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How Society Creates Ability

2017 August 7
by Ian Welsh

Let’s start with biological sex and the differences between men and women.

There are obvious differences, in size and upper body strength. There are large differences in some of the senses, such as taste and smell (women tend to be far more acute).

Other differences appear biological, but this is not as clear cut as it seems, because socialization feeds into biology.

A simple example is that people raised under constant stress have differences in their brains from people who aren’t raised under constant stress.

So let’s take a simple claim: Men are better at math. Seems straightforward, quite robust, but it turns out that in Iceland, which is very egalitarian, young women are now outperforming young men.

There is a well-known effect in the social sciences that runs as follows: People who feel inferior, perform worse. This is quite robust. Tell someone they suck, or that they are lower on the totem pole, and they will do worse by pretty much every metric.

So, if you live in a society where men are widely considered superior to women (and let’s not pretend our societies aren’t like this), then that will have an effect. If this goes on as people grow up, it’s unlikely that this effect won’t get baked into brain and body.

Take another standard observation: Women are more prone to anxiety and neuroticism.

The problem with this is that women live in societies where they are less powerful than men, have less money, and are less violently proficient, when violence is often used as coercion.

Put more brutally: They live amongst a bunch of potential rapists who are larger and stronger than them.

So, they’re under constant stress, a point which I don’t think many men truly understand. That constant fear has effects on the brain and body; again, if you’re constantly exposed to stress, you actually become more sensitive to it.

The point here is that it is very hard to determine what is “natural” and what is “social.” We can say, “This is natural in this sort of society,” but that can’t be used as a reason not to change society.

What we do know, I hope, is that it sucks to be scared and it sucks to be told you’re inferior, and that underperforming not because you are inferior but because you’ve been told you are, is unfair and a stupid way for us to run our society.

This feeds into a lot of different things, but the simplest is the misunderstanding of fitness to mean “winning in the current scheme.”

IQ correlates well to success in our society, so we say, “They’re smarter, they deserve success.” But IQ correlates well to success in society because it correlates to two things: (1) academic success, which gates almost all the good jobs in our lives, and; (2) verbal and cultural fluency in the dominant culture, which are necessary to get ahead as well.

In other words, we’ve created a society which says, “If you have a high IQ, we will let you have good jobs.” Well yes, that’s how we made it, it’s not independent. (The getting along with the dominant culture may always be with us, but that doesn’t mean we should always approve of it as a necessity, nor try not to mitigate it.)

Fitness, in racial terms, is actually about being able to survive changes in the environment. Fit species are diverse, and able to adapt, and if a species loses diversity, it is less likely to survive changes.

Much of our environment, as humans, is social. But society changes. The cluster of skills which make up IQ weren’t always highly valued, rather the contrary. Brave-to-the-point-of-insanity dunderheads were what many feudal and aristocratic societies wanted (reading 19th century British colonial military biographies makes this clear). Right now, geeks rule, but when I was growing up they sure as heck didn’t (and their rule, today, is somewhat exaggerated).

These periods come and go. There was a time in the 19th and early 20th century when geeks (actual engineers and scientists) did very well, seeming to rule the roost. Edison is a good example. But as the industries they had invented became mature, they were forced out and down. This took time, but basically after about 40 to 80 years, the engineers become nothing but tools of management: The money men and social glad-handers will eventually take over.

What you’re good at is at least 50 percent due to a simple luck of the draw (arguably entirely, as you didn’t choose your parents, and thus when or where you were born). At that point any genetic endowment you may have (innate ability) meets the environment, and the environment has the final say, in almost all cases, about how well that endowment flourishes, and certainly about how well it is rewarded.

Most of what seems like merit, in other words, is luck. If you have it, be grateful. If it’s rewarded, be even more grateful.

And don’t assume you know exactly which is which.

Those who have been lucky, and thus have merit in a society or environment, should recognize their luck, and be humble, knowing how little it had to do with them. And if you want a metric upon which to measure your life, perhaps it could be how much good you have done divided by how much “merit” you have.

By this measure, the rich are rarely worth saving, because as studies show, the poor give more compared to what they have than the rich do.

That fact should be chewed on very carefully.


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88 Responses leave one →
  1. August 7, 2017

    It is better to say that money goes to the people that the people who are like by people w/money.

  2. The Stephen Miller Band permalink
    August 7, 2017

    Even though IQ correlates with “Success,” it isn’t a predictor of “Success.” This guy has it right. FYI, I’m not saying being Smart, having a High IQ and having self-control as variables for “Success” is a good thing. Humanity is wrestling with some rather serious & dire existential issues that may consume it in the end, and this dire situation was inculcated precisely because of what we refer to as “Progress” & “Success.”

    It has been my observation that moderate “Success” is attained by compliant acquiescence to Authority. Significant “Success” is the ability to manipulate that equation and maximize it to one’s favor more often than not. That penchant for Radical Manipulation is psychopathy. There we have it — the 10% Radical Manipulators manipulating the 80% Compliant Acquiescencers while the 10% Objective & Independent watch in horror as the nightmare unfolds.

    Does IQ predict success?

    But interestingly, there is one thing that does appear to predict success, and not doing it tends to predict lack of success. Before I tell you what it is, I’ll tell you how it was discovered.

    The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, usually just called the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, is long term statistical study of 1037 people born in one particular year (1972/3) in Dunedin, New Zealand. It covers every demographic, and has worked hard to retain study members since that time. It’s probably the only research of its kind that has been attempted on this scale, and it has revealed many things that were previously conjectured but had no hard evidence for, as well as many surprises.

    Because it covers so many aspects of the study members’ lives, it provides a huge wealth of data that can answer many questions that perhaps were not part of its original aim. The question of whether IQ predicts success is exactly the kind of thing it can provide hard evidence for.

    And the Dunedin study has shown that IQ is quite definitely not a predictor of success. But one thing in childhood and teenage did correlate strongly with success in later life, and this is self control. People who were self-disciplined from an early age went on to do well. Those who lacked this did not, regardless of their intelligence. Since this finding, other studies have begun to show the same results, so it’s not something unique to people only from Dunedin. As we know, correlation is not causation, but the finding is remarkably correlated, whereas IQ is not at all. So the hunt is on to find out if self control is the cause, or whether both are indicative of some other factor in common.

  3. Willy permalink
    August 7, 2017

    Would it be possible to analyze the Roman Empire comparing every possible human inspired cultural value one could think of, for the year 100 vs year 410? Then do the same for Greek, British, Mayan civilizations…. at their high and low points. I’d think one could determine then give simple scores to variables such as ‘respect for reality’ or ‘common integrity’. Lengthy verbal descriptions can be accurate but tend to blur the vision of all the causal variables leading to debates and eventually, brawls. And there were always ‘acts of God’ but I’d think that could be factored as well.

    I can’t imagine the Romans of Year 100 would have simply cowered as the Visigoths sacked their city the way they did in 410. Obviously many cultural and leadership variables were quite different.

  4. s-b-t permalink
    August 7, 2017

    Long-time lurker, sometime donor, and first-time-ever comment here.

