How awful can Alessandro Strumia be?


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.

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.

An example:

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.

Comments

  1. raven says

    Anyone who blathers about “cultural Marxism” is a fool not qualified for any kind of intellectual position.

    This is true.
    Cultural Marxism doesn’t exist.
    It’s just some scary sounding words strung together to frighten people.
    It is a reliable marker that you are reading something by an idiot.

  2. marcoli says

    I remember recently seeing an article… somewhere (sorry, can’t find it) that said that about a century ago women were considered to be more suited for STEM than men, because men naturally excelled at the higher-order stuff like the arts and philosophy. Wish I could find that article!

  3. Steve Bruce says

    Will he be the newest member of the Intellectual Dark Web? Seems very qualified for it.

  4. demonax says

    Surely the ancient Greek method of decision is appropriate here as Dionysus says:
    “I’ve had enough too; what I’d like to do is take him to the scales, / which is the only true test of our poetry; / the weight of our utterances will be the decisive proof.”
    Weigh the Ncit as the good professor suggests and let us return to Cultural Dionystiacism.

  5. says

    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.

    I took a look, and while the slides aren’t good, they seem of typical quality for a 10 minute physics talk. Physicists are just generally bad at making presentations.

    What stands out to me, is that this was given at a workshop on high energy theory and gender. Given the audience for that sort of thing, I’m sure his talk was immediately and devastatingly picked apart.

  6. Derek Vandivere says

    Just saw on Twitter that he’s been suspended from CERN pending an investigation.

  7. nathanieltagg says

    I so do hope he’s punished. We don’t need physicists like him. Up until now, I’ve encountered only the mildest sexism in physics. (Mostly old-guard men who admitted to admiring women student’s bodies. Bad! But not like this guy. Everyone I know in that category has retired.)

    This crap is beyond the pale. His appointment at CERN is actually the least of our issues -he’s a professor at an Italian institute, and I fear for those students. He’s a sexist asshole, and should be shamed and fired for publicly supporting these stupid ideas.

    Meanwhile, my current experimental collaboration has two women co-spokespeople who have done an awesome job of making the environment welcome and inclusive, and so the experiment has attracted a lot of smart young women physicists.

    Strumia is not “one of those physicists”. He’s “one of those MEN” and I can’t wait to be rid of him and his ilk.

  8. says

    This was apparently a 30 minute talk, not invited. I looked a bit more at the slides, and here are my thoughts…

    From the beginning, his framing is misguided. He compares “mainstream” (M) theory to “conservative” (C) theory. M theory is the idea that gender differences in physics are caused by discrimination. M theory is introduced by a hodgepodge of quotes from previous workshops on String Theory and Gender, which strikes me as crossing some sort of line. C theory is the idea that physics is a meritocracy, and that any gender differences are caused by differences in ability and interest. He seems not to consider the obvious hypothesis that differences in ability and interest can be caused by discrimination.

    He comments that women are less common in fields like physics where ability is important, but more common in legal professions, which is where power is located. Am I detecting redpill ideas here? He doesn’t think legal professions require ability?

    He brings my attention to the “gender equality paradox”, which is the observation that by country, the “gender equality index” is anticorrelated with the number of women in STEM. However, the authors of that study reject Strumia’s interpretation, saying it’s because in countries with less gender equality, STEM is one of the few clear paths for women to gain financial freedom.

    He claims that there is no gender bias in citations. However, the metric he chose is only a measure of relative bias, i.e. how much more biased men are against women vs. women against women. He then goes to show that there is gender bias in citations, in that women are cited less often. I don’t see how this supports his conclusions.

    He then talks about hiring differences, and at the end he has that slide where he uses himself as an example. I have the impression he thought this was funny, but it definitely was not. It was very unprofessional.

    He claims that women are treated well in physics, citing Curie as his only example. He jokes that nobody’s fighting for gender equality in construction work. He references James Damore and Larry Summers. And oh god, there’s a slide where he implicitly assumes a relation between number of citations and IQ… whyyyy?

