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Jordan Peterson

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Peterson rambling about lobsters and dragons
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You may say, 'Well, dragons don't exist'. It's, like, yes they do — the category predator and the category dragon are the same category. It absolutely exists. It's a superordinate category. It exists absolutely more than anything else. In fact, it really exists. What exists is not obvious. You say, 'Well, there's no such thing as witches.' Yeah, I know what you mean, but that isn't what you think when you go see a movie about them. You can't help but fall into these categories. There's no escape from them.
—Jordan Peterson making a clear, concise statement[1]

Jordan Bernt "Red Skull" Peterson (1962–) is a Canadian evolutionary biologist[note 1] neuroscientist[note 2] clinical psychologist and currently professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.[2] He has authored or coauthored more than 90 peer-reviewed articles on clinical psychology, social psychology, and personality theory.[note 3] However, Peterson is mostly known for his conservative views on religion, on trans issues, and on feminism, and for his incel- and MGTOW-heavy audience.[3] Although Peterson frequently makes morally questionable claims and engages in pseudoscience, his statements are notoriously incoherent, vague, jargon-laden, and ambiguous, which allows him to handwave criticism as mere misrepresentations of his babbling gibberish.[3][note 4]

He is, selectively, very passionate about freedom of speech and ignorant of clear violations of freedom of speech, depending on whether it's his friends involved or a "regressive leftist". He also doesn't like it when people use those precious treasured free speech powers to say mean things about him, and has threatened frivolous defamation lawsuits against some of them. His own "free speech" platform, Thinkspot, will hide downvoted comments in the name of free speech, and you will have to pay a subscription to get some of that sweet free speech.[4]

Peterson is not presently active in public life and won't be for the foreseeable future, as he recovers from benzodiazepine addiction.[5] Nevermind, he's back now...[6]


This is why Politics and the English LanguageWikipedia is still relevant today. If you can make sense of any of this, shame on you.

As of May 27, 2020, Peterson had over 2.7 million subscribers and 149 million views on YouTube,[7] 1.4 million followers on Twitter,[8] 0.88 million followers on Facebook,[9] and 1.4 million followers on Instagram.[10]

When Peterson's PatreonWikipedia earnings were last public on 21 October 2017, he had 6099 patrons and received $66,636.40 per month ($800k per year). If we assume his per-patron donations remained constant, then at his peak (9918 patrons), Peterson would receive an estimated $108k per month ($1.3m per year).[11][12] On 15 January 2019, Peterson closed his Patreon account to protest of Patreon's ban of Sargon of Akkad,[13] who had violated Patreon's guidelines against hate speech by insulting his alt-right critics with "faggot" and "nigger" in a bizarre attempt to turn the tables on them[14][15] and who had been mass-reported for this by right-wingers.[16][17] Peterson suggested forming a "free speech" Patreon alternative, possibly taking Bitcoins.[13] Given how other previous "free speech" experiments such as 8chan, PewTube, and Gab turned out, what can possibly go wrong?

On 13 January 2019, Peterson asserted that three million copies of his book 12 Rules for Life had been sold.[18] If we assume each book sold for its Amazon price of ~$15, and that Peterson was paid a (low) royalty rate of 8%, this implies that Peterson received $3.6 million for 12 Rules for Life.

Trans issues and rise to prominence[edit]

Bill C-16[edit]

jordan peterson would be like Target 1A for the anti-free speech cultural marxist thought police & thus far the full extent of their villainous persecution of him has been a letter telling him to knock it off

Peterson rose to popularity mainly due to his public opposition to the Canadian government's Bill C-16,[20] which added gender expression and gender identity to the list of protected groups in the Canadian Human Rights Act.[21][22][23] Peterson opposed the bill because he believes it mandates compelled speech and thus violates freedom of speech.[24] René J. Basque, head of the Canadian Bar Association, disagrees with this interpretation of the bill.[25]

At the Canadian Senate hearing of Bill C-16, Senator Ratna Omidvar asked Peterson how the bill's proponents could reconcile his objection to the bill and opposing gender-based discrimination. Peterson's response was:

I oppose discrimination against gender identity and gender expression, that's not the point. The point is the specifics of the legislation that surrounds it and the insistence that people have to use compelled speech. That's what I'm objecting to. I've dealt with all sorts of people in my life. People who don't fit in in all sorts of different ways. I'm not a discriminatory person...but I think this legislation is reprehensible and I do not believe for a moment that it will do what it intends to do.[26]

Brenda Cossman, professor of law at the University of Toronto, has said Jordan Peterson is "fundamentally mischaracterizing" Bill C-16. Cossman asserts that C-16 is "not about criminalizing pronoun misuse" but instead an extension of Canada's human rights laws to trans status.[27] When a video was shown of him refusing to adhere to the law's requirements, the dean of the University of Toronto personally reprimanded him, saying that his pledge not to use preferred pronouns revealed discriminatory intentions and that he was undermining his ability to conduct essential components of his job as a faculty member.[28]

Federal funding denial[edit]

In April 2017, Peterson's grant application for $399,625 over five years for his three graduate students' salary and tuition, payments for research subjects, and travel expenses was rejected by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Peterson alleged that this denial is in retaliation for his statements against Bill C-16: "I think that [the controversy about Bill C-16] provided someone with a convenient opportunity to make their displeasure with what I'm doing known." In 2012, when Peterson's grant was approved for the last time by SSHRC, it was for the largest amount ever awarded to a psychologist.[29] In response, Ezra Levant spearheaded an Indiegogo campaign to raise $73,325, the first year's worth of funding, within 30 days. The campaign reached its goal in one day.[30]

Reactionary fans[edit]

Given that his objections to C-16 resonate with many people, including transphobic individuals, it is unsurprising that a lot of Peterson's fans are reactionaries. Such fans like and support Peterson for his opposition stance to the bill but also due to his views on the psychological differences between men and women[31] (which the sexist reactionaries all love), sympathetic views towards conservative values,[32] being against "postmodernist neo-Marxism"[33][34] and for defending Christianity.[35][36][37] On more than one occasion, Peterson has retweeted fans of his who were discovered to be alt-right or neo-Nazis.[38][39][40][41] Peterson has lectured extensively, often speaking to conservatives, on the need to reject both far left and far right views and in particular on the need to dismantle political tribalism,[42] on the problems with the alt-right,[43] and on his claim that liberals and conservatives need each other.[44] Peterson once called MGTOWs "pathetic weasels",[45] though he later apologized.[46]

Peterson's comments and the reaction to them (which often labelled Peterson transphobic and sought his no platforming) sparked a controversy that earned him significant media coverage.[47] Additionally, Peterson is a self-described anti-Social Justice Warrior. In an interview with Joe Rogan, he congratulated himself for "monetizing SJW's", and brags that the more he is attacked by them, the more money he is given through Patreon.[48]

His popularity with the right has led him to be interviewed by a whole slew of notable anti-leftists, including Tara McCarthy,[49] Sargon of Akkad,[50] Stefan Molyneux,[51] Dave Rubin,[52] and Theryn Meyer.[53] Peterson has also appeared on the H3 Podcast.[54] Richard Spencer has said that he respects Peterson's work, and that they "share a lot of common ground and philosophical starting points."[55] Spencer was eventually disappointed by Peterson.[56]

Lindsay Shepherd censure[edit]

In November 2017, a brief clip featuring Peterson's views on gender-neutral pronouns during a classroom debate was used by Wilfrid Laurier University graduate student and teaching assistant Lindsay Shepherd in a seminar. This led her to be censured by the university for staying neutral and not "denouncing" Peterson's ideas, acting "transphobic" and creating a "toxic climate", while Peterson himself was compared to Hitler.[57][58] The university's actions were heavily criticized.[59][60][61] In light of this, the professor and administration both apologized for their actions.[61]

Social conservatism[edit]

Peterson wearing a trilby, ackshually
I don't see any regulating force for that, that terrible femininity. And it seems to be invading the culture and undermining the, the masculine power of the culture in a way that's, I think, fatal, I really do believe that.
—Jordan Peterson, femme fatale foe[62]

Peterson holds socially conservative views on sex, gender, and marriage. Peterson usually justifies these views by claiming that he's opposing Cultural Marxists, that they're essential to a shared Western narrative, or that he's just really worried about it, ok?

