Crisis Of Legitimacy In Our Institutions

Video Description

Peter Boghossian, one of the great cultural iconoclasts of our time, is a former Professor of Philosophy at Portland State University and the renowned author of best selling books A Manual for Creating Atheists (with James Lindsay), as well as How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide. 

Boghossian is more well known in recent days, however, for his now world-famous resignation letter penned to the Provost of Portland State University, Susan Jeffords, wherein he eloquently articulated the inherent danger of the institution’s ongoing support of the “Woke” ethos which favors supporting moral ideology and idealism at the expense of some of the major tenets of the traditional university experience; including the free flow of ideas and concepts (including those which may make us uncomfortable) in the pursuit of truth and greater understanding. In his letter, Boghossian writes:

“Students at Portland State are not being taught to think. Rather, they are being trained to mimic the moral certainty of ideologues. Faculty and administrators have abdicated the university’s truth-seeking mission and instead drive intolerance of divergent beliefs and opinions. This has created a culture of offense where students are now afraid to speak openly and honestly.” 
Martenson and Boghossian have a memorable conversation not only tackling Boghossian’s rejection of the new university ethos he personally experienced, but the larger implications of such a movement in our society as a whole.





This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I liked Peter’s last statement so much, here it is in writing: “We are people who value cognitive liberty, forthright speech and honesty in our communications.”
I wonder for how many decades this wokeism creep (creep as a verb) has been going on for. I see many of the health spokespeople - not physicians but bureaucrats - many women though I don’t believe this is gender related - who must be at least in their early 40s – but when they are answering fairly innocuous questions from the press they look irritated and frustrated, like they cannot understand what questioning is, what opposition is, what being asked to justify their position is – like these are all illegitimate. That the press should just write down what they have been told and trot off and write a nice article. So if these bureaucrats are in their early to mid-40s, they would have graduated from university 20+ years ago. So was there already wokeism in Western universities say, 25 years ago? If so now I understand that these people do not have the cognitive ability to deal with dissent. It will really stress them out. It’s like they have been taught to think in only two dimensions and now their brains are being asked to stretch into three or more dimensions. Which means they cannot be reasoned with. This is not promising…


That’s my new name for that horrid site. Wokepedia. LOL. I just made myself laugh.
Even one of the original cofounders sees it that way (using slightly different terms):

Wikipedia Co-Founder Criticizes Site, Says It Has Slid Into ‘Leftist Propaganda’ By Isabel van Brugen September 29, 2021 Wikipedia has in recent years drifted away from neutrality and slid into “leftist propaganda,” according to its co-founder Larry Sanger. Sanger, who parted ways with Wikipedia almost two decades ago over the project’s direction, told EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” that the online encyclopedia, which turned 20 years old earlier this year, has gradually shifted to follow the narrative of “the news media.” “Wikipedia made a real effort at neutrality for, I would say, its first five years or so,” said Sanger. “And then … it began a long, slow slide into what I would call leftist propaganda.” Wikipedia has around 125,000 active volunteer editors who work on crowdsourced articles, and more than 1,000 “administrators” who can take actions such as blocking accounts or restricting edits on certain pages. Sanger told EpochTV that particularly in the past five years, any individual who is “on the right,” or “even contrarian,” often finds themselves with an article on Wikipedia that “grossly misrepresents their achievements, often just leaves out important bits of their work, and misrepresents their motives.” Wikipedia “casts them as conspiracy theorists, are far right or whatever, when they and their friends and people who know them well would never describe them in that way,” Sanger said. Sanger criticized Wikipedia, suggesting that it has recently moved to “follow the news media.” “More recently, they’ve gotten rid of almost all conservative news sources as sources for their articles,” he explained. “And so as the news media has shifted, and as the establishment, frankly, has shifted more to the left or to the left, the content of Wikipedia has followed suit.”
As a "contrarian" I found myself with a deleted WokePedia page after just two weeks of running against the MSM grain on Covid back in early Feb 2020. It's now a completely useless source for any information about individuals because their bios are entirely filtered through the "dems are good, repubs are bad" filter set. Worse, any historical event, such as the Skripal poisoning are simply horrid propaganda pieces as if written directly by the MI6 or CIA themsleves. Perhaps they are. And don't even get me started on the corporate green and white-washing that happens there. It's disgusting. At any rate, the woke ideology ruing that platform for me. Made it better for some I presume, because now it's a safe space where people who are woke can be free of being challenged in any way.

