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    Say what you will about the USSR, they made an effort to remove sexism, at least publicly, from the very beginning. From almost the very beginning of the regime (starting in 1918), women were allowed into every school that men were allowed into. Here in the US, the Ivy League (except Cornell) didn’t amid women until 1969.

    That legacy probably helped somewhat, I would imagine.

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      If only they had the same progressiveness towards LGBT people

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      According to Unesco, 29% of people in scientific research worldwide are women, compared with 41% in Russia.

      This is interesting and surprising data, so I checked the source, UNESCO Institute for Statistics. I found regional data more interesting:

      • 47% Central Asia
      • 45% Latin America and the Caribbean
      • 40% Arab States
      • 40% Central and Eastern Europe
      • 32% North America and Western Europe
      • 30% Sub-Saharan Africa
      • 29% World
      • 23% East Asia and the Pacific
      • 19% South and West Asia

      Certainly not what you have guessed.

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        It doesn’t correlate with an area’s “progressivism”, as far as gender roles, feminism, diversity training, &c.

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          I’m not even sure which countries fall within these regions! Russia must span at least a few of them on its own!

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            I didn’t know either, so I looked it up. Russia is categorized as Central and Eastern Europe. (You can see the other regions there, too).

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          Long story short? Poverty. When your chances of marrying into la dolce vita are slim to none, you start studying the hard stuff so you get a shot at getting in a well paid industry.

          Based on interviews with 11,500 girls and young women across Europe, it finds their interest in these subjects drops dramatically at 15, with gender stereotypes, few female role models, peer pressure and a lack of encouragement from parents and teachers largely to blame.

          Role models are largely an US cultural construct. It’s unusual to be driven by emulation in Europe.

          The “lack of encouragement from parents and teachers” is a joke. What you see in rich countries is a lack of economical pressure. While in Italy you can get by just fine with a high-school degree, in eastern Europe you need an university degree to get a real shot at extracting yourself from poverty.

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            Role models are largely an US cultural construct. It’s unusual to be driven by emulation in Europe.

            Hmm… I don’t know much about Europe but in the US and Japan many people’s actions are pretty well define s by what the mob or people in the spotlight believes should be done. It’s not necessarily that you have a single role model that you attach yourself to but being shown something like Elon Musk making a bunch of money and then creating a bunch to successful moonshot companies is something people aspire towards. Does something like this not happen in Europe? I feel like it’s human nature to be inspired by the people around you whether they’re close to you or far and significant. Kind of like how America has this culture where apps can solve problems, because they’ve seen that apps can solve problems in their day to day lives and they’ve lived through apps becoming hit sensations overnight.

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              Role models are largely an US cultural construct. It’s unusual to be driven by emulation in Europe.

              ‘Role models’ is a wider psychological concept; it’s not just about copying famous people you admire. Here’s a short blog post introducing the concept; it applies to more than just children, of course. Excerpt:

              Individuals that are observed are called models. In society, children are surrounded by many influential models, such as parents within the family, characters on children’s TV, friends within their peer group and teachers at school. Theses models provide examples of behavior to observe and imitate, e.g. masculine and feminine, pro and anti-social etc.

              Children pay attention to some of these people (models) and encode their behavior. At a later time they may imitate (i.e. copy) the behavior they have observed. They may do this regardless of whether the behavior is ‘gender appropriate’ or not, but there are a number of processes that make it more likely that a child will reproduce the behavior that its society deems appropriate for its gender.

              First, the child is more likely to attend to and imitate those people it perceives as similar to itself. Consequently, it is more likely to imitate behavior modeled by people of the same gender.

              Second, the people around the child will respond to the behavior it imitates with either reinforcement or punishment. If a child imitates a model’s behavior and the consequences are rewarding, the child is likely to continue performing the behavior. If parent sees a little girl consoling her teddy bear and says “what a kind girl you are”, this is rewarding for the child and makes it more likely that she will repeat the behavior. Her behavior has been reinforced (i.e. strengthened).

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              If people are different, as we know they are, and free to choose, as they should be. Why then do we expect equivalent outcome for different groups?

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                Because although the different outcome could be due to intrinsic differences between the groups (and we know they have differences), the different outcome can also be due to differences in how the two groups are treated (and we know they are treated differently).

                Why stop at the first explanation you can think of? There are many explanations possible: try to keep them all in mind, and accord to each the weight of its evidence

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                  Because although the different outcome could be due to intrinsic differences between the groups (and we know they have differences), the different outcome can also be due to differences in how the two groups are treated (and we know they are treated differently).