    Excellent analysis on various points: differences between the biological sexes, the meaning of “fitness,” use of the phrase “dominant culture” which I think most people just don’t understand, the evolution of the segment of society most-appreciated by the dominant culture and how that changes over time.

    Just a bunch of compliments to you really, Ian. Well done. 🙂

  5. August 7, 2017

    Depends on how you define success. I can speak personally to a high Mensa score as no predictor of success in the generally accepted vernacular. Nor the Master of Science (Mad Scientist, please) a profitable monetary return on the investment. Safe to say I lost my ass on that. But I regularly see news loval newsbroadcasts that the week before were blog postings at my place. I’m an active participant in my grandchildren’s education, a half home school thing and it shows. Involved in the community from community radio to expanding the parks system to an increasingly strident public concern that not knowing how big our aquifer nor how to even measure it perhaps brewing billions of gallons of beer is… imprudent.

    Not making a lot of money but…

  6. August 7, 2017

    “and let’s not pretend our societies aren’t like this”

    There’s no need to pretend, when men are far, far more likely to be the victim of a violent crime yet we get a Violence Against Women Act, which a Congress that can’t agree on anything renews continuously; women have an average life expectancy five years longer yet there are multiple federal agencies devoted to women’s health and none to men’s; women are 58% of college students and are far less likely to drop out of high school yet all we hear about is making our educational system friendlier for them; 95% of people killed at work are men yet all we hear about is a “pay gap” that doesn’t actually exist; and so on.

    Maybe men outperform women on tests because while men are studyin women are complaining.

  7. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 7, 2017

    There’s no reason to think that any given set of high achievers should be equally divided between men and women. There’s every reason — theoretical from the implications of sexual dimorphism, as well as empirical — to believe that such a divide should heavily skew towards men.

    There’s no reason, with European birth rates well below replacement level, to encourage young women to waste their prime fertile years as cubicle wage strivers while their race hurtles towards extinction.

    This stuff should not be complicated.

  8. Synoia permalink
    August 7, 2017

    I suspect yone has to look at the Hunter-Gatherer model, where we humans evolved and libes for may thousands of years for the key to behavioral and physiological difference s between men and women, with the clear driving for is that every trait selected for survival.

    Men hunted women gathered.

    This would drive men to be single minded and taking risks, and silence (especially when hunting).

    In gathering the women would speak to each other, and the cadence of their speech, screams or normal speech, would signal threat or no threat to the males, who were their protectors, due to their strength.

    It could also address the “ADHD” in prepubescent boys, who minded the animals, a lack of focus when yo are the same size of smaller than the domesticated animals (aka: boys are prey), continually looking around could be a significant survival advantage.

    Inattentive boys survived and passed their traits to their children.

    To use this model, one has to believe in evolutionary pressures on people, and that Environment, including climate, selects for behavior and a gene pool.

    If that were not so, there would be no schedule or calendar driven white people.

  9. Synoia permalink
    August 7, 2017

    I can’t imagine the Romans of Year 100 would have simply cowered as the Visigoths sacked their city the way they did in 410. Obviously many cultural and leadership variables were quite different.

    The Romans had moved their focus to under Constantine to Constantinople in AD 300, and put the Church in charge of Rome.

    The Dardanelles were a much better base to extract revenue from trade.

  10. August 7, 2017

    @TK421

    ” men are far, far more likely to be the victim of a violent crime”

    Men are also far, far more likely to commit a violent crime than women. Let’s not forget that fact either.

  11. nihil obstet permalink
    August 7, 2017

    Sometimes you just can’t resist the bait, so . . . .

    TK421, first could you list say 3 of the “multiple federal agencies” devoted to women’s health? Then, we should in fact set up multiple federal agencies devoted to men’s health. Given the violence against men, the agencies should teach men safety rules — when you walk down a street, don’t make eye contact with anyone else, because that signals that you want to be harassed; don’t wear clothes that would invite a mugger; don’t go out alone at night, not even to a class or required meeting because a single man alone on a relatively empty street is looking for trouble. And all this has to be so ingrained that it governs how the men think about every movement outside their own home. Or maybe the multiple federal agencies are for another purpose? Your list will help us decide.

    BOZ, yes, we must make sure that European men and non-European women waste years as cubicle wage strivers while their race hurtles towards extinction! I mean, what are they good for except wasting their lives?

  12. Willy permalink
    August 7, 2017

    @Synoia

    Alaric may have been pissed off about how the Romans had treated his people in the face of Hunnic aggression, but he knew to invade the weakest people in any direction. Subsequent leaders east or west did little to strengthen that situation and the west was invaded again and again until it fell into the dark ages. You’re saying it was all economics?

    If that’s true then Usains better get their shit together. I’m trying to explore if that society did create it’s own abilities, or lack thereof.

  13. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 7, 2017

    nihil obstet – “structural sexism” is the very definition of a first-world problem.

  14. realitychecker permalink
    August 7, 2017

    @ nihil obstet

    Confucius said: You can get more freedom of movement with a smile and a gun, than with just a smile.

    Um, either Confucius or Samuel Colt, I get them confused sometimes lol.

  15. someofparts permalink
    August 7, 2017

    https://thebaffler.com/salvos/outsmarted-perlstein

    Interesting piece by Rick Perlstein on the contemporary politics of being smart.

  16. realitychecker permalink
    August 7, 2017

    It’s very good to be very smart, but it’s not very smart to let other people know if you’re very smart.

  17. Theo permalink
    August 7, 2017

    Bravo, Ian. One of your very best. Thanks.

  18. marku52 permalink
    August 7, 2017

    “Maybe men outperform women on tests because while men are studyin women are complaining.”

    You and Larry Summers would get along famously. Be known by the company you keep.

  19. realitychecker permalink
    August 7, 2017

    Clinton and Obama both also loved them some Larry Summers.

    What was that about the company you keep?

    Bad logic. Do better, please.

  20. August 7, 2017

    It is really hard for me to reply to a particular commenter without seeming to complain.

    muthafucka.

  21. Synoia permalink
    August 7, 2017

    @Willy

    I’m speculating on the reasons Constantine split the Roman Empire into East and West, and gave the Western Empire to the Church to run. Money (Taxes) is the easiest reason.

    What we call the fall of the Roman Empire was the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The East continued as the Byzantine Empire for about another 1,100 years, or including the Ottoman Empire until WW I, about 1,700 years.

    Rome is not well located to tax trade. Constantinople and Eventually Venice were best positioned on the end of the Silk Road, until the Portuguese established a sea route to Asia.

    Empires are always about economics (money).

  22. August 8, 2017

    While I like the spirit of Ian’s article, it was an invitation to biotruthy just-so stories as well as the usual predictable “white gurls should have baybees” in the comments.

  23. Ian Welsh permalink*
    August 8, 2017

    Most readers never read the comments. It was far more important that it be written and read than what some commenters say.

    Hunter-gatherers: it takes a stretch to take being good at hunting to be superior in programming. I’ll also note that North American hunter-gatherers not uncommonly allowed women to decide to live as men, and thus be hunters, if they so chose (not that it’s relevant to programming.)

