Sunday, August 04, 2019

Mediocre females vs geniuses in the Academia

Mico has linked to the video by Edward Dutton, the jolly heretic:
Episode 42: Do Female Academics Reduce Per Capita Male Genius? (26 minutes)
At the beginning, he's dressed as Pippy Longstocking who has become an attorney for the pirates and he talks nonsense about women's being equally muscular as men. I was sort of sure it was a parody – but the certainty was just about 95% because I've heard too many superficially similar things that were meant seriously.

The key message of the video – which I obviously agree with – is that the feminization of the universities is one of the most important ongoing trends that are chasing the geniuses out. Women's thinking with their orientation on empathy or society or group think, low variability of skills, and even love for bureaucracy is making the environment increasingly hostile towards geniuses – examples of extreme male brains that result from a very high variability and that always place the truth and the essence above the form or empathy.

And, to make the video really on topic, Dutton emphasized that geniuses typically hate (and aren't very good at) bureaucracy and other mundane things in the life.

While I agree with most things Dutton said and I think that they are uncontroversial and have been repeated many times – well, by folks who prefer to speak the truth, not by the PC garbage that prefers ideologically convenient lies – there are some points in the video that I disagree with.

Mean girls

The first point he repeated a few times is that "girls are nice" in the sense that they really want others to feel well. This is a completely loaded – and feminist – description of the difference. In reality, research shows that e.g. teenage girls are more cruel than boys.

Their desire to verbally and psychologically hurt someone can be more toxic – it's the girls who are usually the experts at spreading rumors, especially about other girls that they are jealous at. In fact, girls are even more inclined towards the physical violence, it just doesn't get too far in most cases because they lack the appropriate support of the muscles. But when it comes to how much they want to physically hurt someone, they're probably above the boys.

The real, actual difference is that girls and women are much more focused on the relationships between people while boys and men are much more likely to be focused on the substance. Dutton has made this correct point as well but at some places of his monologue, he just incorrectly distorted this assortion by suggesting that it's the same thing as saying that the men – and geniuses like Newton – were not nice while women are nice. These two statements are just not the same thing.

Being focused on "things" doesn't make one "not nice" – and focusing on the human relationships doesn't actually guarantee that the person is making them better. In many cases, people are focused on human relationships and make them worse or much worse!

Focus on truth in old universities

Another pair of claims that I disagree with is Dutton's assertion that it's "natural" for the females to outnumber males at colleges; and the related proposition that the growth of women is therefore the natural primary reason for the gradual elimination of the geniuses and the general decline of the universities. People want to collaborate with agreeable people, he says, and those are usually young ladies, and that's why those go up numerically even though they're usually average in their skills.

Not so fast: One may complain: Why didn't the same logic apply e.g. in the 14th century?

The answer is that the actual selection – what kind of universities we want to have – was done mostly by males in the transformative epochs (wrong males, as I will explain) and it is these males who should be blamed for much of the change. On top of that, the focus on the truth has been a defining characteristic of the whole scholarly environment, not just the natural sciences, as Dutton implicitly says. And in the past when the universities still played their proper role, the focus on the truth therefore dominated all departments which means that people wanted new students and professors who also focus on the truth, not those who smile (or fudge) in the office!

For this reason, I think that people like Dutton himself also contribute to the brutal deterioration of the universities in the recent years.

To make my historical point in some detail, look at my Alma Mater, Charles University in Prague. OK, Charles University was founded on April 7th, 1348, by Charles IV, the Czechs' most beloved king. By peaceful tools and marriage-based tricks, he could expand the Bohemian territory and he built lots of important things – his university, the Charles Bridge, castles, and more.

OK, Charles University was one of the oldest Western universities but it wasn't the oldest one. Those in Bologna and Paris were older – and to guarantee some quality, Prague simply tried to emulate the older, Italian and French universities. So my Alma Mater is an excellent example of "what was considered the mainstream" in the university industry more than 600 years ago. To start, Charles University had four faculties:

* Medicine
* Law
* Theology
* Liberal arts

The composition somewhat resembles the modern one but it is significantly different in focus – and the fields have evolved differently. Medicine still exists and is about equally important. People collect intellectual and practical skills needed to cure someone etc. The discipline is pretty much truth-focused because "whether or not something cures a person" is a matter of the truth and the primary interest of the experts.

The percentage of women in medicine is higher than the percentage of women in STEM. However, it's still natural that at the true university level of things (where it's not enough to be a nurse), men still outnumbered and outnumber women. For example, the Nobel prize in medicine and physiology has been awarded roughly to 200 men and 15 women as of now. When someone does research or some work that goes beyond an everyday job, it's normal for men to outnumber women more than 10-to-1 in medicine – and in most other science-like fields, including those that are considered "rather hospitable to women".

