OPEN DISCUSSION – OCTOBER 2018

96

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96 COMMENTS

  1. The October open discussion thread is now open.

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    The mods

  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45709205

    Cern scientist Alessandro Strumia suspended after comments

    A senior scientist who said physics “was invented and built by men” has been suspended with immediate effect from working with the European nuclear research centre Cern.

    Prof Alessandro Strumia, of Pisa University, made the comments during a presentation organised by the group.

    He said, in comments first reported by the BBC’s Pallab Ghosh, that physics was “becoming sexist against men”.

    So in a militant feminist “politically correct” sexist attack on him, he was suspended from a senior scientific position for pointing out those “offensive facts” about embryonic mental development, which gender-quota militants find so inconvenient!

    Cern said on Monday it was suspending Prof Strumia pending an investigation.

    If the “investigation” is conducted by biologically competent scientists, it will confirm the different aptitudes resulting from male/female brain development from embryonic stages onward! .. . .

    https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/news/records/2015/february/gender-differences-in-prenatal-brain-development.aspx

    Female and male brains develop differently in the womb because of changes to how their DNA is read, according to researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and the University of Exeter, published in Genome Research.

    The study identified a number of gender differences in the process called DNA methylation that determines how genes are activated in the fetus and so directs the way brain cells develop.
    Methylation of DNA is used as a “switch” that regulates the expression of genes in a process known as epigenetics and this gene expression could potentially contribute to brain differences that affect behaviour, brain function and disease associated with gender.

    One would have to ask, WHY in a scientific establishment, the administration would need to conduct an “investigation” (after an ideology based personal attack on a scientist), to determine information which is readily available in published scientific papers and historical records? . . . albeit in another subject area (biology) to the establishment’s own (physics)? Are they appointing ideologist, scientifically illiterate, administrators these days?

    It stated that his presentation was “unacceptable”.

    We would need to ask, “unacceptable to whom?” and should people who find evidence-based, ideologically inconvenient facts “unacceptable”, be working in scientific establishments?

    If the “investigation” is conducted by politically correct muppets, or biologically illiterate, militant feminist ideologists, it may confirm the place of politically correct pseudo-science gender quotas, in top scientific administrations!

    “Cern alwaysstrives to carry out its scientific mission in a peaceful and inclusive environment,” the statement reads,

    While launching the attack and imposing a suspension!

    calling the presentation “contrary to the Cern Code of Conduct”.

    Tut tut! Inconvenient facts intruding into politically written codes of conduct on scientific research in scientific ventures!

    What next?
    Sports organisations running separate male and female athletic events, and suspending commentators reporting on them? 🙂

    .. . . and not only that but reporting ethnicity as well! 🙂

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100_metres#Season's_bests

    Only male sprinters have beaten the 100 m 10-second barrier, nearly all of them being of West African descent.

    See link for top men and women sprinters’ best times! – . . .. .
    and NO! They are not equal!!!

  3. @#2 – Sports organisations running separate male and female athletic events, and suspending commentators reporting on them? 🙂

    .. . . and not only that but reporting ethnicity as well! 🙂

    Only male sprinters have beaten the 100 m 10-second barrier, nearly all of them being of West African descent.

    Clearly politically correct selectors, would need to ensure athletics teams contained the appropriate quotas of men and women (and trans), with also proper quotas of White Caucasians and Asian athletes!

    Obviously, any world record-breaking relay teams of African men, would need to be disqualified for an having a politically improper gender and racial balance! 🙂

  4. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/oct/01/physics-was-built-by-men-cern-scientist-alessandro-strumia-remark-sparks-fury

    Prof Alessandro Strumia of Pisa University claimed during a seminar on gender issues in physics that male scientists were being discriminated against because of ideology.

    Cern issued a statement on Monday suspending Strumia with immediate effect pending an investigation for his “unacceptable” presentation, which was “contrary to the Cern code of conduct”.

    Strumia told the audience, mostly comprising female physicists, that female researchers in Italy tended to benefit from either “free or cheaper university” education, while Oxford University in England “extends exam times for women’s benefit”.

    Which seems to have been addressing the issue of second-class education for women science students in Italy, and comparing it with the more considerate approach taken by Oxford.

    Strumia defended his comments, telling the Guardian that his detractors were “trying to paint me as a monster who discriminates against women” and that his presentation of “facts” was in response to statements made about men discriminating against women.

    He said data showed male and female scientists were equally cited in presentations, and that women were favoured when it came to hiring. “This is not the message they wanted [to hear] at this conference,” he said.

    Strumia, who regularly works at Cern, said claims by a participant at the event that the sphere of physics was second only to the military for sexual abuse were “totally absurd”.

    He said: “These people are so worried about problems that don’t exist. What I actually said has good purpose. We are not discriminating, women have been helped for years.”

    Cern, whose director general is the Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti, described Strumia’s presentation as highly offensive and removed the slides used in his talk from its website.

    However, the slideshow was circulated online, with one sentence saying that prominent female physicists, such as Marie Curie, were “welcomed only after showing what they can do, got Nobels … ”

    . . . Which was very probably true, at that time in history!

    Strumia claimed he had been overlooked for a role in favour of a woman and that anyone who spoke out was attacked, censored or risked losing their job.

    I think he has just proved his point experimentally!

    “I like physics and science because everyone can do what they want.
    I don’t like it when there’s social engineering to decide how many men, women and categories there should be,” he said.

    Apparently there some social engineering quota advocates at CERN, who may have physics qualifications, but who are biologically illiterate – lacking the capability to check research papers in specialist areas outside their own – or even the historical records cited by Prof Alessandro Strumia in his presentation!

    Dr Jessica Wade, a physicist from Imperial College London who attended the event. . . . . . added that he drew upon discredited research and that it was unjust to refer to somebody’s number of citations as a metric for ability given [ASSUMING] that the whole process of peer reviewing is biased against women and non-westerners in the first instance.

    Really????? This sounds like denial of biology by a militant feminist!

    I note that in response to a critic, in a public statement on the BBC, the professor said he is “a scientist who quotes data, and does not do politics”!

    Profe Anne-Christine Davis of Cambridge University, who was in Geneva for the event but left a day before his presentation, said: “His comments were absolutely outrageous.

    Davis said “there’s an unconscious bias going on all the time”, and that women often lose out on roles.

    So having not stayed to listen to the statistics and evidence, she is now mouthing off about “outrageous comments” in a lecture she didn’t bother to listen to!

    Candidates who lose out at job interviews, feel disgruntled! – as do appointment committee members, when successfully hyped candidates turn out to be inadequate at the job! What’s new? –
    Been there! done that! both ways around! 🙂

    Gianotti became the first woman to hold the five-year mandate as director general of Cern in 2016.
    She said in an interview earlier this year that “fundamental sciences are still male-dominated”, but that she never personally felt discrimination.

    So the testimony from the female CERN director, reflects a biologically expected gender imbalance, but a lack of discriminatory bias against able women in her experience!

  5. Reporting is suggesting that the White House tried so hard to limit the possibility of any dirt being found about Kavanaugh that as well as limiting the investigation to 1 week they also specified that the “FB” could only “I” four named people and not include anyone new whose allegations had not already been made. After much pushback on this it has apparently been withdrawn, albeit the 1 week time limit is still a ridiculous constraint.

    However one wonders if even a full and proper investigation would actually make any difference. The majority of Republican voters say they’ll support Kavanaugh anyway and 48% say they’ll support him even it is proven he tried to rape Christine Ford. At most there may be 3 or 4 republican congresspeople who will vote against Kavanaugh regardless of what the FBI find out.

    If it was a Democrat pick with even a fraction of Kavanaugh’s baggage the Repugs would be screaming bloody murder. They wouldn’t even hold a vote on Garland who had no baggage at all. One can but look at all this with horror and disgust. I made the case some time ago that Trump was actually evil and that he is merely a symptom of the fact that a large number of both republican voters and republican members of congress are too. These people had no compunction about having a sexual predator in the Oval Office and are now showing they have even less about one on the Supreme Court. Even if these people have no morals you would think they might heed the effect this is going to have on voters in the midterms and in 2020 but apparently not.

  6. Trump once said of the Mueller investigation that his line in the sand was if his own financials got investigated. It may no longer matter if Mueller does that or not as the New York Times has just released details of its own massive year long investigation into Trump’s crooked finances. He has long tried to claim with his massive ego and narcissism that he’s a self made man who only ever got a petty cash $1 million starter loan from his father Fred which he had to pay back with interest and turned that into billions. The NYT reveals that Trump really got $413 million of his father’s wealth at today’s rates and had to be bailed out of catastrophic business deals like Trump Casinos on numerous occasions. Most of this money was allegedly transferred fraudulently by understating the value of assets to save 55% gift tax. In total Fred transferred over $1 billion to his children on which $550 million gift tax should have been paid but only $50 million was paid due to a combination of tax avoidance schemes and misstating the value of properties.

    In other reporting it seems that Trump’s decision to run for president has also cost him dear. Maybe as much as $1 billion so far. He once bragged he might become the only president who actually made a profit out of the office but 2 years in the spotlight have made his name so toxic that no one wants to do business with him anymore other than political entities trying to curry favour. Rental values at Trump Tower have dropped by 30% and property tenants and customers at his golf courses are getting fed up of metal detector searches and bomb drills for presidential security. One imagines that Russian oligarchs are also finding other ways of laundering their money now that everything Trump does is subject to intense scrutiny.

    Trump’s two inept sons have tried to start a lower end hotel business to cater to less well off deplorables than Trump’s usual millionaire customers but that is already deep in loss too. We can see now why Trump hates the Mueller investigation so much. It’s not only because of what it can find out about him but its scrutiny is putting off his crooked associates from being involved with him.

    When the Dems take back the House they’ll get Trump’s tax returns going right back to the 1980s within a week. They’ll have the power to demand the IRS just pony those up without any need for a court case or warrant or subpoena. Those returns will be a goldmine not just for every investigative journalist in the country but also State AGs looking to charge Trump with fraud or tax evasion. It’s inconceivable that Trump hasn’t lied in his returns given he lies about everything else.

    What is happening with Kavanaugh seems to be a microcosm of what happens with Trump. They have the same corrupt personality, mendacity, mysogyny, predatory sexual behaviour and the same sense of entitlement and that the law doesn’t apply to them as it does to ordinary mortals. This sense of white privilege that rich preppies are indoctrinated with from birth has corrupted them both. The word “privilege” is interesting. It literally means “private law” and dates back to the French aristocracy who were not subject to the same laws as the general populace. They had their own legal code and despite them owning all the wealth they did not have to pay tax and Trump has also studiously evaded doing so all his life.

    We have seen the same behaviour in both Manafort and Cohen whose greed and mendacity led to their downfall. Trump is still protected by his presidency but that won’t last forever. One thing that astonishes me is that all of these people could have stayed under the radar and escaped detection but their greed and desire for power is so immense they fell willingly into Trump’s orbit and got subject to the scrutiny that goes along with that. You can see in every moment of Kavanaugh’s crying shouted testimony that he feels entitled to a seat on the Supreme Court, that it’s his destiny as a rich white Yale graduate and that no one should be able to snatch it away from him. It would be ironic if he’s actually destined for an orange romper suit for perjury and sexual assault. Cohen and Manafort should have been a lesson. Trump poisons everything and everyone he touches and if you have even a single skeleton in the closet it’s safest to stay far away.

    Trump is now openly mocking Christine Ford at his rallies to the cheers of his deplorables and Grassley has released a letter claiming that Kavanaugh accuser Julie Swetnick used to like multiple sex partners in an attempt to slut shame her. There is not the slightest allegation of wrongdoing against her but playing Devil’s Triangle is only ok for the rich white guys involved it seems. Any women involved just can’t and mustn’t be believed.

    Let’s hope the FBI is making even a token attempt at a proper investigation because the case against Kavanaugh seems irrefutable already. I suspect though that they’ll only interview a fraction of the people who have relevant testimony in the alloted week.

  7. As I surmised above it’s looking like the FBI report is going to be a whitewash. Several potential witnesses have approached newspapers to say their testimony or calls to the FBI have been ignored. The WH is being reported as saying they see nothing in the report to confirm the allegations made against Kavanaugh. The Repugs have already scheduled a vote on him before the report has been discussed. The Dems need to be very clear that once they get into power they are going to reopen this, force a proper investigation, sack any FBI staff or leadership who didn’t do their jobs properly and impeach Kavanaugh if he’s already on the SC. It might not cut any ice with the Repugs but the dems must not cave on this as they do on most things. Nothing has been learned since Anita Hill. White Ivy League privilege is still alive and well and as toxic as ever.

  8. Does anyone know when Dawkins first publicly said he was an atheist, and particularly when he first debated or confronted a religious authority or believer?

    I’m curious about when some of the prominent atheists first “came out”, and when/if they openly took on anyone, whether in school or any other place where an audience of some kind would have heard them.

    Who were the bold ones, and who waited until it was relatively safe to speak up, as it seems to be for the most part today?

  9. As was surmised, and like everything else Donald Trump promises, the FBI investigation into Kavanaugh was a sham. Trump stood outside the WH at the weekend and said the FBI would be allowed to interview anyone they wanted. He undoubtedly then went inside and told his people to make sure the FBI was hamstrung, tied up and left at the side of the road for dead. How do we know all this? Well the FBI were only given a paltry week to investigate and still managed to finish 2 days early when 2 of the other 5 days were a weekend. In other words they investigated for 3 days tops not including writing the 46 page report which must have taken one of those days. Reports are that at least 40 credible witnesses were never contacted and Kavanaugh’s drinking habits at school and Yale were never looked into.

