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PZ Myers dissects evolutionary psychology: brief, sharp and fabulous

I admit I LOL'd at the part about lighting up "like a Christmas tree." WATCH AND LEARN all IDWs!

The Brian Ferguson Interview

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Another IDW - Koch connection: Dave Rubin

Since 2011, Learn Liberty has been committed to tackling big questions about what makes a society free and how to improve the world we live in. In just five years, we’ve partnered with over 150 professors and other intellectuals to help explore these ideas.
Today, we’re announcing a new partnership between Learn Liberty and the wickedly talented David Rubin of The Rubin Report!
The Institute for Humane Studies is crawling with Koch influence. Not only is Charles G. Koch himself on the Board of Directors, but his flunkies are also on the board of directors: two employees of the Charles Koch Foundation and three from George Mason University, one of which is Tyler Cowen, seen here interviewing Claire Lehmann - Lehmann is very likely also getting Koch money for Quillette.

Monday, April 29, 2019

More weirdness from Pinkerites

Guilt by (tenuous) association smear tactic, right out of the Joe McCarthy handbook. Detestable.

The item above is a response I got recently to the latest version of Steven Pinker's right-wing, alt-right and hereditarian connections on Academia.edu. Suddenly the document is getting a lot of hits.

It isn't only the weird phobia that Pinkerites have about information presented graphically though - I also wonder about their definition of the word "association." Would it be wrong to link John Lennon and Paul McCartney because they "associated" with each other? What about Marx and Engels? 

That's hire and salary, not "association."

The Academia.edu commenter might be in denial about the Pinker-Sailer relationship, but Sailer certainly is not as we discussed last week.

And so that is why I include a direct link from Steven Pinker to Steve Sailer in the diagram.

And Steven Pinker has not only praised and frequently re-tweeted Quillette content, he's published an article in Quillette. That is literally hire and salary, not just a metaphorical HAMLET allusion since, I assume, Quillette paid Pinker for that particular "association." Hence the line.

Now unfortunately there isn't enough room to present Khan and Sailer's right-wing and hereditarian bona fides anymore since I had to delete Sailer's and Khan's connections to Unz (still very current for Sailer) and others to make room for the Koch connections. But I was able to leave in all the Quillette connections because it is extremely important to know that Quillette was founded by someone who contributed to far-right Rebel Media, which also used at the time - and uses again, Gavin McInnes as another contributor. And that three Quillette authors have shown up on Stefan Molyneux's YouTube channel to  hawk their race science theories to a very receptive Molyneux. (And in fact eight Quillette authors have appeared with Molyneux.)

And it's important to know that some articles in Quillette are so congenial to white supremacist thought that they are reprinted by American Renaissance.

And even more important is the fact that Charles Murray gets funding from the Kochs via American Enterprise Institute and has also used race science work funded by the Pioneer Fund. And that Steven Pinker also has at least one connection to Koch money via his appearance in Spiked's Koch-supported "Unsafe Spaces" tour.

His long association with Sam Harris also important to know - and they are both identified by Bari Weiss as members of the "Intellectual Dark Web" as is Charles Murray. Thus the line connecting them. Pinker doesn't merely "associate" with these people he has worked with them and promoted them and praised them. What would it take for Pinkerites to acknowledge Steven Pinker's right-wing, alt-right and hereditarian connections, is he going to have to marry them?

The problem is not that the information in the Pinker chart is inaccurate or tenuous, the problem is that it's information that some Pinkerites would rather not know about.

The IDW fault-line - religion

The Washington Post review of Ben Shapiro's new book The Right Side of History says Shapiro of course goes after the Great Satan of the Intellectual Dark Web - unruly college students:
He credits certain thinkers who get the Athens-Jerusalem balance right and help further Western greatness, among them, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Edmund Burke and, implicitly, himself. And he indicts those who got it wrong for contributing to history’s failures, the French Revolution and Nazism — and to the campus left, whose opposition to Shapiro’s views has helped propel his fame.
Enlightenment revivalists such as Pinker and Harris, both of whom reject a religious moral framework in favor of a reasoned one, are wasting precious time they could be investing in the two-pillared program for a return to meaning, Shapiro contends.
As long as they focus on college students and Islam and race science they'll be fine but the atheist wing of the IDW is extremely devoted to their anti-religion positions.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The IDW v Big Data

The IDW really doesn't like Rebecca Lewis' paper Alternative Influence Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube

I documented Bret Weinstein recently trying to get the outrage flowing among his Twitter followers by claiming Lewis was a woman who was trying to get power because she complained to Twitter that she had received death threats.

His brother Eric's first response to the paper seems to be to suggest its drop date was deliberately selected to be inconvenient to observant Jews.

And notice the quote marks on report. He didn't digest it but he already knows it isn't a real "report."

Next, he suggests that Lewis is insane for making a somewhat inaccurate comment. Although of course Claire Lehmann got her start from Rebel Media's Youtube Channel. Lewis' comment does seem unwarranted, but Weinstein suggesting this is an example of Lewis losing her mind seems doubly unwarranted.

I don't know if Weinstein is always this illogical or if his anger at Rebecca Lewis just makes him that way, but here his tweet makes no sense.