    I’m puzzled by this link to a story from 2016, about somebody vandalizing posters for CERN’s LGBT group. He seems to think the story was an unfair attack on CERN’s reputation, and I’m not seeing the issue.

    And of course, the slide on cultural marxism. ’nuff said about that one.

    TL;DR: This presentation frames the issues wrong from the beginning, borrows from redpill ideology, does not interpret data correctly, and features a few breaches of professionalism.

  9. Dr. Pablito says

    Lordy, that’s just a big bunch of ass. Gibberishy junk. A misapplication of all kinds of statistical analysis. I’d hate to read that guy’s physics research now, given what he passes off as analysis. I concur that it was an extremely unprofessional talk to give. Bleh.

  10. says

    Siggy — so this is representative of the quality of physics presentations? Now I’m horrified all over again.

    Do they also stand at a lectern and read their papers aloud, like some disciplines I could name?

  11. Mark says

    Strumia appears to suffer from the Dr. House delusion — The TV doctor who thinks his horrendous, social skills — corrosive humor, shameless arrogance, outright hostility, drug use, etc — ought to be excused because he has ability as a doctor. CERN, though, is a team effort, not a cult of personality. Strumia alone isn’t going to save the day. Maybe Strumia can’t come to terms with the fact that he can be easily replaced.

  12. says

    PZ @12,
    I feel validated to hear that you’re horrified. I spent my early years of grad school feeling like an impostor because I didn’t understand most physics talks, and it was later when I became convinced that the talks are actually just bad.

    You can check a few other talks in the same workshop to compare. Strumia’s presentation is definitely below average, but as far as presentation goes I’ve sat through worse.

  13. lotharloo says

    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.

    I hope that they also emphasize that it was “wrong, incorrect, and misleading” in addition to being offensive.

  14. says

    “Physics invented and built by men”
    But physics was invented long before there even were men. Just consider the remains the Large Hadrosaur Collider that I recently discovered!!

  15. lotharloo says

    I have to say that last line in the slide “convert to N_{icit} assuming one 6sigma among 10^9 persons”, just killed. Bwhahahahaha, my fucking god.
    xkcd made this right on the money:

    https://xkcd.com/793/

  16. microraptor says

    richardelguru @17: Was this a Large Collider invented by Hadrosaurs, or was it invented to crash Edmontosaruses into each other?

  17. Pierce R. Butler says

    Alessandro Strumia has just made the shortlist for first Italian physicist to be nominated to the US Supreme Court.

  18. =8)-DX says

    @chigau #1
    Well, I haven’t seen her in a top like that (cool women’s power symbol tho) for some time and she hasn’t had bright red hair for quite a while – more deep reds/browns (citation: watching her RebeccaVersus Overwatch stream a few times every week for the past year). But she could have been the inspiration.
    =8)-DX

  19. Andy Rodgerson says

    I am extremely surprised to see comments like this on a site that claims to be a “free thought blog”.

    Especially including the remark by nathanieltagg – “I so do hope he’s punished.” That is hypocritical in the extreme. you’re not refuting the argument, simply declaring it heresy.

    There is an argument to be made that academic institutions are under pressure to hire women and pother minorities purely out of the need to fill diversity quotas – so called “positive discrimination” or “affirmative action” – both euphemisms for “giving a less worthy person a leg up based on their special interest group”

    Those who study the variation of traits in humans know that Male characteristics are distributed more widely around the average than female ones – and in particular, males are represented at the extreme end of the distribution. The saying is “more dumb bells, but also more Nobels”,

    It’s true of many biological features – possibly because men have only one X chromosome, found in every cell in their bodies, whereas women have two and their cells have a 50/50 chance of containing each one. This leads to more extreme manifestations of genes in males.

    A second – related – point is that more men tend to be obsessive workaholics, and physics is “90% perspiration, 10% inspiration”.

    Thus, in an absolutely meritocratic system, you would expect to see the most senior positions increasingly occupied by men as you go up the scale of intelligence, and the most startling achievements increasingly made by men.

    There would be some women too, certainly – but there is absolutely no scientific reason to expect equality.

