No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity.
DEBRA SOH - CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
AUGUST 8, 2017
By now, most of us have heard about Google's so-called "anti-diversity" manifesto and how James Damore, the engineer who wrote it, has been fired from his job.
Titled Google's Ideological Echo Chamber, Mr. Damore called out the current PC culture, saying the gender gap in Google's diversity was not due to discrimination, but inherent differences in what men and women find interesting. Danielle Brown, Google's newly appointed vice-president for diversity, integrity and governance, accused the memo of advancing "incorrect assumptions about gender," and Mr. Damore confirmed last night he was fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes."
Despite how it's been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate. Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behaviour.
As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone – higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.
We see evidence for this in girls with a genetic condition called congenital adrenal hyperplasia, who are exposed to unusually high levels of testosterone in the womb. When they are born, these girls prefer male-typical, wheeled toys, such as trucks, even if their parents offer more positive feedback when they play with female-typical toys, such as dolls. Similarly, men who are interested in female-typical activities were likely exposed to lower levels of testosterone.
As well, new research from the field of genetics shows that testosterone alters the programming of neural stem cells, leading to sex differences in the brain even before it's finished developing in utero. This further suggests that our interests are influenced strongly by biology, as opposed to being learned or socially constructed.
Many people, including a former Google employee, have attempted to refute the memo's points, alleging that they contradict the latest research.
I'd love to know what "research done […] for decades" he's referring to, because thousands of studies would suggest otherwise. A single study, published in 2015, did claim that male and female brains existed along a "mosaic" and that it isn't possible to differentiate them by sex, but this has been refuted by four – yes, four – academic studies since.
This includes a study that analyzed the exact same brain data from the original study and found that the sex of a given brain could be correctly identified with 69-per-cent to 77-per-cent accuracy.
Of course, differences exist at the individual level, and this doesn't mean environment plays no role in shaping us. But to claim that there are no differences between the sexes when looking at group averages, or that culture has greater influence than biology, simply isn't true.
In fact, research has shown that cultures with greater gender equity have larger sex differences when it comes to job preferences, because in these societies, people are free to choose their occupations based on what they enjoy.
As the memo suggests, seeking to fulfill a 50-per-cent quota of women in STEM is unrealistic. As gender equity continues to improve in developing societies, we should expect to see this gender gap widen.
This trend continues into the area of personality, as well. Contrary to what detractors would have you believe, women are, on average, higher in neuroticism and agreeableness, and lower in stress tolerance.
Some intentionally deny the science because they are afraid it will be used to justify keeping women out of STEM. But sexism isn't the result of knowing facts; it's the result of what people choose to do with them.
This is exactly what the mob of outrage should be mobilizing for, instead of denying biological reality and being content to spend a weekend doxxing a man so that he would lose his job. At this point, as foreshadowed in Mr. Damore's manifesto, we should be more concerned about viewpoint diversity than diversity revolving around gender.
Debra Soh writes about the science of human sexuality and holds a PhD in sexual neuroscience from York University.
_________________ Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
Why Google was wrong:
Did James Damore really deserve to be fired for what he wrote?
BY PETER SINGER - NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, August 10, 2017, 8:56 AM
James Damore, a software engineer at Google, wrote a memo in which he argued that there are differences between men and women that may explain, in part, why there are fewer women than men in his field of work. For this, Google fired him.
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, sent Google employees a memo saying that “much of what was in that memo is fair to debate,” but that portions of it cross a line by advancing “harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”
Pichai did not specify which sections of the memo discussed issues that are fair to debate, and which portions cross the line. That would have been difficult to do, because the entire memo is about whether certain gender stereotypes have a basis in reality. Damore argues that there is evidence to show that women, when compared to men, tend to:
-be more interested in people
-be less interested in analyzing or constructing systems
-have higher anxiety and lower tolerance of stress
-have a lower drive for status
-be more interested in balancing life and work
Damore is careful to point out that the evidence for these claims does not show that all women have these characteristics to a higher degree than men. He says that many of these differences are small, that there is significant overlap between men and women, and that “you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.” He shows this with a graph, too. He says that to reduce people to their group identity is bad.
There is scientific research supporting the views Damore expresses. There are also grounds for questioning some of this research. In assessing Google’s action in firing Damore, it isn’t necessary to decide which side is right, but only whether Damore’s view is one that a Google employee should be permitted to express.
