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Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and the science world: Fallout


In the wake of Epstein’s apparent suicide in prison, his predilection for funding science organizations as a virtuous cover makes for reading worthy of an airport potboiler. But there may be something to be learned. For example,

Jeffrey Epstein gave more money to science after his conviction than previously acknowledged, including to famous researchers, leading universities, an independent artificial-intelligence pioneer, and even a far-right YouTuber who took Epstein’s money to make videos on neuroscience.

An extensive BuzzFeed News review of Epstein’s donations, public acknowledgments of funding, and meetings that happened after his release from jail shows that his links to top scientists continued after he was convicted for sex crimes in 2008.

Epstein’s scientific friends, including Harvard mathematical biologist Martin Nowak and celebrity physicist Lawrence Krauss, introduced him to other leading scientists after his release from jail. The full extent of Epstein’s largesse may be millions of dollars higher than the sums recorded by his foundations in filings to the IRS because Epstein’s philanthropy is entangled with that of his billionaire associate Leon Black.

Peter Aldhous, “Jeffrey Epstein’s Links To Scientists Are Even More Extensive Than We Thought” at Buzzfeed

We don’t vouch for everything Buzzfeed (or anybody) says but it is certainly a cautionary tale.

And then there is this:

The ugly collective picture of the techno-elites that emerges from the Epstein scandal reveals them as a bunch of morally bankrupt opportunists. To treat their ideas as genuine but wrong is too generous; the only genuine thing about them is their fakeness. The Big Tech and its apologists do produce the Big Thoughts – alas, mostly accidental byproducts of them chasing the Big Bucks.

It wasn’t meant to be that way. Back in 1991, John Brockman – the world’s most successful digital impresario, and, until recently, my literary agent – was touting the emergence of the “third culture” that would finally replace the technophobic literary intellectuals with those coming from the world of science and technology. “The emergence of the third culture introduces new modes of intellectual discourse and reaffirms the pre-eminence of America in the realm of important ideas,” wrote Brockman in a much-discussed essay.

Brockman, who would later connect Epstein to dozens of world-famous scientists, most of them his clients, made it seem as if it were people like him who built this “third culture” – out of their perceptive genius. The cardinal error of such analysis, however, lies in its tendency to mistake structural transformations of global capitalism for zeitgeisty trends in the history of ideas.

Evgeny Morozov, “The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno elites” at The Guardian

So that “third culture” turned out to be a third rail for some people? Ouch:

“Jeffrey has the mind of a physicist,” Harvard mathematician and biologist Martin Nowak told New York Magazine in 2002. “It’s like talking to a colleague in your field.”

Judging by press clips, Nowak had seemingly one of the closest relationships to Epstein of anyone in the purported billionaire’s scientific orbit. Epstein had given Nowak about half a million dollars to fund his research in the early 2000s. According to a Vanity Fair feature from 2003, Nowak and Epstein often traveled regularly to Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. When Harvard hired Nowak in 2003, Nowak became the director of the university’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics (a lab essentially devoted to using mathematics as a guide to understanding and addressing different issues in the life sciences). That program was launched using a $6.5 million donation by Epstein and his foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, accompanied by a pledge to donate a total of $30 million over time.

“[Epstein] has changed my life,” Nowak told New York Magazine in 2002. “Because of his support, I feel I can do anything I want.”

Neel v. Patel, “ Jeffrey Epstein Liked Palling Around with Scientists — What Do They Think Now?” at The Verge

Better to know.

See also: See also:  Science pros reckon with the fallout from Jeffrey Epstein – and it’s grim Rogers asks, “How did these geniuses find themselves cozying up to a child rapist?” and provides us with some of the many answers that will filter in.

Darwinists May Be Paying A Price For Pop Science Celebrity: Jeffrey Epstein

UD Newswatch: Epstein suicide

Now Steve Pinker Is Getting #MeToo’d, At Inside Higher Ed Over Jeffrey Epstein

Alleged Sex Trafficker Jeffrey Epstein Pledged $30 Million For Harvard Evolution Program


Jeff Epstein’s cultural dumpster fire spreads to ID vs. evo controversies. Just because people are in the news doesn’t mean they did anything. It rather shows how a bad actor can change the news picture.

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