02 Dec 2017

Stop Lying

All Posts, Jordan Peterson 45 Comments

Jordan Peterson is hands-down the most interesting “public intellectual” I’ve discovered in the last 10 years. I’ve been listening to his podcasts and I occasionally have to turn them off to process the profundity I just heard.

Not only is he on top of several disciplines where I am not well-read, but he also can distill complex subjects down into quick, practical conclusions. For example, his advice for young depressed people who are overwhelmed by the injustice of the world: (1) Clean your room, and (2) Stop telling lies in your daily life. I am in awe of the thinker who produced such output.

Yes, Peterson is notorious for his stance against “gender neutral pronouns.” Forget that stuff for a minute. If you want to hear him at his best, listen to this lecture. It is nominally about “The Psychology of the Flood” (in the Genesis account of Noah) but he doesn’t even talk about Noah for the first hour. Even if you’re an atheist, check it out. (In fact, especially if you’re an atheist, check it out.)

Here are two key points from that lecture:

==> At some point deep into it (sorry I didn’t jot down the time), he says that people have outsourced the problem of sanity. What he means is, we get constant feedback from each other, when our behavior exceeds the bounds of social acceptance. (Raised eyebrows, explicit verbal condemnation, social ostracism, etc.) That’s how we collectively solve the problem of maintaining our sanity, and it’s why someone who is isolated from everybody else will “go crazy” (my words, not necessarily his). I was on a road trip listening to Peterson on this, thinking, “Man this is like how Hayek thinks about prices,” and then Peterson himself went there! He explicitly likened his discussion of social cues to how the stock market works, because “Nobody knows what billions of prices should be, it’s too damn complicated” (or words to that effect).

==> Around 74:00, Peterson explains that people don’t see “objects” in the world. For one thing, we see other people, and people are “too damn complex” to be mere objects. But beyond the social world, it’s more accurate to say we see the world in terms of “tools and obstacles.” And then when Peterson elaborates, he says something like (not exact quote), “Once you adopt a conscious goal, how you perceive reality is transformed into the things that tools that help you achieve the goal and the obstacles that get in your way.” This is very complementary (coming from the psychology / neurobiology side) to the writings of Mises and Hayek on the social sciences.

 

Now it’s true, Peterson gets into areas that make some people really uncomfortable. For example, in this classroom excerpt he offers a theory for personality differences between men and women, and why this can lead to conflict in romantic and business relationships. (Note, the title of the YouTube is clickbait.) The short version: Women are designed (Peterson would say through evolution) to optimally deal with helpless infants. This is not the optimal way to interface with adult men. Couple that with physical strength differences, and you end up understanding–so Peterson thinks–a lot about the male/female dynamic.

In the below clip, Peterson is explaining to Camille Paglia why it’s up to women to police themselves:

That’s obviously not something you would offer in a job interview at GE, but surely you can understand what he was saying.

With that context, let’s turn to this recent critique of Peterson. Among other claims, it said of the above interview–without linking of course: “In a conversation with Camille Paglia, he lamented that men can’t exert control over “crazy women” by physically beating them.

The author of the hit piece also wrote: “What [Peterson] is not, however, is 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. Peterson’s sole discovery is that “postmodernism” can be usefully exploited alongside the more familiar, established populist scare tactics.”

Here’s a list of his peer-reviewed research. (It’s odd that Peterson could have taught at Harvard for five years, too, isn’t it, given that he is just a provocateur?)

Now if the above hit piece had come to my attention because a bunch of antifa people circulated it on Twitter, that would be one thing, and I wouldn’t have brought it up. But it was promoted by an Austro-libertarian colleague, and I’ve seen others in our camp offhandedly refer to Peterson in very derogatory terms.

If you don’t like his stances on postmodernism, or you hate the type of people who have embraced him in the last year, fair enough. Go ahead and say that. But don’t link to articles that quite obviously lie about his positions and work. As Peterson stresses, you fracture yourself if you consistently lie in your daily life, as a matter of course.

