SJW attitude in science

Recently, Eric Raymond, famous for is “The Cathedral and the Bazaar“, stepped forward to speak out against mixing social agenda, like equal treatment for everyone outside the white straight group, with meritocracy, the evaluation of one solely based on his/her contribution.

And without fail, the SJW side of the Internet didn’t take much time to munch down on Raymond like hungry wolves in a long winter: Coraline Ada Ehmke (should that recall Ada Lovelace?), Tim Chevalier, Matthew Garrett, just to name a few.

rastafari2

The arguments are quite easy to summarize: The meritocracy party proposes that “One’s contribution should only be evaluated based on the content and the quality”, while the SJW party asserts that in case the submitter as from a minority group, in particular everyone outside the white straight group, the contribution has to be accepted with higher probability (or without discussion) to ensure equality.

(Added here for clarification: A SJW is someone who puts the agenda of anti-genderization and anti-biasization (nice word) above all other objectives, often by quoting scientific results on existing – and not deniable – bias)

Well, I am a scientist, and I can tell you just one thing: I simply don’t give a shit for whether someone is white, black, red, green, red, straight, gay, a Rastafari or Pastafari (well, to be honest, I really give an extra 3 plus points to Pastafari!), really, I check their proofs. And if they are rubbish, they are rubbish. If they are ok, they are ok.

Let us for a moment assume that the world of research would work the same way as the proposed world of Ehmke, Chevalier, Garret, and all the other SJW: A lesbian female black is submitting an article to a scientific journal (first of all, as a referee I wouldn’t even know about her sexual interest, nor her color, nor her background in most of the cases), and the honest referee reports would dare to reject the paper due to technical and methodological insufficiencies. A very common case. Now, the average SJW (including the above named, according to their blog posts) would require us to be open and, well, publish a rubbish paper just because it is written by an non-white-non-male author.

What should I say … well … stupidity seemingly does not have a limit. Hopefully software projects around the world do not fall into this stupid trap, and continue evaluating contributions solely on their actual merit. This is all I am asking for, quite in contrast to the SJW groupies.

And this is also what Raymond is asking for – so I have not the slightest idea why anyone around this planet sees a need to step up and become noisy.

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36 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, but your “summarization” of the critique is blatantly wrong, and your next paragraph is a brilliant demonstration of why:

    “Well, I am a scientist, and I can tell you just one thing: I simply don’t give a shit for whether someone is white, black, red, green, red, straight, gay […]”

    The point is that you do care, just subconsciously. Humans are wired that way, and unless you acknowledge it yourself, you will invariably make biased decisions. (Also, it’s ironic that you _do_ acknowledge you would give extra points to pastafarians, ie. presumably people whose world view you seem to share.)

    • Sure enough, the pastafarians need more support, they are an endangered species, underrepresented in software development and science. I am actively trying to improve this situation.

      You know what – your lack of ability to recognize humor, paired with your presumptuousness to judge others’ mental state and level of prejustide without knowing them, is the best sign of qualification!

      • Merovius says:

        > underrepresented in software development and science.

        That is objectively untrue. The proportion of pastafarians in technical and scientific fields is evidently *much* higher than in a representative sample of the population. They are factually over-represented.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Finally someone who gets it!

  3. alex says:

    “the SJW party asserts that in case the submitter as from a minority group […] the contribution has to be accepted with higher probability (or without discussion) to ensure equality.”
    That is one massive strawman.

  4. Anonymous says:

    nice strawman!

  5. Gilles says:

    I think you should read carefully the point made by the people you are decrying : meritocracy is plagued by an unconscious bias.

    Matthew Garret links to the following paper for example http://asq.sagepub.com/content/55/4/543.short which should speak to your scientific mindset 😉

    Also, they absolutely do not call for a free pass on merit for non white people, just for a process trying to battle said bias.

    • Next time I award someone a bonus, I will think about. Until that time (at least 3-5 life-spans are probably needed) I just stay with simply evaluating. I guess if someone would cross-check the exams I graded, they would probably find that I worked the other way round and was biased towards women instead of men.

