Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

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Dr. J
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by Dr. J »

gnash wrote:Empirically, it is beyond any doubt: women do much, much worse than men in chess. It is not clear that there is any disparity before puberty, but once puberty hits, it's no different from most sports, even though muscular strength plays no role in chess.

Nobody knows why this is, but it clearly isn't explainable by cultural factors (chess stands out among similar games, disparities are similar across countries with very different social norms about gender roles, etc.) My guess is that chess is a pretend fight to death, which makes it more attractive to males at two levels (both because it's a fight to death and because it's an elaborate pretense). But that's just a guess.
Please read the seminal text "Raising Ophelia" if you want some insight into why all sorts of achievement-related behaviors start to bottom out for girls once they hit puberty. (Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with estrogen.) I can't even tell you how mad it makes me to have to push back against this BS.

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lieph82
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by lieph82 »

Dr. J wrote:
gnash wrote:Empirically, it is beyond any doubt: women do much, much worse than men in chess. It is not clear that there is any disparity before puberty, but once puberty hits, it's no different from most sports, even though muscular strength plays no role in chess.

Nobody knows why this is, but it clearly isn't explainable by cultural factors (chess stands out among similar games, disparities are similar across countries with very different social norms about gender roles, etc.) My guess is that chess is a pretend fight to death, which makes it more attractive to males at two levels (both because it's a fight to death and because it's an elaborate pretense). But that's just a guess.
Please read the seminal text "Raising Ophelia" if you want some insight into why all sorts of achievement-related behaviors start to bottom out for girls once they hit puberty. (Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with estrogen.) I can't even tell you how mad it makes me to have to push back against this BS.
It's a shame how many reasonable, rational, educated people read the literature and still don't buy into it, though. As a professor, don't you experience that frustration a lot when talking to professors in other departments?

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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

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It's amazing how many people try to argue with Dr J on this.
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Dr. J
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by Dr. J »

Yep. Of course if a male professor asserts it, it does get taken more seriously. Wish I were joking.

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lieph82
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by lieph82 »

Dr. J wrote:Yep. Of course if a male professor asserts it, it does get taken more seriously. Wish I were joking.
Sad.

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Dr. J
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by Dr. J »

Although being a Jeopardy superchamp has upped my cred considerably!

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gnash
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by gnash »

Dr. J wrote:
gnash wrote:Empirically, it is beyond any doubt: women do much, much worse than men in chess. It is not clear that there is any disparity before puberty, but once puberty hits, it's no different from most sports, even though muscular strength plays no role in chess.

Nobody knows why this is, but it clearly isn't explainable by cultural factors (chess stands out among similar games, disparities are similar across countries with very different social norms about gender roles, etc.) My guess is that chess is a pretend fight to death, which makes it more attractive to males at two levels (both because it's a fight to death and because it's an elaborate pretense). But that's just a guess.
Please read the seminal text "Raising Ophelia" if you want some insight into why all sorts of achievement-related behaviors start to bottom out for girls once they hit puberty. (Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with estrogen.) I can't even tell you how mad it makes me to have to push back against this BS.
So facts are BS?

Instead of cavalierly dismissing my arguments, how would you explain the facts with factors other than innate differences? In particular: Why does the disparity occur only in some fields but not, or to a much lesser extent, in others that appear similar? (E.g. why in chess and not in bridge, why more in physics than in math or chemistry, etc.) Why is it robust to cultural milieu differences? The roles and rights of women are not similar in, say, Scandinavian countries and in Armenia. Why does it occur in fields that are neither lucrative nor prestigious? (I get that Wall Street is rigged against women; it's a power grab by alpha males, and quite a bad kind of alpha males. But chess? It brings you nothing except the pleasure of playing it.)

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El Jefe
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by El Jefe »

somebody wrote:Nobody knows why this is
Wow! This has to be one of the worst non-statements ever. What does it even mean? It reminds me of the (via the excellent documentary OutFoxed, I think) the old 'Some Say...' preface that FoxNews uses (which facilitates working in anonymous quotes, rumors, and other bull$hit, selling out any principles of journalism the speaker may have).

In this case I think it could have been more helpfully phrased as one of the following:

'I'm too embarrassed about not knowing the answer to ask here'
'I'm too lazy/inconsiderate to research it and share what I've found'
'It's a complex problem worthy of a graduate-level thesis, but doggone it I just don't know because it's not a field I've been trained in.'
'I read Book X and it suggested Reason Y'

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gnash
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by gnash »

lieph82 wrote:
gnash wrote:
lieph82 wrote:
Magna wrote:
lieph82 wrote:I wonder how many women have a chess ranking (which would just indicate how many women have played in a qualified chess tournament), period. If 5000 men and 100 women play in a poker tournament, and there are only 2 women in the top 100, then proportionally, women are doing just as well as men.
Self-selection could also reflect ability. If as a whole a group doesn't do as well in casual play, they might be somewhat less likely to enter higher-level mixed competitions - although they might be more likely to enter competitions specific to their group.
Yes, but "as a whole a group doesn't do as well in casual play" might be a misconceived stereotype. Just because there are more men at the top doesn't mean women as a whole are doing worse than men as a whole.

