Category Archives: Jordan Peterson
I will begin with the pros of Murrays book before outlining my disagreements. First, it is well-written and well-organized. His prose crackles with wit and salt, with pointed examples often blending seamlessly with political commentary.
The anti-Social Justice Warrior (SJW) monograph written by an up-and-coming conservative commentator is practically a genre of literature at this point. Many of these books are the progeny of William F. Buckleys classic(and comparably heady) 1951 book God and Man at Yale, which was perhaps the first polemic directed against campus activism and academic progressivism. Since then, everyone fromAnn Coulter to Ben Shapiro has written about the dangers posed by social justice approaches to gender, race, and identity. It seems to almost be a rite of passage. Some of these workslikePeter LawlersAmerican Heresies and Higher Educationare thoughtful and interesting, even for those of us who disagree with the main arguments. Others are just rivers of partisan vitriol assembled into disjointed chapters, which barely hang together as a conceptlet alone a book. Douglas Murrays new book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race, and Identity falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. While I disagree with most of it, there are segments where Murray does make a compelling and well-articulated argument for his positions. But there are other portions where he stumbles into one sidedness and partisanship. Murrays book is also let down by its tendency to lean on exposition and anecdote rather than explanation. He does marshal plenty of examples where progressive activists behaved aggressively or went too far. But there is little deep explanation of the cultural and historical conditions engendering social disharmony: an account of where the madness of the title comes fromand how this differs from earlier epochs. This makes the book more a chronicle of events, rather than a sustained analysis.
In the Interest of Fairness
I will begin with the pros of Murrays book before outlining my disagreements. First, it is well-written and well-organized. His prose crackles with wit and salt, with pointed examples often blending seamlessly with political commentary. It is also written in a less polemical style than one might have expected, given Murrays association with websites such as PragerU. In the introduction, Murray concedes points that many progressives would find appealing. For instance, he recognizes that there are serious problems with neoliberal capitalism (which came to the fore in 2008), that social justice activism can produce good results, and he acknowledges why many millennials and Gen Zers might be dissatisfied with the status quo:
Although the foundations had been laid for several decades, it is only since the financial crash of 2008 that there has been a march into the mainstream of ideas that were previously known solely on the obscurest fringes of academia. The attractions of this new set of beliefs are obvious enough. It is not clear why a generation which cant accumulate capital should have any great love of capitalism. And it isnt hard to work out why a generation who believe they may never own a home could be attracted to an ideological world view which promises to sort out every interpretation of the world through the lens of social justice.To date social justice has run the furthest because it soundsand in some versions isattractive.
This comparative evenhandedness is most apparent in the first chapter of the book, which deals with social justice approaches to sexual orientation. As an openly gay man who came of age when homosexuality was ubiquitously taboo, Murray expresses sympathy for movements advocating for equality and respect. However, he points out that some social justice activists go too far in insisting that all debates about the nature of sexual orientation are settledand that history has vindicated their particular perspective. This ignores the considerable political controversies that exist even among progressives. For instance, debates exist over the best way to advance equality for gays and lesbians (trans individuals are discussed separately) and what that would look like. Some believe that being gay or a lesbian is just one part of a persons identity. These individuals, consequently, see few problems with integrating into liberal societies so long as their decisions on whom to love are respected. Other activists are radicals who believe that sexual orientation is integral to identity and want more dramatic changes to the status quo. These political arguments persist even within the activist community in part because we do not have all the answers to even some basic questions yet. For instance, Murray observes that there are understandable disputes over whether sexual orientation is a hardware or a software issue: Is it determined genetically, or is itin part or whollythe result of sociation and choice?
In light of these controversies, Murray claims that we should have a degree of sympathy for those who do not agree with our own political conclusions. This call for humility applies to issues of race, feminism, and trans identity as well. To an extent, I agree with Murray. While I believe that discrimination and prejudice are great evils which must be overcome, progressives do ourselves few favors by merely asserting claims that still need to be demonstrated. This is not to suggest there are not moments where condemnation and militant action are warranted; no one should feel compelled to explain themselves to a Nazi who wants to eradicate them. But when it comes to convincing moderates and even open-minded conservatives, there is much to gain and little to lose by explaining our positions clearly and gradually winning hearts and minds on issues like equality for gays, women, and minorities. Demanding acquiescence not only risks a reactionary backlash ala post-modern conservatives such as Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro; it also elides the serious need for those of us on the political left to reach internal compromises on contentious issues. This does not mean accepting intolerance but, rather, undermining it through long-term efforts to win the argument.
Unfortunately, Murray himself often evades such complexity in his treatment of figures and issues where his sympathies are less acute. I will move on to discussing that now.
The Slow Death of Precision
This is not about mishearings or misunderstandings. It is more likely an example of people deliberately and lazily adopting simplified misrepresentations of what other people are saying in order to avoid the difficult discussion that would otherwise have to take place.
Douglas Murray, The Madness of Crowds
One of the major tropes Murray leans on throughout The Madness of Crowds is the idea of complexity. Debates about womens equality, racial integration, and trans identity are complicated. Given that, activists should stop acting as though they have all the answers, and they should look seriously at the other sides concerns. Fair enough. Unfortunately, Murray himself often slides into misrepresentations and caricatures in lieu of actually taking the opposing arguments seriously. Enough of the book falls into these pits that it can be quite disappointing, given Murrays occasional efforts to be more even handed. More seriously still, the book invokes complexity often, without actually reflecting on its sources. Murray has much to say about the dogmatism and cynicism of our epoch. But there is little in the way of explaining its foundations.
Problems begin in the ostentatiously titled Interlude: The Marxist Foundations after chapter one. This is Murrays most sustained effort at discussing the theoretical basis for social justice activism, extending to about 12 pages. Considering the many dozens of pages devoted to celebrity foibles and paragraphs waxing on about fake nipples, this is a very slender contribution. Murray deserves some credit for citing specific works by authors, such as Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffes Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. This is an improvement on figures like Jordan Peterson, who also tries to describe the philosophy of the contemporary left in a dozen pages through 12 Rules for Life but rarely cites anything in particular to make the point. But Murrays analysis is still undermined by serious exegetical errors.
