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Sep 23 2013

That isn’t how diversity works

Some people didn’t like Bill Nye’s appearance on “Dancing With The Stars”. That’s OK, maybe he’s not such a great dancer…oh, wait, they didn’t like it because it was bad for science? What?

Nye wore a lab coat while he and his partner did the chachacha to the song "Weird Science," while dancing through a set of life-sized beakers. Nye’s appearance on Dancing was so bad it has him facing elimination, after getting the lowest score in the bunch.

His dance did end with fans cheering his name, and he had the biggest social media buzz of any contestants.

But I think his over-the-top performance on "Dancing With The Stars" on Monday night was a disservice to the science community by reinforcing stereotypes that scientists are nerdy, old white men who can’t dance. These stereotypes are what keep women and minorities out of science.

Hang on a minute there. I’m all for more diversity in science, and think there should be more women and minorities in the game. That does not mean that we nerdy old white men have to go crawl into a closet somewhere. The idea is that more women and minorities can get opportunities to do science and get promoted within their disciplines, not that old white men have to stop dancing. I don’t even see the connection here: is it the stereotype that black men are better dancers? That women are prettier on the dance floor? That dancing has anything at all to do with success in a science career?

Bill Nye is a very famous science popularizer (that the audience was chanting his name is a good sign of what he has done for science), and he apparently also likes to dance. Unless he beat up or intimidated a better woman to earn that slot on the show, or some kind of silent discrimination kept a more worthy black scientist from getting a chance to hoof it on the dance floor, I say good for Bill Nye, and yes, nerdy old white men are still allowed to be scientists and to dance. And that’s good for science, because it humanizes the people who are doing science.

Also, I thought Nye was a pretty good dancer…maybe not the best ever, but far, far better than I am. Are we really going to oppose the stereotype that nerdy scientists can’t dance by telling them to not dance?

72 comments

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  1. 1
    pHred

    I am pretty sure the fact that Bill Nye has just appeared on Dancing with the Stars negates blame for decades of under representation of women and minorities in science. Unless they are suggesting that old white male scientists have secretly been dancing in front of people in an effort to drive them away from science. Okay now I have a really scary image of some of my physics profs dancing in my head. I’m pretty sure this would have been reported in school papers complete with pictures.

  2. 2
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Bill Nye has been reinforcing the commonly-held stereotype that scientists are awesome for too long now.

  3. 3
    Ivan

    Yeah, this must have been the greatest blow to American science since Feynman’s drum concert.

  4. 4
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Someone is reinforcing the stereotype that the vast majority of journalists are mindless twits and douchebags.

  5. 5
    gog

    These stereotypes are what keep women and minorities out of science.

    All of my “what.”

  6. 6
    cartomancer

    This situation seems to parallel one in the LGBT community quite closely. Often one will hear the criticism that the stereotypical camp, queeny gay men (and the equally stereotypical butch lesbians) are ruining it for everyone by being so prominent, because the whole point is that we’re trying to show that not everyone LGBT is a stereotype like that.

    But that’s not all we’re trying to achieve. Yes, we need to show that we’re not all like that, but we are also trying to show that there’s nothing wrong with being like that if it’s how you are most comfortable. That being camp and queeny is not a cause for shame, and doesn’t make you a lesser person.

    It seems to me that science (and academia in general) needs to celebrate its stereotypical “nerdy” aspects as well as promoting diversity in more usual ways. And something like this is a gloriously silly and very effective way to do it. The goal is to stop seeing the stereotype as a stereotype, not to eradicate the behaviour that has been stereotyped. And not to see it as a negative either.

  7. 7
    vexorian

    Is the implication that women and minorities just like dancing soooo much that they wouldn’t join a career that is stereotyped as bad at dancing?

  8. 8
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    I sure like the old days better, when Bill Nye was successfully promoting science to a young audience by dressing in drag or wearing blackface. This new “white guy” thing just isn’t him.

  9. 9
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Don’t even get me started on this “aging” stuff Nye insists on doing. How can he appeal to today’s youth if he keeps getting increasingly older than they are? It’s a disservice to science!

  10. 10
    apfergus

    I’m a young white nerdy scientist and I’ve been taking dance classes for almost a year now. My wife and I are doing a cha cha solo at our studio’s next event (and now I’m wishing we’d thought of Weird Science). Am I doing a disservice to science?

