Prediction: Lawrence Krauss will be resigning


Everyone knew that Krauss had been ill-behaved towards women, and there’d even been that story of him groping a fan at a conference. We all believed it, but it sure took a long time for the powers-that-be to get around to confirming it. Now they have: ASU has released their findings, and confirmed that Lawrence Krauss grabbed a woman’s breast in public.

Arizona State University has concluded that physics professor Lawrence Krauss breached the school’s sexual harassment policy by groping a woman at a conference in Australia.

The incident, which happened at a dinner in November 2016 in Melbourne as part of the Australian skeptics national convention, was revealed in February in a BuzzFeed News investigation that described allegations of unwanted sexual advances, groping, and inappropriate comments by Krauss over more than a decade.

The incident in Melbourne happened when one of Krauss’s fans took a selfie photograph with him. A witness, microbiologist Melanie Thomson, filed a formal complaint with Arizona State in July of 2017, stating that the professor had grabbed the woman’s breast. (The woman in the selfie did not complain to the university.)

Krauss made excuses that were not believed, and also tried to place the blame on his accuser.

Thomson told BuzzFeed News that she felt vindicated. “The original investigation was basically a ‘he said, she said’ scenario, where they believed him over me,” Thomson said. “And that’s the way these things often go.”

She still wants Krauss to apologize, she said, and to withdraw his claim, made to BuzzFeed News and in a nine-page response to the article, that her complaint was “fabricated with malicious intent.”

“I call for him to retract his retaliatory, inflammatory, libelous remarks,” Thomson said.

I find the whole affair disappointing. I’ve had people ask to take a photo with me, I’ve never felt any urge to fondle them in response. It’s just sad when a smart guy is stuck with an adolescent emotional brain that leads him to misuse people that way.

I’ve known of college professors in the past who’ve screwed up this way, and have had to accept restrictions, like denial of promotions and strictly enforced policies with students, but they’ve managed to keep their jobs. I don’t see them getting away with slaps on the wrist anymore — ASU is a respectable university, which isn’t going to want confirmed harassers on their staff. I’m going to guess he won’t be associated with them much longer.

Although I could be wrong — some people seem to lead a charmed life, or maybe Chapman University and Scientific American and the ACSH don’t seem to care what kind of scum work for them. Maybe Krauss can find a position in one of those institutions if his situation at Arizona falls completely apart?

Comments

  1. Matt G says

    Go to hell, Krauss, and take Shermer with you. Thanks for helping make male atheists look like misogynists.

  2. wzrd1 says

    In my entire five and a half decades of life, beyond teen dating age nonsense, the only time my hand has ended up on a strange woman’s boob has been precisely once and she had reached out and placed it there. To say that I was shocked would be making an understatement.
    Which I quickly removed back to my lap, where it belonged. One, I’m happily married, two was she was married and operable, we’re not married to each other.
    If you desire my services in such a way, negotiate with your husband and my wife first, then negotiate with me. I’ll likely be as interested in such an experience as I am about experiencing a Yersinia Pestis infection. My wife would likely also be equally, ahem, interested.
    As I was in the Persian Gulf, albeit in a peaceful nation, I did the sensible thing and arranged for my wife to come live with me, which was planned anyway. This simply moved the timetable up by a few months.
    She laid the law down quite effectively.

    I have no interest in grabbing another woman’s boobs, they’re not mine (I have a set of my own, thank you very much) and I’m not any woman’s doctor. I’m also not interested in getting into any woman’s pants. They likely would not fit and I own pants of my own anyway.
    And yes, this ancient, retired male soldier has boobs. It’s called gynecomastia, secondary to Grave’s Disease. While one was growing, there was significant tenderness and I had a mammogram to be certain it was simple gynecomastia and not cancer.
    Fortunately, the only worrisome finding during the barrage of testing found were the sheer size of my thyroid (biopsies found no cancer) and the sheer size of my abdominal aorta, which is at watchful waiting size of 2.5 – 2.7 cm dilation and hence, a case of come see the surgeon when it grows another centimeter.

    Just to give context on a quip. You can’t see me or hear me, so spelling things out might be of interest in analyzing my thinking.

    As for these leak from the rectum of humanity is concerned, any school that he worked in in the future would have me strongly forbidding any children and especially now, grandchildren from attending.
    Expressed as, I’m extremely uncomfortable with your attending that school because of his presence and relating the findings of fact.
    Note that prohibition is simply a strong recommendation to reconsider.
    Which they note, as when I become so seriously formal, they know that I do have grave reservations. Usually, I tend toward humorous hyperbole. Something expressed so obviously, few have ever disparaged the humor.

  3. albz says

    I find these “I never felt the urge to grope a woman’s breasts” claims annoying and full of hypocrisy. What happens to me -and I’d bet, to the vast majority of sexually active etero men- is that if I see a beautiful girl/woman I sometimes feel the impulse of touching her, in a sexual way. Only, I don’t, but not because I don’t feel the urge, or because I’m married: I don’t do it because I’m an human being, and my choices are led by my mind, not by my animal instincts. There’s a whole layer of intellectual filters (recognition of other human beings needs and wishes, respect for my equals etc) between my decision center and my low-level reactions.

    @2: I also find sad this “ask my wife first” approach. You make your own decisions, not your wife. What if she said “ok, go on!”?

  4. says

    Speak for yourself. Do you feel an urge to grab at men’s bodies? At children’s bodies? Why would you feel such an urge for women’s bodies, unless you somehow see them as something less deserving of respect?

  5. batflipenthusiast says

    @3 albz

    I think you are very badly mistaking the understanding that something would be fun and exciting to do IN THE RIGHT CONTEXT, and actually having the urge to something completely inappropriate.

    I’m a younger bisexual guy and yes, when i see someone i’m attracted to from time to time the thought that there are certain fun physical experiences we could have pops into my head. That is completely different from having an urge to fucking harass them. How anyone could be excited by doing something sexual to someone without consent is beyond me.

  6. says

    Albz @3 wrote: “I also find sad this “ask my wife first” approach. You make your own decisions, not your wife. What if she said “ok, go on!”?