                  The way you put it supports disregarding both possibilities. It could be individual differences, or it could be differences in treatment.

                  You’re basically just assuming that it’s the latter, and that it’s a problem that needs to be somehow addressed at a collective level, which seems like quite a stretch, considering it could also not be about differences in treatment.

                  Also, if it’s desirable to have just as many women in tech as there are men, why wouldn’t it be desirable to have equal proportions in all other professions as well?

                  What is being done about nursing being dominated by women? It COULD be because men are discriminated against!

                  Or it could be that in reality, gender distribution in various fields is actually a non-issue.

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                    The way you put it supports disregarding both possibilities. It could be individual differences, or it could be differences in treatment.

                    I did that because I want to address the problem in the reasoning. I do, indeed,

                    Or it could be that in reality, gender distribution in various fields is actually a non-issue.

                    Am I right that your underlying question is why I perceive skewed gender distribution as an issue? That is a fair question, and deserves a straight answer.

                    Like you, I do not perceive a skewed gender distribution as an intrinsic problem: as you say, people are free to make their choices. Then why do I worry when I see it? Because as far as I can tell, gender skew is very often caused by some property of the society – not of the individuals! – that discourages one group from joining or staying in a field. And here, there is a chance to maximise happiness: remove a stricture of society, and make it more likely that each individual joins the field that makes them happiest.

                    I will also support the main pillar of my argument above: why do I believe gender skew is very often caused by some property of the society – not of the individuals? It comes from a pattern that you see repeated throughout the twentieth century. Remove a property of the system that allows gender to influence whether someone joins, and you find the proportion of the underrepresented gender increases. Hold blind auditions for orchestras? % of female professional musicians increases. Remove names and ages from resumés? % of women, foreigners, and older people hired increases. This pattern has repeated itself so often that my first instinct, when I see a gender imbalance, is to look for properties of the society that could cause that. If I don’t find one, all the better; but if I do, why not try to remove it, and make sure more people end up in the field that makes them happiest? It will certainly do no harm.

                    P.s. Regarding men in nursing: let me Google that for you. I focus on tech because it is the topic of this post, and also because I myself work in a technological field.

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                      Hold blind auditions for orchestras? % of female professional musicians increases.

                      I don’t believe that actually happens. You can find plenty of totally biased “liberal” studies to support the standard social justice non-issues people use for virtue-signalling, trolling, and contributing to the divide & conquer circus consuming the Western world.

                      Remove names and ages from resumés? % of women, foreigners, and older people hired increases.

                      Why would companies do that? -Just to participate in some liberal study arranged to “prove” discrimination?

                      This pattern has repeated itself so often that my first instinct, when I see a gender imbalance, is to look for properties of the society that could cause that

                      Surely you’re campaigning for gender parity in plumbing too!

                      I didn’t appreciate the condescending LMGTFY there, and I won’t Google this for you, but there are differences in the overall intelligence levels between genders.

                      Men tend to be both dumber and smarter, and women tend towards the mean. Even that alone explains the gender disparity in tech well enough. It’s just politically incorrect to bring it up.

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                        I don’t believe that actually happens.

                        Most of the stuff the modern left is pushing leaves me scratching my head, but the specific case of blind auditions for orchestras is one only requires junior school numeracy and widely-available data to verify (only a correlation but it’s a hell of a big one).

                        You can find plenty of totally biased “liberal” studies to support the standard social justice non-issues people use for virtue-signalling

                        I’m not going to dispute that this happens, but once you’re willing to disregard studies on the basis that their findings don’t suit your notions of the world, you have left the path of reason.

                        I’m well aware that this applies equally well to the social justice movement - but I’d ask you to think carefully about whether the sentiment you’ve expressed is a helpful way to think about the world.

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                          Oh it’s you again, responding on behalf of someone else, with another mildly hostile and irrational post!

                          I’ll ask again, have I said something to upset you?

                          I’m not going to dispute that this happens, but once you’re willing to disregard studies on the basis that their findings don’t suit your notions of the world, you have left the path of reason.

                          Suppose you knew that 50% of all carrots are poisonous and will kill you. Would you insist that refusing to eat any carrots meant that you’d have left the path of reason?

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                            I’m responding on my own behalf, because I value the health of the community I’m part of.

                            I’ve explained amply downthread why your behavior is out of line with the norms of the community.

