Free Speech, Science / Tech, Top Stories

Is It Sexual Harassment to Discuss this Article?

Jordan Peterson recently tweeted that, “The STEM fields are next on the SJW hitlist. Beware, engineers.”  I’m convinced that Peterson is correct and I feel that my ongoing case has allowed me to see a likely avenue of attack from those who support the equity agenda. They will characterize any discussion of sex differences, no matter how calm and rational, as a form of gender harassment which in turn constitutes sexual harassment. In other words, if you dare to discuss the science of sex differences—even at a university—there’s a good chance that you’ll be accused of violating US law. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me back up and explain in more detail.

For me, it started when Google fired their engineer James Damore for daring to suggest that men and women are different and that those differences can explain much of the gender gap in tech. I was disturbed by Google’s unwillingness to explore these ideas and I spent nearly a year discussing gender differences at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington where I work.  Then I wrote an article for Quillette entitled “Why Women Don’t Code,” in which I repeated many of the same ideas that got Damore into trouble.

My article initially generated a great deal of interest. Many news organizations wrote about it including Inside Higher Ed, the Seattle Times, the Stranger, GeekWire, and Campus Reform. I was invited to do two podcasts and a segment on our local news. A half dozen people put signs outside their office doors meant to counter my article with slogans such as, “I look like a computer scientist. So do my colleagues of every gender.” Nearly 50 messages were sent to a school-wide mailing list in just two days. But the intensity did not last.

And then the news came. On October 24, a group of graduate students announced that, “More will be done to address gender harassment at the Allen School.” At the University of Washington, graduate student employees are unionized and this group of graduate students had filed a grievance with their union. They complained that, “the school leadership’s past silence in response to gender harassment (see a timeline of incidents here) contributed to a hostile work environment.”  The timeline they provide is about my Quillette article.

I haven’t checked every date and detail, but the timeline seems to be accurate. What I find most surprising is that the students feel that this narrative of events constitutes “gender harassment.”  Consider, for example, this paragraph that they include without explanation as to how it constitutes harassment:

SR replies-all with a “thought experiment” asking “how to make someone like James Damore feel welcome in CSE,” quoting Damore’s memo and calling Damore’s position a “defensible position.”

As this process has unfolded, I have come to realize that the mere mention of James Damore awakens a tribal response from supporters of the equity agenda. Saying anything positive about Damore is considered a form of harassment.

The grievance has been settled and the University of Washington does not discuss the details of such settlements, but the graduate students mentioned that, “We are happy to report that the University has agreed to several of our grievance demands.” They list three specific areas:

  • The school will offer new “intersectional diversity and sexual harassment training” for student employees and their supervisors.
  • A new student advisory group will be set up that will help the school “make progress” on equity issues.
  •  A group of mostly senior faculty will review the introductory programming courses “to ensure that they are inclusive of students from all backgrounds.”

The third concession hits closest to home because I designed the introductory programming courses and my primary work responsibility is teaching and managing the courses. Why my courses should be investigated is not entirely clear, but I have heard it suggested that students might be reluctant to take a course from me because of my Quillette article.

I encourage people to read the timeline compiled by the graduate students and I have collected all eight of the emails I sent to mailing lists during the 2017-18 academic year so that people can read those as well. You can judge for yourself, but my intent was to sincerely discuss this issue with others in the school. I pointed them to Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate, Gad Saad’s invited talk at Google, Heterodox Academy’s excellent summary of research on both sides of James Damore’s memo, information about the Chicago Principles, and the discussion on gender that Pinker had with Elizabeth Spelke at Harvard which I described as “an example of a true class act with scholars disagreeing without being disagreeable.”

How can this be considered harassment? Claire Lehmann provided the answer in a recent Quillette article entitled “Redefining Sexual Harassment,” in which she explores a report released earlier this year by NASEM (the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) about sexual harassment in STEM fields. Lehmann explained that the report was able to cite alarmingly high percentages of women who were harassed because the most common form of harassment reported is gender harassment, which can be something as saying that “women don’t make good supervisors.”

My only complaint about Lehmann’s article is that she made it sound like this is a new interpretation. The task force who wrote the report did not make this up, although their suggestion that we seriously address it (recommendation 2) is new. Consider, for example, this section from the primary web page on sexual harassment hosted by the EEOC (the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission):

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

This wording has remained unchanged since at least 2009 according to the Wayback Machine.  But Lehmann is correct when she says that most people are not aware of this. The report mentions that:

Women who experience the gender harassment type of sexual harassment are more than 7 times less likely to label their experiences as “sexual harassment” than women who experience unwanted sexual attention or sexual coercion (Holland and Cortina 2013). This illustrates what other research has shown: that in both the law and the lay public, the dominant understandings of sexual harassment overemphasize two forms of sexual harassment, sexual coercion and unwanted sexual attention, while downplaying the third (most common) type—gender harassment.

Unfortunately this leaves us with a great deal of ambiguity about what constitutes sexual harassment. The report defines the gender harassment form as, “verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender.” Courts will ultimately decide whether such a broad definition is appropriate, but the implications are disturbing.

As an example, consider the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis, which posits that, although men and women may have the same average ability in many areas, men tend to have a higher variance, leading to more outliers at the extremes (the tails of the distribution). The theory is often summarized as “more idiots and more geniuses” among men versus women. Quillette readers will recall that a peer-reviewed article on the subject that had been accepted for publication was withdrawn because of the controversy it generated.

This raises an important question. Is discussing this theory a form of gender harassment and, thus, a form of sexual harassment? When Larry Summers mentioned it in a public discussion of gender imbalances in STEM, many called for him to resign as President of Harvard, which he did soon after.

James Damore also discussed this idea in his ten-page memo on gender differences and the National Labor Relations Board released their opinion that his discussion of this theory did in fact constitute sexual harassment:

Statements about immutable traits linked to sex—such as women’s heightened neuroticism and men’s prevalence at the top of the IQ distribution—were discriminatory and constituted sexual harassment, notwithstanding effort to cloak comments with “scientific” references and analysis, and notwithstanding “not all women” disclaimers.

I find it amusing that they put the word “scientific” in quotes, as if they aren’t quite sure whether this is real science. The waters are even more muddied by yet another ambiguity. Although discussion of sex differences is considered sexual harassment, it does not necessarily constitute illegal sexual harassment. From the EEOC web page:

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

This increases the likelihood that individuals who cross the line by discussing sex differences will be warned not to repeat the behavior and will probably be okay as long as they comply. Only stubborn individuals who continue to express themselves are likely to be accused of breaking the law. Recall that our graduate students claimed that my repeated discussion of this topic had created a hostile work environment.

Count me among the stubborn and you will understand why this settlement of the grievance put forward by our graduate students is disappointing to me. I’m unhappy that my courses are being investigated, but in some ways, the new forms of monitoring and the new training workshops are more disturbing because they represent an ongoing attempt to pressure me into silence.

I am also disappointed with the University of Washington for settling the case without resolving the central question of whether my discussion of these issues constituted gender harassment. It leaves me and others like me with no clarity about where our free speech rights end and where illegal sexual harassment begins. And, even more disappointing, it means that we have failed to properly educate those graduate students. We could have rejected their claim of harassment and championed the idea that universities need to preserve the tradition of open discussion of all ideas, encouraging them to become the kind of antifragile scientists and engineers our society needs. Instead we left them with the impression that they were right to see themselves as victims and to encourage them to continue to try to silence ideas that leave them with hurt feelings.

I expect to see more of this going forward as the #MeToo movement broadens out. Recommendation 3 from the national academies report is to, “Move beyond legal compliance to address culture and climate.” The next phase of the culture war will include attempts to silence any discussion of sex differences within the STEM disciplines.  As Jordan Peterson said, “Beware, engineers.”

