The "Google Manifesto" which got a Google employee fired (FULL)


If you take those individual differences in personality over a large enough set of people, tally them up, separate by gender, and then average them by gender. Are you saying that you think that they would line up to be about the same?

(Ben McGinnes) #42

By gender or by sex? Which do you mean? Most of these “male brain” vs. “female brain” theories tend to be a little fuzzy about which of the two they’re discussing, largely because the concept originated before there was generally a recognised difference between sex and gender within society.

Anyway, more recent studies based on biological factors (i.e. sex and not gender) do seem to point to exactly that sort of thing, that the sort of differences pointed to as saying trait #1 is male and trait #2 is female are more likely to be differences between individuals than between sexes.


I am referring mainly to gender, not to birth sex.
But feel free to interpret gender as you want when answering the question.

So for example:
Survey for "how much compassion do you feel for others? between 1 - 10 with 1 being lowest, 10 highest"
Follow up question "What is you gender? Male, Female, Non-Binary"
You tally up all the scores for Females (Then average it by number of Females)
You tally up all the scores for Males (Then average it by number of Males)
You tally up all the scores for Non-Binary (Then average it by number of Non-Binary)
Do you think they would be pretty similar or have a statistical difference between them?

(Ben McGinnes) #44

Well, this right here illustrates part of the problem with stating whether or not there is a “male brain” or a “female brain” if you’re talking about brain structure or biological factors which differentiate between two types and which consequently result in mind or cognitive developmental differences, but then decide that the basis of that differentiation is gender and not biological sex the question one must ask is: how the hell can the brain type be either male or female?

Now I know, the transgender counter to that question is that gender supercedes biology and that gender is more important than sex. If that is true, though, then there’s no need to differentiate between a “male brain” and a “female brain” at all because biology doesn’t matter (or matter as much).

So which is it? Biology doesn’t matter and identity is supreme, regardless of sex, genotype, phenotype and brain type … or biology does matter?

I think that you’d need to dig a lot deeper than something that basic to get a real indication of what’s really going on. If it were that simple then we wouldn’t be arguing over it.


Why are you avoiding the question? It doesn’t have to be so difficult

Give me all the answers you would for Birth Sex, Biological Brain, Self-Identified, I don’t care. I doubt all these different combinations would even make much statistical difference, especially considering that you are arguing that the genders are the same. You could make it “People born Male, biological brain is Male, identify as Male vs People born Female, Biological brain is Female, identify as Female” and exclude all other combinations from this question for the sake of argument if you want to.

however you like to interpret it is fine, I am just trying to understand your perspective. So use the interpretation which best conveys the point you are trying to make.

(Ben McGinnes) #46

I’m trying to demonstrate that the question itself is fundamentally flawed.

Then you need to step back and ask “what is a male brain?” and “what is a female brain?” Which is the sort of thing which is promoted in the memo, that these things exist and each one demonstrates certain trait types. The implication of both the memo and some of Andrew’s prior arguments is that these things are based on some very specific thing, but when we try to drill down and determine whether that is sex or gender we can’t get a straight answer on that. Is it the male brain determined by having 46,XY chromosomes or is it determined by a specific threshold of testosterone? Does it require both of these things?

Or is it not biological at all? Is it gender based, as you’re positing here? If so then is it determined solely by nurture rather than nature and, if so, does that mean the entire thing comes down to how someone is raised? If so, then surely that means that the traits associated with male and female are not determined by chromosomal or hormonal variance, but by environmental factors and thus there cannot be a male brain and female brain since the nurturing would override it.


@Ben, please just answer the question, however you see fit.

If it makes it easier for you, you can compare a Male which is Male in every sense (birth sex, biology of chromosomes, biology of brain, hormones, psychology, pre-natal, environment, upbringing, anything else I may have forgot) compared to a Female which is Female in every sense (of the same criteria) and exclude everyone else from the question who doesn’t fit that mould (it’s just a hypothetical and for the sake of argument). You could also change that criteria to whatever you think is most important to look it.

Just tell me what you think the correlation would be.

You could give multiple correlations based on different criteria to define gender if you wish.

(Ben McGinnes) #48

I don’t think it can be answered until the “male brains” or “female brains” are defined.

From the studies I’ve read about and I linked to a couple of articles discussing those sorts of things earlier, I think that whatever the range of questions you asked would show variation between individuals which were not conclusive enough to determine specific traits of cognitive function or personality type based solely on either sex or gender. You included an example of compassion or empathy, for instance.

