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Larry Krauss cites physics to fight back against sex harassment charges

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Lawrence Krauss Readers will remember celebrity atheist physicist Larry Krauss. We first heard the story about the sexual harassment charges at Buzzfeed in February. Krauss announced his retirement last week but has also offered a lengthy rebuttal to the accusations.

Among other things, he says the physics of some of the allegations doesn’t hold up:

One piece of evidence against Krauss was a photo he took with a fan, who is leaning back toward him to take a selfie. She claimed the photo showed his hand moving toward her breast just before he grabbed it. Krauss says a closer examination of the photo clearly shows his hand is actually moving away from the woman’s breast. He said he should have caught this earlier, being a physicist. After showing the photo to colleagues, he said, they agreed with the trajectory of his hand.

In yet another accusation, Krauss was accused of showing an inappropriate drawing to staff members. He said it was “an admittedly juvenile drawing trick” he learned in fifth grade but that he drew it only after their “enthusiastic consent.” He said there was “more sexually explicit material in Disney movies.”

The accusations against Krauss appear to be exaggerated, but he said that even if some were true, none rose to the level of “severe and pervasive” that warranted his firing, he said. Ashe Schowe, “Physicist Uses Physics To Rebut Sexual Misconduct Allegations” at Daily Wire

I (O’Leary for News) can’t speak to the specific accusations but, as a matter of possible interest, I had a brief story-related run-in with him back in 2009, when I offered a mild riposte to his takedown of film producers who misrepresent physics in popular sci fi films. I said I had enjoyed his presentation but that the filmmaker must put butts in seats to make back the millions spent and that we ought to be glad if the misrepresentations are not more serious. He responded,

Needless to say, Ms. O’Leary misunderstood, or mis-represented much of what I said.. but I now realize the reason for this, as it seemed she was at the wrong meeting. It was for science writers and not religious writers, which, as far as I can tell from her blog, is what she is. Her conceptions of science, and her understanding of modern issues, seems very confused Denyse O’Leary, “Physicist Lawrence Krauss explains to Canadian science communicators: There are NOT two sides to a story (just his side?)” at Salvo

More at Colliding Universes.

I got the impression that Krauss is one of those people who just don’t understand the effect they are having on others. In Sensitive Snowflake City, that failing can become career fatal, it seems, whether or not other things happened as well.

Note: In the case of Darwinian Francisco Ayala, who was forced to step down recently in an unrelated sexual harassment controversy, well-known memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus deplored the outcome:

“I’m just shocked that this man’s life was ruined over this collection of reactions to his behavior,” says Elizabeth Loftus, a UC Irvine experimental psychologist who has vocally supported Ayala. After reading the report, she said the “thin” allegations “are far, far from the obviously bad behaviors that we want to be punishing. I feel like: ‘Who’s next?’” Meredith Wadman, “Report gives details of sexual harassment allegations that felled a famed geneticist” at Science

Well, if Ayala was Me-Too’d without really doing very much, he certainly inflates the status of the Me Too’s. Keep an eye on the file.

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

Francisco Ayala has stepped down in sexual harassment controversy at University of California Irvine

and

AAAS introduces new policy for expelling members which seems to be aimed at seem to be harassment rather than research fraud. Ayala was president of AAAS in 1995.

13 Replies to “Larry Krauss cites physics to fight back against sex harassment charges

  1. 1
    FourFaces says:

    Kraus is yet another atheist Jew in science with a serious chip on his shoulder. They seem to be the majority. Where are the God-believing Jews of science? I would love to hear their point of view.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    “Where are the God-believing Jews of science? I would love to hear their point of view.”

    Here’s one:

    Jewish scientist (James Tour) makes the greatest Jewish discovery!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNGLZvtRoiU

  3. 3
    News says:

    There’s Gerald Schroeder too.

    Also, at Quora: Are there any scientists that have either adopted or converted to Orthodox Judaism?

    https://www.quora.com/Are-there-any-scientists-that-have-either-adopted-or-converted-to-Orthodox-Judaism

    There is apparently an Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists.

    I don’t think it’s fair to blame Judaism for Larry Krauss’s obnoxiousness. He had the misfortune to find himself living in the age of snowflakes rather than a time when a guy could get himself clobbered by someone and think better of telling the world. Well, that’s just one person’s guess anyhow.

  4. 4
    FourFaces says:

    @2 and @3,

    Thank you. This is uplifting. By the way, I was pointing out Krauss’s lack of faith in Judaism. I admire God-believing Jews.

    PS to BA77. I knew that James Tour was a Jew but I had no idea that he was a Christian Jew. Amazing.

