Worries about if she can manage well

Sexism? What sexism?

Via Twitter:

Daniel Singleton ‏@dasingleton Jun 6
Reviewer to my daughter-in-law: You have kids, give up on silly pursuit of science. #fuckthissexistshit

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Strong point
-The stay will significantly benefit both the candidate and the host unit.

Weak point
-Worries about if she can manage well between the work and the family.

I don’t see any sexism, do you see any sexism??

Just that little drop

Uta Frith FRS has an excellent, hope-restoring article on the Royal Society’s science policy blog In Verba.

Little did I know that, having just started as chair of our new Diversity Committee, that gender bias would suddenly come into the spotlight of public opinion. This followed the unacceptable remarks at a public event attributed to one of our most distinguished Fellows. Sir Tim Hunt was baffled by the effect of his words on others, and I admit that I too was baffled, but for very different reasons.

His remarks at first seemed to me just a drop in the bucket of millions of similar ones made every day about women in the workplace, often by decent men who would be horrified to be regarded as misogynists. For me they confirmed an age old stereotype of women as trouble, so old that it goes back to Adam and Eve. But they were the drop that finally caused the bucket to flow over. They became a catalyst for a deep-seated bitterness to pour out of people, not only women, who simply felt that enough was enough. This was an outpouring waiting to happen. It needed just that little drop.

[Read more…]

This unfortunate incident must not be portrayed as a private story told as a joke

Also of interest, the letter that the Korea Federation of Women’s Science and Technology Associations sent to Tim Hunt asking him to apologize for being so obnoxious at the lunch they hosted.

Dear Sir Tim Hunt,
We, the members of the Korea Federation of Women’s Science and
Technology Associations (KOFWST), the sponsoring organization of the WCSJ
luncheon on June 8, 2015, decided to request your official acknowledgement
and apology for the remarks made at the luncheon. Attached, please find,
our call for apology. We hope to get your response within 24 hours. Your
prompt and sincere apology is the least we can ask for any future
collaboration with Korean scientists.
Yours sincerely,
Hee Young Paik, President [Read more…]

Harvard must be slipping

There’s a conservative blog called Legal Insurrection. I’d vaguely heard of it before, but that’s all. I saw that it had a post about Connie St Louis, so I took a look. I read the first few sentences, and was amazed. I skipped down to the comments and was amazed more. I googled Legal Insurrection and found the handy Wikipedia digest in the left margin:

William A. Jacobson
William A. Jacobson is an American lawyer, professor, and conservative blogger. Jacobson is a 1981 graduate of Hamilton College and a 1984 graduate of Harvard Law School.
Education: Hamilton College, Harvard Law School

Oh yes? Well then you would think he would be able to get the most basic facts right. [Read more…]

The Nobel isn’t all that

Matthew Francis at Forbes says Nobel prizes aren’t so hot.

They’re a huge status symbol, but that doesn’t mean they’re the last word on what’s the best science.

[P]eople listen to Nobel laureates when they speak, even when they are out of their areas of expertise. Sometimes the prize seems to go to the winners’ heads so much that they seem to lose it entirely. William Shockley, a co-discoverer of the transistor, and James Watson, who won the Nobel for discovering the structure of DNA, both used their reputations to promote very racist ideas. Most recently, Tim Hunt said some sexist and insulting things in front of a group of female Korean scientists — who had invited him to speak, no less.

What Hunt said was just another example out of too many to list of the kind of pervasive old-boy sexism in science. [Read more…]

Guest post: Humanism and the New Pessimism

Guest post by Bill Cooke, author and International Director for the Center for Inquiry.

Humanism and the New Pessimism

What should humanism stand for in the decades to come? Are the assumptions and values of humanism easily transferable to these new conditions? Many would see even posing such a question as laughable. Is not humanism as a voice of reason, progress and optimism, thoroughly discredited in an age where such things ring hollow?

It’s true that many of the promises of the twentieth century have proved to be illusory. And even when they have been realized, only a relatively few have benefitted. Looking to the future, even if we take the more alarmist forecasts with a pinch of salt, the changes ahead are going to be enormously challenging. Climate change, population growth, peak oil, failed states, rogue states, religious fundamentalism and terrorism, just to name the most menacing of them, all smoulder in sullen anger. And the Western nations seem oblivious to the dangers, preferring instead to wallow in celebrity culture, “reality” programmes, and an untenable sense of entitlement to the resources of the world.

So, for humanism to have something worthwhile to say in the years to come we will need to adjust to the difficult conditions ahead. Promises of sunlit new uplands where our children will achieve more than us no longer ring true. Whichever adjustments are made, they will all have to involve some accommodation of humanism and pessimism. But what is meant by either term in the current context? [Read more…]


And now Damian Thompson at the Spectator blog joins the fun and of course it’s the usual tangle of inaccuracies and hyperbole.

Connie St Louis, director of City University’s Science Journalism MA, is the woman who brought Sir Tim Hunt’s career crashing down in flames by tweeting out allegedly sexist remarks that the Nobel Prize winner made at a conference in Seoul.

She didn’t bring Hunt’s career crashing down in flames – his career is not down, let alone in flames. His research is still his research; he still has his Nobel; he’s still a Fellow of the Royal Society. Some of the pro bono work he was doing is closed off, but that is far from having his career down in flames. And Connie St Louis wasn’t acting alone, and other people in addition to Deborah Blum and Ivan Oransky have corroborated the account.

He goes on to wonder why the Guardian/Observer and the BBC aren’t reporting on the Daily Mail’s big story about her exaggerated CV. My guess? It’s because they can tell that however puffed out Connie St Louis’s CV may be, that doesn’t make the several overlapping accounts of Tim Hunt’s sexist “jokes” go away.

Church fires in the South

The SPLC reports:

In what may not be a coincidence, a string of nighttime fires have damaged or destroyed at least six predominately black churches in four southern states in the past week.

Arsonists started at least three of the fires, while other causes are being examined in the other fires, investigators say.

The series of fires – some of them suspicious and possible hate crimes — came in the week following a murderous rampage by a white supremacist who shot and killed nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

The most recent fires occurred early today at the Glover Grover Baptist Church, in Warrenville, S.C., and at the Greater Miracle Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, Fla.

Federal agents have been brought in to assist local officials in determining the unknown cause of the fire at the Glover Grove Baptist church. In Tallahassee, fire officials say the fire that totally destroyed the Apostolic Holiness Church may have been caused by a tree limb falling on overhead electrical lines.

While those investigations continue, arson was determined to be the cause of three fires earlier in the week at other predominately black churches in the South. [Read more…]