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Identity Politics Invades Astronomy

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  • #16
    Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
    That's... a pretty terrible article, in that it mixes together a bunch of random stuff that has nothing to do with the NASEM Decadal Survey, labels it all "cultural marxism", and hypes fears of collapsing bridges based on nothing more than a letter to the editor.

    There's two things going on here. One is the Decadal Survey, which sets goals for the astronomy community. In addition to a bunch of exciting telescope projects, one of the goals is to diversify astronomy itself. That seems like a good goal to me. All indications are that scientific talent is randomly distributed in the human population. So, if we've got a field where only a small subset of the population appears to be thriving, then we're missing out on a lot of scientific talent. So, identifying the problems that are keeping us from having the best population of scientists possible seems like a worth endeavor to me.

    The rest are just anecdotes of some of the stupidity that seems to be going on at some colleges today, along with some misrepresentation. For example, the naming of Kuiper Belt objects started out being focused on various gods of mischief, since they upset the order of the solar system by helping get Pluto demoted. It then broadened out, but there's not some "anti-Greek-and-Latin" agenda there, as the piece implies.

    There are a couple of genuinely stupid things that the author of the piece points to, and i have no problems with critiquing them. But most of it is an attempt to lump together a bunch of things that have nothing to do with each other as a way of trying to fish for outrage clicks.
    There is nothing wrong with diversity unless it is done for diversity's sake, which is what almost always happens. Quotas get established and people who are slightly above average get preference over those who are well above average solely because of which boxes on the diversity chart get checked.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
      That's... a pretty terrible article, in that it mixes together a bunch of random stuff that has nothing to do with the NASEM Decadal Survey, labels it all "cultural marxism", and hypes fears of collapsing bridges based on nothing more than a letter to the editor.

      There's two things going on here. One is the Decadal Survey, which sets goals for the astronomy community. In addition to a bunch of exciting telescope projects, one of the goals is to diversify astronomy itself. That seems like a good goal to me. All indications are that scientific talent is randomly distributed in the human population. So, if we've got a field where only a small subset of the population appears to be thriving, then we're missing out on a lot of scientific talent. So, identifying the problems that are keeping us from having the best population of scientists possible seems like a worth endeavor to me.

      The rest are just anecdotes of some of the stupidity that seems to be going on at some colleges today, along with some misrepresentation. For example, the naming of Kuiper Belt objects started out being focused on various gods of mischief, since they upset the order of the solar system by helping get Pluto demoted. It then broadened out, but there's not some "anti-Greek-and-Latin" agenda there, as the piece implies.

      There are a couple of genuinely stupid things that the author of the piece points to, and i have no problems with critiquing them. But most of it is an attempt to lump together a bunch of things that have nothing to do with each other as a way of trying to fish for outrage clicks.
      thanks
      The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
        There is nothing wrong with diversity unless it is done for diversity's sake, which is what almost always happens. Quotas get established and people who are slightly above average get preference over those who are well above average solely because of which boxes on the diversity chart get checked.
        Let me share a little story about my past...

        I was one of those typical high school over achievers, and got into a good college. While there, i was in a lab class with a guy who had come through a rough inner city high school, where someone at his lunch table had been stabbed in front of him. He described how, each school year, he'd had to go up to his teachers and explain how he'd have to act stupid during class, otherwise the guys in gangs would force him to do all their homework for them, and he wouldn't have time to do his own coursework.

        Which one of us looked further above average on paper? I'd bet money it was me.

        Which one of us was more mature and capable, and more likely to get a lot more out of their college education? Clearly it was him. And i'd bet he'd look better than me on paper if he had been given the chance to go to my high school.

        We're terrible at accounting for these sorts of differences in circumstances - and, to be fair, i'm not sure i can even imagine how we'd do so if we wanted to. But i'm quite certain that the stats that are used to imply "it's diversity for diversity's sake" don't even make an effort to account for them.
        "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
          Let me share a little story about my past...

          I was one of those typical high school over achievers, and got into a good college. While there, i was in a lab class with a guy who had come through a rough inner city high school, where someone at his lunch table had been stabbed in front of him. He described how, each school year, he'd had to go up to his teachers and explain how he'd have to act stupid during class, otherwise the guys in gangs would force him to do all their homework for them, and he wouldn't have time to do his own coursework.

          Which one of us looked further above average on paper? I'd bet money it was me.

          Which one of us was more mature and capable, and more likely to get a lot more out of their college education? Clearly it was him. And i'd bet he'd look better than me on paper if he had been given the chance to go to my high school.

          We're terrible at accounting for these sorts of differences in circumstances - and, to be fair, i'm not sure i can even imagine how we'd do so if we wanted to. But i'm quite certain that the stats that are used to imply "it's diversity for diversity's sake" don't even make an effort to account for them.
          From my past...