  24. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 8, 2017

    “Just-so stories”, Mandos? That takes some chutzpah for someone who claims that biological facts can be reconstructed by human society.

    By the way Mandos, which caste are you? Brahmin?

  25. realitychecker permalink
    August 8, 2017

    Why waste your time responding to Mandos?

  26. Synoia permalink
    August 8, 2017

    “It takes a stretch to take being good at hunting to be superior in programming”

    I don’t believe I made any connection between these, so I’m confused at the comment.

    Hunting appears higher risk than gathering. Societies seem to protect women and children from risk.

    Thee are always exceptions.

    I do suspect that Humans evolved under the pressure of very different role for the Genders, and also different group behaviors based on seasons and climate.

  27. Pelham permalink
    August 8, 2017

    A couple of thoughts:

    Identifiable minorities in a given society may suffer discrimination that holds them back. But since women and men across societies are roughly equal in number, whatever standing each sex enjoys or suffers in a given society is precisely what they deserve.

    Due to testosterone, men are more foolish than women. But part of foolishness is creative thinking and bold (often stupid but occasionally brilliant) action. Stupidity tends to die off and be forgotten, though not always; brilliance endures and, over generations, tends to accumulate and elevate the status of men.

  28. s-b-t permalink
    August 8, 2017

    @Pelham:

    Do you mean to say that since women don’t outnumber men (regarding your “roughly equal in number” comment), they deserve to be physically and mentally abused throughout human history? They deserve to be killed in wars waged primarily by men? That they deserve to be treated as property? How did you come to such a conclusion?

    Have you identified a similar pairing of traits present in women due to estrogen or other chemicals (in comparison to testosterone in males)? I’m interested, in a way, to hear such thoughts.

  29. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 8, 2017

    I’m not sure why Ian thinks that girls in Iceland outperforming boys at math constitutes a refutation of anything. If I recall, what Larry Summers pointed out (that got him fired from Harvard) was that mean IQ was roughly equal between men and women, but that men have a higher standard deviation. At the margins that leads to more male geniuses (as well as male imbeciles).

    What is the point of the leftist mystery cult, which insists that all biological facts might be inverted if we just simply reconstruct our entire society, no-platform all hatethinkers, and indoctrinate everyone from infancy?

    It’s interesting, the leftist dogma of equality seems to dovetail nicely with global capital’s need to commodify human labor. After all, if races and sexes are all interchangeable cogs, then white male coders, if they get too uppity, can be replaced by Mexican women. What would Marx say about this?

  30. August 8, 2017

    “Men are also far, far more likely to commit a violent crime than women. ”

    Whoa, you got me there. Clearly, people who join gangs and throw their lives away settling minor beefs with lethal violence are among the group society favors most. Hence the massive push by our patriarchal society to end man-on-man violence.

    Meanwhile, a woman is less likely to be sent to prison than a man, and the gap between them is greater than that between white people and black people: https://www.law.umich.edu/newsandinfo/features/Pages/starr_gender_disparities.aspx

  31. August 8, 2017

    “first could you list say 3 of the “multiple federal agencies” devoted to women’s health?”

    Gladly:

    The Office of Women’s Health (OWH), U.S. Food and Drug Administration
    Office of Research on Women’s Health, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    The Office on Women’s Health, Office of Public Health and Science, Office of the Secretary
    U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women
    White House Council on Women and Girls

    from https://www.dol.gov/wb/otherfedagencies.htm

    Hope that helps!

  32. August 8, 2017

    “You and Larry Summers would get along famously. Be known by the company you keep.”

    That’s an ignorant statement. Larry said that there are innate differences between men and women. I disagree, and am merely saying that America is a culture of complaint, where registering outrage is seen as the path for advance by far too many people.

  33. August 8, 2017

    “white gurls should have baybees”

    Have trouble spelling, do you?

  34. realitychecker permalink
    August 8, 2017

    Fer chrissakes, men have always had the power because they were the strong ones, and could fight effectively when necessary.

    Modern women can assert themselves the way they do only because strong men did the fighting necessary to establish a stability that made it safe for women to say they did not need a man to protect them anymore.

    No, no, don’t thank us.

    (But you can still expect us to lay our lives down to protect you when needed.)

    So tired of this fucking nonsense.

  35. c1ue permalink
    August 8, 2017

    A good article.
    I would point out an important demographic is missing:
    The protection of the “tribe”. It could be family, it could be a racial demographic, it could be gender, it could be regional – there are many variants.
    But the one characteristic shared is the desire to promote and protect the “in” people vs. the “others”.
    A great deal of what constitutes success in decadent societies is this incestuous behavior.
    The success of “high IQ” types in present American society is laughable – because the definition of “high IQ” seems to constitute going to the fancy Ivy League colleges.
    These colleges are not merit based – they regularly exclude Asians, for example, and they allow children of alumni and as well children of people who donate immense sums to enter.
    Equally, the preponderance of multi-generational families in positions of power and authority bespeak incestuous behavior rather than merit.
    Some examples: 2 different Bushes as President of the United States. Nearly a Clinton husband and wife President of the United States. Look around, there are lots of other examples.

  36. Willy permalink
    August 8, 2017

    @ Synoia
    The fourth Christian Crusade did get sidetracked from its original goal of freeing the holy land, by sacking Constantinople instead. So maybe economics really is everything. Still, the question of the mob allowing bad leadership decisions to fall empires remains unanswered.

    Women hardwired for power have always had to go through men (by using them) to get what they want. But maybe the lost Amazon tribe will yet be discovered… I had a boss who operated that way. It was rumored that sex was one of her tools. She was good at playing the puppetmaster and had no problem with destroying personal threats. Yet any able bodied male could have destroyed her with a well aimed punch to the head.

    My favorite bosses, and least favorite bosses, were women. Temperament may favor certain sexes but it knows no absolute limits.

  37. Willy permalink
    August 8, 2017

    But the one characteristic shared is the desire to promote and protect the “in” people vs. the “others”.

    I believe the degree to which this happens dictates the success or failure of all cultures and societies. When integrity gives up because of “the system”, the quality of everything declines.

  38. realitychecker permalink
    August 8, 2017

    @ nihil obstet

    The problem actually is that too many things are “out of kilter” (love the understatement) in too many areas at the same time, and everybody seems to want to keep it that way.

    Consider how many groups are trying to get us to believe them instead of our lying eyes, data be damned.

    This whole society is in dire need of a reality check, but unfortunately it seems to have become a lost art.

  39. nihil obstet permalink
    August 8, 2017

    @realitychecker

    Well, it’s Truth! Inquiring minds click through the link.

  40. Huckleberry permalink
    August 8, 2017

    Careful, you start talking about IQ and the next thing you know it’s HBD and then the left’s race creationism becomes harder and harder to take seriously and suddenly you’re polishing the Doc Martensand pining for a return of the 1924 Immigration Act…

  41. realitychecker permalink
    August 8, 2017

    @ nihil obstet

    IMO, the world would be a better place, overall, if when we heard the word “links” our first thought would still be of a beautiful predatory feline. 🙂

  42. August 9, 2017

    I’m not sure why Ian thinks that girls in Iceland outperforming boys at math constitutes a refutation of anything. If I recall, what Larry Summers pointed out (that got him fired from Harvard) was that mean IQ was roughly equal between men and women, but that men have a higher standard deviation. At the margins that leads to more male geniuses (as well as male imbeciles).

