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Marsden
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Re: The vaccines

December 5th, 2022, 6:04 pm

I think it might be informative to place people on a "Jordan Peterson Index," ("JPI") representing their attitude toward JP. My prejudice is to think that admiring JP is an indication of an authoritarian personality type, this because of his tendency is to state things matter-of-fact-ly when they are much more nuanced than he conveys.

And part of that is no doubt because my first real awareness of JP was because a friend of mine -- who is definitely authoritarian personality inclined -- became a fast fan of him.

I think Peterson is mostly benign, although recently (?) he has seemed to have started taking on a persecution complex.

And if he has taken on a persecution complex, it's not entirely without reason: I think he was banned from Twitter, pre-Musk era.

Part and parcel to (what I perceive to be ...) his persecution complex is animosity to a lot of things related to contemporary liberalism/progressivism. And this is not without reason as well, because he gets a lot of grief from liberals/progressives.

Back to the JPI: I don't disagree with very much of what he says ... although I find very little of it to be as profound as some people seem to think.

But it inherently grates on me when someone presents as incontrovertible fact something that is obviously nuanced. Maybe that's a liberal/progressive trait on my part?

Anyway, as an example, here is a quote I like a lot:

"Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect." -- Frank Wilhoit (the musical composer, not, as you might expect, the political scientist)
I think that's clever and kind of funny ... and that it has more than a little truth to it (consider "productive people" as the in-group and "unproductive people" as the out-group, and you should be able to see that it applies much more broadly than just to, e.g., racism).

But if anyone suggested using this as a foundation of a worldview, my reaction would be, "Fuck no!"

And I guess my attitude about this also makes Peterson's persecution complex less flattering to him: you become famous by saying controversial things, and it surprises you that some people really don't like you -- ? One take on this that I liked is noting that all of Jesus' closest disciples betrayed him at his moment of greatest need: you expect to do better -- ? The world and society just aren't that kind and welcoming.

Far healthier to just laugh it off, to march on without Twitter after it (a private entity, after all, which doesn't need to justify itself to you) bans you.

Anyway, Wuhan: what they glossed over here is their implicit assumption of a grand conspiracy. Sure, epidemiologists' funding my be jeopardized by revelations that a virus lab leaked a deadly disease ... but there have to be hundreds of people who would know if that's what happened. Yes, the Chinese government can beat down on most of them (as with the Soviet anthrax accident), but there was Western involvement with the lab -- no one is going to step forward with information of something that caused so much damage -- ? It could be, but I think the claim should be regarded as pretty extraordinary, and therefore requiring a pretty extraordinary body of evidence to back it up; there doesn't seem to be such a body of evidence.

Also, science as an institution is in many regards cut-throat competitive: you make your bones by discrediting someone else's work to some degree, and the higher profile the work you discredit, the bigger the set of bones you get for it. And journalism is very similar in this regard. There was no stray thread, no assistant professor facing an uncertain tenure hearing, no journalist about to be down-sized and hoping to raise his personal profile before starting the blog that he hoped would pay his rent?

And for the bigger question: are religion and science manifestations of the same impulse toward inquiry?

Well ... what is it that religion inquires into? These days it seems to be at least 90% concerned with written texts, which is pathetic. If you're inquiring into the nature of the divine as free study, you're not really participating in any organized religion, are you? If you want to say that that is an aspect of true religion, can't you leave out the invisible friend aspect and just call it a branch of philosophy?
 
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Paul
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Re: The vaccines

December 5th, 2022, 7:50 pm

A) I think he is nuanced. Some of his sentences are very long.

B) Academia works by tweaking what others have done, not rocking boats, and groveling to the right people. “It is better to fail conventionally etc.”

C) He and his family have had a lot of strange, possibly self inflected, health/addiction problems.

D) I also don’t think anything he says is profound. If it was I wouldn’t understand it.

E) Anyone not spouting the usual nonsense will appeal to authoritarians. But it will appeal to others too.

F) I’m not sure that conspiracy is the right word. I’ll have to think about this one.
 
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Marsden
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Re: The vaccines

December 5th, 2022, 8:18 pm

E) Anyone not spouting the usual nonsense will appeal to authoritarians. But it will appeal to others too.
I don't think that's true. What if "the usual nonsense" is the structure an authoritarian subscribes to?

I doubt that, during the world's many episodes of official racism, the people who bought into whatever racist authoritarian regime they lived under would find appealing suggestions that racism is wrong.
 
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Alan
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Re: The vaccines

December 5th, 2022, 9:26 pm

And if as they say (although I don’t fully agree) “truth matters more than consequences” what should the consequences be for killing 6.6m people if what MR says is true?
If the lab leak is true and only a few staff there know the true facts, including the director, I suspect they'll ultimately be "disappeared". In the meantime, again assuming a leak, I'll guess they've been warned along the lines of:
 
 
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Alan
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Re: The vaccines

December 5th, 2022, 9:42 pm

And if as they say (although I don’t fully agree) “truth matters more than consequences” what should the consequences be for killing 6.6m people if what MR says is true?
If the lab leak is true and only a few staff there know the true facts, including the director, I suspect they'll ultimately be "disappeared". In the meantime, again assuming a leak, I'll guess they've been warned along the lines of:
p.s. I should add that I don't think being killed would be justice here for making a mistake -- even if the mistake is the world's biggest. It's a very good question about what the appropriate punishment should be. Certainly a lengthy prison sentence should be part of it.
 
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Alan
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Re: The vaccines

January 8th, 2023, 11:49 pm

Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research (Nature News, Nov 12, 2015):
[attachment]nature.2015.18787.pdf[/attachment]

Some comments by Ralph Baric (translated from Italian), from a Sept 14, 2020 interview
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Alan
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Re: The vaccines

January 9th, 2023, 12:05 am

The above are two tidbits from the SARS-CoV-2 lab-leak controversy --- still unresolved at this time.
I am much enjoying "Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19" by Matt Ridley and Alina Chan.
 
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Paul
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Re: The vaccines

January 9th, 2023, 8:00 am

How many labs capable of virus manipulation are there is the world/China? Why was one built in Wuhan? (The availability of (delicious) bats?) 
 
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Alan
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Re: The vaccines

January 9th, 2023, 3:39 pm

In Wuhan itself, there were several. Even the famous Wuhan Institute of Virology had two campuses there. Attached is a book excerpt. Maybe there because of 'network effects" from the other institutions there (just guessing). Also, bat caves mostly in southern provinces, so certainly Wuhan was closer to bats than Beijing. Worldwide -- I don't think the book mentions a total for that. China had a lot of regional CDC centers and other places that could do virus work. I don't know the total there either.
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