Well, the second branch of the old Bohemian Academia in my list is the law school. Again, it's a branch of the universities that hasn't changed much. We still have laws, the lawyers have to know them, they're doing similar things in the courts as they did over 600 years ago. And the law is undoubtedly a truth-focused discipline, too. Justice primarily requires the truth. There are laws which are "axioms" and to be applied, they also need the truth about the real-world data, e.g. "whether someone actually stole something". The reasoning is supposed to be an applied ramification of the mathematical logic, with a similar kind of rigor as what the research mathematicians nurture. So even in this discipline, and maybe even more in the law than in medicine, the truth is more important than whether your colleague smiles at you – and it's been the case for centuries when the composition was enforced by men.

The third school was dedicated to theology. It's clearly the "quarter" of the university that has shrunk much more than others, along with the focus of these studies, the incredibly shrinking God (apologies to my religious readers). Theologians surely don't amount to 25% of scholars today! But what's important is that theology was even more focused on the truth than either medicine or the law. Theologians' "truth" is also some axiomatic system, with God and His will at the center. But the preference for a smiling colleague has no place in that business, of course. In fact, even freshman theologians already learn that a smiling woman is a limb of the Devil. ;-) So theology obviously was – and to some extent remained – a men-only oasis. And an oasis of fundamentally thinking men. The current politically correct Holy Father surely isn't the best example to make this point.

In my list, I placed the Prague school of liberal arts at the end because it's the most complex – and later diversified – quarter of my old Alma Mater. This vaguely defined field has grown to pure sciences, social sciences, as well as humanities. Pretty much everything that isn't medicine, law, or theology has belonged to the liberal arts! "Liberal" is related to freedom and "liberal arts" is therefore something like "all the skills and knowledge that a rounded, versatile, free person should have".

These days, liberal arts would primarily cover physical sciences, mathematics, philosophy, literature, and social sciences. I try to keep the ordering approximately compatible with the truth-oriented ones at the beginning. Well, in the past, "liberal arts" were quite a well defined list of disciplines – well, seven disciplines in total. Math gurus among the TRF readers know that 7=3+4 so these 7 disciplines are composed of the "trivium" (T) and the "quadrivium" (Q, later studies). The disciplines are

* T1 grammar
* T2 logic
* T3 rhetoric
* Q1 arithmetic
* Q2 geometry
* Q3 theory of music
* Q4 astronomy

Cool. Again, the disciplines resemble what we have today but the distribution is very different, some of the seven have shrunk, and other modern entries don't seem be included in this classical list at all.

The trivium contains largely "trivial" things, grammar, logic, and rhetoric. I think that most of the TRF readers must feel totally enriched now by learning where the word "trivial" comes from. It comes from "belonging to the trivium" and "trivium" were the three basic things in the liberal arts colleges – namely grammar, logic, rhetoric.

Indeed, in the subsequent centuries, mankind has made some intellectual progress and these "trivial" things are largely taught to everybody at the elementary schools and high schools. Kids generally learn grammar in the elementary schools, some logic in parts of the mathematics and other classes in elementary and high school, and they focus on rhetoric and debating skills in the high schools.

We might say that this progress hasn't been undone yet – I want to make sure that the positive news are reported, too. In the 14th century, the proper understanding of "grammar, logic, rhetoric" was a collection of university courses, albeit "trivial" ones. In the early 21st century, it's really normal for the general population – that attends elementary and high schools – to know these three "trivial" subjects.

The non-trivial, namely quadrivial ;-) subjects are more advanced and tougher and not everyone learns them. In the old schools, the quadrivium included astronomy, arithmetic, geometry; and theory of music. Astronomy, arithmetic, and geometry may be considered a part of STEM as we know it today. Astronomy is often clumped with physics in the same departments – well, I did my PhD at the Rutgers University's Department of Physics and Astronomy. And arithmetic and geometry are universally considered subfields of mathematics. These things are still around. We have obviously rearranged the fields so that "mathematics" and "physics" would be considered the top-tier categories in the classification today.

The theory of music is also still around but its status has diminished. These days, the "theorists of music" don't really know much more than those who lived 600 or more years ago. What has expanded is the "practice of music". Lots of music has been created, the genres have developed, and I surely think that our 21st century music is much better than the 14th century music was – but I could already have doubts about the comparison between the 21st and 17th or 18th or 19th century. Well, I still think that the 21st century would win in a fair contest.

So music has become accessible to everybody, especially due to the expansion of the vinyl records, radio, the video that killed the radio star, tape recorders, CDs, MP3 players, ... and cell phones. All people may consume music today – without having any instruments or musical ears, for that matter. ;-) The consumer-side of music has surely moved from universities to the everyday lives of the most ordinary people and there's not much room for the "truth". But 600+ years ago, things were different, it was harder to be exposed to good enough music, and one simply needed quite some theoretical training and respect for the truth to accuracy to even do music.