To give one example, Murray claims that, one of the traits of Marxist thinkers has always been that they do not stumble or self-question in the face of contradiction, as anybody aiming at the truth might. But this entirely misunderstands the Hegelian idealist and Marxist materialist dialectic. The point of dialectical analysis is not to suggest that we should live with contradictionor that contradictions are a good thing demonstrating the truth. Instead, it is precisely the opposite: Our ideologies and material conditions are ridden with contradictory imperatives they can never fully overcome. Capitalist societies are driven by consumer spending. Yet, many market factors do not pay their workers enough money to buy things. This leads to a crisis of underconsumption. Masters want to dominate slaves to feel better about themselves but can never receive the recognition and aplomb they desire from someone they have reduced to a sub-human and whose opinion should not matter. The failure to overcome these contradictions ison a Hegelian and Marxist analysiswhat forces a society to confront its limitations and edge closer to a better system. Also important to note is that Murray largely ignores the appeal of such dialectical reasoning across the political spectrum. Marx is not the only one who found Hegel tremendously appealing. Many conservatives, including the late Roger Scruton, considered Hegel an important and even seminal figure. Indeed, since the Prussian philosophers death, there has been an ongoing dispute between Left and Right Hegelians, which has immensely influenced many different political traditions. Murray would have done well to recognize this intellectual history rather than sweeping past it as quickly as possible.
Or to give another example, Murray claims that Michel Foucault and his disciples regard society in an, unforgiving light when everything is viewed solely through the prism of power. But here Murray is applying precisely the negative interpretation of power that Foucault insisted we avoid. Foucaults argument that all spheres of life invariably involve some form of power is not a claim that everything boils down to poweror even that power is inherently evil. Indeed,Foucault insisted that productive power can be emancipatory, leading individuals to fight against tyranny and oppression. He also had a great deal to say about the virtues of friendship and love as a means of getting through life. Moreover, when Foucault died, he was in the midst of entering a new phase analyzing the ethics of self-creation. Tragically, his life was cut short, and we will never know what he concluded. But the portrayal of Foucault as a relentless mope is simply incorrect.
These basic mistakes reflect a tendency of right-wing commentators to suppose that the way a major left-wing thinkers work is rhetorically invoked by activists and students is reflective of what they actually believe. But that makes no more sense than supposing Nietzsche was a proto-Nazi because some on the Alt-right occasionally invoke him. If you are going to engage in a philosophical interlude, you owe it to your readers to go past the stereotypes and actually engage seriously with what intelligent opponents have argued. This is another area where Murray falls short.
More serious than these problems is the relative flatness of Murrays analysis. As mentioned, his book goes on to describe many of the comical and extreme behaviors of todays Left, while throwing in a few unusual jabs at pop stars such as Nicki Minaj (for her song about the ass). The latter come across as somewhat cantankerous; while earlier days did indeed have G.K Chesterton and other luminaries offering commentary, there was plenty of forgettable schlock produced then as well. Time has a way of weeding out the forgettable and preserving the worthwhile. This tendency to rely on anecdotes about activist extremism, celebrity parables, and so on becomes numbing after a while. While some on the political right have an endless appetite for the 93rd SJW fail compilation, the rest of us want something more. Murray is often correct when highlighting where activists assume certainty where there is actually complexity, though I might point out that a fairer approach might acknowledge that this problem is hardly unique to one end of the political spectrum. But the more robust point is that Murray offers little in the way of guidance on why such forms of dogmatism (not to mention the cynicism embodied in decadence and withdrawal) have become characteristic of post-modern politics. His work depicts without explaining, analyzing symptoms without getting at the root of the disease.
At best, Murrays position seems to be that we have lost faith in our traditional values, andat worsthe invokes paranoid and illiberal fears about migrants fleeing serious danger as a substitute for collective reflection. Even if it were true that we lost faith in our value systems that does not ask the more interesting question of why we abandoned our faith in the first place. Value systems which even pragmatically function relatively well in satisfying societys needs (even if their philosophical truth is contentious) do not tend to lose adherents. As Marx, Nietzsche, and countless other sharp critics of modernity and post-modernity would point out, we lose faith in value systems because they rot from within (incidentally, this is where an analysis of contradictions can be helpfulsince they point to areas where an ideology that is ultimately about serving power cannot overcome its own limitations). One of the reasons people may not have faith in Western value systems anymore is how frequently their proponents live up to standards. In the most Christian country in the world, millions are still denied access to basic healthcare and educations. This is despite injunctions about the need for Samaritanism and love of neighbor, which are integral to Christian ethics. Indeed, the insistence that Christianity goes beyond even the Golden rule of do unto others as they would do unto you by loving them as you love yourself imposes a very serious burden when taken authentically. This is what writers such as Kierkegaard observed in his Works of Love. Or to consider another example, those who talk endlessly about the dangers posed by radical Islam and migrantsincluding Murray himself in his neoconservative periodare, nevertheless, quite happy to wage countless wars destroying Middle Eastern countries. They then turn around and describe Islam as a religion of intolerance and violence, which is why those fleeing regional instability as per their rights under the UNHCR should be denied refugee status. Finally, we are constantly told how fantastic neoliberal capitalism isdespite real wages stagnating in many regions for decades and inequality increasing within developed countries. Murray himself wisely acknowledges that many have every right to be angry at the current system, since it has frequently failed to deliver the goods. But it might be worth focusing on this as a source for the contemporary madness and anger many feel, as cannier conservative critics such as Patrick Deneen have done in his Why Liberalism Failed.
If Murray wants an explanation for the decline of Western values, each of these trends might be a good place to start.
Conclusion: Cynicism and Dogmatism in Post-Modernity
There are, of course, many, many different accounts of where the post-modern tendency towards dogmatic fundamentalism and decadent cynicism come from. Superficial commentary tends to focus on individual representation of these trends without probing the deep roots. Since Marx, many progressives point to capitalism as a primary driver of our post-modern condition. There are many reasons for this. One is becausefrom a capitalist perspectivethere can, ultimately, be no sacred values. Everything has a price that can be traded off against something else, which means the world essentially becomes filled with commodities of relative worth. Jrgen Habermas makes this point when he observes how capitalist societies were parasitic on the order provided by conservative tradition until traditionalism became a barrier to further commodification and market expansion. At this point, tradition is chucked by capitalism, whether through upending local communities by moving jobs across the globe or by marketing easy and decadent forms of entertainment to a mass audience. The consequence of this development is a world where people believe they can be and do anything but believe in nothing.
Similar stories are told on the political right these days. Commentators like Patrick Deneen and Yoram Hazony (discussed here) point out that permissive liberalism was originally backed up by enduring feelings of communal solidarity and shared identity. We shared enough in common to gradually allow more freedom and political involvement since our values and beliefs were more or less the same. This meant that we could retain a sense of who we are and maintain a form of order liberty based on uncoerced social norms. However, as liberalism grew from a political to a comprehensive doctrine, it gradually colonized all other spheres of life. Even the uncoerced social norms about which Murray waxes nostalgic eventually came to be seen as barriers to the full expression of my unique and individual identity. Some went further by insisting that even talking about a unique but fixed identity was essentializing, implying that I am one thing or another and always must be. Instead, I should be allowed to create whom I am without inhibition, even using the most advanced medical technologies to do so if possible. The problem for these more formidable conservative thinkers is not social justice warriors per se, since they are little more than a product of the times. It is liberalism and even conservative rationalism,which are responsible for the crisis of post-modernity.