Lewis' point is that Elon Musk, a well-known influential mainstream figure is, by appearing on Joe Rogan's platform, helping to mainstream Rogan's promotion of zanies like Peterson, Sargon and Gavin McInnes. Lewis' remark is about Musk not Rogan - how could Weinstein not get that?

Lewis' report is an issue now because it was mentioned in the Quillette piece that was critical of Dave Rubin that had many in the IDW in a tizzy.  At the bottom of the article, by Uri Harris, there is this:
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include reference to two criticisms of the Data & Society Report “Alternative Influence Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube” by Rebecca Lewis

The two criticisms are in this paragraph:
Klein draws on a report by Data & Society researcher Rebecca Lewis titled, “Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube” (which, it should be noted, was strongly criticised by Weinstein upon release; later an analysis showed that YouTube actually disproportionately recommends channels on the centre and left rather than the right), and he echoes her use of the term “reactionary right” to describe this loosely connected set of people. He then draws on the work of political theorist Corey Robin to explain why these people are reactionary, suggesting that their motivation is a resistance to social and demographic changes and a desire to hold on to power and privilege.
The first of the "two criticisms" is a link to this tweet:

The tally so far of Weinstein's reactions to Alternative Influence:Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube is:
  • two tweets hinting, apparently, at anti-Semitism
  • one tweet suggesting Lewis has "lost her mind"
  • one tweet confused by something not at all confusing
  • and an alleged strong criticism in which Weinstein says he can't find the report's "standard methodology"
The second criticism is a piece in Medium by Mark Ledwich  which is "analysis showed that YouTube actually disproportionately recommends channels on the centre and left rather than the right." But Lewis never claimed that YouTube disproportionately recommends channels on the right. In fact one of Lewis' sources explicitly says:
I was curious whether this was an exclusively right-wing phenomenon. So I created another YouTube account and started watching videos of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, letting YouTube’s recommender algorithm take me wherever it would. 
Before long, I was being directed to videos of a leftish conspiratorial cast, including arguments about the existence of secret government agencies and allegations that the United States government was behind the attacks of Sept. 11. As with the Trump videos, YouTube was recommending content that was more and more extreme than the mainstream political fare I had started with.
So where does this "actually" come from?

Why is this report so hard for these IDWs to accept? Lewis' logic for her diagram is right there next to the diagram and it's extremely straight-forward (my highlight)
Each line indicates that two connected influencers appeared in the same Youtube video during the period of January 1, 2017 and April 1, 2018, serving as guests, hosts, or collaborators. The size of nodes are determined by the number of other influencers with whom they connect–demonstrating how much a given influencer serves as a conduit for viewers to other influencers in the AIN. The colors of nodes are determined by their total connectivity within the network, or how close the influencer is to all other influencers.
Why is this such a big deal to them? Because it makes it clear just how far right the IDW is?

Friday, April 26, 2019

The IDW's favorite off-off Broadway playwright

The piece that Libby Emmons wrote for the far-right Federalist is bouncing all over the IDW Twitter echo-chamber.

Here we see both Colin Wright, the graphophobic and Eric Weinstein, arguably the founder and leader of the IDW pushing it.

This truly is the quintessential IDW piece: written for a far-right web site, and written by someone whose credentials include having her own blog and being an off-off Broadway playwright (if you've ever written a play you qualify as an off-off Broadway playwright) whose main non-theater authorship credential is writing a transphobic piece for Quillette (as well as typical right-of-center Quillette grievance-whining.)

So why would The Federalist choose someone with no writing credentials except Quillette and no political expertise to write this piece?

Because they don't care about quality, they care about defending the IDW.

Because the IDW is a right-wing political movement.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Federalist hires off-off Broadway playwright to opine on the IDW

Unfortunately Pinkerite has traveled in the same off-off Broadway theater circles as Quillette author Libby Emmons, seen here defending the IDW for the far right-wing Federalist. As her Federalist bio says:
Libby Emmons is a writer and theatre maker in Brooklyn, New York. She is co-founder of the Sticky short play series, and blogs the story of her life at li88yinc.com.
You don't have to have an impressive resume if you are willing to go to bat for the right. But something good came out of finding the article - Emmons gave me a heads-up on genuinely good work when she presumed to criticize an article about the IDW written by Justin Charity at The Ringer. Charity is a far superior writer to Emmons and with a far more impressive writerly resume too. I think his description of a recent Jesse Singal kerfuffle contains a perfect illustration of Singal's weaseliness, which seems to be a trait generally shared by the IDW and IDW-adjacent.