  6. Merovius says:

    > The meritocracy party proposes that “One’s contribution should only be evaluated based on the content and the quality”, while the SJW party asserts that in case the submitter as from a minority group, in particular everyone outside the white straight group, the contribution has to be accepted with higher probability (or without discussion) to ensure equality.

    I feel like you did not really understand the posts you linked to, because that’s a gross misrepresentation of their points. A quote from the linked article that *directly contradicts* this classification:

    > When people criticise meritocracy, they’re not criticising the concept of treating contributions based on their merit. They’re criticising the idea that humans are sufficiently self-aware that they will be able to identify and reject every subconscious prejudice that will affect their treatment of others. It’s not a criticism of a desirable goal, it’s a criticism of a flawed implementation. There’s evidence that organisations that claim to embody meritocratic principles are more likely to reward men than women even when everything else is equal. The “cult of meritocracy” isn’t the belief that meritocracy is a good thing, it’s the belief that a project founded on meritocracy will automatically be free of bias.

    I don’t think I could put it any clearer. The criticism is, that pretending you don’t have any biases is not a strategy against your biases. Making decisions purely on merit is a *good* and *desirable* thing, but it is necessary to acknowledge that *this is not what you are doing*. You *do* have unconscious biases and they *will* influences your decision, whether you want it or not and accepting that as a (time and time again) scientifically proven fact of live and incorporating it into your decision structure is necessary to counteract it.

    > first of all, as a referee I wouldn’t even know about her sexual interest, nor her color, nor her background in most of the cases

    That is, for all I know, not true (and because you exclude the gender in this list, I think you are aware of the simple ways it is untrue). For example, you probably know their name, which gives you already a strong indication of their gender and their race (plus, you know, it has been shown that people have actually biases solely against names, in Germany for example a Kevin or a Jacqueline will get significantly lower grades for the same performance). You also are probably a specialist in your field which means you know other specialists and will often be able to identify a particular scientist only on their work. And with all of that, the in-group vs. out-group dichotomy doesn’t have to rely on gender or race or religion to be real and harmful, for example as a software developer you will probably be biased based on stuff like company association or whether or not someone already contributed before and how much, to form your in-group.

    So yes, one way to decrease the negative results of biases is to actually remove the information that biases you, but in the vast majority of situations in FOSS that’s not actually happening.

    > A lesbian female black is submitting an article to a scientific journal […], and the honest referee reports would dare to reject the paper due to technical and methodological insufficiencies.

    Fun read: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474.full.pdf
    This is just one of a long series of studies that show, that people will honestly believe they are making a decision based purely on competence and merit, even if there is no difference but the gender between applicants. So even this premise is fundamentally flawed: You simply can not trust that your judgement of a contribution is actually connected to merit and not your own biases.

    > A very common case. Now, the average SJW (including the above named, according to their blog posts) would require us to be open and, well, publish a rubbish paper just because it is written by an non-white-non-male author.

    Okay, seriously, which blog posts did you read? There isn’t ground for this claim in any one of your linked posts.

    > What should I say … well … stupidity seemingly does not have a limit.

    I agree.

    Overall, I’d suggest you actually sit down for a while and honestly try to understand the arguments of your opponents before opining on it. Maybe read a couple of studies on the topic to understand the real issues. If you honestly want to have an informed opinion on the subject and try to add something of value, I always suggest starting with https://www.gv.com/lib/unconscious-bias-at-work because it gives a relatively good overview and starting point for interesting research. You will probably not be persuaded by any of that. But maybe you can then at least understand what your opponents are saying and give better retorts. Maybe you can even convince us by actually responding to our points instead of straw-men you made up?

    • Thanks, that was a nice answer. I agree that I was on purpose overstating. I also agree that people should be aware of bias, that is something that we learn at an early stage. The point in case here is the force with which SJW try to force upon others their own way of taking care of this problem.

