Observations on the National Academy Report on Sexual Abuse in STEM Departments

by Pat Frank

A few days ago, Charles TM posted an essay about the recent National Academy Report, “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,” [1] which can be found at WUWT here.

Apparently, the NAS Report is so outspoken about widespread abuse of women in academic science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) departments that Senators Kamala Harris, Jacky Rosen, and Richard Blumenthal plan to introduce legislation to effect a rescue.

The NAS Report purports the case that not only is the sexual abuse of women wide-spread, but also that the patriarchic hierarchical structure in STEM departments cultivates an intersectionally abusive environment where sexual harassment of women becomes likely.

Before proceeding, we need to acknowledge that there have been instances of sexual abuse in the STEM academy that were widely discussed. Well-publicized examples include one at Berkeley in 2015, one at Yale in 2014, one at CalTech in 2016, one at the University of Chicago in 2016, one involving three women at the University of Alabama in 2013, one at Arizona State University in 2015. There are serious episodes involving real abuses and real victims.

The issue, however, is not about episodic abuse, which is pretty much inevitable anywhere there are large numbers of men and women working under one roof (I get to this issue below. Abuses arise with the appearance of low-probability personality types in statistically valid populations).

Rather, the issue is about whether the data support a conclusion that sexual harassment of women is wide-spread in academic STEM departments and that the environment in STEM departments cultivates the sexual harassment of women.

The NAS Report came to roost at Stanford in October last year (2018 if you’re a reader from the distant future). After giving it a look-through, I decided to investigate the same question as I did in 2001 when the IPCC TAR came out: are the accusatory polemics justified?

Well, guess what. …

This will be a summary. The full assessment is 30 journal-like pages plus five Figures, two Tables and 139 citations; long and involved.

So, here’s the summary:

· The NAS Report traverses from wrong to meaningless.

· It misrepresents the literature.

· It misrepresents its own data, purveying false and inflated rates of sexual harassment.

· It is a product of almost unprecedented scholarly incompetence.

· It is calculated to stampede universities into a false moral panic.

· It is the opening barrage of the academic Cultural Studies warriors’ war to wreck science.

Those who wish the Full Monty can download a pdf for themselves here (876 kB). Please choose the “slow download” option. It’s fast enough and you’ll avoid pecuniary offers. Also, the file has no viruses.

If you read and like it, please feel free to pass it along to wherever or whomever you think it might do some good.

The full assessment critiques the survey methodology of the NAS Report. It examines the personality aspects of sexual harassment. It introduces and literature-validates the sexual harassment males by females, by their peculiar power of sexualized display in inappropriate venues.

The full assessment also discusses a widespread and generalized defamation of males by a foolish statistical inference that falsely paints every male as a potential abuser.

The last part diagnoses the NAS report itself as the opening attack of Cultural Studies warriors war of aggression on science itself. They intend its destruction. The final paragraphs here return to this.

This post just summarizes the problems with the NAS Report itself, and then moves into who actually sexually abuses.

Part I: The National Academy Report on sexual harassment in STEM fields misrepresents or omits critically central scholarship, and mangles its own analysis.

The Report relies upon sexual abuse statistics generated by a large-scale survey on the campuses of the University of Texas system. The survey used a version of the “Sexual Experiences Questionnaire,” (SEQ).

The SEQ was developed by Louise Fitzgerald in 1988. [2] The UT survey was a modification of a second version of the SEQ published in 1995. [3]

The SEQ version used by the NAS Report was yet a third version and had four sections. Each section asked a set of four questions about one level of sexualized experience. Each succeeding section (factors, in the parlance), asked about increasingly personal interactions.

Here’s the set of four questions for the first factor of the NAS SEQ, for example:

1. Sexist Hostility/Sexist Gender Harassment: Unwanted and unwelcomed words, actions, symbols, gestures, and behaviors that are based on sex or gender and characteristically repetitive.

1.1. Treated you “differently” because of your sex.

1.2. Displayed, used, or distributed sexist or suggestive materials.

1.3. Made offensive sexist remarks.

1.4. Put you down or was condescending to you because of your sex.

The second set of factors asked about, “Sexual Hostility/Crude Gender Harassment.” The third set was, “Unwanted Sexual Attention,” and factor set four was, “Sexual Coercion.” None of the factors asked about violent sexual abuse or rape.

The 1988 and 1995 versions of the SEQ ended with, “Have you ever been sexually harassed?” (1988 version) or the statement “I have been sexually harassed” (1995version). These are called the criterion question or statement.

Positive answers to the criterion question permitted concluding that the SEQ behaviors added up to harassment. Negative or blank criterion answers implied the respondent didn’t feel harassed by the experiences.

The meaning of each SEQ question is open to the sensitivity of the respondent.

For example, 1.1 could be answered ‘yes’ if a male held a door open for a given woman. Some women take umbrage at that. Others appreciate it. 1.2 might be a sex-joke birthday card. 1.3 might be taking offense at, ‘men are such beasts!’ 1.4 might be, ‘that stuff is too heavy for you to carry alone (said by someone of one sex to someone of the other).

These examples are all innocuous of course, but nevertheless each one positively meets the requirement of the question. The questions are all very ambiguous and have no context. Individual sensitivity to umbrage-taking varies.