On Twitter, Singal spent the past weekend challenging a perceived resistance among marginalized people to argue with conservatives. Arguing against such reluctance, Singal cited Frederick Douglass as a counterexample. He expressed one conception of Douglass—as a black genius who debated his people to freedom—and then several black journalists, disagreeing quite strongly with Singal’s characterization, expressed alternative conceptions of Douglass, abolitionism, and activism in general. Vann R. Newkirk II, an Atlantic staff writer who has, unlike Singal, actually written about Douglass and other black liberation figures, stressed the general aversion among abolitionists to debating slaveholders and other “unpersuadables.”
Singal, a proud rationalist, had an interesting debate on his hands. He might have directly engaged with black journalists at The Atlantic and The New York Times who might have had some worthwhile thoughts about Frederick Douglass, but instead he retreated from the debate, which he himself had launched in a live forum, only to reconfigure himself in the comfort of his own newsletter. It was all very meta and pathetic, and so poignantly counterproductive in demonstrating the power of rationalist confidence. “Be braver,” Singal had tweeted at one point. It was a fun debate while it lasted. 
No one is scared to debate Singal, Shapiro, or Sullivan; they are, in most cases, simply annoyed. No journalist, no activist, no person of any persuasion wants to argue with a bad listener; no one wants to match against yet another rationalist champion only to find him retreating immediately to backchannels, whining about how many people are retweeting his opponents when they could be celebrating him...

Newsflash - Peterson fanboy disagrees with Peterson critics

In the NYTimes this week:
I want to make clear that I recognize that Dr. Peterson has many critics and that some believe his views on some subjects, including women, are offensive. I should also say I don’t agree, and I think these arguments misrepresent his point of view; I also find his arguments in favor of maintaining vigilance against restrictions on individual freedom compelling.
Do Peterson fans ever get tired of being predictable? They always claim Peterson is being misrepresented.

Cartoon author Gretchen Koch's Patreon.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Statement by the AAPA on Race

The entire statement from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists is here.

Executive Summary: AAPA Statement on Race and Racism

Race does not provide an accurate representation of human biological variation. It was never accurate in the past, and it remains inaccurate when referencing contemporary human populations. Humans are not divided biologically into distinct continental types or racial genetic clusters. Instead, the Western concept of race must be understood as a classification system that emerged from, and in support of, European colonialism, oppression, and discrimination. It thus does not have its roots in biological reality, but in policies of discrimination. Because of that, over the last five centuries, race has become a social reality that structures societies and how we experience the world. In this regard, race is real, as is racism, and both have real biological consequences.

Humans share the vast majority (99.9%) of our DNA in common. Individuals nevertheless exhibit substantial genetic and phenotypic variability. Genome/environment interactions, local and regional biological changes through time, and genetic exchange among populations have produced the biological diversity we see in humans today. Notably, variants are not distributed across our species in a manner that maps clearly onto socially-recognized racial groups. This is true even for aspects of human variation that we frequently emphasize in discussions of race, such as facial features, skin color and hair type. No group of people is, or ever has been, biologically homogeneous or “pure.” Furthermore, human populations are not — and never have been — biologically discrete, truly isolated, or fixed.

While race does not accurately represent the patterns of human biological diversity, an abundance of scientific research demonstrates that racism, prejudice against someone because of their race and a belief in the inherent superiority and inferiority of different racial groups, affects our biology, health, and well-being. This means that race, while not a scientifically accurate biological concept, can have important biological consequences because of the effects of racism. The belief in races as a natural aspect of human biology and the institutional and structural inequities (racism) that have emerged in tandem with such beliefs in European colonial contexts are among the most damaging elements in human societies.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Polite Conversations' Eiynah and her revealing interview with Sam Harris

Polite Conversations is the podcast of Eiynah, who once considered herself part of the "New Atheist" movement.

After her interview with Sam Harris two years ago, she began to have second thoughts.

Eiynah recently posted about the interview on Twitter. Some of Sam Harris's anti-Muslim comments are appalling and have been getting a big negative response.

According to her Twitter profile Eiynah is Pak-Canadian, grew up in Saudi. Blogger/illustrator/Podcaster. Not a fan of conservatism, Islamic or Western. Loathes anti-muslim bigots

Proving, contra people like Jerry Coyne, that it is possible to be opposed to Islam on atheist principles without being an anti-muslim bigot.

At 2:21:00 in the Harris interview there is this exchange:

...(Anne Marie Waters) thinks if you're not anti-immigration as she's said to me and Mario Namazi then you're pro the rape of white women. And she heads this organization called Pegida with Tommy (Robinson) and with a white genocide guy called Paul Weston I believe. Paul Weston is a guy who thinks that no Muslims should ever be allowed to hold public office. Even Muslims like Maajid Nawaz and they're all heading this pro-freedom supposedly organization which is clearly contradictory,  because they're not pro-freedom,  Tommy talks about deporting Muslims, Paul Weston doesn't want them to be able to hold public office, Anne Marie think you're pro-rape of white women if you're not anti-immigration, or prepared to let rape happen... 

...she's right, when you look at what's happened in Europe in the last 12 months, you have a lot of people on the Left who are prepared to let white women get raped by Muslim immigrants. There are people who are prepared to be raped themselves -

- did you hear the story of the woman who got raped by three refugees by three non-German migrants and when she reported this rape she was so afraid to spark racial tension that she claimed she was raped by three German men? 
Oh dear.  
- Like 48 hours later she recanted it and she described them accurately - 
Then there's another story of a German girl who made up a story about being raped by Muslim immigrants but she wasn't - 
- What no-one can reasonably dispute now is that there is a wave of sexual assaults which the Left feels some obligation not to report... 
Harris goes on to discuss the "grooming" cases in England. Harris attempts to present a system of grooming and raping girls as a Muslim problem.

