Noam Chomsky + Robert Trivers
POSTED ON 1/15/2007 | PERMALINK |1 Comments | BOOKMARK
The anti-war activist and MIT linguist enters the Seed Salon to discuss deceit with the Rutgers evolutionary biologist.
previously on wtg:
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trivers wrote this screed today, threatening another academic:

Wall Street Journal
Letters to the Editor
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In regard to Alan Dershowitz’s commentary “Finkelstein’s Bigotry” (editorial page, May 4): In it he asserts that “He [Norman Finkelstein] has encouraged radical goons to email threatening messages; ‘Look forward to a visit from me,’ reads one. “Nazis like [you] need to be confronted directly.”

But all of this is untrue. I wrote the letter in question (April 15, 2007), but without Prof. Finkelstein’s knowledge, interest or approval. The key sentences had nothing to do with Prof. Finkelstein: ‘Regarding your rationalization of Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians, let me just say that if there is a repeat of Israeli butchery toward Lebanon and if you decide once again to rationalize it publicly, look forward to a visit from me. Nazis – and Nazi-like apologists such as yourself – need to be confronted directly.

As for being an academic goon: I am late responding because I was in Europe lecturing after receiving the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Robert Trivers
Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences
Rutgers University
Somerset, NJ

According to Wikipedia:

Robert L. Trivers, (born 19 February 1943) is an American evolutionary biologist and sociobiologist...Trivers originally went to Harvard to study mathematics, but wound up studying U.S. history in preparation to become a lawyer. He took a psychology class after suffering a breakdown, and was very unimpressed with the state of psychology. He was prevented from getting into Yale law school by his breakdown, and wound up with a job writing social science textbooks for children (never published, due in part to presenting evolution by natural selection as fact). This exposure to evolutionary theory led him to graduate work with Ernst Mayr at Harvard 1968-1972 (he never got a bachelor's degree anywhere). He was on faculty at Harvard 1973-1978, then moved to UC Santa Cruz.

He met Huey P. Newton, Chairman of the Black Panther Party, in 1978 when Newton applied (while in prison) to do a reading course with him as part of a graduate degree in History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz. Trivers and Newton became close friends, Newton was godfather to one of Trivers' daughters. Trivers joined the Black Panther Party in 1979. Trivers and Newton published an analysis of the role of self-deception by the flight crew in the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 (Trivers, R.L. & Newton, H.P. Science Digest 'The crash of flight 90: doomed by self-deception?' November 1982, pp 66,67,111).

The Black Panthers bit show really bad judgment. The failure to get into Yale law makes me wonder if the guy is jealous of Dershowitz, the famous Harvard lawyer.

In any case, with scientists conducting themselves like this, it's no wonder the public has lost its trust.

Wed May 23, 06:27:00 PM  

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