Here I go again, addressing the bad biology in Jordan Peterson’s claims. Don’t worry, I’m confident this will be the very last one — I’m just surprised anyone believes anything this guy says.
But every day is Doubting Darwin day! » « Theological and biological concerns in the cloning of Jesus
Peteson writing on evolution reminds me of those doctors who invent the new, cure-all diet and write a book.
Have you ever noticed that most, if not all, are surgeons?
I always go to my dietitian for an appendectomy and to my surgeon for advice on food allergies.
Nice presentation, PZ
Oh , forgot. When one goes to the departmental website of an academic one usually can find a CV. At Peterson’s nope. It is amazingly self-adulating though.
I followed Jordan Peterson on Twitter because I had heard he was a bright guy with interesting and provocative things to say. I think it took me about 24 hours to realize my mistake and unfollow him. Most of his tweets are self-aggrandizing tweets about how much smarter he is than everybody else.
Rat Master says
Thanks for unpacking JBP’s authoritarian gish gallop, must’ve been nauseating… ‘Lobsterians’ AHaha!
Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says
1) The “nonfiction” label is apparently inaccurate.
2) Popularity is not an indicator of correctness quality. You really should not need to be told that in a world that contains “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says
*correctness or quality
Rat Master says
Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says
I assumed you had a point you were trying to make. I’ll try not to do that in the future.
Great American Satan says
I’ll engage without the rage, at least for a mome, Rat Master. That’s good information to know, for people who despise his ass and are emotionally fortified to deal with shitty news. That’s me tonight, and grazzi. J-petes is vile as hell, and the best place to find out about that on this blog network is at “Against the Grain.” Sucks that transphobia and reactionary peach-clutching sells so well. ;_;
Azkyroth I think you just fell fowl of “on the internet no one can hear you sarcasm”.
Well that should have warned you. Phrases such as “interesting and provocative things to say” invariably mean “ignorant and bigoted garbage to spew”.
I could see Lobsterianity becoming the latest, greatest religion.
I have no data or personal experience (obviously), but I’m sure that being boiled alive is at least as much of a godly sacrifice as crucifixion. All it needs is for someone to find their plate brought in miraculously empty at a
Communist Crustaceansorry Red Lobster.
Henceforth, Jordan Peterson should be referred to as “Lobster Man”, in the same way that Ray Comfort shall forever be known as “Banana Man”.
If we threw JP and his merry band of followers in a large pot of boiling water would they feel pain?
Does it matter?
I’ve been trying to brainstorm a good phrase for Peterson’s method. He is the idiot version of a Rennaissance Man:
He’s has gone through an incredibly wide scope of academic fields and cherry-picked certain studies and ideas that support his pan-theory of, I don’t know, supreme manliness.
For each given field, be it biology or psychology or history or politics, an expert will recognize the errors, bad faith, and generally superficiality, but there is no expert who can speak athoritatively about EVERY field Peterson dips his toe into.
Therefore, when he’s in a debate or on tv, he very smoothly jumps from whatever subject his interlocutor is an expert in to some other field where he makes outrageous claims. An ethical thinker just says, “Sorry, I’m a historian, I’m not qualified to talk about lobsters.”
This isn’t totaly new – creationists do this a lot: Oops, talking to a biologist? Time to focus on physics…Peterson just does it to such an amazing degree and with such smugness.
Peterson is popular because he says some very idiotic things whilst using long words to say them, and has some letters after his name. This allows a certain kind of person who likes to think they’re intelligent to parrot some of the things he says and point out that this was said by a ‘scientist’, usually as a counter to it being pointed out that the position being discussed is very much counter to the scientific consensus. As I understand it, he also got a bit of a bump in popularity recently after an interview on Channel 4 News in the UK where some people accused the female interviewer of putting words in his mouth and mischaracterising his arguments (I’ve not seen said interview, so I can’t actually say if this is true or not), and therefore he ‘won’ the interview, and some of these people then decided to show how much being a fan of his has nothing to do with misogyny or sexism by subjecting said interviewer to a torrent of abuse on social media, much of it virulently misogynistic and sexist in nature.
PZ, I admire your patience with the Lobsterians. Let’s hope it’s not wasted on them.
aha! but you used the word “reification” which is a common word in postmodern analysis so you’re postmodernist thus wrong!
This piece is good on Peterson’s other arguments.
Regarding the interview you mentioned:
I was actually impressed by Cathy Newman while recognizing that she was unprepared. I can’t blame her too much for that for a couple of reasons. Jordan Peterson was relatively unknown before the interview. He has hundreds of hours of “lectures” on his website and it would not be fair to demand she watch them to understand where he is coming from.
That said, the Peterson had to keep correcting her when she attempted to incorrectly paraphrase what he was saying. She kept misunderstanding what he was saying. Which is not to say that what Peterson was saying was correct. On the other hand she kept at him so that, by the end, those watching got a reasonable measure of the man. She didn’t talk over him and she let him speak.
