There is an oft-quoted maxim generally credited to the late William F. Buckley to the effect that “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”  So it also appears to be the case with the corporate and academic diversity-mongers; who are all about diversity when it is a matter of race, nationality, sex, sex-orientation, background and education level, but react like a bunch of screaming howler monkeys when what they have established as ‘conventional-think’ is transgressed upon or critiqued, even in a manner most thoughtful, The most current demonstration of this has been the Google-Diversity imbroglio, which was set off by a rather thoughtful memo (linked here) which ruminated on unconscious corporate assumptions, and suggested that there were other reasons than bias for a dearth of women in highly technical programming activities, and that Google’s own diversity culture was preventing discussion of effective means of remedying that lack. Oh, my … did that set off the Lords of Diversity at Google, as well as a number of female staff at Google and other tech industries … a reaction which I can only describe as ‘hysteria.’ The Google engineer who generated the memo has become the focus of one of those internet lynch mobs, thus fulfilling his own prophetic warning that there are some questions which are like the third rail in that one cannot touch them without being vaporized. Or as in his case, fired summarily. It is altogether likely that he will not be unemployed for long, or the recipient of a large settlement as the result of a suit filed for unjust termination by Google – very likely both. (More here at Ace of Spades, who thoughtfully posted the link to the infamous memo.

It is also likely that Google may feel a bit of pain from this; if not from pissed-off consumers choosing another search engine and email service, then from ideologically straight-jacketing those in-house techies thinking creatively about solving problems. If savvy thinkers know that voicing speculative wrong-think about hard questions will impact them professionally … well, then, there will not be answers to those hard questions, and the Lords of Diversity will never know why.

Another takeaway from all of this is a powerful reinforcement of the notion that being conservative in a generally liberal workplace is a perilous professional situation – a situation that has become even more unstable since the election of Donald Trump. Yes, sensible conservative/libertarians are going to go on keeping their mouths shut and their heads down, unless among friends or in a safe space like this one. Even those of us who are self-employed, have their mortgage and cars paid for, or nearly paid for, and topped-up bank accounts are still vulnerable to a determined and malicious internet lynch mob … or even someone like the odious Lena Dunham, maliciously going to an employer, with a tattle-tale of a supposedly overheard conversation in a public place.


Discuss, if you can bear it.



64 thoughts on “Diverse”

  1. It keeps getting funnier and funnier. He’s a bit beyond belief, but no matter.

    Google’s females apparently get about 69% of male pay. They are looking at it. ;)

    Now Wikileaks has offered him a job.

  2. I’m still chuckling at how the new VP of Diversity is now on record as opposing … diversity. Also, the tidal wave of Google employees/managers who admit to keeping blacklists should certainly help James Damore’s case.

  3. I know – no one more intolerant than the professionally tolerant! And no one more anti-diverse than the professional diversity-managers! It’s like Alice Through the Looking Glass, only without sheep, and Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

  4. Several things jump out of the story. 30% of other Google engineers agreed with him.

    This, to quote Steve Hayward at Powerline, is a disaster for women engineers at Google.

    Now let’s say you are a man picking a team to go to a three week long tech conference/expo in Hong Kong. Are you more or less likely to want to put women on your team, knowing that if you or someone you like inadvertently says something “offensive” regarding gender, a woman on your team may call for termination?

    Some women engineers were so “triggered” by this story, they stayed home from work because they were “afraid.”

    Could anyone have done a better job of validating his observations ?

    The guy is a math genius and chess master. He probably has venture capital folks calling him.

    Larry Summers could explain some of this.

  5. I knew an incredibly intelligent, charming, and beautiful female linguistics major from Stanford who left a resume company to go to Google with a two digit employee number. I had no reason to believe she had been treated unfairly by her new employer and she certainly wasn’t at her previous employer where she was greatly valued, though all were underpaid. I am sure she made a great contribution to a great search engine. Now it’s an advertising company. I hope she made a lot of money and her husband enjoys his helicopter.

  6. The memo reads like something written by a libertarian-ish grad student on a reddit group. My understanding is that it was posted on some sort of atheist/”freethinker” internal gchat group.

