My Conversation with Jordan Peterson

Here is the transcript and audio, here is the summary:

Jordan Peterson joins Tyler to discuss collecting Soviet propaganda, why he’s so drawn to Jung, what the Exodus story can teach us about current events, his marriage and fame, what the Intellectual Dark Web gets wrong, immigration in America and Canada, his tendency towards depression, Tinder’s revolutionary nature, the lessons from The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, fixing universities, the skills needed to become a good educator, and much more.

Here is one bit:

COWEN: Your peers in the Intellectual Dark Web — the best of them — what is it they’re wrong about?

PETERSON: Oh, they’re wrong about all sorts of things. But at least they’re wrong in all sorts of interesting ways. I think Sam Harris, for example — I don’t think that he understands. I don’t think that he’s given sufficient credence to the role that religious thinking plays in human cognition.

I think that’s a huge mistake for someone who’s an evolutionary biologist because human religious thinking is a human universal. It’s built into our biology. It’s there for a reason. Although Sam is an evolutionary biologist, at least in principle, with regards to his thinking, he’s an Enlightenment rationalist when it comes to discussing the biology of religion, and that’s not acceptable.

It’s the wrong time frame. You don’t criticize religious thinking over a time frame of 200 years. You think about religious thinking over a time frame of 50,000 years, but probably over a far greater time span than that.

COWEN: So if that’s what Sam Harris doesn’t get —


COWEN: If we turn to senior management of large American companies, as a class of people — and I know it’s hard to generalize — but what do you see them as just not getting?

PETERSON: I would caution them not to underestimate the danger of their human resources departments.

Much more than just the usual, including a long segment at the end on Jordan’s plans for higher education, here is one bit from that:

Universities give people a chance to contend with the great thought of the past — that would be the educational element. To find mentors, to become disciplined, to work towards a single goal. And almost none of that has to do with content provision. Because you might think, how do you duplicate a university online? Well, you take lectures and you put them online, and you deliver multiple-choice questions. It’s like, yeah, but that’s one-fiftieth of what a university is doing.

So we’ve just scrapped that idea, and what we’re trying to do instead is to figure out, how can you teach people to write in a manner that’s scalable? That’s a big problem because teaching people to write is very, very difficult, and it’s very labor intensive and expensive. So that’s one problem we’d really like to crack. How can you teach people to speak? And can you do that in a scalable manner as well?

Definitely recommended, even if you feel you’ve already heard or read a lot of Jordan Peterson.


Silva rhetorical: we used to teach people how to write as if we were teaching them how to play a game with words, but now we do not because average teachers and students find drills boring.

*Silva Rhetoricae

There was no public event for Jordan?

Usually when there is no public event, I just assume it is because the guest feels more comfortable not answering "Tyler style" questions in front of an audience.
But this is what Jordan does now for a living, so I found that odd.

Maybe GMU was concerned for his and Tylers saftey? But GMU doesn't seem like that sort of school.

Change your mind!

Resist authority!

It would attract a large number of looky-loos who are not actually interested in the topic at hand.

When I was in school Salman Rushdie gave a surprise talk on campus. If they had announced it ahead of time, a lot of people who just wanted to gawk at Rushdie would have shown up, and probably gotten restless as the event wore on -- to say nothing of security. Instead, the event was billed as a talk with Susan Sontag. This way, they filtered for people who would actually care about what Rushdie says separate from the fatwa about The Satanic Verses.

Tyler wants a more engaged audience. I don't know how he selected his, but one suggestion would be people who had attended several previous Conversations with more "boring" people prior to his one being announced.

It is interesting to have another demonstration of how important it is to some to create and maintain the illusion of such things being part of GMU. Nothing really changes over the decades in this regard.

To demonstrate, here is an official GMU press release concerning a recent Conversation - 'Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and internationally best-selling author of Thinking Fast and Slow, will join Tyler Cowen for a wide-ranging dialogue as part of the Mercatus Center’s "Conversations with Tyler" series.'

Which follows the same guidelines as any other PR that is done by employees of GMU paid by the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Virginia - that is, what occurs with faculty members can be reasonable for a press release or other publicity, as long as it is clear that the PR relates to a faculty member, and is not PR for an entity that has no actual connection to GMU.

