You may have heard the term Intellectual Dark Web. But what is it and why should you care? It is a loose collection of intellectuals and academics who have found a large audience online while also being controversial figures in the media.

The term was initially coined by the mathematician Eric Weinstein, brother of biologist Bret Weinstein, who was the target of leftist activism at Evergreen University. The people who are typically associated with the Intellectual Dark Web are folk like Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Ben Shapiro, Bret Weinstein, Gad Saad, Joe Rogan and Dave Rubin.

The central binding figure of the Dark Web is perhaps Dave Rubin, host of the popular Rubin Report on YouTube. Rubin used to be a progressive working for The Young Turks, but when he saw the craziness on the left, he abandoned it and started his own show. Today he regards himself as a libertarian or classical liberal.

Almost all the people associated with the Intellectual Dark Web have been on his show at one time and recently many of them appeared there together.

Joe Rogan

Another major figure is Joe Rogan, whose YouTube show has nearly three million subscribers. His three-hour long conversations have become immensely popular and demolished the conventional wisdom that viewers only have a five-minute attention span.

An honest dialogue

Peterson and Rogan recently discussed what the Intellectual Dark Web is, and Peterson listed some common factors. Even though the group of thinkers disagree politically and philosophically on almost everything, each of them has a significantly sized platform and audience. All of them also support free speech and reject the postmodernist nonsense coming out of the universities lately.

They all want an honest conversation. That’s why they all fit so well into a long, unedited format, where the real exchange of ideas can take place and not just a rat race for a thirty-second blurb on the news.

Rather than being a force of polarization, they are the opposite. They often engage in heated debate, but at a high level and always respectful. Audiences have been thirsting for intelligent discourse for a long time, it appears. They express that they are not out to defeat an opponent but to bring the conversation to the middle in a civil tone.

An alternative to fake academia

By now, most people are familiar with the term “fake news.” The mainstream media is so corrupt that hardly anyone trusts them anymore. That is why we now have a flourishing alternative media and is part of that movement.

Similarly, there is a fake academia. The universities are corrupt, possibly beyond repair. They don’t just promote bad science but are often explicitly anti-scientific, claiming that science is part of the white patriarchy.

The Intellectual Dark Web can be thought of as the analogue to the alternative media. It is an alternative to the fake academia, trying to create a platform for reviving scientific and intellectual debate. Time will tell whether the group will succeed, but their progress so far presents grounds for optimism.


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Onar Åm

International Correspondent at

Onar is a Norwegian author who has written extensively on politics, technology, and science. He has a mathematics and physics background and has been a technological entrepreneur for twenty years, working in areas ranging from biomass gasification and AI to 3D cameras and 3D TV. He is currently also the Editor of the alternative news site Ekte Nyheter (Authentic News) in Norway.

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International Correspondent