Saturday, March 31, 2018

Shit, it's Schopenhauer

I've always been conflicted about Schopenhauer with his tendencies to misogyny and anti-Semitism. Both those tendencies are not as simple as they have been represented, but still they are bad enough. And Schopenhauer is no different than other revered philosophers in his racism, even Hume and Voltaire were racists as Ezra Klein demonstrated in his recent take-down of Sam Harris.

But it looks as though Schopenhauer might have invented the Northern Superiority hypothesis, which I had previously given credit to Richard Lynn.
The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) attributed civilizational primacy to the white races, who gained sensitivity and intelligence via the refinement caused by living in the rigorous Northern climate:
The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste, or race, is fairer in colour than the rest, and has, therefore, evidently immigrated, for example, the Brahmins, the Inca, and the rulers of the South Sea Islands. All this is due to the fact that necessity is the mother of invention, because those tribes that emigrated early to the north, and there gradually became white, had to develop all their intellectual powers, and invent and perfect all the arts in their struggle with need, want, and misery, which, in their many forms, were brought about by the climate. This they had to do in order to make up for the parsimony of nature, and out of it all came their high civilization.[50]
Again, as I asked before, if their original climate was so nice, why did these migrants leave and go to hostile climates? The proponents of the Northern Superiority hypothesis never seem to even think of that issue.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Jordan Peterson and Conor Friedersdorf and Dunning Kruger

I found out thanks to a tweet by Tabatha Southey that Noah Berlatsky is creating an ebook which discusses Jordan Peterson. Berlatsky shared some of the book on his Patreon page. It's all excellent. This is how it begins:
 "Look for your inspiration to the victorious lobster, with its 350 million years of practical wisdom," professor and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson gushes manfully in his best-selling advice book 12 Rules for Life. "Stand up straight, with your shoulders back." 
If that sounds ridiculous, it is only because it is ridiculous. To state only the most obvious problems, lobsters don't have shoulders. They are creeping arthropods with segmented limbs; they do not look like people, and none of their joints can be reasonably described as shoulders. Lobsters also do not stand up straight; they crawl across the sea bottom. Peterson refers to dominant lobsters as having an "upright and confident posture", but lobsters don't have skeletons, much less postures. "Stand up straight like a lobster" isn't even coherent enough to be bad advice, much less good advice. It's simply nonsense gibberish—and that's before you get to the assertion that contemporary lobsters have been around for 350 million years, which is about as accurate as saying that humans have been around for 100 million years because that's when placental mammals first enter the fossil record. 
So what does Peterson think he's talking about? Ostensibly, his claim is that lobsters live in hierarchical societies. Low-status lobsters supposedly have different brain chemistry from high-status lobsters, and that different brain chemistry affects their posture. From this, Peterson concludes that human hierarchy is natural, and that if you model your posture on that of a high status lobster, you will change your brain chemistry and be more successful. Shorn of the logical fallacy of scrambling cause and effect (hypothetical shouldered lobsters stand up straight because they are successful, they aren't successful because they stand up straight) the reasoning is the equivalent of arguing that sloth bears eat their children if the children are unhealthy, so human mothers should eat any premature children. The difference of course being that sloth bears are a lot more closely related to us than lobsters. They even have shoulders.  
I admit I didn't read much of Peterson before deciding he was a crackpot - I took a shortcut: I first heard of Peterson through alt-right Claire Lehmann interviewing him in alt-right Quillette. Actually I saw a tweet by Lehmann chortling over Peterson's idiotic impression of a straw-feminist which linked to the Quillette interview. If Lehmann thought he was clever, I assumed there was something very wrong with him. 

And there was, as P.Z. Myers soon confirmed in his two videos explaining what was wrong with Peterson's claims about lobsters.

But really, although I admire Myers' work and appreciate his generosity in giving his time outside of academia to make videos discussing evolutionary biology topics, with those two lobster videos he kind of brought a bazooka to shoot down a gnat. Peterson is so confused and so far from actual science his bizarro fantasias hardly seem worth the time of an eminent evolutionary biologist to debunk. On the other hand, Myers regularly tangles with creationists, so debunking bizarro fantasias is something he enjoys doing in his spare time. 

Peterson doesn't care whether he's right or not about the actual biosociology of lobsters, and his followers don't care. They want to strike out at people who are telling them that white men don't necessarily deserve to automatically be at the top of the world's hierarchy and Peterson is happy to give them smart-sounding ammunition. And by smart-sounding I mean in the sense of Tabatha Southey's Is Jordan Peterson the Stupid Man's Smart Person?

There are lots of not-very-bright people out there, although thanks to the Dunning Kruger effect they don't believe they are not-very-bright. In fact they often think they are very bright indeed, judging by the attitudes copped by Quillette authors. And so when a hack like Peterson comes along, using STEM terms and complicated charts and telling them that they are the smart ones, the philosopher-kings who get why the Disney movie Frozen is anti-male propaganda, they eat it up. And they just can't understand why these so-called intellectuals and those damn liberals don't recognize Peterson's obvious greatness.

The Dunning Kruger poster children don't write exclusively for hacky-tacky man-caves like Quillette. Here is Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic asking Why Can't People Hear What Jordan Peterson is Saying?

Friedersdorf believes the real problem is interviewer Cathy Newman:
Actually, one of the most important things this interview illustrates—one reason it is worth noting at length—is how Newman repeatedly poses as if she is holding a controversialist accountable, when in fact, for the duration of the interview, it is she that is “stirring things up” and “whipping people into a state of anger.” 
At every turn, she is the one who takes her subject’s words and makes them seem more extreme, or more hostile to women, or more shocking in their implications than Peterson’s remarks themselves support. Almost all of the most inflammatory views that were aired in the interview are ascribed by Newman to Peterson, who then disputes that she has accurately characterized his words. 
There are moments when Newman seems earnestly confused, and perhaps is. And yet, if it were merely confusion, would she consistently misinterpret him in the more scandalous, less politically correct, more umbrage-stoking direction?
It appears that Newman didn't do a good interview, but on the other hand Peterson is a crackpot. But Peterson's fans, especially at Quillette could not stop talking about Cathy Newman.

But although, as the Guardian described it, Quillette is a website obsessed with the alleged war on free speech on campus, I never heard about the threats against Newman until a recent Vox article about Peterson which notes:
When Cathy Newman, a journalist for the UK’s Channel 4, challenged Peterson’s arguments in a televised interview, she received so many death threats that she had to get help from the police. “There were literally thousands of abusive tweets — it was a semi-organized campaign,” she recalled in an interview. “ It ranged from the usual ‘cunt, bitch, dumb blonde’ to ‘I’m going to find out where you live and execute you.’”
Not a word about this from those free speech champions at Quillette. But then Quillette and Conor Friedersdorf were the ones telling their readership that Cathy Newman was a big meanie out to be mean for no good reason to Jordan Peterson. 

