Science needs more... Women!

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
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Skakos
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Science needs more... Women!

Post by Skakos »

Image

You guessed correctly.

In science, women are less than men. This applies to positions in research centers and in teaching positions at universities. Only the 1/5 of phDs in physics are given to women in the US.

A research in Yale showed that between two candidates with EXACTLY THE SAME qualifications who applied for a job at a research center, the man is much more likely to be hired. And it is quite startling that this preference to men is also shown by women as well! [nytimes.com/2013/10/06/magazine/why-are ... e&_r=0]

It seems that unfortunately we need a lot more work to debunk certain prejudices.

I personally believe that women can give science what it currently lacks: A more spiritual and holistic view to the problems of the cosmos. We have treated universe as a machine for too long. It is time to look at things from a different angle...
~ το γὰρ αὐτὸ νοεῖν ἐστίν τε καὶ εἶναι ~

Harmonia Philosophica - Philosophy portal against dogmatism of any kind, religious & scientific alike... http://harmoniaphilosophica.wordpress.com/
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Gulnara
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Gulnara »

I was in 4th grade and great at physics, better than any boys in my class. Yet, when there was physics club organized at school, teacher picked only boys. I was left out, which was very disappointing. It was USSR, but problem seems to be global. Is this the only point of agreeability of any social structure: socialism, capitalism, feudalism, tribalism? Ladies, we've got job to do! Women's suffrage achieved nothing yet.
Last edited by Gulnara on January 25th, 2014, 4:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
HalfWit
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by HalfWit »

Skakos wrote: I personally believe that women can give science what it currently lacks: A more spiritual and holistic view to the problems of the cosmos. We have treated universe as a machine for too long. It is time to look at things from a different angle...
But then they're no longer doing science. Are you saying that

a) Women are as good as men doing science, so we should hire more of them; or

b) When women do science, they do it differently than men do ... in which case ... what is it they're doing?

Your last paragraph really undermined your argument. You seem confused about whether women are capable of doing the same job as men; or whether the job itself should be redefined to included whatever it is that women do, which is NOT science.

Can you clarify your thesis, please?
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Geordie Ross
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Geordie Ross »

Science should be entirely based upon a system of meritocracy, and to my knowledge, it pretty much is. Unfortunately, many aspects of modern society have workplace gender divisions. There are practical reasons for this, mainly that females bare the burdon of child birth, restricting productivity, but ignoring talent and intelligence due to gender also has negative effects.

Ps. Why do you stipulate that spirituality and holism belong specifically to females?
The good life is one inspired by love, and guided by knowledge. - Bertrand Russell
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Misty
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Misty »

HalfWit wrote: You seem confused about whether women are capable of doing the same job as men; or whether the job itself should be redefined to included whatever it is that women do, which is NOT science.
What is it that women do?
Things are not always as they appear; it's a matter of perception.

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Dolphin42
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Dolphin42 »

I think, as Gulnara's post points out, the playing field is probably not as level as we would like to think it is. Even if girls are not explicitly excluded from school physics clubs and the like, the mere fact that they are currently male dominated must put many off. It's a specific example of a more general very difficult problem.

If there is a section of society who seem to be under-represented in a particular field or discipline, then we can either try to make the playing field as level as possible and hope that natural abilities win out over social pressures, or we can engage in what is often called positive discrimination. Both options have obvious and well discussed drawbacks.

P.S. Is that a woman sitting two places to the left of Einstein on the front row? Or is it Julian Assange?

P.P.S. And how did Hitler manage to sneak in on, ironically, the far left?
HalfWit
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by HalfWit »

Misty wrote:
What is it that women do?
The OP said:

"I personally believe that women can give science what it currently lacks: A more spiritual and holistic view to the problems of the cosmos. We have treated universe as a machine for too long. It is time to look at things from a different angle..."

My question to the OP is whether he thinks the definition of science should be extended to include spiritual and holistic viewpoints, so as to include more women. In which case, it's not science anymore, it's something else. I'm not taking a position on this, I'm trying to understand the OP's contradictory point of view. If a woman does something spiritual, should we give her tenure in the Physics department?
Dolphin42
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Dolphin42 »

Halfwit: I think the proposition that the inclusion of spiritual and holistic viewpoints is unscientific probably obscures the point you're trying to make and will probably simply lead to an irrelevant argument as to whether that proposition is in fact true. (On a philosophy forum that could take years.)

