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Sorry, but I think that is a lame response. It really, really isn't just lack of expertise-- it's a matter of Peterson's abandonment of skepticism and scholarly integrity. I'm sorry, but you don't need to be a historian to tell that the ancient Egyptians didn't know about the structure of DNA. You don't need to be a statistician to know that coincidences don't disprove scientific materialism. Peterson is a PhD who know the level of due diligence needed to publish in peer reviewed journals from experience. He knows better but did it anyway.

But if you are doing "fact-checking" in LW style, you are mostly accusing him of getting things wrong about which he never cared in the first place.

He cares enough to tell his students, explicitly, that he "really does believe" that ancient art depicts DNA - repeatedly! - and put it in public youtube videos with his real name and face.

Like when Eliezer is using phlogiston as an example in the Sequences and gets the historical facts wrong.

It's more like if Eliezer used the "ancient aliens built the pyramids" theory as an example in one of the sequences in a way that made it clear that he really does believe aliens built the pyramids. It's stupid to believe it in the first place, and it's stupid to use it as an example.

There's some basic courtesy in listening to someone's message, not words.

Then what makes Peterson so special? Why should I pay more attention to him than, say, Deepak Chopra? Or an Islamist Cleric? Or a postmodernist gender studies professor who thinks western science is just a tool of patriarchal oppression? Might they also have messages that are "metaphorically true" even though their words are actually bunk? If Peterson gets the benefit of the doubt when he says stupid things, why shouldn't everybody else? If uses enough mental gymnastics, almost anything can be made to be "metaphorically true".

Peterson's fans are too emotionally invested in him to really consider what he's saying rationally - akin to religious believers. Yes, he gives his audience motivation and meaning - much in the same way religion does for other demographics- but that can be a very powerful emotional blinder. If you really think that something gives your life meaning and motivation, you'll overlook its flaws, even when it means weakening your epistemology.

It's not surprising when religious believers to retreat to the claim that their holy texts are "metaphorically true" when they're confronted with the evidence that their text is literally false - but it's embarrassing to see a supposed rationalist do the same when someone criticizes their favorite guru. We're supposed to know better.

Perhaps you can explain what Peterson really means when he says that he really believes that the double helix structure of DNA is being depicted in ancient Egyptian and Chinese art.

What does he really means when he says, "Proof itself, of any sort, is impossible, without an axiom (as Godel proved). Thus faith in God is a prerequisite for all proof."?

Why does he seems to believe in Jung's paranormal concept of "synchronicity"?

Why does he think quantum mechanics means consciousness creates reality, and confuse the Copenhagen interpretation with Wheeler's participatory anthropic principle?

Peterson gets many things wrong - not just technically wrong, but deeply wrong, wrong on the level of "ancient aliens built the pyramids". He's far to willing to indulge in mysticism, and has a fundamental lack of skepticism or anything approaching appropriate rigor when it comes to certain pet ideas.

He isn't an intellectual super-heavy weight, he's Deepak Chopra for people who know how to code. We can do better.

If you really think Jordan Peterson is worth inducting into the rationalist hall of fame, you might as well give up the entire rationalist project altogether. The problem is not merely that Peterson is religious and a social conservative, but that he is a full-blown mystic and a crackpot, and his pursuit of "metaphorical truth" necessarily entails bad methodology and a lack of rigor that leads to outright falsehoods.

Take, for example, his stated belief that the ancient Egyptians and Chinese depicted the double helix structure of DNA in their art. (In another lecture he makes the same claim in the context of Hindu art)

Or his statement suggesting that belief in God is necessary for mathematical proof.

Or his "consciousness creates reality" quantum mysticism.

Or his use of Jung, including Jung's crackpot paranormal concept of "synchronicity".

As a trained PhD psychologist, Peterson almost certainly knows he's teaching things that are unsupported, but keeps doing it anyway. Indeed, when someone confronted him about his DNA pseudo-archaeology, he started backpedaling about how strongly he believed it- though he also went on to speculate about whether ESP could explain it.

So does Peterson sincerely pursue what he sees as the truth? I don't pretend to know, but one must still consider that other mystics, religious seekers, and pseudoscientists presumably genuinely pursue the truth too, and end up misled. Merely pursuing the truth does not a rationalist make.

Also, it takes some Olympic-level mental gymnastics to claim that Peterson's statements about bill C-16 were correct on some metaphorical level when they were simply false on the literal level (i.e. the level that he was understood as intending at the time). It's only in hindsight, after the bill was passed and it became clear that Peterson was wrong, that his apologists started defending his claim as being "metaphorical" rather than literal. This is, of course, the same rhetorical strategy used by religious fundamentalists when confronted with evidence that their beliefs are wrong, and it is disappointing to see the same strategy being used on a rationalist blog.

edit: I should also clarify that Bill C-16 did not actually mandate the use of preferred pronouns - that was a misrepresentation of the bill on Peterson's part that many people took at face value. As mentioned earlier, the law passed last June and has not led to mandated pronoun use.