The odd thing is that those who work for GMU are quite aware of what is and what is not part of GMU. Yet there are those who are not part of GMU who are desperate to be associated with Mason, for whatever reason.

Communism - good point of his regarding West vs. Communism being "playable" vs. "non-playable" with one small caveat. Communism is playable using one methodology only - revolution. It's natural entropic tendencies and orthodoxy to its economic system allow revolution to be its sole restructuring mode. The revolution is never over. The entropy is never over either. In communism, you should feel lucky and blessed you actually get a chance to tear it all down AND start all over again. Blessed and lucky because usually it just ends as a never-ending cycle of tearing everything down.

It's like playing a video game with infinite lives where you get killed constantly on level 1. There's no "investiture". Hardly surprising every generation comes up with a new class of these idiots that want to start again at level 1, they're playing the game with your "infinite" lives.

"There’s some destabilization. The real estate market in Vancouver has become completely overheated because of all the money essentially coming in from, first of all, Hong Kong, and then China. That’s more of a globalization problem than an immigrant problem. But I’m not worried about anti-immigration populism in Canada. I think the probability that’s going to become troublesome is extraordinarily low."

That is the point. Whais the use of wasting billions of dollars every year in weapons when Red China is waging economic war against the West?

Thank you, Thiago. The time has come to use nuclear weapons and kill millions of Red Chinese. Only that will stop their aggression.

You do use a knife to butter your toast.

It does beg the question of why we have these enormous standing armies with terrifyingly powerful weapons. In an age of borderless capital, who are we preparing to fight? Space aliens?

We should use them to defend national independence. But Americans exchanged their firstborn right for a mess of pottage.

"That is the point. Whais the use of wasting billions of dollars every year in weapons when Red China is waging economic war against the West?"

Am I an adherent of communism for advocating tax funded government bonds that pay workers to build productive capital assets like roads, with taxes based on use of those assets over decades, because i want workers to have more money to buy stuff, like productive durable goods like cars and houses?

Given China has made paying workers to product both consumption and durable goods that are sold globally, requiring Chinese workers buy consumption and durablle goods from other nations, do hyou think China is harming Canadians by paying Chinese workers too much and thus Chinese workers buy too much, and by buying too much stuff made only in Canada, China is taking "food out of the mouths" of Canadians?

Ie, the Canadian economy is zero sum, with the total production fixed, such that increased consumption of Canadian production prevents Canadians paid to produce in Canada from spending all their money?

(I grew up in the 50s and 60s in the US and witnessed roads, water, schools, etc built to open up land for new houses and retail, which in turn drove down the prices of the housing that was in short supply circa 1950. Land is not scarce in the US, and Canada has an order of magnitude more land per capita.)

Of course, by your logic, the US is winning the economic war with China by buying too much of what China produces, causing massive deprevation and suffering in China where workers are unable spend all their wages because its been stolen from China by US consumers.

It is time for action. The West should impose restrictions on Chinese investments in the West, ban Chinese exports, forbid Western companies from sharing technology with Red China. It is time to draw the line. What he have seen so far is Munich all again.

I poo poo pee pee On Brazi

I peepee poopoo On Brazil

You're being incredibly naive if you think it is the Chinese workers building roads and infrastructure that are buying condos in Vancouver.

It's funny that despite Peterson speaking with Sam Harris in public for hours thinks that he is an evolutionary biologist. (Bret Weinstein is the evolutionary biologist.)

Harris has an English degree and then later went to UCLA for a PhD in neuroscience. That degree is highlighted as an interdisciplinary degree, which has a low science requirement that Harris has mentioned and the undergrad neuro science degree requires much more science.

Presumably Peterson meant Ev. Psych.? (Namely, that Harris is an evolutionary psychologist rather than an evolutionary biologist.)

Sam Harris got his PhD in Neuroscience and got his undergrad in philosophy. Peterson got this one dead wrong.

Peterson says that Sam Harris is " an evolutionary biologist, at least in principle, with regards to his thinking, "

Exactly, Peterson qualified this statement very clearly. This is sooooo common when it comes to people who have an axe to grind against someone else, they ignore the context or qualifying statements. Peterson made it clear, IN THE SAME SENTENCE, that he meant "in principle, with regards to his thinking".