Peterson, on the other hand seems to be under the misunderstanding that he is being forced to use trans pronouns. But, to be fair, it is difficult to not conclude that based on the letter he received from his employer (the university where he works). But, in fact, it turns out it was not a requirement but more of a suggestion to pay attention to what pronouns trans people prefer. So, in the end, a storm in a teacup.
The follow up was confusing and nasty, but mainly on the part of those who supported Cathy Newman and those who supported the Jordan Peterson. Peterson continued to use fighting words without inciting violence against Cathy Newman as some on the Internet seem to imply. But he is a dogmatic, angry, humourless, authoritarian, deeply conservative man, so it’s not surprising people feel like attacking him.
Disclaimer: I followed the follow up for only a couple of days and was then turned off.
As far as the incident regarding his employer is concerned, you are correct to say it is a storm in a teacup. Peterson also objects to the Canadian bill C-16, which adds gender identity and gender expression to a list of things protected by discrimination and hate speech laws. According to Peterson, this means that he would be thrown in jail for misusing gender pronouns, and this is a clear example of thought control infringing on his freedom of speech. Actual legal experts in Canada have basically said this is utter horseshit. In reality, under this bill, any incidental or accidental misgendering would be seen as exactly that. It is only if there is a campaign of deliberately and repeatedly misgendering someone that it would be seen as a possible sign of harrassment (which may actually end up applying to Peterson, as he has said he will point-blank refuse to use any gender neutral pronouns, even if asked to by the person concerned, and will only use a transgender person’s preferred gendered pronoun if he, personally, feels the request is ‘genuine’), and, even then, without any other sign of harrassment or stronger words (such as actually advocating genocide against transgender people, for example), the person concerned will only face things like fines or court-ordered diversity training.
No, Peterson himself actually told his fans to back off. But the very fact she was subjected to such treatment by his fans at all for asking him some questions says a lot.
As for the interview, there was some of what you describe, but, in other places, it actually looks like Newman paraphrased what he said quite correctly, but he then pivoted to something else to try to say she was wrong. For example, the bit on the gender pay gap. She asked if it was fair that there was a nine percent pay gap between women and men on average, and he said there was several factors for that, not just gender. She then pressed him to explain that, and he starts going on about how, in social sciences, you have multivaried analyses, and never have a univaried one, so you can only say there are multiple reasons why women get paid less than men, and gender is possibly only one of them. She then asked him if women should accept those reasons, and he starts going on about personality traits, and one of them was agreeableness, and people who are more agreeable tend to get paid less, and women are, in general, more agreeable than men. She asked if that means that women are too agreeable to get the pay rises they deserve, to which he then said that no, that was just one factor, making up about 5% of the variance, and there were others. All the way through, she was following what he was saying, correctly summarising it, but he kept moving on to something else. It’s a bit like a sort of reverse Gish Gallop – instead of spouting out numerous things to try to tire out and overwhelm the other person with things they have to cover and/or counter, so you can then ‘win’ because they didn’t show how every bit of what you said is utter crap, you gallop on to the next thing as the other person follows you to try to tire them out and/or overwhelm them, so you can ‘win’ because they didn’t show the next thing you said was utter crap.
Derek Vandivere says
#11 / DanDare: We have a pretty good zoo here in Amsterdam called Artis. They’ve got a great collection of African birds, but the display is a bit old and falling apart. Last time I was there, a guinea fowl’s perch broke and it landed on my head!
That’s right, I fell afoul of falling fowl.
(my most sincere apologies, but once I thought of that it had to come out)
Sounds like he had the goalposts mounted on wheels?
chigau (違う) says
There is only one goalpost. It is mounted on a Möbius Strip..
Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says
Perhaps. But 1) why would the sarcast not just say that after the first exchange, if that was their actual intent and you’re not just strawcastling, and 2) *ahem*.
He is a tenured professor with published works. What would be the purpose?
I have personally learned several new words by listening to his speech. This, to me, is a clear indicator of a capacity for nuance and precision with language.
What happens when reading a wide scope of material is that disparate concepts naturally develop into interrelated connections. A possible reason for this would be the associative nature of memory. He has read many studies and certain ones with salient details that are automatically brought to mind more readily than unrelated concepts. Generally, he makes an earnest attempt to give enough information to find the source material he is using during a dialogue, if time permits. I recall watching him spend time apologising in advance for not being able to remember the correct name of an author he was about to reference.
because it gives visitors a place to quickly get a sense of the body of his work. other researches find this helpful, if nothing else, and yes, as mentioned by the person you quoted, this is a common practice. Usually people who leave it off do so because their body of work is either tiny, or nonexistent.
and yes, you CAN get tenure with a tiny body of work that is even mostly irrelevant.
I’m sure your mom is proud, but otherwise, that you think this at all relevant is laughable.
like say… motorcycle maintenance and Zen Buddhism?
your ‘expertise’ in the field of disparate material agglomeration is noted, and laughed at. mostly because it isn’t even a thing.
run along and play.