Women in the workplace[edit]

—Jordan Peterson, infant craver[63]

Peterson thinks the primary desire of professional women is to be mothers by age 30. Peterson has stated that "there is something that isn't quite right" with women who don't make having children their primary desire by age 30[64] and that women who don't have children are "isolated" and "miserable" in the latter half of their lives.[65]

Given his belief that women should be mothers, it makes sense that Peterson believes that current "gender antipathy" may be due to the birth control pill:[66]

There was no equality for women before the birth control pill. It's completely insane to assume that anything like that could've possibly occurred. And the feminists think they produced a revolution in the 1960s that freed women. What freed women was the pill, and we'll see how that works out. There's some evidence that women on the pill don't like masculine men because of changes in hormonal balance. You can test a woman's preference in men. You can show them pictures of men and change the jaw width, and what you find is that women who aren't on the pill like wide-jawed men when they're ovulating, and they like narrow-jawed men when they're not, and the narrow-jawed men are less aggressive. Well all women on the pill are as if they're not ovulating, so it's possible that a lot of the antipathy that exists right now between women and men exists because of the birth control pill. The idea that women were discriminated against across the course of history is appalling.

It'll be interesting to see what Peterson thinks of women who have PCOS (testosterone and estrogen imbalance) and have to be on the pill.

Of course, Peterson may not see a need for birth control pills because he appears to believe that men and women cannot work together. For example, in an interview with Vice News, Peterson JAQed off about whether men and women can work together in the workplace.[67] and asserted that women who don't want to be sexually harassed but wear makeup are "hypocritical".[68]

Marriage and divorce[edit]

—Jordan Peterson, not a marriage counselor[69]

Peterson likes strong marriages. In fact, Peterson describes marriage's benefits primarily in terms of mutual co-improvement — working on each other's flaws because neither partner can escape. This leads to worrying implications in terms of divorce:[70]

And it's the same thing when you're living together with someone. You know that people who live together before they get married are more likely to get divorced, not less likely. And the reason for that is: What exactly are you saying to one another when you live with each other? Just think about it. "Well, for now, you're better than anything else I can trick — but I'd like to reserve the right to trade you in, conveniently, if someone better happens to stumble into me." Well how could someone not be insulted to their core by an offer like that? Now they're willing to play along with it, because they're gonna do the same thing with you. Well that's exactly it. It's like "Yeah, yeah, I know you're not gonna commit to me, so that means you don't value me or our relationship above everything else, but as long as I get to escape if I need to, then I'm willing to put up with that." It's like — that's a hell of a th[ing] — I mean, you might think, "How stupid is it to shackle yourself to someone?" It's stupid, man, there's no doubt about that. But compared to the alternatives, it's pretty damn good. Because without that shackling, there are things you will never, ever learn, because you'll avoid them. You can always leave, and if you can leave you don't have to tell each other the truth. It's as simple as that, cuz you can just leave, and then you don't have anyone you can tell the truth to.

Of course, modern Western societies miraculously maintain the highest recorded divorce rates and lowest recorded marriage rates[71] at the same time as the lowest recorded crime rates[72] and highest recorded education rates.[73] Truly, we can only learn to be our best selves when "shackled" to someone for life.


That's part of the complexity of unregulated individual sexual behavior. It's like, well, when you say 'yes' do you fully say yes? Well, what do you mean 'fully say yes'? And what does it even mean to fully say yes?
—Jordan Peterson, consent understander[74]

Unsurprisingly, given his views on marriage, Peterson has a dated view on consent within (and without) marriages. Discussing the 2017 #MeToo wave of sexual assault allegations, Peterson offered the following insights:

Peterson: With all the accusations of sex assault emerging (eg Louis CK) we are going to soon remember why sex was traditionally enshrined in marriage...[75]

Mae: Wait...what does consensual sex outside marriage have to do with sexual harassment? They are not even linked.[76]

Peterson: How, precisely, exactly, do you know when there is consent? Does it need to occur at each step (as it now does in Canada)? What, precisely, is a step?[77]

Peterson: With all the accusations of sex assault emerging (eg Louis CK) we are going to soon remember why sex was traditionally enshrined in marriage...[78]

balls2thewall: He is alluding to the fact of when you continue to stretch the boundaries of what the original intent of sex was in terms of the foundation of western culture. In this case Christianity; where sex was meant for the confines of marriage as a gift from God.[79]

Mae: 'The original intent of sex'? Based on primitive standards that don't apply to modern society? There is literally no difference between consensual sex in a marriage and outside one.[80]

Peterson: Except for the marriage part.[81]

Peterson doesn't quite justify marital rape. Quite. And for those outside of marriage, Peterson maintains "we have no idea" how to reduce rapes:[82]

Vice Interviewer: women get raped quite a bit in colleges. Do you feel like that's a problem?

Peterson: I don't think that that's a very good way of stating the problem.

Vice Interviewer: I don't know how to more clearly state the problem, which is that women get raped in college.

Peterson: The problem is that sexual behavior in young people is complex and dysregulated and often fueled by alcohol. And so all sorts of things happen that people regret and don't like. And we have no idea what to do about it.

It's worth noting that Peterson has been accused of sexual assault three (!) times, by his own admission:[83]

I've been warned innumerable times not to have a discussion with a student, male or female, but it's the females that are of concern to this particular rule, with the door closed and that's that's not like six months ago, that's not like 3 months ago, that's like advice from the last 50 years. I don't listen to that because I think, 'Sorry, I'm not living that way.' But these things are tense, they're tense, and we won't talk about them intelligently and maturely. You know, I've also been accused three times in my career of sexual impropriety, baseless accusations, and the last one really tangled me up for a whole year, it's not entertaining. So there's plenty to be sorted out, but like I said already, we live in the delusion of a 13 year old adolescent girl, so as long as we maintain that level of sophistication, we're not gonna have a real conversation about what rules should govern men and women in the workplace, so you can't even open the damn discussion without being jumped on by, uh, you know, an array of, like, rabid harpies.

We're certainly glad that Peterson wasn't entertained by his sexual assault allegations.

Violence and women[edit]

Peterson has claimed that men can't control "crazy women" because using physical violence against women is socially unacceptable:[84][62][85]

[H]ere's the problem, I know how to stand up to a man who's, who's, uh, unfairly trespassing against me, and the reason I know that is because the parameters for my resistance are quite well-defined, which is: we talk, we argue, we push, and then it becomes physical. Right? Like, if we move beyond the boundaries of civil discourse, we know what the next step is. Okay, that's forbidden in, in discourse with women, and so I don't think that men can control crazy women. I — I really don't believe it. I think that they have to throw their hands up in, in, in, in what?, in, in, it's not even disbelief, it's the cultural — there's no step forward that you can take under those circumstances because if the man is offensive enough and crazy enough, the, the reaction becomes physical right away, or at least the threat is there.

He also believes that feminists don't speak out against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia due to an "unconscious wish for brutal male domination".[86] Apparently, feminists in the West so urgently desire male domination that they have made violence against women socially unacceptable. Right. Also, he doesn't seem to realize that third-wave feminism is a thing, and feminists have spoken very much against human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia by creating awareness of such things in the first place. He can easily do a Google search of feminists that work in Saudi Arabia and discover that some were arrested for their jobs.[87]

Systemic barrier denier[edit]

The idea that women were oppressed throughout history is an appalling theory.
—Jordan Peterson, history understander[88]

Peterson also believes that women aren't systemically held back. He states that it's wrong to ask why women are underrepresented in the C-suite compared to asking why men dominate that field. According to him, men dominate the field, despite more women graduating from university, because he thinks men, in general, are more obsessed with their career and are willing to work harder, all according to stereotype.[89] From his interview with Cathy Newman, however, his claim underlies the thought that men seem to have more capacity and willingness to enter an extremely competitive field, at men's partial expense. At the same time, women are more involved in seeking a higher quality of life than devoting their life to such a draining career. This argument is rather simplistic and does not contradict the factor of entrenched gender roles and propagates stereotypes of men and women.

