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Sexism in Science 
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Post Sexism in Science
I’d like to recalibrate what I presented for discussion in another post. That post has become to messy I think.

I do believe sexism has been prevalent in culture. More specifically, in certain vocations. One being the professional scientific community.

I do believe sexism was much more rampant in days gone by, but to this day still impacts women who wish to enter certain professional fields – one of which is the field of science (broadly speaking).

Science to this day is a male-dominated community. I believe there is more to be said than cursory dismissals such as (for example):

“Women have not expressed an interest in certain vocations. Therefore, vocations which have historically been male-dominated are those which women do not express the same interest as men do.”

I believe because scientists are predominately men, and because men are social creatures that are products of social constructs, there is much less separation of social/cultural mores from theoretical generation than is believed.

I do not believe scientific methodology provides a magical filter that separates men from social, psychological, or political “contaminants.” That is a myth. Theory is generated by a collective.
A scientific community is a collective that TOGETHER generates data, hypotheses, competing hypotheses, assumptions, and theory. Everyone within the collective is not wearing magical lenses that objectifies nature and the data.

What we have been experiencing on the sidelines second-handed is theory and interpretation of data that is androcentric based. Because women have largely been absent from science from its beginnings, we have not had the added benefit of theory generation from a perspective that may very well be different.

Who’s to say that hypothetically speaking if women had dominated science all their epistemic theorizing would be identical to what men have currently generated? I say there is no basis for that claim because we have so little to compare male generated theory to except theory generated by other men.
Is truth, Truth, just waiting to be grabbed out of the air by anyone?
Then why does truth change so much over time?

Findings indicate male/female brains are different. Keep in mind the simple truth that is brains that generate concepts.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archi ... ly/281962/

Quote:
“Because female brains seem to have a stronger connections between their logical and intuitive parts, “when women are asked to do particularly hard tasks, they might engage very different parts of the brain,” said Ragini Verma, an associate professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the authors of the report. “Men might over-engage just one part of the brain.”

“Their less-interconnected hemispheres might prompt men, for example, to be, “going along, executing things very skillfully and maybe not taking into account that someone didn't [do something] because they were having a bad day,” Verma explained. Meanwhile, “gut feelings, trying to join the dots together … women are known to be very strong in that.”



Given that my audience is so knowledgeable about science, there is something that possibly factors in as well: the idea of evolutionary epistemology.

Evolutionary epistemology is an objectivist theory of knowledge arguing that the evolutionary history of the human nervous system guarantees a relationship between our concepts and principles of reasoning with what is “out there.”

If there is any truth to EE, then I’d think because of the differences between the male and female nervous system a female conceptual analysis of theory may very well have distinctions which might very well improve our current scientific theorizing.

The Scientific Method is not some magical sexless object that we dug up. Scientific method is itself a concept generated by brains – most all of which have been male brains with their unique capabilities.
Women have their own unique capabilities. Some of which may very well be superior to men.

The scientific community has generated some magnificent theories. And we owe a lot to those gifted men. But in all the celebration to date by both scientists themselves and their armchair groupies, we are totally blind to what the community actually looks like from outside – a androcentric zone league club, who’s fan base looks on them as logical super heroes free of mortal foibles.

Here are a couple of links about sexism in science

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/at-the ... nd-in-hand

Quote:
“The research used email and social media to invite scientists to fill out an online questionnaire about their experiences in the field. It found that an alarmingly high number of female scientists were sexually harassed (and even assaulted) while conducting research in the field.

The study authors received nearly 700 responses from 32 disciplines, 75 percent of them from women. And the numbers were shocking.

More than two-thirds of the women reported that they had been sexually harassed by colleagues. And 20 percent reported being sexually assaulted. The majority of incidents involved superiors victimizing subordinates.”


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... y-science/

Quote:
“She was not the first woman to have endured indignities in the male-dominated world of science, but Franklin's case is especially egregious, said Ruth Lewin Sime, a retired chemistry professor at Sacramento City College who has written on women in science.
Over the centuries, female researchers have had to work as "volunteer" faculty members, seen credit for significant discoveries they've made assigned to male colleagues, and been written out of textbooks.”



