Only difference being that the author of this article has a PhD in sexual neuroscience (so people might have a harder time accusing her of not knowing what she's talking about) and is female (so some people might have a harder time of accusing her of sexism).
I can only be brief right now, but it's starting to get to me how so many people in an innovative sphere seem to have such a hard time with this. To me, it seems like it shouldn't be a second thought.
If the main argument is that women do not [by nature of our scientific understanding] have minds tuned to engineering prowess to the extent that men do for whatever cause, then just how does that itself prescribe that we should stop pushing for an expansion there?
Humans never evolved to fly, yet we do it all the time. By the same logic, if we weren't evolved to do it, we should probably just put our planes away because it's bad for us. Same with communicating long distances and sharing knowledge on a planet-wide scale. <sarcasm> I mean, they've caused problems themselves after all. I think we should put all these silly, limit-pushing ideas and practices aside and just go back to smashing rocks together. The ground has rocks. We all have two hands. It can work for us.</sarcasm>
TL;DR Why is a fact being accepted as sound basis for a totally disparate theory on why we should stop trying to exceed our limits? This guys post wasn't science. He used science to reason out a way to revert to a state of community where he stands to gain more. There was another theory like that, I can recall. I think it started with an 'e'.
edit: Wanted to add, a PhD of neurosexuality is probably one of the last people I would consult on philosophy, humanism or any kind of larger social issue. It's not exactly her scope. It does help to have an expert on the subject chime in on the science, though. It will help at least dispose of that less useful side of the discussion.
With respect to "why not try to solve it", it's a reasonable question. The guy answers that too - he is all for trying to solve it. He even makes suggestions about new ways to do it, like encouraging pair programming.
But he feels the current solutions aren't working and are, in fact, causing bigger problems. They might also be illegal. That seems like a good reason to pause for a moment and re-evaluate if the current strategy is a good one.
He also made a wider point, that was actually his main point, that Google's strategy on women in tech was breaking the internal culture and causing a severe lack of other kinds of diversity, namely, political and ideas-based diversity. He said that people couldn't challenge ideas around gender diversity and the best way to fix it without intimidation and fear. Google claimed they totally support people having discussions like that, and then immediately fired him, which shows he was right.
"* Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race 
* A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
* Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
* Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)
* Setting org level OKRs for increased representation which can incentivize illegal discrimination 
These practices are based on false assumptions generated by our biases and can actually increase race and gender tensions. We’re told by senior leadership that what we’re doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology  that can irreparably harm Google."
There are some hyperlinks that are presumably citations but they go to internal links so we don't know what they say.
So that's why he thinks that.
I asked for empirical evidence that these initiatives had led to bad results at Google. If the biological research so directly contradicts Google's aims with these diversity initiatives, then we should be able to measure the negative impact, no? That Google has had these initiatives for years and still has ratios nowhere near the 50% that the author fears is a harmful goal, belies the notion that Google is conducting its recruitment in a reckless, diversity-at-all-costs way.
Of course having read the memo, I know that the author does not cite any such empirical evidence, besides begging-the-question anecdata such as "I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues". While I believe the author to be smart and am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt about being sincere, I question how he can fill 10 pages with observations and boilerplate (including a trite table of what he thinks "left" and "right" biases are) and not be able to mention actual observed consequences of Google's hiring practices having gone awry. It suggests to me that he hasn't really been openminded or willing to investigate both sides of the issue.
Where is the empirical evidence that these initiatives had led to good results at Google?
And assuming we can measure both the good and bad side effects of such initiatives, does the good outweigh the bad?
The biggest piece of empirical evidence that these initiatives have led to bad results at Google is everything that has happened in the aftermath of the memo being published and found considerable support both in and outside the company.
Had the initiatives been universally good and whose goodness is easy to defend empirically, I would likely have no or at most very few bad results to present to you in response to your question.
Damore and Google? All three that you name.
... as the memo just proved ...
Management could have put him in charge of gathering and analyzing data to prove or disprove his memo.
They fired him instead => they don't care about data => the memo was right, management is biased
Again, why should Google put the guy who lacks basic research skills (again, being ignorant of anti-discrimination cases brought by men) to be in charge of gathering and analyzing data?
What "basic facts and history" are you alluding to, and how do you think they are relevant?
Why do you feel justified saying the author is "ruled by his emotions"? You made blank assertions without explicitly backing them up ("Only someone ignorant..", "only someone ruled by his emotions..")
You say his premises are not "coherent in their arrangement" but can you give an demonstrate this? Just saying "clearly he's ignorant" etc isn't enough to convince me you are right about the quoted snippet, let alone the whole memo.
As was stated in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14974650 you are nit-picking a memo intended to invite discussion, but name calling ("ignorant") without providing at least a similar level of citation, or explanation, yourself is not constructive.
The firing is justified from the point of view of the company, they want someone that can contribute, and he's just effectively removed himself from that pool. In my opinion, this is a bigger part of why they fired him, and the fact that they disagreed with his policies was just a cherry on top.
The world is full of religious people, Trump supporters, conservatives, and people who agree that men and women are biologically different and that might affect their life choices. Adults can go to work and collaborate productively with these people.
Google is quite clearly now full of people who are not adults in this respect, and who feel it's totally OK to refuse to work with someone they never even met because of a memo they wrote on political and policy issues. And their management supports them in this.
From the companies point of view this may mean they are justified in firing him, but California law apparently disagrees - you aren't allowed to fire someone for their political affiliations, and that is true even if other employees are refusing to work with them. That would require you to fire those other employees, as they are the ones refusing to do their work unless a legally impermissible act is taken.
if he was a white-supremacist who wrote a scientifically-backed manifesto about biological differences with his black coworkers, would you still be blaming the people who are 'shunning' him?
No, how they act is their fault.
Do you have data to validate this claim?
Further, his job was to make more money for the company than he cost it. The negative publicity he generated, right or wrong, means he is no longer doing his job. Firing him meant the managers did theirs.
Or how about:
> We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue [sic] affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and whiner
So the memo's author is apparently a prophet of truth but can't even use Google (or Bing, if you will) to look up the times that men have sued on allegations of discrimination? If there weren't law that protected men, those lawsuits would not be brought to court by a competent lawyer, nevermind won (as in the case of Hooter's):
So given the memo's author inability to look up simple case law, you'll have to excuse my hesitance in not accepting that all of his premises are either true or relevant to Google's diversity efforts. Which is why I ask for any empirical evidence that would support his allegations that Google's hiring processes chase diversity in a way that is harmful to the company's performance or even in a way that is unreasonable. Given that Google's stock seems to be still doing quite well, that it still seems to be hiring people of the author's political mindset (including, obviously, the author himself), and that Google's demographic numbers are not anywhere near reaching parity with overall demographics, I'd say the burden of evidence is on the memo's author.
If that is the case, then as far as I'm concerned, you don't even have to show that there is a real harm to the purported victims (as Damore sees them), it is enough to question what the big charade is based on. Are the premises that this supposed diversity push is based on valid? If not, what exactly are we doing here?
But we don't have to engage in such hypotheticals. Let's consider the premise that Damore's memo is simply a call to debate based on science and facts. In my opinion, such a non-biased, open-minded essay would not include this kind of assertion:
> We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and a whiner . Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women’s oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of “grass being greener on the other side”; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is being spent to water only one side of the lawn.
Only someone ignorant of basic facts and history would make this sweeping claim. And only someone ruled by his emotions would be unable to take a step back and do a Google search to see if anti-discrimination law has been used on behalf of men. Given that kind of massive error, or inability to recognize one own's ignorance, I don't think we should continue assuming that Damore's premises are factual or coherent in their arrangement. Which is why I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt in saying that it'd be better if he could have actual empirical evidence on the harm of Google's diversity programs. Just because his memo contains facts doesn't mean that it's truthful, if those facts are used loosely to further the author's emotional appeals.
edit: Fixed the formatting to show that , in the original memo, refers to a footnote and contains a hyperlink.
 “The traditionalist system of gender does not deal well with the idea of men needing support. Men are
expected to be strong, to not complain, and to deal with problems on their own. Men’s problems are more
often seen as personal failings rather than victimhood, due to our gendered idea of agency. This
discourages men from bringing attention to their issues (whether individual or group-wide issues), for fear
of being seen as whiners, complainers, or weak.”
The URL of the hyperlink (the text of which is "misogynist and a whiner"): https://becauseits2015.wordpress.com/2016/08/06/a-non-femini...
(Pretty sure "becauseits2015.wordpress.com" would not pass as a useful source on Wikipedia, but YMMV.)
In fact, he goes farther. He says this "Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business." Where is the science to back that up?
The same question could be asked for the converse statement that represents those pushing for these policies: "Discrimination to reach equal representation is fair, cooperative, and good for business."
The truth is that we don't know either way. My biggest frustration with those arguing in either direction is that no one has really put forth any specific and objectively measurable ways to evaluate these policies.
I personally believe that diversity is economically valuable, but that how valuable it is depends on the task/goals of a team. In some circumstances it will be very valuable and other it will be of negative value. And in many cases it may be of negligible value relative to other things you can optimize for.
What kind of diversity is another valid thing to question? Why are certain kinds of diversity like gender and race given priority over other kinds of diversity such as cognitive (aspie/autistic to neurotypical) diversity, socioeconomic diversity, national origin diversity, urban/rural diversity, etc.
If a team/company is composed entirely of the same race and or gender but every member is from a different country are they more or less diverse than a team/company composed of all Americans of various races and genders?
These are all important questions and it's good and healthy to express skepticism.
It's very hypocritical to scream how discrimination against women or POC is bad and needs to be routed out, only to turn around and start discriminating yourself.
Discriminating against anyone (yes, even people you disagree with or don't like) is unfair.
Treating people differently based on their gender is sexist.
Smearing, bullying and firing somebody for disagreeing with you is bigoted.
The hypocrisy on display in this whole brouhaha is astounding.
If you want to reach a balanced state from a unbalanced one, you need to discriminate to provide more for the people that are behind.
He is of course entitled to feel and think whatever he wants, but maybe a little old-fashioned advice would help here: measure twice, cut once. He clearly didn't think through the effects of posting a stern essay to a company-wide board on a subject that is really quite touchy in the midst of one of the more socially-turbulent periods in the past 20 years.
If he wants to prove it's that desperate, he probably should have worked harder on his essay or social skills, and found a better way to introduce discussion.
And we haven't even confronted his perceptions yet. I have to wonder who exactly feels afraid and intimidated by the conditions. Him, and who else? Instead of resigning to anxiety that he might be confronted for such a strongly-pointed diatribe, maybe he should have considered that his understanding of the situation might be skewed?
I can't speak for anybody else, but his facts didn't support his conclusions for me. His timing was even worse. If it's a discussion he wanted, then maybe he should have researched tact first.
With respect to his essay skills and tact - they are just fine. He makes it abundantly clear he doesn't want to offend people and is not describing individuals, but only the statistical preferences of large populations. You are shooting the messenger in another desperate attempt to ignore the message. Could a few words have been tweaked here or there? Sure. Should he have written it? Yes - he alleges that Google is engaged in illegal behaviour. Google, like all large firms, teaches their employees that it's their responsibility to flag illegal and problematic behaviour and writing such a well researched memo in order to do so is more than most companies could expect.
Only one (Dr Soh) has supported him that I've seen thus far - she seems to have only got her PhD this year and she studies sexual paraphilia via fMRI (which doesn't have a great reputation.) Not exactly "full time gender science study".
By way of contrast, there's PZ Myers - PhD in Biology in 1985, been teaching since 1993 - who thinks Damore is an idiot.
Damore is not an idiot. The people who are attacking him in these ways are though: it's pure anti-intellectualism.
And by the way, counting experts is not a valid way to decide things, it's just a heuristic.
Damore has 5 who point out that he isn't making the science up, but what actually matters is that there are hundreds of studies and papers that support his basic position. Dr Soh points that out. It's not just her opinion vs other people's opinions. It's the opinion of thousands of scientists who have published research that shows all sorts of preference differences between gender.
> Damore has 5 who point out that he isn't making the science up
Only 4 - one of them is duplicated.
I see it as a social issue primarily, with considerations that should include gender science, but not be based solely upon it.
For reference to my thinking on the matter I'll confer to one of my favourite scientists (as he is to many), Mr Feynman:
>> "Scientific knowledge is an enabling power to do either good or bad — but it does not carry instructions on how to use it. Such power has evident value — even though the power may be negated by what one does with it."
Damore's piece can be read as supporting one of two policies, depending on how you interpret it:
1. Adopt alternative approaches to increasing the number of women at Google.
2. Leave things alone and don't try to interfere with the outcome of the standard hiring process.
I think he argued more for (1), in which case his "ideology" would if anything be rather close to Google's standard ideology and it's only a debate about means rather than ends.
But if you read it as (2), e.g. because he says he doesn't support socially engineering tech to get a particular outcome, that's still not an ideology. Doing nothing is not an ideology, it's an absence of ideology.
So I find myself disagreeing with you on this basic point. It's Google and Damore's opponents who are pushing an ideology here. Not him.
Here he tries to remove himself from the rankings but his rhetoric signifies a preference. The weight of the language on one side versus the other induces this effect. He produced this ranking without reference, except noting that these are his own observations at a single campus.
After displaying a chart of associative terms he goes on to implicate Google's bias as lying on the left of his custom political spectrum. Shortly thereafter, he decries Google's particular bias as being harmful. Harmful to nobody in particular, so an assumed ethereal everybody... or himself. In fact, he spends most of the rest of the paper decrying left-handed politics as he's defined them, and continues to define them. (Here his reference is to a WSJ editorial article, hosted offsite. Their editorial sections are generally known to be significantly right-leaning. It's full of conjecture without proofs in between notes about studies.)
I found this particular passage interesting:
>Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt
became morally corrupt and an economic failure. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal
democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the “white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.”
Now while it's a footnote, he's making severe assertions about history with no references at all.
He's also quite enthusiastically twisting the content of his sources to suit his needs. For instance, in the Scientific American article where he derives his "PC-Authoritarian" term to label Google the author of the SA article attributes that to people who declare biological differences as the source of group differences. Of course I have my suspicions he didn't use this term specifically so he could cry vindication once he was fired, but that's just me. The article in fact uses the term "PC-egalitarian" (an apparent other end of the PC political spectrum) who debut programs for specific diverse groups of people to increase their inclusion in the larger community by a sort of 'hand-up'. He evades this point completely.
I could go further but it I'll try to boil down to my point, before I end up writing an essay myself.
He's pushing a hard-right ideology. One that evidenced itself by tangential ramblings about communism in the footnotes, linking to dubious blog and editorial sources (even if they were written by scientists, there are more opinion pieces than are warranted being), and he's repeating (in more "smart" rhetoric than usual) far-right talking points. Further, he wants to be allowed to use Google as a forum where he can say whatever he wants, and will probably cry "transgressors" if somebody tells him to stop being an asshole.
 "PC-Egalitarians tended to attribute a cultural basis for group differences, believed that differences in group power springs from societal injustices, and tended to support policies to prop up historically disadvantages groups. Therefore, the emotional response of this group to discriminating language appears to stem from an underlying motivation to achieve diversity through increased equality, and any deviation from equality is assumed to be caused by culture. Their beliefs lead to advocating for a more democratic governance."
 Majority right-wing news editorial sections, blogs that exist on scientific websites, and political studies that took place in Europe where the base level "conservatism" is probably closer to American centrism citing the conscientiousness of conservatives.
 Personally, it sounds like it came right out of the halls of "red pill/mens rights" forums. They will brigade an intellectual-sounding attempt at legitimacy once in a while by attempting to veil their ideas in a shroud of sloppy rhetoric and tertiary-source material.
The paper's primary focus seems to be removing the programs that were put in place to aid diversity by setting up programs for historically disadvantaged groups, and railing on the "left".
Just in case anybody was wondering: http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/08/who-is-james-damore-fired...
Who's the 5th? We've got the 4 from the Quillette article and ...?
You are wrong in this assumption. I am going to try to explain it. We have group A and group B with different genetics. We measure everybody in the groups A and B in a particular skill and we get the average of A is lower than B. We are not saying everybody of A has lower skill than B (it could be the case but we cannot say anything without knowing the distributions). For this particular case the ranges of scores for A and B overlap a lot. It means that if you take someone from group A and someone from group B, it is more probably that the person from group B have a better score than the person of A, but you find a lot of cases where someone from group A is better than the person of group B. If you repeat this a lot of times and take the winners you would end up with more people from B than for A. But all those people are better than the one you don't selected and probably have the same average for the skill.
What does it means in tech? that you see less women in tech positions but the ones that are there are as same as good or better than the men. In other professions will happen the opposite.
Note: I am taking account only the genetic part, but there is one part that is based on the environment that can lead to sexim and alter the final distribution of the selected people. And this unfortunately happens and we should try to prevent it without having unrealistic goals in selection distributions.
That's a fair position. But it's not an indisputable position, clearly. The biggest issue here isn't about whether there are fair points against the google manifesto. It's about whether thoughts, hypotheses, and opinions like this are harmful and punishable.
> ...many people feel very bad...
And many people feel bad that someone expressed himself earnestly in good faith and has been treated this way. Do we decide where to go from here from how people feel? How do we decide which feelings are important to us?
No, the person or persons that leaked it to the press did that.
Will google go on a witch hunt to fire all those people too? Likely not...
I though google was an open company when anyone can raise a concern when they feel like. It is what the CEO said after firing him probing that the company is not that open.
He send the manifest to a select closed group of people, not all the company. But it got leaked. You can blame him and you can also blame all the people who get angry with his opinions, because his intention was to improve the company not hurting people.
If you select all persons from groups A and B that pass a certain threshold, then you will have a smaller number of A than B. Let's say the split is 40% A and 60% B.
We then analyze the population at our company and find we have 7% A and 93% B. Does this mean the company has a bias towards B, and needs to take special action to search for more A candidates to bring the ratio closer to 40/60?
It's not a question of "diversity", just an optimal hiring algorithm - the company is not utilizing a pool of hireable people in a time of scarcity, and its in their best interest to source more from that pool.
Of course the math gets more complicated when the supply of A is drastically different than the supply of B.
Without more information maths says you probably have a bias. I am assuming your company is big enough and the pool of candidates represents the 40/60.
I not sure I understood your point, can you explain it more?
His argument is moot if Google still does need further optimization in its gender ratios. I don't know what the real-world ratio is for this problem, but it appears the author of the manifesto doesn't either?
Also another argument from him was that 50/50 is impossible to achieve and if you do you are being unfair and lowering the bar for one of the classes.
The real ratio in unknown, but some people here commented that you can get some approximation taking into account the graduates, the statistics about the applications etc. But for sure the ratio is not going to be 50/50 and positive discrimination is still discrimination.
So, as you said, if you don't know the real ratio why do you have positive discrimination policies? You might be doing it wrong. I think this is the discussion he wanted to bring, review the diversity programs because they can harm the company creating an artificial proportion far from the reality. Given that some other actions could be made like adding more "female skills" to the positions for example. Instead of starting a discussion of this issues based on his biological theory most people pointed at him as a sexits and other stuff. And Google shut him up firing him. So now noone will raise any concern because you can be fired.
To sum up: the big issue is that they are not having the conversation we are having here now, regardless of who is right or wrong.
Would the diversity program at Google encourage the committee members to looks for biases against female/minority candidates and compensate accordingly? In essence, giving the said candidate more benefit of the doubt than male/Asian candidates? All candidate passed the technical bar, but may be treated differently based on their ethnicity/gender at the hiring committee, with preference for minority/female candidates.
> Would the diversity program at Google encourage the committee members to looks for biases against female/minority candidates and compensate accordingly?