  11. 11
    unbound

    Have to consider the source. Business Insider isn’t exactly a beacon for science unless the science can make mega-bucks for someone…

  12. 12
    Jackie, all dressed in black

    My kids love to watch Bill Nye. My kids also took dance lessons. They love talent competition shows. I like that Bill is demonstrating to my kids that you can be interested in various things. You can be The Science Guy and you can Dance the cha-cha. Further, he’s breaking down stereotypes just by being a man who enjoys dance. When my kids took their classes my sons were two of the three boys taking dance classes that year. Dance is stereotyped as something girls do. I mean, when was the last time you saw a boys T-shirt with a dancer on it? Dolls marketed to girls come in tut-tus. Dolls (action figured..*eyeroll*…whatever) marketed to boys do not come in tap shoes or ballet tights. While there are a few exceptions (Fred Astaire and Barryshnikov come to mind) dance is not usually associated with white men. Dancing for someone else’s entertainment is something the less privileged do. John Lennon used dance to compare sexism and racism with the line, “We make her paint her face and dance.” Bill, probably didn’t think about any of that. He probably just likes to dance. Either way, good for him. He’s sending the message that boys can dance and people who like to dance can also like science.

  13. 13
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    @vexorian #7

    I thought the implication was that women and minorities would only consider science as a career if the white guys already dominating the field were seen as cool, hip, and sexy. (?!?)

  14. 14
    edselby

    Do I have to point out that he isn’t a scientist? He’s an engineer

    (I keed! I keed!)

  15. 15
    Becca Stareyes

    Well, they could always invite Neil de Grasse Tyson, if he’s willing, on and have him and Bill have a dance off. Show a diversity of ‘people who talk science’, which is sort of the point: not that scientists are never white men, but that they are everyone.

  16. 16
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I have to say that I’m a punk rocker, in the sense that I never listened to punk in my formative years. No, because I was musically snobby, I listened to AC/DC. Obviously the rock equivalent of Benjamin Britten, dont’cha know? But later I actually got exposed to music that actually rebelled in meaningful ways instead of screaming, “I’m a rebel,” in the most puerile ways possible [I'm looking at you, Judas Priest] for which I had great contempt. When you’re an 80s band under Reagan with the name Operation Ivy, or a band in the post-Cold War triumphalist period singing, “Reject…Mausoleums, …Reject…all American,” you attract my respectful attention – even if, as in the first case, I was too head-in-a-book to notice the band existed til after it was gone.

    But, yeah, punk rock as an adult at least. And lawyers aren’t known for being punk. So what would have happened if I had an example of an older, white-guy lawyer playing punk rock loudly and having fun doing it, but not being the best punk rocker on the stage? Hell, it probably would have brought me to law school a lot sooner. [For the record, the first band practice of my new punk duo - in which I am decidedly the lesser partner - occurred in the women's center last week and struggled through that punk classic, "My Favorite Mistake" by Sheryl Crowe]

    For the vast majority of us, dancing isn’t about some skill set, some tool box. It’s about finding embodied joy. For those who have been stereotyped as disembodied, exactly how does striving for embodiment discourage those who have been stereotyped as only bodies? Though not particularly true for me, a huge number of us that experience forced embodiment find solace and even great joy through channeling that embodiment into areas we find pleasurable, like dance.

    If the divide is between disembodied brains, stereotyped as white, male, and largely asexual (for sexuality requires embodiment) and the rest of us, described as important for our bodies (men of color, all women) or entirely dismissed on the nominal basis of our bodies (cripples, trans folk), Nye’s refusal to be disembodied, to dance, arms outstretched to an embodied partner, extends a hand to those of us who have been denied the chance to be a brain.

    Though, I suppose, if you are seeking identification with the most popular, Nye hurt your chances of becoming a scientist by not winning. Might I suggest that if you are primarily seeking the limelight, reflected or direct, you may not have been a candidate-scientist anyway.

  17. 17
    iplon

    You can *kinda* see where they are coming from. Like, if I stretch my mind a bit, I could see from a certain angle that it would be nice to see some not-white not-male scientists being out in the public’s eye for nothing but the fact that they are pop-scientists.

    However, we’ve reached an old dilemma here. Do we bring some fresh, yet completely unknown, underprivileged/minority face into the mix, or do we keep giving the old white guy the reigns because he may be more successful in the public eye due to old stereotypes still at large?

