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Comment: Re:Sad commentary on publishing in research (Score 1) 301

Most PhD and Masters graduates are women nowadays. In many of the top research fields the majority of faculty are women.

Which raises the question, is this gender bias at work, or are men just dumb? Or, well, not exactly, but at least, can we reasonably simply assume this is the result of gender bias without considering there might be another cause? Personally, I suspect it's not the result of gender bias. Actually, in an e-mail exchange (with another male) way back, I was told in no uncertain terms that the poor educational performance of boys at school is due to gender bias, and I didn't buy it then. I suspected he just assumed that, because he couldn't accept that girls might simply outperform boys on merit. But... isn't that kind of the same situation here? The authors simply assumed gender bias. In this case I suspect they're probably right, but still, that's not how you're supposed to write papers is it?

Comment: Re:acceptance is the only fair outcome (Score 1) 301

..and yet, there are numerous examples of women succeeding all over the world despite the supposed bias. This is the problem I have with the argument. If women are so hurt by the supposed gender bias issue that they're unable to work in those fields, how is it that so many women manage to work in those fields?

This doesn't follow. There are numerous examples of rocket launches despite gravity. This doesn't disprove gravity, it just shows that rockets can overcome gravity.

The problem with arguments like yours is that everything ceases to be examined objectively.

Well, yes, this happens, but let's not fool ourselves, not examining things objectively is the normal human condition. And the reviewer did himself no favours. It's all too easy to write him off.

Comment: Re:Error in headline (Score 0) 301

It is also possible that the flying spaghetti monster is at fault.

Come on man, without at least something more than, "hey, anything is possible" it doesn't even deserve consideration. Its that kind of uncritical acceptance of societal norms as having legitimacy that is the problem.

In a sense, I think you ought to be right. YHWH seems barely more plausible to me than the FSM, and in some sense not rightly worth the effort to address. But then, the FSM is a thought experiment to show the absurdity of belief in gods like YHWH, which is to say someone went to the effort of inventing him for the purpose of criticising societal norms. And just now, aren't you addressing something you consider shouldn't be worth addressing, simply on the basis that someone believes it, not because you perceive it to have any merit? And actually, when you think about it, doesn't that disprove your point?

Comment: Re:Error in headline (Score 1) 301

The difference is that the paper is on the experience of women. It's a paper on women suffering not a paper on men being advantaged [if that's not confusing]. If two guys write this paper they're not writing about how much better the male experience is by looking at it from the male perspective. That would be weird. Maleness is defaultness. The paper in on how the female experience is not the same as the male experience. It's less. Thus it makes sense to suggest an actual female researcher contribute to the effort.

Contribute, definitely, as the primary author, quite possibly, but to consider male experience as without merit doesn't seem right to me. Surely female disadvantage and male advantage are flipsides of the same coin. I don't see how it could be any more valid to consider female disadvantage without regard to male experience, than to consider male advantage without regard to female experience. Neither could exist without the other, because each is only meaningful in relation to the other.

To say that maleness is the default, I think, may be to say something like males are often unaware that they are in a position of privilege, and that female experience is different, whereas females are aware of both. This being the case, I guess it makes sense to consider male experience as the point of comparison, and male input as without merit. There may well be something in this, but can we assume it to be an absolute? Can we really discount a male perspective as having nothing to contribute to gender issues? Surely that can't be right.

I'm not saying papers on gender issues must have a male co-author. It may well be reasonable to say "A male co-author might be good, but it's not practical, we don't have an appropriately qualified male available, we think the paper makes a valid contribution, and a male perspective can be put forward in another paper." But to say "There's no merit in a male perspective."? It seems to me this is effectively what is being said. The angle is something like "Women can be authors every bit as well as men.", which in most cases I would agree with, but in relation to the difference between female and male experience, surely both perspectives have something to contribute.

Comment: Re:Error in headline (Score 1) 301

And, although their suggestion about male superiority is pretty unpleasant at multiple levels, it *is* a possible explanation for observational survey results. None of us might like that, but it's possible.

