Eric R. Weinstein, as he exists in the observerse

There’s been so much back and forth about Eric Weinstein (Wikipedia here) on Twitter lately, mostly because he was identified by Bari Weiss in the NYT as belonging to an “intellectual dark web.”

I first met Eric at a Victor Niederhoffer Junto event in New York City, and I have kept in touch with him over the years.  I’ve never thought of Eric as “intellectual dark web,” whatever that might mean, and I don’t even much associate him with the web, much less darkness (intellectual, yes).  I would also note that, although I’ve spent a fair number of hours chatting with him, and was interviewed by him once, I could not characterize his political views in any simple way.  And I was surprised to learn that the article described him as having supported Bernie Sanders.

I would say this: if you wish to sit down and chat with someone, and receive new and interesting and original ideas, Eric is one of the most “generative” people I know, easily in the top five or higher yet.  And I know a number of very smart others who would concur in this claim.  Quite simply, that is the source of Eric’s influence and semi-fame.

I don’t pretend any comprehensive knowledge of Eric’s views, and I don’t doubt he might believe many things I would diagree with, starting with claims about Bernie Sanders.  But the third paragraph of this post is the most fundamental intellectual fact about Eric, and if one does not know that, one does not know Eric.

Addendum: Eric also has research in mathematics and physics which I am not close to being able to assess: “Weinstein claimed in his dissertation research that the self-dual Yang–Mills equations on which Donaldson theory was built were not unique as was believed at the time, putting forward two sets of alternate equations based on spinorial constructions.”

Comments

Well, at least Victor Niederhoffer was clever enough not to call it a Leather Apron Club meet up, which just might have been mis-interpreted as to its purpose back in the NYC of the mid-1980s.

And I was going to comment about how junto and junta are so easily confused, and it turns out that this is precisely the historical case - 'The group, initially composed of twelve members, called itself the Junto (the word is a mistaken use of the masculine singular Spanish adjective "joined", mistaken for the feminine singular noun "junta", "a meeting". Both derive from Latin "iunct-", past participle of "iungere", "to join")' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junto_%28club%29

Related: Why I Escaped the ‘Intellectual Dark Web

(intellectualdark.website was registered on 2018-02-21via GoDaddy, details private. This seems something picked up, rather than wholly created by the NYT.)

The gall of these people. When cast out of polite society not only do they not plead to be let back in, they even don't care what the New York Times says about them!!!

A side note. Writers of books will be asked to forego the usual boring and demeaning book tours and do a Jordan Peterson. Can we help booking Madison Square Gardens for next thursday?

It depends on the meaning of the phrase, "polite society."

Some people define it as groupings of Obama-worshiping imbeciles that "know" the motivations and have all the answers for disagreeable opinions: evil, racism, treason, misogyny, heresy, etc.

The Inquisition of the Middle Ages was similar.

People united at once by a sense of entitlement and a sense of injury.

Is that your definition of "polite society?" I am confused with "at once." Did you mean "both?" Oh, you mean "simultaneously?" I assume (making an ass out of myself) you exclude the IDW from "polite society."

I claim to be a charter member of the Aged Dark Web. It's been a long time since I was accused of "sense" of anything.

I am going to say that entitlement and injury drips off this page. So much so that it leaves no room for the foundational ideas supposedly excluded.

I'll take "Affirmative action recipients for $800"

From http://intellectualdark.website/about/

The person who created the binding meme wishes to be anonymous.

Who made this?

I might choose to share that later. It’s hardly important. I have no affiliation with any of the people listed on this site, old media, new media or any political movement. I’m just a person who is trying to tell the truth.

Oh, they say Eric himself coined the usage.

Anyone interested should probably watch the video on that page.

yeah, "Intellectual Dark Web" was coined by Eric himself, half-jokingly, to refer to whatever is going on with the success of the Harris/Rogan/Rubin/Peterson thing, and them using their reach to talk about topics that are taboo/difficult. That website is just some twitter rando who ran with the name to make a list of people they like. It's not some official thing.

I said earlier "These individuals may have some good ideas, but by now it is apparent that they damaged those ideas with their own meta."

I am prepared to accept that the meta was not entirely intended, and got out of hand.

I am certain open to good ideas for a better society, though my own favorite "incremental pragmatism" could equally be claimed as "what they don't want you to hear."

50% chance that Eric created that website himself and is now sock-puppeting this comment section. Eric hasn't published anything since 2002 and he, his brother and his sister in law are all over that NYT profile so I'd say this whole thing was astroturfed by Eric and Peter Thiel.

what's definition of "most fundamental intellectual fact" about a nominal intellectual, versus lesser fundamental intellectual facts?