As I’ll show later, there are sex-related differences in personality. Merely mentioning sex-differences to someone could energize offense-taking under any and all of the factor one questions.

This ambiguity was among the very serious criticisms Prof. Barbara Gutek and her colleagues made of the SEQ back in 2004. [4]

Here’s a summary of their critical findings concerning the SEQ:

1. The SEQ is not strong in accuracy or precision.

2. Test, re-test data are poor.

3. The causal direction of harassment is left ambiguous.

4. The SEQ is not standardized. There are several variants. SEQ results cannot be trended across time or space.

5. The SEQ over-reports the prevalence of sexual harassment.

6. The SEQ wording does not allow one to conclude any respondent was personally overwhelmed or felt threatened by the experiences.

7. A far larger fraction report SEQ experiences than answer the criterion question/statement that they felt sexually harassed (a big problem for researchers looking to butter their academic bread with sexual harassment.).

8. Cross correlation between the SEQ factors is about 0.72.

The causality criticism of item 3 is fundamental. Does a given SEQ score mean that a harassment-tolerating environment caused the sexualized work behaviors? Or does it mean sexualized work behaviors caused the respondent to infer a harassment-tolerating environment?

The former is the researcher favorite, because it allows them to conclude that social construction causes sexual harassment, rather than that harassment comes from individual behavioral choices. The social construction bad-boy of choice is the patriarchal hierarchy; very convenient if one makes a career as a cultural studies warrior.

Gutek, et al., concluded that, “the SEQ is a flawed instrument and that its positive features have been greatly exaggerated. It does not seem to measure anyone’ s definition of sexual harassment, including that of its own developers.”

They also quoted a judge who rejected SEQ results in concluding a sexual harassment case in 2002:

“In EEOC v. Dial Corporation, Nov. 17, 2002. Ill, No. 99 C 3356, the Federal judge observed that the, “survey instrument presents inherent reliability problems” and “the SEQ portion of the survey lacks validity” … “This lack of comparability of SEQ scores seems problematic to me, because it seems to render the SEQ scores devoid of any objective meaning” (p. 8). The judge concluded that the “survey materials” [i.e., the SEQ — P] are too flawed to be useful in assisting the fact finder in this case.” (my bold).”

The judge came to the same conclusion that Gutek et al., did: the SEQ does not measure sexual harassment. In fact, it seems to have no objective meaning at all.

And yet, this utterly flawed SEQ survey is at the center of the NAS Report; chosen by professionals in the field to objectively reveal the hidden abuse within academic STEM departments.

Correlation raises its head: Item number 8 in the Gutek, et al., list of flaws is particularly acute.

The four separate SEQ factors were originally said to measure four separate dimensions of behavior. That means each of the four factors is supposed to be orthogonal to the others. That means they are 90° apart in SEQ phase-space; ideally with an inter-correlation coefficient = 0.

However, the factors are not uncorrelated. They are correlated, and their correlation coefficient averages 0.72. Correlated factors do not have a unique meaning.

Correlated epidemiological data sets must be corrected by a factor of 1/(1+r), to obtain the number of statistically independent data points (“r” is the correlation coefficient). [5]

However, the NAS authors overlooked this step in their analysis. The correction to the SEQ data is 1/(1+0.72) = 0.58. All the fractions of respondents who had SEQ experiences must be multiplied by 0.58 to find the statistically unique fraction.

So, for example, the Report makes a lot of hay about the fraction of women who report SEQ experiences in the STEM fields.

They report that 22% of females in non-STEM academic fields, 20% of females in Science, 27% in Engineering, and 47% in Medicine, have all had at least one SEQ experience and therefore have been sexually harassed.

Those fractions must be corrected by 0.58 scaling, which yields, 13%, 12%, 16%, and 27%, respectively.

The Figure 2 bar-graph shows the raw SEQ scores and their statistical corrections.

Figure 1: SEQ experiences of academic STEM females, taken from Appendix D-1 of the NAS Report. Bars are: (blue), NAS reported; (red), corrected for 0.72 factor correlation; (green), average fraction of women reporting sexual harassment across all of the academy, not just STEM, given by positive criterion answers. The whiskers indicate the variability of the criterion question from two different academic SEQ studies (±0.047). [2, 6] The NAS authors count the blue SEQ experiences as sexual harassment, no matter whether the respondents did, or not.

Figure 1: SEQ experiences of academic STEM females, taken from Appendix D-1 of the NAS Report. Bars are: (blue), NAS reported; (red), corrected for 0.72 factor correlation; (green), average fraction of women reporting sexual harassment across all of the academy, not just STEM, given by positive criterion answers. The whiskers indicate the variability of the criterion question from two different academic SEQ studies (±0.047). [2, 6] The NAS authors count the blue SEQ experiences as sexual harassment, no matter whether the respondents did, or not.

Another sign of professionalism among the NAS authors is that they left the criterion question off their survey. This allowed them to promote the SEQ experiences themselves into instances of sexual harassment. This is a knowing misrepresentation of the SEQ results.