    In a sane world it would have made little impact. The fact that it caused this sort of insane reaction is a clear sign that red guard children have taken over google, hence the world.

  7. I think it was posted on an internal Google net that is supposed to be open to discussion. It wasn’t.

    The VP of Diversity was a Hillary worker in 2016, not much of a surprise.

  8. I have a suspicion that this guy is a bit more than your average Reddit libertarian aspie. He filed a NLRB complaint before positing this document. I think he knew damn well what was going to happen and set a trap.

    Hopefully he can sue the pants off of them and buy a fleet of helicopters.

    Maybe even provide free helicopter rides…


  9. “He filed a NLRB complaint before positing this document.”
    My impression is he filed the complaint well after posting it (I read somewhere he posted it weeks ago, and it made little impact, until somebody else posted it to a wider distribution list more recently), when things were blowing up and he knew he was about to be fired. Who knows what the true timeline is. I can’t imagine google won’t settle with him well before trial. It is mind-boggling how completely dishonest the coverage has been. Don’t the media care that the document is public and we can read for ourselves and see what liars they are?

  10. Thought experiment: Suppose that a Google employee had circulated a memo, written in the same general style and circulated to the same audience, on one of the following subjects:

    1–An argument that Google should avoid any actions or strategies that directly or indirectly support Israel

    2–An argument that Christians are too intellectually-rigid to make good programmers and hence should not be hired for such jobs

    3–A critique of the strategy of Google and its parent, Alphabet, drawing the conclusion that the current approach in almost all areas is highly vulnerable and cannot succeed in the long run

    What would have been the likely response in each of the above cases?

  11. Ed M. – I agree with you – this guy knew exactly what he was doing and Google fell for it hook, line and sinker. Their kneejerk reaction will cost them (or their insurance company).

  12. @David Foster:

    Thought experiment: Suppose that a Google employee had circulated a memo, written in the same general style and circulated to the same audience, on one of the following subjects:

    1–An argument that Google should avoid any actions or strategies that directly or indirectly support Israel

    2–An argument that Christians are too intellectually-rigid to make good programmers and hence should not be hired for such jobs

    3–A critique of the strategy of Google and its parent, Alphabet, drawing the conclusion that the current approach in almost all areas is highly vulnerable and cannot succeed in the long run

    What would have been the likely response in each of the above cases?

    These questions aren’t that hard (maybe the difficult ones are coming later?):

    1 — Enthusiastic agreement, discussion about how quickly this could be implemented

    2 — Enthusiastic agreement, discussion about how to remove any existing Christian employees due to wrongthink

    3 — Possibly enthusiastic discussion so long as their PC/SocJus focus was not flagged as being a factor. Blame things on white male het employees & there will be enthusiastic support.

  13. Note the silence from the real bigwigs in the valley–Page, Brin, Zuck, all the big VCs, etc. They know this is a farce.

  14. “Their kneejerk reaction will cost them (or their insurance company).”
    Google (technically Alphabet) posted a $5.4BILLION profit last quarter. Having to settle with this guy for some 6-7 figure amount is probably less than they spend on smoothies every day for their employees.

  15. It appears that the Berserkeley radicals of a half century ago have made an ideological conquest of Silicon Valley. Ironically,ex-radical David Horowitz, who left the left as a consequence of the murder of Betty Van Patter, has a son, Ben Horowitz, who has made a lot of money off his software skills in Silicon Valley. From what I have read, father David doesn’t have a problem with his son’s disagreeing with his political stances, as David’s Communist parents spent their lives trying to impose their views on David.

  16. The second or third most appalling thing about the Google-Diversity fiasco is how the original memo has been misrepresented by lazy or malicious reporters in so-called mainstream news outlets … it is as if they never read the damn thing, and didn’t care that anyone could just go to the original document! (link here to extensive list of the worst offenders.)

  17. I remind you of a youngish section head in a City company: “I lead a very diverse section. We have one from Caius, one from Christ’s, one from Girton, and one from Oxford.”

