Tolerance and Tim Hunt 147


You can’t tolerate that which to you is inoffensive. Toleration necessarily implies putting up with people who hold views or exhibit behaviour which you do not like. The hounding of Professor Tim Hunt from his University position is an exhibition of extreme intolerance.

Brilliant scientists – which those who are able to judge say Professor Hunt is – are sometimes not the best socially integrated of people. His joke was offensive, and only very slightly amusing. He maintains views which are not those I hold, and he intends to continue to hold them – as he is entitled to do.

We are all entitled to show disapprobation of his opinions. We are not entitled to insist that he change them. And we are certainly not entitled to sanction him in his work for his opinions. The importance of his work is not pivotal to this argument – I would say the same for a waiter.

If he enforces active discrimination in the work environment that is a different question, but he does not appear to be accused of that and the facts or otherwise of that are not dependent on opinions he expresses.

Tim Hunt is a bit of a twit and a dinosaur. But some of those hounding him are a great deal more dangerous.


147 thoughts on “Tolerance and Tim Hunt

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  • CanSpeccy

    LOL: I only just saw this fantastic gem of SS’s:

    But in spite of fielding large numbers of graduates in the Life Sciences and Medicine in the UK, women are still discriminated against in the sciences in Europe and the USA (and elsewhere tends to be far worse). To suggest otherwise is to fly in the face of all the evidence. Indeed it might be said that to deny this in the face of all the evidence is to be profoundly unscientific.

    Isn’t that marvelous. A factual claim, completely unsupported by evidence, claimed to be scientific and claimed to be so firmly established “that to deny it “in the face of all the evidence” (non of which can be cited) is to be unscientific.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Conservatives do not fear telling things as they are.”
    ________________________

    Is that so Habby boy,then tell me then,why does George Osborne have problems explaining where the £12 bn of public spending are coming from.

    Even the IFS and OBR don’t know where the axe will fall,so go on then…let us all know…oh wise one.

  • CanSpeccy

    Oh, here’s SS’s proof of discrimination against women in science. A link to an item from the BBC, stating:

    Women make up half the number of students entering university but very few of them go on to hold senior jobs in Europe’s research institutions.

    Well isn’t that proof of discrimination? Or isn’t it? Well actually it isn’t. It merely shows that women have different career paths to men. My wife, for example, a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at 25, a mother and free-lance, i.e., home-based editor, at 30.

    Is that proof discrimination? Obviously not. It’s merely proof that women and men have different career paths and lifestyle choices. No wonder SS was too embarrassed to spell it out what his so-called evidence amounted to.

  • CanSpeccy

    And then SS has this:

    ‘Andrew Miller, chair of the Commons Science and Technology Committee – whose report Women in Scientific Careers was published on 6 February – said there was an “awful lot more that could be done” to support women in academic careers.”

    Well, so what. Maybe an awful lot more could be done to support men in academic careers. What does that prove? That men are discriminated against in academic careers. Well, yes, actually. Many university make rotten hiring choices because they have to fill quotas for females, which is to say the hire according to gender not competence.

  • giyane

    If by the time you get to 72 you can say what you really think, and you have followed the scent of scientific truth to its logical conclusion, people should be paying attention to what you say, not shutting you up with pc name and shame.

  • YouKnowMyName

    @phil, shopping centres use Bluetooth & Wi-Fi mac addresses to profile shoppers.

    “stingray” a U.S. Harris trademark, is more likely to be a Datong or Rhode & Schwarz IMSI catcher in the UK. The police & agencies, according to public data, can not only record the GSM IMSI & temporary IMSI, but can trivially perform man-in-the-middle attacks, even from aircraft it is supposed.

    Even some USB TV receivers, costing ten quid might be able to attack GSM!

    The privacy/security implications for GSM are so severe that the USA plans to start switching OFF their national GSM systems in the near future. It has been a great service, but its time has come, allegedly.

    Please use an alternative communications technology.

  • giyane

    My father created the technology of the first EMI body-scanning machine, the prototype of the scanner which saved my life the other day. When will our society learn to respect our elders instead of playing games with their foibles. We stand in their shoes. They made the world that is today.

  • doug scorgie

    Ba’al Zevul
    11 Jun, 2015 – 3:54 pm

    “Getting just a tad pissed off already with the telling-me-what-to-think industry. ‘You can have free speech as long as I agree with you’ seems to be the message.”
    …………………………………………………………………….

    Exactly Ba’al.

    From your link:
    “So, Tony, take this from a fan: don’t squander your talents silencing jokers and fools and trampling over free speech. Worry about the distorters instead – those hell-bent on bending history and poisoning the well of rational thought.”
    …………………………….

    Any intelligent and honest reader of the history of Israel would conclude that the “distorters” and “those hell-bent on bending history and poisoning the well of rational thought” are the Zionists themselves (religious or political).

