Way, way back in 2004-2007, one of my prime targets for my ire was George Gilder, the pretentious twit who was one of the founders of the Discovery Institute. He was such an easy target, so full of hot air and ignorance, that it was fun to take potshots at him as he bobbed about like a zeppelin that had lost its steering. Then he faded away into backrooms where he could babble nonsensically with no one around to criticize him, and I lost track (and interest) in what he’s been doing.
But he’s back now. He came out with a shiny new book a few years ago — sorry I’m late, I didn’t care enough to notice — and he has a new hobby horse. It’s blockchain of all things. Here’s an entertaining review by David Gerard.
Gilder predicts that the Google and Silicon Valley approach — big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, not charging users per transaction — is failing to scale, and will collapse under its own contradictions.
The Silicon Valley giants will be replaced by a world built around cryptocurrency, blockchains, sound money … and the obsolescence of philosophical materialism — the theory that thought and consciousness needs only physical reality. That last one turns out to be Gilder’s main point.
Right, that’s why he was promoting Intelligent Design creationism so assiduously. No surprise here.
But Gilder never quite makes his case that blockchains are the solutions to the problems he presents — he just presents the existence of blockchains, then talks as if they’ll obviously solve everything.
Blockchains promise Gilder comfort in certainty: “The new era will move beyond Markov chains of disconnected probabilistic states to blockchain hashes of history and futurity, trust and truth,” apparently.
Pure Gilder. He loves to talk. Unfortunately, much of what he talks about is his personal fantasy about how the world should work.
There are so many beliefs Gilder has that ought to make him a figure of contempt, but what I can’t figure out is why people pay any attention to him.
Gilder despises feminism, and has described himself as “America’s number-one antifeminist.” He has written two books — Sexual Suicide, updated as Men and Marriage, and Naked Nomads — on this topic alone.
Also, per Gilder, Native American culture collapsed because it’s “a corrupt and unsuccessful culture,” as is Black culture — and not because of, e.g., massive systemic racism.
Gilder believes the biological theory of evolution is wrong. He co-founded the Discovery Institute in 1990, as an offshoot of the Hudson Institute. The Discovery Institute started out with papers on economic issues, but rapidly pivoted to promoting “intelligent design” — the claim that all living creatures were designed by “a rational agent,” and not evolved through natural processes. It’s a fancy term for creationism.
Gilder insisted for years that the Discovery Institute’s promotion of intelligent design totally wasn’t religious — even as judges ruled that intelligent design in schools was promotion of religion. Unfortunately for Gilder, we have the smoking gun documents showing that the Discovery Institute was explicitly trying to push religion into schools — the leaked Wedge Strategy document literally says: “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”
Read the rest. It’s very thorough, and discusses Gilder’s ongoing machinations with people like Peter Thiel. Maybe I shouldn’t have let him drop off my radar, but my interest in him waned when his influence via the ID movement was discredited in the Dover trial. He’s been a cunning and influential little ratfucker since then, though!