He’s one of those physicists — the ones who despise the humanities and are quite confident that white men are the crown of creation because he is one. He gave a talk at CERN that was basically about how his analysis of citation indices proves that women are inferior at physics, but they get hired over men anyway.
There was a workshop at @CERN recently: "1st Workshop on High Energy Theory and Gender". Apparently Strumia gave a talk and manages to hit every horrible idea on gender issues in STEM while demeaning his female colleagues (at CERN and everywhere else). 🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️
— Dr Seyda Ipek (@sheydaipek) September 30, 2018
The talk was so appalling that CERN stripped it from their website and chastised Strumia for it without naming him.
CERN considers the presentation delivered by an invited scientist during a workshop on High Energy Theory and Gender as highly offensive. It has therefore decided to remove the slides from the online repository, in line with a Code of Conduct that does not tolerate personal attacks and insults.
The organisers from CERN and several collaborating Universities were not aware of the content of the talk prior to the workshop. CERN supports the many members of the community that have expressed their indignation for the unacceptable statements contained in the presentation.
CERN is a culturally diverse organisation bringing together people from dozens of nationalities. It is a place where everyone is welcome, and all have the same opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, beliefs, gender or sexual orientation.
Lucky (?) for us, someone grabbed a copy of the slides and uploaded them for all of us to see. CERN may have made a mistake by deleting the original copy, because they’re demonstrably bad.
The first thing that jumped out at me when browsing the slides was just how incoherent and badly laid out they are, full of bad grammar and numbers for the sake of numbers. We did three job searches last year, for positions which require clarity and teaching ability as well as great scientific content, and we wouldn’t have hired anyone whose idea of a presentation was to vomit up that kind of incomprehensible stream-of-consciousness, and apparently the slides are less incoherent than the talk.
As for the content…he claims to be using citation analysis to distinguish between two theories explaining asymmetries in the hiring of men and women in physics. The “M” or “Mainstream” theory is that it’s broken by discriminatory hiring practices; “C” or “Conservative” theory is that it’s not unfair, that it’s a meritocracy and men bubble to the top because they’re simply inherently superior. To demonstrate that “C” is correct, he really overworks the citation numbers to claim that not only is the number of citations an accurate measure of academic talent, but is also correlated with IQ, and that women are just lacking in both. You see,
Physics invented and built by men, apparently on the plains of Africa thousands of years ago, and if you disagree, you’re one of those “cultural Marxists”.
Anyone who blathers about “cultural Marxism” is a fool not qualified for any kind of intellectual position.
Of course, he reveals his real motivations, and they are hilarious. He applied for a job, and he was not hired — but a woman was. And this was despite the fact that he had a much, much bigger Ncit than she did!
You know, job searches would be much easier if we just had a simple numerical metric to assess the candidates. To apply, just send us a piece of paper with your name and your IQ score, and we’ll sort them and hire whoever comes out on top. But no, we insist on meeting the person face-to-face, and looking at all the complexity of their career, and getting recommendations, and looking at how they interact with colleagues and students, because professional positions involve a heck of a lot more than extracting your brain, putting it in a jar, and marveling at how quickly it can do calculations.
Judging from this talk, Alessandro Strumia probably gave an interview that demonstrated that he was a raging asshole, so he wasn’t hired for good reason.
One of the canards he trotted out was the old argument that men exhibit greater variation than women, so we ought to expect that, just as men exhibit a greater frequency of mental deficiencies, they ought also to exhibit a greater frequency of mentally superior individuals.
Why we should believe this, I don’t know. Because we’re supposed to assume biology is fair, and is going to compensate one sex with more talents, just to balance out the problems? I see no reason to think that the genetic biases are going to be symmetric. People who are hit on the head with hammers will experience a greater frequency of crippling health problems afterwards; we don’t predict that, to be fair, nature will give an equal number of victims super-powers. For some reason, though, this idea is common, especially among worshippers of the bell curve.
Just to complicate matters, I’ll propose that personality is multi-dimensional (I doubt anyone will argue), and that if IQ is one dimension, another is the AQ — the asshole quotient. If the distribution of the AQ is also bell-shaped, and men exhibit greater variation, then more men will have a high AQ and are therefore not fit for the company of human beings, and hiring discrimination against men is justified.