Current Events with Stephen Fry | Self-Censoring of Scientific Publications

Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Fry have a conversation about recent disconcerting news that several scientific publications and associations are self-censoring scientific publications and data for fear of offending people, even if no offense is intended.. something that concerns both of them, and should concern all of us.

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“Stephen John Fry (born 24 August 1957) is an English actor, broadcaster, comedian, director, and writer. He first came to prominence in the 1980s as one half of the comic double act Fry and Laurie, alongside Hugh Laurie, with the two starring in A Bit of Fry & Laurie (1989–1995) and Jeeves and Wooster (1990–1993). He also starred in the sketch series Alfresco (1983–1984) alongside Laurie, Emma Thompson, and Robbie Coltrane, and in Blackadder (1986–1999) alongside Rowan Atkinson. Since 2011, he has served as president of the mental health charity Mind.

Fry’s film acting roles include playing his idol Oscar Wilde in the film Wilde (1997), for which he was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor; Inspector Thompson in Robert Altman’s murder mystery Gosford Park (2001); and Mr. Johnson in Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship (2016). He has also made appearances in the films Chariots of Fire (1981), A Fish Called Wanda (1988), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004), V for Vendetta (2005), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) and The Hobbit film series. His television roles include Lord Melchett in the BBC television comedy series Blackadder and the title character in the television series Kingdom and Absolute Power, as well as a recurring guest role as Dr. Gordon Wyatt on the American crime series Bones. He has also written and presented several documentary series, including the Emmy Award-winning Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, which saw him explore his bipolar disorder, and the travel series Stephen Fry in America. He was the longtime host of the BBC television quiz show QI, with his tenure lasting from 2003 to 2016, during which he was nominated for six British Academy Television Awards. He appears frequently on other panel games, such as Just a Minute and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

Besides working in television, Fry has been a prolific writer, contributing to newspapers and magazines and having written four novels and three autobiographies: Moab Is My Washpot, The Fry Chronicles, and More Fool Me. He is also known for his voice-over work; he read all seven of the Harry Potter novels for the UK audiobook recordings, narrated the video game series LittleBigPlanet and Birds of Steel, lent his voice to an animated series of explanations of the laws of cricket, and narrated a series of animations about humanism for Humanists UK.” – Stephen Fry’s Wikipedia Page as of 09/24/2021

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The Origins Podcast, a production of The Origins Project Foundation, features in-depth conversations with some of the most interesting people in the world about the issues that impact all of us in the 21st century. Host, theoretical physicist, lecturer, and author, Lawrence M. Krauss, will be joined by guests from a wide range of fields, including science, the arts, and journalism. The topics discussed on The Origins Podcast reflect the full range of the human experience – exploring science and culture in a way that seeks to entertain, educate, and inspire.


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  1. My fav thing about Fry is when he tells a story he says as you remember, as I'm sure you know. Everyone nods their head like yep. It's more of a I'm so listening please keep talking.

  2. I am offended by the paternalistic nature of any society that takes it upon itself to "shield" me, the reader. from an idea which they have decided that I am too fragile to take.
    How dare they declare themselves the arbiters of offence on my behalf?

  3. Surely the question here, itself is the act of taking offense? 🤔

    ie Taking offense at other people's taking offense.

    The rest is simply justification given for our own feelings of offence.

  4. If you wish to have a better understanding of the how and why some groups use such methodology to shape society and use certain ideology to control the way people act, then you should read the works of Edward Bernays, godfather of Public Relations, creator of Engineering Consent, Planned Obsolescence, and the Art of Human manipulation. His work is used by every Government, Corporation and Organisation.

  5. The debate is doomed so long as it overlooks the issue of power. For example, the reason repatriation of indigenous remains is different from the witholding of remains from a Christian Creationist sect (34:40) is precisely because indigenous people have been systematically deprived of their lands, wealth, their voice, and their lives by the culture that Krauss wishes to give further rights of appropriation to. The same systematic subordination of women, certain ethnicities and classes in professional science provides the underlying energy that drives the debate about language. So long as the protagonists on either side focus on "offence", we will be deadlocked. The question of power has to be acknowledged and properly addressed, and the use of language will sort itself out.

  6. Stephens mistake is thinking this is being done earnestly and in good faith. And he thinks wokism doesn’t affect the normal person, it does. Every student, every employee is subject to its tyrant.

  7. Thank God people are still interested and allowed to say what these two do. The further away from 1984 we get chronologically, the closer we seem to get to it as a society.

  8. Been a casual fan of Stephen's for about 3 decades – just found out he's a jew. Hiding it or am I not looking?

    Either way he is one of the most interesting podcast guests on whatever show he's on. A national treasure to us Brits.

  9. Just create individual petitions for every article in the journal declaring that they are offensive. That shpuld effectively highlight the ridiculous nature of the standard they are trying to enforce.

