How to silence the peasants

Still at it. Still muddying the waters by saying Tim Hunt was sacked by UCL, when he was never employed by UCL in the first place. Simon Heffer in the Telegraph:

How to silence Sir Tim’s bullies

Except that it didn’t “sack” him. [Read more…]

He did say some stupid things which cannot be supported

Maybe this will persuade the ragers to shut up at last: Paul Nurse says what Tim Hunt said was not acceptable. Sarah Knapton, science editor at the Telegraph, reports.

Sir Paul Nurse, a joint-Nobel Prize winner and friend of Sir Tim, told the Telegraph the embattled professor’s “chauvinist” comments had “damaged science”.

He added that since Sir Tim stood down last month, Sir Paul has been sent hundreds of vicious letters. Some argue that the Royal Society has not gone far enough in its condemnation of the Noble Laureate, while others criticise the 350-year-old institution for not backing the beleaguered scientist.

“Some have threatened to do things to my body parts,” said Sir Paul, in a weary tone. “The discussion has become totally polarised with extreme views on both sides. I have had hundreds of letters. I had five just this morning. It doesn’t seem to be going away.” [Read more…]

Council unanimously supports the decision taken by UCL’s executive

UCL has released the promised statement. It’s short and to the point.

9 July 2015

UCL Council, the university’s governing body, has today reviewed all of the circumstances of the resignation of Sir Tim Hunt as an Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Life Sciences on 10 June. Having seen the relevant correspondence, including the exchange of emails between Sir Tim and UCL, the Council is satisfied that his resignation was accepted in good faith. Council unanimously supports the decision taken by UCL’s executive to accept the resignation.

The subsequent extent of media interest was unprecedented, and Council recognises the distress caused to Sir Tim and Professor Mary Collins. Council acknowledges that all parties agree that reinstatement would be inappropriate.

Council recognises that there are lessons to be learned around the communication process. Consequently it has requested that the executive undertake a review of its communications strategy.

Note the last sentence of the first paragraph –

Council unanimously supports the decision taken by UCL’s executive to accept the resignation.

That’s important, because Louise Mensch and her footsoldiers have been saying over and over that there’s a rebellion in the Council and that many members wanted to reinstate Hunt to his honorary professorship. It appears that Louise Mensch was wrong about that…at least, wrong that they wanted it badly enough to go to war over it.

Even if meant to be taken lightly

UCL has had its ruling council meeting. It is not going to reinstate Tim Hunt. It would like to draw a line under the issue now (but here’s betting the enraged anti-feminists won’t observe that line).

Hannah Devlin at The Guardian reports:

Last week, the UCL provost, Michael Arthur, said the university would not back down, saying in a statement that reinstating Hunt would send out “entirely the wrong signal”. The remarks “contradict the basic values of UCL – even if meant to be taken lightly”, he added.

Even if meant to be taken lightly – so all the enraged anti-feminists shouting that it was a joke are missing the point. This seems slightly dim of them, since sexist jokes have been well known to be an issue since the renaissance of feminism first drew breath. [Read more…]

Tell the lie again and again

The Big Lie is repeated yet again. The Washington Examiner this time. In the second sentence of the very first paragraph, so that readers will have the story wrong from the outset. Yay journalism.

Professor Sir Tim Hunt had won every honor in his field, from Fellowship of the Royal Society to the Nobel Prize. But last month, the pioneering biochemist was dismissed from his post at University College, London (UCL).

From “his post,” the one that didn’t exist. UCL has never employed Tim Hunt. Tim Hunt has never worked for UCL.

The second paragraph introduces the lynch mob – instigated by a black woman, for extra points. [Read more…]

Universities are for men who like to dress down

Damn, yet another one. Howard Jacobson has a nasty, inaccurate, reactionary column in the Independent about Tim Hunt. Defend to the death the right of important men to talk sexist shit to groups of women scientists at conferences!! The world will fall out of orbit if you don’t!!!

Tim Hunt has the air of a man who doesn’t put his appearance first, a man who, whether calculatedly or otherwise, inhabits that sphere of extraterrestrial idiosyncrasy whose uniform is a cream linen jacket bought from one of those shops in Piccadilly where they come pre-battered, a fisherman’s smock (probably picked up in Cornwall), stained owlish spectacles, a cord that goes around the neck to hang them from (else they’d fall into a laboratory bath) and, yes, figurative tufts of nostril hair. [Read more…]

Distortion up front, correction at the back

The Guardian wrote an editorial on the Tim Hunt question…a shockingly misleading one for the first two paragraphs. Wouldn’t you think newspapers would manage to get the basic facts right, especially three weeks in?

Those first two paras:

It is three weeks since Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize winner, shared his sexist opinion of female scientists – distractingly sexy, prone to weep when criticised and best segregated at work – with a room full of science writers. His remarks were relayed into the Twittersphere by several of those present, including British-based science writer Connie St Louis. At once, he came under global and sometimes viciously personal attack on social media. He delivered a non-apology on BBC radio. According to his wife, also a senior scientist at UCL, it was made clear to her that to protect UCL’s reputation, he had to resign. [Read more…]

How The Times science journalism rolls

Chapter 72 or thereabouts.

Hilda Bastian ‏@hildabast 4 hours ago
@deborahblum @david_colquhoun @David_Dobbs How The Times science journalism rolls … 1/2 #Yeesh

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Honorary fellowship is conferred by UCL to people who “have attained distinction in the arts, literature, science, business or public life”. The Times approached those fellows whose contact details were available online. Of those who responded, 21 criticised the university, four were neutral and none backed UCL.

Notice the problems? How can they know “those who responded” were representative of anything? How can they know people who took the opposite view didn’t just decide not to give the Times any more oxygen? How can we know the Times really did approach “those fellows whose contact details were available online”? Haha we can’t, they didn’t even approach David Colquhoun, whose contact details are available online.

[Read more…]

What’s next? Donating the proceeds from sale of his unicorn?

A blistering explanation of what’s sexist about the backlash against the response to Tim Hunt’s day out by medical doctor Amy Tuteur.

Tim Hunt made offensive comments about women scientists in front of a group of women scientists. He apologized and he resigned.

Many men feel very bad about this.

No, not bad about the fact that Hunt felt free to humiliate women at a meeting designed to honor them. Be serious! They felt bad that any male scientist should be held to account for his not so subtle put down.

[Read more…]

Quite the rabbit hole

Phil Plait says ALL the things.

He starts with Tim Hunt’s day out.

He made a series of sexist comments, saying that the problem with “girls” in science is that they fall in love with the men, the men fall in love with them, and when you confront them they cry. He then went on to suggest labs should be single-sex.

He thought at first it was a very bad joke, but found there’s more to it than that.

Many science journalists were at the lunch and witnessed the whole thing, including Deborah Blum, Ivan Oransky, Charles Seife, and Connie St. Louis. After discussing what they saw and heard, they decided St. Louis should write an article about it on her blog at Scientific American. What’s very important to note here is that both Blumand Oransky have corroborated St. Louis’s report, multiple times. Seife did as well. Blum asked Hunt about his comments, and he confirmed that he thought women were too emotional to work with men in labs. [Read more…]