    Of course, there’s another (more obvious) angle of difficulty here. Do we really want to highlight our new faces and minds from the scientific community for… their dancing talents? I would think the thing we want to happen would be to extend more and more previously denied opportunities to minority scientists in *scientific* positions.

  18. 18
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Crip Dyke

    [For the record, the first band practice of my new punk duo - in which I am decidedly the lesser partner - occurred in the women's center last week and struggled through that punk classic, "My Favorite Mistake" by Sheryl Crowe]

    Weird coincidence. this showed up in the related videos for summat I was watching only last night. Shame about the awful audio: what I can make out sounds is if it was pretty good.
    </OT>

  19. 19
    ck

    vexorian wrote:

    Is the implication that women and minorities just like dancing soooo much that they wouldn’t join a career that is stereotyped as bad at dancing?

    The men without hats seem to think that dancers should not befriend non-dancers:

    We can dance if we want to
    We can leave your friends behind
    ‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance
    Well they’re no friends of mine

  20. 20
    nora

    I think his appearance defies the sterotype that scientists are old, nerdy, white men who can’t dance. He had some moves!

    And the crowd was clearly with him. Isn’t it a good thing when people cheer scientists?

  21. 21
    gussnarp

    One could make the case that the story line of the dance, with the old, white, male scientist creating a beautiful young woman to love him – is problematic as hell. But then, almost every story line to a dance like that is, isn’t it? But in this case, as a middle-aged, white, male I’m willing to accept it as an introduction to him for the audience and an opportunity to celebrate someone on the show for their intellect rather than their jock prowess.

    I had a bigger problem with the judges. I’ve only ever seen a few clips of this show, and I only saw the Bill Nye clip of that episode. But I take it they’re judging these random people the way real competitive ballroom dancers are judged, perhaps with a bit of leeway. But here’s the thing about dancing, coming from someone who can’t do it. Dancing has many components, but the most fundamental of these is rhythm, hence why I can’t do it. The most basic element to being a good dancer is putting the right foot in the right place at the right time relative to the music. Now beyond that you get into how high you can kick, how much style you do it with, whatever. I think it’s funny that the judges were tearing into Nye basically because, on his first dance on the show, they didn’t like his stylistic elements. Meanwhile, Nye actually dances recreationally, and appears to have the rhythm component down, i.e., he can actually dance. I have seen clips of dancers on that show who didn’t have that. So I’m afraid we’re seeing Nye get judged poorly because he’s old and stiff and his partner and/or choreographer is trying to work with that. Nye’s not going to be an athletic, flexible dancer. But if he’s got the rhythm, should that really stop him? I hope the audience will trump the judges on this one. I think they’ve got it in for him (or the producers knew he’d get good public response and actually commanded poor scores from the judges to gin up drama).

  22. 22
    ludicrous

    Crip @ 16 wrote:

    ““I’m a rebel,” in the most puerile ways possible…….”

    Puerile is an interesting word. Dictionaries suggest it’s usually a synonym for childish. I wonder if it isn’t a euphemism for childish in that it slightly obscures its negative stereotype of young people.

    Whenever I make this comment, many reply that it is a true stereotype, the young are immature, silly, undeveloped naive etc etc. Whether it is true or not is not the point. My point is that it seems to me disrespectful. Why USE the young for an example when you want to desparage someone. There are other ways to criticise without invoking some group. Why not just say directly what you don’t like about any particular behavior or habit.

    Use of the young as negative stereotypes is extremely common, nobody thinks anything of it, but it bugs the shit out of me, leave the kids out of it whenever you wish to cast aspersions. Some of them read FTB. You don’t like this rant fuck you. Block me

  23. 23
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Monitor note

    The topic of this post is the portrayal of science/scientists in popular media. If you wish to discuss the treatment of children by society, please take it to the Thunderdome.

    Thank you.

  24. 24
    jimmauch

    Bill Nye is conveying the message that we can be an average Joe and have a love and fairly good understanding of the basics of real science. Just because we don’t have a Phd and can’t dance that does not mean we should allow ourselves to be manipulated be charlatans like Kirk Cameron.

  25. 25
    ludicrous

    Sorry, I get irate. I know what Bill Nye does and we should all take a lesson from him.