Friedersdorf is apparently still not ready to admit there's a problem with Peterson.




People can hear what Peterson is saying and as a result think he's an idiot, a charlatan, a crackpot and a hack. The real question - or maybe not so much a question - is why Conor Friedersdorf doesn't get that.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The question must still be asked: Why does anyone take Sam Harris seriously?

Sam Harris, like Steven Pinker is a New Atheist with a hoard of worshipful fan-boys. I am on the record disliking Harris since 2009. Including writing blog posts entitled Why Sam Harris is a second-rate thinker, at best and Sam Harris throws a hissyfit and Sam Harris is still a xenophobic bigot.

I've also referenced this article Why does anyone take Sam Harris seriously? many times.

But I've mostly ignored him in my evo-psycho bros series since he's been less obviously hereditarian than people like Pinker and Jerry Coyne. Well he's fixed that.

Recently Harris was sympathizing with Charles Murray, the heir to the racism-infused science of the Pioneer Fund, and got into a debate with journalist Ezra Klein. Then more recently Harris, like Pinker and Razib Khan seem to be under the impression that the recent NYTimes op-ed by David Reich supports hereditarian views when it doesn't.

Harris called out Ezra Klein on Twitter about the article.






Big mistake. Klein published this excellent piece Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the allure of race science which caused Harris to have a meltdown.





It was widely agreed on Twitter that Harris made a big mistake in reprinting sans permission his exchange with Klein. It was left up to me to point out that Harris doubled-down on Murray's racism by offering as a defense a link to the Winegards article in alt-right Quillette "The Tale of Two Bell Curves" - I blogged about only a section of that article which took me five blog posts to cover, which can be read here:

Tale of Two Bell Curve responses:


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hereditarians declare victory in spite of what David Reich actually said

I found it amusing to read Razib Khan suggesting that the work of David Reich is support for  Khan's own beliefs. In The National Review he writes:
Who We Are and How We Got Here then addresses the reality that large numbers of public intellectuals are extremely hostile to the idea that humans can be grouped together into distinct population clusters. In other words, since race is a pernicious social construction, population geneticists need to tread very carefully. Reich is frank that the time may have come to break the alliance geneticists have made with academics who declare that all differences between groups are trivial. He suggests that science is advancing at such a rate that we will soon understand the genetic basis of complex behaviors in exquisite detail — and that researchers should be prepared for the possibility that some findings will be discomfiting to contemporary sensibilities.
As always with hereditarians, Khan lies about "large numbers of public intellectuals" but then that's the purpose of straw men. Few people deny that there are ethnic differences but in order to paint the Enemy as anti-evolution hereditarians constantly conflate ethnicity and race. The only question is, are they too stupid or careless to realize that's what they are doing, or are they just weasels?

In any case, what Reich said in his NYTimes op-ed piece last Sunday is the opposite of what hereditarians like Khan believe:
At a meeting a few years later, Dr. Watson said to me and my fellow geneticist Beth Shapiro something to the effect of “When are you guys going to figure out why it is that you Jews are so much smarter than everyone else?” He asserted that Jews were high achievers because of genetic advantages conferred by thousands of years of natural selection to be scholars, and that East Asian students tended to be conformist because of selection for conformity in ancient Chinese society. (Contacted recently, Dr. Watson denied having made these statements, maintaining that they do not represent his views; Dr. Shapiro said that her recollection matched mine.) 
What makes Dr. Watson’s and Mr. Wade’s statements so insidious is that they start with the accurate observation that many academics are implausibly denying the possibility of average genetic differences among human populations, and then end with a claim — backed by no evidence — that they know what those differences are and that they correspond to racist stereotypes. They use the reluctance of the academic community to openly discuss these fraught issues to provide rhetorical cover for hateful ideas and old racist canards.
Razib Khan is on the record supporting both Watson and Wade:

But obviously The National Review wants plausible deniability for its long history of racism and hereditarians like Khan are happy to provide it.

And Reich agrees with what I've said about addressing hereditarian views: Reich wants scientists to fight against the Pinkers and Khans of the world:
This is why knowledgeable scientists must speak out. If we abstain from laying out a rational framework for discussing differences among populations, we risk losing the trust of the public and we actively contribute to the distrust of expertise that is now so prevalent. We leave a vacuum that gets filled by pseudoscience, an outcome that is far worse than anything we could achieve by talking openly.
The reason that scientists aren't fighting against hereditarian views is because most of them have dismissed them as nonsense. And scientists like Neil DeGrasse Tyson would rather not focus on it.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Jonathan Kay declares his allegiance to the alt-right


Jonathan Kay was once an admirable journalist, but has been going downhill for the past year or so and now appears to have hit rock-bottom - he's decided to declare his total allegiance to the alt-right by becoming the editor of Quillette.

Jonathan Kay once ghost-wrote for Justin Trudeau. Now he's pals with former associates of Ezra Levant, the obsessed and conflicted arch-enemy of Justin Trudeau. How sad.

But o my prophetic soul: I was just speculating yesterday that Quillette might be the beneficiary of Koch brothers money - this adds even more to the likelihood that Quillette is getting wing nut welfare, if not from the Kochs then from some other right-wing plutocrats. Kay's star is descending, but he at least has had an actual career unlike the usual grad students and alt-right extremists and Koch brother hacks like Jonny Anomly who normally contribute to Quillette. I assume Quillette has to pay real money for Kay, although I assume the gig will be part-time.

Faith Goldy is one of the more
notorious (former) associates of Ezra Levant
Kay has already contributed to Quillette as a writer, and he's really the perfect editor for a rag with such flimsy journalistic ethics. At Quillette they censor critics while shamelessly proclaiming: Quillette is a platform for free thought. We respect ideas, even dangerous ones. We also believe that free expression and the free exchange of ideas help human societies flourish and progress.

What a sleazy & demonstrable lie.

But Jonathan Kay will go one step further - if he disagrees with you he will literally suggest you are insane. That's what Quillette means by the "free exchange of ideas."

But then Jonathan Kay knows who his real audience is.



Monday, March 26, 2018

Jonny Anomaly, Koch brothers hack

The Kochtapus
So it looks like Jonny Anomaly, like pal of Quillette Christina Hoff Sommers, is in with the Koch brothers.

