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I am accused on YouTube of being a liberal snob and parroting the radical left’s blank-slate narrative that everything we do is socially constructed by someone who offers up his ironic credentials: he’s a STEM student in a major university.

Dave Bloom 1 day ago 12 Subscribers
@PZ Myers By the way, your general undertone of ‘you plebs lack the intelligence sufficient to grasp my brilliance’ is just more liberal narcissism. I’m a STEM student in a major university. Someone apparently thought my logic was adequate.

I just found that hilarious. He is valid because he’s on the bottom rung of a socially constructed hierarchy! Apparently, that hierarchy is genetic and evolutionarily deep, because Lobsters.

By the way, everything is socially constructed. Everything is genetic. You can’t separate the two.

Comments

  1. Pseudonym says

    What sort of hierarchy do you have in mind that would put, say, a high-school dropout on a higher rung than “a STEM student at a major [whatever that means] university”? (Other than inability to use logic, which is more of an idiosyncratic fault of this individual than endemic to major-university STEM majors in particular?)

  2. rcs619 says

    I thought it was pretty obvious that the vast majority of things we do in a society are social constructs. They may have a long history behind them, or even be a hand-me-downs from a previous civilization that the current one split off from, but that still doesn’t mean they’re any less artificial. Humans have instincts of course, but even those are usually filtered through the lens of whatever your particular society has decided is normal,, expected, acceptable or taboo.

    I mean everything from gender roles, to customs, values and social norms vary WILDLY from society to society. That should be a pretty big clue that they’re artificial constructs. There is no baseline human “normal” that is universal across all human cultures.

    Also bragging about being a STEM student to someone who is literally a professor in a STEM field doesn’t seem like an ideal tactic. Anyone can be a STEM student. Pretty much all you have to do is make C’s or higher and apply somewhere.

  3. raven says

    I’m a STEM student in a major university.

    Big deal.
    So are millions of other people.
    More millions of other people are…graduates in STEM fields from major universities.
    Now that is a somewhat bigger deal.

    I’m not sure what the point of that minor factual claim is other than to demonstrate that Dave Bloom isn’t very bright.

  4. F.O. says

    Hey, everyone knows that none in STEM in a major university has ever committed any logical fallacy ever. /s

  5. Bruce says

    And the STEM student’s major university is (pause for dramatic irony) the University of Minnesota at Morris, where the Stem student probably hope to take a key biology class next fall. From whom?
    Just one more logic fail from the YouTubes.

  6. Knabb says

    Wow. It’s bad enough trying to claim rank, but it’s significantly worse trying to claim rank against someone who outranks you in the exact same field (here defined as STEM in general) takes some chutzpah.

  7. longdog says

    Certainly I think it’s fair to say that PZ has always been very reluctant to ascribe biological, “deterministic” reasons for human behaviour- I don’t think even he would dispute that.

    I understand this approach inasfar as physiology is quite variable, its mechanisms are somewhat unclear, and its expression is socially informed to some degree. But it does tend to frustrate me that I can’t really find an example of PZ attributing any behaviour at all to what the layperson would call “genetics”. I think the reason people claim you’re espousing a blank-slate worldview is that you haven’t expressed much to the contrary.

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2018/03/13/the-cruelest-cut-against-evolutionary-psychology/ This post in particular comes to mind- there’s a big old list of EP claims (some admittedly more dubious than others) and they’re not addressed all that meaningfully, in my opinion.

    To give an example, I remember reading about how female apes (I think chimps?) will make vocalizations during sex, and this seems to make the male ejaculate faster. This is obviously pretty analogous to human behavior, right? There’s kind of this societal expectation that women be vocal during sex. There’s a societal component to this- I think it’s obviously reinforced in porn, some women are more vocal than others across the board, and different cultures seem to expect different kinds of vocalizations, etc. But the fact that we independently see it in an animal closely related to us suggests to me that it’s a more innate behaviour than one might otherwise think. And it’s been my experience reading this blog that I kind of don’t think the implications of that would really be addressed or acknowledged, here.

    I’m not trying to get real rowdy in this comment section or anything, more just to express that I’d agree there’s something of a “blind-spot” when it comes to PZ’s interpretation of behaviour.

  8. John Morales says

    longdog:

    I’m not trying to get real rowdy in this comment section or anything, more just to express that I’d agree there’s something of a “blind-spot” when it comes to PZ’s interpretation of behaviour.

