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James Damore: aftermath

I find Edwin's ideas worth listening to (I am sure he is annoyed by calm comments about "worth" and "blah blah" and would prefer warmer ones, so yes, I love you, Edwin LOL) which is why I have watched this 80-minute video recommended by Edwin:

Prof Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux (both from Canada) are two main individualist YouTube pundits who have previously interviewed James Damore, the former $162,000-a-year Senior Google engineer who became a hero of freedom. So in this discussion, they talked to each other. They covered a lot of ground. You may see that their thinking and values are close enough to each other. But you may still see that they're individualist and they want similar audiences to dedicate time to their videos, so to some extent, this insightful debate still sounds like a competition of a sort.

They discussed optimistic specifics of this Damore story. Damore hasn't backed off, he preferred to talk to independent media such as themselves over the mainstream media. The New York Times wrote a story urging Google to fire its anti-freedom-of-expression CEO Mr Kunda Píča.

Many events were so similar to those after the 2005 speech by Larry Summers about women in science. But many events were so different. Even though James Damore is basically a shy boy, his public reactions were more self-confident than those of Larry Summers. A part of it may be due to Damore's having received some recommendations from pundits: Don't back off. He could have received such recommendations because the independent media such as Molyneux's and Peterson's talk shows are far more powerful now than they or their counterparts were in 2005.

As they happily noticed, their videos generally get many more views than analogous videos by the "mainstream media". So these very labels – who is really mainstream – is finally getting complicated.

They discussed the harm that Google has done by having fired Damore. I agree with that entirely. Consumers may start to doubt the trustworthiness of Google. And potential stellar employees may be afraid of accepting a job at Google. These are potentially serious problems. And it's possible that not only some centrist and right-wing technology experts could choose a different occupation because of the occasional defective atmosphere in the company that may have grown into the "culture" of censorship and harassment. Some left-wing candidates who are left-wing in a "wrong way" could do the same.

I am personally not going to boycott Google's products because of these matters. I would feel like one of those left-wing childish activists who never really succeed, who abandon meritocracy in favor of ideology, and I am just too conservative. Even if some products were equally good or better than Google's, I have tested Google's products sufficiently to be certain. But I think that if you aren't constrained by these things, you should try alternatives. You should try the Czech Seznam maps instead of Google maps. And you should try Seznam's search engine and Seznam's superfast browser, too! Those products may be better than Google's alternatives. Seznam's owner Mr Ivo Lukačovič has denounced efforts to politically profile ads in his company and vows to keep his company apolitical.

As a consumer, I would actually be afraid of some Google products that are too physical, such as self-driving cars. If writing a totally sensible analysis about women in tech was enough for the Google CEO to fire the engineer, maybe writing bit more right-wing texts than Damore's could be enough for a Google boss to schedule a car accident for your car. They could cover it by exactly the same excuses as now – corporations have the right to trample on the employees' freedom of speech much like they have the right to push the accelerator pedal in your car in front of an abyss – both the employee and the consumer have signed some contract allowing these things, haven't they? Note that it is not the artificial intelligence of the self-driving car that is dangerous for you; it is the malicious humans who may try to hide their crimes behind the artificial intelligence.

According to a common sense understanding of the freedom of speech, the firing of Damore was an unacceptable violation of the basic Western values and the "accelerator push" of a Google self-driving car would be a murder at least informally.

Molyneux and Peterson have discussed lots of things about the growth of wealth since the 1870s, the increasing inequality and decreasing poverty, the Left's self-contradicting attitudes to many good and bad processes and conditions in the society, the correlation of the IQ and success, whether the IQ may be modified by training (no), whether people with the IQ beneath 83 are useful for the U.S. army (no), and many others. It was a very stimulating intellectual discussion and I really recommend you to watch it in its entirety.

I would subscribe at least to some 95% of the things that they have said.

