Talk:Steven Pinker

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The world's most annoying man[edit]

Absolutely brutal Pinker quotes in this article, some of which should be edited into the page.

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/05/the-worlds-most-annoying-man --Frybread

Why? The author is still a student. Surely there must be a more seasoned critic to quote? Also, please sign your comments.Ariel31459 (talk) 17:02, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm talking about Pinker's frighteningly ignorant quotes, which could be mistaken for Alex Jones with a thesaurus. It doesn't matter if a Harvard PhD candidate and EiC of Current Affairs selected them, we can cite the source himself. --Frybread (talk) 00:40, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
For example? Please give original source. Pinker has a massively celebrated rep. The grad student, not so much.Ariel31459 (talk) 01:13, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
If you manage to get past the author's byline you can see them.--Frybread (talk) 07:05, 1 June 2019 (UTC)

Trobriand cricket[edit]

Would this be an example of The Better Angels of our Nature thesis - and indeed other forms of competition used as surrogates for violence? Anna Livia (talk) 15:32, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

This article is anti-Pinker biased.[edit]

There is not a satisfactory overview regarding Pinker's ideas and datas about progress. The only reference to his arguments are criticisms, one of which is a insignificant, short and cherry-picking article on a blog. The positive reception by The Economist, The Times and The New York Times is completely omitted. — Unsigned, by: 78.12.70.116 / talk / contribs

"Pinker fanboy wrote this" says a section in this talk page.
Damn can't please anyone anymore. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario!(Mod) 17:36, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
We shouldn't worry about whether we please or not people, but if those people have valid arguments, should we? — Unsigned, by: 78.12.70.116 / talk / contribs
Pinker's a fucking sack of shit, this article should be more critical, not less. Oxyaena Harass 18:53, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
I may be a Pinker fan-boy (I haven't touched this article, nor will I do so), but Pinker seems a thoroughly decent, intelligent scientist. Excessive disparagement of Pinker will only aggravate this wiki's reputation as extremist. I advise against it. Pinker is not at fault for being smarter than anyone you know.Ariel31459 (talk) 20:12, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
Extreme right takes a quote of a Harvard professors out of the context: one would expect that the left is enough intelligent to refute alt-right fallacious arguments on this playground. Instead, what I see is a condemnation of this rational and decent Harvard professor. Those leftists shouldn't complain when an a**hole like Trump wins the elections. — Unsigned, by: 78.12.70.116 / talk / contribs
He defended a pedophile, and so what if we look extremist? Telling the truth is not popular with moderates it seems, fuck off, you damn bootlickers. Oxyaena Harass 02:49, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
He defended a friend during the process BEFORE the sentence. Usually, people wait the sentence before drawing conclusions about other people. This is the Rule of Law. However, I don't see how this vile Ad Hominem should affect my judgement on his political and philosophical ideas. — Unsigned, by: 78.12.70.116 / talk
He tripped over his feet to defend a sexual predator, again. Fuck him and fuck you. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 03:44, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
Before the sexual predator was condemned. That means before knowing he knew he was a sexual predator. PS: Buzzfeed is an unreliable source. It failed many fact checks (https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/buzzfeed/). — Unsigned, by: 78.12.70.116 / talk
Oh Pinker knew better... He just has shitty taste in friends... Also, on subject of failed fact checks, so has Steven Pinker. Weird that. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 03:57, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
The only subject of failed fact check until now is this commie minor RationalWiki page when citing Buzzfeed and unknown anticapitalist blogs. LOL — Unsigned, by: 78.12.70.116 / talk
Argumentum ad hominem, On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you. Yawn. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 04:05, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for your technical advice. You seem ok in this realm. Cheers. — Unsigned, by: 78.12.70.116 / talk
Callin things "commie" and "this is why Donald Trump won elections" are usually signs of bullshitting. So, carry on. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario!(Mod) 17:00, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
So, I'm guessing that "The positive reception by The Economist, The Times and The New York Times..." happens in the Op-ed section for the NYT. Guess who rates that part of the NYT as shit sourcing? Again, weird that. I'd also like to add that it's pretty easy to write positive reviews of a man who literally wastes reams of ink writing the "everything is fine" meme in as many words as possible. Pinker isn't beyond our intellectual level, he's below it, just like Peterson and the rest of the IDW. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 17:23, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

Epstein[edit]

This section is hilarious. It's just adorable. Pinker responds on Twitter:

"I have no relationship with Epstein & have taken no funding from him. Our circles have occasionally overlapped: In 02, my lit agent invited me to join a group of east-coast TED speakers Epstein flew to CA. In 14, Krauss seated me next to him at a lunch, & someone snapped a photo." The section is a perfect example of impuissant rage. Ariel31459 (talk) 04:30, 14 November 2019 (UTC)

Don't like my edits?[edit]

You can state your reason here.Ariel31459 (talk) 04:24, 21 March 2021 (UTC)