    So like Trump steaks, Trump University, Trump casinos, Trump the “self made man” and the Trump presidency it’s a sham from start to finish. Of course the Repugs will tout it as a thorough investigation and use it to change the narrative which they excel at. Instead of arguing about Kavanaugh’s actual qualities the debate will move to whether he was investigated properly or not which is less damaging. Jeff Flake will now do what he always does. He’ll flake. He does exactly what it says on the tin. Flake by name, flake by nature. After his brief moment in the sun growing a very tiny proto-spine he’ll fold like a cheap suit again and vote the way daddy wants him to. Don’t even bank on Murkowski or Collins either because they’re both more afraid of losing Trump’s base of deplorables than of electing a sexual predator to the SC.

    Trump couldn’t resist a huge poke at the Dems by crowing about Al Fraken resigning so quickly and sadly he’s right. Repugs don’t care about anything except winning. Dems care about democracy which is a huge handicap. It really boils down to this. Do you want to stick to principles and keep losing or embrace Machiavelli and win for a change? I suggest a compromise. The Dems can govern by principles once they’ve got into power but they need to win by any means necessary just like Repugs do. Nothing can be worse than another 4 years of Trump.

    Once Kavanaugh is in, Trump’s power over his base and congress will be magnified tenfold. He’s going to crow about this for years. Even the NYT report on his inherited wealth is probably not going to dampen his spirits much with Kavanaugh to boast about. I confess to being more despondent right now than at any time in the last 2 years. Instead of riling up Dems to vote, Kavanaugh might just depress them to the point of not bothering and rile Repugs up to vote instead. It is being reported that Republican women voters are more incensed over what they perceive as the unfair treatment of Kavanaugh than Dem women voters are about the treatment of Ford. If that’s true then this situation is incredibly dangerous for the midterms and the blue wave that is essential if any of us are going to be able to sleep again.

  10. Chikkipop #9
    Oct 4, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Does anyone know when Dawkins first publicly said he was an atheist, and particularly when he first debated or confronted a religious authority or believer?

    I don’t know about public pronouncements, but his maturing into an atheist scientist in his teens, is on record.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins#Early_life

    Both his parents were interested in natural sciences, and they answered Dawkins’s questions in scientific terms.[34] Dawkins describes his childhood as “a normal Anglican upbringing”.[35]
    He embraced Christianity until halfway through his teenage years, at which point he concluded that the theory of evolution was a better explanation for life’s complexity, and ceased believing in a god.[33] Dawkins states: “The main residual reason why I was religious was from being so impressed with the complexity of life and feeling that it had to have a designer, and I think it was when I realised that Darwinism was a far superior explanation that pulled the rug out from under the argument of design.

    Dawkins became a prominent critic of religion and has stated his opposition to religion as twofold:
    religion is both a source of conflict and a justification for belief without evidence.[95]
    He considers faith—belief that is not based on evidence—as “one of the world’s great evils”.

  11. Chikkipop #9
    Oct 4, 2018 at 6:10 pm

    Who were the bold ones, and who waited until it was relatively safe to speak up, as it seems to be for the most part today?

    I think this is a feature in aggressive religious cultures where atheists are subject to personal attacks from religious fanatics.

    There have been prominent atheists in public life throughout the world, for a very long time!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_politics_and_law

    There have been many atheists who have participated in politics or law.
    This is a list of atheists in politics and law.
    Living persons in this list are people whose atheism is relevant to their notable activities or public life, and who have publicly identified themselves as atheists.

    In some of the more civilised countries, they have been VERY prominent!

    Denmark
    Edvard Brandes (1847–1931): Politician, critic and author, Minister of Finance 1909–1910 and 1913–1920.[56]
    Thorvald Stauning (1873–1943): Prime minister 1924–1926 and 1929–1942.
    Vilhelm Buhl: Prime minister May–November 1942 and May–November 1945.
    Hans Hedtoft: Prime minister 1947–1950 and 1953–55.
    H. C. Hansen: Prime minister 1955–1960.
    Jens Otto Krag: Prime minister 1962–1968 and 1971–1972.

  12. I recently watched a lecture delivered by Justin Gable, O.P., a professor of philosophy, entitled: St. Thomas Meets Richard Dawkins – Aquinas on God, Faith and Religion. The lecture can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7H62Mwo8sU Below are my thoughts on Professor Gable’s thesis.

    Thomas Aquinas lived from 1225 to 1274. Although he was among, perhaps THE, most intelligent scholars of his day, it must be remembered he lived before the advent of the scientific revolution. In Aquinas’ day, no one understood that the earth is not the center of the universe. Even when Christopher Columbus made his voyages beginning in 1492, while educated people understood the earth was round, no one understood that the earth rotated on its axis, and rotated around the sun. Indeed it was not until 1543 (more than 200 years after Aquinas died) that Nicolaus Copernicus published his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Although Copernicus, and perhaps others, suspected that the sun was the center of the universe while he was at university, it took him a life time of observation and mathematical study before he was able to publish his work demonstrating that the sun, not the earth stood at the center of the cosmos. Johannes Kepler, using the detailed observations made by Tyco Brahe, published his laws of planetary motion in the early 1600s. Tyco Brahe, by the way, made his observations because he wanted to prove that Copernicus had made an error, and Brahe wanted to advance an alternative hypothesis.

    Galileo Galilei began his scientific studies in the late 1500s and early 1600s. He was one of the first to use a telescope to observe the moon and planets – not the least of which was the planet Jupiter and its moons. In 1674, Antony van Leeuwenhoek, using a primitive microscope, discovered a world of life inside a drop of water.
    Sir Isaac Newton’s did his scientific studies and published his laws of motion and mathematics in the late 1600s, not to mention his study of light.

    In the 1800s, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell discovered the laws of electromagnetism. Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species on November 24, 1859, explaining how life developed by means of random natural selection.

    In the 20th century, less than a hundred years ago, Edwin Hubble discovered that the earth, the solar system, and the milky way galaxy were not only not the center of the cosmos, but that the cosmos consisted of uncountable galaxies that were moving away from each other at astronomical speeds. Before Hubble, no one understood that there was more than one galaxy. Based on those studies, it became clear that the universe came into existence approximately 14 billion years ago. It was a catholic priest, Georges Lemaître, who coined the term Big Bang. I understand that Lemaître counseled the pope of Rome, that the Big Bang was not evidence of the existence of a god.

    Throughout the 20th and now into the 21st century, scientists such as Albert Einstein and others too numerous to mention here, helped us to understand the nature of the world from the subatomic level to the astronomic. Using the scientific method, the entire cosmos can be explained in natural terms from this very moment to within a few nano-seconds of the Big Bang – all without the necessity of any supernatural intervention. Here, I’m reminded of the remark attributed to Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace who answered Napoleon’s inquiry about the place of god in the cosmos: “I had no need of that hypothesis.” Aquinas’ most compelling argument – the first cause – is now explainable and understandable in terms of physics, Darwinian biology, and other scientific disciplines. The question of why there is something rather than nothing (the subtitle of a wonderful book by Professor Lawrence Krause), can be adequately explained in physical, observable and testable terms.

    While Aquinas was the premier thinker of his day, he was constrained by the knowledge available to him. Had he lived in the 21st century, rather than the 13th century, I am sure that someone of his intellectual capabilities, would agree with scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein, etc, etc. that the Cosmos is understandable without the god hypothesis. Just because people in bygone eras had no way to explain the world and their place in it, there is no excuse for those of us who live today to cling to outdated ideas of medieval theology and cosmology. Many questions remain to be answered, but we can be confident that answers will be found using the scientific method rather than supernatural hoc est, poc est pronounced by an invisible being (someone once said that the invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike). Aquinas understood the world only through means of logic – again the logic of his time. Aquinas did not have access to the scientific method which did not exist in his day. Scientific work is testable and is subject to change if new discoveries are made, or if error is discovered. In Aquinas’s day, the god hypothesis was the only explanation available – today that hypothesis is nothing more than delusion (to reference Professor Dawkins’ book title).

    I would like to think that if Thomas Aquinas were somehow transported from his time to ours, and if he had the opportunity to sit down with Richard Dawkins – and as long as we’re fantasizing, let’s bring back another Dominican, Giordano Bruno — if all three engaged in a scholarly discussion, I’m sure Professor Aquinas would say something like: “If science has shown that a god is not necessary to explain the cosmos, and since there is no evidence to support such a hypothesis, then more likely then not god does not exist.” Friar Bruno would probably exclaim: “I told you so!!” While the study of Aquinas’ work is valuable for an understanding of the history of philosophy, I find it sad that he is put forward as an alternative to a modern scientific view of the world. Basing one’s world view on 12th century philosophy is not only delusional, in my view it causes people to make bad decisions and it prevents people from coming to terms with the truth about the world – its realities, and limitations. We live now – between our birth and our death – nothing more, and nothing less. And that’s enough.

  13. A4D #4

    Hi Alan

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but your post seems a bit defensive and frankly, out of character for you. Defending Strumia’s comments using facts is perfectly justifiable, but it didn’t look like that was the case here.

    The article itself isn’t all that helpful since he claimed he was passed over due to social/gender ‘engineering’ but didn’t specify the occasion, or if the woman who got ‘his’ job was less qualified. This could easily be a case of sour grapes.

    Then the data he cited was said to have been discredited, but it didn’t give the specific study(ies), so where does that leave us if we can’t find it?

    The scientist who commented on his remarks didn’t have to be there to know what he said–she found out about them the same way we did.

    The director who said she hadn’t experienced discrimination isn’t speaking for all women scientists, and in fact, in the article she points out that she knows it happens.

    I made a cursory search for special treatment for women, and couldn’t find any. In fact, most of what came up was exactly what the women are saying: they are being marginalized based on their sex. If I point that out, does that mean I’m a militant feminist?

    I’m not saying Strumia doesn’t have a valid argument, maybe he does. But it sure looked more like a gripe-fest than a professionally presented argument, IMO.

  14. Vicki #14
    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but your post seems a bit defensive and frankly, out of character for you. Defending Strumia’s comments using facts is perfectly justifiable, but it didn’t look like that was the case here.

    @#2 if the “investigation” is conducted by biologically competent scientists, it will confirm the different aptitudes resulting from male/female brain development from embryonic stages onward! .. . .

    This “shortage” of women doing physics, is one of the perennial rants of the politically correct gender quota brigade’s demonstrations of their pseudo-science misinterpretation of statistics, to confirm their ideological notions of “uni-people” where all aptitudes and abilities are equal,- with shrieks of bigotry against critics who actually study the science.

    As with the athletics examples I give, there are racial and gender differences from embryonic development onwards.

    There is a higher percentage of men with aptitudes in the hard sciences, and there is a greater percentage of women with aptitudes in subjects such as languages. This is a distribution situation which does not mean that we can make assumptions when comparing any two individuals.
    It is difference in the variation of the range and distribution of abilities within populations, but has many other input factors.

    It is however ridiculous to discriminate against men or criticise appointment committees, in science appointments on the basis numbers failing to reach some arbitrary 50:50 quota! ( The same would apply to women linguist appointments.) It was very noticeable when I was working in university, that male students greatly outnumbered female students on science and engineering courses, while female students predominated on language courses! (Selected by competitive entry qualifications)
    These days, many exams have anonymous marking systems where only ref numbers are shown, so examiners do not see names which could give clues to gender or ethnicity, to avoid any allegations of bias.

    Particularly when we are looking at the top end of a distribution curve in selecting the world’s best for projects like CERN it is important to make appointments on the basis of merit and ability, without the intrusion of political ideologies.

    Then the data he cited was said to have been discredited, but it didn’t give the specific study(ies), so where does that leave us if we can’t find it?

    @#4 – Dr Jessica Wade, a physicist from Imperial College London who attended the event. . . . . . added that he drew upon discredited research and that it was unjust to refer to somebody’s number of citations as a metric for ability given [ASSUMING?] that the whole process of peer reviewing is biased against women and non-westerners in the first instance.

    Given that peer-review across a whole selection of journals, is the respected objective measure of the validity of scientific papers, allegations like these, would need some very substantial evidence, if they are not to be simply dismissed as a personal biased viewpoint which is almost on a par with the conspiracy theories of creationists!

    In the UK, the opposition Labour Party has some “politically correct” rules to force the selection of more women as candidates or delegates. – which result in crazy features like a requirement for all- women shortlists for election candidates!

    These often mean, that selectors are required to pass over talented men and send any women they can find, or on some occasions, send no representatives at all to meetings or conferences, when no women can be found who are willing to go, and the quota rules forbid sending men in their place!

    It is political correctness gone mad, but given the low quality of some of the male political ideologists, it may not make too much difference, about which gender the clueless politicians are, or on occasions, where an empty chair is performing better than the selected representatives.!

    However, in an establishment like CERN selecting the best talent is crucial, and if that means that women scientists are in a minority, that probably reflects the differences in embryonic brain development of the different sexes. ( see the link @#2)

    I could not comment on the professor’s complaint about his own appointment, but there are regular media false assertions, (usually from some feminist social scientist), that an absence of 50:50 quotas, indicate a problem in the appointment of women scientists.

  15. I suspect if Strumia had presented his argument more along your format, he might not have been suspended.

    That said, I don’t think conflating 50:50 quotas in the political arena, where the population more closely matches that ratio, is the same as thinking the same ratio could be met in the scientific arena, where women make up less than 1/3 of the total scientists. In fact, I have to wonder why quotas would be an issue at all in a market that isn’t glutted. Granted, a position at CERN would be coveted, and the hiring parameters would be more stringent, and should be focused on the best. I don’t know that it isn’t.

    I liken women’s education in the STEM fields to a relay race, where one side has a clear, fast track, and the other side has to run the same race on an obstacle course. To me, it is much like generational poverty. I get that not 50% will be drawn to a field in which they are not biologically hard-wired. But let’s not marginalize the 28% who did choose that career for themselves.