After doing a little Googling around about Anomaly I discovered this:
Remember professor Jonny Anomaly? When faced with public outrage last September, he canceled his anti-public school lecture at a Koch-funded University of Arizona class in Tucson. 
Like Jack Nicholson in The Shining…he’s back. Anomaly will present “Public Goods and Education” on Thursday, January 25 at 12:30 pm in the Maloney Room, Social Science building 224, on the UofA Campus in Tucson... 
...The dark-money Charles G. Koch foundation donated $1 million to the UofA to create the “Center for the Philosophy of Freedom,” which is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation.
It seems like wherever you find the Koch brothers you find advocates for racist "science." The Kremlin of biosocial criminology, Florida State University also takes Koch money:
Today, the Kochs’ friendship with Florida State University appears stronger than ever. 
An email written in September 2014 by Jesse Colvin, Florida State University’s College of Social Sciences and Public Policy development director, indicates the Charles Koch Foundation is committed to funding the work of economic department doctoral students “during 2015-2016 and in subsequent years.” 
A series of other meetings and conversations between Hardin, from the Charles Koch Foundation, and Florida State University officials followed, documents indicate. 
In November 2014, Florida State University officials huddled in the office of newly installed university President John Thrasher for a meeting entitled “Koch briefing.” Schnittker, the university spokesman, said the meeting was an “opportunity for our new president to be briefed by university staff about a gift agreement that obviously preceded his tenure.” Hardin of the Charles Koch Foundation was not present, Schnittker said. 
Meanwhile, when officials at the Florida State University Project on Accountable Justice went hunting for funding, the Charles Koch Foundation factored into their strategy. 
The Koch brothers, after all, were telegraphing their intent to make criminal justice reform a personal priority, reasoning that “overcriminalization,” like overregulation of industry, is resulting in more Americans enjoying fewer economic freedoms.
As the Boston Review notes:
Thanks to journalists like Jane Mayer and Daniel Schulman, the unprecedented influence of a single family on the American political landscape is now widely known, if only in broad outline: the secretive mechanisms for funneling “dark money” make an exact accounting impossible, but in the twenty-first century, the Koch network has in effect functioned as a private political party. While simultaneously pouring previously unheard-of sums into Republican campaigns and turning the Tea Party faction into a disruptive force at the state and national levels, the Kochs have invested heavily in the network of think tanks and campus programs that would package libertarianism for policymakers.
I really wonder if Quillette is getting some of that sweet Koch brothers money too, with all its connections to Koch brothers hacks.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Alt-right Quillette, equalitarianism & the White Citizens' Councils

I was frankly surprised that I was permitted to comment in the first place on an article by Jonny Anomaly (I'm still not sure if that's a real name or a punk rock name), a some time co-author of evo-psycho bros Brian Boutwell and Bo Winegard in Quillette. So it was no surprise to eventually find that the interchange I had with him in the comments section of his piece in Quillette  What the Alt-Right and Regressive Left Have in Common was suddenly disappeared and the comments section closed.

No surprise at all from the alt-right gang at Quillette who like to pose as champions of free speech and enthusiasts of lively exchange. They are precious snowflakes who absolutely cannot tolerate criticism.

But onto the article. Anomaly cites one of the evo-psycho bros, Bo Winegard, also a writer for Quillette (where else?):
As Bo Winegard recently argued, many on the radical left are committed to a kind of cosmic egalitarianism which manifests itself in the religiously held dogma that evolution cannot have produced group differences in socially valued traits...
Actually Winegard doesn't use the term "egalitarianism" he uses the term "equalitarianism" with a QU in the article, entitled "Equalitarianism and Progressive Bias." Winegard writes:
Ben Winegard, David Geary, and I wrote a comment on a Behavioral and Brain Sciences’ article about political bias in 2015, in which we forwarded what we termed the “paranoid egalitarian meliorist” (PEM) model of progressive bias. I’ve come to believe that the name is inevitably and uncharitably pejorative (“paranoid” sounds bad even though it is descriptively neutral), so my colleagues and I have renamed it equalitarianism; however, I still think the basic model is accurate.
Bo Winegard didn't invent the term equalitarianism. The term was used, with just as much contempt, by the mid-20th century segregationists of the southern United States. Carlton Putnam used it, cited in the book The Citizen’s Council: Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction by Neil R. McMillen
Setting forth his ethnological assumption in an influential and widely circulated book, Race and Reason (1961), Putnam asserted that one need not have advanced scientific training to dispute theories of racial equalitarianism: “Any man with two eyes in his head can observe a Negro settlement in the Congo… can compare this settlement with London or Pris, and can draw his own conclusions regarding relative levels of character and intelligence…” That so few informed Americans saw things so clearly was compelling proof to Putnam that the nation had been victimized by a “pseudo-scientific hoax” popularized by such early exponents of racial equipotentiality as Franz Boas and several subsequent generations of like-minded anthropologists more devoted to “the demo-goddess of Equalitarianism” than to “the Goddess of Truth.”
Putnam had so much in common with the 21st century hereditarians.

The term "equalitarian" pops up quite frequently in this book, which is a history of The Citizens' Councils:
The Citizens' Councils (also referred to as White Citizens' Councils) were an associated network of white supremacist, extreme right,[1] organizations in the United States, concentrated in the South. The first was formed on July 11, 1954.[2] After 1956, it was known as the Citizens' Councils of America. With about 60,000 members across the United States,[3] mostly in the South, the groups were founded primarily to oppose racial integration of schools, but they also opposed voter registration efforts and integration of public facilities during the 1950s and 1960s. Members used severe intimidation tactics including economic boycotts, firing people from jobs, propaganda, and violence against citizens and civil-rights activists. 
By the 1970s, following passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s and enforcement of constitutional rights by the federal government, the influence of the Councils had waned considerably yet remained an institutional basis for the majority of white residents in Mississippi. The successor organization to the White Citizens' Councils is the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens, founded in 1985[3] to continue collaborations between Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist political agendas in the United States. Republican politician and past Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi was a member[4] while North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms and Georgia Congressman Bob Barr were both strong supporters of the Council of Conservative Citizens; David Duke also spoke at a fund raising event, while Patrick Buchanan's campaign manager was linked to both Duke and the Council.[5] 
In 1996, a Charleston, SC, drive-by shooting by Klan members of three African American males occurred after a Council rally; Dylann Roof, the perpetrator responsible for the murder of nine Emanuel AME church members in Charleston in 2015, espoused Council of Conservative Citizens rhetoric in a manifesto.[6]
Many of the modern proponents of hereditarianism and opponents of "equalitarianism" come from Southern states and work for colleges in the South. Bo Winegard seems to be practicing a slightly updated form of old-time Southern white racism.