  18. There is a nearby post about autonomous cars. I posted the comment below there, and am cross-posting here because the topics relate and it might provoke discussion:

    These thoughts are not original with me. Saw some earlier on INSTAPUNDIT and others elsewhere. Just putting a few separate things together. Going to cross post this comment over at SGT MOM’s piece.

    1) Google is a leader in the move to autonomous cars.
    2) As noted in SGT MOM’s nearby piece, Google [or GooLAG™] values political correctness over reality.
    3) A corporation can have shareholder return on investment as the first priority. It can have technological supremacy as the first priority. Or it can have political correctness as the first priority. BUT IT CAN ONLY HAVE ONE FIRST PRIORITY.
    4) GooLAG™ has chosen political correctness.
    5) GooLAG™ has been shown, and admitted, that it bias’ search results to hide things detrimental to the Left and to boost things that are politically correct. They have been shown and admitted that they spy on customers and not only use and sell the information for profit, but also pass it along to both the government and Leftist organizations for free.
    6) GooLAG™ has access to everything you do or say online and algorithms to judge your political reliability.
    7) In view of the above, and in the wake of their false “diversity” crisis; would you trust your life to a vehicle 100% under the control of GooLAG™ to get you safely to where you want to go and not to some other destination and in questionable safety?

  19. Beware of crimethink! Quillette (Quillette.com) posted an article supporting Damore yesterday, and as I write this the site is unreachable (“504 Gateway Timeout” message).

    You can tell why the Google SJW zealots reacted with such blink fury. Damore actually mentioned the science of evolutionary psychology by name. In other words, he affirmed the existence of human nature. The Left is still infested with Blank Slaters with fond memories of the half century during which “science said” there was no such thing. The Blank Slate orthodoxy, idiotic on the face of it, was essential to the leftist narrative. If there were such a thing as human nature, human beings would lack the malleability necessary for them to become worthy citizens of all the utopias they were busily cobbling together for us. By far the most effective individual in destroying that orthodoxy happened to be a Chicago boy – Robert Ardrey. He was an outsider who made a laughing stock of all the behavioral “scientists” who were peddling the Blank Slate nostrums. They had to throw in the towel, but the bitter resentment is still there. Unfortunately, now Ardrey has been virtually forgotten, and Pinker and others have concocted a fairy tale according to which E. O. Wilson was “really” the slayer of the Blank Slate dragon. No good deed goes unpunished.

  20. Dearie – *snicker*
    Oh, Google has stepped in it big-time with this latest. Worse than a crime, it is a blunder. An epic blunder. Frankly, I look forward to seeing the bits and pieces fall where they may.

  21. The Left is still infested with Blank Slaters with fond memories of the half century during which “science said” there was no such thing.

    I have a very bright daughter who was being recruited by Apple through most of this past spring. Years ago, she and I were on a trip somewhere. I had just finished reading “The Blank Slate” and suggested she read it. She said she would not read it until i Read Stephen Jay Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man” the Bible of blank slaters.

    She was an Anthropology major. I told her I had read it and it was in my library. She said she still wouldn’t read “The Blank Slate.”

    She was a Bernie voter last year.

    “The 10,000 Year Explosion” is even more radical on evolution and psychology and genetics.

  22. When I read that paper 2 days ago it seemed like so much common sense (men and women are different? Perish the thought!)

    And I thought how much guts it took for James Damore to write and circulate that in Google.

    But then “diversity requirements” – both what is mandated by govts to get any contracts or internally mandated – have crippled our companies for decades.

    @Sgt Mom: just think what it must be like working in the Hollywood entertainment industry and being conservative.

  23. @David (since we can’t edit our comments) I am not sure your analogies (in re: Christians) are analogous to Google – I don’t believe Damore was saying to not hire women for tech jobs – just saying that there should not be a priority in hiring them over men – look at the qualifications – period – if I was reading that right?

  24. There was another scandal when Google removed Jordan Peterson’s YouTube and Gmail account apparently because someone didn’t like his content. Losing the YouTube account was bad enough, but they went after his mail account as well.