  16. Vicki #16
    Oct 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm
    That said, I don’t think conflating 50:50 quotas in the political arena,
    where the population more closely matches that ratio,
    is the same as thinking the same ratio could be met in the scientific arena, where women make up less than 1/3 of the total scientists.

    I think the issue is of biased ideologists who are determined to “fix” an imaginary science problem which isn’t broken!

    What we must not do is push people with lesser aptitudes into jobs where they are not the best candidates, or where they will struggle – to the detriment of themselves and to the job.

    I get that not 50% will be drawn to a field in which they are not biologically hard-wired. But let’s not marginalize the 28% who did choose that career for themselves.

    As I was commenting on this other thread – all credit to the minority of women who do have talent and education in sciences, but it is nevertheless unfortunate that CERN and the media, are providing a spurious distraction from recognition of those talents in attacking a professor who is criticising the quota mentality..

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/10/nobel-prize-in-physics-is-shared-by-a-woman-the-first-in-55-years/#li-comment-233918

    I suspect if Strumia had presented his argument more along your format, he might not have been suspended.

    Both he and his critics appear to be physicists, so they may not be familiar with the medical biology courses. That is however, no excuse in a scientific establishment for making stuff up rather than looking stuff up!

    I am reminded of a situation in an earlier discussion where bigots refused to listen to a scientist.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/08/a-hundred-walked-out-of-my-lecture/

  17. Chikkipop #9
    Does anyone know when Dawkins first publicly said he was an atheist, and particularly when he first debated or confronted a religious authority or believer?

    I remember as a teenager reading the Blind Watchmaker and he was arguing against the creationists then. I can’t remember if was arguing against god as such but he was certainly quite clearly arguing against nonsense in terms of Biological Evolution. I believe he also disagreed with Stephen Jay Gould passionately I believe about religion and science being non-overlapping magisteria. The God Delusion didn’t come out till later but he’d received much flack from Christians before then.

  18. Exactly right, Reckless. The impact of religion on his discipline especially in the US bugged him.

    I suspect the impetus to do something directly about it possibly came from being interviewed by Dr Jonathan Miller for his truly excellent short series A Rough History of Disbelief in 2004. (US 2007 as A Brief History of Disbelief.)

    Dan Dennett was also interviewed.

    It is what galvanised me (writing to DD to complain about his lack of force and ending up discussing the nature of the “self-model”).

    I’ll link in the next post.

  19. I’m not saying Strumia doesn’t have a valid argument, maybe he does. But it sure looked more like a gripe-fest than a professionally presented argument, IMO.

    Hi Vicki,

    It’s an interesting area and has become so toxic I’d dearly like to see some open discussion about it. I fear it is a very difficult area to discuss but I’m willing to risk it because I think fair treatment of all needs to be our goal and it doesn’t look like this is where we are heading.

    What distresses me about this subject is just how toxic it is and how hard it is look at the facts in relation to this area of discussion. I remember hearing about the gender pay gap (in Australia currently about 15%) at Uni, I was shocked as I knew there were laws about it. It came up in sociology lectures and I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t being pursued legally if it was against the law to discriminate on the basis of gender. So I started to read up about it a little more and discovered that the gap relating to actual discrimination what some proportion of that figure (which would have been higher then I’m sure) but that choice of profession came into it along with interruption of career having families taking on more flexible and lower paid work etc. I’d bring this up in sociology lecturers and get shouted down as as a misogamist pig. And yes as a young bloke I did get defensive at that time. My problem was not my misogamy but probably the Aspy personality which bridles at people getting the facts wrong, it hurts me. It’s still probably the thing that bugs me the most about this and I wish we could get to the facts because until we do women (and men) I know will not get fair treatment.

    So for me a couple of gripes about the movement and if I have your patience and you are not convinced I’m trying to smuggle in misogyny hopefully you can give me some feedback on what I’m suggesting.

    1) It is not helpful to women to misrepresent facts like the gender pay gap without unpacking all the various reasons why they exist. (I Know you haven’t done this but I’m speaking in general).

    2) Why do we think that there would ever be a 50/50 split in division of labour between sexes? Or should be. I think there should be complete freedom to choose what you want to do but I don’t believe we are the same on average, I think testosterone does likely have an impact on aggression and other factors that may well influence men into choosing different jobs to women and visa versa. How much this is a factor is probably open to debate but it tends not to be (debated). Women athletes taking large amounts of male hormones for example report dramatically increased levels of aggression, men commit the largest amounts of violent crimes etc. Thus I suspect there is at least some impact but you never here this in mainstream media. So were there are barriers put in the way of anyone choosing to pursue whatever career they choose I’m with feminists but they seem to want something else which I feel is unrealistic.

    Part of the problem is probably a tendency for both sides to misunderstand how a bell curve works. Misogamists would point to testosterone in men as a reason for example to exclude women from certain fields when in fact while a majority of men may be more aggressive some proportion of women will be more aggressive than some proportion of men, so if the job required more aggression we should see a mix that more closely matches the statistical fall of proportion of these traits in the population and deviation outside of this might be evidence for actual sexism. But if we get ‘women shouldn’t be in the military’ because aggression is needed ignores the number of women who are more aggressive than the average man. On the other side we get women should be 50% of the military. Either extreme seems silly, surely we need a detailed analysis of what we might expect to see and then consider where we don’t match the populations characteristics why?

    3) Would we accept this social engineering in other areas. If it could be 100% successful. For example let’s say an injection could be given at birth or in-utero that guaranteed the same brain wiring so that interests were levelled out, who would consider that a good thing? Bring up genetic engineering of say food crops and many on the left will equate you with Hitler and the Eugenics movement and yet it seems to me that many on the fringes are attempting something very similar only through social engineering.

    What I see is almost all the media attention going to attempts to equal the number of women in parliament and as CEO’s of large corporations. So in terms of parliament that’s easily fixed women make up more than 50% of the population we just need most of them and some males and we’ll have more equal political representation. But that seems to be the trick. If we mandated more women in the parliament then aren’t we taking away a free choice from those large chunk of women who choose to vote for reasons other than gender? Some large chunk of women do not vote for women when given a chance. But what really bugs me about this is we are talking about a tiny fraction of the population of women who will benefit and I’m skeptical it will help many women.

    I’ll give you an example of whom I’d rather see get just some airtime. At my work in teaching we have a long break over the holidays. To save money the Education Department has been using contracts and then cancelling those contracts 2 weeks before the end of the year this is to avoid having to give holiday pay to the teachers (if they had taught the full year). Now this policy effects any contract staff both men and women. However it disproportionately effects women. This is because women are more likely to end up on contracts, this is because they will often start a teaching career and then if they want a family make the choice to stay at home and breastfeed until their child is a little older and if they have 2 or 3 kids they may be off work because it’s easier for them breastfeed on demand than have the kid in child care (expensive) express milk etc. So some are choosing to stay at home, they then end up trying to regain permanency and because they now have a young family at school and a husband working don’t want to go bush for 4-6 years to guarantee employment (most have done bush service straight out of Uni anyway) so in choosing to stay in the local area = contracts, years of contracts and 6 weeks holidays + 2 weeks either side so 10 weeks of no pay yearly potentially. As I said this effects men who make the same choices so a stay at home dad would be effected equally but this predominately effects women and this is just one example from one profession. Women do face real issues look at the levels of super annuation on retirement particularly if they have had a broken marriage. These are not all the fault of men but we need to look at fairness.

    Likewise the types of work women choose is often undervalued. I happen to think education is extremely important to our society and the earliest education in childcare is crucial and yet this is the least well paid. Ironically the push for women to have a family and a career has lead to a massive expansion of the child care system which is hugely expensive which is why many women choose to stay at home as the money in their pocket is hardly worth working for after paying child care for a week for a couple of kids.

    So it’s complicated.

    I’d like to see a nuanced debate without the shooting everyone who brings up problem with the narrative to be considered by default to be a sexist pig. We cannot get to a fairer system until we acknowledge the full facts. Troubling times.

    Anyway hopefully I’ve come across as constructive and not a misogamist would love some feedback.

  20. I think gender is just another axis of modest cognitive difference, maybe with some overlap with the systemising/empathising axis, like the axes of creative/concrete, concern for detail and precision/generalist, assertive/passive. The autist, schizophrenic, OCD and psychopath axes are ones we all sit on.

    I think much pressure would be relieved if say the Kindergarten teacher were better recognised for their value and rewarded and the CEO far less so. Germany gets it righter and gender unfairness along with a lot else is reduced in like manner.

    Any single person may be capable of any job.

    Quotas are unfair often but are entirely valid in some situations. Some jobs (like politician, civil servants facing the public) really do need a fair representation of the population. Indeed anywhere when the concerns of the public need to be reflected into an organisation. (I really liked the Kurdish idea that a town needs a male and a female mayor.) I think business will increasingly adopt this mode for the same reasons. And second, quotas as a temporary measure to pressure test the route to certain occupations for roadblocks to have them fixed.

    I am happy with the idea that all bear the cost of parenthood, even the childless.

    I am increasingly coming to see that we are far more self made than genetically determined. The bias of genetics needs to be fully understood and accepted for the fact it is. But that doesn’t mean we can’t push our own envelope by for instance how we educate our children.

    There may always be less girl nerds than boy nerds. There may be always be more girls concerned about harms to others, than boys. There may always be more male mathematicians and female biologists. But to make sure we eke out the talents of all our children we must scrupulously promote and facilitate all choices to all children.

  21. Reckless Monkey #21
    Oct 6, 2018 at 4:13 am

    I think it is very telling, that Professor Strumia was suspended for saying there was quota discrimination against Male scientists, but as far as I know Dr Jessica Wade has not been suspended for publicly outrageously claiming that “research was discredited” because “it was unjust to refer to somebody’s number of [peer-reviewed] citations as a metric for ability” while alleging that “the whole process of peer reviewing is biased against women and non-westerners in the first instance”.

    I think we can agree that in science, those who have produced a number of peer-reviewed studies, out-rank those who have not!

  22. Reckless and Phil

    Both posts were thoughtful–and very much appreciated.

    IMO, the single greatest roadblock to professional equity between the sexes is motherhood. The first 5 years of a child’s life is critical, and to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing that can replace a full time parent (mother or father). And by professional equity, I refer to the opportunity to pursue a career in a chosen field, regardless of quotas or pay rates–those subjects are a whole ‘nuther animal that I believe would become moot points if the opportunity itself was on a more level playing field.

    There are two seminal books that address the women’s issue of biological vs professional. We’ve all heard of Betty Friedan’s consciousness-shattering book, The Feminine Mystique. That book seemed to come out at just the right time in our culture, and many have read it. What is less known is her follow-up book, The Second Stage. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Second_Stage

    Here is where she addresses the dilemma of biology vs career, and I highly recommend it. Amazingly, it was written at a time when technology was just starting to peek into our economy, and has only become more valid at a time when a 5-year absence from work can be the same as leaving during the Triassic era and trying to re-enter in the Jurassic era.

    The second book is, oddly enough, Clinton’s It Takes A Village. She is a woman who has experienced both full time jobs of raising a child and being a professional politician, and it ties into Friedan’s work almost seamlessly. It has its drawbacks, to be sure. For example, her religion, Methodism, plays strongly in the social fabric. Frankly, I could have done without her devotion to it. But overall, she understands the role of childbearing vs the opportunities for careers, both in virtually the same time window. Her argument is a woman can have it all, but not as much of it all if she chooses to pursue both.

    I do not think the issues of quotas, or pay gaps, or perceived special treatment will go away until the main issue of raising a child is addressed.

  23. I fully concur, especially with the parenthood issue.

    This is why I talked of it as a burden on all of us.

    I see this as part of the re-alignment of attitudes towards having children. I have stated rather drastically that parent-hood is potentially a very selfish act. You might be creating a life full of misery for your own satisfactions. (I mean this in all sincerity. Quite beyond arguments for a woman’s bodily autonomy, it is always moral to terminate because of the risk of future misery.)

    The parental quid pro quo is the understanding of the need for endless support for their children (not pampering but cultivating). Our culture should also engage in the process and feel freer to expect this from parents. There is no greater investment to be made in our collective futures. But the quid pro quo there is that our society must make full provision for children also, and that means making the fullest provision for parents (the ideal nurturers) to be both parents and examples of working engaged citizens.

    Everyone benefits if parenthood is projected more seriously and is more supported. The selfish singleton can be dismissed. He benefited from those before him, lifting their future citizen children up.

  24. Bah. Kavanaugh gets elected to the SC. Jeff Flake flaked just as I predicted as he always does and one Dem traitor, Joe Manchin, also voted yes. However even if he hadn’t then VP Pence would have broken the tie. Trump will now be at his sickening worst for days if not weeks.

  25. Arkrid

    Sickening indeed. His crowing over this will be puke worthy. The far right now controls all three branches of the US government and this must be a new ominous low for this country.

  26. Hi Vicki,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply,

    I agree with you and Phil that parenthood falls into this equation very squarely. I have friends and family who have lived all sides of this. My sister in law for example (mother of two) is in the situation where she earns much more than her husband and hence her husband was prime carer for her children for about a year at a time. She initially was breast feeding and so was madly expressing milk for the children’s daytime use. She was a project manager and this often meant ridiculous hours when projects were in full swing and eventually she shifted the children to formula because she found it too taxing to supply milk not only when she was at home but to express sufficient to cover when she was at work as well. She then suffered tremendous guilt over the choice to go to formula. Of course breast milk is well established as best, but women face tremendous pressure to breast feed.