      Of course there is bias, nobody is free of bias, not even those who pressure FLOSS groups and others to do this or that. The so called SJW are just biased in a different direction, and much worse.

      The question for me is – do I want people who are explicitly biased towards the one side (towards non-male-white) and put this agenda on top of the importance list, or do I want people who are aware of bias, but keep their brains together and direct them towards actual research, development, work, *while* keeping an eye on bias.

      Citing scientific studies is unfortunately the cover for the radical SJWs to show that they are right in pushing their agenda. Unfortunately I have still come to see one of the SJW do actually *write* such a paper, instead of only using it to advance one’s own agenda.

      I repeat, so that it is clear – I am well aware that there is bias, I am well aware that there is unconscious bias, but I reject the methods how certain people push their agenda. Remember the case of Sarah Sharp? This is what I call out of measure. People like her are incapable of balancing the huge task of developing a kernel, with the important task of neutralizing bias.

      I try to take active steps against my unconscious bias by comparing work while grading, and reminding myself of the inherent danger of the bias. But I don’t need these people to kick me (and others), because this is not the way they can change anything with me.

      • Merovius says:

        > But I don’t need these people to kick me (and others), because this is not the way they can change anything with me.

        Apparently there is no changing you. Or to misuse the term as you do: You are obviously hugely and blindly biased against Social Justice.

        G’day, I’m officially done with you (I know, I know, You don’t care).

        • I never said that there is no way to change me – but it cannot be done by forcing me. And probably yes, I am biased against *your* way of social justice, while still being socially, legally, and politically biased very much pro justice.

  7. Nikolaus Rath says:

    > the SJW party asserts that in case the submitter as from a minority > group, in particular everyone outside the white straight group, the > contribution has to be accepted with higher probability (or without > discussion) to ensure equality.

    Nope, that is wrong. I don’t think you’ve read e.g. Matthew’s comment carefully enough.

  8. Nikolaus Rath says:

    > I repeat, so that it is clear – I am well aware that there is bias, I am well aware that there is unconscious bias, but I reject the methods how certain people push their agenda.

    And therefore, when writing your own pieces, pretend that there is no bias – despite knowing better? And because you don’t like other people’s agenda, you deliberately misrepresent their positions? That’s sad.

  9. Anonymous says:

    In your article you put yourself in the seat of power (you’re the one giving out points, grading), feeling threatened by people you feel are anti-“white male”. You’re afraid to be replaced by a “lesbian female black”, which seems to be the most ludicrous thing to be in your eyes.
    This rejection, this fear, speaks more about you than about those with whom you don’t imagine sharing your power.
    Are there limited places in the sun in a meritocracy? Why would be uncomfortable with being a straight white male not necessarily being the de facto standard of having merit?

  10. Charles Plessy says:

    Hi Norbert,

    looking at the archived GitHub issue (https://archive.is/vtv5X), my impression is that the request was not to accept the patch because it came from “People of Color” (as the requester wrote), but rather to adopt a specific code of conduct, the one from contributor-covenant.org, in order to make the patch rejections acceptable. Then, the second message was more pushy (and bullshitty with claims like “Most projects on Github have adopted the Contributor Covenant or a variant of it”) and the last one was pure threatening (extract: “I only have one thing to say to you:reevaluate your actions,you are becoming a toxic individual who is harming the Python and Django communities and haven’t even realized it yet. You are a member of the Django Software Foundation and are supposed to be setting the example. I will be forwarding the content of this issue to the Chair to evaluate your continued presence in the DSF”).

    Hence, I think that the issue is less meritocracy than totalitarism, because the core of the third message is nothing but this: abide to our Narrative of be removed.

  11. Anonymous says:

    You could’ve characterized the issue better. So here’s my attempt. And some bonus polemic as well.