 

Stuart Reges is a Principal Lecturer at the University of Washington where he manages the introductory computer science classes at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

Filed under: Free Speech, Science / Tech, Top Stories

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Stuart Reges is a Principal Lecturer at the University of Washington where he manages the introductory computer science classes at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

139 Comments

  1. Let me change a few words between the dashes and see how it sounds:

    Statements about immutable traits linked to sex—such as women’s higher body fat percentage and men’s denser bones—were discriminatory and constituted sexual harassment, notwithstanding effort to cloak comments with “scientific” references and analysis, and notwithstanding “not all women” disclaimers.

    • Kale University Jeremiah says

      @Stuart Reges

      “…we left them with the impression that they were right to see themselves as victims and to encourage them to continue to try to silence ideas that leave them with hurt feelings….”

      You have no idea what you’re messing with here. Excuse me if I’m terse, but I’m exhausted yelling to colleagues about this, and I’m out of shits to give:

      Victimhood is not some passing emotion. It’s a monster. Victimhood and its pathology of thought rips societies apart.

      As people–including smart and educated people–are allowed to indulge their fancies about their own and others’ victimhood, it erodes their objectivity and dissolves social trust. They fall into mystical thinking and irrational group behavior.

      Victimhood is inherently subjective. You might reflexively howl, “Well surely _____ are, objectively speaking, victims!? You’re a ____ist or ____phobe to suggest otherwise!” But really think about it for a moment: assignment of unalloyed victimhood–particularly to whole groups–requires a fantasy, a division of the world into the wholly innocent and oppressed, and the guilty and oppressive. The world and people are just not that simple, no matter how many simplistic detective shows we watch, or how much we rewrite history. Like The Man said: if we all got our just desserts, who should scape whipping? Victim thinking sucks human beings into a subjective rabbit hole.

      The victimhood view of human nature is deadly. As soon as absolute victims become a moral truth that cannot be questioned and absolute oppression (evil) becomes a lurking, invisible force, communities go ape crazy bananas trying to objectify the subjective. This is where witch hunts, purges, show trials, trials by ordeal, holocausts, lynchings, and other atrocities grow from. A community that believes in absolute victims regularly seeks to isolate and destroy “the evil” standing in the way of the perfect society of the righteous.

      The wise know that there is evil and destructiveness in every person to one extent or another, some more than others. As the hunt for “the evil” ramps up, a heinous game of whack-a-mole erupts. The community says, “Ah ha! Here is the evil! It’s ____! Kill him! He caused our problems! Wait … no, it’s over here! Kill THIS person/group! No wait, we still haven’t gotten rid of all the evil ….” Pretty soon, everybody is scared to death they will be discovered as the next “real oppressors” and destroyed to cleanse the community. The bodies just keep piling up as the victimized try to root out all the badness.

      Which brings us to your situation. In the West, victimhood thinking is bursting into flame right now. For the time being, white, straight men are the embodiment of “evil” that is keeping historically disadvantaged groups (the absolute victims) from living in the fair, pure world they know should exist.

      You can reason and speechify all you want about this, protest your correctness, cite science, cite super-science, demonstrate mathematically the hypocrisy of those lined up against you … but you are missing the forest for the trees. YOU ARE THE EVIL THAT HAS TO BE GOTTEN RID OF AT ANY COST, AND ANY REASON–NO MATTER HOW SPURIOUS–WILL DO.

      As counterintuitive and cowardly as it might first sound, if I were you, I’d disappear. Find an excuse, and VANISH. Go become a plumber for a while. And take that poor schmuck James Damore with you. After a while, the immolating flames licking round white, straight men will die down, and the victims will find someone else to blame for the imperfections of their reality. But until then, there’s no telling what sort of insanity you are in for. Unless you are prepared to become an honest-to-goodness martyr, grab your dog and get out of Dodge City by sundown.

      I speak from hard-won experience on this. I have looked into the glazed eyes of a self-righteous mob (seated round a conference table), and it’s chilling to the bone. When victimhood thinking flares up, people lose their minds. You don’t want any part of that, I can assure you.

      • Kent Gold says

        “Unless you are prepared to become an honest-to-goodness martyr, grab your dog and get out of Dodge City by sundown.”

        Son … of … a … guuuuuuun.

        I just had this flash of insight about Lao Tzu. It’s never explained, but the legend around the guy was that one day he just said something like, “Things are getting crazy round heya in the city. I’m out!” And he left town and went and lived in the mountains or some such.

        I get this tingly feeling that behavior like you are describing was going on, and he said, “Not fighting the power on this one. Gonna go be a plumber” or whatever.

        I guess wise and reasonable people don’t do well in such environments, hm?

        • Kevin Kennedy says

          This is a lynch mob environment of leftist thought police. I’m getting on my boat and getting the hell out of Dodge.

      • Andrew Leonard says

        @Kale University Jeremiah

        So have you withdrawn your support for public education, or do you suppose the rise of victimhood culture can be reversed at no cost?

      • Giselle P. says

        @Kale: Sounds like you have rediscovered some ancient truths. A few come to mind.

        “I have looked into the glazed eyes of a self-righteous mob (seated round a conference table), and it’s chilling to the bone. When victimhood thinking flares up, people lose their minds.”

        “He said to [the possessing spirit in the demoniac], ‘Come out from the man, impure spirit.’ And he asked him, ‘What is your name?’ And he says to him, ‘My name is Legion, because we are many.'” Kata Markon 5:8

        “Victimhood is not some passing emotion. It’s a monster. Victimhood and its pathology of thought rips societies apart.”

        “They [Legion] entreated him, saying, ‘Send us into the swine, so that we might enter into them.’ And he gave them leave. And coming out the impure spirits entered the swine, and the herd charged down the precipice into the sea, about two thousand, and were suffocated in the sea.” Kata Markon 5:12

        • Grover's Other Brother's Brother says

          @Giselle P

          Don’t forget the most important one: “Beware the Pharisees and the Sadducees!” [that is, the intellectuals] 😂

          • Giselle P. says

            @Grover’s Other Brother’s Brother: The image of Leftist postmodern intellectuals (or maybe all of us in the academy?) as a herd of diabolically possessed swine is now etched on my psyche. For some reason, I imagine them wearing old-time priest hats.

            This calls for a meme poster of some sort, does it not?

          • No, not the intellectuals. Judaism is perhaps of all faiths the most respectful of intellect, having relied for thousands of years on deep consideration of both its own hard texts and the challenges brought by alternative views. The warning is against the dead letter crowd.

          • Michael Joseph says

            Grover, is that like beware the press and the academy? There’s quite a dichotomy between knowledge that produces cell phones and knowledge that might be inconvenient. We have seen places where intellectuals were driven out and murdered. They have backward societies all round after.

      • Patrice says

        Problem is, not only do the ‘victims’ lose their minds, those they attack do too, as evidenced by your post. This is such an exaggerated, pseudo-psychoanalytic, fearmongering take on the situation. Yes, victimhood can be terrible and destructive. Yes, it seems to be on the rise in our cultures. But really? This is just a similarly irrational, self-pitying attitude but inverted, with all the same moral righteousness and claims to ‘objectivity’ as the people you’re attacking make. How about we all try to be ‘anti-fragile’ and face up to this rise of victimhood with not just integrity but compassion? Victimhood is a mode of being, and we shouldn’t act as if because someone has fallen into the pathology they’re beyond help. And we certainly shouldn’t ‘disappear’.

        • RylanG says

          Compassion is fine and all but not in the face of a virulent infection. I have kids, do you? See, I don’t mind for myself because I have a certain level of resistance where the virus won’t kill me (or if it does, so be it), but the way it’s swirling around airborne now…well, it’s difficult to keep the kids from infection.
          As adults we can withdraw to a certain extent. This virus targets kids, even in private schools. If it’s not coming directly from the faculty there are enough kids not innoculated in the home that they bring it in with them.

      • augustine says

        @ Kale

        By definition victims do not have the power to “root out all the badness”. You are missing a dynamic in your outline, that of the self-righteous people who fight on behalf of victims. They have real power that the victims do not have, and can act against the perceived oppressors. This dynamic is especially effective when the victim group seeks such allies, and those who use them as proxies in turn seek the out for their own purposes. Something like the blobs of mercury in Terminator II finding each other and coalescing…

        This is going on right now in a number of subject areas. It is synergistic and, as you say, can quickly spiral into monstrous behaviors quickly under the proper conditions. But it is not a binary dynamic.

