Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Are Men Getting Dumber than Women?

The thesis of the fired Google employee's paper on diversity is that women are biologically destined to be poorer programmers than men. He gives a whole bunch of pseudo-scientific examples and issues a few caveats, but basically appears to want to rationalize why women make less money and justify the existence of the glass ceiling.

But here's the thing: this guy is totally ignoring one biological difference between males and females, one that completely contradicts the thesis that men make better programmers: boys are lousy students, and they're getting worse.

For many years now women have significantly outnumbered men in college, with women making up 56% of college students in 2017. In the 1970s that ratio was reversed. Does that mean men are getting dumber than women now?

This shouldn't be surprising, especially when you consider the behavior of grade-school boys and girls. Boys have more trouble sitting still. They can't focus. They're more physical. They're more aggressive. They act out more. At a young age girls are better at math and language skills, and they actually do their homework.

Some people have criticized the way school is taught, and have said that we should make accommodations for hyperactive boys. But a large part of the problem is that males appear to have less discipline and are less capable of delaying gratification than females: they don't want to go to college because they want to make money now, not in four years. All that testosterone makes them impatient.

When you come right down to it, being a programmer is just like going to college: you sit at a desk and you think and you type (and isn't typing for women?). It's a sedentary pursuit that requires a lot of patience, focus and self-discipline. Things that young men are bad at. If we use this data set, we could easily arrive at a completely different conclusion: males make bad programmers.

Of course these generalizations are false. And that's the point: now that conservatives can't justify discrimination against women on moral, social and religious grounds, they are trying to rationalize it with cherry-picked pseudo-scientific arguments in evolutionary biology and psychology.

When you throw out all the gobbledygook and straw man arguments, the real reason conservatives think men should do better than women is that men are bigger and stronger. In the end, it's all about force. Just listen to how Trump talks.

In today's information society, education and social skills are quickly becoming more important than brute strength. And that's what's really got these guys scared.

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