    This is perhaps the point that Professor Strumia was making -however badly: that the misguided assumption that “a fair system means women are increasingly hired” is anti-meritocratic.

    If an institution is judged fair by hiring more women, by moving more towards 50/50 representation, it can only do so by discriminating against more able men, on average.

    Yes, I think you’re all going to hate what I’ve written – but go and do your own research. Go and study if women do indeed reach the more extreme ends of the distribution as often as men. I suspect you’re going to be very unhappy at what you find.

    Also, ask yourself why – if the sexes are equal in all fields – you aren’t campaigning against the dreadful under representation of men in fields such as language and history.

    Is it only “unjust” if there are more men than women?

  20. says

    “There is an argument to be made” — a phrase that immediately tells me a stupid claim with no argument to be made is going to made.

    And voila, the bullshit argument is made:

    It’s true of many biological features – possibly because men have only one X chromosome, found in every cell in their bodies, whereas women have two and their cells have a 50/50 chance of containing each one. This leads to more extreme manifestations of genes in males.

    No. This is not generally the case. Flies also use the XX/XY system, and the males are just smaller and more fragile — we don’t see a subset that are stronger/smarter/faster than females. Having a deficiency generally just shifts the distribution to the left.

    But I’ve seen a lot of men make this stupid argument, while unable to provide any supporting evidence. Do you have any, other than your belief that genetics would provide compensation just to be fair?

  21. luce94 says

    So the style of the presentation might not be so good and maybe he is a dinosaur… but hey ho. One of the points the Prof made was that women are more often recruited to permanent positions, relative to impact measured by citation. I don’t see that refuted anywhere. Is that flawed in some way?

    Whatever the explanation for the 15% higher standard deviation (it doesn’t really hinge on being down to having one X chromosome), this difference does seem to be there for this measured trait (IQ). Does IQ count for anything? Yes, it really does seem to. It would be a more convincing rebuttal if it actually addressed a key point, rather than a peripheral and unimportant detail.

    How about comparing this argument to that of a negatively viewed trait: aggression. Are men more aggressive than women? Do we have to think too hard to agree that the most aggressive men are more aggressive than the most aggressive women? That’s pretty well accepted, right? Reflected in the prison population.

  22. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    That’s pretty well accepted, right?

    Not without a link to legitimate third party evidence provided by you.

  23. luce94 says

    To be honest, it’s like being asked to provide evidence that water is wet.

    Sex differences in aggression
    Anne Campbell
    Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology
    Edited by Louise Barrett and Robin Dunbar
    Print Publication Date: Apr 2007 Subject: Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience Online Publication Date: Sep 2012 DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198568308.013.0025
    Abstract:
    “The sex difference in physical and verbal aggression is one of the most robust, universal, and durable. In the United States, men constitute eighty six percent of all violent offenders. The proportionate involvement of men rises with the seriousness of the offence. Meta-analyses of psychological studies using experimental, observational, and self- or other-report methods also find that men are more verbally and physically aggressive than women and that this difference is greater for physical aggression. The ubiquity of this effect, its early developmental onset, and its consistency with other primate species suggest the utility of an explanation on evolution. This article suggests that the psychological instantiation of the reluctance to directly expose oneself to physical danger is fear. Fear also forms the developmental infrastructure for behavioural inhibition so that females are better able to control the behavioural expression of anger when provoked than are men.”

    Current Opinion in Psychology, Volume 19, February 2018, Pages 39-42:
    Highlights
    •In proportions of their total aggression scores, girls use more indirect aggression.
    •Boys use more physical aggression.
    •Both genders use direct verbal aggression equally much.
    •There are genetic components of both physical and indirect aggression.
    •Prenatal hormone exposure is crucial for the development of aggressive style

  24. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Now, why didn’t you show us you something other than assertion up front? That makes you look like a troll, not an honest arguer.
    Now, separate aggression from criminality….

  25. JustaTech says

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand the point about aggression. Are you saying that’s a genetic trait? Or that expression of aggression is socially determined?

