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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, July 30, 2019


There are all kinds of connections among the hard right, the IDW and deep-pocket plutocrats as I documented in my Steve Pinker's right-wing, alt-right & hereditarian connections diagram.

I speculated that Claire Lehmann was getting money from the Kochs for Quillette when she did an interview with Tyler Cowen of the Mercatus Center. I still have not come up with proof that she gets funding from Koch - the only big-pocket donor she'll admit to is a right-wing Australian, Mark Carnegie. But given that so many other right-wing media outlets get money from the Kochs, it seems unlikely that Quillette would be left out.

According to SourceWatch:
Mercatus has received funding from a number of foundations that support conservative causes. 
The Center received $5.5 million from the Koch-linked DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund between 2010 and 2012. The Charles G. Koch Foundation reported giving $8.8 million from 2002 to 2012, and the David H. Koch Foundation gave $100,000 to George Mason University for "Mercatus Center Programs" between 1999 and 2001. 
In February 2014, the Mercatus Center received a $1.99 million grant from the conservative John Templeton Foundation.[32] 
Between 2002 and 2008, the right-wing Bradley Foundation gave $50,000 to George Mason University specifically designated for the Mercatus Center.
Cowen is listed as a member of the Mercatus Board of Directors and "Holbert L. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University; Chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University."

The Koch influence on George Mason University was documented by the New York Times:
As early as 1990, entities controlled by the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch were given a seat on a committee to pick candidates for a professorship that they funded, the records show. Similar arrangements that continued through 2009 gave donors decision-making roles in selecting candidates for key economics appointments at the Mercatus Center, a Koch-funded think tank on campus that studies markets and regulation. The appointments, which also created faculty lines at George Mason, were steered to professors who, like the Kochs, embraced unconstrained free markets.
Today the Atlantic story "We Need a New Science of Progress" popped up in Twitter. It's written by Tyler Cowen and Patrick Collison, and says:
Progress itself is understudied. By “progress,” we mean the combination of economic, technological, scientific, cultural, and organizational advancement that has transformed our lives and raised standards of living over the past couple of centuries. For a number of reasons, there is no broad-based intellectual movement focused on understanding the dynamics of progress, or targeting the deeper goal of speeding it up. We believe that it deserves a dedicated field of study. We suggest inaugurating the discipline of “Progress Studies.”
Collison co-founded Stripe"...which received backing from Peter Thiel, Elon Musk and Sequoia Capital."

Peter Thiel is of course the employer of the most devoted member of the IDW project, Eric Weinstein.

Collison appears to be an admirer of the Kochs.
Can you give us an example of what you’ve learned from studying Koch Industries?
It’s very striking to me how Warren and Charlie at Berkshire and how the folks at Koch Industries are so into a kind of epistemology, and structuring of doubt, and accounting for biases, and mechanisms for a clarity of thinking, to a very striking degree. Obviously, if you read the public writings, or if you go to Omaha and you listen to what Warren and especially Charlie talk about, it’s sort of half investing and half applied epistemology, half philosophy. And that’s been the case as well to a remarkable degree with Koch. And I don’t know them well enough by any means to opine in a deep sense. I’ve never been to one of their factories, I’ve never looked at one of their financial statements, and so I’m not qualified to assess in any kind of comprehensive way, but just in terms of what it seems that the leadership prioritizes, it’s interestingly consistent across two of the most successful multi-decadal institutions in the U.S.
So Cowen works for Koch, Collison admires Koch, and then there are IDW connections, including a positive reference in the Atlantic article to Niall Ferguson who is married to IDW Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
Progress Studies has antecedents, both within fields and institutions. The economics of innovation is a critical topic and should assume a much larger place within economics. The Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University seeks to encourage optimistic thinking about the future through fiction and narrative: It observes, almost certainly correctly, that imagination and ambition themselves play a large role. Graham Allison and Niall Ferguson have called for an “applied history” movement, to better draw lessons from history and apply them to real-world problems, including through the advising of political leaders. Ideas and institutions like these could be more effective if part of an explicit, broader movement.
Ferguson is a right-wing economist who hates Paul Krugman - he seems kind of obsessed with him. Ferguson was also criticized for his homophobic comment about John Maynard Keynes

Of greater interest to Pinkerite is Ferguson's activities as a campus political operative. 

 Emails between the Hoover Institution’s Niall Ferguson and well-known Republican student activists John Rice-Cameron ’20 and Max Minshull ’20 reveal coordination on “opposition research” against progressive activist Michael Ocon ’20 — referenced as “Mr. O” — and efforts to shore up support among members of the Cardinal Conversations steering committee.
Ferguson resigned from his leadership role in the Cardinal Conversations program on April 16, after Provost Persis Drell became aware of the email chain.