Edit: You added the "theoretically" after I quoted you, and yes, I agree, that's a valid theory.
Empirically, it is beyond any doubt: women do much, much worse than men in chess. It is not clear that there is any disparity before puberty, but once puberty hits, it's no different from most sports, even though muscular strength plays no role in chess.

Nobody knows why this is, but it clearly isn't explainable by cultural factors (chess stands out among similar games, disparities are similar across countries with very different social norms about gender roles, etc.) My guess is that chess is a pretend fight to death, which makes it more attractive to males at two levels (both because it's a fight to death and because it's an elaborate pretense). But that's just a guess.

OTOH, women are roughly equal with men in bridge. Is Jeopardy! more similar to chess or bridge? It isn't really similar to either...
That may be true, but I don't understand how it's "beyond any doubt" unless you respond to my points. Do we really know "women do much, much worse than men in chess?" Isn't it possible that a lot of the reason why there are so many more great male players than female players is that many more males play chess in the first place? Do you have research you can point to that answers this?
That question looks meaningless to me. What is the difference? One cannot be successful at something without doing it. But girls lose interest in chess once they hit puberty. This may well mean that they are smarter; from a practical point of view, chess is a waste of time for 99.9% of people who engage in it. Unlike some people, I am not making any value judgments in this discussion. Just reporting the facts as they are (except when I explicitly said I was merely guessing at a possible explanation).

BTW, I don't know what you know about Judith Polgar. She and her sisters are a product of a deliberate experiment. Their father, a psychologist, wanted to prove that genius is made, not born, so he brought up his daughters to be chess geniuses. (He chose chess because it was something he could teach them himself to an advanced level because he was a master - you may notice a flaw in the experimental design right there.) Well, he was pretty successful, as Judith became the youngest grandmaster up to that time and peaked, I think, at some point briefly in the top 10 in the world, Susan was the Women's World Champion, and Sophia is pretty strong, too. But, for any comparisons, it also means no other person of their age or older ever received the kind of training from early age that they did. (That has probably changed since.) And, just to avoid some other stereotypes, this unusual upbringing did not turn them into some robotic social outcasts. I've met people who have met them in person and they describe them as nice, happy, down-to-earth persons.

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gnash
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by gnash »

El Jefe wrote:
somebody wrote:Nobody knows why this is
Wow! This has to be one of the worst non-statements ever. What does it even mean? It reminds me of the (via the excellent documentary OutFoxed, I think) the old 'Some Say...' preface that FoxNews uses (which facilitates working in anonymous quotes, rumors, and other bull$hit, selling out any principles of journalism the speaker may have).

In this case I think it could have been more helpfully phrased as one of the following:

'I'm too embarrassed about not knowing the answer to ask here'
'I'm too lazy/inconsiderate to research it and share what I've found'
'It's a complex problem worthy of a graduate-level thesis, but doggone it I just don't know because it's not a field I've been trained in.'
'I read Book X and it suggested Reason Y'
It may be news to you, but human knowledge is not infinite. Not all questions have been answered. Now if you happen to have the answer, or know a source that provides it, great, let's hear it. Otherwise, google "si tacuisses".

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Woof
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by Woof »

gnash wrote:
Nobody knows why this is, but it clearly isn't explainable by cultural factors (chess stands out among similar games, disparities are similar across countries with very different social norms about gender roles, etc.) My guess is that chess is a pretend fight to death, which makes it more attractive to males at two levels (both because it's a fight to death and because it's an elaborate pretense). But that's just a guess.

OTOH, women are roughly equal with men in bridge. Is Jeopardy! more similar to chess or bridge? It isn't really similar to either...
I suspect that the distinction is connected to the well-documented disparity in spatial perception and mental rotation abilities innate to males and females [1-3]. Even though chess is a two-dimensional array, its reliance on spatial perception for looking ahead in the game might show the same sort of gender differences (women tend to have better visual memories, though, so the differences are far from one-sided)

[1] Linn, M. C., & Peterson, A. C. (1985). Emergence and characterization of sex differences in spatial ability: A meta-analysis. Child Development, 56(6), 1479-1498.

[2] Masters, M. S., & Sanders, B. (1993). Is the gender difference in mental rotation disappearing? Behavior Genetics, 23(4), 337-341.

