An Open Letter to all Men in Science

“‎Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” -John Stuart Mill

No one becomes a master overnight, and practically no one does it without the outside help and support of not just a mentor, but of a number of peers, advisors and other allies along the way. At least, that was my story.

Image credit: University of Baltimore.

Image credit: University of Baltimore.

I remember being an undergraduate. I remember the combined struggles of rigorous academics, self-confidence crises, trying to figure myself out as a person, and trying to make friends and forge relationships all at the same time. It was my first foray into the beginnings of adulthood, and I remember being thankful for a number of things.

That there was a group of my peers who I’d work with as we struggled through the problems.

That I had a large number of quality professors and teaching assistants who’d take the time to explain what they knew in a variety of ways.

And that there were a number of professors that I trusted to advise me — both academic and in terms of life lessons — to the best of their knowledge and ability. Whether a professor gave me a good grade, a bad grade, praise or criticism, a recommendation or a refusal, I took for granted that it was based on, if not my actual merits in every case, at least their perception of my merits. I didn’t think about it too much at the time, but not once did I ever have to worry that any one of them was spending their time and effort with me trying to get something from me.

Image credit: Associated Press / the Modesto Bee.

Image credit: Associated Press / the Modesto Bee.

But I was aware that others did. The professor who leaned in just a little too-close-for-comfort, not to everyone, but to one girl in particular. The student invited to an event one evening, only to find out that her lecturer viewed it as a date. And the one professor who always looked me (and the other young men) right in the eye when we spoke, but whose gaze always drifted downward when he spoke with the young women. At first, these weren’t things I noticed, as I was (especially my freshman year) far too wrapped up in my own issues, but as college wore on, I started to recognize that on top of all the things I had to face as an undergraduate majoring in physics, women majoring in physics had one more thing to deal with, too.

Then there was graduate school. There were many of the same struggles to face: significantly more rigorous academics, more nuanced personal and interpersonal struggles, and again the occasional life crisis. But I was better prepared to deal with it; I was older, I had seen more, traveled more, lived more, and become a stronger person. I had spent a year in the (non-academic) “real world,” and was a more seasoned individual. And I was ready to work harder than I’d ever worked in my life to learn what I was most passionate about.

Professors’ doors were always open, and they were always happy to discuss the areas of their profession (and the courses they were teaching) that they were most excited about. If the conversation ever veered in another direction, it was almost always mutual, and it was never inappropriate or unprofessional, at least to me. But I started noticing things I hadn’t noticed before, even as an undergraduate.

Image credit: retrieved from Lily White of http://renegadechicks.com/.

Image credit: retrieved from Lily White of http://renegadechicks.com/.

The professor who’d talk to a student professionally and politely, then stare at her rear end while she walked away.

The graded assignments that would have flirty little comments and smiley faces, only for the female students.

Gossipy conversations — about other people in the department, obviously — that would mysteriously fall silent whenever certain women walked by (but never the men).

And the way word choice would change ever-so-subtly — like how remarks were “ejaculated” instead of “uttered” — in the presence of certain people.

Now here’s the thing that gets to me: these were only the things I noticed, and I was never the target of these comments, nor did I personally have to deal with any of the ramifications. (And I’m not even a particularly observant person, to be frank.) But it was no longer a wonder to me why there was a gender imbalance at the professorial level in my field; it was a wonder to me that there were as many women who put up with that level of institutionalized sexism.

Image credit: UK National Commission for UNESCO, http://www.unesco.org.uk/.

Image credit: UK National Commission for UNESCO, http://www.unesco.org.uk/.

It’s been more than seven years since I finished graduate school, and now many of my peers are filling the ranks of the professoriate. I’ve seen lots of young men and women come through a few different departments, each going through their own journey of internal and external discovery. Many of them are attractive, interesting, amazing people. That thing you strove for, that journey you took, that support you had (or wish you had) has all gotten you to where you are now, and this is your chance to make it right, once and for all. The institutionalized sexism — or a “socially acceptable” form of sexual harassment — abounds, if only you pay attention and keep your eye out for it.

It’s one thing to say don’t do that. Well, duh. That’s not even advice I need to give to most of you; most of us have more sense than that. Most of us are feminists in exactly the way that Rebecca West meant for us to be, subscribing to “the radical notion that women are people.” Most authority figures in my field aren’t sexist, aren’t sexually harassing anybody, and treat everyone based on their own merits as people. But if we want to really change the culture of our field — if anyone in any field wants to change their field’s culture — we have to call people out on their behavior.

Image credit: Scholastic Magazine from the University of Notre Dame.

Image credit: Scholastic Magazine from the University of Notre Dame.

Talk to me about how awesome a student is at their studies: wonderful! Tell me what you’d do to her if you were a little younger? Not okay. Talk to students one-on-one about their work? Perfect. Talk to them one-on-one about their personal lives at their instigation? That’s fine too. Talk to them about either one of your personal lives at your instigation? Dealing with your issues is not their responsibility. Worship how smart and amazing Feynman was for his contributions to quantum field theory? I’m in awe, too. Trying to be like Feynman in all ways, including the overt misogyny and objectification of womenNot in my housenot in my department.

Image credit: user clif_hiker of LibraryThing; source from http://wellingtongrey.net/.

Image credit: user clif_hiker of LibraryThing; source from http://wellingtongrey.net/.

Look, I’m not perfect, and I’ve never expected anyone else to be. I’m not telling you not to forge a connection with your students, and I’m not even saying that no one is ever allowed to find love in this weird, taboo place. I’m saying that you have a responsibility to treat every person that comes through with kindness and respect. Not with kindness and respect as they relate to you, but as people with their own hopes, dreams, fears, demons, abilities and minds. You are to be their resource and their ally. And you are to stand up for them whenever another authority figure steps out of line.

And if every man in science reads this and commits to building this world we want to live in, we can put an end to institutionalized sexism and harassment like this. And men and women both can take their rightful places in this world: as people.

Comments

  1. #1 uncleMonty
    October 23, 2013

    Bravo Ethan, right on. (Btw you have a “not” missing in the second sentence after Feynman.)

  2. #2 StevoR
    October 23, 2013

    Well said. Agreed.

  3. #3 Richard
    October 23, 2013

    Ok

  4. #4 Ethan
    October 23, 2013

    Thanks uncleMonty; fixed it.

  5. #5 John McC
    Australia
    October 24, 2013

    Well said indeed. The sad fact is it needs to be said.

  6. #6 Wow
    October 24, 2013

    I am a bloke. One of the professors was gay. That “leaning in” thing happened to several of us.

