Everything is aired in the bracing dialectic wind

From Rebecca Goldstein’s Plato at the Googleplex:

Plato presents the journey to the light as a largely solitary one, though some unseen person does yank the prisoner out of the cave; but the format of the dialogues (as well as his having founded the Academy) encourages the view that, on the contrary, Plato conceived of philosophy as necessarily gregarious rather than solitary. The exposure of presumptions is best done in company, the more argumentative the better. This is why discussion round the table is so essential. This is why philosophy must be argumentative. It proceeds by way of arguments, and the arguments are argued over. Everything is aired in the bracing dialectic wind stirred by many clashing viewpoints. Only in this way can intuitions that have their source in societal or personal idiosyncrasies be exposed and questioned. [pp 38-9]

Good eh?

No Fifth for you

Poor Duggars. They’re still in the weeds, trying to figure out why god won’t pluck them to safety.

According to In Touch, which first broke the molestation story involving the former “19 Kids and Counting” star, one of 27-year-old Josh Duggar’s victims who isn’t in his immediate family will be filing a civil lawsuit against him.

The anonymous source who told In Touch about the lawsuit added that it could be very damaging not just for Josh, but the entire family, because as a civil proceeding about a crime whose statute of limitations has expired, neither he nor his parents would be allowed to plead the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination.

Aww…so they have to spill or be in contempt?

Being forced to answer uncomfortable questions about when they knew about Josh’s behavior — and after they learned about it, what measures they took to protect his siblings and their friends from him — could put the future of “19 Kids and Counting” in even greater jeopardy than it already is.

Or, who knows, it could just prompt even more on-air crying and complaints of martyrdom to the Libbrul Agenda.

Legal experts told In Touch that the victim will be eligible to sue Josh Duggar under Arkansas Code Annotated Section 16-56-130, which stipulates that victims of a sexual assault can bring civil litigation against their attackers whenever they begin to feel the effects of the abuse — even if that occurs years later.

I wonder if there are similar stipulations in states where Bill Cosby pursued his hobby.


How The Times science journalism rolls

Chapter 72 or thereabouts.

Hilda Bastian ‏@hildabast 4 hours ago
@deborahblum @david_colquhoun @David_Dobbs How The Times science journalism rolls http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/science/article4485280.ece … 1/2 #Yeesh

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Honorary fellowship is conferred by UCL to people who “have attained distinction in the arts, literature, science, business or public life”. The Times approached those fellows whose contact details were available online. Of those who responded, 21 criticised the university, four were neutral and none backed UCL.

Notice the problems? How can they know “those who responded” were representative of anything? How can they know people who took the opposite view didn’t just decide not to give the Times any more oxygen? How can we know the Times really did approach “those fellows whose contact details were available online”? Haha we can’t, they didn’t even approach David Colquhoun, whose contact details are available online.

[Read more…]

Guest post: So, should I make poutine instead?

Guest post by Anthony K, inspired by a conversation about multicultural cooking and eating as “appropriation.”

“Hi, you’ve reached ‘Livin’ Liberal’. Anthony from Edmonton, you’re on the line.”
“Hey, love the show. First time caller. It’s Canada Day, and we’re going to a party. My wife wants me to make avocado dip. Is that allowed?”
“Well, that depends. What’s your nationality?”
“Canadian. So, should I make poutine instead?”
“Do you speak French?”
“I know where my aunt’s pen is.”
“Then, non. What’s your ethnicity?”
“Croatian and Lithuanian. But I don’t speak those languages either.”
“Alright. Well, what’s the first thing your parents taught you to cook?”
“Breaded fried chicken.”
“No good. What else?”
“Oh, I remember we ate a lot of potato pancakes. That’s a Lithuanian thing.”
“Are you Jewish?”
“No, we were Catholic. I think the Catholics appropriated the potato pancakes from the Jews. My grandmother used to bake bagels before church.”
“Well, I think we can give you a bit of a pass. Thanks for call—”
“—I hate ’em.”
“What’s that?”
“Potato pancakes. Can’t stand them.”
“Alright, well, what do you like to cook that’s close?”
“Roti. First thing I taught myself to cook. And curry.”
“But you’re not—”
“Nope. Not as far as I know.”
“Well caller, there’s only one thing you can do: fake sick and stay home. Thanks for calling.