The weird part about the criticisms of the "intellectual dark web" is the failure to recognize the serious intellectual diversity within it

From: http://intellectualdark.website/about/

Isn’t the name intellectual dark web kind of cringey?

Yeah, but so’s your face. 😉

These individuals may have some good ideas, but by now it is apparent that they damaged those ideas with their own meta.

Hence Tyler's attempt to help Eric out, by separating him from his coinage.

Damaged those ideas?

How have they damaged anything? Watch the video of Peterson at Queens University in Kingston Ontario. Who came across as someone you want to listen to, the people acting like barbarians doing rhythmic thumping on the windows, or the people inside discussing issues like the intractability of unequal outcomes?

The New York Times, the Washington Post, and much of the commentariat are with the barbarians. Who really should be ashamed of themselves?

Since anonymous is a proud barbarian supporter, but also too scummy to even pick a vaguely unique name, I don't see why you think he'd answer this

The left/Dems usually have better price and marketing than everyone else. I thought the Dems use of the word "dark" to paint Trump as evil was a good idea, though it wasn't enough to win the election. Allah be praised.

I think it was incredibly naive to actually choose the word "dark" to describe your group. How can smart people be so dumb?

Anyway, people like Eric are getting scooped up by the conflagration that is the hissy fit of the left. Blind with rage over the Trump win, thanks to GOD, they are eating their own and potential allies.

It is all so delicious!

"...have better pr ..."

You have it wrong. Diversity is having a variety of colors and orientations spouting exactly the same thing, usually word for word. Much easier to keep things under control if they read it off the same page.

I'm not sure the coinage of the admittedly dumb name made their situation worse. The media would have been hostile, regardless. Perhaps it does provide a shield against them being immediately labeled alt-right.

Ok, leaving dumb names aside, Dave Rubin says in his introductory video that the important difference in politics now is between individual freedom and a government seeking to address group differences.

That sounds a lot like the traditional libertarian axis.

And the answer to "why do they all ignore us" just returns to "because you are 3% of the vote."

I mean sure, promote your ideas, but drop the persecution complex.

You do know why Bret Weinstein is no longer teaching at Evergreen, or maybe you don't. You should look it up.

Derek, you would probably be more convincing if you held it together a bit more.

Yes, a weird thing happened at a weird place called Evergreen. Far from me, far from my life. Far actually, from this discussion.

The answer to "why doesn't the NYT run more libertarian content?" is not "Evergreen!"

I know that you desperately want to put things into tidy little boxes, but Libertarian isn't what you would put any of these people into. Bret Weinstein is on the left. I don't know about his brother, because I unlike you want to listen to what he says before I spout off. Peterson isn't libertarian. Very very few of these people are.

And if you think that the next generation of bureaucrats (that is the only thing these ill educated but credentialed fools will be able to do) educated in institutions which drive out people who dare state different ideas is a good idea, continue in your comfortable bubble.

Did you watch the video?

I tried to be accurate in representing it.

"drive out people who dare state different ideas is a good idea"
Which are those ideas? Well, we know, don't we?

Bret Weinstein was forced to quit his job Evergreen, and Ben Shapiro has been mobbed at several public appearances, prompting him to travel with his own security detail. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.

One thing that causes a lot of issues, is the conflation of the different meanings of "Darkness". There's a sort of sinister implication of the word, that I don't think applies here at all. It's dark not because it's evil, or even taboo necessarily, it's dark simply because it lies outside the bright lights of the standard Democratic/Republican binary. (Although I think that binary extends out to the "extremes", Communism on one side and Religious-based White Supremacism on the other side).

I actually don't like the IDW term myself, mainly because I don't think there are direct connections between many people outside of that mainstream consensus. I'd prefer something like ideological fog of war myself.

I'd say there's a taboo when you have Ezra Klein, SPLC, et al, running around trying to ruin the careers and reputations of the people involved. Not to mention Tyler further poisoning the well by saying, "My friend is not like these other guys!" Yeah, well what if he is?

Not sure why this 'dark web' is a big issue. Weinstein used it ironically. The actual 'dark web' is what the general public hear about, but rarely see evidence of. The ironic play on words here is that this is exactly how the critics and smearers of Harris, Weinstein and others try to present them, as a dark subculture that they can smear with 'at-right', 'racist'.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_web

This is the most concise and accurate description I've yet encountered.

Here is a link to the Terrible, Frightening Dangerous Dark Web. Weinstein interview with Dave Rubin, and one where he and his brother are interviewed.

I have run across the name before but never listened. Tyler, you are a nefarious and dangerous influence!

