REVIEW: Jordan B. Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

In my email and (not to mention) my snail mail I get requests all the time that I must engage the latest hufflebunny to come out of the sinking holes of professional science. But one name rises above all others in its virility, and that is Jordan Bernt Peterson.Peterson is an expert Canadian who specializes in clinical psychology and delivers not one but many reflections on Carl Jung and the Bible. Don’t believe me? Then click yourself onto this link. In my opinion Peterson’s first book was Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. This book is about the human brain and was written in 1999. Sadly, this means that Peterson was unable to take advantage of the revolution in Brain Studies that began in this journal in circa ten years after that. To my chagrin Peterson has ignored not only the original work aforelinked, but also the many followups: try these two (1 here, and 2 here) on for size. Maps of Meaning is at least 560 pages, so I can imagine that Peterson is none too happy about being out of date so long ago.

This post is not about Maps of Meaning, but I need to get just one edgewise word about it before moving on. Peterson says:

Something we cannot see protects us from something we do not understand. The thing we cannot see is culture, in its intrapsychic or internal manifestation. The thing we do not understand is the chaos that gave rise to culture. If the structure of culture is disrupted, unwittingly, chaos returns. We will do anything––anything––to defend ourselves against that return.

First number one, it is obvious is it not that we can see culture with our eyes, especially in its “intrapsychic or internal manifestation.” Peterson’s book was written before Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which lays bare the culture in exactly this way. Second, chaos does not give rise to culture: chaos is culture! I evidence for you this video:

Plus, Peterson acts like chaos could take over once culture gets going. But this is impossible, as technology, the paragon of order, is irreducibly complex. No matter how much smaller technology gets, it cannot be destroyed or reversed. Hence: never chaos. This is my “Chaos Theory.”

But to the main course we go! Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life consists of 12 rules that will help the young man keep the chaos at bay while the mum is away. We will explore the rules here with ample time for commentaries by me (and you in your brain).

Rule #1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back

While this is extremely terrible and dangerous boding for humans and others with spinal “cord” injuries, Peterson doesn’t mean in his recently beefy heart that everyone should do this. Rather, only some of everyone should do this. But everyone should “conduct his or her life in a manner that requires the rejection of immediate gratification, of natural and perverse desires alike.” This is very doubtful advice, in all of my opinions, since my desires are neither natural nor perverse––and I know that I am not alone, even as you read this. So, what would Peterson tell humans like you and me, and we know who you and me are? Should we, instead, sit down crooked with our elbows forward?

Rule #2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

This advice is very offensive to me personally because it suggests that I am responsible for helping someone other than myself in the first place. I am but who is Peterson to say so?

Rule #3: Make friends with people who want the best for you

Here Peterson directly contradicts Rule #1. The people who want the best for me are the people who will support my unnatural and unperverse desires. Since Peterson doesn’t like those desires one itsy bitsy, would he consider these people my friends?

Rule #4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today

This is the first of Peterson’s rules that I can get behind in a really way. When I compare myself to who people like Brian Greene and Steven Pinker are today, I grow unattractively arrogant. After and once in for all, I decimated the theories of Brian Greene not once, but twice. How I pime for the days of my prine!

Rule #5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them

Well…I admire Peterson’s warm intentions, but this rule is a little too late. Alois and Klara died over 100 years ago!!! So what’s the point of this rule? Those who come after history are doomed to inherit it.

Rule #6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world

As someone without a house who criticizes the world all day every day (and I’m not sorry), I resent very much this rule of Mr. Peterson’s. Maybe he would like to give me a house in Canada that I can perfect, before he criticizes my world? Works both ways much?

Rule #7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)

Here Peterson shows his ignorance of basic maths, which maybe is a consequence of universal education in Canada. When Syphilis was pushing the rock up the hill for eternity, his action was anything but expedient yet also everything but meaningful. Do the math, Pete! What is expedient is often the most meaningful, because you can actually get it done.

Rule #8: Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie

If Peterson is such a big fan of the truth, then why does he advance such retrograde theories of the human brain? As I already explained for the umpteenth time in this journal, the brain ain’t in the head.

Rule #9: Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t

This is a very strange rule. If someone knows something that I don’t, then why am I listening to them? This seems backwards and I honestly do not get it. Hopefully some of you can explain in the comments!

Rule #10: Be precise in your speech

Lord knows honest to Betsy that I try to be precise here at Oxford’s Science & Math Defeated. Some of my greatest hits are hits precisely because they literally assassinate ambiguous language. For example, think of my work on infinity. Or on the old linguistic canard that 0.9999….=1. (By the way, curious about what happens when a gaggling bevy of raunchy Redditrolls try to refutate me? Try here for size.)

Rule #11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding

First, maybe tell that to dentists who tell these very same children to floss. Skaters get teeth problems all the time like they fall out. But more important than that even, Peterson here ironically makes the skaterphobic assumption that his readers are not themselves skaters. It’s skaters who have every reason to bother other skaters, the bad ones. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Then you’re not a skater. Every skater knows that you must beware the infamous Skate Nazi. This is the skater who, according to the journal Urban Dictionary, “blows off work, school and girlfriends to skate. [The term] [“]Skate Nazi[“] is also commonly used to [refer to] an aggressive territorial skateboarder” (emphases mine own).

