A curious phenomenon: after my post yesterday about Krauss’s bad op-ed, I got complaints. I always do, but these had this odd tone: ‘I used to like you, but now you’re being critical of my heroes’. It confuses me. Why do you have heroes? Why do you think being critical of people is bad? Wait…why are you being critical of me? It all smacks of unthinking idolatry. We should be critical thinkers, and prominent people who aspire to be leaders and inspiring figures should be criticized most of all.
(Don’t look at me. My aspirations nowadays mainly involve spiders.)
I went easy on Krauss. That op-ed was dishonest right-wing trash that lied about the people who were “cancelled”, and could only have been published on the sleaziest of conservative publications, like the Wall Street Journal opinion pages. For a more thorough dissection, you might want to read John Jackson’s exposure of Krauss’s lies and misrepresentations.
- Krauss claims one of Hsu’s “crimes included doing research on computational genomics to study how human genetics might be related to cognitive ability—something that to the protesters smacked of eugenics.” Well….yeah, manipulating the genetic material of humans for certain traits for the sake of future generations is kind of the definition of eugenics. Krauss doesn’t explain why it wouldn’t be nor why people should be unconcerned with such a plan. So, this doesn’t really advance any argument he thinks he’s making.
- “He was also accused of supporting psychology research at MSU on the statistics of police shootings that didn’t clearly support claims of racial bias.” Well, as I explained before, that study was mentioned on Twitter, but nowhere else during the controversy. So, technically true, but largely irrelevant to the controversy.
- “Within a week, the university president forced Mr. Hsu to resign.” Ten days, actually, Mr. Objective-Intellectual-Standards. And welcome to the land of post hoc ergo propter hoc. The two things Krauss listed preceded Hsu’s resignation in time therefore, Krauss concluded they caused Hsu’s resignation. Here’s few possible causes completely unmentioned by Krauss:
- Hsu’s appearance on a white supremacist podcast.
- The appearance of a Holocaust denier on Hsu’s own podcast.
- Hsu’s threat to sue the faculty, staff, and students of his own university.
That’s just the stuff Krauss wrote about Stephen Hsu! His whole op-ed is that repulsively dishonest about everything, as one might expect of a disgraced academic who is lashing out at those who uncovered his bad behavior.
The author of this fallaciously argued piece is Lawrence Krauss, a man who was found guilty of sexual misconduct by his own university and has been banned from the campuses of three others. Hsu, who hosted a Holocaust denier on his podcast has now defended himself with a neo-Confederate and a serial sexual harasser. These are people who obviously have problems with presenting the truth. Credibility counts and Hsu’s defenders have none.
If these people are your heroes, and if you’re more annoyed at those who point out their feet of clay than at their bad behavior, you’ve got a problem.