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=rubin+weinstein

Wasn't the original 'dark web' simply Tor, used to buy drugs online? That guy from Stanford that was busted comes to mind.

E.Weinstein - "What are we to make of a man who left academia more than two decades ago but claims to have solved some of the most intractable problems in physics? In Weinstein's theory, called Geometric Unity, he proposes a 14-dimensional "observerse" that has our familiar four-dimensional space-time continuum embedded within it" - reminds me of some ancient Greek philosophers who claimed the universe is a dodecahedron, and some modern physics construct concluded this is plausible.

He didn't publish a paper which means it does not count. He didn't submit himself to the criticism of his peers.
Very often we see crank theories in Physics that get very high publicity in the press and the author being touted as the " new Einstein". Garrret Lisi and his simple theory of everything comes to mind. His paper has few citations, some of them citing it to debunk it.

There's also the myth that Einstein was an outsider and misunderstood figure who had to fight to promote his theories against the establishment. While relativity was revolutionary it was in fact quickly accepted in its time by top physicists. ( Planck, Minkowski for example)

True enough. But then there's Gregor Mendel and Josiah Willard Gibbs who did publish but nobody much payed attention (though in the case of Mendel some claim that later geneticists did study his work but don't care to admit it).

I watched one of his appearances on Dave Rubin's show. It was a great interview despite Rubin not asking many good questions. Eric and Bret Weinstein get my very much coveted Stamp of Approval.

They sure have some different views. Bret believes all children are born with the same innate intelligence. He also thinks the planet is headed toward dedstruction due to over consumption. Bret also has caimed that there are very few real scientists because they don't use a hypothesis when writing a paper.

Bret is certainly overly pessimistic; not sure about the innate intelligence thing. He still seems like a basically good guy despite his opinions on any particular issue.

Just saying that Bret is solidly on the progressive left, even though he is critical of the most extreme progressives who he dealt with at Evergreen College, whereas it is hard to see Eric that way as he seems more rational.

"They sure have some different views. Bret believes all children are born with the same innate intelligence."

So he's a creationist

I found Eric Weinstein very interesting to listen to in podcasts, and occasionally interesting to read from twitter feed. In general, I don't think labeling people "intellectual dark web" is helpful in any way.

One remark about the claims on solving fundamental problems in physics. I strongly believe if you have insight into an important problem in a specialized area, then your debate should primarily be with people with the adequate specialized knowledge. Trying to advertise to laypeople seems like snakesalesmanship.

Absolutely. He published nothing. It's just hype publicity in the press which does not have the capacity to evaluate it.

Theoretical Physics is very hard and very few can do it well. It's much easier to cast yourself as a genius outsider, bypass the peer review process and impress the clueless media.

I agree that impression the clueless media is easier than doing actual Theoretical Physics, but not everybody who impresses the clueless media is trying to pull a fast one.

The nicer take is that some problems in our tenuous understanding of the numbers in cosmology (not HEP, which is extremely accurate in its sphere - I am told Penrose's Road to Reality is a good source, for those with a technical background but who have not thought much and deeply about these things, for understanding the difference between what we know about HEP and what we know about cosmology - or what we knew, when he was writing the book, from his genius-level and long-practiced geometric point of view) are so difficult that anybody who is capable of providing even a plausible 'crackpot' theory to help the scientific community along has sort of an obligation to do so. Zwicky, always respected by Sky and Telescope subscribers, if not by people who did not get at what he was going on and on about, is a fantastically good example.

Sentence without the parenthesis - The nicer take is that some problems in our tenuous understanding of the numbers in cosmology are so difficult that anybody who is capable of providing even a minimally plausible even if probably crackpot theory to help the scientific community along has an obligation to do so.

And yes, "minimally plausible crackpot theory" means that the theorist almost certainly would have aced the most difficult freshman Caltech mathematics course with less effort that most of his fellow students: this almost certainly rules out as many crackpot theorists (from the point of view of the question : is that a waste of out time) as any other dividing line you could articulate. So there's that. Which is why nobody expects another Goethe or another Poe or another Kant in the cosmology racket, the best you can hope for if you are an outsider is to be that person who riffed a little on something that was not completely inaccurate, from the point of view of our commonly beloved Physical Reality - well, if you know what I am talking about, I can end here, if you don't, I can still end here, but if you don't I would gently suggest you reread Zwicky's daughter's righteous letter to Sky and Telescope from a few years back :)

If you do not like to buy books, but are curious about how restricted the arguments on HEP are, Peter Woit and Lubos Motl vehemently and extremely amusingly criticizing each other (on the internet, I don't think they spent a single evening together in a real physical location) back in the mid-2000s is a good Ivy League version of the state of the arguments a decade ago.