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Post Re: Sexism in Science
First of all, sexism is without a doubt prevalent in all cultures. This is not a problem limited to science, and not to any single enterprise.

What I'm getting at is that to combat sexism, we need cultural shifts. One such shift is to present STEM initiatives to girls at a young age. Where the previous generation bought barbie dolls, we need to buy our daughters legos, pink or otherwise. I'm a coach for an FLL team this year, and we have our regional qualifying tournament in around 10 days. My team has more girls than boys, which I think it outstanding. These small things are what will be needed to provide the next generation with gender equality in STEM fields.


But I think your point is that the gender of a person creating a hypothesis colors the hypothesis. You don't provide evidence for this, but instead make something close to an appeal to incredulity: how could gender differences not color a hypothesis?

How could gender differences color a hypothesis on the differences in standard candles for an F3 class star? Or the effects of earthquakes on subterranean liquids? Or the benefits of using strontium atoms in an atomic clock? Or countless other hypotheses in many various fields?

I'm going to call you on your appeal. Provide evidence that there is a difference in hypotheses developed by men vs those developed by women. I'm sure you can find a chauvinist with a radical idea, and a feminist with a radical idea. So the evidence needs to be aggregate.

Quote:
I do not believe scientific methodology provides a magical filter that separates men from social, psychological, or political “contaminants.” That is a myth.


It's not a magical filter, and it most definitely isn't a myth. It's the cornerstone of science. The minimalization of bias is one of the greatest strengths of science. That doesn't mean bias is eliminated, that's impossible. But it is minimized, reduced to a greater extent than in any other human enterprise. This doesn't mean "men" are separated from social contaminants. It means their ideas are filtered for social contaminants. It is a virtue to be the person to identify the most obscure contaminants, where culture dependence alters interpretation, and bring them into the light of the scientific community.


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Post Re: Sexism in Science
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NO0cvqT1tAE


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Post Re: Sexism in Science
Interbane wrote:

Quote:
But I think your point is that the gender of a person creating a hypothesis colors the hypothesis. You don't provide evidence for this, but instead make something close to an appeal to incredulity:





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-bia ... _diagnosis


Quote:
The phenomenon may affect physical diagnosis. Women are more likely to be given a diagnosis of psychosomatic nature for a physical ailment than men, despite presenting with similar symptoms. Women sometimes have trouble being taken seriously by physicians when suffering from medically unexplained illness, and report difficulty receiving appropriate medical care for their illnesses because doctors repeatedly diagnose their physical complaints as related to psychiatric problems.

Psychological diagnosis[edit]
There is a suggestion that assumptions regarding gender specific behavioural characteristics can lead to a diagnostic system which is biased.[2] The issue of gender bias with regard to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) personality disorder criteria has been controversial and widely debated. The fourth DSM (4th ed., text revision; DSM–IV–TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) makes no explicit statement regarding gender bias among the ten personality disorders (PDs), but it does state that six PDs (antisocial, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, paranoid, schizotypal, schizoid) are more frequently found in men. Three others (borderline, histrionic, dependent) are more frequent in women. Avoidant is equally common in men and women.


There are also examples related to the fields of biology and anthropology.
I can look those up for you as well when time permits.


I don't think it's going to be surprising if you want a personal introduction to the men that generate hypotheses that are colored by social influences.


Quote:
How could gender differences color a hypothesis on the differences in standard candles for an F3 class star? Or the effects of earthquakes on subterranean liquids? Or the benefits of using strontium atoms in an atomic clock? Or countless other hypotheses in many various fields?


You are being silly here and are taking my argument to areas that it obviously would not directly impact the lives and interests of women.
This might be either a total misunderstanding of what I am presenting here, or you are playing ignorant.
I thought I was pretty clear.
Throw in the kitchen sink while youre at it.