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Kale University Jeremiah

        “After a while, the immolating flames licking round white, straight men will die down, and the victims will find someone else to blame for the imperfections of their reality. ”

        Who? So long as SWMs are successful they are automatically the Oppressor (how else could they have become successful?). Thus they will remain the target until they have been crushed completely but then who will become what is really the target of envy? Orientals? Jews? Anyway, the flames will not die down until men have been entirely subjugated.

        • Debbie says

          Im far from PC, but orientals is more than a bit dated. You use thst word when talking about items like Oriental rugs. When talking about people it’s Asian.

          • John Simpson says

            Nothing inherently “dated” about the word “oriental”. It is imprecise in that it refers to an indeterminate part of Asia, largely populated with people whose eyes likely have epicanthic folds. Using the word “Asian” is not much better.

          • If you use the word ASIAN there is no way to differentiate between East Asians (mainly oriental DNA, confucian/Buddhist philosophies, etc. highly successful peoples with the highest average IQ’s in the world) – and South Asians – far lower IQ’s, Muslims, not successful, often fanatical, living medieval, misogynistic lives)

      • Kale University Jeremiah – All living people are victims of something at sometime. If you hold your victimization (or today’s “survivor” nonsense as it relates to slights in which not surviving was never a possibility), then you keep yourself down.
        Forgiveness fixes victimization for life.
        Discussion and science fixes misunderstandings about reality.
        Telling others their ideas make you a victim is criminal, childish, outlandish, ignorant.

      • Michael Joseph says

        Wow, I am so sorry you are upset by the people that destroyed your vision of the perfect world you’re living in. The problem with your logic is in numbers. Lots and lots of people don’t feel like they get a fair shot and they can describe the reasons behind their feelings. Society is organized to cater to white men. It has been for centuries. I know from reports about the Mississippi Senator’s remark that she would be first in line to a public hanging that the last lynching in Mississippi was in 1968. That’s not that long ago. Why do you all think centuries of victimization can be erased in a few decades. Where women are concerned, I’ll wager they have been second class citizens since the dawn of the species. I believe that’s between 2 and 3 hundred thousand years according to anthropologists.

        • Andrew Leonard says

          Juxtapose …

          Wow, I am so sorry you are upset by the people that destroyed your vision of the perfect world you’re living in.

          with …

          Why do you all think centuries of victimization can be erased in a few decades.

          What does erased refer to here? It refers to the perfect society this Social Justice Revolutionary attends to achieve. The world will be cleansed of sins and sinners until we reach utopia.

          Where women are concerned, I’ll wager they have been second class citizens since the dawn of the species.

          They still are in the Middle East, a fact that SJWs find appalling 🙂

        • Jorge says

          @Michael Joseph: “Why do you all think centuries of victimization can be erased in a few decades. Where women are concerned, I’ll wager they have been second class citizens since the dawn of the species.”

          Let’s say that’s true. So what? I have as many victimized female ancestors as any woman alive, and she has as many oppressive male ancestors as I do. The history of female victimization only matters if she takes it personally.

        • @Michael Joseph
          “Society is organized to cater to white men.” Whose society? The Japanese, the Chinese? The Arabs? The Mongols? All of these have been conquering hordes and are so-called misogynistic cultures – what does WHITE have to do with it? I’m white and now I feel like a victim of your ideas!!!

      • @ Kale University Jeremiah. I’ve had that experience too – in my case at, of all things, the AGM of a Rudolf Steiner school. The psychopathology is the same, though the present topic is much farther reaching; and I fear you may be right. Perhaps best just to wait quietly till the madness subsides, as it will.
        Hard, though, when good people are being viciously destroyed.

      • Taylor says

        True wounds are by the self inflicted, true words are by the selfless formed.

        Stoic philosophy has a reposte for every victimhood narrative and every perceived evil.

    • I’ve only had one significant other that worked out. She was a swimmer, so we didn’t really work out ‘together’ as a couple (in public). On the few occasions that we did go to the YMCA (M not W: they both had pools but M was closer)) to swim, we only spoke for a few minutes in between laps. I am 200 lbs with 2-3% body fat, she was 120 with roughly 12%. It took a lot more work to keep my body moving in the water. Now I’ve been in a local health club for 3+ years. Only 2 women (not at the front desk) introduced themselves – or said hey, how’s it going – to me in that time: one selling cannabis oils, the other selling chiropractic services. I told this to a psychiatrist and she asked if I had a problem introducing myself to other people. Is one gender taught not to take initiative or is it inherent? It’s not a real question b/c in academic environments it happened all the time. We have a local community college but the environment is more working class, though purportedly liberal or at least mostly democratic.

  2. Sean S says

    Off topic, I hate the icrap picture on top, get real computer please.

  3. Circuses and Bread says

    Curious. Are the STEM departments at Chinese Universities consumed with angst over gender harassment? Or are they just turning out thousands and thousands of STEM graduates who dont give a hoot about the opinions of gender hustlers?

    • Frogger 🐸 says

      “Are the STEM departments at Chinese Universities consumed with angst over gender harassment?”

      No need. Everybody in China is happy all the time about everything. This goes double for those lucky enough to go to sleep away camp to better themselves and become more understanding communists. They get constant encouragement.

      When you swap over to Marxism, gender harassment goes away, because men and women’s inherent equality in every way manifests itself.

      Didn’t you know that?

      • Suzanne Walton says

        “Didn’t you know that?”

        Cuz if you didn’t, we have an education camp for that…

    • No, because most Chinese people only recently emerged from severe poverty. No one in China would seriously argue that they were oppressed because they were “misgendered” or because they went to a restaurant and someone thought they were a waiter. Thats simply risible to anyone who has experienced true hunger.

      It cuts both ways, of course. Jordan Peterson, for example, bangs on as though he were only one signature away from being sent to a Siberian gulag, which is patently ridiculous to anyone who actually experienced the worst of the Soviet era.

      Basically, we have it pretty good in the west, we don’t really have any grievances, so those small grievances we do have become treasured currency.

      • Peter Kriens says

        You’re probably right. Maybe you should also tell Damore and Strumia, the CERN guy and tell them how they are exaggerating the situation. I think the probably have lots of time to listen.

        • peterschaeffer says

          PK, Good call, mentioning Strumia. Strumia is almost unknown in the US, but is Europe’s Damore.

        • Your examples actually sort of reinforce his point. None of those people are begging for scraps on the street, despite being mistreated

      • @ Bab
        No. these small grievances are leading to ridiculous policies and driving our culture lower not raising it to a higher plain. There is no common sense in practice – the grievance industry has no stopping point and never will if we continually bend over for it.

        Rational people are willing and able to take corrective action, it’s one of the great things about Western Culture. However, foolishness cannot be tolerated forever, it seems the backlash has started. and it’s about time.

        Peterson is not wrong. What your call the gulag is James Damore and Larry Summers losing their jobs for speaking simple truths. How is that in any way treasured currency?

    • Reader says

      “Reges posits that the reason there are not more women in computer science is that they choose not to be — that their avoidance of tech careers in favor of other positions is due to personal preferences. But he did not adequately answer why women make that choice…”

      Uh, yeah he did. It’s because they prefer not to – that there’s a noted differences in preferences. That was the entire point of the essay.

      What an odd phrasing.

      Then the usual list of The Real Reasons without any citations.

      • augustine says

        A la Hmmm, let’s see how another modification sounds:

        “Reges posits that the reason there are not more women in sanitation engineering and ditch science is that they choose not to be — that their avoidance of backbreaking careers in favor of other positions is due to personal preferences. But he did not adequately answer why women make that choice…”

        If these women who are complaining about gender harassment/job discrimination– and it is certainly a particular subset of women– were vocal about this issue across all professions I might want to learn what they have to say. But they are not and I do not.