    Something to remember in places where there is a large discrepancy between genders (and remember that gender only has meaning in the context of sexual reproduction: for organisms undergoing asexual or self fertilisation, there is no need for gender and where they exist, they’re changeable) is that the selection bias will be colouring EVERYTHING you see.

    Lets say 10% of the male population are pushy when it comes to dating and women in regards to relations.

    So in the “real world” where 51% of people are female, each woman gets 9 decent men to interact with for every 1 “creep”. 10% of their interactions are with creeps.

    Now consider where there are 91% men. 9% women. The 10% of men being creeps is no worse than “IRL”. However, the perception of women is that they each have more than 1 creep each constantly trying it on.

    The perception is that this location where there are 9% women is that the number of creeps is 10x worse than normal.

    Solution? Be aware that the problem may not be the men taking that vocation, but the lack of women in that vocation. Therefore you need be no more careful than you would be elsewhere, just that you’re going to be one of only a few “targets” to try. So make sure you’re not considered a target and that would include ensuring that you don’t give the impression that you’re looking to swap “favours” for a better mark. Causes you to be picked on by everyone and entices more creeps to try you specifically.

    PS I’d also like to point out that actions that for men are considered “creep” are, for women, considered flirting.

    There’s social shadings of the same order but putting women in a bad light instead, but this one never really gets any airtime.

  7. #7 Wow
    October 24, 2013

    PS Feynman loved his wife. When she died, well, one “solution” is to ensure you never fall in love again. Which can be achieved by treating every social interaction with someone into a mere transaction.

    And if “chase skirt” didn’t work on women, it wouldn’t be tried, would it?

  8. #8 John
    October 24, 2013

    Keep in mind that the situation can always go the opposite direction. My grads school advisor actively favored women. For whatever reason, he went out of his way to help the women in lab (at one point, over half the lab was women). He was pretty inappropriate at times, too. At one point in group meeting, he told one female lab member that she should go into academia because she’d be assured a job and wouldn’t have to work as hard. It was said as though it were a great thing. He didn’t treat the guys in lab like complete crap, but he never did them any favors, either. Strictly business, so to speak. Ultimately, it made for a toxic lab environment as certain people in my lab knew how to take advantage of the situation, and it contributed to the overall feeling of just wanting to be done with chemistry when grad school was over. I have enough stories from it all to probably write a cable TV drama series.

  9. #9 Edward
    October 24, 2013

    ) I’m always aghast at the hypocrisy in articles such as these, when the writer assumes the opposite never happens or is somehow acceptable. Women professors magically never look at a male students butt as they walk away. Our how touching is always inappropriate intersex. “treat women equally, but via a completely different set of rules” is the mantra of these articles.

    If a man were to wear short shorts or a short showing half his chest it would be deemed inappropriate and would garner plenty of looks. Somehow women dressing like this is equality? It’s pathetic in its transparency.

    I happy leave gender out of professional life when gender is not dragged in by the woman (or man, for that matter). What I’m tired of seeing is people focus on women, only, in some bullocks plea for equality. Try being a man in a female dominated field, let me know how that turns out for you.

    There are misogynistic men and women, it all depends who is in the majority as to how overt the unequal treatment.

    I’d like to see a single article where a woman lambasted other women for their unwanted sexual undertones. I don’t wish to see who can wear the least amount of clothing at work. I’d love to work in an environment where women weren’t flaunting their sexuality and using it as an excuse to avoid doing the same tasks as men.

    I, personally, would love to see the day when the majority of women start putting pants on with a shirt lacking a “peep my boobs” low cut front and begin doing the same heavy lifting as men. Some women do that already, and you don’t hear them making the same complaints. The issue only comes in when a woman carts in this mental process of “I’m a woman so special rules apply to me” and she, not surprisingly, figures out she is treated special by others as a result.

    There are men who treat women as objects, there are women who hate on men and there are either who pretend what they do has no bearing on the outcome.

  10. #10 uncleMonty
    October 24, 2013

    I suppose it was inevitable there’d be the “men’s rights” brigade posting comments with their tedious complaints about men also being victims. But it was a bit of a surprise to see a real-life specimen of the blame-the-victim school of thought so soon in the comments thread, mansplaining to the ladies with the helpful advice about not making yourself a target. It should be obvious – if you have to spend your time worrying about how not to be a target, how to make sure you’re not seen as flirting etc., you’ve got that much less mental energy for your work.
    Wow’s last comment is especially toxic in the way it redirects blame to women – “if skirt chasing didn’t work it wouldn’t be tried”. So because once a woman somewhere in some social context enjoyed being chased, every woman that comes along afterwards is required to endure your creepy attentions, even in her professional environment, or else she’s a man-hater for finding you a drag to have to deal with?

  11. #11 Wow
    October 24, 2013

    “My grads school advisor actively favored women”

    Though whether this is true depends on what metric you use to decide:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson%27s_paradox#Berkeley_gender_bias_case

  12. #12 Wow
    October 24, 2013

    OK, so women’s rights, Uncle, is fine and brilliant.

    Rights for gays, right on!

    Rights for the minorities? Go ahead.

    Rights for men, MRA!

    Really, what about (even if I were a member) MRA is wrong, Unkie?

  13. #13 Wow
    October 24, 2013

    “I’d like to see a single article where a woman lambasted other women for their unwanted sexual undertones.”

    It does happen.

  14. #14 Wow
    October 24, 2013

    “Wow’s last comment is especially toxic in the way it redirects blame to women – “if skirt chasing didn’t work it wouldn’t be tried”.”

    But blaming men for “chasing skirt” is fine???

    If it didn’t work, men wouldn’t try it.

    Is the ONLY diatribe you can think up to make up crap from inside your own head to INSIST with “proof by proclamation” that it’s toxic?

    HELL, IT’S NOT EVEN BLAMING WOMEN!

    How the hell can it be blaming women to say that women like to be chased, that there are a large (probably majority) segment of women who REALLY WANT to be pursued, that the pursuit is a measure of how attractive they are?

    No, unkie monty, the problem is people like you 1000% immune to thinking if it suits your preconceptions.

  15. #15 Wow
    October 24, 2013

    Maybe the problem is a complete lack of women in unkie’s life.

  16. #16 wow, a girl in science
    California USA
    October 24, 2013

    Great post and right on! As a woman in science I know well what this is talking about. The sad part is how many people post their comments to try to swap the situation 180degrees, which has a tendency to justify bad behavior. The situation is not interchangeable, deal with it, women have to every day. Regardless of how women respond to a sexist environment, the point is, [you] stop being sexist and discriminatory towards anyone, and discourage anyone around [you] who is.