Carlton Putnam wasn't considered a crazy racist radical, by the way, he was extremely respectable:
Carleton Putnam (December 19, 1901 – March 5, 1998) was an American businessman, biographer, writer, and segregationist. He graduated from Princeton University in 1924 and received a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Columbia Law School in 1932. He founded Chicago & Southern Airlines in 1933, which in 1953 was merged with Delta Air Lines. He would later serve as chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines and hold a seat on its board of directors until his death.[1][2]
Here we see that Henry E. Garrett published "The Equalitarian Dogma" in the pages of Mankind Quarterly, the ultra-racist publication supported by The Pioneer Fund, which also financially supported many of the scientific racialists whose work was used in creating The Bell Curve. I've written about Mankind Quarterly in this series before.

The article points to IQ testing as the justification of innate black inferiority and rages against communism - just as the hereditarians at Quillette do.

The Mankind Quarterly archives are provided via The Unz Review - not for some historical edification but because Unz Review is a racist web site and seeks to preserve the views of Mankind Quarterly, which also published work by Richard Lynn, an important source for The Bell Curve.

Before my comments were censored by Quillette, the first of my exchanges with Anomaly was captured in the Wayback Machine. In it I point out the connection between Anomaly and Unz Review.


Anomaly does NOT challenge the alt-right in the article. Rather he focuses on anti-Semitism, no doubt because anti-Semitism is usually not something promoted by Quillette founder Claire Lehmann's old alt-right employer  Ezra Levant. Except when Levant supported Gavin McInnes' anti-Jewish rant which I discussed here.

But except for anti-Semitism (sometimes) and Trump, the Claire Lehmann strain of the alt-right is in agreement with every other strain of the alt-right.

The White Citizens' Councils and the editors of Mankind Quarterly would be very proud indeed of people who fight against "equalitarianism" - people like Bo Winegard and Claire Lehmann and Jonny Anomaly.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Young Obama

Speaking of 21st Century men - Obama was such a cutie in college.






Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nice pix of 21st Century Men

It's nice to remember that there are plenty of men who are not misogynist creeps in the world, and sometimes they even hold the reigns of power. That must really bug the misogynist creeps who believe that the best path to success for a man is to treat women as lesser beings.

I posted the photos below not only because I admire the subjects but because I think the photos stand on their own aesthetic merits.

Nice to remember we once had a president who could run. This was taken by Obama's official photographer Pete Souza.




This recent one of Justin Trudeau is very cool - if I hadn't known it was taken by official Trudeau photographer Adam Scotti I might not have guessed the subject's identity. 



Very nice composition by official Macron photographer Soazig de la Moissonnière. She can be seen working in the documentary about Macron's presidential campaign Les coulisses de la victoire.



Monday, March 19, 2018

Quillette, home of right-wing kooks & grifters

I'm pleased to see that respectable journalists and not just scruffy bloggers like me are recognizing how right-wing and awful Quillette and its gang of sleazeballs are.

In the lead-up to (James) Damore’s appearance, (Andy) Ngo penned an article for the Wall Street Journal alleging that the event had been threatened, writing that that “we expected controversy. But we also got danger.” The evidence of danger, as reported in Willamette Week, was “two violent threats on Facebook, three diversity events held on campus as counter-programming, and a scornful blog post”. 
This was more than enough for Fox News, who ran an item under the headline “Antifa targets ‘Google memo’ author James Damore’s talk at Portland State”.
Despite the headline, Portland’s Rose City Antifa told the Guardian ahead of time that no antifascist counterprotest was ever planned, and none materialized. There was only a small audience walkout.
 
Nevertheless, along with spreading the video, Ngo wrung from the evening an article for Quillette, a website obsessed with the alleged war on free speech on campus. The event was also given lavish attention by the YouTube star Tim Pool, who insists that he is not “alt-right”, despite his apparent chumminess with the movement’s leading lights.
GQ:
 According to FIRE, an individual-rights organization, in 2017 there were just 29 attempts to disinvite speakers, out of 4,700 universities, and the majority of those that were successful came from the right, not the left. Still, libertarian website Quillette summarized these outbursts as "the psychology of progressive hostility." Pundits like to characterize online outrage and an aversion to idea diversity as a phenomenon unique to the left, largely ignoring the death threats directed at the teen Parkland survivors for speaking out against a powerful gun lobby or the conservative dictates of Sinclair Broadcasting and Fox News. Given the myopic focus on liberals, it would seem that Free Speech Grifters are not actually interested in the free exchange of ideas, per se; they are interested in liberal caricature for clicks, social-media followings, and monetization. 
Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor turned conservative provocateur, said he's figured out "how to monetize social justice warriors." Ben Shapiro, who rose to fame "owning" liberals on college campuses, sells "Leftist Tears" mugs and a book entitled How to Debate Leftists and Destroy Them. Andy Ngo, a conservative activist who followed Sommers around to her Portland engagements, asked for donations after he published a video of the Lewis & Clark episode, notably edited down to just the protesting rather than including Sommers's ideas. Sommers vouched for Ngo's plea for money, tweeting that "he works tirelessly promoting free expression in Portland area. Often for no compensation. Help him out if you can."

Speaking of Jordan Peterson, Quillette's favorite cult leader, the New York Review of Books has a nice piece about him: Jordan Peterson & Fascist Mysticism:
Peterson may seem the latest in a long line of eggheads pretentiously but harmlessly romancing the noble savage. But it is worth remembering that Jung recklessly generalized about the superior “Aryan soul” and the inferior “Jewish psyche” and was initially sympathetic to the Nazis. Mircea Eliade was a devotee of Romania’s fascistic Iron Guard. Campbell’s loathing of “Marxist” academics at his college concealed a virulent loathing of Jews and blacks. Solzhenitsyn, Peterson’s revered mentor, was a zealous Russian expansionist, who denounced Ukraine’s independence and hailed Vladimir Putin as the right man to lead Russia’s overdue regeneration. 
Nowhere in his published writings does Peterson reckon with the moral fiascos of his gurus and their political ramifications; he seems unbothered by the fact that thinking of human relations in such terms as dominance and hierarchy connects too easily with such nascent viciousness such as misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. He might argue that his maps of meaning aim at helping lost individuals rather than racists, ultra-nationalists, or imperialists. But he can’t plausibly claim, given his oft-expressed hostility to the “murderous equity doctrine” of feminists, and other progressive ideas, that he is above the fray of our ideological and culture wars.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Marathon women





I think my daughter and daughter-in-law are addicted to running marathons now.

It's interesting that until the early 1970s women were kept out of marathons like the Boston Marathon because it was thought running marathons would turn women into men.

Now more women than men are running marathons, judging by today's NYRR half-marathon.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Biosocial Criminality: HERITABILITY STUDIES IN THE POSTGENOMIC ERA: THE FATAL FLAW IS CONCEPTUAL∗

The Biosocial criminologists responded to Burt and Simmons' Pulling Back the Curtain on Heritability Studies in the Post-Genomic Era, of course, and Burt and Simmons wrote in response HERITABILITY STUDIES IN THE POSTGENOMIC ERA: THE FATAL FLAW IS CONCEPTUAL∗ - both the abstract and full PDF can be found here.

