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Open Letter to Charles Tew

Charles Tew is an Objectivist philosopher who makes lots of YouTube Videos. He writes:

After my experience with formal education, I decided that the most productive and rewarding path for a modern philosopher lay outside of the academic system, so I chose to work and teach independently online.

I appreciate the rejection of academia, and I liked his criticism of Alex Epstein, so I wrote a letter to him, below:


Charles Tew,

https://youtu.be/1d80WTH573k?t=15m10s

You say, "I seem to be critical of Objectivists in a way no one else is willing to be".

I am. For example, I have published criticism of Alex Epstein:

  1. http://curi.us/1688-alex-epstein-attacks-liberty
  2. http://curi.us/1618-alex-epstein-scholarship-problem
  3. http://curi.us/1852-alex-epsteins-pinnacle

I'm an Objectivist and Popperian philosopher who rejected academia. I independently write and make videos. See: https://elliottemple.com

I liked your criticism of Alex.

I worked with Alex for a while when CIP was newer. I did research for him, learned stuff about environmentalism from him, and wrote these articles for CIP:

http://industrialprogress.com/in-defense-of-plastic-bags/
http://industrialprogress.com/dont-take-power-for-granted/

Alex liked me and said I was one of the few people smart enough to contribute ideas to CIP. He has some good qualities, but I broke things off with him because of his unwillingness to discuss some disagreements to a resolution, and a few other flaws. He was content to ignore the disagreements, but I wasn't. Later I saw he was trying to do social status climbing and to suck up to various groups in ways I thought were immoral (see link #3 above for some info). I think Alex is on the road to become Gail Wynand (as the best case scenario, if he gets what he wants rather than staying somewhat obscure).

Some of the original disagreements:

Following Thomas Szasz, I consider "mental illness" a myth and psychiatry dangerous. Alex says things that aid psychiatry and refused to stop and replace them with neutral statements, while also refusing to refute my arguments or Szasz's books.

I wanted to discuss Popper and induction, but Alex chose never to get around to it. (This I could have accepted, but I think it's worth mentioning.)

Alex was unwilling to read the criticism of sustainability in The Beginning of Infinity by David Deustsch (a physicist and philosopher who is an Ayn Rand fan, a Popperian, and who I worked with extensively and learned a lot from for many years). I thought this was unreasonable because there aren't that many philosophical allies for Alex writing new books, so I considered it his job to become familiar with highly relevant ideas in his field. http://beginningofinfinity.com

We had some disagreements about physics which got in the way of Alex publishing an article about sustainability I was working on for him. (If Alex had read The Beginning of Infinity, he could have learned the physics I was talking about and how it's relevant to anti-sustainability arguments.)

Alex wasn't serious and careful enough about fact checking and sources/citations. See link #2 above for an example. I consider almost everyone to do an inadequate job with this. I have a scholarship blog category which mostly contains criticisms of various intellectual and books for this kind of problem. http://curi.us/archives/list_category/77

In drafts for Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, Alex attacked the tobacco industry and smokers. I asked him not to and thought it was an unnecessary tangent in addition to being wrong, but he kept it in. After the book came out, I criticized it in post #1 linked above.

Alex thought I was too arrogant because I criticized Peikoff. He said I should give Peikoff the benefit of the doubt. I did give Peikoff the benefit of the doubt, a ton, but I still reached some critical views anyway. (Despite his flaws, I still appreciate lots of Peikoff's work, especially his old audio recordings. I generally find his old stuff superior to his new stuff. My guess is it's because back then either Rand was still alive and guiding him, or less time had passed for him to go his own way.)

Some of my Peikoff criticism:

http://curi.us/1807-leonard-peikoff-says-hes-not-a-philosopher
http://curi.us/1976-peikoff-getting-parmenides-wrong
http://curi.us/1776-peikoff-children-are-property
http://curi.us/1694-leonard-peikoff-betrays-israel


Alex was part of the inspiration for my writing on what I call Paths Forward. It's about how and why to have some kinda path open by which your mistakes can be corrected and rational people can resolve disagreements with you instead of hitting a 100% impasse with no way to make progress. We should expect to be mistaken about some of our ideas (we're fallible), and in some cases other people know a better idea and would like to tell us, and it's bad to design our intellectual life in a way that that help cannot reach us. I've found pretty much all intellectuals in the world are uninterested in criticism and corrections. Many will discuss a bit, but then they just stop without having any methods of reaching some sort of resolution, and they don't really care. You can ask them something like: "What if you're wrong and your response to me essentially means you plan to stay wrong for the rest of your life? If you're wrong, much of your career will be a waste or actively harmful. And yet you have not addressed the following arguments that you're wrong, nor can you link to anyone else who has ever answered them..." And the answer is generally just: "I guess I'll risk it." And they don't care enough to take an interest in trying to create methods to enable a better answer. Sad! http://fallibleideas.com/paths-forward

An aspect of this which came up with Alex is he would respond to disagreements a few times but then stop, rather than doing enough back-and-forth to make serious progress. So I explained to him the proper pattern of discussion with really knowledgeable people who disagree:

I say something that Alex already has an answer to. We can't skip this step because I don't know which answer Alex will give. He briefly gives the answer, which I've heard before, and I say my answer to that. He can't predict my answer because there are several common answers. Then he says his next answer (that I've heard before, and already have an answer to, but can't predict due to there being other answers that other people use). And so on. You have to go back and forth repeatedly (but it should go quickly) to get to the first part where someone says something the other guy hasn't heard before. But he wouldn't do that, so it shut down discussion. (Virtually no one will do it.)

Alex was not receptive to this explanation and approach (nor did he explain why it's false). He seemed to think basically what everyone else also seems to think: that he was busy and that it was fine for him to just make unexplained judgement calls about what issues to pursue and what issues to be confident he's right about and ignore criticism regarding. Whereas I think that basically a serious intellectual should either answer a challenge, acknowledge he hasn't gotten around to answering it and therefore doesn't know in advance what conclusion he would reach if he had time for it (stay neutral), or link to anything written by anyone (other people or yourself in the past) which addressed the issue and you will endorse and take responsibility for. See the Paths Forward essays for more info.