(Note: I’m not saying I’m perfect. But on this issue, I really do try to practice what I preach. For example, people often say, “Krugman wants aliens to invade, ha ha!” [Look at the title of this YouTube.] I try to be careful and not misrepresent him on that, since what Krugman said was that he wanted us to erroneously believe aliens were going to invade. Etc.)

45 Responses to “Stop Lying”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Based on that brief clip, Jordan Peterson does not seem like someone who has noticed more than very mild insanity, although it is of course possible that he has noticed worse and simply neglected to mention it at that time.

    One of the most remarkable investigations of the impact of this disorder on people was carried out in 2010 by a team based at Harvard. This team did something that is very rare-instead of simply collecting personal stories or case studies, they collected data covering the whole population of the Kivu provinces. Because of the danger to teams of researchers needed to carry out random sampling, this type of representative survey in the Congo is pretty much unheard of, but it is desperately needed when it comes to areas afflicted with slavery, war, and sexual violence.

    The researchers found that out of 6.1 million people in the region, nearly one in five adults reported being forced into the conflict-abducted to carry weapons, serve as a sex slave, or affected in some other way. Some of these victims of violence and rape were themselves, at times, perpetrators. Children forced to be soldiers were raped and abused by their captors, and also forced to rape and abuse others. Even more people, about 2.5 million women and 1.4 million men, altogether more than half the populationi, suffered sexual violence, usually rape.

    Not surprisingly the Harvard team found that chaos and violence on this scale drove people out of their minds. Half the surviving population were showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress, just under half were deeply depressed, a quarter of the population had been actively thinking about suicide, and one person in six had actually tried to kill themselves. That last fact needs repeating: out of six million people, one million had attempted suicide. No one knows how many others succeeded.

    Violence leads to loss of sanity, which frequently leads to more violence. The threat of physicality makes things worse, not better.

    • Anonymous says:

      The quotation above is from Kevin Bales, Blood and Earth, pages 35-36.

  2. Will T says:

    This is one of the extremely rare times when “haters going to hate” is fully applicable. Nobody with an interest in the humanities who has *actually* listened to JBP could find him anything but genuinely interesting unless a deep bias prevented it.

  3. Ricky J Moore II says:

    The title of that video – ‘Men Can’t Police Crazy Women’ – is in itself brilliant.

  4. Harold says:

    Oh come on, this is nonsense. He says that he is defenceless against a woman accusing him of being a Nazi because “the techniques I would use against a man who was employing those tactics are forbidden to me” (exact quote). Earlier he said that the techniques are “we talk, we argue, we push… and then it becomes physical” (exact quote).

    This woman is in Toronto – there is no way he is going to fight this person mano-a-mano whether or not they are a man or woman because he is not in Toronto.

    What is he really trying to say.? I can’t figure it because it makes so little sense. He can’t defend himself against a woman in Toronto because physical violence is denied him, but he could defend himself a man in Toronto saying the same things because he could in principle thump him, although he couldn’t really thump him because he was in Toronto?

    Help me out here. Is he talking nonsense or have I missed something?

    • Anonymous says:

      I mean, in theory, and I am not endorsing this, but in theory, he could travel to Toronto to commit the violence or hire someone to commit violence for him. Of course, both of these actions would involve substantial premeditation.

      • Harold says:

        Yeah, in theory he could do that. However, if that is the tactic he would use against a man who he disagreed with he would probably end up in jail.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s easy to think that in Toronto where the police are probably relatively competent and less corrupt on average than police elsewhere in the world. But what if we were talking about Brazil or Pakistan? And if there is incompetence and corruption in those places, is it really that impossible that there could be some chance even in Toronto for someone to evade or bribe law enforcement?

          Additionally, perhaps part of Peterson’s argument is that a real man ought to be willing to go to jail in some circumstances, an argument many pacifists would agree with and extend to include women as well.

          Perhaps what Peterson needs is a non-violent form of competition to use after words have failed. He could challenge his opponent to some sort of sport, such as basketball, tennis, golf, poker, chess, etc. Some of those options would still work at a distance. Of course, such a competition would have to be consensual to count as non-violent. However, if both parties agreed, it would fulfill the function of a physical brawl without the violence, at least in less serious situations involving verbal insults.

