Friday, August 18, 2023

FQXi Essay Contest Winners

FQXi has announced its essay contest winners. They were supposed to answer: How Could Science be Different?

First place is a tie between a silly feminist rant:

Before delving into the discussion on science and feminism, we cannot avoid the issue of the absence of women in scientific research. It is a revealing issue and a good starting point. I prefer to leave it to other readings to discuss how millennia of patriarchy have led to this.

Here, I want to start with today's data and from my perspective, wondering where women are in scientific research. For example, which country in the world has the highest percentage of women in the research world? The answer may surprise you. The first is Myanmar with 75.6%, followed by Venezuela with 61.4%, Azerbaijan with 59%, Mongolia with 57.5%, Tunisia with 55.4%... The first European country on the list is North Macedonia with 52.3%, while countries that prominently feature in the European scientific landscape in terms of resources and visibility such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands only reach a measly 28.0%, 27.0%, and 25.8%, respectively.

No, not surprising. Countries fail to accomplish decent scientific research, if they let women dominate it.

The other winning essay argues that science was able to distinguish subject and object from 1619 to 1925.

The idea that we are Cartesian subjects, locked up in the ivory towers of our brains, unable to truly know anything or anyone outside of ourselves, has left us in a hyper-individualistic, solipsistic state, where nothing and no one is quite real, and nothing exactly matters. On the flipside, the idea that the world is made of objects, bumping around mechanistically in third person has allowed us to treat the planet as a resource rather than an unfolding, creative, and crucial part of our own embodied existence.

... how could science be different? is this: Science is different when philosophy is different. Science could have been different had Descartes never split the world, and science needs to be different for us to put it back together.

This essay was more interesting to read, but still did not really tell us how science could be different.

What these essays have in common is that they both do a lot of name-dropping. They both cite a lot of famous scholars. They also have a lot of vague and incoherent ramblings about how science is too objective.


  1. Dr. Jordan Peterson has already covered this topic in great detail. What he found is that in western countries where women have the most choice in what they do as a profession, there are fewer women statistically in the hard sciences. In countries like China where occupations are determined frequently by the edicts of the state, there is a greater percentage of women in hard science fields.

    The primary thing holding women back in hard sciences is that they tend to favor agreeableness by a wide margin over competition. When science is ruled by agreeableness it becomes a useless echo-chamber more worried about how they are perceived socially than what they actually discover. For a point of reference, check out Dr. Sabine Hossenfelder, she ruffles a LOT of feathers because she doesn't toe the line of Sciency PR and just nod her head at everything in the name of solidarity.

    I myself was very put off by feminists (aka VERY angry women) in college, I found them to be incredibly ambitious with their grade point averages to the point of obsession, but utterly mediocre with their choices of study. I listened to a female classmate talk about how male privilege held women down economically, and I responded, "No, it's not male privilege holding women down 'economically'. It's females who choose soft pseudo sciences and horribly gutted humanities degrees for easy grades over much tougher subjects that usually result in higher paying professions." As I predicted, she got even more angry. I then asked her what her major was. Her mumbling answer: 'Sociology'.
    I tried. I tried so hard...not to laugh.

    Many years ago The Simpsons tv show took at stab at the differences between girls and boys in the stem fields. It was a pretty funny episode. Check out “Girls Just Want to Have Sums”.

  2. Dear Roger,

    It's obvious that right from the conductor in chief of these "competitions", they all are rich idiots/clueless; take your own pick.

    I don't even read them.