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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, March 14, 2023


Best-Selling Author & Harvard Professor Steven Pinker Will Transform His Ideas into NFTs

These collectibles will guarantee recurrent access to intimate group video calls with Pinker to discuss this topic for the next several years. 

Two tiers will be available: the gold collectible, which is unique and grants the buyer the right to co-host the calls with Pinker, will be priced at $50,000; the standard collectibles, which are limited to 30 items and grant the buyers the right to access those video calls and ask questions to Pinker at the end, will be priced at 0.2 Ethereum (~$300). 

The NFTs will be available for purchase on the Polemix NFT platform. Holders of the NFTs can expect to book their first call with Pinker as soon as two weeks following their purchase; thus receiving utility for the NFTs shortly after.

It's likely Pinker is already a millionaire. I guess too much is not enough for some. Imagine spending $50K to have access to Steven Pinker's Deep Thoughts like:

"The left was uh completely out to lunch when it came to... the um causes of crime, badly badly wrong when it uh - it still does... when it attributes crime to um poverty and racism... "

" Here's another candidate for a mythology zone: the sacred creeds of academic and intellectual elites. These include the belief that we are born blank slates, that sex is a social construction, that every difference in the social statistics of ethnic groups is caused by racism... "

"I mentioned "The Mismeasure of Man" as the foremost example, to deny the existence of genetically distinct human groups - there is a widespread myth that there is no such thing as race whatsoever, that it is purely a social construction and to call the people who don't do  this Nazis. But on the other hand there is a quotation, I don't know who's responsible for it: "reality is what refuses to go away when I stop believing in it." 

"What Malcolm Gladwell calls a “lonely ice floe” is what psychologists call “the mainstream.” In a 1997 editorial in the journal Intelligence, 52 signatories wrote, “I.Q. is strongly related, probably more so than any other single measurable human trait, to many important educational, occupational, economic and social outcomes.” Similar conclusions were affirmed in a unanimous blue-ribbon report by the American Psychological Association, and in recent studies (some focusing on outliers) by Dean Simonton, David Lubinski and others."

(FUN FACT: The journal Intelligence is a meeting place for racists and the editorial was written by notorious racist Linda Gottfredson - but Pinker is a big supporter.)

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s behavioral scientists like Arthur Jensen, Hans Eysenck, Richard Herrnstein, Thomas Bouchard, and Linda Gottfredson were disinvited, drowned out, and in some cases physically assaulted. On the right, for example, is a 1984 poster announcing a talk by the evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson, which improbably called him “The Prophet of Right Wing Patriarchy” and invited students to “bring noisemakers.” So when it comes to intolerant repression of non-leftist ideas, don’t blame the Millennials or the iGens. Contra Billy Joel, we Baby Boomers did start the fire—which is not to deny that it is now blazing out of control. "

If you've read any of this blog, you've probably already guessed that those being defended by and described by Pinker as "behavioral scientists" are supporters of race pseudoscience:

  • Jensen promoted eugenics as the only practical solution to the problems facing the black community, arguing that they lacked the intelligence necessary for compensatory education programs to be successful. 

  • The US psychologist Arthur Jensen (1969) had recently published an article partly on the subject, propounding a hereditarian interpretation. It had stirred up a hornet's nest of controversy, and I was in the process of writing a critical response to it. What I did not know was that Eysenck was simultaneously writing a book, Race, Intelligence and Education (Eysenck, 1971), defending Jensen's position." 

  • Herrnstein and Murray suggested in one chapter that the black-white IQ gap would be difficult to eliminate, in part because its causes were both genetic and environmental. 

  • With its legacy of Dr. Josef Mengele’s twin experiments at Auschwitz and Dr. Burt’s bogus science, twin studies fell into disfavor. In 1979, however, Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., a psychologist at the University of Minnesota, rehabilitated this line of research...  Bouchard obtained emergency funds from the university and arranged for the pair to be flown to him for study. To support his theory that similarities such as these were genetic in origin, he assembled a team and applied for a grant to the Pioneer Fund in 1981, stating, Our findings continue to suggest a very strong genetic influence on almost all medical and psychological traits. To date, the Pioneer Fund has contributed more than $1.2 million to Bouchard’s Minnesota Center for Twin and Adoption Research. 

And of course Linda Gottfredson.

Following a long tradition of scientific racism, Gottfredson argues that racial inequality, especially in employment, is the direct result of genetic racial differences in intelligence. Relying heavily on money obtained from the white nationalist Pioneer Fund, Gottfredson has worked tirelessly to oppose any and all efforts to reduce racial inequality in both in the workplace and in society as a whole.

And Wilson the godfather of modern sociobiology, was revealed to be a big booster of the ideas of notorious racist Jean-Phillipe Rushton.

There's nobody so confident of their worth as a mediocre white man.

Sunday, March 12, 2023


I've mentioned "Some More News" recently, but I want to praise this almost-perfect video from them, explaining the Intellectual Dark Web's attempts to deny the importance of history and the existence of systemic racism. 

Like Steven Pinker, who as I pointed out the other day, does not believe that poverty or racism has any influence on crime - or the Black crime rates that Pinker said, back in 2018, were being hidden by the media.

Unfortunately the video doesn't mention Pinker - it would be full-on perfect if it did - which is a reason why Pinker is so much more insidious than the rest. 

Nobody else associated with the Intellectual Dark Web, as far as I am aware, was invited to the United Nations to express opinions. Steven Pinker was

And yet he holds the same beliefs as Sam Harris and others associated with the IDW and race pseudoscience. He's careful not to directly state those beliefs, especially since the brouhaha in 2018, but it's easy enough to infer his beliefs by who he supports and his statement that:
The left was uh completely out to lunch when it came to... the um causes of crime, badly badly wrong when it uh - it still does... when it attributes crime to um poverty and racism... 
I really wish I had been aware of Some More News long ago, I would have loved to post this video when it was first released two years ago. When the argument against the race beliefs of the IDW is stated so clearly you really have to wonder - is the IDW simply evil - or are they basically too stupid to grasp the complexity of socio-cultural-historical interactions, but have been socially promoted waaaay above their intellectual abilities.

