RationalWiki's 2019 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2019.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $3680Goal: $6000

Talk:Jordan Peterson

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Icon sociology.svg This article contains information about one or more living persons.

Articles about living people must be handled carefully, because they are more open to legal threats.
Reference any contentious allegations solidly; unreferenced allegations should be removed.
If legal threats are raised on this page, please direct the potential litigant to RationalWiki:Legal FAQ; do not interact with them.

This page is automatically archived by Archiver
Archives for this talk page: <1>, <2>, <3>, <4>

Peterson gains a new fanclub.[edit]

Apparently Peterson said some things during an (New York Times) interview back on the eighteenth that drove the Incels into a frenzy of adoration. We should likely add a section on this latest development. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 23:03, 26 May 2018 (UTC)

Are you referring to this?. Also, there is no article on incels. If they are not significant enough to have an article, why bother?. I never heard of incel until an NPR story broadcast a few weeks ago. Are they different from angry MGTOWS? Maybe stick it there.Ariel31459 (talk) 23:27, 26 May 2018 (UTC)
I am, and no Incels are not the same as Miggies. Incels are basically woman hating losers who are either unaware of the concept of prostitution, or are unwilling to partake of such services. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 00:01, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
In addition we probably should create an article on Incels, given that they have both embraced the anti-semitism of the Alt-right and actually celebrate several mass shooters as "heros". ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 00:14, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
OK. Thanks.Ariel31459 (talk) 00:21, 27 May 2018 (UTC)
Devil's advocate, maybe they don't want to get involved with illegal services? There are plenty of people who only refrain from cocaine and such because it's illegal (and unregulated and thus more dangerous) rather than because of any sense of morality. Knew a girl who wouldn't drink underage but got sloshed when she studied abroad.
Or the more obvious answer of course is that incels tend to be introverts or antisocial, and thus less likely to run in the circles that would connect them to a prostitute to begin with... CoryUsar (talk) 15:46, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
@CorruptUser I could argue that your reply is covered under the wording of my statement, however even if I did it would be clear that such sentiments were unintentional. I thank you for pointing out in the latter part of your response that many of the most virulent Incels are extremely antisocial. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 16:01, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
As general comments, while the above may be a factors, I'm fairly sure there are incels in NZ. Prostitution has been legal here (yes even for the customer) since 2003. Probably partly as a result, you'd have to be pretty incompetent with internet use not to be able to find a sex worker. (I've never tested the theory, but I quite doubt the pages I've come across are fake/scams. Then there's the traditional media/internet cross e.g. paper classifieds.) I wouldn't be completely surprised if you could find someone and arrange a home visit solely over the internet or SMS. Of course you'd still have to put up with someone visiting you, although again I wouldn't be completely surprised if you could find someone who'd be willing to communicate via phone even at home. Actually, while the legal issues may be factors, my impression is in a lot of the western world, you don't really need to hang out in specific circles to connect to prostitutes. E.g. before the recent crack down on backpage, it was a common avenue for a lot of the US. Maybe things are a little harder at the moment (no pun intended), but incels long predated the problems backpage have had. And from what I've read incels tend to have their own places to hang out. It surely only takes one remotely smart one who can figure out how to find prostitutes to tell the rest. Nil Einne (talk) 22:20, 2 August 2018 (UTC)

The fallacy of approval and incels.[edit]

"Peterson's fanbase is extremely dedicated and has overlap with the incel and MGTOW circles." This statement is ostensibly true. Peterson's fanbase is rather large and includes dedicated followers. I don't think incels have a club house yet. It is well known, for example, that Joseph Stalin admired actor Clark Gable, just for the kind of guy he was. Peterson evidently appeals to elements of both sides of the liberal/conservative divide, mostly on the conservative side, as well as eccentric outliers. As far as MGTOWS, I think Peterson called them "pathetic weasels."Ariel31459 (talk) 13:56, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