  • CanSpeccy

    @ Giyanne:

    When will our society learn to respect our elders

    Or as Samuel Johnson said of the 77-year-old Hector Maclean, the Minister of Col

    “I honoured his orthodoxy, and did not much censure his asperity. … at seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest.”

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I am interested in whether or not there is a line to be drawn here, and if there is, where it is to be drawn exactly.

    Is it an absolute principle that any person should have the freedom to publicly express a personal political, economic or social opinion, however abhorrent, and to have the right to anticipate no consequences to any appointments or jobs that they hold?

    Suppose Tim Hunt had publicly expressed the opinion that laboratories should be racially segregated, because there was something about different ethnicities which was distracting to scientists? Then what?

    Or that laboratories should not include Blacks or Jews, for some similar reason? Then what?

    Or that homosexuals or lesbians should be given their own separate laboratories?

    What would be the difference between these examples and advocating discrimination on the basis of gender?

    Suppose Tim Hunt publicly expressed a personal opinion that there was nothing wrong with sexual relations between adults and children, or that all Jews should be exterminated off the face of the earth, although he personally did not practise sex with children and had no intention of beginning the extermination. Is it correct, in principle, that he should face no consequences to his appointments or positions?

    Replace Tim Hunt with any person working in any position in the country, as Craig Murray did. Suppose a waiter expressed an opinion that he wanted no women served in his restaurant and that he did so under protest. Then what?

    I will state no position on these matters. I am just trying to provoke thought.

    Kind regards,

    John

  • CanSpeccy

    @JSD

    Is it an absolute principle that any person should have the freedom to publicly express a personal political, economic or social opinion, however abhorrent, and to have the right to anticipate no consequences to any appointments or jobs that they hold?

    Well obviously it isn’t an absolute principle at all, otherwise there could be no political correctness, which is to say a political, legal, and educational regime under which, so it was reported in Britain a few years ago, a police officer was be threatened with dismissal for using the word “niggardly” in an entirely appropriate context, or where a distinguished scholar can be hounded for saying some obvious thing about the interaction between men and women in the workplace.

  • CanSpeccy

    @JSD

    Suppose Tim Hunt publicly expressed a personal opinion that there was nothing wrong with sexual relations between adults and children, or that all Jews should be exterminated off the face of the earth, although he personally did not practise sex with children and had no intention of beginning the extermination. Is it correct, in principle, that he should face no consequences to his appointments or positions?

    Why suppose anything so stupid? To make some vague statement about the interaction of the sexes in the workplace is in no way comparable with the ridiculous comparisons you make, i.e., advocating criminal actions, namely, child abuse and genocide.

  • craig Post author

    Giyana

    “We stand in their shoes. They made the world what it is today.”

    The bastards.

    🙂

  • Herbie

    To be fair, Canspeccy.

    Suhayl has laid out some evidence above, starting at 7.18pm.

    On skimming it seems an old boy network is being blamed for structural inequality in the science establishment.

    I was told years ago that all these women entering the old male bastions would change the nature of these institutions, make them more friendly and caring, more wholesome, more womanly.

    That’s how it was sold.

    Never happened.

    If anything, everything’s got worse.

    The women speak the same management gobbledegook as the men, and because of political correctness they’re often more difficult to criticise than would be a man.

    It’s this phenomenon which often has females fronting PR for the most dubious of cases, their gender being specifically used to that purpose of course.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Any intelligent and honest reader of the history of Israel would conclude that the “distorters” and “those hell-bent on bending history and poisoning the well of rational thought” are the Zionists themselves (religious or political).

    Certainly. Arseholes weigh in on both sides of any argument. I disagree totally with what the Zionists have to say, as I hope I do not need to reiterate, – but I will defend, if not to the death, then at least here, their right to say it.

  • Mary

    A reminder that within UCL, John Reid was allowed to set up ICRS. It was formally opened by BLiar when there was a large protest by the students.

    UCL Institute for Security & Resilience Studies
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/isrs/about/advisoryboard 🙂

    UCL thinktank backed by arms firm raises concern
    Institute for Security and Resilience Studies is supported by Ultra Electronics, which is involved in drone technology
    http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/dec/25/ucl-thinktank-backed-arms-company
    December 2012

    Tony Blair jeered by UCL students
    Students and campaigners from Stop the War Coalition repeat call for former prime minister to be tried for war crimes http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/nov/13/tony-blair-jeered-by-ucl-students-before-speech
    13 November 2012

    The President and Provost of UCL at that time, Prof Malcolm Grant, was later appointed by the ConDems to chair NHS England.