We know how they have been promoted - racist plutocrats like Charles Koch and Peter Thiel have been funding them. Pinker was funded by Koch in 2018 when he made those controversial statements.

The best part of this video might be the analogy at minute 56:25, showing a Mario Cart race with Mario representing white people and Luigi representing Black people. It's so good but basic, even a sociobiologist might be able to understand it.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Steven Pinker and the race pseudoscience network

Carole Hooven was seen last August on Pinkerite, along with Larry Summers, when each was promoting Quillette's racist/neo-Nazi editor Bo Winegard last year.

It seems that Hooven's career is now supported by Steven Pinker. I'm not surprised.

Pinker is a long-time supporter and some-time contributor of racist rag Quillette, and an admirer of Bo Winegard.

Pinker is no doubt a supporter of Hooven because she's another believer in the sociobiology/evolutionary psychology school of gender and race essentialism, the "scientific" justification for right-wing bigotry.

In this article in the September 2022 edition of the Archives of Sexual Behavior,  Hooven defends Larry Summers' belief in the inferiority of lady brains in STEM.

In spite of Summers' claim, women's participation in STEM is steadily rising

We know that's not due to women's genetics or brain structure changing in such a short period of time. 

Maybe it's due to pushback against the essentialist beliefs that sociobiologists like Summers, Pinker, Winegard and Hooven cling to for dear life.

In the article, Hooven proposes the crackpot social affinity theory that is the absolute favorite sociobiologist explanation for why people are hostile to their pseudoscience-based claims. Bo Winegard is a big fan.

Why do people direct such outrage at scholars who are trying to do their jobs, discovering and communicating how the world works? In the aftermath of the Summers imbroglio, Steven Pinker, the well-known professor of psychology at Harvard, argued that Summers had been met with such vitriol because he had violated a cultural taboo. (Pinker 2005)  People who belong or want to belong to a social group, whether centered around political views, or a country or school, ethnic or gender identity, can signal their loyalty to the group and its values by demonstrating their "moral purity." (Paresky, 2022)

This fanciful explanation demonstrates how detached sociobiologists are from basic human social reality - maybe that's why they believe so reflexively that virtually all contemporary human behavior is the result of evolved biological essences.

The far more likely explanation for the Summers controversy is because at the time Summers made the statement he was the president of Harvard, speaking at a conference on why women were underrepresented in STEM, and Summers suggested the problem was women themselves.

To spell it out in a way that even a sociobiologist might grasp, Summers represented a clear institutional threat to women who were interested in STEM careers. How idiotic do you have to be to seriously believe the controversy was due to "moral purity"?

I would say that Hooven, Pinker, Paresky and Winegard are being deliberately obtuse, but I'm afraid it might not be deliberate. 

In this recent video, at minute 1:10 Hooven says:
...(Pinker's) also interested in, obviously, at lot of the kinds of issues that I'm interested in, The Blank Slate, is, you know, his early book, had a big impact on me and my thinking - how I thought about sex differences...

...more than anyone else at Harvard... he gave me a new office, he took me into his department, he stood up for me, he counseled me, it's been a really difficult time and he, if it weren't for him I really would not be at Harvard any more and I am because of him.... 

But Pinker has long been a champion of those who support sociobiology, as his ongoing support for hardcore race pseudoscience extremist Linda Gottfredson demonstrates.

"The Blank Slate" was Pinker's evolutionary psychology manifesto, so perfectly reviewed by Louis Menand in the New Yorker when it was released in 2002:
Having it both ways is an irritating feature of "The Blank Slate." Pinker can write, in refutation of the scarecrow theory of violent behavior, "The sad fact is that despite the repeated assurances that 'we know the conditions that breed violence,' we barely have a clue," and then, a few pages later, "It is not surprising, then, that when African American teenagers are taken out of underclass neighborhoods they are no more violent or delinquent than white teenagers." Well, that should give us one clue. He sums the matter up: "With violence, as with so many other concerns, human nature is the problem, but human nature is also the solution." This is just another way of saying that it is in human nature to socialize and to be socialized, which is, pragmatically, exactly the view of the "intellectuals." 
My theory for why Pinker tries to "have it both ways" is because he wants plausible deniability for his actual beliefs about Black people.

The New Yorker review mentions Judith Rich Harris, but the review does not mention how instrumental Pinker was in promoting the career of Harris
Moreover, when her great encourager Steven Pinker and I each nominated her paper for the annual award for “outstanding paper on general psychology,” the judges selected her as co-recipient of the—I am not making this up—George A. Miller Award. (To his credit, Miller later termed the irony “delicious.”)
Harris is so popular among believers in sociobiology that a leading promoter of "biosocial criminology," Kevin Beaver, is the Judith Rich Harris Professor of Criminology at Florida State University.

Biosocial Criminology holds that Black people are innately less intelligent, and more criminally-inclined than members of other "races." We know this because there is a book edited by Kevin Beaver, Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research in which his fellow biosocial criminologist John Paul Wright is given a chapter to argue that belief:

Page 149:
...Areas afflicted by crime and other social pathologies are more frequently black than white, and even less frequently Oriental. Part of the reason for these visible and dramatic differences may have to do with the differential abilities of races to organize socially. 
Page 150:
From the available data it would seem ludicrous to argue that "race" is a construct devoid of a biological or evolutionary backdrop. That evolutionary forces have produced biological variance across races is now scientifically undeniable. That many of the characteristics that define races appear to be universal and time stable is also undeniable. Evolution can produce many forms of adaptations, but it cannot produce equality. 
The connection between race and criminal behavior is clearly complex and involves a range of historical, social, psychological and individual variables. Evolution however, provides a powerful mechanism to understand the development of human races and the distribution of traits and behaviors within and across races. It helps explain why races would appear and under what conditions races would appear. It helps to explain why certain traits would be beneficial and why these traits such as higher IQ, would be unequally distributed across races. Moreover evolutionary theory helps explain why race-based patterns of behavior are universal, such as black over-involvement in crime. No other paradigm organizes these patterns better. No other paradigm explains these inconvenient truths.
I have no doubt Pinker holds similar beliefs. He has consistently promoted and supported those who hold these beliefs (Razib Khan, Bo Winegard, Linda Gottfredson, Steve Sailer) and his beliefs echo those of racist Amy Wax.

