Stephen Hawking is an Idiot

I do not care what his accomplishments in physics might be. By supporting a boycott of Israeli academics he is either woefully misinformed about the true situation in Palestine and thus an idiot, or he is a prize jackass. Here is the story in Yahoo News.

English: Professor Stephen Hawking in Cambridg...
Jackass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

British physicist Stephen Hawking has dropped plans to attend a major international conference in Israel in June, citing his belief that he should respect a Palestinian call to boycott contacts with Israeli academics.

The University of Cambridge released a statement Wednesday indicating that Hawking had told the Israelis last week that he would not be attending “based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.”

University officials said earlier in the day they had “previously understood” that Hawking’s decision was based solely on health concerns — he is 71 and has severe disabilities — but had now been told otherwise by Hawking’s office.

The decision means that one of the world’s most famous scientists has joined a boycott organized to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. He is one of the most prominent figures to endorse the strategy, designed to bring pressure on the Israeli government.

The scientist had earlier agreed to attend the Israeli Presidential Conference, hosted by President Shimon Peres, in late June, but has now changed his mind. The theme of the meeting is “Facing Tomorrow 2013.”

Tim Holt, acting communications director at the University of Cambridge, said early in the day that Hawking’s decision was based strictly on health concerns. Hawking suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“For health reasons, his doctors said he should not be flying at the moment so he’s decided not to attend,” said Holt. “He is 71 years old. He’s fine, but he has to be sensible about what he can do.”

The university later changed its position after consulting Hawking’s office. The change was made after Israeli officials insisted Hawking had cited the boycott when informing organizers that he would not attend.

The Israeli Presidential Conference, now in its fifth year, brings together statesmen and leading experts in various disciplines to discuss ways to address the world’s problems. The goal, organizers say, is to identify challenges and propose solutions.

Hawking’s endorsement of the boycott prompted an angry response from organizers. Conference Chairman Israel Maimon said Hawking’s decision was “unjustifiable and wrong.”

“The academic boycott against Israel is in our view outrageous and improper, certainly for someone for whom the spirit of liberty lies at the basis of his human and academic mission,” Maimon said, calling the imposition of a boycott incompatible with open, democratic dialogue.

He noted that former world leaders including Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and Tony Blair plan to attend the three-day meeting that begins on June 18.

The boycott campaign is led by Palestinians, Israeli leftists and other supporters who oppose Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians and are attuned to the power of celebrity in this age.

It has had some success, deterring a string of famous entertainers from performing. Elvis Costello and the Pixies canceled concerts, as well as the British dance band Klaxon and the Gorillaz Sound System. Israel has also faced occasional boycotts of its academics, unions and in some cases commercial products.

Hawking’s decision was hailed by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine as support for its goal of severing academics’ connections with Israel.

“This is his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there,” the committee said on its website.

In 1967, Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, territories the Palestinians seek for a state. Two decades of intermittent negotiations on the terms of such a state, in between bouts of violence, have failed to produce results. In the meantime, Israel has settled more than half a million of its citizens in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, while restricting Palestinian trade and movement.

Notice that the article says that Israel “captured” the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem without bothering to mention that was after Israel’s neighbors Jordan, Syria and Egypt decided to attack and destroy Israel. They also fail to mention that Israel has offered many concessions to the Palestinians including 95% of what they wanted at the 2000 Camp David Summit, only to have the Palestinians reject the offer. It is very difficult to make peace with people who are determined to destroy you.

But, as for Hawking, he has decided to side with barbarians and terrorists against the only civilized and democratic state in the Middle East. Israel has more scientists and academics than all the rest of the Arab countries put together. I mean real scientists and not ignorant fools who are trying to harvest the power of Jinn. Israel has contributed more to human happiness than many larger countries have. I would be hard put to name any real discovery or accomplishment that the Muslim world has contributed in the last thousand years.

If it is a question about human rights, Hawking would do well to compare the situation of religious minorities in Israel, and even the situation in Palestine, with the worsening plight of ethnic and religious minorities everywhere else in the Middle East, not to mention the horrid treatment of women that prevails throughout the region.

This decision by Stephen Hawking is contemptible and ill thought out. I have lost most of any respect I might have had towards Hawking.

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Unicorns

I got another e-mail from Organizing for Action.

David —

If I said to you: “Unicorns exist, I totally just saw one galloping down the street,” most likely you’d give me a sad look and get on with your day.

But what if House Speaker Boehner and the chairman of the House Science Committee said they didn’t know if the science behind climate change was real. (Yeah. That actually happened.)

Now obviously, it doesn’t matter if I just make stuff up about unicorns. But it matters, and it matters a whole lot, that so many of our elected officials in Washington who represent us are denying science and using that denial to refuse to take action on climate change.

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Each and every day that congressional leaders hold on to their bizarre fantasy world, OFA is going to be there, not letting them get away with it.

Add your name and say you’re ready to hold climate deniers accountable.

We’re going to make them say it out loud — either double-down on their claims, or come to their senses. The National Academy of Sciences and more than 13,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers all confirm that the carbon pollution in our atmosphere today is causing dangerous climate change.

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Ivan Frishberg
Climate Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss out of hand an account of a unicorn viewing out. Although I have never seen a unicorn, that does not mean they don’t exist, although I have to admit the evidence that unicorns are real is slim. If a person who I know to be honest and not subject to hallucinations were to tell me that he saw a unicorn, I would believe that he either saw a real unicorn or something that resembled a unicorn until I found evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, if a person who has had a history of not being very honest or who has often made doomsday predictions that have never come to pass, than I would be more skeptical.

I do not believe that climate change is settled science. I am not a climate scientist, so it is not likely that I possess the information and training to determine that on my own. Nevertheless, I have observed that the people who have been pushing the climate change hypothesis have not acted in an honest or honorable fashion. There is the use of the word “denier” with the implied resemblance to Holocaust denial. This is not a scientific or logical argument. This is name calling. There is the rebranding of the name of the crisis. You never hear “global warming” any more. The expression now is “climate change”. Why is that? Could it be that the Earth has not warmed significantly in the past few decades? There are scientists who are apparently communicating with each other on the best means of manipulating data to obtain the desired results. Shouldn’t science be in the business of following where the data leads, even if it disproves a cherished hypothesis? What is carbon pollution? Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring component of the Earth’s atmosphere. Every animal exhales carbon dioxide as a waste product of respiration.

Then there is the fact that for most of my life I have been told that an environmental catastrophe is just around the corner unless drastic action, which somehow always seems to involve an expansion of government into everyone’s personal lives, is begun right now! There is no time to debate! We have to act! And yet, the catastrophe never comes. How many times do we have to listen to the boy who cried “Wolf!” before we stop listening to him?

It would be better if Ivan Frishberg stuck to believing in unicorns. Believing in unicorns would do a lot less damage.

 

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