                            Suppose you knew that 50% of all carrots are poisonous and will kill you. Would you insist that refusing to eat any carrots meant that you’d have left the path of reason?

                            Your example really only makes sense because you’ve blown both the danger, the relative safety of alternatives, and the difficulty of discerning good from bad out of proportion.

                            Firstly, you’re presumably suggesting that you’ll eat something other than carrots (rather than starve). In this analogy, that would be ‘safe’ studies that agree with your worldview, unlike the ‘poisonous’ ones that disagree with it.

                            Secondly, the relative harm of accepting N new incorrect conclusions vs holding onto M existing incorrect conclusions is hardly comparable to life and death.

                            Thirdly, bad papers don’t look that much like good ones (unlike poisonous vegetables, which presumably look the same as safe ones). Many citations I read have glaring issues within the first page (I’d agree with your 50% number!) - obvious sampling bias, small populations, etc.

                            In short, I’m mildly hostile towards you because you persist in posting poorly-reasoned bullshit that is easy but time-consuming to refute to a community that’s managed to keep a good SNR to date.

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                              Your example really only makes sense because you’ve blown both the danger, the relative safety of alternatives, and the difficulty of discerning good from bad out of proportion.

                              Here’s roughly the same example, in a more directly related way:

                              If you know that 50% of all studies produced by Academia are biased/goal-seeked/nonsense, would refusing to accept the conclusions of all studies produced by Academia mean that you’ve left the path of reason?

                              In reality, the percentage is most likely closer to 80%. I doubt there’s a study on that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not actually true.

                              On a related note, here’s an example of what passes for science these days: https://www.corbettreport.com/un-warning-just-3-years-left-to-save-the-earth/

                              In short, I’m mildly hostile towards you because you persist in posting poorly-reasoned bullshit

                              That’s just like, your opinion, man. From my point of view, you seemed to have a problem with me personally, and difficulties in identifying actual ways of figuring out the truth.

                              you’re willing to disregard studies on the basis that their findings don’t suit your notions of the world

                              Actually, I’m disregarding studies on the basis that most studies are bullshit. If you already thought most of them were actually bullshit, why would you chastise me for disregarding them?

                              Do you, in fact, have a problem with poorly reasoned bullshit?

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                                From my point of view, you seemed to have a problem with me personally.

                                I can’t argue with how my words have impacted you.

                                I can honestly say I have no personal quarrel with you; I’m not sure there’s more assurance I could offer. I feel like the discussion is starting to get pretty good.

                                Here’s roughly the same example, in a more directly related way:

                                That’s a perfectly good example that illustrates your point clearly.

                                In reality, the percentage is most likely closer to 80%. I doubt there’s a study on that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not actually true.

                                One number or another; we’re in broad-strokes agreement that you can’t trust everything you read.

                                Actually, I’m disregarding studies on the basis that most studies are bullshit. If you already thought most of them were actually bullshit, why would you chastise me for disregarding them?

                                There’s a world of difference between ‘most studies are bullshit’ and ‘the studies referenced by someone disagreeing with me are probably bullshit and don’t require checking’.

                                If someone makes a claim you disagree with, ask for a source. When they give you one, show them why it’s bullshit.

                                By doing so, you can be more effective in advancing your own perspective (by demolishing poorly-supported opposing arguments) and you can (now and then) also discover holes in your own understanding.

                                For instance, in the case of blind auditions in orchestras, the canonical source is summarized here with the full text here.

                                This took me less than 5 minutes to find; the summary explains enough about the method to get a reasonable picture of how likely it is to pan out; the full article

                                On a related note, here’s an example of what passes for science these days: https://www.corbettreport.com/un-warning-just-3-years-left-to-save-the-earth/

                                That’s a video (not science) referring to a guardian article (journalism, not science) about a UN officials letter (politics, not science).

                                The video opens by fabricating quotes that aren’t present in the article (“save the world” vs “stop the worst effects”). It goes on to skip linking to it or otherwise make it easy to fact-check its claims (bad journalism).

                                The guardian article quotes from a letter (also without a link, bad Guardian) and adds a bunch of irrelevant fluff. Would’ve done better to just publish the letter.

                                I track down the letter published in nature; it doesn’t present any sources, but links to a blog post summarizing a report that integrates the findings of three working groups and two special reports…

                                None of this is science. This is (low-quality, partisan) journalism from Corbett & Guardian.

                                Do you, in fact, have a problem with poorly reasoned bullshit?