    The great and the good listed here, currently overseeing the increasing privatisation of OUR NHS.
    http://www.england.nhs.uk/about/whos-who/

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Jesus.H.Christ one of the attendees to the Bilderberg conference,is Henry Kissinger

    But Henry’s always there. Wouldn’t be the same without him. (1957, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1992, 2008, 2009, 2010,[22] 2011, 2012,[3] 2013, 2014 and very likely all the others- attendees aren’t always, er, officially there.)

  • CanSpeccy

    And then SS said:

    [PC] is a phenomenon which arose out of the ideological failure of the Left.

    It wasn’t a failure of the left. It was a deliberate creation of the totalitarian left as a means to impose their will, the will of Trotsky, Lenin, and Stalin. Their idea of dealing with dissent was a bullet through the brain, or later, a slower death by ten years in a slave labor camp.

    Today’s leftist totalitarians would use the same means to suppress opposition if they could get away with it — or when they can get away with it. Already, they support assassination of those deemed, without benefit of judge or jury, to be terrorists. Soon merely being unPC may be sufficient to paint the “terrorist” target on a non-conformist.

  • CanSpeccy

    @ Herbie

    To be fair, Canspeccy.

    Suhayl has laid out some evidence above, starting at 7.18pm.

    But it’s vacuous, as I indicated at 8.06, 8.11 and 8.16.

    As for:

    it seems an old boy network is being blamed for structural inequality in the science establishment.

    Yeah, there’s plenty of blame, but where’s the proof of systematic discrimination?

    Even if some old boys did discriminate, Surely some did, so what? Don’t women and the politically correct discriminate? You bet.

    The only satisfactory justification for claiming inequality between the sexes in employment in science is real data showing consistent bias against females. But today, there is, if anything, consistent bias against males in university hiring.

    If fewer females are successful at astrophysics and IT than males, perhaps it is that for reasons of capacity or inclination they are not, as a whole, as good as males. That is the nul hypothesis and anyone who wishes to refute needs to provide hard evidence. Otherwise, all they are doing is engaging in the normal feminist practice of denigrating males without rational justification.

  • lysias

    David Rockefeller has also always been there, only for some reason he isn’t on this year’s list. I wonder how his health is.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    More “wondering”.

    At least it’s not about buggery this time. 🙂

  • Ba'al Zevul

    If fewer females are successful at astrophysics and IT than males, perhaps it is that for reasons of capacity or inclination they are not, as a whole, as good as males. That is the nul hypothesis and anyone who wishes to refute needs to provide hard evidence. Otherwise, all they are doing is engaging in the normal feminist practice of denigrating males without rational justification.

    H(1), mine, is that females are better at some things than males, and astrophysics isn’t one of them. Getting stuck into a task at age 18-20, in my experience, is one, though that is of course an overgeneralisation. My guess is that males have the edge in innate mathematical ability – though there are glorious exceptions – and females, within the sciences, have a better feel for environmental and earth science. This last rather surprisingly, perhaps, since most of the big names in geology are male. But I’ll be consciously contentious here. Divergence in IT may be more a matter of culture than ability.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    …actually, I can think of a couple of top women astrophysicists, come to think of it. More data needed…

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Well, if some people want to remain in convenient denial in the face of all the evidence – and it is extensive; what I linked to was merely a small part of it – that’s fine. Typically, such denial – and to some extent ‘I think you, Alfred, do protest too much’ – is part of the problem. If you are a retired Biology academic and you hold these views, then I think that too contributes to my argument, doesn’t it? Wrt gender, it would be not structural, but personal, in that instance.

    Btw, is this an all-male thread? It’s difficult to know, as most people don’t use their own names. But in the terms of the subject under discussion, it seems that is overwhelmingly male. Even the women who frequent this blog normally have no reticence about leaping in on other subjects seem not to have contributed here – not a criticism, merely an observation. Why might that be?

  • Johnstone

    Yes, Suhayl Saadi I guess I kinda fit that label of did once. And I have been arguing against the idea that Hunt just because he is eminent scientist and has published papers and has won a medal of honor, or indeed because he is 72 should get away with this faux pas.

    I have argued that his blinkered attitude to women in the work place springs from the self same blinkered attitude these kind of scientists have towards the world in general.

    I have been arguing against the unquestioning almost religious belief in the flawed Cartesian model of knowledge reflected in such things as the segregation of faculties, whereby nuclear scientists work in one department on weapons and energy research, while biochemists like Hunt are in another working on a cure for cancer.

    This kind of silo thinking is the reason why we are teetering on the edge of an environmental apocalypse.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I have been arguing against the unquestioning almost religious belief in the flawed Cartesian model of knowledge reflected in such things as the segregation of faculties, whereby nuclear scientists work in one department on weapons and energy research, while biochemists like Hunt are in another working on a cure for cancer.

    First learn the difference between ‘arguing’ and ‘asserting’.

    Second, try finding a new subatomic particle in a genetics lab.

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