    The actual line you’re responding to here, Albz was:

    “If you desire my services in such a way, negotiate with your husband and my wife first, then negotiate with me.”

    It’s polite to quote people exactly.

    Note the first party mentioned in negotiations is the partner of the person making the advance – a partner to whom, given standard heterosexual marriage vows in Western culture (and Western culture’s preoccupations with sexual morality) the person making the advances had presumably sworn sexual fidelity. The second party mentioned in negotiations is the person to whom the person being advanced upon has sworn sexual fidelity. If you can’t see why any negotiation of extra-marital sexual funsies has to involve both of these people in addition to the participants in said extra-marital sexual funsies, then boy, am I glad I’m not YOUR partner.

  7. albz says

    PZ @4: No, I don’t feel the urge to touch men’s bodies, or children’s. Neither do I get sexually aroused by -let’s say- wooden scupltures, or foxes, or pizza. Instead I confirm that sometimes I feel attracted by a woman, and I go as far (sick me) to feel a desire to touch her, or even have sex with her. I don’t know if this doesn’t happen to you, but I’d bet one of my legs that this happens to most men (including quite a lot of hypocrites who’ll never admit it out of fear of being seen as potential rapists). The point is, a human being has no controlo over his hormones: what he can control is his actions. Again: I would never, ever touch a woman without her consent, or act in an inappropriate way, because I don’t act on my instincts. I’s that simple to understand: I don’t blame people for what they cannot control, I blame them for not controlling it.

    @5: again, I’m not interested in what you find fun and exciting. If it’s too weird maybe you should get some help, but I don’t case, as long as your instincts don’t come out as harmful actions against other people.

    @6: so you promised sexual fidelity, then one day you say “hey honey, there’s that women, she’d like to have sex with me: what do you think about it? I gave her your number, let me know!”. Sorry no: I don’t outsource my sexual life management: I’m an adult, I can manage it by myself.

  8. albz says

    myself @7, a couple of clarifications:
    * ” Neither do I get sexually aroused by -let’s say- wooden scupltures, or foxes, or pizza”. No, I do not see women or their bodies as objects, thank you for asking.

    “I don’t blame people for what they cannot control, I blame them for not controlling it”: please read as in “…I blame them for not controlling their actions, the only thing for which I hold any man accountable”.

  9. consciousness razor says

    Instead I confirm that sometimes I feel attracted by a woman, and I go as far (sick me) to feel a desire to touch her, or even have sex with her.

    Assuming that you’re not trolling,* you should have no trouble recognizing this is very different from what PZ was discussing (i.e., the topic of the thread, in case you missed it). What’s sick, among other things, is harassing and abusing and attacking people.

    If you read it as if PZ (a father of multiple children) were claiming that he never does imagine consensual sexy times with anybody, that furthermore he’s troubled by the idea of people entertaining such thoughts, then you should read again. Because you definitely misunderstood.

    If it helps, remind yourself this time that it’s written in the context of discussing Krauss, that PZ knows this is what he was discussing, that you know that PZ knows this, that everybody else here knows that you know that PZ knows this, etc. Then, perhaps, things won’t go too fucking far off the rails when you try to interpret him.

    *More and more, it seems like I should begin all of my comments this way.

  10. leerudolph says

    wzrd1, what is “operable”? Honest question, I have no idea what you mean by it in the phrase “she was married and operable”; I’m wondering if it’s jargon from one of the many areas of human activity that I’m unfamiliar with.

  11. says

    I find these “I never felt the urge to grope a woman’s breasts” claims annoying and full of hypocrisy.

    When will you hetero dudes stop pretending that your lust for women’s breasts is a natural and uncontrollable phenomenon when we absolutely know it’s not true?
    Breasts haven’t always been and aren’t everywhere considered sexually attractive. For a long time they were exclusively considered signs of a cis woman’s ability to feed offspring. In many parts of the world women run around topless and nobody gives a rat’s ass because there tits are just that.

  12. consciousness razor says

    leerudolph:
    I’m guessing it should be parsed like this:

    and operable, we’re not married to each other.

    That is, it’s the third item in the list, after “one [blah]” and “two [blah].” The guess is that it’s a mangled up attempt to say that this is the operative point (i.e., the important one). Or it’s just noise, I don’t know.

  13. albz says

    @9 consciousness razor: you know who’s trolling here? PZ is -yes, in his own blog, He wrote: ” Why would you feel such an urge for women’s bodies, unless you somehow see them as something less deserving of respect?”. Does it seems to you that this is a sensible question? Do you really think that I need to justify myself for “feeling an urge for women’s body” (as he puts it; actually “feeling sexually attracted by women and female body” is what I wrote)? Do you really really believe that not being attracted by men or childrens makes me a bad person if I’m aroused by women?

    I really cannot understand why you are so frightened to admit that yes, a man can be sexually aroused by a woman. Even in inappropriate context. Even by women who don’t give a s**t about you. And that nothing of this matters, nor is a problem, provided the man is a balanced and normal human being who can control his instincts and his actions. The problem is with jerks who think that since they feel attractions they’re allowed to do anything to satisfy their instincts.

    @11 Giliell: I fight everyday with jerks who want to convince us that being gay is unnatural, and know what? they use your very same kind of arguments. I don’t give a * if you think that boobs should not be considered sexually attractive: for contemporary hetero men in western culture they are, fullstop. I don’t tell you you should not be attracted by hairy and muscular legs, you don’t tell me what I should like. Agreed? Anybody likes what he/shw wants, nobody harms other people to satisfy his needs: ok?

  14. says

    albz
    Wow, somebody is a bit touchy here

    I fight everyday with jerks who want to convince us that being gay is unnatural, and know what? they use your very same kind of arguments.

    Non fucking sequitur.
    Really, the fact that arguments are superficially alike in two different contexts does not mean that they’re both times false, or both times correct.
    But to keep with your example:
    We have very similar evidence for people being gay throughout history and cultures as we have for breasts not being considered turn ons for straight dudes.