Men abusing girls and women is of course not a Muslim-only problem. And Harris must surely know this. The Jeffrey Epstein case demonstrates that it isn't just cops, like those in the grooming case who turn a blind eye to such systems of abuse, the US justice system was employed to help Epstein get off with a very light sentence.

If you believe the worst members of an ethnic or religious group are representative of an entire group,  that makes you a bigot. Sam Harris is an anti-Muslim bigot. But of course that's been obvious for years, since at least the "ground zero mosque" controversy of 2010.

The common denominator in men systemically abusing women and girls is not any single religion or ethnicity, the common denominator is men. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for the IDW to advocate anti-men measures any time soon.

Some reactions to the audio:

Yes the Klein-Harris conversation demonstrated not only that Harris is an anti-Muslim bigot but also a complete supporter of race science. Which makes him a natural for the IDW.

We should all join in with Ian Murphy at Salon in 2013 and ask: Why does anyone take Sam Harris seriously?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

TESTIFY Steve Sailer!

While arguing with Twitter followers of Steve Sailer about James Damore, Sailer unexpectedly testified not only to Pinker's influence on him, but to his influence on Pinker.

Steve Sailer is of course the professional racist whose career Pinker has promoted by including a piece by Sailer in the "best of" science and nature writing in 2004.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bret Weinstein targets Rebecca Lewis

I thought it was odd, the other day, that Bret Weinstein decided to harass a random woman over her claim that she was getting death threats on Twitter. The woman had complained to her followers that Twitter refused to consider the death threats a policy violation.

Weinstein asked why the woman, Becca Lewis would tweet this without submitting evidence to himself and "the rest of us" for evaluation.

Lewis' claim is extremely credible. It is not news that women are often threatened on social media. Amnesty International ran a report on the issue a year ago.

And there are certainly plenty of famous examples of men threatening women because, for example, they were the focus of criticism by Richard Dawkins in "Elevatorgate" or when Eron Gjoni and his mob were cheered on by prominent people on the right like Cathy Young in "Gamergate."

At least one of Weinstein's followers judged Lewis to be in pursuit of attention.

But Weinstein decided to psychoanalyze Lewis and you'll never guess what he determined: that her complaint about Twitter's insufficient response to her concerns was ABOUT POWER.

But it turns out there may be a reason for Weinstein to focus on Rebecca Lewis in particular.

Now I have experience with the IDW's phobia about presenting verifiable factual information in graphic format. Speaking of which, the third edition of Steven Pinker's rightwing, alt-right and hereditarian connections will soon be released -  with 100% more Koch.

So if Colin Wright and Lee Jussim screamed at me that I was crazy and nutso, you can imagine how ape-shit the IDW went due to Rebecca Lewis' publication Alternative Influence:
Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube which includes a diagram.

You can see the predictable response from IDW fan Nick Monroe.

I assume Weinstein was so sore at Lewis because several members of the Intellectual Dark Web show up in the diagram of Youtube influencers. I highlighted them in yellow this version of the diagram.

Weinstein must know that focusing on a woman and accusing her of wanting power is red meat to misogynist men, like the mobs who showed up for Elevatorgate and Gamergate. What exactly does he think he's doing by targeting Rebecca Lewis?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The many many many grievances of Bret Weinstein

When we last discussed Bret Weinstein it was to question whether there was more to the Evergreen story than the one Weinstein and Fox News told.

I happened to see a tweet by Bret Weinstein today, demanding that a woman on Twitter, who tweeted to her followers that she had received death threats on Twitter, show proof she had really received death threats.

Now I thought it was odd. I didn't have the highest opinion of Weinstein, but even I didn't think he went around Twitter trolling random women, implying they were lying when they said they had received death threats.

Then I realized why Weinstein was targeting this particular woman, which I will discuss in the next post.

For now though, let us gaze upon the stunted and aggrieved spectacle of Bret Weinstein's Twitter feed. Did Weinstein always have such a one-track mind? Or did his Evergreen experience make him this way? His entire Twitter feed is almost nothing but grievances. Even if the Evergreen experience went down exactly as Weinstein and Fox News said, he came away from the experience $500,000 richer. And yet two years later he's still nothing but a ball of grievances.

Unless maybe it isn't a reflection of Weinstein's personality, maybe instead it is a reflection of his career as a full-time victim of "the left" for the benefit of the Intellectual Dark Web.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Good article: "The 'Intellectual Dark Web' is Nothing New"

I wasn't aware of the LA Review of Books article entitled The "Intellectual Dark Web" is Nothing New by Jacob Hamburger until recently. I'm sorry it took so long to find it, it has a lot of good stuff.

