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Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Chat GPT spills the tea about Peter Thiel and the Intellectual Dark Web

Since ChatGPT told me that Bari Weiss received a quarter of a million dollars from Peter Thiel in 2017, it occurred to me that perhaps her 2018 article for the New York Times about the splendors of her fellow travellers, Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web, was a public announcement of who had agreed to be on the Peter Thiel payroll. In addition to all those associated with Quillette.

In the article there were twenty-five individuals named by Weiss as connected to the Intellectual Dark Web, including Steven Pinker, Kanye West, Milo Yiannapoulos, Stefan Molyneux and Alex Jones. 

But the most significant of the IDW bunch are those who were photographed for the article, standing in the dark in the bushes. 

I guess the photographer wanted to make a point by posing these Intellectuals in the Dark, but drew the line at literally portraying them in a Web and so had to stick them in some bushes instead.

The eight bush skulkers include Joe Rogan, Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, Heather Heying, Christina Hoff Sommers, Dave Rubin and Eric and Bret Weinstein.

So what does ChatGPT have to say about them?

NOTE:  this must be investigated further, since ChatGPT is known to be factually unreliable.

        Has Peter Thiel ever funded Sam Harris?

Yes, Peter Thiel has provided funding to Sam Harris in the past. In fact, Thiel was one of the early supporters of Harris' podcast and helped fund the creation of the Waking Up app, which was later renamed to the Sam Harris app. Thiel and Harris have also engaged in public conversations and have expressed mutual respect for each other's work in various fields.


Supposedly Harris says he's done with the Intellectual Dark Web.

I came up empty on a Thiel funding source for Michael Shermer, but ChatGPT did have this info, which is not even available at SourceWatch.

Has the Skeptic magazine received funding from Donors Trust?

Yes, according to public records, Skeptic magazine has received funding from Donors Trust, a donor-advised fund that provides support to a variety of conservative and libertarian organizations. Specifically, tax filings from Donors Trust show that they provided funding to the Skeptics Society, the organization that publishes Skeptic magazine, in both 2014 and 2015. It's worth noting that Donors Trust supports a wide range of organizations across the political spectrum, and the fact that an organization receives funding from Donors Trust does not necessarily imply any particular political alignment or agenda. 


Donor's Trust is the infamous right-wing funding vehicle that also gives millions to racist monsters VDARE.

ChatGPT had nothing about Thiel or Donors Trust funding for Christina Hoff Sommers, but it's not a secret that she's taken money from Koch-funded organizations for decades. ChatGPT agreed:

Christina Hoff Sommers, a conservative writer and critic of contemporary feminism, has received funding from a number of conservative and libertarian organizations over the years, particularly those focused on policy, education, and advocacy. Some of the organizations that have provided support to Sommers     include:

    • The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank that promotes free enterprise, limited government, and traditional values. (Pinkerite's note: funded by Koch)
    • The Bradley Foundation, a conservative foundation that supports a range of causes, including education, civic engagement, and free markets.
    • The Charles Koch Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds research and education programs on a variety of topics, including economics, political science, and civil liberties.
    • The Independent Women's Forum (IWF), a conservative organization that advocates for policies and initiatives that promote economic freedom, limited government, and individual responsibility. (Pinkerite's note: funded by Koch)
    • The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank that focuses on policy research in areas such as urban policy, energy, and education. (Pinkerite's note: funded by Koch)

Here's what ChatGPT had to say about Heather Heying:

Heather Heying has received funding from a number of conservative and libertarian organizations over the years, particularly those focused on science, education, and policy. Some of the organizations that have provided support to Heying include:
    • The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, a conservative think tank that promotes free speech and intellectual diversity on college campuses.
    • The John William Pope Foundation, a conservative foundation that supports a range of causes, including education, healthcare, and public policy.
    • The Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds research on science, spirituality, and human purpose.
    • The Discovery Institute, a conservative think tank that promotes intelligent design theory and critiques of evolutionary biology.
    • The Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank that focuses on political philosophy, constitutionalism, and American exceptionalism.

I'm curious what The Discovery Institute hopes to get from Heying for its money, since it promotes intelligent design and critiques of evolutionary biology.

We do know that Heying and her husband Bret Weinstein have promoted junk science during the Covid pandemic. But that's Game Theory.

