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.