24 Comments
May 1Liked by Claire Berlinski

Either "A" or "B." I really enjoyed this!

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You left out Darwin..

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I have yet to listen to your podcast with your dad. But reading your list of a summary caused me to read several Wikipedia articles about subjects that I had never encountered and that I didn't know were interesting. Thank you for stretching my mind in new directions.

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Claire - could you please cajole your father into doing another far-ranging discussion? His opinions on any subject are always incredibly well-informed and original and should be preserved as part of civilizational record.

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I want to note that the CEO of Pfizer Albert Bourla who is a major corporate partner of MIT tonight called for the resignation of MIT's President over the recent anti Jewish protests on the MIT campus. Bourla of course was a major in player in the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine and someone with a lot of ties to the business community in Europe(Bourla is Greek).

**Until this evening I did not even know the Bourla was Jewish.

https://twitter.com/AlbertBourla/status/1732484370332623330

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Dec 7, 2023·edited Dec 7, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

It wasn't about recent protests, it was even worse than that - a very simple question. I'm just bewildered ... What were these people thinking?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QuTfzcNIeDI

I thought all this talk of elite higher-ed bankruptcy was a bit overcooked. However...

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author

Me too! But the sight of that sure shook me out of my skepticism. And no, you're not showing your ignorance of 1A traditions. From a 1A perspective, what they said is exactly right. The problem is that these institutions are famed for their suppression of speech, to the point you can be disciplined, even expelled, for "misgendering" someone.

The 1A doesn't apply to anyone but the government. Very few Americans actually understand this, witness the inevitable hysteria whenever I say that Nazis should not be allowed to speak on Twitter. But of course non-government organizations have every right to decide what kind of speech is permissible in their organization, and every single one of them does, either explicitly or implicitly. In my family, for example, we were not allowed to swear in public. This was not a violation of our 1A rights.

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Thanks - have read a fair bit more about this since (hard to avoid), and now also understand the bad-faith foundations of Stefanik's questioning (or maybe whole career). But that makes their failure to give a decent response even harder to understand.

The correct answer to "Would a Chinese air strike on Pearl Harbour breach FAA regulations? Yes or No??" isn't "It depends on the flight path", it's "That's an act of war, and FAA regulations aren't really meant to handle that, as I'm sure you know, you complete turnip."

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Or am I just showing my ignorance of First Amendment traditions?

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

Dammit, I spent a good chunk of my B.Phil thesis defending disquotational theories of truth, and I'm sure only a transcendentalist troll would think to blame them for the rise of epistemological relativism! Very disappointed you didn't push back hard on that one. But three cheers for Alfred Tarski all the same.

It was an illuminating grand tour, and it made me wonder: was there ever a generation whose intellectuals did *not* lament that the cohorts that followed them were pale shadows of those that came before? It's a very old habit - honey-tongued Nestor makes pretty much the same point in Book 1 of the Iliad.

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

While I enjoyed the "sweep" of your Dad's view of the 1960's - present, I wish he would have expounded more on the lowering of educational standards that he mentioned. This is a theme, Claire that you have brought up time and again that snakes often through your comments. What is the answer as to why our populace and its representative is so badly informed (ignorant?).

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Dec 6, 2023·edited Dec 6, 2023

I am going to make another comment that I will probably get myself in trouble for but related to the Middle East 101 Class isn't a lot of what you might call modern day diaspora Zionism kind of a creature of the 1960s. Someone like Shmuley Boteach who does not have ancestry to Europe or the Palestinian mandate(Boteach's family were Iranian Jews) becoming kind of a Zionist provocateur in America and picking fights with Emmanuel Macron over the Holocaust(Macron was born in the 1978) feels kind of like something that is an outgrowth of 60s culture.

https://twitter.com/RabbiShmuley/status/1731268875235295506

Adam Garfinkle in his book Jewcentricity actually talks a lot about the cultural changes of the 1960s and their impact on Jewish life.

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In particular what I am referring to is the big increase in non Orthodox Hebrew Day Schools in the US in the 1960s many of which were and are pretty left wing in there teaching methods(i.e. don't give grades). This seems like pure 1960s thought that Claire's father criticizes.

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

A wonderful interview to listen to!

I’m always enthralled by everything said by Dr. Berlinski the Elder.

I would love to hear more about what he thinks on AI. I just finished up a BA in Applied Mathematics, but I think it would be more fair to say I have a BA in Prompt Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics. It would be unfair to say that GPT-4 just gave me the answer. I had all the mathematics coded in Python, which LLMs are great at doing (https://github.com/bks4522/Math_Work - I haven’t uploaded the code for the final semester yet).

I’ll listen attentively to anything that Dr. Berlinski has to say about AI, or really anything for that matter, except perhaps his OnlyFans. Be careful what you joke about. Given our degenerate culture, I wouldn’t doubt it if you got a few serious inquiries.

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

What a pleasure listening to two scintillatingly intelligent people taking their time to talk at their own pace about such important topics and the general decline to the present level of indigence of public life. That was a very enriching experience. A refaire, please !

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

A comment on the situation in physics... I would say string theory is an enormous advance, but experiment didn't provide the guidance they were expecting. People thought there would be a fountain of new particles at the LHC, that would show which way to proceed. Instead they just got more standard model (the expected Higgs boson). There's only negative guidance on how to apply all the ideas for unification: the correct unified theory must show nothing beyond the standard model, at the energies we can reach. Everyone has their own ideas about where to look for positive guidance, e.g. I would point to Milgrom's MOND, Koide's formula, and the criticality of the Higgs, and say that one should try to reproduce some or all of these things within string theory. But this is easier said than done.

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

Delightful and fascinating. Thank-you very much!

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

Really enjoyed hearing from "Pop." Lucky you! His intellect jumped out of the speaker. I wish I could go back (way back...) and be his student. If I could keep up.

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Dec 6, 2023·edited Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

An interesting question of mine is do students at the famed French Grande Ecole's spend there days chanting From the River to the Sea? I have a feeling they do not. I am actually curious if Claire has an insights from being an Oxford alum as to what is the current status of the Oxford campus regarding these issues. Are Oxford and Cambridge closer to the French Grande Ecole's regarding these issues or the US Ivy League.

I do broadly agree with Claire's father that there was a conscious decision to increase the size of not just university administrations but primary/secondary school administration in the 1970s continuing into the 1980s in order to absorb the increased demand on the part of women to enter the workforce. Expanding the size of the educational part of the economy had the effect of increasing the number of job openings for women while also avoiding the societal conflict of women entering more traditionally male parts of the workforce.

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Dec 6, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

This expansion at the primary/secondary level which both of my parents had a lot of direct experience with is also a function of increasing "mandates" placed on local school districts on the part of both Democratic and Republican politicians on subjects as varied as Special Education, Standardized Testing, ADA compliance, etc.

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Dec 5, 2023·edited Dec 5, 2023Liked by Claire Berlinski

What an unexpected pleasure and delight!

For what you deliver, Claire, Cosmopolitan Globalist is the best value on the planet.

Can't wait for the next episode.

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