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At Buzzfeed: Serious sexual assault allegations against celebrity physicist Lawrence Krauss

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Lawrence Krauss

Update:

Lawrence Krauss, a world-renowned theoretical physicist who led Arizona State University’s Origins Project for nearly a decade, will not lead the initiative any longer, he announced on Twitter Thursday.

Krauss was accused of sexual misconduct in a February Buzzfeed News story and placed on paid leave by the university in March while it conducted an investigation. The story included allegations of inappropriate comments and behavior from multiple women. Krauss has strongly denied the allegations.
Rachel Leingang, “Renowned ASU professor Lawrence Krauss ousted from post after sex misconduct claims” at Arizona Republic, August 3, 2018

He was founder and director since 2009.

From Peter Aldhous:

BuzzFeed News has learned that the incident with Hensley is one of many wide-ranging allegations of Krauss’s inappropriate behavior over the last decade — including groping women, ogling and making sexist jokes to undergrads, and telling an employee at Arizona State University, where he is a tenured professor, that he was going to buy her birth control so she didn’t inconvenience him with maternity leave. In response to complaints, two institutions — Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario — have quietly restricted him from their campuses. Our reporting is based on official university documents, emails, and interviews with more than 50 people.

Many of his accusers have requested anonymity, fearing professional or legal retaliation from Krauss, or online abuse from men in the movement who have smeared women for speaking out about other skeptics. A few allegations about Krauss made their way onto skeptic blogs, but were quickly taken down in fear of legal action. So for years, these stories have stayed inside whisper networks in skepticism and physics.

In lengthy emails to BuzzFeed News, Krauss denied all of the accusations against him, calling them “false and misleading defamatory allegations.” When asked why multiple women, over more than a decade, have separately accused him of misconduct, he said the answer was “obvious”: It’s because his provocative ideas have made him famous. More.

UD News (O’Leary for News) takes no position on Larry Krauss’s innocence or guilt; this is for information.

(Note: In 2009, I’d written about Krauss’s presentation at a Canadian science conference. He didn’t like what I said, though it was not even negative. )

See also: Larry Krauss on why it is silly to teach both sides of evolution (2017)

Larry Krauss, though a cosmologist, is mooted as a possible successor to zoologist Dawkins in the defence of Darwin. Thus he may not know that there is a lot of rethinking going on around evolution these days. But what’s Jerry Coyne’s excuse? A reader writes to point out that ambitious faculty who are not much interested in either scholarship or teaching tend to become administrators or controversialists. See below:

Larry Krauss goes after new US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

Cosmologist Larry Krauss explains a universe from nothing to an astrophysicist

and

Celeb atheists Dawkins and Grayling don’t want to debate apologist Craig because … maybe a reason is now emerging … Larry Krauss! (2011)

22 Replies to “At Buzzfeed: Serious sexual assault allegations against celebrity physicist Lawrence Krauss

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    ogling and making sexist jokes to undergrads

    This may unfortunately be true, but a blob of protoplasm can still turn into Bill Nye.

    And seriously, he used to be a blob of protoplasm, so what do you expect?

    Selfish jeans.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Although Krauss and other atheists may want to escape a world of objective morality that interferes with their ‘sexual freedom’, and may argue til they are blue in the face that morality is merely subjective, objective morality, as Krauss is now finding out the hard way, is not so easily dismissed:

    “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.”
    Aldous Huxley – Ends and Means (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1937), 270. (was a grandson of “Darwin’s Bulldog,” T.H. Huxley)

    Morality: Objective and Real or Subjective and Illusory? – video
    https://youtu.be/BnrrIvz8mSE
    Paper:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/10ve9uXNt63Rw2_lkK0udrwC9u3gRSw_dwRlBmlOQWCw/edit

  3. 3
    chris haynes says:

    Dr. Krauss was, surprised surprise, a guest on the private island of Jeffery Epstein, where the prominent child rapist and confidant of former President Bill Clinton entertained his lady friends, some as young as 12.

    Dr. Krauss states he visited with Mr. Epstein in furthering Epstein’s efforts to advance Science

  4. 4
    asauber says:

    some as young as 12.

    Yes. A “kid-friendly” event.

    God have mercy on us.

    Andrew

  5. 5
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    I’ve read that atheist conventions are hell for women who want to be respected. Of course, in most large groups of young, single men, there are bound to be bad apples. In this case, it would seem that the two story-telling cultures—Hollywood and Darwiniana—are more alike than has been observed previously.

  6. 6
    Molson Bleu says:

    I have to question whether we would post this OP if it was about a prominent ID proponent instead of a prominent ID opponent. Surely we can do better.

  7. 7

    Krauss is an arrogant human being and a total hypocrite. Thank you for bringing this recent news to my attention.

  8. 8
    News says:

    Molson Bleu at 6, given a similar volume of evidence, it would be our unfortunate duty to allow readers to know the same sorts of things.