Your point, as I understand it, is simply that making any change to the character of the subject in question in order to include a particular section of society undermines the argument that this section is unfairly excluded.
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Geordie Ross
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Geordie Ross »

Dolphin42 wrote:I think, as Gulnara's post points out, the playing field is probably not as level as we would like to think it is. Even if girls are not explicitly excluded from school physics clubs and the like, the mere fact that they are currently male dominated must put many off. It's a specific example of a more general very difficult problem.

If there is a section of society who seem to be under-represented in a particular field or discipline, then we can either try to make the playing field as level as possible and hope that natural abilities win out over social pressures, or we can engage in what is often called positive discrimination. Both options have obvious and well discussed drawbacks.

P.S. Is that a woman sitting two places to the left of Einstein on the front row? Or is it Julian Assange?

P.P.S. And how did Hitler manage to sneak in on, ironically, the far left?

Haha! That made me laugh! Julian Assange is Marie Curie, and Hitler is Peter Debye I think?

It is a brilliant photo jam packed with Nobel prize winners and laureates.
The good life is one inspired by love, and guided by knowledge. - Bertrand Russell
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Misty
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Misty »

HalfWit wrote:
Misty wrote:
What is it that women do?
The OP said:

"I personally believe that women can give science what it currently lacks: A more spiritual and holistic view to the problems of the cosmos. We have treated universe as a machine for too long. It is time to look at things from a different angle..."

My question to the OP is whether he thinks the definition of science should be extended to include spiritual and holistic viewpoints, so as to include more women. In which case, it's not science anymore, it's something else. I'm not taking a position on this, I'm trying to understand the OP's contradictory point of view. If a woman does something spiritual, should we give her tenure in the Physics department?
Thanks, now I get your post. Women have to want to go into the science field, maybe they need more encouragement in that direction, or maybe there are just a small number interested in the first place. As a child I would have loved to have been geared toward science in lieu of cooking classes which I hated.
Things are not always as they appear; it's a matter of perception.

The eyes can only see what the mind has, is, or will be prepared to comprehend.

I am Lion, hear me ROAR! Meow.
Dolphin42
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Dolphin42 »

Ah! Thanks GR. Is that Max Planck to the left of Marie Curie/Julian Assange?
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Geordie Ross
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Geordie Ross »

Yes, I think it's Planck, and Lorentz is on her left (our right)
The good life is one inspired by love, and guided by knowledge. - Bertrand Russell
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Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Philosophy Explorer »

I have heard that 90% of the doctors in Russia are female. If true, then I wonder why the difference from the science field?
HalfWit
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by HalfWit »

Dolphin42 wrote:Halfwit: I think the proposition that the inclusion of spiritual and holistic viewpoints is unscientific probably obscures the point you're trying to make and will probably simply lead to an irrelevant argument as to whether that proposition is in fact true. (On a philosophy forum that could take years.)

Your point, as I understand it, is simply that making any change to the character of the subject in question in order to include a particular section of society undermines the argument that this section is unfairly excluded.
I do not disagree that women are unfairly excluded. I'm just asking what it would mean to make science more spiritual? For example, if you can't figure out why the quarks go this way instead of that way, just say, "Oh well, it's the spirits," and this would be regarded as valid science as long as a woman does it?

I am trying to understand what the OP is saying. If the OP believes that women are spiritual and holistic, does the OP believe that science should (somehow) be made more spiritual and holistic? What does that even mean? The poor dears can't sling equations but they can sure be spiritual? OP's statement seems very condescending to me.

If you want more women in science, then women have to do science. You can't just say that women are spiritual so we'll redefine science as spirituality. What sense does that make? Why not just define not-science as science, and now LOTS of women are doing science?

Perhaps you could give me a concrete example of how physics can be made more spiritual or holistic by women. Is Noether's theorem an example of female spirituality in physics? How about the work of Lise Meitner? Did she bring holistic thinking to physics?

