Special bonus points: female

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

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razor
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by razor » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:28 pm

negru wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:I'm not saying that it does make them look out of place, you did. You were suggesting that having "women in physics" groups ostracizes them from all other physicists. I'm suggesting that it does no such thing and that it's nothing more than a social gathering that has absolutely no impact on who they are as scientists.
.
My point was that the existence of such events/groups brings even more amount of ridicule.
I don't think it is. The existence of such groups and events points to the fact that we honor and value the contribution that women can give to Physics and recognize that there is a problem in that the system is conspiring to not let them contribute their best.

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razor
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by razor » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:33 pm

pqortic wrote:
laser wrote: Get a life. Clearly you have too much free time if you've nothing better to do than troll and obsess about women getting a foot in the door.
this type of condescension is not appropriate for this forum. we are just discussing something that is going around us. if you are not interested, move on. you clearly don't have too much free time to think about matters other than getting a woman.
Isn't this a form of condescension? And who gets to decide what type of condescension is appropriate?

(I know that I am condescending too by this reply)

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:34 pm

I'm just saying what the end effect is. The intention is meaningless.

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razor
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by razor » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:52 pm

negru wrote:I'm just saying what the end effect is. The intention is meaningless.
Do you have proof to substantiate your claim or is it just an opinion?

Now, you might want to read this.
Taken from http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~hgeo ... /grosz.pdf

"In many departments we found that women students’ self-esteem, and especially their self assurance in their scientific capabilities, decreased as they advanced through graduate school. This decrease in self-esteem, frequently accompanied by increased passivity, was exacerbated by isolation and often led to even greater isolation and a sense that there was nothing they could do to improve their situation.
It is thus crucial that departments, and GSAS, take steps to integrate graduate students
into departments and to provide activities aimed at overcoming the isolation women experience as a small minority in science departments.

Students report that in many graduate seminars and laboratory settings competitiveness overwhelms collegiality. This competitiveness often corrodes the quality of graduate education for both women and men, but the effect on women is more severe. Women graduate students perceive that men, in an effort to overcome a lack of confidence in their own work, make points at the expense of their female colleagues. Male graduate students experiencing uncertainties were described as
resorting to “macho” boasting. A common result is that women’s self-esteem decreases and they become more likely to accept allegations that they are “not as good” as men as a consequence of immutable gender-differences, even though these allegations have no rational basis.

The responsibility for clarifying the difference between appropriate measures of meritorious work and gender-specific behaviors irrelevant to the value of scientific research lies
with the faculty."

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:01 pm

Wow, very impressive :))

Maybe they should make some group to help me overcome the fact that my colleagues in finance will have more money than I ever will?


Also, maybe females can't handle the competition because hmm.. maybe they're just not cut out for this? And their self assurance drops because they can't handle advanced material?

On the average of course.

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razor
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by razor » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:30 pm

Oh why do we have to deal with idiots and insensitive people everyday of our lives.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by CarlBrannen » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:28 pm

Here's some more fuel for the whatever it is y'all are doing:

"Men of Mathematics", E. T. Bell
http://www.amazon.com/Men-Mathematics-T ... 0671628186

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:41 pm

razor wrote:Oh why do we have to deal with idiots and insensitive people everyday of our lives.
Because idiots and insensitive people have to deal with sheep who jump on every "blame someone else" bandwagon that comes around every now and then.

Also, maybe that's why women aren't comfortable in many man-jobs. They always expect sensitivity. Well news flash, life isn't gay, it has no sensitivity. Don't like the battle for survival? Stick to the frying pan. Easy.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:37 pm

I'd just like to point out that many studies have shown that confidence is one of the largest gender gaps in education. When asked to rate their abilities (below average, average, above average, exceptional, etc), men repeatedly overestimate their abilities in comparison to their grades and test scores, whereas women with higher grades and test scores rate their abilities well under their actual performance. I think this helps to justify the existence of women in physics clubs as a sort of support group or just a social event and the lack of men in physics groups as someone women may be more likely to get discouraged or think they aren't good enough even when they are.

