Victims, Victims Everywhere: Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces, and Academic Freedoms

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Does Peter Boghossian bother anyone else at all? He doesn't seem to know his role, or acts as both moderator and panel guest. He seems to jump in before panel guests have finished their thoughts simply to change the topic, like he is bored or something.

And he makes large declarations on behalf of the panel, like, "we're not qualified to answer that". He will start clapping loudly at good answers from (particularly) Heather, and what he believes to be the culmination of the fully-formed thought--totally messing with the flow.

Yeah this guy bugs me.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 20 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/Scroogl πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Mar 10 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

This talk was free to the public hosted by student republicans at PSU- Portland State University, a fairly progressive school. The talk was intelligent and the audience respectful. I don’t understand the simplistic writing off of these folks. Sommers was great on the Thanksgiving debate with Tamler on Very Bad Wizards, the first time I’d heard about her.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 24 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/tastyville πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Mar 10 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

Bret at the beginning implies some correlation between maturity/development period (and its length), and success or intelligence or personal development in general. I've also heard this notion from Aldous Huxley in the beginning of Brave New World. Is there strong evidence for this?

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 3 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/rayray2kbdp πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Mar 10 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

How does CHS feel about her son Milo now that he's calling dead children crisis actors ,and selling Snake oil pills on Infowars ?

Is she still promoting him or writing articles defending him ?

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 18 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/punish_the_monkey πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Mar 10 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

Really interesting and levelheaded discussion on the ills of promoting victimhood, as well as overall talk on the extent of academic free speech issues, which is often downplayed as being overly sensationalized. Also, sighting of Lawrence Krauss at 1:29:40

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 18 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/stri8ed πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Mar 10 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

Heather's thinking is so reasonable, nuanced, and fair, and unfortunately, I doubt she will ever get the same amount of press as the other three for that exact reason.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 2 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/biggulpfiction πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Mar 11 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies
welcome ladies and gentlemen my name is Philip er Ola and I am the president of the PSU chapter of the College Republicans a brief reminder that this event is being recorded so smile for the camera if you decided to disrupt the college Republicans are devoted to promoting conservatism on campus and one of the cornerstones of conservatism is the free exchange of ideas which explains the four liberal sitting to my left right now we welcome people of all political persuasions who are interested in honest debates to attend our meetings right now we hold them Thursdays at four pm check out our Facebook page for more information our fret our friends at Turning Point USA are also helping us host this event Turning Point is a libertarian group here on campus that promotes free markets free speech and free people they have meetings twice a week Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 in Smith 262 and Fridays from 2:00 to 3:30 in Smith's in Smith 262 for more information please see the booth outside in the hall and be sure to send them your emails and name by signing the little placards they have so now on to our panelists Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute before joining AEI she was a professor of philosophy at Clark University where she specialized in moral theory her articles have appeared in publications such as the journal philosophy the New York Times The Washington Post the New Republic Slate The Daily Beast and The Atlantic she is also the editor of vice and virtue in everyday life a leading College Ethics textbook and the author of who stole feminism and the war against boys the latter of which was a New York Times notable book of the year for 2001 nation under therapy her book freedom feminism was published in June 2013 and a revised and new edition of the war against boys came out in 2014 she has lectured and taken part in debates on more than 100 college campuses and she hosts a weekly blog the factual feminist which has attracted more 400 no just four million views you can follow on twitter at CH summers brett weinstein is an evolutionary biologist who works on questions of complexity he is currently focused on exploring the adaptive relationships between genes and culture he taught for 14 years at the Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington please give bread a round of applause [Applause] professor heather e hang was an evolutionary biologist what okay I messed that up didn't I lucky me okay well she was an evolutionary biologist at Evergreen State College for 15 years she recently resigned in the wake of campus-wide protests last year I I didn't hear about that you have to tell me after that her work on the sex lives of poison frogs in Madagascar earned the highest dissertation honor awarded by University of Michigan please give her a round of applause [Applause] and finally PSU zone dr. Peter Boghossian he's a full-time faculty member in the Department of Philosophy he's an international speaker for the Richard Dawkins foundation for science and reason and the Center for inquiry and has an extensive publication record across multiple domains of thought he's the author of a manual for creating atheists and the creator of the atheists app please give our panel one last round of applause welcome it's wonderful to see so many friendly faces and to see such a civilized group tonight I'm gonna so we're gonna talk about questions of diversity victimhood college cultures academic freedom I've distilled these into some basic ideas or concepts that we'll run throughout the discussion here's the first theme or concept that I'll throw out and then I'll ask the panel to discuss at what point are you not looking after someone's best interests by indulging their victimhood so we indulge people's victimhood all the time we indulge their victimhood on college campuses in particular I'll I'll throw that that question out to you Brett that's an incredibly important question especially in the context of education but I want to start with a little bit of biology first human beings are the species with the longest developmental period of any animal and there's a reason for that a long developmental period is not a good thing in and of itself but it allows for creatures to be more plastic than they would otherwise be so it is no accident that the creature that has dominated every terrestrial habitat on earth is also the one with the longest developmental period but the upshot is that what happens during development matters a great deal the payoff is in adulthood so the danger if we infantilized people if we indulge victimhood and don't train or teach people how to be resilient and how to get past these obstacles is that as adults they won't have the tools to do that either and that's where this is really going to come back to haunt us so I would suggest that one way to look at this is to think about the connection between trauma and extraordinary capacity very frequently we'll find out if we discover that somebody has extraordinary capacity it will turn out that there's some sort of traumatic event that is what do you mean sharp what do you mean by extraordinary capacity what do you mean if somebody Wow okay well you can we're gonna get there we're gonna get there so extraordinary capacity is more or less as you would expect it to be somebody who has demonstrated a capability to go beyond what others have done somebody who has innovated in some way that most people could not and what I'm arguing is that very frequently the ability to do something extraordinary is coupled to a traumatic event which you could read as meaning that trauma is good but it isn't what happens is people are damaged and then some small fraction of those who are damaged find their way past and they go from being wounded to scarring over and so what I would argue is that we do not have a civilization that is well structured for us it makes us all unhealthy and unfit for the environments that we have to succeed in that ill health is best dealt with if we can scar over and figure out how to deal effectively in the world as we find it so we should be especially to the extent that trauma and and that these wounds are real our top priority ought to be dealing with those wounds so they can scar over and we can empower the people who have them rather than keeping them perpetually hobbled and you mentioned resilience I'm gonna get back to us well I'll just use as a placeholder we can revise we can change this later on if we don't like it but rather rather than pull from the pier literature I I think that a common dictionary definition of victim is an odor the first definition is a person harmed injured or killed as a result of a crime accident or other event of action and in most cases in this context we'll be talking about or other event of action we can unpack that if we want but that's a good place holder did you want Heather did you want to jump in none of us are denying that victims exist crimes exist people will will commit crimes and therefore victims will exist but the culture hood that empowers victims for the sake of being victims keeps wounds alive keeps wounds open and so what what all of us have seen I suspect that everyone in the audience has seen as well is a kind of activism that I've begun to call read-only like a hard drive that can only that you can only read that you can't write to where people aren't taking in input and it means that you can't discuss anything with them what this looks like then to pick up on this physical analogy that the thread is using is people are keeping their wounds open for the sake of having wounds to point to as opposed to having wounds and trying to heal and then sure still being able to point to the scar is the event whatever it was and saying this thing happened either to me individually or to me and my lineage whatever it was and I still expect to have that be honored but I'm healing and I'm working towards a better future so that is the distinction between this culture of victimhood that all of us have been observing and I'm saying I'm the victim I something bad happened to me or mine and I'm trying to move forward Kristina did you want to add on I saw some very interesting but I was doing a new edition of my book on boys the war on boys and you constantly heard that boys are not in touch with their feelings and women talk a lot more about themselves and their so a Reese amanda rose i think she was at the university of missouri she and her team studied a large number of adolescents several thousand gave them questionnaires to ask them how do you feel when you talk about your problems do you feel better or worse well it turned out that there was a gender difference on average the girls said that when they felt upset they felt better when they talked