[The original Cardinal Conversations steering committee] should all be allies against O. Whatever your past differences, bury them. Unite against the SJWs. [Christos] Makridis [a fellow at Vox Clara, a Christian student publication] is especially good and will intimidate them,” Ferguson wrote. 
“Now we turn to the more subtle game of grinding them down on the committee. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance,” Ferguson wrote.
The previous messages were interspersed with greater discussion of the Cardinal Conversations committee and planning process, as well as a discussion appearing to be about student government.
In the email chain, Ferguson wrote, “Some opposition research on Mr. O might also be worthwhile,” referring to Ocon.
Krugman observed:
Ferguson later sort of apologized, but it was more of an “I’m sorry that you feel that way” than a true apology, and he began by decrying the fact that these days few academic historians are registered Republicans, which he takes as ipso facto evidence of biased hiring and a hostile environment. 
So what’s really going on here? It’s true that self-proclaimed conservatives are pretty scarce among U.S. historians. But then, so are self-proclaimed conservatives in the “hard,” physical and biological sciences. 
Why are there so few conservative scientists? It might be because academics, as a career, appeals more to liberals than to conservatives. (There aren’t a lot of liberals in police departments — or, contra Trump, the F.B.I.) Alternatively, scientists may be reluctant to call themselves conservatives because in modern America being a conservative means aligning yourself with a faction that by and large rejects climate science and the theory of evolution. Might not similar considerations apply to historians? 
But more to the point, conservative claims to be defending free speech and open discussion aren’t sincere. Conservatives don’t want to see ideas evaluated on their merits, regardless of politics; they want ideas convenient to their side to receive (at least) equal time regardless of their intellectual quality. 
Indeed, conservative groups are engaged in a systematic effort to impose political standards on higher education. For example, we now know that the Koch brothers have used donations to gain power over academic appointments at least two universities.
Ferguson has tweeted his support for another rightwing political operative on campus, Andy Ngo.

With all this far-right, IDW and Koch baggage, it seems likely that Cowen and Collison are motivated by something other than the disinterested quest for knowledge.

For one thing, their Atlantic article seems to offer a defense of the Koch attempts to influence academia:
In 1861, the American scientist and educator William Barton Rogers published a manifesto calling for a new kind of research institution. Recognizing the “daily increasing proofs of the happy influence of scientific culture on the industry and the civilization of the nations,” and the growing importance of what he called “Industrial Arts,” he proposed a new organization dedicated to practical knowledge. He named it the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
Rogers was one of a number of late-19th-century reformers who saw that the United States’ ability to generate progress could be substantially improved. These reformers looked to the successes of the German university models overseas and realized that a combination of focused professorial research and teaching could be a powerful engine for advance in research. Over the course of several decades, the group—Rogers, Charles Eliot, Henry Tappan, George Hale, John D. Rockefeller, and others—founded and restructured many of what are now America’s best universities, including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Johns Hopkins, the University of Chicago, and more. By acting on their understanding, they engaged in a kind of conscious “progress engineering.”
Cowen and Collison don't mention that William Barton Rogers "...was a slaveowner, with two slaves in his household in 1840 and six slaves in 1850."

I think it's likely that once Quillette starts talking about this "science of progress" project we'll have a better idea of how it aligns with the IDW project of mainstreaming race science, although I think this passage in The Atlantic article is probably a hint:
Looking backwards, it’s striking how unevenly distributed progress has been in the past. In antiquity, the ancient Greeks were discoverers of everything from the arch bridge to the spherical earth. By 1100, the successful pursuit of new knowledge was probably most concentrated in parts of China and the Middle East. Along the cultural dimension, the artists of Renaissance Florence enriched the heritage of all humankind, and in the process created the masterworks that are still the lifeblood of the local economy. The late 18th and early 19th century saw a burst of progress in Northern England, with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. In each case, the discoveries that came to elevate standards of living for everyone arose in comparatively tiny geographic pockets of innovative effort. Present-day instances include places like Silicon Valley in software and Switzerland’s Basel region in life sciences.
One of the greatest moments in the "science of progress" is James Burke's TV series "Connections." Someone has posted the first four episodes of the original series on Youtube.

One of the lessons of "Connections" is that innovations from many different cultures often end up combining for technological change unanticipated by the original inventors, and which may not be used until long after they are discovered or invented. "Ideas ahead of their time" as Burke says.

Burke makes this point in the second episode of "Connections" 

