1. 4

  2. 10

    Anyone that didn’t see this coming needs to get new glasses.

    Aside: The HackerNews thread on this is a massive tire fire. Yikes.

    1. 2

      On the science of gender differences, I recommend reading http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/08/07/contra-grant-on-exaggerated-differences/. Do read it. The whole thing.

      1. 7

        I wasn’t expecting anything better from SSC, but:

        51% of law students are now female […] Somebody has to explain why the equal and greater negative stereotypes against women in law, medicine, etc were completely powerless, yet for some reason the negative stereotypes in engineering were the ones that took hold and prevented women from succeeding there.

        That 51% in law happened for the first time last year and was the result of – wait for it – diversity initiatives. Meanwhile the law profession itself is considered one of the least diverse with woman underrepresented in general, and even more so in higher roles.

        1. -1

          What an atrocious example of inability to do basic scientific reasoning.

        2. 2

          This is disappointing to see but not at all surprising.

          I’m disappointed because Google is going to get tons of free publicity, both internally and externally, for being a shining example of workplace diversity because they fired a drone that said bad things. Keep in mind that this is the same company trying to keep fair pay investigators out of their salary data (one, two, three) and funding the erosion of women’s and minority rights (one, two).

          I’m also disappointed because this is off topic for lobsters. It’s a gossip article with no content beyond the headline, and being about a tech company doesn’t make it appropriate to post here.

          1. 4

            Is it not related to culture? I thought that was a fair tag.

          2. 0

            Great post from SSC.

            1. 2

              This is the same link @sanxiyn posted.

              1. 1

                Sorry, somehow missed it…

              2. -1

                That hot mess is “great”? It is embarrassingly bad.

                1. 5

                  If it is so obviously bad than please share with us your constructive criticism.

                  1. 3

                    @jabberwock above points out one obvious error in logic which took some effort to pick out because the whole article is a jello bowl of nonsense. The authors thesis seems to be that the imbalance of men and women in programming is reflection of biologically determined “interests” even though there is absolutely no science supporting this moronic thesis and there is a lot of science showing societal effects.

                    This is the conclusion of the paper by Hyde cited by Adam Grant:

                    The gender similarities hypothesis stands in stark contrast to the differences model, which holds that men and women, and boys and girls, are vastly different psychologically. The gender similarities hypothesis states, instead, that males and females are alike on most— but not all—psychological variables. Extensive evidence from meta-analyses of research on gender differences supports the gender similarities hypothesis. A few notable exceptions are some motor behaviors (e.g., throwing distance) and some aspects of sexuality, which show large gender differences. Aggression shows a gender difference that is moderate in magnitude. It is time to consider the costs of overinflated claims of gender differences. Arguably, they cause harm in numerous realms, including women’s opportunities in the workplace, couple conflict and communication, and analyses of selfesteem problems among adolescents. Most important, these claims are not consistent with the scientific data.

                    the blog post you cite tries to refute or minimize this as follows:

                    Suppose I wanted to convince you that men and women had physically identical bodies. I run studies on things like number of arms, number of kidneys, size of the pancreas, caliber of the aorta, whether the brain is in the head or the chest, et cetera. 90% of these come back identical – in fact, the only ones that don’t are a few outliers like “breast size” or “number of penises”. I conclude that men and women are mostly physically similar. I can even make a statistic like “men and women are physically the same in 78% of traits”.

                    Then I go back to the person who says women have larger breasts and men are more likely to have penises, and I say “Ha, actually studies prove men and women are mostly physically identical! I sure showed you, you sexist!”

                    I’m embarrassed to quote that to make fun of it - how can you possibly find that bullshit impressive? It appears to mean: even though scientific studies show that gender differences are not as significant as widely supposed, if you are shockingly stupid, you can attempt to refute these results by pointing out that men and women are not identical. Wow! Here’s another gem:

                    Hyde found moderate or large gender differences in (and here I’m paraphrasing very scientific-sounding constructs into more understandable terms) aggressiveness, horniness, language abilities, mechanical abilities, visuospatial skills, mechanical ability, tendermindness, assertiveness, comfort with body, various physical abilities, and computer skills.

                    Lord help me: “I’m paraphrasing very scientific-sounding constructs into more understandable terms”!! for dim 13 year old boys. Listen, if you don’t have the knowledge to discuss a scientific paper, don’t. Hyde’s mention of computer skills is a reference to a widely known problem that girls estimations of their own skills decreases in high school - exactly the issue that the diversity program is supposed to address.

                    Whitley’s (1997) analysis of age trends in computer self-efficacy are revealing. In grammar school samples, d ⫽ 0.09, whereas in high school samples, d ⫽ 0.66. This dramatic trend leads to questions about what forces are at work transforming girls from feeling as effective with computers as boys do to showing a large difference in self-efficacy by high school. These examples illustrate the extent to which the magnitude of gender differences can fluctuate with age. Gender differences grow larger or smaller at different times in the life span, and meta-analysis is a powerful tool for detecting these trends. Moreover, the fluctuating magnitude of gender differences at different ages argues against the differences model and notions that gender differences are large and stable.

                    So your blogger seems to be reasoning: Google has a program to address the imbalance of men and women in computer programming; studies show that there is an imbalance that gets worse in high school; therefore - by the principle of making shit up - the imbalance is some natural fact that Google should not try to correct! Can we get more witless than that? Apparently because this blog post goes on to show a basic misunderstanding of statistics, history, and society. In fact it reads like the standard wingnut pontificating crappy sci-fi books or Ayn Rand. John Galt’s speech plus some snickering about breasts - no surprise.

                    1. 5

                      Thanks for taking the time to reply.

                      I see that we differ quite strongly on this.

                      In my opinion SSC summarised that meta-analysis quite well. That’s are in fact 22% characteristics in which sexes do differ moderately or strongly. Which anyone can see in the paper.

                      Are those differences source of significantly smaller number female programmers? I have no idea. But as other studies linked to by SSC show this might be due to something well before school.

                      SSC also shows that women are as confident as man in their computer abilities.

                      To be honest I don’t think you should be calling that post as “embarrassingly bad”. SSC might be wrong on this but at least he tried to research the topic. Which can’t be said about many one line posts asking Google to fire that guy. Which is my main point - even if SSC is wrong his post shows that this topic is not as clear as some people would like us to believe - maybe firing anyone in this case wasn’t such a good idea?

                      1. 1

                        Nobody denies there are differences between men and women. The question is whether there is evidence of differences that make things like Google’s diversity program foolhardy or harmful. And the answer is clearly that there is no such evidence. SSC didn’t try to research a topic - he imposed a repellent ideological agenda on top of scientific research he clearly does not understand.

              3. 1

                Can’t wait for tomorrow’s post about his new job, and what it means for his new company, and why we should boycott them, and why the boycotters are wrong.

                1. [Comment from banned user removed]

                  1. 3

                    Your perspective seems to be that whatever this guy did, he did the right thing. Do you happen to know that Google does not have a process for bringing up issues like this? Or that the author followed the process if it does exist? Even if the author’s points were valid, that does not mean they went about communicating them in a way that is appropriate for the organization.