Here at Al Fin, we often describe “an abundant and expansive human future,” sometimes referred to as The Next Level. “The Next Level” is a prosperous and open-ended future which will be created by “next level humans.” “Next level humans” will be smarter, more inventive, healthier, and longer-lived than humans of today. But to create such humans and such a future, we must learn to deal with reality as it is — and stay away from emotional fantasy ideologies of utopian unicorns, rainbows, and equality of outcome for everyone.
Social Justice, Diversity, Identity Politics, and STEM
“Social Justice” can best be judged by the impact it is having on the ability of humans to create a better and more open future. It should be obvious that if humans have a chance to create such a future, they must utilise the best output that the best humans can produce. But social justice is more concerned with “identity” and “diversity.”
“Identity politics” is one of the main concepts of the social justice campaign. “Diversity” mandates are increasingly used by social justice crusaders in government and university to shape the STEM fields to achieve “identity goals” of equal outcomes.
Let’s look at the impact of “diversity mandates” on the future-critical STEM departments in universities.
STEM departments are creating their own internal diversity enforcers. The engineering school at UCLA minted its first associate dean of diversity and inclusion in 2017, despite already being subject to enormous pressures from UCLA’s fantastically remunerated Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and other bureaucrats. “One of my jobs,” the new engineering diversocrat, Scott Brandenberg, told UCLA’s student newspaper, is “to avoid implicit bias in the hiring process.”
The science diversity charade wastes extraordinary amounts of time and money that could be going into basic research and its real-world application. If that were its only consequence, the cost would be high enough. But identity politics is now altering the standards for scientific competence and the way future scientists are trained. __ https://www.city-journal.org/html/how-identity-politics-harming-sciences-15826.html
A “social justice” graduate of an engineering school may be qualified to march in a protest, while being unqualified to design a bridge, tunnel, or skyscraper. A “social justice” graduate in physics may be qualified to be a television personality and token physics professor in news clips, but be unqualified to advance the science of physics in any meaningful way.
When “social justice” and “identity politics” are pushed upon medical education — the training of future doctors and researchers — their impact can kill and maim in proportions far beyond expectation.
The admission of unqualified applicants to medical schools, residencies, fellowships, and faculty/research positions, can only harm the future. In order to prevent these unprepared and unqualified students from failing out, a new type of teaching is catching on — the “feelings-based” approach. A “feelings-based” approach to teaching technical disciplines attempts to minimise the teaching of critical facts and concepts, while maximising the use of “feelings” and uninformed intuitions.
… “feelings” are only going to get you so far without mastery of the building blocks of scientific knowledge.
Mastering those building blocks involves the memorization of facts, among other skills. Assessing student knowledge of those facts can produce disparate results. The solution is to change the test or, ideally, eliminate it. A medical school supervisor recently advised a professor to write an exam that was less “fact-based” than the one he had proposed, even though knowledge of pathophysiology and the working of drugs, say, entails knowing facts.
The result of a medical education “rich in feelings” but “poor in facts” is the “affirmative action doctor.” In medicine, the blight of “affirmative action doctors and professors” is being felt by the unfortunate patients who suffer from their incompetence.
Medical school administrators urge admissions committees to overlook the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores of black and Hispanic student applicants and employ “holistic review” in order to engineer a diverse class. The result is a vast gap in entering qualifications. From 2013 to 2016, medical schools nationally admitted 57 percent of black applicants with a low MCAT of 24 to 26, but only 8 percent of whites and 6 percent of Asians with those same low scores, according to Claremont McKenna professor Frederick Lynch. __ City Journal
The facts and details regarding “social justice education” in the sciences, engineering, health care, and computing, are widely known by informed persons — but virtually unknown and unsuspected among the general public which is fed on the pablum of mainstream news and entertainment media.
And yet the lives and deaths of growing numbers of people who constitute the general public will suffer from the incompetent malpractice of social justice doctors, engineers, computer programmers, and scientists of all kinds — including “expert” commentators on news and entertainment shows.
Price’s Law and the Pareto Distribution
Inequality of outcome and wealth is a commonplace observation, wherever one looks. Whether called “Price’s Law” or the “Pareto Distribution”, this observation applies across the wide expanse of nature and human activity.
More generally, the Pareto Principle is the observation (not law) that most things in life are not distributed evenly. It can mean all of the following things:
20% of the input creates 80% of the result
20% of the workers produce 80% of the result
20% of the customers create 80% of the revenue
20% of the bugs cause 80% of the crashes
20% of the features cause 80% of the usage
And on and on…
When large numbers of “freeloaders” are thrown into a workforce — in this case the STEM workforce — the remaining numbers of competent workers must generate more and more output, and carry larger and larger loads.
This was already the case in all fields of employment — including STEM — but thanks to social justice education and hiring, it is soon to grow far worse.
Life Isn’t (and Never Has Been) Fair
Nature does not exist to generate equal outcome. Evolution by natural selection is based upon the inherent inequality of the “genetic lottery.” The same inequality is central in human affairs, and is exploited by more advanced societies using meritocratic selection processes to staff more critical positions in more critical areas of society. When corruption and ideology prevent societies from using meritocratic selection to fill such positions, the society becomes more vulnerable to catastrophe, and less prosperous and less competitive.
The result of social justice education is “The Idiocracy.” The US had a taste of the idiocracy under President Obama, where “social justice mandates” were central to the deconstruction of virtually any future at all — much less the idea of an expansive and abundant human future.
Hope for the best, but work for the better. At the same time, prepare for the worst by making yourself and your family/community very dangerous, and robustly resilient — even anti-fragile.
A final thought:
The extraordinary accomplishments of Western science were achieved without regard to the complexions of its creators. Now, however, funders, industry leaders, and academic administrators maintain that scientific progress will stall unless we pay close attention to identity and try to engineer proportional representation in schools and laboratories. The truth is exactly the opposite: lowering standards and diverting scientists’ energy into combating phantom sexism and racism is reckless in a highly competitive, ruthless, and unforgiving global marketplace. Driven by unapologetic meritocracy, China is catching up fast to the U.S. in science and technology. Identity politics in American science is a political self-indulgence that we cannot afford. __ Heather MacDonald