it over with a friend and they they got a lot out of it and a surprising number of the boys said that it was weird and a waste of time and then the researchers looked at people sort of mental health and they found there was a lot more depression among the young women and instead of the usual conclusion that we should all do well on our problems and how we've suffered and talked about it check they actually thought that there was some just adaptive value to stoicism and that the young women might be a little better off if they were not didn't engage so much in rumination and now they said they're going to be young men that have problems and have to talk about it but they then they had they said you probably should approach him as a problem solver you know don't just say dear can we talk about this oh god you know my sons would do that so my point is that I think that as a culture we're inclined to think that dwelling and ruminating and talking and sort of wallowing in our pain is going to cure us and it's there it's quite likely that it could do harm and I think if you go through something cognitive analysis cognitive therapy which is one of the best regarded forms of therapy sort of short-term you learn how not to you know go well on your self and and constantly sort of pull yourself down and to be resilient and they built up your it builds up your resiliency so I just think we should be careful even the whole psychology that that is implied by this this victim approach Heather did you want to jump in and then I want to jump in about her secular blasphemy that you just committed so I'm actually I'm rereading Warren boys now I read it when it came out and it's it's fabulous for those of you who haven't one of the things I am reminded of in the reread on in the new edition is your point about the loss of physical activity in schools in recesses right and it's correlative we can't point to clear causation but there are a lot of correlations that you can you can point to that make it look causal with regard to boys in particular being unable to to move around to explore through physical play through sport and to basically move forward through what might be minor insults or major trauma and everything in between is potentially aggravating the culture of victimhood yeah and we do see higher rates of anxiety among adolescents especially young women and I think it's also a problem for them there's more sedentary behavior less recess you know kids are cooped up and all this it just this this focus on overly focus too much focus on emotion and you know emotional expressiveness so you can go too far with that yeah so we help me understand something so I've been fascinated by this idea that the secular blasts through many secular blasters bless me isn't just a religious thing the the second the blasphemy of today are one of them is that there are biological differences between the sexes and that there are in that even saying such a thing yeah I said it today at the law school yes Lewis and Clark and people in : oh my god people when you suggested Adam or event that we're on average or shorter than men and people went berserk I mean if this was supposed to prepare it was it was scripted right so yes the responses is remarkable but in the in the case of the d'amour event it was a timed walk out and it happened to be perfect for YouTube right walked out when she same term dared to say that men are on average taller than women I think it's actually I think that makes it worse I think that that points to a deeper problem which again is this we are not even being heard we aren't even allowed to engage in dialogue about the most obvious things like that less fairly complex nuanced ideas that will offend some people and some people will disagree with the ideas that we just can't give into that I mean so what if they're offended I could possibly care less people it depends why someone's offended I mean if somebody is offended because you've criticized an immutable characteristic that they possess then you ought not to have done that and that's a no-go skin call or hike some of that but you do not have a right to not be offended specifically when your ideas come into play and now that we have all of this morally fashionable nonsense about oh you know biological differences and such and I understand that people want to discharge these moral impulses because they feel very strongly about transitions like I get that but that doesn't give you a license to dot deny biology that doesn't give you a license to deny reality Brett yeah can i synthesize several things that have come up that are really at least are the same thing so there is we have all experienced the kind of what seems like an insane deafness to transparently obvious realities and it's very the wildering to hear people denying things that are just simply factual and could be tested in this room if we wanted to bother but this also reflects the failure of as Heather was pointing out the lack of outdoor play for example the thing about play outdoor is it teaches you when you're confused if you're confused then you fall rather than make the leap that you think you're going to make and so you end up with pain which then gets pondered and you realize that there's something in error in your thought process and so by eliminating this kind of outdoor play what we do is we decide that all reality is abstract and that all reality being abstract it's very easy to go down some road where wouldn't it be nice if we could say males and females are the same therefore anything that turns out uneven as the result of some broken process that we should then seek to fix the problem is that doesn't map to reality and the I think what is actually taking place and it is surprisingly postmodern is that there is this sort of abandonment of obligation to reality itself almost as if the people who are engaged in it don't believe that reality is a thing and I would just submit to you that it is much more likely that that idea will take hold in an era where so much is done online where you don't end up with a skinned knee because you were confused yeah there's no prediction people who spent a lot of time hiking or playing sports or doing anything with their hands where they've created something at the end of the day and they've got a chair that functions are there on the floor are less likely to buy into the idea that reality is a social construct if you are engaging with the physical world you know that there's a reality out there that abides by what you do or doesn't whereas if you're mostly engaged in the social world it's much easier to delude yourself into imagining that maybe reality is a construct because social reality is I just want to take a moment to say it's a Portland State awesome like we have no lunatics running around here freaking out pulling out the speaker wires to anything we're all having a civil conversation and if you want to have a civil conversation Portland State is the place to go so thank you everyone all right so the second kind of the corollary question that I had was what potential negative effects come and you've touched on this a little bit what potential negative effects come from indulging victimhood and that's exactly what I think it is I think that we are indulging victim narratives I think that we are creating a culture that raises the victim up so what negative effects do you think come from that and I'll just start by saying I've I have been watching you know is a feminist theory for many years and in 1992 I was working on an article for the Atlantic about women's studies and I went to the National Women's Studies Association and the first day we were there they were already being pressured by some intersectional advocates in the group who said they were marginalizing too many groups so the first day at the National Women's Studies Association we were told to break down into groups according to our grievances and healing needs and so there was a group for lesbian women african-american women aged women a Asian women fat women Jewish women none of these groups proved stable because there were no men there to oppress us so we started oppressing one another and so the lesbian group broke down into a black and white faction the black lesbian group was not stable because some of them had white lovers that was thought to have given them privilege so they had to have their own group one woman said I had to flee that group for my own safety and the Jewish women some of them wanted to celebrate their Judaism others wanted to recover from it they started to fight and then new groups emerged a group of women with allergies demanded the the National Women's Studies Association acknowledged their there many many paint their pain and not wear drag we had to sign that we wouldn't wear dry clean clothing or perfume at next events maybe they had a point about that that I'll just to finish it it was a victimology spinning out of control we did we ended up well actually my sister went with me and we ended up bonding with some radical lesbian separatists not because we agreed with them but because they smoked and we needed a cigarette but anyway it it was tribalistic in just psychologically I think you know psych 101 you'd learn this is not a way to accomplish anything it's not a way to get anywhere this was in 1992 now you would think those professors would have gone back to their campuses and think well maybe this we should have we should come up with another theory no they went back and have been teaching it kimber let's cumberly Crenshaw's intersectionality well i know it what she had in mind was it was a little different this is but it was an application of a certain interpretation it was an interpretation of intersectionality that I think Crenshaw might not agree with so that's an example of indulging victimhood and even even bringing that up is kind of bordering on some kind of a heresy you think of either examples or negative effects of indulging victimhood Brett so there there are two points that I think are worth making one is that you create learned helplessness I mean just it's obvious that you will create learned helplessness that if the way that you have gotten your needs taken care of is by highlighting your status as a victim rather than figuring out what you can contribute then that will be the way that you seek to do it as an adult the other thing though which i think is harder to spot is that for exactly the reasons that christina is pointing to these coalition's are completely unstable for reasons that trace themselves to very simple game theory they cannot be other than on stable so they will come apart in the end what will happen though is that we will miss the real opportunity to solve the problems that are the motivation for these movements this explain them explain them so if I get asked a lot now why what it is that makes me a liberal I keep claiming that I am one and then people on both the left and the right claim that I'm not one and so the question is well by what standard do you imagine that you are the standard I would put is that progressives like me believe strongly that a fair world is essential not perfectly fair there will always be bad luck but a basically fair world is essential to all of the other values that we would want to establish if we want to attain that fair world the right way to do it is not to deny biology that is in fact that is a recipe for failure if you want to deal with the unsettled issues in the sexual landscape or the racial landscape confronting the biology is the way to go about it and if there's one message that comes from having studied evolutionary theory in depth for decades now it is that there is no boogeyman hiding there there is lots of stuff it's not the least bit politically correct in fact it is very frequently politically incorrect but there is no obstacle that I'm aware of in that landscape that would prevent us from creating a basically fair world and what I'm watching is us having a very foolish conversation about whether males and females are different when in fact what we should be talking about is which of those differences are immutable which