Be Reasonable: Episode #048 – Ed Turner

Ed Turner is a Liverpool-based solicitor and former attendee of Merseyside Skeptics Society Events. In this interview, he talks to Marsh about Campus Craziness, the Regressive Left, Social Justice Warriors, Neo Marxism and the censorship of free speech.

  1. #1 by Lee on January 29, 2018 - 15:35

    What a nightmare… Ed Turner doesn’t have a clue about American racial tensions. And Antifa is a few months old? Older people say we don’t care about tradition, but “SJW” millennials know more about history than folks like him.

  2. #2 by Lee on January 29, 2018 - 15:42

    Plus he doesn’t understand trans issues (to put it nicely). How does he know what chromosomes he has? Has he checked???

  3. #3 by Woody on January 29, 2018 - 20:06

    As an older American, I have to say Ed is very ignorant of what is going on in the US. He’s using alt-right buzzwords and wide brush swipes with unfounded confidence and really needs to educate himself more.

  4. #4 by Woody on January 29, 2018 - 20:34

    I’ve finished the episode now and can sum up Ed with “I haven’t researched it myself but what was said fits what I think so therefore that’s what I’m going with rather that question it”. Ugh, like we don’t have enough confirmation bias in the States, it looks to be a worldwide thing.

  5. #5 by Nathan Lyle on January 29, 2018 - 23:44

    As an american, I have to say this episode was painful to listen to. This podcast has typically been one of my favorites, because of the reasoned approach to conversation with folks who are definitely outside of a reasonable belief system. However, this was like listening to the comments section of a Facebook post. You guys both spoke over each other and responded like you were competing rather than having an actual conversation. I don’t think I’d have minded the topic, had it been a more reasonable conversation. I’ve noticed a tendency for skeptics of a liberal mindset to confuse their political ideas with their skepticism and I heard a lot of that here.

  6. #6 by Patrick M on January 30, 2018 - 00:16

    Yeah Ed Turner is clearly an idiot. The fact that he thinks that protesting speakers in the U.S. is anti-freedom of speech is laughable. Freedom of speech means that Donald Trump or the Congress can’t pass laws to restrict Milo from speaking it doesn’t have ANYTHING to do with students of their own volition getting up and stopping said speech.

    Furthermore there are left wing speakers who literally get dis invited from a school because the right wing board members, decided they don’t want Anna Kasparian to speak, after the students had fought for her to get invited. The only reason we knew about it was because she got fed up with people like Milo and Ann Coulter acting like this only happens to right wingers.

    Actually there’s some dishonesty about the whole thing since what was really happening was Milo and Anne were allowed to speak they just had to cover a few thousand dollars for the police and use a different venue. It was for safety and it is likely a fraction of the amount of money they get in speaking fees anyway. i think it amounted to like 5-10k dollars. So here you have incredibly wealthy people complaining that they are being shut down, because the school demands that their hate rally’s at least have enough security to attempt to ensure peace.

  7. #7 by Patrick M on January 30, 2018 - 00:19

    Hey ed, if you happen to see this, do every reasonable human being on the planet a favor and read this article.

  8. #8 by Tony on January 30, 2018 - 00:23

    Thank you so much Marsh for your incredible patience, intelligence, and integrity. It is so interesting to hear these type of conversations and so few are willing to tackle them. Especially with the sensitivity with which you steer them that allows conversation to flow. I always love to see a new Be Reasonable episode appear in my Podcasts app.

  9. #9 by Patrick M on January 30, 2018 - 00:40

    Safe spaces were a place where gays, transgenders, black people, etc could go and talk about their issues without being judged. Safe spaces like that are absolutely necessary to prevent people from killing themselves in a hostile society.

    In my city religious people protested Hot Topic until Hot Topic closed because that store was “Satanic” and they tried to shut down the Harry Potter series by boycotting them, if you really want to see who the anti-free speech people are they are the right wing. The right wing tries to get movies pulled and boycotted, all the time. Any time the left wing has a peaceful protest with thousands of people against wallstreet they get little coverage until something happens. You get 5 idiot right wingers with tea bags hanging from sun hats calling themselves tea partiers and they’ll do an entire segment and try to get one of them on to talk about how Obamer is destroying er nation.

