Female Science Professor has another very interesting post up today, this one concerning a discussion among Scientists at a dinner party:
One of the Scientists asked the others the following question:
If you could make a pact with the Devil and become supersonically, cosmically famous — of the order of magnitude of Isaac Newton or Charles Darwin — within your lifetime, but on the condition that you die within 6 years, would you do it?
Female Science Professor wasn’t at the party herself, but when she heard about this, she told her colleague who was at the party:
That’s insane. Of course no one would make that bargain.
Apparently, she was wrong.
Some of the men at the party said they would make that bargain, including one man who has a young child and who claims to be an atheist (and therefore who presumably doesn’t believe he would be able to enjoy his cosmic fame after his death). He later confirmed to me that he was serious about this and wasn’t just being dramatic (or inebriated).
Female Science Professor was shocked by this:
How bizarre. I hope his child doesn’t ever learn his thoughts on the fame vs. family issue, and I wish I hadn’t heard about this pact-with-the-devil party game incident. Knowing that this particular person would be willing to trade time with his family for stupendous fame has altered the way I think about him. I’m not sure why — I’ve always felt that some of my colleagues and I are not of the same species as each other — but now I am thinking we must be from different phyla.
While perhaps her male colleagues are from a different phylum, it is not for the reason that she thinks. Her mistake is in believing a single word men say about hypotheticals such as this.
They are just engaged in bullshit macho one-upmanship, trying to prove to each other what manly-man science-warriors they are who care little for such mundane trivial concerns as friends, family, and even life itself, and are focused solely on the glories of the battlefields of science.
They are totally full of shit: they do not weigh the importance of their lives any less than you, and if genuinely presented with such a choice, they would surely choose as you (and any sane person) would. They are the science equivalent of right-wing chickenhawk fighting keyboardist douchemonkey bloggers who talk about what manly warriors they would be in the Iraq war, except they’re not fucking there and know that their coddled privilege ensures that they never fucking would be, and thus they know that their glorifying of war and aggrandizement of “manliness” has no consequences for them (and only for other people and their children, who will suffer and die because of the chickenhawks’ despicable lies and perfidy; but that’s another topic).
Same as with Female Science Professor’s manly-man science-warrior colleagues: they know they are not really presented with this choice, and they know they never will be, so their macho posturing has absolutely no consequences and they can let their ridiculous macho-man freak flags fucking fly.
PhysioProf has little patience for this kind of absurd macho posturing by self-deluded manly-men, who are actually weak ego-deficient pathetic douchehounds who cannot perceive the world and their relationship to it in any way except through the sad sick lens of patriarchy.
Just to be clear: all men have been distorted in this way. And when you women hear manly-men talking, especially to each other, about the courageous and heroic decisions they would make and acts they would perform in hypothetical situations, you should be very fucking skeptical. It is highly likely that what you are hearing is a complete load of flaming wackaloon bullshit.