Unfortunately any time Pinker is interviewed, the interviewer treats him with kid gloves, due to the rarely broken gentlemen's agreement and refuses to make Pinker express exactly what he believes, as in this interview:
The left was uh completely out to lunch when it came to... the um causes of crime, badly badly wrong when it uh - it still does... when it attributes crime to um poverty and racism...
So if the problem isn't poverty and racism... what exactly is the problem? Pinker is too much the weasel to come right out and say it.

Pinker's influence extends to the promotion and support of the much debunked claims of the hypothesis called "Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence" created by two racists, who were brought together by racist Steve Sailer.

The publisher of the Hooven video, Freedom Pact likes to platform members and friends of the IDW including Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying, Niall Ferguson, Chloe Valdary, Dave Rubin, Douglas Murray and David Buss. 

The Freedom Pact website reveals nothing about who is funding them, but given how IDW-leaning its guests have become since 2018, including two interviews with Ivermectin-promoting Bret Weinstein, the brother of Peter Thiel's employee and apparent crackpot, Eric Weinstein, and given Thiel's reported financial support for race pseudoscience-promoting and IDW-connected Quillette, I have my suspicions.

And I predict that one day Carole Kennedy Hooven will have her own Quillette byline, where she can share her grievances with Quillette's far-right, racist and mostly male readership.

If Quillette will support Amy Wax's right to be a public racist troll while working for an educational institution, they'll certainly support Hooven. 

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Scocca vs. Singal

I don't know why anybody would hire Jesse Singal as a journalist. His whole thing is to make the story about himself.

He's already taking money from Koch and whoever is funding his Substack and other social media, he should just become a full-time right-wing media personality and stop with the pretense to journalism.

A reminder that Jesse Singal has been cooperating with the far right - including the anti-trans and racist Quillette - long before the Republican Party decided to make anti-trans its primary platform.

Singal and Scocca have a long-standing animosity.

Some very interesting information about Jesse Singal at Jesse Singal biography: timeline to transphobia

Including the info that Singal's father was arrested for soliciting a prostitute April 27, 2022.

Signal, however, is not just your average ‘John’. He is in fact a very well known lawyer in the New England Area, who previously held the position of Assistant United States Attorney and Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts before beginning his private practice career, according to his biography page on the site of the law firm Hinckley Allen.

In the police report obtained by Live Boston, investigators document the moment they approached Singal and the unnamed woman in extreme detail, “As Detective Williams approached the vehicle he could clearly observe through the unobstructed vehicle windows the female in the front seat who was leaning over to the drivers lap area with her head moving in a upward and downward motion.” 

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Rebecca Watson vs. the former skeptics of the IDW

Rebecca Watson, who has had more unpleasant personal experiences with the misogynist/racist-right members of the new atheist movement of the 2000s than anybody else, made a great video about these members of the Intellectual Dark Web and their slide into non-skepticism. 

The transcript is available at Skepchick.

I hope Slater is a guest speaker at the next Quillette conference.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

NYTimes vs. transpeople: Tom Scocca and The Onion respond

"Month after month, story after story, the Times is pouring its attention and resources into the message that there is something seriously concerning about the way young people who identify as trans are receiving care."

I read an excellent piece a couple of weeks ago by Tom Scocca about the NYTimes increasing obsession with "asking questions" about medical care for transpeople

I found it again after I heard about the letters of protest against the NYTimes about its coverage:

About 200 New York Times contributors have signed an open letter calling out the legacy newspaper for its coverage of transgender issues.

In the letter addressed to the Times' associate managing editor for standards, the contributors say they have "serious concerns about editorial bias in the newspaper's reporting on transgender, non⁠-⁠binary, and gender nonconforming people."

Scocca wrote:

...Page A1 is where questions go. Is the number of young trans people suddenly unusually large? Is it good for young trans people to be getting medical treatment as drastic as breast-removal surgery? If they’re deferring more drastic medical treatment by taking puberty blockers, is it harmful for them to take those puberty blockers? If they’re not getting medical treatment at all, are their schools letting them socially transition too easily?

This is pretty obviously—and yet not obviously enough—a plain old-fashioned newspaper crusade. Month after month, story after story, the Times is pouring its attention and resources into the message that there is something seriously concerning about the way young people who identify as trans are receiving care. Like the premise that the Clintons had to have been guilty of something serious, or that Saddam Hussein must have had a weapons program worth invading Iraq over, the notion that trans youth present a looming problem is demonstrated to the reader by the sheer volume of coverage. If it’s not a problem, why else would it be in the paper?


I actually first caught wind of the protests via The Onion's response:

It Is Journalism’s Sacred Duty To Endanger The Lives Of As Many Trans People As Possible

...We stand behind our recent obsessed-seeming torrent of articles and essays on trans people, which we believe faithfully depicts their lived experiences as weird and gross. We remain dedicated to finding the angles that best frame the basic rights of the gender-nonconforming as up for debate, and we will use these same angles over and over again in hopes that this repetition makes them suffer. As journalists, it is our obligation to entertain any and all pseudoscience that gives bigotry an intellectual veneer. We must be diligent in laundering our vitriol through the posture of journalistic inquiry, and we must be allowed to fixate on the genitals.