    The problem is the area between passing and failing the grade, where a SJW bias would cause an otherwise failing entry to pass. The SJW bias is based on ivory-tower theories of discrimination and is invariably designed to activate on ethnic, sexual-orientation, gender-identification, and political traits. Regardless of what exists without the SJW bias, its introduction is a step for the worse because it increases active discrimination.

    No surprise, then, that SJW bias advocates are always the kind of people who’d stand to gain. Coraline s/h/itself has a history of attempting to use codes of conduct to eject people from projects over perceived political heresy (to fund a gender-change operation via “suggested donations in apology”), a politruk waiting to bloom. Matthew Garrett is the “0xb00b1e5” magic-number police, a crank-feminist attack dog with a recent history of failed code submissions to the Linux kernel. If the logic of the SJW bias didn’t yet convince you, the characters of its advocates certainly should.

    Similarly the SJW argumentation on this matter is a tirade of quotations from some academic think-tank, with no effort towards making it comprehensible beyond the level of “go look it up” and “go convince yourself”. We’re supposed to submit on the virtue of argumentum ad nauseam from a hundred keyboard warriors. Yet their arguments are none better than the Tea Party: littered with emphasis and sciencey-sounding power words, but light on anything that rational analysis could grasp. If there was something there, they’d have presented it; they haven’t, so there isn’t.

    • I have to disagree with some points. I read through several of the articles and they are valid and doing proper research. That is a good thing, and people in decision positions should be aware of the fact that there is an unconscious bias. But we do not need a specific agenda to topple that.

  12. Anonymous says:

    My point is towards the gulf between “there may be an unconscious (hidden) bias”, and the actions proposed. How making everyone walk on eggshells in the Holy Minorities’ presence, or holding minorities to a lesser standard of quality (in terms of some objective measurement), is supposed to help an unconscious (still hidden!) bias is unexplained.

    However in the five to six years they’ve been at it, SJWs etc. (the geek-feminism clique, the ada initiative, and so forth) have never pinned these unconscious, hidden biases down so that they could be discussed properly. It’s always been “submit, or be damned”.

  13. Anonymous says:

    While I applaud putting yourself out there in the storm of social justice I think you are missing the point.

    SJW couldn’t care less about minorities, women, etc. You can see it clearly when they try to silence “underprivileged” individuals who don’t agree with their agenda by calling them “uncle Tom”, “internalized misogyny”, “sellout”, “white on the inside”, etc.

    This movement is all about grabbing power. Their arguments are mere pretexts and debating those arguments is playing into their game. The only thing you can accomplish this way is getting called a racist, sexist, defender of the white patriarchy, etc. That’s why they use the so called social justice, you can’t stand against them without looking bad. Take a look how none of these SJW mention anything about the true privilege of our time: money. Because that’s what they’re after.

  14. Arno says:

    That bias has yet to be proven. You can’t take a single study that examines the awarding of monetary rewards to subordinates in a hierarchical, corporate setting, and claim its results apply automatically to the evaluation of content from peers in structureless, geographically diverse communities.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Oops. “proven to have negative effects”

  16. Arno says:

    That doesn’t matter. In the SJW version of the world, the white male is always oppressive, can never be oppressed, and so doesn’t deserve consideration, regardless of circumstance.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad somebody has the courage to publicly stand up in opposition to this nonsense. I sure don’t. (Hence, posting anonymously.)

  18. mirabilos says:

    It is most interesting that my comment on http://www.sirena.org.uk/log/2015/11/30/unconscious-biases/ was accepted/published instead of censored, but not acted on (or the original problem retracted). (I spotted both this and mjg’s on Planet Debian, had not seen the other related postings.)

    The other comment on that post is also extremely interesting.