No axe. But how is Harris an evolutionary biologist, in principle, when he has never taken a class in evolution?

He articulates views consistent with fellow new atheist Richard Dawkins.

You misread Peterson's statement:

"Although Sam is an evolutionary biologist, at least in principle, with regards to his thinking, he’s an Enlightenment rationalist."

That is, at least in principle Sam is an Enlightenment rationalist. It is obvious when you listen to it starting at 20:00.

I thought it was funny, not the end of Peterson's career. Good God.

You thought it was funny. Others found it nitpicky and pedantic.

Live and learn.

Yeah, I do find it funny that after all this time Peterson thinks Harris is an evolutionary biologist, especially when a member of the IDW who also tours with Peterson actually is an evolutionary biologist.

Well, Peterson is a philosopher, right? So maybe that is how he sees people who agree with evolution.

Oh, NOW I see the comedy. Hilarious! Thanks with sticking with it Todd.

This is the thanks I get for offering a free English lesson...

Pointless, humorless picking of nits is generally considered to be more of a German affliction than British.

So eine Deutchestunde?

In these situations, it's helpful to remember that you were once a young child, and your parents' hearts likely swelled with hope and pride at your unbounded potential. But maybe not, which is even sadder.

So am I a rocket science, brain surgeon, astrophysicist at least in regards to my thinking? I never studied those things, just believe in their way of looking at the world. I always wanted to call myself a brain surgeon. Now I can!

Human Resource Departments - I am completely mystified by how he could say what he does here and then - during the Kavanaugh hearings - indicate that he should step down in the face of the overwhelmingly unjustified and feral attacks on him - "for the good of civility".

The entire episode was a HR style political power-play at a national level - mostly female led - against a completely and totally adequate candidate for the job of Supreme Court Justice.

HR departments - like universities - have turned into political commissariats. They have realized that through administrative slight of hand they can determine who gets what, when, where and how based on factors completely unrelated to their capability and performance for the job.

That entire episode was female petty-subjective selection (most of your corp HR dept) writ large against someone who's only detracting factor was that he was selected by someone they didn't like. The female id gushing forth on a national stage and J Peterson tweets he should step down.

I lost a lot of respect for him, especially now in contrast to what he just said in this interview.

Your promises are broke, dog!

No they are not, a Brazilian always keeps his promises. And I am not a dog, I am an honorable man. But it is sad that I am the only one trying to rouse the West against the Red Chinese.

"Elves are also to blame for America's problems."

Another fan of Bright I see.

Sean Buckley: What we need is a right hand man.

I share his opinion, and while I can't speak for Peterson here's my own take as a lawyer:

The thing which disqualified Kavanaugh in my eyes was his response to the allegations, especially at the Senate hearings. From his framing of the issue, his general demeanor and the actual content of what he said - everything made it seem like he was unstable, extremely partisan and completely lacking in empathy or 'statesmanship'. I couldn't have cared less whether the allegations were true or not. He was, as Peterson might have alluded to: uncivil. Not someone I want on the SCOTUS bench.

Yeah, he revealed his true colors as a 50 year old, asshole bro.

Can we really teach people how to write well, at any cost? It seems to me that writing skills are, beyond the crude fundamentals you learn in middle school, a lot like language skills in that you more or less pick it up from other people. Give people good writing to read, tell them to mimic what they've read, repeat as necessary. If they're smart, they'll figure it out, and if they're not, well, they probably weren't going to get very good at writing anyway.

If only our betters at Harvard were not so committed to peddling pedagogical lunacies for "the rest of America" . . . .

Why then:

1) are US adult literacy levels as low as they seem? (NCES data comparing the 1992 Natl. Adult Literacy Survey and the 2003 Natl. Assessment of Adult Literacy show 14% of American adults [30 million] are "below basic" in prose literacy, another 11 million American adults were found completely non-literate in English)--and if almost 20% of American adults by these findings are illiterate or sub-literate, how can public secondary schools be said or thought to contribute to American literacy in the first place?

2) if our public schools are as dedicated to stultification and infantilization as our lying and spying Tech Establishment and our corrupt and corrupting Media Establishment are, should anyone be surprised at the grand levels of stupidity and immaturity that our post-secondary institutions have been foisting upon us for entire decades?