It is against free speech to stop us from fixating on the genitals.

Much of the recent debate concerns medical procedures, particularly in children, and whether things like hormone replacement therapy or gender-affirming surgeries are safe and appropriate. Indeed, there are critical questions to be asked about the social complexities of gender, as well as medical ethics in a profit-driven healthcare system. We are simply not interested in any of that. Instead, we will use flawed data and spurious logic to repeatedly write the same hand-wringing arguments asking whether there are suddenly too many trans people around. Journalistic integrity demands nothing less.

One of the things I liked about Scocca's piece was that it mentioned Jesse Singal's role in pioneering the media's approach to trans issues:

...Singal’s story also established the template for the meta-coverage of the subject. Trans writers and activists expressed dismay and outrage about the piece’s alarmist angle; the Atlantic defended it; some of the protests became vituperative and personal; Singal himself curdled over time into, at minimum, a position of combative and obsessive anti-anti-transphobia. The fuss over such an ostensibly thorough and ostensibly reasonable article struck some people with no particular investment in trans issues as censorious and irrational, and those people became invested instead in trans coverage as an object of “cancel culture” discourse: a line of inquiry under attack by the opponents of free inquiry. 

The idea that arguments against trans care are forbidden knowledge, which journalists have a duty to bring to light, is still driving coverage. Last week, the Atlantic published a piece by two scholars who are themselves trans, arguing that there is prejudice against people who have transitioned to another gender and then transitioned back, and that discussion of those experiences is being suppressed. “Haven’t seen it discussed much,” the tactically annoying liberal pundit Matthew Yglesias tweeted, praising the piece. “I think since the authors are harder to dismiss than most.”

(The NYTimes, remember, brought Singal in to defend Steven Pinker and to attack Pinker's critics. )

Scocca makes an excellent point about how the Times' trans coverage frets often over possible damage to young people having trans-related medical treatment, but not nearly as much over medical treatment for young people, equally serious, but not related to trans:

Stories about the sudden rise of trans identity acknowledge the problem of scale, sometimes, in passing. Writing about top surgery for teens, the Times noted that there are other, more prevalent gender-affirmation surgeries going on in the world, too. After scraping together what single-year figures on teen breast removals were available (203 total surgeries across 11 clinics that answered a reporter’s questions, 13 more by one publicity-seeking doctor, 70 at Kaiser Permanente Oakland in a study in a different year), the Times added some context:

Experts said that adolescent top surgeries were less frequent than cosmetic breast procedures performed on teenagers who were not transgender. Around 3,200 girls age 18 to 19 received cosmetic breast implants in 2020, according to surveys of members of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and another 4,700 teenagers age 13 to 19 had breast reductions. (Surveys from other groups have shown that girls under 18 also receive implants, though the ASPS does not recommend breast augmentation for minors.)

Once you start asking questions about things like breast-enhancement surgeries in comparison to trans care, it’s hard to stop. Some 30,000 teens each year get rhinoplasties—irrevocable, highly visible, life-changing surgeries that are overwhelmingly performed on girls, many of whom are motivated by body dysphoria, peer pressure, and invidious internalized notions about race and ethnicity. 

The Times expended more than 6,000 words on puberty blockers, raising the specter that, despite doctors’ widespread agreement that the treatment makes life better for adolescents who identify as trans, the drugs carry the risk of reducing bone density. Bone density loss is also one of the many side effects of isotretinoin, more famous as Accutane, which has been used to alleviate severe acne in millions of teenagers over the decades, even though it comes with a list of potential psychological and physical harms up to and including its ability to cause severe birth defects. 

Any medical decision involves some sort of judgment about how to balance competing sets of risks. Yet the Times isn’t publishing multiple front-page stories about whether teens are endangering their bodies by getting treated for cystic acne. 

And back to that pioneer, Jesse Singal:

...And Singal, trying to argue against social gender transitioning, accidentally described the logic that keeps those (gay) kids there: 

[I]f a decision to socially transition that is kept from parents sticks, a young, developing person will then spend months, or maybe even years, living one identity at school and another among their family. That just can’t be psychologically healthy. It fosters distrust between students and parents, and it isn’t sustainable because the parents are inevitably going to find out (if schools think they can keep it a secret in the long term, that’s ridiculous). 

If it wanted to, there’s no question that the Times could find parents and support groups who are still bothered, today, by their children identifying as gay. The parents would be furious if the children were out at school without their knowledge, and would feel that their parental rights were being violated. Selected experts would share the parents’ concerns. What would that do for the kids?

And what will all this trans coverage accomplish? The Times considers itself an objective repository of current events, not a crusading newspaper, but when a publication fixes its attention on a subject and keeps it there, it is making the case that its attention matters. If youth trans care is a problem, the Times is bringing that problem to light, so that the public and people in authority can understand it and make it better.

Finally, Scocca makes the case for how the NYTimes, either deliberately or fecklessly, is aiding and abetting the current Republican war on transpeople:

In the spirit of asking critical questions, then: how many thousand words on the front page of the Times does it take to acknowledge the existence of doubt? At what cumulative word count does it become possible to read it as something less neutral—something that could in fact give ammunition to Republican politicians? 

What if, perhaps, a mainstream liberal moral panic about young trans people has been moving in synchrony with “a barrage of bills to regulate the lives of transgender youths, restricting the sports teams they can play on, bathrooms they can use and medical care they can receive”? What if the laws are being promoted by “some of the same figures who fought the legalization of gay marriage”?

And what if the latest wave of this legislative assault included “bans on transition care into young adulthood; restrictions on drag shows using definitions that could broadly encompass performances by transgender people; measures that would prevent teachers in many cases from using names or pronouns matching students’ gender identities; and requirements that schools out transgender students to their parents”?