I agree with this statement, with the surrounding qualifications you gave it. Regardless of whether it's an unpleasant and apparently unlikely explanation that has historically been used without reasonable supporting evidence, it is at least theoretically possible, and should have been mentioned in the paper for completeness. (I'm assuming it wasn't mentioned, since the reviewer felt a need to raise it.) It's also possible that females are intellectually superior on average, but anti-female bias has a larger effect on the outcome, or of course, that gender has a negligible effect on intelligence either way. Academic papers should be thorough, though, and consider every possible explanation.

As many have pointed out, if the genders were reversed, this would be playing out in a very different way. Imagine, for example, that males submitted the paper, and the reviewer suggested they have a female co-author. Many would see it as rational, if extreme suggestion, that almost certainly would not have resulted in this outcome.

I guess the issue here is probably that, given the previous suggestion, there'd be a suspicion that the suggestion of bringing in a male co-author was motivated by the thought that "men are more intelligent". That would be a poor justification. But I agree that getting a male perspective is not a poor justification. If we accept that a female perspective may be helpful when considering gender issues, then it's reasonable to suppose that a male perspective may also be helpful (although yes, it might not always practical, and given that this is a paper, to which others can respond, not legislation to which others will be bound, it's not essential).

From the quotes I've seen, the reviewer appears to have lacked tact (or otherwise really was biased, as they have been taken to be). But regardless of whether they displayed poor judgement in their approach, or the suggestion they raised was false, or even provably false, I agree they were right that it should have been considered in the paper.

The real lesson to be learned? *This* is the real scientific process. Not too pretty. It's why you should be skeptical of all the scientific research you read.

Well, yes, but unfortunately whenever this gets said, some will take it to support the idea that something else is better. Best to always qualify this I think. Science is still "the tallest midget in the circus".

Comment: Re: hmmm... (Score 1) 39

by james_gnz (#49567595) Attached to: An Open Ranking of Wikipedia Pages

As a Christian i don't consider anyone as "a-theist" because "Theos" exist with/in everyone - but even as just a Greek, and even accepting the neologism "the-ist", "a-theist" still has a problematic meaning of, not just "not believing" but "without God" (that's what happens when "-religious- atheist" define themselves... they need God even for that!).

Correct me if I'm wrong (I don't speak Greek), but doesn't "atheist" mean without gods generally, rather than just without Yahweh specifically? You wouldn't say pre-Christian Greeks who believed in the Greek pantheon were atheist?

Comment: Re:Rent seeking all the way down. (Score 1) 239

by james_gnz (#49567247) Attached to: Valve Pulls the Plug On Paid Mods For Skyrim

Anything using the .net runtime is using significant amounts of windows assets. Just because you can't outright see it doesn't mean you're not using someone else's work. While we're at it, you're also using a compiler and an IDE you probably had nothing to do with the creation of.

I'm not sure how this fits into the larger argument, but .NET stuff can be developed and run on Mono.

Comment: Re: Gamers are dead. (Score 1) 239

by james_gnz (#49567205) Attached to: Valve Pulls the Plug On Paid Mods For Skyrim

Your little rant is funny, and also pointless. "Gamers" are, have always been and always will be nothing more than consumers, and obsessive ones at that. They're like fashion victims, with the difference that fashion victims are actually cool to have around. Gamers are obsessive-compulsive pathetic excuses for human beings, loud-mouthed, filthy and socially deficient. Unpleasant to have around and a constant cause for embarassment. Just like all nerds.

I'm not sure if you're serious, but assuming so, there's a difference between some (or even most) and all, and when people are involved, it's an important difference.

Comment: Re:Inflation, slow Internet, skill, slow PC (Score 1) 239

by james_gnz (#49567167) Attached to: Valve Pulls the Plug On Paid Mods For Skyrim

What? Most certainly is not a copyright infringement. I don't care for "let's play" or whatever, but don't start with that crap. Games aren't for show, and when someone is playing the game, it's interactive. Games aren't movies, so any game company saying they can't be shown is a fucking dildo.

