Sunday, August 13, 2017

".. then I must be .." *

The Economist this week writes:
"Mr Pichai had good reasons to sack Mr Damore. One is the content of the memo. It says many reasonable-sounding things: that “we all have biases” and that “honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots”. But these are just camouflage before a stonking rhetorical “but”: the argument that innate differences, rather than sexism and discrimination, explain why women fare worse in the technology industry than men. “Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance)”, Mr Damore writes, “may contribute…to the lower number of women in high-stress jobs.”

"Research has indeed shown some smallish group-level differences in personality and interests between the sexes. But drawing a line from this to women’s suitability for tech jobs is puerile. An unbiased eye would light on social factors rather than innate differences as the reason why only a fifth of computer engineers are women. "
In today's Sunday Times, Dominic Lawson observes of The Financial Times:
"... the Financial Times, which in an editorial denounced Damore’s memo as “almost pure drivel”. That paper is facing industrial action on behalf of its female employees, who suffer from a 13% gender pay gap (according to the National Union of Journalists).

It, too, has an internal reason for declaring to the world how deplorable it finds young Damore, so it published another article accusing him of a “long email rant against diversity programmes . . . a rambling confused mash-up of outdated science”.

When these idealogues attend a performance of 'The Life of Galileo' by Bertolt Brecht,
"This was a lively, heartfelt performance which showcased reason and science vs. obscurantist arguments from authority designed solely to buttress the interests of those in power. This never fails to be relevant."
they root for Galileo, bravely sticking it to The Man. It never occurs to them that they are The Man.


The genius of Brecht was to give good arguments to the Catholic Inquisition. The interrogator points out that regardless of any purely-scientific merits of Galileo's thesis, the practical effects of the new doctrine would be to undermine the primacy and sanctity of scripture and thus subvert the social order, undermining authority and leading to dangerous chaos.

A very high price to pay for some arid, esoteric and contested version of 'truth'.


* Imposter.

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