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

(Tim Serong) #81

Let me go back to first principles. I’d like to apologise in advance if I’m misrepresenting anyone or anything, or just being flat out naiive (I am, after all, a scary-looking white dude).

Axiom: Scholarships are given to people who are at a disadvantage in our (read: Western, capitalist, etc.) society for some reason, in order to help them get past that disadvantage.

So, if it is true that:

  • Indigenous people are disadvantaged in our society,
  • Rural/remote people are disadvantaged in our society,
  • Poor people are disadvantaged in our society, and,
  • [insert minority groups here] are disadvantaged in our society,

…then why shouldn’t scholarships be offered to any and all disadvantaged groups, whether the reason for the disadvantage is race, location, income, or any other factor?

If a scholarship for aboriginal people is a “racist scholarship”, then isn’t a scholarship for rural/remote people a “distantist scholarship”, and a scholarship for poor people an “incomeist scholarship”?

(Andrew Downing) #82

Actually, scholarships are given for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes to address hardship, sometimes to encourage participation into some field, sometimes to draw candidates to a new school, sometimes to attract people with industry defined career objectives, sometimes to reward star performers, and sometimes as affirmative action to address past injustices.

(miles_w) #83

Arguing over principles or statements in principle is not productive. @jedb @Simon @frew perhaps we should all take a step back and see what @lmk et al actually develop, then we can debate that policy on its own merits.

(Frew) #84

I spoke to @LMK before I first commented on the idea of a diversity policy, it is my understanding that she doesn’t want to be on the working group (but may be persuaded). I think her attitude is (and I am paraphrasing here) “just because I am part of a minority doesn’t mean working on a diversity policy is something I want to do.”

Or as she has said in the thread:

I would guess she is way more keen on developing a direct democracy policy or doing some work on making our own version of liquid democracy.


That’s fair. I won’t lie that I’m a little disappointed that @alexjago and @LMK don’t want to do it, because I respect their opinions a lot, but I’m sure we’ll find more

(miles_w) #86

We should encourage people to work on where their interests. Swarmwise activism means we will attract more people to contribute that way, and they will get more done as well.


Here is some food for thought when it comes to Disability equality:

(Andrew Downing) #88

Having been around some soccer teams with my own kids, I think I may have a little insight into this one.

What happens, is that at an early age, most participation is social and about just having some fun together. Plenty of room for disabled kids, awkward kids, mixed sex teams etc.etc. However, as the kids get older, the focus turns to training hard and winning. There are different grades, where people can play anyway, but they’re not generally the focus of the clubs, because the people that put energy into running these volunteer clubs are generally the same people with the drive to win etc.

Lower grade teams end up as a mix of people that are there for a bit of fun and social time, and other people that want a serious game, but couldn’t make it in the higher grades yet.

This produces friction in those teams that tend to tear them apart.


From my experience, I was always the kid who never got anywhere close to the ball (plus one other like me) and played in the lowest division with other players who weren’t that good either, and against other teams with equally bad players, and never had any any special rules made to include me, only that I would usually play half the game on the bench to let the better players get more goals and then I could jump on all refreshed and compete better against tired players (but still not very close).

This was at a private school obsessed with sporting success mind you, who gave out full sports scholarships to attract top sporting talent, many students of this school have gone on to compete in top levels of AFL, Cricket, Olympics (Gold medals too), etc. is even notable enough to have a Wikipedia article listing them.

It’s hard to tell the exact situation in that league, they make it sound like that without making a special spot for him there is literally no other way for him to be included. I would want a way for kids in his situation to be included. That’s why it needs more thought.

(Andrew Downing) #90

I don’t think it’s that complicated.
These are volunteer organizations. If you want a team that’s more about the socialising, and good will than about the winning, then make one. Nobody can stop you, but you may need to organize it yourself. It’s not hard.

What you can’t expect, it that people who are dedicating themselves to teams that are all about the winning, will somehow include your non-focussed-on-the-winning self in their efforts. This is a microcosm of authoritarian vs. libertarian politics. Forcing them to include non-competitive players in competitive grades would destroy the essence of why they contribute to their clubs in the first place.

This is where the Authoritarian-Left gets itself in trouble. You can ask people to be nice, but forcing them to be nice breaks everything it touches.