    Summers got fired for this, apparently: https://mathbabe.org/2012/03/11/why-larry-summers-lost-the-presidency-of-harvard/

    Most of the males in successful positions in tech, business, science, etc., are far, far from the ends of the curve that are alleged to be wider in males than females, so even if that idea were true, it does not explain the disparities. It also does not explain why some technical fields have a better ability to retain female employees than others. Basically, you have to posit that there is something special about the cognition required for programming that attracts men and repels women. The cognition required for programming is more or less the same cognition that is required for e.g. knitting and crocheting complex patterns, which women massively dominate for obvious reasons of cultural history.

    What is the point of the leftist mystery cult, which insists that all biological facts might be inverted if we just simply reconstruct our entire society, no-platform all hatethinkers, and indoctrinate everyone from infancy?

    Because most “biological” facts about cognitive differences have effect sizes that are extremely different to separate from social/cultural confounds, except by entirely denying that those exist.

    I am happy to accept a possible heritable genetic basis for general intelligence. There is many a slip betwixt that and real-world outcomes. Pretty much all race/IQ and sex/career inclination arguments that are based on some kind of fundamental biological truth claim are attempts at justifying the real-world outcomes post hoc while taking attention away from all the other confounds. That is the true mysticism.

    I’m glad you acknowledge that the contrary proposition belongs to “hatethinkers”. If there are things that lead to unjust real-world outcomes, then attempting to short-circuit discussion of them via recourse to tenuous biological links is, indeed, hate.

    It’s interesting, the leftist dogma of equality seems to dovetail nicely with global capital’s need to commodify human labor. After all, if races and sexes are all interchangeable cogs, then white male coders, if they get too uppity, can be replaced by Mexican women. What would Marx say about this?

    Most of the early socialists were in their day also critics of family structure and gender roles. Rosa Luxembourg wasn’t murdered for nothing. That we are all interchangeable cogs means that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are also interchangeable cogs. The commodification of human labour is the precursor to its automation, and hence to its abolition, and from there to true human equality. Hurrah!

  43. August 9, 2017

    “Just-so stories”, Mandos? That takes some chutzpah for someone who claims that biological facts can be reconstructed by human society.

    They are not biological facts.

    And it’s so typical for Nazis to be obsessed with the heritage of the people arguing with them.

  44. August 9, 2017

    Why waste your time responding to Mandos?

    I assume you realize that you’re arguing with a genocidalist. He complains about a nonexistent white genocide in Europe, which more or less instantly means that he believes that minorities in Europe should be suppressed one way or another, no matter how politely he wants to euphemize it or how vociferously he abjures the implication.

  45. Gaianne permalink
    August 9, 2017

    A very nice essay, Ian!

    Thank you!

    –Gaianne

  46. realitychecker permalink
    August 9, 2017

    @ Mandos

    You seriously distort reality and truth every time you write anything. That is my observation. (Perhaps you just can’t help yourself.)

    E.g., apparently you think calling a critic a “Nazi” is somehow less offensive than inquiring if someone is a “Brahmin.” It is not.

    You are not worth responding to because you are you, regardless of who your rhetorical opponent of the moment might be.

    Now I have broken my own admonition and have responded to you. And I have every expectation that I shall once again find that it was not worth it.

  47. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 9, 2017

    Dishonesty isn’t unique to Mandos, it is endemic to the social-justice left. Which has been on display in this Google memo dust-up: the response to the guy’s reasoned argument has mostly been “shut up”. I generally take this unwillingness to engage as confirmation that the left cannot defend its arguments, indeed has no arguments, just an Alinksyite will-to-power.

    Even people like Ian, who are above pleb-tier party-line parroting, are not making an effort to grapple with the underlying question. The OP is not persuasive, just reassuring to the true believers.

  48. Peter permalink
    August 9, 2017

    @BOO

    I’m glad you brought up this Google attack on viewpoint diversity. It’s amazing how they could go from ‘do no evil’ to this cult like inquisition of non-believers. This seems to be the outcome when liberal corporate groupthink predominates leading to blacklists, group shaming and purges. Reading the accounts of the heretics seems to show their support for diversity while they fear for their careers for opposing the methods and dogma delivered with an authoritarian fist.

    This partisan party groupthink is not new at Google but it seems to have gotten more vicious after Trump humiliated the Red Queen and her snowflakes. The heretics couldn’t be defeated at the polls so they must face liberal terrorism in the workplace with management’s full support.

    Google’s new search censorship program is working to protect the delicate snowflakes from diverse and dangerous writing. Well known and used sites have been sorted and pushed out of easy access. I’ve noticed that propaganda for party approved storylines are frontloaded even when the search was for a different viewpoint.

  49. realitychecker permalink
    August 9, 2017

    Some kinds of “diversity” are more equal than others.

    Get with it, you two lol.

  50. August 9, 2017

    The bias and disadvantage of the anti-spamulator means that my one-off broadsides get published but my substantive response is still in moderation, since a longer response contains more triggers and needs Ian’s attention…

  51. realitychecker permalink
    August 9, 2017

    Too many words, too many syllables.

    Take a hint lol.

  52. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 9, 2017

    @Peter I’d say things are coming to a point — the anti-left forces are gaining consciousness of strength. Someone posted a poll showing that something like a third of Google employees strongly agreed with Damore’s memo. But would he have spoken up pre-Trump?

    @rc of course you’re right. But to me it resembles something like two armies, where army B doesn’t quite know what the sides are yet, or that a war is coming. Army A is sneakily suggesting that army B “embrace diversity”, which has the effect of weakening army B. Eventually someone (let’s call him Damore) pipes up with an objection, that the meaning of “diversity” in practice looks suspiciously less idealistic than advertised. The A guys quickly swarm to try and shut him down before he’s able to clue in his colleagues.

  53. Hugh permalink
    August 9, 2017

    There are many different kinds of intelligence. So how can they be measured by a single simplistic, one-size-fits-all test? Being good at taking a certain kind of test is most often an indicator that someone is good at taking a certain kind of test. I think all of us have met more than a few smart idiots in our life. As for test takers, one anecdote that physicists like to tell about Einstein is how notoriously bad he was at test taking, especially timed tests. I used to say that academics were some of the least intellectual people I ever met, and I only ever met one academic who actually understood what that meant, that there was an enormous difference between knowing a lot of information, and being able to see into it and tie it to the larger world. Most of the academics I knew often knew a lot about a particular subject area but their ability to operate on it in interesting ways was limited to non-existent. They did not know what the interesting questions were or how to go about formulating them. It simply wasn’t part of their training or their purview.