Rule #12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

Let be said by me here that Peterson is correct that there are many myths that people believe that are negative about stray cats. Many of them are covered here. And these myths always contain a subtle whiffing of antisemitism since there are many stray cats in Jerusalem. So good job to Peterson for denying a theory likely to be beloved on the alt-Right! However, and this is as BIG a caveat as they come––remember that YouTube video above where Peterson talks about developing your “inner psychopath”? Let’s just say that this isn’t Peterson’s first rodeo with YouTube videos about psychopaths. See here. Hmm. How can I put this delicately? Maybe I’ll just give you a headline from a source no less prestigious than Discover Magazine (yes, as in, “Discover scientific facts”):

So, basically, a Canadian man with a proclivity for thinking about human psychopaths is telling you that you should go out of your way to caress non-human psychopaths. Not much I have to say about that!

This concludes my review of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Canadian and clinical psychologist Jordan Bernt Peterson. Please leave feedback in comments below!

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The Science and Math of Mayweather vs. MacGregor

By now you have all seen the greatest MMA fight of all time, Floid Mayweather vs. Conor MacGregor. Mayweather is the pound-for-pound ninjutsu specialist in the western hemisphere, but is competent in all arts. Hence the interest in him fighting the Irish/Scottish street fighter MacGregor – a matchup so crazy, it just might have worked!

Sports scientist Jack Slack (no, not that one!) asked “four questions” leading into this fight. In this study I will demonstrate answers to Jack’s (if I may… see what I did there?) questions.

But first, a preliminary round of answer. Jack Slack is, as you may know (yep), a pseudoname. See here for details. But he has major league tipped his hands in his “four questions,” showing that he is likely Jewish. Matzoh, anyone? This narrows things down to probably Wolf Blitzer. Anyway, onward to Slack’s four questions.

(1) What are “MMA angles” and “MMA distance”?

Jack’s first question is about some technical terminology. Everyone who is anyone knows that soccer is different from football is different from foosball, and fighting is no different. You might think of an “angle” as being the direction in which a fighter punches his (OR HER) strikes, but this is only in European fighting, which is more historical. In Modern Martial Arts (MMA), which is primarily American-influenced, the angles can be the directions of literally anything – kicks, pile drivers, headlocks, or fork lifts. Here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about:

Notice that McGregor uses the angle of the air to fork lift his opponent, rather than his hand per se. In European-style this is actually not permitted (for obvious reasons).

Now, MMA distance is a whole another ball game (pardon the metaphor). In the older arts, which Mayweather practitions as noted above, fighters mainly wrestle each other on the ground. Here is perhaps the greatest predecessor to Mayweather (Roy Grazie) showing traditional, European distance:

This is called a leggy jolt. Notice how Gracie jolts in and breaks his opponents knees with his hands, then executes a standard horizontal gyration up to the head.

But MMA rules disallows this kind of maneuver, because there have been too many injuries (see the recent studies of brain injuries in soccer, for appetizers). For more on the science of acceleration, distance, and gravity, see my work here.

(2) How much gas will there be in McGregor’s [sic] tank?

Now, this question is a bit trickier to answer scientifically, because we do not know what MacGregor was eating before the fight or even during the breaks between rounds – since the camera often panned away.

But basically, what we know is that when a fighter doesn’t have any food, they tend not to have much in the way of gas. Gas is produced by food. When a fighter does have food, they are capable of gas. But of what quality? It looks like MacGregor, out of arrogance, did not eat very well during the fight. As many commentators have speculated, he came out aggressively in the beginning of the fight, which means that he had a lot of food to keep his initial gaseous state. But by the second trimester of the fight, you can see him getting very tired. For example,

I wasn’t the only one thinking he looked a wee bit wobbly at this point in the pàrléz-vous. Even Maverick Mac said of himself, “…wobbly…”.

For more on food and how to build your life around it, see my work here.

(3) How will the clinch be contested and, more importantly, refereed?

If I may be Franky Alvarez, the clinch wasn’t refereed. The referee for this match allowed Mayweather and MacGregor to clinch tens, possibly hundred of times (I lost count even in the first trimester). The clinch has been a serious problem in traditional fighting and MMA. It is basically fighting’s version of soccer players falling down and crying.

They clinch when they are too scared to fight anymore. Here is probably the most famous clinch of the 21st century:

Notice how all of a sudden these two otherwise excellent boxers are able to absorb a gaggle of gut punches. Coincidence? No Sir, Bob. Remember that “distance” we were chatting about earlier? The clinch is known to reduce, that is to say, diminish, it. And what happens when you reduce distance? You reduce force. Boxing may as well be like

The sad thing is, fighters think they are protecting their brains when they clinch. For why this is pure hufflebunny, see my work here and here. (To make a short story: your brain is everywhere, folks.)

(4) Who will actually buy this fight?

One of the biggest markets seems to have been the racism-abuse-nbd crowd (explained). Or as Kelefa Sanneh explains, the same. This is unfortunate because, as studies have shown ages after age, it is bad to be racist.