  5. 5
    Tom Robbins says:

    Come on… what’s with the labeling on this forum today? “JEWS”….they are ok if they are God fearing? Really? You don’t hear how backwards this makes you sound labeling entire cultures, how about The Jewish people Adolph? And it is none of our business to judge one another. I never liked Krause’s IDEAS for the same reason I have a hard time with any arrogant personal IDEAS where a PERSON, and INDIVIDUAL no matter his ethnic background,thinks they can use scientism to bash people of faith, and actually claim they can know there is no God! But calling an individual a “Jew” and implying God fearing Jews are respectable, but not those other “jews”..really? Sounds terribly backward for this blog.

  6. 6
    Tom Robbins says:

    “Krause is yet another atheist JEW’??? What forum am I on? the new reich or The new Social Darwinist? What does his ethnic background matter? Just trying to somewhat gently, but firmly point out how horrible throwing the word JEW about at individuals sounds. And then, the response, “hey, some of my friends are God fearing Jews” those “kind” are ok… Come on people, you are better than that are you not? We need to stop throwing labels at people, sounds terribly racists and is a substitute for pointing out the real issue here, which is not whether he is a Jew or not, its scientism that so ignorantly tries to mock people of faith by hiding behind this idea that science makes God superfluous, when actually, science only gives rational evidence for a God, and uncovers his glory – right? A POSITIVE message we Christians are called to carry, not segregating entire groups of people with labels, and there is no room whatsoever to judge others – judge the ideas not the person – whether we like it or not, God loves Krause as much as he does you or I. But please, lets top with the this JEW or that JEW comments – I am not a snowflake or a thought sensor kind of person, but for decency and for those of Jewish heritage that frequent this site. Can we please be just a bit more careful with the language we sling about.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Tom Robbins,,, Hear, Hear!!!

    Personally, I’ve never understood the maniacal hatred that many cultures, i.e. Nazis, Soviets, Muslims, have had against the Jewish people.

    It was only when I became a Christian that I understood that this maniacal hatred is based, not in reason, but in man’s rebellion against God.

    I think the following Rabbi does a fine job of illustrating this point.

    Why do people hate Jews and Judaism? (COMMENTARY)
    May 21, 2015
    Excerpt: Pick any characteristic and Jews have been blamed either for possessing too much of it or not having it at all. Jews have been the scapegoats for the sins of every political system. Max Nordau, the great Zionist leader, had it right: “The Jews are not hated because they have evil qualities; evil qualities are sought for in them because they are hated.”

    Still, that begs the question: Why?

    A little over a century ago, with the beginning of the Zionist movement, Jews thought they at last had found the answer. Theodore Herzl fervently believed that it was all because the Jews had no land of their own. Stateless, they were natural victims. Only their abnormal political reality caused them to become international pariahs. No longer homeless, with Israel Jews would find acceptance and universal respect.

    Yet the state of Israel has disabused Jews of Hertzl’s response to anti-Semitism. If anything, Jews with a state of their own have become far more vulnerable to the world’s hostility. Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only member of the United Nations whose right to exist is regularly challenged and whose elimination from the world map is the aim of other U.N. member states.

    What then is the answer to the reason for anti-Semitism?

    The rabbis of the Talmud saw it in the very name of the mountain on which the Ten Commandments were given. “Sinai” in Hebrew is similar to the word “sinah” — hatred. It was the Jews’ acceptance of a higher law of morality and ethics that was responsible for the world’s enmity.

    Jews were the first to preach the message of the Ten Commandments, that worship of God includes the second tablet of respect for fellow mankind. As the mother religion of both Christianity and Islam, Judaism pioneered the ideal of the holy and the human need for acting in accord with divine law. But anti-Semitism stands in opposition to the very idea of civilization. It detests Jews because it acknowledges that Jews are the conscience of humanity and the lawgivers of ethical and moral behavior.

    Amazingly enough, Adolf Hitler dared to verbalize it as justification for his plan for genocide of the Jewish people: “Conscience is a Jewish invention like circumcision. My task is to free men from the dirty and degrading ideas of conscience and morality.”
    – (Rabbi Benjamin Blech is professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University in New York.)
    https://religionnews.com/2015/05/21/people-hate-jews-judaism-commentary/

    As a Christian, I would only add to the Rabbi’s point that, besides bringing conscience and morality to the world, via the “Ten Commandments”, the Jewish people were also God’s chosen people for bringing Jesus into the world.

    And it is in this fact that both Christians and Jews are subjected to the irrational, maniacal, hated of the world.

    It is so sad that some people, who dare call themselves Christians, and who thus share the burden of being hated, without reason, by the world, can be so quick to try to marginalize “Jews”. Christians should be the very first ones in line to embrace Jews and to jealously protect the Jewish nation from her many enemies around the world (and even in academia) who seek to destroy her.

