Thursday, November 09, 2006

Egregious scientific male misbehavior

Vanderbilt astronomer Rob Knop tells a tale of egregious scientific male misbehavior in order to prove that academic science is hostile to women. He says that professor made some "inappropriate" remarks in a cafeteria conversation, including: "if you're male and straight, you can tell what a woman is thinking about you by looking in her eyes."

Maybe the prof has mindreading delusions; maybe he was making good conversation and his remarks were taken out of context; maybe he was flirting; maybe he was rude; maybe he was actually trying to annoy others; maybe he was oblivious to how someone might take offense. I do not have enough info to tell.

What is striking is that Knop is unable or unwilling to explain his objections. Those in the conversation were free to speak up and disagree, or to move to another table. It is not obvious whether anyone took offense. Knop apparently has his own rules for polite behavior that define when and where and how a prof is allowed to express his opinions or tell his personal stories, but he is unwilling to describe them. It appears that he believes that certain opinions should only be expressed to a male audience, but that is sexism of another sort, and he won't admit to that.

Knop is apparently still fuming over a previous blog post in which his department asked him to remove some inappropriate remarks from his blog. Well, that is the path you go down when you join the political correctness police and tell everyone what is and is not appropriate to say.

1 comment:

Roger said...

Did those women say that they were uncomfortable in Physics and Astronomy, or just that they didn't like some of the things that the prof said?

They might have also not liked his opinions on the Iraq War or a variety of other subjects. Would you like the prof to only talk to male colleagues?