A follow-up to the follow-up

In my recent post I discussed  Alessandro Strumia’s CERN talk, where he provided statistical evidence for discrimination in favor of women in Physics (except in China, where women are, apparently, discriminated against). Curiously, the very next day more anecdotal support came for Strumia’s thesis. The Nobel Prizes in Physics were announced, and this year they were awarded 1/2 to Arthur Ashkin and 1/2 to Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland, the third woman in history to receive the award. It was immediately noted that Strickland was, at the time of the award (though obviously not for much longer) an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo Physics department. There was immediate wailing, gnashing of teeth, and talk of glass ceilings.

However, the truth is, in a way, much worse. The standard metric in the hard sciences (less so in pure mathematics, which is a much smaller field) is the h-index. The h-index of a researcher equals N if he has N papers each of which has at least N citations (so, notice that the number of citations thus counted is equal to the square of N). Typically, prominent scientists (in physics and chemistry) have h-index in the forties and above. This year, Ashkin has an h-index of 52 (a little low, but then, but he is an industrial physicist), Mourou has an h-index of 110. Other relatively recent Nobel prize winners have h-index at least in the sixties. Dr. Strickland has an h-index of 15 (all numbers according to the Web of Science), which is consistent with still being an associate professor in a decent department. I have no expertise in photonics, so I don’t know the extent of Strickland’s contribution to her joint work with Mourou, but recent comments by the Nobel  Prize committee about the insufficient number of female Nobelists cannot help but come to mind.

Remark: Of course, the citation numbers in Mathematics (while less relevant) are also interesting: most recent Fields medalists have h-index around 16. The two notable exceptions are the late Maryam Mirzakhani (9) and C. Birkar (suspected by some as a political medal, being a refugee from the middle east) (also 9) [note, this is according to MathSciNet, since the Web of Science makes a mess of mathematics journals). Make of this what you will.

Fatwas-r-us

After what seemed to be a civil exchange of opinions on Lior Pachter’s blog post concerning Ted Hill’s paper (OK, Pachter was not civil, but I tried to be as civil as possible), I was amused (and a little shocked) to find that a fatwa was proclaimed against your humble author. And not only me, but all those who have anything to do with me. In other words, some people who I actually respected (at least as mathematicians) have decided to excommunicate me and the journals I was editorializing for (in perpetuity – even employing me once is deemed a mortal sin). Enjoy, but ponder that this is what we have come to.

 

andyputain

Progress creeps on

The (generally quite lefty) Chronicle of Higher Ed has come out with a generally sane article on the intellectual fascism in the academia, with political correctness requiring equality of outcomes and identify politics, as well as the self-righteousness of seeing “our side” (the left) as being on the side of the angels, and the other side as evil. Of course, this last is the last stage before an actual shooting civil war (since the other people are evil, it is OK to kill them), but in the meantime leads to a complete breakdown of communication – just as in the (ongoing, as of this writing) Kavanaugh circus, the left’s allegations are primarily not credible because of their avowed “by any means necessary” attitude (these points are not simply philosophical – Blasey Ford came to Dianne Feinstein, not the Committee; Feinstein did not communicate with her colleague or the nominee (which would have given plenty of time for a non-public investigation and, if any truth were found, quiet withdrawal); the  democratic party is NOT perturbed by the extensively documented allegations against their own – Keith Ellison. I could go on).

Getting back to the Chronicle of Higher Ed piece, I was amused to see that the authors still need to sacrifice at the altar of political correctness:

 

Examples of this include the 2017 decisions of two mathematics journals to backtrack after initially accepting a paper on the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis, which asserts that men are overrepresented both among geniuses and among people of very low intelligence.

We emphasize that we are not advocates of the hypothesis; we believe that the distribution of genius is uncorrelated with gender (or race, etc.).

 

(boldface mine). In addition to the well-documented GMVH, there is plenty of completely uncontroversial data on race and gender differences in intelligence (both in the general levels and, particularly important for gender differences, differences in aptitudes for different kinds of skills). The authors (the second of whom is a sociologist) know better, but they are afraid of being pilloried. Sort of like all the “conservative” pundits, who say:

I would never watch Alex Jones. And if I did watch him, I would find him horrible. But still, it is a shame about his deplatforming.

 

The preamble is necessary to stop the listener/reader/watcher from thinking that the author is the kind of a, how to say,… oh, yes – Deplorable person who might watch Alex.

 

So, we are still pretty deep in the woods, and a complete breakdown seems likely, but there are some rays of sunlight shining through the dense PC canopy – more on this in the next post.

Whither Sarah Jeong?

In the last several days there has been considerable hue and cry about the vile racism of Sarah Jeong – a new hire at the New York TImes. The egregious aspect of the case has not been so much Ms Jeong’s overt racism, but the New York Times’ bizarre decision to dig in its heels, and not reverse the hire. This was loudly praised by the left, and decried by the conservatives as hypocrisy (given the recent defenestration of Roseanne Barr.)