    So frustrating when someone pretends that the left is the problem, that the right is somehow a victim. The right is not an honest actor. There is no good faith argument from right wingers. They will implement abstinence only education, and when the teen birth rates go up it’s the t.v. or internet or porn’s fault, and the most conservative states pay the most for porn, and Mormon conventions are when hotels make the most off porn subscriptions, and when abortions increase from abstinence only education they’ll try to ban abortions and pretend they weren’t the cause. When they ban abortions they’ll complain about all these welfare recpients, and then they’ll wage racist wars on drugs, and lock up the fathers by stopping every black man they see, and then they’ll ask where the fathers are, and then say they should vote, and then when they go to vote because they don’t have a driver’s license they get turned down, so they go to the DMV locally and see that the DMV in the area got shut down, and so now they have to go way out of their way to a white neighborhood to get a license they don’t need because they take the bus just to vote, and then they have to wait in longer lines because they shut down more polling places in their areas and for some people that’s the best case scenario, for others they’re just locked up in jail because they were in a car with someone who had some weed or a racist cop planted drugs on them to make their quota for the month, and they lost their right to vote for no reason.

    So Ed don’t pretend you have a clue what American politics is like. Don’t pretend that statues put up at the height of the Jim Crow era by KKK supporters isn’t some sort of psychologically damaging action, designed to keep black people down. You don’t understand American politics what so ever so either take an honest effort to learn something for once, or just go away and focus on your own country.

  10. #10 by Jason of Argos on January 30, 2018 - 10:31

    This was very interesting to listen to, especially the ‘height is a social construct’ comment which was later followed with everything is a social construct comment.

    What I did take from this is that there are people that have oratory skills and just enough information to come off as an authority to others less informed. But I don’t mean this as an insult to Ed, but a warning to myself when I am giving my opinion on any subject that I consider myself an expert on.

    That aside, I wish I had 1/2 of the interloculation skills that Marsh has.

  11. #11 by Unremarkable Ears on January 30, 2018 - 15:31

    I liked it when they talked over each other.

  12. #12 by Declan McCafferty on January 31, 2018 - 02:53

    I’d advise anyone to listen to this at 2am while in hospital with chronic pain due to venous leg ulcers. I say this from actual experience.

    The fogey-ish over-reaction from Mr Turner and his idiotic glee at being petty, rude and offensive is so despicable it actually provided a distraction while waiting for a late night doctor to appear with strong pain relief.

  13. #13 by pdubyah on January 31, 2018 - 05:26

    Sadly for me this depended into listening to two idiots arguing.

    Marsh did not get points for this and his mad ‘room full of masked people with clubs and one other person’ point that he laboured either.

  14. #14 by pdubyah on January 31, 2018 - 05:27

    Descended was the word I was looking for there

    pdubyah :
    Sadly for me this depended into listening to two idiots arguing.
    Marsh did not get points for this and his mad ‘room full of masked people with clubs and one other person’ point that he laboured either.

  15. #15 by Rich Talmey on January 31, 2018 - 21:03

    Absolutely bloody typical, this guy hasn’t even looked up the text of the Canadian bill C-16, which is LESS THAN A PAGE LONG.
    Peterson *depends* on his supporters being ignorant of what that bill actually says, and time and time again they show that they can’t be bothered to even look.
    All the bill does is add gender identity to a list of protections against discrimination already in the bill: race, religion etc.
    Ed’s characterisation right off the bat is that the bill makes it a crime to misgender someone, and mandates the use of pronouns. In that moment he’s shown he does not know (or care) what he’s talking about, and that like many Peterson fans the whole pronoun argument is just a proxy for the fact that they don’t want transgender people to exist.

  16. #16 by Jess on February 1, 2018 - 03:29

    This was like fingernails on a chalk board. Extremely unpleasant. Turner is a lawyer??? Imagine someone who is less likely to experience fairness and justice from any number of societal institutions, having to receive legal help from him. What a nightmare! I was struck by his utter callousness.

    Marsh you can’t know everything and you certainly did with data and argument challenge much of what he said. So I’m not complaining or criticising that you didn’t really challenge him when he said there is no science behind implicit bias. He is wrong though. There are some problems with one popular test, the IAT which is tends to be the focus of the attacks. But in many ways, a foundational reason we are skeptics is because of how much we know about our propensity for bias as humans despite intent. There is is a huge body of academic inquiry in areas like cognitive psychology. There are thousands of studies that have nothing to do with the IAT, demonstrating that our behaviour is often not consistent with what we believe about ourselves, etc. We know that our intentions and conscious awareness do not prevent us from bias which is why we employ the scientific method. Aaack!

  17. #17 by Max on February 1, 2018 - 11:51

    Oh boy. I’ve rarely if ever heard Marsh get so… I don’t know, angry? This Ed Turner guy seems like a real pisspot, a pisspot of the worst kind.

