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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

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Phil Torres and the godless grifters

Great piece just published in Salon by Phil Torres called Godless grifters: How the New Atheists merged with the far right


New Atheism appeared to offer moral clarity, it emphasized intellectual honesty and it embraced scientific truths about the nature and workings of reality. It gave me immense hope to know that in a world overflowing with irrationality, there were clear-thinking individuals with sizable public platforms willing to stand up for what's right and true — to stand up for sanity in the face of stupidity.

Fast-forward to the present: What a grift that was! Many of the most prominent New Atheists turned out to be nothing more than self-aggrandizing, dogmatic, irascible, censorious, morally compromised people who, at every opportunity, have propped up the powerful over the powerless, the privileged over the marginalized. This may sound hyperbolic, but it's not when, well, you look at the evidence. So I thought it might be illuminating to take a look at where some of the heavy hitters in the atheist and "skeptic" communities are today. What do their legacies look like? In what direction have they taken their cultural quest to secularize the world?

Pinker borrowed a quote from Bailey, who didn’t cite the original source and who lifted the quote from its original context to mean the opposite of what Zencey had intended. This led Zencey to confess to me, “how this guy [i.e., Pinker] managed to become a public intellectual in fields so far removed from his expertise is something to wonder at.”

For his fair points, Shermer called Torres a "cockroach." Coyne said he "wasn't impressed" and ran Pinker's response for him, like a good little Uriah Heep. Pinker's gob-smackingly shameless response was "so what?" 

But then, except for Salon and The New Yorker, Pinker knows he can count on the media and his friends at Koch-funded organizations to lionize him as a celebrity intellectual and promote his latest schtick without question - especially without questioning his views on race science and his support for people like Steve Sailer, Linda Gottfredson and Razib Khan.

Speaking of race science, I see Jerry Coyne is promoting the bullshit of the other leading race-monger, Andrew Sullivan, employing the Right's usual tactic of claiming systemic racism doesn't exist in the United States because it's no longer encoded in the law. Coyne writes:

The term “structural racism” is my personal bugaboo, as it’s become a synonym for just “racism”, with the “structural” tacked on to add gravitas and a supposed intensity of malfeasance. But “structural” racism is racism built into some institution or structure, like laws or rules, not simple acts of bigotry. As for “pain,” well, I accept very few of these claims as accurate. “Pain” has become another word for “offense” or even “manufactured offense.”

I assume Coyne will feel obliged to defend his brothers in right-wing race pseudo-science against Torres again, and I will address it when he does.

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