Folks, you’re listening to ‘Livin’ Liberal’. You check your cat’s litterbox, but do you check its privilege? Find out why you should after these messages from our sponsor.”

What’s next? Donating the proceeds from sale of his unicorn?

A blistering explanation of what’s sexist about the backlash against the response to Tim Hunt’s day out by medical doctor Amy Tuteur.

Tim Hunt made offensive comments about women scientists in front of a group of women scientists. He apologized and he resigned.

Many men feel very bad about this.

No, not bad about the fact that Hunt felt free to humiliate women at a meeting designed to honor them. Be serious! They felt bad that any male scientist should be held to account for his not so subtle put down.

[Read more…]

Church fires

An AME church burned to the ground last night in Greeleyville, South Carolina. It was burned down once before, twenty years ago. An anonymous fed told reporters the preliminary indications are not arson.

The predominantly African American congregation is more than 100 years old. Their church building had previously been burned to the ground in June 1995, almost exactly 20 years before Tuesday’s blaze.

Two young white men with ties to the Ku Klux Klan were arrested in connection with the fire, according to documents from House Judiciary Committee hearings held in 1996. The men were members of the KKK during the time of the burnings, but since renounced their membership, their lawyer said.

Arrested but not tried or convicted? The Post doesn’t say. [Read more…]

Quite the rabbit hole

Phil Plait says ALL the things.

He starts with Tim Hunt’s day out.

He made a series of sexist comments, saying that the problem with “girls” in science is that they fall in love with the men, the men fall in love with them, and when you confront them they cry. He then went on to suggest labs should be single-sex.

He thought at first it was a very bad joke, but found there’s more to it than that.

Many science journalists were at the lunch and witnessed the whole thing, including Deborah Blum, Ivan Oransky, Charles Seife, and Connie St. Louis. After discussing what they saw and heard, they decided St. Louis should write an article about it on her blog at Scientific American. What’s very important to note here is that both Blumand Oransky have corroborated St. Louis’s report, multiple times. Seife did as well. Blum asked Hunt about his comments, and he confirmed that he thought women were too emotional to work with men in labs. [Read more…]

Thankfully former

Tim Fenton at the blog Zelo Street has, like me, been watching the obsessive bullying by Louise Mensch of anyone who reported on Tim Hunt’s crappy sexist “jokes” at that fateful lunch in Seoul.

[A]s the first paper to indulge in whataboutery over Hunt’s comments was the Murdoch Times, it should surprise no-one that (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch has gone off on one about the story – and is still at it, two and a half weeks later. “He said it in a very lighthearted manner with no outward hint of malice, condescension, or derision” she claims of Hunt’s remarks, omitting that this was someone’s opinion, delivered after the event.

He shares a lot of her rude, aggressive, imperious, threatening tweets – a lot yet they are a fraction of the number she has sent. Stuff like this –

[Read more…]

If a highly respected and liked Nobel Laureate can say it

Something Hilda Bastian said in a comment on Dorothy Bishop’s post on the media spin of Tim Hunt’s day out.

The differences here do not seem to be so much “what” was said, but whether or not it was meant to be “self-deprecating.” And that is rather beside the point. The statements included some extraordinarily hurtful stereotypes about a gender, and about one gender in the scientific workplace. That sends a message, if a highly respected and liked Nobel Laureate can say it, then there’s something ok with it. The outpouring of both sexist, misogynist, and now racist statements across the comment streams of newspapers and the internet generally, with people clearly thinking they have some kind of common cause with a Nobel Laureate, proves the point of how harmful social sanction for sexist remarks can be. That’s not less so if it’s a joke, and not less so if they are not intended to be malicious. Saying afterwards “hey, just kidding!” doesn’t make it alright.

All of that. This whole phenomenon of people raging about feminist lynch mobs is yet another bit of social sanction for sexist remarks (and sexist diatribes and sexist rants and sexist lectures). I’m not as depressed and disgusted as I might be, because there are a lot of excellent people pushing back against the sexism…but I’m still pretty disgusted by how quick people are to attack feminism while denying obvious sexism. [Read more…]