  18. #18 by DocM on February 1, 2018 - 12:02

    I just auto-tortured my way through this episode. Glad to hear Marsh challenging the amount of nonsense and badly researched nonsense coming from Ed Turner.

    Two short points I would like to comment on: One is the idea of science showing those differences between men and women. Former QED speaker Angela Saini actually wrote a book about that (“Inferior”), that could help Ed learn something about this topic. Or he could talk to real scientists. Turns out that they probably have very different opinions than he does. The second point is that one of the first lessons I learned when encountering new nazis at school, more then 30 years ago, was that you can not argue with them. A discussion needs two people honestly interested in a discussion, and nazis don’t care about discussions. Fascism is not an intellectual standpoint.

    Inviting somebody who will only use his speech to mock, humiliate and denigrate people to a university does nothing to promote free speech. It just promotes hate.

    To be clear: I’m not saying that Ed is a fascist. He is just arrogant, under-informed and highly motivated to defend the right of assholes to publicly be assholes.

  19. #19 by paul moody on February 1, 2018 - 12:19

    Jesus. This man is clearly just a Mylo fan and nothing more. Just taking what Mylo says at face value. If he was any kind of sceptic he’d at least read about what he’s shovelling here.

  20. #20 by Thomas L on February 1, 2018 - 15:26

    “Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men
    and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

    And you summarize the memo as saying “half of the workforce are biologically ill-equipped to do the work” (~0:29:00)? He did not say that.

  21. #21 by Chris on February 1, 2018 - 19:20

    Lee :
    What a nightmare… Ed Turner doesn’t have a clue about American racial tensions. And Antifa is a few months old?…

    A little history lesson for Mr. Turner:

    Those masked idiots have been showing up for almost twenty years to disrupt peaceful demonstrations. I remember there was a parody song because one was photographed breaking a window with his Nike shoes, but I can’t find it.

    Since I know this will go into moderation here is the local lefty publication’s opinion of those idiots:

  22. #22 by Jim on February 2, 2018 - 22:10

    Wow. It’s something of a revelation when a guest cites the Red Pill as a valid fact source. Ed, just so you are aware, the cherry picked data behind male workplace fatalities doesn’t include the breakdown that the vast majority of the occupations have been male dominated for a long, long time and are almost totally sausagefests. Therefore there are more males in dangerous and “manly” occupations such as forestry and fishing (the two biggest spikes of non-military deaths) because women have traditionally been denied those roles.
    FFS, man, you said earlier in the episode you were a skeptic. Maybe try putting that into practice before you spout off.

  23. #23 by Emily on February 3, 2018 - 00:15

    Good fucking lord. Free Speech in the US means that the government can’t arrest you/persecute you for what you say (except in two situations – threats of harm and liable). A college, a business, etc cannot take away someone’s free speech by restricting their ability to speak on their property. You don’t even understand what “Free Speech” means in this context. Also, do you honestly not see the hypocrisy of claiming the current civil rights movement is the “beginning of Pol Pot,” while stating that people are exaggerating racism, LGBT violence, and misogyny by criticizing those who are attacking them. (There is a hell of a lot of research re: those three. It’s not hard to find.)

    And yes, naming a trans-person IS a threat of violence, even if the picture wasn’t put up (which makes it so much worse). Do you have any idea how many trans people are BUTCHERED every year by bigots? This person wasn’t out. They were legitimately being placed in danger. Ed – you are ignorant, biased, and disgusting. It is extremely telling that you mock and “don’t understand” people who fight for their own/others’ rights, but you use the politically correct name for white supremecists (“alt-right.” They are self-described Nazis. NAZIS)! Also – you recognize blackface as racist, but not the offensiveness in stereotyping Native Americans/First Peoples? We committed genocide on them over and over. Your ignorance is mindblowing. Also – don’t compare yourself to Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. You’re lack of humility is just… Matt Dillahunty doesn’t even do that, and he actually IS of their caliber.

    Marsh – thank you for bringing on these irrational crazies; they deserve to be side-by-side with the likes of Leo Rubello. (Though not all of your guests are anywhere near their degree of unreasonable). As always, thank you for your patience. Thank you to other posters who have already covered a lot of good points, esp DocM and Patrick M.

  24. #24 by Graham on February 4, 2018 - 08:28

    The problem is not the Left or the Right, but a spreading attitude that freedom of speech (however you define the term.) is only a good thing if it benefits your side (whatever that is.) . What they inevitably forget is that someone has to be in charge of the censorship and there is a high probability that what was once approved will become disapproved.