beginning at 11:09 
Now if you're not a sailing buff you may not be turned on by the lateen sail, but as you'll see it means a great deal more to you than you might think. 
See, although it was nice to be able to zigzag everywhere, sailing, like that, wasn't the only thing that happened because of this canvas triangle. 
The lateen sail permitted one other thing. With it you could leave port pretty well when you wanted to, without having to wait for a wind that was going in the same direction you were, and that meant you would leave port more often, that meant there was more cargo on the move, more trade, more prosperity. 
It's probable that the Arabs introduced the lateen sail into Western Europe just about in time to play a major role in the recovery of the European economy after the chaos and confusion of the so-called Dark Ages. 
However by about 1200 there was so much bulk cargo like grain or Crusaders going to the Holy Land, so much bulk cargo on the move that the ships had got very much bigger and then they ran into another problem, the problem of steering.
You see up until that point you've steered with a couple of oars one off either side of the stern. But by about 1200 the ships are so big that those oars just really weren't feasible anymore. Which is why they probably picked up an idea from the Chinese that solved the problem - this - the stern post rudder. With the stern post rudder you could handle a ship of almost any size in almost any sea condition. 
So by the 13th century the Europeans had all the technology - the lateen sail, the old square sail, the stern post rudder to go anywhere they wanted to. 
They didn't need to use it until 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Turks and after that it was if you wanted something from the Far East it was either pay that price the Turks wanted, for letting it come through their territory oh go get it yourself. 
Which is just what the Europeans did in the great 16th century voyages of discovery.
In other words, Europeans owed "the great 16th century voyages of discovery" and subsequent imperialism to the Arab lateen sail and the Chinese stern post rudder - but which they didn't use to cross the Atlantic for over two hundred years - until they were prompted by superior Turkish military might.

So components of three different cultures allowed the European trans-Atlantic trade, which involved of course slaves and slave labor, which William Barton Rogers, a hero of the Collison/Cowen "progress of science" narrative, used to increase his wealth.

Given the IDW and rightwing connections and given the project begins by lionizing a slaver, I don't hold much hope for this "science of progress" project resulting in either science or progress.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Ezra Levant -> Claire Lehmann -> Andy Ngo -> Donald Trump

I've mentioned a couple of times that Andy Ngo and his Republican committeewoman lawyer Harmeet K. Dhillon want to participate in Trump's re-election campaign through hyping Ngo's clash with Antifa, for use as a tactic to deflect from Trump's raging racism. 

Looks like it's working beyond their wildest dreams.

I'm not sure where Trump got the idea of Antifa hitting people over the head with baseball bats, not even Claire Lehmann tried that one, although I guess it isn't any worse than a "chemical attack" as Lehmann claimed, without evidence.

What's even more significant about Lehmann's tweet, more significant than the chemical attack claim or the way that Fox News has been hyping the Antifa story, is Lehmann declaring Andy Ngo a "valued member of the Quillette team."

Quillette, which has been aiding and abetting Andy Ngo's grift for years, was created by Claire Lehmann, who was an Australian correspondant for Ezra Levant's Rebel Media. 

Here is Lehmann appearing in a Rebel Media episode along with Gavin McInnes, who is back at Rebel Media.

In the summer of 2017 Rebel Media looked pretty bad. As Canadaland wrote:

The Rebel Had An Awful Lot Of Sympathy For The White Supremacists In Charlottesville
Just after 1:00 this afternoon, Rebel Media personality Faith Goldy captured one of the clearest videos of the car that mowed into anti-racist protesters at the apparent culmination of the “Unite the Right” convergence of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. The driver, who is in custody but has not yet been identified, killed one person and injured nearly 20 others. 
In the hours and minutes leading up to that moment, however, Goldy had spent her live Periscope broadcasts rationalizing the rally organized by white nationalist Jason Kessler — an “extremist” to whom the Rebel once paid the revenues from a video that contained material plagiarized from him — and complaining about what she saw as the unfair treatment of the alt-right by authorities. In particular, she expressed the (wildly incorrect) view that American police are more generous toward Black protesters than white ones.
It did not look good for Levant as Vice News noted:
And while Levant insisted “simply covering controversial figures doesn’t mean we agree with those controversial figures,” The Rebel has nevertheless used its growing platform — with some 400,000 Youtube subscribers — to push sensationalist coverage of the counter-protesters who showed up in Charlottesville over the weekend. Even in his statement aimed at toning down The Rebel’s image, Levant writes that “the alt-right is, in my mind — the mirror image of Black Lives Matter.”
Equating Black Lives Matter with the alt-right is the same "both sides" tactic that Donald Trump used in response to the Charlottesville violence. And it didn't help Levant much because Canadian candidate for Prime Minister, Andrew Scheer, distanced himself from Rebel Media.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is distancing himself from The Rebel, announcing he will no longer do interviews with the controversial right-wing website until it changes its editorial direction. 
But the Tory leader has stopped short of explicitly denouncing The Rebel, which is under heightened scrutiny in light of the protests in Charlottesville, Va. 
"I am disgusted by the vile comments made by hate groups this past weekend. I believe there is fine line between reporting the facts and giving those groups a platform," Scheer told HuffPost Canada in a statement. 
"I have a positive vision for Canada and I want to share that vision with Canadians and talk about issues that unite us all. Until the editorial directions of the Rebel Media changes, I will not grant interviews to the outlet." 
Scheer granted interviews to the outlet during the Tory leadership race, as did other contenders. But he has faced pressure in recent days to denounce the website over coverage that was seen as sympathetic to organizers of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

Ezra Levant must feel avenged right now. His old protege Claire Lehmann is furthering the far-right cause. Andy Ngo, a valued member of Claire Lehmann's Quillette team is helping Trump deflect from charges of racism - charges that first surfaced most strongly during his presidency in Charlottesville, and which resulted in blowback for Rebel Media.

