Nassim Taleb had a hissy fit last night:
Where I block @JordanbPeterson for violation of intellectual integrity/virtue signaling.
This spat was over Jordan Peterson’s endorsement of golden rice. Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace, is a promoter of Golden Rice, vis this in the Globe and Mail a few years ago:
Two humanitarian scientists, Dr. Ingo Potrykus and Prof. Peter Beyer, used their knowledge of genetics to create Golden Rice, a variety of rice that contains beta carotene, the essential nutrient that we make into vitamin A. They were aware that two million people, mostly young children, die each year from vitamin A deficiency. Most of them live in urban slums in Asia and Africa and eat little more than a cup of rice each day. Conventional rice contains no beta carotene, resulting in 250 million preschool children who have chronic vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is necessary for eyesight and the immune system. As many as 500,000 children go blind each year, half of whom die within a year of becoming blind, according to the World Health Organization.
Taleb calls this argument Pedophrasty. He defines this as follows (in Medium, in a piece called “Pedophrasty, Bigoteering, and Other Modern Scams“):
Definition: Argument involving children to prop up a rationalization and make the opponent look like an asshole, as people are defenseless and suspend all skepticism in front of suffering children: nobody has the heart to question the authenticity or source of the reporting. Often done with the aid of pictures.
Taleb continues his hysterics: Actually it is not just virtue signaling but Peterson’s DISGUSTING use of appeal to pity or some FAKE humanitarianism “because blindness” to justify selling speculative options in place of less lucrative more robust ones. Similar to pedophrasty.
Never mind that Greenpeace and every other environment crackpot organization use children ruthlessly in their advocacy, using their authority to insinuate themselves into every school, at just about every grade and filling the open minds of school children with flat-out terror.
Taleb continues in his twitter thread:
“And of course Patrick Moore whose dangerous, dishonest (& exploitative) arguments psychologist @jordanbPeterson was diffusing is a well identified shill for glyphosate.”
I have friends whose ability to reason I respect, who are completely unreasonable on the grounds of glyphosate and GMOs. I am moderately afraid of glyphosate myself and dislike it when Jamie spends a day spraying the dandelions in his five-acre, meticulously kept garden. I keep the pets indoors – as directed on the bottle – and am sullen for a day afterward. I have some kind of grain sensitivity which some health professionals believe is a glyphosate sensitivity. Hundreds of thousands of first world dwellers have developed glyphosate sensitivities and many naturopaths think it contributes to cancer, particularly in pets. The European Union has banned glyphosate and GMOs, on those grounds.
But damn, it is an effective poison and it makes the growing of food (and exquisite gardens) much much easier. Here is Patrick having his own hissy fit:
I believe that this argument can be solved by actuarial science. In the deep dark reaches of corporate and government labs, a grim calculation takes place. Its primary assumption is the following: Life Is Valuable. In the first world, our world, the value of a human life, last time I looked was estimated at about $3,000,000. That would be in the US and Canada. In Europe, given their refusal to use GMOs and Roundup, the value may in fact, be judged higher. In any case the boffins in the basement have judged that the cost of treating the one in 1,000,000 cancer caused by exposure to glyphosate is such that the value of a human life spread against 500 million people is $3 million or $5 million or $10 million, the value of life rising as the culture gets richer. Fine. The first world can argue this as if we are medieval monks arguing the number of angels on the head of a pin. We can afford it and we can afford organic, GMO-free, glyphosate-free food.
Not in the world where the value of a life is neglible, which is to say people die of starvation in the many many thousands every single day. If a chemical comes along that stops that, take it now. Right now. After titanic battles by Patrick and others, golden rice is about to be planted in Bangladesh.
Here are a few facts about starvation in Bangladesh.
Undernutrition costs Bangladesh $1BillionUS a year, and more in health care costs. 41% of children under five are undernourished. Even in the wealthiest households, 26% of children are stunted, and 12% are wasted. Sacrifices in food consumption in favour of children, particularly in times of scarcity, is highly gender biased. In most cases, it is an adult woman who must make a sacrifice.
You can read the rest of these grim statistics at the World Food Program. https://www.wfp.org/stories/10-facts-about-hunger-bangladesh
India has just closed two offices of Greenpeace and stated that the organization acts against the interests of its citizens. They’ve made the choice, not Mr. Fancy Pants on Twitter inveigling against feeding the world’s poor because he is jealous of Jordan Peterson’s fame.
Kamala Harris, Call-Out Star
The toughest progressive we’ve seen in a long time.
By David Brooks
David Brooks, apparently missing the parts about no more cars, no more private health insurance, no more free market, no more guns, no more borders thinks that Kamala Harris is just the bee’s knees. First of all, she has an elite education and brilliant parents. She chose to “work for the poor” like the last progressive Brooks bought and sold to us moderates who read books without pictures. She is pretty and she is tough. She puts people in jail! How splendid!
Harris is very much a product of the highly educated progressive coastal elite. Her father is a professor at Stanford. Her mother, who was a breast cancer researcher, got her Ph.D. at 25. Harris grew up with ballet, violin, French horn and perfectionism.
