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MingToo
 16 Aug '17  12:45 : 0 recs

I think on balance, the right has far more anti-science, and certainly in terms of the absurdity of the theories.

Do you think it is absurd to say that someone who weighs 700 pounds can be healthy ?
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MingToo
 16 Aug '17  12:44 : 0 recs

The example he gave in contrast was that 93% of the US prison population is male. So therefore, US men are far more likely to be dishonest law breakers than women. But men at Google would probably be offended if it was suggested that they were less honest that their female colleagues, for example, especially if it was used as possible justification as to why women had been appointed to coveted roles over men.

But if someone said that Google has a 52/48 split of women to men because the pool of suitable men is a little smaller because there are more male criminals I suspect people would just nod and say fair enough. That's the correct comparison to what Damone is saying.
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MingToo
 16 Aug '17  12:40 : 0 recs : edited 1 time : last edit 16 Aug '17  12:41

But I think you have just proved his point ?

He isn't arguing about the women at Google or that they are in some way unsuited to tech. That is what the press has strawmanned (I guess you still haven't read the document).

What he is saying is that if Neuroticism is higher in women (which psychologists appear to agree with) and hence that makes them less suited then you would expect that to cause a gender imbalance. Which seems to be exactly what your friend is saying. That Google would filter for that Neuroticism and so all other things being equal you wouldn't expect a 50/50 split.Therefore forcing a 50/50 split would be discriminatory.

You seem to be arguing against the strawman created by the press that he was saying things about the employees at Google and not about the population in general. Which is why you should probably read what he actually wrote.
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George Sore Ass
 16 Aug '17  10:57 : 0 recs

I certainly never said that anti-science was an exclusively right wing thing. I specifically mentioned the fact that both sides tend to only use the science when it suits the political arguments they're making (I specifically used the example of GM food, where the same people who are convinced about climate change and use the scientific consensus to justify it are also convinced that GM food is dangerous). Anti-vaxxers as you point out come from both sides.

I think on balance, the right has far more anti-science, and certainly in terms of the absurdity of the theories.

I was chatting to a friend about Damore's manifesto, and he thought it was very poorly reasoned even if the science quoted was accepted as valid. He suggested it was a logical error to apply generalizations drawn from research into the general population to Google's employees, because Google's employees aren't picked at random from the general population, they're selected by what is quite a rigorous procedure designed to assess aptitude and ability. So for example, if neuroticism adversely affects the ability to do the job (an assumption), one would think that Google's selection process will filter that trait out, even assuming that it would not have affected the woman's ability to earn the appropriate university degree required to apply for the job in the first place.

The example he gave in contrast was that 93% of the US prison population is male. So therefore, US men are far more likely to be dishonest law breakers than women. But men at Google would probably be offended if it was suggested that they were less honest that their female colleagues, for example, especially if it was used as possible justification as to why women had been appointed to coveted roles over men.
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MingToo
 16 Aug '17  07:24 : 0 recs

From Bloomberg:

Google Moves Into the Business of Thought Control

Vaclav Havel, the Czech dissident-turned-president, wrote a famous essay about the life of the mind under a system of totalitarian control. He invoked the example of a greengrocer who puts a sign in his window saying, "Workers of the world, unite!" -- not believing in it and perhaps not even knowing what it meant, but ritually accepting it as the officially sanctioned worldview. He wrote of a brewery worker who was punished for dissenting without meaning to -- by trying to make beer more efficiently, thereby calling into question whether the communist approach to production was anything but optimal.

Under such a system, many questions must never be asked, even by accident. The beauty of this arrangement is that the system never needs to show that the dissident's ideas are false. The mere act of posing the question is illegitimate. By extension, the answers would be neither true nor false: They too would be illegitimate.
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  22:38 : 0 recs : edited 1 time : last edit 15 Aug '17  22:40

WBC:

I guess economics conspiracy theories are a little harder to debunk, because social sciences aren't quite as black and white as physics. Similarly issues of sexism/racism - inevitably there is much more disagreement and opinion involved.

I wouldn't really call the Modern Monetary Theory itself a conspiracy theory. It is a restatement of some economics based on wishful thinking. The conspiracy part comes from some of the believers of the theory that there is some sort of cover up denying people this free supply of money. it is also quite amusing that their acronym also works for Magic Money Tree.