  17. #17 Alan Doak
    Boulder, CO
    October 24, 2013

    As a senior electrical engineer, I see the shortage of women in my profession, and would love to see it changed. I’ve had a tremendously fulfilling career, and I think it’s really shitty to ruin that for other people.

    Much of the discussion is focused on sexual harrasment, but the old sexist idea that “women can’t do math” is just as bad or worse. End the prejudice.

    I spent a year in Germany as an ex-pat and spoke the language poorly. I was at a disadvantage in every negotiation: returning a defective product, disputing a bill, getting good service, etc. On their own, each was within social norms, but over time they caused a sense of frustration and anxiety that’s hard to explain. It’s probably the closest to sexism/discrimination that I’ll ever experience as an intelligent white male: being at a slight (or overt)disadvantage in every encounter. It’s made me more aware of how I interact with ESL and people differant than me.

  18. #18 Wow
    October 24, 2013

    “but the old sexist idea that “women can’t do math” is just as bad or worse”

    And the fossilised 1950’s feminist idea that we still as a society think or act like “women can’t do math” is even worse. It makes it entirely possible to ignore anything you say because there’s no apparent grounding in reality, just a chewing over of old soap.

  19. #19 Lotharloo
    October 24, 2013

    @Edward #9: “I’m always aghast at the hypocrisy in articles such as these, when the writer assumes the opposite never happens or is somehow acceptable. “

    And I’m also frustrated by seemingly educated illiterates who cannot read an article without making strawman arguments. Where was it claimed that the reverse is never true? No where. You just made it up. Congratulations. You may now apply for a grant from the discovery institute.

    The article was written by Ethan from his point of view, i.e., from the perspective of an individual living in a male-dominated field where at least by that fact alone will have a “males harassing females” problem and not so much “females harassing males” problem.

  20. #20 Joe Guy
    Mississauga
    October 24, 2013

    This is why women won’t get hired. They’re not worth the grief.

    Feynman was worth more than all the female scientists who ever lived, put together.

  21. #21 Adam H
    Hungary
    October 24, 2013

    Lovely.
    The last straw for me was where you associated that Feynman meme with “overt misogyny and objectification of women”. You are one sick puppy.

    You want to play a white knight and see the issue in black and white.
    I’m studying to become a teacher. Did you know that for every male student we have 3 female students? Yeah, well despite that 3:1 ratio we just received a memo about a “Women in science” scholarship, because you know, women are a tiny minority.

    So, today I had to argue with my pedagogy class to convince them that men perform in empathy tests on the same level as women. Perhaps you would have cheered them on.

    A week ago we had to consult with one of my math teachers, who was happy to deal with the issues of my female classmates – “girls first” -, but since I came last he hurriedly shooed me away, without looking at my problem.

    A few weeks ago about a dozen of my female algebra classmates discussed in a completely serious manner the dilemma of what to wear to our exams to reveal the most of their breasts, so the examiners would give them the most score.

    Oh, and today, I was “raped” by feminist standards, by a schoolmate who kissed me on the lips, out of the blue. I don’t complain, she is absolutely gorgeous.. But I have a girlfriend, so… HELP, RAPE!

  22. #22 Adam H
    October 24, 2013

    “And the fossilised 1950′s feminist idea that we still as a society think or act like “women can’t do math” is even worse. It makes it entirely possible to ignore anything you say because there’s no apparent grounding in reality, just a chewing over of old soap.”

    Indeed. I’m a math teacher in training and do you know how many times I’ve heard that women can’t do math? Zero fucking times. I don’t think it even occurs to anyone. Most of my fellow math teacher-to-be are actually women. Because of that, most of our best students are female. Noone gives a crap. Feminists seem to be stuck in the 1800s, or Saudi Fucking Arabia.

  23. #23 daisieclickie
    October 24, 2013

    Quote from above: “Lets say 10% of the male population are pushy when it comes to dating and women in regards to relations.”

    IMO, 10% is a terribly large starting number to accept as reasonable in regular life, let alone a skewed version for male-dominated fields. If this number is even close to true, no wonder women feel harassed in all walks of life. If it were true that 1 out of every 10 men is a creeper, then we really need to do a better job teaching boys how not to grow up into that creeper, and then maybe we can start pushing that ratio down.

  24. #24 Douglas Watts
    October 24, 2013

    The Mansplaining ! The Reverse-Victimization ! Will the Male Oppression Ever Cease? God, what a cesspool of pathetic male loserdom. Also, excellent essay, Ethan.

  25. #25 StevoR
    October 25, 2013

    @20. Joe guy :

    “This is why women won’t get hired. They’re not worth the grief. Feynman was worth more than all the female scientists who ever lived, put together.”

    Really?

    More than :

    Henrietta Leavitt – who gave us the Period Luminosity law and Cepheid standard candles,

    Annie Jump Canon – who gave us the Harvard classification system for stars (O, B, A, F,G,K, M ) as well as personally discovering 300 variable stars and producing the Draper star catalogue,

    Jocelyn Bell-Burnell – the discoverer of pulsars,

    Caroline Herschel – discoverer of many comets, (who also helped her husband William so much its hard to think of him – or her son John – succeeding without her.)

    Sara Seager – exoplanet hunter and scientific expert on their atmospheres too,

    Williamina Fleming – discoverer of the Horsehead nebula and another who produced key work on stellar spectral classifications,

    Dorothea Klumpke – who beat fifty men for a position at Paris observatory and who flew in a balloon to observe the 1899 Leonid meteor shower,

    Debra Fischer – the exoplanet hunter who was part of the team discovered the first multi-planet system around a normal star – Upsilon Andromedae and more,

    Lyudmila Zhuravlyova – discoverer of 200 or so asteroids

    Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin – who first determined the element abundances of the Sun and explained how ionisation affected stellar spectra,

    Ruby Payne-Scott – a notable pioneer in radio astronomy

    Carolyn Porco – expert on the outer solar system and key member of the Voyager mission,

    Penny Sackett – Director of Mt Stromlo observatory and former Australian Chief Scientist,

    Heidi Hammel – another outer solar system expert for NASA and a number of spaceprobe missions

    Kyongae Chang – best known for her work on gravitational lensing

    to name but a tiny assortment among hundreds more all combined?

    I don’t think so.

    Fortunately, we don’t have to choose between them as we can have all these and more and Feynmann too; all contributing in their own ways and in teams so we all collectively get the benefit of their efforts and know and understand so much more.