In the case of a private workplace (i.e. Google) they have a right to choose to make concessions by making extra positions to be filled by those less competitive, but then you have blowback across the whole industry… like the memo

(Ben McGinnes) #92

So somewhere earlier in this thread, the hoary old argument of the gendered or sexed brain (i.e. that there are “male brains” and “female brains” and that people have one or the other; a theory frequently cited by transgender activists) came up and which I asserted had been debunked… The articles I dug up at the time didn’t really answer the question. but I have now located the proper study (and critical collary) which deal with this matter.

The principal paper is Sex beyond the genitalia: The human brain mosaic PDF by D. Joel, et. al.

The conclusions are worth noting:

The lack of internal consistency in human brain and gender
characteristics undermines the dimorphic view of human brain and
behavior and calls for a shift in our conceptualization of the
relations between sex and the brain. Specifically, we should shift
from thinking of brains as falling into two classes, one typical
of males and the other typical of females, to appreciating the
variability of the human brain mosaic. Scientifically, this
paradigm shift entails replacing the currently dominant practice
of looking for and listing sex/gender differences with analysis
methods that take into account the huge variability in the human
brain (rather than treat it as noise), as well as individual
differences in the specific composition of the brain mosaic. At
the social level, adopting a view that acknowledges human
variability and diversity has important implications for social
debates on longstanding issues such as the desirability of
single-sex education and the meaning of sex/gender as a social

Now with such an emphatic conclusion, which went against literally
decades or possibly centuries of belief that men thought one way and
women another (which is why certain amongst you just assumed it was
right, “it’s always been that way” - until science came along), it was
inevitable that there’d be some peer revue wanting to disprove it.

This comes in the form of a letter rather than a full article:

Patterns in the human brainmosaic discriminate males from females PDF by A. M. Chekroud, et. al.

It’s not very long and it basically confirms the methodology and
results of the original paper:

Based on these criteria, the authors convincingly establish that
there is little evidence for this strict sexually dimorphic view
of human brains, counter to the popular lay conception of a “male”
and “female” brain. This finding has broad implications not only
for the ontology of gender, but also for the statistical treatment
of sex in morphometric analyses.

In fact the best they can do to salvage the old theory is this:

Despite the absence of dimorphic differences and lack of internal
consistency observed by Joel et. al., multivariate analyses of
whole-brain patterns in brain morphometry can reliably
discriminate sex. These two results are not mutually
inconsistent. We wholly agree that a strict dichotomy between
male/female brains does not exist, but this does not diminish or
negate the importance of considering statistical differences
between the sexes (e.g., including sex as a covariate in
morphometric analyses).

Which is basically saying that statistical analysis of a broad range
of candidates ought to be able to provide some degree of consistency
in correctly identifying the sex. Such a whole brain analysis and
statistical approach would, by its very nature be assessing traits in
much the same context as I proposed in my own answer: that it would be
a combination of genotypical factors, phenotypical factors,
developmental factors and environmental or experienced factors.

By the way, most of the transgender activists I’ve seen online citing
the gendered brain theory to support their position cite the letter
used as the rebuttal and only quote that final paragraph with the
statistical approach. They prefer not to mention the rest of the
letter or Joel’s paper with its very conclusive proof to the contrary.

Anyway, this topic was bound to rise up again at some point in the
future and I figured I’d leave this here in anticipation of that.
Mainly so I didn’t forget about it.

(miles_w) #93

Thanks for posting that Ben. It’s easy to read between the lines and only see parts of a study that we agree with. I might just note though where you said (emphasis mine)

I think you may be misreading the respondant there. What they said was, as you quoted (emphasis mine),

additionally, Chekroud et al said elsewhere in their response:

The study is an interesting read along with the other critical responses. If anyone is interested I recommend the original PNAS source as I find it more readable than the NCBI site.

I have heard a study like this referenced by transgender activists in r/science’s recent medical AMA series on the science of transgenderism but I haven’t seen any so far that do an MRI pattern analysis similar to this.

(Ben McGinnes) #94

Yes, but the brain mosaic as a whole is, understandably influenced by other factors beyond merely the natal sex or identified gender (if any). It will also be influenced by other genetic conditions not related to sex or gender, other chemical balances or imbalances and a variety of factors. So it could very well be true that the impact of nurture, that is being raised according to a particular gender role within one’s culture may create enough of those elements which enable the statistical likelihood of correctly discerning the individuals’s gender.