    Women also have their prime fertile years when they would otherwise be developing their careers so we are often interrupting their career development to have children (if this is what they choose). It seems to me society is very clumsy in developing a system of working around education, career etc. We’ve had reliable contraception for women (contraception that women can personally control) since what the early 1960’s and it seems surprising to me that we really haven’t adapted to this yet. It seems there is a factor of ageism at play here two, perhaps businesses might learn to recognise that experience and maturity may actually be of some benefit, perhaps we would not have had some of the economic collapses if some older people who had spend some time outside of the workforce or perhaps if some had had different priorities rather than the hyper-masculine risk taking and corporate greed driving our financial systems? I’d like to see if businesses do better in the long run if not run by hyper competitive alpha male types, but have a mix of abilities and some feminine traits thrown in as well. But it needs to be genuine data not cherry picked if it turns out that hyper-male aggressive characteristics are better for the economy then so be it.

    The other factor is things like house prices. While not directly a sexist system of oppression at least in my country house prices have risen so much in the past 15 years that having two incomes is the only way in which a family can get a house unless they buy in the remotest suburbs. This disproportionately effects women. Any women for example who has had a few kids and taken time off work to do so then ends up in a marriage break down is forced into a position where they are unlikely to be able to buy a house or build a career that will make it easy to buy a house. Rent is not cheap either. All the while of course the mainstream media gives this little attention and focuses on a tiny proportion of women CEO’s and politicians. We really need to get into the weeds in this stuff and I really think the modern feminism is failing to address these issues satisfactorily.

    I read Germain Greer’s book the Female Eunuch at uni and it was a terrifically funny and powerfully written book, I remember not agreeing with everything in it (I found some assertions were not backed up – but much more I agreed with) but it really focused on women’s lives and it was a strong opinion that needed to be heard. So Greer to this day will often appear on our ABC’s Q&A show and strongly put forward views which you will either agree with or disagree with but she is regularly being de-platformed now because her version of feminism is not PC enough now. I could spend some time talking about what I dis-agree with Greer about but she is a highly intelligent woman who holds very strong views and there are often attempts to have her views silenced. Now Greer is famous enough that any attempt to de-platform her will result in a greater airing of her views so I’m not worried about not hearing her views, and it’s a massive own goal for anyone who attempts to keep her from speaking. However it’s this instinct of the far left now to silence anyone who disagrees that I really find most troubling. I understand why many despise her views on both sides of politics I was for example very surprised when she as feminist brought up our first female PM having a big bum (butt for those in the US) as she was going through tremendous and I think sexist nonsense from extreme right shock jocks and opposition conservative parties at the time. However it seems to me that we can hear opposing points of view without society falling down around us. How do we get the left back on track?

  27. Hi Alan

    Dr Jessica Wade has not been suspended for publicly outrageously claiming that “research was discredited” because “it was unjust to refer to somebody’s number of [peer-reviewed] citations as a metric for ability” while alleging that “the whole process of peer reviewing is biased against women and non-westerners in the first instance”.

    Yes it’s a problem, it strikes me that if we take the extreme feminist narrative that there is a patriarchy systematically oppressing women and holding them back then you have a couple of obvious difficulties.

    1) If women have no power (which I disagree with) then logically the only people who can grant them that power must therefore be the patriarchy (which I suspect is a massive oversimplification of what is going on and seems pretty close to conspiracy thinking or at least the version the far left pushes is conspiracy thinking). It seems a strange tacit to try to attempt to force an all powerful system deliberately attempting to hold back women taking down anyone for fear of public backlash. If you can change the status quo by being nasty on social media then the patriarchy isn’t as all powerful as they claim (note this is only the extreme feminist front that are claiming this).

    2) If my first thought is accepted then feminists will need men to come along for the ride, men must be part of what changes these systems to allow more women to be encouraged into STEM and the sciences and have fairer treatment when circumstances disproportionately effect them be it because of biology or work choices or roles they choose to pursue in society. This is not helped I think by firing someone who disagrees with you on some points of fact or has difficulty with your approach. These tactics seem likely to push people away from feminism entirely. The likes of Trump that are appearing all over the world are a backlash to the extremes of the far left. If the moderate left cannot disassociate themselves from the far left we are screwed.

    So probably the left and more sensible feminists need to make a big noise and disassociate themselves from their extremes. Islam is another case of this often when there is a terrorist attack moderate Islamist’s jump right away and start getting defensive about being labelled along with the terrorists but won’t condemn any of the stances that the more radicals follow. Maajid Nawaz is a notable exception to this. There are some genuine feminist issues but it would seem these are drowned out by the extremes which the left in general seems unwilling to call out. We see the same on the right of course. Looking at the support for evangelicals supporting Trump a guy who at best is happy to boast about sexually assaulting women and has just gotten a guy through to the supreme court who is quite possibly at least in his youth a sexual predator.

    Of course the left being happy to support trail by media has left the more sensible position of having a thorough investigation into these allegations and delaying or choosing another supreme court nominee has opened up them up to an argument that this is just more of the same. Trouble is there is an argument the left has left themselves open to.

    Look at the allegations into Harvey Weinstein. Now I believe they are likely true, there are certainly enough allegations that he certainly deserves to be put on trial. However it has not helped the left when one of his accusers was so happy to at an awards ceremony call out Harvey Weinstein (Asia Argento) and pointing to other men at the ceremony saying “you know who you are” while she was paying off an actor she had sex with who was a considered a minor (in that state) to be silent. She has then lied about this until pictures and tweets came out. So this is an example of one narcissistic actress (who may well have been raped by Weintein) setting herself up as victim calling out male sexual predators when while she was doing so was paying to silence a victim of her own inappropriate behaviour. Of course this undermines the many women Weinstein likely rapes/assaulted but the left can not let go of this tactic of naming and shaming. The damage to the left is enormous. What does it do to us on the left when so many of our number are willing to forgo principles of presumption of innocence in favour of destroying anyone’s reputation. Where universities are now positively discriminating against Asian students who have generally worked their arses off to get where they are and now are being positively discriminated against. We need some form of return to some sort of sensible approach. I think there is a place in calling out the Harvey Winstine’s if the law refuses to deal with these creeps but the left is shooting itself in the foot if it keeps going this way. I do not want to live in a world where the likes of Trump are dominant for the next decade or so until they utterly screw the place up so much that even their own side of politics will show some integrity and get rid of their excesses. We need to left more than ever and all we seem to be able to do is self destruct! Sigh!

    The only solution I can see is to slowly re-introduce real debate, real discussion in which the fundamental principals of fair and open discourse are respected. People should be ashamed not to be wrong or change their mind but to present willingly dishonest attacks, people should be ashamed to jump on bandwagons. We need to grow up. Those who need the help of all of society need to take the long road of convincing the population. Look at gay marriage, it took so long but ultimately I think what worked is that there wasn’t a valid argument that could be used to oppose it. Now I know a lot of religious people who find things like Madi Gra offensive but still voted for gay marriage. So while Madi Gra and other Gay marches were good awareness campaigns to attract attention I suspect what worked to convince most of those even opposed to homosexuality on some level to vote along with Gay marriage (at least in this country) was the very sound and reasonable arguments made. Feminism needs to learn from this. Keep the good arguments, stop making bad arguments and there will continue to be progress. Poison the well and you might end up slipping backwards. Look at the supreme court, what’s the bet now the conservatives are a majority that abortion in the US will be wound back? Sigh again.

    I’ll stop ranting now.

    Cheers

  28. Reckless Monkey #21
    Oct 6, 2018 at 4:13 am

    3) Would we accept this social engineering in other areas. If it could be 100% successful.
    For example let’s say an injection could be given at birth or in-utero that guaranteed the same brain wiring so that interests were levelled out, who would consider that a good thing?
    Bring up genetic engineering of say food crops and many on the left will equate you with Hitler and the Eugenics movement and yet it seems to me that many on the fringes are attempting something very similar only through social engineering.

    Interestingly, there are notable effects from hormone exchanges in the womb, between opposite sex fraternal twins and in mammals which have litters of young.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4681519/

    Many important psychological characteristics show sex differences, and are influenced by sex hormones at different developmental periods. We focus on the role of sex hormones in early development, particularly the differential effects of prenatal androgens on aspects of gender development. Increasing evidence confirms that prenatal androgens have facilitative effects on male-typed activity interests and engagement (including child toy preferences and adult careers), and spatial abilities, but relatively minimal effects on gender identity. Recent emphasis has been directed to the psychological mechanisms underlying these effects (including sex differences in propulsive movement, and androgen effects on interest in people versus things), and neural substrates of androgen effects (including regional brain volumes, and neural responses to mental rotation, sexually arousing stimuli, emotion, and reward).

    Understanding hormonal influences on gender development enhances knowledge of psychological development generally, and has important implications for basic and applied questions, including sex differences in psychopathology, women’s underrepresentation in science and math, and clinical care of individuals with variations in gender expression.

    Why are the sexes different? How does the prenatal environment set the stage for postnatal development? How does behavior result from transactions between the brain and the social world? All three questions are the focus of contemporary work in the behavioral sciences, and they converge in questions regarding prenatal sex hormone effects on gender development, which includes characteristics that show sex differences and that relate to being female or male.

    Human work linking hormones and behavior borrows heavily from work in nonhuman species showing that exposure to sex hormones early in development has permanent effects on sex-related behavior, and reproductive anatomy and function [reviewed in 1,2,3]. Thus, early development represents a sensitive period for hormones to organize the brain.

    Anecdotally;- I am the father of opposite sex fraternal twins, and have a very competitive daughter who is now a lawyer!

  29. Vicki #16
    Oct 5, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    I get that not 50% will be drawn to a field in which they are not biologically hard-wired. But let’s not marginalize the 28% who did choose that career for themselves.

    As you will see from the above link @#30, choosing a career by any individuals who lack aptitude, is a poor move. Pushing people into careers where they lack aptitude is even worse! . . . and moaning about those who lack aptitude being passed over for promotion on the basis of ideological quotas, is just plain perverse ignorance!
    Having said that, the minority of women who do have aptitude and scientific capabilities which they have developed, should compete on a level playing-field and be given credit where credit is due.

  30. Hi Alan

    I agree that biologically, women are less likely to pursue careers in science and/or technology fields. From your link, “Second, controversy surrounds the causes of women’s underrepresentation in science, math, engineering, and technology (STEM) careers [e.g., 66,67]. There is little doubt that social structure (e.g., discrimination, child care policies) contributes to the problem…”

    I don’t dispute your claim that pushing someone into a career that was not her choice is a bad move. You’ve not shown me anything where hiring women in scientific fields is quota-based, or that better qualified men were passed over.

  31. Hi Reckless

    I would love to continue this subject, as it is one that is very near to my heart and has affected, and continues to affect, my life.

    But let’s first set up some subject parameters: are we going to talk about the far left feminists, or are we going to talk about systemic sexism?

    *

    …(which I suspect is a massive oversimplification of what is going
    on and seems pretty close to conspiracy thinking or at least the
    version the far left pushes is conspiracy thinking)…

    I am a little raw right now due to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and the humiliation and mockery Dr. Christine Ford had to endure at the hands of this administration, as well as the threats to her family from Kavanaugh’s supporters. She had nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward, so it is hard not to think this was an orchestrated campaign with patriarchy at its core.

    Is it possible to overlook that perfect example of sexist marginalization, set for all to witness on the world stage, and continue the conversation without rage or passion?

    *

  32. Hi Alan, I’ve read a little about all of this when I was at Uni I think the research was early days back then and was still fairly speculative but it’s interesting none the less. But I will have a look-see at the link ta I haven’t seen what the current state is in that area for a very long time now.

    My experience as a teacher tells me there are average difference between the genders (with exceptions) these experiences don’t tell me why there are differences but I have taught an awful lot of boys and girls from 6 years old up to 18 years old (with a few mature age students thrown in) over my now couple of decades and change in the job. I suspect like all things there are social and genetic factors. I’m very interested in seeing where it all comes out. However I suppose at heart my feelings are that men and women should have a free choice to pursue their chosen careers. I personally left manual arts at school and took up home economics and enjoyed learning to cook and sew. I latter took up workshopy things in my 20’s I have as long as I can remember been an arty farty type drawing and painting. Although I do little of that now and am much more into digital media 3D modelling computer coding (still very basic). Anyway I’ve never felt men and women should be excluded from anything, My Mum worked teaching teachers from when I was in pre-school. As a Home Economics tutor then lecturer she was constantly teaching me to process wool from scratch to spinning dyeing weaving with looms etc. So my teachers were treated with truly hideous creations every Christmas for a few years where I had processed from smelly greasy dag filled clumps of wool to pee coloured natural dyes found down my backyard (plants) roughly woven into truly hideous scarves. Anyway I never felt the pull of traditional gender roles and was surprised to think women should not choose to do whatever the hell they felt like. What I’d like to see is more girls consider different areas, some may discover aptitudes they didn’t know they had or find they really really like say STEM. I object to incorrect use of statistics or the very political aspect I see in the new wave or extremist feminist fringe. The standard feminists I meet in day to day life I generally agree with 100% This just needs some common sense.

  33. Reckless Monkey #34
    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:30 am

    My experience as a teacher tells me there are average difference between the genders (with exceptions) these experiences don’t tell me why there are differences but I have taught an awful lot of boys and girls from 6 years old up to 18 years old (with a few mature age students thrown in) over my now couple of decades and change in the job.

    Like yourself, I have worked in teaching and education, with ages of children ranging from Nursery school to 18 year-olds – and then some work in university, before I finally retired last year.

    I think anyone who has worked with early-years / infant school children, knows that girls mature earlier and develop reading skills at a younger age than boys. This is another “problem” which some ideologists think needs “fixing”!