    Of course, women have had it a lot tougher for a long time and things still need to be better for them for everyone’s sake.

    “Not worth the grief?”

    Meh, you’re not worth the grief yourself!

    What a stupid thing to say especially when the “grief” here is so needless, so easy to avoid* and is coming only from a few people with outdated, short-sighted and ill-informed sexist views which hold everyone in our society back and gain us nothing.

    * No, not avoided by not employing women or allowing them to do astronomy but by, merely, by y’know, treating women like intellectual equals not mere sex objects.

    That so terribly hard? Seriously?

  26. #26 slw
    October 25, 2013

    Sexuality is a huge part of being human, why should we suppress that in the hopes of some false “professionalism”? Yes, my gaze wanders when a pretty girl walks by, just like a lady’s gaze wanders if a handsome man walks by. It’s who we are, there’s no sense in denying that.
    It’s not about women’s rights or men’s rights, every time this argument boils down to “I am uncomfortable with sexuality, so I wish everyone pretended that it does not exist”.
    I’m not making excuses for actual sexual harassment, that is a horrible thing and needs to stop, but a lot of things recently presented as such are just…not. Flirty remarks and appreciating someone’s beauty are not harassment, they’re a perfectly normal part of human interaction.
    If we build our social interactions around making sure nobody is ever offended, we lose so much of what makes the world interesting.
    Just stop being so damn offended by everything.

  27. #27 Wow
    October 25, 2013

    “Where was it claimed that the reverse is never true? No where”

    That was a jump he made, but it’s one informed by the lack of conversation or even carelessness about the reverse happening because society is not only happy with the stereotype of “Men are always looking for sex” but push men into it and refuse to think that, maybe, women are just as sex-mad as men, it’s only socially been acceptable for the men to be overt about it.

    Look at how when someone bad gets into prison you’ll see “I hope you get a nice new girlfriend in there!” or “Don’t pick up the soap!”. Male rape is funny. Well sort of. Well, it’s not vilified if even mentioned.

    Why? Because men are supposed to look after themselves. They’re supposed to be wanting sex ALL THE TIME.

    And that colours every other interaction people have.

    I can enjoy looking at a lovely sunset. This does NOT mean I want to run after it with my kecks ’round my ankles to give it a good bonking.

    However, the social subtext means I can only be looking at women because I want sex with them.

    Whereas, despite “Girl Power”, women still get the meme applied that they’re mainly passive receivers, laying back and “thinking of England”.

    So reading it in is no different than reading into a “There’s a reason other than rampant sexism for this” can be “read” as “Women’s rights are a fiction, only men should have rights! MRA! MRA!”.

    There’s an expected discourse. And it’s applied by everyday people. Even if the evidence FOR it isn’t there, the lack of any evidence AGAINST is not.

  28. #28 Wow
    October 25, 2013

    “IMO, 10% is a terribly large starting number to accept as reasonable in regular life”

    Daisy, did you read it?

    It said “Lets say 10%”.

    It did not say whether this was right or correct, just using it as an argument to show workings out.

    Nothing more.

    Yet you decided that this was a confession on behalf of all men about how there’s 10% of us who are creeps (ignoring that the decision of who is a creep is left entirely to the woman’s mind. “it’s my opinion”).

    It wasn’t.

    But if it’s tiny, then you need to have another look at that wiki link I gave, regarding Simpson’s law.

    Basically, taking a much smaller set out of a larger set and trending the same trend on that can give a contrary view of what’s going on.

    Instead of assuming that everything is as you thought it was (like Eward did, but immediately frowned on by Lotharloo, though oddly enough he didn’t upbraid you…), try looking again with a mind open to seeing what may be there rather than what you expected.

    Give it a go, for novelty’s sake if nothing else.

  29. #29 Wow
    October 25, 2013

    “The Mansplaining ! The Reverse-Victimization !”

    DUDLEY DOO-RIGHT WILL SAVE YOU LADIES!!!!

    Really. So when women ‘splain to men what rape is, it’s not “Womansplanin!” when complaining about “The Patriarchy” it’s not “Reverse Victimisation!”.

    You are the reason people like Edward think that his views on this piece was correct.

  30. #30 Wow
    October 25, 2013

    “Really?”

    No, Stevo, he was trolling just as Daniel was. Maybe even Daisy too.

  31. #31 Cousin Ricky
    St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
    October 25, 2013

    The Richard Feynman flow chart is missing a section:

    Is there a safe around? (yes) Break into it.

  32. #32 incitatus
    October 25, 2013

    the article was rather heteronormative. Good points but remember that harassment can go with any gender combination.

    but uncleMonty, use of the word mansplaining is similar to Godwin- its an automatic lose. why ruin a decent rebuttal of an idiot by including such a sexist term?

  33. #33 makeinu
    October 25, 2013

    @ #20 StevoR

    *slow clap*

  34. #34 Wow
    October 25, 2013

    So childish insult is fine as long as no sexism is involved?

    And rather begging the question, since apart from “mansplaining”, there wasn’t anything else said.

  35. #35 incitatus
    October 25, 2013

    wow- childish insults are nasty. sexism is IMHO nastier. priorities.

  36. #36 Wow
    October 25, 2013

    Really? Why?

    PS I do not believe you actually think childish insults are nasty. Otherwise you would not have engaged in one, would you?

  37. #37 StevoR
    October 25, 2013

    @26. slw :

    Sexuality is a huge part of being human, why should we suppress that in the hopes of some false “professionalism”? Yes, my gaze wanders when a pretty girl walks by, just like a lady’s gaze wanders if a handsome man walks by. It’s who we are, there’s no sense in denying that.

    Sure. I don’t think that’s the sort of thing we’re talking about here. Yes, we’re sexual beings and yes we’re going to appreciate the sexiness of others.

    But we’re all also much more than just sexual beings.

    Its also about how we treat and respect each other and show consideration and empathy for other people who have things. A mix of good manners and ethics in essence.

    Appreciating beauty in others and consensual flirting is fine.

    But unwelcome advances on women – and men and others – who don’t want to be harrassed – not-so-much.

    Discrimination and *only* thinking of women (or anyone) as sex objects and not allowing them to contribute academically or treating them differently and unfairly to everyone else academically or legally. Not cool.

    Really, what about that is hard?

    @33. makeinu : Is that a good thing or bad thing?

    @12. Wow :

    “Rights for the minorities? Go ahead.
    Rights for men, MRA! Really, what about (even if I were a member) MRA is wrong, Unkie?”

    Technically speaking, rights for minorities covers rights for men because males are I gather (usually) a slight numerical minority. Also y’know a lot of men belong to other minorities too and, of course, Gay rights overlaps with men’s rights as well!