Now, it is the opinion of this author that “racism” is an invented (and pernicious) concept. In the entire corpus of Greek and Roman history,  skin colour is never mentioned.  What is mentioned frequently (and continued to be so for two thousand years) was national identity. There was no “White Race”, there were Romans, Greeks, Medes, Lydians, Kurds, Numidians, etc, etc. (note that Plutarch [or Gibbon, for that matter]) never mentions the skin pigmentation of the Numidians, or of the Carthaginians (the former were Berber, the latter Canaanite).. Later, there was a millennium of chaos, out of which emerged the Italians, the English, the Germans, the French, the Turks, and so on. Skin colour was never even mentioned until the Democratic Party in the USA used it to disingenuously justify why slavery was compatible with the US constitution (read Dinesh D’Souza’s book). Even so, the idea never caught on elsewhere, until post-WWI Germany (when Hitler attempted to justify his theory of German exceptionality by making the Germans into a separate biological race [to which he himself visibly did not belong, but that’s another story]), and thus unleashed three quarters of identity politics upon us.

That said, are “White People” a myth? No. Just as in the twentieth century there was only one World War (despite being separated in WWI and WWII), the “White People” are the Romans, and we are living in the sequel to the Roman Empire.  In the original version, Romans conquered by the sword, but later, the instruments of conquest became quite diverse – they included the sword, but also science, art, philosophy, and so on. The Europeans (the latter-day Romans) created this civilization and dragged the rest of the world (often kicking and screaming into it. The rest of the world includes the East Asians (who  had stagnated for two millennia before the Europeans appeared on the scene), the Africans (who still live in what President Trump correctly characterized as “shitholes”), the West Asians (who stagnated for only one thousand years under Islam and the Ottoman rule), the Jews (who, while in Europe were not of it – those who see the spectacular intellectual accomplishments of the Jews, forget that the only Jews anyone had heard about in a non-religious context were Spinoza and Josephus, and the latter was a Roman general – it is the melding of Jews’ national talents with the European culture that created the explosion of intellectual accomplishments), the natives of America, and others. These various people, while benefitting greatly the new Roman Empire, are resentful – they are not driving the train, they are but passengers, and so the lack of control and the perceived lack of respect engenders not entirely positive feelings, and a desire to show that they, too, are important. The resentment is very much tinged with envy.  Like children, though, the likes of Ms Jeong (see, we were going to come around to her), as well as Black Lives Matter and other identarian organizations believe that they can do it by throwing a tantrum (or worse – destroying the dominant civilization). This does not engender respect. At least not in this author.

Monty Python summarized it rather well in the famous scene from “The Life of Brian”.

Intersectionality

An interesting factoid. The neo-Nazis/alt-right/Aryan nation types do not consider Jews to be White, and hence view them as a major part of the racial problem. On the other hand, the intersectional SJW/BLM/snowflakes do consider Jews to be White, and thus a major part of the White privilege/patriarchy problem.

Conclusion (as pointed out by Tom Lehrer some sixty years ago: Everybody still hates the Jews.

 

Trump’s Inauguration

The last few days (really three months) have seen a lot of excitement, especially on the left, where my FaceBook feed is full apocalyptic pronouncements. The question is: why? The answer is: the Trump phenomenon is a reaction. It is a counter-revolution, to the Cultural Revolution which has been in progress for the last seventy years, and, as Die Internationale says: he, who was nothing, has a chance of becoming everything (and vice versa, which is why the dominant group is quaking in fear). I feel funny saying this, since, having grown up in the Soviet Union, being a “reactionary” or a “counter-revolutionary” was a bad thing, and yet, here I am, being one. My main concern vis-a-vis Trump have always been that he was all talk, and after the election we would have exactly the same thing as before, with some orange hair on top, but Trump’s cabinet selections, and the first few days’ activities allay my fears somewhat.

Where did the Cultural Revolution come from? There is the benign view, expressed by David Gelernter in America-Lite: that the Revolution was a by-product of the the transformation of American universities in the middle of the century, and the increasing power of the chattering class (especially the Jews, with their contrarian intellectual tradition). Then, there is the not-so-benign view, expressed by M. Stanton (Stan) Evans in Stalin’s Secret Agents. This holds that there was a concerted (and very successful) effort by the agents of Comintern to subvert American government and culture. Interestingly, the major agents of this change have, again, been the Jews who left Germany in the late twenties and early thirties – Communists (among whom there was a disproportional number of Jews) were losing the civil war against the Nazis, and so were fleeing to the New World. Once there, they had no intention of stopping their Communist ways. So, on this Gelernter and Evans agree.

Interestingly, while Trump himself is extremely sympathetic to Jews (much of his team, and, indeed, his extended family, is Jewish), his supporters have a certain tendency toward anti-semitism (nationalism is  anti-globalism, and Jews are traditionally viewed as espousing globalism [in Stalin’s time, they were branded rootless cosmopolitans, and this has now been resurrected by the alt-right movement). As a member of the Chosen People myself, I am, of course, somewhat troubled by this phenomenon, but it is my hope that getting these sentiments out in the open will normalize the situation.

 

Here is hoping.