Why have Americans consented to receive passively the proffered wisdom of Cognitive Elite-sponsored infantilization and stultification?
If our esteemed Cognitive Elites generated comparable olfactory results, the aroma of psychic putrefaction would waft from California to New York.

(Then of course there would be a number 3, also: why do stupid American publishers publish and distribute the tons and tons and tons of ink-and-cellulose crap they dole out to American readers? If their income is derived from serving the uninformed and poorly-formed tastes of ill-educated Americans, I would hardly blame ill-educated Americans, who by rights should demand an end to the sponsored lunacies and aggrandized baby-sitting we know as "public education".)

If you had a point, you could have made it more succinctly. Proper writing is an underrated skill.

I make points as I please and as I see fit: if I ever expatiate, even at length, I trust my critics to bear with me as patiently as they might with a mere provincial.

There are computer scientists teaching AI to write (decent) prose through reinforcement learning. I would presume there's a way to teach humans to write good prose, although my gut tells me 'good prose' is too hard to define without getting into the subjective tastes of the instructors.

'It’s built into our biology.'

It all about ID. But who knew that Intelligent Design was something Prof. Peterson believed in?

'You think about religious thinking over a time frame of 50,000 years'

Which means taking on faith that your assumptions concerning religion have any applicability to groups of humans 40,000 years ago. Of course, taking things on faith is certainly part of what religious thinking today entails.

Now to check the transcript to see if Prof. Cowen explored the culinary side of beef with Prof. Peterson.

This is 3rd world type thinking. "It was destined to degenerate across time because it couldn’t function in a real-world environment."

This was more interesting than I expected

Good job, Tyler. I've listened to a lot of Peterson, and your approach made him fresher than I've heard in a while.

It is impressive that after so many people blogging and interviewing Petersen, Tyler still found a way to get a completely fresh take in a live one-on-one.

Yes, there's a biological reason we do "religious" thinking. It's that more than half our brain mass evolved for the purpose of dealing with other people. We evolved a massive hammer to deal with nails (minds), and therefore try to deal with everything by hammering nails. This does not mean that reality is made up of nails (animism) or that a nail designed reality (theism), it just means that we've got an evolved propensity to deal with everything in terms of hammering nails.

And, of course, that's why the religious are happier than the irreligious. The religious live in a paradigm where hammering nails is the right solution for everything; for a creature evolved to hammer nails, that is the best of all possible worlds. The irreligious live in a paradigm where hammering nails is not the right solution to everything; for a creature evolved to hammer nails, that is a less-than-ideal world.

Of course, if you want to avoid getting wiped out by a disaster of some kind, rather than simply skipping along happily until it kills you, it's rather helpful to be able to notice that you're living in the less-than-ideal world where no amount of hammering nonexistent nails will stop it.

Incidentally, this is why people whose brains are mildly defective at their evolved purpose but still mostly functional (high-functioning autistics) are disproportionately better at dealing with math, logic, and physical reality than the ones whose brains work normally. When your hammer is defective, you have to use strategies other than "hammer harder" to deal with situations; when those situations aren't nails, it turns out you succeed more than the people blindly hammering away as if it was a nail. And then the reinforcement feedback from success and failure lead you to shun "nail" situations in favor of "not-nail" situations.

Sounds like you're livin' at the Bittersweet Motel.

Perhaps, but in my experience, scientific rationalists have many of the same issues with their own hammers and get stuck in their own pits.

Oh, yes, of course. A mind will usually fail to fall into the usual trap because it is a mutation, and almost all mutations are net-detrimental. Almost all of the people who naturally avoid the usual trap are, left to their own devices, going to do worse.

But most atheists, actually, aren't mutants. They have the usual hardware, and the pit they get stuck in is the usual pit, just under the delusion that it isn't the usual pit. They take Nature, or History, or The People, or The Proletariat, or The Race, or The Good, or something else and treat it as if it were a powerful person to be flattered and obeyed and pleaded with. Using the same hammer as their theist neighbors and swinging it in the same way, pounding away at a superficially-different but equally-imaginary nail, and insofar as they manage to maintain true belief, getting the same satisfaction as other true believers.