          I was offered a promotion not just from my boss but the Regional manager called me up asking me to take it. After accepting the position my boss called me in to his office. I wasn't getting the job. Instead human resources stepped in and wanted this black woman who was just hired and with no experience in the field to get it instead.

          I went to work for another company and she was fired in less than six months after making a shambles of the department she was in charge of.

          And it isn't the first time I've seen that happen.

          One company I interviewed for frankly told me that advancement would be difficult because they had a policy of promoting minorities. I didn't take the job.

          Effectively, I've always been a supporter of meritocracies. Promoting the best one for the job. Period. I doubt that will change.

          I'm always still in trouble again

          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
            Let me share a little story about my past...

            I was one of those typical high school over achievers, and got into a good college. While there, i was in a lab class with a guy who had come through a rough inner city high school, where someone at his lunch table had been stabbed in front of him. He described how, each school year, he'd had to go up to his teachers and explain how he'd have to act stupid during class, otherwise the guys in gangs would force him to do all their homework for them, and he wouldn't have time to do his own coursework.

            Which one of us looked further above average on paper? I'd bet money it was me.

            Which one of us was more mature and capable, and more likely to get a lot more out of their college education? Clearly it was him. And i'd bet he'd look better than me on paper if he had been given the chance to go to my high school.

            We're terrible at accounting for these sorts of differences in circumstances - and, to be fair, i'm not sure i can even imagine how we'd do so if we wanted to. But i'm quite certain that the stats that are used to imply "it's diversity for diversity's sake" don't even make an effort to account for them.
            On the other side of that, I ended up getting forced to change High Schools after my sophomore year, because I had been headed down a bad path with "the wrong crowd", and was literally flunking out of school.

            The school I got sent to was about 65% Black and 32% Hispanic (slight exaggeration, perhaps) and there were a LOT of gangs in that school. On the first day of class (I had done my homework on this) I found one of the biggest blackest football players with the worst academic record, and offered to help him pass English and Math ("no pass - no play"). He saved my bacon on more than a few occasions, and we actually became pretty good genuine friends.

            Yeah, High School can be a real drag. By the way, I cleaned up my act and ended up graduation honor roll / honors.
            The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              Effectively, I've always been a supporter of meritocracies. Promoting the best one for the job. Period. I doubt that will change.
              Nowhere did i say i wasn't. I'm just questioning how well the numbers we generally use for those things always reflect who is actually best.
              "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                On the other side of that, I ended up getting forced to change High Schools after my sophomore year, because I had been headed down a bad path with "the wrong crowd", and was literally flunking out of school.

                The school I got sent to was about 65% Black and 32% Hispanic (slight exaggeration, perhaps) and there were a LOT of gangs in that school. On the first day of class (I had done my homework on this) I found one of the biggest blackest football players with the worst academic record, and offered to help him pass English and Math ("no pass - no play"). He saved my bacon on more than a few occasions, and we actually became pretty good genuine friends.

                Yeah, High School can be a real drag. By the way, I cleaned up my act and ended up graduation honor roll / honors.
                I expect helping him with academic stuff also helped focus your own thinking.
                "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
                  I expect helping him with academic stuff also helped focus your own thinking.
                  Don't ya love it when the unintended consequences have a positive impact and outcome?
                  The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
                    Nowhere did i say i wasn't. I'm just questioning how well the numbers we generally use for those things always reflect who is actually best.
                    The only numbers in my case were years of experience and performance review scores -- my boss told me during my first review they had to actually get permission from HQ to give me the numbers I got because nobody is supposed to have more than one score over 80 (apparently to keep scores consistent and comparable). In contrast, the woman they gave the job to had nothing except being assistant manager at a restaurant (the experience from which would not transfer over as the two jobs were like apples and orange colored elephants) and she could check two important boxes.

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                      The only numbers in my case were years of experience and performance review scores -- my boss told me during my first review they had to actually get permission from HQ to give me the numbers I got because nobody is supposed to have more than one score over 80 (apparently to keep scores consistent and comparable). In contrast, the woman they gave the job to had nothing except being assistant manager at a restaurant (the experience from which would not transfer over as the two jobs were like apples and orange colored elephants) and she could check two important boxes.
                      I'm also not questioning your story.

                      I would say it's not especially relevant to astronomy, where most of the career pipeline involves being in academics, with the standard metrics that come with that. But i'm perfectly willing to take you at your word on it happening.
                      "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by TheLurch View Post
                        So, if we've got a field where only a small subset of the population appears to be thriving, then we're missing out on a lot of scientific talent. So, identifying the problems that are keeping us from having the best population of scientists possible seems like a worth endeavor to me.
                        I always figured DNA was the greatest factor.

                        He described how, each school year, he'd had to go up to his teachers and explain how he'd have to act stupid during class, otherwise the guys in gangs would force him to do all their homework for them, and he wouldn't have time to do his own coursework.
                        I'm surprised gang members even cared about getting good grades. Those types I met in high school were resigned to dropping out and pursuing a career in the drug trade.

                        Comment

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