I think it is. First, as I’ve said, it is not some twisted, crazy view. There are serious articles, published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, supporting it.
Second, it addresses an important issue. Google is rightly troubled by the fact that its workforce is largely male. Sexism in many areas of employment is well-documented. Employers should be alert to the possibility that they are discriminating against women, and should take steps to prevent such discrimination. Some orchestras now conduct blind auditions — the musician plays from behind a screen, so that those making the appointment do not know if they are listening to a man or a woman. That has led to a dramatic increase in the number of women in orchestras. More businesses should look at the possibilities of similarly blinding themselves, when hiring, to the gender of applicants.
But once such anti-discrimination measures have been taken, to the greatest extent feasible, does the fact that a workforce in a particular industry is predominantly male prove that there has been discrimination? Not if the kind of work on offer is likely to be attractive to more men than to women.
If the view Damore defends is right, that will be true of software engineering. If it is, then moving beyond the avoidance of discrimination in hiring and promotion to a policy of giving preference to women over men would be questionable.
That is not to say that it would be impossible to justify. For example, In some professions, having female role models is important, and a valid reason for giving preference to women, when there are otherwise equally qualified candidates. There may also be other reasons, specific to different industries and professions, for thinking it desirable to have a more even balance of men and women. But the case would need to be made for this in the particular area of employment in which such a policy was suggested.
So on an issue that matters, Damore put forward a view that has reasonable scientific support, and on which it is important to know what the facts are. Why then was he fired?
Pichai, Google's CEO, says that “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.” But Damore explicitly, and more than once, made it clear that he was not reducing individuals to a group, and so was not saying that all — or even, necessarily, any — women employed by Google as software engineers are less biologically suited to their work than men. Google is a very selective employer, and so it is highly probable that Google’s selection processes have led to Google employing women who are, in specific traits, uncharacteristic of women as a whole. The target of Damore’s memo was the idea that we should expect women to make up half the software engineering workforce, and that Google should take measures directed towards achieving that outcome.
Pichai also quotes Google’s Code of Conduct, which expects “each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.” Damore’s memo did not harass or intimidate anyone, and in a society that protects freedom of expression, there was nothing unlawful about it. Was it biased? To show that it was, it would need to be demonstrated that Damore was biased in selecting certain scientific studies that supported his view while disregarding others that went against it. Perhaps that case could — and should — be made, but to do so would take some time and research. In any case, Pichai does not attempt, in even the most cursory way, to make it.
Ironically, what Pichai has done, in firing Damore, is precisely contrary to the passage that he quotes. He has created a workplace culture in which those with opinions like Damore’s will be intimidated into remaining silent.
Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University. His most recent book is "Ethics in the Real World."
_________________ Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
Google Code Jam Finalists Are All Men For 14th Year In A Row
For the 14th year in a row since 2003, men are the only ones who have ever made it to the finals of the Google Code Jam. In the wake of the company’s PR disaster with the leaked “Ideological Echo Chamber” memo and the subsequent firing of the man who wrote it, Google may not be too keen on promoting the event–or its finalists.
Since 2003, Google hosted the international programming competition, sort of like the Olympics for programming geeks. Google uses the event to identify candidates for potential employment, recruiting tech wizards from all over the world—from the Philippines and Japan, all the way over to Russia, Sweden, and across the ocean to Latin America and the United States.
Based on merit alone, the Code Jam does not make any considerations to contestants’ race, gender, political affiliation, or social status. It’s a test of pure skill—and the impartiality of the results speaks loudly. Women, as with anyone else, have entered the competition, but none so far have ever made it to the final around. This isn’t a fact that’s gone unnoticed, as keen-eyed Reddit users speculated on reasons for why that is.
Despite efforts to increase gender diversity by companies like Google and all across Silicon Valley, the numbers aren’t going up by much. Current statistics from Google’s own employee demographics show that only 31% of the company is made up of women, with a near-gender parity (48% to 52%) in non-tech positions. The divide is much larger in technical positions (20% to 80%)
so we can only hope that Google continues to strive for "gender
parity" as it will surely lead to their demise _________________ formerly known as duane in a previous registration
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot vote in polls in this forum