    On women in math, wasn’t it the Great Larry Summers who, when he was President of Harvard, opined that innate differences explained why there were so few women mathematicians? Summers’ own keen understanding of math helped him get the Harvard Foundation to lose $1.8 billion, destroy the Russian economy and turn it over to oligarchs, and, as Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, deregulate derivatives leading directly to the near collapse of the international banking system and the multi-trillion dollar losses in the 2008 financial meltdown. Along these lines, if the male tech guys at Google are so good, why is it that google search results have become such crap? When I look at a country like Saudi Arabia, I think how crazy it is that they write off, right off the bat, the female half of their population from participation in so much of their society. I think most of us would agree. But if we do, then why are we writing off women in STEM jobs in our own societies?

  54. August 9, 2017

    Concern trolling and constant personal attacks are often quite concise.

  55. August 9, 2017

    Only a third of Google employees agreed with? That’s much lower than I would have thought. The whole point is that a lot of techies have hostile attitudes to the idea that discrimination may have favoured them.

  56. Peter permalink
    August 9, 2017

    @Mandos

    I doubt you know any of these Google employees so your speculation about their attitudes is a low form of liberal projection. They are being told that they have hidden motivations that are what is holding back diversity and that the SJW’s have a pseudoscience cure they must submit to or they will be punished.

    You are parroting the superficial mantra of the SJW’s along with the media who have branded this as an anti-diversity manifesto which is BS.

  57. August 9, 2017

    I read the manifesto in full, and it patently is an anti-diversity manifesto. It attributes the disparities in representation in Google and in technology in general to a theory of gender-based biological aptitudes and inclinations, the implication being that further attempts to right this bias will be counterproductive because of biological limits. It does so with a lot of handwaving (fine, it’s a glorified Reddit post), and with implied reference to a body of work whose significance only stands if you wilfully deny known cultural confounds, which “biotruth” supporters generally do.

    That is the epitome of an anti-diversity manifesto.

  58. realitychecker permalink
    August 9, 2017

    Are there any things that women are biologically better at, one wonders?

    And, if so, why the dearth of protests from the left when such superiorities are referred to?

    Let’s be real—politically-based groups always twist the truth as much as they can get away with, to favor their own political interests. There is no crying in baseball, and there is no devotion to honesty in politically motivated discussions.

    Anyone who pretends to be part of a political grouping that doesn’t deliberately twist the truth to gain political advantage is a fucking liar.

  59. August 10, 2017

    The question is, what do you mean by “women” being “better at” something? Women or men are not one inchoate mass, so that “women” can meaningfully be “better” at something than “men” or vice versa. There is one single capability that most biological females have that biological males do not: gestation and birth and the biological apparatus surrounding that. Then there are some physical things that on average biological males perform with success than biological females — Ian has pointed out the limited domains in which this difference actually matters, because for very many things, it does not.

    The question is whether “intellectual” capabilities and inclinations exhibit the same behaviour. We are told that it must be so, because trivially, the intellect must be subject to the evolutionary pressures to which all biological characteristics are subject. But that tells us nothing. The biggest alleged difference between the genders is at the very margins of the curve of general intelligence, and most people, male or female, do not exist at these margins by any measure of intelligence. For such a drastic difference in androgens, the claimed clearest result is quite modest — the neural system must be relatively insensitive to androgens in terms of general intelligence, at least, compared to measures such as upper body strength, where the difference is yet clearer.

    But evolutionarily, this hardly surprises. The division of actual labour in nomadic and hunter-gatherer societies is far less drastic than in industrial societies up until recently. The survival necessities of male and female humans is much closer, the evolutionary pressure on general intelligence likely more or less the same. People want to dress their Flintstone fantasies in “science” but it ain’t so. And where outcomes in the modern world do not reflect the fundamental intellectual similarity between the sexes, the simplest hypothesis is discrimination — of some kind.

  60. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 10, 2017

    Well Mandos, it seems that sexual dimorphism goes beyond what you say. It’s not just physical strength; it’s also the peacock’s tail. It’s not just physical attributes, but behavioral ones like aggression.

    And if there is a scientific case to be made for perfect parity of the sexes vis a vis computer programming aptitude and inclination, then do you suppose someone at Google might have sat the biology PhD James Damore down and explained it to him, instead of just firing him? He seems like a reasonable guy.

    Of course, the best way to answer this debate is through experiment. If someone wants a company with all men, let them have it. If diversity is the ur-virtue as you say, then the diverse companies should put the segregated ones out of business in short order. But your side doesn’t want this — prog ideology must be hegemonic everywhere.

    Your side doesn’t want its ideas debated, or put to the test. The unspoken message of your reticence comes through loud and clear.

  61. August 10, 2017

    Well Mandos, it seems that sexual dimorphism goes beyond what you say. It’s not just physical strength; it’s also the peacock’s tail. It’s not just physical attributes, but behavioral ones like aggression.

    It’s more likely than not that the strength difference between the sexes is that peacock’s tail — seemingly significant differences in evolution can be promoted by seemingly unrelated factors. But if an inclination to aggression were a principal biologically-determined difference between the sexes — sounds plausible to me — how this should pan out in organizational dynamics in a complex human society is much less clear. It seems to me that a “level-headed” (female?) clear thinker should be a “better” developer of useful applications than a pointlessly aggressive show-off (male?). But not only is there strong overlap between the sexes even there, there’s no reason to imagine that we can predict in advance how it would pan out. Just-so stories again.

    And if there is a scientific case to be made for perfect parity of the sexes vis a vis computer programming aptitude and inclination, then do you suppose someone at Google might have sat the biology PhD James Damore down and explained it to him, instead of just firing him? He seems like a reasonable guy.

    Intellectual justifications for discrimination are always presented in reasonable terms. There is a case to be made that he merely deserved a reprimand. But people from disadvantaged groups — whose social challenges in working at organizations like Google are well documented and yet ignored for “biotruth” explanations — cannot reasonably be expected to work with someone with the audacity to imagine that he could explain why discrimination against their groups should merely be let be. He revealed, in polite, intellectual terms, why he is suspicious that the measures taken to counteract discrimination mean that those people may not really be suitable, qualified colleagues. This is not conducive to a productive working environment.

    Of course, the best way to answer this debate is through experiment. If someone wants a company with all men, let them have it. If diversity is the ur-virtue as you say, then the diverse companies should put the segregated ones out of business in short order. But your side doesn’t want this — prog ideology must be hegemonic everywhere.

    This is the strange argument from laissez-faire capitalism and it is false, because it denies network effects, incumbency, etc. Google is a search giant, arguably because search at that scale is hard to implement twice. We can talk about this kind of fair competition experiment when we have broken up the monopolies and their near state-like control over our lives. I have no trouble predicting than in that hypothetical world, the diverse companies will do at least as well if not better than the discriminatory ones. So will you now advocate for the world in which we could test out that hypothesis?

    Your side doesn’t want its ideas debated, or put to the test. The unspoken message of your reticence comes through loud and clear.

    How am I reticent? Despite my honest, severe moral judgement of your character (very poor!), I have been willing to argue these points in detail. You merely don’t like this: that what you find to be a deep emotional truth to you — the biological nature of most visible human difference, the biological unity of human racial groups at a metaphysical (metabiological?) level — are neither shared nor seen as obvious by others. And those of us who do not see it that way have sound reasons for not sharing your feeling.

