The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

Jordan Peterson’s Evidence-Based Endeavor

It is well known that clinical psychologist, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, has been portrayed in the media as a polarizing figure: bigoted alt-right charlatan on the one hand, superordinate fatherly free-speech protector on the other hand. The former portrayal reflects downright ignorance and the latter is optimistic. Commentary on his clinical psychological acumen is conspicuously absent. His detractors are keen to point out his politics, eccentricities, and volatility, as if political pigeon-holing and ad hominem attacks weaken the veracity of his claims. This is inaccurate.

I know because I am a former psychology student of Jordan Peterson at the University of Toronto; he was my undergraduate thesis supervisor. I have a master’s of science degree and a doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the University of Calgary. I am a registered and practicing clinical psychologist in Calgary, AB, Canada. I provide evidence-based treatment to individuals with concurrent mental health and addictive disorders in a specialty outpatient hospital clinic. I have published many peer-reviewed scientific research papers on topics related to addiction and mental health. What Jordan Peterson is preaching is, in fact, based in solid scientific principles for behavior change. He has been accused of cherry-picking findings from multiple disciplines and offering conjecture in areas outside of his expertise. Instead, Peterson should rightfully be lauded for embodying the scientific spirit. He aims to draw his conclusions based on a scientific principle called consilience of findings, which was popularized by E. O. Wilson in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. This means that Peterson aims to link facts and principles across disciplines of study to help ground his claims in evidence. It is not an easy feat for anybody to pursue, especially academics, who are highly, albeit narrowly, specialized in their respective fields.

The field of clinical psychology, however, is Peterson’s territory. While it is obvious to people familiar with his work that Peterson revivifies and makes accessible a multitude of esoteric insights derived from depth psychology and philosophy, it is perhaps less obvious that his messages parallel those to be found in the repertoire of your local evidence-based, practicing clinical psychologist. For example, Peterson’s detailing and promotion of hero mythology can be thought of as the original, romanticized, and richer version of the colder, clinical application of exposure-based treatments that are derived from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)—one of the most evidence-based psychological treatments that we have for a myriad of presenting problems, including depressive, anxiety, and addictive disorders.

Peterson’s thorough delineations and insistence on cleaning your room, speaking the truth, and exploring meaningful pursuits capture the essence of approaches that draw from motivational interviewing (MI) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)—evidence-based approaches designed to elicit self-change processes directed towards congruency between a person’s values and their behaviors. His online writing program,, harnesses the salutary effects of the expressive writing literature. In particular, the future authoring suite is an evidence-based intervention per se for improving academic performance; the suite facilitates goal setting and is consistent with behavioral activation approaches (i.e., a sub-therapy of CBT) that help people tackle procrastination and enhance their confidence. It is in this sense—that the principles he speaks to mirror those found in the evidence-based clinical psychological literature—that I contend Peterson is providing evidence-based self-help material for the masses. It is no wonder, then, that he has amassed such a substantial following despite his nay-sayers. The potential benefits from understanding and consuming his material can approximate what one can glean from successful psychotherapy. Whether a person wants to mitigate mental health concerns or improve their quality of life, self-help materials can be thought of as the lowest rung on the ladder in a stepped-care model of mental health treatment. Peterson provides these self-help materials in many forms, including his online lectures, online program, and his most recent book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. So, you might not like the man, but you can’t knock his clinical psychological expertise. END

About the Author

Dr. Jonathan N. Stea, Ph.D., R. Psych, is a registered and practicing clinical psychologist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is a former psychology student of Jordan Peterson.

This article was published on June 6, 2018.


27 responses to “Jordan Peterson’s Evidence-Based Endeavor”

  1. Charles the Enginnerd says:


    If you ate a skeptic, you first need to understand facts and material.

    I have yet to hear an argument you are making about Peterson. Rather you are arguing what your opinion of him is. I doubt you are a philosopher or a skeptic, and your statements on religious people and religious scientists are just irrelevant to this conversation.

    When people ask you what exact point, don’t post a youTube link, post exactly what he said in context, and then lets talk. Right now you are just arguing with an idol that you created in your own mind.

    If you want to make a point about something he says, first ensure you research his point in context and his elaborations on said point.

    Peterson believes in equality of opportunity for men and women.