          • Harold says:

            “He could challenge his opponent to some sort of sport, such as basketball, tennis, golf, poker, chess, etc”

            No, he just needs to figure out that he can argue with a woman just as he can argue with a
            man.

            “I am defenceless against that kind of female insanity”

            So females are insane if the do stuff you find offensive? Well guess what, Peterson, maybe some women find you offensive. Maybe they feel defenceless against that kind of male insanity because of the constant threat of violence against them that you acknowledge is always there.
            “…that underlying threat of physicality is always there”.

            This clip is very revealing, and it does not show him in a good light.

            • Anonymous says:

              So females are insane if the do stuff you find offensive? Well guess what, Peterson, maybe some women find you offensive. Maybe they feel defenceless against that kind of male insanity because of the constant threat of violence against them that you acknowledge is always there.
              “…that underlying threat of physicality is always there”.

              Good one.

    • Capt. J Parker says:

      Yeah, I thought it really strange and wrong that someone with as agile a mind as Peterson would give physical violence a seemingly legitimate place along the spectrum of ways in which people attempt to resolve conflicting ideas. On the other hand no less agile a mind than William Buckley’s was motivated to tell Gore Vidal at the ’68 Democratic convention “If you call me a Crypto-Nazi again I’ll punch you in the goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bfw8fWUQKnE So, I think Peterson has a point that the possibility of physical violence is an outer boundary that places constraints on male to male discourse that men learn to accommodate. When it comes to a male-female debate the participants come to the debate with different assumptions about the rules of engagement.

      I’d really like to think this is all wrong and violence is never a factor in the exchange of ideas among intelligent adults. But, a consistent theme of Peterson (and Paglia in particular) is that we really run amok when we deny the existence of basic but inconvenient facts of human behavior.

      • skylien says:

        The context of what Peterson is talking here is not normal civil discourse.

      • Harold says:

        “…we really run amok when we deny the existence of basic but inconvenient facts of human behavior.”

        Yes, I get this and it can be a valid point, but it is not valid here.

        “If you are talking to a man who would not fight you under any circumstances then you are talking to someone to whom you have absolutely no respect.”

        Great, so Ghandi (and Anonymous) is not worthy of his respect. This is the problem with his framing. His premise is just wrong for most people. At least I hope so. My respect for people, men or women, is not dependent on their willingness to fight me and I hope that is the case for most people.

        If he were describing how discourse sometimes goes wrong between men and women that would be one thing, but he is not saying that. He is saying he is powerless. As a psychologists it would surely be more sensible to say “this form of discourse doesn’t work, so we need to try it this, different way”. But he does not say that, he says there is no other way.

        • Capt. J Parker says:

          “If he were describing how discourse sometimes goes wrong between men and women that would be one thing, but he is not saying that. He is saying he is powerless.”

          Peterson said (WRT male male debate) “If we move beyond the boundaries of civil discourse we know what the next step is” so I do think he’s talking about the outer bounds where intellectual discussion breaks down. I listened to the whole hour long discussion between Peterson and Paglia and they spent a lot of time talking about the pathologies of modern Feminism. I think Petersons larger point about “crazy women” is that bringing Feminism back from the lunatic fringe is going to require the efforts of reasonable women because men will do a poor job engaging the lunatic Feminist fringe.

          Still, I think we are of similar minds on this issue, Harold. This business about “then it gets physical” is odd. In intelligent debate the rule ought to be the first one to call his opponent a Nazi OR the first one to resort to violence loses.

          • Capt. J Parker says:

            This is the full Peterson Paglia discussion. I loved it. The two of them are like alternating intellectual machine gun fire ripping holes through all the fashionable nonsense we’ve been subjected to since 1960.

          • Harold says:

            ” “If we move beyond the boundaries of civil discourse we know what the next step is”

            His body language as he said this was a bit disconcerting, I thought.

    • skylien says:

      Really, you bring the argument in that he is not in the same place as her, as the argument that he is wrong?

      What he is essentially saying is that vs a man who is ready to step by step escalate he can respond in kind. He cannot with such a woman. And it already starts in phases where it is not physical yet, because this truth is already known by both and therefore implied in any responds given by both.

