Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trying to Repeal Human Nature

Speaking of obscenely wealthy executives, Sheryl Sandberg is continuing her crusade to abolish the difference between the sexes. Like her boss Mark Zuckerberg, Sandberg is an extraordinary executive. She has accomplished great things in business. Now she is using her wealth and her influence to try to repeal human nature.

Good luck with that.

And she is enormously influential. She is even advising the Department of Defense on how to make the military more gender inclusive. That the military would do better to address the question of how to win wars does not seem to have penetrated her mind. One could see her influence in a recent speech by Vice President Biden at West Point. Biden suggested that our gender diverse military had become a more fearsome fighting force… for being gender diverse.

By Biden’s cockeyed reasoning, when countries and communities throughout the history of the world sent all-male armies onto the battlefield, they were sending out inferior forces… because were afraid of the power of women. If diversity makes an army stronger, then all of those armies that resisted diversity were purposefully sending weaker forces into battle.

If you believe that, you need to be examined. That Biden and Sandberg have allowed ideology to blind them to the implications of their arguments gives us pause.

Apparently, this week is “lean in” week. The Wall Street Journal has run a number of stories about women at work. They are all trying to show how to make the workplace more gender inclusive and how to have more women in more executive positions… whether these women want to or not. I emphasize the point that not one of these studies very much cares about what women want. The gender diversity crowd wants to force women to live their lives in a way that will please feminists.

For example, the CEO of GM, Mary Barra, wants to ban after-work dinners because women with families find it difficult to attend. One notes that the people who want to impose diversity are always trying to figure out ways to run people’s businesses and lives. That these dinners might have an important work function escapes people. That the purpose of a company is to make a profit seems not to be very high on their radar. And there is no real way to prevent men from working longer and harder or from banning them from having business dinners.When do you know that a dinner is a business dinner? And how much of a tyranny to you have to impose in order to implement this absurd idea?

Of course, the leaders, and especially Sandberg, all say that a more diverse company is a more profitable company. And they have the studies to prove it. If that is true, then clearly the marketplace will solve the problem. Companies that discriminate against women and minorities will fall by the wayside when they compete against companies that are more diverse. One needs no government intervention when the marketplace will take care of the problem. Assuming, of course, that there is a problem.

John Tamny explained the issue in more cogent terms:

… if in fact women are underpaid relative to their skills just because they're women, smart owners will snap them up only to reveal through success in the marketplace why women are underpaid.

He continues:

In the real world, no truly talented person would seek coerced higher pay; instead, the skilled would reveal in the marketplace just why their pay isn't high enough through performance proving just that. In short, if women really feel they're underpaid relative to their male peers, they should express this truth in the free market.

Of course, no one pays any attention to differences between the sexes. In particular, differences in mathematical aptitude. Which might have some influence on who gets hired at Facebook.

Mark Perry reports on the aptitude gap, as manifested in SAT scores:

1. Continuing an uninterrupted trend that dates back to at least 1972, high school boys outperformed girls on the 2016 SAT math test with an average score of 524 points compared to the average score of 494 for females, see chart above. The statistically significant 30-point male advantage this year on the SAT math test is slightly below the 31-point difference last year. Compared to the average math test score of 508 for all test-takers, high school boys scored 16 points above average while girls scored 14 points below average.

2. For the 117,067 students with SAT math scores in the highest 700-800 point range, high school boys represented 61.5% of those students (71,999) and the 45,068 girls in that group were 38.5% of the total. Stated differently, there were nearly 160 boys with SAT math scores between 700-800 points for every 100 girls with scores in that range. For the next highest 100-point range between 600-700 points for the 2016 SAT math test, there were about 120.4 boys with scores in that range for every 100 high school girls (54.6% boys vs. 45.4% girls).

And this before we even consider that many women simply do not want to become the CEO or the COO. Do any of these studies even consider what women want, the way they want to conduct their lives and their understanding of the price of great career success? In the first place, all women know that the more powerful a woman is in the business world the less attractive she is to men. With men the opposite pertains: the more powerful a man is in business the more attractive he is to women.

None of the seminars on diversity considers the possibility that the habits a woman develops to rise up the corporate ladder will be a detriment in the world of relationships. And let’s not forget that working long hours will often make it more difficult for young women to have children. Ask some of the hard-charging women in Silicon Valley if you don't believe me.

Moreover, being a good mother requires a considerable amount of time and effort and energy. Some women choose to be less than good mothers because they want to work all the time. Many women choose to fulfill their responsibilities to their children, even if that means a less stellar career.

Besides, you certainly know by now that the high tech firms in Silicon Valley are anything but models for diversity. They are largely run by white and Asian males.  Recently, Facebook decided it was going to do something about this gross injustice. Led by Sandberg the company offered its recruiters bonuses for finding more diverse new hires.

The initiative failed. The overlooked talent did not exist. The notion that they had been discriminating against women and minorities was a mirage.