Personally, I don't attend any women in physics meetings because I think they are boring, I think I'm awesome at physics, and I don't feel discriminated against or lacking in support and/or opportunities, but that's just me.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:54 pm

grae313 wrote:Personally, I don't attend any women in physics meetings because I think they are boring, I think I'm awesome at physics, and I don't feel discriminated against or lacking in support and/or opportunities, but that's just me.
Right, and isn't this "help yourself/ do it yourself" attitude what we'd like to encourage? Confidence doesn't come from telling someone he's awesome. That's bullshit. It comes from succeeding in objective competitions with others. Having the right psychological mind-set is also important, as for any job. Like joining the military. I personally don't feel like I have the right mind-set for the military, so I'm not going to join it. I'm not going to start asking for support groups.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:57 pm

Has anyone done any studies on self-perceived ability in cooking, btw? Or maybe buying shoes?

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:12 pm

negru wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:I'm not saying that it does make them look out of place, you did. You were suggesting that having "women in physics" groups ostracizes them from all other physicists. I'm suggesting that it does no such thing and that it's nothing more than a social gathering that has absolutely no impact on who they are as scientists.
.
My point was that the existence of such events/groups brings even more amount of ridicule.
Only ignorant cave dwellers think that ridicule is an acceptable response towards minority support groups.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:19 pm

Dude every single person on this planet is part of some minority group. If it's not race, it's sex, if it's not sex, it's financial background, if it's not that, it's sexual orientation, if it's not that, it's religious views. and on and on and. Will we ever stop dividing people into groups? Expecting that sexism, racism, whateverism will ever disappear is foolish and naive at best. The best thing tolerant people can do is treat everyone as individuals.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:29 pm

negru wrote:Also, maybe females can't handle the competition because hmm.. maybe they're just not cut out for this? And their self assurance drops because they can't handle advanced material?

On the average of course.
Why do you have to go and embarrass me like this. Here is was being cordial and giving you the benefit of doubt in assuming you weren't some completely back assward, bigoted douche bag from the stone age and then you pull a stunt like this?

With that kind of garbage clanging around in your skull, is it really any wonder that you never became aware of difficulties women around you were having or, for that matter, that you undoubtedly were contributing to?

Since I am a compassionate guy, even when it comes to bottom feeders such as yourself, I'm going to give you some key advice. If you ever make to the states, you may want to reign in your 15th century, ignoramus schtick. Nobody in a civilized country is going to put up with it, well with the possible exception of the deep south.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:34 pm

negru wrote:Because idiots and insensitive people have to deal with sheep who jump on every "blame someone else" bandwagon that comes around every now and then.
Just so we are clear, I am a white, middle class male and I'm blaming, white middle/upper class males for the majority of the sexism and racism.
negru wrote: Also, maybe that's why women aren't comfortable in many man-jobs. They always expect sensitivity. Well news flash, life isn't gay, it has no sensitivity. Don't like the battle for survival? Stick to the frying pan. Easy.
I think the only way that this could have been any more offensive and ridiculous would be if you ended your sentence with "Damn it woman, get in that kitchen and make me a sammich'"

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:37 pm

negru wrote:
grae313 wrote:Personally, I don't attend any women in physics meetings because I think they are boring, I think I'm awesome at physics, and I don't feel discriminated against or lacking in support and/or opportunities, but that's just me.
Right, and isn't this "help yourself/ do it yourself" attitude what we'd like to encourage? Confidence doesn't come from telling someone he's awesome. That's bullshit. It comes from succeeding in objective competitions with others. Having the right psychological mind-set is also important, as for any job. Like joining the military. I personally don't feel like I have the right mind-set for the military, so I'm not going to join it. I'm not going to start asking for support groups.
How is it that you STILL don't get it? You keep insisting that you don't need support groups for the things you don't want to do and that this is a direct result of your non-interest and potentially an inability to do it. What we are talking about are support groups for people who want to do physics and have the ability to do it but are being pressured out of it for unacceptable reasons.

