How the far right has embraced science – and why scientists have to come out to oppose it

During the pandemic, conservatives and far-right representatives mobilized in a widespread attack on science as an institution. Although this was a continuing phenomenon long before COVID, during the pandemic it expanded to a number of relevant issues concerning the LGBTQ + community – especially in light of the recent decision by schools to remove safe space labels or anything Pride-related, and the expected overturning of Roe v. Wade.

At the center of the vortex is a group of individuals who call themselves the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) – as New York Times journalist Barry Weiss called them, and the label they also use to describe themselves. While most people call it images of websites where people can buy illicit substances, the Intellectual Dark Web is just a loosely connected group of famous academics and pseudo-intellectuals. This includes people like internet talk show hosts like Ben Shapiro and Joe Rogan; but also discredited academics like Jordan Peterson, Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, who use their scientific credentials to justify conservative views on hot topics of “cultural warfare” such as the LGBTQ + law, bans on critical race theory and anti-abortion legislation – creating divisions between some IDW compliant individuals. Although the Intellectual Dark Web is not a formal organization, their mutual support has allowed their joint influence to be felt far and wide.

While each member of the Intellectual Dark Web deals with a range of different issues, the central line trying to work together is the link between biology and human social behavior.

While each member of the Intellectual Dark Web deals with a range of different issues, the central line trying to work together is the link between biology and human social behavior. Although there are a number of eminent scholars working in this field, they are moving away from IDW by noticing the limitations of their work – and not trying to use their work to justify discriminatory policies. The numbers in the IDW even went so far as to claim that women, African Americans and LGBTQ + people are inferior. The work of the Intellectual Dark Web resembles the kind of armchair theorizing that led to a whole series of discredited scientific endeavors in the 1950s. Today, we know that such old theoretical views are deeply rooted in the widespread racism and intolerance that existed at the time – perhaps that is why many of their fans come from far-right circles.

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If the Intellectual Dark Web remained closed to academia, they would probably go unnoticed, and their damage could be mitigated. However, they have done well in cultivating wealthy benefactors who have allowed their voice to be amplified online and beyond. The so-called establishment science operates within a process known as peer review in which other anonymous scientists criticize their ideas. While reviewers ’biases can sometimes defile this process, such internal discussions make up the entire field of study known as the philosophy of science. However, in the case of IDW, the questions are not based on the biases of other scientists, but on the failure to meet rigorous methodological standards of scientific research. Even mainstream retailers have begun to recognize IDW’s decentralized standards as a result of undermining peer reviews. He described one review of the best-selling book by Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying Guard like a book that “lazily repeats[s] false information from other scientific books. ”

Yet the Intellectual Dark Web is not entirely to blame for their ability to massively influence the public, the science institution is also complicit in their success. Since the 1950s, there have been calls for scientists to talk about the lived experiences of those they study and to better connect with the public. This call was answered mainly by scientists from marginalized backgrounds, including LGBTQ + people, African Americans and women who had to struggle to be recognized in science. Behind every minority scientist is a story of struggle. WEB DuBois, one of the greatest public intellectuals of our time, lacked funding and faced significant opposition to his pioneering scholarship to study the African-American experience.

The voices of those on the Intellectual Dark Web have been boosted by legitimate science, and the public has mobilized against institutions themselves that could protect themselves from ideas like consuming bleach as a cure for COVID.

In contrast, members of the Intellectual Dark Web are supported by a number of conservative billionaires. Dave Rubin, for example, is funded by Learn G. Liberty backed by Charles G. Koch – the 20th richest person in the world who has contributed huge sums of money to conservative and far-right political figures and anti-LGBTQ + laws. Eric Weinstein (Bret Weinstein’s brother), perhaps the loudest person on the Intellectual Dark Web, is the director of Thiel Capital founded by Peter Thiel who also owns PayPal. This allows the voices of those on the Intellectual Dark Web to be amplified through legitimate science, and the public is mobilized against the institutions themselves that could protect themselves from ideas like consuming bleach as a cure for COVID.

The Intellectual Dark Web exposed the shortcomings of institutional science and illustrated the important commitment that research institutions have to the public. This is largely due to the lack of incentive structure for those working in science to engage in this type of work. In fact, young scholars who are often best equipped to participate in public scholarships run the risk of jeopardizing their careers because of the political nature that arises from public scholarships. Permanent professors, who are protected, do not have the skills to reach audiences outside of academic circles – trapped in the ivory verbal tower. This includes a multitude of individual scientists and other intellectuals who come to Twitch.TV and Youtube to lead the accusation against misinformation. While for outsiders these platforms are more closely linked to playing games and watching than to scientific communication, during the pandemic these two sites were used in different intellectual ways.


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The vast majority of scientific communicators on Twitch.TV have recognized the potential for harm to LGBTQ + and other minority communities published by the Intellectual Dark Web. This is partly due to the large trans and non-binary population of the platform and because many of the leading scientific communicators on the platform come from the LGBTQ + community.

As my own research on LGBTQ + life has shown, LGBTQ + people have always been good at using the Internet as a mechanism for organizing, finding a community, and ways to build a community – so it’s no wonder they’ve applied these community organizing skills to the public. reach. Such scientific communicators include those in public health such as Marcus Weinman, Dr. Neuroforieur, philosophers like Dr. Bwinbwin, and independent scientific commentators such as Echoplex Media and Gremloe. However, LGBTQ + allies on Twitch.TV and other platforms, such as biologist The Peer Review, sociologist Professor EXP and smaller professional journalists such as LVELHEAD, are also exploring these issues in their own publicity efforts – albeit from markedly different perspective.

Unlike the Intellectual Dark Web, what unites these individuals is their commitment and passion to restore public confidence in science, but more importantly in promoting truth, equality, and understanding. As these figures show us, scientists and professionals of all backgrounds need to get out of the lab because we need them now more than ever. As minority rights and LGBTQ + communities continue to decline, this Pride could be more important than we all know.

Read more about the Intellectual Dark Web and its constituent figures:

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