    Bill Nye has done more for kids than anyone in science imo. He does not disrespect the young, can you imagine hime useing the term ‘childish’? Many of us subvert his work by unthinkly speaking in a way that is unwelcoming to the young. They may not notice each time they are stereotyped but it all adds up. Recall the way women were used as negative stereotypes back in the day and men didn’t think it mattered.

    I’ll be that if you asked Bill Nye which is more important, dancing or showing respect, he would say respect. You don’t draw children in with one hand and push them away with the other.

  26. 26
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Monitor note

    ludicrous

    Last warning. You are attempting to derail the thread. Stop it.

  27. 27
    Mike

    I don’t see any problem with Bill Nye dancing on TV, it certainly doesn’t lessen his accomplishments in science. If gay bashing, humanist hating whackaloons didn’t lose any steam when Anne Widdecombe did Strictly Come Dancing then science won’t be the least bit hindered.

  28. 28
    No One

    It looked like he was having fun to me.

  29. 29
    Inaji

    Bill Nye used to do science in the comedy show Almost Live! way back when, too. His love of science is obvious, and it’s equally obvious he loves other things in life, like humor and dancing. Being a well-rounded person used to have importance, and I think it still is important. A scientist can love the science they do, and still be a happy human being with other interests.

  30. 30
    roro80

    Prefacing with: I’ve always adored Bill Nye for all the same reasons it seems most folks here do.

    However, from a feminist-in-STEM perspective, I hate Weird Science. The whole premise — nerdy doods can’t get laid (at least, so the legend goes, by women they consider lay-able), even though they are clearly entitled to do so, so they make a dream girl robot that can’t say no — is pretty fucked up. It quite literally turns women into objects of male pleasure, dehumanizing them, as well as being pretty insulting to scientists, who are depicted as so unable to interact with other human beings that they have to create someone to love/have sex with. I’m pretty disappointed that what might be Bill’s first and only dance played into all that.

    This could have been edgy, and likely more successful as a dance, if Bill had been the creation and his dance partner had been the mad scientist. Flip the cliche on its head, and pretend Bill’s kind of hurky-jerky movements were because he’s a recently-born robot.

  31. 31
    MadHatter

    roro80 I would love to have seen that version of the dance! I was annoyed that “weird science” was the selection because it was so stereotypical. I don’t at all think that Nye dancing was a bad thing for science, but the music/story wasn’t good for it either.

  32. 32
    burgundy

    Keyshawn Johnson wasn’t all that great either. Which was wonderfully subversive, because it counters stereotypes about black men, and now women should feel more welcome playing football.

    …That’s how this logic works, isn’t it?

  33. 33
    cuervocuero

    She’s grousing because he used props to remind people of his raison d’etre? I thought Bill Nye was on “Dancing” not because he is a Very Serious Scientist but because he’s a tv series celebrity to (a) generation(s) of North American kids, many of whom are now grown and still attend his public appearances.

    It might be naive of me, but I compare his involvement as being close to having Mr. Roberts in his red sweater on “Dancing”(Or Mr. DressUp in his bow tie for Canadians – either of which would be nerdy kewl to see). This isn’t to degrade Nye but for the show, he combines quirky and nostalgia with ‘what are they doing now’ and ‘omg, my science teacher has a life outside the classroom!’.

    Deciding that Nye’s performance will somehow affect public perception of *scientists*, rather than kids’ show hosts, is a revealing perspective, but using his ‘stereotype’ as a reason women aren’t in STEM is ignoring a thundering herd of gigantosaurii in the room with actively discouraging “Institutional Sexism” stencilled all over them.

    Although, the grousing about Bill Nye not being presented as uhm…cool? enough to recruit women to STEM does suggest a possible fun thing. If people want dancing representation from all other scientific celebrities, what about setting up dance competitions at conferences? I

  34. 34
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    However, from a feminist-in-STEM perspective, I hate Weird Science. The whole premise — nerdy doods can’t get laid (at least, so the legend goes, by women they consider lay-able), even though they are clearly entitled to do so, so they make a dream girl robot that can’t say no — is pretty fucked up. It quite literally turns women into objects of male pleasure, dehumanizing them, as well as being pretty insulting to scientists, who are depicted as so unable to interact with other human beings that they have to create someone to love/have sex with. I’m pretty disappointed that what might be Bill’s first and only dance played into all that.

    Yes!