    Because it is easy to observe that physical aggression is very strongly socially discouraged in girls from an early age, which would lead to greater use of indirect aggression.

    But again, what does this have to do about the social and cultural impediments to women advancing in physics?

  26. says

    I am extremely surprised to see comments like this on a site that claims to be a “free thought blog”.

    Especially including the remark by nathanieltagg – “I so do hope he’s punished.” That is hypocritical in the extreme. you’re not refuting the argument, simply declaring it heresy.

    Some ‘arguments’ are too absurd to deserve consideration. We would react similarly to claims that physics hiring is unequal because Bigfoot is messing with it.

    “[Giant group of people across lots of demographics] are statistically proven to be better than [Other giant group of people across lots of demographics]” for whatever quality you might throw in there is the sociological equivalent of being a Bigfoot truther, and deserves just as much respect. Or less, as a belief in Bigfoot rarely harms other real people, while these Bell-Curve-style canards exist only to let people pretend their prejudices are scientifically backed.

    Everyone else – he said ‘I thought you were “free thought” blogs’. DRINK!

  27. says

    Prenatal hormone exposure is crucial for the development of aggressive style

    I admit I’m hypersensitive to this kind of thing, but when there is an argument like THIS – especially connected to a free-floating claim that (unclearly-defined) Men are aggressive and therefore criminal – it does not merely smell but stinks of incoming transphobia.

    This sort of argument (horribly flawed, full of assumptions, and invariably only including cis samples) is trotted out all the time to ‘prove’ that trans women are violent men.

  28. Clovasaurus says

    …it won’t be long before this asshat is guesting on Rogan’s, and or Harris’ podcasts, they’re always on the prowl for new voices that spew the same biased trash.

  29. logicalcat says

    @Andy

    Being “free thought” does not mean we have to consider bullshit. I suggest you follow your own advice adn do some research. You wont, but at least I tried the suggestion.

    Any other Kanye Wests on here?

  30. dgareth says

    Full marks for saving this presentation. (I have saved it myself in case you change your mind). I think it is mostly well-argued, though not beyond criticism. But I think most of the posters here are missing the wider point. This was a workshop on “gender issues in high energy physics”. At CERN. You would imagine that would be a forum in which “gender issues” in “physics” could be openly debated. Yet it seems that only one opinion is allowed, namely that any gender issues in physics must be due to sexist misogynist discrimination.

    But if you are only prepared to consider one hypothesis, you are not doing science. There always has to be an alternative. If one hypothesis is that the gender imbalance is due to discrimination, than the alternative must surely be that it is due to inherent differences of some kind (or a combination of the two). Anyone with a genuinely enquiring mind would welcome that debate. Strumia makes an evidence-based case that deserves an evidence-based response. I am sure the majority of young female physicists would be able to engage with these arguments, rather than reach for the smelling-salts. And if they can’t then frankly they might be better suited to gender studies.

    I am appalled at the idea that because Strumia has expressed a non-PC opinion he should be cast into outer darkness. That is not the way things work in free societies, let alone scientific communities. Why is it that those who claim tolerance as a primary virtue are in practice the most intolerant? The damage done to genuinely liberal, rational, scientific values by this unhinged response is far more serious than anything Alessandro Strumia could have said.

  31. logicalcat says

    For globs sake dgareth. The presentation contained cries of “cultural marxism”. An old Nazi conspiracy theory. Should we allow the bible to be included as evidence now as well? Its an alternative “hypothesis” (lmao).

  32. logicalcat says

    I can I’m crazy for thinking that scientific presentation should contain actual science.

  33. Porivil Sorrens says

    Tolerance of intolerance is immoral. For every shitty chud with ~anti PC~ opinions, I guarantee you there are a dozen decent people that could fill his slot.

    If ~liberal, rational, scientific values~ entail tolerating sexist bullshit, fuck them, let’s get some new values.

  34. logicalcat says

    Its crazy because these are not liberal, not rational, and not scientific values. Its literally a sexist idiot ignoring all the valid research in social science, hard science, and the humanities in order to spread a conspiracy theory in support of a conservative viewpoint. And useful idiots defend him, why?