Your comparison is in every conceivable way the exact opposite of what we are talking about.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by pqortic » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:37 pm

grae313 wrote: Personally, I don't attend any women in physics meetings because I think they are boring, I think I'm awesome at physics, and I don't feel discriminated against or lacking in support and/or opportunities, but that's just me.
that's the point I was trying to make. if one has the ability to do physics, they don't need any auxiliary program or extra attention to be able to do so. one day if I feel like I cannot catch up with others in my research group, I would definitely drop off the college and would go for something more suitable for me even though there are thousands of of programs for "me in physics" or people overlook my deficiencies.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by pqortic » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:42 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
What we are talking about are support groups for people who want to do physics and have the ability to do it but are being pressured out of it for unacceptable reasons.
no one has ever suppressed women from going to physics. we are talking about graduate admission in physics not sexist bosses in shoe factory.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:49 pm

pqortic wrote:
grae313 wrote: Personally, I don't attend any women in physics meetings because I think they are boring, I think I'm awesome at physics, and I don't feel discriminated against or lacking in support and/or opportunities, but that's just me.
that's the point I was trying to make. if one has the ability to do physics, they don't need any auxiliary program or extra attention to be able to do so.
But I don't think this is true. My parents encouraged me from an early age to feel entitled to be good at math and science and to recognize and not accept discouragement or discrimination. I had a positive roll model in my mom, a mathematician and chemist. Not everyone has this and I can't say where my confidence would be without it.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by vicente » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:50 pm

In response to negru's post, consider this statement:

"I don't view X differently because she's female / black . I see her as an individual. Therefore she can't possibly experience racism or sexism."

Isn't this kind of like a toddler who plays hide & seek by covering his eyes, thinking that no one will see him in the "dark"?
Last edited by vicente on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:51 pm

pqortic wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:
What we are talking about are support groups for people who want to do physics and have the ability to do it but are being pressured out of it for unacceptable reasons.
no one has ever suppressed women from going to physics. we are talking about graduate admission in physics not sexist bosses in shoe factory.
This is absolutely not true.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:53 pm

HappyQuark wrote:
negru wrote:Also, maybe females can't handle the competition because hmm.. maybe they're just not cut out for this? And their self assurance drops because they can't handle advanced material?

On the average of course.
Why do you have to go and embarrass me like this. Here is was being cordial and giving you the benefit of doubt in assuming you weren't some completely back assward, bigoted douche bag from the stone age and then you pull a stunt like this?

With that kind of garbage clanging around in your skull, is it really any wonder that you never became aware of difficulties women around you were having or, for that matter, that you undoubtedly were contributing to?

Since I am a compassionate guy, even when it comes to bottom feeders such as yourself, I'm going to give you some key advice. If you ever make to the states, you may want to reign in your 15th century, ignoramus schtick. Nobody in a civilized country is going to put up with it, well with the possible exception of the deep south.
So, are you saying that, on the average, males aren't better at physics? They're just more confident/whatever? I don't care about outliers and stuff like that. That's fine, but I'm talking about an average.

HappyQuark wrote:Just so we are clear, I am a white, middle class male and I'm blaming, white middle/upper class males for the majority of the sexism and racism.
Of course you are, and let me guess another label you have...hm...from the north-east? It doesn't surprise me at all that the direct descendants of puritans have this constant need of making everyone feel guilty for something they didn't do, and of playing the holier-than-thou game if you don't share my righteous and absolute views of the world.
Last edited by negru on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:54 pm

negru wrote:Dude every single person on this planet is part of some minority group.
Sorry, but I am calling bullshit once again. I am not a minority in any sense of the word. I get undeserved privilege because of my white skin, my penis, and my social and economic class. My only attribute that may put me in any minority category would be that I'm an atheist, but really I'd be hard pressed to find anything in my life or the life of most other atheists that is really an example of us being under-priveleged because of it.