This was what the Times reported on Jan. 26, three days after it had used its front page to air parents’ objections to teachers using names or pronouns matching students’ gender identities, and letting those parents suggest schools should have requirements that out transgender students to their parents. 

In this story about new legislation, the Times raised the possibility that the interest in young people’s welfare was a tactical pretext by the far right, the opening stage in a full-on campaign against trans people:

Matt Sharp, senior counsel and state government relations national director for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said his group believed “gender ideology attacks the truth that every person is either male or female.”

And Mr. Schilling, of the American Principles Project, confirmed that his organization’s long-term goal was to eliminate transition care. The initial focus on children, he said, was a matter of “going where the consensus is.”

This news ran under the headline “G.O.P. State Lawmakers Push a Growing Wave of Anti-Transgender Bills.” 

It was on page A13.

FAIR (not the right-wing grifters FAIRforall) also has a response

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

It's Black History Month - the IDW & the GOP hate Black History

It's Black History Month. Let's talk about how much the Right - and its IDW division - hate Black History.

Over in the cesspit known as Twitter, as reported by right-wing garbage heap Fox News, the Right are at each others' throats, while promoting the fiction that Steven Pinker is on the Left. He's about as Left as Jerry Coyne

Fox News is displaying attacks against Pinker by Colin Wright and Christopher Rufo. 

Rufo is a hypocrite, naturally, and so in response to Pinker tweeting a link to Cathy Young's criticism of Rufo and his connection to Ron DeSantis and his scheme to erase Black History, Rufo tweeted "Sorry, buddy, we're not going to listen to people who can't even open their comments."

Do I have to mention that Rufo blocked me on Twitter every bit as much as Pinker did?

Cathy Young herself is hardly blameless. I consider her a pioneer of stochastic terrorism.

But the whole thing is odd, because Steven Pinker is a supporter of Rufo's campaign against Critical Race Theory, which is the founding motivation of FAIR FOR ALL

Pinker was a member of the FAIR board of advisors when it was first created in March 2021 along with Rufo. And although Rufo is no longer there, Pinker is.

FAIR is a who's who of right-wing political operatives and members of the Intellectual Dark Web.

Colin Wright has never been a member of the FAIR board of advisors, but they haven't forgotten him. He's mentioned in December 2021 in the News section: New Video: Doing ‘DEI’ Right with Colin Wright.

Now before getting cozy with Rufo's CRT grift, Colin Wright was best known as a hateful transphobe:

Colin Wright, an anti-trans extremist writer for right-wing site Quillette and founder of Reality’s Last Stand, posted a very heinous tweet harming the safety of LGBTQ+ minors by criticizing suicide prevention outlet The Trevor Project’s “quick exit” feature that allows LGBTQ+ youth to have safe conversations without being snooped on by their non-LGBTQ+-affirming parent(s) or other family members and then subsequently get berated, abused, and/or even disowned, or worse, killed. 

His Twitter account was even suspended for extreme transphobia, before fascist Elon Musk came along to set all the little fashies free from Twitter jail.

But both transphobia and hostility to Black history are hallmarks of the Intellectual Dark Web and Quillette. And Wright quickly jumped on board Rufo's anti-CRT campaign, aligning with Trump.

I wonder how Jerry Coyne will react to the attacks on Pinker. On the one hand, Coyne adores Pinker, on the other hand Coyne is a fan of Colin Wright.

It is odd though, this public drama, considering that all the main characters, Pinker, Young, Rufo, and Wright have taken Koch money. And Koch and the Intellectual Dark Web have nurtured Rufo's CRT-panic grift since the beginning.

What Ron DeSantis is doing is the ultimate political expression of the IDW/Quillette campaign against Black history.

Rufo may talk about "Critical Race Theory" but what he's really after is to kill the 1619 Project.

Mr. DeSantis’s “Stop WOKE” law relegates the study of the experiences of Black people to a prohibited category. The canceling of students’ access to accurate, truthful education that reflects their diverse identities and that of their country should chill every American. Not only do these laws offend First Amendment freedoms of speech and expression; to the extent they harm certain groups on the basis of race, gender or other protected status, they also violate principles of equal protection. And they are a chilling precursor to state-sponsored dehumanization of an entire race of people.

This disturbing pattern of silencing Black voices and aggressive attempts to erase Black history is one of the most visible examples of performative white supremacy since the presidency of Donald Trump. In 2019 the Florida legislature undermined Amendment 4, which a supermajority of Floridians supported and would have restored the voting rights of more than a million formerly incarcerated people. In its place, lawmakers put in place a pay-to-vote system that redisenfranchises hundreds of thousands of those citizens, many of them Black. Similarly, Florida’s antiprotest law, H.B. 1, was enacted in 2021 in response to the 2020 protests against police violence, when Black organizations and peaceful demonstrators in Florida — along with their allies — took to the streets with demands for justice...

..Several book bans and other antitruth measures introduced in the past two years target The New York Times’s 1619 Project (and curriculum), which was created by Nikole Hannah-Jones — who won a Pulitzer Prize for her work — and is a linchpin in today’s conversations about the role of systemic racism in America’s history and its enduring impacts. In Wyoming and Texas, lawmakers and school officials have proposed measures mandating that objectively horrific historic events like the Holocaust and the trans-Atlantic slave trade be presented to American children neutrally and without judgment. (The Wyoming measure failed to pass the state’s legislature.) But why would we want our children to look at these atrocities without judgment?

Rufo and his allies hate the 1619 project. From Jerry Coyne to Colin Wright to neo-Nazi James Lindsay

You would think that Pinker and Young would be happy that their side is winning.

Could this be an example of unintended consequences? 

Could Young and Pinker have really not considered that their constant harping on "wokeness," along with Pinker echoing infamous racist Amy Wax in an attempt to downplay the power of systemic racism, could have political consequences?