Here’s the NAS definition of sexual harassment (p. 28):

Sexual harassment (a form of discrimination) is composed of three categories of behavior:

1. gender harassment (verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender),

2. unwanted sexual attention (verbal or physical unwelcome sexual advances, which can include assault), and

3. sexual coercion (when favorable professional or educational treatment is conditioned on sexual activity).”

The three NAS criteria are actually individual SEQ behaviors that might or might not be harassment. Only the respondent could know. Context was important. Only the person experiencing the behaviors knew the context, and could judge whether they felt harassed, or not.

Originally, the SEQ experiences rose to harassment only if the respondent answered the criterion question as having felt harassed.

But the NAS authors have dispensed with the respondent’s perception. They now decide. They judge harassment from minimal evidence — a SEQ check-list — and without knowing any context. Any recorded SEQ behavior now counts as sexual harassment.

So, for example, they say that 20% of women in science were sexually harassed, not that 20% had SEQ experiences that may or may not have been offensive.

The NAS authors have falsified the meaning of the SEQ experiences. The result is to hugely inflate the fraction of women who can be said to have been sexually harassed.

The absence of meaning: Here’s another instance of professional incompetence in unaddressed factor correlation. The correlation coefficient is the cosine of the angle between result vectors in the data phase-space. [7]

For the SEQ factors, with correlation r = 0.72, that phase-space angle is cos-1(0.72) = 44°.

Figure 2 illustrates the meaning of that phase-space angle. The meaning is that none of the SEQ factors have any unique meaning.

Result vectors that each have one unique meaning are uncorrelated in their data phase space. Their vectors are 90° apart. [8] When data vectors are separated by an acute angle, such as 44°, each vector has a projection on the opposed axes.

In a multi-dimensional phase-space, there are multiple orthogonal axes. Acute vectors will have projections on at least two axes, and possibly more than two of them.

In our physically real space, that means each SEQ factor is a mixture of two or more meanings.

In the SEQ, the meanings of the axes are not known. Even the dimensionality of the SEQ data phase-space is unknown, though it all has something to do with human behavior and socio-sexuality.

Figure 2. Representational result vectors separated by an acute angle in their data phase-space. Each vector has a projection on both the x-axis and the y-axis. The meaning of each vector is a mixture of the unique meaning represented by each of the two axes.

Figure 2. Representational result vectors separated by an acute angle in their data phase-space. Each vector has a projection on both the x-axis and the y-axis. The meaning of each vector is a mixture of the unique meaning represented by each of the two axes.

But the acute angle between the factor vectors means that none of the factors has a unique meaning. Each factor may have many meanings. And each one of the possibly several meanings is cryptic.

So, combining Figure 2 with the judgment of that perspicacious judge and the Gutek et al. critical analysis, it becomes clear that the SEQ results have no unique meaning at all.

The most condemnatory aspect of this whole thing is that the NAS authors knew of Gutek’s critical paper. I know that because Gutek, et al., is cited in some of their published papers (though without acknowledging the critical content).

But in the NAS Report they are utterly silent about, and neglectful of, Gutek, et al., 2004. They did not cite it in the NAS Report. It doesn’t exist in the NAS universe.

Blinded by the light: The NAS authors are very self-congratulatory, calling themselves a “committee of distinguished scientists, engineers, and physicians, and experts in sexual harassment research, legal studies, and psychology.

And yet, they missed every single critical aspect of their work.

Of course, if they’d paid attention to those critical aspects, they’d have had nothing to talk about. The NAS Report authors have based their conclusions and recommendations on nothing definable.

All the faults, the errors, the oversights, and the negligence incline the same way: toward indicting STEM academics for sexual harassment. The NAS authors have calumniated tens and tens of thousands of innocent people.

The NAS Report is incompetence plus bias; all of it. It will do nothing but roil STEM departments with suspicion. It will poison professional relationships.

Attention government and lawyers: It looks to me like the NAS Report sponsors conditions that meet the EEOC definition of sexual harassment. The one that involves creating a hostile workplace by way systematic gender-directed harassment; harassment directed specifically against innocent males.

In my unlawyerly opinion, there’s a case to be made for a class-action law suit against the NAS for incitement and against any organization that imposes their views as authoritative. I believe evidence of real injury could be found in jobs lost and careers stunted. If so, the NAS authors might also be vulnerable.

Part II: Who abuses? Personality inventory has come a long way over the 100 years or so of its development. The HEXACO inventory divides personality into six general traits. These are Extraversion (E), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), Neuroticism (N), Openness to Experience (O) and Honesty-Humility (H-H). [9, 10]

The average inter-factor correlation among these six is r = 0.11±0.08. That gives an average phase-space angle of trait-vector separation of (84±5)°; rather better than the SEQ.

Male and female personalities are distinguishable, [11, 12] much to the fury of social constructivists and gender-fluidophiliacs everywhere. The personality categories are not without a causal link to genetic inheritance and evolutionary biology. [13, 14]

Figure 3 illustrates some of the differences and similarities between the two sexes for two of the six HEXACO personality traits, plus the Barratt BIS-11 Impulsivity (I) trait.

People high in H-H and A are generally socially friendly. Too high gets into the friendly-to-a-fault category. So, in personality trait as in all things, more is not necessarily better. Impulsivity measures risk-taking or its lack.