Would you suggest that trying to give a bigger voice to minorities and to women who feel they have been systemically held back...
First, I don't think there is any evidence that women are systemically held back. Not in the West. I think we're past that by a decade.

Except that we have many more women than men graduating from every level of university and yet they rarely get to the C-suit or the boards. What is going on there?
I know exactly what's going on there. If you want to occupy the C-suit or the top 1% in any organization, you have to be obsessively devoted to your career at the expense of everything else. And women look at that and they think, No.[sic] So you actually have to reverse that the question. The question isn't why aren't there more women in the C-suite. The question is, Why[sic] are there any men? Because it's the men who are willing to be obsessive about their careers and work 80 hours a week nonstop and hyperefficiently. The hyper-productivity of a minority characterized the domain where there's creative production. And almost all of the hyperproductive people are men.

Heroine hater[edit]

Peterson notoriously criticized the Disney animated film Frozen as being "reprehensible propaganda" for challenging traditional gender roles, being absolutely disgusted at the idea that a woman does not require men to succeed.[90] In 2017, he wrote:[91]

Frozen served a political purpose: to demonstrate that a woman did not need a man to be successful. Anything written to serve a political purpose (rather than to explore and create) is propaganda, not art.[note 5]

Frozen was propaganda, pure and simple. Beauty and the Beast (the animated version) was not.

An academic review of his first book, Maps of Meaning noted Peterson's uncritical interpretation of a Jungian (and explicitly patriarchal) mythological framework, which portrays men through the archetypes like "the Hero" or the "Great Father" but portrays women as passive damsels in distress or through the archetype of the "Great and Terrible Mother". As the book does speak of heroines or the archetype of the "Terrible Father", this was seen as a double standard. Professor Maxine Sheets-Johnstone writes:[92]

It is notable, furthermore, that while there is a Great and Terrible Mother, there is only a Great Father, even though this Great Father is tyrannical in the extreme as well as orderly, i.e., even though he, like Great Mother, has a powerful negative as well as powerful positive side. Why his negative side is not so designated in his label is peculiar—Terrible Father appears only once (p. 379). The lack of balance is particularly striking—and troubling—in light of the fact that men make war, men make concentration camps, men make prison camps, men dismember men, men rape women, and so on, and so on. Although Peterson chronicles the horrors of concentration and prison camps at length, recounting experiences described by Frankl at Auschwitz and by Solzhenitsyn at the Gulag Archipelago; although he specifically states that "Man can torture his brother and dance on his grave," that "Man exults in agony, delights in pain, worships destruction and pathology,... and constantly works to lay waste, to undermine, to destroy, to torment, to abuse and devour," that "Man chooses evil, for the sake of the evil," and that Man tortures and exults and chooses as he does out of "slavish adherence to the forces of socialization" (p. 347); although Peterson chronicles all these horrors and designates "Man" as their author, he does not seem to realize that it is specifically, universally, and virtually only males in "the society of men" who make war, who "torture," "massacre," butcher," "rape," "devour," and so on (p. 347). In short, that Peterson draws our attention to the horrors of "Man," all the while not questioning the patriarchal system itself in which Man's brutalities take place is an astonishing and puzzling omission, all the more so in light of his desire to discover the "human motivation for evil" (p. 460) and the way in which we humans might recognize "our infinite capacity for good" (p. 456); all the more so too in light of the absolute and central binary opposition he draws between male and female throughout.

Porn and sex ed opponent[edit]

Intelligence and semen quality: listen up, girls....
—Jordan Peterson on Twitter[93]

Jordan Peterson has spoken out against pornography, labelling it an "untrammeled social evil" even though by his own admission its introduction has been linked with a decrease in violent rape,[94] and suggested that people should not masturbate to pornography because it is not a "noble pursuit".[95]

Jordan Peterson opposed a proposed sex education program in Ontario, claiming that a social constructionist view of gender identity was being "foisted on children"[96] and that it is "a form of indoctrination"[97] being pushed by radical leftists.

Additionally, Peterson has criticized casual sex, claiming that it "is simply not commensurate with the demands of an advanced civilization".[98] He has even JAQed off about whether casual sex could "necessitate state tyranny", claiming that "The missing responsibility has to be enforced somehow".[99] There's also this lovely broadside against a writer for The Atlantic:[100]

Bolick, with too many ex-boyfriends to count, is still unmarried at 39. Eleven years ago, however, she ended a long-term relationship with Allan, who is exceptional, intelligent, good-looking, loyal, and kind. Something was missing, Bolick says. Had she asked me, I would have said 'not enough testosterone'. Perhaps it's time for her to find a tame, lower status boy and make an honest man out of him.

As Peterson's vocal pitch suggests, he possesses a sizable testosterone reservoir himself.

Gay marriage opponent[edit]

Peterson has made statements on gay marriage that offer conditional support instead of fully welcoming it. He responded to a question stating that he would be against legalizing gay marriage if it was backed by "cultural Marxists" and that he's concerned about their "assault on traditional modes of being." He also states, "If the marital vows are taken's a means whereby gay people could be integrated more thoroughly into standard society and that's probably a good thing." Finally, he states, "Those are my views. I know they're confused...because I'm in favor of extending the bounds of traditional relationships to people who wouldn't be involved in a traditional longer term relationship but I'm concerned about the undermining of traditional modes of being..."[101]

Ignoring real threats to academic freedom[edit]

While Peterson claims to be inspired by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's political opposition to authoritarianism and refers to his own stance against enforced pronoun use as based on Solzhenitsyn's positions on the importance of students and Universities in safeguarding freedom,[102] he doesn't seem to be opposed to any contemporary threats to academic freedom of speech outside of trans rights.

As well as the frivolous lawsuits he threatened against a few critics, another example of Peterson mainly using free speech for self interest while lacking any knowledge of (or doesn't care for if the subjects are things he doesn't like) contemporary political events was especially on display when, while on a book tour in Hungary, Peterson met with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who had already carried out an extended anti-semitic campaign to diminish Hungary's role in the Holocaust and demonize Jewish groups opposed to his authoritarianism,[103] censoring any gender studies in Hungarian Universities[104] as well as actually shutting down a University perceived to be critical of his policies using anti-semitic tropes and explicit Soros-themed conspiracies.[105] While Peterson in the past appeared to have called Orbán an "authoritarian" and "dictator wannabe," the two positively discussed political correctness as a real threat according to Hungarian media[106] which Peterson never contradicted or clarified when requested or since.[107] Shortly after, while he didn't explicitly praise Orbán in an interview with Magyar Nemzet, Peterson characterized contemporary society as lacking a religious/metaphysical foundation and said that Orbán was attempting to provide that foundation in Hungary.[108][109] Shortly after that, Orbán shut down the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.[110]

Religion is concerned with what is most valuable. Some could say this has no metaphysical basis. But how do they know for sure? We don't know where our conscience comes from, we have no idea why is there a constant battle between good and bad in people's souls, and we really don't know how this reflects the inner reality of our world... I know that one of the things your PM [Orbán] is trying to do is reinstitute the metaphysical foundations of Hungarian culture. He might be lucky and succeed.[111] [112]

Following Orbán's demonization of immigrants as a means of gaining electoral success, Peterson also took the time to suggest that Islam was incompatible with democracy in the most ignorant way possible.

MN: The biggest difference (in attitudes) is regarding immigration, multiculturalism and the acceptance of muslim minorities. What do you think about these issues?

