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Bret Weinstein

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Bret Weinstein
Bret Weinstein in 2018.png
Weinstein in 2018
Born (1969-02-21) February 21, 1969 (age 52)
Alma mater
OccupationBiologist, vlogger, professor
Spouse(s)Heather Heying
RelativesEric Weinstein (brother)
Bret Weinstein
Scientific career
ThesisEvolutionary Trade-Offs: Emergent Constraints and Their Adaptive Consequences (2009)
Doctoral advisorRichard D. Alexander[1][2]
Weinstein holding a TEDx talk at the Evergreen State College in 2012

Bret Samuel Weinstein /ˈwnstn/ (born February 21, 1969)[3] is an American biologist and evolutionary theorist who came to national attention during the 2017 Evergreen State College protests. He is considered a member of the informal group of pundits known as the Intellectual Dark Web.[4][5]

Education[edit source | edit]

Weinstein began his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. As a freshman, Weinstein wrote a letter to the school newspaper condemning sexual harassment of strippers at a Zeta Beta Tau fraternity party.[6] After experiencing harassment for the letter, Weinstein transferred to the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he completed his undergraduate degree.[7] In 2009, Weinstein received his doctorate from the University of Michigan.[2][8]

Career[edit source | edit]

Weinstein was a professor of biology at The Evergreen State College in Washington. In 2002, he published The Reserve-Capacity Hypothesis, which proposed that the telomeric differences between humans and laboratory mice have led scientists to underestimate the risks new drugs pose to humans in the form of heart disease, liver dysfunction, and related organ failure.[9][10][11]

Evergreen State College Day of Absence controversy[edit source | edit]

In March 2017 he wrote a letter to Evergreen faculty, objecting to a change in the college's decades-old tradition of observing a "Day of Absence" during which minority students and faculty would voluntarily stay away from campus to highlight their contributions to the college.[12] The announced change would flip the traditional event, asking white participants to attend an off-campus program to talk about race issues while the on-campus program was designated for participating people of color.[13] Weinstein said this established a dangerous precedent.

There is a huge difference between a group or coalition deciding to voluntarily absent themselves from a shared space in order to highlight their vital and underappreciated roles....and a group encouraging another group to go away. The first is a forceful call to consciousness, which is, of course, crippling to the logic of oppression. The second is a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.

— Bret Weinstein in a message to a campus email list[14]

In response, the organisers stated that participation was voluntary and that no one implied that all white people should leave.[15]

In May 2017, student protests disrupted the campus and called for a number of changes to the college. The protests involved allegations of racism and intolerance and threats, and brought national attention to Evergreen, sparking further debate about free speech on college campuses.[16] During the protests, there was an altercation between protesters and Weinstein.[17][18]

In a lawsuit brought against the school by Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying, Weinstein said the college's president did not ask law enforcement to quell protesters.[19][20] Weinstein also said campus police told him that they could not protect him and encouraged him to stay off campus. Weinstein then held his biology class in a public park.[21][22] In September 2017, a settlement was reached. Weinstein and Heying resigned and received $500,000, after having sought $3.8 million in damages.[16]

Post-Evergreen[edit source | edit]

Following his resignation from Evergreen, he appeared on Sam Harris's podcast,[23] Joe Rogan's podcast multiple times, and he moderated two debates between Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris.[24] He appears in the documentary No Safe Spaces, which documents the Evergreen incidents.[25] Weinstein's brother, Eric Weinstein, coined the term the "Intellectual Dark Web", and described Weinstein as a member. The term refers to a group of academics and media personalities who publish outside of the mainstream media.[26][27][28][29]

In June 2019, Weinstein began the DarkHorse Podcast.[30]

Political views[edit source | edit]

Weinstein describes himself as a political progressive and left-libertarian.[31] He appeared before the U.S. House Oversight Committee on May 22, 2018, to discuss free speech on college campuses.[32][33]

Personal life[edit source | edit]

Weinstein is Jewish.[34] He is married to Heather Heying, an evolutionary biologist who also worked at Evergreen. Heying resigned from the college with Weinstein, having taken a similar position during the Day of Absence controversy.[16]

Publications[edit source | edit]

  • Weinstein, Bret S. (January 2009). "Evolutionary Trade-Offs: Emergent Constraints and Their Adaptive Consequences" (PDF). University of Michigan.
  • Lahti, David C.; Weinstein, Bret S. (January 2005). "The better angels of our nature: Group stability and the evolution of moral tension". Evolution & Human Behavior. 26 (1): 47–63. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2004.09.004.
  • Weinstein, Bret S; Ciszek, Deborah (2002). "The reserve-capacity hypothesis: Evolutionary origins and modern implications of the trade-off between tumor-suppression and tissue-repair". Experimental Gerontology. 37 (5): 615–27. doi:10.1016/S0531-5565(02)00012-8. PMID 11909679.