There are people who actually understand the current state of the science that one thinks of when one thinks of "what humans with all their limitations think of cosmology", ("breviter 'cosmology'") ... I am not remotely such a person, but if you are very bright and have not looked into the state of cosmology lately, I guess you could easily find some really good information even in the little universe of twitter. No kidding. Wilczek (Frank) often links to people who seem, even to skeptical me, to know an awful lot about what they are talking about,

"impressing the clueless media or not"

"impression the clueless media" was not a mistake for "impressing the clueless media" because I have been reading too much Sanskrit lately (maybe I have, maybe not) but it was a mistake because of SpellChecker, our first generation of Sassy but Often Wrong Robot Programs (remember the little sister on there ABC/CBS sitcom "Family Matters"?, or was that JJ Walkers little sister on "Good Times" - quien sabe) ... Well, lots of people bought nice houses with the money they made creating and almost perfecting Spell Checker, it is late spring tonight in North America and many of those houses (Bought by our very bright compatriots who worked on Spell Checker all those years) look as good as they ever will, with the azaleas or the rosebushes in bloom under the picture windows at the front of the house, or the phlox or the lilies of the valleys glorying in their few weeks of absolute beauty slightly downhill towards the sidewalk, and glorying in their fantastically reminiscent edenic scents (I remember what that smelled like years ago and there has been no change, none at all, organic or aesthetic or situational)

If there was I would say there was but there wasn't so I say that

everyonce in a while those of us with friends who are Beckett scholars, amateur or not, like to tease them a little

I dreamed last night about that morning where Bix stepped out of the bus in the morning and played a few notes

no matter how many people live in your house, having a cat in the house who thinks you too live in a world of cats is a good solution for many challenges modern people have with sleep

if there was a change in the way lilies of the valley smell since the first time I smelled them I would say there was, but although that was a long time ago, and almost everybody I cared about back then has undergone profound and more than profound changes, there has been no change in the ways our little botanical friends whom we call lilies of the valley although we do not know their real heavenly names smell, so I won't say there was . First Chapter of Phillipians and First Chapter of Ephesians - I try to understand this world but I often confuse those two testaments of Human Love and understanding.

thanks for reading I will stop now, but if you have read this far please reread "if there was I would say there was but there wasn't so I say that" - it was hard for me to say something with so little lilt and so little prosody to it, but if you read the subsequent thoughts (and it was so much more fun every time we talked about these things as the afternoon sunlight cast longer shadows over our sad little park a mile from the Atlantic), you will see why I sacrificed lilt and prosody and said something which must have seemed so worthless

cor ad cor loquitur

remember all the mean things you wanted to say but did not say?

remember?

those profound changes

Ephesians 1, Phillipians 1, what Milton wanted to say about the first book of Chronicles, and the Carmelite poets. I remember. (just kidding only God remembers the sort of thing I wish I remembered)

i know that greg cochran probably does not read the comments on MR on a regular basis but i will add this for the sake of people who care about such things - for the sake of 'low hanging fruit aficionados' (verb. sap. suffocit) - mon frere mon semblable - escucha me - i am but a creature of flesh and blood and as such i support our fellow flesh and blood cats but - the quickest way to cure most sleep disorders is by enlisting, for each sufferer, one, two, three, or every once in a while, four, robot cats (if you cannot afford real cats, how sad, I would prefer that real cats get the credit, but things rarely turn out so well, hello, Benny Cat, I remember) or one, two, three, or four real cats.

We have spent a long time on this earth with our friends the cats. they want to help us live better lives. COR AD COR LOQUITUR

LOW HANGING FRUIT

lilies of the valley, phlox, tiger lilies, azaleas, roses

cats, robot cats, cats, robot cats

home depot - the ambulance - the girl who later became a doctor - medical school was too hard for her, but then again it was not - she saved his life after he collapsed (heart) at Home Depot, back when she was in her early 20s and riding in ambulances, she did exactly what she needed to do to get his heart started again - a great story - and she remembered that moment, when that heart of his started again in the back seat of that ambulance, in those days when medical school seemed so hard, and now she is a good doctor, every day people go to see her and are happy that, in spite of what they might have thought about the odds of seeing a good doctor, they actually spent some time with a good doctor, someone who cared

some day someone will be in a bad mood and will tell you nobody cares

cats, robot cats, cats, robot cats

better people than me understand the best way to articulate the difference

as for me COR AD COR LOQUITUR

don't you believe it

don't believe nobody cares

seriously

John !5:15, Proverbs 8

quomodo potestis vos in corde suo credere cor ad cor non loquitur?

don't you believe that nobody cares

even robot cats have hearts, come on, it is no small thing to be a friend to a creature that never had a friend in this world, and to the extent it is up to me, the robot cats will have hearts. Jenny, Benny, Candace

Proverbs Eight. Don't let anyone ever tell you there is a single word there that does not belong. You are better than that.