    • Agreed, I think people are overlooking this. The director isn’t saying innate gender differences are impossible, but that they’re not likely to be a complete explanation for the current gap, with supporting data.

    • Peter From Oz says

      The Director should be forced to resign for be an ideologue uninterested in education.
      It is the only way to deal with these purveyors of diversity humbug. There is a good old fashioned English words for people like this Director. He’s a wanker.

  4. MattK says

    I thought the right were the ones who were supposed to be anti-science.

    • George says

      The difference between left-wing science denial and right-wing science denial is that right-wing science denial hasn’t become institutionalized in academia.

  5. Farris says

    If it is improper to discuss differences between men and women, it must be presumed that is because men and women are no different. If there are no differences between men and women, then how can some men feel as though they are women living in male bodies and some women believe they are men living in female bodies? Wouldn’t such a belief then be a form of sexual harassment since it implies there are differences between men and women?

    • Frogger 🐸 says

      @Farris

      STOP MAKING LOGIC AT ME! IT HURTS MY MINDBRAIN!

      • Ray Andrews says

        @Frogger
        It’s only patriarchal DWM logic, you can replace that with the logic of your choice.

          • Ray Andrews says

            @david of Kirkland

            Surely I was being sarcastic? The thing is that, fantastic as it might be to say it, logic is now subject to revision by the SJWs too. First they came for the social sciences and we did nothing, then they came for the hard sciences and we did nothing, then they came for mathematics (which must be ‘decolonized’), and we did nothing, then they came for logic itself, and …

    • @Farris
      This is why the purveyors of such gender/sex beliefs and philosophies reject rationalism as a form of white patriarchal European oppression on minorities, and have replaced it with “Critical Theory” and “intersectionality.”

      Not even making that up. Since rationalism fails to adequately explain feelings of oppression, rationalism must be wrong, and the feelings of the oppressed must take primacy. It creates an entirely subjective and arbitrarily shifting context that’s impossible to argue with. Basically, you’re so wrong that “right” can’t even be explained to you.

    • You are trying to apply science and logic to a postmodern or poststructural construction, and that when it gets strange.

  6. JollyLittlePerson says

    It seems that the idea that there are no genetic or physical differences between men and women is on the path to be taken to its illogical conclusion; that there are no important physical differences at all, and any observed differences are just medical novelties. That would mean there are no such things as “women”. Therefore “Believe all Women” makes as much sense as choosing some other random, hereditary, but daily unimportant trait, like blood group and saying “Believe all people with 0 positive blood.”

    I don’t think you can have it both ways! “Believe all women” and men and women are exactly the same.

    • Andrew Leonard says

      I don’t think you can have it both ways! “Believe all women” and men and women are exactly the same.

      The problem being that the radicals can have it both ways, and suffer no consequences for it.

      The situation will continue to deteriorate until the desirability of public education is seriously challenged.

    • I watched a gender studies lecturer from a well established Australian university, in a conversation program on our public broadcaster, putting precisely the view that there are no men or women; and lamenting that after 50 years of research, people still clung to these fantasy categories.
      And not one of the men and women around the table called him on it.

      • ga gamba says

        If there are no men and women, then there is no gender disparity. Further, there’s no need for women’s/gender studies.

        I’m happy to see these issues have been resolved in a flash.

  7. W2class says

    By the definition above, men are currently subject to a relentless and pervasive campaign of gender harassment.

  8. Farris says

    Would it be a defense for a man charged with sexual harassment to assert that he identifies female?

    • Frogger 🐸 says

      @Farris

      Have you ever watched the movie “The Human Stain”, with Anthony Hopkins? It deals with a related scenario. Quite interesting…

  9. Andrew Mcguiness says

    Well … I read your emails and they definitely came across as collegial and to the point. The more times somebody stands up and argues contentious questions in this way, the more likely it becomes that reasonable discussion will be accepted as the norm.

  10. Lee Floyd says

    My daughter (who is twelve) used to like slime. Before that she was an avid Harry Potter fan. Right now, it’s looking like boys.
    Isn’t the reason this silliness is in vogue, is cognitively, it is children (of whatever age), that are in the midst of their current obsession? (I have a suspicion that the boys thing isn’t going to be over soon…..sigh).

  11. E. Olson says

    So it is a firing offense to reference scientific literature that shows men have higher IQ variance or that men on average have better spatial-orientation skills than women, which may explain their higher numbers in STEM fields, but does anyone get fired for stating that women have on average higher verbal skills, and greater empathy, which might explain their dominance in elementary education and language study? Does something seem out of wack when a male professor can get fired or demoted at a University for saying something like “woman make poor supervisors”, but the same University is apparently justified in forcing all students and staff to take courses on “toxic masculinity” or “overcoming patriarchy/misogyny” or “rape culture” under the assumption that all men are evil and must trained out of it?

    In the recent Quillette interview with Camille Paglia, she noted that throughout human history men and women seldom worked together. Perhaps the wisdom of our elders with regards to gender segregation is based on thousands of years of experimentation and observation on what actually works, and the current article perhaps illustrated that we are in the process of relearning such lessons?

    • Andrew Leonard says

      @E. Olson

      Throughout human history men have been expendable. On Titanic, third class women were more likely to make it to the safety of a lifeboat, then were first class men. This was in spite of the fact that the crew were predominantly male, and the ship was controlled by the patriarchy 🙂

      In the War for Social Justice, men are once again being sacrificed to a highly disproportional extent. Nothing new in that regard, but this time there is a difference – some of the generals are women.

      • E. Olson says

        Andrew – you are absolutely correct that men have historically been expendable, but that was entirely built on the need to ensure the species/social group survived by protecting wombs and child care specialists (e.g. women), because as any rancher knows the population size is entirely dependent on the number of female cows as long as there is one good bull available. The question that might increasingly be expected to be discussed today in the Western world is whether the “ladies first” rules that guided the evacuation of the Titanic should apply to women who refuse to have enough children to replace or grow the population, which is the only thing they are uniquely better at than men in providing.

        • Andrew Leonard says

          What if “ladies first” is not a rule, but a psychological built-in (biological rather than cultural), especially in regard to birth rates falling below replacement rates?

          Is the rule/propensity then applied in a more intense manner? If yes then men become more expendable, and less desirable in general, as mating prospects. As a consequence, birth rates could fall lower still, and now we have a positive feedback spiral.

          Does this prospect portend the demise of the human race? I guess if it does, we will go out with an explanation for the Fermi Paradox.

          • E. Olson says

            Interesting Andrew – then I guess there would be no need to worry about global warming or over-population. On the other hand, if men invent compliant and realistic sex dolls, artificial wombs and eggs, and robot nannies/maids, why would men need any nagging woman around to complain about patriarchy, misogyny, rape culture, and the fair distribution of housework?

          • Ray Andrews says

            @Andrew Leonard

            Not of the human race, but certainly of the white race. It seems that we’re below replacement not just in the PC West but in Russia and Eastern Europe too. Are there any exceptions?

      • The problem with that thesis was that the rule was “women and children only”. At least that’s how I remember the movie, as being male I refused to watch it more than once. Hard to argue any biological imperative for saving a young child over a grown male, unless it’s just to save weight.

      • Morgan says

        No, there’s another difference.
        Men no longer receive any deference, thanks, or dare I say it ‘privileges’ in exchange for their sacrifice.

      • @Andrew Leonard
        Dead on… Just finished a study of the Roman Empire, yeah men were expendable – all classes and ranks.

  12. Sex, the definition of the two roles are the core of the continuity of complex life, undermined by ideology that has far too much in common with the fanatics who locked up Galileo.

    This agenda must be fought.

    • Ken A. says

      Hey Leap,
      What is the referent of “this” is your second sentence? Hope it ain’t sex! Sex can be a ton of fun if you do ir right!