I had to laugh when I read the paper's description of the response - it sounds exactly like what you would expect from the biosocial gang (I added paragraph breaks for clarity):
...Barnes et al. (2014) wrote a response to our article. In their response (and now re- joinder in this issue, Wright et al., 2015), they adopted a strategy common to behavioral geneticists, which Panofsky (2014: 141) called, “hitting them over the head style.” This approach involves dodging criticisms by misrepresenting arguments and insinuating that critics are politically motivated and reject scientific truths as well as focusing on a few “‘tractable’ empirical objections” while “ignoring the deeper theoretical objections”...
...Consistent with Panofsky’s characterization of earlier behavioral geneticists, Barnes et al. and now Wright et al. (2015) question our scientific objectivity, distort our arguments and their implications, and attempt to bury the reader under mounds of data and mathematical simulations, which are all grounded on the flawed biological model at the core of our critique. 
Unfortunately, we do not have the space to address all of Barnes et al.’s (2014) and Wright et al.’s (2015) distortions of our arguments or the facts. 
Moreover, we do not wish to question their credentials or motives. Instead, we focus on the science. 
Specifically, our aim in this brief rejoinder is to correct Barnes et al.’s portrayal of our case against heritability studies—namely, their misguided assertion that the crux of our case against heritability studies rests on the empirical validity of a few select methodological assumptions—and, in so doing, refocus attention on our central claim: Recent advances in the life sciences demonstrate that the foundational biological model undergirding heritability studies is invalid, and heritability studies attempt the impossible.
It's no surprise that the biosocial criminologists suggest that Burt and Simmons were politically motivated in their first paper. It's so typical of the shameless, blatant hypocrisy of the whole evolutionary psychology brotherhood. They publish commentary in alt-right Quillette, white supremacist American Renaissance, Unz Review, VDare, Taki's Magazine - John Paul Wright even has a blog called Conservative Criminology - and appear on alt-right racist Stefan Molyneux's web channel, and then turn around and claim that it is their critics who are tainted by political views. I've documented the shamelessness in my chart Steven Pinker's right-wing, alt-right & hereditarian connections


Speaking of whom, the paper cites Pinker:
Although ours was not a politically motivated critique, we are cognizant of the political sensitivities surrounding this line of research. The possibility that unpleasant facts may result from a line of inquiry does not mean that it should be ignored or findings censored. Political or social sensitivities should not disrupt scientific progress. However, as Pinker noted (2011: 614): “The fact that a hypothesis is politically uncomfortable does not mean that it is false, but it does mean that we should consider the evidence very carefully before concluding that it is true.” History is replete with examples of enormous human abuses justified in part by (later determined) flawed scientific research linking biology to crime or other deviant behaviors (Rafter, 2008). There is nothing unscientific about acknowledging this potential danger and proceeding carefully (Orr, 2014). At times, however, many biosocial criminologists seem to take the opposite approach while intimating that they alone are scientific enough to face politically sensitive scientific questions. For example, in a recent chapter by Wright and Morgan (2014) arguing for the biological basis of race and challenging the “egalitarian fiction” (specifically implying that Blacks, as a biological [racial] category, have higher rates of offending in part due to genetic differences; p. 58), they stated: 
[B]iosocial criminologists are a unique breed—no pun intended. As a group they are contrarian to the core. By this we mean that they question every theory, every postulate, and every finding. . . . Simply put, biosocial criminologists are skeptical of entire bodies of research in part because they believe much of it to be misspecified, or worse yet, infused with disciplinary or political bias. (p. 55)
Organized skepticism is a core value in science. Scientists should question results until they are convinced that they have rooted out error and bias, and in our view, heritability study scholars have not applied this organized skepticism to their own models. This may be an acceptable way of conducting science in a different world, one without a history of eugenics and pervasive racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other ’isms. To be sure, our attention to the methodological and conceptual flaws in heritability studies may seem relatively uncommon, hence, the conclusion by Barnes et al. (2014) that our critique was politically motivated. We believe, however, that in this politically sensitive realm such organized skepticism is certainly justified. 
I had to laugh again at the citation of John Paul Wright saying "biosocial criminologists are a unique breed... as a group they are contrarian to the core."

This demonstrates what I've said before about the evo-psycho bros, a group in which I include Wright: they like to imagine themselves as bad-asses.

I think that John Paul Wright and the Hells Angels of Criminology are mentally incapable of comprehending any and all good-faith critiques of their flawed methodology because they are so blinded by their paranoia. 

Which makes them utterly useless as scientists - but of course very useful to racists like American Renaissance and Stefan Molyneux. And Wright and the others are happy to oblige. And completely and utterly shameless about it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Biosocial criminology: Pulling Back the Curtain on Heritability Studies in the Post-Genomic Era

It turns out there are serious scientists who are criticizing biosocial criminology. I found a paper called Pulling Back the Curtain on Heritability Studies in the Post-Genomic Era by Callie H. Burt and Ronald Simmons. Available online here for free.

Burt seems to be an especially good source for refuting hereditarianism as demonstrated on her blog, which unfortunately is not updated as often as I would like. Co-author Ronald L. Simmons has an interesting bio:
He received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Florida State University and completed his post doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin.
But based on the age given on his Wiki entry, he left FSU long before Kevin Beaver rolled into town.

Unlike the biosocial criminologists, Burt and Simmons don't have celebrity Steven Pinker promoting their work, and so I wasn't aware of this paper, and in fact I heard of it through one of the biosocial criminologist papers' reference.

The abstract is not kind to world of biosocial criminality:
...This study provides a critique of heritability study methods and assumptions to illuminate the dubious foundations of heritability estimates and questions the rationale and utility of partitioning genetic and environmental effects. After critiquing the major models, we call for an end to heritability studies. We then present what we perceive to be a more useful biosocial research agenda that is consonant with and informed by recent advances in our understanding of gene function and developmental plasticity.
 The paper includes some interesting commentary:
We are surprised that these somewhat astonishing findings reported in recent studies,
such as the reports of more than 50 percent heritability for such complex social behaviors as crime and victimization, have not generated more critical attention in criminology.
 