    I for one am very glad that we currently have a very pro-Israeli president who, unlike every other modern president, was unafraid to keep his campaign promise to the American people to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    Knowing our world: The three major reasons for persecution of Christians worldwide – Denyse O’Leary
    Excerpt: The world-wide picture is sobering. Pew Research Center, Newsweek, and The Economist all agree that Christians are the world’s most widely persecuted group.
    Marshall and team offer information about three quite different reasons for persecution by different types of regimes (pp. 9–11):
    First, there is post-Communist persecution, following the collapse of Communism in the late 1980s, where the regimes
    ” … have since retreated to an onerous policy of registration, supervision, and control. Those who will not be controlled are sent to prison or labor camps, or simply held, abused, and sometimes tortured.”
    The most intense persecutor is the still Communist (not post-Communist) regime, North Korea (pp. 9–10). There, “Christians are executed or sent to prison camps for lengthy terms for such crimes as the mere possession of a Bible.”
    Second, in some countries, “Hindu or Buddhist religious movements equate their religion with the nature and meaning of their country itself.” They persecute minority tribes as well as religions (pp. 10–11). These countries include Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan.
    Third, of course the Muslim world where
    “Even though the remaining Communist countries persecute the most Christians, it is in the Muslim world where persecution of Christians is now most widespread, intense, and, ominously, increasing. Extremist Muslims are expanding their presence and sometimes exporting their repression of all other faiths. … Even ancient churches, such as the two-thousand-year-old Chaldean and Assyrian churches of Iraq and the Coptic churches of Egypt, are under intense threat at this time. (p. 11).”
    http://www.thebestschools.org/.....worldwide/

    “If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
    Mark Twain

    Verse

    John 15:24-25
    If I had not done among them the works which none other did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
    But this cometh to pass , that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

    John 15:18-19
    “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

    Luke 21:24
    They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    TR

    Just trying to somewhat gently, but firmly point out how horrible throwing the word JEW about at individuals sounds.

    I think many people share your point of view. In our society it is believed that the word Jew is very negative and frightening. We shouldn’t even say it. I notice that you immediately refer to “Adolph” – and that’s the normal reaction.

    I fear that this kind of reaction though – so fearful and passionate – actually fuels hatred of the kind we have tragically seen. If we can’t even mention the word, unbalanced people begin think there is a “cover-up to protect the Jews” – or some nonsense. I think we should thoughtfully bring matters to light.

    As I see it, atheism and Judiasm are actually closely aligned.

    Taking Wikipedia for what it’s worth – there is some informative material here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_atheism

    A 2011 study found that half of all American Jews have doubts about the existence of God, compared to 10–15% of other American religious groups.

    In my view, Judiasm is a false religion – like Islam or Mormonism. I find those religious views to be entirely incoherent, myself. But I respect God-believers and atheists, Jews, Muslims – they are human beings deserving of respect.

    From the Wiki page:

    … given Judaism’s emphasis on practice over belief, with even mainstream guides to Judaism suggesting that belief in God is not a necessary prerequisite to Jewish observance.

    Liberal Jewish theology makes few if any metaphysical claims and is thus compatible with atheism on an ontological level.

    I think the great ID scholar and mathematician, David Berlinski is an atheist Jew. David Klinghoffer from the DI is a theistic Jew.

    So, there’s a spectrum of belief.

    For me, these distinctions are important – that is, if a person identifies himself as a Jew (I believe Krauss does) then we should be free to refer to the same, and try to gain some understanding about the theological and cultural meaning attached.

    Some will agree, some disagree – why not?

    The word “Jew” should not have an entirely negative connotation. In the same way, nor should the word “Muslim” – even though many might oppose the theology of those groups.

    That we should respect others – atheist or not – as fellow human beings, yes, I fully agree with your good point on that.

  9. 9
    FourFaces says:

    Tom Robbins @5,

    But calling an individual a “Jew” and implying God fearing Jews are respectable, but not those other “jews”..really? Sounds terribly backward for this blog.

    I have no respect for atheists, especially atheist Jews. To me, an atheist Jew is a traitor to his own heritage and to Yahweh. That’s just the way I feel. If that bothers you, oh well. If the word “Jew” is offensive to you, you got a serious problem, especially since atheist Jews have a constant bone to pick with “white Christians.”

    And, BTW, how do you know I am not a Jew who is fed up with traitors?

  10. 10
    aarceng says:

    These days I treat any claims of sexist behaviour with extreme scepticism.

  11. 11
    timothya says:

    Just a question . . .

    If the claims of Christianity are true, will the Jews be condemned to eternal damnation when the day of judgement comes?

  12. 12
    FourFaces says:

    timothya @11,

    The answer is no. Both Christianity and Judaism have their share of absurd beliefs. A lot of pagan doctrines were inserted early into Christianity by church leaders. The pagan concept of eternal hell is one of them. People forget that all the original Christians were Jews. Jesus himself warned the Jews that a time would come when people would persecute them in his name.

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    timothya

    If the claims of Christianity are true, will the Jews be condemned to eternal damnation when the day of judgement comes?

    If the claims of liberal Protestantism are true, then there is no hell. Everybody goes to heaven.

    If Christian atheism is true, then there’s no heaven either.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism

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