and tolerance, and we are proud to be part of the programme.” 
But I have been unable to find any public acknowledgement of this funding. Neither on the videos of the debates, in the posters advertising them or in reports of the events in Spiked magazine is there any mention of the Charles Koch Foundation. From what I could see of the title slides in the videos, they acknowledged an organisation called the Institute for Humane Studies, but not the Foundation. Spiked has yet to reply to my questions on this matter. 
The Koch brothers are famously careful with their money. According to Jane Mayer, they exert “unusually tight personal control over their philanthropic endeavours”. David Koch told a sympathetic journalist, “If we’re going to give a lot of money, we’ll make darn sure they spend it in a way that goes along with our intent. And if they make a wrong turn and start doing things we don’t agree with, we withdraw funding.” So what might have attracted them to this obscure organisation? 
Spiked magazine, now edited by Brendan O’Neill, appears to hate left-wing politics. It inveighs against the welfare state, against regulation, the Occupy movement, anti-capitalists, Jeremy Corbyn, George Soros, #MeToo, “black privilege” and Black Lives Matter. It does so in the name of the “ordinary people”, whom, it claims, are oppressed by the “anti-Trump and anti-Brexit cultural elites”, “feministic elites”, “green elites” and “cosmopolitan politicians”.
So to recap: Steven Pinker blamed the left and the media for radicalizing the alt-right while speaking at a panel that was part of the "Unsafe Space Tour" which was funded by the Charles Koch Foundation.

I think that when all is said and done it will turn out that virtually all members of the Intellectual Dark Web received funding, directly or indirectly, from the Koch brothers.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The priorities of the Intellectual Dark Web

Jordan Peterson, a Weiss-identified member of
the Intellectual Dark Web and a proud Islamaphobe
Jerry Coyne was not named as a member of the "Intellectual Dark Web" in Bari Weiss's article but since he's Steven Pinker's personal spokesman (although Coyne prefers "Pinker's Lapdog Bulldog") and hates Muslims and the Southern Poverty Law Center I think that qualifies him for honorary membership.

Coyne recently had plenty to say against the SPLC because its founder Morris Dees was let go by the organization.

He had almost nothing to say about the mass murder at the mosque in Christchurch.

But a search of his blog makes it apparent that Jerry Coyne has plenty to say against Islam and Muslims.

Meanwhile Candace Owens, who was named in the Weiss article apparently has a big fan in the mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant who wrote:

Beyond his white nationalistic views, he claimed to be an environmentalist and said he is a fascist who believes China is the nation that most aligns with his political and social values. He said he has contempt for the wealthiest 1 percent. And he singled out American conservative commentator Candace Owens as the person who had influenced him the most, while saying "the extreme actions she calls for are too much, even for my tastes."
I wonder which other members of the Intellectual Dark Web have influenced mass murderers.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Mighty Krug-man vs. Steven Pinker

Wow, what were they thinking with this match-up?

Paul Krugman, one of our most important, best-respected and all-around smartest public intellectuals versus a bullshit artist like Steven Pinker?
Paul Krugman and Steven Pinker, Is Humanity Progressing? Janus Lecture #41
TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2019
5:30PM - 7:00PM
 
We live in a world marred by economic inequality, political polarization and ecological threats leaving many of its citizens to wonder, is humanity progressing? Steven Pinker suggests we draw on 18th-century Enlightenment thinking to move us forward. By contrast, Paul Krugman asserts where old ideas and attitudes have fallen short, new ideas and new techniques are needed. Join us for a bracing conversation about the future of our world.
If this is a debate Krugman will absolutely crush Pinker. Krugman is a disciplined thinker, consistent, coherent and logical and yet will admit whenever he makes a mistake. And Pinker is none of those things.

Although Pinker is so good at having things both ways it's hard to pin him down for being wrong since he often makes two incompatible claims in the same  book. If you accuse him of saying in "The Blank Slate" that environment doesn't impact youthful violence he can honestly point to where he said we don't really know the cause of youth violence. And if you say he believes we don't know the cause of youth violence he can point elsewhere and honestly say he stated that environment matters.

Talking out both sides of his mouth as he often does gives Pinker the stopped-clock guarantee.