I liked it a lot. Started late on the premiere so set the video to 1.5x to try to “catch up” but quickly dialed it back to 1x because you need time to digest and absorb great conversation like this.


“So much to unpack” is what my husband said after we finished this interview. We nodded along to most of it, laughed several times, and raised our eyebrows once or twice … basically, the equation for a really thought provoking interview.
I found myself on the mean end of “wokeism” this past winter when I questioned aspects of a workers rights bill focused on Agriculture in Colorado. Basically, the bill demonized farm owners instead of acknowledging the systemic issues at play. There was such an opportunity to bring farm owners and workers together to tackle the issues, but instead, the bill proponents created a huge divide in Colorado, that we may never repair. For asking questions, or pointing out holes in their arguments, I was publicly called a racist and systemic oppressor … it was emotionally brutal and also very eye opening.
A few days ago, a friend was relaying a story about a co-worker of hers … who is black. He has an old car that backfires when he turns it off. He got pulled over (I don’t remember why) and he described going through his “check-list” … car in park, hands on the steering wheel, etc. The officer asked him to turn off the car and exit the vehicle. He said, “sir, you really don’t want me to turn off the car.” The officer, now annoyed, “get out of the car” to which the man said, “ok, the car will backfire.” He turned the car off and as it backfired he threw himself onto the pavement with his arms to the side … looking up to see guns drawn on him. He didn’t get shot and laughed as he told the story to his co-workers a couple days later.
Yes, that is lived experience and to be honest, I can’t say how common that is. But, I do know, that as a white woman, I’ve never felt like my life was in danger when I got pulled over. My sister is autistic and often wears headphones and dances when outside of the house. I’ve never worried about her getting in trouble, or killed … unlike Elijah McClain who lived an hour away from her.
So, as was pointed out in the interview, there are real issues at play and we need to solve them. We also need to be able to have tough conversations, identify what we do and don’t know, and WORK TOGETHER (the divisiveness in wokeism is what drives me bonkers) to tackle the SYSTEMIC issues at play (like the Federal Reserve) instead of pitting people against one another.
Thanks again Chris for another great, thought provoking interview.


I put it to you that the bludgeon of anti-German propaganda that we’ve subjected ourselves to for the last 90 years has rebounded upon our own heads.
Who can watch the following video without breaking out in spots?

1 Like

Bob Dylan. “My back pages.”
So Penelope, our 23 year old downs person, must be tossed out on the street like any other 23 year old woman? Because “equality”?
Now I am confused.

The answer: Love


I’ve listened to Peter Boghossian since at least 2018, and I like the guy, at least from what little I can tell in interviews. He and I are much closer in our style of reasoning than those who lean on a direct “lived experience," or who defer to group knowledge and their spokespeople, or tradition, emotion, and especially the need to protect an ego built on (or is sensitive to) relative performance instead of integrity. I say this as someone who would probably be classified as a conservative Christian, though others of that description might not recognize me.
If he were my neighbor, I’d invite him to consider the evidence for my position, but I wouldn’t have high hopes of planting seeds of change with even someone so curious and capable. It’s never clearly happened with me before, and I don’t need to make it happen to fulfill some supposed religious obligation. So there’s no agenda to hide.
I think Boghossian is the same. Yes he has strong views, but he doesn’t hide them nor build his ego around them. He is willing to be humbled by better information using reasonable epistemology, at least to a point. In the end, reality is too vast for us limited creatures to accurately map, so we all fall back to heuristics and biases of one sort or another. We’re all somewhat wrong, but the virtue is in growing.