      Like people are usually very careful what they say to policemen because they know before that a policemen can unilaterally escalate the situation legally against them and can cause a very bad day for them. They don’t wait usually until they get shot at.

      The difference is that in the latter case it is a power issue, that restraints them, but for Peterson it is a moral issue that restraints him (being a sane man), because as the physical stronger you are not dealing with a weaker person the same way as with a perceived roughly equally strong person.

      Men who have no scrouples to hit women actually have no problem controlling crazy women because they have no moral principles regarding that. For them it is easy, and you can be sure crazy women usually don’t dare to insult those men. They insult sane men.

      He is not saying at all that he beats every man down who insults him, and that he would love to do that with women as well…

      Obviously it might be different if Ronda Rousey was the woman, and obviously the same counts for physically very weak men as well, exceptions … etc..

      • Anonymous says:

        Men who have no scrouples to hit women actually have no problem controlling crazy women because they have no moral principles regarding that. For them it is easy, and you can be sure crazy women usually don’t dare to insult those men. They insult sane men.

        Not true. There are plenty of examples of people of both genders (including women) escaping from, attempting to escape from, and insulting violent people (often but not always men).

        Once I came to Mumbai. the datat sold me to a matik [brothel boss) in Kamathipura. The malik told me l owed him thirty-five thousand rupees [$780), and I must have sex with any man who chooses me until this debt is repaid. I refused, and his men raped me and did not feed me. When I agreed to do sex. they gave me medicines because I had a urine infection. I was in that bungalow two years and made sex to twenty men each day. There were hundreds of girls in this bungalow. many from Nepal. One time I tried to escape. I complained to the police. but they did nothing. A few days later the maliKs men found me on the streets and took me back to the brothel. The malik put chili paste on a broomstick and pushed it inside me. Then he broke my ribs with his fist. The gharwati [house manager, madam) tended my wounds for a short time, and after this time I went with clients again, even though my ribs pained very badly. The gharwali gave me opium to make the pain less. After two years, the malik sold me to another mafik on Falkland Road. During this time I lived in a pinjara [cage) with one other woman. It was very small and it was on the street. so it was very noisy at night. I was pregnant two times, and the gharwali gave me pills to kill the baby. The second time I became very ill. When I was strong I ran away. I went to a shelter near Falkland Road. They told me I have HIV. They helped me contact my father, but he told me not to come home. He said I
        can never be married and because I have HIV, I can only bring shame.
        – Maya, as quoted in Siddharth Kara’s Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

        In spite of the intense brutalization, Maya attempted to escape at least twice, the last time successfully. What she told the police was no doubt insulting to her brutalizers. However, it is probably the enslavers, not Maya, who should be called insane.

        Even girls are sometimes capable of escape attempts in spite of quite credible death threats.

        In Falkland Road in Mumbai. a former sex slave turned working prostitute named Mallaika told me that sex slaves were tortured and murdered every day. She told me that minors were mercilessly abused when they first arrived and that they were given opium so they would have sex with clients. If they misbehaved. arms were broken. If they tried to escape. they might have their throats cut in front of other slaves. who were subsequently required to clean up the slaughter as a visceral lesson in the fate that awaited them should they try to escape.
        – Siddharth Kara, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery

        If women and girls sometimes have the courage to attempt escape against such extremely violent men, then surely even more have the courage to speak their minds to less violent men.

        This is not to say that escape and other forms of resistance are easy or likely to succeed or that everyone has the courage for them. But you are grossly mistaken to think that the female gender “usually” is so weak-willed that the slightest threat of violence is sufficient to control them.

      • Harold says:

        Yes. If someone is in Toronto he needs to navigate the exchange without the physical violence he claims is always there. I don’t see why he cannot do the same with a woman in Toronto. I mean, it is not that hard.

        “He is not saying at all that he beats every man down who insults him, and that he would love to do that with women as well…”
        Really? he is saying that he would like to have that option, which he has with a man. Without that option he claims he is powerless.

        “The difference is that in the latter case it is a power issue, that restraints them, but for Peterson it is a moral issue that restraints him (being a sane man), because as the physical stronger you are not dealing with a weaker person the same way as with a perceived roughly equally strong person.”