of those differences are amenable to us renegotiating what there is and what kind of world would be like I personally favor one in which everybody has freedom to choose as much as possible what roles they want to play so that that does not involve going back to some old view of males and females that and that involves going forward but doing so in light of the biology is the way to do it stabili doing it denying the biology will crumble sooner rather than later it's inherently unstable to deny the biology Heather did you want to jump in on that so I it is interesting and I don't want to ride this hobby horse too much but it seems to me that there's one single source where while only in theology and Gender Studies do have rampant biology denialism and it it seems to me all of the disciplines that have been infected by post-modernism are subject to this in some way and if you haven't seen it I'd suggest it you might lose a couple of our cue points from watching but if you haven't seen it mmm excuse me watch Jordan Peterson's debate with gender studies scholar Nicolas Monte it is an absolutely fascinating example of someone who's completely disconnected from reality at the most fundamental level and how this person is allowed to teach in our institutions I think is really the fundamental question again I don't want to ride this hobby horse too much but I think that these folks have created their own journals they've literally manufactured their own body of knowledge of scholarship and they publish in these and then they credential themselves I'm sorry I'm sorry I so well I tell you I'll tell you what Peter well I just told you but I'm not gonna indulge you any more if you want you can talk during the Q&A but I just literally just I well know this is a conversation you're you're in the Q&A you're not in the conversation you're trying to be in the conversation well my final word to you is I literally just said Nicholas Montez debate with Jordan Peterson and then you asked me who and I just told you Heather I was gonna say actually in response to you that one thing that we've been hearing a lot of is this problem is overblown you're making it up it isn't as bad as you say right and it is the journals are real the departments are real and it's not mostly the students I won't say but one thing students are in college in order to learn in order to be taught in order to be educated not in order to be indoctrinated and so it shouldn't be a surprise to us when bad faith faculty take them under their wing and tell them to be victims and they say I'll try them on sure I'll try that on for three months six months see how it fits and if it's empowering in the moment then it is going to stick so there has been a proliferation of departments in academia in the last 10 20 30 years pretty much any department that ends in Studies plus plus a number of established disciplines such as sociology and geography and cultural anthropology they've all been infected have been cited have been infected and they're basically taken over and the way to look at this I my own opinion religious movement you have to look at this is instead of the faith virus this is the intersectionality virus and it's literally twisting people's minds and becoming institutionalized but Christina did you wanna yes if you look at gender studies and I've been ordering textbooks the new textbooks coming through and it's taken for granted that gender is a social construction they will sometimes admit that there might be you know tiny bit of biology involved but that's you know negligible compared to the impact of culture now I don't disagree that it's a I think any sensible person would think it was a mix of biology and culture we don't quite understand we have yet to fully understand but when you it really makes a difference because what I find in these textbooks if they look at a problem if they look at something like the wage gap or they look at gender differences in college majors or in in professions and it's surprising after several decades of feminism we still have you know men and women on average major in quite different things and you see a disproportionate number of males in engineering and economics and computer science and women overwhelmingly dominate in psychology sociology probably foreign languages and to me as someone who is not fixated on a single explanation I don't necessarily attribute say the wage gap to discrimination or implicit bias or hostile environment or the sort of thing it's possible that in the pursuit of happiness men and women on average take somewhat different paths blasphemy and just in case anyone is going to say someone will say well I'm a female and I'm with you know for example you will make more money if you major in petroleum engineering than early childhood education or feminist dance therapy so you'll make more money interest rolling a magic and petroleum engineering and therefore it's it's I forget the latest numbers but if it's majority males and is this because the women have been you know today at the at Lewis and Clark law school Oh several women were just shocked at I said went berserk they just went berserk when I said that that they you know if you if this were 1950 and you said women didn't freely choose then I might agree but it's 2018 and I think women are who are choosing as they are they're making different voices then then and at a certain point we just have to say we want equality of opportunity but that doesn't mean we're going to enforce sameness of result the results may turn out to be different in free society is the reason that that is a blasphemy because it violates the zeitgeist Eve you feeling it's a dogma the dogma is Gail tourism yeah if there any disparity no actually there's a an exception any disparity that favors men in some way has to be discrimination disparities that favor women yeah that's fine that's just life you know they don't interrogate those so much you know that you have more women in college that you have women you know just doing so much better at all levels of education the on average the girls are way ahead of the boys and you find little concern about males when there's that disparity but you know if you find they're more you know males make majoring in engineers than feet and then females that's seems to be a way and many professors then go and they look at their classrooms as an ideology mill where they have the moral answers to questions at the beginning of class litmus test if you're a Gender Studies major in here why haven't any of your professors required you to read and if they have I'm sorry immediately on the spot right now I'll change my mind and I'll say I'm sorry I'm wrong why have an interview prevent professors invited you to read Martha Nussbaum criticism of Judith Butler well there you have it there's your answer are there in fact any Gender Studies majors in here at all so that wasn't a good test I'm sorry I was wrong I made a mistake so can I point out two places that we should highlight something here is this really a problem or is it being overblown because yes there have been a few cases that have been quite sensational including the one that Heather and I were involved in and you encountered earlier today and at Oberlin and at UMass and at Georgetown but carry on Middlebury and yeah a long list yes it's a problem and it's worse than you think the problem is cryptic until it does something dramatic enough to show up on on YouTube Heather and I existed in an institution for 15 years in which this was brewing and only in the last couple of years did it become obvious that it was present but I also think it's possible to underrate the danger of this based on the idea that it has something to do with college campuses which is it is almost incidental that we are seeing this on college campuses this is a much more widespread problem and all you have to do is look at the one case that doesn't fit with all the others which is the d'amour case where Google Google which is a frightening ly powerful corporation effectively omnipresent in many ways omniscient capable as well think about it it knows things about your spouse doesn't so it's a very dangerous entity that entity fired somebody for saying very reasonable standard accurate things about gender when in fact it had asked him to respond and he simply thought that they meant it and so he wrote a memo and he's now being demonized the fact that it has reached Google and that it in fact is resulting in people being fired should spook you the fact that the NLRB signed on to this what's that in a lower B the National Labor Relations Board signed on to the idea that that d'amours firing was legitimate so what that tells you is that this belief system is spreading into places where it now can act the First Amendment doesn't apply to Google Google is a private entity and so it will now do all sorts of things that we will maybe never even know about based on it's wrong belief about gender so that's one point the other point I want to make is that you mentioned is it is it biology or zat culture and I want to point out this is where we need to level up our understanding of the biology so we can confront it I know what I'm about to say sounds wrong I'm still saying it so that probably means I believe it for some reason beyond the obvious one that it's wrong culture is equally biological as genes it is equally adaptive so when we say that something is cultural we have not escaped the idea that it is an evolved property what culture does mean the things that are housed in culture rather than in the genes those things are much more likely to be amenable to our intelligent tinkering if we want to take something that has passed down the female line and we want to democratize it so males have equal access if it's a cultural property that will be much easier than if it's a genetic property and and vice-versa so we need to realize culture is not the escape hatch where anything that lives there is is not evolutionary but it does provide a certain advantages where we want to alter the state of our of our our civilization I think it I'm I'm positive actually is your brother Eric who said one of the most I think Twitter's kind of accessible he said one of the most profound things and I think it's a litmus test for an ideologue and that is if there was a conflict between facts and I know that I'm not getting this right to excuse me excuse me or if there's a conflict between the facts of biology and if that conflicts with something in gender studies on which side you defer yeah it was if there is a question that impinges on gender differences who do you trust to adjudicate it right in biological scientists or the gender studies for and it was a poll it was a poll and the the results of the poll were staggering now it's not a scientific poll obviously because he's asking a subset that isn't random but it was some Twitter poll yeah it was 98% and you know he did ask the people broadcast it into other filter bubbles so he tried to get away from just make it me ended up 95 5 but it was it was something in 95 percent biology 5% gender studies maybe as much as 98 2 but their replies to the poll were made it look like the people who were yelling on Twitter as opposed to voting anonymously the people who are yelling made it look like you'd be crazy to believe the biologist so it was it was like 50/50 in the comments but the poll was like 95 or 98 to the remainder depending on which of those it was so anyway the idea is there's something very different than unfolds when your privately voting and when you are publicly discussing your reasoning those two things do not look alike and that should tell us something and I would pick up one list that it's an anecdote but it's a it's a lot of anecdotes that in the wake of the madness at Evergreen I was running interference on Brett's email for a while as emails were coming in at the rate of several hundred a day for weeks and one thing that we saw one type of email that we were seeing a lot of where I'm a 25 year old 30 year old 40 or 50 or 60 year old not in college I'm in the private sector or in government but I'm a working person and I