Slate Star Codex

A thing I didn't read and probably never will

Over the years a number of people I know have told me that I really ought to read articles on the Slate Star Codex web site. In particular, multiple people raved about one called Meditations on Moloch.

I tried to read it. Really, I did.

I’m not someone who suffers a short attention span. I’ve read and enjoyed David Foster Wallace’s “Infinite Jest” (483,994 words), and Stephen King’s “It” (441,156 words) and “11/22/63” (269,543 words). But I kept bouncing off “Meditations on Moloch” thinking “Come on, get to the fucking point.” At 14,000+ words it’s practically a novella, and it’s a really tedious and discursive one, an opinion I’m not alone in holding. Eventually I gave up and decided I was never going to finish the thing.

In 2020 there was a kerfuffle when Scott Alexander, owner of the web site, discovered that a New York Times reporter was planning to write an article about him and how influential he had become in Silicon Valley. He deleted the site, concerned that even though the article was apparently going to be mostly positive, it was going to mention his real identity. You can judge for yourself how positive the New York Times article was; Alexander said he felt misrepresented, saying “I generally hold pretty standard center-left views in support of race and gender equality”.

So it was with some surprise that I just learned of a private conversation of his which had been leaked online in 2021 (text here). It turns out that he’s actually a supporter of “human bio-diversity”, the current far-right euphemism for race science and eugenics. Obviously he would very much like it if nobody found that out, as it rather contradicts his claim of having pretty standard center-left views about race. He’s also upset that IQ tests have been discredited as a way of comparing intelligence of different races, and if you read enough of his articles you can discover that he’s a fan of dishonest and racist book “The Bell Curve”. He’s now got a newsletter/web site on Substack, because of course he has, that’s where all the big HBD supporters hang out now.

So anyway, if you’re one of the people who told me I should read Slate Star Codex: I didn’t, and I’m not likely to.