Steven Pinker in the crosshairs

The social justice warriors in the Linguistic Society of America have come after Steven Pinker. Not a pretty sight. Not surprising because the LSA was one of the first academic groups to adopt cultural Marxism.

As we demonstrate below, Dr. Pinker’s behavior is systematically at odds with the LSA’s recently issued statement on racial justice, which argues that “listening to and respecting [the experience of students of color] is crucial, as is acknowledging and addressing rather than overlooking or denying the role of the discipline of linguistics in the reproduction of racism.” Instead, Dr. Pinker has a history of speaking over genuine grievances and downplaying injustices, frequently by misrepresenting facts, and at the exact moments when Black and Brown people are mobilizing against systemic racism and for crucial changes.

Though no doubt related, we set aside questions of Dr. Pinker’s tendency to move in the proximity of what The Guardian called a revival of “scientific racism”, his public support for David Brooks (who has been argued to be a proponent of “gender essentialism”), his expert testimonial in favor of Jeffrey Epstein (which Dr. Pinker now regrets), or his dubious past stances on rape and feminism. Nor are we concerned with Dr. Pinker’s academic contributions as a linguist, psychologist and cognitive scientist. Instead, we aim to show here Dr. Pinker as a public figure has a pattern of drowning out the voices of people suffering from racist and sexist violence, in particular in the immediate aftermath of violent acts and/or protests against the systems that created them.

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28 Responses to Steven Pinker in the crosshairs

  1. Ed Case

    It says at the expert testimonial link above that Steve Pinker’s name was on the flight log for Epstein’s Lolita Express back in 2002.
    Shouldn’t that be enough to at least force his resignation?

  2. Archivist

    You’ve forgotten to put the quote in blockquotes.

  3. Archivist

    It says at the expert testimonial link above that Steve Pinker’s name was on the flight log for Epstein’s Lolita Express back in 2002.

    Epstein flew a bunch of east-coast Harvard professors to a conference in California, and Pinker was one of those on board.
    Pinker talks about his ‘connection’ to Epstein here.

    I’m happy to share my encounters with Epstein.

    The annoying irony is that I could never stand the guy, never took research funding from him, and always tried to keep my distance. Friends and colleagues described him to me as a quantitative genius and a scientific sophisticate, and they invited me to salons and coffee klatches at which he held court. But I found him to be a kibitzer and a dilettante — he would abruptly change the subject ADD style, dismiss an observation with an adolescent wisecrack, and privilege his own intuitions over systematic data. I think the dislike was mutual—according to a friend, he “voted me off the island,” presumably because he was sick of me trying to keep the conversation on track and correcting him when he shot off his mouth on topics he knew nothing about. But Epstein had insinuated himself with so many people I intersected with (Alan Dershowitz, Martin Nowak, John Brockman, Steve Kosslyn, Lawrence Krauss) and so many institutions he helped fund (Harvard’s Program in Evolutionary Dynamics, ASU’s Origins Project, even Harvard Hillel) that I often ended up at the same place with him. (Most of these gatherings were prior to the revelation of his sex crimes, such as the 2002 plane trip to TED with Dawkins, Dennett, the Brockmans, and others, but Krauss’s Origins Project Meeting came after he served his sentence.) Since I was often the most recognizable person in the room, someone would snap a picture; some of them resurfaced this past week, circulated by people who disagree with me on various topics and apparently believe that the photos are effective arguments.

    In the interests of full disclosure, there was another connection. Alan Dershowitz and I are friends and colleagues, and we taught a course together at Harvard. He often asks me questions about syntax and semantics of laws, most recently the impeachment statute. While he was representing Epstein, he asked me about the natural interpretation of one of the relevant laws, and I offered my opinion; this was cited in a court document. I did it as a favor to a friend and colleague, not as a paid expert witness, but I now regret that I did so. And needless to say I find Epstein’s behavior reprehensible.

  4. Archivist

    Remember that document by James Damore, the google employee, who got fired for posting it on an internal message board?
    His document was pretty much a rehash of a 2002 Steven Pinker talk which you can watch and listen to here, in which Pinker explains the differences between men and women in the workplace, and why those differences will never be erased.

  5. exsteelworker

    Reading that gave me a headache, those idiots are going to be arguing disagreeing with each other every day of their lives. To pursue an academic career these days it seems you need to become a sheep so you can blend in with the herd….baaahhh.

  6. Archivist

    They want Pinker out because he’s the highest profile social scientist/linguist/psychologist alive. Yet he holds and advocates positions such as:

    – gender is an expression of sex
    – men and women have different distributions of cognitive ability
    – western civilisation is a good thing
    – social inequality is the result of increasing overall wealth

  7. Iampeter

    Dr. Pinker as a public figure has a pattern of drowning out the voices of people suffering from racist and sexist violence, in particular in the immediate aftermath of violent acts and/or protests against the systems that created them.