Favorite bits:
...What exactly are the ideas that have made people like Weinstein, Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, and Christina Hoff Sommers into what a recent New York Times profile described as intellectual “renegades”? According to the Times writer Bari Weiss, most emphasize the biological differences between men and women, a feeling that free speech is “under siege,” and a fear that “identity politics” is a threat to the United States’s social fabric. 
A listener of Harris’s podcast might add to the list a vociferous defense of the validity of genetic explanations for IQ differences between racial groups, a follower of Peterson’s videos might insist on the nefarious influence of “postmodern neo-Marxism” on college campuses, and a fan of Ben Shapiro might contribute a skepticism toward the reality of “transgenderism..."
Right on the money. These two paragraphs list several of Quillette's political positions: pro-race science, pro-evolutionary psychology, anti-trans, anti-left.
Though opposed to political “tribalism,” as one writer put it in the online magazine Quillette — the closest thing there is to a party organ of the dark web — the movement does tend to think of liberals, progressives, and leftists as its primary adversaries. But not only do these thinkers oppose themself to “the left,” broadly speaking, they recycle the neoconservative indictment of “postmodernism” in order to explain why this left has been taken in by political correctness.
Check check - the pretense that Quillette is centrist while it is obsessed with attacking the left-of-center.

I was surprised though, that Hamburger doesn't seem to be aware that in addition to Decter and Himmelfarb, Sommers herself is associated with the AEI.
...Despite some of the novelty attributed to the dark web intellectuals, perhaps the signs of their belonging to the right have always been there. Dave Rubin’s YouTube show and Harris’s podcast, for example, have featured a number of mainstays of the old PC debates, including D’Souza and Charles Murray. And though Christina Hoff Sommers may appear to break with neoconservative opponents of the women’s movement such as Midge Decter and Gertrude Himmelfarb by calling her video blog “The Factual Feminist,” one should not fail to notice that the channel is hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, the think tank where both elder women were once affiliates.
He's absolutely right that the Intellectual Dark Web is just a variation on traditional conservatism. And Sommers is old enough to have been part of that tradition, long before Claire Lehmann rolled onto the public stage. I think the only thing that is different between the older and the newer conservatives is that conservatives were once very anti-gay, as Mother Jones remembers in its article Remember How Dinesh D’Souza Outed Gay Classmates—and Thought It Was Awesome? This new iteration of the Right has accepted gay rights.

Unlike every other article on the IDW I've found in mainstream sources, Hamburger recognizes the political potential of the IDW:
...this intellectual right in waiting has amassed an incredibly large audience through its various social media platforms. Much of this audience is composed of young men for whom these entertaining take-downs of political correctness is their first exposure to “intellectual” discussions of politics and culture. When this dark web finally does come out of the shadows, it may prove a formidable weapon for the next iteration of the conservative movement.
And he didn't even mention the Koch connections or the fact that Claire Lehmann was working for Ezra Levant right up until the connections between Rebel Media and the Charlottesville atrocity became well-known.

And there is little doubt that many of these young - and I suspect mostly white - men being cultivated by the IDW are happy to learn via race science and evolutionary psychology that white men are naturally more intelligent (among other virtues) than people who are not white and not men.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Bell Curve and Atlas Shrugged

Very soon I plan to read and discuss each chapter of the Bell Curve on this blog (maybe lumping chapters together if it makes sense) to explore in detail what are exactly the arguments of Charles Murray and the long-deceased Richard J. Herrnstein.

I am inspired by the series on "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, on Adam Lee's Daylight Atheism blog.

I think Lee embodied the worst censorship impulses of "social justice warriors" when he sided with another commenter on the series' discussion forum who cursed me out and said I was out to hurt people with autism when I speculated the possibility that Ayn Rand had been on the autism spectrum. Lee deleted my self-defense comments and told me I had to stop discussing the topic.

Having read two recent biographies on Rand, I still say there's a good chance she was on the spectrum. I think Lee censored me because he doesn't like Rand and therefore believes that saying Rand was autistic was an insult to those who have autism. But I'm sure people who identify as autistic who like Rand would be pleased if she was also autistic.

But in spite of my feelings about Lee, I think his series on Atlas Shrugged made some good points, which sometimes informed my own critique of the book.

The Bell Curve is just as influential to the promoters of race science as Atlas Shrugged is to libertarians - and there is plenty of cross-over in the two groups: Charles Murray is a libertarian. So it will be good to examine, in-depth, this influential text which uses a number of sources funded by the white supremacist Pioneer Fund, as Charles Lanes discusses in his 1994 piece on The Bell Curve.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

PZ Myers dissects evolutionary psychology: brief, sharp and fabulous

I admit I LOL'd at the part about lighting up "like a Christmas tree."


IDW "feminists"

The perfect illustration of IDW "feminists" - Christina Hoff Sommers, Koch brothers hack,
retweeting Camille Paglia, friend of Rush Limbaugh, dehumanizing Lena Dunham.

I wonder if Paglia has ever heard of Kristen Roupenian. I'm guessing that would not go well either.

Jerry Coyne and the "generally left-wing" articles in Quillette

Jerry Coyne is not named as a member of the IDW by Bari Weiss, but is nevertheless what I like to think of as a second string member of the IDW.

So I was really surprised to see Coyne criticizing an article in Quillette. The IDW tend to watch each others backs, even the possibly least-popular IDW, Candace Owens.

Coyne: The worst article ever to appear in Quillette...

