Diversity: Maybe Google’s worst fears will come true

Lots of people are now saying that the king is a fink*. A friend kindly offers some useful update links on the subject:

Neuroscientist Debra Soh defends Damore. No surprise, she is also not a fan of the marchin’, marchin’ pussyhats for science and has warned about the danger of fad post-modern concepts like intersectionality invading science and just plain stompin’ down hard on fact.

Prof. Jordan B. Peterson of the University of Toronto interviewed James Damore:

Peterson is controversial in Canada because he has an aversion to publicly funded oppression and insanity.

Then there is “Google Memo: Four scientists respond,” more or less supporting Damore’s right to think about the question of biological differences. Right or wrong, they sound like they are free of PC diversity yap-yap.

Damore had internal support from many employees, it turns out, who must now keep clear of house snitches. From Wired: “But the internal discussions that followed Damore’s memo and its fallout show Google employees both embracing and advancing its views. Damore himself indicated that his former coworkers had reached out privately to express ‘their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues.’” Wired also did oppo research on Damore.

An earlier stage of the controversy involved massive misrepresentation in dying traditional media of what engineer Damore actually said. That, of course, tells us why so many traditional media of record are suffering so much. They cannot imagine getting the story right anymore, as opposed to getting it Correct.

Tia Ghose’s piece at LiveScience, Google Manifesto: Does Biology Explain Gender Disparities in Tech? is a masterpiece of misdirection, as she tries to chip away at some pretty obvious facts about differences, on average, between men and women.

By the way, why do people who find the similarities and differences between life forms so informative for interpreting evolution join the witch hunt when differences between males and females come up?

At Slate, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein dumps on evolutionary psychology:

Stop Equating “Science” With Truth: Evolutionary psychology is just the most obvious example of science’s flaws.

Most saliently in the context of the Google memo, our scientific educations almost never talk about the invention of whiteness and the invention of race in tandem with the early scientific method which placed a high value on taxonomies—which unsurprisingly and almost certainly not coincidentally supported prevailing social views. The standard history of science that is taught to budding scientists is that during the Enlightenment, Europe went from the dark ages to, well, being enlightened by a more progressive mindset characterized by objective “science.” It is the rare scientific education that includes a simultaneous conversation about the rise of violent, imperialist globalization during the same time period. Very few curricula acknowledge that some European scientific “discoveries” were in fact collations of borrowed indigenous knowledge. And far too many universally call technology progress while failing to acknowledge that it has left us in a dangerously warmed climate.

Much of the science that resulted from this system, conducted primarily by white men, is what helped teach us that women were the inferior sex.

Prescod-Weinstein must have been educated in a system where teaching literal history is forbidden. Otherwise, she would know that from time immemorial, women were considered the inferior sex. It would not have been possible for white European colonialists to better the widespread oppression, which was—as a matter of fact—usually worse than what was happening in Europe at the same time. You know, foot-binding, female genital mutilation, widow-burning, etc. Oh, but wait, we don’t study history anymore, do we?

Yes, evolutionary psychology is bunk. But not because it tries to study actual differences between men and women today, rather because it invents untraceable palaeolithic tales to explain modern trends. That distinction would be lost on a post-modern, of course.

We don’t quarrel with Prescod-Weinstein saying this: “Science’s greatest myth is that it doesn’t encode bias and is always self-correcting.” But we somehow doubt she would be very interested in following that train of thought very far.

Anyway, they are all missing the point: People want an honest discussion of differences between men and women that isn’t promptly shut down by Jackboot Enterprises or We’ll Fix U — with help in both cases from their assorted flunkies and lackeys, paid, freelance, or volunteer.

If the rest of us must finally choose between them and honest, witch hunt-free discussions, maybe they should look to their options.

See also: Delicious Irony at Google, or Do We Need to Bring Some Swooning Couches in Here? (Barry Arrington)

* See the Wizard of Id cartoons.

  • Thinking From First Principles

    I have taught the scientific method and along the way I actually had to learn it properly. Equating taxonomies with science is a falsehood. Science is not about taxonomies. Science is about objective knowledge … truly objective knowledge. Observations are made. We then develop one or more hypotheses that can explains the observations. The hypotheses have to be testable to be legitimately scientific. We then make predictions from these hypotheses, and collect data that establish the predictions as correct, or incorrect. When the predictions fail, the hypothesis is falsified – judged incorrect, or incomplete. When the predictions are correct, we establish that the hypothesis has predictive power as far as it has been tested – nothing more. Most anything can be examined scientifically, leading to objective knowledge that provides useful predictions of what to expect within the limits of testing. Very often, we need to extrapolate beyond those limits and that is where our knowledge may fail us. Work being done in fields like evolutionary psychology should be judged on whether they rigorously document the scientific method in action – observations, hypotheses, predictions, and outcomes.

  • Spatchcocked

    The good Professor Peterson makes me proud to be his countryman.

    • Bla Bla

      I’d vote for him if he were to run for Prime Minister.

    • Waffle

      The more I see of this guy, the more I like him. For one thing, he speaks Plain unadulterated English and doesn’t use of a lot of high-falutin’ words that are meant to obscure rather than illuminate. This interview is night and day compared to yesterday’s one with Stephen Molyneux.

    • A Hamilton Guy

      He’s the kind I’d enjoy sharing a pint with.

  • Bla Bla

    Postmodern science is nothing more than the reemergence of that old soviet standby, Lysenko-ism.

    • Bla Bla

      or… phrenology… lol

  • Liberal Progressive

    We Liberals put diversity as a high priority as long as we all agree on the issues and their answers.

  • seaoh

    the answer to googles problem is so simple i’m surprised the geniuses at google haven’t figured it out yet.

    Gender is fluid as we know so just get 1/3 of all the IT humans who currently identify as male and tell them that they are now female.

    Bonus: since everyone knows women make 20% less than men for the same work Google can cut the of salary of the newly “female” IT specialists by 20% while they search for a H 1 B holder from India to replace them for half as much money