Helen Pluckrose Profile picture
Editor @AreoMagazine Liberal humanist. Mother. Doglover. Foodmasher. For me: helen.counterweight@gmail.com
Jeff McCormack Profile picture Niels Nørløv Hansen Profile picture 2 added to My Authors
5 Apr
Only if you define "Marxist" as "left-leaning liberal who believes capitalism is the best system but needs regulating to prevent exploitation & also believes we need to tax rich people more to ensure that everyone has access to healthcare & housing & sufficient food etc." (cont)
Some people do define Marxism this way but they tend to be a bit nuts & not understand Marxism. Marxists don't define Marxism this way and they refer to me as a liberal (correct) or a neoliberal (mostly incorrect). (cont)
Most interesting & worrying though is the assumption that if I say something is NOT the cause of a particular problem, I must be a proponent of that something. This seems to negate the possibility of there being an objective truth & everything being narratives.
Read 11 tweets
3 Apr
I am inspired to conduct a small experiment based on my observations when walking the four miles on roadside pavements (sidewalks) to my mother’s house and back on Saturdays.
I am observing what people do when they have to pass each other on the pavement & who is more likely to step into the road to maintain a 6 foot distance if either of them are. My observation is that it is women but I am going to measure this from now on.
I will also factor in age because this could be significant. When I step into the road to allow an elderly person to continue on the pavement, they usually thank me while younger people do not.
Read 6 tweets
2 Apr
Deleted last tweet snarking at the person who told me I can never be taken seriously on the issues I currently run two successful businesses addressing & just wrote a best selling book about because I come from a secular standpoint. It wasn’t kind. I do find it frustrating tho.
It’s not that I feel I am entitled to have my views taken seriously by everybody. Not at all. I’m well aware that at least as many people reject my views as support them & the vast, vast majority of people have never heard of them or of me.
That’s how it should be. Also constructive criticism is valuable. However, I do get fed up with arrogant & clueless people telling me what I should do & how. A couple of days ago someone with 30 followers explained why my tweet threads are so boring & how to fix this.
Read 4 tweets
2 Apr
I keep getting people who feel personally affronted that I am not interested in religion anymore. They seem to think that because I occasionally mention being an atheist or not being a fan of religion, that I have a responsibility to discuss it. No. It’s boring & silly.
I tired of discussing religion & focus on postmodernism & critical social justice now. I support other people’s right to be interested in faith & spirituality, believe in gods, say so, live by their beliefs. Surely that’s enough? I am allowed to have different interests?
It reminds me of Kendi & his stuff about how people can only be racist or anti-racist. They can’t be not racist & focus on things other than race. People with a strong interest in something can get very presumptuous & entitled especially if it’s a moralistic something.
Read 4 tweets
2 Apr
Great that Abortion Access Front is there for trans women
This letter is a mix of claims to rights that no-one is trying to deny trans women & a misrepresentation of what the safety & fairness concerns about self ID being expressed by gender critical feminists and others are. 1/2
It’s frustrating because there is a need for good advocacy for trans people who do suffer a lot of prejudice and discrimination and there’s just no bloody need for this to be at odds with those seeking to protect women’s safety & sports.
There can be productive and sane discussion between these two sets of advocates about how to be fair to & compassionate of the needs of both trans women & women observed female at birth. This is not it.
Read 10 tweets
1 Apr
It saddens me when people who generally support viewpoint diversity as a positive good feel outraged when people say they don't like a religion or religion in general. Not when they strongly disagree & think well of religion but when they think criticising religion goes too far.
When they feel it is off limits somehow. Not talking about people who want to ban or punish criticism of or dislike for religion. That's straightforward denial of freedom of belief & speech. But people who wouldn't ban it but still feels it is out of bounds
People who have a political position themselves & argue against different ones but feel this can be done productively & that someone who has a different stance is wrong factually & ethically but isn't evil & still has something to contribute to the marketplace of ideas...
Read 21 tweets
31 Mar
Almost every time I am interviewed by a European journalist, they begin by apologising for the errors they are likely to make in their English(even if they then don't make any) & I always respond by telling them their English is a million times better than my <their language>
You know who almost never do this? The French. I find this annoying because theirs in the one language I can actually use to tell them (& at the same demonstrate) how much better their speaking of my language will be than my speaking of theirs.