    So exactly like when the mob came for RA over the Folau sacking and boy was your position the exact opposite back then.
    You must be against LSA’s “freedom of faith and speech.”

  8. Tim Neilson

    Iampeter
    #3504664, posted on July 6, 2020 at 9:24 am

    Poor old conceited stupid ignorant Iamashiteater, once again displaying his utter inability to think except in cartoon like binary absolutist generalities.

    Even if the Folau issue had been about “racist and sexist violence” that wouldn’t in itself prove that it was somehow invalid to oppose Rugby Australia but support Pinker. People who are capable of thinking properly would first ask about the specifics of each case, and decide in the particular instance in question which side was in the right (or whether there were rights and wrongs on both sides). Competent thinkers wouldn’t start by attaching a label to the sides in each case and then just joining the cheer squad for a particular label.

    But in fact the Folau issue wasn’t about “racist or sexist violence” at all, so Iamashiteater’s conceited stupid ignorant projection of tribalism fails utterly.

  9. Iampeter

    But in fact the Folau issue wasn’t about “racist or sexist violence” at all, so Iamashiteater’s conceited stupid ignorant projection of tribalism fails utterly.

    No one said it was. You don’t even understand the post you’re responding to, let alone the issues that it is pertaining to.
    But don’t let this complete beclownment (as usual) stop you from continuing to rant about “thinking properly,” or whatever.

  10. Tim Neilson

    Iampeter
    #3504725, posted on July 6, 2020 at 10:28 am

    Poor old risible failure Iamashiteater. Once again he’s received a humiliating bottom spanking and he’s got zero facts or logic to respond with so he goes for his old fact and logic free “you don’t understand”.

    And once again, after the conceit stupidity and ignorance comes the fourth leg of the Iamashiteater quadrella, blatant dishonesty.

    Let’s re-roll the tape:
    Iampeter
    #3504664, posted on July 6, 2020 at 9:24 am
    Responding to Dr. Pinker as a public figure has a pattern of drowning out the voices of people suffering from racist and sexist violence, in particular in the immediate aftermath of violent acts and/or protests against the systems that created them., Iamashiteater goes for his stupid ignorant self-beclownment, expressly comparing that statement about “racist and sexist violence” with the Folau case.

    Then when he’s called out, he denies that his comparison is invalid, frantically trying to airbrush “racist and sexist violence” out of the thread.

    Poor old conceited stupid ignorant risible Iamashiteater.

  11. Archivist

    Pinker is professor of psychology at Harvard, and his books, an entertaining combination of popular science and rigorous analysis, have sold millions of copies.
    In linguistics, psychology, and pretty much all of social science actually, he’s the top dog.
    But he doesn’t hold the correct opinions.

  12. Infidel Tiger King

    Pinker is a lib, but that’s no reason to cancel the fuzzy haired fraud.

  13. Infidel Tiger King
    #3504777, posted on July 6, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Pinker is a lib, but that’s no reason to cancel the fuzzy haired fraud.

    True. He is one of those intellectuals who can’t accept that rough times need rough men.
    So while many of his colleagues get cancelled left right and centre, he goes on pod casts like Joe Rogan and denounces the very rough men required in times like these.

    Furthermore, cancel culture started in universities. The very establishments he had substantial influence over yet didn’t do enough or didn’t see what was coming and allowed it to happen.
    Now that the shit has hit the fan in a big way and rough men are required to clean up the mess, he continues to turn support away from these rough men by belittling them in front of sizeable audiences.

    No sympathy. Yes, a loss for intellectual rigor if he gets cancelled (I actually like listening to him and others like Haidt, Weinstein bros etc) but that’s what happens in culture wars. There are losses.

  14. Judge Dredd

    The same Steven Pinker who loved Epsteins company. I am sure he loved the company of those young girls too.
    Let the wicked eat the wicked. We have no obligation to help one enemy from the clutches of another enemy.

  15. Judge Dredd

    Oh, wouldn’t you know, Pinker is part of the same small-hatted tribe as Epstein, interesting connection.

  16. Kneel

    “…people are mobilizing against systemic racism…”

    Against something that doesn’t exist?

    If it was “systemic”, there would be either:
    1) rules that make it so
    2) culture that perpetuates it

    Yet, the rules explicitly oppose it and the vast majority of “institutions” also oppose it in “mission statements” and similar. Both loudly proclaimed at every opportunity, and anyone who doesn’t toe the “party” line is excommunicated and eviscerated.

    Where and how is it “systemic”?
    Not in the past, now?

    The only systemic racism I see is against white men and in favour of everyone else.
    For example, “Ab Study” gives Aboriginal people more than other study allowances, we have a Minister for Women but not for men, “believe all women” etc etc ad nauseum.

    We should insist on equality of opportunity for all and junk all this racists crap that “advantages” groups NOT based on circumstances but identity. That’s the real systemic racism. Want equality? Then deal with real equality here and now.