And I guarantee Pinker is going to come out of this looking like an even bigger fool than usual.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Jerry Coyne defends Steven Pinker again

Jerry Coyne generates another aggrieved whine-fest on behalf of Steven Pinker.

Coyne writes:
I’ve never seen Steve commit a shoddy act nor engage in ad hominem arguments.
But I documented Pinker doing just that in January of this year.

Coyne also writes:
This is puzzling to me as he’s a nice guy and can’t be accused of Misogyny and Nazism Through Tweeting. 

Later Coyne says:
He’s also been accused of being an alt-righter, and that’s the most mendacious accusation of all. Pinker is on the Left, though more toward the center than are, say, the Justice Democrats. He donated a sizable sum to the Democratic Party during the last election cycle, and I know from conversations with him that he’s not the neo-Nazi you’d guess from reading, say, Ph*ryng*l*.
The word Ph*ryng*l* refers to PZ Myers blog Pharyngula.

If you do a search on Pinker in Myers' blog, what you will discover is that Myers was once just as much a fan of Pinker as Coyne. But unlike Coyne, learning about Pinker's race science connections and his defense of the alt-right - which, as Myers rightly observers was really an excuse to attack the left - Myers has changed his view of Pinker. (Just as I had once been a fan of Coyne but by 2011 began to reconsider.)

Now it isn't that Coyne is simply loyal to Pinker - if you read Coyne's blog you will find that he basically agrees with Pinker - and Quillette - about everything, but especially the misogyny and Islamaphobia.

Naturally Coyne doesn't mention Pinker's connections to race science promoters Razib Khan and Steve Sailer. Pinker has promoted both their careers. And then there is Pinker's support for Quillette, a magazine that publishes so much that is agreeable to white supremacists that American Renaissance has reprinted many Quillette articles.

Quillette's founder Claire Lehmann, whom Pinker has never criticized to my knowledge, but rather only the opposite, is clearly a right-winger, not only because of her work for far-right Rebel Media but because of her classic right-wing positions on issues like, most recently, the poor.

Pinker himself pushed the "marriage is the answer to violence" trope of the right in "Better Angels" and I explain here how the data demonstrate that marriage rates and violence rates decreased together beginning around 1990.

Lehmann is a big fan of professional misogynist Camille Paglia. Pinker described Paglia as a "feminist" in "The Blank Slate." This is what Paglia thinks of women.
"If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts."
But in the mind of Steven Pinker, a person can have absolute contempt for women and yet at the same time be a feminist.

As I have demonstrated, Pinker claimed to be appalled by the beliefs of the alt-right but at the same time recommends the work of the very people who claim black people are innately more violent and stupid than other races.

So how can Steven Pinker claim he isn't a right-winger and a racist and a misogynist while supporting and promoting right-wingers and racists and misogynists?

Having it both ways is an irritating feature of "The Blank Slate." Pinker can write, in refutation of the scarecrow theory of violent behavior, "The sad fact is that despite the repeated assurances that 'we know the conditions that breed violence,' we barely have a clue," and then, a few pages later, "It is not surprising, then, that when African American teenagers are taken out of underclass neighborhoods they are no more violent or delinquent than white teenagers." Well, that should give us one clue. He sums the matter up: "With violence, as with so many other concerns, human nature is the problem, but human nature is also the solution." This is just another way of saying that it is in human nature to socialize and to be socialized, which is, pragmatically, exactly the view of the "intellectuals."
Pinker's "having it both ways" tendency is so bad I caught him doing it in the same sentence:
And there he is doing it in "Better Angels." You can't say we don't know if marriage is the cause or effect and then in the very same sentence say it seems to be the cause. If you have decided that something is the cause, you argue for it. What kind of rhetorical bullshit is that, to say "we don't know" and then declare we do know in the same sentence?
Pinker seems to exist in a "having it both ways" reality. 
I've called Pinker a weasel and PZ Myers called him a lying shit-weasel, but let us consider the possibility that Steven Pinker, rather than deliberately arguing out of both sides of his face as some kind of obnoxious strategy, simply does not understand that you cannot logically claim two incompatible positions are both true at the same time.