Once on holiday in Greece, I tried speaking to a Frenchman in French & I began by telling him my French was terrible & I hadn't got much further before he said "Yes, it really is terrible. Please stop. I can speak English."
Read 4 tweets
31 Mar
I only took precautions when I had a baby. Because, in my sleep, I have a tendency to start jobs but not finish them & just go back to bed, I was terrified I would start changing her nappy (diaper) & then leave her on the changing table to roll off & hurt herself.
We took precautions that meant I couldn't take her out of her cot in our bedroom without making a lot of noise that would wake my husband. Interestingly, he, who could sleep through a nuclear explosion, became a very light sleeper when we had a baby & woke up whenever I got up
Sleepwalking seems to be hereditary in my family. My poor mother once found herself at the bottom of a flight of stairs in a hotel with her nightdress up around her ears in front of a crowd of people.
Read 4 tweets
31 Mar
So, this report has come out. It gives ground for optimism and a more accurate understanding of racism and has some good practical plans to address inequalities. I’m glad it doesn’t claim us to be a post racial utopia & it’s not grounds for complacency. bbc.com/news/uk-565855…
These are the findings and practical plans.
The point that social class and family structure have the biggest impact on success is a very important one and doesn’t require us to neglect race which has correlations with social class.We need left-wing parties to pay more attention to social class which it has been neglecting
Read 19 tweets
30 Mar
I wouldn’t have said so, no. It would make me neither ideological nor non-ideological. In fact, I am ideological but my liberal humanism makes me reject both of those statements.
Ideological- having a commitment to a set of ideas and values and arguing for them.
Non-ideological - not having any commitment to any set of ideas and values and thus not arguing for them.
Postmodernists and their intellectual descendants would argue that everybody has an ideology but I think this is projection and that very many people have no commitment to any set of ideas of values.
Read 11 tweets
30 Mar
The police should be informed if Mr Chiyo is receiving threats or harassment. These are rightly crimes and as @mrgayengland correctly stated, he is a human being with feelings so people should not dogpile him anyway. I know how awful this feels. 1/2
It would be really helpful to people who are receiving threats & being harassed - a criminal offence - for this not to be conflated with people disagreeing on how sex & gender works & arguing that Mr Gay England should be someone observed male at birth. (cont)
I would point out that J K Rowling is a human being with feelings too and dogpiling her was awful & the threats & harassment she received are also criminal & this should also not be conflated with disagreeing with her stance on sex and gender which is legitimate critique.
Read 10 tweets
30 Mar
This always happens. Whenever I disagree with people saying women avoid tough & dirty jobs by pointing out that we do most of the care work, a load of people will insist this means I don't appreciate the hard work men do more of.
What if both could be true & merit appreciation?
Try not to think in black & white, people. Yes, I may sometimes mention the fact that I worked for 17 years doing hard physical work that involved cleaning up a lot of bodily fluids & getting beaten up by dementia patients if someone says women avoid tough, dirty jobs.
This doesn't mean that I don't recognise the reality that men dominate a lot of tough, dangerous & dirty jobs & appreciate that. You'd be right to point this out to me if I complained that men avoid them. I don't, though, and never have.
Read 7 tweets
30 Mar
No, women were the main carers before good infection control & risked death regularly while caring for people with infectious diseases. They didn't stop working during the current pandemic either & died in greater numbers than men simply because they outnumber male nurses. 1/2
The reason women are more likely to risk death by being carers & nurses for people with potentially fatal infection diseases & men are more likely to risk it in jobs like lumberjacks, roofing, engineering is probably explained by the people vs things difference in job choices.
Also, we know that men are more risk-taking by nature. They are more likely to actually enjoy jobs with an element of risk. Interesting studies that show this using simulations of dangerous situations & then asking men & women to describe how they experienced it.
Read 5 tweets
30 Mar
I was a carer for people with “challenging behaviour” for 17 years, mostly elderly people whose dementia had caused them to become violent but it was a young man with severe learning disabilities who smashed my knee with a chair. In his defence he had been denied a cup of tea.