  34. I loathe the idea of creating safe spaces for the aggrieved as it undoes the primary counter needed for culture to be honed to the balanced needs of its citizens. This is why I beg of people, personal bravery and pushback and where appropriate that most powerful of sticks to beat naughty, attention seeking children with,… indifference.

    Morality is an encultured wish to live mutually, not of being manipulated into it. Dependence upon rules based quasi-morality is a failure that should always urge us forward to do better.

    Having said that we cannot move forward from this critical moment in our culture until this single clarified point is learned by the majority of us all. Physically invasive behaviours or implications of same need consent. This is utterly distinct from offense giving outside of this specific.

    Building this newly all pervasive moral insight into our lives has only just begun, but already in narratives for popular consumption this need is popping up increasingly and explicitly. The #metoo legacy is real.

    PS. I think all right minded people have a debt of gratitude for Dr Ford’s bravery. It will not be wasted as the great store of contempt for this administration is piled even higher.

  35. Vicki #32
    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:14 am

    I don’t dispute your claim that pushing someone into a career that was not her choice is a bad move.

    I was thinking along the lines of pressuring people or misleading them into making bad choices, rather than forcing them against their will.

    You’ve not shown me anything where hiring women in scientific fields is quota-based, or that better qualified men were passed over.

    It is quite difficult because of confidentiality issues around appointments, and other issues which lead to poor choices.

    There is certainly evidence in publicly funded services, that less qualified people are appointed as cheaper employees, because of political underfunding of services, not to mention nepotism, social connections, religious biases, and simple poor choices made by inept committees.

    Anecdotally, I recall once losing out to a single lady in a deputy head application, where local gossip suggested that her selection was based on a sexual relationship with the married head! It turned out she was pregnant and left the job to have the baby a few months later!

    What is clear, is that there are active campaigns pressing for gender quota based appointments.
    To what extent they are effective or are being resisted, is unclear.

  36. I’m a fairly staunch and long time defender of the research of Simon Baron Cohen in this field of neural cognitive offsets between the gender populations. Most of the criticism I see as a misreading of what his data actually says. (There seems to be a persistent misreading of the implications of only modestly offset (a few percent at the peaks) bell curves and how it makes for little distinction in the bulk of the groups, but at the extremes differences are notable…. four times as many boys as girls are clinically autistic, maybe twice as many boys as girls are aspie, maybe there are equal numbers of girls would be described as hyper pro-social.) Additionally insufficiently understood and analysed is the role of culture as an amplifier of small differences through simple minded identity heuristics.

    Anyway, I’ve just downloaded this to look at the case against him..

    Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong – and the New Research That’s Rewriting The Story

    (Others are implicated and may better or even better justify this title.)

    I’ll report back. I’d really appreciate Vicky or Laurie’s view if they think it worthwhile enough, and, not to be sexist Reckless or Alan’s too…..

  37. Hi Phil

    *

    Additionally insufficiently understood and analysed is the role of
    culture as an amplifier of small differences through simple minded
    identity heuristics.

    Reading a review of the book, it looks like that is what Angela Saini is attempting to do. I am juggling about 8 books right now, and if I had a shorter list, I’d add it. I look forward to your take on it.

    *

  38. Arkid
    Perhaps some of your personal animus could be assuaged by a better grasp of the process re Kavanaugh.
    He was not elected, President Trump’s nomination of him to serve on the Court was confirmed by the Senate.

  39. Vicki #33
    Oct 7, 2018 at 6:25 am

    I am a little raw right now due to Kavanaugh’s confirmation, and the humiliation and mockery Dr. Christine Ford had to endure at the hands of this administration, as well as the threats to her family from Kavanaugh’s supporters.

    I agree that this deplorable – but unsurprising when studying the Trump camp!

    She had nothing to gain and everything to lose by coming forward, so it is hard not to think this was an orchestrated campaign with patriarchy at its core.

    True: – but I don’t think any educated informed people would consider the Trump camp as in anyway related to science or the scientific establishment. Trumpies are doing all they can to undermine the integrity of scientific work and scientific workers.

    Is it possible to overlook that perfect example of sexist marginalization, set for all to witness on the world stage, and continue the conversation without rage or passion?

    In the company of Trump supporters or representatives of the divisive propagandist trash media, probably not – but among those who engage in constructive rational debate, such issues can be dealt with on an objective basis.

  40. *

    …such issues can be dealt with on an objective basis.

    Yes, and I plan to willingly contribute, but not until the pain subsides a little.

    I keep reminding myself of the picture of the Milky Way with an arrow pointing to a speck, saying “You Are Here.”
    *

  41. Vicki,

    Quite understood. This is in a queue too, but shorter. A few books to be examined more closely after speed reading and Peter Temin’s The Vanishing Middle Class, where I’m just looking for extra data points, totally buying his story already.

    I’ll report back.

  42. thad #40
    Oct 7, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Arkid
    Perhaps some of your personal animus could be assuaged by a better grasp of the process re Kavanaugh.
    He was not elected, President Trump’s nomination of him to serve on the Court was confirmed by the Senate.

    Is petty semantics your only concern here?

  43. Comment removed by moderator.

    Please feel free to make the constructive argument for your point of view, or to point out where other commenters have, in your view, got it wrong, but in the interests of thoughtful discussion we don’t permit personal insult or petty point-scoring.

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    The mods

  44. No semantics are not my only concern. The difference allowed by a semantic change obliterates the essence and nuances of the process.

    This debacle , the Kavanaugh nomination and confirmation process , highlights the difficulties in maintaining a civilized body politic when essence and nuance are obliterated , and when specific and general are juxtaposed in a political outcome.

  45. Was there “essence” and “nuance” involved in the Kavanaugh appointment? If so, it was lost on me. I feel like I’ve had a pipe shoved up my …

  46. And you don’t think Feinstein intended you to feel just that way?

    Do you honestly believe Ford’s handlers orchestrated this fiasco for any reason other than to cause emotional pain, to manipulate common decency and use it to further their own ends? ( it doesn’t matter if you agree or not with the ends, it is glaringly obvious their actions were designed to bring about the frenzy that ensued)

    By the numbers, the Reid rule, there was no way short of an 11th hour character assignation to prevent his nomination. Feinstein gambled and lost hard, now we all get to pay.

  47. LaurieB #47
    Oct 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Was there “essence” and “nuance” involved in the Kavanaugh appointment?

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/10/a-plan-to-defend-against-the-war-on-science/#li-comment-213014

    Donald Trump’s legal challenge to a planned offshore wind farm has been rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court.

    As you may know, Trump has had various of his flawed delusional legal claims thrown out by courts, appeal courts, and Supreme courts!

    I think his plan is to stuff the US Supreme Court with TRRRrroo Christian-Right judges, who can use ideological “nuanced interpretations” of the US constitution and laws, to prevent further instances of this happening!

  48. Thad

    *

    And you don’t think Feinstein intended you to feel just that way?

    Her political manipulative genius is astounding! Tell me, how did she manage to get the Republicans to withhold more than 40,000 pages of documents on Kavanaugh’s history until the night before the hearings started?

    *

  49. thad

    Do you honestly believe Ford’s handlers orchestrated this fiasco for any reason other than to cause emotional pain, to manipulate common decency and use it to further their own ends?

    I have no problem believing Ford’s story and I believe the women who have accused Trump as well. These stories are very common and Ford’s is not unusual whatsoever. In my circle of about ten friends, all of us in our fifties, me and one other has never been raped but all of us have been in situations like Ford’s. Close calls and situations where we were under the influence and under the present guidelines, there couldn’t have been consent. Very gray areas are what we’re talking about. I’ve had several bosses who made aggressive moves that were unwelcome. I avoided them the best I could. One fired me for being uncooperative. So you see Thad, I just don’t have the luxury of wallowing in cynical political suspicions. Neither do most women.

    I suppose Ford has handlers now. I don’t think there are operatives out there dredging up women to rat out men in power. There are so many women with bitter resentment floating around the handlers don’t need to work hard to find them. If Kavanaugh was a mean callous drunk who took advantage of women then I feel no pity for him. The job he’s aiming at needs the highest bar of all and Kavanaugh can never reach that bar based just on his right to life position. I already objected to that individual long before Ford came along.

    Once Ford came along, the political machine swept her up in their hurricane force but this pales before the Republican dirty dealings in their effort to ram through two reactionary Supreme Court Justices during the Trump evangelical toad administration. An illegitimate President, an illegitimate S.C. Justice and a morally compromised second S.C. Justice.

    You’re right Thad in that we will ALL pay for this disaster for decades to come. Americans follow the decisions of the S.Court as a matter of faith. There have been incidents in our history of the public ignoring that court when it decides in matters where the public strongly disagrees. If we have a majority of Justices who are ultra-conservative, reactionary and totally determined to bring America “back” to a Christian nation, then we are all going to suffer over this. And you know which court decision I am thinking of right now.

    Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34

  50. There is no surprise that Kavanaugh got the job. Of course he got the job.

    What the process very usefully revealed is that Kavanaugh is puerile… still.

    And the moral bankruptcy of the active right.

    Even if Dr Ford was a carefully trained actress, this was an opportunity to take the moral high ground. Display compassion and understanding, concede you were a callow youth, now reformed yet still innocent of the charge to the very best of your recollection. Hell, he could have won some more dems over. The rethugs were in the bag.

    As a test of magisterial character this was perfect… perfectly revealing.

  51. LaurieB #51
    Oct 7, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    If we have a majority of Justices who are ultra-conservative, reactionary and totally determined to bring America “back” to a Christian nation, then we are all going to suffer over this. And you know which court decision I am thinking of right now.

    As The history of fascist dictators shows – wave a bit of theocratic bait in front of right-wing Christians – or two-faced Christians, evangelists or popes, and they will neither know nor care what they do while applauding loudly and offering full support!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/07/children-exposed-to-religion-have-difficulty-distinguishing-fact-from-fiction-study-finds/#li-comment-148814
    The close relationship of the RCC with WW2 fascist dictators is well documented.
    It was an arrangement of mutual promotion of ideologies.

  52. thad #48
    Oct 7, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    And you don’t think Feinstein intended you to feel just that way?

    She no doubt intended to try and defeat a very right wing judge who will likely cripple women’s rights with the very pertinent information that had come into her possession. The fact that Repugs simply ignored it as they did with Clarence Thomas and Trump himself speaks only to their desire to rule at any cost. The viscous attacks on Ford by both Trump and his sycophants were quite disgusting and will hopefully help ensure a massive blue tsunami in a month’s time and again in 2020.

    an 11th hour character assignation

    The person who did that to himself with no outside help was Kavanaugh in his hyperbolic partisan shouty mendacious cryfest. He displayed quite well that he’s unfit to run a bath let alone a seat on the Supreme Court. He lied shamelessly about what sex terms meant when he pretended they were drinking terms and it was obvious to anyone impartial that Ford was the honest person there. He ducked questions, snarked at his questioners in fits of tantrum that I’m sure he would hold against anyone testifying in his own court and displayed an immaturity and lack of self control that speaks very well to how he might indeed have been much worse still in his younger days as Ford and others maintained. If this had been any other normal job interview it would have “don’t call us, we’ll call you” but it was merely a sham for the benefit of the cameras as the Repugs forged ahead with their plans to dominate politics with radically partisan fascists.

  53. Trump and his sycophants afforded Ford a platform as soon as her allegations were made public. Impartial observation shows any attacks were directed at her story and its lack of corroboration.

    Radically partisan fascists as opposed to the National Socialist caucus?

  54. thad #55
    Oct 7, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Radically partisan fascists as opposed to the National Socialist caucus?

    The left wing of American politics isn’t even remotely close to socialism but that is indeed what the country badly needs. 50 years of rampant capitalism and tax cuts for the mega rich has destroyed the wealth of the middle class and only a massive reversal of that for a sustained period can reinstate it. The USA needs trade unions, higher taxes on the rich and wealth taxes on their estates, a decent universal health care system and better schools with free higher education. The bottom 90% of the American people now only own 20% of the country’s wealth. In the UK that’s 50%. The rich and their Republican cronies have drained the USA for far too long. Sadly half of the electorate is too stupid to vote in its own best interest because religion has corrupted right wing politics into a partisan nightmare.

  55. The USA is a downright kleptocracy. The median family wealth is the same as that of Greece. The idea of investing in its infrastructure appals its kleptocrats who take fully 20% of available wealth out of the country’s economy altogether.

    Interesting fact. When the banking crisis happened 2008, when banks tried to trick too much money out of the aspiring poor with sub-primes China injected 4 trillion yuan ($600bn) into infrastructure, real basic stuff, not a handout to the banks. They bought healthcare for everyone, 30% up to 90%. Money to local canton’s to multiply up their investments in local improvements. Money invested low down trickles up benefiting all of the economy. US reinvestment in its thieves benefited its thieves and the status quo predominantly. China was back on its feet within the year, growing wildly and swapping out US influence in world for its own.

  56. If only the US let capitalism run rampant!

    Instead we do and have suffered with kleptocratic ( cronie-capitalism, a bastardization of a word if ever there were one)machinations. So called tax breaks on profit , true wealth created in a free and open market would only slow the amount or rate of government consumption of wealth.

    Kleptocrats can only be and operate in a system firmly controlled by the state. “Too Big to fail” is/was probably the worst lie yet believed. But ‘free education’ and governement’ investment’ aren’t that pale in comparison .

  57. phil rimmer #57
    Oct 8, 2018 at 3:39 am

    The USA is a downright kleptocracy. The median family wealth is the same as that of Greece.

    Indeed. Here is the Wikipedia page showing the Credit Suisse global rankings of wealth per adult by country.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_wealth_per_adult

    The median figure is where half the adults are richer than that and half are poorer. The mean is the average of all adults including the mega rich of course.