    This could have been edgy, and likely more successful as a dance, if Bill had been the creation and his dance partner had been the mad scientist. Flip the cliche on its head, and pretend Bill’s kind of hurky-jerky movements were because he’s a recently-born robot.

    And YES!

    I agree with most here that making Bill Nye’s appearance on DWTS an issue would not be my top priority – I appreciate and enjoy nearly everything Bill Nye has done over the years to raise public awareness of the importance of science and to engage children in scientific discovery – but I sure would have thought it was a huge WIN if he and his dance partner had turned that weird science stereotype on its head in the way roro80 suggested. That would have been something worth talking about, IMO!

  35. 35
    SallyStrange

    I had a bigger problem with the judges.

    You and me, buddy. Out back. The DWTS judge team is my favorite team of judges of any televised talent show, bar none.

    I’ve only ever seen a few clips of this show, and I only saw the Bill Nye clip of that episode. But I take it they’re judging these random people the way real competitive ballroom dancers are judged, perhaps with a bit of leeway.

    Plenty of leeway, yes. But they do pay attention to the specific styles of ballroom dancing in particular. And they’re not random people. They’re random people who’ve been paired with and are training with professional ballroom dancers.

    But here’s the thing about dancing, coming from someone who can’t do it. Dancing has many components, but the most fundamental of these is rhythm, hence why I can’t do it. The most basic element to being a good dancer is putting the right foot in the right place at the right time relative to the music. Now beyond that you get into how high you can kick, how much style you do it with, whatever. I think it’s funny that the judges were tearing into Nye basically because, on his first dance on the show, they didn’t like his stylistic elements. Meanwhile, Nye actually dances recreationally, and appears to have the rhythm component down, i.e., he can actually dance.

    Well, there are actually a lot of things involved in having good rhythm, including musicality, flow, and getting it “in the pocket”–i.e., not just moving in time to the music, but also timing one’s movements to move with the shifts in the beat and musical phrasing. Speaking as a person who is pretty good at dancing, Nye was kinda lacking in those areas as well as the stylistic ballroom dancing elements.

    I have seen clips of dancers on that show who didn’t have that.

    Steve Woznaic had terrible rhythm, and Nye didn’t seem to do all that much better than him to me.

    So I’m afraid we’re seeing Nye get judged poorly because he’s old and stiff and his partner and/or choreographer is trying to work with that.

    Old and stiff is definitely not the only factor. Plenty of old stiff dancer have gone far in the show, though winning does require one to loosen up eventually.

    Nye’s not going to be an athletic, flexible dancer. But if he’s got the rhythm, should that really stop him?

    Well yeah, rhythm is the bare minimum. Athleticism and flexibility help, but they aren’t necessary to achieve the kind of lines and poses that the judges are looking for.

    I hope the audience will trump the judges on this one.

    According to ABC, it’s 50/50. 50% of each contestant’s ability to advance is determined by judges’ scores, the other 50% is entirely up to the audience. So it’s entirely possible that audience votes will trump judges’ scores; they did repeatedly for Bristol Palin.

    I think they’ve got it in for him (or the producers knew he’d get good public response and actually commanded poor scores from the judges to gin up drama).

    Because I’ve been watching for a while, and seen people of similar ability get very similar remarks from the judges, I doubt that either of these is the case. What’s curious is that your fondness for Nye appears to be leading you to conclusions that bear little relationship to the available facts.

  36. 36
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    Who gets to choose the theme/choreography/music for the dance? Willing to bet it wasn’t Bill.

    I’m a scientist. I also dance (though my type of dancing usually involves 6 people or more), craft, sing, and am currently learning 3 languages for fun.

    It’s good to show that scientists aren’t just boring people who spend all their time in the lab (OK there are possibly a few obsessives who do but it’s not the majority)

  37. 37
    Inaji

    Ariaflame @ 36, seriously. It’s bothersome that certain people think you just can’t show certain people having a life complete with interests.

  38. 38
    madbull

    Guy can’t dance without creating a controversy ?

  39. 39
    Scientismist

    Dancing scientists? Australia’s CSIRO set the bar pretty high a few years ago.

  40. 40
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    OT
    @Ludicrous, #22

    I don’t use puerile much, though obviously I do use it. I didn’t particularly connect it with children, though obviously it is so connected.

    I’ll drop it (and not miss it). Thanks for the info.

    @Daz, #18

    Holy Freud!

