“Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the memo written by Google’s now-fired software engineer James Damore, addresses a taboo topic in modern American life—namely, sex differences that relate to the abilities and occupational choices of men and women.
Damore’s critique of diversity and inclusion, which he supports in the abstract, hit the tech industry hard for this very simple reason: firms like Google and Facebook have tech workforces dominated by white and Asian men. As Damore observes, Google has spent millions on programs to recruit and hire more women and non-Asian minorities, with little to show for its efforts. He urges Google: “Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders and races,” and to “de-moralize diversity.” In his view, this reverse discrimination drives Google’s rigid, ideological conformity, lowers overall production, and undercuts professional morale.
Damore’s memo did not sit well with the Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who quickly fired Damore for “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” According to Pichai, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”
Damore’s memo should come as no surprise. Just three months ago, a smaller flap, reported here in the Wall Street Journal, resulted from accusations of gender bias at Facebook. My article, Gender@Facebook, took a view broadly consistent with Damore’s by pointing to a wealth of evidence that suggested that biological differences could account for the differences in employment patterns. According to a detailed study by psychologists Richard Lynn and Satoshi Kanazawa, “at the ages of 7 and 11 years girls have an IQ advantage of approximately 1 IQ point, but at the age of 16 years this changes in the same boys and girls to an IQ advantage of 1.8 IQ points for boys.” More specifically, they present numbers that for general IQ show a mean of 101.461 for boys with a standard deviation of 15.235, and a mean of 99.681 for girls with a standard deviation 14.085.
There are two different ways to view this kind of evidence.
Read the rest here.