  35. says

    luce94 @24,

    One of the points the Prof made was that women are more often recruited to permanent positions, relative to impact measured by citation. I don’t see that refuted anywhere. Is that flawed in some way?

    That part of the talk I think is based on empirical analysis, and I presume that it’s true (without checking it in greater detail).

    But so what? There are many possible causes. For example, it could be that men perform worse than women on other measures outside of citation numbers. It could be that hiring committees understand that women in physics face a lot of sexism, and therefore similar publication records might indicate different levels of aptitude depending on gender. It could also be something completely different–in the “case study” that Strumia presented regarding himself, the reason Strumia has such a large number of citations is because he’s part of one of those giant collaborations that produces papers with hundreds of authors.

    And it’s one thing when rando internet commenters can’t interpret the data. But Strumia wrote a scholarly paper on the subject (not published in a peer reviewed journal as far as I can tell), this is all stuff he should have thought of. This is not just about Strumia expressing a “non-PC” opinion, but also doing bad science.

  36. Pablo Campos says

    @ Andy Rodgerson. You racist sexist fuck. Calling minorities and women “less worthy” is utterly disgusting and it’s worse that you’re trying to justify it by claiming science when its nothing of the sort. I’m a student studying Ecology and Asian studies and if it weren’t for science educators, STEM programs and outreach, I and a ton of minority kids would not be in higher education studying. Programs to get women and minorities interested and to become scientists is necessary and should continue as it changes lives. Your statement of colleges “diversity quotas” is utter bullshit that’s peddled by conservative racists. You claiming to care about male representation in the Humanities is such bullshit as well. Scholars in the Humanities have their share of problems like poor pay and more but I doubt you actually care. It’s false though as there are many programs to get men to become nurses, teachers, or therapists, etc. So your point is void. You obviously don’t know much and probably live in echo chamber with other racists and sexists. So Andy. Go Fuck Yourself.

  37. says

    dgareth @34,

    This was a workshop on “gender issues in high energy physics”. At CERN. You would imagine that would be a forum in which “gender issues” in “physics” could be openly debated.

    squints You must have confused the environment of a physics conference, with that of a blog comment section. Physics talks are not about open debate, they are about presenting work. You can’t express just any opinion, you need to actually do your homework and support it. If a view is far enough outside of the consensus, and the evidence does not support it, then it is not welcome, it is a waste of time.

  38. markimedes says

    https://heterodoxacademy.org/the-greater-male-variability-hypothesis/

    There is a fair bit of empirical evidence supporting the greater male variability hypothesis, it’s not like it hasn’t been studied. It’s not based on some ideal that everything has to even out in the end. If it was, then I expect it would predict women to have higher mean intelligence across the board, due to the obvious physical advantages men have over women.

    The relationship is a bit more complicated than depicted here though. For example, some studies conclude that verbal intelligence is much more tied to mathematical intelligence in women than men. So a woman with high mathematical intelligence is more likely to also be high in verbal intelligence than a man. There’s probably a million more caveats, because evolution is pretty messy, and we can’t rule out environmental factors.

    I don’t think Strumia is necessarily right, but I do think that men have some serious issues that are being mostly ignored. For example, in the entire first world the number of men attending college is dropping every year. It doesn’t seem like a good idea to ignore that to me, but I guess we’ll find out.

  39. Porivil Sorrens says

    See, I’ve always wondered how utterly mediocre dudes manage to ascend into higher education and profession fields by sheer virtue of being a dude. Strumia seems to lend some credence to that idea…

  40. raven says

    From PZ at #23

    Troll: This leads to more extreme manifestations of genes in males.
    But only for genes on the X chromosome, obviously.

    PZ: Having a deficiency generally just shifts the distribution to the left.

    Which is what we see.
    J Med Genet. 2006 Mar; 43(3): 193–200.
    X linked mental retardation: a clinical guide F L Raymond

    “This figure has been substantiated by numerous subsequent studies in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe and all agree with the observation of an approximately 30% excess of males being affected with mental retardation.2,3,4,5,6”
    and
    “Based on this observation, they calculate that only ∼10% of the excess males observed are due to X linked genes. ”

    There are 24 genes on the X chromosome that are associated with male mental retardation.