I don't know, and I would want to know how the really work. One girl here commented she was hired by one of this programs, so at least I know the candidate know he/she is in on of this programs when they apply. Other girl commented that she heard in one of her interviews (I don't know the company): "+1 point because you are a girl and diversity make us pay less taxes". I wouldn't be surprised if something like this also happens internally at Google. A googler also said the hiring process is the same for everybody, but giving the evidence of the document I don't think is exactly the same.
I cannot say more. I do not have more information. If you find it, let me know.
The memo, and your argument, is all about summing the parts instead of measuring the whole.
1) If you hire more from group B other company cannot hire them. So you will have imbalance in another place. You don't solve the problem but move it to another company.
2) Skills usually are related. If you need some set of skills for a position I don't see how not having them is going to increase the productivity.
3) I never said we are assigning the right skills to the positions. I strongly believe that we should have more "female" skills in more tech positions because they add value and we are not doing it now.
4) When you are not good at one skill you don't want to have a position where that skill is valuated. You are happy working in positions that fit the skills you have. This fact decrease the number of women that want go into tech because they don't like it. We can solve this if we add more "female" skills to tech positions and learn to assess everybody by their skills even when they are different.
2-4) I get the feeling we're probably on the same side but maybe arguing for it differently. I think tech positions already need "female" skills (however sexist that may sound) but we just ignore it in favor of programming abilities as if we all work in silos. That's just my opinion.
Women are one of the groups you can hire. Salaries would only increase if you force the companies to have a higher number of women that they are really are (supply/demand).
> I think tech positions already need "female" skills (however sexist that may sound) but we just ignore it in favor of programming abilities as if we all work in silos.
Exactly this. What I am saying is that the solution might be to put those skills in written for those job positions and taking them into account in the hiring process. I think we are not doing it now. Also creating programs to teach everybody that other skills are also valuable for the job, and not because we don't have them we should under valuate who have them. I think something like this was the goal of the person who wrote the doc, but unlikely us, they fired him before open a discussion like we are doing now. In the first comments it seemed that we were having different opinions and look now, it wasn't really the case.
Sorry for the "female skills" sentence. I only wanted to explain it in an easy way. Those skills I refer like empathizing or social skills are more frequent in women but they are in men too.
EDIT: to make clear my position about the salaries: same position = same salary (no discussion here, if you want different salaries justify that person should be in a different position with more/less salary)
That's not the main argument and I think you should re-read the "manifesto" if that's what you walked away with.
> it's starting to get to me how so many people in an innovative sphere seem to have such a hard time with this
The prevailing (cultural) attitude is clearly against plain facts. The question should be why the prevailing attitude is against facts and real solutions but embraces lies and bad solutions. That is what is getting to intelligent people no matter their sphere.
> If the main argument is that women do not [by nature of our scientific understanding] have minds tuned to engineering prowess to the extent that men do for whatever cause
It's not an argument that women's brains are structural and chemically different than a male's brain. Also, there are time tested (1000s of years of history) of observations as to what these differences (generally) manifest in. This is also not an argument.
> then just how does that itself prescribe that we should stop pushing for an expansion there
Socially, you can do whatever you want. However, each such action caries consequences. A company that silences inconvenient truths and doesn't promote those capable of root cause analysis but instead promotes group think centered on flawed thinking and those that skirt around root causes will face the consequences of such a decision. As far as I'm concerned, it's a self-correcting problem. There are plenty of giant corporations in history that are no longer known for similar such missteps.
The rest of your post is filled with hand waiving and appeal to extremes. One group is presenting facts backed by sound logic and science you're resorting to demonization, appeal to extremes, and asserting intelligent people are incapable of philosophical/humanistic conjectures whereas observation proves the exact opposite. What's isn't the scope of a non-intelligent uninformed person is any higher minded thinking or analysis yet they feel the need to constantly interject their half witted opinion into matters and strong arm intelligent people's more accurate and thought out commentary. In the age of intelligence, it will be the half witted opinions that get disposed of and the opinions of entities in support of it and for good reason so that we can truly explore our humanity and our reach without being stunted by those who seek to hold back the truth or progress that can be made embracing it.
Misapplying a wikipedia link brings zero support to the parent comment. It possibly demonstrates that you have no truthful, factual, or logically sound arguments against the facts/science that have been stated thus can only resort to demonization .. Aka trying to thinly imply what has been presented is scientific racism.
I'm African American and I'd hire this guy in a minute. Why? because I can be assured that he is capable of sound root cause analysis and wont hold back his tongue w.r.t to presenting his findings... Even if the document was 100% about the inadequacies of African Americans, Id still give him the opportunity to debate and highlight his supporting data/arguments. This is not grounds to be fired. This is grounds for a promotion.
This is invaluable in engineering...
The fact that company's in the valley have grown so high and mighty that they feel that such people are dispensable is a clear sign to me that the current tech giants have no place in the future of technology that is set to unfold... As such, the problem quite clearly will resolve itself.
Good luck discovering and developing the future of technology when you can't stomach viewpoints beyond the least common denominator social consensus.... I'm so glad I ignored google's attempts to recruit me as a quota hire... which is a whole other discussion on its own (hiring minorities for market/social currency and to pad your statistics while throwing them into b.s roles that don't allow them to develop further). I went through enough of that crap in my internships. Ironically,many times I was overqualified yet constantly was looked at and treated like the dumb minority who is there to fill a seat.
The problem and wrong minded culture that select people have embarked and forced on society is clearly going to fix (sink) itself.
I think they are saying that descriptive scientific observations have limited utility as prescriptive devices if we are to make progress because descriptions are based on how things have been rather than how things could be (or even could have been).
Especially in soft sciences, the /cause/ of what is described can be hard to reliably tease out. To assume the same cause is an unchangeable aspect of the human condition and that cause, even if true, will only ever lead to one end-state is often a mistake.
Please respect all the researches, they usually read out of their main topic to get more data and more opinions. She works in neursexuality and probably has read a lot more from philosophers, humansims and other larger social research than you.
I keep hearing "well the scientists say so!", but it's simply not enough. For instance, I am enamoured with the work of physicists and their unique ability to explain the beauty of the "clockwork of the universe", so to speak. Outside of my personal sphere, I wouldn't consult a PhD Physics for advice on breaking up a fight between friends, necessarily.
Also, I didn't attack anyone here so please leave the ad hominem jabs at home.
I did imply that it's no more her position to conclude the subject of the original essay than anybody else's, and cautioned against taking words of any number of scientists as canon on the understanding of both the original essay and any social implications it may or should have.
edit: Rereading my original statement, I could have certainly made my implication more clear. I'll concede that point.
The main argument isn't about prowess; it's about preference.
"Galpin investigated the percent of women in computer classes all around the world. Her number of 26% for the US is slightly higher than I usually hear, probably because it’s older (the percent women in computing has actually gone down over time!). The least sexist countries I can think of – Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, etc – all have somewhere around the same number (30%, 20%, and 24%, respectively). The most sexist countries do extremely well on this metric! The highest numbers on the chart are all from non-Western, non-First-World countries that do middling-to-poor on the Gender Development Index: Thailand with 55%, Guyana with 54%, Malaysia with 51%, Iran with 41%, Zimbabwe with 41%, and Mexico with 39%. Needless to say, Zimbabwe is not exactly famous for its deep commitment to gender equality."
I don't think it's clear why both of these occur however and I haven't been convinced that people who try to derive a position solely off societal level trends tend to do anything other than show off their ideological preference on both ends of the debate.
Places where women also have less choice / self-determination. When women get to choose their career path, they do not choose tech. That is the relevant correlation suggested as a cause.
The "young males prefer trucks, young females prefer dolls" split is also found in chimps FWIW.
Interest drives practice and practice drives skill.
Even more generally, transcription factors, and the way they cascade.
The major concerns being how some perceive their prowess -- and who's preference is really deciding the solutions.
Aside: I've been around enough people in the general field to have heard enough thoughts about women in tech... and they're too often ill-reasoned and ill-positioned (relating to prowess and potential)... but that's more circumstantial, I admit.
That's not the main point. We need to establish truth first, then act on it.
What is discussed here is the underlying truth, not how we should act on this truth.
This is spot on right here and the main difference between the memo and this article. The memo might have cited real science but it arrived at grossly inappropriate conclusions.
Which conclusions were inappropriate, specifically? The memo I read made several suggestions that would only help women in tech. If that's "inappropriate", then it proves his broader point: our biggest diversity problem is really the lack of diversity of thought.
If any of the conclusions are wrong, then no amount of shouting or complaining should be necessary; just refute the basis of those conclusions using facts rather than feelings.
What we need more in this discussion is more emotional intelligence, not less.
We're programmers/engineers, not painters/artists. Hence I don't see where that statement doesn't hold absolutely true for us. (Except perhaps for management, team leads and entrepreneurs.)
Have a quick look at new pursuits such as:
I could discuss this at length because it's a subject that really interests me, and I'm severely biased because I started out in the humanities with my main pursuit being an understanding of the human condition. I've brought those learnings with me into my current software engineering career and it's serving me well.
Simple being able to place yourself in the shoes of an end user, rather than dictating to them what they necessarily have to learn (and even better, when you know they should learn something with improved understanding of how to implement such a feature) saves everybody a lot of time and frustration. Your estimates will improve in accuracy as well. You'll see less scope-creep.
It's especially important in critical-systems work.
Plus I consider it a bit of a boon to someones character if they care about what they're putting into the world. Most people do. Hint: it won't inhibit your technical understanding.
(But each manager or lead usually has more than one report, so there are likely very few managers/leads compared to everyone else. Hence the general sentiment.)
"Inappropriate conclusions" resembles "thought crimes" applied to a corporate/social context.
I'm fine if people think his conclusions are "incorrect", "garbage", "shoddy", "poorly argued", "unsubstantiated", and a whole host of other adjectives. These are all responses that can be part of a discussion, even a healthy one in the right context.
But "inappropriate" is a lot more puritanical. It implies the thoughts are unwelcome and should be shunned (or worse). It implies that the appropriate response isn't reason-based but power-based. Some power is social (shunning, blacklists, twitter shaming) and some is corporate (HR training, formal reprimands, notes in files, demotions, firings).
It frames everything through a lens of identity power struggles. Therefore, whether an argument is scientific and factual is secondary to what identity group the person making it belongs to, and what their group stands to gain from it.
This ideological lens is anti-science, anti-cooperation, extremely racist/sexist and ultimately focused on only one objective: reducing the power of the group perceived as being at the top of the social dominance hierarchy.
To quote the memo:
"As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the “white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.”"
The author literally thinks 'Left' policies are part of a Communist power struggle.
If the above comment is toxic, then so is the original memo.
Turns out I'm a hateful, dogmatic, sexist racist as well as a malevolent nihilist, postmodern feminist, and a Marxist to boot.
Thanks for clearing that up.
Those -isms really snuck up on me (they really are an insidious bunch, aren't they?). Good thing there are people out there that know way more about people's position and why they have them than they do themselves. Otherwise, we may have to picture the world we want to live in and work toward it without thought to all of the pseudo-cruft attached to specific iterations of ideas throughout history in various places and times by specific individuals that some people might highlight and promote as The One Truth of an Idea to further their own political agenda. It's all very obvious, now that you bring it up.
Very few people subscribe to all of the beliefs of a particular ideological and philosophical framework. But the tenets of an ideology are there, even if a particular adherent is unaware of them.
An ideology manifests itself in its effects on the world. In postmodernism and feminism, we see that in the completely dogmatic and anti-science reaction to the memo. Here was a memo that was produced in good faith, stayed fully within the realm of established science in its assertions, and within the realm of the reasonable in its opinion, and yet we have absolute lies being trotted out by its critics about its content, and an ideologically motivated firing of its author.
This is not an accident. It's a result of an anti-science dogma that frames the world as a power struggle between identity group, and where facts are only acceptable when they aid in the fulfilment of the postmodernist/feminist agenda: which is to flatten the social dominance hierarchy that, according to the postmodernist/feminist framework, is formed by various identity groups. This is inspired by Marxism (as the historical record shows), whether or not you personally identify as a Marxist yourself.
I see the memo and the citations it trots forth, not as an authoritative treatise with well sourced, scientifically sound backing, but as a cherry picked hodge-podge of descriptive science (where the citations were, in fact, scientific publications - many were blog posts and opinion pieces) abused to support a prescriptive framework.
This is not an anti-science position. It is a position that understands the limitations of science. A scientific fact that may successfully describe the past or current condition doesn't consider other states that could have happened under similar conditions and certainly doesn't lock us into a way forward. Descriptive science can tell us the process that gave giraffes their long neck but doesn't have much to say about why other creatures didn't select for long necks as well under similar conditions but instead found a different niche nor does it have anything to say about niches left unfilled. It also doesn't have much to say about what giraffes will look like in 10,000 years under different conditions. It's the difference between analysis and synthesis. Turning successful analysis into successful synthesis is only possible under very simple conditions relative to the messiness of the world and the complex and chaotic interactions that are possible. Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of human behavior.
This is one reason the memo only had the veneer of reasonableness. Either the author was unaware of what he was doing (deeply misguided but in good faith) or thought others would not catch on to the bait and switch (in which he was promoting his own agenda in bad faith). I lean toward the former since he seems genuinely surprised that other people had a problem with his analysis and cherry picking facts and abusing statistics to make a political point is very common (on the other side of the political specturm too, of course).
Which is why we've had better luck as a species crafting synthesis in different fields from mathematics -- building from the ground up rather than trying to tease the relevant parts from the morass where we are in danger of missing important ingredients or making effort killing assumptions.
Instead of responding to the memo, and proving the assertions contained in it wrong, Google's executives fired him, and Google VP Daniele Brown justified the reaction by claiming that the memo advanced "incorrect assumptions about gender".
And you claim this is not an expression of dogmatism, and is not hostile to science, which I see as yet another manifestation of this anti-science dogmatism.
>A scientific fact that may successfully describe the past or current condition doesn't consider other states that could have happened under similar conditions and certainly doesn't lock us into a way forward.
That's a sweeping and over-simplistic generalisation, and trying to justify the extreme rejection of and intolerance toward the memo based on it is a stretch, to say the least.
The individual was fired for stating facts and an opinion (which any society that values rational debate and dialogue will tolerate) that went against an unscientific dogma. A dogma that is as certain of the correctness of its own conjecture about gender as it is about the inapplicability of science to understanding statistical differences between genders in socioeconomic outcomes. An individual, especially a male, is not permitted to express an opinion that contradicts the dogma on the causes of differences in gender outcomes, and the proper reaction to said differences.
That's what the Google engineer's firing demonstrates.
Also, if the upvote/downvote ratio is any indication, many people appreciate my contributions, even if they're not agreeable.
One final point I'd add is that this is an explicitly ideological issue. A Google engineer was fired for violating Google's corporate ideology (on diversity and gender). There is no way to address the issue in a meaningful way without addressing said ideology.
Let me ask this: what difference does the statistical differences found between genders in the general population matter for any small subset of that population?
If I had test scores from 1-1000 with 1 being the worst and 1000 being the best for a million people that match a normal distribution and I told you that I have a set of 10 that I picked non-randomly but I don't tell you how, what can you tell me about that sub-set of 10?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
What does it say about how that set of ten will do on the next test given only that you know the test will be an iteration on the last with some differences?
So, why would it matter if, statistically, females exhibit certain behaviors more or less than males in the general population when applied to the subset that apply and work for Google?
What disturbs me (having Google stock, as many do) is how a person that doesn't understand this basic fact got past the Google hiring process and ended up an employee.
With all due respect, this is an absurd question. Statistical differences between the genders in the general population will very plausibly cause differences in the representation of each gender in a particular field, like computer science.
Do I really need to elaborate more on why this is the case?
To claim that the causes of gender differences are a settled science, that agrees with the postmodernists and feminists, and so assuredly that an opinion based on a different interpretation deserves to be punished and otherwise ignored, is absolute nonsense.
If anything, the social constructionist position on gender differences has been thoroughly discredited by the experimental evidence, to the point where the media and Google's reaction to the memo is, without a doubt, an expression of anti-scientific dogma.
Google is not selecting their employees at random. Google is not promoting people at random. Google is not placing employees in a neutral environment relative to the rest of the population. Google is not providing neutral support to employees relative to the general population.
There is no reason to expect that their subset of the population should conform to a general population skew.
In short, plausibility =/= probably.
You repeat yourself a lot for someone who keeps bringing up dogma in this conversation like it means something in context. Can you point to my dogmatic position?
The guy was fired because he let everyone know that he is more than happy to point to descriptions of the general population and sinister world spanning conspiracy theories in order to maintain a dismissive and belittling attitude within the work environment toward women that happens to support a status quo that directly benefits himself rather than support the stated goals of the company.
Absurd. Differences in the general population will translate into differences in the number of men that pursue CS and related fields, which will affect the gender composition of the applicant pool that Google recruits from.
>Can you point to my dogmatic position?
The dogma is in you ignoring and denying basic statistics and common sense in order to defend the ideological premise underlying Google's discriminative (affirmative action) policies.
>The guy was fired because he let everyone know that he is more than happy to point to descriptions of the general population and sinister world spanning conspiracy theories in order to maintain a dismissive and belittling attitude within the work environment toward women that happens to support a status quo that directly benefits himself rather than support the stated goals of the company.
This grossly mischaracterizes the content of the memo and the veracity of his arguments. Your comment displays utter and unscrupulous intolerance to opinions that disagree with your postmodernist viewpoint on gender.
It rejects the relevance of overwhelming empirical evidence on the causes of gender differences in the general population, that are manifestly relevant to gender representation in tech. Your comment embodies the prioritisation of dogma over science, and the willingness to use any means, including blatantly mischaracterizing the arguments made by ideological opponents in order to justify their being fired, to achieve one's ends.
Edit: I appreciate all of the vote downs. Empiricism is as guilty in choosing models according to power dynamics as any ideological endeavor. See phrenology. To suggest science isn't political and ideological is absolutely delusional.
Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has the most relevant writing on this.
One might disagree with his language, but this post is remarkably insightful to begin such a dive:
No, not being a smart ass. "Science" as we know it today is an invention. It hasn't been around forever. It is relatively new. Yes it is political. Yes it is epistemological. Yes it is ideological.
In terms of social sciences, it is far harder than we like to think.
What we choose to measure, how we choose to measure it, what we choose to ignore, diversity of contexts, etc. are political and ideological decisions.
If you would be interested in reading a rather dense and difficult text, Foucault's Discipline and Punish might be of interest.
As the other commenter has noted, you need to historcise.
Continental philosophers didn't just plop onto the scene buoyed by multimillion dollar marketing budgets; the epistemology issues they raised are real. Your ridiculous claims of Marxist thought, Feminist thought, etc. betray your ignorance.
So yes, I disagree with every single one of your assertions, but RTFM isn't applicable here, so I avoided stating it outright. Your valuing and clinging of random opinion over informed knowledge is at least as telling as your initial professions. You may have been able to fake it around your equally uniformed peers.
Replace the term "Feminist" with "A person believing in equal rights for women" and your deeply seated, neurologically stuck repetition of misogynist statements rings clear across all communications.
The philosophy very openly calls for deconstruction of all existing values and power structures, and a radical rejection of what the modernist interpreted as reason.
I think you are deliberately downplaying this element of postmodernist philosophy and I don't think you're doing the discussion any favors by casting your opponents as bigots.
> They themselves described their philosophies as evolutions of Marxism.
Citation needed certainly in the case of Derrida.
With that said, to have a peek at J's posts. Every single message is prefaced with the rubbish connection, and by suggesting that there is some lineage to Marx is giving the individual more credit than he is due. Doubly so that it is clear he has never read a Postmodern text.