Surveys show that people who are low in both H-H and A score high on the Likely to Sexually Harass (LSH) scale. [15, 16] The people, male or female, prone to sexually harass tend to have personalities low in modesty, straightforwardness, warmth, and kindness, and relatively high in rudeness and harshness.

Figure 3: idealized Gaussian distributions of male (blue) or female (red) personality traits. Left: two HEXACO traits; right the BIS-11 Barratt Impulsivity trait. [9, 17] Arrows point to regions where low H-H or Agreeableness or high Impulsivity lead to difficult or impulsive personalities.

Figure 3: idealized Gaussian distributions of male (blue) or female (red) personality traits. Left: two HEXACO traits; right the BIS-11 Barratt Impulsivity trait. [9, 17] Arrows point to regions where low H-H or Agreeableness or high Impulsivity lead to difficult or impulsive personalities.

The transition to low H-H or low A is found one standard deviation below the mean. I took the transition values for males to mark entry to difficult personalities for females as well. The female higher mean A indicates fewer females than males should have harsh personalities.

Assuming the H-H and A personality traits are heritably uncorrelated and independent, we can find out what fraction of people in a large population will have personalities low in both H-H and A qualities.

That fraction is just the product of the H-H and A Gaussian areas below the 2.74 value (Figure 2).

For males that’s 0.37×0.17 = 0.06, and for females it’s 0.41×0.04 = 0.02. These people all score high in the LSH scale.

So, the prediction is that 6% of males and 2% of females will have a proclivity for sexual harassment. The rest — 94% of males and 98% of females — will not.

This, by itself, is enough to indicate that sexual harassment is not a general character trait of males or females.

The claims of “toxic masculinity” and “rape culture” find no support in the psychometric literature. Both derogatory categories mounted against males are just self-serving tropes of Feminist “grievance studies.” [18]

Although I don’t discuss it here, the full assessment makes a very good case for harassment of males by females. That would be the 2% of females low in both H-H and A.

The way they harass males is by misuse of a female power very well documented in ancillary literature: by sexualized invitational displays of skin, but made in professional, pedagogical, or other serious venues. [19] It’s so common as to be considered normal.

Anyone interested in more on this topic is encouraged to download the full study and see for yourself whether you agree.

Finally: who offends violently? The literature pretty well establishes that people highly impulsive and low in H-H and A are of criminal tendency. So, high LSH and high Impulsivity combine to predict the fraction of the population that will offend through violent sexual abuse and rape.

The Impulsivity consistent with criminality is 1.58 standard deviations above the mean (the arrow in Figure 3, right). That turns out to represent 6% of the male or female population with high Impulsivity alone. But high Impulsivity alone does not predict criminality.

To predict criminality, we need low H-H and low A as well as high Impulsivity.

Again assuming trait independence, for males the Gaussian fraction is 0.37×0.17×0.06 = 0.004 and for females is 0.41×0.04×0.06 = 0.001. So, about 0.4% of males and 0.1% of females in a general population are predicted have personalities that will dispose them to violent crime, including to violent sexual assault.

That means 99.6% of males and 99.9% of females are not disposed to violent sexual crimes. Once again “toxic masculinity” is objectively disproved. Now, however, we can also objectively eliminate toxic femininity from the objectively determined list of characteristic human attributes.

Rape culture, already out the window, is now gone from the universe; except as a residual trope in what I’ve come to call ‘harpy culture.’

The prediction that 0.4% of males represents the fraction of violent offenders was independently confirmed by a 2015 study. I didn’t know about that paper before working through to the prediction, but happened across it while generally searching the violent crime literature.

In Quebec, Bouchard and Lussier were able to estimate the “hidden” population of violent sexual offenders, given a known number of convictions and re-convictions over a 42- month time window. [20]

They estimated 8,322 total violent male sexual offenders from 387 convictions and 9 re-convictions in a population of 2.13 million males aged 18-64. This yields a 0.4% violent sexual offender fraction among the male population. Confirmation of the prediction independently made from personality inventory could not have been more exact.

All these findings are well literature-validated in the full assessment.

Female STEMers are thriving: Direct surveys show that the overwhelming fraction of female STEM members (90-95%) are satisfied with their careers.

Females who want to be STEM workers face no obstacles in today’s US, and are even preferably hired. [21, 22] The disparity in percent of females in the math-intense jobs has been connected to their free choices for more human-centered careers. [22-26]

The more egalitarian a society, the greater the gender disparity in math-intense jobs. The reason for that is, when people are equal and free to follow their own interests, the biologically (evolutionarily) determined preferences are most able to play a dominant role in career choices.[27, 28]

There just is no validity at all to any of the charges made in the NAS Report; not one of them.

Females are doing fine in STEM careers. There is no crisis of academic sexual abuse.

The set of recommendations offered in the NAS Report is the fondest dream of the Academic Left: ‘Universities should impose equity hiring, and cultivate a politically submissive STEM nomenklatura overseen by social-justice commissars: a new Lysenkoism, in other words. [29]

I can’t imagine a better program to destroy science.

The people who wrote The NAS Report are professional academics specializing in sexual harassment. They not only mangled the literature, they applied it to a malign end.