        This does not work. Some men are small and relatively weak. Does that mean they should be constantly threatened by larger, stronger men? No. It is a power issue in all cases. How about older men? They can’t hold their own in violent exchange with a young man. The fact is that nearly every exchange is an exception.

        “… Peterson it is a moral issue that restraints him (being a sane man), because as the physical stronger you are not dealing with a weaker person…”

        Yeah, so the morals are based on power. It is a power issue. It is not moral to be physically violent with someone weaker than you. If it is a woman, but it is OK if it an old guy. I mean really, it is not that hard to see this is crap.

        This is the same sort of crap as “women prefer red because they collect berries” evolutionary psychology nonsense. He is justifying his preconceived ideas. “I can’t deal with women effectively, oh it must be because they are crazy and my masculine hardwiring makes it impossible for me to deal with.” No, that is just self justification and you should look to yourself for the solution.

        All he needs to do is think of people as people. Shift the frame, as he says, and it will all work out better.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Harold wrote: “Really? he is saying that he would like to have that option, which he has with a man.”

          No, he didn’t say that Harold. Show me where he said that.

          • Anonymous says:

            The techniques that I would use against a man who was employing those tactics are forbidden to me. So I don’t know, like it seems to me that it isn’t men that have to stand up and say enough of this, even though that is what they should do …
            – Jordan Peterson
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL3Hrwg3A3w&t=1m47s

            • Anonymous says:

              I know how to stand up to a man who’s unfairly trespassing against me. And the reason I know that is the parameters for my resistance are quite well-defined. Which is, we talk, we argue, we push, and then it becomes physical.
              – Jordan Peterson
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL3Hrwg3A3w&t=0m7s

          • Harold says:

            Ok, I think he strongly implies this. He says when dealing with crazy women “men have to throw their hands up…there’s no step forward that you can take”, whereas with men “at least the threat is there (of physical violence).

            Thi seems to me that he is saying that the threat of physical violence with men gives him a route to navigate the exchange, whereas with women there is no route to navigate, hence they (men) have to throw their hands up. Given that it is reasonable to assume he prefers a situation where there is a route forward to one where he has to give up, I think it is reasonable to say he would like to have that option.

            • Anonymous says:

              I think the “even though that is what they should do” supports your interpretation that he disapproves of the cultural prohibition, where he lives, against hitting women.

            • Dan says:

              Harold, I once dated a crazy girl for a few months. At one point she threw a sad iron at me in a fit of anger. Literally could’ve killed me if it had hit me in the head. Had a man done that to me I would’ve bum rushed him in order to defend myself, but with her I was forced to restrain her while making sure I did nothing to hurt her and get the hell out of there before shit got out of hand. I was extremely limited in my ability to defend myself because the threat of going to jail was high if I were to do any physical damage.

              That said, I don’t wish that I could’ve hit her or treated her like I would’ve a man. I think it is wrong to hit women unless there is literally no other option. Acknowledging that women are able to do things that men couldn’t get away with because the threat of violence is much lower for them isn’t an admission that I’d like to hit women. It is simply acknowledging reality. Peterson is simply telling it like it is, and saying because of this reality men are susceptible to crazy women, and sane women are in a better position to deal with the problem than us.

              You can agree or disagree with that assessment, but it’d be sweet if you could not impugn the motives of people simply because you choose to read them in the most uncharitable way possible.

              • Harold says:

                “I think it is wrong to hit women unless there is literally no other option.”

                Do you think it s OK to hit a man if there are other options? What if this were a boy or an old man? Perhaps it is not really about men and women, but stronger and weaker.

                However, you have to acknowledge that your position of being physically attacked by a woman is different form Petersons, who is not being physically attacked. He is extending the physical attack model into the social discourse world.

              • Dan says:

                “Do you think it s OK to hit a man if there are other options? What if this were a boy or an old man? Perhaps it is not really about men and women, but stronger and weaker.”

                Like I said you can agree or disagree with his assertions. It’s fine to agree to disagree.