BTW I found that Harry Binswanger was willing to discuss more than Alex, but it was only temporary and he then banned my dissent because – he said – some of his customers didn't like it. But if that was the whole issue, he would have continued discussing with me on another forum or privately. See my final summary, criticism, and moral judgement regarding Binswanger: http://curi.us/1930-harry-binswanger-refuses-to-think

My best judgement is that George Reisman is in the right in his dispute with Peikoff/ARI/Binswanger.


I hope you'll be interested in discussing some of this or some philosophy ideas. I bet we could find something we disagree about, in which case at least one of us could learn that we were mistaken. That appeals to me and hopefully to you too.


Update: I wrote some additional Thoughts on Charles Tew.


Elliot Temple on June 30, 2018

Comments (44)


FF at 9:38 AM on July 1, 2018 | #9962 | reply | quote

This is what I have to say

Hey Curi, I really enjoy your blog, so I made this response :)

I discovered Charles recently, and sent him an Email response to one of his videos, to which he hasn't replied. Later on I found myself disagreeing with him on every topic, despite the fact that his videos are supposed to be the Objectivist response to things, and me being Objectivist. In the first videos of him I that watched he already said that utilitarians are intrinsicists (who they aren't, but they are still wrong), that mindfulness is about turning your mind off, That Antifa is more worthy of denunciation than the alt-right, etc. I also disagree with his idea of where natural rights come from.

Tew's criticism of Yaron Brook is on him being focused on his pragmatic expertise instead of more fundamental issues. The interesting thing is, I watched Tew's video just after coming across a criticsm about Yaron being too deontological and displaying little knowledge about the topic at hand. All I have to say is that Yaron is neither a philosopher nor an economist. He is a communicator of Ideas and he great at it. I heard Yaron talk about Jordan Peterson, and I think that this is when he makes a mistake. Yaron is trying to put forward the message that Rand is better than Peterson, like they are at all comparable. You can be virtuous without being a Rand fan, the same way the businessmen in Atlas Shrugged learned about rational philosophy only after they arrived at the valley. Also, like Yaron himslef said, Peterson presents lots of different ideas which are not compatible with each other. He isn't really a Kantian. listening to him is an intellectual sport, and that's what the intellectual dark web is all about. With all due respect, I don't think Peterson is the "Toohey of the right".

I actually really like ARI people like Brook, Salmieri and Peikoff. They are really stand up to Objectivism. I always get disappointed with independent non-conforming Objectivists. I think that Atlas Society, for example is really embarrassing.

I really agree with your paths forward thing. I think the Socratic method of back and fourth dialectic is a very efficient way of getting smarter. People are wrong to back off when they hear something counter-intuitive. Only if you push the boundaries of the conversation you can reach new insights. You shouldn't just be able to tell something is wrong, but also tell why.

For the comment above me I'll reply that an Objectivist has all the right reasons to dislike Stephan.

-Nadav from Israel


Nadav at 11:32 AM on July 1, 2018 | #9963 | reply | quote

> For the comment above me I'll reply that an Objectivist has all the right reasons to dislike Stephan.

I think FF wrote that comment because he knows that I dislike Molyneux. He was trying to give me useful information that reflects positively on Tew.

> I actually really like ARI

In general I dislike ARI. I don't find them very similar to Rand. I think they're kinda boring, too leftist, and seeking mainstream and academic respectability. And they don't have an online discussion forum. There's no good way to ask questions about Objectivism or debate some ideas with them.

I'm also very bothered that ARI excommunicated George Reisman, former board member, student of Mises and Rand, author of the masterpiece *Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics*. ARI's hostility to Reisman delayed me getting to read his book for many years, and prevents many other people from finding out about it. You can find details about the conflict online and I think they reflect badly on Peikoff and ARI.

(I don't like The Atlas Society either.)

> [I disagree with Tew] that mindfulness is about turning your mind off, That Antifa is more worthy of denunciation than the alt-right, etc.

I watched some more videos and agreed with a bunch of things Tew said. I think "mindfulness" isn't anything like a rational philosophy, and that antifa is much worse than the "alt-right". I have an article on antifa:

http://curi.us/1965-by-any-means-necessary-a-violent-marxist-cult

> Tew's criticism of Yaron Brook is on him being focused on his pragmatic expertise instead of more fundamental issues.

I think Brook's pragmatic attempt to be popular by catering to Peterson's big audience is a *fundamental*, philosophical issue (which Rand covered masterfully in her books).

I also think it's *impractical* and won't work, in part because ARI has no one who can stand up to Peterson in the *social* aspects of a debate. A real-time, in-person, verbal debate is a *show* – if they cared about cooperative truth-seeking they'd do it in writing over a period of more than one day so they had more time to think, research, etc, and in order to better keep emotions and social dynamics out of the discussion.

As far as impressing mainstream audiences in a debate-show, Peterson is better at it than ARI's speakers. That's part of why he's popular. He presents himself better according to the mainstream (irrational) social interaction game. I'm confident of this because e.g. there already was a discussion with Ghate, Peterson and Rubin which you can watch on YouTube, and Ghate fails to stand out or be memorable, and Peterson dominates the discussion. ARI already tried talking to Peterson and they weren't effective – the social signals said Ghate was weak and Peterson was strong. And the intellectual content Ghate said wasn't anywhere near spectacular enough to make up for this.

> I really agree with your paths forward thing.

Great. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any Paths Forward for me (or pretty much anyone) to correct Peterson or ARI about anything (or, perhaps, get some corrections from them). But maybe we can keep chatting and resolve some disagreements or share helpful ideas.

> With all due respect, I don't think Peterson is the "Toohey of the right".

I think Peterson has some seriously bad ideas, and some interesting ones mixed in. I was particularly disturbed when Peterson advocated the initiation of physical force against children in his new book. I finished watching his two sets of psychology lectures (his best material, IMO) and did not finish the book or the biblical lectures.