Regardless of which question or sets of questions you use I think you’re more likely to see results which are indicative of either specific individuals or, at best, intersectional similarities across a range of origin types which factor in individual factors (e.g. personality), genotypical factors (e.g. specific genetic factors), phenotypical factors (e.g. physical developmental factors) and environmental factors (e.g. nurture, rearing, education, etc.).

That being the case, there’s still going to be too much variance which will effectively be unique to individuals to render attempts to define these elusive gendered brain types pretty much useless. Obviously the longer this thread continues without anyone on the pro-male/female brain side actually being able to define what either of those things is and how they’re measured, the more (subjective) evidence is pointing towards this theory being correct.

Look, if I’m wrong, I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. The first step in proving me wrong is telling me what a male brain and a female brain is. If you want to consider intersex too much an edge case to wrestle with and concentrate on the other 98.3+%, that’s fine, but if the male brain and the female brain are real things then you can define them. Perhaps start with something relatively simple: does biology affect the brain and cognitive function?


The best I can make out that you are trying to say is that there are too many variables in individuals to split between male vs female lines?

We have only scratched the surface in understanding how the Brain really works, so making definitions on a Brain level is going to be very hard.

I argue that the specifics of how you specifically define the gender (down to a cell level) is not important. Between all the different ways that you look at the question “What makes up gender in a brain?” the chances are that it’s going to be many things- but on the whole when looking at a large sample size, most or all the specific attributes which you are looking for are going to be aligned.

eg: Most people born with a Penis also have a biological brain which is full of Masculinity traits and self-identify as Male (i.e. What is considered Male in all respects)

Since working from a Cell level of a Brain up (and then apply that statistically to large samples) is not feasible with current understanding of the Brain, we can looking at it from the other way around might be more practical (Sample sizes reflecting down to Gender).

I largely think that it’s irrelevant of the exact definition of gender because under all definitions, it will be mostly the same result anyway. There is an extremely high correlation between all Male attributes, and Female ones. Not to say that there aren’t outliers, but this is the majority.

We also got to look at using a practical way to measure gender in the survey participants. Do we do a brain scan on each one? Or do we just ask them what they think they are? Either way I think is similar enough to not be statistically important.

You could answer the question as I’ve presented it to you. Possible answers are: Gender X has on average more compassion than Gender Y, or Gender X and Gender Y have similar levels of compassion, or you have no idea without actually seeing data.

We can use statistical analysis to see if the results show anomalies, or if there is a clear range among the genders which responded (no matter what definition of gender is used, the methodology is the same)

You could then pick that apart as to why that’s not a useful measurement or the flaws in the methodology.

Just trying to understand you because at the moment I feel like I’m missing the point of what you’re trying to say.

(Tim Serong) #50

“The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes” is a direct quote from the last paragraph on page 3.

That wasn’t a journalist, it was a fellow (now-former) Googler. Did you read his entire piece?

I can also suggest which explains why this thing generated so much outrage.


Thanks I read everything Yonatan has to say

I was mistaken abiut the abilities bring mentioned. Yes some people don’t have certain abilities at all, the question is if gender has any correlation of actually not being able to do it (not just bit wanting to) - that I don’t know either way and one of the points I would need actual data to believe it. I am inclined to believe that most women or men have the ability to do any job they set their mind to and that Damore is wrong on that

The main point he makes though is that Damore implies that some women are “only being kept in their jobs because of some political ideas”

I get his perspective, with Damore openly raising doubts about the merits of the hiring practices, he is implying that many women could have been hired deslite not having the merits for the job.

This may well be factually true, but the point Yonatan makes is that without knowing WHICH females hired at Google were merit based and which to fill a diversity quota, it casts doubt on all of them. Like someone might think about another employee “are they legit in this job? Or did they get it because they are female?” And that can be very hostile, and I think that Google should address that but instead Yonatan sides with Google in seeing it as a fireable offense to bring it up

I lean towards the problem begging with Google for doing these practices in the first place, not the whistleblower, but still Yonatan makes a fair point on that and that Damore didn’t consider the full ramifications of the information he put out, and could have been more diplomatic about it (I agree) but I wouldn’t know how because his attempts to do it quietly failed and they way he did it succeeded in opening discussion.

Still, Yonatan didn’t quite grasp that it’s a distribution not that all women can’t do the job, only some. Also he puts a lot of time into discrediting his engineering credentials which was unfounded IMO

(Andrew Downing) #52

So, that’s just wrong.

