Saturday, October 15, 2016

Weekend Diversion

I don't want to seem like I'm all work and earnest critique and no fun. Here's something that occurred to me while looking at Christina Richey's slides the other day.

For good order: The quote is a simplified version of a statement on the first slide. The three people are, of course: the face of popular astronomy today, Neil Degrasse Tyson; arguably the greatest and certainly the most recognized mind in cosmology, Stephen Hawking; and, the president of the American Astronomical Society, Christine Jones. I know it doesn't prove anything and is in many ways a cheap shot. It's just for fun. It's the weekend.

In any case, those images are literally what the words "white, able-bodied men" brought immediately to mind for me in the context of astronomy. The statement seemed false about the astronomy community "on its face". To say that it is "set" for white, able-bodied men is as strange as saying that America is a "white supremacist" nation, given its current president.

These arguments can, of course, be made. And I'm willing to have the argument. My point with this little jab is that people like Christina Richey seem to think such statements require no evidence or argument at all. Nor does she think that critics like me should be acknowledged and engaged with. I think that attitude, which can rightly be called "ideological", is worth lampooning.

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