I think Peterson could just be ignored, unlike Toohey. There are plenty of people with bad ideas – the majority of them worse than Peterson. If Peterson wasn't popular, someone else would be. If Peterson disappeared it wouldn't fix the world situation. Things will only improve when great ideas are created and spread more. Giving Peterson some Objectivist *sanction* is a bad idea, though.


curi at 12:09 PM on July 1, 2018 | #9964 | reply | quote

I wrote a new blog post about Tew:

http://curi.us/2120-thoughts-on-charles-tew


curi at 1:46 PM on July 1, 2018 | #9965 | reply | quote

Tew is aware of me already:

https://youtu.be/Yu0-zP-54B8?t=1576

He calls my writings "poorly written and dumb" and "so profoundly mistaken", doesn't name me (cowardice? a favor!? not wanting people to be able to read what i said and judge for themselves?), and then attacks a very short, misleading statement of what I think, with no use of quoting and no noticeable attempt to understand what I actually meant *in context*. You can hear him laughing at me.

I'd forgive him if he'd reconsider and have a rational discussion about the matter. But I fear he won't be willing to do that.


curi at 10:40 AM on July 2, 2018 | #9970 | reply | quote

Tew apparently won't answer my arguments or Popper's arguments. And nor will anyone who agrees with Tew. (There are a couple anti-Popper articles by Objectivists but they grossly misrepresent Popper's views – in the same standard ways that non-Objectivists do. They seem to be largely going by secondary sources on Popper.)

What can be done, besides give up on Tew? Are there any solutions or is he just sabotaging any potential progress – for either of us – so hard that nothing can be done?

It's so asymmetric. I'm looking for any way forward and he's looking to block any way forward.


curi at 12:02 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9972 | reply | quote

> I really agree with your paths forward thing.

He says while leaving no contact info and immediately going silent. Where are the paths forward with Nadav?


Dagny at 12:06 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9973 | reply | quote

curi,

Tew thinks you're not who you claim to be. Will he check his beliefs by giving you any challenge or test? Why doesn't he ask you a couple hard questions? He could use generic ones and reuse them with other people in the future, and post them publicly somewhere that anyone can comment (so then anyone good in the world could potentially get Tew's attention). (You, curi, don't need to post a challenge like that because you already talk to people.)

What does he want before he'll start paying attention and actually considering some ideas? He keeps his criteria unstated. He's not using intellectual *processes* to combat bias. https://rationalessays.com/using-intellectual-processes-to-combat-bias


Dagny at 12:25 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9974 | reply | quote

Perhaps Tew, as an admirer of HB, could be the first person to refute a sentence of http://curi.us/1930-harry-binswanger-refuses-to-think

> “If you can refute a single sentence I uttered, madame, I shall hear it gratefully.”


Dagny at 12:45 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9975 | reply | quote

Tew is correct that *the thing he thinks I meant* – the idea he attributes to me – is profoundly stupid. I agree with him that that is profoundly stupid. I meant something else. I can sympathize with laughing at that the bad idea Tew had in mind, and I can forgive being misunderstood. But there appears to be no way to clear up the misunderstanding because Tew, like his idol HB, doesn't act like a philosophical detective.

From my HB criticism that Dagny just linked, I quote Rand:

> At their first encounter with modern philosophy [like Kant], many people make the mistake of dropping it and running, with the thought: “I know it’s false, but I can’t prove it. I know something’s wrong there, but I can’t waste my time and effort trying to untangle it.” Here is the danger of such a policy: ...

Tew thinks I was some bad, modern philosophy. And what does he do? Drop it and run without untangling it, without any kind of proving his case and putting effort into the matter.

> What objectivity and the study of philosophy require is not an “open mind,” but an active mind—a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them critically.

But Tew isn't eager and willing to examine the ideas enough to find out what I actually meant (or to at least make some sort of serious attempt at analysis of what I was getting at, and create some possibility of clarification). Finding out what I meant is a prerequisite for critical examination.

A way to begin thinking about the matter is by carefully considering what "How do we know X?" means other than "What authority justifies X?"

That "How do we know?" question isn't normally considered to be answered by simply describing the process: "I read that in a textbook, heard my teacher explain it, thought about it a bit while doing homework problems, and that's the story of how I learned it." It's asking for something else (justification), because that process is compatible with being mistaken.

Another way to approach the matter is to realize: we aren't on the same page, we are working from different premises and background knowledge. If he understood and agreed with Popper, I bet it'd be easy to clear the issue up. So, then, what has Tew done to study Popper and conclude Popper is wrong about induction? Which rebuttal of Popper has Tew created or would Tew endorse? What essay by Tew or anyone else describes the problems with induction Popper raised and their solution? What essay, by Tew or anyone else, correctly describes Popper's positive epistemology and points out a decisive flaw in it?


curi at 2:11 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9977 | reply | quote

If he would respond at all, one of the many solutions is I could *donate to support his work*, in return for him reconsidering. I don't mind doing that to persuade him that I really do agree with and appreciate – hugely! – some things he said. He could refund the donation if/when he decided that he was mistaken about me (I'd accept the risk of never getting it back – it'd be up to his judgement – if he still loathes me after some discussion then he can keep the money to make up for wasting his time as he sees it). Isn't that fair and reasonable, and should be enough to merit a second look?

Some concerns would be:

1) Would I be sanctioning someone who slandered me and also is promoting some other bad ideas?

Answer: I don't think it'd be sanctioning him any more than I already have: as someone with some significant positive attributes – enough for me to notice and take interest.

2) Wouldn't it create a bad social status dynamic if you were his donor? It sorta implies he's your better, and funding his work is more important than funding your own work.

Answer: Yes, but fuck conventional social dynamics. I'm willing to ignore them. Also that issue will be resolved if/when he returned the money and is one of the reasons he should apologize, and return the money, if he discovered he was mistaken about me.

Reaching out to philosophers with some merit is part of my work, so this is a reasonable use of my funds. And I can afford it.

And accurately framing what I'm doing, and why – putting my money where my mouth is regarding Paths Forward – should fix the social dynamics in the minds of rational people. (It'd also be putting my money where my mouth is regarding the value of my time – money I donate to Tew would be considerably less important than the time I've already spent on this).

I could write to Tew one more time and ask what size donation would get him to reconsider and discuss, and if he's fine with the terms (if he judges that he misjudged me, he refunds it). I don't think I'd be willing to lead with a donation to someone who seems unwilling to say a word to me, but if he responded with an amount then at that point we'd be on speaking terms. (I think being on speaking terms, to some minimal extent instead of none, is a requirement before sending him any money.)


curi at 2:35 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9978 | reply | quote

Draft message to Tew

Charles, I gather that you've read some of my writing on induction and justification, and you thought it was profoundly stupid.