    Fair enough.

    So, this “blind-spot” (not just a blind spot), you’re not very explicit about what it is.

    But your reasons for inferring its existence are clear enough: you are frustrated (“I can’t really find an example of PZ attributing any behaviour at all to what the layperson would call “genetics””), disappointed (“a big old list of EP claims (some admittedly more dubious than others) and they’re not addressed all that meaningfully, in my opinion”), incredulous (“But the fact that we independently see it in an animal closely related to us suggests to me that it’s a more innate behaviour than one might otherwise think. “), and runs counter (as you see it) to your own opinion (“But the fact that we independently see it in an animal closely related to us suggests to me that it’s a more innate behaviour than one might otherwise think.”).

    Not the most convincing reasons, for mine, but clearly expressed.

    And it’s been my experience reading this blog that I kind of don’t think the implications of that would really be addressed or acknowledged, here.

    Be not disappointed; I’ve hereby acknowledged them, and about the implications thereof anyone can make their own determination.

  9. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m not trying to get real rowdy in this coment section or anything, more just to express that I’d agree there’s something of a “blind-spot” when it comes to PZ’s interpretation of behavior.

    Yet, as a scientist, I see no evidence to support your inane conclusion. Care to link? My favorite phrase to liars and bullshitters is “put up o shut the fuck up”.

  10. longdog says

    I can’t exactly prove a negative in the scientific sense, can I? If you like I can probably find some other posts of this nature (similar to what I linked) that I find lacking.

    I’m a little troubled that you’ve gone right away to implying I’m a liar and a bullshitter, though.

  11. =8)-DX says

    By the way, everything is socially constructed. Everything is genetic. You can’t separate the two.

    Yep. Language is a social construct, fuck anyone trying to convey information pretending they can do so without social construction. And everything that we are is a result of our genetics, which happily enough allowed for the growth of various plastic learning systems in our brains. If there is one thing you can say about a human child, it’s that they’re very good at adapting to whatever environment they live in.

  12. methuseus says

    @longdog #8, 11:
    What the hell are you even trying to say? That PZ doesn’t believe in evolution? That he doesn’t believe evolution governs actions in any way? I think you know, really, that those are bald-faced lies. Sure, PZ is derisive of some ideas in EP, but that’s because they’re ridiculous. Even some in EP would agree with that. Evolutionary psychologists have no evidence, they only have ideas with no empirical evidence to back them up. So PZ agrees that some of it makes sense, but other things are insane to say. Therefore, EP overall makes little sense and only consists of feelings.
    Seriously, what do you think this “blind-spot” is? I’m sure he does have blind-spots, as do I, and will freely admit to some of them. It’s bullshit, non-existent ones that he won’t admit to. And I’d be wary of anyone trying to get him to admit to that sort of thing anyway.

  13. leerudolph says

    Apparently, that hierarchy is genetic and evolutionarily deep, because Lobsters.

    Marina Hyde covers several beats for the Guardian. One of her series is “Lost in Showbiz”, and her most recent is devoted to Jordan Peterson—in particular, to a recent video released by Gentleman’s Quarterly,

    in which Jordan is interviewed by the New Statesman’s Helen Lewis. It’s hard to pick my favourite moment from the nearly two-hour-long encounter, but I very much enjoyed the bit where Lewis reasons: “Lobsters don’t get depressed. I think you’re anthropomorphising to a ridiculous degree. These are creatures that urinate out of their faces.”

    Then again, it must be said that Peterson spends most of the interview looking like he’s about to urinate out of his face. In the entire exchange, he smiles about once, at some perceived irony in something wistfully arch that he has just said. One’s primary takeout is not: here is a man who can laugh at himself. Which is such a missed opportunity.

  14. emergence says

    The main problem is with the notion that specific human behaviors must be hard-coded instincts, and that these make up the majority of human behavior. It makes more sense to me that the human brain evolved generalized processes for learning and association.

    As for that YouTube comment, I’ve noticed that you can be accused of “narcissism” for just saying that you think your ideas are correct. I doubt the commenter can point to anything PZ does that Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro don’t do a whole lot more.

  15. emergence says

    Also, the idiot who posted that comment touted his status as a STEM student to back up his claim that he doesn’t need PZ to tell him how biology works. PZ is a biology professor. It’s his job to teach students about biology. Apparently the idea that professors teach students is narcissistic.

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