I mean, I did not think they were especially bright people, but even I didn't think they were that clueless.

Or is it all phony? Like Jerry Coyne claiming to be on the Left, while constantly agreeing with the Right. Much like this.

But they always pretend - or maybe they are just that self-deluded - that what they really care about is "free speech." 

Fox News refers to Colin Wright as an "evolutionary biologist" but he is not a practicing one. He is on wingnut welfare, paid to promote the views of right-wing plutocrats. I assume he switched to that career because several of his science papers were retracted.

To be fair, although blocking critics is what members of the IDW/Quillette gang do, Wright did not block my Twitter account. This isn't especially significant now, since I'm never on Twitter, but it was something different from the standard member of the IDW/Quillette gang. I guess he refrained from blocking for "free speech."

But to Wright, free speech means if you disagree with him, he will make unsupported vicious attacks against you. And then run away.

But you can't expect good faith from people who have devoted their lives to promoting hatred on behalf of evil old plutocrats.

About Cathy Young's piece - a perfect illustration of her through-the-lookinglass view of the world in this section:
If DeSantis’s objective had been simply to appoint board members who would counteract excessive “woke” influence at New College, he could have picked plenty of people who weren’t in that mold. For instance, Columbia University professor and author John McWhorter, a self-identified black liberal whose book Woke Racism is scathingly critical of Kendi-style “anti-racism” even as McWhorter has been no less scathing about Trump. Or, say, Christina Hoff Sommers, a former academic who is sufficiently “anti-woke” to have been classed among the earlier-mentioned “intellectual dark web” and to have been targeted for deplatforming at several progressive universities, but has said that she regards Trump as an example of “amoral masculinity” rather than positive masculinity. Or social psychologist and New York University professor Jonathan Haidt, who has strongly criticized academia’s move toward prioritizing “social justice” over truth and who recently resigned from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology over a new rule requiring presenters at the society’s annual conference to submit a statement on equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.

McWhorter is not only a long-time employee of Koch-funded organizations and an author at race pseudoscience-loving Quillette, he is also on the board of advisors of the CRT-crazed FAIR.

Sommers, like Young is a pioneer in stochastic terrorism, misogyny division. 

Jonathan Haidt is a long-time supporter of race-pseudoscience, recently seen at Peter Thiel's CPAC for racists. And another member of the anti-CRT crazed FAIR.

The American Right may not agree about Trump, but they do agree about race pseudoscience and transphobia. And the utility of grifts like anti-CRT and the classic free speech grift.

UPDATE February 9: far from defending Pinker from attacks by Rufo, disgusting right-wing goon Jerry Coyne is celebrating Rufo:

After the bad publicity, Texas Tech, according to a tweet by Christoper Rufo, has suspended this DEI policy.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Pingback for Jerry Coyne ~ I wonder why right-wingers love me so much

I'm sure Jerry Coyne has heard of Occam's Razor.

So let's consider the issue of Jerry Coyne claiming to be on the left:

Each time I see a pingback from one of these conservative sites, then, I am ambivalent. Am I helping or hurting my own cause? Like all people who take my point of view, I have of course been called “alt-right,” “racist”, and even a white supremacist. I brush off those names because they’re just slurs that progressives who lack arguments use to tar their opponents.

It's always fun when Coyne or Pinker claim their critics "lack arguments," when both Coyne and Pinker live in air-tight echo chambers and refuse to talk to their critics. Pinker infamously went on a blocking tear on Twitter (he blocked me long before that) and Coyne will not post or respond to any critics on his blog.

What disgusting lying self-congratulatory weasels they are.

So let's look at the facts.

Jerry Coyne constantly promotes and supports right-wingers and racists

He apparently thinks that those who believe Amy Wax or Steve Bannon engage in hate speech are ridiculous:

What is accomplished by convicting this guy and sending him to jail? Will it deter others from making ‘hate videos’? Perhaps, but the concept of “hate speech” is so slippery that such deterrence is unwise. Meechan, after all, was not calling for the Jews to be gassed, expecting to incite Jewish deaths. Remember that many saw, and still see, the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Muhammad as “hate speech”, as they see the views of Steve Bannon, Christina Hoff Sommers, or Amy Wax as “hate speech”.

Like all the other ghouls he constantly aligns with, he hates the 1619 project. Probably because it teaches actual Black history, which he and the other race pseudoscience ghouls would like to erase so they can claim that Black failure to thrive in the US is due to inferior Black genes.

Jerry Coyne participated in racist anti-democratic Peter Thiel's CPAC for racists, where he demonstrated his alignment with notorious racist Amy Wax. While deliberately misrepresenting left-leaning biologist PZ Myers as just a blogger.

Jerry Coyne believes in racist race pseudoscience. But like his hero Steven Pinker, he's enough of a weasel that he won't come right out and admit it, or explain exactly what he believes about things like race and intelligence, but you'd have to be a moron to miss his sympathy with Noah Carl, one of the most far-right racists in the race pseudoscience business:

In the article above on his website, Noah Carl found one item I missed in the ASHG report. (Yes, I know of Carl’s infamy: he was fired from a position at Cambridge University for working on the connection between human race and intelligence: an ideologically taboo topic that was, in his case, also characterized as “poor scholarship”)

He grumbles about the kids these days and their newfangled words

But I think Coyne's position on the political spectrum can best be illustrated by the fact that he attacks critics of Amy Wax and Noah Carl, but he has nothing negative to say about famously racist and famously anti-democratic and famously pro-Trump Peter Thiel. Although he will go so far as to quote his fave right-wing bloggers' commentary about Thiel's support for Trump.

Now from this should we conclude that:

Jerry Coyne is a leftist who just happens to love racists and right-wingers and race pseudoscience and hates other leftists and has nothing bad to say about a lunatic right-wing anti-democratic Trump supporter?