The spate of new studies, led by McKinsey, seems to be reinventing the wheel. It has discovered that men and women are different, that they have different experiences of the workplace. Fancy that.

Men and women work side by side, tackling the same business problems, sitting through the same meetings and walking the same hallways.

But a new study on working women suggests that the common ground ends there. Men and women experience very different workplaces, ones in which the odds for advancement vary widely and corporate careers come in two flavors: his and hers.

Data show that men win more promotions, more challenging assignments and more access to top leaders than women do. Men are more likely than women to feel confident they are en route to an executive role, and feel more strongly that their employer rewards merit.

Women, meanwhile, perceive a steeper trek to the top. Less than half feel that promotions are awarded fairly or that the best opportunities go to the most-deserving employees. A significant share of women say that gender has been a factor in missed raises and promotions. Even more believe that their gender will make it harder for them to advance in the future—a sentiment most strongly felt by women at senior levels.

You might call this sexism. You might call this discrimination. Or you might call it human nature and consider all of the other factors that enter the equation.

One thing is certain. If you think that the difference between the sexes is caused by sexism you are going to create a hostile work environment and a hostile cultural environment. You will be declaring war against human nature. That is one war you are not going to win.

[Addendum: Yesterday at a Town Hall meeting in Virginia a woman officer posed this question of her Commander in Chief:

CAPTAIN LAUREN SERRANO:   Good afternoon, Mr. President.  A study by the Marine Corps revealed that mixed gender combat units performed notably worse and that women suffered staggeringly higher rates of injury.  Just one of those statistics showed that mixed gender units took up to 159 percent longer to evacuate a casualty than all-male units. As the wife of a Marine who deploys to combat often, that added time can mean the difference between my husband living or dying. Why were these tangible negative consequences disregarded and how does the integration of women positively enhance the infantry mission and make me and my husband safer?]


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

All this looks like an emerging religion to me. A belief system with all the marks and trappings of a religion, but with its adherents claiming to be "post-religion." They're too sophisticated to bother with evangelization, so they just impose their will.

You've called it the "Church of Liberal Pieties." Whatever the name, it's a religion, and higher education is the seminary program.

Most religions encourage one to challenge the darker sides of their human nature. This new religion seems to be based on a willful suspension of disbelief, with John Lennon's "Imagine" as its central hymn.

If they can't deal with reality, they'll ban activity that reflects that reality. They're too good for institutional religion, so they invent their own -- with the same dogma and doctrines.

They don't want to pick on Islam because their worldview is becoming as totalitarian as Islam, with no distinctions between faith and temporal matters. And the media culture repeats their every word.

It's a monolithic culture, which sees itself as diverse and sophisticated. It's as barbarous as anything you might read in "The Scarlet Letter", "1984" or "The Crucible."

The trouble with this culture is it dismisses intellectual alternatives, attacks the very worthiness dissenting opinions, and closes itself off to all feedback loops.

It would seem that when more and more people go to college and graduate school, the true academic freedom and diversity of perspective shrinks. It's a paradox until you look at human nature. But when the humanities are wholly politicized with chic garbledygook, there's nothing left to learn about what it means to be a human being.

It's a free-for-all, so long as you don't believe in standards and dispense with the concept of value. Yet that's not wisdom, that's indoctrination. It sure isn't education when there's nothing left to discover.

And we're surprised? This is Nietzsche's will to power, a world of heroes who are heroes unto themselves, with lots of money.

Trigger Warning said...

It's no religion. It's power-seeking, plain and simple. The basis for all this is ideology and a laughable "statistical" fiction called disparate impact...

If the disparate impact racketeers were serious, the first targets they would attack would be the NBA and PhDs awarded in "health care administration" (whatever that means).

Did you know that one field of engineering has many more women than men? Yes, its environmental engineering. Aka outdoor tidying up.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Trigger Warning @September 29, 2016 at 8:08 AM:

"It's power-seeking, plain and simple."

Certainly. My point is they don't see it as power-seeking. They believe they are doing what is right, based on a metaphysical moral and ethical code they they learned in college, and it is not tied to an orthodox institutional worldview (in their mind). It's just right, correct, and inspired. That's cosmological certainty, and that's traditionally been the realm of religion. I assert that most of these people don't know why they believe what they believe. It's just the correct way to do things... they don't see the politics at all. This is how you get media apoplexy around Trump. It does against everything they learned in college, and when they finished reading "The End of History" by Francis Fukuyama. That's their truth. Yet these are articles of faith.

And disparate impact is indeed a fantasy/fiction, and it is unjust because it is not tied to intent. Disparate treatment is tied to intent, and demonstrated choices that are discriminatory or create a discriminatory environment. Sowell is correct: it's a racket.

Ares Olympus said...

Re: Mark Perry reports on the aptitude gap, as manifested in SAT scores...

I get annoyed by gender comparisons like this, since its so easy to ignore the variations or standard deviation, so what does it really mean if 48% of women score higher than 50% of men or 52% of men score higher then 50% of women?

