(1) This happened in 2002, (2) Pinker didn't know Epstein personally at the time and the ticket was booked by his literary agent, (3) the flight was to a science-related event in California and included other scientists who were also booked by the same literary agent.
Simply saying, "Pinker has flown on the Lolita Express" and leaving it at that is an intentionally misleading attempt to create a false image of what happened in the reader's mind.
> Pinker… helped with Epstein's legal defense
Alan Dershowitz, a professor at Harvard alongside Pinker, represented Epstein in that case. Pinker is a linguist. At some point Alan asked Pinker for his opinion about the semantics of a law, Pinker gave it, and that opinion was cited in a court document.
Again, it's intentionally misleading to simply say that Pinker helped with Epstein's legal defense that led to him avoiding a prison term.
This is one of the worst things about the Internet -- people happily joining in on witch hunts intended to destroy other people based on no more information than a misleading soundbite, headline, or tweet.
You're proving the OP's point about overreactions.
That literary agent being John Brockman, who seems to be in as deep as anyone - he pitched "science-related events" to his writers by saying Epstein would be bringing girls!
Pinker being close to Dershowitz is a red flag to me.
But to claim that a defense lawyer being lawyerly means they are >50% likely to have committed the same crime as their client is questionable, to say the least.
The human tendency to direct our ire and malice in an ever-outwardly expanding circle of blame-by-association is exactly what feeds lynch mobs.
I encourage you to read his statements and decide for yourself whether his refutation is credible - I find his insinuation that the accuser was attempting to extort him implausible.