This Week in Fantasy Intellectual Teams
High scorers and top content, week ended May 7. McWhorter as MVP?
There was a lot of scoring this week in Fantasy Intellectual Teams.
In the May League, with players drafted by readers like you, the category leaders included Jonathan Turley for caveats, with four separate posts where he took a position while mentioning weak points in that position. He was not someone I followed, but his legal analysis of prominent issues is careful, and he does a lot of it.
John McWhorter was the Most Valuable Player of the week, leading in both the steelman category (giving a good account of a point of view with which one disagrees) and the open-minded category (articulating how one has changed one mind or how one would change it).
Russ Roberts and Robert Wright took the lead in the Devil’s Advocate category. They each asked pointed questions during podcast interviews this week.
Another leader was Emily Oster, in the category of evaluating research, as she does on her Parent Data substack. Megan McArdle published three columns this week, and all earned points, with two earning a steelman point and one earning a caveat point.
In the Think Tank League, Reason took the lead, with Robby Soave looking like a strong contributor. But all the think tanks are off to a slow start.
In the Media Stars League, the academics and the podcasters took the early lead. Yascha Mounk got the academics going with the first point of the season, but it was McWhorter who was the MVP.
Interestingly, the academics got most of their points from podcasts, even though they are not on the podcast team! If this turns out to be a trend, then either the scoring system is biased toward podcasting or podcasts are a superior medium for generating quality intellectual content.
Many of the notable contributions for the week discussed issues related to COVID vaccines. Tyler Cowen’s conversation with David Carpenter included a lively debate about the FDA’s performance. Zvi Mowshowitz was one of many who disapproved of President Biden’s patent waiver (Megan McArdle and Alex Tabarrok also weighed in against). Zvi’s update on the state of COVID is not to be missed.
Nick Gillespie’s interview with John McWhorter on nasty words and race issues is both entertaining and informative. Coleman Hughes and Julia Galef had a long, interesting discussion of her important new book on motivating yourself to be open to being wrong, with each of them asking Devil’s Advocate questions of the other.
But my vote for the most impressive item this week is the podcast with Glenn Loury and John McWhorter. Both of them demonstrated steelmanning twice (each one separately steelmans Kmele Foster at the end), with McWhorter also scoring one caveat point and two Open to changing his mind points.
Do you agree that this podcast showed two intellectuals at the top of their game? In any case, I think that the May season got off to an exciting start. There is a lot of action to enjoy.