Also, as I have been citing Foucualt, it might be worth noting that his view of power contrasted against Marx's.
To suggest that the toolbox of Postmodern thought is all Marxism and Feminist is absolutely ridiculous.
 In terms of critiquing capitalist thought alone it would be almost mandatory to explore Marxist thought. It would also seem that Derrida wasn't quite the Marxist cited. http://www.salon.com/2013/04/28/grappling_with_specters_of_m...
While postmodernism differs from Marxism in many ways, and while its progenitors were inspired by and attempted to build on top of Marxism to different degrees, it certainly comes from the same intellectual tradition of radicalism, and advocacy of overthrowing power structures, as Marxism, and was formulated mostly by intellectuals that accepted several of the basic suppositions of Marxism.
This shouldn't be surprising, considering how prevalent Marxism was among French intellectuals in the postwar period.
As for whether Marxism has any redeeming value, I'd argue that even if it did, the recklessness of its attacks on the capital owning class, in concepts such as surplus value, exclude it as a perspective worthy of being given that level of respect. Marxism crosses a line in human relations that is hard to come back from, and hard to build a humanistic society on top of.
Key point is that his readings of Marxism weren't central to his core tools of Postmodernism, nor is that reading indicative of any fervent Marxism from "before". Wrong on all counts.
> its progenitors were inspired by and attempted to build on top of Marxism to different degrees.
> and was formulated mostly by intellectuals that accepted several of the basic suppositions of Marxism.
Again, citation needed on the majority of the tenuous connections. You are being a tad too obsessive here.
Sorry, but being a green account to respond to my single post screams another J account. "The lady doth protest too much." The rest of your post? Equally misguided with nothing to do with Postmodernism, and less relating to the Foucaultian aspect I referenced.
If the information is right, it completely changes the case, and the guy was fired for Wrong reasons.
I hope he'll sue and win his job back (yes, I think Google needs this guy more than ever).
High-visibility lawsuits have been brewing already:
It doesn't. There are just different ways to get there.
One way is to eliminate unjust barriers that discourage females from participating in the industry. Another way is to explicitly discriminate against males. The second category has been used in practice and people reasonably object to it.
Not creating bias against men doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't eliminate any existing bias against women.
But it's also possible that even if we do strike down all the unjust barriers, most women would still prefer to be veterinarians or nurses or psychologists. Are we then supposed to pass laws to coerce them to become programmers?
You are the only one being "prescriptive". If a class of people doesn't prefer (in aggregate) to do the kinds of work you want them to do, what right do you have to insist that it is better for them if they are forced to do this work? When did it become feminist to lecture women about the sort of work environment they should want?
You write as if you know what is best for society, yet where do you get this knowledge? It seems to me you do not even understand the points you are criticizing. The author of the Google piece was arguing that Google should change its work environment if it is serious about changing its workforce composition. He didn't tell women what they should want or how they should behave -- you are the only one doing that.
To add, I started out as an English major. While I did well in most things I applied myself to, I spent the largest part of my youth studying humanities, the human condition, social mores (first hand, from the 'dirt' to the most pious), and art. I'm now back working in amongst the tech world, and studying science again, and that's how you have me here, contributing.
I'd also like to add that my grandmother was an early systems analyst and programmer (FORTRAN, COBOL) and had to work so hard to even be recognized that she wore it as a badge of honour the rest of her life. I didn't understand at the time she told me. I do now.
My mother on the other hand, left her career to look after my siblings and I to the chagrin of her feminista detractors who thought it was a move of weakness. She rallied against that her whole life, and I supported her then, too.
This wavering from one extreme to the other is really harmful, emotionally, on a large scale. However, sometimes we have to dig a little deep to make sure our colleagues, friends, and others get to see a little light. Somebody who's never had to struggle will never understand that fully.
The immediate and harsh backlash for proposing that science is not a good sole means for rationalizing how to work through social issues is pretty striking to me. Anyway, I never claimed to -- and certainly don't -- know what's best, but I know a slippery slope when I see one.
And silence your mouth? There is a big difference between "I'm fine with this" and "Anyone who isn't should be fired".
If I'm not mistaken, he was fired for breaching the company's civil code of conduct. That's different than being fired for an idea. If I started onto my company's social intranet and posted essays citing references about why something should change, I'd probably face equal back lash because it's abrasive and not at all socially graceful. There's a lot of conjecture flying around in all directions...
Anyway that's a whole other discussion, because I primarily disagreed with his issue in the first place. His being fired was most likely twofold: he created a hostile atmosphere either knowingly, or because of social ignorance or naivete. This resulted in bad press, the whole lot, and corporations are [probably inarguably, on average] heartless institutions that seek to maintain an even keel -- bad press is bad for business. That's again a whole other discussion, but it shouldn't be a surprise to anybody.
We've yet to hear details of what this really mean, and if this CoC is applied fairly. It sounds like the violation i a) based on a particular interpretation of the memo, or b) based on the subjective offense of other employees. This sounds like the "cultural fit" loophole of the left.
> That's different than being fired for an idea
Is it? Have all the ideas you want, just don't express them, even in forums than are specifically for that purpose? Why isn't the leaker being punished?
> If I started onto my company's social intranet
There are plenty liberal/left essays floating about the google intranets, this is not you average employer.
> he created a hostile atmosphere
Did he? The leaker, and those who misrepresented the content of the memo seem to be implicit in that.
> This resulted in bad press
So does any whistle-blower. But again - He did not leak the memo.
Yeah, but do they call a third of their coworkers incompetent?
It's not the fact that it's an opinion piece, it's that it's a very tactless way of approaching the situation. I'm not defending the leaker here, but once it did get leaked, there really was little the company could do to keep him a productive member of the workforce.
the memo doesn't either - If you disagree please quote the part that does.
And if you want to empower women in your own corporate environment you should read his paper carefully, since part of his criticism is that Google's diversity programs are self-defeating: trying to induce women into engineering by lying about the nature of the work rather than changing the corporate culture so it attracts more women in the first place.
I don't think we should dismiss the ideas because of the person presenting them. In fact, the original Google Memo was written by a man in tech, but this open from Global and Mail was written by a woman in academia. What does she have to gain from the state of tech? Regardless, let's not focus on the people but instead on the ideas.
> how does that itself prescribe that we should stop pushing for an expansion there?
The call is not to stop pushing for an expansion there. It's that our approach is wrong. And we're not able to even see that our approach is wrong because in this liberal bubble we're not allowed to talk about the differences between men and women.
Their conclusion was ultimately that the more equality and freedom of choice you have for genders, the more uneven the split between genders in careers as preferences tend to skew by gender. You can't force 50% of women to like or want to be engineers. So the more they tried to give women a choice, have equal pay, etc, the greater the imbalance became. It certainly means many women can enter STEM positions when they want to and are just as good as their male counterparts, but the opposite was true as well, as they weren't just complaining about lack of women in STEM, but lack of men in fields like healthcare and teaching. The cognitive dissonance is that "equality" means everything has to be 50/50, and attempts to do so is naive and wasted effort.
That said treat people individually. If a coworker sucks at their job, stop thinking about it in relation to their gender, their are plenty of men in tech who just cruise or who are barely adequate or worse. Don't make it about their biology. But at the same time realize you can't force diversity either, it has to happen organically, all you can do is maybe let there be a little bit of fertilizer to help the process, and setting quotas or special programs just for certain people is not a formula for equality or natural increase in diversity or interest from typically under represented groups.
That said, its obvious Google is just as much trying to protect a legal position, these programs are in response to law suits or protection from law suits to say "we're doing something about this", even if they don't produce results. Just like the terrible sexual harassment videos and anti fraud videos you have to watch at work, that are more to check a box when legal issues arise then actually fix the problem (because in the end a company can only control a person's behavior or choices so much).
Why do we need expansion there in the first place and where is the science behind that?
It's not the biological claims, it's the conclusions he draws from it.
Here's the thing. Let's stipulate that all the biological (and esp. neuroscience-related) claims are 100% true. What follows?
Let's look at nursing. Clearly, it should be a male-dominated profession, right? The work-life balance (all the night shifts) is horrible and the stress is high (lives in the balance and all that). This is a profession that women should not want, right?
Same for accounting. Few professions are less about people and more about things. No room for "gregariousness". Again, a man's job.
In contrast, management positions (at least mid-level leadership positions) should be a great fit for women. All about interacting with people and that "gregariousness".
Obviously, this is not how the real world works. My point is that we're dealing with wishy-washy criteria here that you can use to argue whichever way your personal biases lie. They are inherently unfalsifiable and hence, unscientific. It's like the story about the blind men and the elephant , drawing bold macrosociological conclusions from fairly raw biological and psychological data.
You are forgetting one huge thing. Lots of women doing something make it automatically attractive to women just because it'll be common in their circles.
You can make the same argument about IT. My point is not that what I'm saying is true, but that (like the macrosociological claims in the paper) it sounds plausible, yet is unfalsifiable and hence, unscientific.
> You are forgetting one huge thing. Lots of women doing something make it automatically attractive to women just because it'll be common in their circles.
I am not forgetting anything. My argument was in essence a reductio ad absurdum. If you want to advance a social argument why women are over- or underrepresented in certain professions and why Damore is therefore wrong, that would be an entirely separate argument. You're welcome to make it on your own, but I don't think the memo is worth that much of a time investment myself.
I think nursing trades stress for job security.
There are many places like this in tech world as well. SDET positions in most big web companies. First 1 - 3 line support groups in big outsourcing firms etc etc.
The job is stress full, but the return for that is not money, its job security.
The problem is that the gender differences cited cannot, in aggregate, explain the 70/30 bias toward men in the industry.
There's a real similarity to the global warming debate, here. There are many factors that affect global mean temperature. For example, over the very long term, the sun will get brighter. But that can only account for an astonishingly tiny fraction of the warming observed on the planet.
Someone who wishes to debate honestly would admit that, while there are many factors that affect global mean temperature, the rise on CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is significant, and has a demonstrable effect on temperature, making it by far the strongest influencer.
Someone who wishes to debate dishonestly will use these other explanations as a method to muddy the debate and try and turn attention toward lesser factors that cannot explain the whole effect.
Now, if you look at this current "debate", yes, there are undoubtedly biological gender differences that can explain some male/female bias in engineering (among many other disciplines).
But no serious psychologist or sociologist would claim that those differences can account for the dramatic real world bias in the industry. It simply doesn't follow.
So to claim those gender differences lie at the root of bias in the industry is a distraction. At best it's a gross misunderstanding of the science and statistics. At worst, it's a deliberately dishonest attempt to muddy the waters and confuse the debate.
Personally, my bet is it's more the former than the latter.
What's your evidence for this? Debrah Soh, the author supposedly has a PhD in sexual neuroscience so one would think she is qualified to make comments about this. And although I can't confirm this myself, the article does say that societies with greater gender equity also have greater gender gaps due to the differences in what each gender values.
The article points out that for most of the biases cited in the memo, the differences are on the order of a few percentage points, which cannot account for the real-world outcomes we see. To quote:
Still, I think it's important to keep in mind that most psychological sex differences are only small to moderate in size, and rather than grouping men and women into dichotomous groups, I think sex and sex differences are best thought of scientifically as multidimensional dials, anyway (see here).
To be honest, I'm not sure how Ms. Soh can seriously argue the merits of the memo, here. Yes, technically the memo is not itself inaccurate, in that there are gender biases that result in practical population-level effects. But how one can seriously use those facts to conclude that the 70/30 population split in the valley is a product of those differences, I really don't know, unless confirmation bias is at play. It just doesn't make any sense.
Heck, just looking historically it doesn't follow... it's not like the biases we see are inevitable. Our industry used to have a different composition. And other STEM fields have seen gender disparities even out. So neither facts nor history support the conclusion.
What nobody seems to consider is that an initial small biological difference may very well be amplified into a large cultural preference over time, due to network effects. A self fulfilling prophesy, if you will.
I'm just speculating here, but it seems plausible to me, at least.
> Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.
Using this source : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19883140
But the published article makes no claim about any causation between STEM preference and actual employment in a field. We can only speculate on causation.
I know in my job as a programmer there is certainly a great deal of "Social" interaction. Agile programming certainly benefits from "Conventional" thinking that women prefer. A graphic designer on my team is highly "Artistic" and we pull him into design decisions for engineering choices all the time.
So why did Debrah Soh neglect to provide supporting citations for the claim that societies with greater gender equity have greater gender career gaps, given that it's the one most central to supporting the Anti-Diversity Manifesto?
Is Debrah going to dispute the claim that Engineers — having to deal with people — need "soft" skills? Is she going to claim that all STEM work is necessarily playing with wheeled toys?
How does Debrah explain that "Gender equality closes the math gap"?
"For science literacy, while the USA showed the largest gender difference across all OECD nations, d = .14, gender differences across OECD nations were non-significant, and a small female advantage was found in non-OECD nations, d=-.09."
It's one thing to be "good at mathematics", quite another to be "a good engineer."
Nobody who participates in quota systems or diversity hiring believes that what they are doing is sustainable in the long term. The point of attempting to hire more people from under-represented portions of the populace is to counter-balance institutionalised sexism.
Debrah Soh does raise one important point: sexism doesn't come from knowledge of a subject, but what we do with that knowledge.
I can only provide my own anecdote. I come from third-world country, where women's right is a laughable word. Women are mostly controlled by the males in the family.
Even with almost no women's rights, women presence in my undergrad STEM school was around 20%. OTOH, when I came to Canada for my grad school, I've never seen any class where presence of women in STEM classes was more than 10%. Even then, most of them women are immigrants from China or South Asia.
That's "sexual" in the sense of "sexology", not "gender", though. She studies sexual paraphilia ("why people are into what they’re into sexually"), not gender differences as they pertain to society.
Then uses the existence of those small differences to justify fundamentally changing their hiring policies.
The latter does not follow from the former.
Again, as with the global warming debate, it makes a lot more sense to tackle the larger influencers first, before addressing these smaller factors.
Even achieving a 30/70 split in a male-dominated industry will help defuse some of the rampant masculinity which passes as social interaction (aka primate chest-beating). Having people around who think differently and don't want to conform to the established practices of pissing contests, dick-measuring and chest thumping will help establish better modes of operation and contribute to better decisions being made (no more buying product X because the saleswoman had huge breasts or the salesman displayed dominant primate behaviour).
Consider a business where 90% of applicants are female and 10% male. If the business chooses to hire 50/50, they are probably getting some sub-par males assuming the distribution of qualifications between male and female for the two sets of applicants are similar (which we don't have much reason to believe they differ much). In this case the females might be annoyed with the "special" treatment given to male hires that perform worse. And male hires might wonder if they got the job because they were well qualified or maybe just because they were male. In my opinion, this kind of "reverse" discrimination perpetuates bitterness and discriminatory thinking on all sides. I don't think of myself as a strongly religious person, but I think Christ had something when he was teaching that an "eye for an eye" was the old way, but the better way to live is to treat others how you want to be treated.
In scenario (1) otherwise qualified female candidates are overlooked during the hiring process due to systemic biases in the industry. Programs are instituted to reduce these biases. This puts men at a disadvantage (relative to the status quo), but actually merely equalizes the playing field.
In scenario (2) there are not enough qualified female candidates. If that is the case, then any program which increases the hiring of female candidates will likely cause the hiring of sub-par candidates, causing all of the issues you describe.
I can understand why people would object to (2) but I don't really see a problem with (1). I also don't understand why people assume that these programs actually lead to the hiring of sub-par candidates? I would think that Google's hiring practices would filter out unqualified candidates regardless of gender.
That means it's impossible to achieve a 1:1 gender ratio for all companies. A few may succeed, but only by heavily biasing their recruitment against men, since their recruitment pool of women is so small in comparison. Given the 4% number above, there will by 30 great male candidates for every great female candidate.
I don't think the argument ever was that unqualified candidates got a job. Rather, the reality is that if several candidates are qualified, and one of them happens to be a woman, she must be the one who gets the job offer, if a company wants to aim for a smaller gender gap.
Is this fair?
To some people this may seem perfectly OK (everybody was qualified; after that, it's more important to reduce the gender gap). Others might think it isn't (it's unlikely that the best of the qualified candidates got the job). In my opinion, both viewpoints are valid.
What personally irks me, however, is that someone was fired for asking the question. That was decidedly unfair.
I'm not sure, especially for a company like Google, I would assume they get plenty of great candidates of either gender such that hiring from either pool would not require reducing their hiring standards.
> I don't think the argument ever was that unqualified candidates got a job. Rather, the reality is that if several candidates are qualified, and one of them happens to be a woman, she must be the one who gets the job offer, if a company wants to aim for a smaller gender gap.
> Is this fair?
If under the status quo male candidates are hired the majority of the time over otherwise qualified female candidates, then the status quo is already unfair towards the female candidates. Working to correct the imbalance may be perceived as "unfair" to the group whose advantage is lost, but that doesn't necessarily mean it actually is.
> What personally irks me, however, is that someone was fired for asking the question. That was decidedly unfair.
Unfortunately his memo went much further than that. I mean, is someone who concludes that Google's hiring programs are "veiled left ideology that can irreparably harm Google" really interested in honest debate? Much of his writing comes across as a highly politicized rant that detracts from the actual topic.
I just realized my comment mostly consisted of questions. I have way more questions than answers.
How exactly do we quantify the difference between "best" and "qualified" and is Google's hiring process granular enough to tell the difference? If a candidate goes through the interview process and the company decides "yes, this person is worth hiring" do you then stop and say "well, this person is qualified, but we're not sure if they are the best, so let's wait and see if someone better comes along"? I'm sure every company wants to hire the "best" candidates but what exactly does that mean and how exactly would that translate to their hiring process?
Besides, it's an open question as to whether or not Google's CS-puzzle-gauntlet interview process is actually effective at hiring the "best" candidates in the first place. But that's an entirely different discussion...
> Is it best for Google and/or society if Google skips out on the best to only hire qualified people just because they are shooting for arbitrary group ratios?
Probably not. Do you think that is what is happening here? That Google's diversity programs are actually causing Google to hire "worse" candidates than they would otherwise?
> Did he really go "much further than [asking the question]"?
He spends several pages trying to justify the status quo with regards to the gender gap in the tech industry, and then calls for the elimination of Google's hiring programs designed to encourage diversity. So... yeah.
I will also point out this particular quote because it is incredibly condescending and makes me suspect the memo was not necessarily written in good faith:
"Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems."
The first part is an obvious strawman that mischaracterizes the opposing viewpoint, I don't think many people would actually agree that "all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination". Then the second part implies the opposition is blind to the truth that he clearly sees, and furthermore is not capable of actually solving problems. I'm not sure how you could read this and conclude that he's "just asking questions".
> What would all those heavily criticizing him on the basis of not toeing the company line say if an equivalent "reverse" situation had occurred with a right-leaning corp and a left-leaning employee? I think most would feel the same way as right-leaners.
I don't think so. The last time I can recall that a right-leaning corporation fired an employee for expressing a left-leaning viewpoint was when Tomi Lahren was fired from The Blaze for saying she was pro-abortion, and I don't recall there being any backlash to that. These are private corporations, they can hire and fire who they want. (Protected classes excepted, of course.)
Would you agree that, if the gender disparity in an industry is caused by factors outside of the "natural ratio", then correcting those factors does not necessarily imply perpetuating discrimination? Or put another way, if you are holding a race where person A starts at the 0-yard line and person B starts at the 25-yard line, and you make them start from the same place, you are not actually favoring person A and discriminating against person B, but merely equalizing the playing field?
