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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Links - The Google Diversity Memo

Google Employee's Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes 'Internally Viral' - "At least eight Google employees tweeted Friday about a document that was circulated within the company calling for replacing Google's diversity initiatives with policies that encourage "ideological diversity" instead. The document, which is the personal opinion of one senior software engineer, was shared on a company mailing list but has since gone "internally viral"... The person who wrote the document argued that the representation gap between men and women in software engineering persists because of biological differences between the two sexes, according to public tweets from Google employees. It also said Google should not offer programs for underrepresented racial or gender minorities... While the vast majority of Google employees did not support the document's arguments, some did. According to Dogan, who works on the company's Go programming language, the document's author was emboldened by some of the positive responses he got. "The author is now in contact with me explaining why he received *supportive* response," she tweeted. "If HR does nothing in this case, I will consider leaving this company for real for the first time in five years," she wrote in a threaded tweet"
Of course all the sexists and racists (e.g. feminists) are dismissing him because he's a white male. Ironically someone said discrimination against conservatives was justified because they were essentialist assholes.
Some people claimed if you have 2 equally qualified people, offering the minority the job as a matter of policy didn't count as discrimination. I wonder what they would call it if the minority was not offered it as a matter of policy
What does it say if you expect HR to crack down on someone because he disagrees with you, or you'll leave the company?
I wonder how many of the people condemning him have read what he wrote

Exclusive: Here's The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google [Updated] - "Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change...
Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things
We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration. Unfortunately, there may be limits to how people-oriented certain roles and Google can be and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves or students into thinking otherwise (some of our programs to get female students into coding might be doing this)...
While Google hasn’t harbored the violent leftists protests that we’re seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment."
This guy knows his stuff and can cite all the scientific findings supporting his position.
I'm not sure what is worse - those who didn't read it but bashed him based on a caricature or those who did read it and still bashed him on a caricature (e.g. "Saying that a very large group of people can't do their jobs because of their chromosomes"), given that the conclusion was the exact opposite: "I'm also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I'm advocating for quote the opposite: treat people as individuals"

Here Are the Citations for the Anti-Diversity Manifesto Circulating at Google
Conveniently, Gizmodo left them out so his case looked less ironclad than it really was. Then again those who go on the sexism bandwagon won't bother to read the citations anyway, but it's good for reasonable to know that they are there

Google on Anti-Diversity Manifesto: Employees Must 'Feel Safe Sharing Their Opinions'
At least there's this, though she claimed it "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender"

So, about this Googler’s manifesto. – Yonatan Zunger - "(1) Despite speaking very authoritatively, the author does not appear to understand gender.
(2) Perhaps more interestingly, the author does not appear to understand engineering.
(3) And most seriously, the author does not appear to understand the consequences of what he wrote, either for others or himself."
Tellingly, his responses are:
1) Dismiss what he said as false without presenting any evidence at all
2) Reconceptualise engineering (this is at least somewhat defensible)
3) Threaten him and shoot the messenger
Luckily many (the majority?) of the responses challenge him
Comment: "“I certainly couldn’t assign any women to deal with this” — funny that you’re the one displaying a paternalistic attitude over women here. I realize that this isn’t as fun as straight out blackballing the author, but perhaps you could ask the woman’s opinion before banning her for her own good?"

Google Fires Author of Divisive Memo on Gender Differences - "James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”... firing him could be seen as confirming some of the claims in the memo itself – that the company’s culture makes no room for dissenting political opinions. That outcome could galvanize any backlash against Alphabet’s efforts to make its workforce more diverse... The subject of Google’s ideological bent came up at the most recent shareholder meeting, in June. A shareholder asked executives whether conservatives would feel welcome at the company. Executives disagreed with the idea that anyone wouldn’t. “The company was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking,” Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the time. “You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.""
So much for freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking

Google has fired the employee who penned a controversial memo on women and tech - "In a memo to employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the employee who penned a controversial memo that claimed that women had biological issues that prevented them from being as successful as men in tech had violated its Code of Conduct, and that the post had crossed “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” He added: “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”"
Maybe a conservative company should fire an employee who talks about evolution, because that promotes harmful stereotypes about humans and insults human dignity. And the military should fire people who talk about how transgendered people who are on hormones should not be deployed to warzones on combat roles because it will be hard for them to fight.

