Sex Realism?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ElectricFetus, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Now we're getting somewhere.

    Unfortunately, it is - at a previous employer, this was actually something that happened. We had a younger, Asian lady working as a repair tech - she was attractive, and was often pulled onto the sales floor by the store manager to help sell in computers because she could literally twist guys around her finger. She'd play the "I no speak English well" stint, bat her eyes, and play up the "Sexy Geek Girl" archetype... and it worked. Terrifyingly well.

    The underlying target is, at its core, sexism.

    The problem I see is that we encounter exactly what our neighbor did - equating equal hiring practices for females to being the same as equal hiring practices for developmentally challenged. I think the fault in that argument is self evident - on the one hand, we have a difference of gender that has no solid evidence to indicate it has any bearing whatsoever on intellectual capacity. On the other, we have a difference in statistically provable cognitive ability that can demonstrably impact job performance.

    That said, I commend you on your arguments, and I see now where you are coming from. I apologize for my earlier outburst - folks that try to drive a wedge in equality issues are a thing that gets me riled up pretty quickly - my mindset is simple. We're all Human, we're all on this Third Planet of the Sol system called Earth, we all need to get over our damn selves and work together. Man, Woman, White, Black, Asian, Straight, Lesbian, Gay, Trans... fuck, I don't care if you identify as an Apache Attack Helicopter (to cite what is probably the most extreme case of red herring I've seen with regards to sexual identity) - that has zero bearing on your ability to do a job. What does have said bearing is your ability to actually do the job, and hiring should be based on tangible, demonstrable measures therein. Case in point - to join the US Army Rangers, you should have to pass the physical exam. To be a Network Admin, you should be able to actually administrate, setup, troubleshoot, and maintain a network. So on and so forth.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    If you would be so kind, sir: Is that because you are unfamiliar with the issue, or because you're trying to make a point?

    You might be keen to ask: are Damore's claims entirely false? Damore is good with rhetoric—to the layperson, or to anyone who doesn't follow cultural politics or scientific debates, his ideas unfold quite rationally.

    Way back in 1984, three scientists—biologist and zoologist R.C. Lewontin, biologist Steven Rose, and psychologist Leon J. Kamin—published a book called "Not In Our Genes" that debunked the myth that biological sex determined interests and behavior, a belief sometimes called "biological determinism." There is a long history of screeds akin to Damore's being penned and taken seriously; in fact, so common are these types of manifesti, that Lewontin, Rose, and Kamin described their common rhetorical through-line:

    The biological determinist argument follows a by now familiar structure: It begins with the citation of "evidence," the "facts" of differences between men and women … These "facts," which are taken as unquestioned, are seen as depending on prior psychological tendencies which in turn are accounted for by underlying biological differences between males and females at the level of brain structure or hormones. Biological determinism then shows that male-female differences in behavior among humans are paralleled by those found in nonhuman societies—among primates or rodents or birds . . . giving them an apparent universality that cannot be gainsaid by merely wishing things were different or fairer. . . And finally, the determinist argument endeavors to weld all currently observed differences together on the basis of the now familiar and Panglossian sociobiological arguments: that sexual divisions have emerged adaptively by natural selection, as a result of the different biological roles in reproduction of the two sexes . . . the inequalities are not merely inevitable but functional too.​

    Sound familiar? Damore's arguments are nothing new. And because they follow such a well-trod pattern, these three biologists were debunking his argument—in 1984.

    Keith A. Spencer↱ of Salon then goes on to address particular claims, including inherent male superiority, hormonal determinism, career path as evidence of biological difference, and biological determinism in general.

    Many of the ideas that Damore presents as self-evident "facts"—that men have a "higher drive for status," or that "women on average are more cooperative" —seem remarkably convenient to the narrative of his own success in life. His thesis is quite self-assured: not only does he deny the need for affirmative action or the existence of any systemic bias, but he simultaneously asserts his own position and status in society as emergent from no systemic privilege whatsoever. In effect, he asserts his own victimhood. (He even claims systemic bias against "conservatives.")