I am far more sympathetic to the former argument than the latter and believe it demonstrates why halting the spread of post-modern dogmatism and cynicism means establishing a more equal and fair society ala John Rawls. But regardless of which story sounds better to you, none of these weighty matters are discussed by Murray in any depth. At best they are gestured to by invoking the complexity of our current situationor decrying the madness that seems to have afflicted just one side of the political spectrum. This makes The Madness of Crowds a mixed bag. It is well-written and offers some welcome olive branches across the political aisle. Murray also is correct to emphasize the need to stop retreating from complexity. But why and how we see so much derangement today is never given the in-depth analysis the issue deserves.
Matt McManus is Professor of Politics and International Relations at Tec de Monterrey, and the author of Making Human Dignity Central to International Human Rights Law and The Rise of Post-Modern Conservatism. His new projects include co-authoring a critical monograph on Jordan Peterson and a book on liberal rights for Palgrave MacMillan. Matt can be reached email@example.com added on twitter vie@mattpolprof
Im not a disciple of Dr. Petersons. But he has inspired and helped to heal me with his words, and I admire him most for the example that hes set with his own life: the courage to stand up, with shoulders back and face the darkness.
Fred Hammon, a sixty-five-year-old bass player and mechanical engineer living in Los Angeles, was the subject of Tony D. Senatores November, 2019Merion Westarticle The Best Argument For Jordan Peterson: My Friend, Fred.
Hammon discovered Jordan Peterson by chance on the Internet one day, while caring for his wife who is suffering fromFrontotemporal dementia. Upon seeing Petersons lecture where he describeshow his father-in-law lovingly cared for his wife during an illness, Hammon was particularly struck by Petersons advice to,stand up straight and fully face the darkness, and what you discover is at the darkest part is the brightest light. Hammon describes this as a transformative moment for him, which led him to re-center his own approach to taking care of his wife and dealing with his own sadness at witnessing the state of his wifes health.
Hammon, who self-identifies as a centrist liberal and was influenced by the counterculture movement of the 1960s, does not consider himself a disciple of Petersons. Rather, he simply finds some of his Petersons lessons and advice to be intensely helpful in his own life. In light of the discussions generated by Senatores article about Hammon, as well as Jordan Petersons own recent health issues, Hammon joinsMerion West to provide more background on his relationship to Jordan Petersons work.
Mr. Hammon, you were the subject of a widely-read Merion West article in November about how Jordan Peterson personally helped you so much. Can you briefly explain how Jordan Petersons work has been so impactful in your life?
From when I first was exposed to Jordan Peterson, I liked him. Sometimes, of course, its hard to know when someone is mirroring your own thoughts but just saying it betteror is actually providing you with new information in a way that resonates and inspires. As far as helping me, Im going through the most difficult chapter of my life so far. My wife is suffering from and ultimately dying from the advanced stages of Frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
I had been living in fear and hopelessness, as well as from guilt for not being able to save her. I had pretty much shut down in many aspects of my life and started drinking a lot in order to avoid the day-to-day terror. If you read the article in November, you already know the story about me hearing Jordan talk about standing up and facing that horror head on with courage and seeing a brightness beyond. I believe him when he says that what it is that I need to find is to be found precisely there. It has helped to pull me out of my despair. Im functioning much better and looking for value, as opposed to throwing in the towel and dying along with wife.
I realized that I can be of no real use to her if I continued to circle that drain. I now think more about how I can help her on her journey and find sweetness and value along the way. It still isnt easy, but Ive managed to crawl a good way out of depths of that hole that I was living in, and hearing Jordan Petersons advice was very important for doing that.
In a sense, Tony Senatore, the author of that article, asserted that so many criticisms written about Jordan Peterson are academic or theoretical; however, the fact of the matter is that Petersons work is practically helping many peopleand that latter point ought to take precedence. Is this a view you share?
If you mean that the proof is in the pudding so to speakI suppose. People listen to Jordan Peterson, and they find him inspirational in positive ways. Im not an academic; Im not in a position to judge Jordan Peterson along those lines, and neither, for that matter, are most of his critics. Beyond that, if you take the time to review his lectures and debates, he answers a lot of the questions posed by his critics, if people would listen. He spends a lot of his time answering tough questions. I wish he werent so ill at present. I enjoying hearing him debate his detractors.
From a football blogger citing Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll as problematic because of having invited Jordan Peterson to talk to his team, to efforts to draw a connection between Peterson and Nazis, to the vitriol Peterson received when his recent health problems came to light, what is driving this anger towards Peterson?
This is asking me to understand the mind of some people on the Left who get angry and highly emotional towards anyone who holds an opinion just to the right of theirs. When he gets slammed by university humanities professors like the one who was gloating over his illness, my first reaction is: The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Its as if they fear that they cant defend themselves against his arguments using reasoned language, so, instead, they express hatred and vitriol towards him.
As we have learned recently, Jordan Peterson has, unfortunately, been undergoing a number of health issues in the past few months. Is there anything you would say to other people wholike youhave found Petersons work so impactful and are trying to deal with learning about his health issues?
Jordan Peterson is human, and, therefore, he is both vulnerable and fallible. He has neverin my recollectionever claimed to be anything other than that. He often sounds like he thinks that hes right all the time and comes off with arrogance, but then he admits to changing his mind mid-lecture sometimes after hearing his own thoughts said out loud. It happens in debates too, in real time, when he is presented with a better argument. Ive seen it.
The man is intellectually honest, in my opinion, which doesnt mean that hes right. Hes been open about his depression and health issues. How can he not be seen as anything other than courageous or, at the very least, admirable given, what hes been doing with his life: both helping people who need help, as well as courageously being open about his own health issues?
In addition to the points you already mentioned, are there any other lessons from Jordan Peterson that you think have the potential to be particularly helpful to other peopleand not just young peoplebut perhaps people of all ages?
Im not a disciple of Dr. Petersons. But he has inspired and helped to heal me with his words, and I admire him most for the example that hes set with his own life: the courage to stand up, with shoulders back and face the darkness. The first time I ever noticed him, he was doing precisely that. Hes not perfect, and I would warn anybody against those kinds of perceptions. Its his own life. That doesnt take away from his good examples and advice.
Im a pretty good bass player now, and I might even inspire some younger bass players locally; but, there will become a point when Im not as good. Having said that, I wish Jordan the best on his recovery, and I expect more lectures and writings from him. No pressure.
Editors note: If you would like to share an account of how Jordan Peterson has helped you, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Articles authored or co-authored by Staff.
Originally posted here:
Jordan Peterson: the One Who Helped Me When I Most Needed It - Merion West
‘He could’ve killed somebody’: Victim in Boise 11-car hit-and-run crash reacts to wild video – KTVB.com
Video shows the driver of a yellow Mustang dragging a truck through a downtown Boise parking garage on Valentine's Day.