Saying that a guy studied in a State College and that he "owned" a Harvard professor nonetheless looks pretty useless to me. GeeJayK (talk) 04:53, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
That being said, I don't agree with Flanders edit too. I'm not going to edit it now, but to be honest, did you guys read that doorstop? Most of these arguments are so unrelated to what Pinker said in The Better Angels of Our Nature... GeeJayK (talk) 04:57, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
Ariel has a history of freaking out when anything critical is added about Pinker to this page stretching back years, just look at it. Also he was edit warring. Oxyaena Harass 05:02, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
Also, the Singer review shouldn't in my opinion be on the criticism section, since it's a section... for criticism. I'm a Pinker fan boy, but he does live in a glass house. That's all I'm going to say, at least for now, I just don't have time or patience for this particular page. GeeJayK (talk) 05:13, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
I know nothing about Pinker, but I have a gripe too because Ariel’s edits are unformatted! Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 06:11, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
Sorry Duce. Formatting is not a skill I have developed. Let me know what to do will you?Ariel31459 (talk) 06:19, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
People should not be called out for being optimistic about World Civilization because it violates your personal meta-narrative. As for edit warring, I don't expect to be reverted without at least a token explanation. GeeJayK: Criticism is both positive and negative. The "guy" studies at a State College, as he is currently an undergraduate. The Singer review was mentioned, not for balance, but to suggest that the previous criticism was by an unqualified person. I do that sometimes. Maybe it is not the best practice. I thought it was better than removing the whole criticism section, which is wholly uncorroborated, pedestrian opinion by non-experts. And that's a fact. Since you say you are a fan GeeJayK, I am glad to leave the thing to you.Ariel31459 (talk) 06:19, 21 March 2021 (UTC)
Poisoning of the well noted, and the author of the essay I wrote is most certainly an expert, he is definitely "accomplished" as the page itself says. Note that Pinker is most definitely not a historian, which I think is a very valid criticism of him, if nothing else. The fact that you yourself are a noted Pinker fanboy sews doubt on your impartiality. Oxyaena Harass 06:24, 21 March 2021 (UTC)

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People should not be called out for being optimistic about World Civilization because it violates your personal meta-narrative.

Huge ass strawman noted, Ariel. What Pinker is being called out for is misrepresenting history and cherrypicking data. Oxyaena Harass 06:29, 21 March 2021 (UTC)

You just have to put the link in brackets with the title of the article and the write the name of the source outside of the bracket. There are examples elsewhere in the article it looks like. [link “article title”] source Pizza SLICE.gifChef Moosolini’s Ristorante ItalianoMake a Reservation 06:39, 21 March 2021 (UTC)

This article is a great example of what a joke this site has become[edit]

Some of this is addressed in other talk here, mostly just drawing sneers from one of the domineering editors rather than resulting in improvements to the article. The main problem is that the critiques of Pinker are factually wrong. Yeah, you have cited them, but the citations themselves are just tendentious bullshit from people who don’t like him. Eg, the live page currently says this:

> Lack of concern about impending eco-catastrophe: Pinker dismisses worries that increasing global warming will result in more death and conflict, suggesting that we'll all be fine thanks to technology.[7] Violence against the environment does not meet his definition of violence.

This is a flat out strawman of Pinker’s argument and he’s addressed it explicitly, both in the original text and elsewhere. Say, this interview here: https://thebulletin.org/2018/04/steven-pinker-real-risks-undeniable-progress/

> [P]eople ask me [if] I think that everything is getting better. “What would be the counterexamples to progress? What are the things that I’m concerned with?” I would certainly list the possibility of nuclear war as the prime danger, together with climate change. It’s not that I minimize, by any means, the threat of climate change, because I think that, together with nuclear war, it is the biggest risk to continuing progress.

>I guess there’s a small disagreement over tactics and messaging, rather than any kind of disagreement over goals and assessment of risk.

The article is full of this type of error. I’m not going to catalog them all, because apparently it doesn’t matter anyway. The fact that calls to correct them are being shouted down by super editors is, well, the death of this site. The editors either don’t know enough about the source material to prevent this kind of misinformation from being presented in the article, or they simply don’t care about strawmanning certain types they dislike. Based on the volume of errors here and across the site for similar figures, I’d say the latter is making a big contribution. — Unsigned, by: 73.32.188.166 / talk / contribs

Mostly because the people are sneering stuff like "this article is biased therefore your entire site sucks!". Well, okay. I do personally find the Better Angels Of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined section overly negative (his positivism type stuff in this direction was criticized, but also quite praised as well). Initial research does suggest that he is one of those types that rails about "cancel culture" while "cancelling" people on Twitter who mention Epstein in his feed, though, so first impression is sections on those type of topics aren't quite as problematic as you make it out to be. PanGalacticGargleBlaster (talk) 22:19, 14 January 2022 (UTC)
If you have the time and can deal with petty complaints, try to improve the article. Some of us won't mind. You see, the ability to discuss highly-rated intellectuals is not given out to everyone.UncleKrampus (talk) 02:13, 15 January 2022 (UTC)

