Monday, December 21, 2015

Sexism row scientist back working for Royal Society

A Nobel prize-winning scientist who became embroiled in a sexism storm is back working for the Royal Society just six months after being forced out for saying women are a distraction in the lab.

Sir Tim Hunt resigned from his duties after sparking a furore with comments he made at a conference in Korea, where he said the problem with female scientists was that they 'fall in love with you'.

He claimed women should have separate laboratories and that they cry when criticised – in comments meant as a joke.

But such was the vilification from feminist scientists and students, the 72-year-old father of two was asked to resign from an honorary professorship at University College London. He also left positions at the Royal Society and European Research Council but remained a fellow of the Royal Society.

Now, six months after the row, he has resumed his official duties, according to The Times. A report on UK research in the European Union, which was released yesterday by the Royal Society, was written by a working group including Sir Tim.

A spokesman for the Royal Society told the Times: 'We will always put the leading experts we have on any working group. 'Sir Tim is a leading expert on European research, and was an obvious choice.'

It came as it emerged Sir Tim and his wife are now planning to leave the country and move to Japan.  According to friends he will accompany his wife, Mary Collins, who is to leave her own professorship at UCL to take up a job at a Japanese University with a five-year tenure.

The couple are said to be hoping to put the sexism row behind them.

Confirming the move earlier this week, Professor Collins told the Daily Mail: ‘This is a job I applied for before the Tim Hunt incident and is a very positive career move for me.’

But a friend of the couple, who live near Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, said the move would not be happening were it not for the witch-hunt that was triggered by the scientist’s comments.

The friend, who did not wish to be named, said Sir Tim continued to be upset by the false accusations of sexism, adding: ‘It’s very sad, it’s quite clear it’s based on their exhaustion.

‘I’ve kept in touch with Tim over the past six months. They have been up and down, even quite recently. They have been emotionally affected by it.

'They have had a lot of criticism, he’s had invitations to talk at conferences withdrawn on the grounds he’s not a suitable person, or if he appeared it might produce a reaction, backlash or protest.’

Sir Tim was speaking at a meeting of the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, South Korea, when he made the controversial comments. He said: ‘Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry.’

A lecturer in science journalism at City University in London, Connie St Louis, who attended the meeting, then posted an article mentioning his remarks on Twitter entitled ‘Why are the British so embarrassing abroad?’ This sparked the massive witch-hunt.

Mrs St Louis, a former BBC radio producer, said the event was ‘utterly ruined’ and asked: ‘Really, does this Nobel laureate think we are still in Victorian times?’

The Mail later revealed she had falsified parts of her online CV.

Many high-profile women in the field leapt to Sir Tim’s defence, denying claims he was sexist. Figures ranging from Richard Dawkins, Brian Cox, and Mary Beard to Boris Johnson also voiced support for the scientist – but UCL refused to reinstate him.

Jonathan Dimbleby quit his honorary UCL fellowship, accusing the university of a ‘disgraceful’ rush to judgement.

In a statement, UCL president and provost Michael Arthur said he regretted accepting Sir Tim’s resignation but that reversing the decision would send out ‘entirely the wrong signal’.


Queers Fight NC Law That Protects Believers Against homosexual Marriage

Historically, Democrats and Republicans have agreed that religious liberty is a core American value that should be protected whenever possible. Yet over the past decade, this consensus has come under increasing assault from the left.

A recent manifestation of this hostility to people of faith is a Dec. 9 lawsuit challenging a North Carolina statute (known as Senate Bill 2) that accommodates state magistrates and clerks whose sincere religious objections prevent them from solemnizing or licensing certain marriages allowed by law. According to Equality North Carolina, an LGBT advocacy group that plans to draw attention to the lawsuit along with the Campaign for Southern Equality, the law “allows magistrates who do not believe in marriage equality to renounce their judicial oath to uphold and evenly apply the United States Constitution.”

This is nonsense. The Supreme Court’s recent decision redefining marriage for the entire nation requires North Carolina to legally recognize same-sex marriages, but there is no constitutional right for couples to be married by any particular state official.

Indeed, North Carolina could conceivably dispense with the solemnization requirement for marriages entirely and use an online system similar to that used by Hawaii for licensing. But, like most states, it has elected to allow magistrates to solemnize marriages and clerks (called registers of deeds) to license them.

All Senate Bill 2 did was permit those with sincere religious objections to any part of the process to recuse themselves entirely. Adding this opt-out system into the North Carolina law provides a reasonable accommodation for those with religious objections and hurts no one, because the law guarantees that there will be magistrates available to perform marriages.

Only about 5 percent of North Carolina’s roughly 670 magistrates have taken advantage of this accommodation. In these few cases, other state officials have been made available to perform marriages in affected jurisdictions, just as the law requires. To date, exactly zero couples have been unable to marry because of this protection.

North Carolina’s law is a perfect example of a win-win situation. Everyone gets a marriage license, and no one is forced to choose between losing his job and violating his conscience.

To be clear, it isn’t just North Carolina law that requires an accommodation. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires all employers, including the government, to make reasonable accommodations for those who do not want to shed their religious beliefs when they step into the workplace. North Carolina’s law is eminently reasonable. Civil servants, whose jobs have been redefined with the redefinition of marriage, deserve the opportunity to remain in their jobs without violating their consciences.