In case it wasn't obvious I'm pointing out to you that your attempts at painting the word "minorty" in strictly black and white terms won't fly in this conversation. The type of music I listen to puts me in a minority group but to suggest that I can generalize this into your belief that everyone gets a taste so the whole thing is a wash is childish and naive at best.
negru wrote: If it's not race, it's sex, if it's not sex, it's financial background, if it's not that, it's sexual orientation, if it's not that, it's religious views.
and each of those minority groups gets some level of assistance in the United States and nearly every other civilized country.
negru wrote:Will we ever stop dividing people into groups? Expecting that sexism, racism, whateverism will ever disappear is foolish and naive at best. The best thing tolerant people can do is treat everyone as individuals.
I don't see how you've come to this conclusion. We've made tremendous strides with regards to sexism, racism, etc. At one point in our history women, blacks and the poor were regarded as property and now we are arguing over whether or not a standardized multiple choice test required for post-graduate education should be amended to be less biased towards one gender. I'm pretty proud to say that our culture has nearly gotten to the point where racial and gender inequalities are insignificant and negligible, which in my eyes is sufficient to say that it has disappeared.

Now if we could just get people such as yourself over that last hump, then we can be one step closer to that ultimate goal.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:56 pm

grae313 wrote: But I don't think this is true. My parents encouraged me from an early age to feel entitled to be good at math and science and to recognize and not accept discouragement or discrimination. I had a positive roll model in my mom, a mathematician and chemist. Not everyone has this and I can't say where my confidence would be without it.
Well there you go, you female-Einstein, you. Maybe the family plays the larger role in this, and not everyone else who is white male and middle class?

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:56 pm

pqortic wrote:
HappyQuark wrote:
What we are talking about are support groups for people who want to do physics and have the ability to do it but are being pressured out of it for unacceptable reasons.
no one has ever suppressed women from going to physics. we are talking about graduate admission in physics not sexist bosses in shoe factory.
Certainly nobody has ever slugged a woman in the face and said, "Hey bitch, you can't do physics", but women most definitely have felt pressure from those around them and society in general that regardless of whether they can do physics, they shouldn't be doing it and will opt not to do it for this reason.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:01 pm

negru wrote:So, are you saying that, on the average, males aren't better at physics? They're just more confident/whatever? I don't care about outliers and stuff like that. That's fine, but I'm talking about an average.
I know you weren't asking me but here's my opinion anyway :p

I think on average men are better than woman at physics. But for the women that are good at physics, even those better than the average man, there are significant social and cultural factors that make it more difficult for them to succeed in physics. It can be as subtle as a teacher not calling on girls in elementary school math class, to professors telling women outright that they should stop taking physics classes and start looking for a husband. Many people are of the opinion that this is a problem.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:02 pm

negru wrote: So, are you saying that, on the average, males aren't better at physics? They're just more confident/whatever? I don't care about outliers and stuff like that. That's fine, but I'm talking about an average.
That is precisely what I'm saying.
negru wrote: Of course you are, and let me guess another label you have...hm...from the north-east?
Sorry, mid-west.
negru wrote:It doesn't surprise me at all that the direct descendants of puritans have this constant need of making everyone feel guilty for something they didn't do, and of playing the holier-than-though game if you don't share my righteous and absolute views of the world.
How am I making you feel guilty for something you didn't do? Are you a white, middle class, male who accepts undeserved privileged status and is blissfully unaware of it? If yes, then I am blaming your ass and if not, then I'm not blaming you. Although I suppose I am blaming you for being an ignorant sexist, so I guess you've got me there.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:07 pm

I read about a study when I was in college and the results have always stuck with me.

Two groups of people were assembled and each group was given a bunch of published, peer-reviewed journal articles to read. For one group, the names of the authors were taken off the papers, while for the other group, the names (including first names) were left on the papers. The study participants were asked to rate the scientific merit of the papers they were given to read.

I wasn't surprised to learn that the men in the group who knew the authors' genders rated the papers published by women as being on average lower in scientific merit than those published by men, whereas this discrepancy was not present in the group where the author's names had been removed.

I was very surprised to learn that the women also rated the papers authored by women as being lower in scientific merit than those authored by men. Again, in the group where the author's names were removed, this discrepancy was not present.