  10. This is why more and more people dont trust the science ,there is no way to be sure we are being told the actual facts anymore ,If the scientific facts offend you then bad luck .We need to go back to scientists telling us the actual facts ,leave the bull shit to the politicians.This kind of thing makes distrust of science more an more of a reality.

  11. May be it doesn't make you 'a bad person' but most certainly it doesn't make you 'a good person' either, Stephen. It makes you a coward and it makes you weak.

  12. It's a shame how it's been several decades since Jacob Bronowski highlighted the structural unity of science and moral philosophy and yet we are still confronted by HR departments dominated by ethical relativists.

    You can't get an ought from an is , but you can't even get an is without an ought

    The scientific enterprise rests on particular values like logical consistency, explanatory elegance, tolerance and openness to evidence and the preservation of reasonable dissent and so forth.

    In order to conduct science, one must already be engaged in a deeply ethical framework.

  13. I like Stephen Fry very much but fighting against the system and the desire to make the world a better place are part of the problem. The establishment now actually consists of nice people who notionally fight against the system. The issues which divide and beset us are designed so that even thinking in those terms tends to get one absorbed into that system. Instead we should be distancing ourselves from it.

    If we can try to see things as they are, including ourselves, then the world may get better on its own.

  14. Stephen is wrong i'm afraid, many crimes exist in the UK of strict liability, where the actus reus (guilty act) alone is sufficient (if proven) to result in a guilty verdict and a custodial sentence. Manslaughter is such a crime, so too is speeding in a car. In fact thanks to 'joint enterprise' a person could be found guilty of all manner of crimes simply for being present and in the company of another/others who commit criminal acts. Mens rea (guilty intent) is only required for charges of higher culpability where a guilty act must be proven at the same time or better put, in conjunction with a guilty intent in a given action.

    My point being, that the encroaching threat spoken of is not safeguarded by the courts and/or the English justice system. Also as Lawrence correctly points out, social penalties, reputational damage, inability to find work etc are not policed by the courts, their threat is extrajudicial, and at the whim if social mores in a highly relativistic sense, usually with no right if appeal. Hence the major concern in such language and where it threatens to take us. Stephen is right to point out the qualifier that is 'reasonable' as stated in the text, however this takes us away from the assuring nature that clear factual statement bring, with this taking us into the realm of interpretive opacity, of the subjective. In short it is dangerous and the language that suggests offence and therefore fault exists when one is offended regardless of the intent by the author, that I would suggest is a burying ground ripe and waiting for the innocent. Ideas need to die in our stead so we don't have to: it shouldn't be about offence, rather it should be about the validity of the science put to question.

  15. So here's a thing. Is it ok to seek to see what the prevalence of AIDS or any other STD is amongst those of a monogamous heterosexual compared to say those who practice zoophilia? I mean might we "offend" zoophiles? Or what if a study shows that there is a chronic tendency towards herpes, chlamydia, and that men who have sex with men accounts for 83% of primary and secondary syphilis cases where sex of sex partner is known.Would this study be offensive and have to be banned? Or would it be beneficial?

  16. Stephen Fry tends to use fiction such as Orwell as a guideline such as 19:40. He then goes on and on and on, to say everything, but in reality NOTHING of any real substance, but just his musings!!

  17. As a young black man living in rural Ohio, born in New England, i most certainly experience mild racism quite regularly. I actually am not even sure what the word racism means anymore lol.. but i've noticed different patterns of how i'm perceived, that seem to be due to my physical appearance; such as being followed in certain stores by security, and being pulled over by police late at night in 90% + white areas for no reason. In my opinion i believe a lot of "racist" behavior comes from unawareness. I've been told that i speak well for a black man, and i seem smart compared to my appearance, and a bunch of other sad but comical statements. From my experience in Ohio, it seems a lot of "racists" do not have problems with "blacks" who "act white", but their issue comes with the culture associated to rap, drugs, women aka modern rap culture. The "n" word is used way to often for my comfortability out here, but it seems a lot of the individuals using it aren't even that aware its offensive. Honestly, if the intent is harmless, i usually perceive it as such

  18. Great conversation. Oh Mr. Lawrence Krauss, what a genius you would be, if you had the beautiful musical un-resistible accent and voice tone of the great Richard Fry. We commoner 😀 are truly privileged to live the era of Krauss, Fry, Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Adams, and if you do not despise Douglas Murray. Thank you for your influences in our life.

  19. How correctly Stephen says: public figure, 13 mil followers, but unable to express his opinion, and forced to be censored on his thought by cancelled culture, “ feel offended” society.

  20. When watching this discussion, how much I missed having a round table discussion with Krauss, Fry, Hitchens, Dawkins, Adams, just talking about Physics, religion, thinking, literature, biology, free thinking, sociology and in general all aspects of our living, our being to just raise our intellects.

  21. know its not sciencetific (i appoligise im dyslesic) but best reader of serlock homes ive heard love afer colion doyoil (so wrong) i cant imagion anyone better your voive is serlock to me

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