    We can’t pretend it’s not happening but we have made a point of avoiding sensationalism. People can go elsewhere for that.

  9. 9
    asauber says:

    I have to question whether we would post this OP if it was about a prominent ID proponent

    MB,

    I can’t wait for you to share your Fair and Balanced Policy with us. 😉

    Andrew

  10. 10
    KD says:

    In response to Molson Bleu … in the interest of full disclosure, I am a scientist who believes, on scientific grounds, that ID is the best explanation for the origin and diversity of life. Having laid my cards on the table, I agree with News. A cover-up, or silence in the face of such a body of evidence, would be a discredit to us. I would hope that the ID community has a higher standard of ethics than the community that tried to keep a lid on this for a period of ten years. Coming clean is important for credibility sake, not to mention morality.

  11. 11
    Molson Bleu says:

    News and KD, I am not opposed to reporting on these accusations. My only concern is how it appears to be human nature for people to use deplorable behaviour of an individual as an argument against whatever other views they may hold. BA77 demonstrates this to a minor extent above.

    How many of us have had to defend Christianity against people who equate child molesting priests with the religion? Or witch burning, or the inquisition? I don’t like to see this dishonest tactic being used by either side in world view arguments.

    Maybe I just worry too much.

  12. 12
    News says:

    Molson Bleu at 11, in the OP we were not using the allegations as an argument at all. If Buzzfeed (!) is reporting in this vein on someone we have often written about, we may as well apprise readers that we know. Readers can think what they wish.

    Buzzfeed seems to have done a fair bit of – probably – counter-emotive research in this matter, a nice change from mere muck-raking. So we hope they will be judged fairly too.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    If there is a substantial case, the courts are open.

  14. 14
    J-Mac says:

    I don’t like Krauss… He is a moron…but I hate this new trend of sexual accusations that ruin peoples’ lives’ before they are found to be guilty. The medias love it. The enemies of the accused love it. When the accused is found to be innocent, nobody seems to be rushing to apologise. The accused life is usually ruined. The apologies from the medias that avoid to be sued are usually on the last page of the paper so small that one needs a microscope to read it. The innocent victim has to move out of the neighbourhood after loosing his job and being abandoned by the family…If his is unsuccessful in committing a suicide, he may survive for a while… while the false accusers have nothing to worry about… Women are protected by the new law… The law of …..whatever…

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    J-Mac, I agree with you. If there is a substantial case, the courts are open. We do not need to move to trial by media lynch-mob. KF

  16. 16
    ppolish says:

    Nothing to see here. And if that fails, Larry should use his “something from nothing” defense.

  17. 17
    News says:

    My first reaction when my scout sent me the Buzzfeed link was: As soon as I finish up some paperwork here, I am going to start #NOTMeToo (!)

    Krauss? Aw,gettoutahere…

    I agree with J-Mac about flash kangaroo courts of public opinion.

    However, after I read the Buzzfeed piece, I wrote the scout back to say that, studying the Buzzfeed story, it does sound like a consistent pattern of evidence.

    I have no basis for attesting or contesting the account’s veracity but think that readers should know it’s there.

  18. 18
    J-Mac says:

    @News 17

    Even if there is a pattern, we should still wait for courts to decide the guilty verdict, unless there may be some children or adolescents at risk of a sexual predator…

    If you still have doubts, just imagine the accused is you…

    BTW: This is one of the reason I’m not a fan of 100% free speech/press… It often allows the innocent to suffer or damage the reputation beyond repair…

  19. 19
    Molson Bleu says:

    I have to agree with J-Mac. I would prefer to see a system where the name of the accused is never published unless he/she is found guilty. All other facts should be open to publication except the name of the accused.

  20. 20
    tribune7 says:

    Lawrence Krauss was among the celebrity atheists defending Jeffrey Epstein.

    Arizona State University physicist Lawrence Krauss also is standing by Epstein.

    “His interest is in interesting people,” he said.

    http://billlawrenceonline.com/.....y-epstein/

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    J-Mac: Speech is never absolutely free. In court, you perjure yourself and you are guilty of a serious crime. There is a whole area of law on defamation, implying the right to innocent reputation. Of course the defamation law in the USA is particularly bad. That’s a root of the problem. Of course, in turn truth and responsibility to caution prudent action are defences against defamation claims, but that is itself a long story. KF

  22. 22
    Ted Davis says:

    A well known female astronomer who blogs as Star Stryder, Pamela Gay, is also an outspoken Christian among skeptics. She’s written and spoken about such things, before the “MeToo” movement became popular in Hollywood. I heard her talk about such things at the ASA meeting a few years ago. For example, this:

    https://www.starstryder.com/2014/05/31/my-mistake-of-silence/

    In light of this recent report, I have to wonder whether the “Famous Guy A” she talked about happens to be Krauss.

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