I agree with you that the position you believe I advocated is profoundly stupid. But it's not what I meant.

I think some things you say in your videos are really great. I also disagree with some. I'm interested in discussing. We both agree there aren't many worthwhile people in the world, so I don't want us to miss this opportunity.

Will you reconsider? Will you discuss, at all, to allow fixing any misunderstandings?

You implied that my claim to serious interest in Objectivism, and being influenced by Rand, is false. Will you look at my writing about Rand and repeat that? E.g. https://learnobjectivism.com/atlas-shrugged-chapter-1

I think you hate Popper too much to believe me. Something like that. The Objectivist community in general has misunderstood Popper due to poor scholarship, such as reliance on secondary sources. (The secondary sources on Popper, written by his opponents, are about as bad as the secondary sources on Objectivism, written by its opponents.) We could go into examples and specifics, as I've done before, but found no anti-Popper Objectivists were willing and competent to discuss much.

There should be some way to get past our impasse so that we can find out whose right, whose wrong, and why. Since it looks like you don't want to risk your time on me, I think I have a solution. What size donation would adequately convey my seriousness to you and get you to reconsider and discuss? The terms I propose are: if you judge that you were mistaken about me, you refund it. I'll risk it.


curi at 2:45 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9979 | reply | quote

> There should be some way to get past our impasse so that we can find out whose right, whose wrong, and why.

After this, I should add a sentence:

Note that if I'm right, you don't lose. We can both be better off in big ways.


curi at 2:48 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9980 | reply | quote

> whose right, whose wrong

who's


Anonymous at 2:49 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9981 | reply | quote

Note that Tew literally sells one-on-one philosophy lessons for money. (I knew that when thinking he might be willing to spend time on something if there was money in it for him.) So presumably he'd sell lessons to me, right? That's another way to frame the proposal. It looks like he doesn't have the fanbase to be picky (though perhaps he would be anyway, and think it was like Roark turning down the job and going to the quarry instead), and he has signaled he needs the money. A few days ago, while fixing his badly broken website, he actually removed the part of his website advertising this service, which I think indicates he had few to zero clients. I imagine he could be flexible enough for it to be more discussion than pure teaching (like lecturing me).


curi at 2:57 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9982 | reply | quote

New text to avoid a potential misunderstanding:

Note: Popper is considerably more mixed than Rand. E.g. he's pretty bad about politics. I do not endorse Popper as a whole. I specifically think he made a valuable breakthrough in epistemology, which has been misunderstood by virtually everyone.

And new text about lessons:

In the alternative, I could hire you for a philosophy lesson, since I understand you sell those. I would like be to corrected by you about Popper, Deutsch, induction and justificationism, if you're able to do that.


curi at 3:03 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9983 | reply | quote

>You implied that my claim to serious interest in Objectivism, and being influenced by Rand, is false.

I don't see a reason for the commas. Also, I'd put in another "to" before being.

Or you could say "You implied that my claim to having (a?) serious interest in Oism and being influenced by Rand is false."

There's better balance now with "to having" and "(to) being". Now, I think the first "to" carries over fine. You wouldn't need to repeat it a second time.

>Will you look at my writing about Rand and repeat that?

I think "repeat" comes off a little aggressive. Maybe "reconsider" instead?

>I think you hate Popper too much to believe me.

Seems sorta strong. Maybe "Perhaps you hate Popper..."


Anonymous at 3:35 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9984 | reply | quote

Lessons

> In the alternative, I could hire you for a philosophy lesson, since I understand you sell those. I would like be to corrected by you about Popper, Deutsch, induction and justificationism, if you're able to do that.

This text is good.


Alisa at 3:42 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9985 | reply | quote

> >Will you look at my writing about Rand and repeat that?

> I think "repeat" comes off a little aggressive. Maybe "reconsider" instead?

It *is* aggressive. (Don't hedge with "little".) It's also a reference to Rand:

> He added, “You know, Dagny, I’d like you to remember which side you said I’m on. Some day, I’ll remind you of it and ask you whether you’ll want to repeat it.”


curi at 3:48 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9986 | reply | quote

>The terms I propose are: if you judge that you were mistaken about me, you refund it.

I think you might need to either omit "are" or the colon.

https://www.grammarly.com/blog/colon-2/

>A colon should not separate a noun from its verb, a verb from its object or subject complement, a preposition from its object, or a subject from its predicate.

I think here the colon is separating the verb from the subject complement.

Maybe:

Here are the terms I propose: if you judge that you were mistaken about me, you refund it.

Or maybe just remove the colon.


Anonymous at 3:49 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9987 | reply | quote

>In the alternative, I could hire you for a philosophy lesson, since I understand you sell those. I would like be to corrected by you about Popper, Deutsch, induction and justificationism, if you're able to do that.

"to be" instead of "be to"


Anonymous at 3:52 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9988 | reply | quote

Updated Draft to Tew

Charles, someone let me know you’d already commented on me in a video. I gather that you've read some of my writing on induction and justification, and you thought it was profoundly stupid.

I agree with you that the position you believe I advocated is profoundly stupid. But it's not what I meant.

I think some things you say in your videos are really great. I also disagree with some. I'm interested in discussing. We both agree there aren't many worthwhile people in the world, so I don't want us to miss this opportunity.

Will you reconsider? Will you discuss, at all, to allow fixing any misunderstandings?

You suggested that my claim to be influenced by Rand is false. Will you look at my writing about Rand and repeat that? (“You know, Dagny, I’d like you to remember which side you said I’m on. Some day, I’ll remind you of it and ask you whether you’ll want to repeat it.”) E.g. https://learnobjectivism.com/atlas-shrugged-chapter-1

I’m concerned you despise Popper too much to believe me. Something like that. The Objectivist community in general has misunderstood Popper due to poor scholarship, such as reliance on secondary sources. (The secondary sources on Popper by Popper’s opponents are about as unreliable as the secondary sources on Rand by Rand’s opponents.) We could go into examples and specifics, as I've done before, but I’ve found no anti-Popper Objectivists were willing and competent to discuss it much. Have you researched this yourself using primary sources?

