[ExI] can seti have marcy?

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Oct 19 13:55:24 UTC 2015

>... On Behalf Of Anders Sandberg
Subject: Re: [ExI] can seti have marcy?

On 2015-10-19 00:58, Dan TheBookMan wrote:
>>... That said, if the allegations are true and we agree that this type of 
> behavior is inappropriate for someone in his former position, then 
> ... what he should be allowed to do... way to rehabilitate such folks?

>...This is an interesting problem. How much should the reputation of bad
behaviour follow a person? If I slip up and make a fool of myself or fall
for a big temptation, presumably the error was temporary and in the future I
am relatively likely to be reliable - especially in different situations.
...Dr Anders Sandberg


Ja, this has been bothering me too.  

I don't know what Marcy was up to at Berkeley and I am not asking, but it is
far too easy to imagine him being the prototypical scientisty geeky perhaps
a bit Aspergersy sort of guy who just acts weird (not that any of us ever do
that or hang out with guys who do.)  It is too easy to imagine him (or any
one of us) being accused by several women even if he never made any specific
untoward suggestion, never groped anyone, mostly treated women respectfully
by his definition even if in an inadvertently inappropriate manner.

Consider that scene in "Beautiful Mind" where Nash comments to a striking
blonde at the bar: "Assume a set of actions, things I must do and say, to
prepare you to sleep with me.  Now let us assume that I have said and done
all these things..."  OK if you are like me, you had to turn off the video
and just roll on the floor laughing for about five minutes at that point.
Reason: we have met scientists and especially mathematicians who really do
and say things like that.

OK then, assume a guy who knows nothing of the usual protocol in the bar,
knows nothing about the Nash Set, procedures that Nash himself found so
mysterious for perfectly understandable reasons: no one ever discussed these
matters with him, women fled in all directions whenever he was near, etc.
Soon all his friends were other geeky mathematicians who were more
interested in discussing math with him than how to train him to be a human
being.  So Nash wasn't really being a reprehensible horndog, he just didn't
know better.  In college he knew less about women than a typical 13 yr old

OK then.  That isn't his fault.  I can easily imagine Marcy in that class.
I don't know him personally, attended a couple of his local lectures.  

But this is even more specific, for it sounds like the accusations were
coming from undergrad girls.  Let us look at their world, a scary one it is
indeed.  Think about it: they are at the peak of their beauty, most of them
are single, struggling to make their way, often surrounded by peers who will
take advantage of them, for the men there are mostly single, the
testosterone levels at their peak, semen pressure close to blowing the top
of their heads off, of course the undergrad men are known to say and do
stupid, dangerous, unethical things to try to take advantage of their female
counterparts.  Is it any wonder they come to distrust men in general?  Hell
I distrust men in general, and I are one.

Now imagine the magnitude of temptation the high-profile college professors
face, especially somewhere like Berkeley: aaaaaallll those stunning young
women, well mannered, smart as a whip (otherwise their applications would
have been laughed into the waste basket) ambitious, science geeky women (and
why is it that we science geek boys are ugly but science geek women are so
uniformly beautiful?  Such a mystery.)  Aaaallll these smart beautiful young
women everywhere, some of them willing to trade favors, some of them willing
and eager to put a notch in their gun with a high profile professor.

Now imagine a professor saying those same kinds of things, not necessarily
to get laid, but because he just doesn't get human nature.  Marcy might be
innocent, or mostly so, or his misdeeds might have been exaggerated.  He
daily faced a thousand times the temptation I face daily, a thousand times
the temptation I faced on my best day.  Perhaps his inappropriate behavior
was gazing a few seconds too long upon the beauty of some willing and nubile
undergrad, and being observed by a different competing willing and nubile
comely lass, who observes his reprehensible horndog behavior, comparing it
to her male peers.  Then perhaps he is viewed as accountable for others'

Prof.  Marcy would be harmless at SETI.  The scenery is not nearly as
dangerous there.


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