I think it matters more about the size of Peterson's crowd and intended audience. I think that how he attracts incels is relevant because he has a few ideas many people would call sexist (or at least I would call sexist), shown in the article. Peterson tried denouncing the Miggies , but he's not taking much consideration why he is attracting them, and as long as he continues with those viewpoints, he's going to receive them. That a famous actor has charmed Stalin, it doesn't mean that much to me, though maybe I will look more into it. I don't know if the actor was able to attract substantial numbers of Communist for his socio-political views. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 14:30, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
The point is that it is specious reasoning to associate a person with an admirer, beyond the fact of stating the admiration exists. In this case, of Peterson, it suggests maybe some of these people can be deterred from the destructive path they have been following (incel & mgtow). Peterson's intended audience is, I think, just about everyone who will listen. The fact is that Peterson has not praised these two groups, and has criticized them: "If every women you approach rejects you, the problem is not with them buddy!" (paraphrase of JP) Ariel31459 (talk) 15:32, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
yeah that's great thanks - David Gerard (talk) 17:34, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
Listen, David, I know why this guy can't be acceptable to most RW users. I promise not to post false statements about him, or try to remove true ones. I'll let you be the judge.Ariel31459 (talk) 17:38, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
@David Gerard It is not important to me that you choose to ignore the facts. You already have that reputation. Good luck with that.Ariel31459 (talk) 17:44, 29 June 2018 (UTC)

All Meat Diet[edit]

Yes it's ad hominem, but I think it would be worth adding that Peterson is on a literal all meat diet, as he talks about on Joe Rogan. It just contributes to the whole extremist woo thing he's got going on. I don't really know how to edit Wikis so I'll leave you all to it if you think it's worthy to add. — Unsigned, by: 97.122.99.56 / talk

Ya, I just came here to say it needs to be added. I'll put something quick in the woo section, but I don't really have much time to do much. Here's the article on The Atlantic. He says that while on the diet, simply deviating a little (drinking apple cider) was enough to make him unable to sleep for 25 days, due to extreme anxiety! This man needs help.Brianpansky (talk) 21:08, 29 August 2018 (UTC)

Media Misrepresentation[edit]

They should have a section for that, which will partly help to explain why his fans are so easily activated in online circles. 98.113.215.216 (talk) 23:42, 7 July 2018 (UTC)Krashlia

Like, media fawning over him too? --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 19:20, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I'm sure media is just falling head over heels in love with him whenever they talk about the "Darling of the Alt-Right". Because thats who they support in the end, the Neo-Nazis. Right? 98.113.215.216 (talk) 00:20, 22 July 2018 (UTC)Krashlia
I have no idea what you are on about. Traditionally, the written media required the ability to write coherently in one's native language, show up to work every day, and not much else. They are never very good at representing anything really complicated. With some effort, you can get the facts, eventually. Ariel31459 (talk) 02:17, 22 July 2018 (UTC)

Cross-outs in first sentence of article.[edit]

@TheSocktor On documenting and critiquing the claims made by Peterson with respect to his various areas of expertise: This cross out technique does not belong in the first sentence. If I had my way it would never be used. It clogs up the article at the very beginning. The counterclaims are a matter of semantics. Psychologists are not biologists, but they may well be well informed. Furthermore, biologists may not understand or accept the applications of biology out side of their own expertise. These points should actually be presented and defended in the text if they are not wholly facetious. Perhaps create a new section.Ariel31459 (talk) 16:42, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

I mean, it's relevant because his idiot fans are obsessed with making arguments from authority, rather than specifically asserting that non-experts cannot understand things ever. He's kinda the ultimate ultracrepidarian constantly being just utterly wrong on things he should understand, then branching off into complete pseudoscience further afield along the way. You definitely don't do yourself any credit by invoking the Courtier's Reply about Myers to undercut criticism on your pet pseudo-scientist. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 17:14, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
I think the cross-outs are fine. Peterson is not an appropriate authority to cite about either of those two nor does he state claims that either of those two experts agree on. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 18:00, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
I don't think you care much about the readability of the article. Crossouts are neither humorous nor informative. They ruin the flow of any article. Also, two scientists disagreeing with another scientist on minor points is not noteworthy in itself, especially when it amounts to a credentials piss-off. It it quotidian. @Ikanreed Peterson does not offend me. I expect he does you. He clearly offends many people who frequent this wiki. I do not intend to troll them or you. I think the phenomenon of Peterson's appearance is interesting and significant. Although you may regard him as a pseudo-scientist, this is not generally how he is regarded among scientists. My suggestion is to create a section capturing such awkward claims as can be found. However a psychologist who refers to himself as a biologist is at worst immodest. Since he has published a number of experimental papers, it is more prolix than improper to refer to him as a neuroscientist. Disapprobation is never an excuse for bad style. Ariel31459 (talk) 22:30, 14 August 2018 (UTC)