Like all "ism"s, wokeism seems more akin to religion than a rational line of thinking. Questioning the official narrative is forbidden and countered by emotional ferocity; facts are met with revulsion when they contradict the official narrative; ostracization is required for the heretics. The Catholic Church has been replaced by the cult of the woke, and the number of modern day Galileos is larger than we realize.
I wonder whether this is the natural order of things…whether humans gravitate towards “religion” in various forms (as has been the case for millennia). If we didn’t worship wokeism we’d instead be dominated by Catholicism, Paganism, Nationalism, Judaism, Islam, or be forced to worship the Sun God. If Wokeism falls by the wayside then perhaps something equally insidious will take its place.


The News is America's New Religion, and We're in a Religious War
News in America used to be fun to talk about, fun to joke about, interesting to think about. Now it’s an interminable bummer, because the press business has taken on characteristics of that other institution where talking, joking, and thinking aren’t allowed: church. We have two denominations, both as fact-averse as real churches, as is shown in polls about, say, pandemic attitudes, where Americans across the board consistently show they know less than they think.

OK… to bring up an age old topic mentioned in the interview that seems to have divided people as much as anything ever has… the origins of life.
Decades ago I was an enthusiastic undergraduate “scientist” at the time fully committed to the philosophy of atheism. I had taken tons of biology courses including all the 3rd year pre-med biochemistry, genetics etc., although I didn’t end up pursuing medicine beyond that.
I decided to finally pull together the evidence to once and for all formulate the proof to show those ridiculous creationists how they have no logical basis for their beliefs. Demonstrate exactly the genetic mechanism by which evolution can occur based off of random mutation, to progress a species to new and more complex forms (as if I was the first person to try to do that LOL). I was partly driven to satisfy myself since I always quest better understanding of things. I took organic chemistry and actually really liked it so I wanted to take that to the next level and understand the chemical mechanism by which a new protein could be coded, seemingly out of nothing.
I presumed this knowledge must be out there and that I had just not been exposed to it in my many undergraduate biology courses.
So off I went and searched out the science. I didn’t devote my entire existence to it at the time or anything, but I spent maybe a year perusing journals and reading some prominent authors on the subject. I was expecting this evidence to be clear, ubiquitous, and obvious. But what I quickly found was the opposite and I came up empty. What I found was four lines of evidence: 1) on the macroscopic scale, we have genotypic / phenotypic mathematical models describing new genes emerging into a population and establishing themselves – you know, all the p and q statistics, yadda yadda yadda.
They all make sense and are observable in populations but they say nothing about the biochemical mechanisms by which new genes and traits emerge. It’s merely descriptive, which is fine. This can be understood as the Darwinian model of biological evolution via natural selection going back hundreds of years.
And 2) on the other end, we have the microscopic or biochemical scale; the more modern knowledge we have gained from technology that allows us to pull apart and understand the nuts and bolts of DNA and genetics and biochemistry describing how organisms function in real time at a biomolecular level. It is a reductionist approach which models biological entities as machines – very complex machines whose nuts and bolts go all the way down to individual atoms and molecules. What I found was that this knowledge doesn’t describe or provide models of how new genes emerge from mutation, how organisms change; it merely postulates how organisms function using a deterministic machine model. It describes how a car works, but it says nothing of how engineers design a new model of car.
And of course, on a third level, bringing in the 4th dimension of time, we have a very robust fossil record showing the progress of complex life over the last billion years.
And on the 4th level, we have all the genomic analysis of the remaining extant life forms clearly showing their lineages and relationships which aligns very well with the fossil record.
All of these lines of evidence stand up well and describe their respective subjects l but it quickly became apparent that something was glaringly missing, which is an actual biochemical “mechanical” mechanism linking them together. It’s like people can talk all about these individually but then bringing them together requires some magic hand waving and Voila! Look what science did! Well, hand waving isn’t science.
I couldn’t find anything, which I was very shocked by. I was expecting this to be prominent in the journals and texts, and well understood, since all the atheist scientists seemed very secure in their beliefs. But I found (almost) nothing. There was one line of research into the genetic mechanics of the emergence of a new nylon-eating strain of bacteria.