There is a problem here. We may disagree on the solution, but to deny there is a problem is pretty ridiculous.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:26 pm

I never said there isn't a problem. I only said attempting to fix it by naive methods is doomed to fail, silly, and probably making things much worse.

Also I said that the problem is largely exaggerated.

And that it's not always wise to attempt to fix every single problem in a society. Not when it's a strictly attitude related problem with no forcing of anyone to do anything they don't want. Besides of course the taxpayer having to pay for a bunch of frustrated feminists to eat pizza and then proceed to regurgitate it.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:34 pm

negru wrote:I never said there isn't a problem. I only said attempting to fix it by naive methods is doomed to fail, silly, and probably making things much worse.
that's strange, I was sure you said
negru wrote:no one has ever suppressed women from going to physics.
negru wrote:Also I said that the problem is largely exaggerated.
That's strange, I thought you said
negru wrote:no one has ever suppressed women from going to physics.
negru wrote:And that it's not always wise to attempt to fix every single problem in a society.
What? Give me one example of a societal issue that we shouldn't fix.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:40 pm

Any sort of
HappyQuark wrote: What? Give me one example of a societal issue that we shouldn't fix.
How about..think of all the issues we have, and pick all of them. That's my answer. Everyone should be left alone in his prejudices, sexisms, and racisms, as long as it's not the government doing it, but the government shouldn't be doing anything to begin with anyway.

If I don't want to hire/like/marry/adopt/befriend/anything a female, a black, a blond, a non-cripple, a non-half irish, quarter chinese, quarter elephant with short hair, that's my problem, it doesn't concern anyone and it needs no "fixing", because there's nothing "wrong" about it.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:56 pm

I think negru has exposed himself as an extremist and we should accordingly stop this debate. It's pointless. If negru believes it's OK not to hire someone for the sole reason that they were born with black skin, he will never see eye-to-eye with us and I think he should be left to his own opinions.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by quizivex » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:58 pm

Welcome back, Vicente :D

This discussion reminds me of an old thread

I guess I'm the cause of this thread in a sense, since I was the one who put "female or minority status" as an example of bonus points in the profile template. I listed that there because I didn't want users to skip listing their biographical info earlier in the profile, thinking it didn't matter, because it does. But let's not fight about whether it's fair or if it's good for physics. Discussion is always nice, but we want this forum to be open and friendly to everyone. The gender ratio is as bad on here as it is everywhere in physics, so the last thing we want is for women to feel uncomfortable on here or to be hesitant to post their profiles.

But OTOH since we want the forums and the profile threads to benefit everyone as much as possible, we must minimize the amount of wrong or misleading information. I've noticed quite a few "If I can do it, you can too" posts written by applicants who somehow overcame poor GPA and GRE's and got into nice grad schools... For instance last year:
liljoey wrote:To anyone who may be worried about their applications:

I've been accepted to UW Madison and Florida State for high energy theory, and my gpa is only a 3.1 and my PGRE was only 620. There's hope!
We just don't want every dude out there counting on getting in with her numbers, that's all.

At PPPL there are TWO females out of 34-ish students (there were 3 but one just graduated). We haven't had a female enroll in 3 years!! And it's not the department's fault... in 09 there was only one female applicant! I haven't asked the faculty directly, but the bonus points for "female" status is probably doubling every year we go without one. The root of the gender problem in physics seems to begin even before college, as the ratio is bad in undergrad too.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:01 pm

Yes, I believe it is ok to spend your own money on whatever you see fit, for whatever reason you have. I don't see how that makes me an extremist. If you don't like spending your money on a pink barbie doll, maybe someone doesn't want to hire a british laborer. Why should other people ever butt in into your budget and personal views?

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:11 pm

The poster simply said there is hope, and she gave her example simply to show that it is possible. Hopefully everyone thinking of going to graduate school in physics understands the difference between something being possible and something being likely. It is also important to show that your application will not just be thrown out with a GPA of 3.1 and that other factors matter.

