Tim Skellett Profile picture
Mar 12, 2018 14 tweets 6 min read
Now we get to strand b/ of criticism of Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment Now". That is, "Inequality! [& often then] Therefore Pinker is a racist, sexist, transphobe scumbag who should be scorned".
As @salonium pointed out, most of that criticism is easy to dismiss. And yet...
Here are @salonium's own words (in quillette.com/2018/03/11/ste…) on dismissing some such criticisms; and let's face it, she's right. Except, arrghh whoops, this means an entire system of "#humanism" values being adopted *as well as* techno yada, and things really aren't that simple.
As @salonium herself points out, that vague values bundle includes #liberalism. And that's OK... except liberalism (& objective science) are under attack, & except Pinker simply unconsciously assumes far too much, as we shall see. But first, @salonium on some critics:
Now I agree w/ @salonium, except I think she's being too charitable here. Some have very vested interests in denying progress has happened, in denying science can have objectivity, because *they actively seek to delegitimize any such efforts*, for the sake of revolution now! yada
Inequality! And we get onto very murky ground indeed, because some science hints that (political, wealth) inequality *is biologically built into the human condition*, except that's no reason at all NOT to actively counter against it. Illness is also built in, we act against that.
Let's be really blunt, Pinker could have saved himself a lot of trouble by actively pointing out in how liberalism + techno alleviates inequality. He could have used the example of phone-banking via cell-phones in Tanzania overcoming immense geographical hardships, etc. etc.
But it seems Pinker is often unused to thinking about life from the wrong side of the tracks. Or maybe he could have used the example of the web being used to alleviate poverty, to give access to advanced medical knowledge, etc. etc.. So a bit of a fail on his part there.
Then we get really deep into inequality, and it gets srsly hairy. Because, as @PatrickDeneen points out in firstthings.com/article/2018/0…, all is not what it seems, *even for a constant of human life since way before Solon and Spartacus*. We really don't understand inequality well.
There are group experiments that strongly suggest *inequality is built in to exchanges between humans*, probably because unconscious biological hierarchical effects. That needs constant counter-acting, as Solon pointed out in 594 B.C.
There are also those who think they see biologically based inequality between human groups; they ignore huge swathes of evidence to claim the science backs them up on that, and many of them actively promote or want such inequality.
Pinker is definitely in favor of evening out the playing field, of increasing equality of opportunity. Yet even here he can misstep; the problem is, you have to be relatively well-off to *feel* like a citizen of the world. From @salonium again, & here the criticism is justified:
So much for that; Pinker really doesn't go into inequality deep enough, nor into alleviating it enough. As @salonium says, his optimism is for humanity as a whole; but that (unnecessarily) leaves him open to much criticism.
Onto strand c/, values! Thread:
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More from @Gurdur

Sep 28, 2018
But now, onto my own personal summation of this all. The @Guardian, it is THE paper and site that gives most national (UK) and international (USA, Australia, the damned world) to coverage of issues like poverty, class. It has worldclass investigative #journalism. But.....
... but I admit to being more than fully cheesed off with the Guardian myself. I was a loyal funder, around 60 quid a month, I stopped completely, because the Guardian's new policies were so idiotic and off-putting, not to mention counter-productive.
But! ....
But, bluntly, the @Guardian still is THE major newspaper in the UK, the USA or Australia, to give a very wide range of opinion from the public, & to also give reasonably trustworthy investigative #journalism.
I refuse to contribute money, but it's still very much my first go-to.
Read 8 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
The #BoycottTheGuardian is because of ... the Jews. Who woulda thunk it? What a surprise, so shocking.
Such a surprise, so shocking, it's coz of the Jews, innit
Some seem very eager to attach yellow stars to the Guardian (by the way, for anyone interested in the truth, it's not Jews who own the Guardian at all, and the Guardian tends to be pro-Palestinian. But hey, #BoycottTheGuardian because Jews).
Read 22 tweets
Sep 28, 2018
Oh, and let's discuss that bit of trivia, that went trending on Twitter for a short while, only in the UK, naturally. The #BoycottTheGuardian garbage. Because maybe the UK could benefit from dosing up the tapwater with lithium and haloperidol too.
For those who don't know it: the @guardian is a broadsheet, i.e. a respectable newspaper, not a scandal-mongering tabloid, based in the UK, though its web-presence is heavy in the USA and Australia. It is the smallest of national broadsheets in the UK, and the best one.
The @Guardian, national broadsheet w/ the smallest subscription in the UK, is also the most "left"-wing & liberal of the UK national broadsheets. Known 1821 till 1959 as the Manchester Guardian, it has done a huge deal of v important investigative #journalism over the centuries.
Read 6 tweets
May 20, 2018
There is an excellent Spanish movie, Alatriste, which opens with a map, and the caption, "When Spain ruled the world". And it's quite amazing; for a period of around 40 years, it really looked like Spain ruled the world. And for longer, it looked like Spain might rule forever
And somewhere around 1600 A.D., it looked like Spain would come to rule the world. It had THE best infantry in the world, the truly feared Spanish tercios. It had a huge, world-spanning empire. It had incredible wealth. And then it all went south, quickly, much by 1650 A.D.
Witticisms can be misleading, but sometimes it's true to say that every great strength hides a great weakness. Spain ruled a huge empire. Almost every single part would rebel. Spain had the world's best infantry - but b/c of aridity, meaning few horses in Spain, little cavalry.
Read 15 tweets
May 5, 2018
There are people who need cheering up. So I am going to do some cheering up, but in a novel, mixed way. Meaning, I am going to tweet random butterfly photos of mine, and also tell y'all a true story.
cc.@US_Vote, @ElectionBabe
Some of you, may think us blokes have it easy, at least when we're young, energetic, & brain-deficient. Nothing is further from the truth for many of us blokes. Now y'all will hear The Truth. An embarrassing saga of the truth, but a funny one. Very.
My photo again.
Australia. BIG place. Lots of mines, quarries. All dusty, dirty, hot work. Picture to yourself a young, innocent bloke who has just got his indie shotfirer's licence (if new 2 this, see ). Prefers not to work in more mines, BECAUSE ()
Read 15 tweets
May 5, 2018
1/ OK. Let's stop talking about the embarrassing time I blew myself up and lost half a head of hair, because embarrassing. Let's talk instead about a colleague of mine on another job, who blew himself up dramatically, and I mean drama
2/ You think I'm silly? This other poor bugger, lemme tell you, he blew himself up, was stark bollocks naked as a result, and only just missed being lethally impaled by a jackhammer into the roof of the tunnel, like some weird kind of Industrial Mineworking Pinned Butterfly.
3/ Shotfirer = the bloke (or woman) who sets off the explosive charges in a quarry, mine or demolition site. The "shot" is the actual explosive charge or set of them.
Read 19 tweets

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