Two incompatible approaches

Many have shared this interview on social media and various blogs already, commenting from their particular position.

We would like to offer an alternative to the Red vs Blue Team arguments and discuss this interview as a proxy to explain why we are currently seeing so much polarisation in, well, every area of public debate.

The two participants, while nominally discussing the same subject are using two incompatible approaches to the discussion.

On the one hand, Peterson talks in terms of statistics showing trends, while Newman uses his description of a trend as a specific for an individual.

A great example of this disconnect is when Peterson tries to explain why hierarchies and the human response to them are ancient and even predate hominids. His nuanced point was that the serotonin reaction to status is shared with lobsters, so (a) status cannot be a social construct to be quickly dismantled and, (b) probably has some deep evolutionary cause, reminding us of Chesterton’s fence.

The discussion around the causes of the pay gap is even more poignant; one person is approaching the data point that, on average, women are paid 9% less than men, with a reasonable question about how we might isolate the multiple variables which may be responsible and cautioning against drawing the conclusion that it must be entirely or, in a large part, due to bias.

On the other hand, the other person is either unable or unwilling to consider the possibility that other factors may be at play.

Peterson remains remarkably patient during this exchange while Newman reverts to hyperbole, invites Peterson to argue against her strawman summaries of his points and begins to raise her voice.

Bill’s Opinion

One doesn’t need to take a position on the content of the discussion to see that the two approaches to this debate are incompatible. The form of the discussion is a wonderful embodiment of the current standard of debate between those with a cultural Marxism tendency and everyone else in the world.

3 Replies to “Two incompatible approaches”

  1. Excellent points here, although in fairness we are not comparing like with like. On the one hand, we have an academic at the top of his game, and with a proven track-record of courage and integrity. On the other hand, a jobbing journalist who has a reasonable liberal studies education and a brief to use standard political tropes to try to create a good spectacle on TV. She’s just too thick and blinkered to understand what Peterson is going on about. That’s why he has to constantly correct her: “No, no, that’s not what I’m saying at all…” There is always the possibility of Peterson being more evenly matched with an intelligent Cultural Marxist, but this poor foolish woman is way out of her depth.

    1. Newman has a First from Oxford in English literature, I understand. She will be no stranger to critical thinking.

      I think your second point about trying create good spectacle is more likely. She’s rushing for the single shot to the head each time and he ducks each attempt easily.

  2. “Newman has a First from Oxford in English literature, I understand. She will be no stranger to critical thinking.”

    Billy, I stand corrected. Credit to you for a bit of research that I should have done.

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