    Fact: Makeup such as blush, lipstick, and heels DO create subconscious sexual signals. Peterson ASKED in the context of a conversation about how to regulate sexual behavior in the workplace to prevent harassment, if we should ban hugging, make up, and have uniforms. He did NOT say women should be forced to stop, and he did NOT claim make up is ONLY for this purpose. He said clearly that there is a problem with harassment, just making harassment illegal hasn’t worked, and he isn’t sure how to fix it but pointed out that *perhaps* we should reduce sexual signals in the workplace. Please see the complete unedited Vice interview and not the doctored one, as well as his elaborations on that point.
    We can’t believe Peterson’s detractors unless they actually address his points, and you aren’t doing this.

    So you are inaccurate from the get go and are arguing against something you and Vice made up with skillful editing.

    If you are going to make a valid point, you need to be honest. Since you are clearly wrong here, would you be willing to correct yourself and bring an actual point to discuss? If not, enjoy fighting with yourself….

  2. Charles the Enginnerd says:


    Your reply is meaningless ad hominem and assumptions without evidence.

    I don’t care about the historic context of blitzkreig, its irrelevant. I already knew this as do most people. Its still a Getman word associated with WW2 German tactics to most of the public. Clearly your intent is to dishonestly link his thought with NAZIs, and you knew this. Its classic Godwin nonsense, and its dishonest and I called you on it.

    Do you know every Peterson follower?
    How do you define misogyny?
    What percentage of them are “mysogynist”?
    Prove it.

    Furthermore, no one cares who his followers are, it means nothing with regard to his content or validity. And only dumb people fall for personal insults or irrelevant overused labels. So you aren’t fooling anyone here. Its just a way for you to avoid facing his points, and that is evident in your rambling reply that represents an argument with a straw man you created in your own mind. That’s an easy argument to win, but don’t give yourself a black eye…..

    Peterson is advocating for people to engage as individuals not groups. Of course you don’t want to discuss the relevant points on Marx or Hitlers of the world. Because the common thread between both murderous ideologies is collectivising people into categories based on whatever differences you can find, and pitting them against each other.

    The irony of your generalizations and assumptions about people you disagree with is what fuels genocide and mass murder.

    Enjoy debating yourself. Nothing you posted is even coherent, true, or relevant to anything Peterson, nor I, contend. So I’ll just assume you want to just scream at your imaginary opponent and I’ll cease responding.

    If you want to speak about actual points, I’m game, but I might suggest twitter if you are looking to rant to yourself and get likes.

  3. Charles the Enginnerd says:

    Richard Harris,

    I am an engineer and a scientist, I am a Christian, my closest study partner from university is a Muslim who designs orbital mechanics algorithms for docking and navigation spacecraft, my other colleague is a female Catholic and engineer who works on propulsion systems for heavy lift rockets. The latter had to keep her conversion and faith secret while in school because her atheist parents would disown her and withdraw her help at university.

    We all are scientists and likely know more about science and reason than the average atheist troll commenter.

    All of us kept our religion secret, as do many professors and scientists, precisely because of your kind of bigotry. We are many, but many bigots like to claim thus silence us evidence that religious people aren’t in academia or the sciences. I can tell you we are the majority.

    Here is something for you: A vast majority of the world, and growing, are religious. It is the height of arrogance to believe all these people are inferior to yourself, or unable to think critically. You seem like a fanatic, no different than the inquisition or a shariah law advocate.

    Finally, can you guess what the first men on the moon, engineers and scientists, did when they landed on the moon?

    They had Communion.

  4. Charles the Enginnerd says:

    Hi Jon,

    Thank you kindly for your response. My sincere apologies if you were offended by my abstract thought question.
    If you will please understand, there are many detractors of Peterson in the mainstream media and in comment boards, both from the far left and far right, who ignore half of what is actually said in order to make claims about the entire premise Peterson contends. Perhaps I mistook your misunderstanding of his position as intentional, qnd if I was wrong I apologize.
    Regarding your reply:
    “I completely get that. There is a biological element to it. But to jump from that to say that it is purely biological–that we do not have the capacity to supplement or alter this biological system culturally–is a huge leap.”

    Peterson, from my knowledge, has never made an absolute contention that heirarchies are ONLY biologically constructed. His contention is to reject the far left’s arguably religious contention that heirarchies are a social construction. And on this he is correct.

