The attempts to obfuscate

A conversation.

Deborah Blum ‏@deborahblum 4 hours ago
As @connie_stlouis says & says well: Stop defending Tim Hunt. Women in science need your support more. @ivanoransky

Corey S. Powell ‏@coreyspowell 1 hour ago
@deborahblum @NerdyChristie Nobody would defend “Let me tell you about my trouble with [blacks/gays/Jews].” Nobody should defend this either

@deborahblum I’m amazed by the attempts to obfuscate what would be a crystal-clear issue in a non-gender context.

Well you see women and men are biologically different…


  1. Jean says

    Am I understanding this right: this guy is trying to flip the argument such that Hunt is the one being oppressed and compared to blacks/gays/Jews? And he’s the one accusing her of obfuscating? Wow!!!

    Some people live in a bubble. Others build their own from some sort of impregnable material and polish it relentlessly.

  2. says

    Nope nope nope! Sorry, I probably didn’t quote enough to make it clear.

    Connie St Louis said in a new Guardian article that Dawkins & Cox & co should stop defending Tim Hunt and defend women scientists instead. Deborah Blum tweeted that and Corey Powell agreed and expanded on the point.

  3. says

    And Powell is saying Dawkins & co in defending Tim Hunt are obfuscating what Hunt said and what happened to him afterwards, and that interested me particularly because I JUST wrote EXACTLY the same thing in my column for the Freethinker which I sent an hour or so ago.

  4. says

    For instance…

    It was interesting to see how willing the commentators were to misrepresent the whole thing in order to make their case. “Sacked over a joke!” they cried. “No one is safe!” But he wasn’t sacked, and it wasn’t a mere “joke”. He lost three honorary positions – unpaid positions, no-contract positions – and his “joke” was delivered at a professional science conference to an audience of women scientists.

    Brendan O’Neill produced one of the purest examples of this systematic obfuscation…

  5. Jean says

    I’m glad to see I was confused and I’m probably so ready to see the worse here that I assumed it was. I knew you had made the same type of argument before so I was floored that someone would try to do a flip on it.

    Again I’m glad to see others making the same argument you did because that does make it even more crystal clear. But my second comment is still valid just not in relation to your posted quotes.

  6. guest says

    From the article:

    ‘He could have apologised properly; he could have talked about the brilliant work carried out by women scientists. This was an opportunity to turn a sorry mess into a positive advantage for everyone, including himself.’

    This is actually a really good point in itself–if you find yourself in the middle of an ‘internet publicity storm’ for something stupid you said or did…turn the lemons into lemonade. USE your sudden publicity–the attention the whole world is suddenly paying you–not only to make things right, but to push for steps forward. I doubt I’ll ever have any reason to remember this lesson, but it’s a profoundly good one.

  7. guest says

    I’m now trying to think of an example of someone who’s learned this lesson, and not coming up with anyone. The Philae guy did (finally) apologise with good grace, but didn’t use his sudden publicity to, say, highlight the work of his female colleagues or offer a tour of Mission Control to a girls in science program. He didn’t take any steps to decrease a girl’s reluctance to go into his field, reluctance he strengthened by his own behaviour.

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