Links to Consider, 2/1
Mason Goad on DEI in STEM; Peter Saint-Andre on more Dunbar numbers; Lorenzo Warby dislikes activism; Abigail Shrier on the consequences of trans activism;
one of the best ways to determine if DEI is truly intruding on STEM is to follow the money from science to DEI-related causes. This led us to create a fourth dataset on scientific grants and awards: we gathered data from the National Science Foundation (NSF, ~140,000 awards), conducted nine targeted searches of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and acquired the full historical award data of the Ford Foundation (~24,000 entries). Each of these three grant-making bodies had similar trends, and all were increasing. NSF funding for “antiracism” approximately tripled from 2020 to 2021.
He includes a lot of other interesting data.
Thus above the 150 mark one finds circles of ~500 acquaintances, ~1500 people whose names you know, and ~5000 people whose faces you recognize. Below the 150 mark one finds circles of ~50 good friends, ~15 best friends (which Dunbar also calls a “support clique”), ~5 close friends (a “sympathy group”), and ~1.5 intimates. (Why 1.5? Men typically have only their spouse in their intimates group, whereas women often have a spouse and a female BFF.)
What strikes me about my own friendship circles is how little they overlap. Back in my MIT days, I had grad school friends who also went dancing. Now, the intersection of my dancing friends and my libertarian or conservative friends is zero.
On Helen Dale’s substack, Lorenzo Warby writes,
One of most toxic features of our contemporary world is its sanctification of activism. Activism is often licensed bad behaviour based on power without responsibility. It attracts manipulative, disordered, bullying personalities and is often morally disordering in itself through the elevation of valorised motivation untethered from any obligation to make things work.
…The scientific illiteracy enables rejection of inconvenient constraints. The prophetic pretensions generate a highly motivating sense of future ownership. The power worship goes with a belief one knows the proper direction of history. The patina of profundity from obscure language puffs up intellectual pretensions, provides a coordinating language for believers, and protects adherents from error-revealing dangers of clarity.
Warby invites us to see activists in the Marxist tradition as focused on an idealized vision for the future that they will summon into being. Thus, they free themselves from any obligation to view the present or the past with clarity. The only thing to know about society in the present and the past is that it is wicked in comparison with the utopian future.
As if to confirm Warby’s point, Abigail Shrier reports,
You might wonder, at this point, who actually benefits from SB 357. Sergeant Campos wonders, too. Not the communities, he said, for whom a rise in trafficking brings more gun violence, which often attends prostitution. Not the sex workers, many of whom rely on police officers for help in escaping their pimps. “I think if anything, it probably helped the sex traffickers the most,” Campos said.
Why would anyone propose such a law? Why would the California State Legislature pass it? I asked the bill’s author, San Francisco–based state senator Scott Wiener. The answer he gave is the one that he supplies for so many of the bills he authors: it was necessary to advance the rights of LGBTQ people. “If you are standing on the sidewalk with high heels, and you wear your hair a certain way, and you wear tight clothing, an officer can say, ‘I think you’re loitering with the intent to commit prostitution’ and arrest you,” Wiener said. “That is not how we should be doing things in the United States of America—arresting people for how they look,” he continued. “And when you do that, not surprisingly, it’s only certain kinds of people who actually get arrested: it’s trans women. It’s black women. . . . It’s an inherently profiling law,” he said. “Randomly arresting a bunch of black trans women for how they look is not protecting potential victims of human trafficking.”
But were the police indeed “randomly arresting a bunch of black trans women”? The anti-trafficking advocates I spoke with dispute this. For starters, Wilson, Powell, and Russell (all of whom are African-American) say that biological women and girls—not transgender individuals—constitute the vast majority of those trafficked. Nearly every report on human trafficking by global human rights organizations confirms this observation.
Substacks referenced above:
I recommend to Ms. Shrier legal prostitution, the kind we have in Nevada which solves most of the problems she discusses.
Gosh I just missed including this in the "notices" I put at the top of each of Lorenzo's essays - our posts crossed!
I will include it in next week's.