It is a hard problem, and I think most people want the same/similar outcome. We just need to acknowledge that we don't all know the best way to get there and be able to talk about it. I think that is what the memo writer was really saying is that these are important issues with lots of things to consider - we can't afford to silence voices - especially relatively rational ones.
What evidence is there for advertisement stereotyping being the causal factor? Wasn't advertisement stereotyping just as powerful in non-STEM fields like law? medicine? journalism? Why did they break the gender curse whereas STEM did not?
In reality most of these levels have only clerical work to do. Sometimes things like writing down on a register that you issued somebody a Screw gauge. So basically book keeping, secretarial work, data entry etc etc.
But yeah, on the ground every gets to be called a 'Scientist'.
...sending rockets to the moon...
Until people stop focusing on where there women aren't, and instead focus on where the women are, we aren't going to figure out what the problem is in programming, or even figure out if there actually is a problem with programming.
There's a graph here  showing percent of bachelor's degrees going to women in several different fields over time, from 1970 through 2010.
The decline in women getting CS degrees starting in mid '80s really stands out. However what also stands out is that nothing else seems to have gotten a noticeable bump around the same time, so assuming that those women who are missing from CS did not leave college entirely, where are they?
It's possible that there is a bump but we just can't see it. There were only about 40000 BS CS degrees granted per year in the middle '80s. Some other fields beat that by a large factor, and so it is possible the missing CS women could have been absorbed into a few of those big majors where the bumps might be small enough to be lost in the noise.
Another interesting thing is that if you look just at CS, the total number of CS BS degrees was growing through 1985, then started falling . If you look at just men, and just women, the same thing happened for each. For both, from 1970 to 1985 they were on an accelerating growth curve (almost exponential), and then for both it turned around and fell quickly (also almost exponentially) then leveled off.
During that growth phase the women's growth curve was accelerating more than the men's curve. During the decline phase, the women's decline was faster, too.
For example, one of the studies that showed boys were better than girls at math showed that if you chose a random boy and a random girl, there was a 55% chance that the boy was better at math. Not very much different from flipping a coin at an individual level, but quite significant in a population.
> PhD in sexual neuroscience
There's a LOT that's new here, relative to Damore's memo.
Oops, sorry I guess my comment was worded a bit confusingly there. When I said "backed by links to scientific studies" I was referring to the original memo. The Gizmodo article which originally leaked the memo omitted those links, but they're present in the original document: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3914586/Googles-I...
These qualities are helpful for getting other people to take the article seriously instead of just immediately dismissing it as an "anti-diversity screed", but they don't in and of themselves affect the factual accuracy of the statements being made. As I said, this author is mostly just re-affirming the same points that were made in the original memo; those underlying points are equally valid regardless of who's making them.
And for the gender of the person advancing an argument to matter seems only to strongly confirm the memos points about discrimination against men.
Counter-factuals are always difficult, but it seems unlikely that we would ever have heard about this memo, much less seen its author fired, had the exact same text been written by a woman.
Because most of the reactions were emotional, not rational. If we were rational beings it wouldn't matter, but we're not and never have been.
I regularly see psueodo-science blog posts that are "backed by links". Let's pick one of Soh's claims that are backed by a link:
> As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone – higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.
Soh uses  to claim that Holland Categories and STEM interest have a causation for employment in related fields. In fact, the article merely supports the claim that women have statistical preference for certain Holland Categories and STEM interests.
So why did she use this as a reference to support her claim about employment in the field? It's certainly a reasonable logical step to make, but the citation should be moved back one sentence.
Besides, I'm very curious how that source controlled for cultural influences. Women are regularly discouraged from expressing STEM interests culturally, so it's no surprise to me that they don't express a preference towards it.
One of the major giveaways that the Diversity VP at Google is incompetent came when she criticized the author for attacking women simply because he used the terms "conscientiousness" and "agreeability" and "neuroticism". You are not doing much better by insinuating that science can only be correct when it supports your ideological position.
The lack of intellect and integrity displayed by the attacks on the fired Google employee is really disturbing.
Can you back up this claim with a citation from the document? If not, can you explain your thought (feeling) process?
> Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths. - This defends putting women into less-desirable jobs because desirable ones are not really that desirable? This argument is self-defeating.
> I don’t think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principles reasons for why it helps Google; - Discrimination is justified if it helps the bottom line.
> We’re told by senior leadership that what we’re doing is both the morally and economically correct thing to do, but without evidence this is just veiled left ideology that can irreparably harm Google. - You're not allowed to believe that discrimination will hurt the bottom line. Even if senior management tells you so.
> Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate - The alternative is to increase the false positive rate for those candidates.
> Having representative viewpoints is important for those designing and testing our products, but the benefits are less clear for those more removed from UX. - Having representation is leadership is not important.
> Prioritize intention. - This is also illegal. Google is a government contractor and will be required to implement affirmative action policies if its employees are too different from the general population. That's because they're taking money from all taxpayers and redistributing it to or away from certain groups. Intention here is irrelevant.
> Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain roles and Google can be and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get female students into coding might be doing this).
Serious question: does your mind think they actually do? This might be a good illustration of why people differ so much on the same objective facts, the human brain automatically adds additional context (that isn't necessarily physically present) into perceptions.
Can you give me some indication that you understand what I'm talking about? You don't have to agree, just a sign that you know what I'm saying. I'm wondering if your brain maybe censors certain sorts of ideas, such that you effectively don't even "see" them.
The truth you are missing about the world is contained right within that statement. I recommend printing it out and hanging it on your wall as a reminder, and let your mind chew on it for a few months. Resist the urge to draw conclusions, just mull it over, you might be surprised.
Strip away his science and his words, he's a misogynistic techbro (I'm reminded of ESR) who wants to pretend technology is some sort of meritocracy and that a woman doesn't play well in that situation. Almost every one of his claims has a hanging but attached to it.
The author suggests that when these average statistics propagate into life decisions and employment preferences, you end up with an equilibrium with less females in these roles.
You write 'This can be used again to claim women don't belong in those roles' but the author did not use this to claim such a thing! 'I know several women' precisely coincides with what the author wrote. Again, he pointed out multiple times throughout that he was not generalizing but was merely looking at average trends.
In the aggregate, this is objectively true based on my observations, and you can see this exact same sentiment passionately expressed by feminists.
> ...there are some roles they might not be able to perform.
This part is your mind playing tricks on you. You have certain beliefs, and you are trying to find anything to confirm them.
You have misunderstood what the author was saying, I would suggest because you are not trying to understand it, but rather are trying to find examples to substantiate your worldview.
> Strip away his science and his words
....leaving us....your imagination?
>Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain roles and Google can be
The line immediately before states that women tend to be more people-oriented than object-oriented. The line between these 2 states is crystal clear: women are more people oriented than men, and there are limits to how people oriented certain roles and the company can be, therefore, women will not have the same opportunities as men. If you want to take his words at face value, go ahead, but his entire essay is for Google to stop programs aimed at gender inclusion.
> If you want to take his words at face value, go ahead
Very interesting, to me.
> his entire essay is for Google to stop programs aimed at gender inclusion.
Is anyone disputing that? This conversation is beyond confusing.
That's absurd. You're not even interpreting his comments
at face value. You're attributing a subtext to them that only exists in your imagination.
>Strip away his science and his words, he's a misogynistic techbro
What an absolutely hateful and sexist comment. It amounts to: "strip away his message and judge him by what identity group he belongs to"
Really? The first bullet point is "women are more people oriented". The second bullet point is that there are limits to how people oriented specific roles or even Google as a whole can be. If you want to take his words at face value, go ahead, but the belief that there are some roles than women cannot do due to their differences is consistent with the rest of his essay.
The only way I can think of how one could come to this conclusion is a lack of either:
- knowledge of what a statistical average is
- capacity for basic logical thought
You are mixing up your imagination with reality.
So, what exactly am I supposed to draw from this? You're insistent I am wrong, but you're offering no explanation as to why I am wrong. I don't disagree that women are more sociable than men. I disagree this means certain roles within the company cannot support that trait.
"Women value work life balance"
"Men are status achievers"
"Because of that, men will appropriately be in leadership and technology roles, also women suffer anxiety more."
Side note, convenient he leaves out that women are statistically able to deal with stress better than men.
His conclusion is that rather than creating programs that encourage women to enter leadership positions, leave that to the men and give women access to part time roles.
If you want to say I am wrong, so be it, disagreement is fine, but you have yet to counter anything I have said with an opposing understanding, just ad hominen attacks and criticism.
The explanation was in my previous comment.
I will give you another hint: you are misinterpreting the meaning of "women" in your excerpted quotes.
> If you want to say I am wrong, so be it, disagreement is fine, but you have yet to counter anything I have said with an opposing understanding, just ad hominen attacks and criticism.
I don't think there's a way to reply that will satisfy you, there is a crucial part of objective perception that you are lacking.
It does no such thing, because:
(1) STEM fields, especially applied rather than theoretical ones, involve people as much as things
(2) While in some STEM fields gender disparities are apparent from fairly early in career progression, that's not true of all STEM fields; in some (many of them around biosciences) women are overrepresented in education and entry-level work, but still lag men in pay and advancement (problematically for the “it's about men wanting to deal with things and women wanting to deal with people” explanation of STEM gender disparities, this leaves women dealing more with things while the men move to higher levels where they deal with people.)
This doesn't negate my point.
You're correct that I oversimplified: some STEM fields are indeed less 'biologically geared' to men. But the principle remains: biologically established differences in interest can very plausibly explain the differences seen in gender representation in some STEM fields. It is the assertion of this fact that has invited unfounded accusations of sexism.
>women are overrepresented in education and entry-level work, but still lag men in pay and advancement
That alone says nothing about the presence or absence of systemic discrimination.
And, you'll note, I never claimed it did: I cited it as a fact about the gender imbalance in STEM which is not explainable by the facile “men like dealing with things while women like dealing with people” explanation which you described upthread as being, on its own, a refutation of the idea that gender imbalances in STEM are in any part due to systemic discrimination (which could only be true if it explained all aspects of STEM gender imbalance and left no room for systemic discrimination.)
Were it offered merely as a factor which explained some subset of the gender imbalances in STEM, that would be more reasonable.
Yes that is a more accurate construction. For the sake of expedience I wasn't this precise, and left it to the reader to sauce out this more precise meaning, which given the format, I think was entirely reasonable.
Then you're choosing to not be constructive. Sexism and racism are not constructive, and they are hurtful to innocent people.
I know it's trendy to defend feminist talking points, but it ultimately leads to what we see now with the Google firing: a public conversation where facts take a secondary role to ideology/dogma.
On the other hand, there is evidence that cultural biases specifically discourage women from entering, and push women out of, STEM careers.
1. It used strawman arguments. Notably that the world is looking for a 50/50 split in gender ratios. Most reasonable people believe that even in ideal equilibrium state that this is not the expected outcome (although I'm sure there exist some people that push for 50/50 or greater). But that the current ratio is not the ideal equilibrium state. The author of the paper seems to point out that 50/50 isn't likely the expected ratio -- and then jumps to trying to dismantle affirmative action.
2. He selectively uses research and data from research. For example the impact of stereotypes and individuating. But the research shows that while individuating is effective when it shows clear discrepancy, it isn't effective when there is any ambiguity. That is Maryam Mirzakhani will likely make someone who thinks women aren't good at math think, "But yes, she's actually quite good." But when it comes to more nuanced decisions and decision with a lot less data (which is more commonplace in the workplace), individuating isn't so effective. Determining who should be promoted to lead or VP from a group of pretty strong candidates, will often have the stereotype bias still play a role (and in fairness, depending on exactly the role -- it can benefit females too). This is meant to be an example of research where in the memo one part of the story is told, but not the other. Based on my limited investigation, I don't trust him being impartial in presenting these facts. In much the same way that climate change deniers often point to facts too -- its what they don't point to that is worrisome.
Lastly, there is a difference between speaking truth and how you speak truth. This seems obvious to most people outside of engineering. Putting "Catherine has big boobs and I'd have sex with her, if she consented" as part of your sig may be completely factually she true. In fact, it may be obvious to everyone who reads it, but there is a time and a place. If I were a female, I'd have a hard time reporting to Mr. Damore. If I didn't get a promotion, I don't think it would be out of line, to consider what he wrote in the memo. If Mr. Damore ignores my suggestion in a design review, I'd have to again strongly consider if he did so because of my gender. If he rejects all of his women interview candidates -- is that a problem or not? The context of what he wrote, even if done in good faith, creates a more difficult working relationship.
My hope is that if Mr. Damore wrote that in good faith, he will take this feedback and make things better for everyone, male and female. He certainly won't have trouble getting job offers (if he wrote it in good faith or not -- there are enough people in tech who don't like women in the industry) -- and if his end goal was to create the environment for the discussion, then he's done that too.
Yes, this seems to be the thing that most people are missing. He didn't release a study in a scientific journal, he shared a document with his coworkers while at work. The things he talks about are what his Women coworkers are living through. He made this about their experience. It doesn't matter how much is true, it was incredibly unprofessional and absolutely something you can be fired for.
This exact target has made it into more than just a few institutions.
> He selectively uses research
In inviting discourse, he is also inviting "the other side" of the argument to do as much the same. I think his effort was big enough without raising the bar - why not bear the burden of evaluating the evidence alone? This memo is explicitly a work in progress, the choice to cherry-pick sources that support his conclusions is purposeful, since he is trying to demonstrate the that the status-quo might be wrong.
> climate change deniers often..
There is something of an active debate on that topic, I haven't heard of any tech worker fired for discussing the issue.
> but there is a time and a place
Did he not release to the correct forum? What is the correct time and place? I'd also note: statements have implied/pragmatic meanings. A statement like "I'd have sex with [Catherine]" would be assumed to have an implicit meaning. The memo, in contrast, is pretty explicit in its stated aim.
> then he's done that too
Well, maybe. He certainly lit a match..
I don't really understand the forum he submitted to. It sounds like a huge public internal mailing list. That sounds like the wrong forum to me. This probably could've gone to the new VP of diversity directly.
Maybe I'm overly paranoid but I pretty much never write anything about race, religion, gender, disabilities, age, etc... at work. And if I ever felt I needed to I'd do so very carefully, probably with the assistance of HR.
It's easy for the dominant majority in power to see this as holding back the one aspect in their life where they feel as if they are limited in what they can do/say. But these limits and implied apprehensions exist for good reason, IMO.
> Maybe I'm overly paranoid
Maybe you aren't, and maybe you shouldn't have to be?
> the dominant majority in power
Who is this? Men? Liberals? The 1%?
What is the expected outcome? It's somewhat of a rhetorical question, but I am curious. I guess it's somewhere between status quo and 50, but how do we know if we have reached equilibrium?
If anything, isn't status quo an equilibrium based on all current inputs to the system? So at what point do we stop tweaking inputs to the system and declare done? I would love to hear some kind of target/KPI that the Google diversity initiative is trying to hit.
Edit: also, if we don't know what the expected outcome is, how do we know when the process has been over compensated and is actually skewed in the other direction?
It's hardly a strawman; even people in this thread believe that: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14970828
"mainstream gender equality says there should be a roughly equal split"
"50/50 split might be naive. It assumes men and women should be equally represented and that makes liberally minded folks feel good. But what's the alternative? Status quo? A different and arbitrary split? I don't see any good arguments against equal representation."
Before you say "hostile work environment", keep in mind that lots of people find firing someone for this to be hostile as well.
I would be open to going directly to HR to discuss it. I, for example, have done this to discuss team vs individual compensation at my job. While not the hot topic that this was, HR was super responsive.
In general, I think before you try to present on a public work forum one side of an argument about some biological subclass and their on average work ability/habits -- I'd think twice. Even with the absolute best intentions you can really isolate and offend people. And when this subclass is already a minority and less powerful, the effect can be compounded (at the end of the day, even the affirmative action programs are designed and implemented largely by white men).
I think you might be wrong regarding which subclass is more powerful. It certainly wasn't Damore's.
The subclasses I refer to are not based on gender, but on opinion. If diversity based on superficial attributes is so important, why isn't diversity of opinion?
Should Google start hiring more flat Earthers too?
Also, I'm not sure what you're getting at with the distinction between perspective and opinion. Regardless of whether you think Damore presented opinion or perspective, it surely wasn't random.
To reiterate my previous point: considering how things played out, it's obvious that the subclass that you called 'less powerful' is actually quite powerful.
I don't find rehashing the wisdom of his decision to speak his mind as important as how everyone else responds to it. That's where the real controversy is.
Original evil evil author had a PhD/MS in Biology from Harvard
Anyone who wants to use "science" in this way needs to read "The Golem" by prominent sociologists of science Collins and Pinch. It's a short, enjoyable read. One of the things you'll learn is that science can only ask the questions humans want to ask, and science often says exactly what people want it to say.
https://www.amazon.com/Golem-Should-About-Science-Classics/d... online link: http://cstpr.colorado.edu/students/envs_5110/collins_the_gol...
Even a brief analysis of sociology would reveal a deeply seated counter argument to much of the "fact" present in the screed and the OP link.
That's the bigger point here. Not that there is a slam dunk argument on the side of biology or society, but that we don't know where the exact truth lies, and we need to be open to discussion about it in order to find out. As scientists have been saying all along, both biological and societal factors matter.
What I hope we can all agree is unreasonable is to fire someone for just trying to discuss this.
It is remarkable how the need for debate is disproportionately forwarded from the side with power.
It's not like phrenology or Nazis which are tiny minorities we can just cast out and ignore.
And I'm not sure I agree with you on which side has power here. Look who got fired.
> As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone – higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.
The assumption here is that employment in STEM industries fundamentally and solely involves "mechanically interesting things".
The reality is that tech companies are composed of people and make products for people. Google themselves have found through their own research that the best managers are defined by their people skills, not their technical skills. So why aren't the management layers of tech companies composed of mostly women?
Strong technology is important for success, but so is leadership, market fit, team dynamics, understanding the customer, etc. The hardest question in tech companies is not "how" to build, but "what" to build. This is essentially a people-oriented problem, since customers are people.
EDIT: this tweet puts it succinctly:
> WEIRD how none of these guys ever argue that because our ladybrains are better at communication and teamwork we should be paid more
It's not. Read the original memo.
He especially mentioned that women gravitate to the more social jobs in STEM environments, but Google's diversity programs were trying to force them into the "code monkey" jobs instead, to spread them more evenly.
> Strong technology is important for success, but so is leadership, market fit, team dynamics, understanding the customer, etc. The hardest question in tech companies is not "how" to build, but "what" to build. This is essentially a people-oriented problem, since customers are people.
Absolutely. So why waste your people-oriented employees on jobs that aren't people-oriented?
The current state of science suggests associations between gender, brain development, and career preferences. But women who are applying to Google for coding jobs are clearly stating their own individual career preferences. People apply for jobs they want.
Using population studies to try to contradict clearly expressed individual preferences is nonsensical; that's not how statistics works. It's like the old joke about the guy who carries a bomb onto a plane for safety, because "what are the chances that there are TWO bombs on one plane?"
And obviously associative data about preferences doesn't tell us anything about individual capability or qualifications.
Finally, if you actually ask women in STEM fields why they left or are considering leaving, career preferences are not the only answer. One also hears about disrespect, harassment, abuse--the glass ceiling. Again, this is real data that can't be lightly set aside just because it doesn't fit a narrative of biological determinism.
I tend to think "zero," but you do you, I guess.
Harassment is bad, but I don't think "unwanted sexual advances" should categorically count as harassment. It all depends (of course some advances can be harassment, but just because some attraction is unrequited it is not harassment) - it is human to be attracted and fall in love.