When I asked ChatGPT about Dave Rubin it said:

Rubin has expressed support for many conservative and libertarian ideas and causes, and he has collaborated with a number of individuals and organizations in these spheres. Some of the individuals and organizations that have expressed support for Rubin or his ideas include:
    • Peter Thiel: As mentioned earlier, Thiel has expressed support for Rubin and his work, but there is no clear evidence that he has provided direct financial support to Rubin.
    • PragerU: Rubin has collaborated with PragerU, a conservative educational organization that produces videos promoting conservative and libertarian ideas.
    • Turning Point USA: Rubin has also worked with Turning Point USA, a conservative student organization that promotes conservative and libertarian ideas on college campuses.
    • The Federalist Society: Rubin has expressed support for the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization that promotes originalist interpretations of the US Constitution.
    • Republican politicians: Rubin has expressed support for several Republican politicians, including Donald Trump, Rand Paul, and Ron Paul.

Eric Weinstein of course works for Thiel Capital, but I did not know he and Bret had been Thiel Fellows:

Bret and Eric Weinstein were both fellows at the Thiel Foundation, which provides funding to young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. The Weinsteins have also been associated with the Intellectual Dark Web, a loose network of public intellectuals who are known for challenging mainstream narratives on a range of topics. While the IDW is not a formal organization and does not receive direct funding, many of its members are supported by conservative and libertarian donors who share their views.

Curiously ChatGPT wouldn't say that Bret Weinstein was funded by the same organizations who fund his wife, Heather Heying, which makes no sense. It did say about Weinstein:

Weinstein has also been critical of what he calls "woke ideology" and the progressive movement, and has spoken out in support of free speech and academic freedom. These views have earned him support from some conservative and libertarian organizations and donors. For example, he has appeared as a guest speaker at events hosted by the National Review Institute, a conservative think tank, and has been praised by conservative commentators like Ben Shapiro.

Shapiro was another person named in Weiss's NYTimes article as IDW.

I came up with bupkis for Joe Rogan.

So according to ChatGPT,  Sam Harris has taken money from Thiel, and Eric and Bret Weinstein were fellows at the Thiel Foundation, and all the others, except Joe Rogan have connections to lots of other far-right funders.

And since Thiel has funded Quillette we can infer these people have received Thielbucks due to Quillette authorship (my annotations in parentheses):

Quillette is an online magazine that publishes articles on a wide range of topics, including politics, culture, science, and technology. Some of the individuals who have written articles for Quillette include:

  • Jordan Peterson: Canadian psychologist and author (IDW member per Weiss article)
  • Claire Lehmann: Australian psychologist and founder of Quillette (Quillette is the primary publication of the IDW per the Weiss article)
  • Sam Harris: American philosopher and author (see above)
  • Christina Hoff Sommers: American philosopher and cultural critic (see above)
  • Jonathan Haidt: American social psychologist and author 
  • Heather Mac Donald: American political commentator and author
  • Gad Saad: Canadian evolutionary psychologist and author
  • Bret Weinstein: American biologist and evolutionary theorist (see above)
  • Douglas Murray: British author and political commentator (named member of IDW)
  • Andrew Doyle: British comedian and writer (or "comedian")
  • Cathy Young: Russian-American journalist and author
  • Debra Soh: Canadian sex researcher and science writer (named member of IDW)
  • Conor Friedersdorf: American journalist and writer
  • Peter Boghossian: American philosopher and professor
  • Toby Young: British journalist and author (also was Quillette associate editor)
  • Maajid Nawaz: British activist and writer
  • Meghan Daum: American author and columnist
  • Yascha Mounk: German-American political scientist and writer
  • Helen Pluckrose: English author and editor of Areo Magazine
  • James Lindsay: American author and mathematician
  • Bruce Gilley: American political scientist and professor
  • Claire Fox: British author and commentator
  • Jamie Palmer: British writer and commentator (Quillette editor)
  • Heather Heying: American evolutionary biologist and writer (see above)
  • Ed Husain: British writer and commentator
  • Coleman Hughes: American writer and podcaster
  • Frances Widdowson: Canadian academic and writer

This is not an exhaustive list, as many other individuals have also written articles for Quillette.


It's important to note that Peter Thiel is a democracy-hating far-right funder of monsters like Donald Trump, and has been called both a psychopath and a sociopath. And he's a babbling, Bible-quoting crackpot, with billions to spend on his far-right agenda. 

And those people have taken his money.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” 

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