Note: Popper is far more mixed than Rand. E.g. he's pretty bad about politics. I do not endorse Popper as a whole. I specifically think he made a valuable breakthrough in epistemology, which has been misunderstood by virtually everyone, and which leads to conclusions that are compatible with the bulk of Objectivism.

There should be some way to get past our impasse and resolve this disagreement. Note that if I'm right, you don't lose. We can both be better off in big ways. Since it looks like you don't want to risk your time on me, I think I have a solution.

What size donation would adequately convey my seriousness to you and get you to reconsider and discuss? The terms I propose are: if you judge that you were mistaken about me, you refund it. I think we both love money, but I’ll risk it on your integrity. (‘“You knew you were taking a terrible kind of chance?” “None at all. I had an ally I could trust.” “What? Your integrity?” “Yours, Gail.”’)

In the alternative, I could hire you for a philosophy lesson, since I understand you sell those. I would like to be corrected by you about Popper, Deutsch, induction and justificationism. Is that a service you’re able to provide?

If you still refuse, then I have a final request of you. Name me publicly and pronounce moral judgement of me, as Rand would have wanted. (Note that you’d have to prove your case to the standard that it would persuade a rational inquirer: ‘When one pronounces moral judgment, whether in praise or in blame, one must be prepared to answer “Why?” and to prove one’s case—to oneself and to any rational inquirer.’)


curi at 4:20 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9989 | reply | quote

I reviewed Tew's twitter feed.

He's very unhappy. Maybe I should stay away.

And I found this:

https://twitter.com/CharlesTew0/status/995868606796836864

> Based on the comments I'm getting on YouTube, a mgtow called sandman mentioned me. I analyzed mgtow only because someone paid me to and I knew I could explain the nature of its stupidity. I'm not actually interested in whatever its moronic followers have to say.

Apparently he will fake an interest in stuff if paid, but not seriously try to understand. Instead of doing paid analysis objectively, he maintained a really biased, hostile attitude throughout.

As a result, he did a bad job. I listened to a bit of his MGTOW commentary and he was complaining how different MGTOW supporters contradicted each other (you can also find Objectivists who contradict each other...)

MGTOW ain't perfect, but if he looked at it reasonably he could find some value and good points there. But I think he wasn't willing to do that even when he was paid to (I haven't listened to the main video he did about MGTOW though, just a bit in the same one with Epstein criticism). Looks like he had a pre-determined conclusion in advance of his investigation, and never looked at it with a neutral mindset. (Or maybe he was paid to attack MGTOW? It could be that that's what the customer wanted.)

*This looks grim in terms of the possibility of paying him to be reasonable about Popper stuff.* I was hoping that, as an Objectivist, he'd take money more seriously than he appears to.

---

He's in a lot of pain (as you can see from many tweets) and it's destroying him. I'd like to help but maybe I should let it go. Or anyone got a good idea?


curi at 5:37 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9990 | reply | quote

I like the Updated Draft to Tew.

I especially like how you appeal to his integrity, both when you explicitly say that's what you are doing and also in your proposal in the last paragraph.

I also like that you used appropriate Rand quotations.

Some minor points:

> I gather that you've read some of my writing on induction and justification, and you thought it was profoundly stupid.

I'd delete this comma and put 'that' before 'you' so it says "I gather that you've read some of my writing on induction and justification and that you thought it was profoundly stupid."

> We both agree there aren't many worthwhile people in the world, so I don't want us to miss this opportunity.

I'd delete this comma too.

> Name me publicly and pronounce moral judgement of me, as Rand would have wanted.

The word 'judgment' should have only one e.


Anne B at 6:10 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9991 | reply | quote

laughing at people

> You can hear him laughing at me.

This is a rude thing people do sometimes when they want to express that they don't like someone but don't want to commit to saying why.

I often hear people doing it when they talk about Trump. I often hear people doing it when they talk about teenagers or toddlers.

I'm guessing they don't do it when they have no audience.


Anne B at 6:37 PM on July 2, 2018 | #9992 | reply | quote

>I'm guessing they don't do it when they have no audience.

Why?

I think they still do it some. The audience is just *themselves*. Even when alone, ppl spend a lot of thought trying to convince themselves that they are morally superior to other ppl. Laughing at ppl is one strategy for this.


Kate at 5:30 AM on July 3, 2018 | #9993 | reply | quote

>> We both agree there aren't many worthwhile people in the world, so I don't want us to miss this opportunity.

>I'd delete this comma too.

Why? Seems ok to me. "So" is being used to connect 2 independent clauses.


Kate at 6:23 AM on July 3, 2018 | #9994 | reply | quote

>> I'm guessing they don't do it when they have no audience.

>

> Why?

>

> I think they still do it some. The audience is just *themselves*. Even when alone, ppl spend a lot of thought trying to convince themselves that they are morally superior to other ppl. Laughing at ppl is one strategy for this.

Yeah I was thinking more about this too. I agree with you now. People do laugh at others when they're alone.


Anne B at 8:19 AM on July 3, 2018 | #9997 | reply | quote

>>> We both agree there aren't many worthwhile people in the world, so I don't want us to miss this opportunity.

>>

>> I'd delete this comma too.

>

> Why? Seems ok to me. "So" is being used to connect 2 independent clauses.

The only reason I have is that it looks better to me without the comma.


Anne B at 8:22 AM on July 3, 2018 | #9998 | reply | quote

Anonymous at 10:04 AM on July 3, 2018 | #10003 | reply | quote

Since I didn't like Tew's paid work on MGTOW, and his bad attitude, I didn't send him the letter. Instead I tweeted a very abbreviated version:

https://twitter.com/curi42/status/1014249951868551168

.@CharlesTew0 If you're going to ignore my messages because you despise Popper and won't discuss or debate, then I have a request: pronounce moral judgement on me.


curi at 2:43 PM on July 3, 2018 | #10009 | reply | quote

>>> We both agree there aren't many worthwhile people in the world, so I don't want us to miss this opportunity.