    This is happening across all the major social media platforms. I think the only viable way to protect users is via (reasonable) regulation.

  25. Bill, not really intended as a direct analogy, rather, cases in point of employees expressing views which would be offensive to a lot of people externally and (in case #3) internally, and wondering how these would be treated.

  26. Oh my. From my comment at the bottom of the Jordan Peterson thread:

    After having my comment deleted, I thought I’d learn more. From Aug 1:

    “My gmail/YT account is back. Why was it shut down? Who knows Why did they refuse to reinstate it? Who knows? Why did they turn it back on?”

    As someone said who had theirs deleted, they screw up a lot.

    It is rather rich to have my comment deleted as well. ;)

  27. Look at Colin Kirpatrick. I have heard that he is jobless in the NFL because he is mediocre but I’ll bet the real reason is his controversial public politics. What NFL team would want to sign him up for millions and then deal with his antics?

    As a practical matter every company has internal politics. While you might be protected by the constitution in saying the CEO is a doofus (setting aside civil lawsuits for defamation) – as a practical matter one saying that wouldn’t be employed there long.

    I think what is giving the Google story legs is that the author is just – to a large segment – using common sense and running up against the PC buzzsaw.

  28. The beauty of diversity is that it means we’re all allowed to take widely differing views of what diversity is. Aren’t we?

  29. Look at Colin Kirpatrick. I have heard that he is jobless in the NFL because he is mediocre but I’ll bet the real reason is his controversial public politics.

    His controversial politics might be part of his marketing strategy and perhaps wouldn’t be needed if he were a better player. It looks similar to what Lena Dunham, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and other entertainers do. Trump does it too, except that he trolls the Left and he’s far better at it than the Hollywood people and athletes are.

  30. …it means we’re all allowed to take widely differing views of what diversity is. Aren’t we?

    You’re allowed to take widely differing views that agree with current leftwing talking points.

  31. From one of the comments:
    “The VP of Diversity was a Hillary worker in 2016, not much of a surprise.”

    Which is why, despite all Trump’s drama and screw-ups and craziness and disappointments, I have never regretted voting for him when I contemplate that the alternative was the destruction of all our civil liberties.

  32. @Jonathan – compare Kirpatrick to Tim Tebow. I would say in his case his public praying didn’t get him dropped, but he wasn’t quite good enough to QB in the NFL. I guess you could also apply this to Colin, but I think his politics is more of a lightning rod.

  33. The NFL quarterback thing is all about arm strength and accuracy.

    It’s also about vision and decision speed but mostly arm strength which is genetic.

    Kaperneick had a different style with running a big part. Robert Griffin II showed one danger of that style; injury.

    Kaperneick showed another. The defense figured him out. His arm is just not good enough and neither is Tebow’s.

    Kurt Warner was stocking grocery shelves before somebody got him a tryout with St Louis and he showed he had the stuff.

    With the support of running back Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and Ricky Proehl, Warner put together one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NFL history, throwing for 4,353 yards with 41 touchdown passes and a completion rate of 65.1%. The Rams’ high-powered offense, run by offensive coordinator Mike Martz, was nicknamed “The Greatest Show on Turf” and registered the first in a string of three consecutive 500-point seasons, an NFL record.

    Pretty good for a grocery boy. He had a whole second career with the Arizona Cardinals.

  34. Let us consider a dangerous idea: diversity *requires* tyranny.

    Consider Iraq, a nation patched together from fragments of the Ottoman Empire. Sunni, Sufi, Shia, Marsh Arabs, Kurds and way more. How do you keep one faction from killing another, except by being a bigger meaner more feared killer than any challenger? And if the tyrant falls, how long shall the diverse factions stand together?

    Consider the former Yugoslavia under Tito — Serbs and Croations and Montenegans… Consider the former “Union” of Soviet “Republics”: Kozzaks and Uzzbeckis and Georgians and Ukranians … Consider, even, India under the (apparently, as far as Ghandi told it ) the tyranny of the British, until the diverse factions were free to partition themselves and genocide each other into whole new nations like Pakistan. And that’s just within living memory.