There is a slight problem with the Antifa tactic - Antifa, being a bunch of anarchists and random zanies likely hate the Democratic Party as much as the Republican Party.

But I am confident that Trump's ratfuckers will come up with a scheme to try to link Antifa and the Democrats. And Andy Ngo has already made an attempt to do just that.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

New Pinkerite feature - Recommended Reading List

Although it is essential to track and criticize the attempt by members of the "intellectual dark web" to mainstream race science, it's also important to provide examples of good work related to the topic. So I've decided to add a reading list to this blog. It's on the top-right side.

I was inspired by the series of tweets written by Simon Whitten, a take-down of the recent defense of race science by Quillette author Colin Wright.

Whitten finishes up the series by referencing a piece from Vol. 66, 3-21 of Anthropological Review called The decline of race in American physical anthropology which will be the first addition to the reading list. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Yes, Kevin Drum, Quillette is defending phrenology

I was appalled to see this article by Kevin Drum in Mother Jones Nobody is Defending Phrenology Today which I found thanks to Quillette's Canadian editor Jonathan Kay gloating about it.

It is a defense of race science proponents Noah Carl and Bo Winegard's review of Saini's "Superior" in Quillette.

...This is wildly unfair. The clickbait was powerful enough to make me read the article—a review of Superior: The Return of Race Science—and it turns out that the authors:
Mention in one place that researchers can “correctly classify human skulls into black and white Americans with about 80% accuracy, using only two variables.” This is done in a section about whether race has biological roots or is purely a social construct. 
Mention in another place—1,500 words later—that blacks and whites, on average, score about 10-15 points differently on IQ tests. This is done to refute a statement implying that the IQ gap might not really exist.¹ 
These two things aren’t related to each other in any way, and the authors don’t defend or apologize for phrenology or anything like it in any way whatsoever. The word “skull” is in their piece, but not in a way that has anything to do with intelligence.
It's possible on a technicality that this particular Quillette piece is not defending phrenology in the classic sense of the term. And I always assumed that Quillette critics accused it of phrenology out of humorous hyperbole to describe the retro nature of the race science promoted by Quillette.

But Kevin Drum is not correct that "nobody is defending phrenology today."

Quillette defended phrenology, in this article promoting "biosocial criminology" as a scientific discipline. In May 12, 2018 Quillette published Biosocial Criminology and the Lombrosian Paradox by Samuel Forster:
...In most first year criminology courses, students receive a lecture on Cesare Lombroso, the founding father of the Italian school, colloquially dubbed “the laughing stock of criminology.” Generally, these lectures paint Lombroso as a charlatan who advanced a racist sociopolitical agenda under the thinly veiled guise of legitimate science. To an extent, these descriptions are warranted. Lombroso advocated many practices that are now recognized as utter quackery.
Phrenology (the study of skull shape) and physiognomy (the study of facial features) were both integral to Lombroso’s understanding of criminal behaviour. In his 1876 book L’uomo delinquente (The Criminal Man), Lombroso introduced a revolutionary idea: some people are simply born criminals, displaying certain physical traits that reflect a reversion to our primitive ancestors. These primitive, savage types—atavistic men, as Lombroso referred to them—were characterized by their jaws, the lines of their palms, and, among other attributes, a marked protrusion of the lower face. These were some of the physical qualities that Lombroso used to argue for the political marginalization of certain ethnic groups and the biologically engrained racial superiority of caucasians. For many students, and even for many professors, this unnerving freshman introduction to Lombroso constitutes their sole exposure to biosocial theories of crime. It is, therefore, unsurprising that the prefix ‘bio’ has come to breed such cynicism and derision within the field.
There is, however, an important glint of truth to be extracted from Lombroso’s work. Despite his pronounced methodological faults and glaring motivational impurity, Lombroso was one of the first people to conceptualize criminality (perhaps better thought of here as antisocial behaviour) in biological terms. Of the criminal man, he wrote: “As the seat of all the greatest disturbances, this part [the head] naturally manifests the greatest number of anomalies, which extend from the external conformation of the brain-case to the composition of its contents.” Yes, Lombroso had his obvious flaws, but the prescience of his work cannot be denied. The effect of Lombrosian thought on future developments in the discipline is best described as countervailing, which is to say, the magnitude of his errors was somewhat offset by his push towards empiricism. On one hand, he ushered in a way of thinking about crime that can now be understood in scientific terms. On the other hand, the grotesque product of his ‘research’ made it nearly impossible for scrupulous minds to engage with biosocial theory. Because of this paradoxical legacy, the biosocial sub-discipline has become one of the most promising areas in criminology, while at the same time being the most routinely proscribed and abhorred.
In an earlier Quillette article, Saint Louis University professor Brian Boutwell detailed the professional obstacles and isolation associated with life as a biosocial criminologist:
There is a special twist for biosocial criminologists, though. We are forced to work with the shadow of eugenics hovering above us like a pestering poltergeist. Our colleagues insist that we acknowledge all of the evils that our work could spawn. We are asked to anticipate all the musings of some yet to be identified ‘anti-Christ’ and properly ward off that impending malevolence by prostrating ourselves in atonement for the sins of twisted “scientists” with whom we have no affiliation.
Professor Boutwell’s research has predominantly focused on understanding crime in genetic and evolutionary terms. He has published on a range of topics, investigating the hereditary and environmental underpinnings of deviant behaviour, for which he is celebrated as a leading thinker in the field of biosocial criminology.

