Discussions on fascist misogyny, race and identity politics


#41

It was more than that, he also badgered diversity trainers and HR employees with his arguments and distributed his memos thoughout the company multiple times, and actively creating and contributing to the unwelcoming enviornment for women that he claims doesn’t exist.


#42

He didn’t badger them, he attended a diversity training talk (during which they parroted a bunch of social constructivist dogma and lots of cherry-picked science), at the end of which they asked everyone to respond with their feedback, so he did. They ignored him of course, so a few weeks later he posted it to an internal forum.


#43

Let’s not drag neurodiversity into this. It’s a little bit like Kevin Spacey’s “I’m gay” defense. I know lots of neurodiverse people, I’m 100% certain none of them would like to be tarred with the James Damore brush.

Like I said, I think if you take a field with no coherent conclusions, pluck out a single study, and then start making conclusions from that study without acknowledging that none of this is settled science, that’s misrepresenting the study. If I draw the conclusion that clothing in general needs to be made much, much larger based on the data point of Shaq, I’m misrepresenting Shaq’s place in the population implicitly.

This:

On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:

  • They’re universal across human cultures
  • They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
  • Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males
  • The underlying traits are highly heritable
  • They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective

Is misrepresenting the science on the issue. While some such traits clearly exist (difference in height), this is obviously suggesting that all traits he describes as sex-linked fall into this category. This is not at all representative of the few studies that he actually links to. As noted in @Magdalene’s link above, the author of a study he links to says he has it wrong. He misrepresents the science in general and the individual studies.

The piece reads one way to you, it reads another way to other people. Women are systematically (not implying universally) pushed out of sciences, computer science and jobs in computer science. They are pushed out in part by arguments like the ones he’s making, sometimes made disingenuously by openly bigoted people, often made by dupes who repeat the arguments because they thought the disingenuous bigots sounded right.

He explicitly wants to be judged by what he means rather than for how his actions impact other people:

Prioritize intention.

  • Our focus on microaggressions and other unintentional transgressions increases our sensitivity, which is not universally positive: sensitivity increases both our tendency to take offense and our self censorship, leading to authoritarian policies. Speaking up without the fear of being harshly judged is central to psychological safety, but these practices can remove that safety by judging unintentional transgressions.
  • Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.

But the entire point of his article is that Google should stop well-intentioned but, in his view, harmful policies. His view is basically just a scientism-cloaked rationalization of “I wish everything was the way I’d like it best” with all the hypocrisy that necessarily entails.


#44

“In June 2017, Damore attended a ‘Diversity and Inclusion Summit,’” the lawsuit reports. “Damore felt pressured to attend the event because Google proclaims ‘commitment to diversity and inclusion’ to be an important factor in deciding promotion to leadership positions.”

At the summit, Damore told a Google HR representative that “he believed some of the positions taken by Google were divisive and misguided.” At the end of the program, the lawsuit says, participants were asked to provide written feedback, so Damore wrote the first draft of his memo and sent it to Google’s HR department as part of his feedback to the event.

Damore didn’t stop there. In early July, Damore posted a copy of the memo to an internal Google forum used to discuss diversity issues.

He also “emailed individuals responsible for Google’s diversity programs, the Women at Google Program, the Code of Conduct team, and Google HR.” He pointed out that some of Google’s training and recruitment programs were specifically reserved for women and minorities and asked whether it was legal to exclude white men from these programs. He told the Google Code of Conduct team that he believed “some of Google’s policies were not being applied equally.”

Damore wasn’t done. He went to another diversity event later in July, where he again raised concerns about viewpoint discrimination at Google.

At the end of this event, Damore submitted yet another copy of his memo—updated with some changes suggested by some other Googlers who saw the first draft.

Damore still wasn’t done. On August 2, he submitted the memo to an internal mailing list. Finally, the memo began to circulate more widely within Google, and it began to elicit the broader debate he had been craving. It also leaked to the technology press, causing a public furor.