    For example, his contention on the reason for the lack of men in personal care fields, why women and men vote for candidates with “masculine” personality traits, and lack of women in engineering, even in Scandinavian countries with strong sex/gender egalitarian policies is backed up by data.
    Now I don’t agree with all of Peterson’s contention. For example, I don’t agree that post-modernism is entirely useless, rather I think post-modernism is a tool that should be carefully used to investigate alternative viewpoints, rather than a rule to discount that minimum objective viable truths about the world.
    However, if we turn off our emotions and follow the science, things like gender differences are mostly NOT socially constructed, and the data shows that consistently. This doesn’t mean there aren’t socially constructed aspects and particulars about how an individual society defines genders, obviously women and men differ from culture to culture in many nominal ways.
    However, the propensity for boys and girls to be interested in things vs people respectively is solid and confirmed cross culturally.
    What Peterson contends, and I agree with, is that gender is mostly not a choice, people are mostly not socially constructed in this regard. And whether this offends someone is irrelevant, its true. I have not heard him claim that nature/nurture are mutually exclusive elements of his view on this, as a matter of fact he has left that pretty open. I strongly suggest a good read of Maps of Meaning or completing one of his lectures related to that book. They are free.

    Finally, heirarchies are even more present in our closest primate relatives. Chimpanzees have well defined heirarchies and competition with winners and losers, complete with stress responses, and even tribal warfare. I suggest some research into Goodall’s work.

    I would add that people who physically attack, attempt to have someone fired or removed from their position, or dox them for harassment are the modern day equivalent of religious fundamentalist inquisitions. Only they are married to ideology rather than an actual religion.

    Perhaps you are simply asking questions, and I commend you for that. I would suggest viewing Peterson’s Psych 434 class at UofT if you wish to know more about the science and details that Peterson summarizes often for general consumption.

    And that is part of this. 12 Rules, and his recent interviews, are for the general public and simplified for that reason. In order to fully get the science behind his conclusions, it will take you about 15 hours or so of lectures, or a long careful read of Maps of Meaning.

    Take care.

  5. Mark Fournier says:

    “Care to point me to the blatant misogyny and douchebaggery?”

    Watch this and then ask this question; why does Peterson wear jackets that square his shoulders? Why does he wear makeup when he appears on TV? Watch his body language. These are all sexual signals. Is he trying to pick up women when he gives lecture or participates in debates?

    The answer is that sexual signals are all tied to signals of health and vitality, as are general signals of attractiveness. And attractive people get better jobs, get more promotions, make more money, and generally do better in life. Sex appeal is an indispensable part of attractiveness. But when women do it, they’re trying to be sexy. When he does it, he’s just trying to look presentable.

    Do you see the problem? Because Jordan Peterson doesn’t.

    When I first encountered feminist theory in the early 80’s I despised it, because I thought it presented a caricature of men. Jordan Peterson is that caricature. He believes that men exist for themselves and women exist for men. In other words, women are objects, men are subjects, and that is the most precise summary of the feminist complaint you will ever encounter.

    Peterson disguises his worst ideas in postmodern verbiage. It all looks perfectly anodyne because no one–including Peterson–can really figure out what he’s saying, and he cloaks it all in vague generalities. With Peterson, what’s true isn’t new, and what’s new isn’t true.

    If Peterson were really as informed in the areas he claims to be, he would know all this, but he doesn’t. And he fails because he’s blinkered by ideological and religious prejudices. My complaint about Peterson isn’t that he’s and ideologue, but that he’s a mediocrity.

    Oh, and on that topic, can someone explain to me why Skeptic has abandoned it’s disdain for religious folly and fully embraced it, because that’s what we’re looking at here. Peterson is a devout Catholic, and that’s where a lot of his nonsense comes from. I should know, because I took philosophy and theology at a Catholic University.

    So I guess we’re all Catholics now. Yeah, whatever.

  6. Richard Harris says:

    If he’s in favour of an evidence-based approach, how come he is still a Christian? It gives me no confidence in his opinions if he fails on such a fundamental issue.

  7. Harkin says:

    Peterson’s detractors are doing Peterson as much good in this thread as his fans.

    Name-calling, Nazi references and ad hominem. Child minds indeed.