There's a big difference between:
"Hey would you like to go grab lunch with me sometime?" (ok if not overly persistent)
"You're hot, want to have sex with me sometime?" (never ok at work)
And I would suggest some introspection about why your bar to be convinced is so high. The persistent and sometimes aggressive disbelief that women face from male colleagues when they complain about harassment is a big part of the industry problem.
It is also a very one-sided narrative, omitting the advantages that being attractive also brings.
If it's highly skewed towards "promoted from code-monkey", then there's a big barrier to entry if you're the kind of person who loves managing and dislikes code-monkeying.
From my experience, women in technology have a higher chance of reaching manager level than men. I worked with plenty of female managers, and their people and communication skills were the reason that got them in those positions. Women with families, women working 4/5th.
So yes, I do think they can rise up with those skills, from a European perspective.
In competitive environments men are more willing to fight than women, so they are more likely to get the jobs because women are more likely to give up. And I think we should try to change this because as you said "people skills" have a lot of value in management. We need both skills and try to represent both in management roles.
There are profession typical for women like nursing that they have less salary than tech jobs. The reason is economical, tech companies produce more money. But I strongly thing the nursing job is as important as a tech job and we should try to remove the gap between professions. But with a capitalism system you cannot do this easily.
Note: I am one of the persons who agree with the biology differences between male and female.
When people have a scientific theory and that theory can be shown to not be good at predicting the world, it is still science. The point is to find a better theory, one which predictions better match observational data.
So what other theories are there? One that the memo mention in that controversial list is that men are pushed (incentivized) to seek higher earning. So lets put out a few predictions here. At average, jobs with higher risk and higher earnings should have more male applicants seeking them. Promotions that results in pay increase should be demanded by men more even if that risk their current job position. When there is a choice between benefits or increase pay, me should be statistically biased towards increased pay.
Is that theory better or worse? depend on the observational data that can either confirm or dispel the predictions. Personally I am more convinced by the second theory than the first, but that is purely based on the data. Make a better theory and provide convincing data and I would instantly change my mind. At that point the second theory should be abandoned with the same speed that I abandoned the first one.
Higher levels of programming may be composed of more work with people (coordinating a team, extracting requirements from clients, etc.), but the lower levels, and the education leading up to there, is tech focused. And it's from there that managers are sourced.
My impression is that most managers in the tech industry already have a good amount of experience in "mechanical" (development, etc) roles, and to even get there you need an education or experience in relevant skills (correct me if I'm wrong). I don't know about whether the proportion of women vs men with managerial roles in tech is fair, but if what the author of this article is saying is true, the required educational or professional pedigree just to get into the tech industry is probably one of the biggest causes of men vastly outnumbering women in tech already.
I think there was a purposeful gap in the logic since the causality is too convoluted to be definitive about.
1. "Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our _interests_ and _behaviour_... our _interests_ are influenced strongly by biology, as opposed to being learned or socially constructed."
2. It might be reasonable to wonder if a biological mechanism is at play here.
3. ??? some combination of things, including innate gender characteristics, but not limited to sexism ???
4. Women are significantly less likely to work in technology.
_ Accenting mine, not in the article.
The article does mention something about stress resistance, which would be an explanation. Of course, the best managers are able to avoid stress altogether by being effective managers.
There's also something I read elsewhere that men are / can be more competitive; both would explain why there's more men at the top, alongside blatant sexism / gender discrimination.
Maybe it is just difficult to put managers without experience in the trenches in front of people? That is, managers who have no tech skills as such?
There was an article on the front page earlier about how you simply shouldn't put people with no tech expertise in charge of people who have - so far as tech goes.
There is another problem here: the wage gap across industries. Some of our most important workers (teachers, nurses) are paid a pittance, whereas one industry that invents problems to solve is paid the most. The solution is to treasure the work that everyone does - irrespective of what industry they might be in. This would allow people to pursue a respected career in whatever industry they desire, regardless of what gender is typically motivated to engage in that industry.
Tech has been historically awful to women (and some places continue to do so); yet you can find industries where all genders are discriminated against (some being a social stigma) and nobody seems to give a damn about them.
One thing I can say for certain is that, as an extremely young equal society, we seem to be making a heroic effort to improve. We have a very long way to go and the extremes are probably going to be visited multiple times as the pendulum settles to the center.
Nobody is forced to choose Nursing over Tech, so if they are unhappy with the salary, why do people choose Nursing? Presumably more people choose Nursing than Tech, so the salary is lower as per supply and demand (and of course demand is dependent on other factors as well - but if fewer people went into Nursing, prices surely would go up).
Nobody is entitled to any kind of job they want. Jobs exist because people need jobs done, and they are willing to pay for them being done.
Tech has historically not been awful to women. The social networks are full of the reports on how early programmers were all women. Even today tech is not awful to women. They get a red carpet rolled out for them.
Sorry, who are you describing? What group?
I'm not saying that "women should be carers", I'm saying that there are personality traits that women are statistically more likely to have due to how we evolved as primates (the evidence of which has been cited widely). Those personality traits may result in different life decisions being made, especially traits related to being stress-averse. Again, I did not say that women cannot program, I said that there are statistically significant biological biases that need to be accounted for.
In my mind, the biggest problem with the under-representation of women is that school-level education about technology is horrific. That's not a problem you can solve at the tail-end of the pipe (and it's not helpful telling the pipe that it's sexist).
That's a great point. So maybe Google should have said, 'This memo makes sense for programmers but not for managers'. Instead they said, 'You're fired!'
The author seems to put an effort into explaining statistical distribution and what it means and what not. He's explicit that statistical observations can't be used to judge particular individuals. Draws a graph of overlapping distributions to drive the point home even more.
I'm not sure why would anyone get offended by statistical observation. It's not personal by definition.
And it makes sense. Yet when it comes time for someone to say "the statistical average for career interests in females tends to lean away from technology", all observable nuance is thrown to the wind.
"Mansplaining" is the clearest example of this. Supposedly it's only used to describe a man condescendingly explaining something a woman already knows, but in practice it's used to belittle and condescend any man criticizing a woman or women as a group. i.e. "Google employees are furious following the internal distribution of a memo mansplaining away low diversity in tech"
The only constant is the preconceived notion that they always know who the victims are ahead of time. The reasoning is then reverse engineered to suit the situation.
A man is talking based on feelings and anecdote? He's ignorant and pathetic, and probably needs to get laid. A man is citing scientific studies and making a cohesive argument? He's a mansplaining dudebro here to dogwhistle sexism and racism. If it's woman though, she's respectively sharing her lived experience and fighting the endemic patriarchy by being forced to work twice as hard as any man.
To put gender aside, egos and biases can always get in the way of two people explaining their viewpoints. You are pretty lucky if you've never had somebody explain a concept you already understood in a very condescending way.
Many men do this to women when they assume that these women aren't as knowledgeable as they are. 'Mansplaining' specifically describes this.
But first, men do this to each other all the time. Most of my conversations with my male friends involve us constantly disagreeing with each other, in a way I've rarely observed in groups of women. It's far more likely that if someone is willing to be condescending, they're going to do it to everyone.
Of course there are instances where a man may only do it to women, but we've quickly moved on from that general observation to "any time a man disagrees with a women he's mansplaining". 99% of the time I've seen this term used, it's to lazily drop out of a discussion once it becomes difficult.
I agree that someone willing to condescend to women will be more likely to condescend to a junior employee or a teenager (i.e. they've already shown the propensity for prejudice), but I don't agree that they are probably condescending to everyone (I'd argue that kind of person is very rare).
It's not that there are legions of very sexist and evil people who are not prejudiced in any other way, it's that there's an unfortunately large spectrum of mostly well-meaning people who might harbor conscious or unconscious beliefs about women specifically. They might also harbor similar beliefs about minorities, or have a life experience that justifies their beliefs in their eyes, but nevertheless it's a big enough cross-section of society and a strong enough phenomenon that it's been noticed. That there is some subset of SJWs who think that they can take advantage of this isn't an extreme claim, but that it's a stronger phenomenon is a pretty extreme claim to me.
But yeah I don't think it's a scientific claim, of course it depends on how you define "science". If you consider politically-motivated sociology to be science, then yeah I guess you could count privilege as a scientific concept...
In my own experience, when one tries to talk with a woman in an impersonal way about something that is personal to her, she will tend to find that very offensive. Infuriating even, because one is ignoring her emotions, treating them as if they don't matter. And to her, her emotions really matter.
From talking to others and based on what I've read, things tend to trend this way. In fact, there was a woman neuroscientist who gave a talk at Google on the differences between the male and female brains and in that she gave an example of this kind of thing. She says that when she comes home and is frustrated about a problem she has been having, her husband wants to go straight to an objective solution to her problem. It drives her nuts. She just wants to hear that he understands how she feels. Before he tries to provide a solution, he is supposed to say, "Honey, I understand how you feel."
I think Damore made this mistake. He has a footnote about the need to be objective instead of emotional about these kinds of things. And so he wrote a very objective, detached memo. I suspect that was a significant part of the problem. It's a male approach to a hot issue. He instead needed to write in a way that was very emotional about how great women are and all the unique gifts they bring to the table and how he wanted to empower them to be free to be themselves at Google and create an environment that was welcoming to all that is special about women. It could have had almost all the same content but lead with positive emotions. Had he done that, he might not have faced such a backlash from furious women.
Men, too, need to know that you care about them before they care whether or not your facts are factual or relevant. But most men do not find an impersonal approach offensive per se, the way that many women do.
> She's explicit that statistical observations can't be used to judge particular individuals.
That didn't stop the author of the original manifesto, however, from proceeding to make a bunch of bogus smug prescriptions for what google needs to do like "de-emphasize empathy" etc. These were way above his pay grade and I find it hard to believe that diversity has harmed this person.
The fact is, Google is doing just fine. They're not in a downward spiral because of diversity initiatives. They're thriving. At a minimum one could argue that Google's diversity programs aren't hurting the performance of the company.
The author of the manifesto clearly violated Google's Code of Conduct and got fired for it.
My biggest problem with all this is how the author gave absolutely no thought to how his female coworkers would be affected by this. These are REAL women who have to interact with him every day. They are not just statistics who are on average less likely to be good engineers than he is. They are supposed to be on the same team. I can't see how any of his women coworkers wouldn't think of him differently after this.
This was not a paper released on the internet with no ties to his coworkers. By sharing it at work and tying it in with google he made it personal. The women reading it have no choice but to make it about them, because it is about them! They are the ones who interacted with programs that he is against. Everything he talks about is stuff they actually experience. And throughout the entire thing he shows that he does not care at all about these women.
Perhaps some people are more likely to see themselves in general statements and fill the missing info with their speculation. It may be the same reason why some people are susceptible to horoscopes or fortune tellers, except that this would be more subtle.
We're good at noticing patterns and exceptions to those patterns, but, for whatever reason, we're just not good at distinguishing statements about populations from statements about individuals. For most people, breaking this intuition takes a lot of education and training.
So, yeah, you shouldn't really be surprised when some random person on Twitter fails to grasp the argument. It's disappointing, but it shouldn't be surprising.
Clearly man and woman are different physically and mentally as for millenias they played different roles. Why "gender people" keep ignoring that and are claiming that sex is not something inborn and is a "cultural" phenomena is hard to understand.
For me gender studies are just new incarnation of Lysenkoism. Lysenko strongly belived (and thousands of soviet scientist) that weeds could spontaneously evolve into food grains because is should cooperate with communistic party.
Those who were against that obvious stupidity and claimed that genetics is the way to understand plant evolution were fired or put to jail or executed.
Similarly absurdal ideas were brought by soviet lingustics - if any one wants to have good fun, there is no better reading then Stalins's "Linguistics".
Specifically, he says at the top of the memo "Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business." I'm not aware of any studies that backs this up.
Who specifically told you how things should be? I fear I am witnessing the birth of a new religion here and I'm not done recovering from the teachings of the imams I grew up with...
Oh, am I not allowed to form an opinion on what should be? Please correct me if I am wrong but perhaps your opinion is no one should have an opinion on what should be and let things be status quo? Keep in mind the whole discussion is around what should be the goal of diversity measures.
Part of the discussion around the memo indeed is having an open discussion about what things should be like. Of course I would like to see more women in tech and also make sure everyone is comfortable. My gf is also in tech.
My only qualm is that many people seem to axiomatically take the position that a 50/50 split should be the case. I just don't see why. Why not 70/30 or 30/70 or maybe exactly match the gender ratio in the US? What about trans or third gender ?
You're right that the memo similarly makes "should " claims. I am not acquitting it of that issue. Just trying to understand where people are coming up with this idea that 50/50 is the right split and that we should use that as an optimisation function in hiring as opposed to pure, blind meritocracy.
50/50 split might be naive. It assumes men and women should be equally represented and that makes liberally minded folks feel good. But what's the alternative? Status quo? A different and arbitrary split? I don't see any good arguments against equal representation.
The current diversity initiative is biasing towards 50/50 and the memo guy didn't like it but didn't suggest what it should be, only that it should be less because biology. You can see why some people might read that as a first step back to status quo.
Personally, I feel 50/50 is a good first approximation. Maybe it's really 70/30, but no one knows and there aren't any studies to back any up.
Oh wait there is:
Bear, Julia B., and Anita Williams Woolley. "The role of gender in team collaboration and performance." Interdisciplinary science reviews 36.2 (2011): 146-153.
I think it's good to do humanities studies but naive to latch on to one or two. Humanities is a messy field from a scientific perspective. But nevertheless there is plenty of signal there.
The issue I have is starting with something like 50/50 and then trying to optimize for that. This is invariably what happens. This leads to all kinds of weird, bizzare practices like being discriminatory in hiring based on (largely) immutable attributes like race and gender. The concept of gender itself is so in flux these days that it seems premature to start with 50/50.
This above approach I think is known as equality of outcome. I am not a big fan of that.
I personally think a better system is based on equality of opportunity where the optimization function should be trying to improve people's starting points. This is much harder but much better for the long term health of the society (in my opinion ).
In equality of opportunity, the hiring will be blind to gender. But work will be done to encourage more girls to participate in the sciences from an early age. Liberals wont be able to pat themselves on their backs immediately as they won't be fulfilling quotas quickly to show faux diversity. Corporations won't be able to bandage bad PR events quickly (like Google's gender paygap thing ) but this is in my opinion alot healthier over time.
Now, over time, I would expect the ratio to improve, but then settle at whatever is natural without any top down pressure to fulfill prescribed quotas. It might be the case that the mean of the distribution of women is closer to things like raising families or educating kids as teachers (the most important job in the world in my opinion ) instead of toiling away in front of a screen for crap money to make more money for a big corporation (compared to men).
In the first case (equality of outcome) we take two different distributions, men and women, and push them into a 50 50 split. In the second case (equality of opportunity), we try to move the means closer bottom up. I prefer the second approach. Slower, harder but much better for the long term health of society.
The unfairness is implicit. If more men are temperamentally inclined to 'thing' based work, it is unfair to push them toward work that they feel less affinity for. Society should support our freedoms, not impair them.
I get the feeling your position is exactly what Google referred to as toxic. Imagine a woman hired in a diversity program hears your position. Do you think she will feel welcomed and understood?
Perhaps instead of whining about gender ratios we should be the change we want to see while making a ton of money at the same time?
As a side note, I think you expect too much from talent in this specific case. There have been more than one companies that have hired excellent talent only to succumb to the market forces.
If you start with the potentially incorrect assumption that your hiring practices are biased in favor of one group over another then doesn't it make more sense to address this bias directly rather than enforcing quotas? Having your hiring process audited and getting rid of any bad weeds seems like a good start. I've seen firsthand manager who have said outright "we can't hire him, we need to hire a woman this time" after interviewing what seemed to be a good candidate.
Consider the extreme case of children vs adults. Should we advocate for policies that force companies to employ children because we think it's more equal that way?
I'm not trying to say women are children or anything like that, just taking your position to it's absurd conclusion to show that it's at least questionable.
> Evolutionary biology explains the way things are. Diversity measures combats that with the goal of getting us to the way things should be.
But you provide no reason why you want things to be a certain way.
For example, if it is true that less women are interested in STEM, then, why do you think that we should have 50/50 men and women in STEM?
That just seems like arbitrarily trying to enforce your vision on reality for no good reason.
> claiming that sex is not something inborn
Literally no serious person studying gender makes that claim. The reason it's hard to understand is because the actual argument has always ben that both nature and nurture play important roles. As for why "culture" applies, remember that while sex involves genetics (and hormones, etc), gender is performative. Performance happens in a setting, thus acting masculine hap[ens in a culture/setting that defines what "masculine" means.
> Clearly man and woman are different physically
Obviously true in general, but there are surprises in the details.
> and mentally
That is technically true, but presupposing that is bad science. Historically a lot of stupid crap was invented to justify the two predefined categories. More importantly, anybody claiming there is a difference needs to explain the specifics of which traits they are talking about, because for most attributes the bell curves overlap significantly.
If you want to be paranoid, you will find ways to interpret your experience as being persecuted. Instead, I suggest actually listening to the actual arguments being made.
 I'm sure you can find examples of almost any claim in forum comments.
 Science should create categories from the observations. If you're starting with the two categories [M, F] and then trying to prove or disprove that, you're doing it wrong. These concepts are more complicated than a simple Boolean flag.
Couldn't help but think of this troubling incident while reading about it.
>The question is if there is more to consider in social constructs than simply evolutionary biology.
We know that men are taller than women. I can see you agreeing, but actually this statement is ambiguous, because these two are not the same thing:
A man is taller than a women
On average, men are taller than women
The same can be applied to any group and their respective stereotype. The *ism happens when we fail to assess an individual on the data given to us, preferring to fall back on mentally-lazy stereotypes/generalisations even when what we can see says something different.
A single study, published in 2015, did claim that male
and female brains existed along a “mosaic” and that it
isn’t possible to differentiate them by sex, but this has
been refuted by four – yes, four – academic studies since.
This includes a study that analyzed the exact same brain
data from the original study and found that the sex of a
given brain could be correctly identified with 69-per-cent
to 77-per-cent accuracy.
I haven't touched on the causes of population differences. With height, I don't think anyone thinks it's anything other than genetic (by way of testosterone levels). For interests and skills, the proportion that is caused by testosterone versus culture/environment is still unclear.
If we believe there is still a cultural effect, then I think positive discrimination is justified to counter this.
As an anecdote, we were wondering why our four-year old son suddenly lost interest in 'Frozen'. He told us this week that a girl had told him at nursery that 'Frozen' wasn't for boys. Cultural stereotype reinforcement is alive and well, and starts early!
Upvoted for this. Great definition of sexism.
> Well I'd argue that isn't great accuracy as 50% is what you'd expect from chance.... In fact, I might expect a similar accuracy from a machine-learning technique to predict sex based on your height. ...With height, I don't think anyone thinks it's anything other than genetic....
If the method is probably as good at predicting sex as one based on height, which everyone agrees is genetic, then why isn't that great accuracy?
As a counterpoint, if society was as clear that "My little pony" was also not for boys, Bronies might not exist..
Maybe the author should have actually read the manifesto more carefully, because it is primarily an argument about Google's hiring practices and how to build the best workforce for a company, a topic which the scientific studies she cites do not address in the slightest.
About a quarter of comments on the original manifesto thread here on HN were from people who explicitly stated that there are no differences between genders and wanted scientific proof if someone were to refute their statement.
The managers, a more people-oriented activity, are all men. But the people working with actual calculators are women. And it was not just this office, this was happening everywhere. Working with a calculator was a woman's job.
There is a lot of factors to why STEM is dominated by men. Testosterone may be one, for real, but it is not the only one. And it doesn't justify such a big difference in numbers.
I don't know if the engineer wrote something awful or not, but this article is just a justification for the difference as if nothing can be done. And that is not true.