The old quadrivium didn't include quantum mechanics, relativity, string theory, condensed matter physics, molecular physics, and other parts of physics as we know it today. There was really no chemistry – and not even alchemy – there. Even alchemy was too esoteric in 1348 and it was usually practiced by magicians who operated in the underground. (I watched Angelique and her beloved Geoffrey de Peyrac last night – he was sentenced to death for being a witch as recently as in the 17th century.) And all the history courses etc. should have existed already in 1348 but it was simply enough not to have special subjects – they didn't need to teach the history of renaissance, baroque, and 20th century yet by pretending that those things hadn't existed. ;-) Now, all the gender studies and dozens of more or less ludicrous subjects are clearly the creation of the relatively modern era.

Also, the 14th century classical university departments don't seem to have any engineering – electrical, mechanical, chemical, nuclear... – and also no economics. These days, Charles University still deliberately avoids economics (although it's present especially at Faculty of Social Sciences) and engineering (it's concentrated at the Czech Technical University, a counterpart of MIT or Caltech, and elsewhere). Charles University has 17 faculties: three theological ones (the percentage hasn't dropped in the counting of faculties! We have Catholic, Protestant, and Hussite theological departments), one unified law, 5+1 medicine+pharmacy faculties, 1 arts, 1 natural science, 1 mathematics and physics (I studied it, it's the single largest faculty because many others are fragmented), 1 education, 1 social sciences, 1 faculty of physical education and sports (truly a cheesy, too practical and low-brow department), and 1 humanities (the most pathological and newest one, with lots of the grievance studies there).

If you look at the law, medicine, theology; and the trivium and quadrivium of liberal arts once again, you should agree that universities used to be focused on the content, the rigor, the precision – and on the truth. The men who went to the universities were supposed to primarily care about the truth. It was generally understood that if you prefer the contact with the females over the care about the truth, you just don't belong to the universities. It wasn't true just in STEM – roughly in the quadrivium. It was also true in the trivium, law, medicine, and theology. It was true everywhere.

In recent decades, the humanities were the first ones where the truth was getting marginalized. It was followed by social sciences and in very recent years, the neo-Marxist pandemics is trying to suppress the truth even in the natural sciences. But Dutton sometimes sounds as if he believed that the social scientific university departments have never cared about the truth. This is just rubbish. They did care about it tremendously. Just think about theologians and the Inquisition – although they had a pretty obsolete method to decide about the truth.

The suppression of the truth in STEM departments is a catastrophe. But the suppression of the truth in the social sciences was already a tragedy, too. None of these things should have taken place. Some fields considered "humanities" and their softest branch, the "grievance studies", don't give a damn about the truth and the departments are filled with people who are obsessed with the form, purely emotional witch hunts, and psychological blackmail. But these people and their "fields" were not parts of the old universities – and for a very good reason. This junk simply doesn't and the people doing it don't belong to the universities.

So I think that Dutton has basically said that the "social science departments have been legitimately controlled by the non-truth people". I completely disagree. It is historically untrue – and it is an apology for some bad recent trend. The 14th century "social science" departments had a different methodology to find the truth than mathematics or physics had or have, but it was still a method to find and nurture the truth of some sort, not to make departments hospitable for somebody who should "feel good". And as I wrote, the related claim I disagree with is his assertion that the proliferation of the empathy-focused young ladies is the primary reason for the elimination of the truth – and geniuses – from the universities.

The girls and women are blamed too much. They were not primary drivers of these changes. They couldn't have been because they were nearly absent at the universities! The primary drivers of the degeneration of the universities were lousy men. Because girls were originally absent and universities were oases of truth-focused men, the change to the worse required the increasing percentage of the men who are not primarily concerned with the truth. After all, the neo-Marxist pandemics starts to heavily expand even in the departments that are still overwhelmingly male, including physics departments. It's very clear that if the men were behaving properly, as the scholars did a few centuries ago, the feminists etc. just couldn't score any significant victories.

So indeed, it was the men who – like Dutton – said it was normal to prefer smiling women over deep thinkers as colleagues at the universities. This is already wrong, it wasn't normal at all, people with this opinion were understood not to be the stuff for universities, and when they were suddenly allowed – low-quality, too distracted, and morally relaxed men – the path towards the degeneration of the universities was already wide open. The proliferation of female feminists and similar extreme garbage at universities is just a consequence but the unstoppable decline started earlier and the decisive negative changes were still made primarily by men – although somewhat intellectually effeminate men, we could say.

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