got fired or I had to keep my mouth shut or else I was gonna get fired or my friend got fired because I had a different opinion because I dared to think that men and women might be different I dared to think a conservative thought I dared to be religious right there are a lot of beliefs that people have now some of which are scientific Silver's are just true some of which are religious something you know there are a lot of beliefs out there and the intolerance for them is extraordinary in the number of anecdotal granted stories that we have now heard from people who are saying this is happening all over the place and it seems to be emerging from the same place it sounds scripted it sounds like it's coming from the same place every time we run into it I want to I want to throw out something too I think that in addition to that litmus test another way to judge the answer to your brothers question is does somebody obfuscate when they ask when you ask that question to the office and this there's never color than this to tell story to know like what is the answer to the question obfuscation is a litmus test of an ideologue okay so really it could it could also be introducing nuance so I'm just no no maybe and maybe maybe that maybe that's what I need my obfuscation will never be about nuance but nuance could look like a physician yeah maybe that's where I need to be more receptive and maybe that's what I need to change my own mind about something because I do feel that exactly what you said there are these moral orthodoxies there are these statements that are that are taken is timeless immutable truths and to question them it doesn't just mean you're wrong it means you're a bad person and in the classroom to ask people to think substantively about these things what public policies should govern folks who have IQs under 25 like that we need to talk about that when you talk about Factory found that we need to talk about these questions and not talking about them isn't gonna make them go away and then reverting to a victim narrative with someone right run so we haven't even gotten to the safe spaces trigger warnings and microaggressions which is on the list too I think that's a good segue I think that's a good segue so having these discussions what role should somebody's and again I realize this is a very complicated question but what role should one's former life experience play in a classroom setting to either allow them to leave for the moment or leave for the hour or leave for the whole it can be funny to take intro to philosophy classes I'm treated by the whole thing I can't go to the semester but but it at what point when does the complex psychological histories that people that people bring into the classroom what point does having some kind of an escape hatch for those folks come into play look every school should have a some psychological service so if someone is really in trouble and as a philosophy professor of many years had never happened but if they come to me and said well we're gonna be talking about the ethics of abortion and I you know I can't be here it never happened but if it did and I would have been compassionate about that but it's now it's almost as if people are encouraged to be hypersensitive but but here's the important point is for many years I was teaching philosophy and there was a sacred commandment thou shalt teach both sides of the argument so when I taught anything you know in in in personal identity or metaphysics or good and evil you know I would try to find the best philosophers you know and and you know I loved it when the students would become totally committed utilitarians and then they would read Conte and begin to have serious doubts and that just that it's just a lovely thing that happens in an education and then one year the chair of my department asked me to teach feminist theory and I sent away for the texts and I don't know what I was thinking I thought it would be you know just intelligent debates around affirmative action and surrogate motherhood or some and instead it was warmed-over Marxism all of the texts were mutual sort of mutually reinforcing there were some doctrinal feuds but way way over on the far far left it was assumed that the free-market system capitalism was the enemy of freedom all of these assumptions and it was very different these these courses are very different from a typical philosophy course and it's just the other day and I think it was medium a young man had an essay that in his philosophy course no matter who they're reading they reading something by Tom Nagel you know and one of the most brilliant philosophers a lot and what they do is they get it and they start taking it apart you no matter how but you take it apart and he said that does not happen in these other courses it's more where you just you know go further and further into this belief system and I just never saw it as my job as a professor to convert the students to my way of thinking but if you read these articles and I did a lot of reading from my first book on who stole feminism about in feminist theory they have a word you know for students that challenge them they call it resistance and what do you tell at nellis today's epicenter pushback yeah it's academic Kafka trap right it's like someone says you're a racist in a lot of races well they use that as guilt as your racism I mean it's a they've constructed these they've constructed a conspiracy theory and if you challenge it that shows that you're just part of the problem that they're trying to solve I think that's right and I would say over in science space there's an obvious way out of this conundrum as well which is to simply use the scientific method and to say any idea that you generate you try to falsify and that emerges from from popper in the fifties and sixties but you try to falsify your cherished beliefs not try to confirm them and philosophers mostly do this all of us who have taught at the college level for the most part have PhDs doctors in philosophy we're supposed to be investigating first and foremost I think epistemology questions of how we make claims of truth on what basis are we making claims that we believe things to be true and when I have said that to other faculty I have often been met with this belief that's not what we do we don't have time for that we have to get to stray kiama tree and things no you really need to start there or else or else people won't know how to think yeah and we've lost that we've lost the looking at the other side we've lost the sincere being honest with ourselves looking at evidence and look you know there were just facts about reality that make us uncomfortable but that that's all the more reason to look at things and you know the reason that there are six hundred people here whatever to go to the more d'amour event is often people don't feel that they aren't getting the other side of the story but this the Academy has to be the place where we have these conversations well but we also have to be honest about why we're not having them and there are a number of reasons one is that we've created some I'm struggling for a euphemism for phony but phony disciplines that are allowing some bad thought to be cultivated without being challenged but then there's the other part which exists in the sciences too which has to do with the economic byproduct of the overproduction of PhDs the overproduction of PhDs means that every PhD who's trying to get or keep a job is insecure because they're insecure all the way into graduate school they will have studied very narrowly so that they are one of a tiny number of experts on their subject or maybe ideally the only expert which means nobody is in a position to challenge them and this results in not being very good at teaching students how to take an idea that they believe an attempt to falsify it because it isn't primarily what they've been doing so I would say we probably clean our own house and figure out how the Academy strayed from its mission of truth seeking and became something else and we should restore it yeah I want a piggyback off of that for all the professors in the audience I want to throw something out that I think is an enormous problem is publishing and predatory journals and journals with no impact factor and then using that in the suite of the the basket for the tenure and promotion and people publishing these low impact factor journals or no impact factor journals and they get promotion and tenure out of it it's an enormous problem I tried to bring attention to that and they could say the hoax paper I do the conceptual penis and people don't preserve but it is an enormous problem we're promoting people to jobs where they teach our children in our most important institutions are institutions of knowledge production and these people are I don't want to say frauds because that's that's too serious of a word and I don't mean frogs I don't mean fraud certainly in a intentional sense but they haven't gone through the rigorous qualification the rigorous process needed so that they can duplicate that and again couple that with what Christina was saying when Heather was saying and we have the problem that people look at the university as their pet project as an ideology mill where they go in knowing the answers to moral questions and so it is it should be about it because small how do you know that how can we just confirm that how can we rip that apart and and I think when we've lost that weave we don't just damage ourselves but we damage to bring it back to what you said but we damage our resilience the idea that we can then be more resilient to it yeah if you only if you only hear your own side of an issue you become ever more brittle when you hear another you're not capable of making those arguments Christine yes John Stuart Mill said in on Liberty if you only know your side of an issue you know nothing and Emil thought it wasn't good enough just even to read a synopsis of the other side you thought it was best to find out you know what the person that most Abele believes that it is a proponent that so then why wouldn't gender studies have tried to get some libertarian feminists we're out there or some you know conservative feminists or even some anti-feminist why wouldn't we have that diversity and just think how great that could be if we could have studied gender honestly and with a full range of opinion but a long time ago and I have many colleagues who did who were dissidents people like Wendy kaminer Camille Polly uh Katie Roy he and you were called a backlash er and you were called you know a traitor or an anti woman and I was even called a young woman anti woman is called a non woman someone referred to Christina Hoff Sommers and Margaret Thatcher those two female impersonators and someone said that on tumblr a few weeks ago when they were called out for transphobia you're not supposed to say that that was consoling so I wanna we're definitely going to leave time for the QA but before I do that I really something that's we shouldn't ask other people to question their beliefs evaluate their beliefs be open to revise their beliefs unless we're willing to do that so I'm gonna put each one of you to the fire right now I want an example right now of a belief or something these a position you've advocated this evening what this is a version of if you take my classes the de feasibility test how could that what evidence could you be provided with dad what was the visa to feasibility yes it's kind of like dis confirmation it's a fancy word for this confirmation that's a philosophy where it's a two dollar word it's the only big word tonight beside epistemology what evidence of some any position that you've advocated or that you feel strongly about what would it take to change your mind in that position and and I would ask you one more thing I want you to be specific please please tell me something specific you've talked about it has been talked about that you believe what would someone have to show you to change your mind on that Heather okay I've referred to this idea that I've begun to talk about their guard to read-only activism the idea that many of the activists