If Forster's claim of the "prescience" of Lombroso's work isn't convincing, observe that he references biosocial criminologist Brian Boutwell, whom Pinkerite has mentioned most prominently in the blog post I Have a Nightmare: Steven Pinker, Quillette and the "biological reality of race."

But Boutwell, who whines that biosocial criminologists are persecuted by political correctness is generally careful to avoid stating clearly the race theories of the biosocial criminologists - you have to go to the blunt, proudly conservative John Paul Wright, a sometime co-author with Brian Boutwell for that. 

I've posted several times before this passage from Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research but it never hurts to remind people what some biosocial criminologists actually believe:

Now it's clear that biosocial criminologist John Paul Wright agrees with Lombroso - and which Forster approves - that  "some people are simply born criminals, displaying certain physical traits that reflect a reversion to our primitive ancestors."

But although Forster writes approvingly of Lombroso's foundational phrenological insights, if you want to get technical John Paul Wright doesn't speak in terms of head bumps.

For John Paul Wright, the physical trait that reflects criminality is skin color:
...evolutionary theory helps explain why race-based patterns of behavior are universal, such as black over-involvement in crime. 
Forster's argument is not that Lombroso's phrenology was wrong, but rather that he expressed it too crudely and made it look bad, but he basically credits Lombroso for inventing biosocial criminology.

And even the "primitive ancestors" belief of Lombroso fits the biosocial criminology race theories which relies on the Northern Superiority hypothesis that first appeared in print in the nineteenth century, but which was championed most recently and prominently by Richard Lynn which holds that Europeans and Asians are smarter and less criminal than Africans because of alleged intelligence-building effects of cold weather on humans. By this theory, blacks are more primitive by failing to migrate out of Africa.

There are many other proponents of race science who believe that blackness is a physical trait that indicates a biological tendency to criminology. In addition to University of Cincinnati John Paul Wright and St. Louis University professor Brian Boutwell there is Florida State College professor Kevin Beaver and Boise State University professor Anthony M. Walsh, who edited Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research and there are likely many others who are less direct about their beliefs of the innate moral inferiority of blacks.

This network of race theorizing biosocial criminologists who work for American colleges is what professional journalists like Kevin Drum should be investigating, instead of defending far-right, race science-promoting and phrenology-defending rags like Quillette.

Also check out Quillette, Phrenology and Biosocial Criminology on Pinkerite.

Monday, July 22, 2019

John Paul Wright & Lee Jussim

This is what John Paul Wright, author at Quillette and professor at the University of Cincinnati thinks of black people:

So it's especially bizarre that he would accuse a black woman college student of "playing the race card" while defending his pal Lee Jussim. The quote above is from Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research.

The woman in question is accusing Rutgers professor Lee Jussim, author at Quillette, and his followers of harassing her.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Andy Ngo & Bob Roberts

Bob Roberts was released in 1992, when Andy Ngo was six years old, but the movie seems to have anticipated Ngo's career.

Per the Wiki summary of the end of the movie:
As Roberts is leaving the studio, he is seemingly shot by a would-be assassin. Raplin, who has been causing problems for the campaign, is initially linked to the shooting, but he is later cleared when it is found that due to constrictive palsy in his right hand he physically could not have fired the gun. Following the incident, Raplin contends that Roberts was never actually shot and that the gun was fired into the ground. 
The campaign is boosted by public support following the assassination attempt, and Roberts wins the election with 52 percent of the vote. Although Roberts claims that his wounds have left him paralyzed from the waist down, he is seen tapping his feet at a celebration party. 

The scuffle between Ngo and a few unidentified people in an anti-Proud Boys counter-demonstration has been used by Ngo and by his lawyer, Republican committee woman Harmeet K. Dhillon to raise money by representing a few unidentified randos as a danger to free speech, and most recently Ngo tried to link Congresswoman Maxine Waters to Antifa.

The claim that Andy Ngo suffered a brain hemorrhage as a result of the scuffle came from Quillette:
The Antifa thugs who attacked Quillette editor and photojournalist Andy Ngo in Portland yesterday did not quite manage to crack his skull. But they did manage to induce a brain hemorrhage that required Ngo’s overnight hospitalization. (For those seeking to support Ngo financially as he recovers, there is a third-party fundraising campaign.) 
Many people have pointed out that Andy Ngo's quick recovery from brain injury is miraculous - almost immediately after the Antifa event he made the rounds of right-wing media.