    I don’t give a * if you think that boobs should not be considered sexually attractive:

    Hey, brave martyr, just climb down from your cross. Nobody is trying to outlaw your attraction to women’s breasts, least of all me. The argument isn’t about should or shouldn’t, it’s about claiming that this is something universal and natural.

    for contemporary hetero men in western culture they are, fullstop.

    What is it with you and your inability to speak in anything but absolutes? Not all hetero men in western cultures are obsessed with titties. Not all are obsessed with butts. Many are. That’s OK. But it’s also something that has been heavily influenced by the age and culture we were raised in. Most hetero men in western cultures like lace underwear, so what?

    I don’t tell you you should not be attracted by hairy and muscular legs, you don’t tell me what I should like.

    Good thing I never tried to tell you what you should be attracted to. I said the claim that your attraction was natural and universal was wrong.

    Agreed? Anybody likes what he/shw wants, nobody harms other people to satisfy his needs: ok?

    Have you ever actually considered that you telling people on the internet that you want to grope a woman when you like her breasts is actually harmful? I walk everyday through the world with breasts, I cannot leave them at home. I have been groped and followed, had obscene phone calls and people over the intercom of the apartment building. Yes, reading that you, while you’d kindly abstain from assaulting me, fist and foremost consider me tits attached to a body and a person second is harmful.

  15. swk says

    @13 albz
    I am a contemporary hetero man in western culture. I have never been attracted to boobs. In fact, I find excessively large ones a negative.
    I find it really weird that in your last sentence you can write that anybody can like what he/she wants but have argued that all of a certain group of men “must” think/react in a certain way to a particular part of a womans body.

    Personally I have never felt the urge to grope a woman’s breast. Now you can call me a hypocrite (and a liar by inference) because I dont conform to your world view.

  16. consciousness razor says

    He wrote: ” Why would you feel such an urge for women’s bodies, unless you somehow see them as something less deserving of respect?”. Does it seems to you that this is a sensible question? Do you really think that I need to justify myself for “feeling an urge for women’s body”

    It’s not a terribly subtle difference, and I don’t think it’d be easy for an honest person to misunderstand….
    An urge = any old urge whatsoever, of any variety (what you thought he wrote)
    Such an urge = that particular sort of urge, previously described or implicit in the context (what he did write)

    The latter could mean, for instance (depending on the context), grabbing someone without their consent. Or it may be violating them in various others ways. Or a lot of other things, depending on the context.

    If you have such an urge to do that particular thing in question, it’s problematic. Of course, it’s not that such a person (see what I did?) with this particular urge has harmed someone with their mere urge. It hasn’t been acted upon, at least not yet at that very instant. It should in any case be understood as a problem for the person experiencing it, if not (yet) for anyone else.

    You found yourself annoyed by PZ saying he doesn’t have that specific experience. Well, first of all, there are people who don’t have your experiences. Get the fuck over it, if that’s really your fucking problem.

    Secondly, that’s also not what you went on to criticize, since you seem to think (or you act as if) that’s the very same thing as having any manner of sexualized feelings/imaginings/urges whatsoever. But it’s not. And he knows that. And we all know that. And that wasn’t the issue at hand, which at this point you must already realize, if you are capable of reading this far.

    Do you see what I’m saying? Your strawman is just a strawman. You are annoyed at your own creation. My response is that you better not create such things in the first place, if they annoy you so much.

  17. says

    It seems to me that having an imagination means we will occasionally have ideas involving other people. Perhaps I might be sitting in a marketing meeting and think, “what if I killed and ate the Marketing Director?” or somesuch. Having an imagination, fortunately, also means being able to imagine the consequences of doing so: its effect on the Marketing Director and society’s response to such an action. It ought’n’t take a great deal of imagining to think that the Marketing Director might not like that, and then I can shut down the entire train of thought – “nope.” It doesn’t seem very complicated to me, it seems that some people just don’t think things through very well – they just focus on what they want.

  18. KG says

    Perhaps I might be sitting in a marketing meeting and think, “what if I killed and ate the Marketing Director?” or somesuch. – Marcus Ranum@17

    Note to self: Avoid marketing meetings where Marcus Ranum might be present :-p

  19. albz says

    @14 Giliell, and
    @15 swk.
    Ok, so you do think that -at least in western contemporary culture- the majority of hetero men do not find female breasts sexually attractive. Note taken Then Giliell goes on to teach me why my obvious depravation of finding boobs attractive is not engraved in my genes but is a product of bla bla bla -thanks so much, this has nothing to do with the fact that they are sexy for most of us. Swk tries to convince me that since he doesn’t like excessively large breasts (neither do I…but so what?) then getting excited seeing a woman is innatural -kind of a non-sequitur.

    @16 consciousnes razor:
    Nice try. Only, we are not discussing whether it is acceptable to grope a woman’s breasts, and we never were. We’re arguing about whether one should feel ashamed for feeling the desire to have sex with a woman, provided that no harmful actions come out of it.

    @17 Marcus Ranum:
    exactly, this is the point. What I feel and what arouse me are my business and no one should have anything to say on it.
    What I do is a totally different thing.

    @all: I find this comments scary. You seem to think that the only possible way to act as decent human being is not to have instincts: this is unrealistic and impossible. I think that being a good person means that, whatever your “urges”, your actions will not be simply driven by them.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Anybody who just relies on instinct has shut off their brain, and has nothing cogent to say. You have shut off your brain, as is obvious by your inane mansplainin’, and the inability to shut the fuck up and listen.

  21. rq says

    KG
    Are you a particularly delicious Marketing Director? You can’t really blame Marcus for having instincts. I say take the meeting and see what happens!

  22. says

    albz
    Dude, chill. Your testerical reaction really makes your reading comprehension suffer.

    Ok, so you do think that -at least in western contemporary culture- the majority of hetero men do not find female breasts sexually attractive.

    Who ever made that claim? SWK is clearly talking about his personal likes and I explicitly said: “Not all hetero men in western cultures are obsessed with titties. Not all are obsessed with butts. Many are. That’s OK.” That’s about the opposite of what you claim I said.

    Then Giliell goes on to teach me why my obvious depravation of finding boobs attractive is not engraved in my genes but is a product of bla bla bla -thanks so much, this has nothing to do with the fact that they are sexy for most of us.