  13. William E. Kimberly, Sr. says

    If you stand back and look at this fire and furry, comparing it to what preceding generations confronted, you might conclude: 1) People seem to need something (anything?) to fight about, and 2) perhaps the things people fight about indicate what life was like in their times.
    Compare “Territorial Wars,” “Religious Wars,” “Slavery,” “Nazism,” to what we find to fight about today.
    These must be the best of times.

    • Ken A. says

      I like your point, William. If the worst thing that ever happens to me is that some friend tells me they want to be called “they” from now on I will reconcile myself to the idea that they have just gone batshit crazy and move on with my life.

      In fact, something worse than that happened to me just this morning! Folks sometimes get triggered by such stupid shit, I must say.

      • ga gamba says

        Take it to the absurdity. Since we often use the second person singular when conversing with the person, replace you with they. And for added fun, use they instead of their surname.

    • augustine says

      Wm., I think you are onto something with your reference to people fighting based on what they reference in their own times, especially their youth. However, I don’t think the current culture wars are in lieu of Real War. They are only interludes that have captured our innate tendency to be vigilant and defend what we value from attack. Threat perception seems to be a key factor that has spiked, as well as exaggeration in general.

      We have built up an “unnatural” proportion of modern liberal people who do not exhibit natural defensiveness– those who are more inclusive, open to new experiences, tolerant, etc., even at the same time they are incredibly hostile to [older] aspects of culture that they fear. Apparently there is a significant genetic component to these differences so it is not just an issue of viewpoint or political allegiance. Yet those who are most “open” and insistent on smashing boundaries are the least fecund demographic, so they have that going against them…

      • James Lee says

        @augustine

        I’m with you. There is evidence that there is a genetic component and an environmental component to political/ethical frameworks, and my speculation is that when the environment is extremely physically easy and presents very low survival threat, a particular suite of psychological traits is activated, and that’s what we are seeing with what you called an “unnatural proportion of modern liberal people who do not exhibit natural defensiveness– those who are more inclusive, open to new experiences, tolerant, etc., even at the same time they are incredibly hostile to [older] aspects of culture that they fear.”

        The manifestation of the activation varies, some individuals are very susceptible to the environmental trigger and others far less so. The suite of traits appears to be very future oriented and to have a generalized antipathy to past cultural patterns.

        My guess is that it served some past populations well, as in: when the living is easy, its a good time to be non-defensive, to spread those trading networks, to be extra-friendly and open to other tribes and potentially receive positive technology transfers, etc.

        Conversely, when a population is besieged by violent rival tribes, disease, and famines, it’s better to hunker down and activate a suite of psychological traits which support more in-group loyalty, purity, etc.

        I think that our current environment is so radically low threat from a historical perspective that this suite of traits, which underlies the social justice religion, is in overdrive.

    • Defenstrator says

      These are absolutely the best of times. The seething resentment of irrational activists is best slapped down by pointing out that, by any objective measurement, they are living in the least racist, sexist society that has ever existed, both historically and compared to the rest of the world.

      • D-Rex says

        Unfortunately, as has been demonstrated many times, pointing anything out to these radicals has little to no effect. They metaphorically put fingers in ears and yell la la la in response.
        And while this is clearly the best time to be alive and SJW’s really have very little to complain about, make no mistake, they will do everything in their power to destroy someone. Reasoning with them is like trying to have a conversation with the zombies in Walking dead.

  14. Ken A. says

    Hmmm..so are men who don’t code kind of like…girls!?

    Makes me proud I was a pretty good IBM 360 Assembler Language coder back in the day. Now that was real manly coding, not like these new boys with all this OOP stuff.

    • peterschaeffer says

      KA, I have considerable experience with both 360/370/XA/390z assembler and OOP (Python, PHP, Java, JavaScript, C++, etc.). Both are highly challenging but in somewhat different ways. I wouldn’t describe the old stuff as ‘manly’ and the new stuff as ‘girly’. Neither claim appears accurate.

      A minor point is that the number of women in programming has declined over time. The famous Github study showed that men outnumber women in Open Source by 17:1. The decline of women in programming appears to be a consequence of the opening of other fields (Law, Medicine, Biology, etc.) to women.

      The other fields (LMB) pay better than programming (on average) and are more prestigious (generally). The are also more weighted towards ‘people’ vs. ‘things’. Unsurprisingly, women are equal to men in those fields or a majority.

      • I think @peterschaeffer hits on a good point that the STEM fields they are harping on now may have been the big profit/enjoyment jobs of 10-20 years ago but they certainly are not now! I made a great living from 1989 – 2000 developing software but with the internet boom, the wages of developers (coders/programmers/etc) have substantially declined. It has become a commoditized job role yet I keep hearing about “oh, there aren’t enough women in Comp Sci” — why would they go there? Yes, they may make $120k in the silicon valley but they’re sharing a house with 27 other people (high cost of living) and expected to work 70-90 hours/week for those wages. The mad rush to “coding” back in the dot-com boom saw every line of work going that way with every exCPA and their brother being a web developer. That saw the wages plummet and they haven’t recovered — not when the job can be done offshore by some “java for dummies” reader for $15/hour. The same for the hard science STEM where the lucrative R&D jobs dried up/moved on. The grant money too.

  15. Erica from The West Village says

    The challenge lies in the fact that women who are coding are missing out on English classes where the origin, meaning, and multiple interpretations of words are learned.

    Such as the differences between harassment, molestation, discrimination, reverse discrimination, physical assault, verbal assault, trolling, cajoling, sarcasm, irony, inappropriate, personal responsibility, dialogue, discourse, engagement, open minded, myopia, and….of course..my favorite…moral relativism.

    I believe this is why people are clamoring for the work of Jonathan Haidt and Jordan Peterson who are taking Sociology, Psychology and Evolution and applying it to everyday life.

    • Ken A. says

      Not to mention missing out on all those Home Economics and Knitting classes!

      But you are right! Often my wife will give me a hard time about something I said because she fails to fully appreciate what “sarcasm” is. It would be a good idea to require women to attend intensive language classes so that they can be trained to fully appreciate the wisdom and intricate nuances of their husbands’ speech.

      Good post!

    • Clair's Landing Strip says

      Are you fucking serious? LOL. And men learn words then, how…?

  16. R Henry says

    Ours is the post-Truth, post- Reality era, in which biology is meaningless, Bruce Jenner is a woman, and the Pope is Catholic.

  17. Applied engineering is under scrutiny for issues unrelated to the above article.

    If you need to understand why, look at the Facebook debacle of the last few days. Facebook is applied engineering attempting to reroute socialization through simplistic advertising and artificial growth amplification both engineered through NLP 9natural language processing) and algorithms.

    Is that all this site has? Bait and switch?

    Everything here is culturally based, every excursion into debating the sciences, literature, sexual politics, all is fused to culture.

    Looks like the Emperors New Clothes just dressed differently.

  18. When I was a law student in the late 1960’s we were taught that there were good criminal laws (or other statutory offences of a non-criminal nature) which endured, and bad laws that would eventually have to be corrected. That is still valid today.

    To be a just law, a law must be certain, so that a person can know in advance whether some contemplated conduct is legal or illegal, with a bright line separating the two. Vague laws that create offences that do not permit of such certainty are inherently unjust.

    The author quoted the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:
    “Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.”

    This law is vague and subjective. There is no possible definition of “offensive” comments that will predict whether one person, many, or all persons will be, or should reasonably be, offended. Offensiveness, like beauty, is to a large extent in the eye of the beholder. Upon experiencing the stimulus of a commentary describing the author’s view of a difference between men and women (such as the one in issue in this article), reasonable people with adequate self-control can choose their response. They can choose whether to be offended, or to shrug it off as a comment with which the person disagrees. No one is forced to be offended; the response of taking offence is a choice. If I choose to be offended by something you have written, should my choice be enough to make you a criminal? Do I have a constitutional right not to be offended that trumps your right to freedom of expression? A person’s innocence or guilt should not be so dependent upon another’s choice of response, as that person’s response is neither predictable nor necessarily reasonable.