Essentially, you seem to be saying that copyright law doesn't forbid "let's play", because there would be no sense in it doing so. Much as I might agree with your premise, however, your conclusion simply doesn't follow.

Comment: Re:I Don't See A Problem (Score 1) 182

by james_gnz (#49535771) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Claim To Have Genetically Modified Human Embryos

Scientifically, however, a fertilized egg is the first point in the process where you have a new individual. That's a rather solid line to use, even if it is rather inconvenient for certain purposes. Of course, depending you your point of view, that may be a benefit of the line, not a problem.

A lot of ethical considerations stem from what you consider to be a "human". While you can set that point anywhere you want to, the problem is also that you can set that point anywhere you want to. With the ability to genetically engineer humans, it's far too convenient to state that they're not human until you're done altering their genome at the most obvious point of intervention.

I think it's a mind that defines a person, that a mind depends on neuron activity in the cerebral cortex, and that this activity, as evidenced by brain waves, commences after 20 weeks gestation (18 weeks of pregnancy). This seems far more relevant to me than when there is an individual body. Also, twinning can occur, or a fertilised egg may produce only a placenta, so I don't think it's accurate to call fertilisation "the first point in the process where you have a new individual" even if you are only interested in bodies.

Comment: Re:Cautionary Tale? (Score 1) 182

by james_gnz (#49535383) Attached to: Chinese Scientists Claim To Have Genetically Modified Human Embryos

I always thought that Vampires were Zombies with slightly less messy eating habits and a hell of a lot more culture

AFAIK, the heyday of belief in vampires began with the worrying of livestock in Europe. Somehow people decided that those attacking the livestock had climbed out of graves in the night, and that it would be a good idea to dig up graves to look for them. Bodies dug up appeared to have fresh blood around their mouths, and their bellies swollen from their meals. Fingernails and facial hair appeared to have grown, and when bodies were stabbed in the chest to kill them, they let out a sound like a scream, apparently confirming they had been alive.

The blood around their mouths had actually been pushed out of their chests by bloating due to internal decomposition. Fingernails and facial hair appeared to have grown because the skin had shrivelled. The sound was due to air being forced out of the lungs with the impact of the stabbing.

OTOH, zombies originated in Central America. People believed dead were seemingly brought back to life, although without their mental faculties intact, and with the expectation that they would work for those keeping them alive.

Actually they had been poisoned to cause the appearance of death, and were subsequently kept drugged to impair their mental faculties.

So actually zombies have better eating habits than vampires (vampires worry livestock, whereas zombies eat somewhat normally, if with less coordination), and however little culture zombies may have, vampires give them no competition (whenever vampires aren't out worrying livestock, they're lying motionless under the ground).

(Although this is just my understanding, and I'm not an expert on either vampires or zombies.)

Comment: Re:Unless (Score 1) 301

The copyright isn't "theft" it is Nazi memorabilia. Note, not the words or books of the words, which are in libraries all over Germany, apparently, but the *copyright* on the words.

But still, the /copyright/ wasn't sold or displayed (you couldn't display a copyright, because it doesn't physically exist).

Yes, this is logically nonsense, but if all the courts agree to the same nonsense then it becomes legal (cf, Generally Accepted Accounting Standards) or at least a legal fiction.

Yeah, I guess so. :-/

Comment: Re:Unless (Score 1) 301

Likewise, the German courts could just redefine the copyrights G's diaries as Nazi memorabilia or some such, and if it is agreed by any court that could reverse it in Germany (don't know how their courts are organized) then it stands. Since Nazi memorabilia cannot be sold or displayed in German jurisdictions, the copyrights cannot be enforced. I assume that the German government cannot just make an ex post facto law covering the situation like the British could, of course, since that is the simplest way to go if one can get away with it.

If a quote were memorabilia, then wouldn't a book containing the quote also contain memorabilia, and therefore be illegal to sell? Also, if we're going with copyright=theft, then, even if it's illegal to sell memorabilia, is it illegal to sue for theft of memorabilia?

One good suit is worth a thousand resumes.