  8. Archie says:

    “The fact remains that Peterson has a large group of followers who are deeply misogynists”

    a skeptic creating his own myths

  9. Archie says:

    @Harold Dyck

    Peterson is openly opposed Marxism and teh likes.
    So u disregard the fact
    The writer calls Marxism a respectable political and philosophical tradition with the present knowledge and proved failed countries with Marxism like governments
    you must be ideology posessed to keep that claim, and

    Peterson rise to notoriety was him standing up against compelled speechs regarding transgenders and it was twisted in Peterson being a Transphoob
    And you chooseto disregard the fact The writer is a father of a Trans.

    So he might be more associated with Peterson in your view but disregard Schiff’s biases for your own convenience.

    Peterson called little monkeys trying to clamber up the dominance hierarchy and need to be kept in their place and not inately good:
    Framing that he must be some evil man.
    But Schiff claims to who know him so well
    but apparently never seen his work over the past 20 years and can’t grasp the context and reasoning as to why Peterson says that.
    (all he had to do is watch the first few lessons in maps of meaning.) The irony

    We live in the information age so now
    so quoting other peoples biased opinions as facts/your opinion is ignorant
    and since you can truly inform yourself at the source to get the context to form your OWN opinion but choose but choose not to is just Laziness aka Irresponsible

    but since you like other people’s opinions to go by maybe this helps to put another perspecive on the mechanics at work from the ‘left’

  10. jayrayspicer says:

    Hello Charles,

    Godwin’s Law? Seriously? You can’t handle one WWII reference without invoking Godwin’s Law? Hitler didn’t invent, and has never been the sole practitioner of, blitzkrieg, nor was the term even used by the German military. From Wikipedia: “Modern historians now understand blitzkrieg as the combination of the traditional German military principles, methods and doctrines of the 19th century with the military technology of the interwar period.” All of Patton’s work in WWII and both of America’s modern invasions of Iraq can be described as blitzkrieg, without connoting fascism on the part of America. Thus my point, that the goal matters more than the methods.

    I’m not going to go down your juvenile and paranoid rabbit hole pitting Marxism vs Nazism, or debate which one of us is more of either one of those. That’s irrelevant. As is your entire diatribe.

    The fact remains that Peterson has a large group of followers who are deeply misogynist and who consider him a champion, or hero, if you prefer. Peterson’s statements and methods are indicted by that fact, though perhaps not convicted. Which fact is not in dispute, or this article and this comment thread would not exist.

    Either Peterson means it this way, and you are just one of his goon squad, or he is deeply misunderstood and doing nothing to distance himself from you and the rest of his acolytes.

    And it’s very difficult to understand how an actual skeptic would be comfortable with either hero worship or mythologizing, as both of these only serve to obscure facts. Being a skeptic is about seeing past the myth, humanizing the hero.

    You’re welcome to try to defend Peterson from those who would discredit him. But defending him from those who would praise him is apparently what he needs, though not something he’s interested in. And that’s telling.

  11. Jon says:

    Charles –

    Thanks for the reply. I could have done without it questioning my ability for abstract thought, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯…

    So I think my objection boils down to this part of your response:

    “Peterson used the lobster example to show that the existence of heirarchies as a phenomenon in human experience are not socially constructed, but biologically constructed. And they are. This isn’t an opinion, but an observable fact in nearly every life form. Humans have a serotonin process that affects or is affected by, their social standing and so do lobsters.”

    I completely get that. There is a biological element to it. But to jump from that to say that it is purely biological–that we do not have the capacity to supplement or alter this biological system culturally–is a huge leap.

    I’m not convinced that they are mutually exclusive. Peterson obviously is… and he often takes it further to say that anyone who disagrees (focuses on socially constructed hierarchies and/or tries to change them) is a neo-marxist.

    If it is as ubiquitous as you’ve implied, there would be closer relatives in the animal kingdom to demonstrate with a bit more complexity. I don’t think it’s asking too much for a better example for such a claim. It reeks of oversimplification, and I just am not going to make that leap with him.

  12. Charles the Enginnerd says:

    Hello Jay,

    Blitzkreig? Seriously? You couldn’t even make it one sentence without referencing the NAZIs? Godwin’s Law.

