Scott Alexander versus the “growth mindset”

[Edited 10/24/2016 to remove “and finds Scott Alexander mostly insufferable,” because I confused Scott Alexander with Scott Adams. I find Scott Alexander great, and Scott Adams mostly insufferable.]

Hello my loves. Sorry for the lack of newsletter. I’ve been in Santa Barbara and then San Francisco late last week and until tomorrow when I fly back to Arlington.

Photos from the trip here.

In the meantime, lots of linkies!

As someone who refers to a “growth mindset” a LOT this was bound to be interesting.

“If this is the reality we’re living in?—?if people who believe false things about intelligence simply do better that people who believe the truth?—?her position is arguably the wise one. She should be beating around the bush when it comes to IQ research, because which view is more useful is more important than which is true. This way of thinking annoys me terribly, but it’s not really a point against Carol Dweck’s research.”

Details Of Charges Against Backpage Execs For ‘Pimping’ Look Totally Bogus

“Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act says that internet platforms are not liable for the content created by users. There’s an exception for federal criminal acts, but not for states.

“As we’ve noted time and time again, it’s bizarre that law enforcement folks keep blaming the platforms, when those platforms are actually really useful for law enforcement to track down, arrest, prosecute and convict people actually breaking the law.”

Jeremy McLellan:

I think I finally figured out why there are so many different camps within libertarianism. Its not because of ideological purity or lack of organization. It’s because libertarians constantly behave and talk in such a way that you can’t help but think “God…can’t I just call myself something else?”

My friend Robert Draper wrote an excellent piece on Hillary’s early career.

The White campaign focused on Bill Clinton’s tax hikes, his willingness to accept Cuban refugees and — as White’s former campaign chairman, Curtis Finch Jr., told me — “the perception among people older than he was that he was just young and arrogant and brought in all these people who had beards and long hair.” If Hillary Rodham’s feminism was part of this picture, Frank White didn’t feel the need to campaign on it overtly. Still, the Republican candidate knew that voters would get the joke …

My friend Mike Tanner wrote an excellent piece on how he learned to stop denying rape culture. Of course I’ll share Liz Nolan Brown’s rape culture piece til I die. And if you want to know why we’re talking about it right now, you should read this.


  1. Nicholas Weininger

    I’m curious: what do you find insufferable about Scott Alexander generally? He may well be wrong sometimes, including perhaps about growth mindset, but in general his arguments seem well-considered and careful to me, and he tries harder than most to avoid overconfidence and sloppiness.

  2. Nicholas Weininger

    I’d be interested to hear more about why you find Scott Alexander insufferable in general. You and he are among my favorite bloggers, and share a general desire to think more rigorously which is rare and worthwhile. He may be wrong about growth mindset, but I always find his critiques valuable.

    [tried to post this before and it apparently didn’t take– apologies if this is a duplicate]

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