It may not be PC to say so, but the top predictor of economic success is IQ, followed by conscientiousness.
In other words, be smart and work hard. Not particularly controversial really.

IQ is mostly inherited, with only small changes possible through things like improved childhood nutrition.

Conscientiousness can be drilled into you though. This goes some way to explaining the unmentioned excess of Asian people doing engineering at Google. It’s at about 30%, way above the population average in the US, but guess what? … Their parents drive them to be really conscientious. Next generation, probs not, but in the meantime, academic institutions like Harvard are artificially limiting their asian intake, giving the message, “for best success, work hard but don’t be asian”.

Multipliers like these two and others mean that success falls into a Pareto distribution at almost every scale. Something approximately like the square root of the number of people in any organization produce around half the value.
A linear approximation of this is the 80:20 rule for small populations.

This happens in all human endeavors. Music, art, science, maths, sport etc. Just think how few composers produced the majority of all classical music listened to, to get a sense of this effect, or the spread of big goal scores in your favourite sport etc.

It’s the reason we have employment filtering processes. They’re trying to find people that will be in the steep part of the curve. Google are trying to ensure they employ as many of the top sqrt() of the engineering population as they can, but then internally, the same Pareto distribution still applies.

It’s not equal, and never will be. The whole point is to skim off the top fraction of capability, exploit them as hard as possible, and throw enough money and work conditions at them as you need to to keep exploiting them. They deviate from this at their peril, because the results are highly non linear. Screw this up while your competition does not, and you’re done.

Now, consider what this means if we ignore this as a nation. If we appoint people based on population demographic fairness targets. This would destroy our economy, and then all the lovely social programmes we enjoy will be defunded and we’re fucked. This is the essence of the golden goose in economic prosperity. Don’t kill it. You’ll regret it.


basically, this is the most succinct and accurate description of what is going, on, regardless of the rules-lawyering and gaslighting jedb continues to display (it is really boring). that there are a number of you lot that keep piling on to this side with insidious and deeply flawed arguments that actually, it’s all a con, that there are UNDESERVING women and minorities being given positions that they DON’T DESERVE ELEBENTYONE… as if somehow this hadn’t been happening for forever for the other side and this was just, again, some kind of mythical even playing field we’re standing on here.

seriously, check yoself.

Millenia of might makes right discrimination, that people with different skin colour are animals not human, that people with different sexualities must be feared, loathed and exterminated, people with different neural structures must be ridiculed, pitied and cast aside - we should be getting better at this but we’re not. Enough with the freaking butthurt, the position you take on this is coming from the wrong place.

It wears me out to have to keep arguing this very basic stuff , which is not emotive, it’s clearly factual and has acres of statistics to back it up - and I think it wears Google out too. which is why i’m leaning towards disengaging.


While some of the ideas some of us in here have come up with I think that a bit out of left field (which is not particular to any side) I don’t think that anyone here in this discussion topic on this forum are necessarily pushing any particular side or viewpoint, but that this document is very thought provoking and we as mostly centered people are trying to separate the value from the junk.

We seem to agree that Affirmative Action (in the sense of putting an unqualified person into a position only because of their minority background, not because their background helps them do their job) is wrong because it is discrimination, and actually causes more harm because when this policy is in place it calls into question the credentials of everyone in that minority in case it was the Affirmative Action which the only reason why they got that job, not because they were the best candidate. And this goes deep into Job Performance testing, Education with getting into courses and passing tests.

There is also a question of if the best candidate is even necessary, just so long as they can meet the job requirements. But everyone knows that in a workplace, some people are better at their job than others (and this statement I make has nothing to do with gender at all, some of the worst staff members I’ve encountered were male and truly were terrible at their jobs to the point they shouldn’t of had them.)

I am going to ignore that contradiction in that and say that the emotive side has a good point.

I think that Cynthia Lee’s article on VOX is very insightful from a woman’s point of view, it’s not just the content of the article written itself which is the problem, but the attitudes about women in general which surround it (i.e. women often feel like they have to prove themselves to be taken seriously instead of being accepted automatically).

I can see why you feel that way with women constantly being called into question. I do say though that I feel that this article has provoked some issues which may be the deep-seated cause of why these problems keep happening, and if we can understand it better in a scientific and objective way we might actually get to the bottom of it and fix the problem for good so that it doesn’t keep coming up again.

This issue is big enough that it even affects the party internally even though we try our best not have these issues, and it’s constantly a problem in Australia and even in Federal Politics.