We also are perplexed by the lack of response to the heritability study finding that
so-called shared environmental factors play a minor role in explaining variation in crime  related phenotypes (e.g., Barnes, Boutwell, and Fox, 2012; Beaver et al., 2008; Beaver, Ferguson, and Lynn-Whaley, 2010; Boisvert, Wright, et al., 2013). Indeed, the conclusion from many of these heritability studies that little—if any—of the variance in criminal behavior is due to shared environments, often interpreted to include parenting and community factors, contradicts a wealth of research conducted during the past century as well as the major theories of crime. As the renowned psychiatrist and behavioral genetics practitioner Michael Rutter (2006: 11) noted, “[The] sweeping assertions on the irrelevance of the family environment are not supported by research evidence. It is quite striking that behavioral genetics reviews usually totally ignore the findings on environmental influences. It is almost as if research by non-geneticists is irrelevant.”
...most of the arguments in this article are not original but are those of prominent scientists, many of whom we cite, whose criticisms have been largely unheeded by the criminological community in recent years. We hope to renew a dialogue in criminology about heritability studies and stimulate what we view as a much-needed debate about the utility of heritability studies for crime and related phenotypes...
The paper also raises issues about Kevin Beaver's methodology used for twin and adoptions studies, something I have done about his claims about race:
...those respondents who had no knowledge about their biological parents’ jail or prison
status—almost certainly those who had the least contact with their biological parents
(and could not be influenced by potential labeling processes involved in having a criminal parent)—were not included in the analyses. This same Add Health adoption subsample and model also was used to “estimate genetic influences on victimization” (Beaver et al., 2013: 149). 
In sum, the adoption method was promoted as a powerful model for separating genetic
and environmental influences that avoided limitations of twin studies by “more cleanly
[separating] genetic and environmental influences” (Raine, 1993: 60; also Mednick and
Kandel, 1988; Plomin and DeFries, 1985) and as such has played a crucial role in bolstering findings from twin studies. It is clear, however, that the adoption method suffers from several of its own invalidating flaws, which—like twin studies—seem to bias estimates systematically toward genetic influences and against shared environmental ones (e.g., Joseph, 2004; Stoolmiller, 1999).
Most interesting of all to me:
Research has evinced that human behavior is a function of the interplay of biology and
the environment. As we have argued, we believe that this evidence clearly demonstrates
that quantitative genetics is a misguided endeavor that asks the wrong questions and uses flawed methods to try to answer them.8 
 
What remains unclear is why this enterprise continues. The question of nature versus nurture no longer makes any sense whatsoever in the context of modern genetics. These recent advances in molecular genetics “really should be the final nail in heritability’s coffin” (Crusio, 2012: 362).
What remains unclear is why this enterprise continues. I have a few ideas. This paper was published in March 2014.

Brian Boutwell first appeared in Quillette, in November 2015 and accused Burt and Simmons of trying to smear his colleagues and himself:
They maintain outmoded understandings about where crime comes from and generally reject the science suggesting that their knowledge base is wrong. Does this actually translate into real attempts to silence our work? It does. Just last year (2014) an article [7] was published in our flagship journal calling for studies examining the heritability of antisocial traits (i.e., the genetic contribution to those traits) to be ended and expelled from the discipline. 
While the suggestion to effectively censor research was bizarre, the ability of the authors to make such a suggestion must be defended on the grounds of academic freedom. They were well within their rights to mount such an argument. Yet, the fact that their solution was outright suppression of a certain form of research speaks to the deep animosity for biosocial scholarship that still exists in the field. And make no mistake, their arguments were not simply rooted in methodological nuance regarding whether heritability estimates are accurate or not. No, they were careful (in a subsequent article) to artfully link our work with the dangers of eugenicists of the past, conveniently reminding our colleagues (in case they forgot) what mark we bear on our forehead [8,9,10]. They wore the white hat and we wore the black hat.
Anybody who reads the paper will see that the argument to end heritability studies is based on the contention that those studies are simplistic, use poor methodology and are out-of-date thanks to new genetic research. Not because they are trying to "suppress" it.

Burt and Simmons don't speculate why "this enterprise continues" but I think it's pretty obvious why it does: those who promote the enterprise have a political agenda. And they know they are guaranteed a large and enthusiastic, if ill-informed, audience online.

The readership of alt-right Quillette wasn't enough for the biosocial criminology bros, and so they took their arguments to an even more ill-informed and blatantly racist audience. Boutwell's article was reprinted a month later in white supremacist American Renaissance, although it has since been removed from its web site. The evidence of its publication can be found via the Wayback Machine.

In May 2015 we see Kevin Beaver appearing on alt-right racist Stefan Molyneux's Youtube channelHe appeared again in 2016 and Brian Boutwell appeared in 2017.  John Paul Wright also appeared in 2017.

Clearly the hereditarians, whose twin studies are documented and critiqued in the Burt/Simmons paper of 2014, have no qualms whatsoever about the racism of Stefan Molyneux or American Renaissance.

And of course Steven Pinker has frequently promoted the work of these hereditarians when they have published in Quillette. And they are just a few of his many alt-right racist connections. Which makes Pinker's claim that academia and the media are "radicalizing" the alt-right so hypocritical, if not grotesquely cynical: in fact it's Steven Pinker and his hereditarian gang who are radicalizing the alt-right, providing American Renaissance and Stefan Molyneux with "scientific" reasons for their hatred of blacks.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Biosocial criminology ~ so what about Australia?


The biosocial criminologists don't seem aware, or don't care that their field is built on the shaky foundation of evolutionary psychology: untestable theories about how humans chose mates in prehistoric times; strict adaptationism; the Northern Superiority Hypothesis; and studies that were funded by racists.

It seems to me that the only way they can continue to believe in the hereditarian basis of their field is to ignore evidence that does not fit their theories. 

Two examples can be seen in this Quillette article written by Razib Khan and Brian Boutwell, which Steven Pinker recommended to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers: Heritability and why Parents (but not Parenting) Matter.

In the first example, we see the steadfast belief of hereditarians that human culture has so little impact that it is indistinguishable from "evolutionary processes." 

After admitting to the existence of arranged marriages Khan and Boutwell say:
...Consider the landmark and very famous work (highlighted by Dawkins) carried out on the selective breeding of foxes.8 The goal of the work, in large part, was to better understand the processes of animal domestication. Foxes displaying high levels of tameness (when around a human) were bred with each other.  As it turns out, if you continually cross one tame fox with another, what you eventually get is an animal that starts to act (and even look) more like a dog than a fox.7,8  “Humans are not foxes!” objects the incredulous critic. True, but we don’t get to play by different rules (apologies to our creationist friends [and sadly, to many sociologists*3]).  The same evolutionary processes that apply to the fox and the hound (and every other organism on the planet), apply to us.7,8
Animal domestication is not "evolutionary processes" because throughout the evolutionary history of the creatures which eventually became foxes, the animals chose which other animals they wished to have sex with - an aspect of evolution known as "sexual selection" - without humans controlling the pool of potential mates. And the animals did not prefer traits like "tameness around humans."