I started scanning the profiles for a counterexample to your implied assertion that only women get in with numbers like these. On the second page of the year I started with is a dude with a 680 (52%) and a 3.25 gpa getting in to NYU, Boston U, and UC Irvine. I'm sure there are better examples but I don't feel like finding them.

Edit: a bit down is a 630 (41%) and 3.18 gpa in major male getting in to Rochester and Texas A&M and on the same page a male with a 590 applying for HEP experiment and getting accepted to Irvine, Pittsburgh, Stony Brook, Colorado State, UBC, and U Toronto.

All on just one page of one year of application profiles.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:19 pm

negru wrote:Yes, I believe it is ok to spend your own money on whatever you see fit, for whatever reason you have. I don't see how that makes me an extremist. If you don't like spending your money on a pink barbie doll, maybe someone doesn't want to hire a british laborer. Why should other people ever butt in into your budget and personal views?
The majority of people believe that it is wrong not to hire someone because they are black because we believe that, as a stipulation of our shared humanity, all people should be given the same fundamental rights and opportunities and it is wrong for one person to cause another to suffer by denying them these fundamental rights. You are free to disagree, but I would question your comparison of someone hiring a capable employee for a job and someone buying a plastic toy. In one instance, a human being's life and livelihood (to which we are all equally entitled) is at stake, whereas in the other instance, only the buyer's happiness is at stake.

My personal freedom is also an important right, but it must be subordinated when more basic rights are at stake. I think this is the argument distilled -- you seem to hold an individual's freedom above all else, but deny the conflict in your values when one's personal choice infringes upon another person's individual freedoms.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:32 pm

grae313 wrote:
negru wrote:Yes, I believe it is ok to spend your own money on whatever you see fit, for whatever reason you have. I don't see how that makes me an extremist. If you don't like spending your money on a pink barbie doll, maybe someone doesn't want to hire a british laborer. Why should other people ever butt in into your budget and personal views?
The majority of people believe that it is wrong not to hire someone because they are black because we believe that, as a stipulation of our shared humanity, all people should be given the same fundamental rights and opportunities and it is wrong for one person to cause another to suffer by denying them these fundamental rights. You are free to disagree, but I would question your comparison of someone hiring a capable employee for a job and someone buying a plastic toy. In one instance, a human being's life and livelihood (to which we are all equally entitled) is at stake, whereas in the other instance, only the buyer's happiness is at stake.

My personal freedom is also an important right, but it must be subordinated when more basic rights are at stake. I think this is the argument distilled -- you seem to hold an individual's freedom above all else, but deny the conflict in your values when one's personal choice infringes upon another person's individual freedoms.
Hey, it's no one's "right" to get the job or money I am offering! It's a privilege, not a right. I am certainly not infringing anyone's freedom by choosing what I do with MY money.

Hmm aren't you infringing a poor person's freedom in Africa by not donating your money?

axiomofchoice
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by axiomofchoice » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:39 pm

I feel sad for humanity every time I see a discussion like this.

There is no point in continuing to argue with negru. I propose that we stop here since negru will never be convinced of anything other than his own opinions.

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grae313
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:40 pm

negru wrote:Hey, it's no one's "right" to get the job or money I am offering! It's a privilege, not a right. I am certainly not infringing anyone's freedom by choosing what I do with MY money.

Hmm aren't you infringing a poor person's freedom in Africa by not donating your money?
You're missing the point. You got that money in part due to the opportunities available to you -- your good education, the encouragement of your mentors, and the rich white man willing to hire you so that you could eventually run the company. It's not a right to be given money, it's a right to the same opportunities to succeed. The act of hiring a white man over an equally qualified black man with your own money is not inherently wrong; rather, the problem is the systematic discrimination of which such an act is symptomatic that, in it's most pernicious manifestation, prevents some people from having the same opportunities to build the successful life for themselves that the privileged enjoy.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by grae313 » Fri Dec 10, 2010 8:43 pm

axiomofchoice wrote:I feel sad for humanity every time I see a discussion like this.

