Pangburn and Shermer can both crawl into a hole and disappear

Travis Pangburn is back, baby. After his efforts as a lecture and debate promoter crashed and burned catastrophically, leaving many members of the Intellectual Dork Web unpaid and furious, he is now trying his hand at doing online IDW promotion. It’s cheaper. It’s safer. It lets him strut. Here’s the about section from his new web site:

Travis Pangburn is the creator of the Pangburn Equation: How humans ought to be. His work revolves around improving humanity by maximizing general well-being through his equation. He believes that artistic & scientific inspiration is imperative in the pursuit of elevating the mind to utopia. The War of Ideas publication will provide more battlegrounds for ideas to be sorted.

Oh god. I want to reach out and slap that pompous clown so bad. It’s bizarre how these people fulminate against SJWs for wanting some minimal standards of morality, yet he has the arrogance to claim that he has an equation to describe how humans ought to be. All righty then. Authoritarians do tend to project.

The site is titled The War of Ideas, and its conceit is that it has a “battlefield” where you can post your controversial ideas and get feedback and argument. It’s nothing but a pretentious online forum, essentially.

It also has a section for articles, where it says Have your favorite intellectuals review your article! The only “intellectual” pictured is…Michael Shermer. Pangburn is apparently trawling the bottom of the barrel to see what kind of sleaze he can hang the title “intellectual” on, and his standards are low.

Currently, there is precisely one article up, by Travis Pangburn, of course. It’s a …strange… bit of pompous fluff titled The Problems With the IDW: The Intellectual Dark Web, in which he explains that he thinks the name is pretty stupid, and then goes through a list of the members of the IDW and declares who is fit to be there and who isn’t. In case you were curious about who the legitimate leaders of the IDW are, just ask Travis.

Here is the list of “leading members” copied from the ‘IDW’ website with my comments:

Eric Weinstein – Not a leader of this movement.
Sam Harris – Sam is one of the leaders of this movement.
Jordan Peterson – Jordan is one of the leaders of this movement.
Maajid Nawaz – Not a leader of this movement.
Dave Rubin – Not a leader of this movement.
Claire Lehmann – Not a leader of this movement.
Ben Shapiro – Not a leader of this movement.
Douglas Murray – Not a leader of this movement.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali – Not a leader of this movement.
Joe Rogan – Joe is one of the leaders of this movement.

Christina Hoff Sommers- Not a leader of this movement.
Bret Weinstein- Not a leader of this movement.
Heather Heying- Not a leader of this movement.
James Damore- Not a leader of this movement.
Michael Shermer – Michael is one of the leaders of this movement.
Debra Soh- Not a leader of this movement.
Jonathan Haidt- Not a leader of this movement.
Glenn Loury- Not a leader of this movement.
John McWorther- Not a leader of this movement.
Coleman Hughes- Not a leader of this movement.

If one is going to claim leadership, they must be able to provide the evidence to support this. For example, there is no evidence that Eric Weinstein (who originally coined the IDW label) is a leader of this conversation enlightenment. He is a powerful thinker and entertaining communicator, but can we honestly say he is a leader of this movement? Why would we say this? Where is the data? No is my answer. However, if we look at Sam Harris, we can provide evidence to satisfy every category when claiming him to be one of the leaders in bridging the conversation gap between ideas. His work on Islam is the most obvious example. Apply this skepticism across this list. Rinse and repeat.

Those aren’t very substantial comments. He could have made it shorter by just putting a smiley or frowney emoji next to the name. But, apparently, the only True Leaders of the IDW are Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, and Michael Shermer. I’m sure everyone appreciates Travis Pangburn making the administrative appointments for them, but hoo boy…what a mess of horrible people.

I do like how Pangburn says you have to provide evidence to support your choices of leaders, and then doesn’t provide any … except for Sam Harris. Harris is an obvious choice because of his “work” on Islam, whatever that is. Harris does not speak the language of any Islamic country, has no scholarly credentials in Islamic studies, and is known only for his bigotry and bizarre arguments that we ought to selectively screen for Muslim-looking people at airports, that a little torture is a good idea, and that maybe we might be justified in nuking Mecca if they force us to, maybe. What work on Islam? Is he a Scott Atran or a Juan Cole? I don’t think so.