    As far as deterministic claims go, Damore's are redundant—he could have just copy-pasted the text of one of thousands of these written in the early 20th century—and also milder than many. In the past few centuries, the same line of argument has been used to argue for the racial superiority of whites, the inferiority of women, and to justify transphobia. (Indeed, Damore does present sex as binary and rigid—there's no discussion that the mere idea of two sexes may be a myth, a fact that is supported by science.)

    You might not see much in the way of refutation, but in truth I'm not seeing much in the way of justifying the proposition. That is to say, you're not arguing in defense of the article, but you have no problem with yet another reiteration of archaic notions debunked decades ago. Damore has done nothing to justify his reiteration of debunked ideas; the burden is his, and your expectation is askew.


    Spencer, Keith A. "The ugly, pseudoscientific history behind that sexist Google manifesto". Salon. 8 August 2017. 9 August 2017.
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

    So that's one thing he got right.
    Yes, we do agree. Which was one of the points mentioned in the Google screed.

    Damore made a lot of good points, and had he left out the "women are unsuited for some roles" argument, it would have led to much less rancor. That argument alone doomed it.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Think of it this way: When even the evopsych PUA crowd disagrees lands in the realm of decency while disagreeing with you, it is time to seriously consider the possibility that you're doing it wrong:

    Evolutionary science has long been used to justify racism and sexism. But even scientists Damore might have looked to as allies disagree with his conclusion.

    Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, who used his research on women's brains to write a book about seducing them with famed misogynist Tucker Max, argues that the sex differences Damore describes are "one of the best reasons to promote sexual diversity in the workplace."

    "In my opinion," Miller writes in a response to Damore in Quillette Magazine, "given that sex differences are so well-established, and the sexes have such intricately complementary quirks, it may often be sensible, in purely practical business terms, to aim for more equal sex ratios in many corporate teams, projects, and divisions."


    Additionally, for those who might take the moment to wonder at Miller's idea of exploiting the "intricately complementary quirks ... in purely practical business terms", framing the question requires greater illumination by Miller about what he means; presently we face a speculative dead end. Meanwhile, we might, then, consider Damore's treatment of less controversial sources:

    One of the scientists Damore cites, prominent personality psychologist David Schmitt, found in a 2008 cross-cultural study that women report slightly higher levels of "neuroticism," meaning they have less tolerance for stressful situations, and they tend to be more agreeable and less assertive than men on average. (Schmitt describes the differences as "‘small' to ‘moderate' ... accounting for perhaps 10% of the variance.")

    Damore uses Schmitt's research to conclude that these personality differences explain "the lower number of women in high stress jobs," the "higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist," the company's internal survey, and the fact that women earn less money—because they have "a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading."

    He ignores the possibility that high levels of sexism and sexual harassment in the tech industry contribute to women's anxiety and stress levels, rather than a simple biological inclination toward neuroticism.

    Damore misunderstands Schmitt's research, the scientist wrote on Psychology Today's website on Tuesday. It's a leap of logic, Schmitt argued, to conclude that minor differences in brain chemistry make women less apt for tech jobs than men, or to assume that those differences reasonably explain why 70 percent of Google's employees are male.

    Using someone's sex to draw conclusions about their aptitude for a job is like "surgically operating with an axe," Schmitt added.


    This much, at least, ought to be pretty straightforward.


    Bassett, Laura. "Yes, Women's Brains Are Different. And Google Needs More Of Them.". The Huffington Post. 9 August 2017. 10 August 2017.
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    So do we all.
    He was claiming that certain other people - including Google management - get it wrong, which was an apparently false claim of a familiar and stereotypical kind.

    And that false claim is fundamental to his viewpoint. His claim to having insight that other people, people significant in the matter, lack, is key to his actually writing that thing.
    The screed was a ten page fantasy based and sexist pile of disingenuity and bs without basis in reason or established evidence of anything, promulgating and enabling the ills and errors it pretends to warn against.

    The screeder was confused about the nature of the temptations ( in my terms) and his own position relative to them, and thereby a purveyor of irrational and damaging illusion-based decision criteria (among other problems with it).

    If you think the screed made any reasonable case for Google doing anything differently, we do not agree.
    No, he didn't. He made only corrupt and misleading points, such as repetitions of truisms that work as chaff to hide his thesis, and the like.
    Agreed. Had he left his thesis, the main thread of his reasoning, the bulk of his "evidence", and the major visible motive for writing his essay, out of his essay, it would have led to less rancor. Even better, it would have been much shorter - perhaps of length zero.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I think that's hit the head on the nail, as it were.