Tenuous association with Epstein[edit]

Some relatively careless people have associated Pinker with Epstein for very tenuous reasons. That is not objectionable in itself, as a cautionary tale. Nevertheless the associations are tenuous. Epstein donated $200,000 to the Harvard Psychology department and they gave him an office as a visiting scholar despite not having the slightest qualifications. So, Epstein could infect the reputations of anyone he chose to approach. Pinker was a friend of Alan Dershowitz and provided an opinion on the semantic meaning of a statute. Holy shit, that's tenuous aid. Lawrence Krause brought Epstein to a table where Pinker was sitting, and someone quickly took a photo. A connection? Really? Then there was that free ride on a jet owned by Epstein. We don't know that Pinker knew about Epstein, so it's not really evidence of anything untoward. But that's all the scandal mongers have. And that is tenuous.Ariel31459 (talk) 05:33, 15 February 2022 (UTC)

@Plutocow You can respond here before I restore the edit you have been warring over.Ariel31459 (talk) 05:37, 15 February 2022 (UTC)

A note to everyone-as you can see on the talk pages of certain articles (the archives for the Jordan Peterson one are particularly fun) Ariel has a tendency to idolize certain people, then freak out when their articles have critical content, leading to edit wars. Pinker appears to be one of his idols.
As for the specific section...it isn't as critical as he makes it out to be. It includes his rebuttal, an merely claims he has been criticized (which is demonstrably true). "Association" is also a pretty neutral term, and the only reason Ariel is hairsplitting about it is because he really is that petty where criticism of his god is concerned. The qualifier "tenuous" doesn't add anything other than appeasing Ariels faith.-Flandres (talk) 05:44, 15 February 2022 (UTC)
I think you both need to look up the word "tenuous." I am nonplussed by your comment Flandres. I never "idolized" Peterson. I thought he was an interesting character who served as a sort of whipping boy for some activists, yet he is not someone of whom I ever thought highly. I do think highly of Pinker. But as a god? You seem to have a peculiar sense of humor tonight. None of the evidence associating Pinker with Epstein is strong, as the references all admit. That's what makes it tenuous. Ariel31459 (talk) 05:55, 15 February 2022 (UTC)
Wow. None of that addresses the fact that your edit doesn't add anything...other than making him look, like, one iota better. It's really sad you're willing to edit war over that. The section hardly misrepresents him. Again, "association" is not a strong term. Like, if it said "affiliation" then I could support having tenuous added (or just changing the name outright), but this isn't the scandal mongering you make it out to be. Calm down, dude.-Flandres (talk) 06:02, 15 February 2022 (UTC)
Also, the god thing was only semi-serious. I mean, look at you! You're splitting hairs over the definition of a single word, over-reacting to people merley noting critisiscm has been made, running to the talk page of a mod over a quite minor edit, and obliquely threatening to unilaterally sysoprevoke another user over a single word in an article. We needed some levity, and your kinda funny/hypersensitive obsession with Pinker seemed like good material to work with. Don't get so worked up! Play some games, have some fun! Total War: Warhammer 3 is coming out this Thursday!-Flandres (talk) 06:13, 15 February 2022 (UTC)
The threat was not oblique, it was fucking indirect. My question to you is why do you care? I have told you why I care, I'm an experienced editor, and I prefer a certain word. Why do I prefer that word? Because, here is a serious person who got caught in an association he did not actually choose. A cautionary tale, yes? "Tenuous" is not whitewashing, although second rate muckrakers are want to assume so, it is an admission there is ostensibly little to be suspicious about the few random "associations" connecting Pinker to Epstein. Fucking Epstein had the Harvard bosses give him an office in the psychology department. It's normal to help friends who ask for help, it's normal to smile when your picture is taken, and it is normal for a college professor to avoid paying for expensive transportation whenever possible. These are all things that anyone could have done and that is why the association is tenuous. And I don't play those kind of games. Ariel31459 (talk) 06:31, 15 February 2022 (UTC)
All of that is already covered. Besides, contributing in even a small way to the defense of somebody accused of a crime is nothing to sneeze at! The section just lists facts, and lists already his own perspective on them. Adding "tenuous" is just fluff. The section as it stands hardly implies that he was one of the man's "customers" (for lack of a better term).
Also, look at how overwrought and sententious you are getting over one word that doesn't add anything. Can you please step back? It is often wise to avoid editing an article about a subject you feel very passionate about.-Flandres (talk) 06:40, 15 February 2022 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I agree with Ariel31459 that the association is tenuous, it is basically guilt by association since there is no evidence that Pinker did anything criminal. What it does show however is what poor judgment a top-level psychologist can have, how easily manipulated he was by the 'right' people who had power and could stroke his ego. Bongolian (talk) 19:09, 15 February 2022 (UTC)