    Go back far enough and you have the biblical tale in 1 Kings: in which Solomon and his holy assassin Benaiah make Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Israel safe for a diverse collection of other religions — at least, for the cute women willing to service Solomon in exchange for the opportunity to practice Molech-ism and Moab-ianity and Astarte-ology. Once Solomon passed from the scene, the nation of Israel got pretty UN-diverse pretty fast and stayed that way until (or unless) outside tyrants like Cyrus, Alexander, or Augustus imposed diversity onto the proverbially stiff-necked and hide-bound people.

    It seems to me that the joke about a culture that tolerates anything but intolerance is no joke. The tyrant CAN NOT ALLOW a person or any faction to usurp the privileges of raping, stealing, and preying upon or strengthening themselves by weakening any other faction. All must submit to the tyrant.

    You whiskey brewers, you civilized Indian Iroquoi or Cherokee, you would-be runaway slaves — you will *submit* to President Washington; and be protected; or you and your farms and your towns and your hovels will be destroyed. As it was among the diverse Africans at Mount Vernon so it became among the “other persons” described in the constitution. Protected, but in no way free.

    Am I choosing my examples in bias? Are there counter-examples I overlook? Or does it seem that it takes a tyrant to diversify, and pacify, a village?

  35. As a long-time 49er fan, I must strongly disagree with Mike K regarding Kaepernick. Arm strength was never his problem–he had a cannon for an arm. Did you know that he was also a top MLB pitching prospect with a fastball in the high 90’s? His problems were mostly attitudinal (surprise, surprise).

    His primary skill problems were:

    1) His footwork in the pocket was terrible, often throwing off his back foot or off balance. That plays havoc with accuracy.

    2) He had a long, looping throwing motion (like a pitcher’s) that required him to hold the ball longer and made it difficult for him to throw accurately when rushed or under pressure.

    3) His throwing motion also made the shorter, touch passes very difficult for him. He could throw a deep post or a deep out with great accuracy, but couldn’t hit the flat pass, the fade or the short cross at all.

    4) He couldn’t read defenses. He was young, inexperienced and was often confused by the complex schemes used in the NFL.

    All of these problems were eminently fixable (many other QBs with similar problems overcame them), if he was willing to work at it. He wasn’t. His sudden shot of fame made him arrogant and unwilling to listen or work to improve his game. He didn’t listen to his coaches and he didn’t work in the off-season to improve his game. He didn’t think he need to do that–he was the hottest thing in the NFL!

    Remember, Kaepernick got his shot half-way through a season when Alex Smith was injured and Kaepernick almost took them to a Super Bowl. I must have been the only person in the entire Bay Area at the end of that season who thought the 49ers should trade him and keep Alex (they did the reverse). I didn’t think he was willing to work to get better and, sadly, I was proved right. Once defenses figured out his weaknesses, he was toast.

    Arm strength is one of the least useful measures of a modern quarterback. Remember Jim Druckenmiller? I didn’t think so. A high draft pick of the 49ers, he also had a cannon for an arm, but was an abysmal failure as an NFL quarterback (his problem was that he was dumb as post). Remember Joe Montana? He had a wet-noodle for an arm and is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

  36. Regarding Google…

    I have a little different take on what is happening there. I think you’re seeing a civil war inside Google.

    For a long time, Google was the quintessential Silicon Valley tech company. It was Engineering-driven and very, very male. Elements of that pedigree remain. As Google grew, they became a much more bloated, bureaucratic and administratively-driven. At the same time, the Bay Area lurched even more radically left-ward and the SJW movement gained enormous momentum, especially at universities like Stanford and Cal (Berkeley). So, many of the later Google hires (especially the non-engineering hires) came in with a radical leftist world view, with a commitment to “social justice” and a willingness to use every authoritarian tool in their arsenal at the drop of a hat. This is also true of the other successful “Web 2.0”, social media platforms like YouTube (now owned by Google), Twitter, Facebook, et. al. They seemed to attract the most virulent of the leftists (or those successful ones could most afford to hire such useless twits).

