It’s nice to be able to sit back and let Mano take on Sam Harris. He’s laid out all the flaws in the standard Harris formula.
Invent incredibly contrived scenario in which all that you love and hold dear is imperiled.
Make the villain Muslim, especially a “Muslim jihadi”, who are especially dangerous because they look like all other Muslims, except that they are amoral fanatics who will die to kill you.
Resolve the scenario with an otherwise morally reprehensible solution that we would not accept in any real-world situation.
Sit back, preen a bit about how he is the only person brave enough to contemplate the unthinkable so coolly and objectively.
When people point out the absurdity of his excuses and his perniciously vile efforts to justify amoral acts, fall back on accusations that his critics didn’t actually understand what he wrote. He didn’t mean “Muslims”, he really meant “People other than Jerry Seinfeld,” for instance.
He isn’t using reason at all. He’s making appeals to strong emotion (They’re going to murder your daughter!) and bigotry (They’re Muslims, so deranged by their evil religion that they will die for their wicked cause!). His fans accept those premises, and then fall all over themselves to condemn anyone who disagrees with the Harris Formula of wanting to help Muslims kill little girls.
Hey, gang, I’ve been offline for a while — it’s a week for getting caught up with my grading (I’m still behind. I’m always behind). So I’ve been letting the commenters do the talking for a few days, and there are some good words in the thread about Geoff Marcy.
I work in UC Berkeley’s astronomy department. On Friday, during my lab’s lunch, the professor I work for announced this to us. I was not at all surprised by Geoff being the one found guilty. What’s even worse is that the Title IX office concluded their investigation three months ago and just sat on it without telling anyone. I wasn’t aware of the full extent of Geoff’s behavior (I knew of women that were creeped out by him), and lots of people are furious about how both the university and the astronomy department handled this. The whole situation is just fucked, and it’s really shameful that no substantial punishment is being handed out for this.
“The punishment Geoff is receiving here in the court of hysterical public opinion is far out of proportion to what he did and has taken responsibility for in his apology,” Dr. Kegley wrote.
There’s been no regard for the victims from the department or the university. The way this has been handled is a total shitshow.
I remember when I learned that the skeptic/atheist movement was full of harassing jerks — I was shocked. And then these people started getting exposed in every discipline, from literature and philosophy to physics, and it started to sink in that the entire world is a playground for assholes, which might have been a relief (whew, it’s not just my communities!) but is incredibly depressing instead.
Now add astronomy to the list. One of their most prominent representatives, Geoff Marcy, has been revealed to be a serial sexual harasser, someone who has wrecked women’s careers in astronomy. And it’s a familiar story: the women in that community all knew of his reputation, and it was an open secret.
“He’s had a long history of behaving inappropriately, especially with undergraduates,” said Kirkpatrick, who at the time was a graduate student at Berkeley studying astrophysics. “Women discouraged other women from working with him as a research advisor. It was just something that was talked about pretty frankly among the women in the department.”
Kirkpatrick, who has since left academia, continues to run the Women in Astronomy blog, through which she says three other women have approached her with accounts of their experiences with Marcy.
It’s front-page news in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today! A dinosaur fossil was found in Minnesota!
It’s kind of a sad thing, though. This is it.
Yeah, one rather worn claw. But it is rare.
The fully intact claw, thought to be about 90 million years old, is only Minnesota’s third piece of dinosaur remains ever documented, experts say.
We have excuses. Through much of the late Cretaceous, we were under an inland sea — “The most common finds include shark teeth, clams, snails and ammonites, or prehistoric coiled shells” — and then we got bulldozed by these giant walls of ice called glaciers, so this is not the best place to go looking for the remains of large terrestrial tetrapods from the Mesozoic.
But it made the front page! Even if we’re going to get condescending grins from Alberta and Montana and Utah.