AS166: Discussion With Lauren; Postmortem

Here’s the conclusion of the Lauren discussion. After that, I go in a bit of depth on the disagreements of fact we had, and also some analysis on the whole discussion.

25 thoughts on “AS166: Discussion With Lauren; Postmortem”

  1. I had a very negative first impression of Lauren initially, but was trying to give her the benefit of a doubt repeatedly. She succeeded in confirming my initial impression. She dodged your questions repeatedly (it’s her nature), Misrepresented the facts repeatedly, and brought up pointless caveats that wouldn’t have affected her opinion anyway. Also anyone who pronounces words like important as important, shouldn’t use the word. See how much I disliked her? Couldn’t resist adding ad hominems. I’ve had far more respect for, and found some of the theists you’ve had as guests in the past less ignorant.

  2. Hey Thomas. While we may never know the whole story, I’m thinking it could be possible that this wasn’t the first issue UCL had with Hunt and the joke backlash just gave them an opening to dump him.

  3. In response to your “POSTMORTEM” I think you were too kind to Lauren. As you pointed out, and I agree, the world would be a better place if organizations did wait a couple days, or responded more judiciously. Laurens opinion was they won’t, and while I agree I with that I disagree with her position that because they won’t it’s not a response we should promote and that should be aspired to. I wanted to add I also found her opinion that almost seemed to say that because they have the right to respond as they do it’s right for them to do so. Based on that position she can’t, without being hypocritical, object to organization who discriminate when they can do so legally.

  4. PS: my impression of Lauren is that she was a charming guest and she was presenting from a woman’s POV. The joke was offensive (maybe not to a guy). Question: if his joke was racist, would that have been funny to you?

    1. “Question: if his joke was racist, would that have been funny to you?”

      Depends on the joke. “The problem with having blacks in the lab is we spend half our time playing basketball, and if you criticize them they want to jack you up”…. Could be funny, but I’m pretty sure no one would mistake it for a serious comment.

  5. It would be very interesting to switch the genders in this case. What would most probably happen is that an of-hand comment or “joke” made by a woman speaker would go more-or-less unnoticed and would never be responded to outside of the venue. But . . . if there were objections to the comment registered and the university decided to ask for the woman speaker’s immediate resignation without trying to resolve the matter in a less drastic fashion, the university would be attacked for sexism and the outrage would be lodge against the university, not the speaker. In my experience there is a decidedly lopsided character to these situations.

    1. “It would be very interesting to switch the genders in this case.”

      The funny thing is if you switched genders, and a woman said “the problem with having men in the lab is you fall in love with them”, feminists would again be offended because they would say it implies that women can’t control themselves with men around. If you come at almost any situation with the preconception that women are the oppressed group that is discriminated against you’re going to perceive the situation as sexist towards women.

      1. I mean if you look at the implication of Tim Hunt’s comment without bias it’s clear the problem with having women in the lab is men can’t control themselves. It’s a criticism of men not women.

  6. That was surreal. It’s almost like you found the real life person who embodies the stereotypes right wing people believe about lefties and feminists.

  7. I’m female and over 60 and I loved this episode. During the episode I was on the edge of my seat. Lauren got your blood boiling and the exchange was very entertaining. I think you’ve found a cohost. She brought a perspective that I hear at my job, a nonprofit that employs many millennial African-American women. She has opinions that get you fired up – my idea of great podcasting. BTW I listen to 10 to 15 podcasts a week. This episode ranks in the top five for me.

  8. I enjoyed Lauren’s “origin story.” It’s always fascinating about how believers become non-believers and vice-versa.
    I’m new to this podcast (I started listening after the Cognitive Dissonance podcast and I’m still 80% sure you are Norm Macdonald in disguise), so I’m not sure how you pick your guests. It was honestly a big letdown when you started getting into the Tim Hunt part as it was clear that Lauren didn’t have a strong, rhougyt-out opinion other than that she didn’t like it. While I can forgive misunderstandings due to the wide swath of misinformation available on the topic, Lauren failed to say anything that could qualify as a basic thesis statement. She didn’t back-up statements when you challenged them and kept bringing up caveats and red herrings that had nothing to do with her stance. All-in-all, I found it very frustrating.

    1. Haha on the Norm MacDonald comment. Yeah, one thing I really try to do with this show is not become an echo chamber. I want to have people on who I disagree with. It’s not possible to always have a fantastic guest on who will present their side perfectly, unfortunately. I appreciate that Lauren came on and made her opinions known and was willing to go back and forth a little, but ultimately I agree that her opinion was maybe not thought out entirely. Hopefully people still got something out of it.