    Regarding hero myths, they are present in all cultures stories, myths, religion, history or otherwise. Peterson’s contention is that humans pass knowledge, culture, and society through stories and archetypes.
    MLK Jr. and Ghandi are hero archetypes that aren’t entirely accurate of the actual men and therefore somewhat mythological. Same with Abraham Lincoln, Che Guevarra, etc. There is no evidence that hero archetypes are any more dangerous than any other way of viewing the world. And your statement that it “leads to this” is simplistic and just incorrect.
    The world is a dangerous place, with many people looking for power, revenge for a perceived injustice(like your friend Hitler).
    Any idea taken to an extreme can lead to violence and disaster. Case in point: Post-modernism or Marxism. One could argue very compelling case that Marxist thought and post modernism have caused more mass murder when in power than Hitler.

    Empathy to an extreme can cause genocide. Which is how Marxism can go to far, by grouping people into “oppressor and oppressed” “in group – out group”, it triggers emotions and patterns of thought that make it easy to kill entire populations for a perceived (real or not) injustice.

    Your second point is also intellectually lazy and oversimplified. Peterson’s contention that you start by cleaning your room means that if you want to change the world for the better, start with yourself and work outward. This is a wise statement. And Peterson has never said don’t change the world, rather he elaborates that you should avoid ideology and avoid groups think.
    Finally, Peterson has literally advised that people aim for the highest goal possible, so your point there is also false.

    Finally, Peterson’s opponents, who subscribe to the cult of intersectionality, are the ones with a zero sum outlook. Peterson has explicitly said that his main motivation is to speak out against narratives of sexual, ethnic, and racial competitive thought schemas such as intersectionality.
    The idea that “white male Christian” is a disqualifier and that groups are competing in “oppressor vs oppressed” is a zero sum game and he is against it. As should any sensible person.

    Given you have expressed the opposite of what Peterson has stated in his hundreds of hours of free lectures and content as his point of view. I can only conclude that you made up your mind without actually reading into the details of what has been discussed.
    I don’t want to insult you, but please either be honest, and if you really think you are being honest, play this thought game with yourself:
    1) Did Jordan Peterson say this?
    2) What is the entire context of what Jordan Peterson said?
    3) Did JP elaborate or answer the criticism of what someone claimed he said?
    4) Did JP lie, and if so what evidence do yoky have not to believe what he said?
    5) Have a debate with yourself, try to disprove what he is saying, and then try to counter the argument. Could you have been misled by the press?

    If you don’t actually look deep into things, its not a good idea to make conclusions. I may bot agree with everything Peterson says, but everything you posted is the exact opposite of what I have taken from his classes and lectures.

    Take care.

  13. Charles the Enginnerd says:


    Thank you for being polite. However, there are several problems with your post. I think most of your conclusions are based on what you are hearing about JBPs statements rather than what he actually said.

    As of today, I have yet to find criticism of JBP that focuses on his actual points in context. Even the New York Times has sourced a doctored clip of Peterson from Vice(make up statement was clarified in the unedited version they didn’t broadcast in the program) or have outright lied about what he said(enforced monogamy does not mean forcing marriage on anyone). The past 6 months has shown me that the writers of Vice, NYT, WaPo, and others are not afraid to lie to discredit someone.
    Let me help you because you are repeating things that were never true.

    Peterson used the lobster example to show that the existence of heirarchies as a phenomenon in human experience are not socially constructed, but biologically constructed. And they are. This isn’t an opinion, but an observable fact in nearly every life form. Humans have a serotonin process that affects or is affected by, their social standing and so do lobsters. Peterson never said we are “all lobsters” or “exactly like lobsters”, and his fans use the lobster memes to make fun of his detractors for doing exactly what you implied in your statement; Oversimplifying his statement/observation, claiming he said humans are just like lobsters, then arguing against your own conclusions of what he said rather than what he actually said. Which is either being purposefully obtuse as to confuse people, or illustrative of some serious personal limitations in abstract thought to the level of taking everything to be literal.
    There is an article about lobsters done by a biologist who does this as well, its a great article, the problem is she isn’t arguing with Peterson, rather she is arguing with Cathy Newman. After all, it was Cathy Newman that claimed “so you are saying we are lobsters?”, not Peterson.
    I would say if you can’t get past this obvious point, you should read his rather numerous responses on this topic, watch the complete Maps of Meaning lectures.
    If you still don’t get the point after that, and still think he said “people are lobsters”, I would suggest speaking with your doctor about the cognitive challenges faced when someone has issues with abstract thought.
    If you don’t wish to do that either, then I suggest you please stop trying to be polite and pretending to be unbiased because its dishonest and unworthy of the skeptic community and people with legitimate points to consider.
    I am more than willing to listen and hear thoughtful comments snd criticism of Peterson, but continually lying or misrepresenting something that is quite clear to those not married to an ideology just makes more people tune out of the press and not take Peterson’s critics seriously.
    Take care.