NPR: Women at Google were so upset over memo citing biological differences they skipped work
This is what happens when you hire SJWs who need exams postponed because Trump won

Internal Messages Show Some Google Employees Supported James Damore’s Manifesto - ""Let's take a step back," the Googler wrote, "and look at what is actually making everyone in Google upset on this thread and in general since the start of the 2016 election season"... Call for employees to give each other hugs at an all hands meeting because the wrong candidate won a presidential election in the country, following by a mass mailing on how to help your kids deal with grief due to the same occurrence
Ok now we know what happens when SJWs graduate from college and go into the workforce

Kirsten Powers and others who’ve read the Google ‘anti-diversity’ memo slam hysterical media coverage - "Probably the most terrifying thing about Darmore is watching people, in real time, lie about what he said, even though we can all read it"

The Most Common Error in Coverage of the Google Memo - "Whether one regards those suggestions as brilliant, rooted in pernicious gender stereotypes, or anywhere in between, they are clearly and explicitly suggestions to increase diversity in a manner the author regards as having a stronger chance of actually working than some of the tactics that he is critiquing... To object to a means of achieving x is not to be anti-x. The failure to apply that same logic to the author of the memo is straightforwardly frustrating for those who agree with many of the views that the memo expressed. And it should also frustrate those who disagree with the author but care about social justice. Every prominent instance of journalism that proceeds with less than normal rigor when the subject touches on social justice feeds a growing national impulse to dismiss everything published about these subjects—even important, rigorous, accurate articles. Large swathes of the public now believe the mainstream media is more concerned with stigmatizing wrong-think and being politically correct than being accurate. The political fallout from this shift has been ruinous to lots of social-justice causes—causes that would thrive in an environment in which the public accepted the facts... To me, the Google memo is an outlier—I cannot remember the last time so many outlets and observers mischaracterized so many aspects of a text everyone possessed... coverage rooted in stigma will be no more effective in stopping the embrace of beliefs expressed by the author than it was at stopping Donald Trump from being elected president."
If the media lies, why is it problematic to call it the lying media?

On That Google Memo About Sex Differences - "A Google employee (James Damore) was recently fired for sharing a memo that referenced some of my scholarly research on psychological sex differences (e.g., personality traits, mate preferences, status-seeking). Google's Vice President of Diversity, Integrity, & Governance, Danielle Brown, deemed the employee's claims "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender"... In the case of personality traits, evidence that men and women may have different average levels of certain traits is rather strong. For instance, sex differences in negative emotionality are universal across cultures; developmentally emerge across all cultures at exactly the same age; are linked to diagnosed (not just self-reported) mental health issues; appear rooted in sex differences in neurology, gene activation, and hormones; are larger in more gender egalitarian nations; and so forth (for a short review of this evidence, see here). In my view, claiming that sex differences exist in negative emotionality is not an "incorrect assumption about gender." It is an empirically well-supported claim (at least, based on the best psychological science we have so far)... Culturally universal sex differences in personal values and certain cognitive abilities are a bit larger in size (see here), and sex differences in occupational interests are quite large. It seems likely these culturally universal and biologically-linked sex differences play some role in the gendered hiring patterns of Google employees"
Science is evil. Don't be evil

Google's Other Ugly Secret: Some Managers Keep Blacklists - "Within Google, a few sympathetic employees were dismayed to see Damore so vehemently criticized by their colleagues. In a poll distributed on a mailing list dedicated to discussing the manifesto, opinion broke down differently than it did in non-anonymous Google Plus posts. The contentious internal discussion revived a concern dating back to 2015: An unknown number of Google managers maintain blacklists of fellow employees, evidently refusing to work with those people. The blacklists are based on personal experiences of others' behavior, including views expressed on politics, social justice issues, and Google's diversity efforts... one Google employee declared his intent to quit if Damore were not fired, and another said that he would refuse to work with Damore in any capacity... Damore's manifesto wasn't classic political speech, said Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, an experienced business and labor lawyer. Rather, it's what she called "controversial speech," not unlike any other opinion that might anger co-workers. She added, "These are not insane views that he's extolling here -- they're [just] out of the mainstream. He's entitled to hold views that are inconsistent with the mainstream." As to whether Google had an obligation to fire Damore, "The question is whether he's acting on those views in a way that violates discrimination law""
36% either strongly or almost agreed with the document's point of view, 57% disagreed that the document was harmful and shouldn't have been shared
The fact that an anonymous poll had different results is evidence of virtue signalling
If many of a company's employees refuse to work with a gay person or threaten to quit if a gay person is not fired, should the gay person be fired?