    So there is an effect on the far left side of the bell curve of male X chromosome haploids but it is slight, explaining only 3% of male mental retardation.

  41. raven says

    There is a word in this comment that gets caught in a spam filter. I’ve changed “MR” to “low Q”.
    “From PZ at #23

    Troll: This leads to more extreme manifestations of genes in males.
    But only for genes on the X chromosome, obviously.

    PZ: Having a deficiency generally just shifts the distribution to the left.

    Which is what we see.
    J Med Genet. 2006 Mar; 43(3): 193–200.
    X linked low IQ: a clinical guide F L Raymond

    “This figure has been substantiated by numerous subsequent studies in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe and all agree with the observation of an approximately 30% excess of males being affected with low IQ 2,3,4,5,6”
    and
    “Based on this observation, they calculate that only ∼10% of the excess males observed are due to X linked genes. ”

    There are 24 genes on the X chromosome that are associated with male low IQ.

    So there is an effect on the far left side of the bell curve of male X chromosome haploids but it is slight, explaining only 10% of the excess male low IQ, meaning 90% of the observed excess is due to other causes than haploid X chromosome linked genes.

  42. raven says

    The “Male Great Variability in IQ” hypothesis isn’t new.
    It is, in fact, over a century old.

    So what about the far right side of the bell curve?
    Short answer is, no one knows really.
    There are three sets of studies.
    Some show males as excess on the right.
    Some show females as excess on the right.
    Some show no difference.

    One study that seems well done investigated why males show right side mathematics excess.
    An excess that is declining rapidly.
    It turns out that in the past males were far more likely to take advanced math classes. This difference is narrowing as are mathematics test scores.

    Again these differences, if real, don’t necessarily have anything to do with X chromosome gene numbers per cell.
    Don’t forget most mutations are either neutral or deleterious.
    Based on that, you would expect more of any gene dosage effect on…the left side of the bell curve.

  43. raven says

    Lost in this whole side issue of the effect of XX and XY genotypes on brain function and the bell curve is why this is more or less irrelevant.

    It assumes that your success in physics and at CERN is going to be strictly proportional to IQ.
    And that all males at CERN will have higher IQ’s than all females at CERN.
    This is nonsense.
    And IQ isn’t just one thing anyway. There are a lot of different talents math, verbal, spatial, artistic etc. that are unevenly distributed.

    There are a lot more variables than IQ that are going to be important for success.
    1. How well you work with other people.
    2. Your emotional maturity.
    3. Your ability to control and hide your monstrousness, hate, bigotry etc.. * **
    ( Alessandro Strumia failed this big time.)
    4. This one is new.
    Your ability to not sexually harass or assault the people around you.
    5. How hard you work.
    6. Luck.
    7. Your ability to juggle work and family obligations.
    8. I’m sure there are more that I haven’t thought of.
    (Race, skin color, wealth, gender, number of kids, etc.are going to have an effect even though they aren’t supposed to.)

    Someone once described a Harvard graduate scientist as a “very smart sociopath”.
    They were right although, “very smart, poorly controlled, very sociopathic” would have been more accurate.
    His brilliance and Harvard connections took him a long way but ultimately he hit the wall, crashed, and never got up again. Unlike Ted Bundy, his victims didn’t actually literally die (some came close though), word spread rapidly, and after a while no one would work with him any more.

  44. methuseus says

    Not sure anyone’s going to read this, but,
    @Luce94 #26
    That study you cite doesn’t say that men are more aggressive than women. It says men are more often physically aggressive than women. It doesn’t say that overall aggression is higher in men; in fact it says only that women can control their outward reaction to aggression better than men. There is plenty of evidence that women are just as aggressive, if not more than, men; they are just indirectly aggressive rather than directly.