    As might be expected, it is an unstable mixture. Mostly shamed into silence, the “white” male patriarchy of the engineering teams has suffered in silence for quite some time. One guy finally spoke up and all hell broke loose. While repeatedly paying obeisance to the “diversity” mantra, he simply questioned how best to achieve their stated corporate goals. But even that level of questioning is entirely beyond the pale to the radical left. He MUST be destroyed. Now, there are reports of “blacklists”, groupthink enforcement councils, and even “We’ll destroy you and you’ll never work in this town again!” kind of crap.

    As an aside, that whole attitude is so entirely at odds with the history of Silicon Valley where “fired one day, hired the next” has been common for decades. In the 80’s, when he was at NeXT Computers, I had a loud, profanity-laced argument with Steve Jobs during a job interview! As I was leaving, I told him “You’re a f*cking a$$hole and I’ll never work for you.” He responded, “I could make it difficult for you…”. I just laughed and said “Good luck with that” as I walked out the door. A talented engineer could ALWAYS find work in Silicon Valley. I’m not so sure that is the case any more.

    I think this is one last, rather pathetic, attempt to push back against the all encompassing, “you must obey!” mindset choking Silicon Valley. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  37. @Scott Eudaley: would it be going too far to say that when Google had to compete in the market it had to hire on merit, but now that it’s become a monopolistic utility-like business, it has adopted the corresponding hiring norms?

  38. “No team wanted to hire him?”
    Doesn’t prove he wasn’t good enough, any more than the fact that Doug Flutie had to go to the CFL proved he wasn’t good enough. NFL coaches are the most conservative group this side of political consultants. There’s the way everyone does it, and there’s the wrong way.

    I’m not asserting Tebow would have been a star QB, or even a decent QB, but the notion that he was proven to not be good enough is absurd.

    PS. Buffalo Bills fan here. I would have gladly had Tebow start over any of the jokers we had at the time. Heck, I would gladly have started Doug Flutie on game day every game for the last 15 years over the jokers we actually put out there.

  39. I think that Scott E. might have the right of it; Google was once lean, mean, mostly male and successful, now hag-ridden by the militant SJW-crats, with open warfare now breaking out. A business version of what has been happening at educational establishments like Evergreen. Yes, indeed – it will be interesting, like a twenty-car crackup on the highway.

  40. Here’s an article challenging Damore’s science, and managing to do so in a reasonably calm tone.

    Many of their assertions, though, don’t ring true to me. For example, “getting in the door is harder for a woman than it is for a man. Her resume may look exactly like his, but because her name is Mary and not John, she may not get a second look”…..I would like to know the dates of these studies and how they were conducted. Since at least the mid-1980s Just about every corporation in America has been diligently, nay in many cases desperately, trying to hire women for key professional position.


    “sexual harassment is a constant problem for women in tech”….more so than in, say, law? Programmers and managers at Google or wherever are more apt to act caddishly than male partners at law firms? Seems most improbable.

  41. The first half of the first sentence of that link says this:
    “A Google engineer who was fired for posting an online claim that women’s biology makes them less able then men to work in technology jobs”
    That’s not what he said. I’m not going to bother to read any more.

  42. I liked Miss McGargle’s piece. But I thought this a little narrow: “personal experience is a poor substitute for data”. In our fallen world, it’s likely to be true that personal experience is a good substitute for poor data.

  43. There is nothing inherent, in any code I know about, that makes men better at it than women. It’s like learning a language. I think anyone can.

    It’s implementing code, getting it to do stuff, that is useful and fills a need, is where a couple of things happen. Some people can see all the way to the crux of the problem, instantly see what tools to employ, and will whip you up a solution in a short time. These people are very very rare. They can hold big hunks of it in their minds, twist it around and look at the results. I know of several women and a few men at this level. I suspect it’s pretty well even here.

    Most people will understand the problem and start coming up with solutions to bits of it they understand. They will model it as they can and will eventually come up with a solution. They are normal and can only look at so much at once, but are used to this. A lot of men do this and not that many women. I suspect it’s largely cultural here and will even up as time goes by.

