Prominent atheist backs out of NZ tour amid allegations

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A prominent atheist facing allegations, posted on BuzzFeed, of inappropriate behaviour towards women has backed out of a New Zealand tour.

Physicist Lawrence Krauss was due to speak on a double-bill with Richard Dawkins at the Science in the Soul tour in May in Auckland and Christchurch, but the promoter has announced he would no longer be on the bill.

Instead, Dawkins would appear at the two Science in the Soul shows alone, with a new co-host to be announced, Australia-based Think Inc. said.

The Auckland University of Technology had pulled its sponsorship of the tour, and New Zealand event management firm Loop had also backed out.

With Krauss’ departure, it is unclear whether Loop and AUT would step back in.

Loop declined to comment and AUT has been approached.

Krauss, a professor in the Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, is a director of the Origins Project, a multidisciplinary research effort to tackle questions about life, the universe and complex social problems.

He gained prominence for his book, “The Physics of Star Trek” in 1995.

He later became one of the leaders of the so-called “skeptics” movement that espouses science over religion.

Arizona State University has suspended him while it investigates accusations.

Krauss has published a lengthy response to the allegation which he has called libellous and defamatory.

“While it has gone against every grain of my nature not to immediately speak and write against falsehoods and distortions imposed upon the public, I have been advised by many individuals, wiser and more experienced than I in these matters, to wait until calmer heads, including my own, prevailed.”

In his statement Krauss addresses three questions:

  • Was BuzzFeed’s story accurate?
  • Does it accurately portray me?
  • Did they do the community a service?

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News category: New Zealand.

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