On the other side, its fair game to note that the vast majority of top geniuses are male, and society should "take advantage" of their skills, but everyone would also agree that men's intellectual interests are also more specialized, and the male chess grandmaster you admire may also be socially clueless and not someone you should trust in areas of outside of his direct experience, no better than anyone else.

I saw this new video of Donald Trump clips talking about his superior genes. And it ends purposely (i.e. Aryan race style) with Trump saying "You know I'm proud to have that German blood. There's no question about it. Great stuff."

Confidence is clearly important, and if you can convince everyone men are smarter than women, then we can trust people like Trump that he is doing women a favor when he demeans them for stepping above their grade in life, by his superior measures.

Ares Olympus said...

Trigger Warning said... Did you know that one field of engineering has many more women than men? Yes, its environmental engineering. Aka outdoor tidying up.

It makes sense to me. As an undergrad I worked for (a male) professor in environmental engineering, who looking at using natural selection for specialty microbes that would "eat" and degrade toxic chemicals from brownfield land left over from industry. I was proud to help with the mathematical models, and even back in the 90s perhaps 1/3 of the grad students in the field were women, although most were not American! But my professor's oldest daughter followed him with her own PhD.

Evironmental Engineering is surely safer than front line combat, and better family flex-time too.

Trigger Warning said...

"I get annoyed by gender comparisons like this, since its so easy to ignore the variations or standard deviation bla bla... Trump bla"

The standard deviation is a measure of the variation, Ares.

You'd be well served by spending less time goggling at Trump attack videos and buying this book: "Uncertainty: The Soul of Probability, Modeling, and Statistics". You might learn something. But it's uncertain.

"everyone would also agree that..."

Everyone? No "variations", squandered devalations, or aimless mucking about the mean??

"men's intellectual interests are also more specialized"

It would be difficult, absent using nonsense syllables, to construct an English sentence with greater vacuity. Do you mean that women tend to be jackleg dilettantes? Sexiss, and maybe raciss.

"Evironmental [sic] Engineering is surely safer than front line combat..."

Surely??! What about the "variations".... :-D

David Foster said...

"For example, the CEO of GM, Mary Barra, wants to ban after-work dinners because women with families find it difficult to attend"

It's true that there is a certain amount of required (or at least strongly-encouraged) corporate socializing that could be eliminated with minimal bad effects and significant good effects. But I don't think this accounts for the majority of extended-hours workdays, or anything close to it. How about sales proposals/presentations to a key customer that must be finished by a specific deadline? How about a product quality problem that was discovered and needs to be fixed quickly? How about litigation? These things won't go away on Mary Barra's request. As I am sure she knows.

Bizzy Brain said...

Explains the genetics of why men are smarter than women.

Ares Olympus said...

Trigger Warning said... The standard deviation is a measure of the variation, Ares.

I think you're falling into trolling, but indeed, that's what I said, hence the "or", implying as you say - the first term variation as the description, and the standard deviatino as a measure.

I recall the variance is the sum of the squares of the difference between each value and the mean, while the standard deviation is the square root of that. And normal distributions have just over 2/3 of the values between +/-1 s.d. Of course all population distributions are not normal, another reason to its better to look at the distribution curves rather than the mean/s.d. values alone.

I'm certainly not an expert on advanced statistics, but I understand enough of the basics to see its power, and enough to know how easily it is misused by fools.

Like I know in election theory there's an enthusiastic group that loves to talk about "Bayesian regret" functions as supposedly proving that "range voting" (rating each candidate on a scale 0-100) added up scores to give the best winner, but they never explain how in the real world you don't have 100 candidates and choice overload by ordinary human beings.

If the genius men get their way, someday we'll all be able to vote like Hillary 0, Stein 0, Johnson 2, Trump 5, on a 100 point scale, add up the votes and get the candidate we all deserve.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @September 29, 2016 at 7:44 PM:

"I think you're falling into trolling..."

Ares, once again, you possess no self-awareness.

Since your understanding of the world emanates from Wikipedia, read this:

Yes, Ares, your favorite source of wisdom is clear: YOU are a troll. I've received more enjoyment from Trigger Warning's recent thoughts than anything you've contributed over the years you've been commenter on this blog. You've received many hints and direct feedback on your efforts here, and they are 99.823% negative. 'Twould seem no one is interested. One would have to be operating in their own alternative universe not to see this. Perhaps you live elsewhere, like Mr. Mxyzptlk, DC Comics' Cosmic Criminal from the 5th Dimension. Whatever the case, the writing is on the wall: go away. Yet you persist. You are a troll. Calling others trolls doesn't make it so, lest you imagine yourself Obama, so convinced of his own magnificence, which I am sure you receive as a compliment... even though it is not. Go share your pseudo-intellectual musings with others.

Indeed, go back to your blog, and spare us your faux wisdom. Make yourself great again.