    So it isn’t either / or.

    As for rights of men specifically, well of course. All humans have and deserve inalienable human rights.

    What’s wrong with the MRA’s as I understand it is that they seem to want to deny these rights to women and insist on keeping an outdated set of laws and customs and attitudes that hurts everyone, men included.

    Out of curiosity, what rights do you think men are currently being denied? Are we paid less than women? Are we treated unfairly under laws? Do we face extra obstacles and stereotypes stopping us from entering fields like science?

    Where precisely do the rights of men clash with the idea of treating women equally and giving them the same rights – feminism – in your view?

  38. #38 StevoR
    October 25, 2013

    Not sure if I can add links here but I suggest taking this basic test via Taslima Nasreen’s blog :

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/taslima/2013/03/28/are-you-a-feminist/

    and think about the fact that “feminist” is a very broad term indeed and 99.999999999999999 % of the time (if not more) NOT what its opponents mischaracterise it as.

  39. #39 StevoR
    October 25, 2013

    Arrgh. Stuffed up aline in coment #37 Sorry -correction for clarity here :

    Its also about how we treat and respect each other and show consideration and empathy for other people who have things -circumstances, genders, sexualities etc .. – very different to ourselves.

  40. #40 William Hendrixson
    October 25, 2013

    Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think we will ever civilize away our biological imperatives. Of course we expect our more from those with power, and we can certainly try to pressure them socially, but I just don’t believe it is a battle that can be won. We want men to behave themselves and act professionally with women when we men cannot even do this with other men, for reasons outside of sexuality.

    And another aside, because its a pet peeve of mine – someone had used the phrase (inevitably in discussions like this) “blaming the victim”. It doesn’t have to be about blame to accept that some behavior is reckless.

    I am free to wander about a large city with my wallet stuffed in my back pocket while reading a tourist map (do they even still exist?) – and when I am relieved of my wallet it will not be “my fault” – someone else will have committed a crime, and deserve punishment – but that is not to say that I acted outside my own best interests, knowing the reality of human behavior at these base levels.

    Accordingly, a woman who weaponizes her own sexuality is neither to blame, nor should we not acknowledge that it too is an effort toward having power over others.

    Of course, how anyone – man, woman, teacher, student, employer, employee – uses that power is what this is really all about, isn’t it?

  41. #41 William Geoorge
    here
    October 26, 2013

    Lovely essay Ethan. Don’t let the troglodytes in the comments dismay you. They’re dying out slowly but surely. This sort of message is getting heard.

  42. #42 John Duffield
    October 26, 2013

    Nice little article Ethan. But when some lecturer leers at some female student and makes inappropriate suggestions, that isn’t sexism, that’s being a creep.

  43. #43 adelady
    Australia
    October 26, 2013

    Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think we will ever civilize away our biological imperatives. … We want men to behave themselves and act professionally with women when we men cannot even do this with other men, for reasons outside of sexuality.

    I’d certainly call that statement a much worse description of men than the most rabid feminist ever produced. There’s nothing “biological” about a man bringing considerations of sex into each and every kind of dealing with any and all women. There’s nothing “biological” about bad behaviour of any kind by anyone.

    The fact that we’re all capable of a phwoar! reaction to the occasional outstandingly attractive person is irrelevant. Even if this person is someone we deal with daily or frequently, that reaction is both transient and occasional. It has no link or explanatory power for those people who consistently talk or grade or look at or inappropriately touch or raise personal/ sexual conversation topics with practically every person of the gender they ‘favour’.

    Other bad behaviour is exactly that. If we weren’t brought up properly to behave well, by the time we’re 25 we should have learned the basics for sensible adult interaction in a professional environment. People choosing to behave otherwise are simply displaying bad choices as well as bad behaviours. Who could blame the unfortunates who have to deal with them for judging them as having bad attitudes into the bargain?

  44. #44 Wow
    October 26, 2013

    “I’d certainly call that statement a much worse description of men than the most rabid feminist ever produced”

    I would also call it completely wrong.

    The brain in my brainpan does the thinking. The “reactions” the rest of the body make may be involuntary, but I do the thinking. And the actions I take aren’t decided by my penis.

  45. #45 Wow
    October 26, 2013

    Stevo, FTB is the biggest logical disconnect between their name and their actions since Hitler took over the National Socialists.

  46. #46 Wow
    October 26, 2013

    “Yes, we’re sexual beings and yes we’re going to appreciate the sexiness of others. ”

    Which will be taken down and used as evidence against you in a star chamber court on FTB…

    They are used to “prove” The Patriarchy exists, FFS!

  47. #47 Wow
    October 26, 2013

    “consentual flirting is fine.

    But unwelcome advances on women – and men ”

    So, like, flirting isn’t fine, then.

    Or do you think we must change to go “Is it OK to flirt with you?” before deciding to flirt? Doesn’t that rather neuter the entire point of it which is to sound out a one-night or longer term relationship with someone without the risk of blank rejection lessening the self respect of the person looking for some companionship and creating a subsequent atmosphere of cold embarrassment?

    Not to mention being a mood-killer.

  48. #48 Wow
    October 26, 2013

    “Technically speaking, rights for minorities covers rights for men because males ”

    Thank you, captain obvious.

    Now ,please explain something that is COMPLETELY OPAQUE to me.

    What the hell were you thinking when you posted that? Because it doesn’t actually address the complaint or explain it. Or even agree with it.

    The mangina who complained thinks otherwise and rather than address him, you addressed me.

    Connect the dots for me.

  49. #49 William Hendrixson
    October 26, 2013

    @Wow, @ Adelady

    The reason why we will have to agree to disagree is that you are both placing expectations of others based on your own (and presumably also of those in your lives) capabilities. Just because both of you (and myself, I’m no creep either!) manage to treat everyone as people first does not mean that everyone is even capable of it. (nevermind the next argument that even if capable, would be willing)

    I suggest that the lowest common denominator is significant enough that this sort of behavior can never be rooted out past a certain threshold, and whatever that threshold is, it is large enough to be ever presently visible in society. That Ethan was talking specifically about “in academia” was not lost on me, but I think all that does is shift the curve, not eliminate it.

    Please don’t confuse me for some kind of sexist apologist though. I prefer to consider myself an objective realist, though obviously I only have my own white male lens through which I can view life. To me this is all a subcontext of the greater discussion of “abuse of power”, though perhaps I was too subtle in that regard in my earlier post.