Pangburn also complains that there is a significant omission in the membership list.

If you need to have a list like this, which I don’t think you do, it must include Richard Dawkins or no one at all. He would probably turn down the invitation (if offered) and giggle while thinking “Join? I am this movement, muthafucka!”

I have never cringed so hard. I wonder if one of his favorite “intellectuals”, Michael Shermer, actually reviewed this article.

There is a small number of people who have enlisted in the “battlefield”, but there isn’t much battling going on. They’re mostly patting each other on the back and telling each other how right they are. I wouldn’t recommend joining — it’s an embarrassing club to be a member of, and further, you never know when Travis is going to write an article ranking the people in his little club.


  1. Russell Glasser says

    That list absolutely offends me to my core. Not for any ideological reasons, but as a person whose primary work involves organizing and presenting data for a broad audience.

    The text ” is one of the leaders of this movement.” and “Not a leader of this movement.” each take up about 40 characters to deliver one bit of information. Then they’re repeated 20 times. And the names aren’t even sorted by this bit. Why can’t he just post a table with “Y” or “N”? Or why not two separate lists of just names, with “is a leader” and “not a leader” as the headings?

    Tremendous efficiency fail, and a headache to read.

  2. imback says

    But, apparently, the only True Leaders of the IDW are Sam Harris, Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, and Michael Shermer.

    Ah, the Four Housemen of the Intellectual Dork Web!

  3. says

    I would imagine Rogan is included simply because his involvement with the UFC gives him a higher public profile than most of the rest. It’s probably a 50/50 chance whether Rogan actually thinks he’s some sort of important intellectual.

  4. Dunc says

    I would bet money that Richard Dawkins has never thought the word “muthafucka” in any context.

  5. Bernard Bumner says

    Isn’t there something rather insecure and also unsettling about a need to build public lists of the High and Lowly?

    Elitism without regard to merit or the rarity of the qualities it claims to elevate. Charmless wishful thinking and bitter toadying in the hope of stealing status. Yuck!

  6. raven says

    The site is titled The War of Ideas, and its conceit is that it has a “battlefield” where you can post your controversial ideas and get feedback and argument.

    This is really dumb.

    It describes Reddit, Youtube, Patheos, Freethoughtblogs, Facebook, Twitter, and dozens of other websites.
    It is basically a huge part of the internet itself.

    One more website that duplicates what already exists isn’t even noteworthy.

  7. says

    On the one hand, I’m a bit surprised Ben Shapiro wasn’t considered good enough to make the cut.

    On the other, I’m totes not at all surprised that no women are considered leaders. And does anyone know Joe Rogan’s race? And Shermer I understood to be Irish: should I assume that he’s white-Irish, or is it possible that he’s an immigrant/descended from immigrants and is non-white? Because this is kinda looking to me like it’s another instance of white men being self-declared leaders of everything except Britain’s royal family.

  8. Muz says

    Has anyone coined Cargo Cult Reasoning yet? If not I will. And there’s some up there. It reminds me of 19th century notions of “science” in that “I have rigorously applied analysis acording to systematic criteria of my own making. Therefore my conclusions are scientific!” sort of way.

  9. Travis Pangburn says

    You guys should read my whole article before commenting. PZ generally misrepresents it here.
    This new platform is different because it does not tolerate bad faith discussion. We are literally 2 days into beta testing lol…

    Welcome to The War of Ideas
    Here are a few guidelines:
    1.) This platform is open to any claim.
    2.) This platform is to be used for good faith discussion and honest discourse.
    3.) The privilege of submitting articles and engaging with posts may be revoked at any time if your conduct is considered to be in bad faith.

  10. Travis Pangburn says

    Read the whole article Tabby. It was regarding out of those who were listed on the “IDW” website.

  11. Travis Pangburn says

    ” All members of humanity are on the list for this movement. It is warm, comforting and inclusive. No group identity, no invitation required. Simply a passion for the war of ideas and the pursuit of truth. It is the Intellectual Warm Blanket. “

  12. says

    Well he’s right that IDW had a dumb name, and the list was ridiculous. Clearly the “Intellectual Warm Blanket” will be able to address IDW’s problems with a more exclusive list.