C'est la vie. Beats the alternative I reckon.

Maybe people can develop different hammers for different purposes.

+1, Well stated.

Religion as biology?

He has read 'Future of an Illusion' by Freud. That one was easy to spot.

Great interview, even though it felt scripted at some points. I really like the way JP thinks, the response to the neuroticism in politics was great. Jonathan Heidt gets it too. I find it hilarious how people get upset about his bible analysis! It's so much easier to criticize preachers!

The Bible is one of the most important documents in the formation of Western thought, and it makes all the sense in the world to study it.

The problem is that when you say "study the Bible", we're all used to thinking of the Bible as a prescriptive instead of descriptive text.

Well, but people just have to listen to what JP actually says! The problem seems to be that in general people revolt against a descriptive analysis of the bible as some sort of hypocrisy (and sometime as a heresy!).

>teaching people to write is very, very difficult

...and also completely unnecessary, and terribly wasteful.

My writing was below average in high school, college and grad school. At no point was it ever significantly improved by someone trying to teach it to me.

And now I am a the brilliant writer you see before you. There is no one at MR that writes better than I do. Two, maybe three peers at best.

How did I do it? By reading, mostly. And also by developing a real interest in doing it better, rather than having someone lecture me about thesis paragraphs.

You can try to drill "writing skills" into an idle-minded 19-year-old for semester after semester after semester, but all you are doing is providing yourself a job.

If you're such a great writer, how come I skip over your comments most of the time?

I wash myself with a rag on a stick!

Now THAT's the kind of writing you can't teach in journalism school!

Peterson's response was quite different than what Steven Landsburg wrote in "The Big Questions": the most important part of good writing is thoroughly understanding what you are writing about.


Both our kids took English comp. at the local community college. The instructors, apparently seeking “objective” grading criteria, required specific formats (margins, font size, etc.), page numbers, photocopies of all referenced material, and so forth. But they seemed not to care a whit about the content, even the grammar of the papers. In high school, my son composed a poem for an English class. The teacher looked at it, said “You got this from the Internet”, and handed it back to him. English classes are now about ideological indocrination, not about reading and writing.

I'd like to get rid of the name of the Intellectual Dark Web. I'd like to change it to The Recusant Web, which would be more accurate.

IDW sounds like it's something nefarious, which it is not. Recsuants were English Catholics which refused to attend Anglican services, which often led to great penalties against them.

According to Wikipedia "The term recusant is also used more generally to refer to non-compliance with a perceived innovation of questionable orthodoxy, which had become the status quo." And in this sense I think it is most accurate. The people of the IDW aren't pursing dark ideas or goals, they are just continuing in a long tradition of free inquiry, civility, and rigor that used to be the hallmark of universities, instead of the conformist bully factories that they've become.

Peterson and the others truly are Recusant.

+1, framing is important

Sure, Recusant is definitely better than IDW.

But the idea that "universities are" one thing is the weakest part of this framing, and source of the worst moments in this podcast.

If you can't name a few universities (in North America or even the world) who are doing it right, the more likely it becomes you are engaging in your own propaganda, and creation of an evil archetype.

Okay, that's good. Presumably BYU as well, for anyone Mormon friendly.

Liberalism: where principles of academic freedom and questioning of Orthodoxy in the pursuit of truth == Mormonism

Remember when liberals protested in support of free speech? Now it’s referred to as “freeze peach” and derided as a tool of oppression.

A reflexive approach in always being inherently suspicious of the following is usually useful:

1. those who demand obedience in thought
2. Those who demand ostracization of people questioning authority
3. Those who demand legal sanction against private organizations that do not adhere to their ideology

We had the Catholic Church terrified of astronomy, then we had Puritans terrified of women, now we have Neo-Puritans terrified of academic inquiry. Really the common thread is absolute terror of questions and truth. Like Exxon with a thermometer.

The world misses real liberalism and its intrinsic devotion to inquiry, debate, rational discussion, and unabashed pursuit of veritas for veritas sake.

Good points.

Whatever. I have a friend who attended BYU as an atheist, but he got along fine with Mormons, and they with him. Which is why I chose "Mormon friendly" rather than Mormon.