I pondered this for a while, and was finally forced to question what I had previously believed. The problem is this – the math doesn’t add up. Never mind the lack of clear chemical models and real life examples. So I started some math. I wanted to estimate the chances that a random mutation can create a new useful trait in a complex organism. I wasn’t interested in evidence THAT it occurs since we all know it happens all the time all around us. I wanted the math behind HOW it happens.
How many base pairs are in a typical gene? Let’s be conservative and say 10,000 including all the other introns, exons, junk DNA etc. (forgive me if my genetics is a little rusty, it’s been a while).
What is the required “perfection” in that sequence needed to code for a functional protein? I don’t know, maybe 98%?
How “unique” must the new protein be? As in, coding for a different wavelength of reflected irridescence in a butterfly’s wing – can this be done by slightly tweaking an existing protein? Not really. It generally must a be a unique new protein to further advance the complexity of a species given how specifically proteins must fold themselves when being built.
What are the typical mutations that we are told cause new beneficial traits to spontaneously arise out of existing genetic material?
Deletions, substitutions, translocations etc… These are “primitive” processes.
What are the chances that one of these mutations would be detrimental to the organism?
What are the chances that one of these “primitive” mutations could create a new functional and beneficial protein? Based on the necessary “irreducible complexity” needed to create a 98% accurate protein? (anything less than a functioning new protein would be a nothing-burger and be quickly lost in the population – the gene must be expressed positively phenotyically immediately. It only has one shot)
What are the mutation rates typically observed?
Based on a comparison of the necessary amount of mutation needed to create a beneficial new phenotype, as compared with the level of complexity we see arising out of the common genetic mutations mentioned above, how often would that occur? Furthermore, what would happen to the rest of the genome with that rate of mutation before a positive phenotype was created? Would it turn the rest of you into Swiss cheese first? Then how could it be a beneficial mutation if it destroys the rest of your genome first?
How many individual organisms would be required to reproduce to see these changes? It’s one thing to talk about a Coronoavirus that can multiply trillions of times in one infection but how does it work in a population of 10,000 frogs on a mountain?
I started the math and I didn’t get very far before realizing that it’s ridiculous. It’s beyond impossible. It is astronomically absurd. You’d never see a beneficial mutation once in the history of the universe, yet we see them all around us all the time.
So I was forced to conclude, as I still do today (maybe some Earth shattering evidence has since come forward that I’m not aware of), that Atheism is not consistent with science. But beyond this, rejecting Atheism as a belief system does not require one to reject any 4 of the lines of evidence I summarized above, since the evidence for each is clear and undeniable. It is about admitting that the theory of evolution is woefully incomplete despite all our amazing technological advances that have allowed us to peep into every corner of genetics. Rejecting Atheism does not mean one must believe that the world is 5000 years old. It does not even require that you believe in the existence of some big guy in the sky who is doing “intelligent design” from some other parallel dimension and shuffling our DNA for us while we are asleep to make new genes for our unborn children, although that may be happening for all I know. Rejecting atheism simply means that I reject the belief, or rather the steadfast assertion based on some imaginary nonexistent evidence, that biological complexity can emerge, directed by nothing more selection pressure, from random genetic mutation – and most importantly, that biological organisms are just really complicated machines, and nothing more.
How does biological evolution work then? I don’t know. That’s the problem I see these days. Everyone has an opinion because they can feel only their one small part of the elephant and formulate their wider beliefs by extrapolating that to the whole. But an analysis of the whole doesn’t support that. Furthermore, raising these questions will alienate you from anyone who holds a steadfast rigid view, because it calls into question dogmatic adherence to any belief system on the origins of life.
I’d like to learn more. I find the stagnation of this topic over the last few decades symptomatic of the same problems discussed in this video. I think that to satisfactorily address this topic would require a level of scientific and cultural openness light years beyond where we are now. We are instead spending our “intellectual” efforts fighting over the most appropriate and least offensive pronoun to address people with. I fear that this issue, as always, will be another one used to further wedge and divide society. It is a stagnation of our philosophical, spiritual, and scientific progress as a species.
I’d go so far as to say that we hit “Peak Humanity” in the 90’s sometime and it’s been downhill since then. Our mechanical scientific understanding of genetics has progressed markedly since then, but it has contributed basically nothing to a wider philosophical understanding of what life is. I think quantum mechanics has contributed more to the philosophy of life over that time than biochemistry has.

