Our own little basket of atheist deplorables

Peter Boghossian has a new book out. I can guarantee I won’t be reading it if the cover contains blurbs from these people:

“If these people like this book, you should run screaming from its presence. Or chant ‘Klaatu Barada Necktie’ at it.”

Except maybe Sapolsky. What is he doing in that list? Don’t tell me he’s been sucked into the Intellectual Dork Vortex, too!

Speaking of Boghossian, the Portland State IRB has found him guilty, guilty, guilty of violating their guidelines. He’s now prohibited from doing any research with human subjects, or even applying for research grants, until he undergoes remedial ethics training.

That’s some letter he’s proudly waving around. It’s a gigantic black mark on his record that he’s advertising — if some person I didn’t know applied for a job at my university that included a university condemnation of their propriety and ethics, and prohibited them from applying for grant funding, that application would be round-filed so fast it would leave scorch marks as it exited the filing cabinet. That’s a kiss of death.

Wingnut welfare to the rescue! I’m sure a conservative think tank will consider that a beauty mark rather than a blemish. Maybe Prager U will want him?


  1. hemidactylus says

    Not published until mid-September. I will probably buy it if only to hate-read it. Though reworked Socratic dialogue his street epistemology seems OK if only to make atheist proselytizers less confrontational, though I still have some issues with the approach. Hopefully the practitioners haven’t become carbon copies of the master.

    It would be interesting to develop a subversive form of counter-SE utilizing a subtle mixture of critical theory mixed with Debord and Baudrillard using Socratic irony.

  2. hemidactylus says

    Oops I probably revealed too much. Still far from the point of releasing the Kraken. Nothing to see here…move along.

  3. Owlmirror says

    For a while now, I’ve been wishing that I could go back in time and warn Clinton, or her speech writers, that using that phrase was a mistake, because “deplorable” says how she feels about them rather than saying what they are doing that makes them deplorable. And of course, it can be reclaimed, since few are ashamed of being deplored by someone they consider an enemy. If the pope or some evangelical bigwig were to rail against atheists by saying that they are “deplorable heathens, unbelievers, godless, heretical Satanists”, I am sure the mocking counter-reaction would have been similar to that of the Trumpists .

    Clinton should have just said “basket of bigots”.

  4. doubtthat says

    Just noticing one of the names on the list – the erudite and ever-thoughtful Dave Rubin – I highly recommend watching his “interview” (or one of the many dunk fests born from it) with Marianne Williamson.
    Obviously, this in no way lessens my concern for Williamson’s woo-woo alt-med anti science stuff, but it did give me a new respect for her.
    It also just beautifully exposes how paper-thin and ridiculous the “IDW” understanding of history and politics really is. These are basic concepts folks on the left have been discussing for decades, and Rubin – and by extension, the idiotic alt-right, IDW talking points he was using – are just grade school level stupid.

    This really is the level of discourse the names on that list are having.

  5. hemidactylus says

    @3- Owlmirror

    Clinton could have worded it better maybe by not assuming a proportion it applied to, but the term “deplorable” was spot on and still is…even more now than ever for people who still support Trump after his actions in office.

    In context Clinton actually seemed to hold out hope that that other basket of Trump supporters were potentially reachable or persuadable. She did express empathy for them, though her words have been distorted to where these people (50%) think she was also disparaging them.

    Partly because of people losing everything because the mortgage crisis and meltdown and shenanigans resulting in “Too Big to Fail” people had very understandable resentment that included Obama who in actuality came across as a Wall Street shill.

    The GOP miraculously resurrected itself from the ashes partly by the steamvalve of the astroturfed Tea Party and stoking fears of socialism over ACA (aka Obamacare). Then there was the whisper campaign about Obama’s legitimacy that started pulling more people into a crazier orbit Trump would eventually capitalize on. So more people tilted from understandable frustration with the way the government was working (or not in their favor) toward the loony extreme that has become less of a fringe. These sorts are more deplorable at least, though given the power of the culture industry to market bad ideas as “no spin zones” and “fair and balanced” coverage and manipulate people through ideological engineering (Glenn Beck making insinuations about Soros), I am left wondering how much agency and responsibility most of the deplorable basket actually have for how they turned out.

  6. says

    The IRB made the correct choice in disciplining Boghossian, although I have little confidence that it will actually hurt him. I wrote about the ethical issues with their hoax back in January. Too bad that we only have the conclusion of the IRB, and not the reasoning behind it.

  7. chrislawson says

    With advance praise from Glenn Beck! Jesus, if Glenn Beck praised a book of mine I’d burn the letter.

  8. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    The fact that he included Helen Pluckrose’s name among the “praisers” is hilarious. Of course she praised the book, they work closely together! It would be like me saying, “Come read my new book, my coworker who sits next to me thinks it’s fab!”