> https://www.grammarly.com/blog/comma-before-so/

>

> https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/owlprint/607/

I think both of these links say that a comma is correct. I retract my advice to remove the comma.


Anne B at 4:34 PM on July 3, 2018 | #10010 | reply | quote

MGTOW

Curi, what's your position vis-à-vis *mgtow*? I can't find anything on your site. Do you have a *reusable text* about it?


Anonymous at 1:23 PM on July 23, 2018 | #10381 | reply | quote

mgtow is ok. some legit red pill points. haven't read a ton of their stuff.


curi at 1:28 PM on July 23, 2018 | #10382 | reply | quote

How do you compare:

1) MGTOWs fooling themselves that they're OK with no woman.

2) Blue pillers fooling themselves that their marriage is great.

?

And whatever is going on with society in general, how do you decide which is more risky or problematic or solvable *for you*?


Anonymous at 7:06 PM on July 23, 2018 | #10385 | reply | quote

I joined the Charles Tew discord server yesterday. I was banned today. They deleted all my messages so I can't even get someone else to send me a copy. I was given no warning about the ban and no reason or explanation. I don't even know who banned me.

However, I have a few records. I wrote a mini-speech this morning (pasted below), and I was banned while continuing the conversation with Ki (who appreciated what I was saying) and also some other people were talking who thought Ki was *defrauding* his parents, and disagreed with me a fair amount, and one of them was saying they didn't have time for a big debate (OK then just say whatever you want and no more).

---

**Context:** [I didn't say this paragraph on discord.] Ki is over half way through college. His Christian parents are paying. They threaten to cut him off unless he obeys various demands. Ki found Objectivism but doesn't tell his family the truth about his beliefs and opinions.

Some people suggest Ki is violating Objectivist values. I don't know him but these kinds of situations are pretty common and I have some general comments about how he may not be.

His parents have probably violated his rights thousands of times. They have probably done a bunch of Comprachicos stuff to him. In that kind of context, lying is a form of self-defense. This is clearer at younger ages.

It sounds like Ki had a reasonable expectation of getting financial help for uni and made plans around it. Withdrawing that help would screw him over. His parents have no right to make and then break promises in a way that screws up his life. By lying to get what he was already promised, it looks like Ki is protecting himself.

Young adults are in situations partly of their parents' making, not their own making. Over time one has to take responsibility for one's whole life and stop making excuses, but that transition doesn't and shouldn't happen instantly the moment you turn 18 or on high school graduation day. Rearranging your life your own way is an ongoing process even for a person who does it quickly and well.

Some of Ki's problems are caused by his parents. They are responsible. They owe him help. And they also owe generic, basic help, as all parents do, and which Ki probably has not gotten in full because most parents don't fulfill all their obligations.

Pressuring people to emancipate at age ~20 is really dangerous and is the kind of thing done by libertarians like Stephen Molyneux. It's really really hard to know that someone else you've never met should do that. And even if they should, ideally, they have to see that for themselves and fully understand it themselves, not be pushed into it with rhetoric they can't answer.

Parents create a situation with parent and child. It's their choice and responsibility that they are parents. They go into it knowing the child will need lots of help, he'll be dependent. It is the parent's obligation to help the child become independent, and capable of solving his own problems. Sending kids to school is a way parents try to outsource that obligation, fairly poorly, but at least it's something. Threatening to withhold help becoming independent from a child, unless the child is obedient, is a rights violation.

Parent and child is an asymmetric relationship. The parents are obligated to be helpers – (outside extreme cases like murder) they don't get to tell the child what to value, but it's their job to help him towards an independent life where he can attain his values. They have no right to withdraw that help due to being intolerant of atheism or Objectivism or anything like that. It's not their place to boss him around, as most parents do. Bossing is different than helping or educating.

To help a person means to help achieve their values, not to impose goals or values on them that they don't want. With young children, parents have a major role in suggesting values in the first place, but they do not have total control and often find that, despite all their irrational punishments and orders, children have gotten information from other sources and disagree about some values. Too bad. The parent's privilege was only to suggest and explain values to the young child in the first place, not to impose them. Later with an older child who has values of partially his own choosing (often despite major efforts to suppress his access to information), the parents are still obligated to be helpers – to help the child get what he wants (as long as its within a broad range of lifestyles that constitutes being basically an independent non-criminal person). If parents don't like the idea of a helper role, and only want to "help" with things they approve of while working against things they disapprove of, they should not become parents because that is an immoral way to treat one's child. Children aren't dolls or slaves. They have the faculty of reason and reasonable parents must be prepared in advance to be disagreed with on a variety of matters and not to say "well, you disagreed with me, so I will no longer do my job of helping you become independent".

The minimum requirements for a parent to do can be fairly minimal (food, shelter, school, nothing after age 18, etc) if the parent is clear about their limits from the start and doesn't take actions to cause the child a bunch of problems (which would then give the parent additional obligations to help with the problems he caused). But parents routinely promise a lot more. They in some ways want to go above and beyond the minimum. That's good. But once you promise stuff and your child is expecting it and makes plans around it, it becomes problematic to back out. And parents routinely cause problems, e.g. by telling a child never to lie and then lying in front of the child repeatedly, which is confusing. Or telling a child never to lie then punishing him for telling some truths like that he didn't like a gift much. When you teach a child to believe in mystical ideas like Santa or God, rather than how to deal with reality, and you create a situation where the child has to learn to read the parent's moods and please him to avoid punishments, you make it a lot harder for a child to become an independent adult, and its your own fault and you ought to take actions to try to partially make up for it, fix it, etc. But a parent who did those things in the first place (~all parents) isn't going to apologize, he doesn't think he did anything wrong, so he's going to rub salt in the wound instead of helping undo the damage. So the child's rights are being violated and he has recourse to a variety of defensive actions including lying.

Lying is dangerous. You can hurt and corrupt yourself with it. You can distort your own view of the world. You can get caught up in webs of lies. But it can still be used some. https://rationalessays.com/lying

---

Other records:

---

---


curi at 3:48 PM on July 11, 2019 | #13031 | reply | quote

Conversations on Tew Discord server, from memory:

Discussed deplatforming a bunch. I explained my arguments about how e.g. FB is committing fraud and breach of contract. Some people were initially skeptical (they figured that private companies are free to have whatever policies they want, and they did not want more regulation) but seemed to accept and agree with a fair amount of what I was saying after I explained it.