The Google Memo: Four Scientists Respond - "The author of the Google essay on issues related to diversity gets nearly all of the science and its implications exactly right... The social science evidence on implicit and explicit bias has been wildly oversold and is far weaker than most people seem to realize... It is a painfully familiar atmosphere, one that is a lot like academia. Here, I mainly focus on the reactions to the essay on the Gizmodo site, which indirectly and ironically validate much of the author’s analysis. Very few of the comments actually engage the arguments; they just fling insults and slurs. Yes, slurs. In 1960, the most common slurs were insulting labels for demographic groups. In 2017, the most common slurs involve labelling anyone who you disagree with on issues such as affirmative action, diversity, gaps, and inequality as a racist, sexist, homophobe, or bigot... The arrogance of most of the comments reflects exactly the type of smug self-appointed superiority that has led to widespread resentment of the left among reasonable people...
Among commentators who claim the memo’s empirical facts are wrong, I haven’t read a single one who understand sexual selection theory, animal behavior, and sex differences research. When the memo went viral, thousands of journalists and bloggers transformed themselves overnight from not understanding evolutionary psychology at all to claiming enough expertise to criticize the whole scientific literature on biological sex differences... Google’s new ‘VP of Diversity’, Danielle Brown, criticized the memo because it ‘advanced incorrect assumptions about gender’; I was impressed to see that her Michigan State B.A. in Business and her U. Michigan M.B.A. qualify her to judge the scientific research... almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately... Graded fairly, his memo would get at least an A- in any masters’ level psychology course... no gender feminist I’ve met has ever been able to give a coherent answer to the question ‘What empirical findings would convince you that psychological sex differences evolved?’...
‘equality and diversity’ dogma... relies on two core assumptions:
- The human sexes and races have exactly the same minds, with precisely identical distributions of traits, aptitudes, interests, and motivations; therefore, any inequalities of outcome in hiring and promotion must be due to systemic sexism and racism;
- The human sexes and races have such radically different minds, backgrounds, perspectives, and insights, that companies must increase their demographic diversity in order to be competitive; any lack of demographic diversity must be due to short-sighted management that favors groupthink.
The obvious problem is that these two core assumptions are diametrically opposed... corporate diversity was never justified to shareholders as a way to avoid lawsuits, PR blowback, or moral shame; it was justified as a competitive business necessity."

No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science - "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."

The Evolution of Culturally-Variable Sex Differences: Men and Women Are Not Always Different, but When They Are…It Appears Not to Result from Patriarchy or Sex Role Socialization - "In this chapter, evidence is marshaled across 21 data sources that directly challenge this foundational assumption of social role theory. Empirically, sex differences in most psychological traits—in personality, sexuality, attitudes, emotions, behaviors, and cognitive abilities—are conspicuously larger in cultures with more egalitarian sex role socialization and greater sociopolitical gender equity. Even sex differences in many physical traits such as height, obesity, and blood pressure are larger in cultures with more egalitarian sex role socialization and greater sociopolitical gender equity. Three alternative evolutionary perspectives on psychological sex differences—obligate sex differences, facultatively mediated sex differences, and emergently-moderated sex differences—appear to better explain the universal and culturally-variable sex differences reliably observed across human cultures"
The previous article cites this as showing that "women are, on average, higher in neuroticism and agreeableness, and lower in stress tolerance"

Asja Francisti: "After I have seen the way #GoogleMemo story evolved, I am 100% sure that American feminists were sent from some dystopian Margaret Atwood/Iranian mullahs wet dream future to destroy both feminism and women in general. I mean what better way to prove that you're not manipulative, hysterical, emotionally unstable sufferer of eternal victim complex than to dox a guy and get him fired by accusing him of the things he never said and willfully misinterpreting every word he did say? Today, these women are a sad, walking, talking caricature of the worst misogynistic joke."

