A recent Buzzfeed article by  Peter Aldhous Azeen Ghorayshi Virginia Hughes

I'd encourage everyone to read the BuzzFeed article as it is not without bias against secularism.  That being said there are a number of things in it that concern me. First and foremost the article states that Dr. Krauss has been banned from the campuses of two institutions, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario in response to complaints made against him.  If true, this points to a pattern of behavior.  The second is Dr. Krauss's response to the current allegations against him.

From the article,

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.

“It is common knowledge that celebrity attracts all forms of negative attention from many different angles,” Krauss said in a December email. “There is no pattern of discontent revealed here that suggests any other explanation.”

My gut response to this is that his reply smacks of deflection.  After further reflection, I am convinced that is what he is doing. I am a big fan of his work.  His ability to communicate complex and difficult ideas is one of the best I've seen.  Ergo, his inept response to these allegations raises even more suspicions in my mind.

Dr. Krauss has already suffered some repercussions from these allegations according to a recent Gizmodo article. If the allegations are confirmed then it is the moral responsibility of all organizations to cut ties with Dr. Krauss for two reasons.  First, the behavior itself.  This sort of behavior should not be tolerated and it is up to the secular community to make a strong statement that it will not be tolerated within it's ranks and follow those words up with equally strong actions.  Second,  the self-professed sine qua non of the secular movement is the pursuit of the truth.  We are fond of posting memes and quotes in social media and arguing in debates that it is the quest for truth that motivates us no matter how uncomfortable that truth may turn out to be.  If these allegations are proven to be the truth then Dr. Krauss's initial denial was a flat out lie.  That permanently disqualifies him to be a standard bearer in an organization or movement that professes to hold truth as the ultimate good.

Views: 305


You need to be a member of Atheist Nexus to add comments!

Join Atheist Nexus

Comment by Craigart14 on March 31, 2018 at 7:54pm

Joan, what I meant is that Krauss is a brilliant scientist and writer. He will still be such even if the allegations turn out to be true. Isaac Newton was widely believed to be a pain in the ass, and he believed in alchemy, but he still produced work that changed the world. When I say we need Lawrence Krauss, I mean we need all the great minds we can find on our side, the atheist side.

I did read his responses to the situation, and they ring, if not obviously true, certainly plausible to me based on my experiences and observations over 27 years in academia. I'm going to keep an open mind about it.

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 11, 2018 at 10:32pm

Tom, I am grateful that many scientists can make science understandable for me. I don't have to depend on Krauss for clarity. 

There are many women scientists who are atheists

Amy Mainzer,

Carolyn Porco,

Dorothy Vaughan,

Heidi Hammel,

Kather Johnson,

Katherine Johnson,

Laura Danly,

Lisa Randall,

Maia Weinstock, 

Mary Jackson,

Melanie Klein,

Michelle Thaller,

Nancy Roman,

Rebecca Goldstein,

Sally Ride,

Susan Jacoby,

Vera Rubin,


And a few men:

Fred Hoyle,

Jerry A. Coyne,

P.Z. Myers,

Sean M. Carroll,

Victor Stenger,

If anyone, male or female, reveals to be unable to behave in a civilized way, she or he can easily be marked off my list. 

Comment by tom sarbeck on March 11, 2018 at 9:10pm

Joan, speak for yourself. YOU need Lawrence Krauss to communicate complex science to YOU.

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 11, 2018 at 12:44pm

Craigart14, your statement still rings in my head and I need to get some clarity on what you mean. You wrote, "I hope these allegations aren't true, but either way, they are irrelevant to the validity of his work. "

Are his attitudes and behaviors "irrelevant to the validity of his work?"

My mother, both grandmothers, and many of my colleagues had similar experiences to mine. All of us, over three generations and who knows how many more generations, experienced such treatment? 

This is an example of what I call the "Passive Gospel", yield, pray, obey, submit, acquiesce, forgive, turn the other cheek, sacrifice yourself daily, and rejoice in your sacrifice. 

Krass may think the events were consensual, but does his belief outweigh the experience? Was he the victim or predator? That I cannot answer with the given report. The cost to women for reporting such behavior is huge. In a "he said/she said" situation, perhaps the woman is the predator, but what if she isn't? 

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 11, 2018 at 11:36am

Yes, we need Lawrence Krauss to communicate complex science to the lay people AND we do not need to sacrifice the safety of women in the workplace in order to get that information. There are other fine physicists who can translate science for us. 

My fear is that the Skeptic community will sacrifice women's safety in order to protect their colleague. How can that make any sense? We have to grab the teachable moment with predators just as we did while raising children. 

My grandson (12 years old) spilled a glass of orange juice on the floor and was told it was his responsibility to clean it up. He spread it around, clean it up he did not do. I confronted him and his parents that the boy should do a proper clean up job and be held accountable for his accidents as well as for his misbehavior. Clean up is a learned behavior. It can be taught, and in my opinion, should be taught. 

Comment by tom sarbeck on March 10, 2018 at 8:31pm

@Joan — we need Lawrence Krass to communicate complex science to the lay people.

As you said about 20 hours ago, you are in over your head with his material.

We don’t need Krauss to lie about science, yet he is doing so. Don’t expect a man to tell the truth when his salary requires him to not tell the truth.

Comment by Craigart14 on March 10, 2018 at 6:44pm

Joan, I don't have a clue why some men behave so badly.  What happened to you was much more serious than being invited to dinner or finding a hand on your knee.  Those guys probably should have been fired.

Comment by Craigart14 on March 10, 2018 at 6:13pm

Edit: I meant to say in line two "do not rise to the level of."  My bad.

Comment by Joan Denoo on March 10, 2018 at 1:46pm

Craigart14 I agree with you, we need Lawrence Krass to communicate complex science to the lay people. If it is true he had violated any of the ethics codes you describe, should the instructor maintain his/her position? I am talking about the obscene stuff that many of us endured during our teaching careers. Not the pat on the shoulder situation, or the touching of knees under the table stuff. 

As a teacher in a community college, I was forced against a wall and endured penis thrusts, forced to experience a French kiss from which I could not escape, and was able to bite his tongue, hard and another incident in which a fellow teacher grabbed my breasts from behind. I reported the incidents to administration and nothing was done. What should have been done? Should the violators have kept their jobs? I had to leave and find work in another field. Is that the best remedy? Why should I spend years and dollars of training and then have to go elsewhere in order to escape such humiliation?

What is it with men and women who behave so badly?  And yes, there are women who make life miserable for others. 

Comment by Loren Miller on March 10, 2018 at 1:28pm

In the final analysis, what is liable to happen to Krauss may be similar to the case of NBC News reporter Brian Williams, after he was caught lying about his experiences in the field.  He will vanish from the public eye altogether for a period of time, then reappear in a reduced or less prestigious role, and possibly (but not necessarily) regain his stature to the general community.  How he will be impacted in the physical sciences community, I won't guess, as I have no experience with that venue, but this situation will impact Krauss with reasonable severity, true or not.



Update Your Membership :



Nexus on Social Media:

© 2019   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service