  13. Travis Pangburn says

    Wow Siggy. You didn’t read did you?
    ” All members of humanity are on the list for this movement. It is warm, comforting and inclusive. No group identity, no invitation required. Simply a passion for the war of ideas and the pursuit of truth. It is the Intellectual Warm Blanket. “

  14. raven says

    Only four white guys are “leaders”.

    It’s way worse than that.
    Four white guys, two of which are complete, total idiots.
    Sam Harris – Sam is one of the leaders of this movement.
    Jordan Peterson – Jordan is one of the leaders of this movement

    Jordon Peterson is notable for his extreme bigotry towards anyone not a white male and total lack of any intellectual thought. The guy is a raging lunatic.

    I don’t know enough about Rogan or Shermer to really comment. All I’ve ever heard about Shermer is that he is a creepy guy you don’t want to be in the same state with.

  15. says

    Oh, Pangburn is here?

    Pangburn, I’ll be real with you. Clearly you found flaws in the IDW model, and are trying to move away from it. But your article betrays certain assumptions, and shows you still haven’t moved far enough. Your movement is for everyone… but you still list a bunch of celebrities you like, and fantasize about Richard Dawkins’ approval. You don’t want any group identity… but you titled the group “intellectual warm blanket” and made a logo. It’s warm, comforting, and inclusive… but you prominently feature Shermer of all people.

  16. raven says

    This new platform is different because it does not tolerate bad faith discussion.

    This is dumb.

    How do you decide what is a bad faith discussion or not?
    It’s somewhere between difficult and impossible.

    In practice, you will just identify SJW’s, libtards, Democrats, and normal people and ban them.
    It will most likely look like Stormfront, Breitbart, Quilette, National Review, Fox News or any other far right wingnut site
    Not impressed.

  17. Artor says

    “Pangburn is clearly not an intellectual leader.”

    Sure he is…on the ahem “Intellectual Dark Web.” Personally, I’d be embarrassed to be included anywhere on that list, but if Pangburn wants that, who are we to deny it to him? Obviously, nobody has his qualifications, or they would already have produced a tedious list of who belongs there and who doesn’t. Oh look, he’s here in the comment thread. I hope the complete lack of regard for his intellectual capacity doesn’t bruise his ego.

  18. Ridana says

    Every time I see IDW, I think it’s another Intelligent Design group.

    I wonder how long before “Intellectual Warm Blanket” turns into “Intellectual Wet Blanket”? It practically begs for it.

    Naming the band is always the hardest part.

  19. Rich Woods says

    Pangburn… I read the article and remain distinctly unimpressed. I say that in all good faith.

  20. stroppy says

    Categorically speaking, I trying to decide whether we’re talking about cranks or crackpots here. Seems to be a bit of a traveling medicine show either way– in the American tradition of peddling vaporware and fatuous blather, that is.


    BTW, if we’re talking about the same Shermer, this from Wikipedia:
    “Shermer is a quarter Greek through his grandfather, while his grandmother was from Cologne, Germany.”

    Rogan is an Irish surname and FWIW, “Black Irish” is a vague term even among vague terms…

  21. Travis Pangburn says

    I’m fine if you guys don’t like the article. I just ask that people be intellectually honest.

  22. says

    Pangburn, another thing. I am puzzled as to what you are even trying to build. A moderated discussion space open to any topic? That’s nothing special. Most blogs have moderated comment sections, many forums are moderated, even many Facebook communities fit the bill. Your website makes it out like it’s a novel idea, which does not inspire confidence in your experience maintaining moderated internet spaces.

    “Open to any claim”? Practically speaking, every discussion space has its scope, either defined by you, or defined by whoever it is that seeds the community. I’m guessing your community is seeded with Shermer fans and people disillusioned with IDW? Most people hereabouts wouldn’t touch that with a ten-foot pole, so de facto you are not open to the particular claims we would be likely to make. Saying you are “open to any claim” does not convey to me that you are open to any claim, it conveys a community that doesn’t understand itself.

  23. specialffrog says

    @Travis: Do you consider Jordan Peterson ‘intellectually honest’ given that he rose to prominence by misrepresenting a piece of legislation?