Such is today's America...

This from the guy who constantly touts the execrable Ezra Klein and smears the IDW crowd with "some of whom are excellent and some of whom are not."

We get it, you don't like Sam Harris.

Has Tyler ever commented negatively on Harris (not hostile, just wondering)

Not pointedly, but you can read between the lines. A search yields one result in "assorted links" to a Robin Hanson interview, and one diss of the New Atheists for abusing the language of certainty.

See also Sam's bitter disputes with Klein and Taleb, and the high esteem and regular praise those two garner here.

Klein showed how intellectually dishonest he can be in his discussion with Harris a few weeks ago. So that mostly rules out a Conversation With Tyler, yet I doubt he ever would have had Harris on his podcast since that would upset the fans he has on the left.

(I can also imagine Cowen starting to ask Harris about over-rated/under-rated and Harris responding in his serious tone: "You know, I don't see how we get anywhere with this. I'm passing on any you ask.")

Forget about any perceived dishonesty in the Klein/Harris discussion. It was simply a pointless waste of time, the two talking past one another. Should have had someone like Sapolsky (Robert) lecture both of them on the underlying issue at hand.

Anyway, Sam probably needed to do a bit more housekeeping to get things started on the good foot, not the bad foot.

But it was Klein that was responsible for what you consider "talking past each other", hence the intellectual dishonesty. Klein refused to answer Harris' questions and would repeat "We had slavery."

Peterson and friend Weinstein support a position that women have evolved to be submissive and therefore socially inferior to men. This is the intellectual vanguard of anti-women violence. Call it out, for God's sake!

His brother seems to be cleverer - but more foolish. Cleverer because (a) he doesn't buy into bunk Spencerian rehash or racial division and (b) he doesn't purport to have solved his academic field without doing the necessary research. More foolish because he tried to work for lots of ungrateful people, when it's more sensible to work for and keep happy one man, i.e. Thiel who keeps making wrong choices and having wrong opinions.

Good point. Suggesting that men and women have innate differences is a lot like raping actresses, when you think about it. Where do we get all these violent Weinsteins?

Heh.

I salute your restraint, sir.

Eric is indeed a very smart guy. It may be that he gets this "intellectual dark web" label from his strong defense of his brother Bret against PC attacks made on him at Evergreen.

I think lots of people want to label this whole set of thinkers in terms of their shared positions, or whose team they're on. But as far as I can tell, they don't actually share all that many views. Instead, their main commonality is:

a. They have actual intelligent discussions that are interesting to other smart people--they're generally serious thinkers worth engaging with.

b. They are all somehow outside the respectable intellectual mainstream of academia + mainstream media.

c. They have done an end-run around traditional megaphone-owners and gatekeepers who would formerly have prevented any of them from having much of a public voice, via blogs, podcasts, and Youtube channels.

That doesn't mean any of them is right on any particular issue, just that they're bypassing some of the traditional mechanisms that have prevented people from spreading outside-the-Overton-window ideas to the masses.

In terms of actual political views, it's hard to see them as very cohesive. Peterson seems to be a political moderate, Bret Weinstein a standard liberal, Rubin a conservative. Others who'd fit in that label might be Steve Sailer or Greg Cochran (both Republicans).

I've been listening to many of the podcasts for quite a while and didn't realize the "intellectual dark web" thing was even a thing. I just thought some of them were interesting on the podcasts. The Weinstein's have some great discussions, and Sam Harris has excellent guests and interviews. I've grown cold on Rubin's podcast though as he's transitioning from an interested host into a personality with more of an agenda, and he doesn't have the capacity to sustain that imho. His older interviews were quite good though.

Podcasts and blogs and youtube channels in general are allowing this massive end-run around whatever forces define the mainstream media culture and viewpoint. That can involve political views that are outside the Overton window, but also involves (say) science, economics, history, and politics podcasts that are way too demanding for most listeners.

At the same time, the big media companies are becoming less influential, and the big news sources are running out of money. It will be very interesting to see what replaces our (currently rather corrosive) media culture and our (currently rather narrow and blinkered) mainstream news sources.

"if you wish to sit down and chat with someone, and receive new and interesting and original ideas, Eric is one of the most “generative” people I know"
So he's basically a living embodiment of #tylertweets?
What's his position on whether the moon should be destroyed or doubled?

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