  62. August 10, 2017

    *sigh* spamulator

  63. August 10, 2017

    I mean (in reference to a currently-invisible post) you have to posit that “male biological aggression” leads to “better-than-average programming skill”, but not for other better-than-average skill sets, some of which are in objective terms quite technical. I’m sorry, marginal differences in spatial reasoning capacity (which have obvious potential social confounds!) are an easier argument to imagine.

  64. realitychecker permalink
    August 10, 2017

    @Mandos

    “I read the manifesto in full, and it patently is an anti-diversity manifesto.”

    Well, I read it in full this morning, and urge everyone to do so-ten short pages (https://medium.com/@Cernovich/full-james-damore-memo-uncensored-memo-with-charts-and-cites-339f3d2d05f). I found it to be well within the bounds of reasonable discussion.

    I would also recommend this, cited in the memo: (https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/07/why-its-a-bad-idea-to-tell-students-words-are-violence/533970/?utm_source=twb)

    We are inundated with PC authoritarian nonsense these days, we have become too accustomed to and accepting of it, and anyone who can’t see that is not to be respected, IMO.

    The pendulum always swings too far, and then it must swing back to reasonable ground. That is what a healthy process looks like. Constantly pushing the pendulum beyond its limits is what an unhealthy authoritarian process looks like.

    Mandos, you epitomize the guy who never knows when to stop pushing the pendulum.

  65. realitychecker permalink
    August 10, 2017

    How come nobody from the PC-uber-alles crowd ever finds time to lament that almost all work-related deaths occur to men?

    Lots of wisdom to be found by considering the possible answers to that question.

  66. nihil obstet permalink
    August 10, 2017

    Well, I usually lament that there are work-related deaths to anybody.

  67. Peter permalink
    August 10, 2017

    @RC

    Another strange development in the Google corporate drama with 60 current and former women employees planning to file a discrimination suit for the usual pay and promotion issues.

    This is directed at the middle management who are also the SJW’s trying to cram their cultist version of PC diversity down everyone’s throat. The number of plaintiffs involved seems to show that while Google preaches one doctrine it practices the opposite. Their fevered attacks on the heretics seems to be more about producing diversity numbers to brag on and virtue signal with.

    The snowflakes have lost any political mojo they may have had and this corporate IT community offers them a power base and access to critical control of information which makes this a different ball game from what has happened before. This assault on reason and freedom of thought was carried out mostly in private and people such as Mandos liked it that way.

  68. realitychecker permalink
    August 10, 2017

    @ nihil obstet

    Well, the memo in question asserts that 93% of those deaths occur to men.

    Doesn’t that arouse your curiousity just a little bit?

  69. realitychecker permalink
    August 10, 2017

    @ Peter

    I just saw that lawsuit reported at Drudge.

    I agree with your remarks 100%. It is scandalous how successfully the left has suppressed the non-female side of these discussions.

    It feels more like religious fervor than honest inquiry to me.

  70. nihil obstet permalink
    August 10, 2017

    @realitychecker

    Given an infinite life span and time that stands still while I pursue a curiosity, sure. Failing that, I suspect that it has to do with what jobs are most likely to result in death and which sex fills them: loggers, fishermen, pilots, roofers, garbage collectors, steel workers, truckers, and so on. I’m not terribly interested in taking the time to compare men vs. women dying in accidents within occupations. Instead, I’d work to make jobs safer. I certainly wouldn’t glom onto a statistic, any statistic, that I can carry on about to prove that while I may belong to the dominant group, I’m really the one that is beat up on.

  71. realitychecker permalink
    August 10, 2017

    @ nihil obstet

    This discussion is about that comparison you have no interest in.

    I thought you were more intellectually inclined than what your comment would indicate.

    Appropriate balance is what I seek. Not one-sided propaganda.

    But, chacun a son gout.

  72. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 10, 2017

    Mandos, I wouldn’t say you are reticent at all — I give you credit for that. However, your approach is not the norm on the social justice left, where the prevailing view is that words an SJW disagrees with are violence. (The sometimes unstated implications of this view are as clear as they are ugly.) Moreover, you condone and endorse this kind of snowflake politics, while not practicing it personally.

    But people from disadvantaged groups — whose social challenges in working at organizations like Google are well documented and yet ignored for “biotruth” explanations — cannot reasonably be expected to work with someone with the audacity to imagine that he could explain why discrimination against their groups should merely be let be.

    This seems like a fundamental misrepresentation of what the guy wrote. He explicitly argued against discrimination based on group membership, in favor of treating candidates and employees as individuals. The meritocratic approach — meaning filtering prospective employees by their abilities and traits — would naturally be expected to produce an uneven ranking of different groups, having different traits on aggregate. Now, the left claims with no evidence that such an outcome is “discriminatory”, by which is meant that the interviewers and hiring manager discriminate between candidates based, not on the sought-after traits, but on an irrational prejudice or stereotype against a given group. Furthermore, the left does not (nor could) care about all possible such groups, but in practice only those that can be corralled as voting blocs for the left. I realize that this is the core of your politics and you’re never going to give it up, but it’s worth repeating that we all see what you’re doing, and there’s nothing noble or high-minded about it.

    On the biological question, I haven’t seen that you’ve grasped the key theory, which is sexual selection. The key fact is that reproduction is expensive for the female, and cheap for the male, which exerts different evolutionary pressure on the respective sexes. Selection is further determined by high or low investment (K or r strategy) of the male. How should this selection play out? I don’t know, I’m not a biologist. One way of knowing would be to open your eyes and observe the men and women you know, and how they are different. Ideologues are generally averse to observation, however.

  73. realitychecker permalink
    August 10, 2017

    It seems to me that fair-minded people are willing to address the grievances and valid data points that are raised by all sides, rather than just their pet side.

    It can never promote trust to say you only care or have “interest” about the legitimate grievances of the side you always favored.

  74. nihil obstet permalink
    August 10, 2017

    @RC,

    Do you have a grievance? If so, state it.

    The civil rights movement, followed by the second women’s liberation movement were major campaigns of the second part of the 20th c. There are many, many, many studies about potential differences between sexes and races and cultures and how those show up in situations that claim to measure merit. Most people of even mild curiosity about the world paid enough attention to those studies to have an informed opinion with supporting information. All this may have been outside your set of interests either at the time or now. If you’ve now discovered that society’s treatment of its members is important, good, but do expect that people with somewhat more background are not likely to try to spin your view whole from a single data point. If you find “lots of wisdom” there, why expect anybody else to play “I’ve got a secret” with you?

  75. August 10, 2017

    This seems like a fundamental misrepresentation of what the guy wrote. He explicitly argued against discrimination based on group membership, in favor of treating candidates and employees as individuals. The meritocratic approach — meaning filtering prospective employees by their abilities and traits — would naturally be expected to produce an uneven ranking of different groups, having different traits on aggregate.

    So we are expected to believe that

    (1) meritocracy holds at the point of selection, ie, there is no possibility that discriminations of various kinds may hold in the selection process. This is not at all obvious.
    (2) that the path to the point of selection is equally unimpeded for all people in such a way that one can say that any “uneven rankings” are “produced naturally” and represent the distribution of “different traits on aggregate”. This is begging the question.