But at some points, they made me laugh out loud because I had to realize how much more right-wing I actually am in comparison with Peterson and Molyneux. The most obvious point was a segment in which they described how heartbroken or devastated they have been when they first learned that the people were different at the individual level, and even groups of people defined by sexes, races, nationalities, or otherwise had different distributions of skills.

I had to laugh because I haven't been disturbed let alone "heartbroken" by these facts – which I have always considered basically tautological – for a second in my life. I don't remember what I was thinking when I was 2 years old but I remember lots of things from my age of 4. I was writing lots of papers at that time (in cursive fonts), with numerous graphs. And yes, I read many more fiction novels before I was 7 than what I have read afterwards. ;-) One of the projects described in a paper I wrote in the kindergarten talked about a plan to make sure that no human and no animal would ever die again. It's plausible that this paper was causally related to my mentally ill grandmother's suicide. My paper didn't describe what to do with the increasing number of bodies.

But I just wanted to make you sure that I had all kinds of manifestations of a kind heart. However, "equality" has never been a part of my framework. Everything that had a nonzero value was always about some inequality. A perfect equality means to make everything uniform and grey – and in such a grey mist, no one really lives. It's completely dead. So you obviously need some non-uniformities for any objects to exist. You also need a spontaneous violation of the electroweak symmetry for the rest masses of particles to be nonzero. You need some inequality between chickens and people for the latter to be able to safely eat the former. You need inequalities... at every level. Not even in the kindergarten, I have doubted for a second that the inequalities were absolutely essential for anything valuable to even exist.

You could say that only the people should be equal to other people while other animals and things may be unequal. But it has always been obvious to me that this attitude was utterly scientifically stupid because it's postulating some metaphysically deep, sharp, artificial borders that simply cannot exist. If objects around us are described by some parameters, the parameters may basically change continuously. A smart person may be smarter than a stupid person but the stupid person may still be smarter than an ape. It makes absolutely no sense to draw and worship some borders – and say that all numbers above ten are exactly equal to each other, while the numbers below ten aren't able to those above ten but they are equal to each other. I have always been certain that the people believing in any similar kind of egalitarianism are breathtakingly stupid and I am still certain about it.

In the case of Peterson and Molyneaux, I am not certain how much serious they were about their "broken hearts due to the inequality". The purpose may have been just to attract some more left-wing audiences.

They discuss lots of the potentially optimistic changes in the society – Trump's victory, the increasing influence of truly independent media sources such as theirs, and so on. Watch it, it is very likely that you won't be sorry.

Off-topic but political: Cliscep.com wrote a fun story about an observation I have wanted to make for quite some time. It seems that the climate alarmists seem to be splitting rather heavily – to the radicals and the moderates. The radicals are those who are willing to do anything and promote any lie just in order to keep or increase the influence of the climate hysteria. They're the people who continue to talk about the looming catastrophes, 97% consensus about it within the scientific community, and so on.

But the alarmists who actually have some scientific background increasingly denounce these radicals. The website shows some examples. A devastating 2-of-5-stars review of Gore's new, super-boring, superficial, self-glorifying movie by the Guardian. Negative reactions from people including the likes of Michael Mann and Nude Socialist to The Uninhabitable Earth in the New Yorker, and a few others. It seems really rather clear to me that the extremists are those who are really clueless about science while the scientifically inclined alarmists have to denounce the extremists' self-evidently untrue or insanely exaggerated claims.

At the same level, I think that only the extremists are the true engine of the climate hysteria. Constant lies or at least exaggeration is what this movement has always been all about. So if the extremists are delegitimized by the moderate climate fearmongers, the whole movement will be much more likely to fade away soon.

Tucker Carlson invited Damore to Fox News yesterday. Some usual good ideas – lots of special fun while discussing the way how the termination was communicated to James. Incredible. He also spoke to CNBC today which I found rather hostile towards e.g. Peterson and Molyneux – even though CNBC is supposed to be rather centrist. But indeed, the framing done by the CNN fake news agency was more outrageous.

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