BOISE, Idaho A driver accused of causing extensive damage to multiple vehicles in a downtown Boise parking garage, should not have been behind the wheel, according to Idaho court records.
The driver of the Ford Mustang was caught on camera dragging a truck while hitting 10 other cars in the hit-and-run crash on Friday, Feb. 14.
The video, provided to KTVB by Jordan Peterson, has been making the rounds on social media.
He could've killed somebody, that really freaks me out, said Paul Pacheco, the owner of the truck seen dragged in the video.
Less than 24 hours after Fridays hit-and-run, police identified Demariea Dawkins as the Mustangs owner and a person of interest. On Tuesday, they called him a suspect.
According to Idaho Court Records, a judge sentenced Dawkins to seven years probation after he pleaded guilty to DUI and resisting arrest in Ada County in 2018. Records also show Dawkins driver's license was suspended for five years.
He knew what he was doing, he was purposely ramming my truck into other cars to get it unhooked off of his car, Pacheco said. So that's how the other 11 cars got taken out in the process in the garage.
Pacheco and his wife were downtown for Valentine's Day when they realized they forgot something in their truck.
When we got off the elevator, there were cops everywhere, there was debris everywhere, Pacheco said.
He first thought someone stole his truck, but later spoke with police and saw the video.
"When I saw the condition of it, what went through my mind was how can people be this way? It's frustrating, it hurts, Pacheco said.
Boise Police later found the mustang abandoned, but Dawkins was nowhere in sight.
As of Tuesday, police told KTVB, they still don't have Dawkins in custody but say once they do, he'll likely be arrested.
We are going to be charging him with multiple charges, one count of reckless driving, one count of driving with an open container and 11 counts of leaving the scene of an accident, due to the 11 vehicles that were damaged at the scene, BPD Sgt. Loren Hilliard said.
A Controversial Study Claimed To Explain Why Women Dont Go Into Science And Tech. It Just Got A 1,113-Word Correction. – BuzzFeed News
Women are underrepresented in science, tech, engineering, and math (STEM), and two years ago a study offered a counterintuitive explanation as to why. The authors pointed out that countries with more gender equality, like Finland, tended to have fewer women earning degrees in those fields.
But more women studied science and tech in countries with less gender-progressive policies, such as Algeria, reported the researchers, who called this phenomenon the gender-equality paradox in STEM education.
The 2018 finding drew widespread attention from mainstream media outlets, like the Atlantic and Ars Technica, as well as from conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute and Jordan Peterson, the controversial psychologist most famous for his YouTube videos addressing what hes called the crisis of masculinity. Peterson and others cited the study to argue that, free from societal constraints, women choose to stay away from technical fields a choice they make because of an innate lack of interest, not because of the patriarchy.
But outside researchers questioned that conclusion after they tried, and failed, to replicate the original study. Sarah Richardson, a science historian at Harvard University, told BuzzFeed News that the study authors used a very selective set of data to produce a contrived and distorted picture of the global distribution of women in STEM achievement.
In December 2019, a lengthy 1,113-word correction was added to the paper, clarifying how the researchers had arrived at their conclusions and correcting several sentences and misleading figures. In a separate article and series of blog posts on Tuesday, Richardson and her colleagues at Harvards GenderSci Lab laid out what they saw as the significant problems with the studys methodology, including the researchers calculations for determining the percentage of women STEM graduates and the metrics they used to assess gender equity in each country.
And they called into question the studys fundamental premise: that the correlation the authors apparently found between national gender equity and women in STEM means the former directly affects the latter.
When we looked under the surface, this appears to be a case of massaging ones data selecting for different countries, particular gender measures, particular women-in-STEM measures to produce the narrative that you want to see, Richardson said.
In the end, we do not think that there is a gender-equality paradox.
But one of the studys authors, Gijsbert Stoet of the University of Essex, stands behind the correlation they found and argued that it remains even when using Richardsons preferred calculations. The problem with the critique, he said by email, is that they cannot explain the phenomenon we reported.
When the study came out in February 2018 in the journal Psychological Science, it provided fodder for the likes of YouTube channel Independent Man. Its not that women dont have the aptitude to take STEM subjects in the more egalitarian societies, explained one clip. They just choose not to.
This clip, which has been viewed more than 89,000 times, lives alongside videos like Debunking the Black Lives Matter Narrative and Toxic Femininity.
In an interview at the time, Peterson mentioned a great paper showing that as societies become more egalitarian, the enrollment gap between men and women in STEM fields increases. He added, And what do the feminists say about that? Pseudoscience.
And a member of the American Enterprise Institute cited it to argue that underrepresentation of women in STEM may actually be the result of the great advances in female empowerment, progress, and advancement that have taken place in recent decades, and not the result of systematic gender discrimination.
In the paper, a pair of psychologists Stoet and David Geary of the University of Missouri found that across most countries, girls are as good as boys, and often better, at math and science. But in countries with greater gender equality like Norway and Finland, women make up less than 25% of college graduates in STEM fields. In and of itself, this gender gap isnt news. But the researchers theorized that because these countries tend to be richer, women have the financial freedom to pursue their natural interests which drives them more toward the humanities.
In contrast, in countries with historically less gender equality, such as Algeria and Turkey, women make up much higher percentages of STEM degree-holders, according to their analysis. Because economic opportunities tend to be fewer there, those conditions may make relatively high-paying STEM occupations more attractive to women, Stoet and Geary wrote.
But Richardson thought a lot of these numbers seemed off. So she and a team tried to recreate the analysis with the publicly available data it was based on, including college graduation data from UNESCO.
The researchers had reported, for instance, that the percentage of women among STEM graduates in Algeria was 40.7%. But Richardson found that in 2015, UNESCO reported a total of 89,887 STEM graduates in Algeria, and 48,135 of them or 53.6% were women.
So where did 40.7% come from?
Eventually, Richardsons team would learn that Stoet and Geary had added different sets of numbers: the percentage of STEM graduates among women (in Algerias case, 26.66%) and the percentage of STEM graduates among men (38.89%). That added up to a total of 65.55%. Then they divided the percent of women STEM graduates by the total, producing a rate of 40.7%.
What they had done is create their own ratio of those two, which has never been validated or used in STEM research, Richardson said.
That metric was not explained in the paper. In the recently issued correction, the authors went into detail on the math theyd come up with.
After Richardson and her colleagues recalculated each countrys figures, they found that overall, the study underestimated the number of women STEM graduates worldwide by about 8%.
That wasnt the only problem. Even after Richardsons team learned about the study authors method of calculating the ratio, they still couldnt replicate all of their results. Richardson also took issue with the metric used to assess each countrys level of gender equity and the fact that the study did not examine trends over a long period of time.