  24. Travis Pangburn says

    Siggy: This will be moderated based on a requirement for good faith discussion. As far as I know, this would be the first platform to do this. Maybe not though. Well I think it’s a novel idea, others may not.
    My community is everyone. I have people from extreme right wing to extreme left wing. Good skeptics and crappy thinkers. This movement is for everyone.
    Every claim is acceptable on the platform. Regardless of how stupid a moderator might think it is.

    I do consider Jordan to be intellectually honest in general, but there are instances where his overthinking & analyzing from a clinical psychological perspective gets in the way of good faith discussion. Although I do not think this is on purpose.

  25. says

    @Travis Pangburn:

    Are you aware that multiple Canadian courts found him to be unqualified as an expert witness because he was testifying outside his area of knowledge?

    In those circumstances the courts specifically criticized him for making claims about apply method A to input B to reach conclusion C when method A had never been validated in any way at any time to any degree of certainty whatsoever as a tool for reaching those conclusions?

    In particular, he said that from a personality questionnaire (The Unfakeable Big Five) he could determine which confessions to police were likely genuine and which were likely to be false.

    He had never studied false confessions at all, much less how the TUBF personality profiles correlated with the truth or falsity of confessions.

    This can only be dishonesty. You can’t just slip up and not remember that you never studied confessions given while in police custody. You can’t just forget that you have zero data whatsoever on which personality scores correlate to what likelihood of falsity. He went in to a court and told them that he could tell which confessions were false even though he had to know that he could not do that through any validated methodology and couldn’t even begin to calculate a confidence interval around his conclusions.

    There are only two conclusions here. First, he doesn’t know how one or more vital aspects of psychological research work. Second, he’s dishonest.

    In either case he cannot possibly be an intellectual leader of anything.

  26. says

    Further to Travis Pangburn

    I also question whether or not you are being (intellectually) honest. To wit:

    there is no evidence that Eric Weinstein (who originally coined the IDW label) is a leader of this conversation enlightenment. He is a powerful thinker and entertaining communicator, but can we honestly say he is a leader of this movement? Why would we say this? Where is the data? No is my answer. However, if we look at Sam Harris, we can provide evidence to satisfy every category when claiming him to be one of the leaders in bridging the conversation gap between ideas. His work on Islam is the most obvious example. Apply this skepticism across this list

    Except … nowhere do you establish a rubric for determining this “leadership” category. How can we apply skepticism to this list when there are no clear rules for what it takes to be on the list? You say you examined “data” to determine Sam Harris’ inclusion, but what data is this? “His work on Islam” is not data. At absolute best it provides you with a single bit of information:


    blockquote>Has Sam Harris worked on Islam? Y/N



    That would be a datum.

    So has anyone who worked on Islam a leader of the IDW? Pfft, no. You dismiss Ayaan Hirsi Ali, so obviously that can’t a sufficient criterion.

    You have a “description” of leaders, first without reference to any particular figure (the quotations from the IDW website) and then using Dawkins as an archetype (your own writing below the quotations.

    But Dawkins is in clear conflict with the IDW description:

    They do not form alliances based on their identities or tribal affiliation.

    Whoops! Dawkins literally has joined with the Atheist Alliance of America to present an award named after himself – the Richard Dawkins award. Why is Dawkins, who forms alliances around his atheism, considered a leader of a group that disallows alliances around identities or tribal affiliations?

    Did you consider this point? How did the data weigh for or against Dawkins’ status as a leader of this movement for you? What data did you use? Is there a certain percentage of one’s life that one is expected to have lived free of such alliances? because I gotta tell you, this RD award has been handed out since 2003. That’s 16 years now and a significant fraction of Dawkins’ life.

    From the outside, it does not appear that you used “data” at all. From the outside it appears that you used some informal method, possibly no more than a gut feeling, about whether or not someone “deserved” to be a leader despite joining tribal alliances or engaging dishonest misrepresentation of rational, evidence based thinking while testifying in a court of law.

    In fact, for someone who wants good argument, you seem not to make arguments at all.

    Should Harris be considered a leader? Yup. Why? Dunno. But it definitely involved data and Islam.

    How would anyone be able to check your work or refute your argument? What you have here is so relentlessly sloppy, so devoid of actual reasoning, that it’s exceedingly difficult to believe that even you thought you were making an argument at all, much less a good one.