“Absolute terror of questions and truth.” Perhaps among the students who have been trained to fear their own shadows. But among the professoriate and the political elite, there is no fear, only the quashing of inquiry in the service of authoritarianism.

Although pigeonholing universities is a grave mistake, I agree, there's still great value in asking, "What are we trying to create that universities have been used to deliver for a long time?"

I agree, that "university as a village for 20 year olds" was interesting.

Recusant is not bad, sounds like one of those evil shadowy tech corporations on a TV crime show. But I still prefer the vision of a receptionist answering the phone with "Intellectual Dark Web, how may I direct your call?" -- with some big, ominous IDW logo up on the wall overhead, an evil-looking brain with lightning bolts or whatever.

Anyone not fed a diet of fake news and Trumpism knows that the “intellectual dark web” is code for racism, anti-intellectualism, and hate.

Universities are groping in the dark towards the truth. What we know is NOT the truth by faith, is any study that brings up pseudoscience like IQ, intelligence, conscientiousness, text scores, “correlation” or neuroticism is hate speech.

In the name of science they must be fired and flayed.

You sound a man who goes around giving a lot of blumpkins.

Very good. Peterson likes to use narrative or stories to make his points - he even says so many times in the first part of the conversation. I could not help but recall Cowen's TED lecture on the perils of stories. I urge readers to listen or read all the way to the end of the discussion; the best is saved for last. Cowen asks two open-ended questions, and Peterson obliges with very interesting and lengthy responses. [I read the transcript rather than listen, as is my preference.]

+100 "PETERSON: I would caution them not to underestimate the danger of their human resources departments."

Please. Peterson’s comment about HR hints at an ignorance of what HR departments do, and how they work. First and foremost, like any corporate department, they are there to save money or make money - whether that’s by attempting to build a talent “brand,” recruit/retain, improve productivity, etc. Like most corporate departments, they live and die by a set of performance metrics that ultimately trace back to an economic assumption. You can question the premises of how decisions are made to influence those metrics, or whether those metrics are material, but to suggest that ideology is trumping economics is a profound misreading of how companies actually work.

Finally!!!! I love this guy!

JP: Differences in cognitive function are key determinants of success, which most of the intellectual class wants to ignore.
TC: Are you a good husband?

Good catch, but I'm sure someone can always claim that this was a "Straussian" segue.

I wanted to hear more when JP admitted feeling he often was one slip from disaster -- how do you walk that fine line and still speak freely? What's the line between acceptable and disastrous?

Liked his thoughts on HR run amuck and college as a place to reframe yourself on the way to adulthood. We had a 16-year-old girl jump to her death last weekend at a local mall and I wish kids that age realized they would soon be able to dramatically rewrite their lives if they could just hold on a little longer.

Human thinking that leads to religious beliefs doesn't necessarily have an evolutionary advantage beyond solving some other problem or being a by-product of some other mental optimization issue.

You can prove the existence of evolution as the design optimization method of all life forms by looking at the build in design errors. The very nature of evolution, not being intelligent, traps in design errors. For example, our eye (all vertebrate eyes) are backward with the nerves and blood vessels between the lens and the light receptors requiring us to fill in the blind spots in our vision. A slug's eyes and squid eyes appear to "intelligently designed" with the lens, light sensors, reflector layer, nerves and blood supply behind the light receptors. No wasting brain power on filling in blind spots. One design started evolving from an initial upside down sensor but that was better than no sensor and it evolved from there and the design error can't be fixed unless you go back through the valley of the blind and start over.

In any computer system, when it crashes it usually is just trying to answer an unanswerable question creating an infinite loop. Our brain seems to have evolved a "GOD" bucket for some of these problems with unanswerable questions (which probably outnumber answerable questions). It is like an automatic reboot system when your computer freezes.

Is God all there is to religion? :) I don't think so. Most religions also provide a code of ethics that helps people understand how to interact with one another. Nor is God just a bucket for unanswerable questions. For many people their belief in divine protection and guidance sees them through crises when they wouldn't otherwise believe they could succeed. That's extremely powerful and extremely positive.

I'm not religious at all. I don't believe in God. But sometimes I wish I did.

Dont. Faith is the easy way out for people too stupid or lazy to actually use their brains.