    OT: something’s blocking me from accessing your server unless I do “sudo ip -6 r add unreachable 2001:4b98:dc2:41:216:3eff:fe7e:b079”. Trace:

    $ traceroute6 -n http://www.preining.info
    traceroute to http://www.preining.info (2001:4b98:dc2:41:216:3eff:fe7e:b079), 30 hops max, 80 byte packets
    1 2a01:4f8:150:946c::42:1 35.635 ms 35.640 ms 35.643 ms
    2 2a01:4f8:150:946c::2 36.305 ms 36.311 ms 36.314 ms
    3 2a01:4f8::a:15:9 38.059 ms 38.070 ms 38.278 ms
    4 2a01:4f8:0:15:2:0:15:1 38.021 ms 2a01:4f8:0:15:3:0:15:2 38.511 ms 38.517 ms
    5 2a01:4f8:0:3::81 38.016 ms 38.029 ms 2a01:4f8:0:3::c9 36.989 ms
    6 2a01:4f8:0:3::da 43.488 ms 44.808 ms 2a01:4f8:0:3::12 41.338 ms
    7 2001:7f8::71f1:0:1 51.026 ms 50.182 ms 50.655 ms
    8 * * *
    9 * * *
    10 * * *
    11 * * *
    12 * * *
    13 *^C

    Would be cool if you could do anything about that or, alternatively, drop the AAAA RR from DNS. This seems to be a problem with your hoster (a whois on 2001:4b98:dc2:41:216:3eff:fe7e:b079 together with resolving 2001:7f8::71f1:0:1 to g0-0-0-1.decix-core2-lux-v6.gandi.net shows they’re the same company).

  19. Anonymous says:

    Can I just point out that using “SJW” as an insult makes you sound like a complete douche?

    I realise that it’s the right-wing go-to word that has replaced “bleeding heart”, but seriously, neither of these terms are insults, and frankly, if someone recognised my efforts by calling me one of them, I’d be quite proud.

  20. Svempa says:

    Meritocraters: Code quality is all that matters.
    SJWs: Everyone is biased, so you can’t tell good code from bad.
    Conclusion: Either all patches must be merged or none at all.

  21. Jonathan says:

    I believe you’ve misunderstood what Eric Raymond was suggesting, as well as the responses to it. Eric was suggesting that anyone that is determined to be an SJW (by who? and what court of appeal?) is ejected from F/OSS communities. The counter-articles I have read (that you cite) are arguing that different steps need to be taken for contributions to be judged entirely on their merit, i.e., a meritocracy. If you don’t believe in subconscious bias, well, *that’s* the basis of your disagreement with them; but the end goal they are striving for is one that you appear to think is important, whereas Raymond seems to be suggesting we need an ideological lynch mob.

    PS you have mis-spelled Matthew Garrett’s surname.

    • I don’t think that Raymond’s target is a lynch mob, far from it. For him, as well as for me, it is the political correctness that is taking overhand over other measures.

      And please don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware off subconscious biases, I only believe that the reckless method of PC activists is the wrong way to change it.

      Coming from academics, I have been rejected a full job because 50% had to go to a woman, sorry to say, less qualified. The reason is simple that at the time I studied less than 5% were female in my major. Now filling a 50/50 share from a 95/5 corpus necessarily leads to, well, disappointment (to be polite). But this is what PC activists ask for – and IMHO to the disadvantage of women. At several occasions I proposed different approaches, but this is not opportune, so we continue to be PC instead of reasonable. And SJW are just the escalation of male/female PC to extended groups, with the same failures: missing understanding of the roots of the problems, and only fighting the effects. Hopeless.

      • Jonathan says:

        Raymond’s blog post was literally titled “Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs”. One of his last lines is “We must cast these would-be totalitarians out – refuse to admit them on any level except by evaluating on pure technical merit whatever code patches they submit.”. It’s interesting that he chooses to continue to accept code contributions from such people, just deny them any other interaction or “membership”. My question is, who are the SJWs? How do you determine who to reject from F/OSS communities, and who not to? Am I am a SJW? What if ESR thinks I am?

        • mirabilos says:

          I can completely understand both the why and the how of (r)ejecting them.

          If someone comes to me with an SJW attitude, I do that. Otherwise, I am usually welcoming (and much more patient to e.g. newbies than I used to be while a student).

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