Open Thread, 07/16/2017

I know that Game of Thrones is premiering tonight, but just wanted to remind readers that R. Scott Bakker’s The Unholy Consult will be out in a week. The author, R. Scott Bakker, has a blog, Three Pound Brain. He has some strange ideas…much of which I can’t make heads or tails of. But that’s OK, I enjoy his fiction, I don’t worship his philosophy.

I’m traveling, so not much time to comment. But let me say that I’m sad to see that Maryam Mirzakhani has died.

If you want to get a sense of the historical background of the framework within which I write much of this blog, you might find Will Provine’s The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics of interest.

Tucker Carlson Goes to War Against the Neocons. I know that most people on the Left don’t like Tucker Carlson now because of his recent political postures, but back in the 2000s he was known as a quite heterodox (read: not partisan and boring) commentator. And I have to say that it is nice for someone to say what may of us, including former supporters of the Iraq invasion, think now and then when we recall the period before 2011.

10 thoughts on “Open Thread, 07/16/2017

  1. I’m sure you’re familiar with the recent Evergreen State debacle. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/01/opinion/when-the-left-turns-on-its-own.html just in case anybody reading this didn’t hear about it)

    I’ve found it a bit surprising that Bret Weinstein is an evolutionary biologist who has studied humans, so therefore he must know something of some sort about race and HBD, even had something of some sort to say on those topics. And yet this has hardly ever come up as part of the controversy. Any impressions of Weinstein’s academic work? Has he somehow avoided saying anything controversial that could be used as a cudgel against him?

  2. Razib, have you read Bakker’s thrillers? You would get a good feel for his philosophy if you read Neuropath (and since its fiction, it’s is waaaaay easier to read than his blog which can be inscrutable).

    A good thing of being European is that I already have my Unholy Consult copy.

  3. Any impressions of Weinstein’s academic work?

    he seems to be a behavior ecologist. no expectation he’d take a deep interest in human genetics. biology is big.

  4. Bakker’s philosophical position seems to be along the lines of the Churchlands or Thomas Metzinger; i.e., roughly, eliminationists w/r/t to interior mental life. Metzinger’s “Ego Tunnel” is a good place to look for educated non-specialists. The finer grades of distinction among those positions are outside my competence. What sets Bakker apart—aside from being a non-professional, though a very highly educated one—seems to be viewing those positions through an apocalyptic lens and explicating them in a style more informed by so-called continental philosophy than analytic. (Full disclosure: I dropped out of the same phil program Bakker did, ~a decade later.)

    The only fiction of his that I’ve read was Neuropath, which … was rough. Really interesting ideas, but apart from the philosophizing the writing was about what you’d expect from an airport thriller. I keep meaning to give his epic fantasy a go, but Neuropath really put me off.

  5. The Unholy Consult is already out on Kindle at least – I preordered it and got it 2 weeks ago.

  6. Tucker Carlson Goes to War Against the Neocons.

    I guess I should start watching his show. I have been a lifelong non-interventionist, but I was seduced by the anger after 9/11 and enthusiastically supported OIF.* Oh, how wrong I was. I weep at the men and the treasure we lost in that Sicilian expedition of our time.

    *In my defense, though, I didn’t want a war of occupation or “nation-building.” I wanted a quick punitive war to topple Saddam Hussein, install Ahmed Chalabi (and his Kurdish Peshmerga bodyguards) as our man in Iraq, and GTFO of there. Fighting with proxies always struck me as the wiser course in much of the world, seeing as big countries don’t do small wars well and since, as Luttwak put it so well, the use of power strengthens it while the use of force consumes it.

    The man who screwed it all up was George H. W. Bush. He should have vanquished Saddam Hussein in 1991. Back then our forces would have been welcomed as liberators, especially by the Shi’ites. There would have been little guerilla resistance or international Jihad in Iraq. Alas, Bush compounded his error and taught Saddam and others how to beat Americans in Somalia, and OIF was not to be another Desert Shield.

  7. The last sentence about Tucker Carlson — sorry I’m dense, but what happened in 2011? It’s not a typo for 9/11/2001 is it?

  8. The last sentence about Tucker Carlson — sorry I’m dense, but what happened in 2011? It’s not a typo for 9/11/2001 is it?

    pulled out of iraq 2011.

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