                                In the world at large? Not really; that’s just how people live.

                                On this particular discussion forum we’ve managed to largely avoid it, and a large part of that is refuting it when it gets posted.

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                                  That’s a perfectly good example that illustrates your point clearly.

                                  And it matches the carrot analogue well.

                                  There’s a world of difference between ‘most studies are bullshit’ and ‘the studies referenced by someone disagreeing with me are probably bullshit and don’t require checking’.

                                  Well no. The former implies the latter, and so, there’s no real problem with the latter.

                                  If someone makes a claim you disagree with, ask for a source. When they give you one, show them why it’s bullshit.

                                  Demanding sources is usually just a way to shut down a discussion, to silence someone you disagree with.

                                  Showing why a study is bullshit might be difficult or impossible, or just not worth the trouble, especially if your “opponent” won’t listen to you anyway. This is all just part of why people should rely less on studies and more on reasoning and logic.

                                  For instance, in the case of blind auditions in orchestras, the canonical source is summarized here with the full text here.

                                  From the paper:

                                  Although some of our estimates have large standard errors and there is one persistent effect in the opposite direction, the weight of the evidence suggests that the blind audition procedure fostered im- partiality in hiring

                                  In other words, they start by admitting that their study is bullshit.

                                  This took me less than 5 minutes to find; the summary explains enough about the method to get a reasonable picture of how likely it is to pan out; the full article

                                  But you didn’t notice it was bullshit? And you’re lecturing me about using sources?

                                  The video opens by fabricating quotes that aren’t present in the article (“save the world” vs “stop the worst effects”).

                                  And you’re oblivious to humour and sarcasm?

                                  See, this is where I conclude that you’re trolling, aaand we’re done here.

                                  Do us both a favour and don’t respond to any of my future messages.

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                                    Do us both a favour and don’t respond to any of my future messages.

                                    While we’re at it, please don’t respond to any of my messages.

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                                      See, this is where I conclude that you’re trolling, aaand we’re done here.

                                      That’s unfortunate - I felt like we were starting to get close to an understanding.

                                      Well no. The former implies the latter, and so, there’s no real problem with the latter.

                                      That assumes that whoever is citing a source didn’t (e.g.) read it to check that it supports their position (ok, that might be more common than I’d like).

                                      Demanding sources is usually just a way to shut down a discussion, to silence someone you disagree with.

                                      Is a discussion full of unsubstantiated claims really such a valuable thing to save? Let it be shut down.

                                      especially if your “opponent” won’t listen to you anyway

                                      I don’t understand why you would engage in discussion with someone who disagrees with you if you didn’t think the other person might change their view.

                                      In other words, they start by admitting that their study is bullshit.

                                      I think this is a real point of difference between how you and I reason about statistical results.

                                      When a study doesn’t include a section summarizing their own contrary results, I tend to suspect incompetence or data fabrication.

                                      I suspect this because when measuring many small effects with some jitter, it’s vanishingly unlikely (0.95 ^ number of effects) that the data collected won’t contain any ‘reverse’ effects (like the one called out here).

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                            don’t believe that actually happens. You can find plenty of totally biased “liberal” studies to support the standard social justice non-issues people use for virtue-signalling, trolling, and contributing to the divide & conquer circus consuming the Western world.

                            Denial of empirical evidence on the basis of ideological gibberish stuffed with meaningless slogans. I love “virtue signalling” which is a pre-packaged ad-hominem attack on people who make any moral arguments at all.

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                          The way you put it supports disregarding both possibilities.

                          That’s how trying to figure out the truth works.

                          You’re basically just assuming that it’s the latter

                          What? Either I’m blind, @sietsebb edited their comment, or you are engaging in pure fabrication. There’s nothing in the parent post to support that claim.

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                            Have I said something to upset you?

                            The way you put it supports disregarding both possibilities.

                            That’s how trying to figure out the truth works.

                            Well, the truth isn’t discovered by disregarding it, and its opposite.

                            What? Either I’m blind, @sietsebb edited their comment, or you are engaging in pure fabrication.

                            The comment has actually been edited. I don’t remember what exactly it said before, but the guy he’s responding to suggested that maybe the reason there are fewer women in tech is just because people[1] are different, which is of course the real reason behind it.

                            [1] More specifically, boys and girls are different, and biologically wired to be inclined to have different interests, aligned with their gender roles in procreation and survival.