    As for DocMs comments, I’ve confronted people on both sides of the political spectrum and I can tell you this, neither side in this wants to talk.

  25. #25 by Andrew on February 4, 2018 - 21:04

    I agree with Marsh on many points. However, I thnk Thomas L’s comments are fair regarding James Damore. I base this on reading the ‘full memo’ here:

    I fully appreciate I might be wrong. Just my opinion. I agree with Thomas L that the statement “half of the workforce are biologically ill-equipped to do the work”, was possibly a bit of an unfair summary. Great episode by the way.

  26. #26 by Marty on February 10, 2018 - 00:45

    Every one of Ed Turner’s talking points can be directly linked to an episode of The Rubin Report.

  27. #27 by Kari on February 10, 2018 - 20:53

    Damn. Thw more I listen to folks like Ed talk the more their multi-pronged arguments all sound to me like their basis is nothing more sophisticated than, “I need those people to shut up and accept the status quo like they used to in the ‘good old days’.”

  28. #28 by Kari on February 10, 2018 - 21:17

    Actually, I’d revise my comment if I could. They sound like that to me because I think we are coming from entirely different starting assumptions about the world. Theirs would be something like: equal rights already exist for all people, we achieved that milestone already and people who say otherwise are stuck in a victim mentality or they just can’t recognize their own inferiority. Whereas my starting assumption, which I believe is backed by a lot of research, is more like: discrimination against people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ people clearly exists and we have a lot of work to do in order to change it and achieve a more equitable society.

  29. #29 by Misanthrope on February 18, 2018 - 01:04

    I just listened and this is the first time I’ve come to read the episode comments. Thank you to all of the people with rationale sane responses. I was starting to lose my shit there. I feel like sometimes I hate listen to Be Reasonable but this one just hurt. Still a great episode!!!

  30. #30 by Marco on February 20, 2018 - 03:12

    It is sad to see politics and ideology muddy the logic of an intellect who is normally such an extremely clear thinker. It is true that Ed did not present enough evidence to show that the regressive actions of the extremists in the left are actually a growing trend, but it should only take a few verified cases of free speech infringement to concern people enough to want to look into it for themselves. Shame on Marsh for believing it is OK to silence a person because that person is a right winged provocateur. The idea of dismissing an argument outright because it is coming from a person you dislike is anti-intellectual. Bad people who have bad ideologies can have good ideas too, so it is best to critique the posit, not the positor. Also, it is laughable to want to ban a speaker for picking on an audience member for some cruel fun. Most New York comedians would be out of a job if Marsh was boss, and he would probably line up people against the wall like Don Rickles, Robert Smigel, and Lisa Lampanelli!

  31. #31 by Tom Williamson on February 23, 2018 - 17:08

    Marco, have you got any examples of so-called “free speech infringement”? Please keep in mind that student unions are not public spaces, they are not obliged to give anyone a platform.

  32. #32 by Marcus on April 5, 2018 - 12:51

    Michael, you have the patience of a saint, but I laughed out loud a couple of times during this interview.

    The one that stuck out was when Ed said something along the lines of “I don’t really understand what people mean by social constructs” and you moved on and said something like “yes, it is clear you don’t”.

    I think a lot of us grit our teeth while you let some people go on their tirade of crazy, but in this one, you couldn’t help but inject a little snark.

    I don’t blame you at all, since this interview was perhaps the most frustrating to listen to, since Ed seems to think of himself as a skeptic yet clearly is down the rabbit hole of these ridiculous theories coined by extremist fear mongering alternative media.

    Fascinating and infuriating. Especially for a Brit to be repeating Fox News/Breitbart buzzwords.

    You are a bloody saint to be able to do what you do.

    Keep it up.

  33. #33 by Michael C on April 17, 2018 - 17:58

    I must agree with Michael L and disagree with Marsh on one point, the memo did not say that 50% of his colleagues could not do the job. It mentioned about the types of jobs different people gravitate towards.
    There was a bbc show recently with Dr Michael Mosley and Proff Alice Roberts about gender, and it did come down as two things, expectations and aptitude.
    Men on average are more likely to go into engineering and women nursing. Even my wifes old grammar school, which is all girls and specialises in engineering, still has only two A-level classes in physics but three in biology and chemistry, and this is with them wanting more of the girls to do physics.

  34. #34 by Derek on April 29, 2018 - 23:00

    Really tired of hearing Hitchen’s name dragged through the mud and put on all fours with these cretins

    Hitch had something to say, and he cared about truth.

