There is no religious doctrine as unassailable as the claim that differences in achievement in areas where women and/or racial/ethnic minorities are UNDERrepresented is caused by systemic sexism/racism etc.

That religious doctrine, however, never is applied to fields in which women and/or racial/ethnic minorities are OVERrepresented.

The claim that differences in outcome are caused by discrimination drives the “diversity” agenda on campuses and at companies. That one might support diversity as a goal, yet question whether the problem is systemic discrimination and whether MORE discrimination really is the answer, is considered heresy and is punishable by firing, harassment, and on campuses, being shouted down.

Christina Hoff Sommers has been at the forefront of arguing that many if not most UNDERrepresentation in STEM is not the result of discrimination, but of choices different groups make for a variety of reasons. Here is one of her Factual Feminist videos on the topic:

For this heresy, Hoff Sommers is attacked, both verbally and physically, when she speaks on campus.

Another heresy just took place, at Google.

A Google Senior Engineer circulated internally at the company a 10-page memo addressing diversity and why there might be an achievement gap between men and women for the tech skills valued by Google. He did not address diversity gaps generally, only in High Tech (which he defined as Software Engineering). So the gap at issue was in Software Engineering, and that’s what his memo addressed.

People went crazy, grossly exaggerating the nature of the memo.

While the memo is being regularly described as “anti-diversity,” a plain reading of the document shows that is not accurate. The Senior Engineer does not question diversity as a goal, but does question the explanations given as to why it is not being achieved in High Tech.

Gizmodo uses the “anti-diversity” verbiage, as does virtually every media report, Exclusive: Here’s The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google:

A software engineer’s 10-page screed against Google’s diversity initiatives is going viral inside the company, being shared on an internal meme network and Google+. The document’s existence was first reported by Motherboard, and Gizmodo has obtained it in full.

In the memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee and is titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” the author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” he writes, going on to argue that Google’s educational programs for young women may be misguided.

The Senior Engineer’s argument is worth actually reading. Here is one section of the memo:

Possible non-bias causes of the gender gap in tech [3]

At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership. Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.

On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways. These differences aren’t just socially constructed because:

  • They’re universal across human cultures
  • They often have clear biological causes and links to prenatal testosterone
  • Biological males that were castrated at birth and raised as females often still identify and act like males
  • The underlying traits are highly heritable
  • They’re exactly what we would predict from an evolutionary psychology perspective

Note, I’m not saying that all men differ from women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

There are other sections dealing with life decisions and motivations that differ between the sexes. Despite the media headlines, the Senior Engineer made clear that he was not “anti-diversity”:

I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

And then the Senior Engineer touched upon some “concrete suggestions,” including (horrors!) lowering hostility toward conservatives as a means of fostering open debate on these issues:

Stop alienating conservatives.

  • Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.
  • In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
  • Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.

Once the firestorm started, the Senior Engineer offered the following:

Reply to public response and misrepresentation

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem. Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber. Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

Needless to say, Google is expressing shock and condemnation in an internal email, which reads in part (via the Gizmodo article):


I’m Danielle, Google’s brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance. I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all. But given the heated debate we’ve seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.

Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said. “ ….

Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

That last sentence demonstrates why questioning the assumptions underlying diversity initiatives is so dangerous to employment — one stands at risk of being accused of violating company anti-discrimination policies merely by questioning whether there is in fact discrimination. That accusation could be a career ending. Which is why people just shut up.

While the Senior Engineer is under widespread attack, there are some people coming to his defense:

This memo could be used as a launching point for an open and fact-based discussion of why some group succeed in the Software Engineering field (and some other high tech fields) more than others. If you can’t identify the actual problem, you can’t meaningfully discuss solutions.

I’m guessing that that Google Senior Engineer soon will be a former Google Senior Engineer, will be outed on the internet (he already has been, but I’m not using his name), will be mercilessly harassed and doxxed, and will be driven underground. Because that’s how diversity heretics are treated.