There is no point in continuing to argue with negru. I propose that we stop here since negru will never be convinced of anything other than his own opinions.
I can't seem to listen to my own good advice, let alone yours :D I completely agree.

There may be at least one good outcome of this thread -- people on the fence about supporting diversity in physics may have jumped over to our side just to avoid the possibility of being associated with this nutso!

negru
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:12 pm

There is a big difference between infringing someone's freedom and not being nice or grateful.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by negru » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:37 pm

Maybe I got confused by what you meant with it not being OK to not hire a black person. Let's back up a bit and find some common ground.

For example, I think not holding the door open for the next person is not OK. Let's go from here. Is not hiring a black person... worse, better..about the same? compared to this

vicente
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by vicente » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:41 pm

For the love of God/garden! I'd hate to see this being the first thread on PhysicsGRE to get locked.

Some people can't see discrimination until it's bitten them in the ass.
Welcome back, Vicente :D
Hi quizivex!

pqortic
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by pqortic » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:29 pm

vicente wrote:For the love of God/garden! I'd hate to see this being the first thread on PhysicsGRE to get locked.
that will never happen. this is one of the most productive threads in the history of PhysicsGRE. it has major effect on public awareness

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by pqortic » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:31 pm

axiomofchoice wrote:I feel sad for humanity every time I see a discussion like this.
I saw humanity today in the hallway. he was doing fine. don't worry!

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by HappyQuark » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:51 pm

negru wrote:Any sort of
HappyQuark wrote: What? Give me one example of a societal issue that we shouldn't fix.
How about..think of all the issues we have, and pick all of them. That's my answer. Everyone should be left alone in his prejudices, sexisms, and racisms, as long as it's not the government doing it, but the government shouldn't be doing anything to begin with anyway.

If I don't want to hire/like/marry/adopt/befriend/anything a female, a black, a blond, a non-cripple, a non-half irish, quarter chinese, quarter elephant with short hair, that's my problem, it doesn't concern anyone and it needs no "fixing", because there's nothing "wrong" about it.
To everyone, I'm sorry but I'm weak and I have to respond to this ridiculous crap.

To negru, not one person in this conversation has suggested that you shouldn't be allowed to be a bigoted fool and your attempt to shift the discussion in that way is a transparent farce. The actual discussion points we have been addressing are (your arguments are in bold)

1. Support groups for women in physics undermine their abilities as physicists and negatively color everyones perception of them.

We've continually pointed out that you are the only one who looks down upon women for seeking friendship and comradery. Just to clarify, once again, I'm not saying you aren't allowed to be an ass, I'm saying you are wrong when you suggest that other people feel the same sentiments.

2. If women are not treated fairly and this results in exceptional and qualified women losing opportunities in physics that they deserve, then they should simply learn to deal with that and nothing ought to change. I refer to this as the "Life's hard and then you die" principle.

Ignoring the fact that physics and science in general will suffer if we ignore qualified applicants, there is the bigger issue of being a human being and caring about whether or not others are struggling unjustly and whether or not we can fix that. I'm not sure what mental gymnastics were required for you to convince yourself that you can still be a good person while completely ignoring and inciting social injustice, but as you pointed out it is completely within your right to be a despicable human being.

3. If women tend to do worse on the physics gre, the only reasonable conclusion is that women by their very nature are, on average, less capable at physics than men. Further, their inabilities in both scholastic terms and ability/willingness to work hard in the field is a direct result of their emotional instability.

We've already explained to you that a number of studies have been done demonstrating that women think differently enough to result in lower scores on this and other standardized tests and that this shortcoming is not indicative of the persons qualifications as a physicist. Further, we've mentioned studies demonstrating that women aren't taken as seriously as scientists, despite the quality of their research.

4. Women have never been deterred away from physics or held back due to social pressures.

You know better than to think this is true and immediately back-pedaled after saying it so I'll let this one slide.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by razor » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:04 am

OK Another view from an EXPERT who had been there, done that.