    This is getting hard to parse. I’ll try.
    Nobody here ever said “liking boobs is bad”. Many people here like boobs and find them sexually attractive. Including me, btw. Yes, the argument is that this is not “natural”, or “genetic” or, to use a term you use later “an instinct”. It’s cultural conditioning. Which yes, is pretty relevant when it comes to the matter.

    Swk tries to convince me that since he doesn’t like excessively large breasts (neither do I…but so what?) then getting excited seeing a woman is innatural -kind of a non-sequitur.

    SWK did no such thing. You really need to read more carefully.

    We’re arguing about whether one should feel ashamed for feeling the desire to have sex with a woman, provided that no harmful actions come out of it.

    Wrong.
    We’re arguing your admission that your first impulse when you see an attractive woman is to sexually assault her, an urge that you then need to control, for which you apparently want a cookie, and your subsequent claim that this was true for heterosexual western men and that those who say different are hypocrites and liars.

    What I feel and what arouse me are my business and no one should have anything to say on it.

    Only that you brought it into public, claimed your experience to be universal and called all hetero men who claim different hypocrites.

    You seem to think that the only possible way to act as decent human being is not to have instincts: this is unrealistic and impossible.

    Back to square one. This is why the distinction between nature and nurture matters. You claim that your sexual attraction to women’s breasts and your subsequent urge to sexually assault them is an instinct, i.e. something beyond your control* and therefore outside of moral judgement.
    *Which is, of course, not true. We have many instincts which we learn to suppress and ignore. Sometimes for cultural reasons, sometimes because our instincts are misguided.

  23. albz says

    @23 Giliell.
    Dude, chill. You’re the hysterical guy in this, totally uncapable of understanding what you read. This applies to anything you wrote: let’s just focus on one point.
    You write: “Wrong. We’re arguing your admission that your first impulse when you see an attractive woman is to sexually assault her, an urge that you then need to control”

    This is, simply and utterly, false. I never said anything about assaulting a woman, or thinking of doing it.
    You are answering to your prejudices and to your lack of comprehension of what I wrote, not to me.

    Go back, read it all again from the beginning, then come back. If youn can show me where did I ever write that I fantasize about assaulting a woman, then I’ll publicly apologize.

    Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

  24. Matt G says

    Well, we started with Krauss, but somehow we ended up on boobs. But since we’re on female body parts and sexual assault, anyone remember the photo of the female Trump supporter wearing a homemade t-shirt which read “Trump can grab my pussy anytime!”. Such class….

  25. says

    albz

    Dude, chill. You’re the hysterical guy in this

    pfffffuahmhpft.
    Damn, I need a new keyboard.
    Dude, I’m not a dude, I’m not a guy.

    This is, simply and utterly, false. I never said anything about assaulting a woman, or thinking of doing it.

    Since you seem to be short of memory, this is the first thing you wrote here:

    I find these “I never felt the urge to grope a woman’s breasts” claims annoying and full of hypocrisy. What happens to me -and I’d bet, to the vast majority of sexually active hetero men- is that if I see a beautiful girl/woman I sometimes feel the impulse of touching her, in a sexual way.

    It’s literally your introductory statement, that you don’t believe guys who don’t want to sexually assault women are hypocrites because that’s what you do. Just in case you didn’t notice before, groping a woman’s breast is sexually assaulting her.

    If youn can show me where did I ever write that I fantasize about assaulting a woman, then I’ll publicly apologize.

    You owe me an apology.

  26. lotharloo says

    @albz:

    I get what you mean but from the context it is clear that PZ means acting on an urge or impulse and not just having sexual attraction to someone. I get that you feel people are unfairly piling on you but I don’t think there is any real disagreements here.

  27. albz says

    @26 Giliell:
    Diagnosis confirmed: either you cannot read or you are unable to understand what you read. My words: ” I sometimes feel the impulse of touching her, in a sexual way”. No mention of sexual assault: that is in your sick mind.

    @27 lotharloo:
    I’d like to agree with you. However I’m not actually sure your (reasonable) position is what PZ and others had in mind.
    In almost every single post I wrote that “acting on impulse” is not what a human being should do, precisely ’cause we’re subject to impulses that do not take into account other people’s wishes.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Albz, the misogynist asshole, not all men feel the urge to grope/assault women. Only those who never matured enough to understand they must control themselves.
    You are part of the problem, if you think men shouldn’t control themselves. Otherwise, words like “I’m wrong” will be posted, meaning you recognize how to be part of the solution, and that you should be in control of you misogyny to keep you from harming women by assaulting them.
    This now old man figured that 50 years ago that pure physical lust was just immature bullshit. Have you even considered the TRUTH?

  29. vucodlak says

    @ albz

    I’m a guy who is attracted to people of all genders, and for most of my life I’ve had a very high libido. When I encounter a woman I find particularly attractive, my internal response is typically: “holy crap she’s hot.” That’s pretty much it, and it’s the same response I have to a person of any gender who I find attractive. I might think about this person again a few times in the next day or so, but the recall goes about the same as the initial reaction: “holy crap she is hot.” I don’t fantasize about doing anything to or with her, because that would be gross and inappropriate. It’s not actually an instinct to do fantasize or “have the urge to grope,” but a learned behavior.

    That’s not to say that I never fantasize about anyone- I do fantasize about adult film actors, for example, because that’s a part of their jobs, and it’s an interaction they have consented. But if I were to meet an adult film actor in a coffee shop or something, it would not be appropriate for me to fantasize about the interaction, or to treat them any differently than I would any stranger.

    (I also fantasize about those beings featured in works of art, so the idea that someone couldn’t be aroused by a wooden sculpture isn’t something I can identify with.)

    Now, I do have a sort of instinctual urge to touch some people. Angry, bellowing men trigger an almost irresistible urge to commit some violence against them, before they can hurt me. This, too, is a learned reaction. I’ve been abused, physically and psychologically, by men who love to bellow and cow their targets, so that I’ve learned to fear such men. Being in proximity to such behavior triggers my fight or flight response, and I’ve never been good at fleeing. I’ve had to force myself to learn to walk (or run) away, so that I don’t go around beating up noisy men.