JBP:For me it is not clear that Islam is compatible with democracy. We have no proof of it to be compatible. Most of muslim countries are stragglers on the lists compiled by independent international organizations when it comes to freedom and corruption. The issue of women's rights is also frightening in these states. I couldn't name a successful, independent Muslim democracy. So there is a fundamental problem that I won't go into now. I'm not trying to be antagonistic towards muslims. I wish all the best to muslim culture, but they have severe and manifold problems that they need to tackle, and the right approach is not avoiding talking about it.[113] [114]


Peterson does not like postmodernism, judging from the very reasonable number of videos he has produced on the subject.[115][116][117][118][119][120][121][122][123][124][125][126][127][128][129][130][131][132] (In his book, Peterson praises Heidegger, who is sometimes described as the first postmodernist philosopher, which would therefore be ironic, sometimes.[133])

Peterson believes that postmodernism is a severe threat to academic life. In this regard, he shares company with some generally more reasonable figures like Richard Dawkins, who criticized the influence of postmodernism in academia in 1998,[134] and Steven Pinker, who considers it as part of an anti-intellectual trend, claiming that "the humanities have yet to recover from the disaster of postmodernism, with its defiant obscurantism, dogmatic relativism, and suffocating political correctness".[135][136]

In contrast, other criticism of postmodernismWikipedia tends to focus on its obscurity, rather than its omnipresence. For example, Noam Chomsky writes with frustration about the impregnability of the works of the French School of postmodernism:

...I'm just incapable of understanding...There are lots of things I don't understand – say, the latest debates over whether neutrinos have mass or the way that Fermat's last theorem was...proven recently. But from 50 years in this game, I have learned two things: (1) I can ask friends who work in these areas to explain it to me at a level that I can understand, and they can do so, without particular difficulty; (2) if I'm interested, I can proceed to learn more so that I will come to understand it. Now Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, Kristeva, etc. – even Foucault, whom I knew and liked, and who was somewhat different from the rest – write things that I also don't understand, but (1) and (2) don't hold: no one who says they do understand can explain it to me and I haven't a clue as to how to proceed to overcome my failures. That leaves one of two possibilities: (a) some new advance in intellectual life has been made, perhaps some sudden genetic mutation, which has created a form of "theory" that is beyond quantum theory, topology, etc., in depth and profundity; or (b) ... I won't spell it out."[137]

Peterson maintains that the majority of the social sciences and humanities have been "corrupted" by postmodern ideology and thinks specific more recent disciplines should never have existed in the first place:

So, as I said already, women's studies, and all the ethnic studies and racial studies groups, man, those things have to go and the faster they go the better. It would have been better had they never been part of the university to begin with as far as I can tell. Sociology, that's corrupt. Anthropology, that's corrupt. English literature, that's corrupt. Maybe the worse offenders are the faculties of education.[138]

To combat this corruption, Peterson proposed creating a "postmodern lexicon detector”, which would allow students and parents to scan potential university courses and avoid the ones that are allegedly "ideological." Facing heavy criticism, he has since retracted this idea.[139] His means of surveying the entirety of the social sciences and humanities to determine their corruption – including anthropology, archaeology, history, geography, political science, sociology, classics, English, comparative literature, music, visual arts, religious studies, and law – remains unknown.

Peterson has associated postmodernism with the conspiracy theory of Cultural Marxism. Peterson has produced multiple videos on Cultural Marxism, which he views as a threat to western civilization. Peterson supports the political repression of supposed Cultural Marxists – he accused professors at the Ontario Institute for the Studies of Education of being a "fifth column" for supposedly promoting Marxism, and stated that Institute educators "should be put on trial for treason."[140] This is even though Peterson was, by his own admission, a "socialist" in his youth.[141]


Spend half an hour on his website, sit through a few of his interminable videos, and you realize that what he has going for him, the niche he has found — he never seems to say "know" where he could instead say "cognizant of" — is that Jordan Peterson is the stupid man's smart person.

Peterson presents himself as a defender of science and criticizes poor methodology in fields like sociology. However, Peterson often makes non-scientific speculation and offers unfalsifiable opinions.

Molecule-reading shamans and other DNA woo[edit]

After reading The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of KnowledgeWikipedia by Jeremy Narby (a book that hypothesizes that shamans may be able to access information at the molecular level through the ingestion of ayahuasca), Peterson came to believe that the double helix structure of the DNA molecule was being represented in the twin-snake motifs in ancient Egyptian, Chinese[143] and Hindu art[144] as well as in the symbol of the caduceus from ancient Greek mythology (which he mistakenly equated with the rod of Asclepius[145]). Peterson's claims are not accepted by mainstream archaeologists; indeed, Peterson utterly fails to present a method through which humans could possess knowledge about molecular processes (on the other hand, humans can observe real live snakes mating, which would explain the inspiration of these images).[note 6] When confronted about it, Peterson speculated that people might be able to have mysterious unexplained perceptions under certain conditions.[146] If you want to enjoy the absurdity at length:[143][147]

This is from China. So this is Fuxi and Nuwa, I think I got that right…But I just love that representation…It is so insanely cool this representation! So you see the sort of…the primary mother and father of humanity emerging from this underlying snake-like entity with its tails tangled together. I think that is a repres…I really do believe that this, although it is very complicated to explain why. I really believe that is a representation of DNA, so…and that representation, that entwined double helix, that is everywhere…you can see it in Australian aboriginal arts and I am using the Australians as an example because they were isolated in Australia for like 50 000 years. They are the most archaic people that were ever discovered and they have clear representations of these double helix structures in their art, so…and those are the two giant serpents out of which the world is made, roughly speaking. It is the same thing you see in the staff of Asclepius, which is the healing symbol that physicians use although that is usually only one snake but sometimes it is two. So that is a Chinese representation and then there is this.

Peterson also stated in a lecture that the theory of evolution's reliance on copying errors to produce mutations is where the theory is "weak"[148]. In the same lecture, he stated that he thinks that "DNA is a very, very complex microcomputer...maybe it's a quantum computer"[149]. This claim is an old creationist canard and is considered by actual biologists to misrepresent how it actually works.[150]

Quantum woo[edit]

Jordan Peterson has also dabbled in quantum mysticism. For example, in a debate with philosopher Ronald de SousaWikipedia, Peterson displayed both a tenuous grasp of quantum theory (which one might expect from a social scientist) and a willingness to knit buzzwords foreign to his subject into the fabric of an academic presentation (which one would not). In particular, Peterson claimed that quantum physics affirms his spiritual view of the world:

Now you may know that there's an interpretation in quantum physics, for example, called the Copenhagen interpretation, and not everybody agrees with it, but according to the Copenhagen interpretation no event is an actualized event until it's perceived. And the person who formulated that hypothesis, John Wheeler[note 7], is one of the most renowned physicists of the 20th century and he believed, before he died, quite firmly that whatever consciousness is played an integral role in Being. Now it seems to me after studying this for a very long period of time that the entirety of Western civilization is predicated on the idea that there's something divine about individual consciousness and after studying that for such a lengthy period of time and trying to figure out what it meant, I think I found out what it meant. I think I found out that the reason that our archaic stories say that human beings, men and women, are made in the image of God is because consciousness plays a central role in Being itself. Modern people think the world is somehow simply made out of objects and then they look at the world and then they think about the world and then they evaluate it and then they act, but let me tell you as a neuroscientist [...] that is wrong. There's no debate about it, it's just wrong. [...] The facts of the matter seem to be something more like this: the world is actually made of potential, and that potential is actualized by consciousness.[151]

Quantum mechanics is only useful for explaining the mechanics of the universe at atomic or subatomic levels. As such, it cannot help Peterson explain literally anything about their field.