  50. #50 TMR
    United States
    October 26, 2013

    Maybe someone should take care of the kids left at home to raise themselves.

  51. #51 Wow
    October 26, 2013

    “The reason why we will have to agree to disagree is that you are both placing expectations of others based on your own (and presumably also of those in your lives) capabilities”

    Isn’t that what you’re doing?

    It’s not the way I would have described it, but any construction to bring that conclusion to you would definitely cover your actions too.

    Isn’t the ACTUAL problem here is that “creep” really only seems to be “attraction from someone I didn’t intend to attract”? Which isn’t something that someone not living inside your head would be able to discover a priori.

    Which makes it a non-event, surely. It’s like taking offence at something. Look hard enough, you can find offence in anything.

    And since men are expected to pursue, they are expected to be creeps too.

    Women REALLY DO like being chased. The effort taken to “win” them reflects upon their desirability and moreover their standing with their peers.

    Problem is that only the guys they WANT chasing them are doing it right ™.

    And if the night has been poor for hunting and their peers seem to be doing better, the desire for a crutch for self-esteem may lead them to take whichever dude is then available and still trying.

    But it’s still him who is the creep. At least until that point.

    Next time you go out, step outside yourself and REALLY WATCH people. You’ll need to do it a bit before you spot patterns of behaviour, but they’re eye-opening.

    If I’m feeing in a particularly misanthropic mood, even amusing.

  52. #52 William Hendrixson
    October 26, 2013

    @Wow

    I don’t at all disagree with you – if we are talking about peers. Once you add the dynamic of teacher-student, employer-employee, doctor-patient, etc., – then it is entirely different. Then it is inappropriate under almost any (all?) circumstances.

    Sure it still happens, and sure sometimes it is in fact mutual. But I believe that this is the genuinely accepted meaning of “sexual harassment”. Like I said, it comes down to issues of power. People, often enough, cannot properly manage the power aspect alone – before even considering sex drive. Its two points of failure that I do not expect many, though not most, people to tame.

    But yes, otherwise, I totally agree with you, word for word.

  53. #53 TMR
    October 26, 2013

    Very difficult for men and women to be just friends.

  54. #54 Cosmonut
    October 26, 2013

    Must say I agree with Wow on
    ” Women REALLY DO like being chased. The effort taken to “win” them reflects upon their desirability and moreover their standing with their peers.”

    I remember a female friend whinging big time about how she went to a bar and “the guys were so lame. They just sat among themselves drinking and laughing and ignoring everyone else”.

    So I say, “But that’s exactly what girls do at a bar.”

    Answer” “But MEN aren’t supposed to be like that.”

    So the current situation seems to be:
    Men are supposed to “make the approach”, initiate conversations, keep up a constant stream of ass-kissing – oops, compliments, and pay for everything (of course !).
    And yet, all this is supposed to be done in a Gandhian spirit of charity – expecting nothing, absolutely nothing in return !
    WTF ??

    Its great to read about how Feynman saw through the hypocrisy of the situation and smashed through it with his usual intelligence. :)

  55. #55 Wow
    October 27, 2013

    “and pay for everything (of course !).”

    Luckily this is much less common, though still a majority view. Sharing the bill can be used as an indicator that this is a chinwag, not a date.

    It can even be done for reasons of the woman considering this wrong.

    Inequality between women and men (in the woman’s favour) IS changing. Just even slower than the inequality between men and women (where men are net “ahead”).

  56. #56 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    @47. Wow :

    “consentual flirting is fine.
    But unwelcome advances on women – and men {aren’t]”

    So, like, flirting isn’t fine, then.”

    Flirting is fine when its mutually welcomed. When both people are happy to engage in it.

    But when one side or the other isn’t into it, when one side makes it clear they don’t want to be flirted with and you keep trying it, well that’s not good. Not polite, not considerate, not ethical. Not cool.

    Its like dance.

    If two people are happy dancing then its great and everyone is happy and magic can happen.

    But if someone really doesn’t want to dance and are trying to break free of it and want nothing to do with their would-be partner then, no. It just won’t work and isn’t good to try and compel them.

    It really boil down to this : Don’t make someone else do something they don’t wish to do. Don’t make someone else feel uncomfortable or unhappy.

    Try to convince them nicely by persuasion, ok, but if its clear that another adult isn’t comfortable with something that you are trying to get them to do, well, for pity’s sake just stop it and let them be.

    Imagine how you’d feel in their shoes and if you wouldn’t want it done to you int heir place – then don’t do it to them.

    “Or do you think we must change to go “Is it OK to flirt with you?” before deciding to flirt? Doesn’t that rather neuter the entire point of it which is to sound out a one-night or longer term relationship with someone without the risk of blank rejection lessening the self respect of the person looking for some companionship and creating a subsequent atmosphere of cold embarrassment? Not to mention being a mood-killer.

    Yeah, mood and consent and reciprocal interest.

    There are signals, body language, voice tone and more for that. If someone’s into you – or not – you can tell without having to blatantly ask outright usually.

    The other partner or would-be partner will usually make it clear enough. If they don’t, well, eventually they will and if you’re confused then fair enough but usually you can tell. Think about their reactions, their behaviour and body language and so on and if they seem to be okay then okay, if not, not. And if not, learn to take the hint and move on.

    If you really have to ask “Hey, you cool with this?” then, hell, you probably already know they’re not but still it will be better to ask then be that guy.

    Also women vary just like men do. To quote Monty Python : “We’re all individuals!” (“I”m not.”) Some women like to be chased. Others don’t.

    Watch for the clues they give and act accordingly and, if in doubt, well be careful and try not to be the sort of cad who shoves himself onto people when he’s not wanted. Don’t be the guy that girls hate and think of as a leering sleazebag whose clearly only out for one thing and won’t take “no” for an answer.

    Again, put yourself in the person you are approaching’s place and imagine how they might feel and think and react to your behaviour towards them.

  57. #57 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    Short version :

    Don’t be completely selfish and think about other people and consider how they feel too.

  58. #58 StevoR
    October 27, 2013

    @48. Wow : “Technically speaking, rights for minorities covers rights for men because males ”
    Thank you, captain obvious. Now ,please explain something that is COMPLETELY OPAQUE to me. What the hell were you thinking when you posted that?”

    Well, I was thinking exactly what I wrote :

    “Technically speaking, rights for minorities covers rights for men because males ..” are a minority themselves albeit only slightly.

    Also the rest of what I wrote in response in comment 37.

    “Because it doesn’t actually address the complaint or explain it. Or even agree with it.”

    Well I did say technically.

    I think I’ve addressed your comment #12 quite adequately in my #37.

