"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Tuesday, April 02, 2019

How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences

How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences: Universities and other institutions are watering down requirements in order to attract more women and minorities.

"A scientist at UCLA reports: “All across the country the big question now in STEM is: how can we promote more women and minorities by ‘changing’ (i.e., lowering) the requirements we had previously set for graduate level study?” Mathematical problem-solving is being deemphasized in favor of more qualitative group projects; the pace of undergraduate physics education is being slowed down so that no one gets left behind...

The tortuously named “Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science” (INCLUDES) bankrolls “fundamental research in the science of broadening participation.” There is no such “science,” just an enormous expenditure of resources that ducks the fundamental problems of basic skills and attitudes toward academic achievement. A typical INCLUDES grant from October 2017 directs $300,000 toward increasing Native American math involvement by incorporating “indigenous knowledge systems” into Navajo Nation Math Circles...

Somehow, NSF-backed scientists managed to rack up more than 200 Nobel Prizes before the agency realized that scientific progress depends on “diversity.” Those “un-diverse” scientists discovered the fundamental particles of matter and unlocked the genetics of viruses. Now that academic victimology has established a beachhead at the agency, however, it remains to be seen whether the pace of such breakthroughs will continue. The NSF is conducting a half-million-dollar study of “intersectionality” in the STEM fields...

Politically constituted social-justice research was not likely envisioned by Congress in 1950 when it created the NSF to “promote the progress of science.”...

The NIH has onerous requirements that government-sponsored clinical trials include the same proportion of female and minority patients as is found in the medical school’s “catchment area” (its geographic zone of study). If some of these populations drop out of medical trials at disproportionate rates or are difficult to recruit, too bad. If these URM and female-enrollment quotas are not met, the medical school must “invest the appropriate effort to correct under-accrual,” in the words of the NIH guidelines. That “appropriate effort” can cost a fortune...

Medical school search committees go through lengthy implicit-bias training sessions and expend enormous amounts of effort looking for something that they often know a priori doesn’t exist: qualified URM faculty candidates. The very definition of diversity used by academic review panels is becoming ever more exacting...

The science diversity charade wastes extraordinary amounts of time and money that could be going into basic research and its real-world application. If that were its only consequence, the cost would be high enough. But identity politics is now altering the standards for scientific competence and the way future scientists are trained.

“Diversity” is now an explicit job qualification in the STEM fields. A current job listing for a lecturer in biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst announces that because diversity is “critical to the university’s goals of achieving excellence in all areas,” the biology department “holistically” assesses applicants and “favorably considers experiences overcoming barriers”—experiences assumed to be universal among URMs... Social-justice concerns apparently trump the quest to solve the mystery of dark energy. All five candidates on UC San Diego’s short list were females, leading one male candidate with a specialty in extragalactic physics to wonder why the school had even solicited applications from Asian and white men.

Entry requirements for graduate education are being revised. The American Astronomical Society has recommended that Ph.D. programs in astronomy eliminate the requirement that applicants take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in physics, since it has a disparate impact on females and URMs and allegedly does not predict future research output. Harvard and other departments have complied, even though an objective test like the GRE can spotlight talent from less prestigious schools. The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program has dropped all science GREs for applicants in all fields...

Medical school administrators urge admissions committees to overlook the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores of black and Hispanic student applicants and employ “holistic review” in order to engineer a diverse class...

Racial preferences in med school programs are sometimes justified on the basis that minorities want doctors who “look like them.” Arguably, however, minority patients with serious illnesses want the same thing as anyone else: subject mastery...

A medical school supervisor recently advised a professor to write an exam that was less “fact-based” than the one he had proposed, even though knowledge of pathophysiology and the working of drugs, say, entails knowing facts...

Progressive pedagogy has long embraced the idea that students should work exclusively in groups as a way to model collectivist democracy. This political agenda is simply a pretext for masking individual differences in achievement that might reinforce group stereotypes...

[At Google] Managers apologize for promoting males, even when females are being promoted at a higher rate. All-male research teams are mocked... A manager reprimands someone for pointing out that white males are actually underrepresented at Google compared with the general population. The manager informs the errant employee that caring about facts may seem to be a trait of engineers, but “being absolutely correct is inappropriate” when it comes to “discussions of race and justice.”...

You can read through report after report on achieving diversity in STEM, however, without coming across any acknowledgment of the academic skills gap...

There are 2.5 males in the U.S. in the top 0.01 percent of math ability for every female, according to a paper published in February 2018 in the journal Intelligence...

Nearly 82 percent of obstetrics and gynecology medical residents in 2016 were female. Is gynecology biased against males, or are females selecting where they want to work?"


I remember someone telling me a while back that he didn't mind political correctness because it was confined to the arts and the sciences wouldn't be affected, but the cancer is well and truly in STEM
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