Richardsons team found that there are large variations in the gender gaps between STEM graduates among countries, no matter how they are measured. These variations do not conform to simple patterns, Richardson and graduate student Joseph Bruch wrote in a blog post, adding that gender inequalities are not easily represented along a single dimension and with a single measure, as Stoet and Geary attempt to do.
Maria Charles, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who studies gender and STEM education and was not involved with Richardsons analysis, told BuzzFeed News by email, There is no evidence that gender stereotypes and unconscious gender biases are less pronounced in advanced industrial societies even in societies where women are well represented in universities, labor markets, and polities.
In a letter responding to Richardsons allegations, Stoet and Geary said they had chosen their metric to reflect a womans likelihood of completing a STEM degree compared to a mans. They also said that despite the specific approach to calculations theyd taken, the overall correlation that they had found between nations gender-equity levels and the number of women in STEM remained the same.
Richardson said she first emailed Stoet with questions about the source of his numbers in December 2018. He replied and then stopped writing back, she said, at which point she contacted the editors at Psychological Science.
Asked whether the paper should have been retracted instead of corrected, the editors, Tim Pleskac and Steve Lindsay, said by email: In our view, retraction is appropriate when the reported results have been convincingly shown to be fundamentally in error. In our view, the Stoet and Geary article, post-Corrigendum, was not fundamentally in error.
Richardson said that the messiness underlying the findings reinforces that there is no one factor that determines whether women pursue or succeed in science and technology.
Cultural patterns around womens achievement in and preferences for STEM are incredibly complex and incredibly diverse across the globe, she said.
Feb. 18: The story of Bombardier could have been easily avoided. Readers react to Bombardiers fortunes, facial recognition, Jordan Peterson, plus…
A Bombardier advertising board is pictured in front of a SBB CFF Swiss railway train at the station in Bern, Switzerland, Oct. 24, 2019.
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Re Democracy Gets Schooled In Quebec (Editorial, Feb. 14): It is with sadness that we are witnessing the demise of school boards in Quebec. School boards are one of Canadas oldest forms of democracy and, despite their occasional flaws, have permitted local priorities to be addressed in our school systems. Now, such initiatives in one province must emanate from the bureaucracy in Quebec City.
Would a provincial government ever have introduced French Immersion in elementary schools? It was a school board in Saint-Lambert, Que., that pioneered this, responding to demands of parents wanting to ensure their children would be able to participate in a bilingual country.
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This led to boards in Ottawa and elsewhere to pick up on what has proven to be a very popular and successful program.
Provincial control of curriculum, testing, teacher negotiations and funding has, over the years, reduced the scope of school boards to innovate. Now, with Quebecs example, they look to be an endangered species.
Alex Cullen Ottawa
While Section 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does offer guarantees of minority language instruction across the country, it makes no specific mention of the right to elect and maintain minority linguistic school boards.
In Mahe v. Alberta from 1990, the Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the clause implicitly gave this right. It concluded that Section 23 clearly encompasses a right to management and control and in some circumstances warrant an independent school board. However, these circumstances were never clearly outlined nor defined.
Moreover, history shows that in any case, since 1982, successive Quebec governments have shown no compunction in attempts to ride roughshod over Charter rights whenever it suits a purpose. Now that French boards will be legally abolished, it will surely only be a matter of time before those pesky English boards suffer the same fate.
History shows that centralized government control of education has remained a major objective in Quebec since the days of la Rvolution tranquille. With all school boards gone, that aim would come to fruition, and along with it another nail in the coffin of the Anglo community in Quebec.
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Alan Scrivener Cornwall, Ont.
Re Bombardier To Depart Commercial Plane Business (Report on Business, Feb. 14): Imagine if Canada had invested more than $1-billion into medical research and the hospitals to house it, instead of supporting Bombardiers airplanes. Quebec would have first-rate hospitals full of first-rate professionals, and we would have a very useful result of such an investment.
Could we keep this idea in mind for future use of public money? We will always need hospitals.
Barbara Klunder Toronto
Re Family Control Preserved Bombardiers Independence But At Huge Cost (Online, Feb. 7): The story of Bombardier, a great Canadian business that looks to have lost its way, could have been easily avoided. I do work in succession planning and corporate culture, and this seems like a classic case of the founding family not having the insight to plan for bright new leaders to further build a strong culture of innovation and global competitiveness.
Sometimes, family-run businesses in this country lose sight of their critical stewardship and the need to embrace change, along with deeper commitments to preserving Canadian identity and protecting taxpayer investments where government money is involved. I find it heartbreaking, to say the least.
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The C-series (now renamed the Airbus A220) is one of the most sophisticated aircraft flying, built from the ground up in Canada. Now, our Canadian engineers are left to work for the other guys. Airbus scored big on this with a bargain-basement price.
Alexander Lutchin CEO, Executive Coach Global; Toronto
Re Toronto Police Chief Orders Officers To Stop Using Clearview AI Software (Feb. 14): If this software can be used to catch and incriminate those involved in child torture or pornography videos, I say to hell with privacy concerns. Sometimes we have to submit to things for the common good.
Alison Dennis Kingston
It is well documented that eyewitness testimony is notoriously inaccurate, fraught with human error and complicated by individual bias, even when it is sincere. So what is a police service to do? If a reliable application in the artificial-intelligence toolbox can be more accurate, why not put it to good use?
Lets say we perfect facial-recognition software to the point where it dependably separates multiple sets of identical twins, then it is ready.
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Honouring offenders rights to privacy should be lower on the rights and freedoms hierarchy than the right to safety. Might there be abuse of the application? Of course. That is why it should be regulated.
Hugh McKechnie Newmarket, Ont.
Re In The Ghoulish World Of Online Snark, Toasting To Metastasis Is A Virtue (Feb. 13): I believe columnist Robyn Urback is right to to criticize how social media weaponizes the illnesses of outspoken persons for odious gotcha payback, falsely framing it as karmic justice. Serious critics of Jordan Petersons exclusionary ideology should know better and separate his person from his public persona.
When a public person becomes sick, their humanity should deserve our cathartic pity. Instead of defaulting to ill will and schadenfreude, we should identify with the sufferer and express compassionate solidarity. If ad hominem attacks are wrong in debates over ideas, then they should be wrong when involving ailments. In battle, doctors are known for treating the wounded enemy with the same dedication afforded their own. As current events show, there is no connection between good ideas and good health.
When it comes to illness, we should all be on the side of goodwill toward others. The state of his ideas is a different matter worthy of rigorous disagreement. I wish Mr. Peterson well his ideas, like everyone elses, need a healthy defence.
Tony DAndrea Toronto
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I believe the online virtue of schadenfreude points to something even more disturbing: We hypocritically prize ourselves as a society intolerant of hatred, while at the same time indulging in it. The only issue becomes who or what should be its proper target: the right or left? Conservatives or liberals? Jordan Peterson or his opponents?