    What “substance” precisely do you think I missed and are you going to answer my question over what rights precisely you think men are being denied eh?

    “The mangina who complained thinks otherwise and rather than address him, you addressed me.”

    “Mangina?” That word really necessary dude? What do you mean by that?

    Also you commented publicly on a thread seen by everybody, I’ve answered publicly on a thread seen by everybody. Meh, go figure.

    Ya wanna get only one person answering (or not as they choose) then send a private message not a blog comment.

    “Connect the dots for me.”

    This explains why you’ve been arguing with me by merely making unsupported blanket assertions on Pluto on the ;’Unlikely King of the Kuiper Belt’ thread?

    U trolling now bro’?

  59. #59 Wow
    October 27, 2013

    “Well, I was thinking exactly what I wrote”

    OK, so you’re going to pretend that literalism is going to save your bacon.

    So I’ll use this homonym:

    What the hell were you thinking was the POINT of telling me that?

  60. #60 Wow
    October 27, 2013

    Or another:

    What was the PURPOSE of telling me that?

  61. #61 Wow
    October 27, 2013

    “Don’t be completely selfish and think about other people and consider how they feel too.”

    Including “Don’t consider them a creep just because they don’t read minds”.

    “Flirting is fine when its mutually welcomed. When both people are happy to engage in it. ”

    However, unless we go “Can I flirt with you?” it will ONLY be known AFTER the fact. But the woman has already considered them a creep.

    WORSE: the woman will merely “hint” that it’s unwelcome UNTIL they then go into “full-creep-assertion” mode. Thing about hints is they aren’t obvious. That requires it to be “Heavy” or “Obvious” hinting.

    Like you said, don’t consider everyone else to be the same as you. Maybe they don’t see the hint. Try another one.

  62. #62 Tony Rotz
    October 27, 2013

    Women will have it all when men do, which is never.

  63. #63 hollington
    United States
    October 28, 2013

    guess what?
    this letter is one of the most egregiously sexist things I have read in my whole life. To assume that men only behave in a particular way, or that straight men only need to take heed…

    BS

    I am no more responsible for worrying about the misdeeds of my colleagues who share my gender and sexual preferences than those who do not share. And don’t assume that only one gender behaves this way. Both do. I know this from experience.

    In short, quit whining and get back to work. If you have a theological question on how you should behave, go to church. If I want a sermon, that’s where I’ll go, too.

  64. #64 Wow
    October 28, 2013

    Keep it in mind, however, that we live with other humans. If you feel offended by something, consider whether you’ve misinterpreted first.

    If a situation makes you uncomfortable, say so. But lay off the accusations whilst doing so: you don’t know whether that’s their deliberate intent or your insecurity. Find out first before getting upset.

    If you find some “joke” 100% offensive, feel free to make your feelings known. But be ready to have them ignored because they don’t think they’re valid. After all, you didn’t think the “joke” valid. You may find, however, that the joke may be intended more meta- than offensive. See Jimmy Carr’s “9 out of 10 people said they enjoyed gang rape”. Found offensive because it “seems” to promote rape as funny. Look at it again with the idea that this is poking the fun at “Well, everyone likes it”. It’s less obvious than the tired “Two wolf and one sheep deciding what to have for dinner”.

    If you’re the one being told you’re offensive, ask yourself whether this is what you intend? If it appears you’re being accused, is that just one meaning of the intent? It’s not really defensible to get offended over someone saying you are offending them when you can see that, yes, you can be seen to have done so. Let them know they have offended you, and do so in the manner you would have preferred being told of the hurt caused.

    Lastly both parties, if they are open and honest and still cannot come to an amicable medium can merely decide not to approach each other since neither sees a reason to change their attitude and see the others’ attitude as problematical.

    If, after that, you’re still getting hunted down, you’ve got stalking laws to fall back on.

    The idea is that if you have to perceive intent in others actions, consider that those actions had to be interpreted through what you EXPECTED to see. Which may be a fiction. And then remember if we were abandoned in the middle of nowhere with nobody else, we’d die pretty damn quick. We NEED other people. So lets not make a problem where none is needed in our interactions with each other.

  65. #65 Reynold
    October 28, 2013

    @#7 “And if “chase skirt” didn’t work on women, it wouldn’t be tried, would it?”

    How many people buy lottery tickets week after week even though, most likely, it will never work for them? A disproportionate number of these people are poor, they can ill afford to spend the money, and unlike guys having a weekend in Vegas, they aren’t doing it expecting any sort of thrill or fun value, but they continue anyway because they tell themselves how great things will be if they win, even though statistically speaking they never will.

    In this case, the price of self-delusion is that the buyer’s family has a few bucks less to spend on food that week, so I don’t feel too strongly about correcting that particular vice. When it’s men (or women) abusing their positions of power to try to “chase skirt,” the price is much higher. It means creating the wrong kind of obstacle to young men and women trying to enter their fields. At worse, it means that a pretty young women (or man) who is willing to put out might be promoted to the detriment many other candidates who would have done the job better.

  66. #66 Reynold
    October 28, 2013

    @63, aka Captain Strawman

    First, the letter doesn’t assume that “men only behave in a particular way.” In fact, it doesn’t even assume that only men behave in that particular way. This leaves two possible conclusions. 1, you have accidentally misinterpreted the letter, in which case you should reread it more carefully, and leaving your own baggage at the door if possible. Hopefully, you will be less offended once you understand what the author was trying to say. Alternately, you are (2) deliberately trying to attribute indefensible arguments to your opponent in order to make your position seem stronger, in which case, congratulations: you’re engaging in logical fallacies that even lawyers and English majors find to be intellectually bankrupt.

    You sound like part of the problem. The funny thing is that you’re whining about how unfair the author was to not always talk about how he (OR SHE) might harass a young man (OR WOMAN), and yet if some feminist complained about people using he instead of he or she, you’d be the first to tell her to go make you a sandwich (or “In short, quit whining and get back to work.”)

  67. #67 johnwerneken
    October 28, 2013

    Bravo!

    Question of decency, and of efficiency. Not nice to treat people (of any sort) as if they were prostitutes or slaves, to be purchased and used. Not efficient to abuse and discourage a huge part of the available talent.

  68. #68 Wow
    October 29, 2013

    “@#7 “And if “chase skirt” didn’t work on women, it wouldn’t be tried, would it?”

    How many people buy lottery tickets week after week even though”

    Yeah, how many countries and commercial interests have a lottery where the expected winnings is less than the take?

    Oh, all of them.

    So, yes, lotteries work.