The author, John Staddon, is identified as “James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Professor of Biology, Emeritus, at Duke University”. His answer to the title question, by the way, is “yes”.
This may in fact be the worst piece that Quillette has ever published...
However, Coyne begins the article like this:
In general I like the articles in Quillette: they’re generally left-wing but also critical of the Left’s excesses—a theme that has led some misguided ideologues to call the site “alt-right.”
How is it possible that anyone could claim that Quillette articles are "generally left-wing"? Is this part of the standard right-wing through-the-looking glass, like the way they claim that professional misogynists Camille Paglia and Christina Hoff Sommers are feminists? I thought Mari Uyehara, in her immortal article for GQ, The Free Speech Grifters, perfectly captured this right-wing mind-fuckery:
Weiss's column titled "We're All Fascists Now" highlighted the protest of a Christina Hoff Sommers talk at Lewis & Clark Law School, the latest example in an overexposed series of well-meaning college students acting like morons. It was riddled with misrepresentations. To frame the debate as another instance of the liberals attacking fellow liberals, Weiss described Ms. Sommers as a "self-identified" feminist and a "registered" Democrat. To that end, she withheld from readers Sommers's more relevant professional affiliation: resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative think tank, which counts feminist Democrat heroes Dick Cheney and Dinesh D'Souza among its past fellows.
Among the Free Speech Grifters, Sommers has perfected the art. She likes to call herself a feminist, specifically a "factual" one. But if there has been one feminist cause worth addressing in the past 30 years, you wouldn't know it by reading her work. She has had plenty to say on how biological preferences may account for gender distribution in STEM fields, while she's been silent on harassment of women in techand finance. And she's been outspoken about the due-process rights of men accused of rape on college campuses, but apparently has no interest in addressing the complexity of a crime that is notoriously difficult to prove.
In fact, I think Quillette articles have begun leaning further right lately. I haven't done a systematic analysis of all Quillette articles, which I suppose I will be obliged to do someday *siiiigh*. So far I've only done occasional spot checks of its bylines - spoiler alert, Quillette authorship skews very heavily male, in spite of the fact, as Quillette's fans will endlessly tell you, it was founded by Claire Lehmann, actual woman.

Quillette has, since the beginning, reflected many of the values of Lehmann's former boss, rightwing extremist Rebel Media's Ezra Levant, in that it is anti-trans, anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, anti-left, anti-socialist, pro evolutionary psychology and pro race science. Although at least Quillette hasn't replicated Levant's obsession with Justin Trudeau, probably because Lehmann is Australian, not Canadian.

Fun side-note - in spite of the fact that Claire Lehmann's boss was Levant, Jonathan Kay's boss is now Claire Lehmann but there has been some antagonism between Kay and Levant, per the National Post:
Levant has long focused enormous attention on the Trudeau family. He called Pierre Trudeau a “slut” and Margaret Trudeau “(not) much better,” in 2014. Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, “is everything Ezra hates,” said Jonathan Kay, who worked with Levant at the National Post.
(Levant denies any fixation with Trudeau. He also believes Kay, who ghostwrote Justin Trudeau’s memoirs, holds a grudge against him for publicizing that fact.)
Lately I've noticed additional rightwing party platforms on Quillette: anti-immigration and pro-nuclear/anti-green energy. I think this is likely the result of an increasing Koch influence, either indirectly through Quillette authors supported by the Kochs (Cathy Young, Charles Murray, Pamela Paresky, probably others - I will definitely be doing an article on the IDW-Koch connections ASAP) or directly through Koch Foundation money - but I haven't found evidence for the latter... yet.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Pinkerite graphophobia: meet Colin Wright and Lee Jussim

I've observed previously how many fans of Steven Pinker are appalled by the concept of representing information in graphic form.

Steve Sailer's fans don't much like it either.

Here we see Quillette author Colin Wright, who clearly hasn't read the diagram's accompanying text, claiming there's no validity to the diagram.

And also that it's insane and truly kooky.

According to his Quillette bio Wright has a PhD in evolutionary biology from UC Santa Barbara. Considering that UC Santa Barbara is a center for evolutionary psychology and the professional home of Leda Cosmides, John Tooby and Napoleon Chagnon it's maybe not so surprising that Wright seems more interested in evolutionary psychology than evolutionary biology. Which would make him very useful to Quillette, which is devoted to promoting evolutionary psychology. I will be looking at some of its articles on EP soon.

It's odd though, that the IDW and its allies didn't seem at all perturbed by the Bari Weiss  NYTimes article in May 2018 "Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web" linking together some of the same people that I did - and the Weiss article provides even less explanation than my diagram and text.

Weiss links Steven Pinker to four extremists, ever so casually, in a single paragraph, like this:
Go a click in one direction and the group is enhanced by intellectuals with tony affiliations like Steven Pinker at Harvard. But go a click in another and you’ll find alt-right figures like Stefan Molyneux and Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich (the #PizzaGate huckster) and Alex Jones (the Sandy Hook shooting denier).
I only linked Pinker to two of those four extremists. And I explained who they were and why I was linking them.

And Wright wasn't the only one to have such an extreme response to my diagram. I received dozens of hostile tweets claiming it was evidence I was crazy, and also, "nutso" per Rutgers professor and Quillette author Lee Jussim.

(Jussim is Nate Honeycutt's PhD advisor. Honeycutt was the 2014 honoree for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) Student Spotlight. FIRE, as discussed yesterday, is funded by the Kochs and other right-wing plutocrats.)

