Fight Club: Jordan Peterson vs. Cathy Newman

She constantly repeats the phrase “So you’re saying” and goes on to fully misrepresent what he just said.

Why Evolution Is True

The first rule of Fight Club is to prepare for Fight Club.

This video, in which journalist Cathy Newman interviews psychologist Jordan B. Peterson on Britain’s Channel 4, is an object lesson in how NOT to do an interview, even though I found the exchange entertaining. Newman didn’t do her homework, and her conversation is motivated not by curiosity or an attempt to draw out the subject, but to attack him—without ammunition. Newman fails because she’s angry and invested in her narrative, leading her to ignore what Peterson says (she makes some of her arguments over and over again) and to constantly mischaracterize his views.

As I’ve said before, I don’t have a well-formed opinion about Peterson, because I haven’t spent a lot of time listening to him. I know he’s religious and doesn’t like New Atheists, which turns me off; but on other issues, like the ones in this discussion…

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How big was the human population bottleneck? Another staple of theology refuted.

Why Evolution Is True

A new paper in Nature by Heng Li and Richard Durbin contains estimates of the “effective population size” of our ancestors at different points in evolutionary time. (Effective population size isn’t the same as census size, as it reflects things like unequal sex ratios—unlikely in our ancestors—or variation in family size, but it’s probably not too far off.)  These are the best estimates of our demographic history to date, as they rest on fewer assumptions than previous methods, and have been validated by computer simulation studies.  They bear not only on what happened when early humans were in Africa and then left Africa, but also on our recurrent discussion of the scientific evidence that absolutely rebuts the Adam and Eve story.

The data come from “coalescent” models—estimates of the time in the past at which two copies of genes from different people, or from the same person, last shared a…

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Inspiring Philosophy and the Laws of Logic: Part 1


0. Introduction

There is a YouTube channel, called Inspiring Philosophy (henceforth IP), which is about philosophical apologetics. It has about 45k subscribers, and the videos have high visual production values. One video in particular caught my attention, as it was about the laws of logic.

Despite the relatively large audience and good production values, IP makes some pretty baffling mistakes, and a lot of them are very easy to spell out. I will try to explain the main ones here.

  1. Confusions

IP’s lack of understanding about the issues involved contributes to a confusion about what is being claimed by his imagined ‘opponents’, and what he is trying to say in reply to them. This fundamental confusion is at the heart of the entire video.

In the very opening section, IP asks two general questions:

“Can we trust the laws of logic? Is logic safe from criticism, or is it just another…

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