It seems concerning that the de-emphasis of data entry in programming in the 1970s and 1980s may have caused the loss of entry-level opportunities for women and help lead to our field's gender imbalance.
Perhaps you should read it then.
>this article is just a justification for the difference as if nothing can be done. And that is not true.
No, the memo did actually give suggestions for getting more women into programming (e.g. pair programming).
Would people consider it sexist to administer a completely automated test of technical and personality questions which was used by an unbiased program to hire only the best qualified candidates?
What would you say if the results were essentially the same as the status quo?
By the Article's Author's account, she believes that we would probably maintain the status quo with such a test, because she thinks people are self-selecting out of STEM. Others seem to think that there is some other barrier to entering -- would a test like this fix the issue, or is there something else going on?
OK, I'll bite. I'd say that's both surprising and interesting. Then I'd ask why the status quo is even relevant. "Best qualified" at the time of taking the test might not mean "most productive a year hence" when a candidate's circumstances might have kept them from reaching their full potential. Indeed, circumstances might have kept them from making it as far as the test at all. When there are statistically valid predictors of these things likely having happened, why couldn't - or shouldn't - Google take advantage of that knowledge? Also, no individual test can account for the common phenomenon of diverse teams outperforming monoculture teams. Hiring the best individuals is not the same as building the best teams.
Thus, even if such a "unicorn test" could exist, and even from the most hard-hearted "Google shouldn't consider social justice" perspective, the test would only be one input for selecting candidates. There would still be sound business focused reasons for overriding its results some of the time.
A more readable summary is here:
The authors did indeed find a balance point, at about 50:50 (a far cry from the 81:19 among engineers at Google). OTOH, this was for a very different kind of task than programming. Another starting point is here:
It's particularly interesting that many summaries of this work will use vague terms like "composition of the group" to avoid mentioning anything in the findings about number of women in the group.
Actually, how many female software developers can't get a job nowadays?
While there was a definite gap for the population as a whole, when you zoomed into the same job at the same company, the pay gap disappears.
No idea if that applies to women in tech but it was new info to me. Does anyone have a source for a pay gap in tech?
For reference, this is Dr. Jordan Peterson, the University of Toronto professor who was fired a few months ago for his stance on using gender pronouns. He's a strong proponent of free speech, which he touches on in this discussion.
He wasn't fired. The university sent him two warning letters and then backed down from taking any action. He's still teaching psychology there.
That being said, I am not informed enough on the topic of gender differences to actually weigh in on who is right or wrong in this situation.
The issue aside, the hypocrisy in this whole situation is really what pisses me off. James appears to be soliciting discussion and trying to consider both point of views while the masses simply took whatever the media headline was an ran with it without considering both sides.
It's entirely possible that as he said, he wanted to spark some reasoned debate and he's just made a few mistakes (and got particularly unlucky with Gizmodo cutting his charted caveats) but it's equally possible that he knew exactly what reaction he was likely to provoke and aimed for just beyond the line of what would be considered acceptable.
(I have no insight into what he thinks or how he's been treated, but if I wanted an open discussion on the merits and shortcomings of Google's diversity policies, I'd probably start by suggesting that quotas are nearly always bad and male/female inequalities in STEM start long before people apply to Google, not with an essay insisting that men are more suited to software roles because biology and that Google's promotion of the view that attitudes contribute towards gender imbalances is left wing bias that threatens my psychological safety.)
Also, it sounds like he _actually_ was more asking for feedback from a specific group within Google that in-turn decided to circulate it within the company as a whole.
The most troubling thing is the claim that James makes about the 'super secret, unrecorded meeting' that he attended within Google that prompted this paper in the first place. If that meeting really did take place, that is a sign of systemic racism/sexism within Google at some of the highest levels. If. I have no idea who to believe in this situation. An investigation into the company may be called-for.
In the kingdom of Belgium at some point the rule was introduced that half of all political candidates for election must be women and had to receive equally prominent placement on ballots (by alternating male and female candidates). People were still free to vote men into office, but the idea was that it would give women a fairer chance. The same criticisms were said. Before you saw a low percentage of women in politics, like most countries. This was attributed to women having less of an affinity for politics. And yet, after a few election cycles this caused a shift in mindset as well as quality of female candidates and who was elected. Women are no longer perceived to be less suited for politics, the most popular politician is a woman, and gender has gone away as a divisive issue in politics. So, it actually worked. By making people so used to women politicians the issue went away, and you could probably get rid of the quotas and still see a 50% split in the next election.
So maybe our genetic predispositions matter far less than we think, and we can change mindsets through affirmative action. But it has to be all-in 50/50 % split, so that it will change people's perception of normal.
Part of the problem is that "affirmative action" takes many forms. Some people assume that it means quotas and lowered standards, but those approaches have been deprecated (and sometimes outlawed) for a long time. Outreach, anti-bias education, and support programs are generally preferred precisely because they don't lead to the same untoward outcomes that tokenism does. Sure, some people still get left out. I was "discriminated against" in that way once, but I thrived despite that and have learned to appreciate how that policy was just overall even though it was unjust to me.
There is no perfect affirmative-action policy, including lack of any explicit policy. The best we can do is ensure that the burden of any policy is as small as possible, and distributed as fairly as possible.
In more gender equality countries like Norway the ratios are the worse ones for things like tech. Before a huge measure like this one you should understand by gender equality countries trend to have less diversity than less gender equality countries. This is very counter intuitive and needs an explanation (for some is biology) -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVaTc15plVs
This is obvious and not the point of contention. The crux of the other side's disagreement is in the assumption that differences in brain chemistry attributable to sex necessarily account for all or the majority of the differences we observe in career distributions. I think the insane reaction to this memo is unfortunate because the author does appear to make an earnest effort to discuss this topic, but the memo's defenders are not doing the argument any favors by arguing against the weakest version of the opposing argument.
And why we see fields like law being dominated by women, right?
EDIT: I, and I suspect most other scientists wouldn't disagree that there are [edit - had this as aren't previously, woops!] physiological differences between men and women, but as I read the memo, that was not what was being argued. What was being argued was that those differences were the reason for the gender imbalance in tech (i.e. women are predisposition to be less interested/capable in STEM fields), in other words, the effect size associated with biological sex is larger (and indeed must be significantly larger) than any/all combined societal/'nurture' effects.
I have two nieces and 1 nephew, all of which I've tried to encourage into programming. I have tried to get my nieces interested in programming with great difficulty but my nephew has taken to it almost instantly and effortlessly.
I suspect I am framing the activity wrong.
I think how girls get introduced into STEM subjects has to change. I also think it would be worthwhile continuing to encourage adult females to give things like programming a go as well, even if they've tried in the past and didn't like it. Most of the barriers to interest seem to be how the subjects are talked about, as opposed to the subjects themselves.
The memo didn't say biology was "larger than any/all combined societal/'nurture' effects". In the memo there is a section with this title:
> Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech
Note "possible". No one knows the exact combination of causes of the gap, it likely has many factors. The memo is saying there may be non-bias factors too, and that Google is blind to those, so it's pointing those out. That's not the same as saying non-bias factors are larger than everything else.
Law is a broad area. I'd expect the combination of interests and skills that lead to one becoming, say, a corporate tax lawyer are quite different from those that lead to becoming, say, a public defender, or a patent attorney, or a real estate lawyer.
It would be interesting to see what the gender distribution is for these various areas of law.
* Differences in ability do not support his accusation of silencing. They're unrelated.
* Phrases like "the left tends to deny science" and "extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians" are inflammatory, prejudicial, and discriminatory in their own right, independently of whether gender differences exist.
* Diversity is provably good even in the presence of gender differences. Many studies have shown that the effect of mixed teams outperforming single-gender teams far outweighs any individual differences.
I could go on and on about other ways that Damore comes across as a radically intolerant jerk, a hypocrite, etc. but I'm trying to stay on one point. The "science" part of Damore's memo, which the OP is meant to support, is practically irrelevant. That's not the only part that's offensive, or dangerous, or in violation of his employee agreement. It's not even the only part that's unscientific, since sociology and economics are involved as well as biology and he doesn't even try to engage honestly with those. His belief that women are less fit to be engineers is abhorrent, but so separately are his other beliefs. Even the strongest refutation of that one point doesn't make a dent in the memo's total start-to-finish toxicity.
I had obtained numbers for number of pull requests in github and participation in competitive coding contests some time back. Gender ratios are close to 10:1 on both of the places. It's relevant because there is neither any barrier nor lowering the bar due to gender in these.
It's a data point, and I thank you for that, but it's not exactly a complete refutation of contrary findings by others. It's also kind of beside the point in exactly the same way as the OP.
I think a lot of this has to do with parenting. When crying always gets you everything, you don't learn to work hard or have a debate to get what you want. There's a whole generation of full-grown babies.
I'm not sure whether it's lack of intelligence or a desire for self-gain/self-promotion (seeing as how loads of people proudly plastered their pictures and names in the ensuing twitter debates, trying to paint themselves as brave crusaders for whatever movement they want to lead).
This often involves being deceptive, which would explain both of your points. For many people, status is everything and it doesn't matter how they get there. Selling yourself is often more important than having the actual skills required for a position.
And let's face it: Not everyone at Google needs to be a rocket scientist. We've also seen how shallow Google's hiring practices are.* Ticking check boxes is more important than correct answers, which perfectly fits with everything we're currently seeing.
That's not true. _Everyone_ acts like this, including me and you (except we don't notice it when we do). The key factor is whether or not there's emotion involved in the beliefs that are challenged when presented with facts to the contrary, which then provokes cognitive dissosance. Look up "the backfire effect".
That doesn't invalidate what I said. I said "What disturbs me most about this incident is how many people's first instinct..." I never said that literally every single person's response was like this. Are you trying to argue that there weren't a lot of people doing what I said?
He wasn't silenced in any way. His message reached way more people than he probably ever imagined.
I didn't say anything about literally preventing someone from expressing their views. There were lots of views expressed that equated to saying it was wrong to even try to discuss certain matters.
And let's not forget that he was fired, and many people were approving of that. That's creating, and celebrating, an environment where you should be afraid to express unpopular opinions
However, the main criticism I've seen directed towards the author of the manifesto, is that he contributes to creating a toxic work environment where women feel less welcome, which makes it hard to keep him employed in a company that wants women to feel welcome in engineering. Also that he doesn't understand the need for diversity in modern companies, that he doesn't understand the need for empathy and interpersonal skills in engineering, and that he's wrong about many of his assertions about gender differences (many gender differences are the result of cultural bias, for example).
> I didn't say anything about literally preventing someone from expressing their views.
> many people's first instinct, when faced with views they strongly disagree with, is to try and suppress those views and the person speaking them
The views weren't suppressed, they were spread, and then criticised. No doubt there are people who want to silence people they disagree with; that is nothing new unfortunately.
Whether his firing was justified or not depends primarily on whether this manifesto indeed contributed to a toxic work environment where women feel less welcome. Many people think it did. And if it did, then it's kinda hard to Google to keep him employed.
That's really the core issue here: is his manifesto intolerant of women in engineering, and does it contribute to intolerance of women in engineering? There's a vital difference between merely expressing an unpopular opinion, and expressing intolerance towards your coworkers. He's not merely supporting an unpopular sports club or liking unpopular music, he is talking about his coworkers. And that changes everything.
I didn't say they were suppressed. I said "try and suppress". Big difference. Also, what you say is equating "suppress" with "silence". They're not the same thing. I have read literally hundreds of comments, across HN and other forums, where people have made comments designed to suppress views they don't like (I've already given examples of the kinds of things I'm talking about, so won't repeat them here). Lots have literally said that people should not be allowed or should be punished for daring to even talk about such topics.
> Also that he doesn't understand the need for diversity in modern companies
If you've been reading these threads on HN, you'd know that many people would dispute that. Lots of people have argued that the memo is pro-diversity.
I read the memo entirely. It was half-baked, ideologically, but also creepy. I've heard what it had to say a million times before and it's still stupid.
The point is, it's neither and I think it deserves a proper dismissal instead of ad-hominems and insults.
Surely there is someone that can perform a point by point analysis and disprove the memo? I have not seen one comment doing that. Not one.
So no, you don't get to say it's stupid and call it a day. Prove it.
That's a pretty strong accusation. What is your evidence for that claim? Show me what I wrote that attempts to do that.
Again, I read the article, many others read the article and wrote detailed responses. It's not my job to point these out. Someone making a stupid argument does not obligate anyone to engage or correct them. A massive popular backlash against a shitty idea isn't "trying to shut it down".
If I submitted an internal memo advocating pedophilia or something everyone would rightfully dismiss me. No one would be obligated to engage with my dumb ass, and you're all acting like that would be some kind of tragedy or moral failing on the part of everyone around me, rather than me for writing a stupid memo in the first place.
You should just say "I think women are inferior" rather than trying to dictate how people approach an incident adjacent to your agenda, just like white nationalists should just come out rather than being coy and hiding behind "free speech" issues.
There were many people doing exactly what I said in the HN comment threads, and, for another example, in the comments under George Takei's Facebook post on the incident.
If the backlash is devoid of logic and facts, consisting mainly of character attacks and shaming....ya, that's "shutting it down". And if that's not enough, how about being fired from your job?
It's amazing how differently people perceive the very same facts.
Also, Google firing him did not shut the argument down. He can happily draft more memos or expand on it. Google Docs is free.
I'd be interested to read a few if you could provide some links. This assumes they exist of course, from the reading I've done on the topic I haven't seen any substantial rebuttal linked anywhere, but I've heard more than one person complain that the only rebuttal they've seen is "sexist!".
I have no particular horse in the race so if you do have content to back up your assertion I'd love to read it.
> There's a "chicken or the egg" question that needs to come with every assessment of behaviors of groups vs societal expectations and pressures on those groups. People in power, like yourself presumably (despite your insistence of having "no particular horse in the race) will always pretend that things are the way they are because of divine or otherwise pre-determined reasons. It's silly that people who consider themselves so rational are unable to comprehend how obvious this is.
You are mistaking your imagination for reality. You cannot read my mind. Regardless, you are the one advocating social engineering, not me, the onus is (or should be) on you to prove sexism is the cause of gender imbalances at companies. If sexism is so rampant, why is it so difficult to produce any evidence, and why is the "evidence" so commonly produced the equivalent of "bro-culture" conspiracy theories. That this is considered "evidence" only further illustrates how differently the human mind can perceive reality.
> Also lol @ programs for underrepresented groups “increase race and gender tensions”. Get fucked, dude.
What does this refer to? And please refrain from profanity and personal insults. If you have the moral high ground, as you seem to believe, no need to use filthy words and personal insults, your superior ideas should suffice, no?
> edit: came across one of the ones I read before from a recently ex-Google employee: https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-about-this-googlers-man... super good and worth a read
It opens with an outright lie: "You have probably heard about the manifesto a Googler (not someone senior) published internally about, essentially, how women and men are intrinsically different and we should stop trying to make it possible for women to be engineers, it’s just not worth it."
EDIT: After reading that, my conclusion of how you find these sorts of articles compelling is that they are rebutting a twisted strawman of the original manifesto, where the author is imagined to be making a whole bunch of assertions that he really isn't. I think that explains quite nicely the breathtaking difference of perception.
For what it is though, it is absolutely brilliant, extremely well done, and I mean that completely seriously. I'd bet big money that person will absolutely dominate in the corporate world.
Admittedly there is a whole lot of degrading going on in the current conflagration, but you've done this a whole bunch of times and it's definitely not helping.
I am somewhat curious why you've singled me out though, considering the specifics of the conversations I'm involved in.
If you're thinking it might be because we secretly disagree with you, I assure you that (sadly for us) everyone always thinks this. It's an artifact of randomness: we see a mostly-random sample of the comments here, since there are far too many for us to read. HN's moderation principles are consistent, but because of this quantity it's impossible to apply them across the entire corpus of posts, so you're always going to see examples of people getting away with worse in the neighborhood.
Also, I post most of these moderation comments and happen to have been dealing with an extraneous emergency (two in fact) during the exact period of the recent flamewar hurricane. Them's the breaks. Am ramping back to normal now, so the moderation comments will soon be thicker and faster.
I'd recommend you take your own advice. You didn't even try to read anything I posted, and you sure as hell aren't applying the same critical thinking to shoot down the insane ramblings in the original memo.
Enjoy your privilege, enjoy your current power. Make sure anyone who questions the order of things that grant you all this do so only in a manner you find agreeable, not that it would change your mind or anything. I'm not going to pretend you're doing this in good faith any longer.
Fuck, why do I bother on this site?
Can you link to one?
And if someone prepares a text which is logically sound (but remains to be seen if scientifically sound) supported by references then it's completely a different game.
And when journalists and other people criticise that text with ad-hominems, jokes and invectives but ZERO arguments, that's no longer enough.
I'm afraid that the critics of this manifesto will have to put in the hard work and prove that it's wrong. The tactic of shouting the author down, as they do with typical trolls won't work in this case.
But the really bad news is that it never did work. Those people that were shouted down continued to hold the same ideas except they hid them and acted silently.
This same phenomenon happened just this last election. Only one candidate was allowed to be publicly supported. Publicly supporting the other carried the risk of being shamed, labeled (bigot, fascist, etc.), or even being fired from your job.
By all metrics Hillary was winning. But the silenced portion of the population didn't change their minds after being shouted down and shamed; they, as you said, "hid [their ideas] and acted silently"
I disagree. His manifesto is pretty clearly core political speech protected by the First Amendment, so Title VII would be unconstitutional as applied if it operates to force Google to suppress such speech. Unfortunately there is no precedent clearly establishing this, so the mere threat of lawsuits (and accompanying legal expenses) may have been a factor in Google deciding to fire him.
I don't see anything good coming out of this.
I speculate (without much evidence) that Google's intention is to manage PR and deflect attention away from their actual lack of diversity. http://time.com/4391031/google-diversity-statistics-2016
Okay, now let's extend that argument out from the engineering sphere.
Using the same logic, the following attitudes should be accepted:
1. physically disabled people are inherently less suited to being mobile, so we shouldn't put in effort to allow them to be as mobile as non-disabled people
2. Men are inherently less suited for child care, so we shouldn't put in effort to help them be as good at child care as women
I wouldn't be surprised if some of you endorsed the attitudes I've just presented, but that would make you immoral by modern standards, so you could then assume that you're being immoral on the gender diversity issue.
This whole thing comes down to a fundamental lack of empathy. If you're not going to have empathy for women in tech, there's no reason that anyone should have empathy for you in areas that you're not suited to. So, if you accept one, accept the consequences of the other.
The article doesn't say that at all. It just says that on average women have certain traits that mean they are less likely on average to want to go into an engineering job.
>Men are inherently less suited for child care, so we shouldn't put in effort to help them be as good at child care as women
But men are inherently less likely to want to go into child care, for obvious reasons. However nobody is saying that they shouldn't be allowed to do so.
I think the main problem with the memo is this line:
"Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race"
I don't see any problem with those programmes myself, and I think he would have gotten more empathy and less hostility if he hadn't advocated removing those programmes to help women.
The memo never argued that, no one defending it argues that. I urge you to read the original document.
Pairing has always struck me as a great way to get programmers communicating better. Without addressing any other points in the manifesto, I think he's correct that encouraging pairing would be a good way to make development environments more collaborative.
>I fail to understand how a memo calling for MORE diversity can get headlined as "anti-diversity memo" on all big media outlets. Do journalists even do independent research anymore or are they just regurgitating whatever reuters send their way without scrutiny?