    Don’t you think that’s a very poor way to kickstart a website devoted to good argument?

  27. says

    Hard to see how this article is really any different than Martin Luther nailing his grievances to a church door writ very very small. It’s a religiousideological schism, nothing more.

    The IDW is and was nothing more than a marketing campaign designed to garner the support of shallow thinkers by assuring them their prejudices are rational.

  28. Susan Montgomery says

    “good faith discussion and honest discourse”

    So, you’ve already eliminated your “leaders”?

  29. Porivil Sorrens says

    Been a long time since we’ve had a lobster in here, turns out they’re just as annoying as they always have been.

  30. quasar says

    So, an internet forum based on arbitrary moderation standards(“good faith” is entirely subjective, so your moderators basically have free reign) and seeded with self-selected members from the most pretentious wing of the far-right community, then?

    I’m sorry Mr Pangburn, but no.

    However, if I may offer some constructive criticism, you really should do some research on the subject of User Interface Design.Your ‘battlefield’ is constructed like most internet forums, where a thread is created and everyone replies in chronological order.This design promotes off-topic tangents and rambling arguments, and nobody will ever ‘defeat’ an idea or ‘win’ a battle, because people only change their mind as a result of personal doubts and extensive research, not due to a cleverly constructed rhetorical device by some rando on the internet.

    If you genuinely want a site where idea’s are proposed, challenged and ‘defeated’ (or not) based on their merits, a format more akin to the ‘stackexchange’ series of sites would be more viable. These sites focus primarily on answering questions and aggressively suppress off-topic tangents through UI design. When silly back-and-forth takes place in the comments under answers, the site automatically collapses them. It also uses votes to promote the ‘best’ answer to the top, providing a clean and clear answer. These sort of design elements can be leveraged to promote a higher signal-to-noise ratio.

    Ultimately, I fear no amount of clever UI will be able to salvage a community of pretentious idiots patting themselves on the back for being willing to entertain and “debate” archaic and bigoted idea’s that died for good reason decades ago. But hey, maybe it’ll make it slightly less embarrassing to watch.

  31. blf says

    Ah yes, the If you don’t read it, you are unable to comment about it gambit. Presumably followed by the Your interpretation of what is written is wrong gambit. Presumably followed by the My writing is crystal clear gambit. Presumably followed by… Other gambits would include I was unfairly quoted or quoted out of context, and somewhere along the line, that is not what the words mean! Other readers can mention other trolling tricks of such an obviously dishonest fraud.

  32. Susan Montgomery says

    @39 At this point, its quite clear that arguing with conservatives is like arguing with an unruly 7 year-old who has become aware of rudimentary rhetorical tactics but thinks no one else has.

  33. blf says

    @40, The “unruly 7 year-old who has become aware of rudimentary rhetorical tactics but thinks no one else has” who be more competent than the current troll.

  34. Susan Montgomery says

    @41 The person who thinks that there’s a debate that women, non-whites, non-christians, LGBT people and low-income people have civil and human rights. We have them, that’s it. That’s what your site is for, right? To again trot out the same tired arguments that have been endlessly countered and debunked and the same conspiracy theories explaining why no one takes you seriously.

    I mean, I guess I can give you the benefit of the doubt and that you and the rest of the alt-right are nihilists but that’s as generous as I’m willing to be.

  35. John Morales says

    I figure this post will help the new site gain some interest, an anti-endorsement for the anti-PZ/FtB crowd. Adds that little bit of notoriety.

    As for tribalism, what else is the Dim Web about? ;)

  36. azrael says

    I feel a need to point out, with all due respect to Travis Pangburn, that you cannot both have a platform where “Every claim is acceptable on the platform”, and also have a “requirement for good faith discussion”.

    As we all well know (including Travis Pangburn, if he is indeed engaging in good faith), many claims cannot be made in good faith.

  37. says


    you cannot both have a platform where “Every claim is acceptable on the platform”, and also have a “requirement for good faith discussion”.

    I noticed that and support your effort to get a response from Travis Pangburn, even if I focussed my own comments elsewhere.