The answer: Love
Freedom. For if you are not free all your other virtues serve to mock your ancestors. For the sake of the argument, let us posit a "Satan" who is opposed to the will of the Wr-alda. Would this "Satan" not substitute our true values for false ones? Hence anti-racism, meekness, praising sexual dysphoria, equality and all manner of maladaptive values. We are free to choose these and experience the results of these choices. Even Love can be maladaptive when it becomes pathological altruism. Off your knees Saxons. You have paid the price in full. (You can come out from behind the covers now Gladys; there is no Satan. There is only the foolishness of people who follow the priests.)  

Hollywood, being all about Form with little Substance, encounters the consequences of it’s fantasies.
Virtue signalling is no substitute for Morals.


Objective Materialism was a backlash against the over-bearing dictat of the Catholic branch of the Abrahamic sects.
That it went into overshoot was demonstrated in 1927 in Copenhagen, when it ran slap-bang into the double slit experiment. Nothing we have done has resurrected it. On the contrary, every experiment since then has been another nail in it’s coffin.
Yet the Atheists still cling to it. A triumph of wilful blindness.
How many dimensions are required to produce the illusion of Reality? Only two. There are not four dimensions nor the 20 posited by string theorists. (Or was it 21? Where is the giggle factor when you need it?)
This is an amazing and privileged time to be alive. We are living through a Kuhnian Revolution.
Ref Physics Dr. Tom Campbell.


Fantastic interview and dead on, getting to the difficulties of a US education system that in some cases values social justice above reasoned inquiry. I’m a tenured assoc. professor and the indictment that Boghossian serves up strikes me as very accurate and jibes with (pun intended) my own lived experience of life in the academy. I love my job and am left of center but diversity needs to include diversity of viewpoints, along with all the other kinds of diversity.
‘Woke’ is a rather squishy term, but using it in lieu of something more specific, the dreary thing about a ‘woke’ agenda is just how non-revolutionary it is: that is to say while it wants to empower certain groups to redress historical grievance, it often presents very little if any challenge to the neo-con (for big business, by big business) status quo in my opinion. Another schema is to recognize a difference between left (which is pro working class regardless of identity) and liberal (which is more about identity politics of various flavors); with the latter of these being in the ascendancy right now on many college campuses.


Ideologues form a kind of new-age religion which is hostile to facts & reason. In the UK at least, they have infiltrated all the institutions & only employ people of similar mindset - it’s like the Borg.
The people at the top of the pyramid know which buttons to press to get ideologues to back their particular investments or initiatives… The result is that we have billionaires with tremendous power, and co-opted institutions failing to provide the traditional ‘checks & balances’. It’s more like a billionaire dictatorship than a democracy - yet people are made to feel more concerned about ‘preferred gender pronouns’, ‘white nationalists under the bed’ & other nonsense etc…


“the dreary thing about a ‘woke’ agenda is just how non-revolutionary it is: that is to say while it wants to empower certain groups to redress historical grievance, it often presents very little if any challenge to the neo-con (for big business, by big business) status quo in my opinion.”
My feelings too. A revolutionary movement which ultimately benefits the power elites more than the workers - Hmm… It focuses on differences rather than commonalities - creating more social turbulence in sociaty…
Even the green movement is often funded by the very same groups they are supposed to oppose…, so how can anyone expect them to mount a serious offensive against the status quo?


So…we know how our world was put together, now we occupy our brains (for we must), with studying how it is falling apart.

Ideologues form a kind of new-age religion
As the Christian chapter of Abrahamic Monotheism wanes, be assured that the vacuum will be filled by something else. We must wrest the power from the atheistic offspring of Abrahamism, Cultural Marxism. And especially from the Thugs of Abrahamism, Islam. The future must be in the Past. We need to re-instate the Dharmic religions. Ref: The Dharma Manifesto. The Native religions of the world must unite into a truly world-wide, set of catholic religions. It can be done.