The intellectual dark web is sophistically tying together biology and social behavior to justify discrimination
By Christopher T. Conner, Published May 8, 2022 7:30PM (EDT)
Over the course of the pandemic, conservatives and far right representatives have mobilized in a widespread assault on science as an institution. While this was an ongoing phenomenon well before COVID, over the pandemic it has expanded into a variety of issues relevant that concern the LGBTQ+ community — especially in light of recent schools’ decision to remove safe space stickers or anything related to Pride, and the expected overturning of Roe v. Wade.
At the center of the maelstrom are a group of individuals who call themselves the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW)—so named by New York Times reporter Barry Weiss, and a label they have also used to describe themselves. While to most people this conjures up images of websites where people can buy illicit substances, the Intellectual Dark Web is merely a loosely affiliated group of celebrity academics and pseudo-intellectuals.
These include people like internet talk show hosts like Ben Shapiro and Joe Rogan; but also discredited academics like Jordan Peterson, Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying, who use their scientific credentials to justify conservative positions on hot button “culture war” topics like the legislation targeting the existence of LGBTQ+ people, prohibitions on critical race theory, and anti-abortion legislation — creating a rift between some individuals aligned with the IDW. Although the Intellectual Dark Web is not a formal organization, their mutual support has allowed their collective impact to be felt far and wide.