Stellar evolution in the #MeToo era

Stellar evolution:

  1. protostar
  2. main sequence
  3. red giant
  4. white dwarf

I’m wondering if it would be fair to say that cosmologist Lawrence Krauss is transitioning from red giant to white dwarf.

Human energy output these days can be measured by Twitter. Let’s have a look at Professor Krauss’s feed:

May 10, 2014: I will echo Michelle Obama: Bring back our girls! And add: bring back our girls everywhere from the shackles of religious tyranny.

Aug 30, 2014: To Progressive Atheists in Melbourne and Radical Women. Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your protest event.

October 2, 2014: Texas continues its attack on Women.. especially poor women. Will it never end?

Nov 1, 2016: Here goes fuel for the hate mongers. I am pleased to support Hillary Clinton for President. She is very capable & will be a fine President. [i.e., the state government employee supports the candidate who promises to expand government]

Nov 1, 2016: Women’s rights, and climate change. Two reasons Trump needs to lose, and hopefully Democrats gain senate majority.

April 14, 2017: Trump proves that beyond grabbing them, he doesn’t care about women’s health and welfare. No big surprise.

May 28, 2017: Even without the pussy grabbing one look at this and you know this is the kind of creep you would want your daughter to stay away from.

June 1, 2017: All bad. Not content to attack the environment, the administration joins religious fanatics to attack women’s rights

As he was a media darling during the above output, I think it is fair to say that this was the professor’s red giant phase. What about after a star exhausts its nuclear fuel and can no longer support itself against the weight of its outer shell? Then it will collapse catastrophically, a victim of its own brilliance.

“He Became A Celebrity For Putting Science Before God. Now Lawrence Krauss Faces Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct.” suggests that is it now white dwarf stage:

Lawrence Krauss is a famous atheist and liberal crusader — and, in certain whisper networks, a well-known problem. With women coming forward alleging sexual harassment, will his “skeptic” fanbase believe the evidence?

“I didn’t care if he flirted with me, I just wanted to be around somebody important, and I also wanted to get a job in this field,” [Melody] Hensley told BuzzFeed News. “I thought I could handle myself.”

he asked her to come up to his room while he wrapped up some work …

When he pulled out a condom, Hensley said, she got out from under him, said “I have to go,” and rushed out of the room.

Krauss offers the scientific method — constantly questioning, testing hypotheses, demanding evidence — as the basis of morality and the answer to societal injustices. Last year, at a Q&A event to promote his latest book, the conversation came around to the dearth of women and minorities in science. “Science itself overcomes misogyny and prejudice and bias,” Krauss said. “It’s built in.”

How does the scientific method work when it comes to evaluating private sexual activity?

Krauss’s reputation took a hit in April 2011, after he publicly defended Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier who was convicted of soliciting prostitution from an underage girl and spent 13 months in a Florida jail.

Epstein was one of the Origins Project’s major donors. But Krauss told the Daily Beast his support of the financier was based purely on the facts: “As a scientist I always judge things on empirical evidence and he always has women ages 19 to 23 around him, but I’ve never seen anything else, so as a scientist, my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people.”

Some scientists do not respect Hawaiian culture:

In April 2016, an Origins staffer angrily posted on Facebook about how Krauss “suggested that I should dress up like a hula girl while advertising for an event.”

Skeptics have become skeptical of skepticism:

“I’ve just become so disappointed and disillusioned with a group of people who I thought at one point were exemplars of clear thinking, of openness to new evidence, and maybe most importantly, being curious,” philosopher Phil Torres told BuzzFeed News. “This movement has tragically failed to live up to its own very high moral and epistemic standards.”

Certainly this is an astrophysics lesson for our time!

[Update:  “Lawrence Krauss banned from Arizona State University campus following misconduct allegations”, which notes “ASU stated that the university had not received any complaints from ASU students, faculty or staff about Krauss.”]

8 thoughts on “Stellar evolution in the #MeToo era

  1. Hillary was a Big Star.

    When such stars run out of stuff to burn, they explode in a spectacular fashion taking out not just the planets around them, but life in solar systems many light years away. When the dust settles, the corpse collapses into a big black hole from which not even light can escape. Small, dim, stars like Podesta, Wasserman, Brazile, Abedin, Lynch and Comey which are unfortunate enough to wander too close will be drawn into the singularity. They disappear beneath the event horizon and never again shed light upon the universe.

  2. philg,

    Nothing adds flavor to a good metaphor than the salt from the tears of our enemies. What better music to accompany it than their wailing and gnashing of teeth?

    When asked what is life, Genghis Khan replied,” crush your enemies, to see them driven from the field before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women.”

    Arnold Schwartzenegger echoed these sentiments when he played a brutally-exploited slave in one of his earlier movies:

    Schwartzenegger’s character, Conan, goes on to battle against a sexually exploitative religious cult led by James Earl Jones.

  3. Mememe:

    Nothing adds flavor to a good metaphor than the salt from the tears of our enemies. What better music to accompany it than their wailing and gnashing of teeth?

    It’s hard to see what this statement has to do with this Lawrence Krauss story. Quoting Genghis Khan approvingly is taking things to another level.

  4. Either my Schadenfreude sense is tingling or I’m being molested.

    @vince just because he was a monster doesn’t mean he was wrong?

  5. Mark Fisher wrote about this phenomenon in the essay “Exiting the Vampire Castle”

    “The first law of the Vampires’ Castle is: individualise and privatise everything…What holds them together is not solidarity, but mutual fear – the fear that they will be the next one to be outed, exposed, condemned.”

    After this essay, Mark Fisher was condemned by his more virtuous peers and later committed suicide. Don’t mess with the middle-class zeitgeist.

    What if you have a 160 IQ and want to firmly believe in all the virtuous ideals?

    “At one point, I actually begged a psychiatrist to prescribe drugs that would chemically castrate me (I had researched which ones),” he wrote, “because a life of mathematical asceticism was the only future that I could imagine for myself. The psychiatrist refused to prescribe them, but he also couldn’t suggest any alternative: My case genuinely stumped him.” – Scott Aaronson (Comp Sci Prof. at UT Austin) on his experience with feminism….

  6. @Mememe , if you read the book that the Conan movie is based on, you quickly realize that the author was making thinly-veiled jabs at hippies.

  7. > my presumption is that whatever the problems were I would believe him over other people

    I don’t know why this is such a controversial stance. If I know and trust a man, of course I am going to believe him over some woman I don’t know.

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