Julian Assange offers job to fired Google employee who wrote anti-diversity memo - ""Women & men deserve respect. That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back." He had previously tweeted: "Identity politics 2.0 wars come to Google. Oh no. But mass spying is fine since its equal opportunity predation.""

"Can Hiring Quotas Work? The Effect Of The Nitaqat Program On The Saudi" by Jennifer R. Peck - "This paper studies the effects of quota-based labor regulations on firms in the context of Saudi Arabia's Nitaqat program, which imposed quotas for Saudi hiring at private firms. I use a comprehensive firm-level administrative dataset and exploit kinks in hiring incentives generated by the quotas to estimate the effects of this policy. I find that the program increased native employment at substantial cost to firms, as demonstrated by increasing exit rates and decreasing total employment at surviving firms. Firms without any Saudi employees at the onset of the program appear to bear most of these costs."

Study offers clues on why women choose medicine over engineering - "the girls in their study tended to choose careers in the biological sciences--social sciences, environmental sciences and medicine--over the mathematically based sciences because they perceived the latter to be less people-oriented and to have less value to society... girls and boys who were more people-oriented--who placed a high value on doing work that helped and involved people--were two to three times more likely to chose college majors and careers in the biological sciences than the mathematically-based sciences. Girls were more likely to be people-oriented and placed a higher value on English than mathematics, while boys ranked the value of mathematics more highly... The researchers also found that math and science self-confidence and performance anxiety played smaller roles in career choice in their study than previous studies have found, indicating that simply raising girls' confidence about math and science is not enough to draw them to mathematically based sciences"
Of course, it's sexier to blame sexism

Chivalry Is Dead? Researchers Say No, People Are More Likely To Protect Women And Children - "participants of both genders were more likely to sacrifice a male or gender-neutral bystander than a woman... participants were told that if they decided to keep all of their money, the individuals they met would be subjected to mild electric shocks. But if they sacrificed their money, the people would be spared. Again, participants were more likely to save women from a negative fate than men. Both experiments show an aversion to harming women, a notion typically associated with chivalry. Interestingly, however, women in particularly were loath to shock other women in the second experiment... “There is indeed a gender bias in these matters: society perceives harming women as more morally unacceptable”"
I've finally found research on how both men and women have a pro-woman bias and want to protect women, not men. Now to find the article where a journalist said when he finds a sad story of a male child he will ask if there's a female child with the same problem, since people show more sympathy

Moral Chivalry. Gender and Harm Sensitivity Predict Costly Altruism - "women typically receive more help than their male counterparts (Eagly & Crowley, 1986), and in the Dictator game—where one can choose to forgo money in order to be fair—female players are allocated more money than male players"

An issue whose time has come - "“Be careful, it's the third rail.” I received this strong advice to steer clear of studying sex differences from a senior colleague around the year 2000 when my research into brain mechanisms of emotional memory began drawing me into the issue of sex differences—or better yet, sex influences—on brain function. And in a way, he was right. For the vast majority of his long and distinguished neuroscience career, exploring sex influences was indeed a terrific way for a brain scientist not studying reproductive functions to lose credibility at best, and at worst, become a pariah in the eyes of the neuroscience mainstream... Due to a deeply ingrained, implicit (but false) assumption that “equal” means “the same,” most neuroscientists knew, and even feared that establishing that males and females are not the same in some aspect of brain function meant establishing that they were not equal. This assumption is false and deeply harmful, in particular to the health of women (see Cahill, 2014), but remains deeply impactful nonetheless. As a result of these powerful but misguided driving forces, today, sex influences of all types-and-sizes run unexamined and uncontrolled in neuroscience... Fortunately, times are changing. The past 15 to 20 years in particular witnessed an explosion of research (despite the prevailing biases against the topic) documenting sex influences at all levels of brain function. So overpowering is the wave of research that the standard ways of dismissing sex influences (e.g., “They are all small and unreliable,” “They are all due to circulating hormones,” “They are all due to human culture,” and “They don't exist on the molecular level”) have all been swept away, at least for those cognizant of the research. This themed issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Research (JNR) heralds a zeitgeist shift. It is the first ever from a mainstream neuroscience journal entirely devoted to the issue of sex influences on brain/nervous system functioning. Papers from about 70 groups of authors, from those who have been investigating the issue for decades to those uncovering them only recently, forcefully document the fact that sex influences on brain function are ubiquitous, regularly reshaping findings—hence conclusions—at all levels of our field, and powerfully demonstrating how much “sex matters.”"
Unfortunately it is still taboo in many quarters
So much for Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender (which is not peer reviewed, and got negative reviews from many academics in the field)