    I would argue the ideas have not been debunked, since so many* still seem to b̶e̶l̶i̶e̶v̶e̶ practice them. (arguably, the majority, since there's rampant active sexism throughout society in general and the corporate world specifically).

    Yes, ideally, the burden would be on the claimant - but in this case, I think the burden lies on the enlightened. What difference does it make if only a few know the old ideas are bunk?
    We need to have an arsenal of strong arguments directly refuting this pervasive sexism, and they need to be spread.

    This is why I was hard on Kitt. We have to do better than strawmen and anecdotes.
    We should be able to debunk this in our sleep, as easy as Creationism, the garden of Eden, and ghosts from the afterlife.
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Strong arguments have little to do with it. If they did, these obviously invalid and incoherent ten page essays would never happen - strong arguments have been in common circulation for decades.
    Uh, hello?
  12. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

  13. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Why is it that no one can read what the man said without adding to it. He didn't say there were no women in IT, he was trying to explain why there aren't more women in IT. We know the stats on this issue, less women in technology, sciences and math than there are men. Does that mean there are no bright, talented women in these fields? No. If I say men are less inclined to be nurses due to their gender role preferences (women outnumber men 10 to 1) its not a disrespect towards men, its just stating a fact. Meanwhile no one said there are no male nurses.
  14. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    Why should there be "equal representation"? What does that look like? Are you going to legislate it? One man, one woman, one gay, one black, one muslim, one lesbian and a trans for good measure? Is that really how you're supposed to find the best and brightest for any job? Its crazy. Affirmative action is really becoming problematic, instead of it being a door opening its become some weird mission to find one of each. Equality and diversity are not the same thing. Again its identity politics gone awry. There is no such thing as equal outcome so I don't see why society is pushing for that.
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Click for a love song, since that's the one that happens to go with the scene.

    I would propose you are redefining the word "debunk", which Merriam-Webster↱, for instance, defines without reference to whether or not anyone believes the debunking. "To expose the sham or falseness of", reads the definition, with no reference to those who refuse to believe.

    What you seem to be referring to is an idea of rising popularity, that facts don't matter if people would rather believe something else.

    Ask a scientist?

    Okay, okay. Less flippantly, that's a tough question because there are multiple pathway.

    If we're talking about contraception? Needle exchanges? Whether HIV even causes AIDS, or not? True, that's not exactly what we're on about, but I would propose that your question, as a matter of living function, can only be restricted to an aspect or issue in fallacy. While I get what you're after, it's a bigger answer than (ahem!) merely how people look at women.

    If we place the burden on the "believers", "practitioners", or, such as Damore's screed achieves, "accusers", look what happens—e.g., Smith, see Bassett above↑.

    As a practical reality, yes, there are people who can easily be persuaded because, let's face it, nobody really wants to spend every day of their lives immersed in acrimonious gender studies; the problem is those who, like Damore, attempt deception.

    Look, all you're asking is that society exhaust itself appealing to people who will just go through the fallacious cycle all over again. How many other corners of science would you accept that result?

    Or maybe we might skip all that and ask why you appeal to fallacy? The long-debunked theses are not debunked because argumentum ad populum?



    Bassett, Laura. "Yes, Women's Brains Are Different. And Google Needs More Of Them.". The Huffington Post. 9 August 2017. 10 August 2017.

    Merriam-Webster. "debunk". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 10 August 2017. 10 August 2017.
  16. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    No, he wasn't.
    It's not stating a fact, but avoiding an issue. We know that male nurses were common in the past, and the role was sometimes forbidden to women even in Western patriarchal culture
    Compare the "gender role preferences" that made weaving rugs a male profession in many places, but not others.