    Country……..Median $…….Mean $
    Iceland………444,999……..587,649
    France……….119,720……..263,399
    U.K……………102,641……..278,038
    Canada……….91,058………259,271
    USA…………..55,876……….388,585
    Greece……….54,665……….111,684

    Greece is a very poor country but the median adult is no worse off than the median American. But look at the mean figure. In the USA it’s 6 times the median, in Greece it’s only double. In most of Europe it’s 2 to 3 times the median. The mega rich inflate the mean figure vastly in the USA because they own all the wealth. Iceland is almost egalitarian. The average guy there “IS” a rich guy.

    Now stop for a second and think about what this all means. In the USA 50% of the adult population own even less than $55,000. That means by definition they can’t own a home outright unless it’s a shack in a field. If they do have a nice home then that means it’s almost all on mortgage so it’s not actually theirs.

    In Canada the mean figure is lower than in the USA but the average Joe in the middle of the pack is twice as wealthy as the average American. In the 1960s the total wealth in the USA was reasonably split between the average guy and the rich on much the same basis as in other western countries. Since then the average Joe has been steadily and deliberately eviscerated as the wealth got channeled to the rich and the poor saps kept voting for the very guys who were doing this to them.

    America does not have the problem of being a poor country. It’s 4th in the world by wealth per capita being beaten only by Iceland, Australia and Switzerland but it has a massive problem with wealth distribution where the rich own almost everything and the rest live in poverty. This is why families struggle along saying nothing ever seems to get better for them, trying to do two jobs to keep afloat or relying on welfare. This is why they don’t trust anyone in politics because no matter who gets in it seems to be them who gets screwed. But they don’t really understand what it is that has been deliberately done to them and by whom or they wouldn’t keep voting for Republicans.

    Wealth does NOT trickle down. Once the rich have got it they damn well keep it. It’s the biggest lie of the last 40 years which Repugs have touted endlessly as they give huge tax handouts to the rich donors who paid for their campaigns. Then the poor stupid fleeced still vote for a rich crook and conman who’s made his living by fleecing people for decades and he’s just given another $1 trillion in tax cuts to himself and his rich buddies.

    That $500 billion in tax which the Trumps evaded on father Fred’s estate would give each adult in the USA about $2000 if it got clawed back. Do that another 20 times with some of the other rich fucks and pay it into infrastructure and welfare and maybe the country could get back off its knees for the average family. Stop pissing money away on the world’s biggest military and the world’s most profligate healthcare system which costs twice as much per capita as anywhere else and it would not be an insuperable task.

    But even dare to suggest the common sense measures that other countries take for granted and people start screaming “socialism” at the top of their lungs because they’d rather get screwed by rich fucks than spend 10 minutes learning why the USA is such an outlier in fiscal and social policy. They’ve been so brainwashed that socialism is communism and only one step away from atheism and all other sorts of ungodliness they can’t see what’s being done to them.

    They’re too damn stupid to realise that the police force is socialism, roads and rail networks are socialism, Medicare which they love and healthcare for veterans is socialism, the fire service is socialism. Everytime they drive their stupid pickup trucks with MAGA stickers on the back they’re driving on the tarmac of fucking socialism. They think socialism is when someone comes for their guns and forces them to all have abortions and be gay and speak Russian.
    It’s said that people get the governments they deserve. That’s why the USA has such a stupid inept government.

  58. Most of the criticism I see as a misreading of what his data actually says. (There seems to be a persistent misreading of the implications of only modestly offset (a few percent at the peaks) bell curves and how it makes for little distinction in the bulk of the groups, but at the extremes differences are notable…. four times as many boys as girls are clinically autistic, maybe twice as many boys as girls are aspie, maybe there are equal numbers of girls would be described as hyper pro-social.)

    Yes, I remember seeing Jacob Brownoski interviewed in which he explained this in relationship to the possibility that their could be average differences in IQ between races. He very carefully pointed out that even if such a difference was found the vast majority would fall in the overlaps and hence you couldn’t single out the individual. I can’t imagine the furore that would have come down on him now if he even suggested this was a possibility, he was clear he didn’t know but took the opinion that the facts should speak for themselves. The very edges of a bell curve might represent a tiny fraction of the population that that could make a huge difference between representation in certain fields of study or choices.

  59. Ah! Libertarian. A politico-economic religion for the slightly clever/aspie, with its myth of the omni-competent individual, its pathetic modelling of the spread of human capacities and needs, its kludged lame-brained handling of the “The Commons”, its entirely superstitious take on governments despite governments. The beating selfish heart of the USA, blissfully unaware of a world full of cleverer ideas. All dogma, no pragma. Perfect for the pushy adolescent but otherwise unneeded by a thriving economy and grown ups.

    As Hitchens observed; selfishness needs no further endorsement.

  60. @ #60

    Exactly so, Reckless.

    I quite like 7 billion people now because it gives us access to 7 million with an IQ of 150.

    But what if those bell curves are offset in their middle range by cultural factors? Almost the entirety of our brain wiring happens after birth in a formative cultural flux of experience. Structures form shaped by the nature of the data experienced. Neuro-constructivism is showing us how much of our brains are contingent upon data.

    Not fixing a childhood strabismus in time means the tiger stripe of left/right fields doesn’t form reliably and the next up inferencing layer that delivers the stereoscopic meta-data experience can never happen. (My right eye, it turns out, with a modest diagonal astigmatism meant my right visual cortex developed less well. Though the eye is perfect my brain is not, and I’ve wasted £320 on specs that make me look clever whilst proving that I’m not.)

    Nigerian kids used to be the duffers in UK schools over a generation ago feeding into the IQ expectation. But now with settled and very determined families, they are up there with the Chinese and Indians, beating those hopeless white kids, handsomely.

    The modest offset fully explains where we are, but where we could be, with effort and going slowly, is up for grabs. My own view is that in a fairer society when we realise the essential contributions of most ordinary folk we might not feel obliged to try so hard and the curves will slowly settle in different heaps from more humane pressures. Problems, fixed or re-defined, go away.

  61. phil rimmer #57
    Oct 8, 2018 at 3:39 am

    The USA is a downright kleptocracy. The median family wealth is the same as that of Greece. The idea of investing in its infrastructure appals its kleptocrats who take fully 20% of available wealth out of the country’s economy altogether.

    When those conditioned to be the gullible stupid, started to twig that they were turkeys voting for Christmas dinner with the posh rich politicians who had been conning them for years! – in the traditional faith-thinking mode of looking for an authority to tell them what to do, they decided to ask THE FOX to recommend a better political choice – and chose Trump!! 🙂

  62. Hi Phil,

    But what if those bell curves are offset in their middle range by cultural factors? Almost the entirety of our brain wiring happens after birth in a formative cultural flux of experience. Structures form shaped by the nature of the data experienced. Neuro-constructivism is showing us how much of our brains are contingent upon data.

    Yes agreed, the problem we have it seems to me in the debate is one of putting a political spin on the data rather than understanding that these things can change.

    So for example if there was a difference in IQ between races then that doesn’t mean there will always be an IQ difference it would just be measuring the current IQ difference so Asian’s might be higher now and Africans might be higher in 20 years or it might be differently distributed in different countries. Likewise IQ has risen in the last few decades so anyone who looked at this data and decided that it was fixed in all cases just doesn’t understand how maths works.

    Last night there was an excellent Q&A show on our ABC, a little limited in terms of the fact that it’s about the Australian education system but it was fantastic and worth looking at for anyone worried about he current state of education. Anyway a Maths teacher was talking about how data is read. He talked about reporting on data and the fact that if spend the time to talk to the kids about their results, how much they have improved where they need to focus their attention etc. The kids will take that on board, if you give them a data driven test result as well and then ask them how they have gone the groups that get the hard number will just see the hard number and will not take on board the more detailed analysis.

    My problem is we need to the hard data to work out where we are. So is the patriarchy holding women back? This is the political ideology of the extreme left and I’m sure there is some truth in that but if you look at the data its not as simple as that and thus our efforts end up mostly misplaced. Let’s say if 90% of attention goes to say getting more women as CEO’s in the top one hundred companies so legislation is written public debate etc. and we get 50 women into the top 100 companies at some considerable time and expense, what are the benefits, 50 women earn a significant amount more money, yes, more women may see role models at the top that’s good, perhaps these companies will become less of a boys club that’s good, but if the many more women I work with still can’t get a permanent position after 5 years and millions of women don’t have sufficient super to retire on I think that effort wouldn’t have been well spend. I want to live in a system based on fairness, and my feeling is identity politics is misrepresenting the situation on the ground. Thus the core of the issues are not even talked about, instead they make IMO the same mistake that the trickle down economists make if only we can get more women in the top hundred companies (for one example) all women will benefit, perhaps to some degree but I suspect not as much as if we strives for a system bases on fairness.

    To me the feminism of my youth seemed to be talking about a fair go and everyone (reasonable) could get on board with that and work towards making it better but now the whole debate is toxic.

    I’ll give you another example. I teach in a low socio-economic school and we have a higher proportion of Aboriginal kids as a result a smaller subset of these kids have very serious issues and cause enormous impacts in terms of behaviour in class as a result. And there are white poor as well in the same boat (with exactly the same problems) aboriginal kids at least at the low socio economic schools I’ve always taught at are over represented. These kids are far from stupid or dumb in most cases but many have had a very difficult start to their lives, many are functionally illiterate and innumerate (parents are usually illiterate and innumerate as well). They feel excluded from education and as a result they act out. They also have parents who are often resentful and despise the white society that took their land from them a couple of hundred years ago. I get it, I’d feel the same if I was in their boat. But the problem for me in the classroom is trying to help them and manage their behaviour to try to get their education up to a standard that will give them individually the opportunities to break out of the poverty trap they find themselves in. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been accused of racism by kids whom I’m trying to help. I have high expectations for behaviour and effort (not achievement – effort) and it would be very easy to start seeing a pattern of backlash against me personally and my efforts to try to help this kids who in-spite of the damage caused by my ancestors are still going to have to individually pull themselves out of the muck they are stuck in (by my ancestors), now I’m offering them a hand and I’m being spat on and having my hand slapped away. There is a real risk of teachers empathy wearing down until some shrug off to the right, loose empathy and writing these kids off.

    Now that’s me on the day to day on a one on one level. When I turn on the news and see Aboriginal incarceration rates are many times more likely to be imprisoned than the white population and this is presented as evidence of racism, I struggle. I understand the statistics because I work day to day with these families and see some of the situations many grow up in (which by the way is infinitely worse once you get into some of the aboriginal settlements which are a national disgrace). I want to scream at the TV. Am I defensive (possibly to some extent) but mainly because I know the problem cannot be painted as all police hate aboriginals or the whole judicial system is biased against aboriginals. I know this because a couple of decades in and knowing the family backgrounds I know what goes on with these kids I’m in there day to day, I’m briefed on the happening in their lives. So the obvious question is are they committing more crimes? Yes they are. Why are they committing more crimes? Because they grow up in extreme and harmful situation. And then the next step should be how to stop this? But this isn’t the narrative we get, the narrative on the right is Aboriginals are to be feared, they are disgusting criminal welfare bludgeons. On the left the narrative is white people are all racists, our whole society is trying to oppress aboriginals and it suits us to hold them back. When the narrative is oversimplified or the facts we cannot hope to fix these problems. I’m more critical of the left in this not because their narrative is worse than the rights but it seems equally simplistic.

    I have often taught every kid in a family having been at the same school for about 20 years now so you learn what is going on. Often they are being raised by grandmother because the mother is a drug addict and each of the kids has a different father, they live in abject poverty, many of the kids suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, the kids often are exposed to and use drugs on a regular basis, often dad is not present, when Dad is present he is often physically abusive to the kids, the kids are often not given any boundaries for their behaviour and largely fend for themselves so many kids as young as 8 can be found wandering the streets at 1 o’ clock in the morning in gangs of with older brothers and mates, many have been arrested by the police multiple times before they hit year 10, many of them have suffer from sexual assault. So there are problems 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, etc. etc. of which racist police and a biased judicial system are couple of factors. Note this is far from all aboriginal families and even far from all of poor aboriginal families but extreme poverty brings many of these behaviours in people of all races and historically many more aboriginal families have found themselves in these situations than non-aboriginal families. Where does all the media attention go? Racist police and biased judicial system. How much public attention does the rest almost zero.

    As a result most of the other factors are underfunded and under resourced. So as one of the guys on the ground overwhelmed by problems most of which I cannot expect to be able to be solved and that I might be able to help a smidgen I want my left to start emphasising the whole picture and not just what they think will attract outrage. This will offend the sensibilities of many on the left and many aboriginals. Aboriginals understandably don’t want a narrative that paints them as a race of alcoholic, child beating crime committing deadbeats and that is a risk of honest reporting on this. When these are reported the shock jocks have a field day, you get a ‘they just have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps like the rest of us’ narrative. But ignoring 90% the real issues here leaves 90% of the problem unaddressed. I see this all the time. We need to have a complex nuanced look at the data and the extreme left and right wings seem to be unable to do this. We need I thing to call out all oversimplification of this stuff. We operate like an airline that only does maintenance on the outside of the aircraft, the things we can see and then is surprised when other bits that can’t be as easily seen fall apart.

    regards.

  63. I’ve just finished listening to last Sunday’s episode of The Atheist Experience on Youtube. That’s an atheist organisation in Austin Texas and they do a weekly phone-in show. The last caller was a young guy, a pastor’s son who’s been struggling with his faith and he wanted their opinion on something that had happened to him. He’d prayed to god to give him a sign. He was out in his car a week later and the battery went flat so he was sat there with the hood up and a car pulled alongside and the driver asked if he needed help. The guy had jumper cables and got him going and then said it was blessing to him from god. He wanted to know if this was a genuine sign that god exists. They were much kinder to him than I would have been. Most of America is religious, lots of people will stop and ask if you need help if the hood is up. Nothing at all unusual to see here.