Misunderstanding myths[edit]

The story of Adam and Eve represents the fruit as producing a psychological transformation. So the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is an abstraction across trees, and it's trying to say: "Here's something that's common across trees, it's a fruit that's common across trees. The fruit that's common across trees is something that you might call food, fair enough. But here's something that's even more cool; food that's stable across the entire domain of food, isn't food, it's information. We use the same bloody circuits in our brain to forage for information that animals use to forage for information. Why is that? Because we figured out knowing where the food is, is more important than having the food. ... That's why we're information foragers.[152]

In attempting to co-ordinate various mythologies, using Carl Jung's "Archetype" psychological theory into a common narrative, Peterson runs the risk of baseless syncretism, especially as his primary concern is Christianity. For example, when describing Buddhist concepts in Maps of Meaning: the Architecture of Belief[153], he describes nirvana as "perfection". He equates it with the Christian idea of heaven to draw parallels between the two belief systems.[citation needed] Some claim this reflects a common misconception of Buddhist concepts but could be a problem of interpretation and conflicting theology.[154][155][156]

Global warming[edit]

He's casually called a "climate change denier," for example, which is an appallingly treacherous term of criticism, used to denigrate someone personally by associating them with Holocaust deniers. The ethics of anyone who employs it should be instantly questioned.
—Jordan Peterson[157]
The "unlikely" part makes it thoroughly reassuring. So it'll only cost my right to teach (as opposed to biology denier Dr. Nicholas Matte).
—Also Jordan Peterson[158]
Human emissions of carbon dioxide have saved life on Earth from inevitable starvation & extinction due to CO2 [sic]
—Jordan Peterson, quoting, without properly putting quotes or at least specifying it's a quote, from a denialist article[159]

Peterson retweeted global warming deniers including Anthony Watts,[160][161][162] Bjorn Lomborg,[163] Richard Lindzen, [164] and the Daily Mail.[165] Peterson claims that his retweets aren't endorsements, but it is irresponsible for him to share climate change denial links without critical examination or without critical commentary (climate change denial is complete rank pseudoscience), especially when his conservative audience is highly receptive to climate change denial. Even if his retweets aren't necessarily promoting pseudoscience, Peterson's regular tweets downplay global warming, consistent with his retweets. For example, one of his tweets links to a blog called "NoTricksZone" (a reference to the "trick" word in Climategate): "So it turns out that it was scientists who were sensitive to atmospheric CO2 level increases?"[166]. On occasion, he supports the "global cooling"[162][167] as well as the "carbon-dioxide-is-good-for-plants" talking points.[157] This kind of self-contradicting vagueness that results from his denying that retweets are endorsements yet the regular tweeting's suggesting endorsements is another example of the obtuse manner Peterson presents his views.

Drugs and the supernatural[edit]

In a conversation with atheist Matt Dillahunty that discussed religion and magic mushrooms, Peterson claimed that one cannot quit smoking without divine help and implied that mystical experiences may point to (but are not direct evidence of) the existence of God. A transcript of the conversation in question is provided: [168]

Dillahunty: We have no confirming that this something mystical or supernatural actually can — happened, this this is this is about the language —
Peterson: Stops people from smoking.
Dillahunty: Well, you can stop smoking without any sort of supernatural intervention.
Peterson: No, not really.
Dillahunty: You can't stop smoking without supernatural —
Peterson: There aren't really any, any reliable chemical means for inducing smoking cessation. You can use a drug called Bupropion, I think that's the one, whatever Wellbutrin is, um —
Dillahunty: Is that supernatural?
Peterson: No, you don't need a supernatural effect, but it doesn't work very well, but if you give people magic mushrooms, psilocybin, and they have a mystical experience, they have about an 85 percent chance of smoking cessation.
Dillahunty: Sure, but —
Peterson: With one treatment. Yeah, but that's kinda like evidence, you know.
Dillahunty: Sure —
Peterson: It's kinda like evidence.
Dillahunty: It's evidence that you can take mushrooms and increase your chance of quitting smoking.
Peterson: No it's not, it's indication that if you take mushrooms, and you have a mystical experience, you'll stop smoking. Because it doesn't work if you don't have the experience.
Dillahunty: Okay, if you take the mushrooms, and you have an experience that you describe as mystical, um, then you'll decrease your chances of smoking. But that doesn't tell me that there's something to this notion that they had an experience that was supernatural in any sense.
Peterson: Well, it's not definitive evidence, but —
Dillahunty: It's not evidence at all!
Peterson: Oh sure it is! Wait a second, wait a second, that's wrong, it is evidence!
Dillahunty: No. He's right. He's right. I will concede that.
Peterson: So, because, look, you want to think this through skeptically, okay, you have a pharmacological substance, psilocybin, and you give it to people who are trying to commit — to quit smoking, the psilocybin doesn't directly have an impact on the smoking behavior, it has to elicit what's described subjectively as a mystical experience, and you can get physiological indicators of that mystical experience, and you might say that's not enough to prove that it's a mystical experience, but you know, you're conscious, and I accept that, it's like you accept all sorts of things without being able to demonstrate their, their validity on every possible objective, um, with every possible objective criteria, so don't get into too much of a hurry, it's a serious issue, if you give people psilocybin for example, and they have a mystical experience, not only are they much more likely to quit smoking, which is really something, but they're also much less likely to death anxiety if they have cancer, like, that's quite the thing, and not only that, if you test them a year later and they've had a mystical experience, which the majority of them regard as the most significant one or two three, one two or three experiences of their life, including such things as getting married, their personalities are permanently altered in the direction in the direction of more openness to experience and more creativity by a standard deviation, like that's walloping effects, so we can't get too much in a hurry about dispensing with all that.
Dillahunty: So, skepticism, as I repeatedly point out on the show, is not about cynicism, it's not about debunking, and I'm not saying that there is no supernatural and that there is no mystical experience. What I'm saying is, the thing that people subjectively describe as "I had an incredibly impactful mystical experience," whether it comes from taking a pharmaceutical, or whether it comes from attending a revival church service, or hearing a particular preacher, whether it comes from having a particularly impressive sexual experience, all of those things, that is the subjective description of that, which may be because of limitations in language, that they don't have any other — this is the language that infuses culture, so that we have to use that to describe it but that doesn't in any way serve to confirm that there is any sort of supernatural realm or any sort of supernatural actor.
Peterson: Well it depends on how you define supernatural. Like, look, I get your point. And I'm not saying that the phenomena of psilocybin intoxication is direct proof for the existence of God.

The study Peterson referenced had a sample size of 12 people.[citation needed] However, it is common when testing dangerous drugs to limit sample size -- for example, Wollenweider et al. 1998's examination of schizophrenia and psilocybin had just 15 people.[169]

Meat only diet[edit]

I eat beef and salt and water. That’s it. And I never cheat. Ever. Not even a little bit.
—Jordan Peterson in 2018[170]
You too can be featured in a bootleg book cover (created not by you, but some incompetent fanboy) as inexplicably smaller, poorly cropped, and suffering from poor camera exposure from pursuing a meat-only diet.

In 2016, Peterson embraced a heavy meat diet mixed with green vegetables.[171][172] In 2018, he cut out the greens and now only eats meat.[173]

Peterson's daughter Mikhaila is a proponent of the pseudoscientific meat only diet, and Peterson has claimed benefits from it. On this diet, they eat only beef, salt and drink water, even omitting medication.[174][175] Medical experts condemn the diet (as well as stopping medication) as dangerous. It lacks critical nutrients, which could have devastating health effects.[170][176][177] There are also adverse ecological effects as harvesting beef requires mammoth resources.

Peterson claims the diet has eliminated the symptoms of "His lifelong depression, anxiety, gastric reflux (and associated snoring), inability to wake up in the mornings, psoriasis, gingivitis, floaters in his right eye, numbness on the sides of his legs, problems with mood regulation."[174] There is no scientific evidence for these claims. In 2021, Peterson revealed that he is still unhappy [178].

He also has stated that after adopting the diet, his body is more susceptible to changes. For example, merely deviating by drinking some apple cider "produced an overwhelming sense of impending doom", possibly caused an inflammatory response, and deprived him of sleep for 25 consecutive days[note 8]. Asked how this is possible, he replied, "I'll tell you how it's possible: You lay in bed frozen in something approximating terror for eight hours. And then you get up."

Poor guy.