I am quite happy to say that I realise that you are a female instead of ignoring it and because most of us are males (who inherently can’t see the issue from a female perspective), am also I am happy to say that I want you to make contributions on here and anything which involves gender issues than to pull out, not because you are a female, but because you have unique qualifications which that brings.

(Frew) #55

I have been a bit busy to get involved in this debate (trying to prepare notes for the Presidency handover), but I feel a need to weigh in. People keep quoting studies of differences between men and women that posit different preferences for different things, stating that the differences are mostly biological. Due to the patriarchal history of society it is impossible to tell how much is biological and how much is socialised. There aren’t really any groups that haven’t been socialised to study.

Statistics that have been used to posit biological differences have been carried out on subjects that are products of socialisation. How people are raised has a huge impact on what they do later in life. There has been a lot of debate about the nature side of the nature and nurture dichotomy, but very little of the nurture side.

Children are usually socialised into gender roles, with some progressive parents being aware of this, it is less prominent than it used to be. The way parents speak to their children has a major influence on who they become. The way advertisers market to children has an influence too, as does school and child-care.

Here is Unicef’s statement about the influence of socialisation on gender roles:

It is generally accepted that early gender socialization is one of the most pertinent issues in early childhood, affecting both boys and girls. The foundations for stereotypes in gender roles are laid through early gender socialization.

Early gender socialization starts at birth and it is a process of learning cultural roles according to one’s sex. Right from the beginning, boys and girls are treated differently by the members of their own environment, and learn the differences between boys and girls, women and men. Parental and societal expectations from boys and girls, their selection of gender-specific toys, and/or giving gender based assignments seem to define a differentiating socialization process that can be termed as “gender socialization”. There are numerous examples from varied parts of the world confirming that gender socialization is intertwined with the ethnic, cultural, and religious values of a given society. And gender socialization continues throughout the life cycle.

Here is a study about parents displaying different attitudes in how they raised boys and girls. This shows that gendered socialisation begins from a very early age. Here is a study about how unequal gender representation of scientists influences parents and goes on to influence the children. There are studies on all sorts of different aspects of the influence of socialisation on people growing up, these all influence the gender balance in industries among adults.

This is the weight of history which is being overcome by degrees through political struggle. There have been large strides made in addressing historical inequalities, but there is a hell of a long way to go. We need to be on the right side of this struggle.

(Andrew Downing) #56

"It’s the differences, of which there are none, which make the sameness exceptional."


Personal attacks are also really boring.

Of course it affects us, and of course it’s a problem. There’s a fundamental disagreement going on between equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes. Some people want to let everyone have the same chance and be judged on their individual merits/choices. And others want to make the outcome for every group the same even if it involves discriminating for/against individuals.

I’m glossing over a lot here. The science of the differences that exist, both nature and nurture, gets politicised and ignored. Federal politics last time I checked had both Labor and the Greens with equality of outcomes and the LNP taking neither stance. There’s a great deal of quibbling around the edges and misunderstandings, intentional or otherwise. But the above paragraph is the core of things.

Nah, it’s a pile of crap. Points 1 demonstrates a lack of understanding of statistical distributions, point 2 involves stereotyping, points 3 ignores how differences in bell curves are magnified in the tails, and points 3, 4, 5 all ignore how current diversity programs are almost all discriminatory.

It’s kind of amusing how easy it is to tell someone’s political stance on the thing by whether they consistently call it a “memo” or a “manifesto”, by the way.


It doesn’t matter if it’s a pile of crap or not (and I think there are truths in there), the most important point of that piece is that this is how the Google Memo came across, particularly from a female perspective, which is important to recognise.

I am constantly interchanging the words, utterly meaningless metric.


I have volunteered to put together a new Diversity & Equality policy for PPAU. It would be great if we can work towards finding a common ground.

It is not limited to gender, it will be broad, addressing concerns across a range of diverse groups. i.e. Marriage Equality.

Factors will not be limited to raw facts, even emotional and perceptions of these issues will be addressed. As long as we are objective and cite hard evidence if we are going to make any claims.

I know that in the Party we are not evenly represented (and that could be in part by not having a sensible policy on this issue yet) so we need a larger pool of brains. If you know anyone outside the party who you think would like to contribute, by all means, please invite them to be involved.

Please send me a message if you would like to be part of it. I would like as many people who have first-hand experience in being in a minority group as possible, but of course everyone who is interested is welcome even if you don’t fit that group, as long as you have an open mind and are respectful at all times.

(Andrew Downing) #60

Courageous move.