    That is awesome. Right now I’m just trying to learn how to make decent transitions in & out of bar chords (e.g. open D to bar-chord Bm to “open” A) and so I’m playing a lot of things like Hazy Shade of Winter and other stuff that uses B, Bb, F, F#, and G# in the middle of chords intended to be open. I don’t want to be limited to bar chords, nor to chords other than Bb, Bbm, B & Bm (the transition in & out of F & F# is a little easier). My partner is a better guitarist than me, but had let her skills lie fallow as well. She happened to remember that song, and glancing at it saw that it used Bm7 and Bm, so we leapt at it. Little did I know that there’s an actual punk version of it out there already. Rock on! We are so hip, we don’t even know how hip we are!

    /OT

  41. 41
    SallyStrange

    Who gets to choose the theme/choreography/music for the dance? Willing to bet it wasn’t Bill.

    Yup, I believe the show musical producers choose the music, and the professional the celebrity is paired with creates the choreography, as well as choosing costumes and props.

  42. 42
    gussnarp

    @SallyStrange – It’s not just my fondness for Nye, it’s also my ignorance and the fact that anyone who can dance with any rhythm at all looks like some kind of magical being to me.

  43. 43
    chris

    Naked Bunny with a Whip: “, when Bill Nye was successfully promoting science to a young audience by dressing in drag or wearing blackface. This new “white guy” thing just isn’t him.”

    :-)

    Except that one of the bits on Almost Live included him being part of the High Five’n White Guys. Add to that his Speed Walker character, and other bits of comedy, he probably has been been “bad for science” before.

  44. 44
    andyo

    First of all, it’s not like he was pulling a Woz. And secondably, that actually made Woz more awesome in my book.

  45. 45
    Paul Loebe

    Are you sure that’s how it works? I’ve heard so many differing opinions in the atheist community since joining up. Specifically, that because I’m white straight and male I have no say in anything ever…unless of course I agree totally with whatever some matriarchal deity determines is in my best interest whether I, as a heterosexual white male, agree or not.

    How do you not see the hypocrisy in this? I don’t get you. I really don’t. You’ve attacked people for demanding equality based upon their merits and not their inherent uncontrollable attributes. Be they gender, sexual orientation, or race – they are things that are uncontrollable and yet you, and many others that you associate with, continually demand that people of a certain category refrain from wanting to have equality based upon merit and merit alone.

    The people that have expressed this are then determined to be criminals of a thought crime. Is this any different from George Orwell’s 1984? I am and have been from the first day entering this community completely baffled. I never drank whatever kool-aid you’ve been sipping at for quite some time now.

    This person whom you are criticizing is pushing an extremist ideology that you have also pursued in the past. Yet now that you see the error in it you feel the justification to call them on it?

    At least EllenBeth Wachs had the courage to fess up to her mistakes and apologize to those she harmed prior to attacking idiocy with common sense.

    Maybe that kool-aid is starting to get a little stale…

  46. 46
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Specifically, that because I’m white straight and male I have no say in anything ever…

    hyperbole much? That is so over the top no use reading further. You are allowed an opinion, but what you aren’t allowed to do is use that opinion to tell others how they must feel. Instead, you should listen with empathy to those who don’t have the same level of privileges you do. You know, women, minorities, LGBT, etc., and learn from what they say.

  47. 47
    Paul Loebe

    Yes, one word of exagerration

    —ever—

    and you disregard the rest. Freethought FTW!

  48. 48
    SallyStrange

    the fact that anyone who can dance with any rhythm at all looks like some kind of magical being to me.

    LOL, fair enough. To be fair to Nye, from what I saw of his swing dancing, he is pretty good at it–it’s just that those skills not only don’t translate to ballroom, they may actually be hampering his ability to absorb ballroom’s totally different rules.

    Specifically, that because I’m white straight and male I have no say in anything ever…

    This claim is common amongst white men, I’ve noticed. Less common is any actual citation for anyone actually saying, “Your opinion is worthless because you’re a straight white man.”

    Usually it’s “Your opinion is worthless because it’s infected with bigotries of various sorts, and a probable partial explanation for the proliferation of bigotries in your psyche is your privileged position (i.e. straight white maleness) in society.”

    It’s easy, but dishonest as fuck, to twist the latter into the former.

    In conclusion: fuck you, Paul Loebe. If you don’t like changes then you can always go hang with the regressives.

