Joe Rogan on the Grievance Study Controversy


5 years ago



Jonathan Haidt

2 appearances

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist, professor, and author. His latest book, "The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness," will be available March


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I really appreciate it. Oh, this is exciting. I don't think I've ever had a conversation as long as we're about to have I've been listening to the happiness hypothesis over the last few days and I really really enjoy it. I'm really enjoying it It's really fascinating stuff, man But one thing I wanted to talk about because we're talking about it right before we got started was what's happening with peter Bergosian at portland state university. Yeah for folks who don't know the story he and um, I forget his two colleagues Tell him what rose and James Lindsay. Yeah, they released these fake papers on like homo eroticism and rape culture in dog parks and just really preposterous papers that almost like an article from the onion and Some of them not only did they get peer-reviewed and accepted into these journals, but they got Louded as being these amazing Bases of one did one guy. Yeah And now he's getting in trouble. That's right. Yeah, and we were just talking about it And I just would love to know your thoughts as a professor like what oh sure Yeah, so, you know for those who don't know I guess most of your listeners probably do but you know It was called the grievance studies hoax. Yeah, because and you know, this is one of the big issues going on in the Academy which I hope we'll talk about is You know, what does it take to have good scholarship? And and the argument is that in some fields as long as you hate the right things and use the right words You'll get published and that's not scholarship. That's activism. And so these three these three people who did this hoax They were trying to show that that's the case. And so they wrote these papers One of them was actually a section of Mein Kampf. Yes, and they just substituted in something about feminism for Nazism something like that and I don't remember that one actually got public. I think it did at any rate The point is they were trying to show that this is some of these fields in the Academy are not really about scholarship They're just about showing that you hate the right things their activism And so there's no way to break in within those closed worlds. So they did a time-honored thing. They did a hoax They published they submitted these papers. They made up fake names and and a lot of them got accepted And now what's happening is that the universe at Portland State University, which is only one of the three is at a is a Professor he's a assistant professor. So he's not tenured You know, of course, he has a lot of enemies and of course I don't know what's going on behind the scenes, but it looks like some of them wanted him investigated for violating the IRB the internal review board because the claim is they fabricated data because one of the papers says I Inspected the genitals of 10,000 dogs in the dog park, you know, it's like obviously absurd Yeah, and he said, you know in 63 percent of the of the attempted hump because the thing thing of the article was that the idea That you know you go to a dog park and you see dogs humping each other and they were interpreting this as rape as doggy rape And so he's got all these no, you know fake numbers in there So is that fraud is that data fraud and if you read so I'm writing a letter for a lot of us are now writing letters in support of Belizean, thank you for doing that. But if you read the They they at his university the committee was impaneled and they looked at the literal definition of data fabrication And it's possible that he does fall under that But the point of this whole thing I just so it's not clear. I can't weigh in on whether or not technically but but These rules are put in place to prevent the corruption of the scientific record And what he was doing was not going to corrupt the scientific record was done to correct it They were doing it to show that there's a huge problem and then they were going to unveil it so the question is is the university going to interpret it this in the worst possible way the narrowest possible way and Thereby make fools of themselves look like laughing stocks Or are they going to use some common sense and recognize this for what it was. It wasn't data fabrication. It wasn't a fraud Yeah, it was an expose. That's right Yeah And I I hope that they come to their senses and they do have a point if I'm gonna be completely objective About data fabrication. I mean technically I mean maybe they could have written that paper without saying that they actually tested 10,000 genitals of But what's really important? I think is that they recognize that Regular people are paying attention to this now people that aren't Involved in this very insulated world and they're going this is crazy Like imagine if your children are going there and your children children are being taught at this school that's willing to accept this kind of nonsense like this what happened at Evergreen State University is another example of that and right it's Incredibly damaging to them as a university. I mean their Their enrollment is set it on it down. That's right. Their funding is in real big trouble I mean there's a real bad situation for them And if you talk to Brett Weinstein, it was a wonderful place just a few years ago when he was teaching there That's right. And it's gotten crazier and crazier on these campuses to the point where Nonsense is never being is not being questioned at all. It's just being accepted as just some some it's almost like Some religious dogma that you have to follow That's right So the way I think the way to make sense of all of this is you have to always look at what game is being played So human beings evolved in small-scale societies We have all kinds of abilities to function in those small-scale societies. One of those is religious worship We're very good at making something sacred and circling around it another is war We're very good at forming teams to fight the other side and we love that so much We create sports and you know video game battles with team versus team so there's all these different games you can play and The truth-seeking game is a was a really special one and a weird one and we're not very good at it as individuals and In my view the genius of a university is that it takes people and puts them together in ways where each person each like scientists aren't these super rational creatures that are You know looking to disconfirm their own ideas. No, we're not looking we want to prove our ideas We love our ideas But a university puts us together in a way in which you are really motivated to disprove my ideas And I'm motivated to disprove yours you put us together. We can't sell out each other's confirmation biases So the truth-seeking game is a very special game that can only be played in a very special institution with special norms Okay, so we're doing this for you know my whole time in academia I started grad school in 1987 at the University of Pennsylvania and then just in the last few years It's like some people are playing this really different game And it's like if you know if I'm playing tennis and I hit the ball to you like We're in a seminar class. I give you a question. I challenge you you come back and we go back and forth and in the process We learn so that's like kind of like playing tennis So I'm doing this and then suddenly like someone tackles me like what that you don't do that in tennis No, no, but they're playing football you see and in football It's a much rougher game, and you're trying to destroy the others. I'm not really in football, but I'm saying yes You know it's a and so as norms of combat come in and what I mean by that is political combat As some people within universities see that what we're doing here is not seeking truth We're trying to fight fascism or we're trying to defeat conservatism or we're trying to fight racism or whatever some sort of political goal and these games are completely incompatible and so that's why this madness has erupted where you see Professors saying something maybe it's a little provocative. I'm going back to Socrates that was kind of the point was to provoke And you see these bizarre reactions emotional reactions groups organized to demand that a professor be fired because we're playing different games