[3] Voyer, D., Voyer, S., & Bryden, M. P. (1995). Magnitude of sex differences in spatial abilities: A meta-analysis and consideration of critical variables. Psychological Bulletin, 117(2), 250-270.

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lieph82
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

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gnash wrote:
lieph82 wrote: That may be true, but I don't understand how it's "beyond any doubt" unless you respond to my points. Do we really know "women do much, much worse than men in chess?" Isn't it possible that a lot of the reason why there are so many more great male players than female players is that many more males play chess in the first place? Do you have research you can point to that answers this?
That question looks meaningless to me. What is the difference? One cannot be successful at something without doing it. But girls lose interest in chess once they hit puberty. This may well mean that they are smarter; from a practical point of view, chess is a waste of time for 99.9% of people who engage in it. Unlike some people, I am not making any value judgments in this discussion. Just reporting the facts as they are (except when I explicitly said I was merely guessing at a possible explanation).
If 100 men and 5 women enter a tournament, and one woman makes the top 5, the women did not do "much, much worse" than the men, the way I see it.

Why do you think girls lose interest? Do you think parents and society are encouraging girls to play chess? Chess and bridge can both be brutally competitive, but in my experience, the perception of chess for laypeople is as a strategic, warlike game whereas bridge is seen as a genteel parlor game. I can see why girls would be more encouraged to play bridge than chess.

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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

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Dr. J wrote: Please read the seminal text "Raising Ophelia" if you want some insight into why all sorts of achievement-related behaviors start to bottom out for girls once they hit puberty. (Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with estrogen.) I can't even tell you how mad it makes me to have to push back against this BS.
I couldn't find "Raising Ophelia" on the google. "Reviving Ophelia" by Mary Pipher has lots of hits. Is there a Raising text I missed?

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Dr. J
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by Dr. J »

I'm just going to leave this here. Checkmate. (Wait, is that right? I don't play chess because I couldn't find a Disney princesses set.)
http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscienc ... ndmasters/

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Dr. J
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by Dr. J »

boson wrote:
Dr. J wrote: Please read the seminal text "Raising Ophelia" if you want some insight into why all sorts of achievement-related behaviors start to bottom out for girls once they hit puberty. (Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with estrogen.) I can't even tell you how mad it makes me to have to push back against this BS.
I couldn't find "Raising Ophelia" on the google. "Reviving Ophelia" by Mary Pipher has lots of hits. Is there a Raising text I missed?
My bad -- it Is Reviving Ophelia, although there has been a response text called Ophelia Speaks with Oral histories. Both are great books, especially if you're parenting a girl.

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trainman
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

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Dr. J wrote:(Wait, is that right? I don't play chess because I couldn't find a Disney princesses set.)
Wish I could embed this video here.

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lieph82
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

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Dr. J wrote:I'm just going to leave this here. Checkmate. (Wait, is that right? I don't play chess because I couldn't find a Disney princesses set.)
http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscienc ... ndmasters/
I asked for evidence going against what I was saying, and you give me supporting evidence!! Gosh, how come I never had any professors as nice as you?!

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Woof
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by Woof »

Dr. J wrote:I'm just going to leave this here. Checkmate. (Wait, is that right? I don't play chess because I couldn't find a Disney princesses set.)
http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscienc ... ndmasters/
Yeah, I'd say that that's a quite convincing argument. He mentions one possible concern with it, namely that of self-selection, but I'm not sure that dropout rates alone will lay that to rest, since self-selection can occur before one ever enters the system. Be that as it may, though, this seems like the most convincing explanation to date for the observed differences.

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gnash
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by gnash »

Dr. J wrote:I'm just going to leave this here. Checkmate. (Wait, is that right? I don't play chess because I couldn't find a Disney princesses set.)
http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscienc ... ndmasters/
I think I explained in my last post why this is a ridiculously fallacious argument. As if people were randomly selected into chessplayers and non-chessplayers.

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Rex Kramer
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Re: Haters gonna hate, I suppose, but...

Post by Rex Kramer »

I think Arthur's exhortation to certain people to "grow up" is spot on, but I think his attribution of misogyny to "nerd culture" is misplaced. Misogyny may coincide with nerd culture, just as it may with jock culture or prep culture, but it's trite to assert that being "force fed" a diet of Urkel, Mario, and Leonard robs men if their humanity and causes them to believe that they have a team of writers arranging for them to get the girl. There are *so* many more forces at work than The Big Bang Theory. That fact might explain why a substantial number of nerds don't have unrealistic expectations of female submission. (And if I understand him correctly, this is the essence of gnash's objection: emphasizing nerd culture as a source of misogyny, to the exclusion of, say, jock culture, probably tags quite a few nerds as misogynists unfairly and gets all non-nerds off the hook.)

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