Everyone can recognize some kinds of spurious reasoning – like the following:
(A) Most programmers are not great.
(B) Google tries to hire only excellent programmers
(C) A implies B is hopeless and counterproductive and demoralizing
Clearly, step (C) is nonsense – employers are not required to randomly hire and the distribution may make the effort to hire good programmers harder, but it tells us nothing about how valuable such an effort is and whether it can succeed. So (C) is an example of what we call in formal logic, “unsound deduction”. Yet a much worse argument got a lot of support from people who are supposed to be in the business of logical thinking. This argument starts with a false premise and then uses the same unsound deduction.
(A) Biology ensures more men than women want to be programmers.
(B) Google wants some balance
(C) A implies B is hopeless and counterproductive
Many people, supposedly educated people, have claimed this to be a simple statement of scientific fact that is denied only by “left wing ideology” or something. Ben Franklin was right when he explained that the advantage of being a reasoning creature is you can always find a reason to justify what you want. In this case, some people want to justify feelings of resentment – despite high paying jobs and good working conditions. The defense of the Google Manifesto as “science” though is particularly noxious both because of the unsound deduction at its core and because it’s clearly a political argument – clearly political, but with muddy and poorly thought out political ideas (which is what resentment gives you). Here is a sample:
when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.
Someone should have put in more time working and less listening to hate radio.