To hate at all is to corrupt ones soul. Disagreeing or even condemning others should only be justifiable in so far as we dont lose sight of their humanity. And thats what happens when we hate the antithesis of genuine virtue.
Paul Salvatori Toronto
Robyn Urbacks column reminded me of graffiti I once read on the wall of a university washroom stall when I was a grad student. It read: God is dead, signed Nietzsche. Below that was written: Nietzsche is dead, signed God.
Frank Foulkes Toronto
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Jordan Peterson is unwell.
But for fans and followers of the clinical psychologist and crusader against political correctness, the good news is he is getting better.
This week, his daughter Mikhaila posted a bulletin on her website, announcing that after years of suffering absolute hell from his physical dependence onthe anti-anxiety benzodiazepine, Clonazepam, Peterson had been admitted to a clinic in Russia for an emergency detox treatment, which had involved him being placed in an induced coma for eight days.
Peterson, she said, was now on the mend and smiling again for the first time in months. She did not say where in Russia he was, and added that there would be no further bulletins on his condition until Peterson was able to speak for himself.
The revelation is the latest twist in the extraordinary rise of Peterson from obscure Canadian academic to what the *New York Times* described as the most influential public intellectual in the Western world.
Peterson first rose to international prominence in 2018 with the publication of his book 12 Rules For Life, and an appearance on Channel 4 News in which he eviscerated his interviewer Cathy Newman in a discussion about gender and the rise of identity politics and has now accrued more than 19m views on YouTube.
He quickly became the most visible, outspoken, and certainly the most divisive figure in the culture wars between Left and Right, challenging the orthodoxies of political correctness and the culture of victimhood he maintains is sweeping across university campuses in America, Canada and Britain. In March 2019, an offer of a Visiting Fellowship by Cambridge University was rescinded following a backlash from students and some members of faculty.
As his book soared to the top of the best-seller lists around the world, Peterson gave up his clinical practice and embarked on a frenetic round of lecture tours, media appearances and speaking engagements. But last year these engagements tailed off in November he was obliged to cancel a talk he was due to give at Londons Hammersmith Apollo as speculation about his health mounted.
Petersons health, and in particular his struggle with the chronic depression he has suffered since the age of 13, has long been a theme in his talks. When I met him at his home in Toronto in 2018 he described the feeling as like freezing to death on an endless stark plain knowing that the reason that you got there is because you did everything wrong. As part of his attempt to control it, he had adopted a diet consisting solely of meat and greens he was barbequing steak for breakfast when I arrived. Its hell on your social life, I can tell you, he told me with a laugh.
He adopted the diet following the example of Mikhaila, 28, who has become a prominent figure on social media herself, not only in her capacity as her fathers assistant and right hand (Peterson also has a son Julian, 27) but because of her own story about her struggles with debilitating illness.
She has her own website, which lists the long catalogue of ailments that have blighted her life. At the age of seven she was diagnosed with severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; at eight she was injecting herself with immunosuppressants twice a week; by the age of 12 she was diagnosed with severe depression and bi-polar type 2; at 14 she was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia; at 17 she had her hip and ankle joints replaced; by the time she was 22 she was sleeping 18 hours a day, chronically depressed and experiencing rashes and blistering.
After years of experimenting with eliminating certain foods, she now promotes the wonders of what she calls the Lion Diet, which consists solely of ruminant meat (beef and lamb), salt and water, and which she claims had put her multiple disorders into remission, leaving her completely asymptomatic, medication free and thriving.
It took me years to believe this myself, as it went against all accepted medical teachings, she says on her website a fact confirmed by numerous health professionals, among them Jack Gilbert, the faculty director at the University of Chicagos Microbiome Center, who in an interview with The Atlanticmagazine described the Lion Diet as a terribly, terribly bad idea, adding, if she does not die of colon cancer or some other severe cardiometabolic disease, the life I cant imagine.
Peterson, however, told the American radio host, Joe Rogan that Mikhaila was glowing. So much so that he embarked on the diet himself to apparently extraordinary effect. His lifelong depression, anxiety, gastric reflux (and associated snoring), inability to wake up in the mornings, psoriasis, gingivitis, floaters in his right eye, numbness on the sides of his legs, problems with mood regulation all of it, he told Rogan, had gone.
But in April last year, the familys history of ill-health took another tragic turn when Petersons wife, Tammy was diagnosed with what was believed to be terminal cancer. The couple had been childhood sweethearts, growing up on the same street in the small prairie town of Fairview in Northern Alberta, and have been married for 31 years.
Devastated by the diagnosis, Peterson was prescribed antidepressants and Clonazepam. But in September, in a family bulletin on her Youtube channel, Mikhaila announced that following surgery for the removal of a kidney, and with Tammy making a miraculous recovery, Peterson had tried unsuccessfully to wean himself off Clonazepam, and been admitted to a rehabilitation centre in New York. The family, she went on, felt it important to make the announcement before some tabloid finds out and publishes Jordan Peterson Self Help Guru Is On Meth or something.
The treatment was evidently unsuccessful. In her posting this week, Mikhaila told how several failed attempts in American hospitals, including tapering and microtapering treatments, had left Peterson suicidal, with a condition called akathisia, where the patient constantly feels on the border of panic and is unable to sit still. The family had been forced in extreme desperation to seek treatment in Russia, where doctors have the guts to medically detox someone from benzodiazepines.
It seems somehow fitting that Peterson should have sought treatment in Russia a country that, one way and another, has exercised a powerful sway over his life and his philosophy. Dostoevskys Crime and Punishmentand The Demonsfigure in a list of books he published as influential in his intellectual development.
The rise of the Soviet Union was equally formative. When I met him, we talked, with Peterson in the full lotus position on an armchair, in a sitting room hung with monumental Soviet propaganda paintings a young man clasping the works of Lenin like a prayer book, and Soviet soldiers in the midst of a battle. Upstairs in his office, a painting of young revolutionaries about to be shot by a White Russian hung on a wall alongside a portrait of Yuri Gagarin. A battered cap, worn by a prisoner in a Soviet gulag was framed above his desk, beside a beaten copper crucifix from a Russian Orthodox church.
Peterson began collecting Soviet-era art in the Nineties, buying paintings on eBay, mostly from junk dealers in Ukraine. He told me they served to remind him of the iniquities of totalitarianism, and the evil of art being subordinated to propaganda. He particularly relished the irony of having bought them for a song on eBay, The most capitalist platform thats ever been invented!
Its kind of weird having Lenin around the house, Mikhaila told me. When Dad first started buying them, Mom would say, Not another one!. He now has more than 300.
