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.