When Jordan was directly asked if he would recommend the diet, he said no despite having fans that contacted Jordan, claiming that following Mikhaila's diet made them lose weight.[179]

Lobsters and hierarchy[edit]

Peterson is at his murkiest when he is talking about nature. Half the time he seems to be committing the naturalistic fallacy: he'll describe tendencies that exist, and imply that these things are therefore good. So he'll talk about dominance hierarchies among lobsters, and exhort young men to "Look for your inspiration to the victorious lobster." Of course, the animal kingdom is also a place of mutual aidWikipedia, and for a man to emulate a lobster is like a woman treating the existence of the praying mantis as a license to eat her husband.
Current Affairs[3]

In January 2018, during an interview with British journalist Cathy Newman to promote his self-help book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Peterson argued that hierarchies are not a social construct, but biological to some extent. To prove his point, Peterson infamously compared humans' tendency to form social hierarchies to lobsters, which occasionally display hierarchical behaviour. [180][181][182] Unsurprisingly, actual marine biologists called bullshit on Peterson, "No biologist would argue with Peterson that dominance hierarchies have probably existed for a long time, but it's also true that plenty of animals live together without the need to assert dominance over one another." [183]

Jungian psychology[edit]

Collective unconscious[edit]

Peterson uses speculative Jungian constructs such as mythical archetypes[184] and the "collective unconsciousWikipedia" in his books and lectures. The "collective consciousness" asserts that all humans have an "unconscious mind" which is derived from ancestral memory that is common to all humankind.[citation needed] The idea of the unconscious mind is one of the oldest ideas in the field of psychology and is still generally in use.[185] For example, Jung's view on mythology holds that similarities in myths and narratives across cultures and "strongly points to an underlying commonality of structure and purpose" — i.e., that all mythologies come from a shared subconscious experience.[186]


Carl Jung also developed the principle of "synchronicity", which purports that apparently meaningful coincidences may have a deeper psychological interpretation even when there is no apparent causal link. Jung proposed synchronicity has a possible connection with alleged ESP phenomena, and it is often misidentified as paranormal pseudoscience. In Jungian theory, astrology, the I Ching, and paranormal events are all products of synchronicity. It is the causal psychological principle from which they originate.[187] [188][189]

As a Jungian, Peterson has repeatedly cited synchronicity to explain coincidences that he notices,[190][191] including the apparent likeness between Pepe the Frog and Kek, the Frog-headed ancient Egyptian deity.[192][193] While it's unclear if this was in jest, Peterson has made a few other paranormal claims (see above section on "molecule-reading shamans").


Peterson explaining that atheism causes hair loss
[Question:] Why do you not explicitly endorse Christianity?
[Answer:] Because it's more powerful to endorse it implicitly :)[194]

Peterson presents himself as a Cultural Christian who believes that atheism leads to meaningless societies. For example, in a 2011 debate with various atheists, Peterson argued that Stalin's atheism and alleged pessimistic outlook motivated his mass-murders:[195][196]

Peterson: No, he [Stalin] was killing people because, as a rational man, his conclusion [was] that life was so unbearable that it should be wiped out. Uh, you know, you guys who –

Robert Buckman: Jordan, [incomprehensible] he was a rational man?

Peterson: Hang on a second! You know, you guys are into, you know, rational thinking, forget all the time[s] that – rational thinking can go in a variety of directions. It depends on your initial presuppositions. If you believe that life is worth living – which, by the way, under some conditions, is highly debatable – you're gonna come up with a pretty optimistic conclusion. But if you've looked at life and you think that the suffering of most people is unbearable and life is evil, which is what Stalin thought, you have no problems whatsoever mobilizing everything you can to kill as many people as you can. And if you don't have any faith, like any faith, in an ultimate authority that says, essentially, that life is sacred, what's to stop you from stopping that? The fact that you have good –

Buckman: It's called morality.

Peterson: Yeah, where does that come from?

Buckman: Well, Stalin and I differed in terms of morality.

In 2013, Peterson supported presuppositionalism:[note 9]

Proof itself, of any sort, is impossible, without an axiom (as Godel proved[note 10]). Thus faith in God is a prerequisite for all proof.[197]

To say "I believe in God" is equivalent, in some sense, to say "my thought is ultimately coherent, but predicated on an axiom (as my thought is also incomplete, so I must take something on faith)."

To say "I don't believe in God" is therefore to say "no axiom outside my thought is necessary" or "the necessary axiom outside my thought is not real." The consequence of this statement is that God himself unravels, then the state unravels, then the family unravels, and then the self itself unravels.

To stem this unraveling with false certainty: that is totalitarianism. To speed it along is nihilism. We experimented with totalitarianism in the twentieth century, as alternative to the ultimate axiom of faith in the unknowable and unspeakable. Totalitarianism failed. Now we will have to experiment to [sic] nihilism. This experiment, led by the resentful, will also fail and it is as doubtful that we can survive it as it was that we could survive totalitarianism.[198]

In 2013, among his 32 answers to the question, "If you could write a rule book for being a man, what 'man law' would you write," Peterson included the following dictates:

3: Keep the sacred fire burning.

9: Offer your sons up as a sacrifice to God.

12: Consult the ancestral spirits.

16: Make a worthy temple for the Lord.

27: Bring heaven to earth.

28: Take on the sins of the world.[199]

In 2016, Peterson supported a link between atheism and the decline of meaningful lives:

I have lectured and written for the last thirty years, working on ideas originally laid out by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky. In the late 1800's, these two thinkers began to contend with the "death of God" — the disruption of traditional religious and cultural belief by rationality and science. If God dies, Dostoevsky said, "everything will then be permitted." This is a very frightening idea. As you move forward through time and history from the 19th century and contemplate National Socialism and the horrors of totalitarian communism, Dostoevsky looks positively prophetic.

The same is true of Nietzsche. In the aftermath of God's death, he believed humanity, would become entranced, even possessed, by utopian political ideas, such as those of Marx. Nietzsche believed that such possession would kill millions in the twentieth century, as it did. The great German thinker also posited that human beings would have to create their own values, to fill the void left by God's demise. However, it is not clear that we can create values, voluntarily. Individuals who have forced themselves to manifest interest in something that just didn't interest them know the limits of our value-creating capacity. We also don't live particularly long. It's impossibly difficult to self-generate a complete model for being in the span of a single short life.

Dostoevsky, for his part, recommended a conscious revisiting of Russian Orthodox Christian ideas. But it is also not clear that we can return safely to past certainties, real or imagined. There may be much we have to rescue from our damaged traditions, but all of it will have to be viewed in a new light, if it is going to function and live.

I have been working, instead, on the belief that transcendent values genuinely exist; that they are in fact the most tangible realities of being. Such values have to be discovered, as much as invented, during the dance of the individual with society and nature. Then they have to be carefully integrated and united into something powerful and stable. This is in part something that Carl Jung discovered, during his forays into the deep past of ideas.[200]

In 2017, Peterson reiterated this idea:

The worship of the rational mind makes you prone to totalitarian ideology. The Catholic Church always warned against this. The warning was that the rational mind always falls in love with its own creations. The intellect is raised to the status of highest god. The highest ideal that a person holds - consciously or unconsciously - that's their god. It functions precisely in that manner. It exists forever, it exists in all people, it takes them over and exists in their behavior. That's a god. We have to think about that idea functionally.

If religion was the opium of the masses, then communism was the methamphetamine of the masses.[201]

In 2017, Peterson described the "Kingdom of God" as a goal to reach in a poem titled "Wisdom":[202]

Life is suffering.[203]
Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated.[204]
Truth is the handmaiden of love.[205]
Dialogue is the pathway to truth.[206]
Humility is recognition of personal insufficiency and the willingness to learn.[207]
To learn is to die voluntarily and be born again, in great ways and small.[208]
So speech must be untrammeled, so that dialogue can take place.[209]
So that we can all humbly learn.[210]
So that truth can serve love.[211]
So that suffering can be ameliorated.[212]
So that we can all stumble forward to the Kingdom of God.[213]

In 2017, Peterson described music as filling the spiritual void in atheistic society:

One of the things that struck me as near miraculous about music, especially in a rather nihilistic and atheistic society, is that it really does fill the void which was left by the death of God - and its because you cannot rationally critique music. It speaks to you, it speaks of meaning, and no matter what you say about it, no matter how cynical you are, you cannot put a crowbar underneath that and toss it aside.[214]

In 2018, Peterson asserted that he was now an unbeliever, but supported Pascal's Wager:

Are you a Christian? Do you believe in God?