It may be illegal for Google to punish engineer over anti-diversity memo—commentary - "federal labor law bars even non-union employers like Google from punishing an employee for communicating with fellow employees about improving working conditions. The purpose of the memo was to persuade Google to abandon certain diversity-related practices the engineer found objectionable and to convince co-workers to join his cause, or at least discuss the points he raised... the engineer's memo largely is a statement of his political views as they apply to workplace policies. The memo is styled as a lament to "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber." California law prohibits employers from threatening to fire employees to get them to adopt or refrain from adopting a particular political course of action... the engineer complained in parts of his memo about company policies that he believes violate employment discrimination laws. Those policies include support programs limited by race or gender and promotional and hiring scoring policies that consider race and gender. It is unlawful for an employer to discipline an employee for challenging conduct that the employee reasonably believed to be discriminatory, even when a court later determines the conduct was not actually prohibited by the discrimination laws. In other words, the engineer doesn't have to be right that some of Google's diversity initiatives are unlawful, only that he reasonably believes that they are."

Rebels of Google: 'Senior Leaders Focus on Diversity First and Technology Second' - "Breitbart News is now exclusively publishing a series of interviews with Google employees who contacted us in the wake of the manifesto’s publication to confirm its allegations. The interview series, entitled “Rebels of Google,” will be published in full over the coming days. Because every employee who spoke to us fears for their job if their identities were made public, we have provided aliases in place of their real names. In the first interview of the series, a Google employee (alias “Hal”) speaks of witch-hunts and intolerance at Google, as well as dysfunction at the company’s upper echelons... A lot of social justice activists essentially spend all day fighting the culture war, and get nothing done. The company has made it a point to hire more people like this. The diversity gospel has been woven into nearly everything the company does, to the point where senior leaders focus on diversity first and technology second. The companywide “Google Insider” emails used to talk about cool new tech, but now they’re entirely about social justice initiatives. Likewise, the weekly all-hands “TGIF” meetings used to focus on tech, but now they’re split about 50/50 between tech and identity politics signaling. For conservative employees, this is obviously demoralizing, but it is also dangerous. Several have been driven out of the company or fired outright for sharing a dissenting view. Others have had their promotions denied or suffered other forms of deniable retaliation. Most of us just keep our heads down because we can’t afford to lose our jobs... The pro-censorship voices are very loud, and they have the management’s ear. The anti-censorship people are afraid of retaliation, and people are afraid to openly support them because everyone in their management chain is constantly signaling their allegiance to far-left ideology. Our leadership (Sundar in particular) is weak, so he capitulates to the meanest bullies on the block."

Rebels of Google: 'Constant Abuse, Sneers, Insults And Smears ... Sometimes You Get Punched' - "sometimes you get punched. I know at least one engineer did get punched in retaliation for something he posted — I am sure he will corroborate this to you directly... To my understanding, none of these activities were subject to H.R. action. But why would that be the case — bias in support of these discriminatory and hostile behaviors goes pretty much all the way up, management’s just clever enough not to add to the fire (often) but just to let the lower ranks make it happen. You have to remember these people are quite intelligent... The message is clear: if you do not align with SJWs, you do not belong here. Not only do you not belong here — our resident SJWs will gossip around to get you to never, ever work in a good job again. So shut up."
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