You think it can’t get any more ridiculous, but it keeps doing exactly that.
This time? A “leaked” transcript of what Tim Hunt said at that conference in Korea supports his account that it was a joke, so it’s all good and he should be given all his honorary positions back. This is according to the Times, so I haven’t read the whole article because paywall. But even the first paragraph is absurd.
A leaked EU report has increased the pressure for Sir Tim Hunt to be reinstated to his academic positions after it revealed a markedly different account of his speech about the “trouble with girls” in science.
Has increased “the pressure”? What pressure? There are some aggrieved assholes complaining, but so what? Journalists do love those vague agent-free statements about bodiless “pressure” from no one in particular.
Even more bizarrely, the Independent reports that Dawkins demands an apology from everyone in sight.
Professor Richard Dawkins is demanding an apology from those who criticised Sir Tim Hunt over a leaked EU report he claims gives vital context to comments the Nobel laureate scientist made about his “trouble with girls” in laboratories.
Oh yeah? Well I demand that Richard Dawkins apologize for a whole long list of things. Fat lot of good that will do me.
Sir Tim left his position at the Royal Society and University College London (UCL) after telling an audience of female science journalists at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea he found it difficult to work with girls.
He also reportedly said: “Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”
His remarks were condemned as sexist and unhelpful and he resigned shortly after the backlash. He also apologised publicly for his comments.
Well, he apologized and then unapologized and complained and blamed and generally pitched a huge fit.
Now, an account by a European Commission official printed in The Times expands on the comments he made during the conference.
The official quotes Sir Tim as saying: “It’s strange that such a chauvinist monster like me has been asked to speak to women scientists. Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls?
“Now seriously, I’m impressed by the economic development of Korea. And women scientists played, without doubt an important role in it. Science needs women and you should do science despite all the obstacles, and despite monsters like me.”
Yes – so? How does that change anything? How is that a version that dramatically reveals that Tim Hunt didn’t act like a sexist jerk at that lunch?
I don’t think anyone ever denied that he thought he was being facetious. Maybe this is news to Dawkins, but it’s not news to us: a hell of a lot of sexism is in the form of tedious, labored, unfunny “jokes.” Who hasn’t sat stony-faced through a million of them? Come on. Nobody thought Hunt was giving a serious scientific lecture on gender differences. We all knew he was “bantering.” That doesn’t change a thing.
The official also claimed that Sir Tim did not “thank women for making lunch”, as was previously reported.
Previously reported where? I don’t remember seeing that.
Dawkins tweeted about this putative exoneration of Hunt.
He told The Times: “This phrase […] is the final confirmation that Tim Hunt’s remark was light-hearted banter against himself.
“Without wishing to join a reverse witch-hunt to root out the individuals responsible, I can’t help hoping Sir Tim will receive an apology.”
An apology for what? For saying that a senior scientist should not be swanning around the world making contemptuous jokes about women scientists? I’m not going to apologize for that.
UCL and the RS are also not impressed.
A spokesperson for UCL declined to comment any further when contacted by The Independent. The Royal Society said it would not be commenting further on the matter at this stage.
There’s nothing there.