    Of course, it’s also very likely you will get no response that seriously attempts to address this since Pangburn gives every appearance of avoiding substantive criticisms, but maybe having your efforts noticed positively by other commenters can soothe the wound of disappointment that would occur from having your valid point otherwise ignored.

  38. azrael says

    @Crip Dyke
    Thanks. I also expect no substantive response from Pangburn (it’s almost like he’s not engaging in a “good faith discussion” or something…)

    Also, I appreciate your comments (on this and other threads), and have learned a good deal from them in my years of lurking.

  39. Stuart Smith says

    How can Ben Shapiro not be one of the leaders of the IDW? He’s a flawless exemplar of everything they stand for!

  40. chrislawson says

    Pangburn’s ‘good faith discussion’ sounds like a new iteration of ‘freeze peach.’

    Short for ‘my friends and I say what we want; criticism of what we say is intolerable.’

  41. larpar says

    @Travis Pangburn
    Are sock puppets and Russian bots “intellectually honest” or “good faith”?

  42. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Travis: While I will admit nothing in your work predisposes me to think of you as tremendously insightful or as having values that I view as remotely positive and prosocial, I do commend you for being here and for being relatively polite. The lack of engagement with questions and reasonable points is less commendable, but you’re a busy guy.

    I have two problems (in addition to what everyone else has pointed out), and they both center on the presentation of the IDW and in particular your point at @41, “Who’s a conservative?” So let me ask some leading questions and hope you take them in the good faith they are intended. I’ll also add a third in line with @52.

    First: Do you agree that doing politics without being honest as to your partisan or ideological affiliations is reprehensible?

    You and your buddies aren’t apolitical. You don’t roll a die as to who you decide to pick a fight with on a given day. Peterson makes ads for PragerU but clearly doesn’t defend liberal candidates. He attacks (his made up boogeyman of) cultural Marxism but not cultural fascism. Michael is expressly a market libertarian. Do you agree that partisan and ideological affiliation should be disclosed and you shouldn’t be making overtly political claims as if they weren’t political?

    Second: Will your understanding of the IDW include anyone on the left, or will you start admitting that, actually, you are a conservative, and in fact a radical one?

    Again, Sam Harris has on Charles Murray, a Heritage Foundation “intellectual” who is not only explicitly conservative but uncritically signal-boosted the work of the overt white supremacists Lynn and Rushton (as in, Lynn has given interviews in Stormfront). If I am as charitable as I can be to Sam, he didn’t care about Murray promoting harmful misstatements about people of color and variously downplaying and outright denying systemic racism, he just cared that Murray faced “political correctness” criticisms.

    Fine. Why didn’t Sam have on Noam Chomsky, who has been attacked for everything from defending Holocaust deniers (when he defended their right to speak) to Cambodia apologetics (when he actually pointed out that the U.S. backing Democratic Kampuchea and helping Pol Pot rise to power with the bombings was hideously evil and never defended the Khmer Rouge, calling them madmen)? Why doesn’t he have on Michael Albert, whose work in parecon is not going to be examined by economics departments due to a bias toward neoclassical and centrist theories? Why not Anita Sarkeesian, who certainly violated some people’s idea of “political correctness” and absolutely faced overt criminal harassment to keep her political and philosophical opinions silent?

    I can list countless intellectuals on the left who say things that make other leftists mad or who have faced criticism and even censorship. In the vein of Sarkeesian, why not promote articles or ideas by people like Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu, etc.? There are many left-wingers who have been deplatformed or attacked: Will you promote Essence of Thought, or Hbomberguy, or Big Joel? Why aren’t they part of the IDW? Julie Bindel, for example, is used as a right-wing punching bag because of her men in camps comment because the right wing actually can’t take a joke, but she’s also been roundly criticized by the left because she’s a TERF and a lot of her comments on political lesbianism arguably at least border on homophobia. Will she be invited to be a key part of your platform, and listed in your IDW membership?

    Put aside whether these folks are going to join you in your list. Why are they not IDW members? Is there not a single voice that would be recognized by the average leftist as someone on the left, or at least having done activism on a left-wing cause, that you would include? If not, will you be honest and admit that the IDW is in fact a group of far right-wing activists who just happen to often pose as if they’re apolitical?