    Any heated shouting shreds my nerves, though, so I avoid spaces where people get loud, because I’m aware that my reaction is pathological, and not normal. Even if I don’t act on my aggressive urges, it’s still not ok that it’s there at all.

  30. Rob Grigjanis says

    Holy fuck, the obtuseness in this place can sometimes reach epic proportions. What part of this are you, Giliell and Nerd, not seeing, or deliberately ignoring:

    albz @3:

    I don’t do it because I’m an human being, and my choices are led by my mind, not by my animal instincts.

    @7:

    I would never, ever touch a woman without her consent, or act in an inappropriate way, because I don’t act on my instincts.

    @13:

    a man can be sexually aroused by a woman. Even in inappropriate context. Even by women who don’t give a s**t about you. And that nothing of this matters, nor is a problem, provided the man is a balanced and normal human being who can control his instincts and his actions.

    @19:

    What I feel and what arouse me are my business and no one should have anything to say on it.
    What I do is a totally different thing.

    I think that being a good person means that, whatever your “urges”, your actions will not be simply driven by them.

    Full disclosure: I have, on occasion, seen a woman and had the thought “Oh my, I’d love to squeeze her tits/bum”, or “I would love to kiss her”. I’d certainly call those “urges”. I’ve also had friends, straight men and women, and gay men and lesbians, who have admitted to having had the same sorts of urges, with varying genders/body parts/activities of course. Guess what? None of them (as far as I know) ever actually acted on their urges without consent, because that would be sexual assault. They are adults who understand the difference between having a desire to do something, and the real world consequences of doing it without the other person’s consent. And for the people I’ve known, the major real world consequence would be the utter disrespect to others that such actions would indicate.

  31. lotharloo says

    Okay, it seems a lot of people here are clueless:

    What is in your head cannot hurt anyone. Actions count, not thoughts. Krauss could have stayed a well-respected, funny, educative and still lovable scientist/atheist had he kept all his fantasies in his fucking head. Okay?

  32. hemidactylus says

    The thread has gone off piste a bit. A male friend of mine made me feel awkward once while we were watching a movie at his house by putting his arm around me. Took a while to process and attempt an appropriate response to being hit on by a friend. I said I felt uncomfortable and that was that. We are still friends and he later confided in me to being gay. I understood. But the experience kinda makes me realize what a woman might feel like when hit upon by a friend.

    I worry I misinterpret friendliness toward me. There have been times I acted on misinterpretation and asked someone out based on friendliness. Other times I have been asked out by a woman. I prefer blatantly obvious Sadie Hawkins approach.

    Do I have urges towards women I meet from time to time. Hell yes. I usually refrain on acting even when it seems blatantly obvious someone is interested in me because uncertainty.

  33. albz says

    @31 vucodlak
    “I don’t fantasize about doing anything to or with her, because that would be gross and inappropriate”. I think you’ve got a huge issue in distinguishing between real world and fantasy. This self-censorship of your thougths is exactly what scares me in this thread. I suspect you also consider sexual role-playing (let’s say with ropes and handcuffs) to be “gross and inappropriate”.

    @29, 30: Rob Grigjanis and lothatloo already explained what you seem unable to understand.
    @Nerd: “You are part of the problem, if you think men shouldn’t control themselves”. Yeah, right. I only spent the last ten comments or so clearly stating that the whole point is about having control over oneself…but ok, good luck with your war against windmills.

  34. methuseus says

    @albz, you’ve been constantly using language that has, at the very least, non-consensual connotations.

    I find these “I never felt the urge to grope a woman’s breasts” claims annoying and full of hypocrisy. What happens to me -and I’d bet, to the vast majority of sexually active hetero men- is that if I see a beautiful girl/woman I sometimes feel the impulse of touching her, in a sexual way.

    Using the word “impulse” gives a very bad vibe to most people. I’m male and never been in a non-consensual situation, but I still got a very negative vibe from the way you wrote that. Rob Grigjanis may be defending you, and lotharloo asked us to look beyond the mere words you said, but words have meaning. Both denotations and connotations. If you cannot handle that, you should be more careful in your correspondence with others. You appear to have very different ideas of what the word “impulse” means compared to most of the rest of the commenters here.

  35. albz says

    @37 methuseus.
    It is possible that, being a non-native English speaker, I used some terms that can give you “bad vibes”. That said, my point is quite simple and straightforward, and I won’t repeat it here again. So, frankly speaking, if the pure and simple statement that no one should impose unwanted sexual acts to others is not enough for you, please take your “bad vibes” and stick them…(see, you used your imagination, bad bad boy)

  36. Rob Grigjanis says

    chigau @35: Since there is nowhere and no-one* on this planet free of (at least occasional) obtuseness, I don’t know where I could be “off” to.

    *Including myself.

  37. says

    Rob Grigjanis
    What do you want? A cookie for you and albz?
    So you freely admit that your “impulse” when you see a woman whose looks tickle your boner is to help yourselves to a handful of her body, a reaction you have reasoned yourselves into believing is “natural” or “instinctive”, i.e. beyond your control and reproach. And you may not like the word, but reality doesn’t care about that, the behaviour described meets the definition of sexual assault. Not to forget the context, which is about a moderately famous man having done just that. At a time when a man who admitted to doing just that is the President of the United States.
    Having been on the receiving end of such “natural” and “instinctive” male behaviour more often than I cared to count, I find your public admission disgusting. It tells me that you see women as things you want to touch first and as people second. If you need to keep yourselves in check so you don’t just grope women then women cannot trust you.
    So no, no cookies for saying “I’d really like to grope women, but am I not a good guy because I’d never do it?”

  38. methuseus says

    Honestly, albz, where are you from? What’s your native language? I find it a little hard to believe, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    You still didn’t understand what I was saying, that your word choice was poor. You’re either too stubborn or too stupid to understand. So I guess I should leave you alone like everyone else has.