  44. Scott Eudaley Says:
    August 11th, 2017 at 3:00 am
    Regarding Google…

    “I have a little different take on what is happening there. I think you’re seeing a civil war inside Google.”

    Agreed. Damore may just be the point of the spear, or the bait in the trap.

  45. PenGun, I disagree. Regardless of culture, I don’t think women will ever reach parity (in terms of numbers) at the top of ANY technical field.

    A personal anecdote illustrates the point. My wife is a master multi-tasker. She can balance multiple tasks in the course of a few minutes, making progress on all of them and do so without getting flustered or frustrated. And she can do that all day long and for weeks/months/years at a time. Ideal for her role as a CFO/COO in constant “interrupt mode” managing multiple different departments. I can not do that. I can do it for a short period of time, but I get frustrated and almost inevitably end up focusing on one task to the detriment of the others. I am mono-maniacal. I am great at focusing on one thing and working at it relentlessly, for weeks, months or even years at a stretch. Great for an engineer trying to push the boundaries of what is possible. She is capable of great focus, but can’t sustain it over the long term. She gets bored and wants to do something else.

    From everything I’ve read, that appears to be a cross-cultural constant. Women are more comfortable with multi-tasking than men. Conversely, men are more comfortable focusing on a particular task. And to rise the top of a technical field (not just programming) requires a mono-maniacal focus over many years. I’ve worked on many teams over the decades and, while I’ve worked with a number of good women engineers, all of the very best were male. They talk of “dreaming in code” (I’ve done that a few times), of waking up in the middle of night with an idea they immediately started coding or working for 30, 40 or 50 hours straight just “because it’s almost there”. I’ve never heard any female engineer talk like that or work like that. I’m sure there are some, but in my experience, it is not that unusual among the males.

    From an evolutionary perspective, it makes perfect sense. If the female is responsible for most child-rearing and maintaining the nest, any focus on a particular task to the detriment of other tasks can be very dangerous to her safety and the safety of her progeny. Conversely, if the male is responsible for hunting and defending the nest, any LOSS of focus on the task at hand can be very dangerous to his safety and the safety of his progeny.

    I am NOT saying women can’t rise to the top of a technical profession, but only that a greater percentage of men will pursue such a goal than women. Parity is unlikely.

    But, statistics never say anything about the person standing in front of you. ANYBODY who rises to the top of their profession deserves accolades and rewards. True excellence is a rare thing and should always be celebrated.

  46. I watched the movie “Baby Boom” last night at home. I wonder if it is even PC to watch it in private. I makes Damore’s points better than any essay.

    I thought of it because Sam Shepard died the other day.

    “made it difficult for him to throw accurately when rushed or under pressure.”

    I didn’t make my point well. Pure arm strength is not it. I don’t think Kurt Warner had a tremendous arm, either, I agree Kaepernick has a bad attitude and most coaches aren’t interested in such people. Todd Marinovich was another like that at SC when my son was a student there, He is in constant legal trouble since then. I wouldn’t be surprised to find Kaepenick going the same way.

    Megan McArdle’s column had an anecdote that made the point very well. She went to a concert on the weekend when she was in IT and found out on Monday the guys had been doing stuff like setting up a fiber network in their basement. They did for fun what she thought of as work.

    When I was still in practice, my partner once said “I hope they never find out I would do this for free !”

    He was kidding but not completely. If I had not had back surgery, I would probably still be doing surgery, or at least assisting. I don’t do it as much any more but I used to dream about doing surgery all the time. They would often be frustration dreams like trying to do open heart surgery on an airplane and things like that.

  47. “A personal anecdote illustrates the point.”

    That’s all I read. A personal anecdote is basically worthless. It has nothing to do with anything other than your experience and proves nothing at all.

  48. So, PenGun, you didn’t even read the broader argument that followed? As I noted, it was simply an personal illustration of a well-understood, and well-documented, cross-cultural phenomenon that makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. Using a concrete example to illustrate an abstract concept is a common argumentative (and teaching) technique.

    Not being willing to even listen to an argument is precisely what the Left does routinely. Indeed, they now stand accused of actively trying to silence dissenters.