The mockery has been pretty substantial. The Democrats are panicking, backpedaling madly.https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/29/politics/kamala-harris-medicare-for-all-divides-democrats/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1aJY8DtvxrTLfFxsNPKuDp9DKzQRh_nVlxIJLKMMqwe-fNSG3Vo1FkOdE
The Gormorgons ask: “Next question should be: what are you going to do with the over 825k jobs you just killed and the $800B in revenue it generates annually some of which are in people’s retirement funds?”
I’m sorry but everything Brooks writes is disqualified by his utter lack of understanding of economics. He is a fool, and a weak-minded fool at that. Everyone who is considered educated should have a year or two of post-grad numerate course, engineering, accounting, micro economics, statistics, anything that would open up those neural pathways. Without that, you are missing a sense. Like you can’t hear. Or feel yourself touching something. It is that critical to being a mature adult. Brooks here is an impressionable child in love with his own “tolerance”.
Last night Larry Correia, a fantasy writer – he hunts monsters for fame and profit – published a furious and funny screed indicting the social justice warriors in book world who harassed a new author, Amelie Zhao until she pulled her book from publication. Writing fiction had been, as it is for so many, Zhao’s childhood dream and finally she had pulled it off. Correia begins with this.
First off, to know what I’m talking about, read this: https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/amelie-wen-zhao-learns-to-love-big-brother/?fbclid=IwAR0i1oKfiJuO2RErEnwam0kFcgddzSaFLN8hiErGvcSlYOnKFZLR_tOhtrw
and follows with this: “Basically an internet lynch mob of Social Justice Warriors hounded an author into not publishing her book. They browbeat her. They shamed her into compliance. And now she has pulled her book, apologized even though she’s done nothing wrong, and begged forgiveness.
Some of the reviews on Good Reads are genuinely terrifying. Here’s one:
15 reviews and how is nobody mentioning the anti-blackness and blatant bigotry in this book?
This book is about slavery, a false oppression narrative that equates having legitimately dangerous magical powers that kill people with being an oppressed minority, like a person of color. This whole story is absolutely repulsive. There is a slave auction in which the black slave girl dies for Ana and she sings her a lullaby as she dies. The Russian rep is fundamentally awful, the author didn’t even get the gendering of basic words right. The only disabled character is a villain who walks with a cane.
What book did you guys read? Do you think that’s okay or why is nobody saying a word? Look critically at what you read. This book is intended for teens. I wouldn’t want my kid to read something like that, a book that uses marginalized people as pawns.
Let’s be clear. Blood Heir is fantasy. Zhao is an immigrant from Communist China. She has rewritten the Anastasia story with a black heroine with dark powers who lives in a fictional universe and rights wrongs. A black heroine with “dark” powers is racist. She should have only “white” powers? Not exactly. She should have only “good” powers. And disabled people cannot be villains.
If you aren’t chilled yet, Rod Dreher adds these paras from Solzhenitsyn’s, “Live Not By Lies” (1974):
No, it will not be the same for everybody at first. Some, at first, will lose their jobs. For young people who want to live with truth, this will, in the beginning, complicate their young lives very much, because the required recitations are stuffed with lies, and it is necessary to make a choice.
But there are no loopholes for anybody who wants to be honest. On any given day any one of us will be confronted with at least one of the above-mentioned choices even in the most secure of the technical sciences. Either truth or falsehood: Toward spiritual independence or toward spiritual servitude.
And he who is not sufficiently courageous even to defend his soul—don’t let him be proud of his “progressive” views, don’t let him boast that he is an academician or a people’s artist, a merited figure, or a general—let him say to himself: I am in the herd, and a coward. It’s all the same to me as long as I’m fed and warm.
This is reality: we live in a Golden Age. The arts are flourishing as they never have at any other time in human history. The appetite is boundless, and we, the intended audience are learning the gifts of appreciation with every year. Admittedly, much of it is terrible if you put it through the filter of a decent critic, but some of it is very very good. Right now I am watching Hugo Blick’s Black Earth Rising on Netflix, possibly the best limited series of this year and any year. The lead character is an incandescently beautiful black woman, a victim of the Rwandan genocide bent on justice, despite an almost impossible psychological burden. The writing is nuanced, ethical and deeply based in a complex reality.
If you look at the ‘highly anticipated’ lists of future novels, a good half are written by people who are not white. Non-fiction books investigate and express everything. Fashion, once the whitest of professions has had a massive kick up the backside with the shapes and colours and expressions of Africa and Asia, which has sent designers spinning into new and rich territory. Television and film are replete unto nausea with stories of oppression and we are learning to look at the visual arts of other cultures with appreciation. The future that social justice warriors want is already here in embryo. It merely needs freedom to flourish.
Random House and Amelie Zhao should suck it up and publish. And the social justice mob better hope that we don’t turn the tables on their hateful and oppressive behavior. Because that will be decidedly unpretty.
Or rather, not coming.
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