Scott Aaronson in Shtetl-Optimized:
You see, when Pinker says he supports Enlightenment norms of reason and humanism, he really means to say that he supports unbridled capitalism and possibly even eugenics. As I read this sort of critique, the hair stands on my neck, because the basic technique of hostile mistranslation is so familiar to me. It’s the technique that once took a comment in which I pled for shy nerdy males and feminist women to try to understand each other’s suffering, as both navigate a mating market unlike anything in previous human experience—and somehow managed to come away with the take-home message, “so this entitled techbro wants to return to a past when society would just grant him a female sex slave.”
I’ve noticed that everything Pinker writes bears the scars of the hostile mistranslation tactic. Scarcely does he say anything before he turns around and says, “and here’s what I’m not saying”—and then proceeds to ward off five different misreadings so wild they wouldn’t have occurred to me, but then if you read Leon Wieseltier or John Gray or his other critics, there the misreadings are, trotted out triumphantly; it doesn’t even matter how much time Pinker spent trying to prevent them.