    I don’t consider myself a liberal or a conservative (and not really a libertarian either). My views are not so trivially categorized. Living in the Bay Area, however, I’ve long noted that conservatives (and libertarians) will engage in a real discussion of an issue, even with someone (like me) with whom they strongly disagree. Liberals/leftists simply won’t engage in any meaningful way at all. They just want those “bad” ideas to go away.

    Over the decades, I’ve had hundreds of hours of conversation with Cal grad students and professors in the many coffee shops around Berkeley (what can I say, I’m a masochist). It struck me long ago that very few of them were actually interested in any argument or any data that didn’t conform to their existing world view.

    The Economics professor (who had read Smith, only knew the phrase “creative destruction” from Schumpeter, never even heard of Bohm-Bawerk, had never read von Mises or any other Austrian, had skimmed Friedman and had only read the abstracts of Buchanan), when I challenged her on the validity of the underlying premises of the field of macroeconomics could only respond with “you haven’t studied it like I have” (credentialism). I think I embarrassed her when it became obvious that I had a far broader knowledge of the different schools of thought in her own field than she did. She left in a huff, leaving two very confused grad students behind.

    The philosophy PhD candidate was simply not interested in exploring any school of thought that challenged the conventional view of the Mind-Body Dichotomy even though his thesis was on that topic (I gathered it was mostly just an historical regurgitation). Interestingly, he had read Plato, but not Aristotle, had only a passing familiarity with Aquinas, never read Spinoza, could site Kant and Hegel chapter and verse, but Rand was simply beyond the pale. He literally shuddered when I claimed she had an interesting and very compelling solution to that issue. He didn’t want to hear it and certainly didn’t want to discuss her views in his thesis! Again, it became clear that I was more familiar with the history and different schools of thought in his own field.

    The Physical Anthropology professor who claimed that studies of other primates proved that homosexuality was strictly determined by genetics. I pointed out that studies of Hamadryas baboons seem to show the opposite, that there was a great deal of plasticity in the sexual behavior of the non-dominant males depending on the behavior of the dominant males, even within close genetic relatives. FYI, Hamadryas baboons are the most sexually dimorphic of all primates and are known for the prevalence of homosexual behavior. When the dominant male engages in frequent homosexual dalliances, the non-dominant males do the same. When the leader does not, the followers do not–even within the same band (i.e., same genetic lineage). My argument was dismissed out of hand. “Not relevant”, he said. “Why?”, I asked. No answer.

    Yes, anecdotes. Concrete examples of a broader argument that has yet to be seriously engaged.

  49. “1) Google is a leader in the move to autonomous cars.”

    They should hire women to program reversing the car.

  50. Mike K, I saw that article too and I agree completely about doing for fun what others think of as work. I’ve been retired for a while now and I still like to program. I’m actually happy if I can’t find the exact utility I need. Another chance to design and build something!

    It helps that there are no arbitrary constraints, such as deadlines… :)

  51. Scott Eudaley:

    IME with arguing, people who say that they follow the data tend to 1) overestimate the reliability of scientific studies, 2) ignore the possibility that different theories may explain the same data differently, and 3) use research results as a rhetorical tool to avoid responding to the substance of arguments they disagree with.

  52. “From everything I’ve read, that appears to be a cross-cultural constant. Women are more comfortable with multi-tasking than men. Conversely, men are more comfortable focusing on a particular task.”

    I don’t believe that. I have seen little evidence for it and it does not fit what I have observed. Anecdotal indeed.

  53. PenGun said: “That’s all I read. A personal anecdote is basically worthless.”

    I have heard and read similar thoughts numerous times. A common way to express it is, “Data is not the plural of anecdote.” But this is actually wrong: an anecdote can very often be a useful datum, and so data is quite often the plural of anecdote. No, one anecdote (or one datum) will generally not constitute broad-ranging proof, but you cannot dismiss an anecdote simply because it is singular.

  54. ” I have seen little evidence for it and it does not fit what I have observed.”

    Driving a garbage truck can give you a rather narrow POV.

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