The far left continues to attack and defame not only those on the right, but also those on the left who dare tout things like data and common sense above narratives seeped in blind rage.
The latest victim is famed Harvard University Professor Steven Pinker, who certainly has his bonafides as a Democrat despite his propensity for independent thought.
Pinker was attacked in an “Open Letter to the Linguistic Society of America,” which essentially accused the scholar of the usual: racism, sexism, misogyny.
The long and short of it is these letter-signers are mostly upset by some tweets from Pinker over the years that call for police reform rather than a knee-jerk reaction to blame police shootings on systemic racism.
The whole take-down attempt has been summarized by University of Chicago biology Professor Jerry Coyne on his popular personal blog in a post headlined “The Purity Posse pursues Pinker.” It methodically debunks the allegations against Pinker.
Coyne points out that many of the signatories are grad students and undergrads and the “letter shows no familiarity with Pinker’s work, and takes statements out of context in a way that, with the merest checking, are seen to be represented duplicitously. In the end, the authors confect a mess of links that, the signatories say, indict Pinker of racism, misogyny, and blindness to questions of social justice.”
Coyne adds: “In truth, Pinker as a public figure is hard to distinguish from Pinker the academic, for in both academia and in public he conveys the same message, one of progress (albeit with setbacks) and material and moral improvement, always using data to support this upward-bending arc of morality.”
“And in both spheres he emphasizes the importance of secularism and reason as the best—indeed, the only—way to attain this progress. After indicting Pinker based on five tweets and a single word in one of his books, the signatories call for him to be stripped of his honors as a distinguished LSA Fellow and as one of the LSA’s media experts.”
Here are the five tweets that has these young activist scholars all riled up:
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) October 17, 2015
Police kill too many people, black & white. Focus on race distracts from solving problem, as we do w plane crashes. https://t.co/fUxJipp3Fr
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) August 13, 2017
The idea that the UCSB murders are part of a pattern of hatred against women is statistically obtuse | http://t.co/ZbWuSVLy6p
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) June 1, 2014
Harvard Social Science Dean Lawrence Bobo did the research I've cited on the decline of overt racism in the US. Here he reflects (w cautious optimism) on race relations in the the context of police killings of black men https://t.co/LAJeFjtCey via @Harvard pic.twitter.com/zXdejdBv3q
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) June 3, 2020
Another expert on urban Crime, Ron Brunson, points out: Protests focus on over-policing. But under-policing is also deadly. https://t.co/BvuoYDBPaH
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) June 14, 2020
For all this, the scholars contend Pinker is guilty of “a pattern of downplaying the very real violence of systemic racism and sexism, and, moreover, a pattern that is not above deceitfulness, misrepresentation, or the employment of dogwhistles,” the letter states.
Pinker, for his part, addressed the letter on Twitter by stating “Cancel Culture has entered its decadent phase. Don’t blame the LSA (at least not yet): they haven’t canceled me, & probably won’t. Don’t blame established linguists: I recognize only one name among the signatories.”
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