The author is referring to psychological diversity, in other words, Google should be more receptive to diverse viewpoints. This is both true and not true. Yes, we should listen to others and understand, but that does not mean we should accept and value everyone's viewpoints. To invoke Goodwin's Law, perhaps we should be more sympathetic to the viewpoints of Nazis? How about white supremacists?
There are viewpoints that do harm people within society, and this is one of them. Strip this down, this is the basic "woman's nature" argument that was used for years in the past to keep women barefoot and in the kitchen. The underlying claim that women are bad at tech is ridiculous. As mentioned below, the early programmers and data entry workers were women as it was considered "office work". I'll also throw out names like Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace. Read a site like Godel's Lost Letter, and Lipton always points out women who have made contributions to the field. I even recall an article about a house wife who researched new fractals. Women have been engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math (and medicine) since the beginning. They were male dominated because people held the viewpoint the author does, which is essentially, "It's not a woman' place". Bullshit, plain and simple. This memo does not call for more diversity. It may cite scientific research (yes, men and women are different physically and psychologically), but it calls for the same status quo that initiatives like the ones the author lambasts are trying to overcome. Are they perfect? No. but they are a step in the right direction. We need to understand these difference and adapt to them not use those differences as a way to exclude.
Practically no one is saying that. We should cast out the tiny minority of Nazis.
What people are saying is that the views in the memo are not of a tiny minority. They are accepted by a significant part of society, by reasonable people. They are considered factual or at least debatable by many scientists. And many of the core principles are accepted by conservatives, i.e., a large wing of US politics.
What will happen to society if we aren't willing to listen across the political aisle? And if we aren't willing to listen to reasonable scientific debate?
> This memo does not call for more diversity.
It literally does call for more, including of gender and racial minorities:
> I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more
You can disagree with its practical suggestions - I do, I think many of them are harmful - but it's unfair to say it's not calling for more diversity.
There's a movie on Netflix at the moment, a German movie called "Er Ist Wieder Da" ("look who's back") about Hitler returning in modern-day Germany. It's part movie, part documentary - the actor playing Hitler travels around the country and talks to people about politics and the like, and finds there's a lot of people agreeing with some of the standpoints.
The nazis crossed a huge number of lines and had some batshit people at the helm, but I'm sure you could find some points that a lot of people would agree with even in these days. Same with white supremacists, some of which have toned down their racism and become more politically correct.
If you found out that the barista at your favourite coffee shop was racist, would that change whether they make good coffee? Is the value of the coffee inextricably linked to their views? If someone has a disgusting view in one aspect of their life, their other views appear to be tainted even if they are entirely orthogonal.
Honestly, I would argue yes (with a big asterisk on your word choice of sympathetic). You need to engage with people and discuss their views in order to change them. Most people when attacked will double down on their views. If you can engage with those people, present evidence, and change their opinions then you are doing something meaningful to remove a piece of hate from the world.
If you know that men and women differ in a distributional sense with respect to some trait, that gives you a prior to work off-of when you meet a new individual. This is rational from bayes theorem, so simply saying "you should treat everyone as an individual" is not nuanced enough.
However, as you acquire more information about a particular individual (such as passing a difficult google interview, or knowing that they've succeeded in a reputable CS curriculum), this should quickly "swamp" the prior, causing it to contribute very little to the final inference.
The problem is the humans are not great at adjusting like this: we're not perfect at applying bayes theorem in our heads. We tend to overstate the influence of various priors when there are stronger signals at hand. Nevertheless, incorporating prior distributional information is NOT irrational, but generally overdone.
Therefore, it seems like the approach of some is to shout down information that would suggest biological distributional differences, to try guarantee that people don't overuse prior information.
The author of the 'manifesto' seems to think that no one else reads these studies. I can assure you that everyone who is working on these issues has already read and understood the studies. The people in charge of these programs agree with them. He presented absolutely nothing of value. There is not a single new idea in what he wrote.
All the manifesto showed was that he thinks he you can just apply studies to your coworkers. He took a bunch of women he works with and turned them into statistics, into a problem that he alone can solve. It's incredible ignorant and arrogant.
The science, or understanding of statistics is not the problem, it is his approach to solving it that is the problem.
Tying your reputation to such a soft foundation is just inviting trouble.
If you don't believe the research is solid, please post some convincing counter studies.
It sounds like you don't understand the reproducibility crisis: It's not up to me to produce counter studies, it's up to you to produce replications of the already published work, using the exact same methods and techniques.
So far, the reproducibility in the psychological sciences has been pretty poor. Nature summarized the original test a couple of years ago: 61 out of 100 replications failed in the test.
Not quite right: Meta-analyses combine several studies to improve the statistical power of a given topic. They do not address reproducibility, because the individual papers forming the basis for the meta-analyses make no attempt at reproducing prior results before introducing new ones. I'd go so far as to say part of the necessity for the original reproducibility study of 100 seminal psychology papers was because meta-analyses fail to address reproducibility.
The repercussions of 61/100 papers failing to reproduce are still not as widely understood as they should be.
Men who play (or are) victims on the other hand are generally ridiculed or ignored, so there is no advantage in doing so.
Behind ideas there is usually self interest.
Mind you, that industry needs a lot more men - nurses move people around, people are heavy, and nobody's denying that generally, men can lift more weight than women. That's a much more obvious biological distinction than in the more brainy areas like STEM.
Inmate Gender - Male: 93.3% Female: 6.7% 
"In view of these overwhelming results measures must be taken to remove men from jobs where their predisposition to crime may have negative repercussions on society."
Calling psychology or psychiatry a science is a generous proclamation. None of the above practitioners, including a neuroscientist, neurologist, or a cognitive scientist, can explain completely why someone can look at a shot of whiskey, know it is an expensive whiskey, know how to balance the shot to their lips, then prepare for the burn, and then swallow it while hoping they will get "lucky" tonight but feel lousy tomorrow all at the same time.
We're not there yet when it comes to classifying humanity into "phylums" or categories via science.
We wouldn't have a percent of liberties and developments also in the anti-patriarchal quest without science and rationalism.
Bachelor's degrees by sex from 2013-2014:
Mathematics, general: 43.9% earned by women (7,420 out of 16,914)
Chemistry, general: 47.7% earned by women (6,556 out of 13,730)
Physics, general: 18.7% earned by women (1,124 out of 6,002)
Computer Science: 14.5% earned by women (1,914 out of 13,220)
It seems like all of the gender differences pointed out about women in the diversity memo would apply equally to Physics and Computer Science as they do to Mathematics and Chemistry, but they gender ratio of Mathematics and Chemistry degrees is much closer to 50/50. So why the big difference?
Being just one sample, mine, it is completely statistically irrelevant. But it's the only thing i personally can go on. I want good candidates, if you can find me more good women candidates, that would be great.
We can talk straightforwardly about what makes the document problematic: whatever the validity of the "scientific" claims it makes about gender differences, there is no support (and likely no validity) to the connections it then makes to software development work. Despite that unjustified leap, the document goes on to suggest strongly that women working at Google are less qualified than men. There is no science Debrah Soh can cite to back up that assertion, however much she might want to.
Anyone can wrap an incendiary statement up in a pile of banal sentiment and ambiguous appeals to social science. When challenged, refocus the debate on the truisms and the footnotes and pretend you didn't write the nasty stuff you hid in the middle. And, as we can see, plenty of very smart people will fall for the trick.
Gender equity has been improving in the United States for several generations. As that has occurred, female participation in STEM fields (and in the professions, like medicine and law) has expanded dramatically. Many science fields are now approaching parity. Most have more than twice as much participation as computer science. That includes the field of mathematics, which is closely related to computer science and is certainly more intellectually challenging than "computer science" as practiced in the industry.
Among all STEM fields, computer science is distinguished for losing the participation of women over the last 10 years.
Unless the women of 1950 are somehow biologically different from those of 2017, the author's theory will somehow have to address the fact that her argument would have predicted the fields or law, medicine, biochem, mathematics, astronomy, statistics, accounting, and actuary would all be bereft of women over the 20th century --- obviously, the opposite occurred, despite the sexual revolution that was immediately to come.
The author of this article discusses a correlation between increasing gender equity and decreased STEM participation that does not appear in the evidence. There's a reason she does that: if you don't stipulate that correlation, the argument against gender bias in computer science has to confront another damning fact, which is that gender disparity in the field isn't global. Unless women in Asia are somehow biologically different than those of the US, her argument needs some way to address the fact that women make up the majority of STEM majors in many of those cultures.
Reading this article and then this thread, I find that there's really only two aspects of it that HN finds persuasive: the headline's appeal to "science", and the footnote observing that the author is a female scientist. That's not enough. Everything in between those things is wildly off.
In discussions about gender parity in CS, the word "preference" is a coded appeal to the Just World Hypothesis. There is a yawning chasm between neuroscience findings about "agreeableness" and "stress tolerance" and suitability for any particular kind of white-collar symbol-manipulation work. Ms. Soh must intuitively understand that, but mentions it not once in her piece, instead pretending that observations about the kinds of toys children play with allow us to reflect participation statistics directly into real preferences about work. Shenanigans.
"I’m not going to spend any length of time on (1); if anyone wishes to provide details as to how nearly every statement about gender in that entire document is actively incorrect,¹ and flies directly in the face of all research done in the field for decades, they should go for it. But I am neither a biologist, a psychologist, nor a sociologist, so I’ll leave that to someone else."
In other words: "I have no relevant expertise, but I just know it's wrong."
We would never tolerate that from "the opposing side." I can point you to other articles that do the same.
This is the rallying point for a lot of people, and it's the wrong place to take a stand. It's worth pointing out.
> It picks out a small subset of the claims made in the document, discards the context and all the other claims, and then harangues us for having a problem with "science".
I'm claiming that the reason she does this is because it is the number one point cited by many of the detractors, and it prevents us from getting into the more interesting and relevant questions.
All the cited science in the manifesto is irrelevant in my opinion. As an engineer you work with other people. You probably spend 40 or 50 hours a week with them. They may or may not become your friends, but they will have a huge impact on your life, and you on theirs. Many of these people will be women. They are REAL people that you interact with everyday. What he did when he decided to share this manifesto at work is show that he thinks of these women as statistics, and that on average they are not as capable as he is. He has turned the women he works with everyday into a technical problem that he can solve with his intellect. That is incredibly insulting! He's shown an incredible lack of empathy and understanding towards the women he works with. He's turned them into numbers. He's shown he does not care about them as individuals. This is absolutely unforgivable.
If he had simply released this as a research project or something on the internet then it wouldn't be a problem. But he didn't do that. He didn't make a distinction between the general population and the women he works with. He shared it at work.
1. The effect sizes we're talking about are tiny. A randomly selected cohort of men and women can routinely be expected to produce more women innately skilled at math, or more men innately skilled at negotiation. It's one of the more galling aspects of the debate about this stupid "manifesto", which at one point redraws a well-known chart about the overlap in ability between men and women to exaggerate the difference between the sexes: at no point do any of the advocates of the "manifesto" address effect size compared to the observed disparity in the field.
2. Very little about computer science as it is practiced in the industry is tied with any rigor to any particular skill. For the most part, software development is a standard white-collar symbol manipulation job in which productivity is defined mostly by meticulousness and generic learning and pattern matching. Attempts to break down aptitude by gender tend to imagine computer science in terms of compiler theory and algorithm design, when in reality 90% of all software development is repeated iterations of "wire this database column into this UI table".
I think computer scientists tend to apply the same skills and techniques to social issues that they do to compiler theory and algorithm design. And that's how you end up with these 'manifestos'. I don't think that many people are offended by the science. They are offended that he has turned women in tech into a technical problem that he can solve with his logical reasoning.
It appears that he thinks he's the only one who's read the studies. It's arrogant. Everyone interested in the issue has already read those studies. They also have enough interpersonal skills to know that you can't just apply studies to your coworkers.
The gross oversimplified claims from the document that attempt to make this leap are textbook stereotypes.
For the n million-th time : the memo said nothing about aptitude for engineering, just preference.
Nonetheless, many of the statements in "Personality differences", "Men's higher drive for status", and "Non-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap", especially the stuff about women being more prone to anxiety, liking part-time work, caring more about people than things, etc. speak strongly to aptitude for engineering, given the context of the document.
EDIT: Also, I reject the implication that the claim "women have less of a preference for engineering" is not in and of itself a harmful stereotype.
1. The memo uses the word "preference" without ever establishing whether it's talking about free choice or choice after discouragement, and so is flagrantly begging the question.
2. It's simply false that the memo makes no connection between supposed preference and aptitude, as it builds to a section about the "harms of diversity" that includes a direct claim that women in Google's workforce are less capable than men.
I have been confused why you and others have been repeating this, but after re-reading the section "The Harm of Google’s biases", I think I see your point now.
Damore does not say that all women who work at Google are unqualified, but he does imply that there are fewer women who are qualified, and that by trying to mine that population too heavily, Google is hiring women who are, on average, less qualified than the men are, on average. Do I have that right?
I have very little patience with arguments rooted in "but that's not exactly what he said", because I have been on message boards for approximately the entire literate span of my 40 years on this planet, and the technique of couching inflammatory assertions in half-hearted hedges and deliberately ambiguous abstractions is the oldest trick in the book.
He allocated a whole subhed to his point, and the whole document builds to it. The subhed is: "the harm of Google's biases". The biases he's referring to are towards women and against men. The harm he refers to is "a lowered bar". His point is plain.
(I'm confident people aren't going to like this comment, but it is what I honestly believe, after what I believe to be pretty significant consideration, and no part of this thread is made better by me pretending otherwise.)
This, too, helps me understand the outrage. Thank you for being honest.
(I do hope the 'thank you' above can be read by people in a calm, snark-less voice. It is genuine. I appreciate Ptacek being forthright. I learned from it. It really does make the thread better and furthers the conversation in a productive way.)
I am very open to being corrected.
When you said, "Damore is smart enough not to come out and say directly that he believes all women to be less qualified", I took it to mean that you think Damore actually believes that all women are unqualified and arguing about populations is a just a smokescreen for what he is really thinking. This is helpful to understand because it means that you don't think the memo is actually about population-level differences and so exploring that argument is a waste of time.
But if you didn't actually mean that, I misunderstood and apologize.
Of course it's talking about free choice. Introducing "discouragement" in the equation is itself begging the question : it's an extra hypothesis which is unnecessary in presence of a simpler, more fundamental explanation (like this one https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166361/ ). Occam's Razor 101.
> includes a direct claim that women in Google's workforce are less capable than men.
There is research finding that the more advanced a country is in terms of gender equality (by generally accepted metrics), the more pronounced the occupational gender gap actually is in most fields.
One proposed explanation is that women in advanced economies are freer of constraints and higher up in the Maslow pyramid of needs, and can afford to go into jobs they actually like, rather that whatever they feel is their duty/more lucrative/otherwise rewarding. Kind of like yuppies (of either gender) dream of exiting the corporate world to set up an organic food shop. That would certainly explain the very different STEM gender gaps in the US/Sweden vs India/China, for example.
I don't have the reference handy, but if someone can provide it, please do !
We can predict the next 50 years with perfect clarity, having lived through them ourselves.
According to Soh's logic, as gender equality increases dramatically throughout the next 30 years, we should see reinforcement of "preferences" to avoid science fields. And yet the opposite thing occurs.
Why has Soh's hypothesis failed to predict? Why is it more trustworthy today?
Doesn't address why the number of women in programming has fallen since the 80's though...
He's contrived a just-so story that appeals to his audience. Which is par for his course.
2. There is a reason that particular argument is banned by the guidelines ("Please don't insinuate that someone hasn't read an article"): it's inherently uncivil.
>Despite that unjustified leap, the document goes on to suggest strongly that women working at Google are less qualified than men
Can you elaborate on this? Just because FEWER women may be qualified to work at Google doesn't mean that the ones that are are any less qualified than the men. The fact that fewer women are tall doesn't mean that tall women aren't tall for example.
>I could argue "water is composed of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule, so women are bad at software development", and my argument would just be a difference of degree worse than hers.
I fail to see how the science discussed in the memo is as irrelevant as you make it out to be. Is it really that far fetched that psychological makeup (as expressed in big-5 characteristics) and interests play a role in what people choose to pursue and what they like to do? Because software engineering is different than other occupations (such as law and medicine), it makes sense to think about what might attract one to one profession over another. Many intelligent women I know chose careers such as medicine over cs. And why not? It pays better and doesn't involve staring at a computer all day (something that not everybody enjoys). The same could be said for law and finance (investment banking, private equity).
>Among all STEM fields, computer science is distinguished for losing the participation of women over the last 10 years.
If you scroll down to the two bar charts in the link above, you'll notice that while the % of bachelor degrees earned by women in CS has gone down, the % of PHD degrees earned has actually gone up (looks to be about 40% higher compared to 1991)! I think you would agree that earning a phd in CS is much more difficult than a BS, and I think this actually shows that women are being given more opportunity to excel academically in the subject.
As for bachelor degrees in CS, it seems like it has converged more to the % awarded in engineering. Speaking more on the differences between CS (i.e Bachelors level CS that leads to SWE jobs) and Math, I would say there is a qualitative difference between the two, and certainly one can have personal preferences. Software engineering is much more about creating systems that work and solve real-world problems. It also involves a lot of programming. Pure math (and theoretical CS) is more about investigating an abstract world and looking into interesting patterns and connections. It actually has a lot of similarities with philosophy in this regard. Some of the female math/science majors I knew actually didn't really like programming and ended up being highly successful in other fields even if they went into industry (medicine/finance/business).
>There's a reason she does that: if you don't stipulate that correlation, the argument against gender bias in computer science has to confront another damning fact, which is that gender disparity in the field isn't global. Unless women in Asia are somehow biologically different than those of the US, her argument needs some way to address the fact that women make up the majority of STEM majors in many of those cultures.
In fact, people have done cross-cultural studies. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/23179757_Sex_Differ...
"Regression analyses explored the power of sex, gender equality, and their interaction to predict men's and women's 106 national trait means for each of the four traits. Only sex predicted means for all four traits, and sex predicted trait means much more strongly than did gender equality or the interaction between sex and gender equality. These results suggest that biological factors may contribute to sex differences in personality and that culture plays a negligible to small role in moderating sex differences in personality."
From my personal experience (which I agree is less convincing than the numerous empirical studies that have been done on the topic), I'll say that many women in asian countries are pushed into studying cs/programming even if they don't like it, because those fields often provide a straightforward path to making a decent income.
If I state here that it is scientifically expected to see more foos than bars on HN, and then get banned because of it, that wouldn't become HN's manifesto, either.
I fear that, a few years from now, people will say it represented Google's official standpoints (which it doesn't) or those of a significant portion of its employees (which may or may not be the case, from what I know)
"Google employee's manifesto" or "James Damore's manifesto" are better names.
Not sure if the author can sue the company though, I mean on what grounds was he fired?
Speculation not from a social scientist as their job but a worker within Google apart from being grossly misplaced begins to sound eerily similar to the ravings of self obsessed supremacists cherry picking science. This is what hostility looks like.
And women then should be rightfully wary of all these fragile men who will watch them like hawks looking for any excuse to confirm their bias.
Google should send a memo explicitly stating anyone who thinks women or any group lower the bar should leave. This is not a place for bigots. It's a place for mature educated well adjusted adults to work together.
Anyone who supported that letter should in good conscience leave the organization which is 'lowering the bar', a definition no random individual not suffering from extreme hubris is 'qualified' to set and the prerogative of the organization and experts qualified for it.
If you are obsessed with diversity lowering the bar you can become a 'measuring the bar expert' and invest the time required educating yourself to become an expert before presuming to speak with authority you do not possess about a scientific field that does not trade in certainties.