                “However, you have to acknowledge that your position of being physically attacked by a woman is different form Petersons, who is not being physically attacked. He is extending the physical attack model into the social discourse world.”

                Both our stories are making the same point. It’s not an original idea, either. Bill Burr, for example, hilariously described this dynamic between men and women a few years ago. You’re just reading him very uncharitably. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mIOY2ezMy9A

              • Anonymous says:

                At one point she threw a sad iron at me in a fit of anger. Literally could’ve killed me if it had hit me in the head.

                One would hope that such an experience would have given you greater sympathy for slaves who have been brutalized and in some cases killed.

                But apparently, given your determination to deliberately enslave African children, that would be too optimistic.
                https://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2017/12/understanding-bitcoin-2.html#comment-1872313

                but with her I was forced to restrain her while making sure I did nothing to hurt her and get the hell out of there before shit got out of hand

                You don’t show such care for enslaved women, usually in third world countries, who have not thrown anything at you. Perhaps it’s a first world / third world thing? You’re willing to be delicate with first world women, but if women in the Congo are raped and enslaved in the process of making luxury items for you, you couldn’t care less.

                Acknowledging that women are able to do things that men couldn’t get away with because the threat of violence is much lower for them

                But you just said “but with her I was forced to restrain her while making sure I did nothing to hurt her”. So you were able to successfully defend yourself. Many women are not physically strong enough to restrain their attackers.

                For that matter, most people who are attacked, man or woman, are probably not able to physically restrain their attackers. Attackers who pick losing fights are probably the exception rather than the rule.

                The researchers found that out of 6.1 million people in the region, nearly one in five adults reported being forced into the conflict-abducted to carry weapons, serve as a sex slave, or affected in some other way. Some of these victims of violence and rape were themselves, at times, perpetrators. Children forced to be soldiers were raped and abused by their captors, and also forced to rape and abuse others. Even more people, about 2.5 million women and 1.4 million men, altogether more than half the population, suffered sexual violence, usually rape.
                – Kevin Bales, Blood and Earth, page 35

                If those people had been able to “restrain” their attackers, the figures would likely be far lower.

              • skylien says:

                @Harold,

                I have not more to say than Dan here.

                Thanks Dan!

              • Harold says:

                I had never heard the term “sad iron” before, although it is apparently quite common. It comes from “solid”.

          • Craw says:

            Harold will claim someone said something. It will be a false claim. Then When refuted and pressed Harold will say he implied it or meant it. Perhaps another round or two of goalpost shifting will ensue. Then your attention will wander and Harold will repeat his original claim, unmodified. We have seen this pattern over and over.

            • Anonymous says:

              Harold will summarize his interpretation of what someone said. Someone will object and claim that Harold is wrong. Harold will then explain with direct quotations why his interpretation is a reasonable one. Craw will then falsely claim that Harold has been refuted. We have seen this pattern over and over.

  5. Harold says:

    Started listening to the podcast and very soon there is a fallacy. He says we don’t have a better definition of truth than highly functional. This is wrong. I know of no definition of truth that says highly functional. This is not only wrong but obviously wrong. If anyone wishes to argue we can do so, bt it should be obvious that functional does not equal true.

    I will listen to the rest later, but so far not impressed.

  6. Marc says:

    I am pretty sure Steve Horwitz is the one who penned the critique of Peterson that is discussed here:

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/12/bionic-mosquito/leftist-or-libertarian/

  7. Josiah says:

    He is a very interesting thinker, that is for sure.

  8. Harold says:

    Its actually about 1:45 before he talks about the flood.

    Some of the psychology stuff is good. Shit will happen, but we can reduce the effects if we prepare. After disaster you can still do all the things you could before, but you learn something, so you are in an important way better. We should find out where we are and where we want to go. Whether stuff is good or bad depends on our framing – that is, where we want to go. A table could be the goal or an obstacle. Achievement of goals will not bring “happiness” but will simply leave one without a goal to pursue. The outsourcing if sanity is an interesting idea. Basically, humans are effectively forced to stick to the social mores around at the time to stay sane. If your society says women should stay indoors, then you are pretty much stuck with going along with that if you want to stay sane. This is where I think his “highly functional = true” error caused problems.