They could not have exhibited greater incompetence.

A dire warning: Readers here may or may not be aware of the “Walkaway Movement.” Whether or not, you should know it generated a number of remarkable youtube videos.

A woman who moved away from Feminist ideology and found her way to free thought posted a 15:12 video.

She talks about her disenchantment with Feminism and its misandry, and her realization that hiring for equity is bigotry. She speaks from direct experience of the Humanities academy.

At 4:50 she gets to the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Feminist and cultural studies theory, the aggressively anti-rational indoctrination agenda of the academic Humanities in general, and their consciously pejorative distortion of history.

At 15:12 she ends with, “Good luck sciences. They’re comin’ for ya. Pretty soon you’re not going to do studies on biological sex, because there is no such thing.”

I offer this: the NAS Report is the opening barrage of the academic Humanities in their conscious, deliberate, and malignant war to destroy science. They are an existential threat.

The Humanities have become the necrotizing fasciitis of academic integrity. The only cure for NF is early amputation.

References:

[1] National_Academies_of_Sciences_Engineering_and_Medicine, Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018, Washington, DC: National Academies Press. 312.

[2] Fitzgerald, L.F., et al., The incidence and dimensions of sexual harassment in academia and the workplace. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 1988. 32(2): p. 152-175.

[3] Fitzgerald, L.F., M.J. Gelfand, and F. Drasgow, Measuring Sexual Harassment: Theoretical and Psychometric Advances. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 1995. 17(4): p. 425-445.

[4] Gutek, B.A., R.O. Murphy, and B. Douma, A Review and Critique of the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire (SEQ). Law and Human Behavior, 2004. 28(4): p. 457-482.

[5] Hanley, J.A., et al., Statistical Analysis of Correlated Data Using Generalized Estimating Equations: An Orientation. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2003. 157(4): p. 364-375.

[6] Ilies, R., et al., Reported incidence rates of work-related sexual harassment in the united states: Using meta-analysis to explain reported rate disparities. Personnel Psychology, 2003. 56(3): p. 607-631.

[7] Rodgers, J.L. and W.A. Nicewander, Thirteen Ways to Look at the Correlation Coefficient. The American Statistician, 1988. 42(1): p. 59-66.

[8] Rodgers, J., A. Nicewander, and L. Toothaker, Linearly Independent, Orthogonal, and Uncorrelated Variables, Vol. 38. 1984. 133-134.

[9] Lee, K. and M.C. Ashton, Psychometric Properties of the HEXACO Personality Inventory. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 2004. 39(2): p. 329-358.

[10] McCrae, R.R. and O.P. John, An Introduction to the Five-Factor Model and Its Applications. Journal of Personality, 1992. 60(2): p. 175-215.

[11] Kajonius, P.J. and J. Johnson, Sex differences in 30 facets of the five factor model of personality in the large public (N = 320,128). Personality and Individual Differences, 2018. 129(p. 126-130.

[12] Verweij, K.J.H., et al., Individual Differences in Personality Masculinity-Femininity: Examining the Effects of Genes, Environment, and Prenatal Hormone Transfer. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 2016. 19(2): p. 87-96.

[13] de Manzano, Ö. and F. Ullén, Genetic and environmental influences on the phenotypic associations between intelligence, personality, and creative achievement in the arts and sciences. Intelligence, 2018. 69(p. 123-133.

[14] Zietsch, B.P., T.R. de Candia, and M.C. Keller, Evolutionary behavioral genetics. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 2015. 2(p. 73-80.

[15] Pryor, J.B., Sexual harassment proclivities in men. Sex Roles, 1987. 17(5): p. 269-290.

[16] Ménard, K., S., N.E. Shoss, and A.L. Pincus, Attachment and personality predicts engagement in sexual harassment by male and female college students. Violence and Victims, 2010. 25(6): p. 770-786.

[17] Stanford, M.S., et al., Fifty years of the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale: An update and review. Personality and Individual Differences, 2009. 47(5): p. 385-395.

[18] Lindsay, J.A., P. Boghossian, and H. Pluckrose (2018) Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship. Areo Magazine, URL: https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/ Date Accessed: 11 April 2019.

[19] Burrows-Taylor, E. OPINION: It’s not sexist to say this French MP shouldn’t wear revealing clothes on TV. 2018 [Last accessed: 1 April 2019]; Available from: https://www.thelocal.fr/20180227/opinion-its-not-sexist-to-say-mps-shouldnt-wear-revealing-clothes-on-tv.

[20] Bouchard, M. and P. Lussier, Estimating the Size of the Sexual Aggressor Population, in Sex Offenders: A Criminal Career Approach, A. Blokland and P. Lussier eds, 2015, John Wiley & Sons.

[21] Williams, W.M. and S.J. Ceci, National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015. 112(17): p. 5360-5365.

[22] Ceci, S.J., Women in Academic Science: Experimental Findings From Hiring Studies. Educational Psychologist, 2018. 53(1): p. 22-41.

[23] Ceci, S.J., et al., Women in Academic Science:A Changing Landscape. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2014. 15(3): p. 75-141.