    But he had one more question. He stopped to fill up with petrol one day and noticed his odometer had the last digits 111.1 which he thinks is a lucky number. In the garage was someone he hadn’t seen for 15 years. Was this a sign from god too?

    And I spend my time wondering how people can vote Republican. I should probably worry more how they manage to get through a day without qualifying for a Darwin award when so many of them are as dumb and gullible as this caller.

  64. Awwwww, poor Melanoma. She whines that she’s the most bullied person in the world. Of course you are dear. No one has ever been bullied to spend so many millions on stupid thoughtless clothes like “Who cares?” and a pith helmet in colonial Africa like you have. You complain that people don’t appreciate you for what you do rather than what you wear. But what you wear IS just about all that you do. You still can’t speak English for shit after 15 years in the USA and you wouldn’t know how to “Be Best” if the be best fairy sprinkled you with be best fairy dust. You’re a brainless gold digger who richly deserves the narcissist abusive psychopath you sold your soul for so shut up and enjoy the money.

  65. It was Black Thursday yesterday. No I’m not talking about the stock market, although that had another stinker, I mean in the Oval Office as Trump tried to prove black people like him by hosting Kanye West, oh and Jim Brown whoever he is. Kanye launched into a 10 minute rant which included him saying wearing a MAGA hat makes him feel like a superhero, time doesn’t really exist and calling himself a crazy motherfucker which was actually one of the few true bits. He’s revealed he’s got bi-polar disorder but I suspect that gets masked by the fact he’s as mad as a box of frogs, batshit crazy, cheese long since slipped off his cracker. But he’s one of the few people who can rant hard enough that even Trump can’t get a word in edgeways so that’s a plus.

    Even when Presidents are unpopular their first ladies usually find something worthwhile to promote and occupy their time with and in doing so command more affection. Melanoma is trying her hardest to buck that trend. She’s proving my point that anyone who desires to get close to Trump is essentially rotten too and even if they aren’t to start with they soon become so as his taint infects them. Her succession of clothing related gaffes are beginning to look like the least of her bad points. In a massive snub to Dr Blasey Ford she’s now decided that women shouldn’t come forward with accusations against men without hard evidence and that Kavanaugh was “highly qualified” to be on the Supreme Court. At least you can’t accuse her of plagiarising one of Michelle Obama’s speeches when she said that which makes a nice change. For a while she was given the benefit of the doubt about her “I don’t care” jacket that maybe there was some hidden agenda but I’m pretty much decided now she’s just a spoiled, self involved, stupid, low IQ little drama queen who’s gotten used to having shit loads of money and attention and doesn’t really spare a second thought to the implications of either her sartorial decisions or what she says. In other words she’s as one dimensional and vacuous as Trump himself. The perfect braindead barbie doll foil to the tangerine wankmaggot himself.

    Talking of whom, things are getting tougher and tougher for the trumpkin. The Saudis have murdered an American citizen journalist inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey and Trump is unlikely to do a damn thing about it. He’s beholden to the Saudis for arms deal money and Kushner is in bed with them too. He’ll look very weak if he ignores it but he’s been bragging about the arms deal for ages even though it was Obama who set it up.

    The stock market isn’t helping him either. It’s way overdue a massive correction after 10 years of gains and losing 1800 points in the last few days might be the tip of the iceberg. Trump is desperately trying to spin it that it’s all the Fed’s fault for raising interest rates but that’s because Trump’s huge tax cut has over stimulated the economy. Trump doesn’t do foresight though, or advice, or common sense, so it’s only been a matter of time before something he did came back to bite him really hard. Kavanaugh has lost him huge amounts of support amongst women and the House looks like a lost cause for the Repugs now. They’ll keep the Senate but still be rendered impotent in getting legislation passed. His tax returns will also soon be public knowledge. The house of cards will look even shakier after that.

  66. Arkrid

    In the video clip of Trump making all sorts of stupid excuses about why we can’t get involved in the murder of the Washington Post reporter, did you happen to notice that Trump was much more orange than usual? No, seriously, it’s noticeably worse. The white circles around his eyes in sharp contrast to the ambient orange.

    Even my 79 year old mother was alarmed. She squinted her eyes, leaned in toward the TV and then with a quizzical expressions said, “What the hell is wrong with him?” I said, “MA! The guy either spends five hours a day in his private tanning bed or he eats ten pounds of carrots per day!

    She is predictably disgusted since the old New England WASPs despise vanity and showing off. Trump takes the cake on both measures.

  67. Laurie,

    I’m fortunate on two fronts. Firstly I can’t watch video clips of Trump because they nauseate me although I’m forced to suffer through the occasional one on the late night shows. Secondly I’m colour blind so I’m spared the worst excesses of anything colour related. Howver even to my defective eyes in the still photos I saw of Trump meeting with Kanye it looked very much to me like Trump wasn’t far off the same colour as the MAGA hat mad Kanye was wearing.

    On a more serious note the right wing attack machine is now going after murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi trying to frame him as a terrorist because he once interviewed Osama Bin laden many years ago. So it’s clear Trump is rather going to try and assassinate Khashoggi’s character than confront the Saudi’s about actually assassinating him. I think that tells us all we need to know about the depths these people are capable of stooping to. Imagine his girlfriend and relatives having to go through not just his murder but the attempted destruction of his reputation because Trump is too cowardly to face up to his responsibilities.

    This is the real face of what it’s like to have a psychopathic despot in the Oval Office. Children getting ripped from their parents at the border and in many cases getting lost in the system, journalists being put at risk and in fact being murdered because Trump frames them as enemies of the people and purveyors of fake news, dictators being courted and Trump saying he and Kim Jong Un fell in love when allies are rebuffed and insulted and subject to trade tariffs.

  68. Reckless, #64

    I’m sorry to have been absent and missed this excellent and thoughtful post. I will be back to it soon, but now is probably inappropriate, being after Liquid Philosophy, that lubricated meeting of minds not unlike the Bilderberg Group sessions, but with a built in reset button to make next week necessary.

  69. Reckless,

    I may take a couple of goes to do this simply because work presses at the moment and I need lots of thinking time especially on the aboriginal issue.

    I have a new respect for the tenacity of culture. Without selection pressures cultural attributes may survive 500 years and more. The study of female status in a particular region of China where in the 13th century a few women having acquired a skill to weave particularly fine cloth became rich. Other women learned the skill and soon women qua women in the whole area achieved a very high status. After a couple of hundred years the skill leaked out to the rest of the country and the particular wealth creating advantage was gone. In the 1980s China had both an active one child policy and ultrasound scanners and pregnant women chose to abort females in preference…. except in this region where females remained culturally valued. Status quos can persist for no good reason whatsoever unless challenged.

    A supermarket chain has every likelihood of doing better with a female CEO (and support execs and management in dominant proportion. yet..

    … last year 60% of retail industry employees were women and yet 20% of executive teams and 10% of executive board members were women. This, despite the fact that 85% of all retail purchases were made by women.

    Retail is going downhill on the high street and in the malls. Is it in the wrong hands at the moment? Though I loathe the dull dirigisme of quotas, gender (and other) testing is surely a useful parameter to know and initiate action upon? Surely MPs need to reflect the full range of societies needs with insight and competence? Surely retailers are under threat from their customers (and mostly not their suppliers) and need to reflect more fully their clientele? The the problem is in the specification of jobs. Shareholders and stakeholders all, need to get more involved in the setting the requirements rather than letting things go by default. Cultures persist for no good reason.

    More later…

  70. phil rimmer #74
    Oct 13, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Retail is going downhill on the high street and in the malls.
    Is it in the wrong hands at the moment? . . . . . . .
    … . . .
    Surely retailers are under threat from their customers (and mostly not their suppliers) and need to reflect more fully their clientele? The problem is in the specification of jobs.

    I think the number of delivery drivers carrying on-line orders, is going up and up, but much of that work is outsourced to specialist companies!
    Some orders are delivered direct from the suppliers! without going near malls!

  71. Phil,

    Thanks for the reply.

    The more I learn about how aboriginals managed the land and survived in this country the more amazed I am at their application of knowledge and their communication of that deep knowledge through story, dance and an attitude of just engaging ‘walkabout’. This survived for they think now perhaps 70 000 years before Arrival of Arthur Phillip and the first fleet. Of course there was the unusual and understandable exposure of disease that wiped out some major proportion of the population, but massacres, effectively slavery, persisted. Even in living memory many Aboriginal children where separated from their parents (the stolen generation). All of these things have combined with the poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, poor diet etc. of a greater proportion of aboriginal people (compared the rest of the population) to create a perfect storm. I have a good aboriginal mate who as a child lived in abusive family. He was at 4 thrown into a wall so hard by his father that he smashed through the fibro and broke 4 ribs (that’s just one example I won’t go into some of the worse abuses but it gives you a flavour). He was constantly beaten and abused and eventually the family was broken up and he was raised and latter adopted by a farming family who frankly saved his life. The rest of his family didn’t do so well. He managed to drag up self out of this and make a life for himself inspite of all of this. I cannot express how hard it has been for him to drag himself out of this and make a good life for himself. He actually not only has had to suffer from this background but his siblings consider him a coconut (brown of the outside but white on the inside) so he’d dragged himself out of poverty and the rest of his family considers him a race traitor. In terms of his culture everything (not quite I’ll get to this shorty) he has learned about his culture has been in his adulthood. So he is a proud aboriginal man, getting prouder as he attempts to learn about the cultures of Aboriginal peoples (he is unsure of his tribal background). So this is what many face and those that do often struggle to get out of it. The trouble is that untangling the mess that was his childhood was not an easy thing and fixing it even less so. To simplify this issue down to all of white society is racist is simply not going to help someone like him. An awareness of racism and how much harder it makes life for people already on the backfoot is appropriate but turning this into the whole goal is counterproductive.

    I have to go to work briefly (on leave) but I need to grab some stuff I’ll get back to this latter today.

    regards

  72. Hi Phil I’m back,

    A supermarket chain has every likelihood of doing better with a female CEO (and support execs and management in dominant proportion. yet..

    Yes, same thing became apparent after the Global Financial Crisis. A couple of studies found that women stock traders were more cautious and made lower gains in the short term but better gains over the longer term than their testosterone driven contemporaries. So a 50-50 quota makes no sense the problem we have here in the financial markets is not that 5 or 10% of women are in this field when then should be 50% it is more like in these fields there should probably be 85% women (if you are concerned about the bottom dollar). However to me this is a problem too, this hasn’t to do with penises or vagina’s it’s to do with brain wiring so perhaps a better way of looking at it would be to say that feminine traits in some areas are more useful than in others and likewise male traits may be more valuable than others. So the trouble with the way we often look at the data is that although a bell curve could predict the likelihood that one gender may be over represented in a field the reasons that women or men choose to work in certain sorts of positions may not be linked to the outcome we want – more women CEO in financial companies for example and why women in general don’t choose these. Additionally I think if we looked for people in a field with the correct traits (let’s identify why the women in the GFC fared better) and categories those traits then choose people (male of female) and not only would you get more women statistically, you’d get better men for these jobs also (men who don’t fit the typical male traits when taken as an average).

    On better representation of women in politics I agree there is a problem. In Australia our two major parties Labour (notionally a left leaning party but the modern reality in many areas is they are only slightly right of centre) has made a positive effort in pre-selection and has close to 50% women as a result we have some excellent labour women who I really would prefer to the current Labour leader Bill Shorten. Liberal (Further right) are currently in government and have very limited women in the party. This happens at pre-selection and the party steadfastly refuses to do any sort of quota, unfortunately many of the male liberal ministers are pond dwelling pod scum, incompetent and considering some of the women in the party were far more competent it’s hard to argue they are running the meritocracy they claim. Additionally our PM was recently ousted and in the shenanigans leading up to the leadership spill and numbers for people trying to take over one extremely popular female leader Julie Bishop (I don’t like her politics at all but she is competent and smart) didn’t get a vote in her own home state. Other female minister had members bully them in an attempt to get them to vote for the leader they wanted. As a result about 3 female MPs have resigned leaving only a couple in the government. This lead to a wonderfully diverse joke on a political comedy show “Mad as Hell” in which an a wildlife documentary about frogs changing sexes when all females in the group are killed and an implications that this was the tactic the Liberal party was using in lieu of quotas. I can’t make it sound funny but it was. So my feelings are that there should be a meritocracy but that clearly many claiming there is are not, whether they are deliberately trying to hold women back or they have just set up a massive testosterone driven system that on average disadvantages many women is an interesting question. It’s complex but it seems we just say patriarchy.

    The obvious question I have is why do so few women actually consider voting for another woman? And of all people when we did have a female PM it was Germain Greer who comments on the size of her bum?! It was in the context of Gillard coping criticism about her appearance and Greer was effectively saying look you’ve got a big bum, get someone in your party to help you choose more flattering clothing and shift the focus back to running the country. However I would have thought Greer could have been counted on to cut through the sexist crap and point out that the size of her bum is in no way something that any intelligent civilisation capable of complex thought should be wasting air time on would have been a given. But again it’s complex.

    I think the start is to acknowledge the complexity and not try to oversimplify. Look at some of the great BBC documentaries like “The Ascent of Man”, that show was appealing in-spite of the fact that it assumed some knowledge, certainly when I first watched it as a boy 95% of the content I didn’t fully understand. They assumed you would look up stuff if you were interested, they addressed the complex problem or thought or theme but didn’t try to make it digestible to the lowest common denominator. None of this is simple the extremes of politics seems to be driving the idea that it is and the population is voting towards these extremes. The general public it seems to me has lost respect of knowledge and expertise and just want to vote for someone like them. Unfortunately the extreme left come across as narcissistic whiners who ultimately seem to to aiming for no less than thought crime. It has to stop or the left will loose through resentment and ultimately a complete ineffectiveness to achieve anything at all. If we cannot put a spotlight of our limited attention on what the real problems are then our civilisation will collapse.