Quote:
It's not a magical filter, and it most definitely isn't a myth. It's the cornerstone of science. The minimalization of bias is one of the greatest strengths of science. That doesn't mean bias is eliminated, that's impossible. But it is minimized, reduced to a greater extent than in any other human enterprise.



You do not have to lecture me on "the corner stone of science" and I never once implied that scientific methodology should eliminate all bias or it's "not doing its job" well.

My point is actually simple regarding this: bias is much more prevalent than what is assumed too nearly without question. Here, the question is gender bias.

Let me see if I can't get you some more examples related to other areas of science for you to arrogantly dismiss because "we are closer to truth than ever before in history"



Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:05 pm
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Post Re: Sexism in Science
geo wrote:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NO0cvqT1tAE



wow! nice find!



Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:06 pm
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Post Re: Sexism in Science
Quote:
ne such shift is to present STEM initiatives to girls at a young age. Where the previous generation bought barbie dolls, we need to buy our daughters legos, pink or otherwise. I'm a coach for an FLL team this year, and we have our regional qualifying tournament in around 10 days.


by the way..,

I think the above is totally cool.
I envy you here. 8)

best of luck! :up:



Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:27 pm
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Post Re: Sexism in Science
ant wrote:
geo wrote:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NO0cvqT1tAE



wow! nice find!


I remembered everyone making a big deal when that Barbie came out. I wonder what they're going for on eBay.

I just noticed that Ant's gender is not explicitly stated next to his name. Could it be . . . is it possible . . .

Ant, are you of the female persuasion?


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Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:32 pm
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Post Re: Sexism in Science
Quote:
There are also examples related to the fields of biology and anthropology.
I can look those up for you as well when time permits.


I don't think it's going to be surprising if you want a personal introduction to the men that generate hypotheses that are colored by social influences.


Diagnoses are a given. Hypotheses in scientific fields where women are the subject is understandable, if not condoned. This would include anthropology, biology, psychology, etc.

I misunderstood you. I thought you were referring to hypotheses about how the world worked, rather than how women worked. I agree that there is sexism in diagnosis and hypothesizing about women in anthropology and psychology. Some fairly crazy ideas, too.

Quote:
Let me see if I can't get you some more examples related to other areas of science for you to arrogantly dismiss because "we are closer to truth than ever before in history"


Wait a minute. So I didn't misunderstand you? Or did I? Come right out and state what your claim is. Are you saying that the natural sciences are tainted due to sexism? Or only in the cases where women are the subjects of science?

If you're referring to those cases where women are the subjects of science, how does that impact our understanding of the universe? I'm not saying we condone sexism, obviously. I'm saying, how does a sexist diagnosis have anything to do with general relativity or evolution?

Regarding the last sentence, the direct logical implication is that you think we are no closer to the truth now than 2,000 years ago, or 200 years ago. That's demonstrably false, even if we're only judged by the technologies born from understanding.

Is your position that scientific understanding today is no better than it was 100 years ago? Or that trust in the theories of science at the center of the web of knowledge are unjustified, based on theory-ladenness? You took a college course on what again? The philosophy of science? How did you come through that course with this warped, nihilistic understanding of science? Is it because you went into the course hoping to learn enough to debate against people who have too much confidence in science? You've been polarized.


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Post Re: Sexism in Science
Quote:
I remembered everyone making a big deal when that Barbie came out. I wonder what they're going for on eBay.

I just noticed that Ant's gender is not explicitly stated next to his name. Could it be . . . is it possible . . .

Ant, are you of the female persuasion?




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androgyny



Last edited by ant on Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Sexism in Science
Quote:
I misunderstood you. I thought you were referring to hypotheses about how the world worked, rather than how women worked. I agree that there is sexism in diagnosis and hypothesizing about women in anthropology and psychology. Some fairly crazy ideas, too.



Hold on.

In addition to that, I also introduced this as well:

Quote:
Given that my audience is so knowledgeable about science, there is something that possibly factors in as well: the idea of evolutionary epistemology.