It's possible that Pinker has succeeded thanks to money and connections and his success has convinced others that he is bright. And there are enough people in this world - people like Jerry Coyne - who are themselves so deficient in logical and coherent thought that Pinker's deficiencies don't register with them.

And since the deficiencies don't register, they can't fathom why people like Myers find them so irritating. And so they explain it to themselves like this:
As best I can understand, people don’t like him because he’s famous and they’re not...

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Of course Pinker turns on Justin Trudeau when Quillette tells him to

I knew it was a mistake for Justin Trudeau to pal around with Steven Pinker.

Pinker is a contributor to Quillette, and constantly sings the praises of that right-wing, race science-promoting rag.


Quillette was founded by Claire Lehmann, who, while she was running Quillette was also working for unhinged Trudeau-hater Ezra Levant at Rebel Media.

Of course Jon Kay at Quillette would claim that the real problem with Justin Trudeau's government is hiring too many women and non-white people.

And of course Steven Pinker would go along with that.

I certainly hope Justin Trudeau has learned what a lying right-wing shitweasel Steven Pinker is.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Once again, the press whitewashes Pinker

This time it's Tom Bartlett at the Chronicle Review: Why Do People Love to Hate Steven Pinker?

This piece doesn't quite match the low point of Andrew Anthony in the Guardian, but it does align with the press's usual indulgent, ill-informed and gullible takes on Steven Pinker:
Last year Pinker briefly found himself on the defensive after saying that the alt-right is made up of "often highly literate, highly intelligent people." On its face, it seemed from that quote that Pinker was throwing his lot in with incels, white nationalists, and assorted bigots. Pinker, however, went on to say that those drawn to the alt-right, intelligent though they may be, are then led to embrace "repellent conclusions," in part because they’re encountering politically incorrect ideas for the first time and those ideas are like "a bacillus to which they have no immunity." Pinker thinks more robust and honest discussion can help inoculate students against being drawn into that radical fringe.

As I demonstrated in great detail culminating in this post, what Pinker is doing is promoting the claims of race scientists - especially "biosocial criminologists" who argue for the very things that Pinker claims to consider repellent.

But right in the middle of the article, the author contrasted my description of Quillette with Pinker's:
Quillette is either "unique and indispensable," as Pinker puts it, or a "center for white male grievance," as one critic described it.
How do I know I'm the "one critic"? Because if you Google "Quillette" and "center for white male grievance" these are the two hits.

Heavens to Mergatroyd is my personal blog. Since then I have posted most of my Pinker/Race Science/IDW content to this site. Naturally I never heard from Bartlett for this article.

This isn't the first time I've been quoted on Quillette without being named. The same thing happened when Politico linked to me calling Quillette a bunch of clowns on Twitter. I didn't hear from Politico either.

What's especially odd is that there are prominent people who have criticized Quillette. Daniel Engber may not be a household name, but just this past January he was published in Slate calling Quillette "a soap-box for self-pity."

It's quite a strange dynamic set up by the article: Steven Pinker, famous, wealthy, frequently lionized in the press, constantly asked for his opinion including by CNN vs anonymous "one critic."

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Catty Persons

Claire Lehmann, Christina Hoff Sommers and Cathy Young are all members of what I think of as the IDW Misogynist Ladies Club - all three of them have careers built on hating women on behalf of right-wing men like the Koch brothers.

And I do mean misogynist, not just anti-feminist. I've noted Lehmann's misogyny especially, although Sommers and Young have had even longer careers championing the cause of those poor downtrodden men. And Cathy Young still has some serious apologizing to do, in my opinion, for the way she celebrated the Gamergate mob's campaign against women.

But nothing is more illustrative of the deep internalized misogyny of the alt-right Weird Sisters than their attitude towards fiction author Kristen Roupenian.

Roupenian's short story "Cat Person" was published in the New Yorker in December 2017 and "went viral" - clearly it struck a nerve with many people.

It's well-written - but the New Yorker is not known for publishing bad work as even Philistines like Lehmann, Sommers and Young must be aware.

"Cat Person" is about (spoiler alert) a college student who gets involved with an older man, she discovers he lied about being a "cat person" on his online dating profile, she has disappointing sex with him and she breaks up with him.

