On Steven Pinker

2018/02/25 writing

Luke Savage brought up Steven Pinker on Twitter, someone was puzzled that people thought ill of him, so I tried to explain:

His shtick is to tell people in power, such as Bill Gates, that they have wielded their power incredibly wisely, that things are going great for most everybody, that anyone protesting anything — from feminists to anti-war to BLM — is a dangerous loser/whiner.

And he does this in an incredibly disingenuous way, writing insanely voluminous poorly-researched tomes that require tons of effort to debunk. And even when successfully debunked, his relationship with powerful people protects him from criticism.

So basically he's 1) a status-quo liberal in Obama/Clinton/Trudeau fashion, 2) who gets ahead by being obsequious to haves and trashing have-nots, 3) champions mathematical obscurantism and shoddy statwork, and 4) encourages an argumentative style where attrition wins.

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