    The only "gender role preferences" visible to an outsider in these professions is a preference by men in male dominated societies to do the highest paid jobs. And this is a much more reliable clue to what men are naturally better at in any given society, according to its members, than any aspect of the job itself considered in abstract. Weaving and painting and sewing and doctoring and cooking and planting crops and taking care of animals and so forth are obviously jobs men prefer and men are naturally better at - when they pay well.
    Maybe there shouldn't be, in some cases, and should be in others for all kinds of reasons - who knows? What are you talking about?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  17. Mrs.Lucysnow Valued Senior Member

    The reason why we're talking about this is because some people believe there are not enough women in IT. Fine. The fact that there are women in IT is considered insignificant to the fact that there are MORE men in IT, hence looking for equal outcomes. Women have access to education yet there are still women who are not entering certain fields in the same number as men. So why is that the case? Is it because women are still marginalized in education? Or because men in high places are not hiring women? Does society or culture discourage them? Or is it that women are just not overwhelmingly attracted to the field which is the biological argument and exactly what this man was fired for pointing out, there are legitimate differences between men and women and it doesn't make him a misogynist for saying so. He didn't say there are no women in IT, nor did he say there shouldn't be more women in IT, nor did he say women are not in IT because they're not as smart as men. Even if there is bias within those fields women still manage to be in those fields, the question is more why women are not choosing to enter those fields. There is a study in the journal "Hormones and Behavior" where they find genetics plays a key choice in career choice.

    Career Choice Influenced by Sex Hormones
    By Rick Nauert PhD~

    A new study discovers sex hormones appear to help drive career choices as they strongly influence a person’s interests.
    “Our results provide strong support for hormonal influences on interest in occupations characterized by working with things versus people,” said Penn State researchers.
    Some occupations typically attract individuals who possess a line of interest different from the general population. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers are often included in this classification.
    In the study, researchers assessed teenagers and young adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia — a genetic condition — and their siblings who did not have CAH. People with CAH are exposed to more androgen — a type of male sex hormone — than is normal while in the uterus.Females with CAH are genetically female and are treated as females, but their interests tend to be more similar to stereotypically male ones.In the study, investigators discovered females with CAH were significantly more interested in careers related to “things” compared to careers related to “people” (as compared to females that were not exposed to CAH).

    “We took advantage of a natural experiment,” said psychologist Sheri A. Berenbaum. “We’re suggesting that these interests are pretty early developing.”

    Females without CAH had less interest than males in occupations related to things, such as engineer or surgeon, and more interest in careers focused on interacting with people, such as social worker or teacher.There was no significant difference reported between males with CAH and males without the condition.Researchers believe the normal biological absence of androgen may be a reason that fewer women choose STEM careers.

    “We found there is a biological influence on that interest toward things, so maybe women aren’t going into STEM careers because what they’re interested in — people — isn’t consistent with an interest in STEM careers,” said Beltz.

    “Maybe we could show females ways in which an interest in people is compatible with STEM careers.”

    Now why the hell is it wrong for him to use biology to explain why more women are not in IT? And what is it that you think he was saying?
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2017
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That's not a biological argument. There's no biology in it.
    The "legitimate differences" between men and women, whatever the hell that even means, are unknown to that guy, and unknown to you.
    But they don't say how or why.
    No wonder the software and engineering setups people have to use every day are so often such bizarre kludges - they come from work environments that discourage anyone focused on people (such as women with normal androgen levels) from even considering the job.

    And no wonder Google apparently has come to recognize a problem, and set about trying to solve it - it must cost them a fortune to deal with the consequences of having an entire workforce focused on things and blowing off people.

    As it costs hospitals - and the rest of us - to have a population of surgeons who regard their job as dealing with things: http://aestheticchannel.modernmedic...ine-feature-articles/most-malpractice-suits-h
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    All right.
    As long as we acknowledge that this thread is purely academic; that it does not contribute to a possible solution about the real-world problem.

    I'm usually all about the academic discussion (which is why I tend to argue the logical over the practical). I just thought that this topic seems to inspire passion enough that I'd expect people would care less about who "won" the debate (pro-sexist or pro-equivalence) and more about wanting to figure out how to fix the problem.

    But yup. Sexist myths debunked. Burden on the asserter. Thread closed?

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    You may have overlooked the real-world problem actually at hand.