    Finally, Travis: Will you allow people like Chris to criticize you, your buddies and the extreme right-wingers who will likely congregate on your platform? Will people be able to say, “Nazis should be punched” or “People like Travis are awful people” or “Hate speech should be banned by the government?” To be clear, I personally think only the most extreme instances of hate speech that would essentially be libel if applied to individuals or otherwise violate a rule we take seriously for individuals should be regulated and think that the U.S. needs reform in that arena to be done, but will others who are much more pro-censorship than me be allowed to comment? Or will you only accept debates about the human rights of people who aren’t you?

    In the same vein, when you say that IDW members have to “not form alliances based on their identities or tribal affiliation”, will that mean that you will at least mark contributors to your forum who are open in their identity politics? Moreover, how did you arrive at this conclusion? How do you disagree with Ezra Klein’s point that Sam is in fact doing quite naked identity politics? Sam is in favor of profiling when it comes to violating the rights of Muslims not convicted of a crime but isn’t in favor of profiling for Twitter bans: Why is that not naked pro-Christian, pro-conservative, pro-white “alliance” making and bias? Sam doesn’t care that Muslim majority nations are much less likely to invade Christian majority nations than the reverse because he happens to live in a Christian majority nation: Why is that not shallow pro-Americanism? When Jordan Peterson defends hierarchies and argues for the imposition of mandated monogamy in favor of men at the cost of women, why is that not naked identitarianism? How do you respond to the claim that you’re not against identity politics, you’re just in favor of dishonest identity politics?

  43. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Sorry for the double comment, but…

    When you say, “All members of humanity are on the list for this movement. It is warm, comforting and inclusive. No group identity, no invitation required. Simply a passion for the war of ideas and the pursuit of truth. It is the Intellectual Warm Blanket’, does this not mean that your movement is totally meaningless? If everyone is a part of the movement, then how is it a movement? Where does it go? What aspirations does it have? Do you really want to argue that every person on the planet has a “passion for the war of ideas and the pursuit of truth”? Or if they don’t, they lose their otherwise automatic membership?

    And if everyone on the planet is a member of the movement, why is it that to be a leader in the movement you have to reject “identity” and “tribal affiliation”? Why is it that being in favor of either of those things automatically prevents one from being in favor of the war of ideas and the pursuit of truth?

    I’m absolutely in favor of the pursuit of truth. I’d also like to find out useful things that help people. I want ideas to be true and helpful, ideally. Am I a member of your movement? And if, after having examined the arguments, I think every single person you listed are at best deeply misinformed and ignorant and at worst dishonest right-wing clowns who have mastered the Alt-Right Playbook technique of posing as if you’re apolitical to radicalize a normie, am I excluded from your movement? Moreover, if I think that some true things may not always be polite to say and that there’s a time and a place for any kind of statement, is that “political correctness” or courtesy? As a pareconist anarchist feminist anti-racist LGBTQA ally who also happens to think that who we are matters (whether we like it not) and that we can’t escape our history or our biases without being honest and moving forward, am I engaging in identity politics and thus not a part of your movement?

  44. says

    @Crip Dyke to answer your question from yesterday Joe Rogan is reportedly 3/4 Italian and 1/4 Irish. I assume Rogan is an Irish name, and not an anglicised Italian name.

  45. ephemerides says

    Frederic Bourgault-Christie @55;

    Well, we know why he didn’t have on Chomsky, at least—Chomsky’s already quite well versed in Harris’s brand of “good faith” argument.

  46. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @60: Oh, I know, ephemerides. I like others here was talking to Noam at the time (on the Z Forums). My experience as a leftist with the new atheist movement was seeing a bunch of people who would otherwise seem to be solidly progressive or liberal suddenly become screaming Islamophobes and nutters because of their reactionary Islamophobia (we can now call it the David Silverman trajectory). I chose Noam for a reason: Whether Noam would accept to be on or not, Harris and others on the IDW will overwhelmingly not even offer because they don’t like his ideas.

    Which puts the lie to Harris’ bullshit.