It was Petersons fierce opposition to what he described as post-modernist Neo-Marxists and the creeping orthodoxies of political correctness that first made him a figure of public controversy in 2017, when he protested against a ruling by the Ontario Human Rights Commission that refusing to refer to a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity in a workplace or a school, would probably be considered discrimination.
Peterson argued that his objections were on the grounds on free speech, and nothing to do with discrimination, and that at no time in British Common Law history has the legal code mandated what we must say, as opposed to simply what we must not say. He added that he would use the gender-neutral pronoun of a particular person, if they asked him.
Accusations of being transphobic and promulgating hate speech have followed him ever since. Indeed, it is hard to think of a more polarising figure in the culture wars as the cruel, gleeful postings by some on social media at the news of his illness have once again demonstrated.
In her bulletin this week, Mikhaila said that her fathers sense of humour is back... But he still has a long way to go to recover fully. It appears that were going to get through this by the skin of our teeth.
As a clinician you learn that its a rare person who isnt tragic right under the surface, Peterson told me when we met. But that doesnt mean you get to be a victim. You pick up your goddamn suffering and put one foot in front of the other. Its the way up, and also its the antidote to the way down.
Ex-benzodiazepine user relating to Peterson says withdrawal ‘hell’ needs awareness – The Chronicle Journal
When Audrey Kellestine was prescribed a common drug to treat insomnia, she believed she could stop using it at any time.
However, after taking the medication for just a month, she said she suffered severe physical dependency that uprooted her life for more than a year.
"It's like hell," Kellestine, 46, said of the ordeal of being in the grip of withdrawal from lorazepam, a medication that falls under the anti-anxiety group of drugs called benzodiazepines.
The family of author and psychologist Jordan Peterson recently revealed he was near death from the effects of withdrawing from a type of benzodiazepine he was prescribed for anxiety.
His daughter Mikhaila Peterson said in a YouTube video posted last week that his family took him to Russia for an emergency medical detox.
"It's awful and I feel really poorly for him," Kellestine said of Peterson, who has an international following, but is also criticized for his controversial views on gender.
She hopes the news surrounding Peterson's experience could shed light on the need for public awareness about the physical-dependence characteristic of benzodiazepines.
"I know he wasn't necessarily well respected, and I don't know him. But I think coming from somebody of his prestige some truth will come out into the medical world, that people are not just making up their symptoms and their realities and how long it really takes to go through a benzodiazepine withdrawal."
So-called benzos are a class of prescription drugs typically used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. They also include diazepam, sold under the brand name Valium and alprazolam, with the brand name Xanax.
Health Canada lists dizziness, confusion, and memory loss as common side-effects, while long-term effects can include physical dependence and substance use disorder.
Kellestine, who lives in Woodstock, Ont., was given a prescription for lorazepam, sold under the brand name Ativan, with five repeats and instructions from her family doctor to take one milligram of the medication in the morning and another milligram at night to deal with ongoing insomnia.
But her pharmacist warned her to take only one pill in the evening, saying she would be too sedated if she also took the morning dose.
Kellestine followed that advice for four weeks in 2014 but was concerned about becoming dependent on the drug, even after her doctor assured her that would not happen.
"Looking back, I realize that I was probably physically dependent on it after seven days because I could not get to sleep at all without it."
She decided to quit "cold turkey" because her doctor told her she could stop using it any time, said Kellestine.
That's when the panic attacks and anxiety began, requiring her mother to help care for her and her two daughters, who were then nine and 11.
"She moved into my home for 15 months, from Monday to Friday, while my husband worked. The acute withdrawal symptoms were so bad I couldn't make it to the bathroom without her help. It gets pretty ugly."
"Lots of not being able to move, not being able to eat, dizzy. I was pretty much bedridden for a long period of time," said Kellestine, who ended up in hospital.
She went to another physician to help her taper off the drug over two years "because my family doctor still thought I was crazy for not being able to get off it," said Kellestine, who eventually found ongoing support through an online community of former and current benzodiazepine patients trying to withdraw from the drug they felt trapped by.
Dr. Keith Ahamad, an addictions specialist at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, said two important side-effects of benzodiazepines are physical dependence and tolerance, meaning patients need more of the medication to get the same effect, similar to alcohol.
"The same thing happens with benzodiazepines, where if you're taking them regularly for anxiety and sleep you get to the point where they no longer work but if you stop them you actually get worsening of your symptoms," he said, adding withdrawal from benzos can be life-threatening.
"It's really difficult for us to know who will get tolerance and who will suffer really debilitating withdrawal based on how long they take the medication and the dose they're taking. And it can happen in as little as four weeks for sure."
Dr. James Wright, a specialist in internal medicine and clinical pharmacology in Vancouver, treats patients trying to withdraw from benzodiazepines, sometimes after using them for years.
He said the medication works effectively for short-term "rescue therapy" and should be used "once or twice a month," not on a regular basis, to prevent withdrawal symptoms that can include akathisia, which is characterized by an inability to sit still.
"I specifically tell people not to take it more than two nights in a row. And if they came back and used it all I wouldn't give them another prescription," Wright said.
"I think where the medical professionals got it wrong is they have this idea that to put patients on a regular dose it continues to work. The reality is it doesn't. They should never be used for anxiety on a long-term basis," he said, adding physical dependence can occur in a week.
"If you're prescribing it appropriately you give them only a small number of pills and you tell them not to take it more than two nights in a row. And you explain to them what will happen is, if they take it regularly, it won't work and they'll become tolerant and they could get themselves into trouble trying to get off."
For those patients, the "brain has changed as a result of the drug," he said. "When you take it away completely they experience all these terrible effects and feel really severely anxious."
Some patients taper themselves off benzodiazepines by using a method called liquid titration, and Wright said they mostly use Valium in part because it is the longest-acting benzodiazepine.
The method, which Wright monitors for his patients, involves dissolving the drug in water and precisely measuring the dose to decrease the amount by 10 per cent.
"They take off 10 per cent and discard that and swallow the rest of it," he said, adding the amount is slowly reduced further over time and that patients experience some withdrawal effects, which are manageable.
"It just means your brain is trying to heal and re-adapt," he said of his assurance to patients.
Data published in 2018 by the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicates the number of benzodiazepines dispensed declined by 5.9% between 2016 and 2017. The stats did not include non-prescription sources of drugs.
In recent years, benzodiazepines have been popularized in music in Travis Scott's smash hit "Sicko Mode," for instance, Drake raps: "I did half a Xan, 13 hours 'til I land, had me out like a light."
Lynne Laramee, whose son Matthew Koeck started using Xanax he bought from friends and then the black market to deal with his anxiety stemming from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said such casual references to potentially dangerous drugs in music that appeals to millions of youth are disturbing.
"We talked about that exact song," she said, adding her son told her "so many people do it" and he needed Xanax to relax.