  39. albz says

    @41 methuseus:
    What is exactly that you find hard to believe? Non of your business, but ok, I’m Italian and live in Italy. About my poor word choice: I already acnowledged that, and I’ll go so far as to say that some of the nasty comments may have originated from this. However the very fundamental concept does not: you can see throughout the whole thread lot of assholes attacking me because I should not have sexual thoughts on a woman unless she agrees to. And this is a very stupid and very dangerous concept.

    Just look at the dork above, @40 Gillell, who after 40 comments is still ranting that you should judge a person not by his actions, but by what is going on at some level inside his brain. This is WRONG, this is stupid, this is dangerous, this does not help in fighting against abuse and sexual misconduct. Go and read “1984”: Orwell explained it better than I could ever do.

  40. Rob Grigjanis says

    Giliell @40: What is it with you and cookies? Nobody deserves a cookie for having a conscience and behaving decently and with respect.

    a reaction you have reasoned yourselves into believing is “natural” or “instinctive”, i.e. beyond your control and reproach.

    The specifics are certainly culturally conditioned, but the reaction is simply there, no reasoning required. And the reaction is not a problem unless one acts on it without consent. It simply is not an issue for civilized human beings.

    If a friend of yours confided to you that she had an urge to slap a particular bloke’s backside, which she makes clear she would never actually do, would you reproach her for her lack of control, and her impulse to commit sexual assault? Seriously? Have you always had this urge to police other people’s feelings?

  41. methuseus says

    If a friend of yours confided to you that she had an urge to slap a particular bloke’s backside, which she makes clear she would never actually do, would you reproach her for her lack of control, and her impulse to commit sexual assault? Seriously? Have you always had this urge to police other people’s feelings?

    Well, yes, anyone who said they had an urge like that I’d look sorta funny at and stop being their friend if they did this fairly often. I’m actually not ok with associating with people who speak like that. I don’t understand why someone can’t just say, “Wow, that’s an attractive person” or “Wow they’re hot” or similar. Why the need to talk about assaulting them? It’s not about policing their behavior; it’s about telling them what society generally accepts.

    Also, do you consider a lot of men as non-civilized humans because they would act on it? They are civilized humans, but not good citizens. They are part of civilization, after all. Saying they aren’t is trying to minimize and write off real harms that are being perpetrated against people.

  42. says

    If a friend of yours confided to you that she had an urge to slap a particular bloke’s backside, which she makes clear she would never actually do, would you reproach her for her lack of control, and her impulse to commit sexual assault?

    Yes.
    That was an easy one.

  43. albz says

    @Rob: it’s a total waste of time. It is obvious from their answers that Giliell is a, old fashioned hypocrite and bigot, while methuseus cannot understand what you wrote in youe example. He condemns your imaginary friend for telling you about her urge, not understanding that what he is actually “reproaches” is an action, not a thought. Because yes, obviously going around bragging “oh, I’d love to slap that ass!” is an action, and not a proper behaviour, but that was not the point in your example.
    I’d like to modify it asking them what would they do if, instead of having a friend tell them about her urges, they were magically capable of seeing inside her mind. Would they still condemn her?

    My bet is:
    * Gilell: yes
    * methuseus: (some unrelated argument or question, like where are you from)

  44. Rob Grigjanis says

    methuseus @44:

    Also, do you consider a lot of men as non-civilized humans because they would act on it? They are civilized humans, but not good citizens.

    OMG, Words and How We Use Them. So you would say that gropers, and mass-murderers, are civilized because they are part of civilization? Yes, they are part of civilization; the society and culture in which we live. No, they are not civilized. I can’t believe I’m talking to adults here.

    It’s not about policing their behavior

    I didn’t say it was. I said policing their feelings.

    We really are through the looking glass here. That’s enough for me.

  45. vucodlak says

    @ albz, #36

    I think you’ve got a huge issue in distinguishing between real world and fantasy. This self-censorship of your thougths is exactly what scares me in this thread.

    What, precisely, is so scary about mental discipline?

    Consider this:
    I was raised by racists, in a deeply racist culture, which taught me to fear black people. I strive not to entertain that fear in my thoughts, because it will translate into (nearly unconscious) behavior, like sitting on the other side of the room from a black person even though there are closer, and perfectly acceptable seats, nearer the black person. You may think there is no harm in the thoughts, or in such a small action, but I can just about guarantee that black people will notice such things and know why I did it, which makes the seemingly innocent act hurtful. So yes, I police my thoughts in that area as well, in an effort to be less of an asshole.

    By the same token, I don’t buy the argument that you can look at someone, think “I’d like to squeeze their ass,” and not treat them differently, in ways you might not even notice. Maybe you don’t notice any difference, but they probably will.

    I suspect you also consider sexual role-playing (let’s say with ropes and handcuffs) to be “gross and inappropriate”.

    Presumably you mean roleplay in a sexual relationship, in which all participants are giving their informed, enthusiastic consent. In such a case, the answer is no, I don’t have a problem with that. Why would I?

    What I have a problem with is treating people like sex objects. “Random attractive stranger” does not and cannot consent to be the object of your fantasies, since they exist only in your head. Again, I don’t buy the argument that your thoughts will not influence your behavior. You can insist that they don’t all you want, but humans don’t actually work that way.

    I’m not saying you’re going to start harassing or assaulting women. I am saying that some women have already noticed that you treat them a bit differently, even if you haven’t, and they pretty much know why. They don’t have to be able to read your mind- only your face and behavior.

  46. albz says

    @48 vucodlak:
    I can’t believe I have to explain this. You can train as much as you want, you’ll never hide your inconscious reactions. When you see an attractive woman your pupils will dilate, your entire body will react, and you cannot avoid it. And many women will notice -many women have already notice this in you, rest assured of this) no matter how much self-control you’ll try and put in place.

    And this is exactly my point: there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, it’s not a fault, it’s just a natural reaction. Now, if from this point you start staring and drooling over her boobs, that’s an inappropriate reaction -which is independent from what you think. Or, you can control your actions: avoid staring, be open and direct, and let it be evident that your mind is in control of your hormones. How in the world could you find such a behaviour offensive or aggressive? If you do you have some serious issue, and this is your issue, I can’t do anything about it.