  49. 49
    SallyStrange

    one word of exagerration

    Make that two…

  50. 50
    Paul Loebe

    I’ve learned there are just as many idiots as I thought in this world regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Being a member of a marginalized group does not a leader make. Experiences do not a leader make.

    I find so many people demanding respect merely because of uncontrollable attributes…not based on good ideas or something plausible – like merit.

    I prefer to live in a meritocracy. But maybe I’m dreaming.

  51. 51
    Paul Loebe

    @sally

    Of course not. People are smart enough to never say it directly. They utilize slurs such as “mansplaining”, “dudebro”, and the overused and now quickly tainted term “misogynist”.

    Oh, and fuck you too :) Glad we can have some rational discussion here.

  52. 52
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    and you disregard the rest. Freethought FTW!

    Post a free of thought post, and it won’t get read. I don’t accept you, or anybody else as the authority. That is what “freethought” means, don’t accept authority without question, not freedom to express any and all thoughts no matter what the consequences. That’s Freeze Peach, which was your complaint.

  53. 53
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Glad we can have some rational discussion here.

    The discussion can only be rational if you are willing at some point to acknowledge you can be and probably are wrong based on evidence. Frankly, I don’t think you are there.

  54. 54
    Paul Loebe

    That’s still not how freethought works. If you only look at one side of a matter that’s not freethought. That’s dogma. I also never said to accept me as authority…but let’s be honest here – PZ is just as guilty as anyone else at stating some ludicrous stuff regarding white men and their privilege.

    I never complained about freeze peach. I complained about PZ’s hypocrisy. Maybe you should’ve actually read the comment.

  55. 55
    Paul Loebe

    I might be wrong about PZ being a hypocrite. I mean he has called out quite a number of white cis men for their privilege while denouncing his own. He has made some pretty ludicrous claims. And then he goes and makes this post about how someone is wrong for partaking in the same activities he has engaged in himself. That could be me being wrong.

    I’m trying to make that leap of logic. I really am.

  56. 56
    SallyStrange

    You were never looking for rational discussion.

  57. 57
    SallyStrange

    Also you have no idea what the term “freethought” actually refers to.

    Seriously, not interested. Please go find your fellow regressives, I’m sure you’ll find a receptive audience there.

  58. 58
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Now, what is “ludicrous” about white male cis privilege? And how has PZ denied that he (as a white cis man) is swimming in it?

  59. 59
    SallyStrange

    I find so many people demanding respect merely because of uncontrollable attributes…not based on good ideas or something plausible – like merit.

    If you’re going to make shit up, at least make it vaguely plausible.

  60. 60
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    That’s still not how freethought works.

    And why should I take your unsupported authority for that statement? I don’t. Wiki article on freethought, with the main paragraph:

    Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas.

    Keep in mind, your opinion isn’t and never will be empirical evidence. So, what is your problem? Oh, that I don’t bow down to what you say and accept it without question or third party evidence…..

    Get real. You have nothing cogent to say.

  61. 61
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m trying to make that leap of logic. I really am.

    Sorry, this isn’t a mental wanking philosophical argument, it is an evidential argument. You know, with citations to real third party evidence found in places like Google Scholar. Which is what everybody who has made your claims has failed to provide since Elevatorgate.

  62. 62
    vaiyt

    If you only look at one side of a matter that’s not freethought.

    If you give every argument equal weight regardless of merit or congruence with reality, that’s not freethought.

  63. 63
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Ibis3 @13

    I thought the implication was that women and minorities would only consider science as a career if the white guys already dominating the field were seen as cool, hip, and sexy. (?!?)

    You know, at first I was really bummed out that my chosen field was openly hostile to those of my gender, often discriminated against us in hiring, promotions, and general treatment, often creating hostile work environments filled with sexual harassment and untoward advances and a constant assumption that I was a foreign interloper who must be removed at any cost…

    But then I noticed that my oppressors could dance.

    And that changed everything. I mean, could you imagine the nightmare if those who made this field a walking nightmare for us couldn’t pull of fancy dance moves? It’d be like… fuck.

    Seriously though, it is amazing how little I am surprised every time some douchebag finds a new way to belittle women’s intelligence and experiences in the name of faux-concern.

  64. 64
    Ingdigo Jump

    I’m trying to make that leap of logic. I really am.