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~hgeo ... ckpage.htm

@negru: Just because you don't feel discriminated or discouraged in going to physics, it doesn't mean that the problem does not exist or that nothing should be done about it. That is what I call INSENSITIVE and APATHETIC. One shouldn't impose his or her experience on everyone else. That's why steps are being done for women who are VERY GOOD in physics and would LOVE to go into physics but are discouraged because of the apparent MACHO S-H-I-T culture prevalent in a MALE-DOMINATED field such as physics.

Suppose you are right that getting some help means that one is not cut out for the job. Then that would mean that every men in Physics who got some help courtesy of the gender bias in the field, isn't cut out for the job.

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by tut tut » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:19 am

I read this thread with interest. I am not against affirmative action treatment for women/minorities, I'm pretty neutral toward that. But it is an issue that's very personal to me as I am a girl.

I felt like there was a lack of a certain kind of voice in this thread, so here I go.

I'm not a naturally confident person but I am great at physics. I didn't believe this for a long time. Seems like most of the women posting on this thread have had to deal with discrimination from others but have at least not rooted against themselves. I did. I didn't even allow myself to consider that I was smart while I was in school. It didn't matter my grades, or test scores, or accomplishments or what anybody said.

It wasn't until after I removed myself from the academic environment for a while (I'm 1 year out of school), that I realized just how warped my self image was. Immediately people began reacting differently toward me. I realized that what I, and many others, naively perceive as intelligence is merely confidence.

Ideally, I suppose, how others speak to us, treat our ideas, shouldn't have an impact on our ability to contribute good work. But I think in reality it is deeply important. What we contribute to physics depends heavily on the kinds of leaps we're willing to make, how far we will go to defend an idea, having the mental clarity to evaluate different paths and follow our intuition down the best one, etc..

One might argue that low self confidence, then, along with inability to do math, e.g. implies low potential in physics. But, in my experience at least, low self confidence can be overcome. As soon as I began to believe in my ability I became immensely productive.

The study that Grae mentioned points to a phenomenon that is pervasive in academia. Its results don't surprise me a bit. This kind of thing seeps pretty deep into your psyche and is pretty hard to eradicate. I don't know if giving women a leg up is the right way to fix it. I don't have an answer.

CarlBrannen
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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by CarlBrannen » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:56 pm

The most male dominated field I've ever worked in was heavy construction. Physics isn't male dominated to nearly this degree probably because physics isn't very physical. Let me see if I can find an appropriate photograph ...

Image

From Ironworkers.com

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Re: Special bonus points: female

Post by midwestphysics » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:09 am

The subject is touchy, and rightfully so. I’m not implying it is touchy from strictly a philosophical sense, but rather in that the true data concerning this issue can never be gathered. Which schools place what value on women and minorities, in actual practice not through words? Which professors are sexist or racist? There is a whole list of factors that we are not and truly never will be privy to at any reasonably useful extent. It’s not hard to understand that, because people who are sexist or racist would never admit it in their professional lives. Furthermore, some may possibly not even realize that their decisions are based on deep seeded bigotry. I’ve seen that very case, it is strange, but still those people exist. In any case, the issue falls directly within the realm of what some anthropologists call the human factor, a disorder among humanity in which people disregard rationality for personally imprinted views. Frankly, studies have shown that a large amount of people can’t give an unbiased decision on a subject when race and gender information is provided. Therein lies the problem, we should have a total removal of any information regarding gender, race, etc form applications at any level even outside academia. People should stand solely on their comparable merit. That is only way in which every group would be satisfied, a reality in which the only way for an employer or an admissions committee to distinguish between applicants is based entirely off of their accomplishments. In truth, we all know your sex or race does not influence how intelligent you are or your ability to do physics. Thus an inclusion of these truly nonfactors, is an inclusion of useless information. I know some will argue that because of their race or gender that their road was harder, and thus should be considered. Still, in the end, your ability to succeed in graduate school is not about how hard your road was, but about your ability to be successful even when the road is hard. Trust me, no matter your sex or race, at some point the road is hard for everyone.



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