CCL: Meritocracy



 Sent to CCL by: "Salter-Duke, Brian James -"
 [brian.james.duke---gmail.com]
 This post is interesting, but it is not my experience in Australia. Is it
 about the US? In discussions of this kind, I think the writers need to say
 where they come from.
 Brian Duke, Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University, but I also
 know Melbourne University Chemistry quite well.
 On Thu, Dec 19, 2019 at 11:45:09AM -0700, Matthias Heger heger=-=ualberta.ca
 wrote:
 >
 > Sent to CCL by: Matthias Heger [heger(a)ualberta.ca]
 > Sebastian,
 >
 > First of all, thank you for that very detailed breakdown of what the
 meritocracy argument really is: A tool to justify the blatant victim shaming
 that we're seeing in this discussion.
 >
 > You're asking if you are forgetting anything in your list. I would actually
 expand on your fourth item - not fostering students from certain backgrounds
 enough - from the perspective of the current issue. How girls and women are
 judged in mathematics and science is not just about background, it absolutely is
 about gender too. This can be very clearly demonstrated. For example, randomized
 male or female names on otherwise identical resumes lead to drastic differences
 in how the applicants are rated in terms of competence and hireability for
 scientific positions. [1] One study found that already in primary school, girls
 can perform equally as well or even better than boys in math exams, but only if
 the tests are anonymized - otherwise, there is a distinct bias against them.
 This has obvious and lasting effects on their academic career choices right from
 the very start. [2]
 >
 > Gender bias among teachers and professors is an open secret. Putting the
 "meritocracy" nonsense on top of it is nothing less than adding insult
 to injury. It actually reminds me of the whole "pulling yourself up by your
 bootstraps" thing.
 >
 > Best,
 > Matthias
 >
 >
 > [1] https://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474
 > [2] https://www.nber.org/papers/w20909
 >
 >
 >
 > Am 19-Dec.-2019 um 12:51 a.m. schrieb Sebastian seb.kozuch*o*gmail.com:
 > > Sent to CCL by: Sebastian [seb.kozuch_-_gmail.com]
 > >
 > > Dear CCLers:
 > >
 > > Since the topic of the women "quota" in comp chem has been
 already discussed
 > > here before (see the grand ICQC affair), I won't talk about it. Enough
 is to say
 > > that I believe that Jim Kress is wrong.
 > >
 > >
 > > However, I would like to talk about the concept of Meritocracy.
 > >
 > >
 > > TL;DR version: Whoever believes in meritocracy is wrong. Horribly
 wrong. Savage
 > > capitalism style of wrong. "Make America great again" kind
 of wrong.
 > >
 > >
 > > Long version:
 > >
 > > For those that are not familiar with it, there is a concept known in
 economy,
 > > sociology and obviously in sociology of science called the Matthew
 effect:
 > >
 > > "For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have
 abundance; but
 > > from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."
 (Matthew 25:29)
 > >
 > > In simple words: "the rich get richer and the poor get
 poorer"
 > > (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_effect)
 > >
 > > We know this from the great inequality that has plagued the world in
 the 21st
 > > century, but there are many studies that point to something that we
 all know
 > > here: Whoever received scientific prizes in the past will have a huge
 advantage
 > > to receive more grants, good students and honors in the future. There
 are
 > > mathematical models
 > > (https://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0219525918500145)
 already
 > > pointing to the obvious:
 > >
 > >
 > > Success = Talent + Luck
 > >
 > > Great Success = A little more of Talent + A lot of Luck
 > >
 > > (Daniel Kahneman, "Thinking, Fast and Slow")
 > >
 > >
 > > Nobody says that the big names in comp chem are not bright. But there
 are tons
 > > of other bright and extremely hard working people that never made it
 to the big
 > > leagues due to a lack of luck. Maybe their PhD project was doomed to
 fail, but
 > > nobody could know that until someone tries it (a kind of sacrifice to
 the gods
 > > of science). Maybe their postdoc adviser was an a-hole. Maybe they
 were born in
 > > the wrong side of the world. And yes, maybe you come from a culture
 where women
 > > are not accepted as scientists since they will "neglect the
 family values". If
 > > by a stroke of luck you had a good head-start, your chances of success
 in the
 > > future grow exponentially.
 > >
 > > In other words: Meritocracy is a myth. A dangerous, unfair myth. Both
 in the
 > > economic and in the academic world.
