Talk:Steven Pinker

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Mr. Flintstone[edit]

He seems to talk out of his ass on evolutionary psychology. (talk) 22:03, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

Could you be more specific? - Smerdis of Tlön (talk) 04:05, 9 October 2013 (UTC)


This guy isn't on rationalwiki's shit list on account of the fact that he often criticizes liberalism, the left's economic narrative on income inequality, and has also criticized progressives on campus. Burkean (talk) 11:18, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

What sort of criticism? And it's not like RW puts people on the "shit list" if they're not sufficiently left-wing... Carpetsmoker (talk) 11:46, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
Rationalwiki tends to be fairly critical of libertarians. In an interview cited and sourced on Pinker's wiki page (look it up if you're interested) he described himself as libertarian leaning. And I thought there was a sizable number of people on the left who disliked behavioral psychology because they thought it was an attempt to rationalize exploitative capitalism. Burkean (talk) 22:33, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
What interview on what Wiki page? There are none here, and Wikipedia has 77 references (I'm not going check them all out). Also, "libertarian leaning" is a far cry from "libertarian". Hell, I would describe myself as "libertarian leaning", but I also realize that 'the market' not some magic panacea that fixes everything (which is the problem with most "real" libertarians) Carpetsmoker (talk) 16:24, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
That was a poor explanation on my part because I'm not a very good writer. There are many examples of Pinker discussing his political evolution (from being a left wing anarchist in his youth) and going from there. But you're right, none of that would make him a paulbot/paultard/anti-federalist or whatever you guys call us. But I wasn't trying to claim he was. I think once you get into who is or isn't a real libertarian it kind of becomes a stupid no true Scotsman discussion, like the fights among the communists over who was pure and all that shit. But that is partly us libertarians fault for quarreling with each other (as stubborn independent people will). Richard Epstein. That's who libertarians should look to. I see Steven Pinker basically as Richard if he was a psychologist rather than a legal scholar. Burkean (talk) 19:17, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
What did that even mean, Burkean? He's not on the RW shitlist because he is critical of leftist policies? Is he? And like CarpetSmoker points out, RW isn't a competition to see who is the most left. From what I've gathered, many here are centrist, or on the left insofar as they're to the right of the commies. Anyways, this article needs improvement as Pinker has some truly gifted ideas. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 13:49, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
During a Q and A session at a conference. The conference was related to Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature. As I'm sure you are aware the book argues that the world in many ways is getting better, focusing on the decline of violence but also mentioning poverty being cut in half in the last 50 years. Someone during the Q and A commented that he was ignoring growing inequality of wealth as a form of violence. Pinker pointed out how many of the statistics pointing to greater inequality worldwide were misleading and that the fact that things such as profit making were being redefined as violence was proof of his point. These do sound like the kind of things that would make many at rationalwiki mad as hell. Burkean (talk) 22:33, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
Allright, thanks for clarifying. Though I'd like to argue that that kind of rather lofty segment from a Q&A video has to be taken in proportion to the universally acclaimed books he's written, the ideas of which aren't covered anywhere close to enough on his RW page. I'd like to hear his own words on that matter, anyways. But sure, everyone needs either an inverse stopped clock or a stopped clock moment. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 23:21, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
But remember at the top of the page, you said that whether or not someone deviated from leftism shouldn't automatically invoke criticism from RW, which you felt I was implying (and I kind of was). Therefore, Pinker saying these things shouldn't be considered an inverse stopped clock moment. I can't for the life of me find that particular video, but here is one with the Cato institute where he echoes similar sentiments. Burkean (talk) 23:33, 20 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't see Pinker echo any libertarian sentiments in the above video? He just discusses his book. Being interviewed by the Cato institute is not an endorsement of the Cato institute. Carpetsmoker (talk) 16:19, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
Well, as I said, there are MANY MANY MANY Pinker videos out there and I had a tough time finding the original one I was speaking of. I shouldn't have assumed that he would echo the same thoughts in the cato video, but you can understand why I would make that assumption, yes? No reason to get shrill. I'll keep trying to find the one I'm talking about meanwhile, there is this. Burkean (talk) 18:06, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
I also know that the organization FIRE has been dismissed on rationalwiki and here was Pinker talking with them Burkean (talk) 18:15, 21 October 2015 (UTC) Burkean (talk) 18:15, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
I don't see anything relating to libertarianism in the Vox interview? I only skimmed the videos quickly, as I have better things to do with my half hour, but they seem to be about free speech, which is hardly a libertarian topic? Sure, libertarians support free speech, and so does pretty much everyone else. That it's discussed in a FIRE convention or interview (or Cato, or anything else for that matter) is completely irrelevant and a good example of the association fallacy. Carpetsmoker (talk) 19:06, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
The first video was an interview, not a video in which Steven Pinker drew a connection between the growth of capitalism and the decrease in armed conflict. That would seem to run counter to much of what is said on rationalwiki. I don't see how it's association fallacy. I didn't try to imply Pinker actually was a full blown libertarian or that he would've supported Ron Paul or anything else. I also don't see what I've said that would make you adopt such an adversarial tone. I should've made sure I could still find the video before I said anything on the talk page. If I can't find it and it's okay with you, I'm fine with deleting all of this, as it is basically pointless. Burkean (talk) 19:42, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
Why does that "run counter to much of what is said on rationalwiki"? I think almost everyone here thinks that capitalism is a good idea. The question is, how much capitalism is too much? That's where where the "left" and "right" disagree. Adam Smith himself never argued unchecked capitalism, of th sort that libertarians and some republicans today propose, is a good idea; quite the opposite. Carpetsmoker (talk) 19:51, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
See I didn't bring up Adam Smith, or what was the right amount of capitalism. And I never tried to say "Steven Pinker is a libertarian like me! Yaaayyy! Fooey on you rationalwiki!". I merely brought up things Pinker said about capitalism. He said the growth of capitalism has led to a diminishing of violent conflict. I don't hear much of that on rationalwiki. When someone talked about income inequality, he brought up the fact that poverty has been cut in half in the last half century. I don't hear much of that on rationalwiki.
One of the reasons that things like profit seeking and profit making were now redefined as violence was because what constitutes violence has been redefined as actual armed conflict has diminished. Pinker has also criticized the politically correct atmosphere on many college campuses. It seems most people here at rationalwiki think that the idea of political correctness going overboard on campus is a delusional fantasy inside the minds of the most irrendentist mysogynists. So, there's that. That point is underscored by the videos concerning it which I provided.
Not only did I not bring up Adam Smith, I didn't argue that he favored a more spontaneous order low regulation capitalism. He didn't. But many other competent thinkers did. Gustave de Molinari, Jean Baptiste Say, Robert Nozick, Lysander Spooner, Frederic Bastiat, any of the physiocrats, Condorcet, Joseph Schumpeter, David Ricardo, Cantillion, Carl Menger, Walras, Jevons, Marshall, and many many others. I realize Adam Smith is often misused by those or a right leaning or libertarian bend, but these men here were no intellectual midgets. I just don't understand why it's the ultimate refutation to say "but adam smith said this!". So what? In any case, it's my fault for starting this without being able to find the Pinker video. This was a complete waste of time started by me. I apologize. Permission to delete, sir? Burkean (talk) 19:05, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Guys, guys, relax. Burkean, this page can't be deleted even if we'd agree so (it can only be archived), but it's fine. If you'd found your clip then that would've been a Pinker clip that was corroborative to what you described and thus would've belonged on his page. It wasn't found, that's also fine, and you're brave for apologizing like you do. I think the three of us are fairly close on the issues here; there's no need for this to get out of hand. Also, I agree with your description of capitalism there Carpet, as I'm sure Burkean does as well. Point being, let's all just chill and maybe actually read some awesome Pinker books and improve his page? Sounds cool. I'm out, handshakes for all. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 01:06, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
I think there was maybe a bit of a mismatch in expectations and/or what the discussion (and links) was about ... In Dutch we call this "talking past each other" ;-) Carpetsmoker (talk) 01:11, 23 October 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, certainly. Still; it's over with, considering Burkeans gracious apology. No hard feelings guys, thanks for the discussion. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 02:11, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