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    Hmm. Boghossian (&/or his publishers) must have offered an advance copy to Sam Harris, Ph.D. – yet his name conspicuously does not appear in the PB Fan Club roster above.

    Keep an eye open for Deep Rifts in the IDW world!

  10. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Chris Lawson: “With advance praise from Glenn Beck! Jesus, if Glenn Beck praised a book of mine I’d burn the letter.”

    Well, in fairness, Glenn would just be praising your book for how it burned.

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    doubtthat @4: That was impressive. As the hosts said, as well as showing what a clueless twit Rubin is, it underlines the utter uselessness of the Democratic debate format.

  12. dontlikeusernames says

    Noooooo! Not Sapolsky! (… I hope and believe until actual confirmation. I hope he ignores these fools.)

  13. doubtthat says

    @Rob Grigjanis

    Indeed. I have to take Williamson seriously now. The anti-science stuff disqualifies her from office, in my mind, but could we run a kickstarter to have her go to IDW/atheistskeptic dudebro and give them a masterclass is basic human decency?
    And I recommend looking around on YouTube for more videos. She does just an amazing job of making the case for reparations among other topics.

  14. says

    doubtthat @ #s 4 and 13, I share your views on Williamson’s “woo-woo alt-med anti science stuff” and obvious unfitness for the presidency, as well as the appreciation for some of her concerns and arguments. In addition to a couple of points she made in last month’s debate (including, IIRC, about US policy re Latin America), I read this recently in McMindfulness:

    Ironically, Wisdom 2.0 participants should have been prepared for some critical questions about their role in social suffering. The previous year, one of the presenters – Marianne Williamson – peppered her talk with some scathing critique. She asked why a spiritual teacher should “come here and be a dancing monkey to help a bunch of rich capitalists talk about the fact that they can have a more compassionate workplace” while ignoring the poverty outside it, to which they contribute. “Only in modern America could we come up with some ersatz version of spirituality that gives us a pass on addressing the unnecessary suffering in our midst,” Williamson said. She went on to quote Martin Luther King: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” For now, it seems Google and Wisdom 2.0 prefer keeping silent.

    Five years on from Williamson’s tirade, little has changed. At the start of the 2018 conference, Wisdom 2.0 attendees were warned about homeless people outside the venue….

    One of the Wisdom 2.0 regulars, and a mcmindfulness booster, is another presidential candidate, representative Tim Ryan of Ohio. He’s a white dude who presents as “normal,” though, so no one brought any of this up around the debate.

  15. doubtthat says

    Goddamn, she articulates these ideas and ethical principles as clearly and artfully as any politician I can recall. It’s close to Obama at his best.
    But why, Why, WHY with the anti-science garbage? How is she fucking anti-vaxx, of all things?
    I can’t recall anyone I agreed with so fundamentally on so many basic moral issues and yet so violently opposed to on others.
    Vaccines? Really? Fucking vaccines. Can’t let that one pass. Why couldn’t she just have dumb ideas about video games and violence? Some propably irrelevant peripheral issue? Frustrating.

  16. wzrd1 says

    @1, I’ve offered to hold the individual’s hand and take the training with him, with a small goad that I’d outscore him and notification that I’ve never received any similar form of training.
    My ethical training was medical ethics, largely involving tacit consent and not talking about patients with those not involved in caring for said patient (a bit oversimplified there).
    But, I recall Freud and Jung and ethical discussions, outside of my military training.
    My military training was largely about when to not drop or order dropped a bomb onto a terrorist’s home.
    Usually, we managed to talk them out, a couple of times, not and that was unpleasant, all around.
    Especially, for neighbors, who cannot choose their neighbor, nor could they afford to move. That left the problem down to, is there a substantial chance of escape and more markets full of men, women and children are bombed.
    But, I also learned of Tuskegee and Guatemala syphilis experiments and other experiments with radioisotopes upon the indigent in the US, which were wrong, with a capital R.

    Yes, exactly, wrong that is so wrong as to be misspelled out of sheer horror.

    Alas, I suspect the probability that the “researcher” won’t take me up on my offer. Good for me in two ways. One, I don’t enjoy the cooler environment that he’s in and I’d then be forced to make him a fool’s wager, which he’d lose.
    Due to hearing loss, I’d have to request a reasonable accommodation of text only presentation. I read, at a minimum, three times faster than the majority of the populace and only bog down to average reading rate on highly technical information, which obviously bogs down the average reader even farther (usually, some excel there better than I do and I keep them close treasures). What takes 3 – 4 hours would take about an hour to an hour and a half for me, with a minimum of 90% comprehension and retention.

    That said, if anyone can find such training available for free, do point me at it.
    Knowledge is something I always seek out as a fine treasure, comprehension, priceless. :)