How much is nature vs. nurture? (many of the behaviours the manifesto attributed to genetics are actually purely environmental)
Should that even matter? Shouldn't hiring processes be purely meritocratic?
The fact that the author of the memo argued for affirmative action for hiring more conservatives shows that he doesn't have anything against discrimination, as long as he profits. If he wanted a science-backed solution, he'd have supported motions to remove the topic of gender, race, political affiliation entirely from the hiring process. (Anonymous job applications can help with that).
Many of the sources were also quite misleading, or links to blogs instead of papers. The memo wouldn't pass peer review at any journal, and can, frankly said, not be called science.
As we also just had a big discussion about this topic on HN, this article is misleading and from an outlet that previously has published hit pieces on diversity policies, I flagged it - this discussion belongs into the recent megathread, not as its own onto the frontpage again.
The fact that they stated this very desire proves that they believe that women are different than men, and that women might theoretically approach a problem or solution differently than a man.
But if someone writes a manifesto which points out that, "Hey, maybe men and women are different, with different traits and mindsets (when considered across the whole average)", suddenly that person is sexist.
Google wants to have their cake and eat it too. They want to pretend there are no tangible difference between the way males and females work and think, but they also want a diverse culture that can benefit from the different ways how males and females work and think.
The women in tech that I've asked felt somewhere between offended and furious and, more importantly, would not feel comfortable working with someone who wrote such a memo and distributed it to his colleagues.
It's no different from doing the same but replacing gender with race - it's racist no matter how carefully and scientifically you worded it.
It's almost as if the person writing this article believes that if the manifesto is factually/scientifically correct then it must somehow not be sexist. As if sexism consisted of lies? I don't get it.
Saying that on average, women prefer working in people oriented roles whereas men prefer working in mechanical/technical roles is not sexist, because this is a fact supported by real evidence.
The author's point about societies with the most gender equity having bigger gender gaps really drives this point home. In societies where there is gender equity, people aren't compelled to behave a certain way and instead gravitate towards the roles they really want to take.
Real, verifiable, reproducible truths are not sexist or racist. They are truths. The fact that the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalenjin_people#Sport dominate sprinting is supported by empirical evidence and also science.
So to be clear, racism and sexism are terms used to describe prejudices, lies and falsehoods about a gender or race. These terms shouldn't be used to describe real, empirically shown gender or race differences.
We as humans are all equal in worth, but that doesn't mean we are all the same.
That's not a definition I have seen anywhere.
The usual definition is that it's "prejudice, sterotyping or discrimination based on someones gender".
If we have different definitions of sexism to begin with, of course we aren't going to agree on whether X is sexist.
So if I don't use the controversial S word: I thought his post was stereotyping and coming out against anti discrimination efforts.
> So to be clear, racism and sexism are terms used to describe prejudices, lies and falsehoods about a gender or race.
Same again: something being true doesn't make it not racist (or sexist). The falsehood/lying isn't a necessary condition.
> something being true doesn't make it not racist (or sexist). The falsehood/lying isn't a necessary condition.
Of course it is! Seriously listen to yourself! If I say "The average 20 year old healthy person will be able to climb this mountain faster than the average 80 year old healthy person" then it is a fact based on science and DOES NOT make me a ageist, or does it? Now apply the same logic to the previous topic and listen to yourself again.
I only argue that there are (or could be) examples of scientific facts being used in racist discourse where an argument or action is racist regardless of whether it's supporting facts are true or false.
Just like libel/slander law in many (most?) places doesn't care whether a defamation is factually correct or not. (In US that's not the case though)
I'll quote an oxford writer:
> Take a simple example. Imagine there was an imaginary newspaper, let’s call it the Mail Daily, which only cited certain facts about immigration – let’s say negative facts. True facts. Facts which might have to do with crime, for example, or housing shortages, or the abuse of the welfare system. Imagine that the Mail Daily never gave any positive facts about immigration – never emphasized any of the enormous benefits that immigration brings.Would it be fair to accuse the Mail Daily of being racist in its coverage of immigration? That’s a rhetorical question.
His point (which is counter to Dawkins - who holds your position) is that this tabloid is racist while only reporting facts - simply because of how facts are filtered in res publication and which arguments are made with them.
Imagine I'm creating a basketball team and I reason that height is an advantage for players and men tend to be taller than women, so I will not aim to have 50% women on the team. By your definition I'm being sexist, but my attitude doesn't deserve the opprobrium that that label implies.
Of course. But depending on context the use and quoting of it sure can. I'm sure there is plenty of evidence of physical difference betweeen races, and there are reasonable ways to use those scientific results - and there are racist ways of using them. Doesn't change that
> Second, the author didn't argue there are differences between genders or sexes that make one unsuitable for a given task.
Wow I read the whole thing (which is rare) and that was what really jumped out. I wonder what I misunderstood.
I use the definition that includes prejudice, stereotyping or discriminating based on gender, and irrespective of whether something is factual (I.e I do not subscribe to the idea that facts can't be sexist/racist).
I apologize for reading the "unfit" between the lines - what jumped out at me as stereotypical was remarks such as women being more neurotical and having lower stress thresholds.
I'm not going to argue the truth of it, and I won't argue whether that's sexist (for the reasons outlined above) - but it's definitely stereotyping women - fact or not.
Does that make Wikipedia sexist?
Which one is sexist to you, or do you find both sexist:
"Women have less stress tolerance"
"Scientific studies show that Neuroticism, a personality trait which is related to less stress tolerance, is on average more common among women than men"
There is a huge difference and if you don't see it, then I think all educational material, books, research, science, really anything is lost on you
We are completely agreeing that facts alone are never sexist or racist. I'm not even sure what it would mean for a fact (or Wikipedia - which is a collection of facts) to be racist. It's not making an argument or action of any kind.
The memo wrote that women generally have a harder time leading. His cited sources don't back that up. How is it a misrepresentation to say he said women generally are not as good at certain roles, like leading? That statement is word for word in the memo,
"This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading."
And no one argued that an entire gender is unqualified for a task. Where do you come up with all this stuff?!?
There is no research (to the best of my knowledge) claiming that there are biological differences between the same sex of different races.
But there is enough research about biological differences between sexes (and some differences are obvious, such as different hormones, etc) to at least warrant a debate.
"Sexist" is one of a handful of words that have become absolutely sacred in the US, at the expense of scientific discovery (or common sense, or both).
I mean it's not controversial to argue that on average caucasian men are taller than asian men. I can't find a quotation for that exact fact right now but let's just assume it's true for the sake of argument. It's a toy example anyway.
If it's scientific doesn't mean I can argue without repercussion that I should be allowed to cut before asian men in the line in the cafeteria because as tall people we are always hungrier. Even arguing that would (rightly) be considered racist.
I tried to make a toy example but you get my drift - the use of a scientific fact in argument can be racist.
Even if you don't agree with my toy example (either the made up fact or the toy argument) - would you agree that IF scientific argument is found that e.g. one race has less cognitive ability than another that might be "good science" (although ethically questionalble science) - that most uses of such facts e.g in arguments would in fact still be racist? Or do you still insist that scientific facts make all arguments and actions based on them non-racist?
Suppose that height is an advantage in basketball and we thereby discover that asian men are underrepresented in the NBA. Are you claiming that is racist and something we have to do something to change?
The underrepresntation of black people in tech isn't "racist" though there are probably a lot of racist actions taken place that led up to it, and of course tons of structural racism that cause it long term. But the discrepancy isn't "racist" in itself. It's just a discrepancy.
Well of course it is, but it's inaccurate to suggest that the gender disparity in tech is entirely attributable to companies turning away female applicants on account of their gender. And if the suggestion was for some hypothetical company that was doing that to stop, there would be no objection.
The problem comes when the portion of the gender disparity that isn't attributable to discrimination is attributed to it anyway, and then employers are continually lambasted for something they didn't actually do.
It distracts from addressing the real problems (especially at the high school level) that could actually improve the gender ratio going forward.
And that's why no one makes that argument I hope!
Actually there are numerous observed differences in physical ability that are attributed to race, such as Tibetans having better adaptability to high altitudes than most other groups. Physical differences are relatively uncontroversial, the problem arrives when we start to discuss mental differences.
I see not reason why a difference in environment would not cause various mental adaptations to form along the course of natural selection of geographically separate groups of people. This is an inconvenient idea and has been vehemently suppressed in the scientific community whenever it is brought up . Instead of pretending such differences cannot exist we should instead focus on overcoming these differences so that everyone can participate according to their own unique ability.
Definition by motives vs. definition by belief.
1. Thou shalt not think
2. If thou thought, thou shalt not speak
3. If thou spoke, thou shalt not write
4. If thou wrote, thou shalt not sign
5. If thou signed, thou shalt not act surprised.
The article mixes up genetics with what people end up doing in life.
Can someone please tell me, why?
"In fact, research has shown that cultures with greater gender equity have larger sex differences when it comes to job preferences, because in these societies, people are free to choose their occupations based on what they enjoy."
Jim Flynn's study has unequivocally proven that raising the standards of modern introduction and access to equal education, living standards, and nutrition show increases in overall propensity for cognitive achievement. Though, if you talk to an anthropologist the nature of the term "intelligence" and "cognitive ability" is used in the mixed usage term but says nothing of the nature of intelligence.
Nevertheless, the entire debate is whether we are actually in an egalitarian society to begin with. The nature of even measuring cognitive ability with the g-factor is that it is derived from relative populations. Gender differences might indeed be more amplified in these type of societies but the debate is whether we are already there and to what degree sectors of our large country have access to that.
I would argue, as others have, that the distribution of equal treatment, based on the evidence of exodus from the field of technology speaks far larger volumes about the industry as a whole than it does about biological differences.
Indeed, let's even take into account those biological differences that are being discussed here. Just because one has the propensity to behave a certain way in front a social group of men, and different when a female is around (this too has scientific backing), you could argue that the change in behavior over time would be a product of how distributed those groups are (in thought and in numbers). Food for thought.
It's also interesting to note that creative endeavors tend to lead to high correlations of neuroticism as well. If there are biological differences that show that women are, on average, tend to be more neurotic than men, it doesn't really say much about the nature of interaction or the way we behave with one another. Furthermore, to even attempt to use this as reasoning that women may not last within male-dominated environments is insulting in itself. What it really actually proves is that the inequality in both the diversity thought and in numbers only reinforces the problem. The logic is rot with flaws, (I'm paraphrasing several sections with lines of reasoning; i.e. de-emphasizing empathy) "due to the nature of the tendency for behaving a certain way, we should not make attempts at empathizing with one another because of the heightened sensitivity." Not only is this flawed logic, it's not scientific in the least bit. I would've fired him on that alone.
Indeed, you can also conclude from similar studies that creative endeavors have the tendency to being higher activity in the medial prefrontal cortex. (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364661315...) Due to the nature of mulling over problems, the tendency is that this often is indicitive of a higher threat sensitivity (real or otherwise); hence the neurotism. This doesn't say anything about the gender differences therein, but rather the brain itself when it comes to problem solving in general.
Of course, the greater problem here is about the nature of social interaction. We can take into account how men tend to behave around other men, or in the presence of women, or women around other women, or in mixed groups; we can take into account innate differences (however pronounced or not); we can even take into account the debate over the access to a population which is educated enough to enter the field of study. Even taking into account the meta-analysis study on things-people, it is a bit presumptuous to think that parity is not obtainable or necessary in STEM.
The nature of STEM revolves around the problems that are being solved. One would hope that those problems are about solving them for PEOPLE. One would hope that software engineers employ creativity and artistic nuances when architecting and collaborating with others. The base of that study only speaks about the anthropologic nature of how people behave within those fields. One can speak of the people-oriented nature of mechanics, engineering, and just about all fields of study. I find it a bit simplistic to categorize STEM as a whole as purely mechanics; it's reductionist and frankly insulting.
The key to changing minds is understanding the other side. Not shutting them out of the conversation.
Simply trying to deny the debate is not how you work things out. If anything that will just annoy the group more so.
It's not a debate to be won. Some people just keep insisting it is with this cloying, sweaty desperation. It's embarrassing, and it's awful that these Silicon Valley ghouls have so much power that we have to consider them at all.
I read the article, it didn't have any real science and made a bunch of insane, half-baked assumptions. The guy is a dumbass and deserved to be fired.
Sounds like a scary place to be, and I'm genuinely sorry you find yourself there.
(I believe we already told you this elsewhere, but) you've been posting such ideological flamebait to HN that your comments amount to trolling whether you mean them to or not. This isn't a question of how right or wrong you are—plenty of your fellow community members are arguing the same positions as you without violating the spirit of this site. If you'd like to participate in thoughtful discussion, you're welcome to keep commenting here. Kindly fix this?
Admittedly these trainwreck threads have been pretty thin on thoughtful discussion, but even so, several of your posts stand out as poisonous.
According to the HN guidelines, flagging is for spam or off-topic submissions. This is neither.
"I am bored of this" doesn't seem like what the flagging mechanism is for, actually. Or would I be justified in flagging any story about Go because it happens to not be relevant to me and I think there's enough discussion of it already? Seems wrong.
I have also seen articles about legal action being taken which was news to me, also being flagged down.
This could keep up until the end of time.
I'm an incredibly liberal person in most regards but I find suppressing unwanted speech to be disgusting at a base level.
I think it's unfair to make that generalization; further, it contributes to the false dichotomy that exists through "left/right" politic.
As for this specific generalization: I think we wouldn't have this argument if it wasn't legitimate. The political left increasingly consists of hypocrites who advertise free speech and liberalism, but act like fascists.
It's a well established fact that conservatives are, at a minimum, just as guilty of hostility to ideas they don't like as liberals.
Consider Megyn Kelly, a celebrated conservative journalist whose career was completely destroyed simply because she asked Trump some tough questions.
Consider Tomi Lahren who was a cherished conservative icon until she came out in support of abortion based on her conservative principles of individual freedom... following that expression of free speech she was squeezed out of her job and destroyed in the conservative press.
Consider Gretchen Carlson who was humiliated and dragged through the mud in conservative circles after she spoke out about her own experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace.
Consider John McCain who is regularly blasted as a RINO because he occasionally takes an action that is not in complete lockstep with the party line.
Consider Glenn Beck who was on the receiving end of boycotts and death threats because early on, he spoke out against Trump in favor of the eminently conservative Ted Cruz!
Consider Ted Cruz himself who was literally booed off stage during the RNC because he dared to instruct the audience to "vote with your conscience" instead of blindly praising Trump.
The list goes on and on, so I have to reject your assertion that "suppressing free speech is 90% leftist" as utter ignorance.
Well there's parallels for a lot of groups.
Some cops find new careers as politicians and then threaten reporters who ask questions they don't want to answer because that's what cops often do (I know I'm over-generalizing).
It seems you have an odd system of weighting where college kids policing language is weighted very heavily, and elected officials committing and advocating violence to further political goals weighs very lightly.
I'm beginning to suspect your analysis is more driven by how you feel than tangible consequences.
Not to my knowledge. Are you talking about when he (perhaps jokingly) said:
> So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them. I will pay for the legal fees.
Biden could say that at a state dinner and nobody would blink twice
Edit: Also who could forget the brouhaha around the Dixie Chicks after they said something bad about George W. Bush . That incident foreshadowed the kind of tactics that are common on the left now.
Note that I'm not saying all. And, people can be left on some issues, and even then, the degree varies.
I will, however, fight for their right to express these views and practice their religion in my country (up until the point it infringes on another's rights).
"We support free speech, as long as you agree with the core tenants of Political Correctness, Affirmative Action, Feminism, and Liberalism."
Whereas, Republicans/Conservatives have a much greater variance of ideas. There's the RINOs, the Moderates, the Libertarians, Tea Partiers, and more. Yes, there is infighting.
But in the end, they all acknowledge each other as Republicans. They may have spirited "discussions", but they are all allied with the same goals in mind. Reagan taught them that well.
Or... you know, the term everyone knows. Republican in Name Only. There's also DINO as well.
I doubt being close minded is specific to any political group.
We're trying for a higher quality of discussion here (though admittedly this has been hard to observe lately).
On the surface – that's asking for both more and less diversity, however Google rejects the idea that conservative views (that are compatible with Google's HR policies) are discouraged, which would suggest there isn't more diversity needed there.
You then judged it based on a bunch of re-tellings, believe it says something it doesn't and that this is somehow virtuous and worthy of proclamation. Kind of discouraging.
It didn't say Google should stop encouraging women to apply. That's simply not true. It did say it should stop giving women specific non-encouragement based advantages, like letting them proceed even after failing an interview when a man would have been dropped. It also said lots of other things. Why don't you read it yourself, and then judge it based on that?
Even if interviewers had no idea who they were interviewing, which is possible but logistically awkward (Aline Lerner posted some data on this), the recruiters would know, and they're the ones making the decisions around how the recruiting process proceeds.
There is no lower bar or quota. All of the diversity programs he mentioned are to encourage more applications.
He actually asked for something different - for programs and classes to remain but for the exclusions based on race and gender (i.e. no men allowed) to be eliminated. He also pointed out that even Google's resources are finite, and thus the costs and benefits of diversity programmes should be judged rationally, e.g. he suggests that mandatory 'unconscious bias' training doesn't seem to have made any difference. So is it worth requiring it? These are reasonable questions anyone can ask.
It's not that I didn't want to read another viewpoint - if well done I like my views being challenged, but this was not that.
Edit: referring to Google specifically
I used to be at Google. I heard the same thing from recruiters themselves. That a woman could fail an interview but still make it through to the next rounds. Their justification for this was like so:
1. This isn't discrimination because the final hiring decision by the committee takes into account all interviews, so the bar is equal at that point.
2. Our lawyers say this is totally OK.
I heard this many years ago, when I first joined Google and was learning how to be an interviewer. It disquieted me a little but I didn't challenge it - I figured, if the lawyers say it's OK, then it's OK. And the logic that in the end, the final decision was unbiased was something I accepted.
Well, I was young and naive. If men are being dropped and women are not, then more women will make it through to the final hiring decision than would naturally occur, that's the entire point of doing it. This is, in effect, a way to lower the bar for women - literally, men and women can jump to the same height and one will cross the bar and one won't, based on gender.
That's what Damore meant when he said the bar was being lowered by reducing the false negative rate.
Is it illegal? I have no idea. But it's definitely not fair on men.
There are also programs to find more applicants, but this isn't critical of those programs.
So you didn't read it? Because ... you were offended or because of practical reasons (like you are illiterate) ?
I don't think that the memo asked for "less diversity" just not forced diversity, at least not the way it is forced at google.
> , however Google rejects the idea that conservative views (that are compatible with Google's HR policies) are discouraged
I have a hard time believing that since they already take a hard stance against their conservative users. Also have you seen some of the tweets from the opposite forces at google? I don't think so...
So if you don't consider dating somebody because of their sex, by that definition you are sexist?
Only if not dating someone is discrimination in some useful sense (it's not).
(Edited for clarity; namely, the italicized clause is new.)
The memo was a rambling incoherent mess.
A touchy subject like this from someone with a technical background to a large group of people... I guess Google has a lot of employees and it was bound to happen eventually but seriously, how do you hit send on something like this without some twinge of anxiety?
He didn't say that all (or even most) women were bad engineers.
The problem: You cannot invoke science to tell somebody: I'm better than you. Period. That causes wars.
> Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.
> We can increase representation at an org level by either making it a better environment for certain groups (which would be seen in survey scores) or discriminating based on a protected status (which is illegal and I’ve seen it done).
So where again does it say the he is better than someone else? These type of statements is what's causing the huge divide, because people put words into other people's mouth as and when they like just to support their own argument or agenda at the expense of everyone else.
Show me a quote where he actually says what you claim he says.