Pinker fanboy wrote this[edit]

Just tried to add a little reality to this valentine to Steven Pinker by pointing out the fact that Pinker has supported the career of Steve Sailer among others. This censorship is typical of the cult-like mindset of Pinker's fanbase. My edits were removed. This censorship is typical of the cult-like mindset of Pinker's fanbase. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

It doesn't do any good to say we're all pinker fans; that draws lines in the sand that make people defensive. My opinion of him is not so positive with regard to his broader views, and if you could be a little more clear about how you think he elevated Sailer besides his reposting posting one article, it might be a bit more reasonable to insert as criticism. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 20:14, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
Cult-like mindset? Are you trying to convince us to add a criticism section, or to insult us? One user disagrees with you, therefor we all disagree with you? What kind of nonsense mentality is that? ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 20:19, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
To be fair, at least one line nerd removed was unambiguous guilt by association, and I think most of us would agree that "nazi follows x on social media" is not meaningful. You could expect we might close ranks on that one. But the charge that he promotes the career of a shithead, if given more context, would be an interesting and relevant thing to include. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 20:23, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
@Ikanreed Of that I have no doubt. While it is possible that Pinker could have inadvertently promoted Sailer, or perhaps made a lapse of judgement, it is also possible that, barring more context, Pinker could have deliberately advanced Sailer's career. More data is needed to reach a conclusion. ☭Comrade GC☭Ministry of Praise 20:28, 16 January 2019 (UTC)
Nerd is a fuckin cop, and Pinker is a clown who needs to be railed on all ends. He platforms and is adored by the Intellectual Dark Web, has praised the likes of Bari Weiss and racist Quillette, all the while making platitudes and excuses for all the bad shit going on today, to say nothing of how blatantly wrong he is on many accounts of how "good" things are. I can't believe anyone who considers themselves an intellectual can fall for his bullshit. James Earl Cash (talk) 10:10, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
I agree with literally everything you just said, but none of it comes out to a endorsement of the edit nerd reverted. ikanreed 🐐Bleat at me 15:31, 17 January 2019 (UTC)

The world's most annoying man[edit]

Absolutely brutal Pinker quotes in this article, some of which should be edited into the page. --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: / 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: / 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: / 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: / 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 ( — Unsigned, by: / 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: / 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: / 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)