    It is also a vague law because “harass” is undefined and undefinable. A statement in a published article will be treated as made personally to whomever reads that article. If an article is read by a million people and 100 of them choose to respond as offended, does that make the author guilty of “gender harassment”? There is no clear and unequivocal answer to that question. A person contemplating writing such an article cannot determine whether it would be legal to publish it. This can create gender harassment chill as it becomes risky to publish anything that anyone may choose to become offended about.

    The author also discussed the NASEM report describing “gender harassment” as the most common form of sexual harassment. This report confuses the different concepts and meanings of “gender” and “sex”. Gender and sex are not synonymous. Put simplistically, your “sex” is what you have between your legs; your gender is what you have between your ears. (In some people these two features — the body and the mind — will be in conflict. That is why it is possible to be transgender or gender fluid.)

    Equating gender with sex in a legal rule is a sleight of hand to permit the creation of new and much broader offences under the same label as the old ones. It is like pouring new wine into old bottles. There is no reason to create the indefinable offence of “gender harassment“ and label it as a species of sex harassment. If a published article purports to describe a difference between the sexes (such as “overall, women are better at X than men”, or vice versa), to penalize the writer justly for expressing that opinion would require a clearer and more robust law than “gender harassment”.

  19. “I look like a computer scientist. So do my colleagues of every gender.”
    I’ve been programming computers professionally since 1984, with the prior two years helping in computer labs at my university, and I’ve noted exactly two genders. I’ve had smart ones and dumb ones, hard workers and slackers, those who push boundaries and those who prefer the status quo, good looking ones and geeky ones, funny ones and serious ones, but they’ve all been male or female.

    • E. Olson says

      David: What proportion of your best programmers (top 10%) have been women, and what proportion have been the weakest (bottom 10%). I have to wonder if the female STEM students/employees who complain of gender harassment and unfriendly work/study environment are usually weak in the actual science they are studying/doing (i.e. coding in this case). Bottom of their class, don’t want to blame themselves, so they complain about sexist professors/supervisors who make it difficult to concentrate and get good results.

  20. Out of interest, has anyone in the USA considered pursuing the principal that separate male and female sporting events are inherently discriminatory and an offence under these laws or are some differences perfectly OK to discuss? If some differences are OK to discuss and act on then they really do need a definition of which is which. Obviously the reasonable attitude would be to base this on whether said differences have been scientifically validated but I’m sure that wouldn’t be too popular.

  21. Qualia says

    Has any one seen a reasoned explanation of why diversity and inclusion is laser focused on STEM while completely ignoring fields like nursing, education, plumbing and construction which have far larger gender skews?

    I have asked this question in earnest to several diversity advocates and it is always met with hostility, as though it is some sort of trap.

    • JollyLittlePerson says

      Qualia – Maybe STEM jobs are seen as higher status, so they matter more?

      Or maybe because plumbers are less likely to publish papers, with the authority of a PhD behind them, saying that there is a sex in difference in levels of spatial skills or desire to code?

    • D-Rex says

      That’s easy, it’s where the money and fame are expected to be in future careers. We can’t have men getting all of the high profile jobs, that would perpetuate the patriarchy.

    • It’s highly unlikely you’re asking this question honestly. You (and they) know the answer. And the explanation is ugly, and you both know it. The only defensible response is trying to attack you personally for asking.

      • Qualia says

        It isn’t clear why you feel it necessary to question my honesty. That seems unnecessarily insulting, but it is the internet I suppose, and even here at Quillette public discussion invites that into the discourse.

        While you are certainly correct that I have a position on the answer and that the explanation is ugly, I am sincerely interested in hearing an alternate perspective which is not ugly. If there is a truly good argument for the focus on STEM then I would like be able to engage with it.

    • Andrew Leonard says

      Because it is in STEM that the differences between male and female brains becomes most apparent, and these differences are what Progressives are desperate to deny and contradict.

      The Progressive believes that all men and women are created equal – to the point of religious fanaticism.

      @LAW – It is not the reality of male/female differences that is ugly, rather it your axiomatic beliefs that cause ugliness when confronted with that reality.

      At some point Western society will have to summon the courage to go to the tree of knowledge and eat the forbidden fruit. Until that time, the Social Justice pathogen will keep spreading and causing destruction.

  22. Here we are then. Defenders atop the walls of Helms gate. The orc hordes swarm towards us. Corrupted by Cain, the hordes advance to enact their corrupted “justice”. Our bright STEM swords await.

    Hurry Elon. We can just blast off this rock and establish new frontiers, leaving the non-stem hordes behind in a seething worldwide gulag…

  23. X. Citoyen says

    A common sentiment here on Quillette is that the STEM disciplines are somehow immune to the contagion infecting the social sciences and the humanities. We’re smugly assured that nonsense-pedaling ideologues and their ideological nonsense would never muster the rigor to survive in the hard sciences. But the ideologues never passed muster in the humanities either—they forced their way in. And now they’ll force their way into STEM, and all your imagined immunity will be exposed as the wishful thinking it’s always been.

    So, I do hope people see what this article is telling them. It’s time for STEM people to disabuse themselves of the comforting illusion that this cultural disease only affects those artsy types on the other end of campus.

  24. lhtness says

    If you’re trying to get more women to be computer programmers, it makes no sense for your message to be “these fields are full of sexist, misogynist men who treat women like crap.” For this reason (and others), it’s been obvious to me for years the “Women in STEM” politicking isn’t about getting more women in these disciplines. It’s about establishing feminist hegemony in the few remaining places of power where they didn’t yet totally dominate. (Another piece of evidence: Gender ratios are much more skewed among mechanics and electricians than among programmers, but we don’t see people demanding affirmative action in those fields.)

  25. harrync says

    And then there is the “comparative advantage” theory of male dominance in STEM: men and women are equally talented to do STEM, but women have superior ability in non-STEM occupations. Thus it just makes sense that women dominate the non-STEM professions, and are under-represented in STEM. I am not sure this is correct, but it is certainly a possible explanation for male predominance in STEM. But I am also sure anti-female bigotry has some effect here, though perhaps not the major cause of male dominance in STEM. At least not as much as in the past, when bigotry kept women out of many professions

  26. David L. Hagen (HagenDL) says

    There are 6500 differences in gene expression between men and women. Does discussing that constitute “sexual harassment”? How about the consequences of those gene expressions? Dare we challenge people to uphold our First Amendment protections of free speech, belief, religious expression and assembly – which were explicitly added protect each individual against all who vehemently disagree with them and to protect against government coercion. What about growing up and learning to live as a free whole person? See: https://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/life-sciences/researchers-identify-6500-genes-are-expressed-differently-men-and-women

  27. I’m sorry if has been mentioned before, then I have missed it. Didn’t read all the comments.

    I would like to point out one thing that I think completes this picture.
    I do find all of this highly worrying because as the acticle points out we do need “anti-fragile” scientist etc.
    However don’t forget that:
    The students are a client/consumer of sorts of higher education (which in itselft isn’t necessarily controversial) but at the same time the cost difference between having real courses to produce the results we want compared to say the gender studies of today are higher, thus minimizing the profit.
    Therefore:
    1. It’s important today from a profit maximizing perspective to cater and comply with a wide group of students that are sensitive in it’s new meaning.
    2. Since the students pay for their education they need to get through the higher education. Lower standards and lower preparedness from earlier educational institutions help.
    Result – more $$$.

    Now I don’t agree with that – I think this can in the long run ruin universities and the system of higher education. Especially since it is a sort of populism. But I wanted to point that out as a probably important part in all of this.
    The roots in all of this are more complex and go farther back. But that’s another discussion.

  28. James Scott says

    We are in this situation because of jews. Organized jews are ruining the USA and we simply cannot be allowed to talk about it. They have to push political correctness in all walks of life because they know we cannot be told we are only not allowed to talk about them. They are willing to have everyone at each others throats so they can keep their lock on our societies.

    The fact that you will probably delete this proves its true.

