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:
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)."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)
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?