#45

It’s interesting to see the recent increased pushback from the hard-left against identity politics (I guess it was always there to a degree, but it seems to have picked up in the last six months or so), not a fan of the hard left either, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Have this on my reading list: http://www.zero-books.net/books/kill-all-normies (Angela Nagle seems to be some form of a Marxist from what I can gather), which seems to have generated a bit of commotion amongst the identitarians, but aside from some fairly mild criticisms of them, it seems to be a far more accurate history of the alt-right than the standard ‘everyone is a nazi’ thing you usually see.


#46

exactly, pretty much what I just said. not sure how you came to the conclusion that doing what someone asks you to do is badgering.


#47

That’s not at all what you said. It was multiple trainings and at least 3 circulations of his memo.


#48

You really think this is even vaguely similar to attempting to excuse child molestation? Jesus.

I also know lots of neurodiverse people, and am one myself, you must know a pretty select bunch, or maybe they’re more of the ‘fashionably neurodiverse’ set you often see nowadays? (I know more than a few who are obviously not in the slightest bit on the spectrum).

Like I said, I think if you take a field with no coherent conclusions, pluck out a single study, and then start making conclusions from that study without acknowledging that none of this is settled science, that’s misrepresenting the study

Well, this isn’t what he did either, seeing as he cited multiple studies, he drew conclusions (possibly invalid conclusions, though he could also be right for all we know) from multiple studies. I’m also willing to be charitable with him (something we need more of in public discourse) that he was less aware of some of the conflicting research from the other side of the fence, and that’s why he didn’t include that (he’s not a professional in this field after all), it’s also possible he dismissed other research for other, perhaps perfectly valid, reasons - poor methodology etc, quite common in the social sciences.

To misrepresent is ‘to give a false or misleading account’ of something, he did not give a false or misleading account of these individual research papers as far as I can tell, and most of the researchers involved seem to have backed him up on that, it’s just their place in a wider context that’s on shakier ground.

As noted in @Magdalene’s link above, the author of a study he links to says he has it wrong. He misrepresents the science in general and the individual studies.

That’s not what that article does at all, the authors say he has it wrong for lots of the reasons we’re in agreement with (and some of which he’s even in agreement with, so they’re also mischaracterizing his memo in various ways too), mostly they say Damore gets the individual research right (in fact they repeatedly say this), bar some minor nitpicking that mostly relates to how it’s used to draw conclusions (so they’re conflating the two things in the same way you are). I could pick apart other issues with it, but suffice it to say they don’t represent a consensus on the issue from the POV of the researchers he cites or others in the field, many of whom are pretty closely in agreement with most of the specifics in the memo (if not all of the conclusions, though some are). Here’s another good analysis of the reaserch: https://heterodoxacademy.org/2017/08/10/the-google-memo-what-does-the-research-say-about-gender-differences/
…and:
http://quillette.com/2017/08/07/google-memo-four-scientists-respond/

The piece reads one way to you, it reads another way to other people.

Maybe the other people should be taking note of the first part of what you just said, maybe they should be open to the fact that they’re misinterpreting his intentions and attributing beliefs to him that he never expresses?

Women are systematically (not implying universally) pushed out of sciences, computer science and jobs in computer science.

I agree with this, he agrees with this (he just doesn’t think it’s the only reason, and we disagree with the % breakdown on either side).

They are pushed out in part by arguments like the ones he’s making, sometimes made disingenuously by openly bigoted people, often made by dupes who repeat the arguments because they thought the disingenuous bigots sounded right.

arguments he’s not actually making it seems to me.

His view is basically just a scientism-cloaked rationalization of “I wish everything was the way I’d like it best” with all the hypocrisy that necessarily entails.

Not sure where you’re getting this from at all.


#49

https://www.quora.com/What-do-scientists-think-about-the-biological-claims-made-in-the-document-about-diversity-written-by-a-Google-employee-in-August-2017/answer/Suzanne-Sadedin

"To an evolutionary biologist, the idea that sex differences are purely socially constructed is simply implausible. And the necessity of facing up to this is something I’ve talked about as well.