Discussed whether or not I was welcome to ask Charles Tew questions on his Patreon live streams. I didn't think I was welcome and didn't want to try it. Benito thought I was and had trouble seeing the issue. I said I didn't know server norms well and asked if the discussion was too off topic and should be taken elsewhere but no one replied to that. I now believe I wasn't even welcome to talk to other people, not Tew, on the discord, let alone ask Tew himself questions. (The reason I joined the Discord is I heard Tew mention in a video that he made the Discord, didn't pay attention, and it turned into a forum, a discussion community. I thought it might be OK to join to talk to other people, not Tew, given that Tew has never said a word to me to tell me to go away or anything like that. So from the vague hints of being ignored, I thought he didn't want me to send messages to him, but I didn't think that necessarily meant I couldn't have discussions with others. Also I believe I followed the server rules.)

I discussed with Ki. Prior to the stuff I said about parenting, we'd discussed some the previous day. He's learning software and interested in web dev. I linked him to SICP and said a little about structural epistemology. It was friendly and positive. At the time I was banned, I was arguing that he was not an aggressor defrauding his parents.

Some guy smeared me as a non-Objectivist, refused to give details, and implied that *I myself openly believed* I'm not a real Objectivist and had said so in writing on one of my websites somewhere. I contradicted that. It was very brief.

Someone read my open letter to Tew (the blog post above), and some related stuff (particularly: http://curi.us/2120-thoughts-on-charles-tew ), and accused me of being condescending by advocating Paths Forward and suggesting sharing shorter public writing (to expose it to criticism and feedback) before doing a whole book. He also accused me of being spiteful for some reason. It was all social metaphysics, which I pointed out (and he ignored, as far as I could tell he was so unfamiliar with Objectivism that he did not know what that even meant). He didn't understand how to quote anything or interpret specific text, it was all just vague crap and all about psychology and social status. Then he misquoted me by intentionally paraphrasing (so wildly inaccurately that I don't even know what it was a paraphrase of) and putting it in quote marks, which is fraud, but I dropped the matter and blocked him. He also said something like: he didn't see my positive or productive point in my blog post, and therefore concluded that I must not have one and must be malicious. He actually explicitly admitted his reasoning was along those lines. jfc.


curi at 4:25 PM on July 11, 2019 | #13032 | reply | quote

From Discord:

**curi:** I've posted the records of the discord chat that I have: http://curi.us/2119-open-letter-to-charles-tew#c13031

**curi:** god i get banned from everything

**curi:** i was going to maybe make a video reviewing my chats on the Tew server. also maybe one where i have a conversation in real time with ppl there. RIP

**curi:** http://curi.us/2119-open-letter-to-charles-tew#c13032

**besetro:** It’s too bad that you were banned. I wanted to see you two discuss. My guess is that the ban wasn’t the result of the discussion taking place at the time. I suspect it had to do with a reputation you have /past stuff.

One thing I don’t understand is that Tew says that he’s desperate to find good ppl. He says he gives ppl the benefit of the doubt because he really wants to try to gain value out of ppl. (This is what he said in connection with the Rucka stuff.)

So, what, he didn’t even see any potential value to himself in you? Even if he also judged that you were arrogant or wrong or whatever, I don’t understand why he wouldn’t even want to investigate you a bit more before banning you.

(I’m assuming he was at least involved in the decision to ban you, but maybe he wasn’t.)

**curi:** He also refused to take Rand's advice and pronounce moral judgment on me. He won't say his reasoning at all.

**curi:** He's hiding his thinking so much that a bunch of his fans think he'd be happy to talk with me, have trouble imagining there is a problem.

**curi:** I doubt a mod would have banned me without asking but I don't know. If they did it without asking, it's because Charles told them to behave in that way, and he is responsible.

**curi:** I don't even know who is a mod besides Scuro who mentioned rule 3 last night (rather than acting without warning)

**curi:** i discussed with him some in the past

**curi:** Scuro did not say if he was mentioning rule 3 to me or to the other guy. But in any case that conversation stopped.

**curi:** You can click ppl in member list to see who is a mod. it's a role. unlike most servers. mods don't have a different color.

**curi:** He was also hiding his reasoning and preferences so much that I joined his discord server. If he ever told me anything at all like "leave me alone" then i would not have joined.

**curi:** btw wrt "that" and other grammar: i didn't reply further b/c it's covered in my article and more in my videos, and you were just responding to a few emails instead of my main explanation.

**curi:** re potential value: he has no written rules/criteria for that. same shit as always with bias instead of reasonable paths forward.

**curi:** it's the same as how ppl judge the value of questions or criticisms based on unwritten, hidden rules. which i criticize at https://rationalessays.com/using-intellectual-processes-to-combat-bias

**curi:** if one of the ppl in the discussion with Ki was a mod then i might have gotten banned for that if they got mad that i denied he was a fraudster. idk if they were.

**besetro:** I wonder if he's hiding his reasoning because he sees the issue as him not wanting to dignify you (which he talked about, in general, in his podcast). I think he's making a mistake, but I wonder if that's what he's telling himself.

**curi:** Rand said to pronoun moral judgment

**curi:** He has not refuted her

**curi:** I'm a better Oist than he is.

**curi:** but yes i agree he probably is justifying it to himself with reasoning similar to what he said about Rucka

**curi:** i didn't like some of that in the Rucka vid. but then he actually explained the issue later! he addressed why his prior statements seemed different than current ones.

**curi:** btw one of the many things he's missing is that most ppl are not paying much attention. they don't know and don't want to research all the details. so it's reasonable to give them a summary and an explanation.

**curi:** an honest person who knows almost nothing about the matter would not know that Tew is right

**curi:** even if Tew is right

**curi:** and even if that would be clear to someone who is honest and has full info

**curi:** > How Does One Lead a Rational Life in an Irrational Society?

> by Ayn Rand

> I will confine my answer to a single, fundamental aspect of this question. I will name only one principle, the opposite of the idea which is so prevalent today and which is responsible for the spread of evil in the world. That principle is: One must never fail to pronounce moral judgment.