    About sex roleplaying: sure, it’ consensual…but who knows what’s going on in your little sick brain? Why do you find pleasure in tying up a woman? This is where you get if you start judgin thoughts instead of actions.

  47. KG says

    Presumably you mean roleplay in a sexual relationship, in which all participants are giving their informed, enthusiastic consent. In such a case, the answer is no, I don’t have a problem with that. Why would I? – vucodlak@48

    If you believe that merely thinking about what you might do consensually with a stranger inexorably makes you likely to treat women differently in ways they might notice and find uncomfortable (I don’t know whether it does and nor, I suggest, do you), how on earth can you be confident that role-playing non-consensual sexual activity would not do the same?

  48. says

    Because yes, obviously going around bragging “oh, I’d love to slap that ass!” is an action, and not a proper behaviour,

    I find these “I never felt the urge to grope a woman’s breasts” claims annoying and full of hypocrisy. What happens to me -and I’d bet, to the vast majority of sexually active hetero men- is that if I see a beautiful girl/woman I sometimes feel the impulse of touching her, in a sexual way.

  49. Rob Grigjanis says

    KG @50: I assume you meant “role-playing consensual” rather than “role-playing non-consensual”.

  50. albz says

    @51 Giliell
    I’m starting to suspect that you’re actually part of some kind of Turing test, programmed to see how long does it take to someone to recognize that they’re arguing with an idiotic bot that ignores evidence and arguments and simply repeats pre-defined straw man arguments, over and over.
    …and I’m badly failing the test, too.

    Well ok, one more won’t make a difference.
    So, about your @51 post. Yes, and yes. Can you see the difference? Like, in one of the scenario you’re behaving in an inappropriate way, while in the other you’re privately dealing with yourself?
    Really, Giliell: from the deep of my heart: fuck off.

  51. patrick2 says

    I think albz you’re causing confusion by continually jumping back and forth between feeling a natural attraction to women, which nobody objects to, and having a desire to sexually assault them. Your first post called men who say they never feel an urge to grope women hypocrites. Groping pretty much universally means touching someone sexually without their consent, which is the definition of sexual assault. So if you’ve felt an urge to grope a woman’s breasts (as you originally seemed to imply), you’ve felt an urge to commit sexual assault. Even if you’ve never acted on that impulse, that’s not an urge you should feel comfortable with.

    But then in other posts you talk more generally about any form of sexual attraction or having reactions such as dilating pupils. Again, I don’t think anyone objects to that.* You should either learn the difference between feeling attraction and feeling an urge to grope someone, or make that distinction clearer when communicating.

    *Though with your point about your pupils dilating and your body reacting whenever you see an attractive woman, I think you’re exaggerating – I see attractive women pretty much every day and I’m pretty confident my body doesn’t change every single time.

  52. albz says

    @55 patrick2.
    “to grope” is not necessarily related to nonconsensual acts.
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/grope:
    informal with object Fondle (someone) for sexual pleasure roughly or clumsily, or without the person’s consent.
    ‘I don’t want strangers groping me’
    ‘they groped each other wildly in the taxi’

    So I’m not jumping back and forth. And I never said that when I see a woman I feel the desire to sexually assault her.
    Actually, I have never felt this desire. But I won’t retreat what I wrote: for me you should not judge someone by his instincts. Doing so is dangerous: it’s an excuses for those who don’t control themselves. If you are afraid of instincts per se, you are implicitly saying that instincts can overcome reason and self control. And this is nothing less than an excuse for anyone acting badly: “I couldn’t avoid it, I don’t know what happened to me, I’m not a bad person” etc.
    No: every person is responsible for his actions, always, no excuses. But then again, only of his actions.

  53. vucodlak says

    @ albz, #49

    First you argue against a position I explicitly did not take- that feeling attraction is wrong- and then you imply that I’m a sexual predator.

    From your very first comment in this thread:

    I find these “I never felt the urge to grope a woman’s breasts” claims annoying and full of hypocrisy. What happens to me -and I’d bet, to the vast majority of sexually active etero men- is that if I see a beautiful girl/woman I sometimes feel the impulse of touching her, in a sexual way.

    This is not at all the same as:

    When you see an attractive woman your pupils will dilate, your entire body will react, and you cannot avoid it.

    You honestly expect me to believe you can’t see any difference between pupil dilation, and a graphic sexual fantasy about a stranger you just met? Give me a break.

    As to your assertion that I have a sick mind… oh, you have no idea. But tying women up? Please. Don’t insult me by assuming I share your timid, plebeian imagination. The things that get me off would blast the sanity from your brain, and all of them require the enthusiastic participation (and consent) of someone every bit as warped as myself:

    …her claws caress my scabrous hide, her teeth sink into my flesh, crushing my breastbone. As her viverating fire fills my veins I loose a scream that blinds the moon and turns the stars away in shame. By the time her questing tongue finds my heart I am hers, body, mind, and soul. The foreplay is over. Countless eyes in the walls of flesh weep burning tears, the tongues of the million mouths sing a chorus to flay us of our last restraint. We dance together in fields of ash and blood, the husks of dead gods bearing witness to a union more beautiful than all the gleaming instruments of all the shining surgeries. Sister Dragon whispers: “Let us give them a show to scorch the withered eyes in their sorry heads.”

    “Amen and amen,” I manage before giggles steal my breath away.

    What? The blasphemous revels that topple the pillars of heaven tickle, alright?

  54. rq says

    albz
    You have admitted that English is not your first language, and now you want to argue about definitions and the informal use of the word ‘grope’ in the context of a conversation about sexual assault? Eh?
    (Did you notice the words “each other” in the second example you yourself provided? And the discussion doesn’t seem to be about a mutual activity, but a one-sided one. This is important.)
    Use your words correctly.

  55. says

    @albz, in your first post you seem to have somewhat missed the point of the article. The article is very evidently talking about feeling tha urge to touch/grope/fondle without the other person’s consent, because that is what Lawrence Krauss did.

    In such a context, you really cannot blame other people for interpreting your post as an advocacy for feeling the urge to touch/grope/fondle women without their consent and subsequently arguing that such urge is not a healthy one. Which it is not.