Not to mention that the premise itself is false. Did Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, and Golda Meir bring a soft, gentle, spiritual, holistic touch to politics? Politics is hardball and those three ladies played hardball. They were tougher than the men around them, not weaker.

You and the OP are slinging vague generalities and thinking with very fuzzy logic. Women will bring spirituality to physics? Would you explain how Lisa Randall brings spirituality and holistic thinking to physics? What exactly are you talking about? Tell me so I can understand it. A man who can't hack the math gets rejected from science, but a woman is granted tenure because she's spiritual? I really want to understand the thinking behind this idea, which seems to me to claim that women can't actually do science so let's let them be scientists because they're warm and empathic. It's an extremely condescending point of view. You want more women in physics because they're good at stroking male egos?

I ask again: What place does spirituality have in physics (OP's word, not mine) and what makes anyone think women should be brought into physics not because they can do physics, but because they're spiritual? What nonsense is this?
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Gene16180
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Re: Science needs more... Women!

Post by Gene16180 »

Skakos wrote:A research in Yale showed that between two candidates with EXACTLY THE SAME qualifications who applied for a job at a research center, the man is much more likely to be hired. And it is quite startling that this preference to men is also shown by women as well!
This is not a problem indigenous to the scientific community, but rather speaks to a general societal prejudice. Science may harbor its bigots, but I see no reason to think that science is more discriminatory then any other institution – for example religion, where women are explicitly prohibited from holding certain positions.

Skakos wrote:In science, women are less than men. This applies to positions in research centers and in teaching positions at universities. Only the 1/5 of phDs in physics are given to women in the US.
As I said, there may be some discrimination, however, the main issue is that less women pursue research careers in science compared to men. Thus, even if we completely control for all discrimination, the ratio of men to women would still be heavily skewed in fields like physics.
Skakos wrote:I personally believe that women can give science what it currently lacks: A more spiritual and holistic view to the problems of the cosmos. We have treated universe as a machine for too long. It is time to look at things from a different angle...
I know several brilliant female researchers in my field of neuroscience. None of them think this way and would not appreciate you stereotyping them. Your attempt at appearing egalitarian would likely be perceived by many female researchers as being naïve at best, bigoted at worst.







HalfWit wrote:I do not disagree that women are unfairly excluded. I'm just asking what it would mean to make science more spiritual? For example, if you can't figure out why the quarks go this way instead of that way, just say, "Oh well, it's the spirits," and this would be regarded as valid science as long as a woman does it?

I am trying to understand what the OP is saying. If the OP believes that women are spiritual and holistic, does the OP believe that science should (somehow) be made more spiritual and holistic? What does that even mean? The poor dears can't sling equations but they can sure be spiritual? OP's statement seems very condescending to me.

If you want more women in science, then women have to do science. You can't just say that women are spiritual so we'll redefine science as spirituality. What sense does that make? Why not just define not-science as science, and now LOTS of women are doing science?

Perhaps you could give me a concrete example of how physics can be made more spiritual or holistic by women. Is Noether's theorem an example of female spirituality in physics? How about the work of Lise Meitner? Did she bring holistic thinking to physics?

Not to mention that the premise itself is false. Did Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, and Golda Meir bring a soft, gentle, spiritual, holistic touch to politics? Politics is hardball and those three ladies played hardball. They were tougher than the men around them, not weaker.

You and the OP are slinging vague generalities and thinking with very fuzzy logic. Women will bring spirituality to physics? Would you explain how Lisa Randall brings spirituality and holistic thinking to physics? What exactly are you talking about? Tell me so I can understand it. A man who can't hack the math gets rejected from science, but a woman is granted tenure because she's spiritual? I really want to understand the thinking behind this idea, which seems to me to claim that women can't actually do science so let's let them be scientists because they're warm and empathic. It's an extremely condescending point of view. You want more women in physics because they're good at stroking male egos?

I ask again: What place does spirituality have in physics (OP's word, not mine) and what makes anyone think women should be brought into physics not because they can do physics, but because they're spiritual? What nonsense is this?
I agree. Well put.
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