will not take input and that that is actually far more damning than than the idea that they have considered the idea that for instance men and women are different heights and they've rejected it flat-out that's that's an easier thing to deal with I think because let's just batshit crazy right whereas if there's just no in if there's there's no ability to take input at a society-wide level we have a bigger problem so I would love to be wrong on this front I would love to find that the activists who are who are disrupting Lewis and Clark earlier today in Evergreen last year and so many other places all the time we're actually open to input how would I know that that's great quite yeah how would you know you there's only one way you could know that well I think they have to start saying things that couldn't also have been scripted from the inside so there has to be a change in in the language and in the behavior that appears to be responsive to what is happening and it may still be in wild disagreement with what I for instance believe to be true but if it is changing in response to what is coming in from the outside then that's not read only and that means then that we could have a conversation and if we can have a conversation then we can move forward that's great that was a great answer so yeah that that's desertion clopsies great answer granite at the core of that answer is the importance of discourse civil discourse and dialogue it seems obvious to me yeah that's right and I think you know we're not in dialogue with all of you we will be in like partial the quasi dialogue with the QA but but we can be in dialogue in classrooms in college classrooms and in our daily life we need to stop what appears to be the epidemic of cowardice all right we need to be able to stand up and say you know what I don't agree with you and the fact that you are trying to make me silent by virtue of your position be silent right and you know we know that there are consequences for that there are consequences for questioning the Raynham Rainey more Orthodoxy you will be called a Nazi you will be called a racist you will be called a misogynist people will go after your family I mean we know that there are consequences for these things but if everybody remains silent the madness will continue exactly right but something specifically is sure so we have talked in a number of places about the question of whether or not unequal outcomes necessarily reflect some kind of bias or unequal treatment so at Evergreen there were claims that there was rampant white supremacy and that was resulting in differential outcomes between people from different racial groups at Google there was the claim that the low number of female engineers was the result of discrimination somewhere at Evergreen we got to see what the story looked like on the inside there was a mathematical analysis of the outcomes and if one looked at it just briefly it looked like things were terribly unfair but if you looked at it closely it was clear that the statistical analysis was in fact a fraud that it had cherry-picked certain results that highlighted a problem and it had specifically buried results that said there was no problem or even results that said Evergreen was extraordinarily good in some ways so I believe that not all different outcomes reflect a bias and what would cause me to believe that these biases were rampant at Google or evergreen or any one of these other places is a carefully designed study that showed in let's say a pairwise comparison that people from who are either male and female pairs or from different racial groups arriving with the same qualifications then had different levels of success if you showed that that after coming through the door people who differed only in this one parameter had different levels of success that would suggest that in fact something quite wrong was taking place in that institution whereas if people arrive with different qualifications and then they're not equal and they graduate that doesn't tell you anything so a proper quantitative analysis that controlled for differences that people carry through the door would convince me that these institutions were in fact full of bias that I don't believe that okay and when you say convinced you mean you would change your mind absolutely okay I just want to be crystal crystal clear about that so both of you two now have told me that you're willing to change your mind and you've told me exactly what it will take to change your mind now something specific okay well I talked earlier about what I basically I saw this movement within feminist circles towards a kind of tribalism and you know people breaking apart into you know mutually sort of resentful little groups and it seemed very unhappy and it's become censorious and authoritarian and the opposite of what I thought feminism supposed to be about I mean I come as someone who was sort of a flower child in the 1960s sex drugs rock and roll freedom and I just thought we were gonna keep going in that direction and then yeah racism and and and transphobia and you know that's bad let's say no and that and so people getting together and if I saw on the campus that there was this sort of you know openness and that there was real integration and and you know people from all different sorts of people were becoming friends and getting and and but what you see you know it's possible it's just you know a small vocal group and there's a lot that's very good and I suspect that there's a lot that's very good and the good sort of freedom and friendship and mutual compassion and all that's going on but on so many campuses there's a small core very vocal and I'm afraid they're gonna move in out into Google and other places and start changing things so the answer is if if this goes away soon and we stop with all these call-outs and there's just the punishment and the sensoria sness and people becoming people banished and a loss of respect for bedrock liberal values I hear people question due process and the First Amendment no free expression so if I began to see that as some of my critics including me members of my own family nice one of my sons both of them actually say you're exaggerating it's not that bad I would be happy to prove wrong and we will not see what I saw today at Lewis & Clark I actually kind of thought they might be right and I'm not gonna judge this by that one school but I we would stop seeing these what looks like you know kind of an authoritarianism and we we see it on the right but I see it on the campus on the left it's itchy to me because all three of you said that you would be happy something something to that effect so I think it's in the five leave as Socrates says it is better to be refuted than it is to refute so you you have known and I think this is a misconception you don't have any extra block like I don't have any axe to grind I just want to find out what's true and I want to be in an academic environment that allows me to ask questions without being a blasphemer a heretic you know that guy and I don't feel we're moving towards those ideals and if we want to create living spaces outside of ourselves where we can flourish it what we can where we can live the kind of lives that we want to lead the only way to do that is to make sure that the beliefs that you have are tethered to reality once that tether is broken then you're working hard to create structures outside yourself that are antithetical to your own interest they're not bringing you closer to your well-being in many cases they're bringing you away from it there's also a conflation of ideas with who you are so people imagine that if you disagree with something they've said some people I think the activist the authoritarians imagine that if you say I disagree with you what you actually mean is I don't like you I find you distasteful I don't think you deserve to exist none of which people mean in general when they say I don't think that's right disagreeing with an idea is not disagreeing the person's right to be or exist or even think that idea necessarily you're just disagreeing with an idea but that conflation is actually something that all children have and we're supposed to grow out of it we're supposed to grow out of it with help from our peers and from the adults in our sphere which might be teachers or parents or mentors and somehow the adults are missing and I'll agree that I'm wrong if suddenly comedians are welcome back on campus yeah that's a good one okay all right so here's what we're gonna do now what we're gonna do now is we're gonna take a QA and a few things about the QA s and basic rules in the QA we're gonna line up at the center point and what we want first the most important thing is that we want to allow as many questions as we possibly can allow and in order to do that I'm please know life stories know you know just ask your question 25 words or whatever and then it will just go through the list and we'll get as many questions as we can I would also ask that you please state your name before your question so that we can refer you to you by name Bogg or sue or what have you and then what I would ask hold on just back off just so just a few feet back we is important we we want people who disagree with us I want to repeat that we want people to come first to give to give an opportunity to ask your questions first you disagree with us and the second thing is just due to concerns after the QA we're gonna walk out and exit so so we ask that you please don't don't mob us at the end so you just do you disagree with us okay neutral self neutrals okay - I guess and state your name and if you have somebody if you want a specific person could you please state their names these are generally what's your name my name is Kaiser and what is it again Kaiser Kaiser okay to what extent do you believe socio-economic inequality subsumes identity politics and how long will it take for intersectionality to eat its own tail that's definitely not neutral Christina well I think it's happened already with the intersectionality I mean if you if you people have such complex identities and if you keep going further and further you'll end up with the individual so why don't we start with that go back to individualism so I don't see this is the big problem with intersectionality is I don't as I don't mean in a descriptive way of just being aware of people's complex identities if you're an activist if you're a lawyer you're a policymaker you that matters and you have to you know know that you know african-american boys are falling further behind in school than you know Hispanic girls and I mean there have been there are huge differences between those two so you need to know that but as a organizing principle for a discipline or for politics or for social action where does it go so I I'm just not very hopeful that it's leads anywhere sooner or later you have to forget about your identities and look at what you have in common further divisive misses where it goes it's divisive this and then you have to you I worry even about the effective activism because there are big problems in this world that need to be addressed there are problems feminists need to address and that means getting together cooperating with people across identities across even across political divides and that's when women made the greatest progress if you look historically women made the greatest progress in the 18th century when you had a Mary Wollstonecraft and then you had a more conservative stream and they complement of one another it had happened when women won the vote you had you know you had the suffragists but then you also had the National Christians Christian Temperance Union that organized mainstream women from all social classes and across races those two came together that's when you make progress when you cooperate with people with whom you disagree people who don't look like you so that's we have to get back to that we're gonna have to get over this the intersectional moment yeah you want to Brett yeah there were two questions there I would say the the one about when intersectionality will eat its own tail actually I would argue