If so, then there still is not a sexed or gendered brain so much as there are certain traits, some natural and some acquired, which meet the relevant criteria. So people become the identities they wish rather than being inherently born to it.

Obviously that possibility won’t sit well with some transgender people, but that discomfort, unfortunate as it may be, does not negate the theory.

Cool, I just grabbed the PDFs, so I cared a little less, but more is always better.

Yeah, I know there’s one or two, but I’m not sure how extensive they are and I know some also conducted post-mortem dissections of brain tissue from transsexual people (i.e. post-transition transgender people, but often these studies were long enough ago to pre-date current terminology). I’m not sure how good the quality is on those either as most of them are just lecture references where the material seen is a recorded university lecture. So it’s interesting, but not easy to verify or cite.

This, obviously, has the benefit of being quite verifiable. Also, like you, I prefer the original article rather than the letter, but the letter has the attempt to debunk the paper unsuccessfully and the limit that it can stretch things. Which is good to know because otherwise the same questions would be asked by the argumentative and the reader would have a hard time proving things, the letter takes care of that entire argument before it starts.

(Alex Jago) #95

The tl;dr is still (at least from what I’m reading) that you can pick a point on the gender spectrum and say “traits X/Y/Z are more positively correlated for this point than for that other one.”

(Andrew Downing) #96

but now you can point to bits of brain too.

(miles_w) #97

The original article on PNAS includes all 4 critical responses, as well as the author responses to 2 of those reviews. As well as some respondants noting the high rate of accuracy in multivariate prediction models for sex based off the brain patterns, one point raised from the critical responses was that an analysis of brain tissue did not take into account neural function (synaptic or dendritic structure) as demonstrated by those portions of the brain controlling sexual function looking almost identical morphologically while performing differently in function due to differing patterns of hormone secretion during developmental phases. My takeaway here is that Joel et al did not take into account the accuracy of sex prediction through multivariate analysis of the brain scan datasets when writing their conclusions.

The study referenced 3 surveys asking about stereotyped gender activities. The data there appears to support their findings. They state that brains are not aligned along a “male-female” continuum, and that

They also state that

However I think that is unsupported (see critical responses above). It’s certainly a novel direction to examine sexual dimorphism.

(Ben McGinnes) #98

You’re assuming that it is dimorphic. There are approximately 119 million people on this planet who, to varying degrees, are living proof of the flaws in that presumption. I know I said earlier in this thread that I intended to try to ignore the various circumstances which fall into the very broad category of intersex conditions, but this assumption makes that more than a little difficult.

Adhering to the sex dimorphic model necessitates reclassifying those people as one of three different classes, depending on the nature of their condition. Those three broad classifications being:

  1. Deformed - those with physical attributes which do not align with only one side of the dimorphic standard. This includes, but is not limited to what is commonly referred to as ambiguous genitalia and mixed or incomplete reproductive organs. Standard medical responses are surgical.
  2. Genetic defects - those with a condition triggered by the activation or non-activation of a specific gene resulting in a condition that produces a non-dimorphic outcome. This includes conflicting or incomplete hormone production and processing. Standard medical responses are hormone replacement therapy and, in some cases, cortico-steroid treatment.
  3. Non-homo sapiens sapiens - those individuals with a chromosome structure which does not match the 46 chromosomes of the homid genus; those with either 45 chromosomes or 47 chromosomes or higher. This is a genetic variance which takes those affected outside the homo sapiens species and homo sapiens sapiens sub-species, but does not make them a new species as there are multiple subsets and a new species by definition requires being able to propagate itself, which does not occur in these cases. These varations are always forked from either the preceding species or sub-species. Standard medical responses may include either surgery or hormone replacement therapy depending on circumstances, but the underlying genetic variance can never be modified, it’s fixed at conception.

This is the standard view of modern medicine anyway, so I get why you (and moswant to maintat people) possess an unconscious bias towards validating it. Indeed it’s that bias which drives the motivation of the medical community around the globe to “fix” these conditions through so-called “normalising treatments” of a variety of types. At the extreme end that includes genital and reproductive system amputation, followed by reconstructive surgery to match the specified dimorphic sex.