    The world is far too complex for us to understand as individuals. therefore we need a structure to navigate. He refers several times to this structure as “the patriarchy”. Can he conceive of no other structure than that in which most power is in the hands of men?

    He says that there are two ways for things to get worse. 1) Entropy – they just get worse on their own. 2) people not doing stuff to stop entropy. That is, if you don’t fix stuff in a timely manner. This is useful advice – a stitch in time saves nine and all that, but this looks like one way for things to get worse and one way to slow it down.

    The flood story is a folklorish way to tell us to fix stuff on time and prepare for disaster. There are reasons why these stories persist and are found everywhere. I didn’t see anything particularly profound in that part, but it was over 2 hours.

  9. skylien says:

    I don’t know where now, but in one video the way he explained the story of Adam and Eve eating the apple blew me away, because now the story made sense! He explained why they suddenly understood the difference between good and bad.

    • Andrew Keen says:

      That one is great. I love how the story inexplicably contains coded information, such as the idea that human’s superior sense of vision comes from fruit and snakes. That whole lecture blew me away too.

      • Harold says:

        I am sort of intrigued as he does have some interesting things to say, but I don’t think I could wade through another 2 hours for the gems. Is that one shorter?

      • Harold says:

        Found it – it is over 2 hours again. I will give it a taste anyway.

        One of the commenters said “I stopped cleaning my room for this -it had better be good” which I thought was quite clever, but apparently is an old joke.

        • skylien says:

          I am very sure I saw a relatively short video (10-20mins) about this. Bur for sure it was taken from a lengthy talk.

  10. Harold says:

    Well, had another go. So many problems. His mis-characterisation of Wheeler’s delayed choice thought experiment makes me suspicious of everything else he claims others have said. Future planning he says is unique to humans, but squirrels stash nuts. Eve would be more susceptible to the snake because Eve had offspring -no she didn’t. Only humans share food – incorrect. Knowledge made Adam and Eve feel vulnerable – there were no predators! Knowledge gives no reason to feel vulnerable. There were many others. At the end he says the Christians were unbelievably brilliant to associate the enemy with the snake when he has just spent 2 hours showing us that Chinese and Indians and pretty much everybody everybody has associated the enemy with the snake because the snake was a significant predator.

    He says if you look on line about men complaining about women “its not me, its those bitches”. To me this looks a bit like someone complaining that they are powerless against crazy women because the prohibition on thumping them leaves you with nowhere to go. He says it is absolutely pathetic and I agree.

    I thought his response to the abortion question was reasonable. He said in his answer that “you wouldn’t recommend that someone you love have one” but that is clearly wrong if “you” is intended to apply to everyone, or at least nearly everybody. I am sure loads of parents have recommended that their daughters (that they love) have one. And partners and friends etc etc. So we can dispense with this idea that it is clearly wrong because nobody recommends their loved ones have one. However, it does entail a certain amount of bad. Nobody would go out of their way to get pregnant so they could have one. Nobody wants one. Everybody would prefer to avoid the situation that makes them feel they need to have one. But as he says a lot, bad stuff will happen. Pregnancy at the wrong time is bad stuff. Deal with bad things in time to avoid future problems is this guys main message. doing this will entail a sacrifice, he says. So having an abortion could well be seen as looking after the future. Once his grounds for classifying hit as “wrong” have been demolished, it seems quite consistent with his general philosophy. However, I think he did a good job of separating morality from legality, so even if he thinks it is wrong it should not necessarily be illegal.

    Interesting point – marriage works because you commit to someone and that allows you to tell them the truth because they can’t run away. That is a point worth thinking about.

  11. Bernie says:

    This is the first post I have ever read at this website and you might find it an Interesting coincidence. I’ve known of you for more than a decade through the Mises Institute, etc.So when I was thinking about JBP being a guest on a podcast with you I did not know you had made this very post just a few days ago.

    My thought is that JBP is, as you say, very knowledgeable in several fields and I’m wondering if one of them might be praxeology. I’m not saying that he has deeply drank of Human Action but what he talks about in many ways is human action. I predict the two of you could have some fascinating conversations.

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