that game theoretically intersectionality eats its own tail as oils are divided that is the point that you can predict it will come apart so anyway that can happen within an institution that can happen more globally but as it winds and the spoils are divided about which will be a disaster I promise the other issue though how much is racism subsumed by socio-economic I forget how the question was phrased but basically how much does economic disparity subsume racial disparity and the answer is look at zip codes zip codes are not fairly divided and much follows from what zip code you're born into so from that you can get a great deal of this and it explains why we're having part of the conversation that we're having which is that a lot of us are being accused of racism of which we are not guilty but zip codes may be guilty of racism and if those zip codes are guilty of racism and we're not addressing it because we're trying to fend off accusations that we are personally racist that is a recipe for disaster how did you want to go or we'll just alright so are you disagreeing with us neutral but I think more places really neutral yes but not like that other guy was pretending to be neutral yes all right go ahead so I just want to say miss Sommers I've been a huge fan of your series and I really enjoy you are not new way out of the way first not neutral that's fact you're neutral exactly so my question it's not too long but my perception is that we have two big problems it's streaks of anti-intellectualism and an unhealthy obsession with the underdog at the most recent that I can think of as a channel for interview with Jordan Peterson which was not a particularly one-sided debate and then the immediate follow-up with Vice doing another takedown so it just seems to me like there's this unhealthy I have to take this person down even though the sort of intellectual requirements to be able to be in that sort of competition or not there so is this something that is real that I'm perceiving or is this what are your thoughts if so if that's real what's the path forward I mean the idea that people have to be taken down and so forth yeah and this is actually for everybody it seems really mind that and I I mean there one can say bunch of the find fault with sometimes of Jordan Peterson what I find is those who just want to write him off and assume that he has some malevolent agenda because he's so popular and I don't mind you know a critical approach but as you said there are just hatchet jobs so to be clear you were talking about the Kathy Newman interview that one in particular yes but it seems to be like every single one of you views had some sort of hit piece shot at you by someone who really doesn't understand your base subject and it's pretty disingenuous but I was wondering what K him when he drove it he's neutral so I just wanted to point out we are in a novel environment one for which we are not well prepared we can't analyze what's taking place you need to think about the incentives of these entities that are doing the interviewing or writing these hip pieces and unfortunately I would argue that markets though they do many things brilliantly are incapable of doing certain things well at all one of them is journalism and the reason that they can't do journalism well is that in competing for an audience they end up catering to that audience in order not to drive them white so what they do is they will tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear that's what you're watching so the question is how can you either join filter bubbles so that your biases cancel or survey enough filter bubbles that the the net result of what you see is at least somewhat accurate and we're all in a poor position to do this but but the the economics are driving the narrative in a direction that even the people who are participating in don't necessarily understand I would just add to that I think there's a perception out there among the some that we're dangerous and we are Jordan Peterson is dangerous and Dave Rubin and Sam Harris and Michael Shermer and Joe Rogan and all of these people are in fact dangerous because they are giving a platform for people to discuss ideas openly and the open discussion of ideas is dangerous to ideology it's not dangerous to a free society it's not dangerous democracy that's dangerous all right another neutral person thank you welcome are you are you okay I'm not gonna policeman okay you look very seriously against us so this is good I just wanted to say thanks first off for coming and speaking today it was this what's a great talker um I'm kind of curious it was something that wasn't really brought up in your talk and I'm just curious your thoughts on it which is about something that I've seen over the last ten years which is polarity I mean there used to be a time where you had an idea and you'd have like five different people and they'd have five different ideas on it and now everything is reduced down to either for or against and it's it's a bad movie perhaps in total but the movie found here there's a great scene where in the paper they're deciding what's going to be the next thing that they need to write about they need to make an issue of something and they they need people to debate and the people that are in the media that that drive like you were saying the economy cannot exceed on't they actually don't care what we're getting they don't like let me piggyback if I may please on that question you know what I feel is that just a shame and it's not only that we're polarized it's that we've lost friendships but people who are friends with people who have substantive disagreements who cares if someone disagrees with you about something you know I mean look at this guy's a college Republican I've never fought a Republican in my life right and the cop you know I know I haven't I'm inveterate liberal and here's the college Republican guy in the suit you know so who cares you you can be my dentist is he is my doctors here my buddy I don't know what these people what difference does it make what someone's political beliefs are you you have bonds beyond ideologies and friendships and kindness and compassion and decency and I think that that that that gets lost and what shame for everybody what shame did you I would say I think there's also a deep irony in the fact that the people who are decrying the idea of for instance binaries in biology are exactly the ones enforcing binaries in conversation that's awesome [Applause] [Music] so this has something to do with what Heather just said I wanted to maybe dichotomize the question of polarization though because we have a narrative polarization which is a total disaster right the the point is that both of these pure views are going to be wrong the lack of nuance is really harming us on the other hand for those of you trying to figure out what to do personally in this context I would like to encourage you to rethink polarization of a social group so I will say I have lost some friends in what happened to me but I also discovered that they weren't really good friends the ones I lost were people who were not going they're not safe to have his friends because they're not dependable when they are frightened on the other hand I've gained a huge number of friends so I would say the whole episode revealed character in the most amazing way and so if you find yourself polarizing a room an institution or some other social group like that ask yourself is it polarized in a way that makes sense and are the people who are in favor of what you are saying the people you would want on your side if things became very serious well add to that oh the next one okay thank you I looked her name my name is Chris hi Chris thanks for coming thank you for hosting the event thank you for participating in the event I want to go back to what you were saying about you Eric's polled that he had on Twitter where the voting was incongruous with the verbal responses that were given and it seems to me like that is very indicative of the the whole environment that is present in academia as predators to be present in Google it seems to be President the present in parts of our government as per the decision made by the National Labor relation activist bent but they're not the people who speak the people who speak are the ones who are shrill and used bad faith tactics like thought terminating cliches and shame and enforcement of Dogma rather than discussion to to come to conclusions and I would just like the panel's opinion on where just maybe just an expat exposition on on what why you think that this is occurring and why people don't want to I mean actually I know why people don't want to stand up Heather and Brett are a perfect example there's no real at this point there's nothing to gain from standing up to this vocal minority there's only things to you know there's no incentive because whether you allow them to continue or truth speak up booth is the incentive yes but if you allow them to continue or if you speak up it seems like there's a there's bad consequences either way how do we keep the how do we bring the public discussion up out of the mud this is I think my question again back to the game theory the reason that you are seeing that phenomenon is because the narratives that you're seeing deployed are tactical they are not informing you of necessarily with the people who are saying and believe or sometimes the people who are saying them believe them that the people who wrote them don't they know better and their private discussions reflect this the tactic is the weaponization of stigma right by stigmatizing you if you step out of line lots of people who would step out of line decide not to and so that causes the narrative to look artificially clean and the whole thing unfolds that way the natural way to solve this problem it's not easy game theoretically but the natural way to do it is to support people who do stand up if you support people who do stand up so that what they experience is not being you know driven off the cliff or into the sea but they experience an outpouring of support this is why I was saying what I was about polarization if you find that you polarize an entity and then yes you've got enemies but you also have a lot of friends that's a much different experience than being isolated from the herd which is essentially for evolutionary historical reasons very frightening because it tends to have been fatal for our ancestors okay hello what can you tell us your name please hi my name is justice I'm sure all the way from Eugene just wanted to thank you guys for coming out here well my question is primarily I guess for Brett and Heather but anyone can sir it so with the emergence of let's say they all right in the radical far-right extremist movements we've also seen emergence of certain scientific claims made by them such as disparities in IQ between races the natural tribalistic tendencies of humans that cannot be overcome and the sociological effects of diversity and for all I know they may be completely inaccurate in their scientific claims but I find that these are certain things that are not allowed to be openly discussed so in part I'm curious what your thoughts are on these scientific claims but also I guess primarily do you feel that the ideological suppression of certain things in science and academia actually is enabling to these radical reactionary counter movements it's a great question by the way so that's a complex question with like seven landmines in it but so let me say first of all the the the artificial consensus inside science is a problem the fact that a diversity of viewpoints on what is true with respect to something like the heritability of intelligence between populations that the lack of a natural diversity of opinion on that is causing I believe artificial support for a point of view that is not robust and I will say if you want to figure out where the bodies are buried on that question you need to look into the definition of the word heritable the definition the word heritable is very different now than it was when Darwin used it right it has changed as a result of our discovery