Weekly Roundup
Weekly Roundup, Tuesday November 16th, 2021

Weekly Roundup

Claire Lehmann
Claire Lehmann


Dear Quilletters,

This week, we’re pleased to bring you a number of diverse pieces from talented writers around the world. Oliver Traldi offers a thoughtful and persuasive exploration of “Affirmative Action Conundrums,” and Lawrence Krauss reports on an especially egregious incident of self-censorship from an astronomy professor at UT Austin.

Paul Lockhart gives us our history fix with an informative piece on the evolution of firepower. And Peter Hughes’s incisive piece on “The Temptations of Tyranny” strikes at the heart of why so many citizens in liberal Western democracies seem ready to part ways with their hard won freedoms.

Following on from our review of Rationality last week, is this week's review of The Scout Mindset, by Julia Galef—another book to have in your arsenal to help combat bias and fallacious thinking.

And finally, in our podcast, Jon Kay sits down with Nancy Segal to discuss her new book, Deliberately Divided: Inside the Controversial Study of Twins and Triplets Adopted Apart.

Thank you as always for your support and interest.

Warmly,
Claire

Education

An Astronomer Cancels His Own Research—Because the Results Weren’t Popular
Astronomy seems to be in trouble, as it is increasingly populated by researchers who seem more concerned with terrestrial politics than celestial objects, and who at times view the search for truths about nature as threatening. This became obvious in recent years, once the proposed Thirty Meter Tele…
Affirmative Action Conundrums
Historian, anti-racist activist, and recently named MacArthur “Genius” Grant awardee Ibram X. Kendi made waves on Twitter recently with the following (since-deleted) tweet: The survey results to which Kendi referred were highly dubious, but his critics seized on a different point. Taking them at fa…

History and Politics

The Temptations of Tyranny
When Shigalyov, one of the revolutionaries in Dostoevsky’s Demons, lays out his “system of world organization,” he admits that he got “entangled in my own data.” Confronted with the brutal logic of his idealism, he is forced to concede that his conclusion “directly contradicts the original idea from…
Europe’s Big Bang: How Gunpowder Transformed the Medieval World
Philip the Bold, duke of Burgundy, was a warrior’s warrior. Hawk-nosed, ambitious, and brash, Philip had been a soldier since childhood. He was still a smooth-faced boy of 14 when he fought alongside his father, King John II of France, in the battle of Poitiers in 1356. Like King
Watching My Great Nation Lapse Into a Cult of Self-Abasement
I wasn’t a patriot until it had all gone; then I would have sold my soul to buy it back. ~Tanya, in Malcolm Bradbury’s Eating People Is Wrong For more than 20 years, from the mid-’80s to the late-’90s, Morningside, a three-hour daily broadcast that mixed
Equity Concerns Lead to a Mass-Firing of Museum Volunteers
In the name of furthering the cause of racial equity, the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) recently fired all of its 122 active docents, 82 of whom worked as volunteer educators and tour guides, and the remaining 40 of whom were employed as unpaid “greeters” for school groups. In a

Book Reviews

High White Notes: The Rise and Fall of Gonzo Journalism—A Review
A review of High White Notes: The Rise and Fall of Gonzo Journalism by David S. Wills. Beatdom Books, 555 pages. (November 2021) I. In High White Notes, his riveting new biography of Hunter S. Thompson, journalist David S. Wills describes Thompson as America’s first rock star reporter and
The Scout Mindset—A Review
A review of The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef. Portfolio, 288 pages (April, 2021) Julia Galef’s The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t is a brisk introduction to a particular way of thinking about

Podcast

Podcast #172: Nancy Segal on Lessons in Human Nature Revealed by Identical Twins
Quillette podcast host Jonathan Kay speaks with California State University professor Nancy Segal about her career spent studying twins, and her new book, Deliberately Divided.

Quillette Circle Comment of the Week:

The Scout Mindset—A Review
Seems that this would be a good pairing with The Happiness Hypothesis and Descartes’s Error. Both capture that humans are not pure logical beings but more like a logical rider on an emotional elephant. What is interesting about the ‘scouts’ vs. the ‘soldiers’ is that scouts can appreciate soldiers…

Beowulf_Obsidian:
Seems that this would be a good pairing with The Happiness Hypothesis and Descartes’s Error. Both capture that humans are not pure logical beings but more like a logical rider on an emotional elephant.

What is interesting about the ‘scouts’ vs. the ‘soldiers’ is that scouts can appreciate soldiers but soldiers tend to be very very threatened by scouts. Being a scout is not an enviable position because you get much more positive feedback as a soldier. Just look at how our scouts are the ones getting canceled and attacked by legions of soldiers on both sides of the political aisle.

How do we set up areas where scouts can scout and soldiers can soldier (and not kill the scouts) and we can move humanity forward.

From Around the Web

The Ivermectin Train Cannot Stop
It started with a laboratory study on African green monkey kidney cells. While the dose used was much higher than what doctors would prescribe, the results were promising. Ivermectin could stop the new coronavirus from making copies of itself. This drug, ivermectin, has acquired political overtones…
Peter Thiel, Irresistible Pariah
The publishing industry fuels its non-fiction sales with Girardian scapegoats by authors who play the game. Does every good story need a bad guy?
Nicholas Christakis: How To End the Covid Pandemic
Misinformation and bad policy can only be defeated by robust, open debate in the public square.

Claire Lehmann

Claire Lehmann is the founding editor of Quillette.