Information icon.svg

Campaigning for the RationalMedia Foundation 2021 board of trustees election is underway!


From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Frogs, clowns and swastikas
Icon altright.svg
Rebuilding the Reich, one meme at a time
Buzzwords and dogwhistles
Quillette makes tired alt-right talking points sound erudite.
—Gaby Del Valle[1]

Quillette is a right-wing "academic"[note 1] online magazine that tries to present itself as centrist and libertarian when in reality it serves to legitimize many views shared by the alt-right. For example, it regularly publishes articles from a strong conservative viewpoint that are anti-feminist, anti-immigration, Islamophobic and anti-transgender, with some articles more controversially supporting racialism and HBD ("human-biodiversity") pseudoscience, popular among white nationalists. It has published an article defending Noah Carl, a pseudoscientist who writes Islamophobic papers in the OpenPsych pseudojournals.[2]

In the media, Quillette is often described as "intellectual dark web".[3][4]

Predictably, Quillette has jumped on the Jordan Peterson bandwagon and has published several articles supporting him,[5][6][7] although they did criticize his religious claims.[8]


HBD ("human-biodiversity")[edit]

Having now spent time arguing with various Quillette writers and learning more about their intellectual circles, it's become more and more clear to me the extent to which Quillette and Claire Lehmann are fronts for race realists and eugenicist psuedo[sic]-science. They all circle around the more hardcore, Nazi-adjascent[sic] outlets and people like The Unz Review, Steve Sailer, and the Ulster Institute/Richard Lynn circles (see: bringing in Toby Young as an editor).
Claire Lehmann used to write on the 'human biodiversity movement', which is the new term for 'race realism'. Most of the info was scrubbed off the internet once she started Quillette, but there's a blog or two that still references her work, e.g. Hbdchick.

Some authors and editors of Quillette are proponents of HBD, i.e. hereditarianism and racialism:

Articles published by Quillette supporting HBD include "On the Reality of Race"[21] and "No Voice at VOX: Sense and Nonsense about Discussing IQ and Race" by Richard Haier[22] who has controversially defended the The Bell Curve. Quillette has published an article defending Charles Murray by Brian Boutwel[23] who has associated with the alt-right, for example appearing on Stefan Molyneux's YouTube channel in 2017 for an hour long discussion about "human-biodiversity and criminality".[24] In 2018, Quillette published an article by HBD pseudoscientist Adam Perkins.[25][26]

Lehmann, in a 2017 interview, has said Quillette was founded to offer an "alternative to the blank slate view of human nature that appears to be dominant within the media ecosystem".[27] In other words, Quillette identifies with hereditarianism, and sees itself as standing against social justice warriors and postmodernists who think that all differences between genders and races that they view as detrimental to non-white-males are at root caused by hate, oppression and "privilege".

Banning Neo-Nazis is oppressing conservatives™[edit]

In February 2019 Quillette published so-called "research" which was supposed to "prove" that "Twitter Treats Conservatives More Harshly Than Liberals"[28]; the data includes many shining examples of modern conservatism:

There are some other conservatives with views that might raise an eyebrow or two (though to be fair, one can argue this for conservative thought in general); this list is just the literal neo-Nazis (over half the list!) with whom no reasonable person, regardless of political affinity, should ever side with. And conservatives wonder why they're called Nazis when they cite THE AMERICAN NAZI PARTY as an example of Conservative Censorship™…

The list also excludes several prominent banned liberal accounts even though the author had been alerted to them.[31]

Bullshitting with craniometry and physiognomy[edit]

Accusations[32] about Quillette's publishing phrenology started near the plausible-deniability territory when they published racialist and dubious craniometry-related statements that "researchers can classify human variation by continent quite accurately using only data from the human skull."[33] It didn't help when one of their "progressive" eugenicists Toby Young published a puffpiece of Boris Johnson and mentioned his "Germanic forehead".[34] They have quoted a 19th century racialist Cesare Lombroso to support the claim that criminality has some "biological origin".[35] They also appear to agree with critics that deemed Lombroso's practices as a racist sociopolitical agenda, but they also argue that he is revolutionary in investigating the biological factors of criminality. They additionally lamented about the orthodoxy and hysteria of the mainstream science for not accepting "new" ideas, which usually is an indicator of bullshitting (and how are discredited 19th century ideas "new"?).


