Did we miss the fact that Jordan Peterson had tried staking out a position on evolution in 2018?
On these types of topics, University of Toronto psychologist Peterson often sounds as though his approach is very much in the midst of formation and he is or feels forced to say something now, on account of his celebrity for other reasons. But he is worth keeping an eye on, so a bit of background:
The controversial University of Toronto psychologist reminds some of us of Betty Friedan (1921–2006) or Donald Trump. So many people hate him and they give way to sudden, antisocial rages on the subject, embarrassing onlookers and silencing rational discussion of clearly delineated topics. One reason for their rages is suggested below.*
A University of Toronto academic told me a while back that many Canadian academics agree with Peterson but none dare say so. Is that more a detraction of Peterson or a discredit to the tax-funded Canadian academics? So we’d keep an eye on him on this topic and others.
Pharyngula’s Darwinian view is that “Jordan Peterson does not understand evolution, nervous systems, or logic.” But in his universe, “understand” means “agree with the Darwinian view,” which appears to suggest that Peterson is not becoming a Darwinian. If that were true, he’d risk being among the last Darwinians, the way things are going.
From the intelligent design folks:
Peterson’s signature issues aren’t really on the radar screen here, and behind much of his perspective on psychology is a standard evolutionary viewpoint …
First, like us, he is a modern heretic, and consequently always on the way to the stake to be burned, or to the firing squad.
More important, though, is the lesson he gives in how to comport oneself as a heretic. The British interviewer, Cathy Newman, continually badgers him and seeks to put ideas he rejects into his mouth, a familiar experience for ID proponents. Throughout, his manner is not friendly or “winsome.” Being winsome is a stance I sometimes hear recommended to advocates of ID, but that can, if you’re not very careful, shade over into getting pushed around by supercilious evolutionists, theistic evolutionists, and the like. Instead, Peterson’s way is correct. By that I mean he is unfailingly polite, unruffled, but razor sharp, deftly resisting manipulation and intimidation at every single step. He is completely unapologetic. He doesn’t smile all that much. And his performance is awesome, which is why, as Peggy Noonan says, it has “burned through the Internet.”David Klinghoffer, “What Jordan Peterson Might Say to Intelligent Design Proponents” at Evolution News and Science Today
Agreed. “Winsome” is for people who end up getting bankrupted and jailed for offenses they didn’t commit—and beaten up in prison while they’re at it. But boy, do they have a story to tell… Six hankies at least.
I am still deliberately avoiding reading or listening to Jordan Peterson. He seems to be a maelstrom, a black hole who will suck you into Internet arguments that will eat up all your time and energy.Jerry Coyne, “Jordan Peterson, Sophisticated Theologian” at Why Evolution Is True
Yeah, like we said. Maelstrom or not, this is the definitive Jordan Peterson interview, which gives a much better sense of him:
*The rages? Because so many of the boffins and beneficiaries of the current establishment know that they have done little to earn or keep their positions. If genuinely new or refurbished old ideas caught on, they could not keep up. Hence they see in every purveyor of genuinely new ideas or refurbished old ones a replacement for themselves. And no, they don’t like it. But they are not smart enough to speak persuasively against it. They resort to profanities and insults.
Yes, the Jordan Peterson riots are coming to science, too
Jordan Peterson’s new Thinkspot takes shape