Jerry Coyne is a cranky old right-wing racist who is so delusional that he thinks he's still on the left?

Thursday, January 26, 2023


A little over three years ago, after The 1619 Project was first published, The New York Times began the process of turning it into a television documentary. It was clear, from the initial response to the project, that it introduced readers to an eye-opening perspective on American history, one that pushed them to examine how the contradictions of our founding led to persistent inequalities in contemporary society. In its initial form — a special issue of the magazine, a special broadsheet section and a multi-episode podcast series — it reached millions of people. We knew that putting a version of it on television would help it reach millions more.

Today the result of that effort finally arrives. “The 1619 Project” docuseries is a six-episode program that will air on Hulu over the next three weeks. The first two episodes premiere tonight, Thursday, Jan. 26; the next two arrive a week from today, on Feb. 2, and the series wraps up the week after that, on Feb. 9, with the final two. The show is hosted, of course, by the project’s creator and main voice, Nikole Hannah-Jones, and it features some of the journalists and historians who contributed to the original 1619 Project. But it is also something new, a collaboration among Nikole, the executive producer Oprah Winfrey and a talented team of producers and writers led by the Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Roger Ross Williams. Together with the New York Times film and television producers Caitlin Roper, who was an editor on the original project, and Kathleen Lingo, they reimagined The 1619 Project for a new format, creating new story lines, adding new reporting and bringing in a host of new voices, from the civil rights activist MacArthur Cotton to the pop-music pioneer Nile Rodgers.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Steven Pinker and Amy Wax and Persuasion

So Pinker hasn't been promoting Razib Khan, directly, that I could find, since 2021. So what has Pinker been up to?

Publishing his usual bullshit, specifically in the "Persuasion" Substack.

Persuasion, which was founded in June 2020, a few weeks before the Harper's Letter was published, appears to be part of the Harper's Letter scheme, associated with the Intellectual Dark Web and the Quillette gang.

Thirteen signers of the Harper's Letter are associated with Persuasion, including founder and editor in chief Yascha Mounk. The named instigator of the letter, Thomas Chatterton Williams, currently taking money from the Koch-funded AEI, is on the Board of Advisors.

Persuasion also has an About page which lists "People," which includes Mounk and some members of the Board of Advisors, like Pinker, Haidt, Yoffe, McWhorter; various others (including "David"); plus two more Harper's Letter-signers, Jonathan Rauch and → Ian Buruma.

You can see how much Persuasion is aligned politically with the Intellectual Dark Web and Quillette by a glance at the "Most popular" articles on its home page:
  • Keira Bell: My Story - about regretting being transgender - anti-trans is a pillar of the Intellectual Dark Web/Quillette, and, because those are funded by the same people who fund conservative politicians, a new pillar of the Republican Party. Quillette talks about Bell a lot. Of course.
Many people ask why any of this should matter in the age of Donald Trump—a president who attacks free speech, stokes bigotry and division, and believes he is above the law. It matters because we have seen what happened when his enablers on the right failed to stand up to the worst impulses of their leader. These enablers are now morally responsible for the tragic consequences of their inaction.
But if Peter Thiel has funded Quillette - and I think the claim is true - then the very people Yoffe admires take money from the same guy who funds Trump. It makes the "left is just as bad" defense incredibly hollow.
  • The Warped Vision of "Anti-Racism" by Trump-loving right-wing extremist Batya Ungar-Sargon, who, like Pinker, Haidt, McWhorter and Thomas Chatterton Williams is on the Board of Advisors of the (I believe) Christopher Rufo-founded, right-wing anti-CRT-scam FAIR for all. Ungar-Sargon's is the second "anti-racism is bad" piece in Persuasion's "Most Popular" list which should tell you exactly who is reading Persuasion. Her article spews the usual bullshit about the 1619 Project ("it's postmodern!") you can expect from the Quillette/IDW gang of goons and ghouls. Even if she takes money from Newsweek instead of Quillette.
Pinker has published two articles in Persuasion. The most recent is from this month and continues his current project of presenting himself as the arbiter of Rationality while promoting race pseudoscience as calm, cool reason.

I've long noted that Pinker is a weasel, so it is no surprise that he compares those who disagree with race pseudoscience to members of QAnon:

QAnon might be likened to a live action role-playing game, with fans avidly trading clues and following leads. Its progenitor, Pizzagate (according to which Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring out of the basement of a DC pizzeria), also had a make-believe quality...

...Many of us are nonplussed by this way of thinking. It’s one thing to believe that Hillary Clinton is a morally compromised person—everyone is entitled to an opinion—but it’s quite another thing, and completely unacceptable, to express that opinion as a fabricated factual assertion.

But it’s our mindset that is exotic and unnatural. For many of us, it’s the dividend of a higher education which has imparted the sense that there is a fact of the matter about states of the world; that even if we don’t know it, there are ways of finding out; and that, as Bertrand Russell put it, “It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatsoever for supposing it is true.” Indeed, one could argue that this mindset is the most important dividend of higher education.

Or at least, it used to be. Here's another candidate for a mythology zone: the sacred creeds of academic and intellectual elites. These include the belief that we are born blank slates, that sex is a social construction, that every difference in the social statistics of ethnic groups is caused by racism, that the source of all problems in the developing world is European and American imperialism, and that repressed abuse and trauma are ubiquitous.

In spite of my best efforts, Pinker is not known primarily as a promoter of race pseudoscience, but his belief about race and racism is the same as that of Amy Wax, who is well-known as a racist.

Let's review:

Steve Pinker: 
...another candidate for a mythology zone: the sacred creeds of academic and intellectual elites... that every difference in the social statistics of ethnic groups is caused by racism...

The centerpiece of wokeness is that all disparities, all group disparities, are due to racism, racism, racism, racism.

How is what Pinker said any different from what Wax said? I see no difference in content, only a difference in style.

