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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

Friday, September 30, 2022

Andrew Sullivan, still promoting racist pseudoscience

Andrew Sullivan is well-known for promoting the racist nonsense of Charles Murray's The Bell Curve.

More recently, when confronted by a New York Times reporter, Sullivan stepped back just a tiny bit from race pseudoscience.

I tried out my most charitable interpretation of his view on race and I.Q. (though I question the underpinnings of the whole intellectual project): that he is most frustrated by the notion that you can’t talk about the influence of biology and genetics on humanity. But that he’s not actually saying he thinks Black people as a group are less intelligent. He’d be equally open to the view, I suggested, that data exploring genetics and its connection to intelligence would find that Black people are on average smarter than other groups.

“It could be, although the evidence is not trending in that direction as far as I pay attention to it. But I don’t much,” he said. (He later told me he’s “open-minded” on the issue and thinks it’s “premature” to weigh the data.)

“I barely write about this,” he went on. “It’s not something I’m obsessed with.”

But he also can’t quite stop himself, even as I sat there wishing he would. “Let’s say Jews. I mean, just look at the Nobel Prize. I’m just saying — there’s something there, I think. And I’m not sure what it is, but I’m just not prepared to accept the whole thing is over.”

It was obvious that Sullivan was still committed to race essentialism and pseudoscience by his mentioning Jews and the Nobel Prize - he's referencing the Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence hypothesis, created by racists, with the goal, I believe, of inventing a "scientific" justification for a long-standing racist belief about Jews

In the past week, Sullivan not only recommitted himself to race pseudoscience, he did it via an even less-reputable individual, Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, best known as being described by comedian Stewart Lee as "weird far-right paedophilia apologist called Emil."

Emil Kirkegaard has such a bad reputation that even Abdel Abdellaoui refused to participate in a conference unless Emil O. W. Kirkegaard was disinvited from the Racist Roundup.

I think it's likely that Abdellaoui is just as committed to sociobiological (hereditarian) explanations of human hierarchies, given that he is an ally of anti-Black racist Razib Khan, as Kirkegaard. I think the issue is about status - Kirkegaard doesn't have the academic credentials that most people associated with the International Society for Intelligence Research, aka "the Racist Roundup" have.


However, I doubt this indicates that Sullivan is no longer a believer in race pseudoscience.

Then Kirkegaard jumped on the thread to defend white supremacy.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Stewart Lee triggers Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais posted the section of his recent stand-up where he portrays transgender people as rapists dressed as women lurking in ladies rooms. 

There has been much speculation as to why Gervais decided to brag about his success with bigots this week, and the general consensus is that he was triggered by Stewart Lee, in this recent interview.

Fans also noticed the five-time Golden Globe host liked a string of tweets, with one describing Stewart as having ‘never been relevant or funny.’

I’m joking of course! But should anything be off-limits for humour, especially during the horror of The Corona Virus (Wuhan Bat and Pangolin Snack ™ ® Co Ltd)? It’s a question answered by Ricky Gervais himself in a syndicated Press Association interview provided free to the Aberdeen Evening Express, and newspapers nationwide, in March. The “Wokefinder General” (Sarah Vine, Daily Mail) concluded: “There is no better tool to get you through bad things… than with a sense of humour.” I am sure this was a sentiment shared privately by his cast every day during the filming of After Life (Netflix).

And James Alcaster has to my knowledge gone after Gervais most directly for his transgender bigotry.

I've mentioned Lee on this blog before clashing with members of the Intellectual Dark Web - racists Toby Young and Emil O W Kirkegaard.

The best thing about Stewart Lee triggering Ricky Gervais is that more people have discovered who Stewart Lee is.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Who funds Quillette?

Quillette's about page says this:

How is Quillette funded?
Quillette's revenue comes from our readers. We are a grassroots organisation that relies on voluntary subscriptions and community membership as our primary revenue stream.

You could say that wealthy plutocrats are also readers of Quillette, and so the first sentence could be technically the truth. 

Elsewhere on the page, Quillette claims to be "politically non-partisan" but phony bipartisanship is a favorite right-wing tactic, especially from Charles Koch. And I would bet good money Koch is a funder of Quillette. And even if not, many people who have written for Quillette have also been paid by Koch for other things:
  • Andrew Doyle
  • Coleman Hughes
  • Razib Khan
  • Charles Murray
  • Naomi Schaefer Riley
  • Steven Pinker
  • Cathy Young
And more. You can check out the database of Quillette authors here, current as of November 2021. I will have to update it soon.

And two right-wing plutocrats have been identified in the media as Quillette funders: Mark Carnegie and Peter Thiel.

...Australian investment banker and venture capitalist Mark Carnegie is also a supporter and has poured money into a funding round scheduled to end this week. 
"[The backers] see that my long-term project has some merit and value and they want to support it," Ms Lehmann said. "It’s not exactly philanthropy, but no one who is investing is expecting to make a huge sum of money in the next 12 or 24 months."

Carnegie, a proponent of independent publishing, was a donor before becoming an investor this year and organised to meet Ms Lehmann after reading a series of Quillette articles and discovering the founder was Australian.
Lehman admits there are multiple "backers" of Quillette. I doubt Quillette decided to stop taking right-wing plutocrat money, or that the right-wing plutocrats stopped offering. 

Mark Carnegie is Principal at M.H.Carnegie & Co. and Founder of MHC Digital Finance. His Twitter timeline reveals he's a Bitcoin Bro with a fondness for the usual IDW/Quillette gang and Noah Smith, which probably indicates Smith has gone ever further right than when I last checked and found him supporting the career of Razib Khan. Carnegie has many opinions about American politics and apparently hates all Democrats and government regulations, especially concerning finance.

The other media-identified Quillette funder, Peter Thiel, is much better-known than Carnegie.

(Charles) Johnson also used his crowdfunding company, WeSearchr, to finance a campaign to uncover evidence that (Gawker Media founder Nick) Denton, had committed a crime so that he could be sent to prison. The WeSearchr page, which included an illustration of Denton in stripes and behind bars, raised $50,000, much of it contributed by Johnson himself. Because few people outside of the shadowy world of far-right politics knew of Thiel's patronage of the alt-right, the press mistook it as a grassroots uprising. The journal Quillette - an outlet that Thiel was secretly funding, according to Johnson - used the trending hashtag (#ThankYouPeter) as proof that "ordinary readers" were on Thiel's side, effectively making Johnson's campaign look organic. 
It would be great to discover when and how much and who else is funding Quillette outside of the "grassroots" that Quillette claims. I don't know Australian law, but since Quillette is Quillette Pty Ltd, a privately-held company according to the Quillette About page, I don't think it's possible to audit Quillette's funding. 

Notice that one sentence from The Contrarian:
Because few people outside of the shadowy world of far-right politics knew of Thiel's patronage of the alt-right, the press mistook it as a grassroots uprising.
That's because the press is stupid, lazy and gullible. Imagine how much more we would know about what right-wing racist plutocrats are up to, if it wasn't.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

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