Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (July 17, 2019)

You gotta wonder about any definition of "cognitive elite" that proposes to include Stephen Pinker: When Alan Dershowitz comes up to you and says, "I'm defending a rich pedophile. Hey me for free!" why would anyone not-insane ever say yes? "Even pedophiles deserve to be represented in court" is a thing—but only for lawyers. "I joined the pedophile defense team because the money was good" is a thing. It's not something to be proud of, but at least the money can partially assuage the humiliation. But Pinker got no money, and incurred the repetitional hit as a cheerleader for a sleezebag: Colleen Flaherty: Steven Pinker's Aid in Jeffrey Epstein's Legal Defense Renews Criticism of the increasingly Divisive Public Intellectual: "In 2007, Epstein’s attorneys—including Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz—submitted a letter to federal prosecutors arguing that their client hadn’t violated a law against using the internet to lure minors across state lines for sexual abuse. 'To confirm our view of the "plain meaning" of the words, we asked' Pinker, 'a noted linguist, to analyze the statute to determine the natural and linguistically logical reading or readings of the section', the letter said. 'We asked whether the statute contemplates necessarily that the means of communication must be the vehicle through which the persuading or enticing directly occurs. According to Dr. Pinker, that is the sole rational reading.'...