That said, the argument in the document is, overall, despicable trash.

TL;DR: Yes, men and women are biologically different — which doesn’t mean what the author thinks it does. The article perniciously misrepresents the nature and significance of known sex differences to advance what appears to be a covert alt-right agenda. More specifically, it:

argues for biologically determined sex differences in
personality based on extremely weak evidence

completely fails to understand the current state of research on sex differences, which is based in neuroscience, epigenetics and developmental biology

argues that cognitive sex differences influence performance in software engineering, but presents no supporting evidence. Available evidence does not support the claim.

fails to acknowledge ways in which sex differences violate the narrative of female inferiority; this shows intellectual dishonesty

assumes effective meritocracy in its argument, ignoring both a mountain of conflicting scientific literature and its own caveats (which I can only assume were introduced to placate readers, since their incompatibility with the core thesis is never resolved)

makes repugnant attacks on compassion and empathy
distorts and misuses moral foundations theory for rhetorical purposes

contains hints of racism

paradoxically insists that authoritarianism be treated as a valid moral dimension, whilst firmly rejecting any diversity-motivated strategy that might remotely approach it.

ultimately advocates rejecting all morality insofar as it might compromise the interests of a group."


#50

You said he was badgering diversity trainers, he attended one diversity talk to begin with, which requested feedback, the subsequent circulation of his memo was not to the diversity staff, but among other staff on an internal forum (including other like-minded googlers, it wasn’t a ‘diversity forum’), he then copied it to others because the original diversity folk never got back to him. He then updated it based on feedback and tried one more time with the diversity people, hard to call a single unrequested submission badgering, when it was just an update of a previously requested submission. The final, more broad circulation of the memo was not done by him (and it removed all his citations making it look a lot shittier than it was).


#51

Yes, they recieved his feedback, but had absolutely no obligation to do anything other than just that.

Again, he didn’t simply send it to the diversity trainers asking for feedback. He brought it up at two trainings. He sent it to HR, posted it to forums, emailed the diversirty program directors, the Code of Conduct team, the Women at Google program, and sent it through internal mail.

He sent it out 3 times, and contacted multiple people.

What’s another word for asking repeatedly when given a negative answer? Badgering.


#52

there are different interpretations of the memo from within the field, some supportive (as I’ve linked above), some highly critical. judged as a research paper or philosophical treatise it would be marked pretty poorly, but it wasn’t a research paper, it was a memo to a HR department attempting to engage in dialogue (as requested). one of the points of the memo was to highlight the intolerance to differing viewpoints within google, they proved his point by firing him, regardless of the veracity of his point of view. he clearly didn’t break any codes of conduct or break any laws, his firing just highlights the worrying trend of certain dogmatic ideologies having increasing influence over the public sphere. it’s rank hypocrisy too, eager to point out the flaws in his reasoning, such as they are, but then being completely blind to the same exact flaws in their own world-views.

He sent it out 3 times. What’s another word for asking repeatedly when given a negative answer?

He never got a negative answer AFAICT. Sending an email to somebody twice is not badgering under any definition of the term, and certainly not doing it once (the number of times it was un-requested).


#53

lol no
The entire premise that you’re defending, that there are meaningful differences between how much interest men and women have in “people rather than things” misunderstands a good chunk of Google’s (or any other large Tech company, for that matter) mission in computer science. The idea that Google wants professionals who don’t have an interest in people, or have a much larger interest in “things” than people is just silly; people use the products they make, and groups of people make those products. At every step of the process, the idea that you can ever stop thinking about people–people making these products and people using these products, is backward as hell. So, it’s not just that Damore cobbled together a bunch of studies in service of a tired, stilted thesis, it’s that he fundamentally misunderstands Google’s business model and why it might be useful to actually have an interest in people, rather than things.