  14. jayrayspicer says:

    Blitzkrieg is evidence-based and undeniably effective. The question is, to what end?

    And hero mythology may be romantic, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. Not to mention something that I should think skeptics generally view with deep suspicion, since it invariably devolves into argument from authority. And, you know, mythologizing, which should be anathema to skeptics on its face.

    I don’t really care much about Peterson’s methods. I care that he is encouraging some of the worst elements of society to be stronger, more confident versions of their worst selves. And he has veered pretty far from offering self-help or professionally-assisted help, into something that looks an awful lot like demagoguery.

    People who feel like losers need help. But the way to help them is to encourage them to care more about others, not more about themselves or more about only people just like them. Cleaning your room is possibly the most myopic self-help suggestion imaginable. Literally, you are the one person who benefits. Being responsible to oneself is fine, but it’s pretty low on Maslow’s Hierarchy. Peterson should encourage his followers to aim higher.

    Making the world a better place must be a positive-sum endeavor. Peterson’s work is decidedly a zero-sum inflammation of the gender war. If that’s not his intention, then he’s not paying attention to the feedback he’s getting. If he’s misunderstood, he can’t really blame anybody but himself. He’s the one talking. He’s the one attracting the loathsome following.

    Maybe he’s not a champion of misogyny, but I find it hard to believe he hasn’t noticed he has become a champion of misogynists.

  15. Aaron says:

    Did I miss something? I thought the point of skepticism was to take a rational, factual approach to evaluating ideas. It’s supposed to be a counterpoint to launching subjective, pejorative accusations not use them. (With the limited exception of the term ‘charlatan’ which is acceptable so long as you can provide facts to support the label.)

    What I read here is a well structured and well thought out analysis of Jordan Peterson’s contentions and how they match with the practice of clinical psychology. If someone has points of contention with the facts I’d like to see them. I think the name calling and personal attacks should stay on the playground with the underdeveloped child minds that it is classically associated with.

  16. Archie says:


    Apparently you dind’t take the ‘“take responsibility for yourself!”. (Groundbreaking) advice to heart yet.

    Otherwise you could have argumented your claim “blatant misogyny” with some fact or example as to how you concluded that.

    Apparenlty you have the Right to state your opinion and use it without restriction.
    But it seems you can’t take the responsibilty (Response Ability) to inform yourself with freely available information from the source, to form YOUR opinion, but rather choose to parrot someone elses opinion as facts.

    forgive me my skepticism regarding your abilty to be responsible for YOUR SELF.

  17. Mike says:

    bigot = someone with opinions I don’t like, regardless of how fact-grounded and reason-based they are

    douche = someone with opinions I don’t like, regardless of how fact-grounded and reason-based they are who is unapologetic about such things

  18. Harold Dyck says:

    Another take on Peterson from an individual who was much more closely associated, with the man.

  19. Marshall Gill says:

    Fascinating the responses from his detractors. They are name calling children. One assumes that they are universally basically communists so hot is their hatred for personal responsibility. Of course, it is difficult to tell the difference between children and communists, both basing their beliefs on emotion and ignorance.

    Personal responsibility?! How dare he!

  20. Robin says:

    So just because the author has had any interactions with daddy P, it give him authority to judge who is right and who is wrong on the charlatanism of exploitation of young men through bullshit that Peterson is spewing?

    Peterson is not a free enterprise and you are wilfully ignoring it for your own peril.

  21. Jon says:

    So, I haven’t read this. I am curious about Peterson and have watched some of his videos after reading some negative articles about his politics. I’m not a fan.