[24] Ceci, S.J. and W.M. Williams, Sex Differences in Math-Intensive Fields. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2010. 19(5): p. 275-279.

[25] Ceci, S.J. and W.M. Williams, Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011. 108(8): p. 3157-3162.

[26] Ceci, S.J., W.M. Williams, and S.M. Barnett, Women’s underrepresentation in science: Sociocultural and biological considerations. Psychological Bulletin, 2009. 135(2): p. 218-261.

[27] Robertson, K.F., et al., Beyond the Threshold Hypothesis:Even Among the Gifted and Top Math/Science Graduate Students, Cognitive Abilities, Vocational Interests, and Lifestyle Preferences Matter for Career Choice, Performance, and Persistence. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2010. 19(6): p. 346-351.

[28] Henrekson, M. and M. Stenkula, Why Are There So Few Female Top Executives in Egalitarian Welfare States? The Independent Review, 2009. 14(2): p. 239-270.

[29] Roll-Hansen, N., The Lysenko Effect: The Politics of Science. Control of Nature, ed. M.L. Schagrin, M. Ruse, and R. Hollinger. 2005, Amherst, NY: Humanity Books. 335.

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62 thoughts on “Observations on the National Academy Report on Sexual Abuse in STEM Departments

  1. Thanks, Anthony. Thanks, Charles TM. 🙂

    I’ll be gone to distant climes through May 8 starting this Friday, 19 April.

    So, apologies to all who have questions or comments, but my responses during the next 2-3 weeks will be sparse to non-existent. I hope it’s all clear.

    Please do download <a href="https://uploadfiles.io/6rvbqxvrthe full analysis, (876 kB pdf; choose “slow download”) also linked in the post, if you would like more detail.

    Best to all,

    Pat

  2. Another little error, sorry.

    The line under Figure 3 that says, “That fraction is just the product of the H-H and A Gaussian areas below the 2.74 value (Figure 2).” should parenthetically say (Figure 3).

    I hope that’s all the fixes.

  3. Ugh NAS is WOKE!

    When I read the word “intersectional” my eyes started bleeding, I had to stop

    Smells like Sarah Myhre, and she calls it “a robust consensus report”

    yep, get woke or face the wrath, there is your consensus, a bit like the other consensus 😀

  4. So…Can the same statistics be discovered WRT Women abusing and Sexually Harassing Men?
    (oops, I forgot, it is impossible to Sexually Harass a man)

    • True, that’s why universities can offer courses literally titled “Rise of the Angry White Male.” The so called progressives have their heads up their arses and from there they can’t see that they are moving society backwards.

      • “Yes professor, I signed up for this class because I am White, and although not always angry I am Sometimes Angry. So … the adjective in the title … do we deal with that in private or do we address that right here in front of everyone?”

        • When encountering the term toxic masculinity, my wife responded: “No, he’s just an asshole.”

  5. I a male nurse is belittled and sexist remarks were made, I’d tell him to grow a pair.
    To a female in the STEM fields, I’d tell them to stop collecting stamps. Deal with it in the moment.
    There is a psychological game (from Games People Play, Eric Berne, 1964) in which the (almost always) female collects little brown stamps in her book until she can cash them in with one big shitty feeling about a man. Collecting blue stamps leads to one big sad. Collecting red stamps leads to one big angry.

    • I am a male nurse been one for 28 years. I have been sexually harassed. I could not possibly care less. I have way too much to worry about in my life and job than to react to something some fool says.

  6. Pat Frank’s conclusions are consistent with my 70-years of observations. I am a combat veteran and was an Engineer, Engineering and Construction Supervisor, Engineering, Construction and O&M Manager, Engineering, Construction and O&M Executive Manager and CEO/GM of an electric utility. Been there, done that and manufactured the T-shirt.

    Deviant ideologies of many sorts, politics, career advancement and rent-seeking drive all of the current pernicious social movements. Young, inexperienced people are particularly susceptible to their superficial allure.

  7. SIDE NOTE:

    Whenever a physically fit, attractive woman walks by me in very short shorts, I feel sexually harassed.

    Similarly, if wearing provocatively slit skirts or designer, disintegrated jeans, or intentionally revealing, low cut tops.

    Legislation needs to be enacted on this now. It’s a real crisis, and I think that I speak for a lot of men of all ages.

  8. The liberals who run universities (having employed actual ILLEGAL discrimination against those with conservative ideology) created this mess. They can wallow in it.

  9. NAS has Marcia McNutt as its President. She was elected to a six-year term beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2022. So no surprise to me when I saw that expose’ last week on the STEM supposed sexual harassment.

    McNutt is an embarrassment to science. She was of course the Editor-in-Chief at Science mag who oversaw the Pause Buster paper from Karl, et al in 2015 (and likely personally guided it through a Pal Review for quick publication for Paris COP). She was plucked out of Monterrey Bay aquarium obscurity by the Obama Admin in July 2009 to run USGS. They (e.g. John Holdren) apparently found someone (female) willing to do whatever it took to advance and to advance a climate change narrative and now pursue identity politics.
    It was very obvious to me that McNutt was being set-up to be Hillary’s OSTP and WH Science Advisor. Another reason to be thankful Clinton was defeated.