**curi:** Rand's position was to pronounce moral judgment ON IRRATIONAL PEOPLE THAT YOU WOULD NOT WANT TO DIGNIFY OR SANCTION.

**curi:** > When one pronounces moral judgment, whether in praise or in blame, one must be prepared to answer “Why?” and to prove one’s case—to oneself and to any rational inquirer.

**curi:** so e.g., according to Objectivism, he can either condemn you, benito, Ki, etc, as irrational or else he's required to give his reasoning (b/c there exists at least one rational inquirier)

**curi:** if his position is more or less "everyone but me is irrational so there are never any rational inquirers so i will never prove my case about any of my judgments" i don't think that resembles what Rand intended.

**curi:** > The policy of always pronouncing moral judgment does not mean that one must regard oneself as a missionary charged with the responsibility of “saving everyone’s soul”—nor that one must give unsolicited moral appraisals to all those one meets. It means: (a) that one must know clearly, in full, verbally identified form, one’s own moral evaluation of every person, issue and event with which one deals, and act accordingly; (b) that one must make one’s moral evaluation known to others, when it is rationally appropriate to do so.

**curi:** Note that if he did (a) it'd take ~zero effort to share, cuz it's already in words.

**curi:** and what aobut this!?

**curi:** > This last means that one need not launch into unprovoked moral denunciations or debates, but that one must speak up in situations where silence can objectively be taken to mean agreement with or sanction of evil. When one deals with irrational persons, where argument is futile, a mere “I don’t agree with you” is sufficient to negate any implication of moral sanction. When one deals with better people, a full statement of one’s views may be morally required. But in no case and in no situation may one permit one’s own values to be attacked or denounced, and keep silent.

**curi:** In Tew's opinion, i attacked or denounced Tew. Therefore, according to Rand, he must not keep silent.

**curi:** the problem i have with Objectivists is they don't follow Rand.

**curi:** that was the theme of my condemnation of HB as well. i illustrated how he did not follow Philosophical Detection. his response? Silence. he did not care to say refute a word of the extensive, serious-looking case that he was a bad Objectivist based on Rand quotes.

**curi:** and it is I who quote Rand to denounce them, never vice versa.

**curi:** I've never found a person who quotes Rand more than I do.

**curi:** which seems like reason enough to state moral judgment of me instead of hide it. it ought to be easy to qualify. "has written over 100 intellectual essays"? ok that merits a statement. "has quoted rand over 1000 times?" ok that merits a statement. etc.

**curi:** afaik my AS analysis is the most detailed and comprehensive in existence (for the chapters i covered)

**curi:** even if it's somehow bad, can you really think that all rational ppl would see i'm a fraud and no statement arguing any point is needed?

**curi:** surely the way most ppl would determine i'm a fraud is stuff like "said bad things about Binswanger, but Binswanger is good, therefore Temple must be bad"

**curi:** also Tew actually did say something about me initially in that old podcast

**curi:** i think

**curi:** but he did not name me, did not name the blog post he was attacking, did not use exact quotes...

**curi:** so that is not proper moral judgment

**curi:** so if he thinks he already pronounced moral judgment, he's being ridiculous


curi at 6:32 PM on July 11, 2019 | #13039 | reply | quote

After I was banned, someone asked what happened and Tew responded:

[someone]:

What did he do? He was a patron wasn't he?

Charles Tew:

Yes. I banned him and deleted all of his comments. I recognized him. He's a laughable charlatan. His stupidity is amusing and innocuous to anyone who isn't an idiot, but it would be wrong for me to allow him to make a fool of himself and drag down the level of conversation here just so I could amuse myself.

(The "someone" who asked the question is *not* the person who gave me these quotes. But I still decided to leave their name out of it.)


curi at 8:51 PM on July 11, 2019 | #13041 | reply | quote

Tew and other 'objectivist intellectuals" have a captive audience and any debate can only jeopardize their income sources


Anonymous at 12:25 AM on July 13, 2019 | #13077 | reply | quote

How is it a captive audience?


Anonymous at 12:28 AM on July 13, 2019 | #13078 | reply | quote

Tew is captive to his audience :)

Entertaining any non dogmatic objectist idea will make him lose donors

People pay to be on Bingswanger list because they are sure not to encounter any opposing views


Anonymous at 12:28 AM on July 14, 2019 | #13092 | reply | quote

Tew likes to say he's like Dominique in "The Fountainhead", see this video:

https://youtu.be/Hg7M7_FPZ-o?t=680

The Dominique part starts at around 15 minutes, but I linked to the video starting at about 11 minutes to give some context.

I think he doesn't like his audience or the people he hangs out with. As a result, he doesn't want to take them seriously and doesn't want to have serious discussions. He would rather watch them all destroy themselves than have serious discussions about their problems. And he would rather destroy himself than have serious discussions about his own problems, which is why he drinks so much and hangs out with people he dislikes. He wouldn't be able to evade like that with Elliot, which is why he wants nothing to do with Elliot.


oh my god it's turpentine at 2:14 AM on July 14, 2019 | #13093 | reply | quote

Tew is kinda like Mallory. He has some talent, some skill, some ability to actually think and produce. But he's miserable. He's wasting his life just like Mallory was when Roark found Mallory. Tew drinks and makes, what, 3 hours of philosophy content per week? Maybe more if he's writing behind the scenes much, but he doesn't expose that writing to criticism. And when Roark found him, Mallory *resisted help*, e.g. not showing up to an appointment to be hired for the kind of work he wanted to do.

FH:

> “What’s the matter with you, kid? What have they done to you? Why do you want to say things like that?”

>

> “Because ...” Mallory roared suddenly, and then his voice broke, and his head dropped, and he finished in a flat whisper: “because I’ve spent two years”—his hand circled limply indicating the room—“that’s how I’ve spent them—trying to get used to the fact that what you’re trying to tell me doesn’t exist....”

Tew doesn't think good people exist and tries to cope (e.g. by drinking and making messes) with that instead of acting properly.


curi at 2:39 PM on July 14, 2019 | #13094 | reply | quote

(This is an unmoderated discussion forum. Discussion info.)