  17. Archivist

    Furthermore, cancel culture started in universities. The very establishments he had substantial influence over yet didn’t do enough or didn’t see what was coming and allowed it to happen.

    you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Pinker went in hard to defend Harvard president Lawrence H Summers, who got ‘cancelled’. Didn’t succeed, of course, but at least he went big and he went public. He was always against this stuff.
    The politicisation of the universities is not driven by academics, it’s being driven by university bureaucrats. Even top level academics can’t do much to hold back the tide.

  18. Rafe Champion

    Pinker went in hard to defend Harvard president Lawrence H Summers…

    How many have done that?

  19. Iampeter

    Furthermore, cancel culture started in universities.

    Nah, cancel culture started when conservatives came for rock music and D&D games because they were “satanic.” Technically it goes all the way back to the idea of “heretics” etc. Unsurprisingly it’s origins are Christian same as every other bad idea afflicting the West.
    In any case, cancel culture has now become a key issue for progressives.
    This is a direct inverse of anti-immigration and anti-trade positions, which started with the democrat voting unions, but have today become a key issue for conservatives.

    Conservatives and progressives = Blair’s law in action.

  20. Tim Neilson

    Technically it goes all the way back to the idea of “heretics” etc. Unsurprisingly it’s origins are Christian same as every other bad idea afflicting the West.

    This is exactly correct! That’s why in pre-Christian or non-Christian societies political or religious leaders never killed anyone for their ideas. Like Socrates… oh, wait…

  21. Lee

    Pray tell when D&D (which I actually played from when it was first introduced, as a teenage churchgoing conservative) and rock music were actually culturally cancelled?
    Sure, a small minority may have wished it so.

  22. Judge Dredd

    Unsurprisingly it’s origins are Christian same as every other bad idea afflicting the West.

    Like abortion, socialism, communism, mass immigration, LGBTQIP. Oops, they are all leftard, satanic atheist ideas.

  23. Pinker went in hard to defend Harvard president Lawrence H Summers, who got ‘cancelled’. Didn’t succeed, of course, but at least he went big and he went public. He was always against this stuff.

    Didn’t succeed right? So he didn’t do enough.
    Did he resign in protest? Did he use his influence to convince others that this will end very badly as history shows (and any “academic” should be aware of history)?
    When a hand full of screeching, pimply faced youngsters can get universities to change policy within days, no one is going to convince me that the “perfessers” did all they could but just didn’t succeed. The poor diddums didn’t have the power that a pimply faced 19 yr old screecher had.
    WHAT’S THE POINT OF BEING AN INTELLECTUAL IF YOU CAN’T CONVINCE OTHER INTELLECTUALS WHEN A FAT SHEILA WITH PURPLE HAIR CAN BY JUST STOMPING HER FEET?

    Recently Jonathan Haidt said he gets dozens of emails from other professors and lecturers who are terribly worried about what’s happening in universities. That means there are lots of these people, yet they can’t do anything? BULLSHEEEEEET.
    They are too comfy in their cozy positions and won’t risk fvckall to save a generation or two.

    I have no sympathy. I’m looking forward to hundreds of these piss weak bastards getting cancelled.

  24. Iampeter

    That’s why in pre-Christian or non-Christian societies political or religious leaders never killed anyone for their ideas. Like Socrates… oh, wait…

    No one said that. Once again you haven’t understood what you’re responding to but don’t see not knowing what you’re talking about as a show stopping problem to talking about it.

    Like abortion, socialism, communism, mass immigration, LGBTQIP. Oops, they are all leftard, satanic atheist ideas.

    What a muddled package deal, but we should expect no less from you I suppose.
    Abortion and mass immigration are both positive things and have nothing to do with socialism or communism which are indeed products of Christianity.
    Christianity is also the source of antisemitism as we know it but something tells me that’s not a problem for you…

  25. Iampeter

    I mean to say, abortion and mass immigration are both positives and supporting them are actually right wing positions.
    It’s different types of leftists that think the state can use individuals like cattle, or determine who gets to live where.

  26. Tim Neilson

    No one said that. Once again you haven’t understood what you’re responding to but don’t see not knowing what you’re talking about as a show stopping problem to talking about it.

    Poor old zero facts, zero logic Iamashiteater once again has zero response to the utter trouncing of his bullshit except his childish “you don’t understand but I’m not going to explain” falsehood.

  27. I mean to say, abortion and mass immigration are both positives and supporting them are actually right wing positions.

    Geezez.
    I’m convinced this idiot is a contrarian with the explicit aim of derailing the threads.
    Must admit, he’s not doing a bad job.

  28. Iampeter

    Geezez.
    I’m convinced this idiot is a contrarian with the explicit aim of derailing the threads.
    Must admit, he’s not doing a bad job.

    Then you would just be projecting, like the other dummies here, who actually derail every thread.

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