of DNA as a mechanism of transmission of information and you will discover the definition of heritable does not make sense so even if you were able to support a claim that there are substantial differences in average IQ between two populations and those differences were heritable it wouldn't mean what you think it means that sounds to a lay audience like it means there's a blueprint in the DNA and it results in these differences and therefore you know let's be adult about it there's nothing to do about it and that is not what it means because of the way the term heritable is defined so I don't want to go into a biology lesson here about the problems with that word and what would have to be done to fix it but until you've got that straightened out you can't even address that question properly we you know that's one of those questions that we could really unpack I don't know how I think it was on the serum Harris's waking up podcast I heard this I'm not sure he was that maybe I came up with myself I know I read who knows but but the idea I think is either either flipping out there or it's in my own head so it's somewhere that unless we have developed a moral infrastructure to ask these questions at some point and you I'm not an evolutionary biologist by any stretch of the imagination with the advancement of technologies and Moore's law we will have ever you know finer granularity of instrumentation to look at the brain at a level in which we're currently not capable of doing that and unless we have pave the dialectical Highway if you will in other words unless we have a moral infrastructure that enables us to wrestle and it ask these questions it's not clear to me how not asking those questions is gonna make it go away so what are we gonna do when when then something can we do invent a technology or something comes up and then we don't we become brittle again it's the same thing the theme that's emerged throughout the panel not talking about something does not make it go away it just means that an extremist is gonna step in with a solution you know I would say there has been a trend among scientists for scientists or split along lines of all questions should be asked even if the answers are going to be ugly and some people think you know what I suspect so strongly if the answer to this question is going to be ugly and that it is going to cause chaos that we should not even ask the question on that split I am very clearly over over here where we're to the over here my feeling is we have to know we have to know and as Brett pointed out we can't we don't know yet on the question of for instance race my suspicion as an evolution of biologists my deep suspicion for a number of Aleutian areas that we don't have time to get into here is that there won't be heritable differences both because all populations have had to exist and survive in the environments that they've been in and different environments that require different things of people but if people have survived an environment they've had to be smart to do so and secondarily there are no pure populations anymore there's some pure lineages so the amount of inbreeding and out breeding between and among populations at this point means that there's not going to be any any ability to track back to what populations most look like but that's not that's not based on any work that's been done there hasn't been enough work that's been done because it's it's it's forbidden research like Charles but grief Charles Maura has received well the problem is there is data my claim is it doesn't mean what we think it means it doesn't there isn't enough work there aren't enough people who have done the work and the definition meaning trust me heritable is a serious problem because for example if you let's say that there was a belief that people who had I don't know a brow Ridge or something were stupid right and that belief was widespread and that brow Ridge was genetically encoded and it resulted in people going into the world and facing discrimination in school let's say because the brow Ridge connoted to their teachers that they were not likely to be intelligent and therefore they were given since their lessons they got dumb tract or something like that that would show up as a genetically heritable difference in intelligence between brow Ridge people and non brow Ridge people that does not mean that it is encoded in the genome and that it was the brain that was imprinted what it means is that some feature that was encoded in the genome caused the environment to interact with the individual in a way that then produced a difference in intellect so there's there's great danger I think if there are if we take heritable to mean what we think it does the common parlance the Darwinian versions of heritable the fact that there are any heritable differences that exist within a population guarantees there will be some differences between populations on average doesn't guarantee that they are sizable enough to be easily measured it doesn't say that they have anything to do with the inequities that we see in civilization but just mathematically speaking the idea that it would be zero is incredibly improbable but it also we also don't know which populations would be ahead and that what we tend to do is we tend to assume that inequities must be partially explained by these differences and really I think what Heather and I are both saying is that it is so early in the study of this stuff we really don't know and the taboo nature of those questions is causing the it's causing a vacuum that is being filled with an artificially pure and probably not correct perspective okay that so that question we gave a very detailed answer because you're right it was a minefield okay you don't want to not any of that question okay cool so what I would like to do now we have 731 so I would like to do rapid-fire questions I don't care with everybody so again there may be questions that we can't do that with but we will do our best to do a minefield questions so thank you hello could you tell us your name please oh my name is Alice hi Alice um so I'm trying to figure out what the fallacy is or many fallacies are in if everything is a social construct as they claim and it's all made up in this postmodern modernist world but on the same token it matters more than anything and everything beyond our character mind and reason with groups like BLM or me - then why I do the social constructs matter like why does it matter if if they're made up if they're don't not real why well they'll say that they they were culturally invented but they are propped up and held in place by society because of you know prejudice and structural inequalities in structural inequalities and inherited attitudes and so forth but if you come with with men and women you know it just seems to me and I suppose everyone in the panel would agree that it it did idea that it's just socially constructed if that were the case you might suspect somewhere in the anthropological record you would find a society where the females were the Warriors and the males were you know sort of standoffish and coy and more hesitant about sex and then you know and are you have we just haven't seen them and you would think that if we were simply cultural you would find a society where you know the women had the mathematical aptitudes highest and the males had the best verbal skills we haven't seen them so you begin to suspect that it's a combination but you're I mean it is a combination but if I can remind you of what I said at the beginning the fact that something is cultural doesn't free us from the idea that it is product of adaptive evolution so that even to the extent that these things happen to be transmitted culturally it I mean this is really what you're getting at there's a reason even if gender roles were transmitted 95 percent culturally it would not say that they were distributed in an arbitrary fashion which is people that people like to infer from that belief so really I think the conclusion that is inescapable is that we have to look at these things some part of what we look at may make us uncomfortable but the route to actually controlling our future involves not being dishonest about our past that was awesome all right hello can you tell us your name yeah my name is Dan hi Dan thanks for coming it seems like in school you know you teach kids you know with diversity and sensitivity training to be nice to other people and to to identify you know when they're misbehaving and not do that but it seems that at the same time you're teaching them to be hypersensitive to those same issues so the more you try to correct the problem the more it seems that you're programming these people to suffer from that problem and it's like I notice if you go around Portland if anyone you know looks at any of the stores here you'll notice like half the stores have these signs that say that they welcome people of all Creed all races and then you'll see next to it as a store it doesn't have that sign and so then it makes you know if you were like a space alien that dropped into Portland you would think that maybe half the stores in Portland were completely racist and at the and that the other half weren't and so it seems like you know the more we try to correct this problem the more we're causing this problem and so through the virtue signaling and all the training that we're giving the kids you know how do you prevent that feedback loop and maybe that's the problem that we're in is and I'll just add to it that I find very interesting what's happening on campus and is that you get these radical groups and they're complaining that they have been objectified and demonized and otherwise and then they turn around and do it to someone else who you know make that in other words they're doing to people exactly what they accused it's done to them and that's when you asked us what would be a sign that things were getting better is it people stop doing that if you didn't have this this culture of recrimination and so in this quest for hypersensitivity we have bullying and meanness you know it done in the name of sensitivity so people say well there's sensitivity fascists or something and I mean it's ridiculous but there are sensitivity fascists other we need to start letting children get hurt physically and emotionally intellectually treating them like they're fragile don't quote that on Twitter anyone I yeah it's a dangerous soundbite but I mean it's exactly what you're pointing out we treat people like they're fragile and boil off they're fragile and then we act surprised why are we surprised of course they're fragile we'd never let them get hurt and find out that actually bleeding or having your feelings hurt or being anti fragile like you're being told you're actually gently you know you're being told in the classroom bad idea not all questions are good and not all do you all ideas are good and sometimes you're just wrong and now you're gonna learn better to hear that when you're 5 and 10 and 15 they wait until you're 25 and then in most of times it doesn't hurt that bad in the first place exactly I just want to add something to that I I think that I've never really seen the point in being nice I think this is Twitter me Moore's no I think we need to teach people is to be kind nice this is such an insipid word all right thank you you tell us your name hi I'm Kirsten I came up with this question after listening to the podcast on Joe Rogan just talking about evolution and how for example you use the lizard it's crossing over to an island and changing adapting evolutionarily is do you ever think about how that could be a part of what's going on with the human race where it's culturally if it's biological is this sort of a signal of what might be happening biologically with men and women changing biologically so we we are changing we are we are more cultural than any other organism out there although there are plenty of other organisms with culture dolphins elephants wolves parrots crows just to name a few right with regard to the monitor lizards who can become asexual when they go to islands and reproduce on their own without