  29. Clair's Landing Strip says

    These comments are hilarious. Here’s the tl;dr of it:

    1. Women are underrepresented in CS. Many people have different viewpoints about it — the answer to why is most likely a ton of different variables that come a little bit from evolution, a lot a bit from the culture-constructed roles of women and a significant bit from discrimination. This is obvious to anyone who isn’t a fucking idiot. It’s a soup.

    2. Group at UW wants to have an innocent freaking event promoting coding to women.

    3. Annoying dick with an axe to grind makes it his god-ordained job to spread the excrement du jour coming from “edgy” alt-centrists who basically just came up with a bunch of shit and scream logic and science and it’s anything but. He has that tiny claim to one of the soup ingredients — carrots, symbolically. Women were born with uteruses and are therefore a bit nicer. Big fucking deal.

    4. All he’s got are carrots and so he wades into the soup, or email chain, throwing his fucking EVO carrots everywhere, along with James Damore Redux.

    5. Everyone’s like — chill, dude — maybe you shouldn’t like talk about that here. It’s the wrong audience and just kind of annoying.

    6. Dude is not chill — if you grabbed each of his testicles separately, you’d light up like that popular carnival game where you sit in the chair and see if you can withstand electric shock. Dude is not chill at all, and starts to do the really annoying things that non-chill dudes do when they get twitchy and emboldened — he starts having a tantrum.

    7. He starts stalking email chains and harassing people with his questionable information and showing up at events, making the about him. Why, he’s going to be the next Bret Weinstein! And, sure enough, he gets his 15 minutes of fame after writing a poorly sourced article in this shitty fucking “magazine” with zero editorial standards, helmed by a college dropout — widely refuted by — get this — OTHER SCIENCE — that contradicts his claims.

    8. Well, at this point, he’s awoken the SJW prey drive and they’re like — no way we’re going to take this shit from a fucking senior lecturer who has not been even offered the chance for tenure for FOURTEEN FUCKING YEARS. They call for his firing.

    8. He’s caused his university a gigantic fucking PR headache now, which maybe was originally a passive aggressive cry for help for not hiring him for real — probably because no one likes him. University rebukes him publicly, so do a number or actual professors now that everyone’s caught wind of it. University releases stats that 38 percent of incoming CS class are female, so fuck off anyway. University keeps him around, though, because he’s clearly inconsequential to scholarship at the school.

    9. And, like they say about repeating insanity and expecting a different outcome — he writes another, even MORE poorly sourced article in same total shit rag trying to get another interview on the tee-vee.

    10. Everyone is like: you’re dumb. It might not be sexual harassment, but it’s a hella cry for help.

    11. No one who writes for Quillette is a respected researcher or luminary in the field of anything. This magazine sucks.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Clair
      ”Women are underrepresented in CS” is your first point, and also wrong. The rest of your screed is therefore useless.
      WHat is this strange idea that people have that somehow any group of people has to be ”represented” by other members of the group in some field or other of human endeavour? That is ridiculous. People don’t represent their sex when they go to work, they just go to work.
      If there is no difference between men and women, who cares if a lot of them don’t choose to go into computer science? It’s not as if women will bring anything different.
      If there are differences between men and women, and women have chosen not to enter computer science in large numbers in the 30 odd years since computing became important, then it’s clear that women won’t add anything to computer science just because they are women.
      Diversity is a crock.

    • ADM64 says

      With such a well-reasoned, logical, dispassionate argument there is no way anyone reading it would conclude that women are emotional, illogical, hysterical and temperamentally unsuited to STEM fields.

      • Gilles St-Gilles says

        PS: after the barrage of scientific evidence as to why oppression is NOT responsible for the lack of women in STEM – women preferences do -, it comes as such a pleasure to read something like this in Mr. Alexander’s conclusion:
        “Everyone can just agree that men and women are equal, that they both have the same rights, that nobody should face harassment or discrimination. We can relax the Permanent State Of Emergency around too few women in tech, and admit that women have the right to go into whatever field they want, and that if they want to go off and be 80% of veterinarians and 74% of forensic scientists, those careers seem good too. We can appreciate the contributions of existing women in tech, make sure the door is open for any new ones who want to join, and start treating each other as human beings again. Your co-worker could just be your co-worker, not a potential Nazi to be assaulted or a potential Stalinist who’s going to rat on you. Your project manager could just be your project manager, not the person tasked with monitoring you for signs of thoughtcrime. Your female co-worker could just be your female co-worker, not a Badass Grrl Coder Who Overcomes Adversity. Your male co-worker could just be your male co-worker, not a Tool Of The Patriarchy Who Denies His Complicity In Oppression”

  30. Kevin says

    Clair’s Landing Strip: I think you may have skidded off the runway.

  31. johno says

    I have worked in software for over 30 years… doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

    In all that time, having been with at least 100 developers on 15-20 teams in seven companies, I have never seen even a hint of discrimination or harassment directed at women. There aren’t many women in software (we wish there were more)… the ones that have joined seem to represent about the same cross section of competency that one gets with men… some brilliant, the majority good, and a few ‘oxygen thieves’. Us male developers tend to be gentlemen to the women that do join up… remember that a lot of us are socially awkward, so the thought of approaching a woman on a social level scares us. Harassment just never enters the picture. Never done it, never seen it.

    In fact, in the software field, we don’t consider anything other than ability and passion for the subject. If you’re smart and you like doing this sort of work… we love you.

    Unlike the SJW’s, we don’t do that to impress the other lefties. We don’t judge on anything other than ability and passion, because nothing else matters to us.

    What a shame the rest of the world can’t do the same. Put aside the hostility, because it really doesn’t matter.

    As racism is inherently stupid, good software people don’t tend to be racists. You get some weirdos on occasion, but they’re usually harmless. I would like to think the higher echelons of software development (not the phony maggots that run the companies) are as close to a utopian society as you can find. We’re honest with ourselves, because you can’t BS a system. Either you get it right, or it doesn’t work. And we take the same approach with people.

    Having a lot of experience in the field, I’m somewhat disgusted that the SJW’s, who couldn’t write two lines of coherent code, accuse us of ‘harassment’, their argument being that’s why more women aren’t in STEM. As if that’s the only reason… automatic guilt trip. How dare they accuse us of being as morally bankrupt and intellectually deficient as they are?

    Why aren’t more women in STEM? I do not know. I do know that it’s not due to harassment or some ‘boys club’ thing. We’d love more women in software… it gets dull being around geeks all day. We tend to be very polite to the ones that do come in. I have two teenage daughters. Neither has shown any interest in software, though I’ve offered many times to get them started. I’m not going to force them to do it.

    I will say that if you want to get into the software field, you have to be good, regardless of your race/gender/whatever. We won’t tolerate a slacker that tries to use imaginary sexism as an excuse. Get your work done cleanly and on time, and maybe show a bit of brilliant inspiration on occasion. That’s all we care about.

    • imogen88 says

      Great post. I think the heart of the STEM issue is that there are a variety of reasons why there are fewer females, some that are biological and some societal (that we could at least try to improve), among others. I’m almost 40 (so there was no such thing as STEM when I was in secondary school and barely a thing in undergrad), but the science and math classes tended to be taught by male teachers more than females, and the subject matter can be viewed as dry, boring, or very data-driven (with less focus on viewing the bigger picture). Also, only a generation ago (depending on your age) many women were not encouraged to go into male-dominated fields like science and math, or even to focus on school. My mother, and many women her age, were strongly encouraged to graduate high school, get married and have children. Their grades in school were not very important or strongly encouraged, and for some cultures that is still the case.