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "Deep Blue, University of Michigan Library. (September 3, 2009). "Evolutionary Trade-Offs: Emergent Constraints and Their Adaptive Consequences". Retrieved February 26, 2020". Deepblue.lib.umich.edu. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bret Weinstein|Edge.org. Retrieved February 26, 2020
  3. "Birth of Bret Weinstein". California Birth Index. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  4. French, David A. (May 11, 2018). "Critics Miss the Point of the 'Intellectual Dark Web'". National Review. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  5. Sommer, Will. "Intellectual Dark Web Frays After Jordan Peterson Tweets Critically About Brett Kavanaugh". Daily Beast. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  6. Bartlett, Tom (2017-06-05). "The Professor Who Roiled Evergreen State Is No Stranger to Campus Controversy". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  7. The Rubin Report (30 May 2017), LIVE with Bret Weinstein: Evergreen State College Racism Controversy, retrieved 5 July 2018
  8. Graduate Alumni Directory | U-M LSA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB). Retrieved February 26, 2020
  9. Weinstein, Bret S; Ciszek, Deborah (2002). "The reserve-capacity hypothesis: Evolutionary origins and modern implications of the trade-off between tumor-suppression and tissue-repair". Experimental Gerontology. 37 (5): 615–27. doi:10.1016/S0531-5565(02)00012-8. PMID 11909679.
  10. Zimmerman, Michael (19 March 2012). "Unseen Dangers in Laboratory Protocols". Huffington Post.
  11. Weinstein, Eric (19 February 2020). Episode 19: The Prediction and the DISC. The Portal.
  12. Svrluga, Susan; Heim, Joe (June 1, 2017). "Threat shuts down college embroiled in racial dispute". Washington Post.
  13. Correspondence Between Bret Weinstein and Rashida Love, 2017, retrieved November 6, 2019
  14. Douglas Murray (author), The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity (2019), p. 128.
  15. Hartocollis, Anemona (June 16, 2017), "A Campus Argument Goes Viral. Now the College Is Under Siege.", The New York Times
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Evergreen settles with Weinstein, professor at the center of campus protests". The Olympian.
  17. Tan, Anjelica (Jun 15, 2019). "Oberlin College case shows how universities are losing their way". TheHill. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  18. https://www.theolympian.com/news/local/education/article175061841.html
  19. name="InsideHigherEd-20170530">Jaschik, Scott. (May 30, 2017)."Who Defines What Is Racist?", Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  20. Richardson, Bradford (May 25, 2017). "Students berate professor who refused to participate in no-whites 'Day of Absence'", The Washington Times. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  21. Weinstein, Bret (30 May 2017). "The Campus Mob Came for Me—and You, Professor, Could Be Next" – via www.wsj.com.
  22. "Professor told he's not safe on campus after college protests". King5.
  23. Harris, Sam. "#109 - BIOLOGY AND CULTURE A Conversation with Bret Weinstein play audio Play Episode Download Back iTunes". Making Sense. Sam Harris. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  24. Ruffolo, Michael (2018-06-26). "Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson waste a lot of time, then talk about God for 20 minutes". NationalObserver.com. National Observer. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  25. "In No Safe Spaces, an Odd Couple Teams up to Fight Free-Speech Bans". 2019-11-03.
  26. Weiss, Bari (8 May 2018). "Opinion | Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  27. Verbruggen, Robert (9 May 2018). "Re: The 'Intellectual Dark Web'". National Review. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  28. Murray, Douglas (21 February 2018). "Inside the intellectual dark web". Spectator Life. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  29. Bonazzo, John (August 5, 2018). "NY Times 'Intellectual Dark Web' Story Savaged on Twitter—Even by Paper's Staffers". The New York Observer. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  30. @bretweinstein (July 11, 2019). "After many days of heal-dragging by Apple, Bret Weinstein's DarkHorse Podcast is now finally available on iTunes! Ngo and Boyce episodes are up, with lots more coming. Link below. If searching elsewhere, 'DarkHorse' is one word and 'Bret' has one 't'" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  31. Episode 970: Bret Weinstein. The Joe Rogan Experience. 2 June 2017.
  32. Vazquez, Joey (23 May 2018). "Congressional hearing explores freedom of speech crisis on college campuses". Washington Examiner.
  33. "Hearing – Challenges to the Freedom of Speech on College Campuses: Part II". United States House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 22 May 2018.
  34. Frommer, Rachel (June 13, 2017). "Embattled Evergreen State Professor Accused of Hiding Racism Behind His Judaism". Algemeiner Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2019.

External links[edit source | edit]