Arranged marriages - really any kind of marriage - like animal breeding is an example of human culture intervening in "evolutionary processes." Deciding to have children with an individual selected on the basis of non-sexual traits is not an example of sexual selection but rather a cultural socio-economic process - and in the case of arranged marriages a process not even based on the socio-economic decisions of those getting married. 

And arranged and forced marriages are not only an historical issue. In places all over the world, in the present time, women and girls are forced to copulate with and be impregnated by men they do not sexually desire, because it is in their parents' socio-economic interest that they do so. Patriarchal societies are built on a foundation of thwarting female sexual desire. 

And wealth is no indicator of evolutionary fitness - inheritance laws are not based on the physical beauty and healthy bodies and agreeable dispositions of heirs.

But evolutionary psychology theories can't work unless you completely throw out the inconvenient complexity of human culture. And so that's what they do. 

And then there's this section of the article:
Consider an example that dovetails with the previous point.  Criminologists (and psychologists) have been aware for some time that criminal involvement runs in families*4 and is also heritable (a good portion of that heritability seems to be narrow-sense, though not all; see quillette.com/#comments).  The psychologist Robert Krueger and colleagues10 some years back, provided evidence that humans mate assortatively for antisocial and criminogenic behaviors (put differently, highly antisocial individuals tend to pair off with each other in a non-random fashion).  Does this completely explain the concentration of crime in certain families?  No.  Can it be safely ignored and assumed to be irrelevant?  No.  Just as narrow-sense heritability is a puzzle piece that can tell you something about where the distribution of a trait could be headed in a population, it also helps inform the question of why certain traits cluster in families.9
Now I did some poking around in the books of the biosocial criminologists and can't find any significant discussion of Australia. Which is astounding when you consider that the British system of shipping off its criminals to Australia is the greatest natural experiment ever related to biosocial criminology:
New South Wales, a state in southeast Australia, was founded by the British as a penal colony in 1788. Over the next 80 years, more than 160,000 convicts were transported to Australia from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, in lieu of being given the death penalty.  
Today, about 20% of Australians are descendants of convicts, including plenty of prominent citizens. 
Twenty percent of Australians are descendants of convicts. Surely that's unique in the history of the world. There should be dozens of studies of Australia by biosocial criminologists. But as far as I can find, there are none.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that biosocial criminologists never mention the history of Australia  as a penal colony  because it would immediately call into question their claim "criminal involvement runs in families."

But haven't they thought about it themselves? How could they not have thought about it, it's a well-known historical phenomenon.

I think biosocial criminologists have careers because few people take them seriously enough to ask basic questions like "what about Australia?" If serious scientists started asking serious questions the entire field would dissolve.

Meanwhile the biosocial criminologists can keep writing for alt-right Quillette and crying on alt-right Stefan Molyneux's shoulder about how they are discriminated against by those liberals in academia. Who, as they will tell you, have a greater tendency toward criminality, because they are liberal

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

It's the Biosocial Criminology Association


Here is the web site for the Biosocial Criminology Association

Here are the current officers of the organization. Every one of them has a connection to Florida State University. But then as Joseph L. Nedelec admits:
It was at FSU that Joe and the other two yahoos on this page (and under the tutelage of Kevin Beaver) concocted the idea for the BCA.
The other two yahoos are Joseph A. Schwartz and Eric J. Connelly.

Kevin Beaver at Florida State University is definitely the evangelist of biosocial criminology. 


The three yahoos have gotten lots of opportunities to co-author papers with the gang, especially Beaver, Wright and Boutwell. My absolute favorite one so far is this doozy - "political ideology predicts involvement with crime."

Knowing as I do John Paul Wright's obsessive, bitter hatred for anybody left of center, of course I knew immediately what it was going to say. And sure enough, here's what the abstract says:
Political ideology represents an imperfect yet important indicator of a host of personality traits and cognitive preferences. These preferences, in turn, seemingly propel liberals and conservatives towards divergent life-course experiences. Criminal behavior represents one particular domain of conduct where differences rooted in political ideology may exist. Using a national dataset, we test whether and to what extent political ideology is predictive of self-reported criminal behavior. Our results show that self-identified political ideology is monolgically related to criminal conduct cross-sectionally and prospectively and that liberals self-report more criminal conduct than do conservatives. We discuss potential causal mechanism relating political ideology to individual conduct.
It seems that everybody that John Paul Wright hates, especially blacks and liberals, are coincidentally genetically inclined to be criminal.

You can click the image to enlarge.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Biosocial criminology in Wikipedia

The Biosocial Criminology Wikipedia page makes clear how much biosocial criminology depends on evolutionary psychology.

Not only because "Evolutionary psychology" is the largest section on the page, but because the reference list is chock full of evolutionary psychologists including Buss, Pinker, Daly and Wilson as well as the biosocial criminology bros I've already mentioned in the evo-psycho bro series: Kevin Beaver, Brian Boutwell, Matt DeLisi and John Paul Wright.

Today by way of P. Z. Myers is a blog post from Larry Moran, professor of biochemistry about evolutionary psychology which says in part:
...the field of evolutionary psychology is a mess and many scientists and philosophers think it is fundamentally flawed... 
... there's no denying that the discipline is being attacked. In fact, it's hard to think of any other academic discipline whose fundamental validity is being questioned so openly
But in spite of the many doubts and arguments against the discipline itself, biosocial criminology has decided to take evolutionary psychology and run with it. Including making the argument that "race" - something they never actually clearly define - is a determinant of intelligence and criminal inclinations.

Although just as with the essay at the University of Cincinnati web site I mentioned yesterday, there's no direct reference to race in the Wiki article. Or rather, there was no reference to race. I fixed that.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Let's explore biosocial criminology

I feel that I've done all that I can with investigating Steven Pinker's alt-right connections, without becoming a professional journalist myself.

My evo-psycho bros series now has 86 entries beginning in mid-January up until early March. A high-level view of Pinker's connections can be seen in this chart I created at the end of the series, Steven Pinker's right-wing, alt-right & hereditarian connections.

I had already been well aware of some of Pinker's alt-right connections, in particular his connection to Razib Khan whose career I've been following on this blog for over 10 years. I was also aware of his Steve Sailer connection although if I was aware he had included Sailer in "The Best Science and Nature Writing" in 2004 I had forgotten.

What really surprised me though was his connection to "biosocial criminology" - I'm not surprised that Pinker is promoting the careers of biosocial criminologists via Quillette, and is in agreement with their research strategy, I'm surprised there is a network of biosocial criminologists in American colleges who, as far as I have so far been able to determine, are in complete agreement with John Paul Wright when he said:
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.
In fact, based on what I have seen of the alt-right connections of several of these biosocial criminologists, as demonstrated in my Pinker alt-right connections diagram, promoting the idea that "black" people are genetically more criminal than other "races" is the entire reason for the existence of "biosocial criminology."