Modern medicine does enable recrafting a body into the semblance of a specific dimorphic sex through surgery. It also enables ongiong treatment utilising hormone replacement therapy to approximate the natural production within a standard sex dimorphic individual. None of those, however, modify the brain itself, save for overriding the regulatory effect of the pituitary gland in the brain.

The sex dimorphic model in conjunction with sexed brains necessitates that all brains must be sexed. Even those which, according according to both sex dimorphic models and human evolution, are outside the sub-species commonly termed as modern humans.

With those individuals who fall into either or both of the first two classifications above, the dimorphically sexed brain model needs to quantify which sex the brain would be.

With the individuals whose genetic variance is so fundamentally different from their homo sapiens sapiens progenitors that they do not conform to the chromosome structure of the sub-species, there are two issues pertaining to brain structure. Firstly, whether and to what degree their brains differ from the brain of a healthy homo sapiens sapiens individual (either 46,XX or 46,XY); and secondly, whether their brains are still sexed according to the dimorphic model.

NOTE: It would still be possible to accept a model in which sex is a spectrum which would account for the first two classifications being positioned along that spectrum while those in the third classification remain outside or evolved from the homo sapiens sapiens sub-species.

So tell me, if the sex dimorphic view is accurate and brains are sexed as well, rather than containing traits which may be factored such that a statistical analysis may match a majority to the two sexes defined by the dimorphic model; what do you think the brains of these individuals would be?

I’m very curious to know how you intend to explain these cases.

(miles_w) #99

Ah I see what you’re trying to say. I was commenting to say that while Joel et al challenged the existing model of sexually dimorphic brains they did only in the sense they presented a novel approach to examine it and did not actually address any of the existing literature (despite implying otherwise in their conclusions)… by existing literature I’m referring to the organisational-activational model of human brain developmental templates.

The number of individuals globally with nonstandard chromosomal and gonadal variations is estimated to be around one percent depending on classification. The treatment of those intersex individuals has been barbaric in the past and vestiges of those medical traditions continue… infant genital mutilation/circumcision is an example of a similarly outdated and horrific practice still carried on. The concept of dimorphism however refers to documented/observable differences in phenotypal and behavioural traits split into two rough categories. I don’t think anyone is trying to say there isn’t a lot of overlap or that individuals exist who don’t fit exactly into those two boxes.

And a 98%+ accuracy of classification suggests it is not an inaccurate model.

(Andrew Downing) #100

So, I read that line and my brain just kind of exploded a little.
You’re talking about the artefacts of the science and statistical modelling, as if they are belief systems. They’re not, or at least they shouldn’t be.

Statistical models are constructed for the purpose of analysis and understanding.
Statistical models are utilitarian.
We make them to help answer specific questions.
The framing of the questions dictates structure of the models.

If we want to understand things about the broad behaviours of men and women (accounting for around 99.75% of the population - last I checked, transgender accounts for about 1 in 400), then a sex dimorphic model is probably appropriate. This would certainly work for broad brush estimation of things like employment demographics.
In this case, the sex dimorphic model does not “necessitate” anything about classifying anybody who is not simply male or female. They are outliers in the model, but only because they are not the subject of the question.

If you want to understand different things about how to address the needs/wants of transgender or intersex people, then entirely different models are appropriate.

Later, you did some more “necessitating”:

That just comes out as incredibly wrong headed to me.
Doctors want to do doctor things. It’s how they make money.
If you ask them what to do about your transgender “problem”, then they will solve it for you by doing doctor things, because they are doctors.
If you don’t want doctor answers, don’t ask doctors.
Take control of your own health care. I recommend everyone should do that.

They would be brains?

and this bit: “if the sex dimorphic view is accurate and brains are sexed as well, rather than containing traits which may be factored such that a statistical analysis may match a majority to the two sexes defined by the dimorphic model” … reads to me like you are confusing the map with the territory.

“containing traits which may be factored such that a statistical analysis may match a majority to the two sexes defined by the dimorphic model” … can be a perfectly valid statistical model, to describe the manner in which brains are sexed, but you put them forward as if they are exclusive alternative choices.

This is a strange conversation.