    However, it seems to me that he has a lot of sympathy for people that feel left out, and I don’t doubt his intentions with the book, but…

    I can’t get past the lobster thing! First of all, it seems like bogus over-simplified evolutionary psychology. Second, it seems to me that if a large number of your readers feel like losers, the solution is not to set up an analogy that says, “You’re absolutely right! Dominance hierarchies are inherent in human society. But look to the victorious lobster, and stand up straight, and maybe you won’t be such a loser.” It’s such a pigeon-hole!

    Before you say, “that’s one part of the book…” Maybe, but his fans identify with it so much that the call themselves lobsters.

    (At a distance, it looks pretty similar to the alpha / beta paradigm that red-pillers / pickup-artists follow, which, is of course off-putting.)

    His reactionary politics and philosophy certainly would play a factor here. It seems to me that the consilience you use as justification for this starts to look a lot like personal bias. Hence the oversimplification of human behavior when it fits his thoughts on human nature — there are certainly better analogues to human social interaction in the animal kingdom!

  22. COB says:

    No need for that Steve, he explains how he links them very clearly in his Maps of Meaning lectures.

  23. Brian says:

    To Shaun:

    I don’t know about him being bigoted and a douche. He just expresses himself forcefully for what he believes to be right. I’ve meant many childhood teachers that are like this. People in different social environments seems to misconstrue it as an act of aggression. Thus a narrative is born.

    I’ve talked about him with my Girlfriends, Sister and Mom. Once they were informed on much of where his ideas were coming from they ranged from outright agree-ance (My Mom) to begrudged acceptance. (My older Sister (theater manager)) My lady who normally tells me off has remained ambivalent, says he’s not perfect but better than what is out there.

    What I think is the problem is what is defined as misogyny in today’s day and age. Silencing the opinions of men seems to be interpreted as virtuous for some reason. The opposite as sexist. Besides, these sexist claims really didn’t take a firm footing until the NY Times article. (a horrendous hit-piece cleverly taken out of context)

    So, maybe it is you who has had your world molded by your environment, and your thoughts are lead by the Media. It’s a claim that is unfounded and loose and I’m sure doesn’t define who you are. Some consideration should be taken in the opposite direction as well. Some Peterson’s aren’t out to suck his cock. Just casual observers that agree in a deep level about the core what he is saying. You can’t really say that about the extreme left.

    My thoughts and experience has led me to agree with my Girlfriend. He’s got some issues, no one is perfect. His ideas, even before he expressed them, are what got be to this stable point in my life today. (Navajo from the Rez) In the end, I think it can be seen as though his ideas are a good foothold for a dynamic society full of individuals. His ideas, in turn, leave leaves room for people make up their own minds about things. Completely unlike the mantra of Identity Politics, Victim-hood, and Extreme Feminism. I don’t mean to fully de-value the struggles of said groups, they exist but focusing to such a high degree isn’t the right path.

  24. Steve Dylan says:

    Was this an analysis or an advert?

    I would love to see someone from this magazine test whether indeed his ” promotion of hero mythology can be thought of as the original, romanticized, and richer version of the colder, clinical application of exposure-based treatments that are derived from cognitive-behavioral therapy”.

  25. rickandmortyismeh says:

    “blatant misogyny and douchebaggery”

    Interesting take. Care to point me to the blatant misogyny and douchebaggery? I’m coming up empty in my searches, unfortunately. I didn’t see anything in his lectures or read anything in his books that suggested those two descriptors were accurate, but maybe I’m missing something.

  26. Shaun says:

    I’m pretty sure most of issues people have with Peterson have less to do with his unoriginal book of advice, “take responsibility for yourself!”. (Groundbreaking) and more to do with his blatant misogyny and douchebaggery. Great ass-kissing in the article though.

  27. Bad Boy Scientist says:

    Thank you! This was a very helpful article. I am far from an expert at Psychology (I’m more of an Astronomy & Physics boy :) so I could not evaluate the merits of Peterson’s arguments nor could I evaluate the detractor’s comments.
    But, I felt that his detractors were not exactly arguing against the validity of his points – rather they didn’t like some of the implications and seemed to be trying to paint him as a bigoted bad guy so they could dismiss those inconvenient concepts.

    This article is compelling that Peerson’s positions are evidence-based. Godo job and Thank you!

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