    I note the alarming figures on Global Warming and what are we doing? We are racing towards 1.5 degrees which means what 70-80% of coral reefs will be killed a 1 in 100 year frequency of of the North Pole freezing over and the leading party in my country barely even acknowledges that AGW is real.

    Anyway that’s probably enough for now.

    Cheers

  73. Hi Alan,

    I think the number of delivery drivers carrying on-line orders, is going up and up, but much of that work is outsourced to specialist companies!
    Some orders are delivered direct from the suppliers! without going near malls!

    Until of course auto-drive cars and trucks take those jobs away – although it would also need a robot to deliver the package. So those jobs may be safe for a bit longer.

    But I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more. I’m about to pop down the local shops and I detest it. The Muzak, the crowds, the carpark, Urgh! I have tried the online shopping with supermarkets and its not quite there yet. I find the yogurt and perishables are often due too soon and you have to be there obviously when they deliver but buying electronics and robotics gear I now do almost exclusively online. If you look at the average shopping mall and think about the open fridges and huge real estate bills in built up areas it’s got to be far cheaper to have a warehouse somewhere and an efficient delivery system. Amazons robots have nailed effectively collecting items etc.

  74. Trump holds yet another rally with his deplorables while homeless Florida residents without food or water manage by themselves because FEMA hasn’t bothered to show up. Meanwhile his vile son Don Jr attacks murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi trying to further the lie that he’s a terrorist who no one needs to worry about.

  75. Reckless, Alan

    From delivery driver to robotics engineer. Let it be that they are the lowest “skills” in our society!

  76. Since I got into Cyprus politics out of frustration about twelve years ago, it has been impossible to get women to join our NGO as they see us as right wing through gossip in the community. Luckily the umbrella goup, we helped to form and run for a year, has had two women chairs in its four years of running. They have given the group a softer face but both have been more right wing than our NGO group ever could be (with me in it at least). The umbrella group has many women in it now and one of the NGO members is the Turkish Cypriot women’s society. Unfortunately, none are very good at politics or diplomacy except for one who is actually a politician but boy can they get the job done. We have had two very successful cultural festivals in the UK so far all down to the tenacity of our woman chair despite not having a clue how to talk to people. I can’t work with her but really appreciate the work she has put in and the results despite the difficulties she has faced.

  77. Looks like Melanoma has been bought off somehow from contradicting Trump. But what do you give someone who has everything anyway? My guess, if she shuts her mouth while he’s still president she gets a divorce and a big wedge of cash afterwards. So now she’s suddenly saying she’s not concerned about the allegations of infidelity, she’s changed her story about the “I don’t care” jacket which at first was supposed to carry no message and now she’s agreeing with Trump’s bullshit that it was aimed at the liberal media. So it seems “be best” means be best at lying just like the rest of the Trump family. Feckless bint.

  78. Arkrid #83

    So now she’s suddenly saying she’s not concerned about the allegations
    of infidelity, she’s changed her story about the “I don’t care” jacket
    which at first was supposed to carry no message and now she’s agreeing
    with Trump’s bullshit that it was aimed at the liberal media.

    Literally just a week ago she said, ““I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

    Now she’s saying that what she wore was, in fact, a message to the ‘liberal media’.

    Consistency not her thang, it would appear.

  79. Reckless,

    For me the historical gender discrimination problem is ameliorated by policy-making like the following.

    Make pay more consistent with societal value in private companies, by pressuring investing institutions (by legislating for suitable audit) to demand better for their members by denying in their portfolio companies ripoff exec. pay and lifting low end pay and training to improve process quality…..Like Germany.
    Make pay more consistent with societal value in public institutions recognising the value, status and investability of civil servants, teachers, nurses etc. Teaching pre-seven is hugely formative. (Biiiig subject for me. So another time.)
    Accept that producing the next generation successfully is to everyone’s benefit, If not for your own children, then to you retrospectively. Facilitate parenthood in the work place by means of public insurance covering costs, training and other transitional facilitations.
    Specify job requirements more intelligently. (This is so big I won’t even start,… well, a taste. I think a lot of the problem in private industry, f’rinstance, lies in the nature of raising capital and the focus on it. Long term financing per the German Mittelstand companies and banks, substantially frees companies to focus ever closer on the socially rooted nature of all enterprise.)
    Use quotas only as a temporary analytic tool to pressure test routes into professions where there is a reasonable expectation that a different balance of genders will be socially advantageous, eg by way of better representation. Fix apparent roadblocks eg presumptive education and wait to see the results.
    Educate like crazy that whilst there are broad male and female attributes these have no consequences for individuals and our dealings with them. Whilst boy nerds may outnumber girl nerds and boys may become mathematicians more often and girls biologists more often, there will always be a Maryam Mirzakhani (a maths “Nobel” level winner), girl nerds may yet be more important, more likely combining other cognitive attributes to deliver otherwise less likely capacities. This is why education must cultivate all available talents without let. Cognitive diversity is intellectual strength. (There is, I like to think an equivalent argument for we (me ‘n’ others) girlier boys.)

    After doing stuff like this, if there is still notable gender differences in some jobs, don’t sweat it unless there is dissatisfaction associated with it. Social processes are complex and many substantive attributes other than say the neurological may play into them. Fixing long-term dumb cultural habits is our job for now. This will lay a lot of other interesting detail and choices open to us.

    Aboriginals next. But I have some PCBs to lay out now.

  80. Marco #84
    Oct 14, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Literally just a week ago she said,
    “I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

    Now she’s saying that what she wore was, in fact, a message to the ‘liberal media’.

    Actually, “I don’t care!“, pretty well sums up the attitudes of Trumpies to the responsibilities of office, ethical standards, and the welfare of other citizens!

    However, on any occasions when Trumpies accidentally make HONEST statements, these obviously need “clarifying” with “alternative meanings”! 🙂

  81. Marco #84
    Oct 14, 2018 at 7:13 am

    Arkrid #83

    So now she’s suddenly saying she’s not concerned about the allegations
    of infidelity, she’s changed her story about the “I don’t care” jacket
    which at first was supposed to carry no message and now she’s agreeing
    with Trump’s bullshit that it was aimed at the liberal media.

    Literally just a week ago she said, ““I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

    Now she’s saying that what she wore was, in fact, a message to the ‘liberal media’.

    Consistency not her thang, it would appear.

    I very much doubt she’s smart enough to recognise irony. Especially when it’s her own.

  82. I doubt Malignednia had any illusions about Donald’s commitment to matrimonial fidelity , I bet her ire is more raised by the ‘class’ of mistress. Having it public knowledge that your husband is bedding porn stars has a unique sting.

  83. thad

    Add to that the concern that he could father any number of children with those women which would divert his resources from hers to theirs. Not ok.

  84. LB
    I doubt she is so feckless as to not have considered that during any ‘negotiating’ prenuptial wise. I don’t think she is stupid.

  85. thad #91
    Oct 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm
    I don’t think she is stupid.

    Really? This is the woman who gave a speech in 2016 which was lifted almost verbatim from one of Michelle Obama’s. How dumb do you have to be to plagiarize the words of the most famous and most watched woman on the planet? Having been caught out once you might think some sort of learning would have taken place but earlier this year she released a booklet on kid’s safety online as part of her Be Best campaign which was copied in its entirety from a booklet written in 2014 by President Obama’s Federal Trade Commission.

    These are not the actions of a smart person. I also think that when you watch her give a speech it’s obvious there’s not a lot going on under the hood. If she were any more wooden she’d get dry rot.

  86. Hi Phil,

    Thanks for all of that it is useful.

    I think we are largely on the same page a couple of clarifications though…

    Make pay more consistent with societal value in private companies, by pressuring investing institutions (by legislating for suitable audit) to demand better for their members by denying in their portfolio companies ripoff exec. pay and lifting low end pay and training to improve process quality…..Like Germany.

    I’m unfamiliar with how they do things – obviously they have some audit system in play. But this seems to align with my thinking that focus should be on valuing contributions more fairly.

    Make pay more consistent with societal value

    Agreed although in Australia teachers are doing well financially once you’ve put in a certain number of years you can apply for senior teacher pay and a number of others along the way that will make us quite well remunerated. However I have for some time been pointing out you can pay me an addition $10 000/year but I’d rather you cut a few kids from the class (lower class sizes) and cut down the amount of compliance documentation and planning I do and no one ever looks at again. Another teacher and I wanted to test just how much these documents were reviewed so we started to put in deliberately ridiculous risk assessments and planning docs full of utter nonsense (some of it terribly funny none the less) no one has ever picked up on these. Anyway I could go down the rabbit hole on that – your point here is well made though. A lot of jobs that are more often chosen by females (early childhood teaching is one) are often seriously undervalued.

    Use quotas only as a temporary analytic tool to pressure test routes into professions where there is a reasonable expectation that a different balance of genders will be socially advantageous, eg by way of better representation. Fix apparent roadblocks eg presumptive education and wait to see the results.

    I think I’m with you on this too. I have some sympathy for meritocracy. When you play it out do you want the best qualified brain surgeon or pilot etc. However this can easily be solved by simply having a requirement to have people who meet a minimum standard of competence then you could use quotas for a time to change the culture if that is a barrier. Again if traits that might be over represented in one gender are useful then you would expect a certain amount of that gender in the workforce and it’s reasonable to ask why not if it doesn’t align. The only thing I would object to here is thinking this number should be by default 50%. I think this is unrealistic. I’m sure for example if the government refused to hire female early childhood teachers until the numbers were 50% there’d be hell to pay. Trouble with meritocracy argument is as valid as this argument may sound it’s clear from say our parliament in the Liberal party in this country that this is not working, at least on this side of politics.

    regards

  87. Thad #91

    Hi Thad

    I think you are confusing intelligence with opportunism. As an opportunist, I’d say Ms Trump #3 is very adept, and that trait melds neatly into the Trump family.

  88. Reckless Monkey #94
    Oct 15, 2018 at 2:32 am

    However I have for some time been pointing out you can pay me an addition $10 000/year but I’d rather you cut a few kids from the class (lower class sizes) and cut down the amount of compliance documentation and planning I do and no one ever looks at again.

    In England, a few years ago, the Tory government enacted legislation so that schools could give above-scale pay rises to “outstanding teachers” as part of their “promotion of education facade” – and then allocated no funds to the budgets for doing so!
    One or two large secondary schools paid silly rates to heads (executive bonus culture?), but most schools were still struggling to afford books and equipment while neglecting the repairs they did not have the money to pay for!
    With the present cuts, class sizes are going up and more children are being taught by low paid teaching assistants rather than qualified teachers – But guess what? Modifying earlier Labour legislation, initially, selected schools applying to be “academies” and faith-schools, which opted-out of local education authority accountability, got extra funding direct from the central government and “sponsors”, and they did not have to follow the National Curriculum, which has bogged down teachers education in bureaucracy as well as ensuring coverage of broad subject areas!

    The requirements of 10% sponsorship have now been removed, so this is essentially privatisation of education at the state’s expense extended to cover all schools, – with local accountability removed!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_(English_school)

    In terms of their governance, academies are established as companies limited by guarantee with a Board of Directors that acts as a Trust. The Academy Trust has exempt charity status, regulated by the Department for Education.[3] The trustees are legally, but not financially, accountable for the operation of the academy. The Trust serves as the legal entity of which the school is part. The trustees oversee the running of the school, sometimes delegating responsibility to a local governing body which they appoint. The day-to-day management of the school is, as in most schools, conducted by the Head Teacher and their senior management team.

    In Sponsored Academies, the sponsor is able to influence the process of establishing the school, including its curriculum, ethos, specialism and building (if a new one is built). The sponsor also has the power to appoint governors to the academy’s governing body.

    When I was chair of a board of governors, most governors were appointed by the elected councillors of the Local Education Authority, or elected by parents.

    As of 2018 many academies are struggling financially and running deficits.

    Converter academies

    The Academies Act 2010 sought to increase the number of academies. It enabled all maintained schools to convert to academy status, known as Converter Academies and enabled new academies to be created via the Free School Programme.

    At the same time the new Conservative-led Coalition Government announced that they would redirect funding for school Specialisms [i.e. Technology College Status] into mainstream funding.[39] This meant that Secondary Schools would no longer directly receive ring-fenced funds of c£130K from Government for each of their specialisms.[40] One way to regain some direct control over their finances was to become a Converter Academy and receive all of their funding direct from Government, with the possibility of buying in services at a cheaper rate.[41] This, along with some schools wanting more independence from local authority control, meant that many state secondary schools in England converted to academy status in subsequent years.

    Of course there are consequences from removing local LEA control!

    . In March 2016 the Perry Beeches The Academy Trust, a multi-academy trust, was found to have deleted financial records for £2.5 million of free school meal funding, and that the chief executive was being paid by sub-contractors as well as by the trust. Its schools are likely to be taken over by a new trust.[45] In August 2016, the former principal and founder of Kings Science Academy, the former finance director, and a former teacher who was the founder’s sister were found guilty of defrauding public funds of £150,000.[46]

    In October 2017, the Wakefield City Academies Trust collapsed, and The Observer reported that “Wakefield City Academies Trust now stands accused of ‘asset stripping” after it transferred millions of pounds of the schools’ savings to its own accounts before collapsing. On 8 September it released a statement announcing it would divest itself of its 21 schools as it could not undertake the ´rapid improvement our academies need'”.

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