Quillette has published a number of articles by Michael Shellenberger, a critic of mainstream environmentalism who argues that environmentalism is conceptually and institutionally incapable of dealing with climate change and should "die so that something that may live can take its place", mostly because of modern environmentalisms’ rather fanatical opposition to nuclear power (a debate that is well explored on our corresponding page).[36] Quite what Shellenberg is doing sharing a platform with racist charlatans is unclear, but as he leans conservative it’s possible he’s simply not paying attention.

Publishing works by an EvoPsyc fraud[edit]

Quillette has published several anti-feminist works on toxic masculinity, generally criticizing it as being "overused", that it argues that "all men are toxic", or introducing "toxic femininity" (that shitty article argues that it's "toxic feminity" that women have a problem when men leer at their "provocative displays" so i.e. "they asked for it".)[37] Quillette got into serious hot water, however, when it published a now-quietly-redacted article[38] that argued that toxic masculinity is a "catchy throwaway remark" not supported by scientific studies.[39] The work was written by John Glynn, a man who flubbed his credentials as a psychologist as well as possibly plagiarized a few articles to write for shitty right-wing evopsyc pieces tricked not just Quillette, but Skeptic (a.k.a. Michael Shermer) (for three years)[40], Areo (of grievance studies hoax fame),[41] Huffington Post, Center for Inquiry, The Federalist, The Spectator, and The Globe and Mail to name a few. While Skeptic had the guts to admit in detail that they were hoaxed and Areo wanted to keep Glynn's articles in detail because they liked the sound of his arguments (before pulling his articles all together after finding out he paraphrased one person way too closely), Quillette said nothing and hoped no one noticed, which should put a serious dent on its integrity if it had a shred of it.

The scientific consensus: Life begins at fertilization! Or does it?[edit]

In December 2019, Steve Jacobs wrote about a survey he conducted in which "96% of the 5,577 biologists who responded [...] affirmed the view that a human life begins at fertilization." Jacobs added: "It was the reporting of this view—that human zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are biological humans—that created such a strong backlash." PZ Myers said that Jacobs' survey was based on a "provocative and misleading question" due to "a significant omission in his list of 'zygotes, embryos, and fetuses' as biological humans."[42]

Quillette contributors of interest to RationalWiki[edit]

External links[edit]



  3. The Intellectual Dark Web an Alternative to Partisan Gridlock
  4. The Voice of the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’, Politico, November/December 2018
  13. Toby Young spoke alongside Nazi who argues raping unconscious children is fine.
  14. Shamed Toby Young attended secret eugenics conference with neo-nazis and pedophiles. RT.
  15. How Toby Young Got Where He Isn't Today. The Guardian.
  16. All the sexist tweets deleted by Toby Young, the guy chosen by the government to advise on universities. Business Insider UK. 3 Jan 2018.
  17. Nine Of The Worst Things Toby Young Has Said. Huffington Post. 9 Jan 2018.
  18. Toby Young’s views on eugenics at least raise a much-needed debate. The National. 13 Jan 2018.
  19. My 2017 Constance Holden Memorial Address on Liberal Creationism.
  28. It Isn’t Your Imagination: Twitter Treats Conservatives More Harshly Than Liberals
  32. Jeet Heer. (June 14, 2019). "Quillette is terrible. Let's go over how and why. There's the stuff discussed in this article, but also more....". Twitter. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  33. Wineguard, B., Carl, N. (June 5, 2019). Superior: The Return of Race Science—A Review. Quillette. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  34. Young, T. (July 13, 2019). Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man: A Profile of Boris Johnson. Quillette. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  35. Forster, S. (May 12, 2018). Biosocial Criminology and the Lombrosian Paradox. Quillette. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  36. Michael Shellenberger. (October 2004) The Death of Environmentalism. Grist. Retrieved August 23, 2019
  37. Heying, H. (July 9, 2018). "On Toxic Femininity". Quillette. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  38. Glynn, J. (October 29, 2018). "On Toxic Masculinity". Quillette. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  39. DIsaac8. (September 6, 2019). Twitter. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  40. Shermer, M. (2019). "The Fabulist and the Publisher: A Journalistic and Academic Fraud Exposed". Skeptic Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  41. Pluckrose, H. (September 8, 2019). "Letter From the Editors: On Retracting the Essays of John Glynn". Areo. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  42. Myers, PZ. "That a zygote is human does not imply that it is a person." Pharyngula: December 3, 2019. Accessed April 25, 2020.