 > >
 > >
 > > We are loosing many talents due to the lack of diversity and the
 belief that
 > > people reached their status only due to their capacity. We are making
 things
 > > worse each time:
 > >
 > > 1) We do not check that we give enough slots to women.
 > >
 > > 2) We review in a more harshly way a paper if we don't know the
 authors
 > >
 > > 3) We review in a more harshly way a paper if we don't know how to
 pronounce the
 > > names of the authors (this is a real thing!)
 > >
 > > 4) We do not put more effort in teaching and forming students coming
 from less
 > > happy backgrounds or less "academic" cultures
 > >
 > > 5) We give great honors to selected people just because they got
 honors in the past
 > >
 > > 6) We blindly take the H-index as THE measure
 > >
 > > 7) We applaud the people that published more papers than can humanly
 write (or
 > > even read!)
 > >
 > > (what am I forgetting in this list?)
 > >
 > >
 > > Of course that publishing more and getting prizes is great. Each time
 that my
 > > H-index climbs one number I get drunk. But we must acknowledge the
 luck effect,
 > > and especially the Matthew effect, in our and others successes.
 > >
 > > The fair thing is to see beyond that and give more opportunities to
 the less
 > > lucky ones, with the hope they will have the same chances of showing
 their
 > > capacity. Sadly we must include women in this bag, even in the 21st
 century.
 > > It's not always easy, but we can start by trying to put more women
 and/or people
 > > whose names we cannot pronounce in the conferences' list of invited
 speakers.
 > >
 > >
 > > Meritocracy should be one-way: the one who merits, should receive. If
 you
 > > believe that the ones that received did so exclusively because they
 merit, oh
 > > boy. Not only you are unfair, you are unscientific.
 > >
 > >
 > > Thanks for listening to my rant,
 > >
 > > Sebastian
 > >
 > >
 > >
 > > On 19/12/2019 0:18, Jim Kress jimkress35_+_gmail.com wrote:
 > >> Sent to CCL by: "Jim Kress" [jimkress35[a]gmail.com]
 > >> So, they need to ensure they have proper representation of all 26
 genders in their program.
 > >>
 > >>>  From the responses I have seen, including the personal
 attacks by Mr. Seifert, it is obvious the concept of meritocracy is dead.
 > >> That is unfortunate.  It reduces these Workshops to useless
 displays of virtue signaling and mediocre science.
 > >>
 > >> I will not comment further.  I'll have to invoke Mark Twain when
 he said " "Never argue with a pig. It just frustrates you and
 irritates the pig."
 > >>
 > >> Jim Kress
 > >>
 > >> -----Original Message-----
 > >>> From: owner-chemistry+jimkress35==gmail.com{:}ccl.net
 <owner-chemistry+jimkress35==gmail.com{:}ccl.net> On Behalf Of Shahar
 Keinan skeinan : gmail.com
 > >> Sent: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 12:43 PM
 > >> To: Kress, Jim  <jimkress35{:}gmail.com>
 > >> Subject: CCL: 8th French-Japanese Workshop on Computational
 Methods in Chemistry
 > >>
 > >>
 > >> Sent to CCL by: Shahar Keinan [skeinan###gmail.com] I agree with
 Kathrin here, it is the role of the organizers to make sure that they have a
 balanced conference.
 > >>
 > >> And it is the role of the community to call them out when they
 fail to do so.
 > >>
 > >> Shahar
 > >>
 > >>
 > >> On 12/18/19 9:30 AM, zborowsk zborowsk,chemia.uj.edu.pl wrote:
 > >>> Sent to CCL by: zborowsk [zborowsk]|[chemia.uj.edu.pl] W dniu
 > >>> 2019-12-18 11:07, Kathrin Helen Hopmann
 kathrin.hopmann.:.uit.no
 > >>> napisał(a):
 > >>>> Sent to CCL by: Kathrin Helen Hopmann
 [kathrin.hopmann..uit.no] Dear
 > >>>> Organizers of the 8th French-Japanese Workshop on
 Computational
 > >>>> Methods in Chemistry,
 > >>>>
 > >>>> I am sorry that I may have miscounted, it seems there is 1
 female
 > >>>> speaker among the 19 confirmed invited speakers (perhaps I
 have
 > >>>> misinterpreted some of the other name and there are
 more?).