    McNutt oversaw the final destruction of Science mag’s editorial objectivity and science ethics regarding climate studies IMO. Now as NAS President, she is overseeing the destruction of science with feminist identity politics and the culture of Liberal outrage.

    =====================
    My take on women in STEM in university academia:
    From my own experiences, I personally have never first-hand witnessed sexual harassment in science. I’m sure it does occur as there are bad apples, but it is not pervasive at all as the Left wants to portray it.

    My personal first-hand observation though is that woman are far more likely to bully other women in the laboratory environment. I’ve personally seen it in action. And I have had it described to me by other women I trusted as 3rd hand. I heard many of these cases while sitting at the lunch table in the break room with other female grad students. They talked of horror stories from other labs of certain labs to avoid because of either the female PI or a senior lab tech or a senior Post-Doc (all 3 cases). At first I thought it was just woman being catty and gossiping. But then I saw a few confirming cases myself and realized women-on-women bullying is far more common and can be quite destructive to a young researcher.

    As a man, I don’t understand the “why” of women on women bullying, but I’m sure women understand it.

    • > “She was elected to a six-year term beginning July 1, 2016 and ending June 30, 2022”

      Critical question: how did that happen, exactly ?

      My experience of such degrading election results in professional bodies is that the vast majority of members just don’t vote. This allows small activist groups to advance their destructive agenda.

      If that’s the case here, the NAS has lost all hard credibility.

  10. Patrick,
    In the full report, you have a typo on the date (says 13 April 209 – obviously 2019). From the guy who makes more typos then I can count on a daily basis.

    Misapplication of statistics is rampant in the soft sciences.

    • Thanks, Owen. A few other typos have turned up, too.

      I can fix my copy, but the one at uploadfiles is pretty much in stasis. 🙂

      And thanks for your interest, in downloading the full assessment.

  11. I was in a STEM department and we had a lot more male on male (non-sexual far as I know) harassment (as per “….verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status…” ) than male on female. The very few actually serious actionable cases, probably non-violent, included both graduate students and faculty. I suspect that the male on male harassment is what Peter Ridd encountered as an extreme case. Political correctness ran amok after I retired as a faculty member got in trouble with a Sports Illustrated swim suit issue screen saver on his computer. Unknown where complainer would fall on curve.

    The only solution is to neuter both sexes. Vive la différence! It’s important to science and we had lots of smart successful women. What is going to be the result of all this nonsense?

    • Traditionally men are far more likely in private sector to ask for raises and compete outwardly for promotions than equally competent women. Dr Jordan Peterson talks about these trait frequently. He talks of how he coaches women in the private sector (such as women attorneys in big law firms to be assertive and ask for raises like men do).

      So in science (and I assume academic engineering studies), men are generally more assertive toward a male PI who they feel is incorrect on a science point. In general, men are more willing to push a point of science debate on technical points than women. Is it testosterone? The hormone wiring of the male brain?

      But equally, I have seen first-hand and heard credible 3rd hand stories of women on women bullying in laboratories. Such female on female bullying to the point that female grad students quit a lab and left the university, ending their pursuit of a PhD. And other cases where female post-docs looked for and found other PIs/Labs to continue in science.

      • I don’t have any data but I suspect women have been more likely to be used as a technician in graduate programs for major professor’s advancement benefit. I was around when the oxymorons equal opportunity/affirmative action, gun free zones, and others arose more or less coincidentally. Old departed salts in our department warned us, they were correct.

  12. If so many young women have been sexually harassed, especially in academia and among those working in the sciences, how come one hardly ever hears parents saying anything about this? If these women have loving parents, why would they not be the first people they turn to? And why would they not have confronted those in charge? I am sure these politicians have considered none of these matters.

  13. Take a look at any university engineering school website and federal tech agencies and you will only find programs for females and the same goes for female financial aid and jobs programs. Males don’t exist according to these sites and departments.

    Follow the money

    • One of my children has noticed that there are many females in the undergraduate biological sciences but few among those who have completed a PhD and post doc research program. Too much hard work?

      • A lot of them go on into nursing or medicine. Motivation is critical when the work is challenging.

  14. Living lives and having a world view like the people who generate this “toxic male” stuff must be gray indeed. One can make his/her self psychologically sick in such a life and I suspect that tests of such people would find pathologies well advanced. Knowingly making key ommissions in a study to permit pernicious exaggeration of the negatives is unambiguously professiona fraud.

    The authors’ self congratulatory description of themselves (“distinguished”) and their naked intent moves them right well outside of the HH and A categories. Psychometrically, these authors are at high risk to voilently sexually assault people.

  15. If you look hard enough for something, you will always find it.
    Especially if your salary depends on your finding it.

  16. The founder of MeTooSTEM was recently denied tenure at Vanderbilt. This Wikipedia on her gives an idea of the kinds of things she considers sexual harrassment – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BethAnn_McLaughlin

    This is her on the right (both pictures) – https://twitter.com/SarahEMyhre/status/1118269286240231424

    Interestingly, the person on the left (picture on right) publicly accused (on twitter) a Vanderbilt professor of serial rape. He was subsequently put on leave while the university investigates. They had done so previously, but closed the case for lack of evidence. He was one of the committee members who voted to deny tenure to the BethAnn McLaughlin.