Koeck was doing well in a welding program and had two jobs but was still using the medication, Laramee said, adding she spoke to him about her concerns regarding his use of the benzodiazepine that wasn't prescribed to him.
"He didn't think it was a big deal because they're prescribed for people, saying: 'So what's wrong with pills that are prescribed for so-and-so's mother?'"
However, taking Xanax caused more anxiety for her son.
"He told me he was anxious before but he was now even more anxious. One pill one day calmed him down and then he needed more and more," she said.
Laramee, who lived with her son in Aylmer, Que., at the time, chatted with him as usual before he went to bed on the evening of Dec. 5, 2018, when he took one Xanax pill.
She found him dead the next morning and later learned the Xanax he'd bought on the street contained the opioid fentanyl, which killed him. He was 20.
It's important for parents to keep benzodiazepines and all their prescription medications locked away, Laramee said.
"This is an issue, and I think if you hear about it in popular songs and you see it in a friend's mother's medicine cabinet you think it can't be that bad."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2020.
Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist and anti-political-correctness crusader, has checked himself in to rehab in New York, his daughter has revealed.
The 12 Rules for Life author has sought help trying to get off the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam, his daughter Mikhaila Peterson said in a video posted to her YouTube account Thursday.
Ive never seen my dad like this, the 27-year-old diet blogger said in the eight-and-a-half-minute video. Hes having a miserable time of it. It breaks my heart.
The elder Peterson, 57, began taking the addictive medication to deal with stress from his wifes battle with cancer and other health problems earlier this year, his daughter said.
He tried to quit cold-turkey over the summer after his wife, Tammy Roberts, miraculously recovered from complications with a kidney surgery, Mikhaila said.
But he went through horrific physical withdrawal that has left him looking like a lost puppy, she said.
He decided to check himself into a place because he didnt want to stress mom out, wanted to get off of this as quickly as possible, and honestly needs the medical help, said Mikhaila, who has used her YouTube channel to promote her all-meat Lion Diet.
Peterson is getting weaned off clonazepam at the unidentified rehab facility with other drugs that will help abate the withdrawal, Mikhaila said.
She added that she had a similar withdrawal struggle when she tried to get off Oxycontin as a teenager. At one point it made her feel like ants were crawling upside down under my skin, she recalled.
Peterson has gained international fame for his strident critiques of academic safe spaces and feminism, as well as his refusal to use transgender peoples preferred pronouns.
The controversial University of Toronto professor has been open about his previous struggles with depression, which he has battled since his teen years.
Hes said he beat it back with the meat-heavy diet his daughter encouraged him to adopt. Cutting out greens altogether improved both his mental and physical health, he said in an interview last year.
Im better now probably than Ive ever been in my life, and I havent been taking anti-depressants for a whole year, Peterson said in a July 2018 episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
Read this article:
Jordan Peterson enters rehab after wife's cancer diagnosis
A controversial psychology professor and self-help author who has spent much of his career railing against political correctness is recovering from an addiction to tranquilizers, his daughter said.
Jordan Peterson, 57, emerged last week from an intensive care unit in a Russian hospital after being treated for a dependence on benzodiazepine, an anti-anxiety medication.
Peterson sought alternative treatments in Russia after being repeatedly misdiagnosed in North American hospitals, including a clinic in New York, Mikhaila Peterson said in a video script she shared with Canadas National Post newspaper.
He nearly died several times, the daughter said, adding her father had been taking the drug for years to treat anxiety brought on by a severe autoimmune reaction to food. Doctors increased his dosage last year to help him cope with stress after his wife, Tammy, was diagnosed with cancer.
The daughter and her husband took Peterson, a professor at the University of Toronto who has long battled depression, to Moscow last month; he was diagnosed with pneumonia and put into an induced coma for eight days, according to the National Post. She described her fathers withdrawal as horrific.
In the past, Peterson said he was able to beat back depression with the meat-heavy diet his daughter encouraged him to adopt. Cutting out greens altogether improved both his mental and physical health, he said in a 2018 interview.
The Twelve Rules of Life author has been released from the hospital and is taking anti-seizure medication, his daughter said. Although he has trouble walking and typing on his own, he is on the mend, she said.
Hes smiling again, she said.
He nearly died several times: Controversial academic Jordan Peterson seeks to recover from addiction, daughter says – Toronto Star
Mikhaila Peterson recorded a two-minute and 50-second YouTube video outlining how her father, Jordan Peterson, became addicted to prescribed psychoactive drugs, developed a physical dependency to them, almost died, contracted pneumonia, flew to Russia to seek different treatment after several visits to North American hospitals, reportedly went into an induced coma, and, finally, as of Feb. 7, 2020, is in recovery.
The drama began years before the spring of 2019, when Peterson, the University of Toronto professor, renowned clinical psychologist and international bestselling author, began taking a low dose of medication to treat anxiety and an autoimmune disorder, Mikhaila said.
In April 2019, when Petersons wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer, doctors prescribed Peterson a higher dosage of the benzodiazepine, a type of medical tranquilizer, most commonly known via the brand-names, Xanax and Valium.
Over the last eight months, her father has suffered from akathisia, a condition of irresistible restlessness and unbearable discomfort caused by a negative reaction to the high dose of drugs and physical withdrawal, making him suicidal.
Jordan Update February 2020
After North American hospitals couldnt help him, Mikhaila said the family flew to Russia out of desperation to find a hospital that would medically detoxify him.
Hes improving and is off the horrible medication. His sense of humour is back, hes smiling again for the first time in months, she said. But he still has a long way to go to recover fully.
The uncertainty around his recovery has been one of the most difficult and scary experiences weve ever had.
The 54-year-old has been at the centre of a debate about gender and free speech ever since he posted videos to YouTube in the fall of 2016 in which he said he would not use the preferred, gender-neutral pronouns of some students and faculty and opposed federal legislation dealing with gender expression.
He said his work was based on research he conducted earlier in his life while studying the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. He said he viewed the imposition by the state of speech requirements as a dangerous step toward totalitarian control.
The videos drew fire from trans activists, faculty and student and labour unions. Critics accused Peterson of helping to foster a climate for hate to thrive. Protests, sometimes violent, broke out on campus, and the controversy attracted international media coverage.
Peterson received letters from the University of Toronto, which he said served as warnings, one reminding him that free speech had to be made in accordance with human rights legislation and the other noting that his refusal to use personal pronouns upon request could constitute discrimination.
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But Peterson gained a following at one point he was earning nearly $50,000 per month through crowd funding from his base of supporters and published his first international bestseller, 12 Rules for Life, in 2018.
Correction: An earlier version of the headline used the word addiction. In her video, Petersons daughter specifically stressed that her father had developed a physical dependence, not an addiction.
With files from Alex McKeen, Patty Winsa and Sachin Maharaj.