Mailvox: the creation of Jordan Peterson

I was sent this by a Canadian gentleman this morning. A selection from his email:

After graduating from Fairview High (1979) Jordan studied Poli-Sci at Grande Prairie Regional College for two years before transferring to the University of Alberta (Edmonton) where he earned a BA (1982). Low grades and a poor LSAT score torpedoed foundational dreams of a legal career; leaving Jordan despondent.

Jordan stayed at U of A; defaulting his major to what was then Canada’s academic catch-basin, Psychology. Transferring credits and completing requisite courses fetched a second BA (Psych) in 1984.

From 1985 to 1991 Jordan studied at Montreal’s McGill University. After getting his Ph.D. he haunted McGill’s halls for three additional years as a Post-Doc before being rescued by a professors’ assistant posting at Harvard. Four years later he landed a teaching professorship at U of Toronto. Despite fictionalised autobiographical accounts of a varied, storied career; Jordy’s a schoolie.

Even his masthead boast about being a Clinical Psychologist is largely bogus. His clinical (private practice) work was a minor sideline. In Map of Meaning (1999) he bemoans his lack of clinical experience. Since then teaching paid the bills. Sorties into the media, writing, and a self-help publishing venture left little room for private practice. When his celebrity career took off he abandoned his few clients.

Peterson’s grooming by state broadcasters began in 2004 when TV Ontario produced a 13-part series based on Map of Meaning. Viewers tuned-out in droves. Following his UN gig in 2012-13, Peterson began uploading his lectures onto YouTube; attracting scant attention. Then a miracle…

On September 27, 2016 Jordan posted the video: “Professor against political correctness.” Within 24 hours, Canada’s main newspaper chain’s flagship, National Post, ran an article plugging the video. Two days later “As it Happens” – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s weekday evening radio show (1.6 million weekly listeners) – interviewed Peterson, again plugging the video. CBC re-ran this show online titled “I’m not a bigot” accompanied by a flattering photo of Peterson. 

While billed as a populist Internet sensation, Peterson is, in fact, a mainstream media balloon. Even his Internet success was amped.  In December 2016 Peterson began podcasting. Weeks later he hired a team to record his class-room lectures. These were edited and disbursed across the web. Then YouTube’s gnomes went to work. Peterson’s mug-shot became ubiquitous in YouTube’s spontaneous suggestion columns. Persons not remotely interested in Peterson were persistently shunted to an array of cookie-cutter YouTube sites that exist solely to publicise chosen e-celebs. Comments sections of Peterson’s scatterbrained lecture videos contain numerous complaints of “click-bait.”

It would be interesting to know if the Canadian LSAT was also an IQ proxy, as this would prove that Peterson has been exaggerating his IQ. There are already some anomalies in his self-description of it; the fact that such an ambitious individual first attended a regional college also tends to suggest that his test scores were less than superlative.

You can see exactly how trivial a figure Jordan Peterson was prior to October 2016 from this Google Trends comparison from 2011 through the end of September 2016. Keep in mind that this chart begins more than 7 years after a 13-part televised series dedicated to Peterson’s first book.

UPDATE: If it is true that Peterson applied to law school but did not get in, then he is lying about his supposedly high level of intelligence. From the Canadian Mensa site concerning prior evidence it accepts of a 98th percentile IQ.

LSAT Prior to 1982: 662. Effective 1982 (total percentile rank): 95. The average LSAT accepted by the University of Alberta Faculty of Law is the 90th percentile. In current terms, the 90th percentile is a score of 164, which equates to an estimated IQ of 124. That is the ceiling on Jordan Peterson’s IQ.

UPDATE: Jordan Peterson’s IQ claim:

I don’t know what my IQ is. I had it tested at one point. It’s in excess of a hundred and fifty but I don’t know exactly where it lands now…. I’m not overwhelmingly intelligent from a quantitative perspective, you know. I think my GRE scores for on the quantitative end of things for about 70-75th percentile which isn’t too bad given that you know you’re competing against other people who are going into graduate school, but there’s a big
difference between 75th percentile and 99th percentile, and I think that’s where
it was verbally, something like that.

Now remember, Jordan Peterson is a habitual liar. Also note that if we put together the 75th percentile and 99th percentile on the GRE that he claims would indicate that he is at the 87th percentile combined. We can see that Mensa equates the 95th percentile on the GRE with the 98th IQ percentile, so adjusting for the difference in populations would move him up to the 90th percentile, or an IQ of 120, which fits right beneath his estimated IQ ceiling of 124.

UPDATE: Boom. Got him. I cannot believe I missed this! From Maps of Meaning.

I wanted to become a corporate lawyer—had written the Law School Admissions Test, had taken two years of appropriate preliminary courses. I wanted to learn the ways of my enemies, and embark on a political career. This plan disintegrated. The world obviously did not need another lawyer, and I no longer believed that I knew enough to masquerade as a leader.

So, he did take the LSAT, he does know his IQ, and now, so do we. Looks like we’ll be adding Appendix D to JORDANETICS next week. Needless to say, I’ll be doing a Darkstream on the subject tonight.