    The alt right and alt-lite are the exact opposite. They have talking points, they don’t have anything to say.

  35. #35 by Tony on November 25, 2018 - 10:19

    Going through old God Awful Movies podcasts and after hearing the guest hosting bit decided to give Be Reasonable a try and picked this for a first episode … made it about 15 minutes in.

    It kills me that this guy spends the preceeding several minutes going “Well this guy was attacked for wearing dreadlocks…well not attacked but verbally attacked” followed soon after by talking about how mean people were to Jordan Peterson on twitter.
    Then when asked about Milo openly targeting and harassing someone from the stage “Well these are just words.”

    So when other people are like “Hey fuck you you shouldn’t have that hairstyle” it’s an assault, when people are like “Hey you’re nazi” it’s an attack, but when you literally target someone and talk about how fuckable you find them in front of an audience, that’s “Just words”.

    How do people like him not recognize the blatant hypocrisy?
    To paraphrase Mel Brooks “Hypersensitivity is you being pissed off I called you ever single slur I can and saying you don’t have a right to exist. Persecution is when you say ‘Fuck off asshole’ for me having said that.”

  36. #36 by Quiet on February 2, 2019 - 03:54

    Rich TalmeyIn that moment he’s shown he does not know (or care) what he’s talking about, and that like many Peterson fans the whole pronoun argument is just a proxy for the fact that they don’t want transgender people to exist.

    While you’re right about most, the last statement is dangerous. I don’t think people who oppose a mandatory use of gender-pronouns necessarily are in any way “anti-transgender”. It doesn’t matter much if they are actually mandatory, to oppose them. While I am very much in favor of being as polite and un-offending as possible, its not something that should be forced. I’d rather know who I’m talking to, then listen to dishonest politeness. We have to talk to each other, and listen to each other, to get anywhere. Guilting people into trying to change something as deep as their grammar, is inappropriately invasive to say the least and it will prevent communication. That again will likely lead to more Polarisation and more Discrimination.

    You will find many people among minorities who are fundamentally opposed to any concept of sanctioning “hate-speech” or even “insults”. Many of them are quite left-winged. They don’t like it, because history tells them: If it’s ok to sanction expression -> In the long run the members of the minority are the ones, who’s speech and expression will be sanctioned. Diffamation off a person or group in public is a different story, and should be sanctioned, but very carefully so. You should be allowed to call somebody narcissistic, or whatever the hell you want, if that’s what you think.

    For me as homosexual man, the notion that somebody dictates the way I behave and the words i use, almost immediately feels like a threat to my identity. Be it through sanction or conformity and guilt. If pronouns can be offensive and might be considered a violation –> a gay pride can too. That’s the point. The words i use are a part of who I am, i can’t just change them, neither do I want to. I’ve been forced to try that long enough.

    There is a subtle way of making you feel guilty for what you are even if you can’t really help it. People who don’t belong to a minority often don’t know it, but it is pretty much discrimination itself. This subtle pressure spawns massive anger. But turning the knife around won’t create a better world. Yes language can hurt, but laws banning “homosexual behavior” hurt more. Feelgood-laws that only lead to pointless court cases about “who said and meant what”, might do more harm than good.

  37. #37 by Seriously? on April 30, 2020 - 23:43

    I seem to be listening to these all out of order, and so I am late to the party on this one.

    I haven’t even finished the episode, and so I will look very silly if this is addressed, but it’s burning me up to not say.

    I’m a Canadian, and like the other commenter pointed out re: the text of Bill C-16, it absolutely doesn’t say what Peterson and now Mr. Turner are insisting that it does. Here’s a link, from no less than Fox News, agreeing that no one, repeat no one, is in danger of being criminally charged for accidentally misgendering someone in Canada.

    Full stop. The end. Anyone repeating this claim has not done even the most basic research on the subject, or they are lying to you deliberately.

    Jordan Peterson has risen to fame by insisting that he would never use someone’s preferred pronouns, which, by the way, he was never even asked to do. The entire situation was purely hypothetical, and yet he’s somehow conjured a career out of it. I’d be in awe of his resourcefulness if it wasn’t so infuriating.

    Thank you for pushing back on Mr. Turner’s confident, yet wildly under-informed claims.

  38. #38 by Arlo on May 22, 2020 - 03:46

    I’ve heard Ben Shapiro (sp?) called lots of things but that’s the first time I’ve heard anyone have the cheek to call him “a sober speaker”!

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