    And landing groin first into a cactus

  65. 65
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Crip Dyke @16

    I dunno, dude sang songs about being a gay male and being into kink in the middle of the AIDS crisis and during the rise of the Moral Majority horseshit. Also, he sang songs in support of existing union strikes, protests against the Regan and Thatcher governments, songs about a gay uprising against the homophobia being perpetuated against his community, sacrilegious songs, and popularized leather club chic to help normalize kink in the general public.

    I’m not sure how that’s puerile faux rebellion and not taking a risk.

  66. 66
    carlie

    Bill Nye just tweeted that he has a partially torn ligament in his leg, so his time on the show may be even more limited.

  67. 67
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    PZ:
    I think you have misread Ms Welsh.
    By the end of the article, I take her point to be the media must stop its stereotypical portrayal of scientists if we hope to encourage more women and minorities to explore careers in science.

    She links to this article, which states:

    UW psychologist Sapna Cheryan ran two studies to find out if the lack of women in tech was due to their disinterest in the topic, or other reasons. First, she asked 254 non-computer science college students to describe CSE majors. They were perceived to be “incompatible with the female gender role, such as lacking interpersonal skills and being singularly focused on computers.” Some even said that geeks were smelly, pale and thin — they clearly haven’t read this article.

    In the second study, students were given two fabricated news articles — one described computer scientists as stereotypically nerdy, while the other did not. The results: Women that read the article about the “cool” geeks showed more interest in computer science afterward than those who read about stereotypical “nerds.” Men, on the otherhand, were not affected either way.

    “Taken together, these studies suggest that stereotypes of academic fields influence who chooses to participate in these fields, and that recruiting efforts to draw more women into computer science would benefit from media efforts that alter how computer scientists are depicted,” the study found.

    Upon my first read, I thought she muddied her overall point by criticizing Nye. As I thought about it, I saw her point. Nye’s performance, whether it was all his choice, the producers, or a combination of both feeds into the stereotypical image of scientists as frequently (overwhelmingly?) seen in the media. She wisely opens with a specific example from contemporary pop culture. Dancing With the Stars is a popular show. One that likely reaches women and men from diverse backgrounds with a range of interests. They missed out on an opportunity to show a scientist in a different light.

  68. 68
    PZ Myers

    Paul Loebe: There’s your problem. You think you live in a meritocracy.

    YOU DON’T.

  69. 69
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Paul @45:
    An extremist ideology?
    Please explain what was so extreme about her views.
    Ms Welsh’s goal is to see more women and minorities explore careers in science.
    She believes that the portrait of scientists by the media has a negative effect upon women and minorities with interest in science.
    She cites research to support her position.
    She concludes that a more diverse portrayal of scientists in the media would be beneficial to her goal.

    In what way is that extremist?

    Also, you made assertions about PZ but linked to nothing. If he has indeed acted as you claim, surely you can link to the relevant posts.

  70. 70
    PZ Myers

    The more I think about it, the more twisted and fucked up this statement is.

    you, and many others that you associate with, continually demand that people of a certain category refrain from wanting to have equality based upon merit and merit alone.

    How does that work? How can you have equality based on merit? So you’re going to award prizes for competence, and the best people get to be more equal than the more inferior people? If someone is insufficiently meritorious, we get to treat them unequally?

    Equality is something you give everyone without regard for this mysterious “merit”. Everyone gets an equal opportunity. Everyone starts at the same level. Everyone has a chance to take their skills as far as they can.

    Someone is deeply confused about the meaning of equality if they think its something given selectively on “merit”.

    Are you drunk or just stupid? Because I can’t even imagine the muddled state of mind that would let anyone type that.

  71. 71
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @cerberus, #65:

    Wait, what?

    Who sang those songs?

    It was Judas Priest for whom I had contempt. Are you saying that Judas Priest sang about being gay in the middle of the AIDS/Reagan/Thatcher triangle of horror? I’d have to listen to that. I never heard anything of meaningful social commentary from them. And “We don’t need no parental guidance, no no no” when they’re in their early 40s – that’s not taking a risk.

    Point me to some songs that will make me reconsider my opinion of their 80s work, please, but nothing saves them from the natural consequences of singing “parental guidance”.

  72. 72
    Cerberus is working overtime at the outrage factory

    Crip Dyke @71

    I’ll leave it in the Thunderdome.

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