Silencing Dissent

This article is related to an incident that happened in the middle of november.

Silencing dissent











Mike from has written about it:

There are two other excellent articles on this topic here:

Let’s also include a link to someone who embraces the opposite opinion:

As I stand at the corner of 8th avenue and 34th street in New York City, a red tourist bus pulls up with a picture of a naked fire-fighter.

He is part of the new New York Fire Department’s 2015 calendar.

You might think that prurience has left.

Enter Dr. Matt Taylor, the scientist on the Rosetta project who landed a satellite on a comet.

An astounding accomplishment that can be compared to “hitting a bullet with a bullet”, as Stephan Molyneux has put it.

During his interview, Dr. Taylor wore a T-shirt with images of women in bondage-style undergarments.

They were shooting guns and lasers into the sky, while explosions were raging in the background.

What followed was nothing but public outrage.

Phil Plait at “” called attention to the “atmosphere steeped in sexism”.

Chris Plante and Arielle Duhaim-Ross at “” said “I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing”.

They – seriously – called it “one small step for man, three steps back for humankind”.

Because women are alienated when they see scantily clad girls in lingerie. That may be news to the “Victoria’s Secret” store right in the middle of Manhattan.

“Dr24hours” suggested that wearing this shirt was a “staggering lack of judgment”, because it would be appropriate for a “Strip Club”, not “when grownups go to work”.

Yes. We can see that it’s “not about the prurience”, as Phil Plait assures us. Phew. Good that I am not a “grownup”.

Dr. Taylor appeared happy and comfortable in his T-Shirt. Not a misogynistic, nerdy scientist who ostracizes women wanting to get into science.

But what does it matter?

Within two days, Matt Taylor had issued a tearful apology.

In his moment of biggest triumph, he was crying – not telling his amazing story.

Who speaks for women here? The feminists?

Or Elly Prizeman, who actually designed this bold shirt for Dr. Taylor’s birthday and felt “deeply moved” by his “brave” and “very sweet gesture” to wear it in his big moment on stage?

Yes, women are discouraged from entering science. But men are, as well. You always have more people telling you something can’t be done than those that wish you good luck on your way.

T-shirts are not the gatekeepers of your career.

Still – should Dr. Taylor have worn a T-shirt saying “Rosetta made it – and so can you! #womeninscience”?


But look at other men of great achievement.

For example, Richard Branson often has scantily clad women in his arms. The queen must have clearly been outraged when she awarded him knighthood.

How does he “get away” with murder, while Dr. Taylor is shamed for wearing a simple shirt?

Richard Branson’s role is that of the player.

Dr. Taylor’s role is that of the nerdy scientist. He is allowed to be a little “cooler” now that he landed a spacecraft on a comet – but that’s about it

And that’s the real aggravating point. He has published over 70 research papers and worked hard to be successful.


… all that matters is that he obeys the narrative, has his little 15 minutes of fame and then exits stage again.

Not his story of great scientific achievement.

So what can we learn for ourselves?

Let’s embrace our sexuality.

Let’s listen to our fellow men and women.

Let’s embrace Freedom of Speech and not engage in silencing dissent.

Remember Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you say but I will defend your right to express it to the last.”

In Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, firemen burn people’s books. That is a future I don’t intend for our friend on the tourist bus.

I’d much rather move happily on with positive energy, acceptance and spirit. We are all in the same boat here.