Why PZ Myers is not intrigued by Jeffrey Epstein


Did you know Jeffrey Epstein had a blog? You can still reach it via the wayback machine. It’s an odd thing, a failed exercise in PR — almost every article has the name “Jeffrey Epstein” in the title, and the articles themselves are painfully banal. For instance…

Why Evolutionary Biology Intrigues Jeffrey Epstein
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ADMIN ON OCTOBER 25, 2010
POSTED UNDER: EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Evolutionary Biology holds promise in advancing our knowledge of the dynamics of infectious diseases and cancer genetics, as well as alternative forms of energy. While some people, who are ignorant of the subject, are perhaps frightened or threatened by it, and therefore oppose it, the potential of evolution, especially microevolution , has been fundamental to many social improvements in this century, and it promises to be profoundly important to biomedical technology in the next generation, specifically in drug development and in biotechnology.

That’s the whole thing. I don’t know any evolutionary biologists who think this way — Epstein is all about applications of microevolution, I guess, to something or other, and he doesn’t specify any of the “social improvements” it has made. I’ve had students who try to bamboozle me with this kind of clumsy, glib summary, and I am never fooled. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

Also, the blog header is an animated gallery of photos of scientists Epstein presumably admired. If I were on it, I’d want a way to be removed.

Comments

  1. PaulBC says

    I glanced over some, and they intrigue me but probably for the wrong reason. They’re not necessarily terrible. There is some content about Martin Gardner or quantum computing and it looks accurate at a glance. The whole “Jeffrey Epstein” 3rd person has kind of an Elmo’s World feel to it. Today, Elmo is thinking about quantum computing!

    Stylistically, there is a fourth-grade essay feel to it all:

    Science is still a distinctly human enterprise of creative mind and thought. It is important to have dialogues with these scientists at a level that is substantive and qualitative. My interviews are not meant to be glib, but are to be pushing the limits of their own thoughts on matters that are important to them and to us. I do not necessarily agree with the opinions of my subject interviews, but I let them take their course, which is the same way that I support these fine individuals through the Jeffrey Epstein Foundation, with no strings attached.

    These individuals must display an exceptional creativity and inventiveness in his or her way of work, offering a decidedly new and verifiable way of thinking, imagining, or doing. Criteria may be imagining and building something entirely new; Advancing a well-defined field in an unexpected way; or combining previously separate endeavors with surprising and original results.

    Translation: scientists are creative human beings and that’s why we are going to interview them. Has he really said much more here? It just feels very wooden for someone (once) promoted as a great wild-eyed genius.

    It’s as if he assumes an audience nearly unaware of what science is and who scientists are. His goal is to gently nudge the reader into some really crazy notions, such as talking to scientists candidly (but not glibly!). We’re going to have a little fun, and maybe even learn something along the way.

  2. PaulBC says

    Wait, I’ve got it: the complete absence of a sense of humor.

    That’s the defining trait to these little essays. Whether Epstein wrote them or somebody else, they do not work as blog entries.

  3. Artor says

    “While some people, who are ignorant of the subject, are perhaps frightened or threatened by it…”
    While other people who are ignorant of the subject, nevertheless spread that ignorance enthusiastically, smearing the reputation of the field, and of scientists in general.

  4. chrislawson says

    WHY EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY INTRIGUES JEFFREY EPSTEIN

    An amazing new paper by my good friend Prof. Todd Toady shows that predatory sexual behaviour is an evolved response among social animals with restrictive mating strategies that allows superior organisms to flourish in the gene pool…

  5. Robert Serrano says

    @5: Shouldn’t the title be “WHY EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY INTRIGUES JEFFREY EPSTEIN?”
    Not that it would matter, since the validity of a thing isn’t determined by the quality of that thing’s admirers.

  6. PaulBC says

    I’m waiting for Chuck Tingle’s “Pounded in the Deep Regions of My Brain by Evolutionary Biology.” I have a feeling it will be a lot more informative.

  7. ColeYote says

    “While some people, who are ignorant of the subject, are perhaps frightened or threatened by it, and therefore oppose it, the potential of evolution, especially microevolution , has been fundamental to many social improvements in this century, and it promises to be profoundly important to biomedical technology in the next generation, specifically in drug development and in biotechnology.”

    Can I just mention how bad that sentence is

  8. wanderingname says

    Honestly, I’m really confused about what audience he was writing for.

    And is it just me, or are the comments a bit weird?

  9. lumipuna says

    Is that “admin” supposed to be Epstein himself, or someone he hired to write a blog on his thoughts, hence referring to him in third person? The latter option feels weird, but also like something a weird rich pseudointellectual would do.

    Everything I’ve thus far heard about Epstein’s relationship with science ans scientists sounds like cargo cult intellectualism.

  10. anchor says

    Honestly, I’m really confused about what audience he was writing for.

    That reads just like a TED talk. That kind of audience.

  11. says

    Yeah, I can’t concentrate enough to read the text because the second sentence is screaming too loud. Good lord, stop working those poor commas to death.

  12. PaulBC says

    Ian King@12

    That sentence is qualified as if it’s written for people who think evolution is something scary and controversial. I am not really sure why people like that would be interested in Jeffrey Epstein’s take on science, or really in any life science at all.

    Or maybe it is written for people who don’t understand evolution but like being patted on the back for being better than those “who are ignorant of the subject, are perhaps frightened or threatened by it.”

    To echo wanderingname@9, “I’m really confused about what audience he was writing for.”

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