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I completely agree that decisions shouldn't be made by online mobs - though it's not 100% clear to me if this was the case here. I personally feel very bad for Tim Hunt, and feel that he was treated horribly. I don't want to see people fired for things they say, especially people in academia, because eventually people will be afraid to speak out (and I think some of them already do). This is very bad for the society.

But I feel there must also be exceptions to this rule - when something a person says makes it clear that the person is unsuitable for his or her current job. For example, we don't want to see racists, misogynists, or other kinds of bigots as educators in public institutions. I don't claim that it is clear that Tim Hunt falls into one of these categories - quite likely that he does not. It is a very difficult call to say when the line has been crossed and the person needs to go.

I wish there was more open and rational debate on this, instead of the rush to judgement.






> For example, we don't want to see racists, misogynists, or other kinds of bigots as educators in public institutions.

What do you mean by "racists, misogynists, or other kinds of bigots"? Is someone who believes that, say, blacks have lower IQ's and are more likely to commit crimes then whites "racist"? Does it matter if he has evidence for this belief? Does it matter if this belief is true?
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VoiceOfRa
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I think it's very clear that in this case social media drove created public pressure on the university.

I don't believe in the doctrine of thought crime. A professor that makes hiring decisions obviously has a duty to make those decisions without favoring a specific gender or race but apart from that he's free to believe whatever he wants to believe.

It quite cynic to call for thought crime while calling at the same time for open and rational debate. Those two goals aren't compatible. You have to decide which of the two you want.
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ChristianKl
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In order for people to speak out to keep mattering there needs to be open the option of honest effective responce. While a storm of firing pressure might be excessive there also needs to be the right to reply to things that are being said. It might not be feasible to give any and every line of argument equal support. Therefore there needs to be a way of expressing that a line of argument is rejected or deresourced.
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Fwiffo
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