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Jordan Peterson And The Art Of Sophistry

Jordan Peterson And The Art Of Sophistry

Jordan Peterson came to my attention due to controversy surrounding his refusal to be forced to use some of the new gender pronouns that are starting to be used by the social justice warrior types with ideas formed by gender studies classes at university.

Now on this issue I agree with him. The personal pronoun “zhe”? This is an artificial language construct and language doesn’t work by edict.

So naturally I wanted to find out more about this person. And frankly what I found was simply not to my liking.

So let me tell you why. To cut to the chase, the guy is as disingenuous as they come.

I hear him when he rails against political correctness. It is a disease. To have to temper debate to any political orthodoxy is a bad thing and in this I support him.

So why do I find him disingenuous? Well I find anyone who answers what is essentially a yes or no question with a 15 minute answer to be disingenuous. When asked whether he believes in god  he starts rambling about how he doesn’t like the question, how it’s not as simple as a belief or disbelief. Yes it fucking is mate.

Sure you can say, what god are we talking about? but once that question is resolved it becomes a binary proposition. Strange then that someone who speaking out about against gender being anything other than binary has a problem with the binary when it doesn’t suit him.

Same when asked.. are you a Christian. Apparently he is. The next question .. do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and he’s obfuscating again. Really? It’s a simple question.

And this is the problem I have with Jordan Peterson. Language is used to communicate meaning. Peterson, when he doesn’t want to be tied down does his level best to use language to obscure his true beliefs and meaning of what he is saying.

When you parse what he is saying his main reason for any adherence to religion is because he believes that society as a whole needs it. This is the moral argument – that religion is a force for social cohesion. it’s not uncommon and nor is it without validity. So why does he have to attempt to obfuscate? Why not just come out and say this is what you believe?

Instead, he starts giving the example of the works of Dostoevsky, contending that though fictional, the work is more real than reality because it contains “meta-truths” or truths about truths.

It is this justification that he uses for adherence to the bible – i.e. that it too contains truths about the human condition and therefore it is entirely valid to be Christian, even if you can’t give a straight answer to the question of whether or not you believe in god.

To all of this I call bullshit. Meta-truths that make fiction more true that reality? That’s some high level sophistry right there.

Of course Dostoevsky’s work contains insightful observations into the human condition; all great works of fiction do. But to then claim that these works are therefore the repository of some higher truth is rubbish.

And then to tie this idea of meta truths into your justification as to why it is valid to adhere to Christianity is utterly specious.

Drawing observations about the human condition is one thing. Adhering to a religion due to the myths and legends that make similar observations is another thing altogether.

On the one hand the man is very forthright about views when it comes to gender issues. But on the issue of religion he is slippery all the way. Hey buddy, no one cares what you believe. Just be man enough to own you position and not dress it up with evasive language.

And that is why I cannot respect Jordan Peterson. I think it’s important to speak out against such people because there are many talking heads on the Internet using fallacious arguments to sway people.  When this is the case, every voice who speaks up and says “you’re full of shit”, allows other people who were thinking that but didn’t want to seem foolish by speaking out to go, “Yeah, he is full of shit, isn’t he?”

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