[ExI] can seti have marcy?

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sun Oct 18 23:58:04 UTC 2015

On Sun, Oct 18, 2015 at 9:11 AM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> I suppose you have heard of Geoff Marcy’s difficulties up at Berkeley.  It
> made front page headlines in the local newspaper.  If anyone here is
> with Geoff or knows how to contact him, perhaps suggest he talk to SETI.
> I go to their astronomy and science talks nearly every week and know that
> he is held in very high esteem there.  Presuming the allegations are true,
> SETI would be a harmless place for him to employ his considerable talent
> in a low risk low temptation environment: I seldom see young ladies
> near that place.  Astronomy is a barren hunting ground for hetero male
> lonely hearts.

I imagine the allegations would follow him there and then possibly tarnish
SETI. Apparently, too, the women he's alleged to harass were studying
astronomy, no? Sarah Ballard, one of the women alleged to have been
harassed, is now an astronomy postdoc at MIT according to the reports I've

Someone might offer up the narrative that there are fewer women represented
in the field because of folks like Marcy making them uncomfortable. In
other words, if you believe women are absent there it might be because
they've been made to feel unwelcome in the first place. (And people do make
decisions based on things like comfort level. This isn't totally off the
wall, IMO.)

That said, if the allegations are true and we agree that this type of
behavior is inappropriate for someone in his former position, then perhaps
we should be considering just what he should be allowed to do. I mean
should his error here, which didn't rise to the level of criminal behavior
-- or so it seems -- mean he's barred forever from astronomy? Is it
possible to find a place for him somewhere or find a way to rehabilitate
such folks? A similar thing applies to people who've committed other acts
like plagiarism and falsifying data. One could make the case, too, that
there are so few such positions and many candidates waiting to fill them
that it's far easier to simply bar such folks rather than incur the high
monitoring costs (to make sure they don't repeat offend).


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