Both John Paul Wright and J. C. Barnes, frequent co-authors together and with other leading promoters of biosocial criminology Kevin M. Beaver and Brian Boutwell work at the University of Cincinnati. The university's web site includes an essay How Biosocial Criminology Can Help Solve Crimes which does not provide a byline but I assume it was written by Wright, Barnes or both, especially since it references the work of both Wright and Beaver. 

Although Wright is the most frank about the race obsession that underlies biosocial criminology (as well as how much he bitterly hates liberals), he managed to tone it down for the school's web site. The closest the essay comes to admitting the racist heart of biosocial criminology is:
The study found impulsivity, which is one of the most important traits in the development of criminality, is not associated with just one factor, but is characterized by complex biosocial makeup. This and other studies have illustrated that impulse control, much like any human phenotype, is influenced by both social and biological factors.  Therefore, biosocial criminologists keep in account both biological and sociological factors to identify behavior that may lead to criminal behavior.

The New York Times didn't care that I had been tracking Razib Khan's career for years, it wasn't until Jamelle Bouie, a prominent black writer took notice of Khan that his beliefs became known well enough to prevent him from getting a gig at the NYTimes.

I imagine something similar will happen with biosocial criminology. Some day a journalist or maybe someone associated with the University of Cincinnati, Florida State University or any of the other colleges that teach biosocial criminology will wake up to the fact that they are harboring scientific racists whose beliefs are based on the crackpot Northern Superiority Hypothesis theory of Richard Lynn and the Pioneer Fund-supported studies that were used in The Bell Curve

Unless Donald Trump can succeed in his dreams of a dictatorship, in which case all those racists are golden.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Claire Lehmann & Jordan Peterson & other Quilletters




I have developed a strong aversion to the Australian dialect and it must be due to Lehmann. I used to think the dialect was charming when I heard Steve Irwin speak.


INTERVIEWER
In your new book 12 Rules For Life, you’re very critical of Frozen. Why do you call it “deeply propagandistic”? 

PETERSON
It attempted to write a modern fable that was a counter-narrative to a classic story like, let’s say, Sleeping Beauty — but with no understanding whatsoever of the underlying archetypal dynamics. You could say that Sleeping Beauty was raised out of her unconsciousness via a delivering male. Another way of reading the story is that unconsciousness requires active consciousness as an antidote. And the unconsciousness is symbolized in that particular story by femininity and active consciousness by masculinity. I could hardly sit through Frozen. There was an attempt to craft a moral message and to build the story around that, instead of building the story and letting the moral message emerge. It was the subjugation of art to propaganda, in my estimation.


 Peterson tips his hand and reveals that he seems to be angry because Frozen has a plot twist.
Isn’t the darkness and the light in Elsa, who has the power to freeze things, for good or ill? 
The most propagandistic element of Frozen was the transformation of the prince at the beginning of the story who was a perfectly good guy, into a villain with no character development whatsoever about three-quarters of the way to the ending. 
He was a villain the whole time! He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing! 
That’s how it turned out in the end, but there was no indication of that at the beginning. 
That’s good story craft — not tipping your hand. Like The Crying Game. 
It’s certainly possible that I’m wrong about Frozen, although I don’t think so. 
I’m sorry. This is just the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. First off, he totally dodged Luscombe’s question about Elsa, because she is rather obviously correct that Frozen looks at both the light and darkness of having power—especially female power in a world that is afraid of it. 
But then we get this gem about Prince Hans: “There was no indication of that in the beginning.” First of all, did we watch the same movie? Sure, the hints were subtle—but like, by children’s movie standards. Did Jordan Peterson really watch the “We finish each other’s … sandwiches!” sequence and interpret it as an earnest, deadly serious indication of true love? 
By this logic, all murder mysteries ever written are vile propaganda. The Sixth Sense is a PSA. Macbeth is a Maoist poster. M. Night Shymalan is the one true propagandist of our age. 
Now, all that said, I would certainly agree that Frozen, like pretty much all works of art, does have an artistic and a moral point of view. (As George Orwell famously said, all art is in some sense propaganda.) But I will never stop giggling at the idea that it is uniquely propagandistic among all of Disney’s animated films, just because Prince Hans turns out to be evil and the story wasn’t around when the last woolly mammoth died. Come on, now.

It's already clear that Claire Lehmann is not an especially bright individual and, perhaps as a result, she's placing her bets on patriarchy reasserting itself over feminism, possibly led by Jordan Peterson. Anybody who hasn't already concluded that Peterson is a clown is just... slow. There's no way around it.

The only possible way Quillette can survive is if Lehmann is the recipient of wingnut welfare because it's not only transparently an alt-right publication, just one step up from Lehmann's former employer Rebel Media, it has a ridiculously amateurish and right-wing line-up of writers.

Currently on Quillette's front page:

  • Saloni Dattani - MSc student in behaviour genetics at the University of London
  • Matthew Blackwell - currently completing a BA in Economics and Anthropology at The University of Queensland.
  • Genevieve Weynerowski - a copywriter - fan of Pinker, Sam Harris, Jonathan Kay
  • Kirio Birks - a postgraduate student with B.A. in Philosophy 
  • Michael Shermer - hereditarian, New Atheist creep
  • David Johnson is an independent writer from the UK with a degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in IT.  Writes a blog under the name of David Hansard...  Right-winger
  • Elio Martino - a provisional psychologist, whose only writing credits appear to be hereditarian twaddle for Quillette
  • Stuart Reges - Principal Lecturer at the University of Washington where he manages the introductory computer science classes
Basically anybody who works cheap and supports the hereditarian or alt-right view of the world (and those are in agreement more often than not) will be published by Quillette, which presumably pays very little.

Also of the sixteen writers above, only four are women, and that's a huge improvement over its gender ratio from a month ago. Of those, one, Nicola Wright is a hard-core right-winger, one is Pinker's #1 fan-girl (Saloni Dattani) and the other two were probably just thrilled to be published anywhere.

When Lehmann was still working for Rebel Media she wrote a piece in Quillette defending Trump voters:
Depending on how you spin it, however, low information people might also be less prone to rationalization and high information people might be more vulnerable to ad hoc hypothesizing. Being high in intelligence or a need for cognition does not automatically indicate that one is high in rationality. Nor does it tell us much about a person’s practical wisdom.
I think Claire Lehmann has lots of empathy for low-information people. She just better hope she gets a plutocratic sugar daddy to support her amateur alt-right apologetics.

And now a message for Jordan Peterson: