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Your top five dreadful people the Google manifesto has pulled out of the woodwork


I would like to thank the author for this article. This is why I am a researcher, and not a journalist. The summary of the social psychology research was excellent and readable, which my summaries are not; I do strive for excellence, but readability isn't as important in the research world. :-)

The facts are:

1. Yes, men and women have obvious biological differences.

2. Yes, there are measurable psychological differences between men and women.

That's it. Those are the only facts.

What the white male bros here are doing (and I say this as white male, but not a member of the white male bros, to the extent that I can be) is assuming a causal link between statements 1 and 2. This causal link is DECIDELY NOT PROVEN. In fact, there is considerable evidence to support the idea that many, if not most, of the psychological differences between men and women are due to environment (socialization, external biases and restraints) rather than biology.

Whether the environmental differences should be tackled is a fair question, even if I think you're an asshole for answering "no". But that the psychological differences are inherently biological is NOT a question of your uninformed opinion.

Looking through the original article (yes, I DID RTFA), I note several things:

1. The personality differences ascribed to being female has a huge confound. The traits of agreeableness, awareness of feeling, interest in people, empathy, lack of assertiveness, gregaroiusness, and neuroticism also correspond to the traits expressed by any group of people who are raised in a position of low societal power. I cannot quickly find if this has been studied; if not, I may have my next research topic. :-)

2. Much of the author's argument rests on conclusions from evolutionary psychology. That field has some serious problems, notably falsifiability. Much of their theory is basically "Just So" stories. The research in that area is largely self-contained; there are not many other fields that reference evolutionary psychology in their own research, whereas social psychology research is used extensively through the social sciences, having been proved useful.

3. This is a clasic, and I will grant you well-crafted, example of "argue the controversy". There is very little difference in the fundamental argument the author makes from those of creationists (or climate-change deniers) who argue that what they are arguing is science, and that evolution is wrong. They use a few carefully chosen facts, bound together by strongly implied (but not stated!) dubious causal links, to come to conclusions which they find morally desirable. As such, it is FUD propaganda, and should in fact be denounced. The author misuses the science and leads the reader to infer scientific backing for things which are simply not true.

I expect this will be my last post on this subject. It has fallen very much into the "Someone on the Internet is WRONG!" category. The assholes who wish to protect their privileged positions from the "others" are not going to listen, and the others are bored or annoyed. I must agree with one of the earliest replies: I strongly suspect an invasion of the alt-right, either by bots or simply their attention drawn not by the tech focus of El Reg but the political focus of these articles, based upon the suddenly larger number of upvotes for comments supporting the white male tech bros and downvotes for those opposing.

I used to be an asshole like Damore myself (and worked 20 years as one of the best programmers you'll ever find). I got better, learned my own biases, and moved into social psychology research with a focus on differences between IT people and management. I still have my own biases, but I am much more aware of them, and of the fact that success in the world is much more about luck, the color of your skin, what you have between your legs, and who you know, than your own innate abilities. I would love to live in a real meritocracy, but I also recognize that that is impossible; and that leveling the starting point (I.e. yes, discriminating against people who are members of the privileged classes-- which is mostly white male in the developed world) leads to better outcomes than allowing a fundamentally flawed fake meritocracy to fester.

I'm a white, male, anglo-saxon, ex-protestant, American, and am also a feminist, socialist bordering on marxist, supporter of affirmative action. If you find yourself offended by that, I will point out: I'm probably older than you, almost certainly more educated than you, probably more intelligent than you, probably have lived in more different places and dealt with more different people than you, almost certainly more widely read than you, and I'm not interested in hearing your drivel.

I fully expect to set a new Register record for downvotes.

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