      1. I understand your point about the echo chamber, but Lauren bothered me for a few reasons. The number one reason is that I was/am genuinely interested in what her opinion is and why. I didn’t get a fully baked idea to expand my own perspectives and reconsider my blind-spots. Tim Hunt’s comments bothered me for completely different reasons, and I want to be able to empathize and understand Lauren’s point of view.
        I have experience a lot of sexism in my field. When I had some complications with my pregnancy, my doctor kept talking directly to my husband as if he were the decision-maker even though I was in the room and the only other person with a medical degree! My husband was weirded out too because he kept deferring to me each time. I see these types of weird, unspoken assumptions all the time. The problem of people “falling in love in the lab” is a minute distraction at best. If that is the worst thing Tim Hunt has experienced, women have more equality in science than I ever imagined. This huge twitter storms draws attention to a benign, easily dismissable symptom of a larger problem.
        Finally, as a former (and, honestly, not-so-good) comedian, I’m offended because Tim made a terrible, boring joke. It’s like the people who complain that, “I can’t make a joke about an Asian, an African-American, and a Mexican walking into a bar anymore.” Not only do those jokes rely on a base assumption that is not true, but they are tired, over-played, and lazy ways to tell a joke. Usually jokes that people become defensive about are just terrible jokes. I don’t mean terrible as in “Hitler was a terrible person.” I mean terrible as in, “The screenwriting in the Big Bang Theory is terrible.”

        1. Wow you’ve swept me away with your Big Bang theory comment. I thought I was the only one! Yeah the joke wasn’t great, but it wasn’t an execution worthy offense. Some people suck at making jokes. I really appreciate your comment, and I’m sorry about your seemingly sexist doctor. Just FYI in case you didn’t already know, the falling in love in the lab part was an inside reference to the fact that that’s how he met his wife. This is one reason why I take his intentions to be more or less honorable and see his treatment as unjustified.
          Thanks again for a great comment.

          1. It was fun chatting. I didn’t know that is how Tim met his wife. It adds more context and opens the door for much better jokes if he lead with that fact.
            Don’t worry, I have a wonderful, healthy daughter.
            Keep up the good work. I enjoy your podcasts much more than Dirty Work.

  9. Yeah, I thought the same thing as Bonnie– while Hunt’s immediate dismissal/resignation was certainly fast enough to seem reactionary, my first thought was that maybe he had been a problem for a while and they finally had an excuse to get rid of him. I think you guys want to see him as this well-meaning man who said one idiotic thing and had this tremendous, out-of-proportion backlash, and you identify with that. I think women are seeing in Hunt something entirely different- part of a tiresome and familiar pattern. While I do not think he deserves to have his life ruined, nothing I’ve seen in regards to his behavior or attitude since this all started has inspired me to give him the benefit of the doubt. Just my $.02. I enjoy your show, and I’m glad you had Lauren on to clarify and hash it out, even if it was a bit frustrating.

    1. Not in my opinion. I think if there’s a problem it’s that some feminists have a problem with atheists because we tend to be skeptics. We are accused of being sexists when we don’t accept unevidenced claims like the US is a rape culture, or point out that the 70 cents on the dollar claim is a misrepresentation of the facts.
      It’s the same problem Muslims, and left wing Muslim apologists have with us when they call us Islamophobes for criticising Islam.

    2. I wanted to add a comment on something I read in that post you referenced. “It’s easier for men to call out sexism because we do not receive rape threats for merely voicing our opinions like women do”
      No we don’t, but when we say something people don’t like we get death threats, or insults directed at our mothers, or “you’re fat” insults if someone knows we are. Women get “rape threats”, which often amount to comments like “you need to get laid”, because trolls go after what they know will get under people’s skin, and that’s a sure fire way to get under most woman’s skin. Most of the time it has nothing to do with how the troll actually feels about women.

    1. Yes, for the last twenty years of my career I worked in an environment that we likened unto a minefield. You had to be extremely careful not to step on any land mines, by which was meant causing a member of a “protected class” to “perceive offense.” If you, as a white male, did cause a member of a protected class (a woman, a minority, a disabled person) to perceive offense, you could be fired on the spot; you could find yourself unemployed that afternoon. On the other hand, to terminate a member of a protected class was a year-long (or longer) process usually culminating in an “undisclosed settlement.” Did that atmosphere cause us to value and respect our “diverse” colleagues? What it taught us was to keep our mouths shut in every circumstance and work around the land mines as necessary to get our jobs done.

      1. “On the other hand, to terminate a member of a protected class was a year-long (or longer) process usually culminating in an “undisclosed settlement.”

        My experience as regional manager of a convenience store chain in the late 90’s early 2000’s was similar. If you needed to terminate a white male for poor job performance, or any reason for that matter, you simply did. If however the employee was a “protected class” you needed to have a history of write ups, and counseling sessions so that it was clear in case the EEOC got involved that the termination was not due to race, or gender.

        What this resulted in, as was determined later, was a culture in which store, and district managers conveniently “lost” applications submitted by women, and minorities. The thinking, and not necessarily unreasonably, was that it was better not to hire them than subject yourself to problem when it comes to firing.

        I want to add something that perhaps clarifies this. In convenience store chains managers, and district managers are responsible for inventory loses. Consistent losses are grounds for termination. The last thing you want to do if you suspect an employee of theft is to have to go through a long procedure that jeopardizes your job, you want them gone immediately.

        Sorry for the somewhat off topic rant, blame saintralph343 :p

    2. Shows even more so what a travesty the whole situation was, and how immune to facts feminists like Lauren are. Many will take any opportunity to illustrate how oppressed women are, even if it requires a complete distortion of the facts, and they won’t concede they were wrong even when the truth comes to light out of fear it might imply that other claims they make are wrong.

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