This still doesn't change the fact that he isn't an evolution biologist or a neuroscientist. If he simply said "I know a lot about evolutionary biology" or "I know a lot about neuroscience" then it wouldn't be as much of an issue (though I guess as an actual evolution biologist (like Myers) or neuroscientist might have a thing or two to say about it). Psychologists may indeed be well informed about biology, but the key word there is may. Your dentist may be well-informed about orthopaedics, but that still doesn't mean speaking to your dentist about your cracked rib is a good idea.

Are you seriously telling me that Jordan Peterson, who has spent over half of his life studying psychology cannot differentiate his field from evolutionary biology or neuroscience? I mean I know this is somewhat anecdotal, but I've spent the last two years of my life working as forklift operator, and not even in my drunkest conversations have I said to somebody "I'm a crane operator" or "I'm a truck driver". To anybody with half a brain it's patently obviously what happened - Peterson falsely claimed to be qualified in fields of academia he is not qualified in in order to make a false appeal to authority, knowing full well his fans are gullible enough to take his claims at face value.TheSocktor (talk) 21:44, 14 August 2018 (UTC)

My problem is with your notion of being qualified. A leading authority on the life and work of Thomas Huxley was a very good family friend: Charles Blinderman, a professor of English, at a small New England University. Work makes one qualified. Work.Ariel31459 (talk) 22:30, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
So Peterson is a very good family friend of evolutionary biology and neuroscience?TheSocktor (talk) 22:35, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
?Ariel31459 (talk) 22:39, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Yes, that was my exact reaction to your post.TheSocktor (talk) 22:42, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
I think I was fairly clear. What puzzles you, friend. I am going to stop here if you are just angry.Ariel31459 (talk) 22:54, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
I'm not in the slightest bit angry, I'm just a bit bewildered. What relevance does Thomas Huxley's friend have here? Evolutionary biology and neuroscience are not people. Yes, you might learn a few basic concepts about them from being in the presence of people who are evolutionary biologists or neuroscientists but still doesn't make you an authority on the subject any more than the fact I'm close friends with a teacher and a medical researcher makes me qualified to teach or research medicine. I mean, I'm sorry if I'm strawmanning you here but I really don't understand what you're trying to tell me.TheSocktor (talk) 06:57, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
Fair enough. I am trying to tell you that you can not place people in categories of epistemological expertise based on their major subject. I knew an English professor who became an expert in an aspect of evolutionary biology. What were his credentials? Work. I should add that, he told me of being held in low regard by members of the University's biology department. Yet, he was eventually given a second office there as an adjunct professor of biology. You see, university biologists, as with all scholars, are experts not in their general field, but in very narrow sets of subjects subtending the general topic, such as the study of a particular species of primate, fish, or insect. I am pointing out the lacuna in your argument. not having to do with Peterson, but a general problem with respect to using arbitrary standards to disqualify opinions. I really don't blame you, on the other hand, because it is unusual to find even really smart people who avoid this particular problem. The AMA standard for credentials may have been necessary to prevent loss of life, otherwise, not so much. Ariel31459 (talk) 15:19, 15 August 2018 (UTC)


Can I take a moment to shit on Ariel's source[edit]

This is irrelevant to changing the article because it was included as part of a whataboutism argument anyways, but I did some looking into the evolution institute, linked by Ariel. They're funded almost entirely by the John Templeton Foundation, which has a very public history of funding creationist papers to muddy the waters about evolution, and creating citation bait for public debate. Which is how most skeptics know of them

What's that you say? If they're a creationist org why are they funding a pro-evolution blog with an attached database of information about evolution? Well there's the weeds of it. The evolution institute only kinda vaguely brushes on evolution when it's convenient for their real mission, which seems to be publishing pro-Christianity social science research. By which I don't mean apologetics, but generating as much material as possible on the social value of Church, religious belief(especially in Jesus). In spite of the nominal goal of using evolution for social good, they still can't resist doing a bit of the old water muddying, like this kind of thing where they purposefully conflate social darwinism with evolution, and later goes on to say that darwin was good, because he was judeo christian. It might be worth a pass to make sure we don't cite them too much elsewhere. They're not bad per se; they hire real scientists for real research after all, but they should maybe be addressed with a degree of extra skepticism, given charges that the Templeton foundation has done a bit of the old "your future grants depend on current results" thing according to critics. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 14:57, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