Coincidentally, it is also bad to be a misogyny!

For some of my work on sexism, see here. This concludes the applications of my theories to the fight of the centuries as questioned by Jack Slack.

Jean-Yves Beziau refutes scientists and his detractors: decisive

Many of you readers will have been following, upon my blog, the controversy. The first part [<–my research] was Cladistics who courageously defends Parsimony as the main methodologies of knowledge – a thesis that, not guilty of its own self, originated in the Nazi Germany. The second part [<– not my research] is New England Journal of Medicine declaring how, with Parsimony, the main methodologies of ethics is to share everything with everybody – even all data. Also drawing from Nazi imagery, the NEJofM labeled dissenters “research parasites.” All of these caused such hash tags as #ParsimonyGate and #researchparasites.

The third part has just come in, freshly from the press of a man called  “Jean-Yves Beziau."This man has upon the motivation of himself written a non-standard analysis of something called logic. Read there for the criticisms. But he has decisively and with completeness and confidence answered his accusers here. [<–not my research, but please read] Beziau’s reply will, I think be subjected to a lot of stigmata, much as my own work is. It is very hard, very difficult, to be against the going on in a field of study. Especially when you are quirky or funny, like Beziau (and me).

Lighter question: Will philosophers make as good hash tagging as the scientists?

I leave you with a quote from Professor Beziau:

Women and Men are not biologically similar, as you can see if you have a telescope.

Twitter study on the astronautical audience for Gilmore Girls

Recently (aka just now) NASA, which was subject to many public embarrassments following the Edward Snowden links on The Guardian website, was doing some public imaging work, allowing for people to tweet into a panel discussion. Here was the announcement Tweet. In any case, much to my pleasures, they responded to one of my tweets, I’ll be it after the panel was over (but it was right after it was was over, so I’ll be it a little fewer than otherwise). Here was our exchange:

The science of abortion

Last Thursday the United States Supreme Court, led by Sony Sotomoto, finally made a decision in the ongoing class action suit called Roe v. Wade, legislating once and for all that insurance companies cannot use their lavish tax breaks to give bonuses to doctors for performing abortions. The court’s decision was only loosely based on an historic agreement reached in 1885 called the “Dawes Act.” It’s no wonder that the Court decided to enforce this agreement only now, after Obama appointed the first minority to the bench. But PC is as PC does.

What is interesting to me in these debates is that no one pays attention to the science involved in this issue. As you can see by this astrological drivel, even the scientists don’t pay attention to the science. This is not surprising since, as Carl Hempel demonstrated, specialists frequently resist the truth in favor of their current theories.

So what is the science of abortion? Consider the following argument, which uses the scientific method:

(1) Abortions cannot be performed on unliving humans without unalienable rights to dreams, friends, and life [intuitive premise]
(2) Abortions are abortions [transitive property]
(3) If something is aborted, there must be a good reason for aborting it [from 2]
(4) If something is aborted, it was justified [adjusting the consequent; from 3]
(5) If something is aborted, it therefore was a living human with rights, albeit alienable, with respect to dreams, friends, and life [modus pondles; from 1 and 3]
(6) But 4 and 5 yield a negation of 2 [abductive disjunction of parts]
(7) Abortions, if they exist, must be unjustified [metaphysical necessity; ontological argument]
_____________
(8) Therefore, human beings are alive, and are not subject to a negation of at least some of the rights detailed in 1 [principles of logic; science]

It seems to me that this paradigm, a la cartes Thomas Küng, better explains the facts. Pro-Choicers and Pro-Lifers can whine all they want, but the truth is plain for all to see. My argument shows that abortions don’t exist but would be unjustified if they did exist. This shows that both competing paradigms – the Constitutional Paradigm, and the Religious Paradigm – are misguided. In a sense, like Newtonian physics, both are correct. I don’t have time to explain any further, but if someone wants to continue discussion in the comments they are more than welcome. As I’ve been known to throw my pearls to swine, I might respond.

William Dembski’s estrogen level exceeds 800 lb/ml

So William Dembski – in addition to histrionically closing discussion after my simple yet devastating objection to his ego-maniacal self-praise made him “weary” – has now deleted my comment altogether on The Panda’s Thumb. Several individuals, including Mr. Tomato Guy, have asked for the original comment. Although my victory over Dembski is now being trumpeted throughout the scientific community, I’ll post it here for posterity.

notedscholar

08/19/2009

11:39 am

Not to burst your bubbles, but this isn’t actually a pro-ID article. It’s more about math than anything else.

NS

Lastly, a video about Dembski becoming “weary”:

William Dembski can’t handle the truth

Go see over at the Panda’s Thumb where my very, very simple objection to Dembski’s theories makes him go totally berserk and shut off all comments for the blog. Talk about a lack of an open mind.

Why does he claim he shuts them off? Because he is “weary.” In addition to being very womanly [this annoys him because he is a Republican, not because women are bad – it is a major insult to women in fact to be so compared], this response to me shows how Dembski absolutely hates peer-review. They always act like they want peer-review, but when they get an actual peer (me) to review them, their brains shut off. Amazing.

You can’t make this stuff up.

dembski