The anti-science stuff is, as you say, a far easier case. My point on here has been that this is not just coming from right but from the left as well. GSA has been battering on at me that I must be a Trump supporter because I don't think it is only the right that is anti-science.

But there are plenty of examples from left politics as well.

- The Google stuff - mandating without evidence that there is no biological basis to preferences. There is even a specific term that those on the left use to attack people who raise these questions - "Biotruths"

- Anti-Vaxxers are pretty much spread across the political spectrum, right and left

- Anti-GM is more prevalent on the left and is driven mostly by the far left

- 'Healthy At Any Size' where you can be just as healthy no matter what your weight if you eat healthy stuff and do a bit of exercise. This is driven entirely from the left and heavily associated with parts of the feminist movement.

- Scaremongering about nuclear power. For example recently there have been numerous articles from left environmentalists about the Japanese dumping a million tons of Fukishima water into the oceans. The total level of tritium in there is 57g which will be a 0.01 pct increase for the ocean, yet they are coming out with all sort of stuff about how the oceans will be radioactive.

I find the current trend of anti-science worrying on both sides. GSA seems to think it is a just a Trump issue.
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Lord Byron
 15 Aug '17  21:29 : 0 recs

Studies show the less who know the secret then the longer you can keep it....
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Warren BuffetCar
 15 Aug '17  20:40 : 0 recs : edited 3 times : last edit 15 Aug '17  20:45

Mingtoo,

There are a handful of economists who promote this theory and then a gaggle of internet leaders and their groupies who try to promote it. There isn't anything particularly wrong with their theory as such. Their main premise is that since the government can pay off it's debt by getting the central bank to print some money then governments can and should be able to run eternal deficits and nobody will care much.

As you know I find most conspiracy theories to be rather unbelievable. To me, to at least be considered possible you have to have
1) few people involved. A conspiracy involving hundreds, or even thousands is very unlikely to survive unexposed
2) a good motivation
3) lack of more likely explanations

I guess economics conspiracy theories are a little harder to debunk, because social sciences aren't quite as black and white as physics. Similarly issues of sexism/racism - inevitably there is much more disagreement and opinion involved.

You can be right or left wing, and it shouldn't really affect whether you believe in gravity or a globe earth, or the Higgs boson or the standard model. We can prove those things pretty objectively. Its harder to prove that one economic theory is better than another in the same way, and similarly to prove that men and women are, or aren't better suited to particular jobs.

Climate change should really be the same, but its now become polarized as a right/left matter of opinion, rather than pure objective science (despite the overwhelming belief of scientists in it).

WBC
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  20:25 : 0 recs

GSA:

But honestly, communicating that science really is far more important to the future of the world than some guy who got fired at Google for questioning their diversity policy. I mean, let's just say Google ends up hiring a few more women and a few less men. The world's not going to end. Right?

I see you point here. Political bias or censorship at Google is really no big deal. It's not like they dominate the global flow of information and what people read or what news they get ... oh wait ...
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  18:52 : 0 recs : edited 1 time : last edit 15 Aug '17  18:52

Regarding the Google thing, there is probably a good test that you can use to fish out people's motives.

I would say that there is clear evidence that women are discouraged from entering tech but, since there is currently no agreement, it is also possible that there are some biological factors involved too.

However, I would also agree that actually it is possible that women are naturally better at tech than men but are so discouraged that tech ends up dominated by men. It's quite possible that, if there is some natural split according to biological factors, then the split could be more women than men.

Anyone who is truly thinking in a scientific way would have to come to that conclusion. You can't say that the science is not answered yet but then make the assumption that the split could only go in one direction.
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  18:43 : 0 recs

Try taking a look at Modern Monetary Theory. I bumped into some of these people on Facebook a while ago and it was very cult like.

There are a handful of economists who promote this theory and then a gaggle of internet leaders and their groupies who try to promote it. There isn't anything particularly wrong with their theory as such. Their main premise is that since the government can pay off it's debt by getting the central bank to print some money then governments can and should be able to run eternal deficits and nobody will care much.

The conspiracy side is that they believe that all other economists, politicians etc are hiding this from us because they are capitalists who want to take advantage of the poor. The supporters are clearly all Sanders and Corbyn supporters. Some of them have hammer and sickle in their Facebook profiles. The particular guy who was trying to push this on a friends facebook page claims to be a lifelong acquaintance and supporter of Corbyn.