                            This guy acknowledged that could be the case, but went on to insinuate that maybe it’s not, i.e. maybe it’s because of discrimination. That’s what I was responding to.

                            I did have a point too, which you’ve ignored for some reason.

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                              This guy acknowledged that could be the case, but went on to insinuate that maybe it’s not, i.e. maybe it’s because of discrimination.

                              You claimed there was a single, correct explanation for a phenonema. When it was pointed out that other explanations cannot be ruled out by available evidence, you argued that they were pushing a political agenda instead of accepting that there isn’t enough evidence to make a hard call.

                              On most of the internet, that level of debate doesn’t bother me in the slightest; I’ll continue to rail against it within this community for awhile yet.

                              Have I said something to upset you?

                              You have lowered the standard of debate within this community. Long-form text allows ample time to engage with ideas you disagree with on their flaws without the need to put words into your opponents mouths. Rather than posting ‘I disagree with this’, understand that your arguments are imperfect; build your arguments on the basis of explicit assumptions (eg “if we accept that the differences are biological, gender equality is a fools errand”).

                              [1] More specifically, boys and girls are different, and biologically wired to be inclined to have different interests, aligned with their gender roles in procreation and survival.

                              I don’t believe this is a falsifiable claim (at least, not with an experiment that would pass ethics approval at a reputable university). It’s certainly plausible, and seems likely to me, but that’s not the same thing.

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                                instead of accepting that there isn’t enough evidence to make a hard call.

                                And that’s what worked both ways. If you have two theories, and discard them both, you’re left with no theories, and that’s not “how figuring out the truth works”.

                                You have lowered the standard of debate within this community.

                                Oh come on, Mr. “that’s how figuring out the truth works”.

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                                  And that’s what worked both ways. If you have two theories, and discard them both, you’re left with no theories, and that’s not “how figuring out the truth works”.

                                  I’ve clearly misread something completely.

                                  You replied to Sietsebb, who pointed out that both theories are plausible. That’s doesn’t allow you to discard either of them!

                                  Was someone specifically discarding both theories here (or even forwarding an argument that could lead to doing so)? If so, who? If not, I fail to see how your comment is adding anything to the discussion.

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                                    You replied to Sietsebb, who pointed out that both theories are plausible. That’s doesn’t allow you to discard either of them!

                                    Here’s what he originally said:

                                    Because although the different outcome could be due to intrinsic differences between the groups (and we know they have differences), the different outcome can also be due to differences in how the two groups are treated (and we know they are treated differently).

                                    Here’s my original response:

                                    The way you put it supports disregarding both possibilities. It could be individual differences, or it could be differences in treatment.

                                    Only two possible explanations were presented, both were said to apply (to some extent), and neither was offered as the decisive factor.

                                    Here’s your original response to that:

                                    That’s how trying to figure out the truth works.

                                    .. How did that make sense?

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                                      Because when you care about correctness (truth) you have to include uncertainty in your mental model of the world.

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                                        I’m pretty sure you understand that the case we’ve been discussing was left with nothing but uncertainty, which I’m sure you understand was not an example of how figuring out the truth works.

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                                          (I’m not the downvoter, either.) You are overlooking part of the sentence. I’ve bolded it.

                                          There are many explanations possible: try to keep them all in mind, and accord to each the weight of its evidence.

                                          That leaves you with more than only uncertainty.

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                                            Not sure why someone (not me) has downvoted you here - this is a perfectly good comment.

                                            I think this is the crux of our disagreement, though. Sometimes, uncertainty is the only valid conclusion you can draw from the available data.

                                            That’s the price of correctness; picking an answer because you need a conclusion is how you get bullshit.

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                                  Only addressing the point about editing, because I wouldn’t want people to think I was bait-and-switching: my edit was to tinker with my phrasing, no changes in the substance.

                                  Also, my last edit was four hours before your reply, so it won’t have affected your response.

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                          Kudos to a geographical area for successfully encouraging women into tech!

                          in Russia, even the very youngest were extremely focused on the fact that their future employment opportunities were more likely to be rooted in Stem subjects

                          Ah, Putin. That crafty old bastard! He made sure Russia remained a shithole, so that people would take their future employment opportunities seriously, so that more women would go into tech!

                          Well played, Sir. Well played.

                          While Russia is doing something right, it’s still not there yet in terms of gender parity.

                          Sadly, though quite masterful, Putin’s performance is still somewhat lacking in terms of making everyone have the exact same interests regardless of differences in gender and intelligence and, say, personality.