    Because the ten pages of whinging that leads this thread off has made the New York Times, has become a cause cèlébre among the usual suspects, has brought the entire wingnut bs media operation swinging around in the kind of concerted effort that spells "r e l i e f": back into the Trumpfree Respectable hackysuck circlejerk of rightyranting slander and ignorance that bought their houses and second wives, back to public perorations of idiocy and insult unencumbered by even the shadow of that horrible mop of orange hair that's been haunting their only recently W-disinfected moonshine shacks.

    David Brooks has called for the CEO of Google to be fired. Andrew Sullivan has weighed in on the errors and inadequacies of feminism and Democrats, the pitfalls of such foolish "diversity" as Google has fallen prey to. These are the respectable ones, the Good Cons in the Good Con/Bad Con routine that has taken over our public discussions of everything.

    And all in the good and reasonable and adult name of - of course, as Damone assures us - avoiding divisiveness (I swear, his words), holding to principle, being "realistic" about what women are suited for and what women actually want, which turns out to be pretty much exactly what the status quo already provides

    as verified by science, which proved they - women, and people like that - have hormones.

    So that's alright, Oh Best Beloved, don't you see. For them.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Click for male supremacy.

    I don't think we can acknowledge that, as such acknowledgment glosses over the opening of this thread.

    The basic solution is for people to stop insisting on superstition about women and just get on with the human endeavor.

    In the long history of the world, one thing that seems rather quite indisputable is the proposition that more complicated notions take longer to learn than simple ideas. Fear, for instance, is instinctive. The reasons why our fears might be falsely founded are more complex. Thus it frequently arises that we should go back to the future by revisiting the terrible ideas of history. The thing about questioning everything is that at some point it becomes suicidal. That is to say, how many people really question hunger?

    A more complicated example: Whether it is economy or justice, for instance, the American conservative argument is rooted in simplicity; for all one might explain why something works the way it does, or how something can be, the easy response is to posture threat: "They're coming for your pocketbook!" cry the conservatives. Maybe, "They're coming for your guns!" Perhaps, "They're coming for your Bible!" Or, even, "They're coming to steal your children."

    We are in a time when people choose to question the basic proposition of civilized society. Damore, for instance, wants the benefits of civilized society, but really, really, really wants to dodge the obligations. That's why he recycles debunked but easy bullshit.

    And there will always be someone who complains that society didn't stop and give such bullshit extra-special attention in order to debunk it again—an act often held against them, anyway, for being elitist and such—when, in truth, the committed have no intention of caring about what reality is except to denounce it as oppressive.

    I have, in other issues, recalled the movie Airplane! If you ever saw it, I would ask you to remember the scene in which a middle-aged woman suffers a cabin-fever panic attack. The stewardess tries to calm her, but she is needed elsewhere, so the nun takes over. But the nun grabs the woman's shoulders and tries to shake it out of her. Leslie O'Neill intervenes, because, you know, he's the doctor, and ends up striking the woman in the face, throwing more blows as he is pulled away. The camera pans and shows the passengers lining up, one after another, ready to take their turn beating her, and each with greater severity, including a passenger with a gun.

    And that's kind of what it's like. There is always a joker waiting in line to start it up all over again. The Damore Screed is just the latest example. Society may not have figured out how to deal with the phenomenon, but screeching to a halt in order to accommodate the next ill-intended ignoramus in line is an exercise in futility.
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    A couple more links:

    And as long as this is a science forum and the word "realism" is on the table, an actual scientist weighs in (impressively):

    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  23. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    I don't think it is a superstition that men and women on average have different interests. No one is complaining about the lack of male kindergarten teachers or veterinarian, or the lack of female boiler makers and garbage collectors. On average there are fewer women interested in computer programing, there are individual women that are great programmers, but there is not a 50:50 ratio of men and women that apply to be computer programmers, so achieving equal and fair hiring and employment practices will not acheive a 50:50 ratio. Is this innate or sociological, a little of both perhaps, the point of Damore thesis is that this issue is beyond the realm of google to fix, and all the diversity initiatives in google hiring practices is not going to fix this and worse is wasteful and counter productive, that and a culture that is unable to handle heresy.

    If this is a problem, then we would need to target girls young, teach programing like we teach reading, universal. Look boys on average are poorer readers then girls, despite that we have extensive decades long education program that has brought even male literacy beyond 90%, so we could have more computer programming education initiatives at a lower school level.

Share This Page