    For (1), only formal and some overt social hurdles (expression of frank racism in the hiring process) may have been overcome. Perhaps. Other discriminatory hurdles — probably not, and not necessarily.

    (2) however is the biggie. We know for a fact that hiring outcomes at Big Tech do not distribute anything close to other areas nor do they obviously reflect the (possible) small difference at the extremes of general intelligence. We have various explanations for the difference, and some of them are “artificial” in the sense of stemming from extraneous cultural and economic differences and relatively easy to observe. You are asking us to accept that the observed outcome of hiring is actually the “natural” outcome of a biological process, but that is the very issue under dispute. Because the link between observable biological difference and social outcome is extremely complex, so complex that the size of the biological effect may be small when you account for what I might call cultural-economic injustice.

    Now, the left claims with no evidence that such an outcome is “discriminatory”, by which is meant that the interviewers and hiring manager discriminate between candidates based, not on the sought-after traits, but on an irrational prejudice or stereotype against a given group.

    No, this is a clear mischaracterization. The outcome is discriminatory because

    a. the criterion actually applied is frequently not the criterion claimed as part of the job description. This pertains particularly to gender.
    b. the criterion itself is structured to disadvantage particular groups, without a clear explanation of how it affects the work product expected. (This is, for example, probably true of the technical portion of many tech job interviews — for many tech jobs there is no reason why the principles underlying AVL trees has anything to do with the job…)
    c. The pool of candidates is already narrowed because of series of discriminations inherent in life paths from different starting points.

    On the biological question, I haven’t seen that you’ve grasped the key theory, which is sexual selection. The key fact is that reproduction is expensive for the female, and cheap for the male, which exerts different evolutionary pressure on the respective sexes. Selection is further determined by high or low investment (K or r strategy) of the male. How should this selection play out? I don’t know, I’m not a biologist. One way of knowing would be to open your eyes and observe the men and women you know, and how they are different. Ideologues are generally averse to observation, however.

    This is the standard evo psych story, and again you expect me to take the social outcome and accept it as the evidence, when the connection between the outcome and the biological story is the very issue at stake — again, begging the question as a form of argument. You point out that you don’t know how the selection should play out. Again, that is the very issue at stake. It should be pointed out that outside the English-speaking world, the balance of women entering technology programs and positions is often quite different. Your anecdotal observations based on American society would thus lead you astray.

    The bottom line is, if you want certain aspects of the status quo to represent justice, then you will remain impervious to the ways in which this may not be the case.

  76. Hugh permalink
    August 10, 2017

    This reminds me of discussions on race. That black people were dumber than whites because they found themselves in socially and economically inferior positions. History isn’t science. What happens to certain groups in a society. Indeed how those groups are defined pretty much has zip to do with our DNA. Human beings are incredibly flexible and trainable. The idea that tech poses some sort of insuperable barrier to women is rank idiocy. It is not supported by the data. The studies are not there because they would have to take into account social factors, and those can not be abstracted out. Correlation is not causation, but this isn’t even a correlation. It is a fact (few women in tech) to which an unwarranted causation has been attached by a few.

  77. realitychecker permalink
    August 10, 2017

    @ nihil obstet

    If you think there is only one data point that supports that women get the advantage in many situations, then you are very ignorant.

    If you think that I have only considered one data point since getting my psych degree in the 70’s and my law degree in the 80’s, then you are a condescending asshole.

    Maybe you are both.

    Definitely not an open mind to discuss this with.

  78. Peter permalink
    August 10, 2017

    Google’s glorious leader spoke today and announced that no one will be allowed to challenge their corporate techno-cult. They have even more reason now to cull the unclean thinking heretics from their flock. He declared that the SJW’s were the victims of this public exposure and were hurt by the unclean judgments of the heretics and others.

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  79. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 11, 2017

    Mandos, it’s hard to take you seriously when you’re making arguments like this:

    the criterion itself is structured to disadvantage particular groups, without a clear explanation of how it affects the work product expected.

    If you honestly think that diversity-uber-alles Google is structuring criteria to disadvantage women, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    for many tech jobs there is no reason why the principles underlying AVL trees has anything to do with the job

    “Job opening: computer programmer, requires knowledge of computer science fundamentals.” How arbitrary. Clearly the purpose of this is to exclude women. Are you serious? (you’re not)

    But anyway, it seems you’re acknowledging that some of the gender gap in software may be due to intelligence at the margins as well as predilection. That’s as far as I would go (I don’t think anyone is claiming that biology explains 100% of the gender gap). So then, if you admit that biology is one factor, how can you defend excluding it from discussion, or firing someone who raises it as a relevant part of the discussion?

    The answer is that your goal of “social justice” (aka, effecting a redistribution of social goods from one group to another), overrides all others, including centuries-long traditions of the right to free association and free speech. You’ve already tried top-down pro-diversity policies, and they haven’t worked, Google still being overwhelmingly male, white, and Asian. In your search for causes, this leaves the private thoughts and judgments of individuals (and the social fabric itself) in your crosshairs. A sane person might stop here, realizing that top-down control of thoughts and judgments is Orwellian territory.

    But, of course, you do not stop here, because the relative allocation of social goods overrides, ostensibly, all else. This prioritization is so skewed, that one comes to question whether “social justice” is the ends or the means to some other end. We know from history that the left is all too quick to abandon its previously-stated egalitarian goals once it has its hands on power.

  80. August 11, 2017

    Correlation is not causation, but this isn’t even a correlation. It is a fact (few women in tech) to which an unwarranted causation has been attached by a few.

    Well, I wouldn’t say a few. It matches widely-held perceptions and folk beliefs based ultimately on traditional divisions of labour in certain parts of the world. There are also probably gross behavioural inclinations caused by sexual biology but it’s unlikely they would show up in very specific technical ability.

  81. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 11, 2017

    @Hugh, what do you make of the extreme over-representation of Ashkenazi Jews among physicists?

  82. Hugh permalink
    August 11, 2017

    What do you mean by over-representation, let alone extreme? Some communities, not just Jewish ones, place a lot of emphasis on education. So their representation increases in some professions relative to their percentage in the general population. This can be further increased generationally. I knew a fair number of university professors whose parents were university professors, or at a minimum in education. Indians from India are a tiny part of the US population, but many get visas to come to the US as doctors because we continue to refuse to increase enrollment in our medical schools to produce more domestically. A fair number of these Indians stay and then encourage their children to become doctors. So the number of doctors with Indian last names is much larger than their overall representation in the population. And being doctors, they can afford to send their kids to good schools where those kids can get advanced degrees. Geography can also play a role. New York is a major hub for finance and entertainment. Jews comprise about 18% of the metro population. Nationally, Jews are about 1.4% of the population. So their representation in these fields can also be increased simply by their location. And there can be racial stigma. Jews in Europe went into banking because it was one of the few professions open to them. And timing is important. Jews got into the entertainment industry for many of the above reasons, but also because their immigration to the US coincided with the birth of the film industry. I think along these lines it was far less important that physicists like Einstein were Jewish and far more important that they were German. A lot of groundbreaking physics was being done in Germany at the turn of the twentieth century from Wilhelm Röntgen to Max Planck to Erwin Schrödinger to Wilhelm Heisenberg and many others.