I find it curious that in the screenshot just above, Claire Lehmann was claiming that "liquid cement" was responsible for Ngo's "traumatic brain injury."

Snopes ruled that the claim about quick-drying cement was false:
However, Portland city officials admitted in a July 1, 2019, phone call with reporters that the evidence for the statement made in the tweet was based solely on an observation of a police lieutenant in the field that day who, according to the Portland Mercury, “‘saw a powdery substance that appeared to cause some irritation [when in contact with skin].’ The lieutenant also said the milkshake smelled similar to wet concrete, a smell they were familiar with from ‘having worked with concrete before.'” 
The police department’s tweet referenced vegan milkshakes made and distributed by the activist group Popular Mobilization (PopMob). 
“They put targets on our backs,” said Popular Mobilization spokeswoman Effie Baum, who asserted that activists didn’t add cement or any other non-food ingredient to the drinks and were “flabbergasted” at how the rumor spread online. 

The narrative appears to change from milkshakes to punching in the slightly more respectable end of the right-wing media, the Wall Street Journal:
Footage filmed by an Oregonian reporter shows someone in a black hoodie punching and kicking Mr. Ngo, and others surrounding him and throwing things at him. 
After escaping the mob, Mr. Ngo went to the hospital and was treated for head injuries including a subarachnoid hemorrhage, or brain bleed. 
A photo on Twitter shows his bloody face and battered eye.
Mr. Ngo was also hit with milk shakes, which have become a common Antifa projectile. Portland police on Saturday tweeted that they had received a tip that some milk shakes contained quick-drying cement.
But no actual medical records have been provided to prove that Ngo was treated for a brain hemorrhage.

Before the June 30 scuffle, Ngo was mocked for portraying himself as a martyr of Antifa because he was silly-stringed. It seems possible to me that someone in sympathy with Ngo came up with the cement milkshake story to help Ngo look less ridiculous. And once there was video of punching, the cement milkshakes were no longer needed.

According to Tim Robbins, the movie "Bob Roberts" did anticipate Trump:
“‘Bob Roberts’ came true,” Mr. Robbins says, referring to the 1992 mockumentary he wrote and starred in. 
He prefigured the Trump phenomenon in the film, which is about a charismatic television entertainer and rich businessman who runs for office on the Republican ticket, sugarcoating his corrupt ways with an appeal to family values. He is hailed as a savior by his fans and as a crypto-fascist by his critics. 
When a young woman sends an admiring note to Bob Roberts, he writes back warning her to stay away from crack because “It’s a ghetto drug.”
IDW update: so far none of the "liberals" of the IDW have spoken out against Trump's racism, including his attack at his latest Nuremburg rally.

UPDATE - Pinker has just come out against Trump. Good for him.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Silence of the Grift

When I last checked none of the less right-wing extremist members of the "intellectual dark web" had made a statement against Trump's anti-immigrant racist tweets.

Although Sam Harris retweeted this post which focuses more on hating SJWs than hating Trump.

And Pam Paresky who is not officially IDW but who works for the Koch-financed FIRE basically defended Trump.

Clearly they all got the same memo.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The IDW/Republican Party/Andy Ngo grifter scheme continues apace

Here we see Andy Ngo trying to connect Democrat Maxine Waters to a violent mob.

This was an obvious next step in the IDW/Republican Party/Andy Ngo grift -

First make a big to-do about Andy Ngo being hit by an anonymous rando at an anti-Proud Boys demonstration. Including bogus claims of milkshakes with quick-drying cement. Or as Claire Lehmann called it a "chemical attack."

Next get Republican committee woman Harmeet K. Dhillon to become Ngo's lawyer.

Get Dhillon to make common cause with Trump by showing up at Trump's right-wing social media summit.

And of course when Trump is being criticized for attacking three American-born congress women as originally coming from "countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe" neither Andy Ngo nor any member of the IDW has, so far, had any complaints. Even alleged "liberal" members of the IDW like Steven Pinker and Bret Weinstein.

And in fact, Trump's response to criticism is similar to the IDW/Republican/Andy Ngo tactic. Trump's response was to claim that he wasn't the racist, it was the women he attacked who are the racists.

Much like Ngo and friends are trying to deflect from the hatred of journalists and pro-violence of the right and Trump by claiming it's the left and Democrats who are anti-journalist (Andy Ngo is portrayed as a "journalist" ) and pro-violence.

This is the ultimate expression of what the "intellectual dark web" is really all about. A pro-Trump effort trying to pass itself off as centrist or even liberal.

And Andy Ngo himself is the son of Vietnamese immigrants. Exactly the kind of people Trump attacked.   Because the grift is too strong for Andy Ngo to give up, even when Trump hates him as much as he hates any non-white immigrants.

