Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Subject (Score 1) 212 212

I believe my careless use of the term "inherently biological" is at fault in creating a misunderstanding. I did not mean to deny that there are physical/chemical differences between male and female brains. Dualism is false, and to say that men and women have different behavior is to say that there are such physical differences. If culture affects behavior, then culture necessarily affects brain structure and neurochemistry.

What was under discussion previously in this thread was that such differences are inherent, that is, determined by the genetic differences between men and women. At least, that is the necessary implication if these differences are to justify institutionalizing gender imbalances within particular fields. That's why I previously wrote that fMRI studies for example only tell us how people differ, not why. The "why" is a much more difficult question to answer, requiring at least a number of additional cross-cultural and genetic experiments.

I did read the links you posted. While they are quite interesting, none of them provide any evidence that what they discover is inherent to men and women. If men are apparently better at spatial reasoning, or women are apparently better at social tasks, the skeptic should look to how male and female children are encouraged to play, and how they are socialized. Indeed, the first article you posted specifically notes that there were few gender differences earlier in development.

Gender differences in broad characteristics such as "competitiveness" have been shown to be entirely cultural (a fMRI study comparing Maasai and Khasi men and women would be fascinating), and it is the skeptical position that even more complex traits such as skill-levels and proclivities are likely cultural as well. Again, differences in any such characteristics necessarily imply measurable physiochemical differences as well.

But why is the reality that men outnumber women in tech related positions a problem? Conversely, why is the reality that women outnumber men in Accounting/Auditing not a problem?

there is no evidence that women are somehow culturally discouraged from participating in math or science these days.

Those quotes are from the parent to which I initially responded. The first is a standard non-sequitur: women are not treated purely according to their ability in STEM. That's the real problem, not the gender gap (although I suspect there is a connection). The second is merely absurd in the face of the ongoing portrayal of STEM in our culture's media, let alone what one would see in carefully observations of social interaction between STEM workers (in academia or industry).

Comment Re:Subject (Score 1) 212 212

You didn't get it. When you take studies about differences in brain structure and claim it supports a the notion that a specific apparent behavioral different is inherently biological, that is vague handwaving.

Further, behavioral studies which crucially fail to control for culture don't actually say anything other than how people behave, as opposed to why.

The interesting thing here, demonstrated in the OP's responses, is that the underlying motivation is the belief that women don't face obstacles in STEM. If you work in STEM and aren't a complete fool, it is beyond obvious that women do indeed face severe obstacles.

Comment Re:Subject (Score 1) 212 212

Why don't you take a look at this

Do you understand the difference between a press release and a peer reviewed article?

tell me about vague handwaving.

OK, sure. When you take a study about "differences in connectivity" in the brain, and claim it has established implications for behavior, that is vague handwaving. What fMRI studies show about brain structure is irrelevant to the outcome of behavioral studies on whole people.

How does "God forbid" - a common idiom

Indeed, and in this case you used it to sarcastically express your unhappiness that your preferred alternative wasn't being argued. You should own it instead of backpedaling.

Comment Re:Subject (Score 0) 212 212

plenty of evidence of biological differences in the brains of men and women, and there are strong correlations between these differences and observed strengths/weaknesses of the sexes relative to one another.

Vaague handwaving over common-sense notions isn't systematic evidence.

If you read my statement and concluded that I somehow prefer a biological explanation to a cultural one

"God forbid" that figures of speech imply meaning.

there is no evidence that women are somehow culturally discouraged from participating in math or science these days.

Whether this statement is an expression of your anecdotal experience or just willful blindness is impossible to say.

Comment Re:Subject (Score 2) 212 212

God forbid biology has anything to do with it.

There is no evidence that biology has anything to do with the proclivities of the genders for computer science. There is lots of evidence that many gender differences which are popularly ascribed to biology are in fact cultural, for example competitiveness.

Your anecdotes and personal preferences for what might be true just aren't as convincing as systematically gathered evidence.

Comment Re:Please stop (Score 1) 72 72

I wasn't familiar with the specifics so I found this Wiki page. Apparently P visas are a general category for athletes, entertainers and their families who either represent something culturally unique, are part of an exchange program, or are internationally recognized (the main kind, P-1).

According the LA Times article linked in the Wiki page, programers have received P1-A visas specifically - the same subcategory as for any athlete.

Comment Re:He answered the most boring questions! (Score 1) 187 187

given it was a (member of) the Samba development team

Eunuchswear's reply hit the nail on the head.

reversed engineered the protocol.

More like an API implementation than reverse engineering. All he did was use telnet to send plaintext commands like 'help' and 'clone' and pipe the output to files. The names of the commands were taken from the output of 'help' or the kernel mailing list.

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"