without a male we're not gonna pull that off nor nor do I want to anyway I know just in laboratories um we couldn't do it in laboratory don't win oh boy I'm not gonna go there we have because we have genetic sex determination and it's not as simple as we think it is but it's much more simple and kind of sex determination it is it is necessary for us as as mammals and as it is necessary for birds who also have a separate evolution of genetic sex determination to have both egg and sperm meet in order to have have a baby so we're I'm not sure yeah actually I'm gonna I'm gonna drop the Komodo dragons and I want to take it a different tack so human beings are an incredibly unusual product of evolution we're very weird and a lot of what's weird about us has to do with the amount that has been offloaded to the cultural layer that's been taken away from the genome the reason is that that cultural layer can adapt much more rapidly so our niche really is change that's what we're good at now the problem that we face is that the change that is taking place now is so rapid that selection can't keep up with it so we're not doing a good job even though this is our specialty because we've turned the speed up so fast we just can't we can't keep up so if there was something to be done we would want to slow down the rate of change it doesn't have to be really slow it just has to be slow enough that we can pick up the patterns figure out what responses make sense and move in a proper direction rather than move in a chaotic direction based on the fact that you don't even live in the same environment that you grew up in that's way too fast for us to deal with that level of change alright thank you for your question hi you tell us your name please hi I'm kaneo and I have two questions welcome sure yeah to shoot like first my questions are related to the domore issue you brought up about Google I'm in what brought that up Brett I'm a musician and I consider copyright to be one of the greatest threats on free speech and along with how it can be used silence musical expression and artistic expressions and my question is about how corporations like Google employing copyright and becoming more political how that could have a chilling effect what do you think about that I'm not we qualified to talk about that I would recommend though Larry Lessig's code Larry Lessig's work and his work on code I and it's really funny like you know I have I don't know do you feel I have no problem criticizing this institution any institution gods I am terrified of criticizing Google there's a limit to what god yeah so we love Google next question thank you sorry that's just not our stick oh yeah you have two questions question is about considering private corporations are very reliant and contingent on government being legal constructs and using subsidies and lobbying and bailouts etc should they really be exempt from respecting free speech as much as say a private individual what do you mean by respecting like allowing do more to have his point of view that could yeah sounds like that I think this is quite clear actually that the founders the founding fathers did not anticipate a google-like phenomenon and so they gave us a constitution that addressed the things that they had seen and the greatest threats to free speech are no longer governmental so yes we need to figure out how to take the concept of freedom of expression which is a value that probably everybody in this room holds dear and to globalize it so that it could you know so that it doesn't distinguish for example between state schools and private schools or between Google and the federal government it is important that whatever channels are necessary to be able to convey information are equally open and how we do that when the Constitution is very narrow and what it protects is a question that we have to address okay good thank you we share your questions hello can you tell us your name please yes my name is Arman and thank you again for everybody coming here today well thanks Arlo I shaped at my question here today is I appreciate your point you brought up about the physical world and computers and virtualization is kind of splitting reality physical world reality and what I would prefer as my specific reality we are seeing niches like Google you know Google talk after this moratorium my question is I see a lot of conversations brought up a lot of very good discussions debates where did we miss the mark on that and where did we kind of blow past talking about these very important points that I think that a lot of us objectively agree on and how did we blow past that and back to just want to tighten the virtualization real quickly oh I think that we'd like to specify things like well computer science love to make all these new categories of things like that and we use words and metaphors as our tools to navigate our virtual world and so what's your question because it's uncertain good how are those metaphor how are our tools of words being changed and is that essentially kind of how we've blown past top seriously talking about these serious topics and more into these topics of victimhood or do you think that victimhood is that actually what we're getting down to I would argue that all species are inevitably built to compete and that virtually everything that you could name about human beings is a mechanism that facilitates competition whether it's your eyes that allow you to see better than some competitor for food or your tendency to cooperate with other individuals against some third group so what we are seeing are ancient mechanisms that are being triggered I think by austerity actually or the threat of austerity and this is a totally predictable outcome that is resulting in a breakdown in the rationality of discussion so what we don't anticipate is that rationality is in general a means to an end we compete rationally when rational competition is advantageous when rational competition is no longer as successful as ganging up on people mobbing them witch hunting that whatever we do that instead so if we were smart we would recognize that all of those things that everybody in the room would rationally agree are bad human properties the tendency to gang up and make more fair and commit genocide and all those things if we really don't want those things to continue the way to deal with it is to understand what they are and to go about systematically unhooking those things to stop triggering them rather than be surprised when they reach which they inevitably do all right we have Tom did you want to jump in yeah yeah we have time for four where's Maura in here yeah I think we have time for one one more but before your question I just want to say a few things this has been a really fantastic audience and we appreciate very much the fact that that you have engaged us we have had a talk okay it sounds silly to say but that we haven't been disrupted or we haven't been but in this climate and especially today with with HAP what happened to Christina it really does speak to Portland State University and the culture we've built here and thank you to everybody tonight very much all right all right there son my name is Araya thanks for coming out um so my question is concerning this idea of subjectivity and relativism and it sort of pertains to our Constitution we've had movements in the past to address human rights violations in the way we address those was through looking at it through the prism of the Constitution for example we got the Thirteenth Amendment because of the abolitionist movement which got rid of slavery I was doing a little reading before I came here about second wave feminism and the the idea of an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution I was I actually appreciated that because they were trying to work within our constitutional framework so it seems to be that from the New Deal era all the way up until now we have this really really toxic idea of the living Constitution that it means whatever we dream up at the moment right so circumstances change in society but following that cumbersome amendment process is not necessary for the sake of political expediency question so so my question is is this crisis of relativism and victimhood is this because we've given up on the idea that things have meaning including words like words in a constitution well in terms of free speech in and due process like for example what's being done in the name of title 9 and these often kangaroo courts on campus if these reach the Supreme Court it's going to be it will save us and I think the votes in favor of free speech typically on that Court it's almost you know you close to unanimous so can the college campus historically the court has been in certainly in the last thirty years constantly in favor of more and more freedom and due process absolutely so right now the Constitution is is working it's just a lot of the crazy things we've been talking about they just haven't worked their way there yet but if they do I think it's still our best friend and you know now it will that change will people be coming out of law schools with some you know I don't know postmodern theory of freedom which yeah well no Ruth Bader Ginsburg would come down in favor of free speech and she said she thought there was a lack of due process on campus I mean she she's okay but I'm worried about people that might the law students I met today some of them no most of them were fine but if they end up you know moving through that that's it's it's it's just up to this generation you know every generation faces a challenge to freedom and and you know we saw outbreaks of intolerance with the McCarthy era and there it was they're different scares and moral panics they come and go but so far I think we have reasons to be optimistic and we may have you know just have invented a very good system and I wouldn't suggest also reading Steve Pinker's new book on the enlightenment enlightenment no enlightenment now and he's very optimistic and is kind of reminding all of us of how much progress we've made and how optimistic Matt Ridley has some great Matt Ridley and Michael Shermer has some great work yes and but I think all of them would credit a lot of it to enlightenment values to the American constitutional system and so I'm still confident that it's going to work an optimistic you know so far it has so far I'm really not optimistic and I so I think I think this is an important difference of opinion and I would argue that it's time to abstract the values on which our system is based which are excellent values imperfect but excellent from the structure which I would argue is almost totally inadequate for our modern circumstance and it's time to rescue those values and figure out what structure can actually support them in the modern comm yeah I want to piggyback on that because you said a few times tonight if you said fairness and you mentioned a few things and I think that I'm not a big fan of speaking for other people but I think that we all believe here that the values we hold or rationally driveable justice you know what fairness from John wall's are and that's no small thing right that's one of the reasons we engage in discourse that's one of the reasons we have a dialogue that's one of the reasons we have discussions these values aren't arbitrary values the values that have come from us through the Enlightenment the values of freedom of speech freedom of print of the press figure and assembly I don't know about the Second Amendment I won't go there but the the due process the values that we have and that we share I believe that they're rationally drivable and so when that's more reason to have a conversation not less reason because if you're going to be wrong about those values you don't want to institutionalize the wrong values all right thank you everyone thank you so much for coming appreciate appreciate it tonight
Channel: PSU College Republicans
Views: 246,993
Rating: 4.8574591 out of 5
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Length: 108min 13sec (6493 seconds)
Published: Fri Mar 09 2018
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