As Mark David Hall, one of the authors of this article, argued in a recent backgrounder, America’s history of accommodating religious citizens stretches from the founding until the present day.  These religious protections have not kept the nation or states from meeting important policy objectives and courts, including the United States Supreme Court, have regularly ruled them to be compatible with the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

In an ironic twist missed by Equality North Carolina, some of the oath provisions they claim require magistrates to violate their religious convictions themselves contain religious accommodations.  Both the U.S. and North Carolina constitutions permit individuals to “affirm” rather than “swear” their oaths. Although any citizen can take advantage of these provisions, historically they were adopted to protect Quakers and other religious minorities who had religious objections to taking oaths.

Americans have long recognized that it is unconscionable to force individuals to choose between public service and their religious convictions if the latter can be reasonably accommodated. An excellent example of this is a federal law that protects federal and state prison officials from being forced to attend or participate in an execution contrary to their moral or religious convictions.

Indeed, few know that before the Kim Davis controversy over marriage licenses, Kentucky clerks were allowed by law to opt out of issuing hunting licenses if they were, for example, strict vegetarians. These laws, along with numerous others granting religious accommodations, show that America can and should find reasonable ways to protect its citizens from being forced by the government to violate their conscience.

The lawsuit attacking the North Carolina statute has no legal or historical standing. The statute continues America’s proud history of recognizing and protecting the rights of conscientious objectors without denying anyone’s rights. Other states would do well to follow North Carolina’s model.


Rep. Steve King: 'Jesus Never Ordered Anyone to be Killed ... But Muhammed Did'

When MSNBC’s Chris Hayes tried to argue that the man who shot three people at a Planned Parenthood office in Colorado was no different than the radical Islamists who slaughtered 14 people in California, because the killers were following their religion, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said it was not the same because Jesus never ordered people to kill but Muhammed did.

On the Dec. 9 edition of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, the host said, “Why is this any different?  You, understandably, as a Christian, as someone of the faith, right, you look at what happened at Planned Parenthood and say, ‘that’s not the faith that I believe in.’”

Rep. King answered,  “What Planned Parenthood is doing [aborting babies] is not the faith that I believe in.”

“But Jesus never ordered anyone to be killed,” said King, “and He never raised his hand to injure anyone specifically, but Muhammed did.”

“There’s a big difference in this,” said the congressman.  “They’re [radical Muslims] carrying on the traditions that are centuries old.”

Back on Nov. 27, Robert Dear went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he allegedly shot and killed two civilians and one police officer. He has been charged with first-degree murder.

On Dec. 2, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik targeted the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, where they shot and killed 14 people and wounded 22 other people. Farook and Malik were later killed in a shootout with police. Both terrorists had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.


The debacle of DJ Dr Fox's sex assault trial was the latest example of the Crown Prosecution Service acting like the legal wing of the rabble-rousing left

By Richard Littlejohn

The spectre of Jimmy Savile continues to cast a long, menacing shadow over the administration of justice in Britain.  This week, another disc jockey, Neil Fox, faced the prospect of a lengthy jail term after being accused of ‘historic’ sex crimes.

Fortunately for Fox, he was found not guilty of eight indecent assaults and two sexual assaults. Although the judge said he believed the witnesses for the prosecution, he added that the allegations should be treated with caution.

District Judge Howard Riddle, presiding with two lay magistrates, said: ‘The question we must ask ourselves is whether we are sure of the facts alleged, sure of the context in which they occurred, and sure that they amount to criminal offences.’

In that single sentence, Judge Riddle delivered a timely and overdue restatement of the fundamental principle of British justice — that the accused must be presumed innocent until proven guilty and that for anyone to be convicted of a crime, the evidence must be compelling beyond a reasonable doubt.

Some of the charges against the DJ — known as Dr Fox — dated back 26 years. Given that other celebrities have found themselves accused of crimes more than half-a-century old, that’s fairly recent history.

Even so, Judge Riddle and his colleagues clearly considered that in the circumstances, and because of the time which has elapsed, any conviction would be unsafe.

Fox himself cut a pretty unedifying figure in the box, admitting to what he calls workplace ‘banter’ — what others might describe, at best, as boorish and, at worst, as sexual assault.

He said of one female colleague: ‘There are times when I would easily wander by and slap her bum, touch her on the way past. If I thought anyone was uncomfortable with that, I wouldn’t do it. She joined in high-spirited banter, funny chats — none of this would in any way have offended her.’

Some of the women involved would no doubt profoundly disagree with him, even if such casual ribaldry was commonplace at the time. But, as Judge Riddle said, did any of this actually amount to criminal behaviour?

After Fox was freed, one of the witnesses against him — a former teenage fan who claimed he’d ‘snogged’ her in a car park and indecently assaulted her during a studio tour — expressed her disappointment that the case had been heard in a magistrates’ court.

‘Perhaps if there had been a jury, they might have been more affected by the emotions of it,’ she said.

Perhaps they might. But that’s not the point. English law is founded upon fact, not emotion. It is also supposed to be administered without any regard for political expediency or public relations posturing.

All of those essential tenets have been cast aside enthusiastically by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), as they have been swept along on the tide of hysteria surrounding their failure to snare Jimmy Savile when he was still alive.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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