    I read a review of the Klein v. Harris debacle that argued that Harris came off very badly because Harris is one of those people psychologically who does not do well with grouping issues or seeing connections that may not be immediately logically apparent but are connotatively or socially connected. And my problem with that is that Harris will happily have on Murray and others with ugly ideas, and not challenge them and even laugh at their evil nonsense, but won’t have on people like Chomsky and will be highly critical of people like Klein even if they happen to be on (and won’t post something he finds “uninteresting”). So when Harrisite defenders turn to (and the IDW in general turns to) the claim that “We’re not white supremacists or shilling for them [because then we would be not only irrational and evil but also grossly inconsistent liars because we would be in league with people who are actually deeply anti-intellectual, anti-free speech, anti-free inquiry and expression, pro-censorship and expressly violent]”, they’re full of crap. Because they could have on countless people who are on the left, or countless non-partisan intellectuals pushing interesting ideas that aren’t getting traction because they aren’t clickbait-worthy. And they won’t. Because they ultimately want to popularize right-wing ideas, for whatever reason.

    I don’t know if Noam Chomsky or Michael Albert or Tim Wise or Barbara Ehrenreich or Sarkeesian or Wu or Quinn or Leigh Alexander or Jim Sterling or Hbomberguy or Thought Slime or Philosophy Tube would do anything with Pangburn or Harris or what not. Some might: Albert happily debated David Horowitz politely. I know PZ would say no to these people. But all of those people have seen people try to censor their ideas or threaten them or say their ideas are offensive. So whether any of them would say yes, why don’t the IDW offer them these things? Noam has been published in right-wing libertarian outlets before because they share some interests. Why not ask Noam to write a piece about freedom of expression?

    Because they’re right-wing shills.

    It’s fine to do politics. What isn’t fine is to lie about it. Travis, if you’re still here: The reason you get the reaction you do is that the rest of us have heard your bullshit before, exclusively from right-wingers in defense of right-wing ideology. At best, you lack the self-awareness and understanding to recognize an argument with overt political implications; at worst, you’re a liar. Either way, no one who actually knows their shit will ever listen to you. And the IDW in general (as well as lots of people in the skeptic/atheist sphere, folks like Armoured Skeptic/Logicked/Shoe on Head), are dangerous precisely because they package expressly political ideas like they’re just skepticism or just rational thought or just a simple common sense outsider perspective, and it’s dishonest. Stop lying and maybe some people will take you seriously.

  47. Susan Montgomery says

    @61 Jim Sterling? Seriously? Stating the obvious in an excruciatingly annoying voice doesn’t make someone an intellectual titan.

  48. zenlike says

    I kinda like Jim Sterling. Having someone state the obvious is already something, certainly in this day and age, certainly on YouTube, certainly on Gamer YouTube. I wouldn’t call him an intellectual titan though. And neither would he call himself that. Well, actually he might call himself that, as an obvious joke.

  49. Porivil Sorrens says

    Given the context of the statement, I think it’s pretty obvious that he was just being situated among other leftist video essayists on YouTube, which is literally what he is.

  50. Susan Montgomery says

    @63 He’d say “Thank God for me”. I like what he has to say sometimes, even if it’s obvious, but the goofiness of his presentation ranges from “unpleasant” to “considering gouging out my eardrums with a rusty screwdriver just to make the noise stop” for me.

    @64 No, you’re right. I just couldn’t pass up the chance to bust Sterling’s chops.

  51. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @61: I like Jim but it actually did take me awhile to warm up to his style. And while it’s obvious to folks like you and me, the work he does to lay out the arguments, do the investigation and actually try to follow up is… journalism. Like, not Greg Palast-quality journalism, but a level of journalism that sadly isn’t done by a lot of professional pundits. It’s a lot like John Oliver (who also isn’t on his IDW list despite doing deep dives on topics, pretty much only-jokingly bringing up his own identity and having had people like Charles Murray try to silence him): if it’s a topic I’ve studied John isn’t saying much new, but to people who didn’t read books and scholarly papers on the topic he’s introducing the ideas.

    But yeah, as you rightly note, that’s not really my point. My point is that there’s countless people with tons of different styles, interests, etc. that one could use. Want to talk about the issues Gamergate pretended to care about? Jim is one of the ones who does that consistently. You could even go to someone like Shamus Young who is actually a conservative but also very guarded politically and tries to be very balanced with his analysis. The only way one can curate a list like Travis’ is if one is a fascist who wants to try to hide that he’s a fascist.