  45. Clovasaurus says

    @dgareth Woah… that was some repugnant shit to add. Asides from practically saying women ‘should learn their place’, you referred to sexism as a ‘non-PC opinion’? Really?! …blurring that line is dispicable, and you should be ashamed for demanding tolerance for sexism, but am guessing you won’t be.

  46. Ichthyic says

    you’re not refuting the argument, simply declaring it heresy.

    ah, I see the problem. somehow your brain substituted the word “heresy” when it should have used “stupid”.

    because yes, anyone who actually does science for a living would indeed declare that presentation stupid, and they don’t even need to be a physicist to do so.

  47. says

    It doesn’t say that overall aggression is higher in men; in fact it says only that women can control their outward reaction to aggression better than men.

    Which is easily explained by socialization and gender norms. No need to invoke genetics.

  48. eegiorgi says

    I went to the University of Pisa. And while I never met him personally, I was a freshman in the physics department when prof Strumia was a senior working on his thesis. The place was toxic for women. I’m saddened to see that things have not changed. Luckily the Nobel Prize committee proved him wrong this morning by awarding a female Nobel laureate in physics.

  49. says

    luce94

    Ha ha ha NO.

    Boys (and therefore men) are TAUGHT to be aggressive. Boys are thought to be “naturally” tougher, and therefore treated as such. Their roughhousing and violence and lack of boundaries is shrugged off as “boys will be boys”. They learn that they are entitled to, well, everything, especially things that aren’t theirs to take.

    Gils (women) are TAUGHT to be polite and somewhat submissive. Like, to the point where women will not outright say “no” (because “rude”), and instead phrase it in an apologetic way, like it’s her responsibility not to be too “mean” to the boy. (And with the way boys are conditioned, this is a survival mechanism — men have straight up killed women for saying “no”.) And gods help you if, despite all your caution and politeness, he does get violent or rapey, it’ll be your fault for not being nice enough, “provoking” him, or “leading him on”.

    It’s not an inherent biological difference, it’s social conditioning, and it can be changed.

  50. says

    On the topic of whether men or women are the more aggressive: back in the late 90s when there was a minor moral panic in this part of the world about “ladette culture“, I remember seeing a TV interview with a senior cop talking about how the aftermath of fights between pissed-up women was often more serious than that between men because violence between men was largely ritualised: the guys strutted about, landed a few token blows on each other, and were dragged apart by their mates once the Forms of Manliness™ were deemed to have been obeyed. In most cases, the whole thing passed off with nothing worse than a burst lip or a black eye the following morning. Women, on the other hand, lacking a less well-defined ritual framework in which to work out their aggression, fought to incapacitate their opponent, often landing themselves in hospital with quite serious and lasting injuries as a result, and presenting more of a threat to any police officers trying to intervene.

    Or, you know, this observation could have been just a bit of paternalistic pearl-clutching on the part of an old dude appalled at “unladylike” behaviour…

  51. says

    Tell the truth, lose your job. As it was with James Damore, and, some years ago, with James Watson, so it is with Alessandro Strumia. The shameful but effective Marxist technique of rapidly swelling, massive vilification comes immediately into play. As someone famous once astutely observed, “We must study this vile technique of emptying garbage pails full of the vilest slanders and defamations from hundreds and hundreds of sources at once, suddenly and as if by magic, on the clean garments of honorable men, if we are fully to appreciate the entire menace represented by these scoundrels of the press.” A threat to the paycheck is sufficient to make most people pretend to believe every lie they ever heard. Teachers will teach lies to students, if telling them the truth will get them fired. Judges will rule in favor of evil, if doing otherwise will cost them their office.

  52. tomasj says

    It’s really weird what’s going on. Someone points to the data on innate gender preferences and the different IQ distributions of male and female populations, and pro-female affirmative action polices, but rather than discuss it, everyone loses their mind and denies it absolutely! They deny there are any sex differences. They deny the data. They forbid discussion. They sign letters demanding the silencing of people who mention it. Noone even bothers to address the point! To even suggest discussing it is taken as an “abusive” “attack on women”.

    It’s just plain weird. So much for science being a frank and fearless quest for the truth.

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