I think the proper response to that is[, "]No, but I'm afraid He might exist["].[215]

In 2018, Peterson claimed that Nazism and Marxism were "atheist doctrines":

[Question:] Dr. Peterson you've claimed that the atrocities of Nazi Germany came out of a loss of belief in God. However only about 1.5% of Germans in 1939 claimed to lack a religious belief, and many of the anti-semitic beliefs propagated by the Nazis were inspired by those of Christian figures like Martin Luther. How can you explain the populist spread of Nazism in Germany as the result of atheism when the historical facts do not suggest such a conclusion?
[Answer:] Nazism was an atheist doctrine. So was Marxism.[216]

In short: Peterson appears, for the past decade, to be wholly on board with the idea that religion is essential for a functioning society, sometimes called belief in belief. However, his historical evidence is weak at best, given that fascism has usually been religious in nature and that neither fascism nor communism has been preceded by widespread irreligion.

Defamation lawsuits and threats against critics[edit]

While Peterson is hailed by his supporters as a champion of free speech, he has sued several of his critics. Lindsey Shepherd, a teaching assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University, was reprimanded by her professor, Nathan Rambukkana, for showing a video of Peterson in class. Rambukkana stated that presenting a Peterson video in class was inappropriate, comparing it to presenting a speech by Hitler. Unbeknownst to the professor, the TA was recording the conversation and publicly released the audio of the conversation. Peterson subsequently filed a defamation lawsuit against Wilfred Laurier University. Despite Rambukkana making his remarks on Peterson in private, Peterson's case stated that Rambukkana should have known audio of his comments would have been posted on Youtube and be used to destroy Peterson's reputation.[217] When Wilfrid Laurier University's statement of defense stated that the media exposure of the case actually helped Peterson, Peterson launched a second lawsuit against the University. Peterson compared Wilfrid Laurier to the Nazis, stating that accusing Peterson of gaining from the lawsuit was like saying that "those who survived the Holocaust should be grateful to their oppressors for teaching them survival skills."[218] Peterson additionally threatened to file a defamation lawsuit against Kate Manne, who accused him of misogyny in a critical book review of 12 Rules for Life. [219] Following a negative book review of 12 Rules for Life in the New York Times by Pankaj Mishra, Peterson called Mishra an "arrogant racist son of a bitch" and threatened to "slap" Mishra should they ever meet in person.[220]

Fake quotes[edit]

Even during his rare moments of clarity, Peterson says a lot of dumb shit. This doesn't excuse misquoting him, however. Some common examples follow:

Rape would be unnecessary[edit]

Twitter account "Jordan Peterson or Islamist Cleric?" made a meme with the quote "If women weren't so choosy, then rape would be unnecessary".[221] This misquotes a set of Reddit comments Peterson made in defense of his lecture, Tragedy vs Evil:[222][223]

Also, the fact that women can be raped hardly constitutes an argument against female sexual selection. Obviously female choice can be forcibly overcome. But if the choosiness wasn't there (as in the case of chimpanzees) then rape would be unnecessary. Read David Buss on female sexual selection.


Here is the link for "twice as many female ancestors"[:]

In turn, context from the lecture makes it clear that he's making an argument that women are the sexual selectors (rather than males), and claims that the fact that males rape females more often than the reverse is evidence of this:[224]

I think it means, first of all, that women make men self-conscious, and I think there's ample reason to presume that, and there's good evolutionary reasons for suggesting why that might be the case, because sexual selection among human beings has been a primary force of evolutionary development, and sexual selection in human beings is primarily conducted by women, so, for example, as Roy has pointed out in his address to the APA a few years ago, and I hope I get this right, twice as many of your relatives are women as men and that means that women are more frequently reproductively successful than men and that they reject most men, and the rejection of a man for reproductive purposes by a woman is the most serious form of rejection that's possible from an evolutionary point of view, because the judgment is that, 'Well, you might be nice enough to talk to, but you're sure not fit to have your genes propagate into the next generation,' so it's no wonder that women can make self make men self-conscious[.]

Non-expert witness status[edit]

Peterson has put himself forward as an expert witness in psychology. Courts aren't so keen on him in child-related cases, chiefly because he is not a child psychologist and has no experience in custody management (if you ever wondered why Peterson is so down on law as an area of study, although the counter-argument could be that Peterson worked in a large law firm in Toronto for 15 years during the 2000s into the 2010s.) In Sordi v. Sordi, 2009 CanLII 80104 (ON SC), the whole document is clear and worth reading, but Justice D. Roger Timms, though not a psychologist himself, notes in particular:[225]

I will deal next with Dr. Peterson's report entitled “Multiple rater response to play assessment description From Kawartha Family Court Assessment Service Report”. It is dated May 4, 2009. This is perhaps the most interesting of all of the reports that counsel for the respondent wishes the court to consider. It comes as close to “junk science” as anything that I have ever been asked to consider.

That title is somewhat misleading in that it contains less than two pages of references to articles that Dr. Peterson found by doing an on-line search of on-line material on that topic. Dr. Peterson has no expertise in that area. If he had, then he might have known that the proposition that fathers play a key role in proper development of children in both intact and non-intact families, and that mothers have no legal “leg-up” when it comes to deciding custody cases, have long since been accepted by our courts here in Canada. I do not need to consider any of the articles referred to by Dr. Peterson to accept that.

The apparent but unfounded arrogance of Dr. Peterson found throughout this report [and for that matter in some of the other reports] is troubling and give rise to the question of whether his reports are not biased in more than one fashion. That there can be more than one type of bias when it comes to experts is explored by Professor David Paciocco in his article “Taking a 'Goudge' out of Bluster and Blarney: an 'Evidence-Based Approach' to Expert Testimony”.[9] On page 18 of his paper, Professor Paciocco lists and defines many possible types of bias, including: lack of independence bias; adversarial bias; selection bias; team bias; professional interest bias; association bias; and noble cause distortion bias. I venture the opinion that Dr. Peterson suffers from at least two, if not three, of those.

In R. v. Pearce (M.L.), 2014 MBCA 70 (CanLII), Peterson failed to sell the court (Justices Barbara M. Hamilton, Marc M. Monnin and Christopher J. Mainella) on his "Unfakeable Big Five" personality test as a forensic tool — "The appellant proposed to call two psychologists (Drs. Jordan B. Peterson and Timothy E. Moore) as expert witnesses to support his false confession defence":[226]

[88] The situation here is even more remote. It is difficult to see how Dr. Peterson's technique of assessing the personality of a person for his private consulting business satisfies the Daubert factors to make it admissible for a forensic purpose. Dr. Peterson provided no evidence that his technique of personality assessment has been properly tested for the purpose it is being used for here, detecting when an agreeable person may falsely confess to the police. All Dr. Peterson could say is he hired university students to try and fake the personality assessment and they couldn't do it. That is not scientific validation. There has been no peer review of the technique of the Unfakeable Big Five. Dr. Peterson provided no rate of error or accepted deviations. In fact, he claimed, without any proof, that his assessment tool cannot be deceived while other personality assessment techniques can be. Finally, there is no evidence that the Unfakeable Big Five is generally accepted as a forensic tool. It was designed and is used for Dr. Peterson's private consulting clients to hire employees.

