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Tuesday, January 4, 2022

The Lockwood Saga ~ the influence of Jordan Peterson

Geneticist Adam Rutherford recently had some distressingly true things to say about the ability of scammers and grifters to promote themselves, and how hard it is for debunkers to keep up with fervid imaginations and shamelessness.

He name-checks Jordan Peterson. Today we'll look at the influence of Peterson on the thought-processes of racist Bo Winegard and his Neville Chamberlain, Patrick Lockwood.

But first, just so you know what a martyr I am, although the following text is based on the transcript provided with the video, the transcript frequently screws up so I had to listen to this with my own ears all the way through to ensure that the transcript is faithful to what is actually said, and make sure the punctuation is added and accurate. Yes, it was torture. Thanks for asking.

One more thing before we get into it: recall that earlier in the video, Lockwood described people who react negatively to race pseudoscience claims as "los(ing) their minds."

So we are at minute 45:32 in the video. My highlights:


What I would propose is that, you know, if the person is extremely closed-minded then there's probably not much of a conversation you can have. If you've got someone that is probably in, you know the top two-thirds of open-mindedness, then what I would recommend probably is something like finding the pain.

Because if we go to first principles, the first principles of this radical social justice ideology is that life as Peterson, says quite ah presciently, that life is best viewed as a series of, like, victim-driven you know, narratives etc.




And that's a highly problematic way of looking at the world. Because yes, life is overall a struggle and overall problematic, that's a fair statement. The problem is that despite the fact that we are base creatures crawling across the earth, we also have the capacity to aspire to something better than that and we can lift each other up and we can heal etc such etc.

So if in this argument with someone who has a more radicalized mindset, what can you do to get to the person's pain? Because that would be, as a clinical psychologist that's the first place my mind goes. If someone sees the world through the victim narrative, how can I get in touch with the part of them that feels like a victim and allow that to breathe and have space because I think if you don't uncork that bottle, then it's just going to shake up and become fizzy all over you, when you start debating.


I wonder though, with, I mean, how many of the people, I think that's the appropriate to put it - the narrative, right? Seeing the world through an oppressor-victim basically that that is the world view right, now a lot of the people who have that world view are incredibly affluent privileged people and it's not clear to me that they actually think they're the victim, they just think the what, they, that's the lens those are the spectacles they look to for example it is see the world as like everything is victim-oppressor.


Right but I mean for me this goes back to you know Paul Bloom's book you know, "Against Empathy the Case for Rational Compassion" because we can highly highly empathize with people even though we are not part of that group. You can be a white kid at you know Harvard and you can hear about all these news articles and these racist incidents and shootings "oh boy that's terrible. I don't want to be part of terrible. I have to identify with this group of people and make sure I'm not on the side of terrible."

Mm hmm.


Being able to get them to articulate "I'm desperately afraid of being identified with being a terrible person, this hateful group of people" I think that's a great place to start with a lot of these social justice warriors, because there's literally nothing wrong with one to be anti-terrible, if you know?




Like I don't find that any bit morally problematic 



I don't either.
You know? I think it's just the way that that fear-driven instinct is managed is problematic. It's managed through this hyper rationalization and this hyper-focus on things that don't need to be focused on.
So what we see, again and again is Lockwood denying the possibility that the views of his political opponents, the "social justice warriors," could be based on rational analysis. Even when he admits that there are real-world instances of social injustice, he invents internal narratives for SJWs to portray them as pitiful squirrely creatures whose only response is emotional: "I'm desperately afraid of being identified with being a terrible person."

And Lockwood's straw-manning is so extreme that he even denies that SJWs have a hope of a better world. He contrasts his straw-manned portrayal of their "problematic" view of the world to "we also have the capacity to aspire to something better than that."

As if no social justice advocate has ever attempted anything constructive to build a better world and instead they all spend all their time peeing their diapers.

Now conveniently for Bo Winegard, Lockwood's attitude about "social justice warriors" perfectly matches Winegard's attitude towards people who criticize race pseudoscience.

This part was especially revealing about Lockwood's interactions with his political opponents:
if you don't uncork that bottle, then it's just going to shake up and become fizzy all over you, when you start debating.
I think that if someone becomes "fizzy" with Lockwood when debating him it is because of Lockwood's blatant assumption that the person he is debating is an emotion-driven hysteric. People will tend to find this annoying. But apparently Lockwood assumes they are expressing irritation not because of what he is doing but because of their internal, inexplicable "pain."

I know first-hand about this tactic because Lockwood pulled it on me. I wanted to discuss his support for race pseudoscience promoters - and this was before I found out about his friendly interview with neo-Nazi Bo Winegard. His response was to insist I was upset, and offer a one-on-one session with him. And he persisted in spite of my continuing rejection of his unwanted offer.  

Now if Lockwood was just some Twitter rando it would be unremarkable. But he is a clinical psychologist, as he keeps saying, so what he is doing here is politicizing  psychiatry - or I guess in his case psychology. 

Wouldn't this be considered a breach of professional ethics?

Lockwood looks to Jordan Peterson for how best to address the concerns of one's political opponents - by dismissing their concerns as "victim-driven narratives":
...the first principles of this radical social justice ideology is that life as Peterson, says quite ah presciently, that life is best viewed as a series of, like, victim-driven you know, narratives etc.
Jumping ahead in the video to minute 50:49
... so there's actually an empirical dispute there about what is our society like, that's really important to have. And I would wager for example that if we talk to Jordan Peterson, Jordan Peterson would say it's not as bad as these people make it seem. And that's one reason he thinks that this narrative is something of the problem is because it's actually not matching reality.

So both Lockwood and Winegard mention Peterson as an authority in their attitudes towards their political opponents. Peterson claims that their opponents' "narrative" should be dismissed because it does not match reality.

But Jordan Peterson is a charlatan.

And he was known as a charlatan well before this video was published.

In January 2018, a year and a half before the Lockwood/Winegard Munich Agreement was published, biologist P. Z. Myers made a video explaining why Peterson's claim about lobsters and humans was absurd.

As Myers states early on: "he walked right into my wheelhouse and made some specific claims about evolution and nervous systems that were straight-up idiotic and ignorant."

This is my second-favorite video by Myers, second only to his evisceration of evolutionary psychology.

Watch it and then imagine thinking a bullshit artist like Jordan Peterson was a reasonable authority on anything.

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