Follow up, we cite them in one other article, and it seems to be a relatively okay place to cite a source of that kind, talking about the history of "Descent of Man" and how it was overconflated with evolution. Prolly okay. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 15:04, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
I am not vouching for the source myself. It should be viewed as just another cherry-picked article. We all swoon into them eventually. You already know the relevant epistemology.Ariel31459 (talk) 15:23, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
I mean, honestly, I think the way you used your source in that comment was not particularly relevant to your central point, so all this was a personal rabbit hole tangent on "who the fuck is this .org and what is their slant?"
Also, I don't get why you're invoking epistemology. The fundamental arbitration of truth and knowledge is pretty disconnected from the topic at hand? And it doesn't seem to be why we're taking a dump on Jordan Peterson's very questionable expertise. Unless you're going to bat for his presuppositionalism, where's it a fundamental question; I'll throw down on the epistemology of that any day. It's a trash idea for kids taking philosophy 101 in a seminary school. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 16:19, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
Sure, it was an arbitrary choice of supportive media text. This the the standard for this wiki, not unlike the references supporting the crossouts: by relatively low status academics. I did not invoke epistemology, I demurred. I don't think Peterson is a presuppositionalist in the sense that Christianity is the fundamentally true doctrine. I think his assumption is something like religion is required for culture to flourish: the west has Christianity, other regions have other presuppositions. But, when it comes to religion, nobody really knows what other people believe.Ariel31459 (talk) 16:50, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
(I meant you wrote the word epistemology in a sentence and I couldn't fathom why) I went out of my way to avoid anti-Peterson people saying he was a presuppositionalist, as it's pretty easy to see how the internet memeifies statements about people as truth. Instead, I found a presuppositionalist christian vlogger, documenting how he thinks Jordan Peterson clearly believes in presuppositionalism. Here you go(everything about the site is just unbearable, though, from the design to every "related post"). You'd think it was satire, from the obsessive fanboyism reaching a creepy level, but no, it's real. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 18:39, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
I see. So, I am not surprised that a presuppositionalist finds Peterson's views compatible with his own. This is typical of all religionists, I think: if you don't say bad things about me and my beliefs, you can be one of us. Very few religions are not accomodating in this way. As a philosopher, I can see how this might be unacceptable, to you. But it is the presup's error to make that assumption. I don't think I am telling you something you are unaware of. Why would Peterson do this? Lots of therapists are like that. Freud denied religion. Jung never said a word against it ( I think).Ariel31459 (talk) 14:11, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
Ah yes, famously not just spouting off personal speculation about how the human mind works psychologists Freud and Jung. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 14:45, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
Yes. Jung's paradigm is pervasive in therapy: "you can stay in that walking daydream of religion. That's not the main problem." About this specifically, I remain agnostic.Ariel31459 (talk) 15:02, 16 August 2018 (UTC)

I'm just here to add that Ariel, I saw your source earlier, scoffed at it, and promptly forgot about it. I read it and ikanreed described it as Courtier's Reply, but despite that label, I found it to be not helpful at all. It just says "PZ Meyers doesn't know how complex things are" and "he can just sum religion's harmful effects up with one word: WOMEN" but he doesn't proceed to explain why PZ Meyers is wrong or strawmanning, and is PZ Meyers really arguing that? The counterargument is "but sexual conflict in the animal world, look at Bonobos, so religion isn't a factor here", which completely dismisses religion's impact. So blah blah blah another topic. I wouldn't use that particular source for anything except to laugh at it. --It's-a me, LeftyGreenMario! 18:50, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

You are clearly not following me at all Lefty. Of course the source is just more internet palaver. Although that wasn't the original point.The crossout sources were more of the same. You are, in effect, trying to change the subject. Ariel31459 (talk) 13:56, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
No, when I created a subsection with a new subject line, I was trying to change the subject. They responded to that. Seems okay to me? ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 14:45, 16 August 2018 (UTC)
OK.Ariel31459 (talk) 15:02, 16 August 2018 (UTC)