I didn't go into care work intending to work with abusive, aggressive or violent people. It just turned out that I was quite good at it. My husband & daughter find it very amusing that my job references describe me as calm & patient & to have a soothing manner.
But I do get very calm when people start yelling at me. Also I am tall & strong & was very fit so I was able to gently restrain someone with dementia who was trying to beat another carer around the head when she was dealing with their personal care & speak soothingly to them.
Read 4 tweets
28 Mar
No, it isn't. Religion is an ideology, like politics, not a group of people & thus can be disliked legitimately.

It's like how saying "I dislike Marxism" or "I am not a fan of libertarianism" is not bigotry but "black people are criminals" or "Men are trash" is.

There's a grey area where saying something like:

"Marxists want to commit genocide" or "libertarians don't care about other people" borders on bigotry because it's an extreme view not true of vast majority & is attacking people rather than disliking one of their sets of ideas.
Better to say "I don't like Marxism" & explaining why including examples of the consequences of some attempts to put it into practice while recognising that most Marxists genuinely seek more wellbeing for everybody even if you think their way to achieve this is nuts & dangerous.
Read 5 tweets
28 Mar
No, disliking Jewish religion is not anti-semitism. It should be pointed out that many Jews are atheists and critical of religion including Judaism while also being strongly opposed to anti-semitism which is prejudice against their ethnic/cultural group. 1/2
I'm not sure why this is unclear. Anti-semitism actually has very little to do with religion. It's not like the Nazis checked whether the Jews they genocided were religious believers or not.
I've received some antisemitic abuse since learning that my grandmother was Jewish. I don't consider myself Jewish, not because she's my paternal grandmother or anything silly, but because she never mentioned being Jewish, or included her family in any Jewish community.
Read 4 tweets
28 Mar
See, honesty. Of course religious believers want atheists & believers in different religions to believe what they do because they think their own beliefs are correct & also (in most dominant religions) the path to salvation & eternal life.
I am not oppressed by this. 1/2
I'm also not a moral relativist. That's when you believe all moral frameworks to be equally good. I'm a liberal humanist. I also believe an objectively ideal morality for humans almost certainly exists. It's just very complicated & we may never tie down the fine details of it.
I think liberal humanism that values science & reason are best for advancing morality. Humans evolved as moral animals but also evolved traits that lead us to be cruel & tribalistic. We must work on maximising the good & minimising the bad which includes debating what those are.
Read 8 tweets
28 Mar
That's right, yes. I support your right to express your own religious views and say I am wrong in my religious views AND my own right to decline to engage with your religious views.

Freedom of belief & speech work this way. It's great. 1/2
They include:
The freedom to believe & say what you believe.
The freedom not to believe & not say what you believe
The freedom to listen to other people saying what they believe
The freedom not to listen to other people saying what they believe.
I did once care to engage with religious views & defend my criticism of them. I did so for years, in fact. I was part of the whole New Atheist thing. I've moved on now. The subject bores me. I find there's only so long I can sustain interest in things I don't believe.
Read 6 tweets
28 Mar
In semi-related news, it's astonishing how much better my mental health since I stopped taking antidepressants. Please note that this is not advice for anyone else to do so. Very many people benefit greatly from antidepressants because they suffer from depression & it treats it.
However, I strongly suspect that if you give mental health medication to someone who is not mentally ill, it is likely to have detrimental effects on their mental health. Much like giving insulin to someone who isn't diabetic might do.
One of the very few negatives of having a nationalised health system is that I cannot ethically sue. Should I win, this wouldn't teach the doctors responsible a lesson. It would take resources away from people in need of medical care.
Read 18 tweets
20 Feb
TBH, I'm projecting my own issues right now. Increasing numbers of outlets of various kinds think they want me to write or speak for them but when they find out that I will only say what I believe to be true in the language I believe to be accurate, they fuck off.
I will name no names but a popular UK TV show recently invited me to come on &take part in a debate & I agreed gladly but also told them the title of the debate was hyperbolic & that the side they wanted me to take in it is not actually one I believe in so they uninvited me again
I frequently run into the problem where I am understood, correctly, to be 'anti-woke' but am then also expected to express a range of views understood to belong to the 'anti-woke' which neither I nor many other people who are concerned about wokeness actually hold.
Read 8 tweets