When will the media do a story on children of immigrants like Andy Ngo & his lawyer, Harmeet K. Dhillon who side with Trump's racism, knowing Trump must hate their own immigrant parents as much as any congresswoman's?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Charles Murray and Steve Sailer

For a long time Steven Pinker supported the career of Steve Sailer, so it should be no surprise that Charles Murray and Steve Sailer are buddies, as we see here in a July 14, 2019 tweet by Murray making a friendly ironical comment to Sailer.

We can see Sailer expressing a "Like" for Murray's comment.

Murray was responding to Sailer's own ironic comment, in which Sailer expresses ridicule of the idea that location of ancestry is different from race.

But in fact, and in spite of the carelessness of terminology by proponents of race science,  like Bret Weinstein, location of ancestry is very different from "race."
  • Location of ancestry is an empirically verifiable factor of someone's genetic inheritance. 

23&Me distinguishes between French & German and British & Irish as displayed in an excerpt from my own 23&Me profile.

Now what does it mean to say that French & German are genetically different from British & Irish and yet say that both are "white"? And what about Southern Europeans? Are they "white"? It is very often possible to distinguish Italians, for example, from the Irish due to different skin and hair coloration - factors that are huge deals in determining "race" in the world of race "science."

It's clear that race is entirely a social construct.

One of my cousins, on my father's side, also has a 23 & Me profile and she has less British & Irish ethnicity than I do - hers is 69%. And yet one of her brothers, when he got married, had a big Irish-themed wedding, in spite of being more than a quarter non-Irish.

People often believe what they want to believe about their ethnicity.

But scientists should be held to higher standards than simply whim. Which is why race science is crap.

And people like Charles Murray and Steve Sailer, who promote race science, are at best irresponsible.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

More on the IDW's plan to help Trump's re-election campaign

As I wrote last week, I think that the IDW wants to help Trump get re-elected which is  why they are pushing the Andy Ngo story so hard, including bogus claims of "quick-drying cement" in milkshakes.

It looks like everything is right on schedule.

Here we see Andy Ngo on July 12 gloating about his attorney, Republican committeewoman Harmeet K. Dhillon showing up at Trump's social media summit of right-wing kooks.

The New Yorker described the summit like this:
It should surprise no one that Trump’s ideal White House gathering looks a lot like his ideal morning show. In both cases, the goal is to radically constrain the terms of the debate: Is Trump awesomely amazing, or amazingly awesome? The discussion in the East Room surely revolved around a set of questions—obsessions, really—familiar to anyone who has spent more than five minutes lurking on maga Twitter. Are right-wing activists the greatest free-speech martyrs society has ever known? Will the liberal thought-police of Silicon Valley stop at nothing to silence conservative voices? Is free speech dead?
The last three sentences, especially, sound like Quillette article titles.

And the alleged liberals of the IDW like Bret Weinstein and Steven Pinker don't seem to have any problem with Ngo's clear admiration for Trump. I haven't found any complaints by them on social media.

Of course Pinker is busy right now denying his ties to Jeffry Epstein, in part by doubling down on crap journalist Jesse Singal's defense of Pinker's "very intelligent alt-right" comments given at the Koch-supported Spiked speaking tour, as published on his spokesman Jerry Coyne's blog:
Given my longstanding distaste for everything Epstein, it’s galling to be publicly associated with him based on some photos and mutual associates, but I suppose this is one of the dubious perquisites of fame (by academic standards).  And it’s a particular hazard in the era of social media — last year I was featured in a New York Times op-ed by Jesse Singal called “Social Media Is Making Us Dumber. Here’s Exhibit A”; this year I appear to be Exhibit B.
PZ Myers had an excellent response to Singal's contemptible white-washing:

Steven Pinker and the New York Times are making us dumber

And no surprise at all, Myers has an excellent response to Pinker's comments about Epstein:

There’s still a problem. He “disliked” and had a “longstanding distaste” for Epstein, and finds his behavior “reprehensible”, yet still he appeared at multiple events with him, assisted in an indirect way in his defense (which he now regrets), and this is the first time he has openly repudiated him. This is confirmation of what people have found objectionable about Pinker, that he is silent in the face of repulsive behavior, that he let Epstein associate himself with Harvard and took advantage of the Epstein jet, and only now, after he’s finally getting dragged off to his just reward (maybe), does he come out with this stuff. I first publicly criticized Jeffrey Epstein in 2011, and I didn’t even know him and have never met him! What took Pinker so long?

Friday, July 12, 2019

Pinker-Epstein connections

Jeffrey Epstein, Lawrence Krauss, Steven Pinker
From Buzzfeed News

After Jeffrey Epstein was indicted for sex crimes in 2006, his Harvard lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, called on the expertise of one of his Harvard colleagues, famous linguist Steven Pinker. 
An obscure document from Epstein’s legal defense shows that Pinker weighed in on the precise meaning of a federal law about using the internet to entice minors into prostitution or other illegal sex acts.