So why the almost primitive aversion to graphics from Wright and Jussim? Why the need to claim that factually accurate information is "truly kooky" simply because it's presented as an image?

One theory I have is that many IDW people are not big readers and had not seen the Weiss article.  So instead of learning of the Pinker to Molyneux connection for the first time from someone who admires and lionizes the IDW, they received the information from a critic who thinks there might be something disturbing about the fact that, for good reasons, Steven Pinker is counted as part of the same group as Stefan Molyneux.

The fact that Steven Pinker has promoted the career of a flat-out racist like Steve Sailer, and in such a well documented way must be unpleasant to some of Pinker's admirers, but rather than reassessing their hero-worship of Pinker, they prefer to declare whoever (except Bari Weiss) mentions this unpleasant fact to be craaaaaazy.

Speaking of Steve Sailer, after arguing with IDWs on Twitter about the diagram, it occurred to me that it might be time to revise it. It would be more appropriate to link David Duke to Richard Spencer rather than Molyneux. I found a tweet from Molyneux denouncing Duke.

Richard Spencer however can be seen in this video in a car with David Duke and it seems they coordinated during the Charlottesville disaster.

David Duke is a fan of Steve Sailer too, but I'm not sure exactly what Steve Sailer's opinion is of Duke, although I have never found him criticizing him. I asked Sailer directly on Twitter, but so far no response.

I didn't know much about Lee Jussim before tangling with him and Pamela Paresky and their friends on Twitter the other day over Jesse Singal's hypocrisy. Jussim is apparently in deep with the IDW, but I didn't think he was a hardcore proponent of race science. So I was really surprised to find him retweeting John Paul Wright in a contentious exchange between Jussim and some people I follow on Twitter.

John Paul Wright is the most blatantly racist of the academic promoters of race science.

Wright mentioned on his Conservative Criminology blog that he admired Jussim and said he looked forward to meeting him. I assume they have met since then, offline. They certainly seem to have "met" on Twitter.

John Paul Wright has his own connection to Stefan Molyneux, appearing on his Youtube channel to share thoughts on race and crime and to rant against the left.

This is why it's important to model the IDW - you document the interconnections, some more significant than others, among plutocrats like the Kochs, conservative scientists with political axes to grind and right-wing extremists.

And although I have nothing against information presented as text, people can absorb information from pictures at a glance. It's a principle I use in my work as a technical writer. Graphics are a good method to convey complex information as painlessly as possible.

Fortunately I've never worked with any developers on my tech writing jobs who have had meltdowns over graphic information. Then again, developers often use graphic models themselves to convey connections among components in a system.

I imagine if Colin Wright and Lee Jussim saw one of these they would freak right the hell out.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

More evidence of an IDW - Koch connection: meet Pamela Paresky

The hypocrisy of the IDW is an ever-reliable subject. Here we see Jesse Singal advocating arguing constructively in The Atlantic.

Jesse Singal refused to argue with me about his support of Steven Pinker, blocked me on Twitter, and then teamed up with Quillette author, Koch money recipient  and leading cheerleader of the misogynists targeting women in Gamergate, Cathy Young, like this.

Notice how he congratulates himself on "nonengagement" while simultaneously smearing me where I presumably can't see it and respond in my own defense.

The people associated with the IDW seem to never tire patting themselves on the back for standing up for one virtue or another while doing the exact opposite.

Jesse Singal has also written for AEI, supported by the Koch brothers.

Pamela Paresky, author at Quillette, has done even better than that. She is Chief Research Officer to the President and CEO of Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a rightwing organization with ties to the Kochs according to SourceWatch:
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has deep ties to the Koch brothers. The organization has received funding from the Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, Donors Capital Fund and DonorsTrust.
FIRE has received money from other plutocrats, like the Bradley Foundation.

I don't think it can be underestimated how useful the free speech grifting of the IDW is to the Kochs. While FIRE and Quillette and Areo Magazine and Fox News focus the spotlight on random students acting stupid at various colleges, which they portray as "the left" meanwhile this is what the Kochs are getting up to in Academia:

What Charles Koch and Other Donors to George Mason University Got for Their Money

Yet there is evidence that donors, including the Koch Foundation, continue to exert extraordinary influence at universities, in many cases unwritten or even unstated. Daniel Kovenock, a professor of economics at Chapman University, which has received Koch funding, said he believed that the foundation had changed its methods. 
“Instead of explicit contractual provisions governing use of the funds, it’s now a wink and a handshake,” Professor Kovenock said. 
A former professor and administrator at Arizona State University described the “drama” involving an offer in 2014 by the Koch Foundation to donate money for a new professor dedicated to teaching the history of capitalism. 
The professor, Matthew J. Garcia, said that he had welcomed the foundation’s donation to his program — the school of historical, philosophical and religious studies — but that he had insisted normal hiring procedures be followed to fill the job. 
The hiring search was anything but normal, the professor said. As it progressed, a university dean told him, “A.S.U. will never hire anyone that Koch doesn’t approve,” according to Professor Garcia.
The IDW - useful and complicit idiots.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The IDW hates the Southern Poverty Law Center, Part 2

As noted on this blog previously, the Intellectual Dark Web, from Steven Pinker (cited as one of the most respectable of the IDW by Bari Weiss) on down hate the Southern Poverty Law Center because some members of the IDW are mentioned in unflattering ways due to their various hate-group associations.