Of course the reality is that if the government replaces bond issuance with central bank reserves by just printing money then the currency will get judged based on the level of those and not the level of bonds. The bond market acts as a warning signal that there is too much debt for the currency. They want to take away that warning signal because it gets in the way of their political agenda. But it is just the same as thinking you can keep your house safe from fire by removing all the smoke alarms.

So it is the same sort of thinking coming from both sides of the political spectrum. Not just the right and the religious loons.
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Warren BuffetCar
 15 Aug '17  18:41 : 0 recs

Mingtoo,

Yes, but there is proof that we are actually on the inside of the sphere and not the outside.

LOL

I came across a few people promoting this theory too. It is even more whacky than the flat earth! I saw one guy in the comments who said the earth was a cube, but I think he was trolling them.

WBC
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Warren BuffetCar
 15 Aug '17  18:37 : 0 recs

Mingtoo,

When I've been in the process of studying, I tend to put eg

2013 - present.

Similarly if I put my employer as eg

IBM - 2013 to 2017

That would suggest I was no longer employed there.

But there is no evidence he lied to Google when they hired him. It would seem a little reckless considering Google is all about data and search. If he did claim to have a PhD, when he did not, I doubt he'll be suing them for wrongful dismissal.

WBC
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  18:30 : 0 recs

People have known for many centuries that the Earth is a sphere.

Yes, but there is proof that we are actually on the inside of the sphere and not the outside. Why else would your shoes wear out at the toe and heel and not in the middle of the sole ?
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  18:27 : 0 recs

WBC:

Not quiet that simple. If he called himself James Damone, PhD then that would be clearly fraudulent. But this was his linked in profile listing his education. Where you were and what you were doing there. It's a little more fuzzy as to what that exactly means. Also being in the position of an incomplete PhD I've always personally erred on the side of caution and put (incomplete) after it.
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Warren BuffetCar
 15 Aug '17  18:23 : 0 recs : edited 4 times : last edit 15 Aug '17  18:28

Saw some mention below of flat earth theory. I'm heading to South Carolina next week to witness the total eclipse. I saw the one in the UK in 1999 too. Awesome.

Since I've been looking at lots of things online and via Facebook about eclipses I've noticed the amount of flat earthers. Its worrying. People have known for many centuries that the Earth is a sphere. There are numerous simple ways to see this. The flat earth model doesn't explain things we see. And no flat earther has bothered to launch a rocket or plane to view the edge of the earth. I've seen no pictures of the enormous UN force keeping people from seeing the great ice wall. Yet still these people believe. If you try to argue with them, they get very very upset, and call you an idiot, and/or a shill.

I've experience similar things online debunking other ridiculous conspiracies that have a similar lack of foundation in reality.

At times they revel in their ignorance. They show pictures of a horizon and repeatedly ask "where's the curve???". I watched one point out that if you are in the UK and you sailed or walked to the South Pole you'd be upside down, which can't be right. He pointed out that all the water would go to the South Pole due to gravity (which he later said didn't exist). No understanding of even the most basic concepts of science.

Many seem to be motivated by fundamentalist religion. This is curious because nowhere in the bible does it say the Earth is flat. Its almost as if flat earth theory is a ruse to show religious people as idiots. They stick to truths that we can 100% know are false.

But others just seem to be motivated by a frustration that they can't understand science, and a distrust of authority and government.

A recurring theme is conspiracy. These people often subscribe to many conspiracy theories. They have a distrust of government and the UN. When they see a news report (eg a terrorist attack, or a crime) they immediately label it a lie, and set about constructing a new layer of conspiracy around it.

And so any evidence of a flat earth is dismissed as part of that conspiracy. NASA produced fake photos and movies. There is no ISS (even though you can see it moving overhead through a telescope). Satellites don't exist, and GPS works by cables under the ground (even at sea, apparently). Like the best conspiracies, this one has a cast of millions - all those scientists at every space and rocket program in the world (even North Korea is in on it).

Since on the flat earth map distances don't match with a globe, every international airline and aircrew need to be in on it. Quantas flies from Sydney to Santiago Chile, in 12 hours. On the globe they fly quite direct, across the antartic circle. On the flat earth the most direct route is via the north pole (as there is no south pole). The 747 needs to fly at around mach 2.5, and stop for fuel halfway. Passengers don't notice the stop, and no one knows exactly where it happens (its a secret, along with the rest of the conspiracy).

