Michael Shermer, Steven Pinker, and Noam Chomsky: A Pattern of Defending Liars

gretavo's picture

We all know Michael Shermer as a semi-professional defender of the official story of 9/11, and that Noam Chomsky has long played dumb when asked anything about 9/11. Turns out both of them have come to the defense of another liar, Harvard Professor Marc Hauser, who was forced to resign after he was found guilty of academic misconduct by the university and then by the government's Office of Research Integrity. Hauser's recently self-published book on (of all things) why people do evil has received ringing endorsements from a handful of supporters including Shermer and Chomsky.  While Chomsky is a past co-author of journal articles with Hauser, and defended him early on, Shermer seems to have only recently decided to apply his special brand of skepticism to this particular fabricator.

Steven Pinker is another of Marc Hauser's defenders who has a peculiar fascination with 9/11 "conspiracy theorists". Here is a telling quote from someone who knows both men:

"I knew Marc and taught with him a few times, while I was a graduate student and he replaced Terry Deacon as the brain-guy for the Anthropology Department. Then, I graduated and was absorbed into a faculty role, teaching a class for the then new Mind Brain Behavior program, tutorials for Biological Anthropology, etc. At about the same time, Marc applied for tenure in the anthropology department but was denied, but Steven Pinker, something of a mentor for Marc at that point, lobbied on his behalf (as did others) and he was brought into a tenure slot in the Psychology Department."

An interesting nexus of coincidence, no?