    Your first post was poorly thought out and poorly formulated. Happens all the time to all kind of people. Live with it. Admit mistake, and stop moving goalposts in an attempt to save face.

  56. albz says

    @58 rq, and @59 Charly:
    Yes, I did notice the words “each other”. I also noticed the word “or” in the definition. That, in fact, is exactly my point: that “grope” does not always conveys a “non-consensual” meaning.
    Now, if you want to argue about the meaning of a word you’re welcome. Only, you are not arguing with me (that would be easy, and I already admitted -twice, not counting this one- that my wording was not very clear: this for “saving the face”), but with the dictionary.
    And, again and again and again: what one person feels is none of your business. Many bigots here state the opposite: this is the point, not what I actually feel or if I properly expressed my feelings.
    So: stop moving goalposts in an attempt to defend jerks with serious self-introspection issues.

    Oh: *@57 vucodlak:
    …nah, just fuck off.

  57. Saad says

    albz, #60

    And, again and again and again: what one person feels is none of your business.

    Correct. But when that person expresses their feelings to me in words, they have engaged me in a conversation. I can now address those feelings of theirs and let them know what I think. If they say “they get an urge to grope attractive people” I can respond with something like “that’s not a creepy way to view people” or ask for clarification on what they mean by “urge” and “grope”.

    However, if they say they feel aroused at the thought of touching the attractive person in a consensual way, I’d probably ask them why they’re telling me something so uncontroversial and obvious and harmless.

    Which brings me to my question to you: Are you saying you sometimes feel it would be fun to sexually touch an attractive woman in a consensual way? If so, why are you saying that? Do you also tell people it feels good to eat good-tasting food?

  58. Saad says

    Correction to my post above:

    “that’s not a creepy way to view people”

    Of course that should read “that’s a creepy way to view people”.

  59. albz says

    @60, Saad
    This is the original sentence from PZ post (bold mine): “…I’ve never felt any urge to fondle them in response”. Followed by @wzrd1 comment “…I have no interest in grabbing another woman’s boobs”.
    My answer to that was quite straightforward: “..if I see a beautiful girl/woman I sometimes feel the impulse of touching her, in a sexual way”.
    The key word here is not “grope” (which by the way I didn’t use in my first comment referring to myself), or “fondle” or “touch”. The key concept is “felt”, “feel the impulse”, presented as something sick or innatural. You are criminalizing people’s instincts instead of their actions: how can’t you all see how wrong is this?
    Your question is irrelevant, and must be so. What do I feel when I see an attractive woman? Do I sometime want to touch her? Do I want to have sex with her? Do I want to kill her slowly with a teaspoon? Do I want to ask her directions to the nearest library? …Why should you fucking care?

  60. rq says

    Saad
    To be honest, I just assumed you would be saying that as sarcastically as possible.

  61. says

    @albz.

    The key word here is not “grope” (which by the way I didn’t use in my first comment referring to myself),

    Then again, you expressed yourself extremely poorly. Others understood, entirely reasonably given what you responded to where and how, your first post as an advocacy of ubiquity of fantasizing – very specifically – about non-consensual groping of women among men. That is what they object to.

    If your first post was meant as a statement of the complete banal fact that sexual people feel attracted to people they find sexually attractive, with some involuntary body reaction and a some subconscious barely formed thoughts, all you had to do was to apologize afterward for your poor wording and drop the issue.

    You tried to walk that statement back, but without apologizing and acknowledging that you erred, you went full into aggressive attack mode. You seem not to realize, that you are pontificating about sexual assault and harrasment to people who were sexually assaulted and harrased or who know closely people who with these experiences. These people have no reason to be charitable towards you, especially when after your first faux-pas you put your foot in your mouth and bite hard.

    As a hint for future, going into attack after your poorly worded statements were not understood the way you intended to is not a good strategy at persuading people.

  62. Saad says

    albz, #63

    My answer to that was quite straightforward: “..if I see a beautiful girl/woman I sometimes feel the impulse of touching her, in a sexual way”.

    Oh okay. That sounds just fine since I’m taking the consent in this as a given. It was the word grope that was causing issues and I now see you didn’t originally use that term when talking about yourself.

    What do I feel when I see an attractive woman? Do I sometime want to touch her? Do I want to have sex with her? Do I want to kill her slowly with a teaspoon? Do I want to ask her directions to the nearest library? …Why should you fucking care?

    This is where you’re wrong. When you say either of those thoughts out loud to a person, you can’t follow it up with “why do you care?”. Because that’s what conversations are. It also entirely depends on what it is you’re saying you feel when you see an attractive woman. Your first two examples make sense. The third one would be met with a more negative response. The last one I’d probably find humorous unless you were looking for a library.

  63. albz says

    @65 Charly
    Let’s keep it simple: you think that fantasizing about non-consensually [touching|groping|smiling to|killing|talking with|put a pink elephant onto] a woman is wrong; I think it’s none of your fucking business.

  64. Saad says

    albz,

    It’s also none of your fucking business if someone thinks that fantasizing about non-consensually [touching|groping|smiling to|killing|talking with|put a pink elephant onto] a woman is wrong.

    I hope you can see that.

  65. albz says

    Saad,
    sorry but you keep mixing up levels. the point is that Charly thinks that it is wrong for me to fantasize blablabla. Also, he and PZ and the others take esplicit actions towards me in judging and suggesting that I should change/correct myself.
    I will, however, concede that my first post also seems to blame what other think. The difference here is, you and anybody else can actually think whatever you want about what I should feel, provided this doesn’t show up in your actions.
    Ok?

  66. Saad says

    albz,

    No, I didn’t mix up any levels. Your argument was that if someone verbalizes to me a private internal thought or urge that they have, it shouldn’t be any of my business (no matter how vile that thought is, as you demonstrated by listing some examples). Let’s say, for argument’s sake, I grant you that as is without bringing nuance into it.

    I then said, using your same reasoning, that someone holding the belief that it’s wrong for people to fantasize about stuff like that should be none of your business.

    You have to allow both. You can’t say “person A fantasizes about doing such and such to women BUT don’t judge him for it because it’s none of your business”. People judging person A is none of your business.

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