In the past nonsense like this would have been on the fringes but now I see more and more people touting these absurd conspiracies involving casts of millions of people. Many (like the flat earth) seem to have no real justification. Why on earth would scientists and/or governments want to expend vast resources on this deception? Again, the reasoning is vague.

I really believe we are heading back to the dark ages in some respects. Or perhaps more of a split - where some of the population grasp science and logic, and others cling to conspiracies, and fake science, wedded to the belief that there is no objective truth, and that all beliefs and "facts" are equal in validity. No doubt these science deniers will continue to enjoy the benefits of that science, like the internet, mobile phones, gps etc.

WBC
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Warren BuffetCar
 15 Aug '17  17:59 : 0 recs

Mingtoo,

He put PhD on his LinkedIn because he was a registered PhD student. A bit of poetic licence perhaps but not a lie for sure. He was and most likely still is a Harvard Phd Student.

So if I stand in the general election, I can call myself Warren Buffetcar MP?

Poetic licence, nice.

WBC
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  09:58 : 0 recs

Either way, it brings up an interesting angle on affirmative action. Would it be reasonable for the department to admit state school pupils on lower grades, knowing that on average they would by the end of the course be achieving the same level as those from private schools?

Interesting point, but I'm not sure how relevant it is to the tech diversity issue.

My first job was with one of the big IT consultancies as a graduate trainee. They recruited from all disciplines not just STEM and then trained people up. They just looked for smart and enthusiastic people with good attention to detail etc.

It worked, but only in a very controlled way. It isn't real tech, it was more about business process and the tech side was very regimented and hierarchical to cope with the fact that the people at the bottom didn't really have much actual tech experience. But it worked as a business because they could charge high rates for staff that were quite inexperienced because of the framework that was put around them to guarantee delivery plus they chose the sort of people who would put in the hours to get the job done.

But that isn't a model that is going to work for the rest of the tech industry. They need people to be more self-sustaining and productive from the start because they aren't billing them out at an hourly rate.

And that is where the real issue lies. It is about the experience that people can bring along with them especially as graduates. A tech company isn't likely to employ someone who did art history no matter how smart they are. They are always going to go for the STEM graduate with computing experience.

That's where an analogy with the public / private school system breaks down. It isn't that tech companies are rejecting women from STEM subjects with computing experience. It is that there are not enough of them.

One specific company could employ an equal balance quite easily by just going to 50/50 recruitment of men and women who have done CS degrees. But the industry as a whole can't do it because the pool of women with CS degrees isn't large enough.

You could mandate that tech companies must go to 50/50 and then they would have to start recruiting from outside of the CS pool and from other disciplines and give them more training. Perhaps that could be imposed on other industries as well. Medicine for example. Why worry about whether we have enough places in medical school. Just employ some biology students. They have some of the basic knowledge and will soon get the hang of all that heart transplant stuff.
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  07:54 : 0 recs : edited 1 time : last edit 15 Aug '17  07:55

His theory for this didn't seem particularly controversial - private schools essentially give people a better education. So although people come to the course with similar grades, the private school people had a better education, while the state school pupils who achieved those same grades with an inferior education had a higher inate intelligence

You only need to look at the Oxbridge entrance stats to confirm this.

At our school the teachers did their best but had no idea about which colleges to apply to and they gave us some extra lessons. A lot of the public schools have teachers that went to Oxbridge, know the system intimately and the pupils got a whole extra 7th term of tuition specifically for the exams.

The conspiracy theorists will tell you that the current trend of social justice, feminism etc is to keep the people occupied bickering between themselves and distracted from the issue of classism and elites.

I've seen friends post feminist items on Facebook about privilege and then not long after post some forelock tugging article about the Queen. The Queen and the royals in general have privilege at a level orders of magnitude higher than any white male CEO yet rarely if ever do you see that mentioned.

The Queen herself as far as I know has never made any comments on feminism. I guess even the toady press would notice if she said "I don't believe people should have advantage and privilege just because of who they were born as"
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MingToo
 15 Aug '17  07:45 : 0 recs

That's a little like saying big companies aren't going to pay tax, so let's just forget about them and accept everyone else will take the pain while the big guys carry on unencumbered by the costs. If someone's still sh1tting in the pool, it's not really something the other swimmers should just ignore and do their best to just avoid the floaters.

But at the point you can't see them changing and there is no authority to stop them you are better off finding another pool.
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