The latest instance is Sam Harris retweeting an article in the Wall Street Journal attacking the SPLC written by someone from the Alliance Defense Fund.

When enough people pointed out the extreme hatred the ADF has for gays, as when the filed an amicus brief in a case defending the criminalization of gay sex, he backed off and admitted he was wrong.

Although of course he can never leave it at that.

However, Mehdi Hasan has some questions for Harris.

What Harris means by the statement that the SPLC "smears anyone in sight" is that they truthfully reported what members of the alt-right told them about Harris's influence on their decision to become alt-right along with Gavin McInnes and Stefan Molyneux.

Not long ago Christina Hoff Sommers was found to have appeared on a white supremacist radio program Radio 3Fourteen. As the web site Angry White Men notes:

Radio 3Fourteen (a program that is part of the larger Red Ice Radio network) has hosted notorious Holocaust-deniers, Neo-Nazis, and other fringe figures in the past, and the show’s host is no stranger to making racist and homophobic remarks.

Yet Fiamengo isn’t the only men’s rights leader to appear on the program. In fact, between 2013 and the present, four prominent MRAs have been guests on Radio 3Fourteen: Paul Elam, Warren Farrell, Christina Hoff Sommers, and Suzanne Venker...

...On January 12, 2016, prominent anti-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers appeared on Radio 3Fourteen in an episode titled “Feminism & Its Impact on Society.” In some ways her appearance on the program isn’t surprising. She’s written books like 2000’s The War Against Boys and defended the anti-woman harassment campaign known as Gamergate. On the other hand, Sommers is Jewish and Radio 3Fourteen is often openly hostile to Jews.

Sommers was very displeased when SPLC mentioned her unflatteringly in passing. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Steven Pinker promoting nuclear power

Steven Pinker promoting nuclear power in the NYTimes last weekend.

Because is there any editorial position held by Quillette that Pinker doesn't agree with? It doesn't seem like it.

And there is still the problem of nuclear waste which Pinker and his co-authors dismiss, of course:
Nuclear waste is compact — America’s total from 60 years would fit in a Walmart — and is safely stored in concrete casks and pools, becoming less radioactive over time. After we have solved the more pressing challenge of climate change, we can either burn the waste as fuel in new types of reactors or bury it deep underground. It’s a far easier environmental challenge than the world’s enormous coal waste, routinely dumped near poor communities and often laden with toxic arsenic, mercury and lead that can last forever.
John Oliver addressed the issue a year and a half ago. Apparently it's not as easy as Pinker & friends would have you believe.

Monday, April 8, 2019

The IDW and the Fox News Narrative

The picture Weinstein tweeted, implying these
students were "roaming the campus."
Last summer Noah Berlatsky wrote a piece for Pacific Standard that presented a different take on the Bret Weinstein/Heather Heying martyr narrative from the one so beloved by the Right.

It's important to note that Weinstein and Heying received $500K in a settlement with Evergreen College and now seem to be working full time as members of the Intellectual Dark Web.

Bret Weinstein Wiki

Following his resignation from Evergreen, Weinstein has been described as being part of the "Intellectual Dark Web", a term which his brother Eric coined to describe a group of academics and media personalities who publish outside of mainstream media.

Heather Heying web site
I will gladly spend hours watching parrots klatsch at a clay lick, lizards hunt katydids, and squirrel monkeys do anything. I enjoy wandering around foreign cities. I enjoy wandering around natural places even more–the Washington coast in Spring during the shorebird migration, neotropical cloud forests with squirrel cuckoos and colorful bursts of tanagers, the San Juan Islands, the Amazon.

Berlatsky wrote:
...Though Weinstein calls himself a progressive, he went on the rabidly right-wing, anti-immigrant Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News shortly after the protests. Carlson claimed that white people had been forced off campus, which was not true. He then played a clip of the protest, framing it to suggest, falsely, that the protest had been a response to Weinstein's email alone. Weinstein co-signed that version of events, and did not correct Carlson when he said that the core demand of the protesters was that white people leave campus—which, again, was completely false. Participation in the Day of Absence was voluntary, and student demands did not include any discussion of forcing students off campus. 
Weinstein's appearance on Carlson alerted the far right to the anti-racist protests at Evergreen, unleashing a flood of hate mail and a credible far-right terrorist threat that led to administrators evacuating the campus for three days in June. The school had to move the location of graduation.
Weinstein also tweeted a picture of college students who he claimed were involved in violence. For example, he claimed that students with bats were roaming campus, and used as evidence a clearly staged photo, unlinked to the protests, with no evidence that the students pictured were involved in any violence. The fallout for these students was intense. One student, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their safety, said that they started receiving death threats from people who knew their address. "I had to move three times for my safety and eventually left the state," the student says. Later, the student was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of the constant threats. "I feel incredibly isolated, like no one could understand or even wants to take the time to understand what really happened," the student says. "The narrative surrounding our goals and actions has been so horribly skewed, I don't know how to begin addressing it."*
So it sounds like the only ones who did well by the controversy were Weinstein and Heying.

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