Now remember, this is a work of fiction. I can't find anything online by any of the three women that explains why they dislike her work so much as fiction.

And there is nothing overtly feminist about the piece - but just writing about a fictional woman's disappointment with a fictional man seems to be enough to enrage them. How dare she.

Lehmann, Sommers and Young have a very personal contempt for Roupenian, whom they never refer to by name. As you can see here, Cathy Young jumped right on the hate train, making a truly bizarre comment about Roupenian's success, and even one of her Twitter followers doesn't seem to understand her response.


Sommers conflates Roupenian with her story of a bad relationship to gloat about a work of non-fiction written by Roupenian recounting a man breaking up with her.


Claire Lehmann uses another work of fiction by Roupenian to tell us it's wrong and she, Claire Lehmann, knows what men really want.


Although Lehmann elsewhere ho-hums that she only got half-way through the piece.




But then Lehmann is rapidly getting a reputation as an ignoramus who doesn't read much at all.


Cathy Young, whose political views I criticized  (and this was even before I realized how invested she was in Gamergate) attacked me in a viciously personal way while discussing me with Steven Pinker's buddy Razib Khan over my criticisms of Khan's race science.




It should be obvious that an incredibly expensive lawsuit in federal court is how nobody wants to "get in the spotlight somehow." The belief that I would do anything to be famous, no matter how harmful to myself, says more about Young than about me.


On the other hand, I don't think the Koch brothers or the other right-wing men who support their careers really care about a young short story author.

So although I think the Catty Persons' motivation is primarily financial I also think there is something about the characters of all three women - something twisted and damaged - that makes them so well-suited to their professional careers of incessantly attacking women and women's aspirations.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Claire Lehmann's Quillette aligning yet again with the Koch brothers

You can hear the tone in the videos she's made for Canada's far-right Rebel Media. I can't listen to Lehmann speak for more than a few seconds before my teeth start grinding.

I don't have the definitive evidence that Lehmann is paid by the Koch brothers that I do for Christina Hoff Sommers and Cathy Young, who both have Reason magazine bylines, but I think it's inevitable that they would pay her to do what she does.

I don't think Lehmann, Sommers and Young would spend so much of their waking lives hating feminists - or even just any woman who writes popular fiction that presents a man in an unflattering light - if it wasn't a lucrative and easy gig.
Although Cathy Young especially seems to
really enjoy her job of hating other women
out of a misguided belief that this
is supporting men somehow - you can

read Cat Person here
and decide for yourself if the prose
is as bad as all that.


Here's Lehmann's participation in a Mercatus Center project, another Koch brothers-funded enterprise. The term "political correctness" is used twenty-nine times in the interview. Follow the link and use the handy search box to see for yourself.

It was recently brought to my attention that Lehmann is publishing Michael Shellenberger, whose speciality is anti-renewable energy. Here he defends the Koch brothers

Shellenberger runs a pro-nuclear power organization "Environmental Progress" - what a perfect Koch brothers-esque astroturf name - and one of his Science and Economy Advisors is... Steven Pinker.

And here's Shellenberger's paen to Marie Curie who according to this NYTimes piece from twenty years ago:
...tended to deny the perils of radiation, despite being deeply troubled by the deaths in the 1920's of colleagues and radiation workers from leukemia.
Sounds like the perfect mascot for Shellenberger.

Now I haven't found evidence that Shellenberger is being funded by the Koch brothers, but his projects certainly align perfectly with the Koch brothers hostility toward renewable energy. And "Environmental Progress" defends the Koch brothers here:
Policymakers and journalists have made much of corporate funding for efforts to kill clean energy. Mostly those efforts have focused on the Koch brothers and Exxon. Fair treatment would require more focus on groups like ELPC and Sierra Club, which have taken money from natural gas companies while fighting nuclear energy, America’s largest source of clean, low carbon power.

...For almost three decades the forests around the shuttered nuclear power plant have been absorbing contamination left from the 1986 reactor explosion. Now climate change and lack of management present a troubling predicament: If these forests burn, strontium 90, cesium 137, plutonium 238 and other radioactive elements would be released, according to an analysis of the human health impacts of wildfire in Chernobyl's exclusion zone conducted by scientists in Germany, Scotland, Ukraine and the United States.