Except that the non religious don't reproduce at replacement rates and secular societies tend to get into self destructive cycles that make us all yearn for the relative peace of the religious wars of the middle ages.

Religions are a social arrangement. They have certain patterns that are recognisable. They show up among the most irreligious as well. I think Peterson's point is that we are all religious in nature, deeply, as it has been a survival advantage for groups to join together in some way for the common good. To state 'I don't believe in God' while living and conducting yourself within a structure that is deeply religious in it's roots and being indistinguishable from everyone else in how you act, interact with others especially your family doesn't mean anything. Even if you are very different is deeply entrenched within religious traditions, 'acting like a prophet'.

Sam Harris when asked about the secular and irreligious Soviet Union says that they were in fact religious, with different gods. I would agree. It is inevitable. Any society where there are common assumptions that make it possible to trust strangers look very much like religious communities.

This is good. One of Peterson's fundamental points is that our beliefs are revealed in what we do, not in how we choose to describe ourselves.

Watch yourself closely, like an outsider, and you might be able to figure out what you actually believe.

I'm listening and it's amazing how few pauses there are. Tyler, are there portions of dead air that get edited out? Otherwise it seems like both of you are going at 100% for an ~hour.

Yes, we do tighten the interviews. Guests, including Peterson, do often stop and think before giving an answer (as we should hope they would).

And you cut the pauses? Are you serious?

The reaction (time) to a question is pretty essential in evaluating the entire encounter. It's important information. And you ruin the entire thing by faking it into some rapid fire shoot out.

As Peterson said: bandwidth is unlimited now. No need to change the interview via cuts.

Peterson has one tune he likes to sing. Some might like that but others find it mostly predictable.

I found petersons early academic work genuinely interesting, especially some of his stuff on alcoholism. There's nothing worth listening to these days though. It's sad, and a loss to serious scholarship.

Yeah. Beatles were great too until they left Hamburg.

I particularly liked this part:

Jordan Peterson says: "Tinder is an app that reduces the degree to which males are rejected in their attempt to find sexual gratification."

This seems to very badly be contradicted by the 80/20 rule.

I haven't used Tinder, but does it tell you about rejections? I thought it only showed matches where both people had independently signaled that they were willing to give it a shot.

Sure (although I assume he’s using “Tinder” generically to refer to all the swipey-dating apps). There’s rejection by implication (lack of likes generally), lack of matches (someone doesn’t like you back), non-responses to your messages, not to mention ghosting, breadcrumbing, etc.

Indeed, there’s magnitudes more rejection than you get at a singles bar. But, it’s probably easy to get past because the rejection is from a distance and fairly impersonal (on average, people make the swipe decision in about 1.5 seconds). What it really teaches the less eye-candy types is how to emotionally disinvest in rejection and learn to accept it as a fact of life, because enough pulls on the swipey-slot machine will eventually get you some reward.

"there’s magnitudes more rejection". I think that is the point. Say as a young man you approached thousands of women in sequence in the attempt to start an intimate relationship. The result would be very different. Many women (possibly to their eternal regret) wouldn't be able to reject you face to face. I would guess by 100 you would be in a relationship. Thinking over some awkward men I have known and their attempts, I would say by 20 you would have found someone, and in that 20, 5 would have proceeded further than outright rejection.

It is really hard to say no in a face to face encounter. I'm not talking about a hookup in the bathroom, but a conversation that leads to meeting another time or two. The women are also looking for companionship. I think this is how it has worked forever.

To be able to reject thousands of potential suitors is a huge change in how men and women pair up. I suspect it is like most things in our world; a few do very well, extremely well, but a large proportion fall out. I don't think this is a recipe for social stability.

Whether meeting 100, or even just 20 people in person in a single swoop is better, it’s also not feasible. Making a connection would take too much of time and money (if you’re buying drinks), not to mention effort (“You’re an antivaxxer vegan for Trump? Well, that’s just.... *flees*.” “You’re a ... sapiosexual? Huh. That’s definitely doesn’t sound like you think pretentious is an orientation.” “You’re Psychic? Know what? Fuck it. Tell me all about crystals and energy healing.”)