      Men and women ARE different, and that is a good thing. Men have better connections between the anterior and posterior cerebral hemispheres, and women have better connection between the left and right hemispheres. https://www.livescience.com/41619-male-female-brains-wired-differently.html

      I work in healthcare, so it’s not really the focus of the STEM debate compared to IT and engineering, but there have been several studies showing that female physicians have lower readmission rates and mortality rates than male doctors, which is estimated may be in part due to better communication to and relation with patients. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2593255

      If there are more men that are drawn to the STEM fields, particularly fields like coding and engineers, then that may be due to nature, and we can’t fight nature or how our brains are optimized, but if there are ways to teach the subject matter to women to get them more interested and involved, if that leads to women joining the fields AND being equally as good in those fields, then there is no downside to that. When I talk to female friends about finance and encourage them to read financial forums, sites and blogs where people talk about financial terms or use examples that are easy to relate to, many of them become much more interested in finance, budgeting and investing, and learn and become quite adept, but when you are sitting in a classroom staring at p/e ratios and compound interest formulas, then it is understandable why they are less likely to be interested or to do well with finance. The way we teach these subjects appeals to the male brain thinking of systemizing information, data analysis and spatial recognition. As a side note, the lack of financial literacy and economic independence/reliance upon SS, pensions and Medicare for retirement savings and expenditures would be strongly benefited by finding more interesting and easily understood ways of teaching basic life finance to all children and adults. The

      Again, these differences are not a bad thing, and do not mean that one gender is better or worse than the other. We tend to compliment each other in relationships and make up for the other gender’s weaknesses.

  32. idiom says

    Writes and article titled “women don’t code”

    Wonders why women who code get annoyed.

    The difference between genders is smaller than the difference within genders. 40% of women are *more* ‘thing’ oriented than the average man, so obviously its natural to conclude that women don’t make good managers. Its science.

    • Long Tail says

      Yes, there are more differences within genders than between genders. This is important when you’re looking at population level groups and comparisons between them.

      However, when you’re talking about specialization tracks like engineering, in this case software engineering, you are not pulling people from the entire population. Realistically, you’re pulling people primarily from the top 10% of the population distributions based on intelligence.

      Because you’re pulling heavily, if not exclusively, from the most rarified part of the bell curves, the differences between the male curve and the female curve become most stark. Relative differences that are effectively statistical noise at the 50th percentile mark become distinct at the 90th percentile mark, and tremendous gaps at the 99th.

      There’s a weird denial of empirical evidence for greater male variability and its effects in social outcomes such as relative population outcomes in STEM, one that seems largely driven by political or ideological concerns.

    • Gilles St-Gilles says

      Who ‘writes and[sic] article titled “women don’t code”‘?

    • Women don’t code. Computer programmers do. Last time I checked, you don’t code with a penis or vagina and I don’t think one’s sexual preferences are involved in computer programming either.

      I take that back, they might be involved for the subset of coding jobs around VR porn.

      • V 2.0 says

        So I’ve been doing it wrong all this time? Now you tell me… 😛

  33. V 2.0 says

    Why is it always assumed that these differences are disadvantages for women? Sure, in the past nature dealt us kind of a crappy hand what with the child bearing and all but now we have technology so we could turn some of these genetic female predispositions to our advantage. After all, humans are among the weakest and most fragile of animals with no fur or claws to speak of and relatively little strength yet somehow we managed to make it to the top of the food chain. Come on, ladies. Let’s stop making excuses start taking care of business.

  34. ccscientist says

    In college I was prone to think that life was unfair (too hard to get ahead) but since that wasn’t fashionable back then and I could not point to any actual plot against me, I grew out of it.

    40 yrs I wrote a commentary about differences between men and women in my field of science. I got in trouble with one female faculty member (I was a post-doc) and it might have hurt my chances to stay in the dept (but I got a better job anyway)–ironically that woman later was denied tenure for poor productivity.

    This desire to demonize people who merely point out that men and women are different is so strange. Do the accusers really believe it? Do they have so little experience with actual humans? Have they never seen children play? Or do they simply have a knee-jerk response that if different, then women must be inferior? Because in that case what they want is for women to become men.

    The role of blindness here can be seen by noting that Damore did not say women can’t code, but that maybe they don’t want to.

  35. ccscientist says

    The denial of differences between men and women can have serious consequences in medicine. Medicines often work differently in M/F and this needs to be emphasized to people. M/F are at risk for different diseases (only for breast cancer is this admitted). The lunacy with trans people has cause the British health service to require that doctors give pap tests to male to female trans–which is an insane demand. They require that doctors not refer to pregnant “mothers” since this would offend trans. etc. looney

    • “The lunacy with trans people has cause the British health service to require that doctors give pap tests to male to female trans–which is an insane demand.”

      No they don’t. There is move to give more pap tests to female to male patients because there is a long and proven history of such people being given unsatisfactory tests.

      (Female-to-Male Patients Have High Prevalence of Unsatisfactory Paps Compared to Non-Transgender Females: Implications for Cervical Cancer Screening
      Sarah M. Peitzmeier, MSPH, Sari L. Reisner, ScD, MA, Padmini Harigopal, MD, and Jennifer Potter, MDcorresponding author)

  36. You sad bros are still clinging on to the google memo nontroversy? Oh that is just tragic.

    • Actually, Google is currently paying the price for their craven behavior in the Google Memo controversy. They now have increased agitation from the grievance crowd, including their first walkout *ever*.

      Haven’t you noticed? The more progressive a company or university moves, the more it gets accused of various isms by internal groups who can’t understand why they are still unhappy.

      The only way to win is not to play.

  37. Aleph from Paris says

    I’m French, and we have laws here that require “parité” aka 50-50% hiring for certain jobs and public appointments, in the name of “equality”. I swear I am afraid to raise at my workplace the simple facts that 104 girls are born to every 100 boys, that more boys die young than girls, so much that 50-50% hiring makes it more difficult to women and is unfair to them.

    I just watch feminazis digging their own grave.

    • Martin28 says

      Where women are in the majority, 50:50 requirements will not be enforced.

  38. One small quibble. The article which provided a mathematical argument that under reasonable assumptions about the dynamics of sexual reproduction and mate-selection showed that the less selective sex (empirically in human populations males) will tend to evolve greater variability than the more selective sex was not withdrawn, it was suppressed. Two journals accepted it then withdrew their acceptance, on after briefly publishing it online. “Withdrawn” would suggest the author asked for it not to be published, which was not the case.

  39. Rosenmops says

    Why did you call your other article “Why Women Don’t Code”?
    I understand that there are a lot more men who code than women, but SOME women code. My sister and I were both rather good at coding. I got the highest marks in some of my coding classes. I loved coding. My sister worked as a programmer for many years and I don’t believe she ever experienced sexual harassment. I ended up teaching math, but I still do a bit of coding with the computer algebra system Maple. My sister is retired now, and I soon will be, The only times either of us experienced possible harassment because of our gender is when my sister tried to take engineering around 1970.. She switched to physics, and had no problems there. Later she tried to do graduate work in geophysics in the mid 70’s. She got excellent grades in the courses she took but couldn’t get anyone to be her adviser. She quit. She said the geophysicists were more like the engineers. I have studied math and computer science, but later than my sister–in the 90’s. I never had any problems.

    I believe that there are more men who are very good at math than there are women. You can see that by looking at the results of the Putnam Competition. But my sister and I most certainly did code, and we were pretty darn good at it.

  40. Jamie says

    This is an excellent article. I live in a town called Ashland in Oregon north of San Francisco, also known as a mini bay area. I’ve been discriminated against many times for being a man based on non-sense. My background check is flawless. I’ve never raped or abused any woman, yet unless I make myself soft/cut myself down, or stop being myself these nazi-feminist women hate me. As soon as they sense my deep tone of voice and that I’m not manipulatable/clear headed, they will try to spin things/pull the plug on me in business dealings. It’s total insanity. I’m doing nothing wrong, and am not going to shrink to fit into this crap.

  41. estepheavfm says

    “Religion” is no longer a metaphor, nor is “heresy.” We’ve passed the point where the Mullahs of post-modernist egalitarian authoritarianism are trying to seize control. We now live in a state described by Vonnegut in “Harrison Bergeron.” We are legitimately heretics at this point. The public is childlike in its naivete. Have been maddeningly so for decades. They have not the slightest idea of how pure-Kafka things will soon become.

  42. Martin28 says

    Political correctness is, at bottom, about the protection of tendentious ideas.

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