#54

that’s another complete distortion of his argument, a company can in theory have a set of goals that embody some set of vaunted principles or whatever, how they achieve those goals can be a totally different thing, made up of many differing strategies and practices (at some point focusing on the very complicated things they’re involved in engineering might be a good idea). but aside from that, lol at the idea that Google have an interest in people other than what’s in their wallets (as a corporate entity at least, I’m sure many of their employees are perfectly nice people).


#55

yeah, but it’s not an either-or proposition, it’s a both

There’s no product that leaves Google only touched by one person. People make those products, and knowing how to work with other people seems like a pretty goddamn important skill to have. I don’t know why someone would write a memo implying that not just themselves, but all men employed by Google are actually handicapped both in terms of understanding who their users and co-workers are, y’know, as people, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to hear they got fired for misunderstanding what their job would entail.


#56

Both of your supporting interpretations come from conservative sites with anti-diversity anti-feminist agendas.

Danmore’s opinion was tolerated.

His choice to contest the company policies repeatedly and to make his coworkers uncomfortable in spite of warnings got him fired. The same thing would have happened if the topic had been his opinion that workdays should begin at noon.

Again, he brought it up multiple times with HR and the Diversity team, neither of which owed him any sort of action in response to his “feedback”,which wasn’t related to the training, but with his sexist ideas.


#57

This isn’t a thing that happened though, another obvious distortion and direct contradiction of what he wrote. Damore actually thinks that a very small subset of all men are temperamentally suited/inclined to the work we’re talking about (and it’s more than a little insulting to call that a handicap), and that a slightly smaller subset of all women are similarly temperamentally suited/inclined to the same work (again, he says nothing about ability to do that work in the memo). The ratio of these two categories is up for debate, some would say it’s 50/50 in the absence of other external factors (conscious or unconscious biases for example), but maybe it’s 55/45, or 70/30, or 40/60. Damore doesn’t exclude external factors in the calculation, but is too quick to jump to conclusions about where the majority of the difference lies IMHO, but ultimately we don’t really know. There is evidence for both viewpoints and it’s reasonable to have opinion on the matter one way or the other even if the answer isn’t totally settled, as long as you’re not being totally dogmatic about it, without getting fired.


#58

Again, Damore is assuming quite a lot about what a computer engineering job at Google entails. On top of his unfounded assumption that it is more desirable for CS professionals have a greater interest in things than people (I’m not aware of any study that applies the findings about interest in things v. people to professions, are you?), there is scant evidence that would actually inform us enough to make decisions in this regard–“external factors” is doing quite a bit of work in your defense of the stats here, and as far as I know, we live in the world of External Factors, rather than the Glade of Intrinsic Worth.


#59

This is plainly false. Neither is a conservative site, the first was set up by an avowed liberal and a moderate conservative/libertarian. Quillette is along the same lines, pretty centrist/liberal, certainly not conservative. Neither sites are anti-diversity or anti-feminist either, unless you have a highly dogmatic and proscriptive definition of both. You’re just engaging in a baseless ad-hominem here, political affiliation is irrelevant, we’re talking about scientists talking about their work, their arguments stand or fall by themselves.

Danmore’s opinion was tolerated.

His choice to contest the company policies repeatedly and to make his coworkers uncomfortable in spite of warnings got him fired. The same thing would have happened if the topic had been his opinion that workdays should begin at noon.

This is nonsense, there were no warnings, he was fired as a PR move stemming from twitter-outrage-culture pressure because he had a opinion incompatible with the hive-mind.

Again, he brought it up multiple times with HR and the Diversity team, neither of which owed him any sort of action in response to his “feedback”,which wasn’t related to the training, but with his sexist ideas.

He never demanded action, he was asked for his feedback, he provided it. His ideas aren’t sexist either, even if they turn out to be wrong (which at least some of them probably are).


#60

You’re right with the first part, part of why I disagree with him (his view here is basically an untested hypothesis, like I’ve said many times now). The idea that we live in the land of External Factors, rather than the Glade of Intrinsic Worth, is also a pretty baseless idea itself though. My own view is that we live in the land of needlessly complicated nonsense.