  83. August 11, 2017

    And yet, this sort of completely banal, obvious, easily available historical explanation for uneven distributions are considered “reticence”, “evasion”, etc. — only tenuous biological fables are considered “scientific”, because they preserve the underlying Grand Mystery, the feeling that there must be some inherent Essence of Ashkenazi Jews that makes them good at physics. But not, of course, classical music.

  84. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 12, 2017

    Hugh, by extreme over-representation”, I mean look at this list: http://www.science.co.il/nobel-prizes/Physics.php. Jews are a tiny fraction of the world’s population (<1%), but judging from that list they're close to half of physics Nobel Prize winners.

    Now, this outcome is extremely unlikely (to put it mildly) if we were to assume uniform ability of populations. As you noted, lots of groups place emphasis on education, but are there any other groups with this kind of over-representation in elite achievement? I can't think of any. So how can we explain this? As you noted, we surely have to look for the reasons in the Jews' unique history and culture. As a good man of the left, you studiously avoided mentioning IQ, but surely you can see that is relevant to the discussion. Jews have a higher mean IQ of ~115 as compared to ~100 for native Europeans. It seems like a small difference, but because of Gaussian distribution of IQ scores, such a difference predicts magnified disparities at the extremes.

    So IQ is a relevant metric with power to predict distribution of genius. We also know that IQ is at least partly heretidary (see for example studies of identical twins separated at birth). Now, even Charles Murray, who has been awarded Hitler of the Week several times, did not go so far as to say intelligence is purely genetic. But he did call it "intractable". If you consider what it would take to raise the world population to Ashkenazi average intelligence (which we'd expect to produce 5,000 additional Physics Nobel level geniuses every year), then you'll see how apt that term is.

    Anyway, that's my limited understanding of the question. Oh by the way, the $PLC has now added you to their list of Hitlers for perpetuating the stereotype of the Jewish banker.

  85. August 12, 2017

    Literally no one denies that there was a medieval historical relationship between Jews and banking, due to forces that were not under the control of Jews but rather the sophistry of nominally Christian rulers. What is rejected is the idea that the Jews presently use this in an organized, secretive conspiracy to exploit non-Jews en masse through financial and political means.

  86. August 12, 2017

    If you honestly think that diversity-uber-alles Google is structuring criteria to disadvantage women, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    Google and Big Tech have a number of somewhat well-intentioned efforts to increase diversity, but they are often very superficial and do not directly address the social roots of underrepresentation of some population groups. That is, they do not directly address the social roots of the overrepresentation of other groups. This is partly due to the bias in favour of positive thinking and positive efforts in the technology industry, when the problem of overrepresentation needs to be partly addressed through negative means, such as stronger enforcement against individuals who create a hostile environment (the firing of Damore is an exception made in a very egregious case), and greater review of job requirements description to make sure that they reflect the intended work product and not folk ideas and structural biases against particular groups that are highly prevalent in “tech culture”.

    “Job opening: computer programmer, requires knowledge of computer science fundamentals.” How arbitrary. Clearly the purpose of this is to exclude women. Are you serious? (you’re not)

    By this, you reveal to me that you may not be very familiar with hiring practices in Big Tech. For one thing, most computer programming jobs do not require facility with most of the content of university CS algorithms classes. For another thing, the Google (and other Big Tech) hiring process is quite elaborate and similar to Big Law, with very well-known sources of structural bias and bias for certain personality types and life histories rather than ability to do the job assigned. That said, some large technology companies and certainly small ones have worse records than Google.

    But anyway, it seems you’re acknowledging that some of the gender gap in software may be due to intelligence at the margins as well as predilection. That’s as far as I would go (I don’t think anyone is claiming that biology explains 100% of the gender gap). So then, if you admit that biology is one factor, how can you defend excluding it from discussion, or firing someone who raises it as a relevant part of the discussion?

    I have never personally rejected the possibility that part of intelligence is heritable and that part of that may show up in differences between large population groups. Therefore, I don’t require excluding it from the discussion, merely giving it its due relative to the (low) strength of the results on this question and the still-extant number of confounds, not to mention the difficulty in identifying population group membership (yes, even biological sex is complicated, let alone race/ethnicity!). In other words, most of the gap is not accounted for by non-social factors, so why would we spend so much time arguing about the non-social factors?

    James Damore wrote a screed that in polite terms, includes all the information one could have gleaned from 25-year-old USENET posts on anti-feminist newsgroups. I have read all of it many times in my misspent internet life, and I will doubtless read it all again. The argument is intended to suggest that diversity efforts are wasted because they make the dominant group uncomfortable for the sake of a goal that is unattainable because inherent deficiencies in the underrepresented groups. Were we talking about a situation in which the only discrepancies exist at the margins, and all other confounds were well-accounted for, his manifesto would also have been relatively uninteresting and irrelevant.

    But in the world in which that is not the case (ie, our world): if you don’t understand how this creates a hostile working environment for members of those groups, it is not possible to explain it to you. It is, to put it bluntly, a milder version of making the child of Holocaust survivors work with a very civil Holocaust denialist who thinks that Nazi Germany needed to do the thing he denies it did anyway.

    The answer is that your goal of “social justice” (aka, effecting a redistribution of social goods from one group to another), overrides all others, including centuries-long traditions of the right to free association and free speech. You’ve already tried top-down pro-diversity policies, and they haven’t worked, Google still being overwhelmingly male, white, and Asian. In your search for causes, this leaves the private thoughts and judgments of individuals (and the social fabric itself) in your crosshairs. A sane person might stop here, realizing that top-down control of thoughts and judgments is Orwellian territory.

    The social fabric itself is most definitely in the docket here. Who claimed otherwise?

    But, of course, you do not stop here, because the relative allocation of social goods overrides, ostensibly, all else. This prioritization is so skewed, that one comes to question whether “social justice” is the ends or the means to some other end. We know from history that the left is all too quick to abandon its previously-stated egalitarian goals once it has its hands on power.

    The goal is nothing other than complete liberation from categories and a world of automated luxury without the extraction of surplus value. Lack of diversity in tech has led Big Tech down a path that leads towards limited but greater automation, but not mass luxury. See: Uber.

  87. BlizzardOfOz permalink
    August 13, 2017

    Thanks for the discussion Mandos – I have found it enlightening. Your last post disturbed me a bit – I had an uncanny vision of a lucid SJW. Then my mind went back to your post about language, and I realized you are a Brahmin (not a “Jewed Indian” as I previously supposed). The priestly caste uses language to interpret empirical reality from a transcendental plane. Unfortunately you, being a non-Westerner living in the West (much like that other tribe of priests) use your abilities to subvert a culture that you abide in but can never belong to.

    “Complete liberation of categories and a world of luxury without the extraction of surplus value.” Riiiight … the West has been through this before. Left revolutions begin proclaiming universal brotherhood and prosperity, and end with the revolutionaries standing on a million-skull pile.

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