"But it is crucial to distinguish the moral proposition that people should not be discriminated against on account of their sex — which I take to be the core of feminism — and the empirical claim that males and females are biologically indistinguishable. They are not the same thing. Indeed, distinguishing them is essential to protecting the core of feminism. Anyone who takes an honest interest in science has to be prepared for the facts on a given issue to come out either way. And that makes it essential that we not hold the ideals of feminism hostage to the latest findings from the lab or field. Otherwise, if the findings come out as showing a sex difference, one would either have to say, "I guess sex discrimination wasn't so bad after all," or else furiously suppress or distort the findings so as to preserve the ideal. The truth cannot be sexist. Whatever the facts turn out to be, they should not be taken to compromise the core of feminism.
The nature and source of sex differences are also of practical importance. Most of us agree that there are aspects of the world, including gender disparities, that we want to change. But if we want to change the world we must first understand it, and that includes understanding the sources of sex differences.
-- Steven Pinker, The Pinker/Spelke Debate https://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/debate05/debate05_index.htm...
And have you read Alexander Scott's piece on how mistaken Grant is about the actual state of science? http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/07/contra-grant-on-exagger... Basically the argument is that Grant has failed to actually read the science he cites, because it the actual results from that science don't say what Grant say they says, especially as it relates to Damore's memo's worldview.
And then you can read Grant's reply to Alexander, and Alexander's reply to Grant. http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/07/contra-grant-on-exagger... All pretty interesting.
And the outcome of all that, for me, is a strong reinforcement of the Pinker quote that mpweiher quoted: feminism must not be held hostage to the science, because otherwise many scientists will see things that will require them to become non-feminists.
I'm more disturbed by the visceral reaction to a memo that was meant to be internal, made enough effort to stay somewhat centrist and isn't really calling out any individual, but mostly calling for a re-evaluation of their processes based on empirical data. Even if his thesis may be in error, or may have said things that bother some.
The problem must be fixed before Google gets into the equation, not at the Google level.
Not if Google attracts women that would not otherwise be applying at other tech firms.
completely agree with Pinker's sentiment but it is very important to note that for him understanding nature is emancipatory.
For him understanding our natural limitations is a means to figure out how to overcome them. For people preoccupied in this debate scientific discovery about differences seems to be used in the way some mad 19th century eugenistics used it, as a quasi religious justification of the status quo.
This is exactly the wrong way to approach the topic, and precisely how the googler attempted to portray the existing evidence. This produced the outlash.
"We want more diversity. I want more diversity"
"What we're doing, it's not working"
"Maybe we're doing it wrong. Maybe we're missing something"
"Here are things [well-supported by the science] that we might be missing"
"Here's how we might use this knowledge to make things better"
If you want to have a cool-headed discussion don't style yourself as a martyr and accuse other people of silencing you. This is not the way to have that discussion.
While he used the technically correct term, its use without explaining the term was definitely unwise. I explain here: http://blog.metaobject.com/2017/08/the-science-behind-manife...
> accuse other people of silencing you
Considering they fired him, not exactly a baseless accusation.