 > >>>>
 > >>>> I know it is not easy for conference organizers to ensure
 a
 > >>>> gender-balanced program. But we need to talk about this
 problem
 > >>>> sometimes, so that we can find out how we can improve
 things.
 > >>>>
 > >>>> with best regards,
 > >>>> Kathrin Hopmann
 > >>> Do not only talk about, simply take a part in the conference,
 then the
 > >>> balance will be significantly improved.
 > >>>
 > >>>>
 > >>>> -----Original Message-----
 > >>>>> From: Kathrin Helen Hopmann
 > >>>> Sent: onsdag 18. desember 2019 11:27
 > >>>> To: 'CCL Subscribers' <chemistry^ccl.net>
 > >>>> Subject: RE: CCL: 8th French-Japanese Workshop on
 Computational
 > >>>> Methods in Chemistry
 > >>>>
 > >>>> Dear Organizers of the 8th French-Japanese Workshop on
 Computational
 > >>>> Methods in Chemistry,
 > >>>>
 > >>>> I counted 19 confirmed invited speakers on your website.
 > >>>> Sadly, not a single of these seems to be a woman.
 > >>>>
 > >>>>
 > >>>> with best regards
 > >>>> Kathrin Hopmann
 > >>>>
 > >>>> -----Original Message-----
 > >>>>> From: owner-chemistry+kathrin.hopmann==uit.no^ccl.net
 > >>>>>
 <owner-chemistry+kathrin.hopmann==uit.no^ccl.net> On Behalf Of
 > >>>>> Francois Berenger mlists(a)ligand.eu
 > >>>> Sent: onsdag 18. desember 2019 06:47
 > >>>> To: Kathrin Helen Hopmann <kathrin.hopmann^uit.no>
 > >>>> Subject: CCL: 8th French-Japanese Workshop on
 Computational Methods
 > >>>> in Chemistry
 > >>>>
 > >>>>
 > >>>> Sent to CCL by: "Francois  Berenger" [mlists-
 -ligand.eu]
 > >>>> Registration for the 8th French-Japanese Workshop on
 Computational
 > >>>> Methods in Chemistry (FJCMC2020) is open!
 > >>>>
 > >>>> Please consider joining us March 19th and 20th 2020 at
 Kumamoto
 > >>>> university (Japan).
 > >>>>
 > >>>> We will be lucky to have presentations by many prestigious
 speakers:
 > >>>> http://www.chem.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/~frjp2020/invited-speakers.html
 > >>>>
 > >>>> More information can be found at:
 > >>>> http://www.chem.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/~frjp2020/index.html
 > >>>>
 > >>>> The registration page is:
 > >>>> http://www.chem.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/~frjp2020/registration.html
 > >>>>
 > >>>> We are looking forward to meet you in Kumamoto, The
 > >>>>
 > >>>> organizers.http://www.ccl.net/cgi-bin/ccl/send_ccl_messagehttp-:-//www.
 > >>>> ccl.net/chemistry/sub_unsub.shtmlhttp://www.ccl.net/spammers.txt>>>; Conferences:
 > >>>> http://server.ccl.net/chemistry/announcements/conferences/--
 > >>> Krzysztof K. Zborowski
 > >>> Faculty of Chemistry
 > >>> Jagiellonian University in Krakow
 > >>> 2 Gronostajowa Street
 > >>> 30-387 Krakow
 > >>> Poland
 > >>> email: zborowsk-#-chemia.uj.edu.plConferences:
 > >>> http://server.ccl.net/chemistry/announcements/conferences/>;
 >
 > >>>
 > >> --
 > >> -----------------
 > >> Shahar Keinan
 > >> (919)-357-5319http://www.ccl.net/cgi-bin/ccl/send_ccl_messagehttp-:-//www.ccl.net/chemistry/sub_unsub.shtmlhttp-:-//www.ccl.net/spammers.txtE-mail
 to subscribers:CHEMISTRY() ccl.net  or use:>>
 > >> E-mail to administrators:CHEMISTRY-REQUEST() ccl.net  or usehttp://www.ccl.net/chemistry/sub_unsub.shtml
 > >>
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 --
    Brian Salter-Duke (Brian Duke)   Brian.Salter-Duke,,monash.edu
                     Adjunct Associate Professor
             Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
       Monash University Parkville Campus, VIC 3052, Australia