Frankly, from a sociobiological perspective, I can see why Tinder is attractive to the generally un-datable. It’s like salmon breeding—high-risk, low-reward. It takes some 6,000 eggs just to get two fish capable of living to maturity (and possibly that many swipes for a good match). Does that mean all those other eggs or swipes were wasted? Only if there’s a more efficient way to go about it.

He is also factually wrong, there is no explicit rating system on Tinder.

Swiping = rating

Didn't love it. But it seemed a good effort. I suspect your best return and your best product will usually be interviewing people less famous than you are. I still think the pod has come a long way since it started. Good luck.

Ah the Intellectual Dark Web, the internet's well-known tough guys against PC: "We don't care about your hurt feelings, your safe space, and stop being a sensitive snowflake crowd" has naturally sat out the Omar-AIPAC controversy.

If they are so proud to be PC fighters, why aren't they speaking up against how the whole of Congress and MSM throw out the anti-semitism card shamelessly like any SJW – especially when someone criticizes a powerful Israel lobby. Though I know Sam Harris doesn’t give a sh*t about Muslims.

My opinion of Jordan Peterson increased after this interview.

Interesting, I had the opposite reaction. I had heard a lot about him but don't really follow politics anymore except MR. I figured he'd be intelligent and interesting, but he really struggled holding up his end of Tyler's wide ranging intellectual style. For example, he floundered a bit on Exodus and it's relevance, which I assume was a softball from Tyler, and then had to use it as his answer to Tyler's next question because he didn't have anything else.

"I figured he'd be intelligent and interesting, but he really struggled holding up his end of Tyler's wide ranging intellectual style."

Lol what?

I think Jordan Peterson is way off in saying that there is no useful jobs that someone with an IQ below 83 can do. You could have assistants to people doing pretty simple jobs. Replace the minimum wage with an NIT/UBI,

Not way off base. Surely, there are a fair number of IQ<83 folks with lots of other useful attributes that do ok. But the Army is saying the odds are low.

OTOH, I know many high IQ people that "punch well below their weight" because of other limitations.

But IQ (processing speed) is a really handy thing in general.

Enlarging on Peterson's point that it's very difficult to find productive activity for people with IQ below X, maybe 100 years ago, X was 60, and there was a place for all but the severely mentally handicapped.

Where will X be in 50 years? Can the Flynn effect save us?

Good questions.

What explains Cowen's fascination with Peterson?
Is it Peterson's fame and fortune? Has he not read
any of the criticisms of the man like,

Has Tyler ever said a negative word to or about Peterson?

I read that article. It was dumb. Have you ever read or listened to any of what Peterson himself has to say, or are you content with the bitter cup from a disgruntled ex-colleague?

Just finished reading the transcript. It re-confirms for me that I don't get those IDW guys (Peterson, Harris, etc.). It feels like a lot of self-grandiosity combined with hurt feels and whining about something that is supposedly happening at Harvard or...something. You never actually get to an argument about the real world--it's all slaying (or fearing) the terrible theoretical dragons that manage to somehow lurk around every corner and yet not actually stop you from becoming rich and famous.

If you actually read them or watched their talks and interviews you'd know that for example what Peterson says about higher education is 100% "real world" and happening (whether you share their conclusions and alarmedness or not). Or maybe that's why you missed it - you don't know what's happening in colleges for example right now.

Disappointing interview. There was not a discussion. It was an opportunity for Peterson to further spread his ideas without any critical examination. Cowen did not follow up or probe most of Peterson's comments. The statement on HR departments is non-sensical. HR departments serve their senior management. If they are pushing diversity, it's not because they are "too powerful". It's because senior management wants it. What evidence is there that HR departments want equal outcomes? Given the current distribution of senior leadership, if they want equal outcome, they are completely ineffective. Peterson completely dismisses that women may face unequal treatment in the workplace. If Weinstein, Travis, and Les Moonves aren't enough to convince one, there are numerious studies that show the same. But Peterson doesn't believe it, so cse closed. And Cowen accepts it without comment.

Jenny, you cite anecdotes and then mention numerous studies. Before telling me to just google them, what is your recommendation for the most compelling study that demonstrates these grievances?

I'd like to see that proof for workplace discrimination, too. Have been looking for it for over 10 years now.

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