Although Pinker gives an extra little weasel twist by portraying his racism as pure rationality, opposed to those crazy myth-loving "elites."

And note that Pinker's term "sacred creed" is very close to the term "sacred values" used by  Quillette Associate Editor Bo Winegard, a long-time promoter of race pseudoscience and even an advocate of national ethnicity quotas (you know, like the Nazis were.) Pinker is on the record as admiring Bo Winegard and his twin brother Ben.

Steven Pinker is the genteel mask of the hardcore racism that Amy Wax shouts from the rooftops.

And that's why Steven Pinker is more pernicious than Amy Wax and that's why this blog focuses on media-darling/sacred cow celebrity intellectual Steven Pinker and not on the more obviously racist Amy Wax.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Jerry Coyne promoting racist Razib Khan

Steven Pinker stopped publicly promoting the career of professional racist Steven Sailer by 2012, but he was still promoting the career of Razib Khan, whose racist beliefs are virtually identical to Sailer's, in 2021

Khan's unhinged racism is clear in his review of racist Charles Murray's latest work of pseudoscience, written for racist rag Quillette. Khan agrees with Charles Murray that Black people are an existential threat to the United States. But then, as I've noted, sociobiologists are often drama queens, certain that those who are not true believers in sociobiology are dooming the world.

I was wondering if Pinker was still promoting Khan, so I was Googling around a little. I didn't find anything about Pinker, but I did find that racist goon Jerry Coyne had jumped in to do his part by promoting Khan in a blog post last month.

Khan's article is titled: 

You can’t take it with you: straight talk about epigenetics and intergenerational trauma
The true story of a powerful molecular process and how pseudoscience co-opted it

I find it incredibly funny that a right-wing political operative like Khan, whose entire racist-plutocrat-funded career is devoted to racist pseudoscience is writing about "pseudoscience."

Khan is a terrible writer, incapable of efficiently organizing and conveying information, which is why his career exists purely thanks to people like racist crackpot Ron Unz and the funders of racist Taki's Mag and racist Quillette and racist VDARE, as well as whoever is funding him, probably secretly, via his Substack

Khan's article, according to Coyne, is an "excellent piece... written for the intelligent and scientifically inquisitive layperson.

But Coyne doesn't care about writing ability any more than the racist plutocrats who fund Khan, I suspect. 

Khan's literary ability is beside the point. I seriously doubt he wrote this article out of a pure love of sharing information. I think he wrote it, like everything else he writes, because racists are paying him to promote racist bullshit. In this piece he only lightly touches on his inevitable motivation, in his reference to a "blank slate" in a sub-heading, but it's there.

I don't think epigenetics is needed to explain Black failure to thrive, the historical record is sufficient, but Khan and his ilk are opposed to any explanation for Black failure to thrive other than the pseudoscientific belief that Blackness makes them stupid and violent.

We know that Khan is also opposed to the historical explanation, when he suggested we "remove all the history."

I don't have strong feelings about epigenetics and its possible implications, and I don't know enough about it to critique Khan's article on scientific terms. But I do know bad writing when I see it. 

In his article, Khan starts out with an excessively complicated IKEA furniture instruction manual analogy. 

He then goes on to make an unsupported claim:
In the last decade, sweeping mainstream-media claims about epigenetics’ expansive role in shaping our world have become hard to escape.
What "mainstream media" is Khan reading? If you did a survey of a random collection of college-educated people, I guarantee you that a tiny percent of them could define the term "epigenetics." 

Towards the end of the article, he lightly sprinkles five links to sources that discuss possible epigenetic implications and family trauma, and none of them is more recent than 2018. Not exactly "hard to escape."

And since he doesn't have much in the way of support for his claim, he tries to stretch a statement by Justin Trudeau into support for epigenetics because Trudeau used the term "intergenerational trauma." 

In 2021, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement about the controversy around Catholic schools for Aboriginal Canadian children where he stated:

…we must continue to learn about residential schools and the intergenerational trauma they have caused. It is only by facing these truths and righting these wrongs that we, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, can move toward a better future.

What jumped out at me was the casual deployment of the concept of “intergenerational trauma,” which seems out of nowhere to have become ubiquitous. Google Books’ Ngram search feature tells us that the term did not exist before 1985, with its use increasing gradually until 2012 when it hit an inflection point and began to shoot up. 

Khan then includes a definition of "intergenerational trauma" from Wikipedia which says:

The mechanism for transmission of trauma may be socially transmitted (e.g., through learned behaviors), through the effects of stress before birth, or perhaps through stress-induced epigenetic modifications

So "socially transmitted" or stress before birth or PERHAPS epigenetic

But Khan is going to keep the Trudeau statement in there anyway, giving the impression that Trudeau meant epigenetics. Because it "jumped out at me." Jesus, Khan is so sleazy it sets my teeth on edge.

Once Khan moves past his bad analogy and unsupported claim about the inescapability of epigenetics, he immediately gets into the weeds with a terrible, endless sentence, with a call-back to his terrible IKEA analogy.
Epigenetics encompasses the molecular mechanisms that determine how relevant sections of DNA’s single universal instruction manual are interpreted and applied uniquely in each specialized cell, as specific pages of the manual are consulted (or not) according to each cell’s role in your body.
It makes you tired just reading it.

The only good thing you can say about Khan's literary output is that it's so bad, it's unlikely to give him a larger audience. 

And thanks to the Substack platform, you can see who liked the piece, along with links to their own social media. It gives you a good sense of how generally far-right and racist Khan's audience is. People like "human biodiversity" promoter Jonny Anomaly and anti-woke hater of the 1619 project Reality Always Wins and anti-vax crackpot "Rotten in Denmark."

Intelligent and scientifically inquisitive people would do much better to read about epigenetics from people who know how to organize information, who can write well, and who are not career-long right-wing racist political operatives. 

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