    • It is not the physical appearance, but from her stated positions she is apparently quite proud of, her personality that would repel any approaches.

      • That’s true and why I included “most likely”. I’ve known a few guys that liked bigger women, but it’s definitely not the norm. Athletics what?

    • This is the type of comment which illustrates what women are up against and which is all too common on this site.
      Any woman has the right to comment on the subject without her appearance being taken into account. Also, It is not only young and attractive women who suffer sexual harassment: in many cases it is about male dominance rather than sexual attraction. It is often just another form of bullying.
      I can’t say I’ve ever really been a victim* but I have seen it and heard other women talk of it enough.

      *due to my attitude rather than my looks, I think.

      • Male dominance is not sexual harassment. That’s a big part of the problem: feminists can’t make a distinction between harassment of a sexual nature and the oppressiveness of plain power politics. Everything to them becomes sexual harassment in their cynical play for power. Men are subject to the same kind of harassment by both men and women. And appearance is a very large part of what drives this world, justly or unjustly, that affects both men and women. It’s reality, deal with it.

        • No-one should have to put up with bullying. The culture we live in has long considered a low level of sexual harassment by men to be normal and even amusing but this needs to change: women should not have to put up with it at work, in the street, on public transport.
          Common politeness between the sexes would save a great deal of trouble.

          • “No-one should have to put up with bullying.”

            I agree 100%, but that’s not sexual harassment. It’s cruelty and thoughtlessness; that happens towards males, too (by both men and women). By not addressing the real issue and making it about sex just ensures that bullying will not go away and women will become the bullies, as we are now witnessing.

      • The same observation would accrue, Susan, if it were a chubby male making a claim of athletics. If you view every criticism through a sexist lens, every criticism will look sexist.

  17. Nothing stated here surprises me very much, Mr. Frank. I do thank you for taking the time to produce a very clear and comprehensive explanation.

  18. I watched that video on feminism. I was alarmed when she said history does make white people look bad. Hogwash. History makes humans looks bad. Read Asian and African history if you want to see some real evil.

  19. Very interesting, Pat.
    I will download and study when I am back home.

    The NAS report is clearly from the same playbook as the vapourisation of Prof. Tim Hunt’s long and distinguished career, for making a weak and injudicious joke in the presence of a couple of really vicious SJWs at a conference a couple of years back.

    Enthusiastically reported by the BBC, of course. Yes, the same BBC who (at best) turned a blind eye to the activities of predatory paedophile celebrities. And who for decades have suppressed reports of gangs of child rapists of white and Sihk girls in the UK. Victims numbering tens of thousands. Motivated, apparently, by a desire that the BBC’s Multiculturalist beliefs should not be challenged.

    And by no means only the BBC, who have had the full, if covert, support of Government, social workers, police and the rest of the media. (A few honourable exceptions, naturally).

    But all that has been briskly swept under the carpet.

    Much more important now, it seems, to tar STEM males with the old ‘all men are potential rapists’ brush.

    Welcome to the Brave New World.

  20. I have never yet completed a survey, whether on personal or professional matters, where I felt I had been able to give true answers. Even with a reasonably well-designed survey there are always ‘non-applicable’ questions (where you may or may not get that option) and others where the answer might be ‘it depend on circumstances’, which is never given. For something as complex as sexual harassment only individual interviews by properly trained researchers will give useful information.
    Example:
    Last week I went to help clear the garden at my church. I took my strimmer and extension cable and got it set up when one of the men offered to take it – rank sexism, but fine by me, I hate strimming. Later on when there were several strimmers in use mine was idle and I went to check it and give it a clean when one of the other men came over and said, ‘would you like to try using that?’ – this time I felt patronised and annoyed. It all depends on circumstances.

    • Susan,

      I concur on the surveys. It seems like every survey I have taken I was able to figure out the preconceived intent of the survey writer by the answer choices given, and that intent rarely matched up with the stated reason for giving the survey.

      I took one from DoD on military health care and found no way to document the shortcomings in any way. It was as if the survey were given in order to cover up the problems by only asking questions about things they were doing well and then inferring that everything was fantastic.

      I took a work environment survey at the university I work at. The problems at the university are all in the bloated bureaucracy that hovers over all activity and sucks the life out of every department, but all the questions were about ones immediate supervisor, and most of the department heads are doing a pretty good job of managing with an opaque view into available resources. The survey made it very difficult to pinpoint where the problems actually lie and I think that was by design.

      Every political poll I have been called with used push poll techniques to try to get the answers they wanted. As I have done statistical design in my work, I always wind up stopping them half way through to call them out on the dishonest technique and then end the interview.

      As to the feeling of patronization, is that his fault or yours (it could be both)? He may have been honestly trying to help someone who might not have experience with the equipment. He has no knowledge of the equipment being yours, and I have run into many women who at least profess to have no working knowledge of operating garden equipment. (Many times I think as a ploy to get out of using said equipment, but that is a judgement on my part and not sure knowledge.) Of course there are others who are truly patronizing of women and people younger than themselves. As I didn’t witness the event, you’ll have to use your hackles going up as the indicator.

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