    Thanks for proving that chasing women works with an analogy about another sub-optimal process that ALSO works.

    Cheers.

  69. #69 Wow
    October 29, 2013

    “you have accidentally misinterpreted the letter, in which case you should reread it more carefully,”

    Alternatively he could be right.

    I notice that not one of your “scenarios” included that one.

    Take a look at the comments against any form or jot of defence of men in society.

    There’s DEFINITELY a “blame men culture” and so ingrained that even an attempt to defend men is seen as an attack on women.

    Maybe before snooting a “Maybe you need to read the letter” you ought to read the comments for what they say, rather than pick out ones you can lambast for not being as “intelligent” and “enlightened” as you.

    See if that thought fits inside that head. There may be no way for it, since it doesn’t fit your created worldview, but give it a go, eh?

  70. #70 Edward
    October 29, 2013

    Not surprisingly, you refuse to display any comments critical of your myopic view. You pretend to be open to discussion, but only when the discussion entails cheering you on. Another closed minded person afraid his myopic views might be wrong.

  71. #71 eric
    October 29, 2013

    TMR @50:

    Maybe someone should take care of the kids left at home to raise themselves.

    It makes me very sad to think about the fathers voicing this thought. Implicit in it is the question, ‘who can I get to do this for me so it doesn’t disrupt my life?’ You’re missing out. Your kid is missing out.

    Of course you, TMR, could be sans kids. In which case: good choice. Please do the world a favor and continue that way.

  72. #72 StevoR
    October 30, 2013

    @ 68. Wow : “So, yes, lotteries work.”

    Really? How many times do you think the average person wins the lottery in their lifetime?

    Funny definition of “working” you got there.

    I suppose you could ask works for who and to do what and who and how many are losing and it doesn’t work out for.

  73. #73 Wow
    October 30, 2013

    “@ 68. Wow : “So, yes, lotteries work.”

    Really?”

    Yes, really.

    They made Camelot in the UK millions last year and they’ll do so again next.

  74. #74 Lonny Eachus
    November 9, 2013

    As much as I hate to admit it, Wow made a good point above.

    I think it could have been explained better, though. In effect he is restating a result of the Base Rate Fallacy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy ). In particular, see example 3 on that page.

    If (arbitrary number) 5% of both men and women discriminate against the opposite sex, then most people will assume that everybody experiences approximately that “base rate”. But as the title says, this is a fallacy. Here is why EVEN IF MEN AND WOMEN WERE EQUALLY GUILTY OF DISCRIMINATION, one group actually experiences much more of it.

    The basic requirements are: a divided population that is heavily skewed to one side, and some occurrence that is relatively rare. Drug testing for employment is a rather classic example: If you consider the population to be the relatively small number of people who use an illicit drug like cocaine in the workplace, plus the majority who don’t. And the “relatively rare” item is a false positive or false negative, on a 99% accurate drug test. (Here we assume that false positives and false negatives are equally likely for any given test.) Because the number of employees who don’t use cocaine in the workplace far outnumber those who do, it is easy to show that there will be many times more false positives in the tests than false negatives.

    But it isn’t a simple multiplier. It’s worse than that.

    Let’s apply this to women in tech fields like computer programming. (I am simplifying a bit here, but this is the gist). Women are often reported as being about 10% of the population, with men the other 90% (we will exclude the rarities who may be both or neither). The “relatively rare” occurrence in this example will be sexual harassment, with out hypothetical occurrence of 5%, assumed to be EQUAL IN BOTH DIRECTIONS. Our total population is 100,000.

    There are 45,000 male discriminators, 855000 male non-discriminators.

    There are 5000 female discriminators, 95000 female non-discriminators.

    In simple terms, then, the probability of a male being discriminated against at any given time is

    male experiencing discrimination P = 5000 / 900,000 = about 0.55%

    The probability that a female will be discriminated against in the same time period is

    female experiencing discrimination P = 45,000 / 100,000 = about 45%.

    So one group is actually experiencing 81 TIMES the amount of discrimination seen by the other.

    While these particular numbers were pulled out of the air, it is easy to see the basic concept. If you assume that the “base rate” of discrimination is 5%, you would normally expect each “side” to experience 5%. But this shows what actually happens when the population difference is skewed by a large margin. One segment of the population experiences far less (perhaps leading them to conclude that it’s really not much of a problem), and the other far more.

  75. #75 Lonny Eachus
    November 9, 2013

    Pardon me. Typographical errors again. I think my keyboard needs cleaning. Population about is 1,000,000 not 100,000. And “out hypothetical” should have been “our hypothetical”.

  76. #76 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    “As much as I hate to admit it, Wow made a good point above.”

    Ad hom. Do you know why it’s not a good position to argue from?

    That there is an ad hom.

    Merely state that the idea was good, if you think it so.

    Calling attention to it can have only two purposes:

    1) slag someone off
    2) make you look “the more reasonable man”

    neither of which attain any use when coming to an agreement with an argument.

    The point’s either right or wrong, who it came from doesn’t matter if they’re a slobbering idiot or the smartest person who ever lived. The attributes of the one making the claim is only useful when it comes to assessing whether the statement warrants investigation if you have nothing else to go on.

  77. #77 Wow
    November 9, 2013

    Lonny, the maths you allude to in #74 I believe is considered by statisticians as Simpson’s Paradox, linked above.

  78. #78 Lonny Eachus
    November 9, 2013

    Wow.

    Wrong again. “As much as I hate to admit it” is a statement about ME, not about you. Therefore it cannot be an “ad hom”. Your assertion indicates that you don’t really understand what an “ad hominem argument” is.

    Calling attention to it served the purpose I wished it to serve, but it has nothing to do with “ad hominem” arguments. If anything, most normal people would call it a “conciliatory admission”, but I see that it was very clearly wasted on you.

    Seriously. I *AGREED* with you — tangentially, at least — and you STILL have to find some reason to pick on me? What is wrong with you?

    And no, the phenomenon I referred to is generally known as the “Base Rate Fallacy”, exactly as I stated, and exactly as explained on the Wikipedia page I linked to which even contains EXAMPLES to illustrate it. I can — but I’m not going to bother — show how each element of the discrimination example I gave above has a direct one-to-one correspondence to the elements of Example 3 on the Wikipedia page.

    But as I say, don’t bother asking me to do that, because your habit of turning things into rude and adversarial exchanges does not inspire me to make the effort.

  79. #79 Mister Wu
    December 4, 2013

    This kind of thinking will lead to the Male equivalency of Dr. Candice Pert’s “science nuns.”

Current ye@r *