[90] While not necessary to decide this appeal, I would close discussion of the judge's ruling on Dr. Peterson's proposed expert evidence by expressing concern about the decision to attempt to proffer Dr. Peterson as an expert witness on areas that he was clearly not qualified as he had no background whatsoever regarding police interrogations. This decision unnecessarily complicated and delayed this trial and is proof positive of the concern expressed in D.D. (at para. 56) of the detrimental impact on the justice system of attempting to use dubious expert opinion.

Stopped Clock[edit]

In a stopped clock moment, Jordan Peterson says in an interview with Dave Rubin that he opposes the death penalty. He says he doesn’t want to give the state the power to kill people, and mentions the cost and complexity of death penalty cases in the United States.[227]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

By Peterson[edit]

On Peterson[edit]


  1. As Peterson claimed on BBC: BBC HARDtalk - Jordan Peterson (6/8/18), YouTube
  2. As Peterson claimed on TVO: Peterson and de Sousa debate Living Without the Sacred?, YouTube
  3. It is sometimes claimed that Peterson is not "the author of any lasting work of scholarship, the originator of any important idea, or a public intellectual of any scientific credibility or moral seriousness". However, in November 2017, he had 4510 citations with an h-indexWikipedia of 38 (see Jordan B Peterson - Scopus preview). An h-index of 20 is considered "successful", and 40 "outstanding".
  4. It should come as concerning to any avid listener when a huge amount non-native English speakers are infinitely more capable of making complex statements than Peterson is.
  5. As noted in the thread, this definition would make Pablo Picasso's GuernicaWikipedia "not art".
  6. Contrast Deepak Chopra, who explains this problem with "quantum".
  7. Peterson is confusing the Copenhagen interpretationWikipedia with the participatory anthropic principleWikipedia
  8. The current scientifically-documented record is 11 daysWikipedia. Guinness used to list 18 days, but discontinued the record to not give anyone ideas about breaking it.
  9. Peterson's idea is not new. That axioms are required for proof is ancient knowledge, known to EuclidWikipedia and his contemporaries.
  10. As an aside, this is not what Gödel's incompleteness theoremsWikipedia proved.


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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 The Intellectual We Deserve. Current Affairs
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  11. jordanbpeterson[a w], Patreon
  12. Dr Jordan B Peterson, Graphtreon
  13. 13.0 13.1 Patreon Account Deletion, YouTube
  14. Carl Benjamin Drops The N-Word While Ranting About The Alt-Right, Angry White Men
  15. Hate Speech on Patreon, PatreonHQ, Medium
  16. Tweet[a w], Jared Holt, Twitter
  17. Tweet, "not_sargon", Twitter
  18. Q & A 2019 01 January, YouTube
  19. Twitter[a w]
  25. RE: Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity or expression), Canadian Bar Association
  28. [1] Jordan Peterson's Gospel of Masculinity, The New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh, March 5, 2018.
  29. Christie Blatchford (April 3, 2017). "'An opportunity to make their displeasure known': Pronoun professor denied government grant". National Post. 
  30. Sophia Savva (May 2017). "Jordan Peterson's federal funding denied, Rebel Media picks up the tab". 
  45. Jordan Peterson: MGTOWS are pathetic weasels, YouTube
  46. Jordan Peterson - I Regret Calling MGTOW Pathetic Weasels, YouTube
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  63. Twitter[a w]
  66. 'We're teaching university students lies' – An interview with Dr Jordan Peterson[a w], C2C Journal
  69. Twitter[a w]
  70. Jordan Peterson - Why Shackle Yourself in Marriage?[a w]
  71. 144 years of marriage and divorce in the United States, in one chart, Washington Post
  72. 5 facts about crime in the U.S., Pew Research Center
  73. For the First Time, 90 Percent Completed High School or More
  74. Jordan Peterson's complete talk with Bettina Arndt, YouTube
  75. Twitter[a w]
  76. Twitter[a w]
  77. Twitter[a w]
  78. Twitter[a w]
  79. Twitter[a w]
  80. Twitter[a w]
  81. Twitter[a w]
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  84. Jordan Peterson: "I don't think that men can control crazy women", The Varsity
  85. This was reasonably accurately paraphrased as "If men cannot hit women, then we are at the mercy of female insanity." by Jordan Peterson or Islamist Cleric?
  87. Beaumont, P. (May 21, 2018). Further arrests of Saudi women's rights activists in escalating crackdown. The Guardian. Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  89. Luscombe, B. (March 19, 2018). "7 Questions". Time. Vol.191, No 11. p. 76.
  91. Reddit[a w]
  93. Twitter[a w]
  100. Agenda Insight: Goodbye to Good Men
  101. Jordan Peterson - Gay Marriage
  133. Screenshot from Peterson's book
  135. Science Is Not Your Enemy
  136. Englightenment Now by Steven Pinker - Kirkus Review
  137. Chomsky on Postmodernism
  141. In 1977 a 14 year old Jordan Peterson was almost elected vice-president of the Alberta NDP
  143. 143.0 143.1 2017 Maps of Meaning 8: Neuropsychology of Symbolic Representation
  145. See the Wikipedia article on Caduceus as a symbol of medicine.
  147. Jordan Peterson Wrongly Claims Ancient Art Depicts Structure of DNA
  152. Biblical Series IV: Adam and Eve: Self-Consciousness, Evil, and Death[a w]
  157. 157.0 157.1 Twitter[a w]
  158. Twitter[a w]
  159. Twitter[a w]
  160. Twitter[a w]
  161. Twitter[a w]
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  163. Twitter[a w]
  164. Twitter[a w]
  165. Twitter[a w]
  166. Twitter[a w]
  167. Twitter[a w]
  168. An Evening With Matt Dillahunty & Jordan Peterson, 14:52 to
  170. 170.0 170.1 My carnivore diet: what I learned from eating only beef, salt and water
  171. Jordan Peterson is trying to make sense of the world — including his own strange journey
  172. Jordan Peterson and his all meat diet
  173. Jordan Peterson’s All-Meat Diet Is the Dystopia He Warned Us About
  174. 174.0 174.1 The Jordan Peterson All-Meat Diet
  175. My beef with Jordan Peterson's all-cow diet
  176. There's Something You Should Know About The 100% Meat 'Pure Carnivore Diet'
  177. 'Carnivore diet': New social media trend criticised by nutritionists as 'very damaging'
  178. Jordan Peterson Tells Tucker Carlson His Life 'Has Not Been Happy' Since Speaking Out
  179. JRE Clips (July 2, 2018). Joe Rogan - Jordan Peterson's Carnivore Diet Cured His Depression?. YouTube. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  183. Bailey Steinworth, Jordan Peterson needs to reconsider the lobster. The Washington Post, 4 June 2018.
  186. Jordan B. Peterson (1999). Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. Psychology Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-415-92222-7. 
  189. Michael Shermer (2002). The Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience, Volume One. ABC-CLIO, Inc.. p. 240-242. ISBN 979-1576076537. 
  194. AMA with Jordan Peterson[a w], Reddit
  195. Advertising Atheism[a w], YouTube
  196. Twitter[a w]
  197. Twitter (deleted)
  198. Screenshot of Facebook post
  199. If you could write a rule book for being a man, what "man law" would you write? What are the qualities of a good husband, father, or brother? What one thing would you want to see in your daughter's boyfriend or husband? Why?[a w], Quora}}
  200. From Jordan Peterson's Patreon description as of February 2018.
  201. Biblical Series III: God and the Hierarchy of Authority[a w]
  202. 2017/04/24: Banned lecture at Linfield College: Ethics and Free Speech[a w]
  203. Twitter[a w]
  204. Twitter[a w]
  205. Twitter[a w]
  206. Twitter[a w]
  207. Twitter[a w]
  208. Twitter[a w]
  209. Twitter[a w]
  210. Twitter[a w]
  211. Twitter[a w]
  212. Twitter[a w]
  213. Twitter[a w]
  214. Drinking from the Firehose with Howard Bloom[a w], YouTube
  216. AMA with Jordan Peterson[a w], Reddit
  221. Twitter[a w]
  222. Reddit comment[a w]
  223. Reddit comment[a w]
  224. Tragedy vs Evil