Evolutionary epistemology is an objectivist theory of knowledge arguing that the evolutionary history of the human nervous system guarantees a relationship between our concepts and principles of reasoning with what is “out there.”

If there is any truth to EE, then I’d think because of the differences between the male and female nervous system a female conceptual analysis of theory may very well have distinctions which might very well improve our current scientific theorizing.


I'm relatively certain, ,or at least it's reasonable to consider, that if cognitive abilities differ between the sexes, then advantages of logic and say, intuitiveness would benefit theoretical generation, or give it an enhanced interpretation.

If our nervous systems are designed differently, then it follows that analysis of the natural world would indicate some differences. To what degree we can not know if theory is continually androcentric.

I personally would not assume that men are our official theory generators and that there would be or SHOULD NOT BE differences if theories suddenly were generated by females.

Do you agree sexism is a real issue in science, generally speaking?



Last edited by ant on Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Sexism in Science
Quote:
Ant asked Is truth, Truth, just waiting to be grabbed out of the air by anyone?
Then why does truth change so much over time?

Blame this on Yahweh. He designed timeless unchanging Truths to evolve. For example, take all the infractions listed in the Old Testament that require punishment by stoning to death. Contrast that with Jesus' admonition in the New Testament that "he who is without sin may cast the first stone".


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Post Re: Sexism in Science
Quote:
If our nervous systems are designed differently, then it follows that analysis of the natural world would indicate some differences. To what degree we can not know if theory is continually androcentric.


I'm sure there could be sexual differences to nervous systems, but I also think that it's a drop in the bucket compared to cultural influences. Cultural influences are what accounts for man's apparent intellectual superiority to women across history. Men were pruned and educated, women weren't. This alone would account for some extreme differences in generated hypotheses.

But which hypotheses we generate do not on average move forward to the status of theory. The vast majority don't, if you consider the spur of the moment hypotheses that are falsified with a few quick math problems, or quick references to species collected at the smithsonian. What allows a hypothesis to move forward is how closely it accounts for evidence and makes predictions. That is where our ideas touch on the objective.

Which means that even if men generated hypotheses that were colored by their sex, the hypotheses would still have to pass through empirical filters. One such filter is a method employed in many science journals. Here is an article regarding the journal Behavioral Ecology, and it's reasoning for using the double blind method of peer review.

http://www.nature.com/news/journals-wei ... ew-1.15564


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Post Re: Sexism in Science
More good evidence of sexism in our society . . .

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-TE6hjS_OZM


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Post Re: Sexism in Science
ant wrote:
Quote:

Ant, are you of the female persuasion?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androgyny


http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lfHrIkftZzA


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Wed Nov 05, 2014 7:55 pm
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Post Re: Sexism in Science
Quote:
Is your position that scientific understanding today is no better than it was 100 years ago? Or that trust in the theories of science at the center of the web of knowledge are unjustified, based on theory-ladenness? You took a college course on what again?


Actually its not, nor have I ever come close to stating that is a position I hold.
But you are welcome to beat up that strawman in front of us all for some half time entertainment.

We've been down this epistemic road before. Your truth presumptuousness is something I simply do not agree with. Just because your bold enough for arrogant presumption doesnt mean youre right.

I dont really want to follow your digression here either.

In short, I do believe our theories of knowledge at this point remain enclosed in a circle of justification that is not ultimately anchored in a Reality (cap "R") or in reliable sensorial experience. Our theoretical claims are enclosed in a hermenuetic circle - language is an actual barrier.

Our material brains are subject to cognitive limitations.
If you are uncomfortable with that then that is something you must try to reconcile psychologically.

I really can appreciate what the philosopher of science Mary Hesse said about the historicity of science:

"the lesson of the historicity of science is that the theories we currently hold to be true are as falsifiable as the theories they replaced " (paraphrased)

That is very true historically and there is no indication that the history we are currently writing will be different.
I reject triumphalism.

Stay on topic, please.



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