Pinker told BuzzFeed News that when he offered his opinion to Dershowitz, he was unaware of the details of the client or the case. He now regrets his involvement, he said.
“Though I did this as a favor to a friend and colleague, and not as either a paid expert witness or as a part of a defense team, knowing what I know now I do regret writing the letter,” Pinker said by email.

Epstein, who had donated millions of dollars to Harvard, seemed to relish his connections to the university. He once served on Harvard’s Mind, Brain, and Behavior Advisory Committee, and press releases issued by his charitable foundation billed him as a “Harvard philanthropist” and a “Harvard investor.”

New York Magazine

 One of Epstein’s foundations reportedly made a $250,000 donation to Arizona State University professor Lawrence Krauss’s Origins Project after its founding in 2010. Krauss and Epstein’s relationship goes back to at least 2002, when he flew with Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker on Epstein’s private jet. In 2014, Krauss and Pinker were pictured having dinner with Epstein. In 2011, Krauss, who recently retired from ASU after allegations of sexual misconduct, defended their relationship: “I don’t feel tarnished in any way by my relationship with Jeffrey; I feel raised by it.”

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Andy Ngo, the grift and the Republican Party

Less than a week after an unidentified
individual punched Andy Ngo,
Harmeet K. Dhillon is riding
the grift all the way
Pinkerite's mission is to focus on the mainstreaming of race science, but since the Intellectual Dark Web - recently describe by The National Review, correctly as "reactionary" has many connections to the right, Pinkerite must discuss politics directly from time to time, without the race science emphasis.

Which brings us to the Andy Ngo incident.

Last Saturday, June 29,  Ngo was at a clash between the far-right Proud Boys and the far-left Anifa (Anti-fascism) and had milkshakes and sillystring thrown at him and is on video being punched.

Andy Ngo was first declared a grifter - literally a "conservative activist" - in the mainstream media in the March 2018 article in GQ entitled The Free Speech Grifters (my bold):
Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor turned conservative provocateur, said he's figured out "how to monetize social justice warriors." Ben Shapiro, who rose to fame "owning" liberals on college campuses, sells "Leftist Tears" mugs and a book entitled How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them. Andy Ngo, a conservative activist who followed Sommers around to her Portland engagements, asked for donations after he published a video of the Lewis & Clark episode, notably edited down to just the protesting rather than including Sommers's ideas. Sommers vouched for Ngo's plea for money, tweeting that "he works tirelessly promoting free expression in Portland area. Often for no compensation. Help him out if you can." 
Ngo seems to be raising funds for his career constantly and it doesn't take much for him to create a cause, as he did when Katie Herzog, a fan of Quillette wrote a positive article for The Stranger about Ngo and his career as a "journalist." The title of the article explains why Ngo is such a valuable asset to the right, which normally claims to be opposed to identity politics: Anti-Racist Protesters Harass Gay Asian-American Journalist

Ngo, although not mentioned in the Bari Weiss article, is in tight with the IDW, as his connection to Christina Hoff Sommers demonstrates. Pinkerite has mentioned Ngo several times previously on this blog. And he writes for Quillette.

Quillette's Claire Lehmann promoted the unsupported claim that Antifa put quick-drying cement in milkshakes, even going further by calling it a "chemical attack."

Media Matters published a story: How conservative figures turned a flimsy rumor about "concrete milkshakes" in Portland into a meme - Nobody is doubting that there was a physical confrontation. The details, however, remain murky.

And now the Republican Party has gotten into the act.

Andy Ngo's lawyer is Harmeet K. Dhillon, a Republican committee woman, according to her Twitter profile. She tried to join the Trump administration, according to her Wiki.

She has advocated on behalf of Milo Yiannopoulos, another individual mentioned as a grifter in the GQ article.

Pinkerite has noted the apparent strategy on the part of the IDW to try to intimidate civil rights organizations by threatening to sue critics.

Her Twitter timeline shows that Harmeet K. Dhillon has no problem with financial/legal intimidation against free speech.

Less than a week after the Ngo incident, Harmeet K. Dhillon has founded a 501(c)(3) organization which she tweeted will serve "Americans who are not served by the traditional civil rights establishment." She means conservative activists like Andy Ngo and also, most likely, far-right extremists like the Proud Boys.

This appears to have been Harmeet K. Dhillon's plan for a long time. According to Breitbart last August:
Attorney Harmeet Dhillon argued during a Breitbart News Sunday appearance on SiriusXM that conservatives need to use the legal system to defend their civil rights.
I think Dhillon's ultimate goal is to aid in the re-election of Donald Trump by making an issue of the violence of "the left" to deflect from the fact that Donald Trump loves murderous (often journalist-murdering) dictators, "very fine" Nazis, and locking children up in concentration camps

And thanks to our gullible media and a shameless rightwing machine funded by god knows how much plutocrat money, you don't need much more than an unidentified individual or two, throwing a punch at a conservative activist, to launch an anti-left campaign.

Couldn't be easier for Republicans to run this grift.

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