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CharonY

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CharonY last won the day on November 16

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2345 Glorious Leader

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About CharonY

  • Rank
    Biology Expert

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  • Location
    somewhere in the Americas.
  • Interests
    Breathing. I enjoy it a lot, when I can.
  • College Major/Degree
    PhD
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Biology/ (post-)genome research
  • Biography
    Labrat turned grantrat.

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  1. That depends mostly on how the current system is set up as well as whether there are historic carryovers. There are many studies around the world on many, many aspects of anti discrimination efforts and the overall theme seems to be that it is very difficult. In many areas anti discrimination laws barely move the needle and some even had negative effects. I would need to dig out things, as there is a huge heap of literature out there, but from memory (so apologies if I get something wrong), anti-discriminations laws in some countries (including Germany, USA and UK) seemed to protect retention of certain groups, but increased hiring discrimination in many areas. So, again, to evaluate benefit, you need to look at outcome, rather on the mechanism alone.
  2. I am not sure whether you can frame it as that- after all one would need a very specific breakdown of the votes and I am not sure whether we got the data (the article is rather vague in that regard). However, some surveys indicate that those who could theoretically benefit most from affirmative action did vote more in favour than groups that would benefit least. But that aside, there is also the issue that minorities are not monolithic. As we were talking about privilege, there are increasing differences, including a rising proportion of immigrants, who generally are better of and tend to be more critical to measures such as affirmative action. Specifically with regard to Prop16 (and I have to add that I am not really familiar with it, just happened to skim the odd article), it seems that folks were also rather uncertain what the proposition would do specifically. In a survey of the Latino community foundation showed a narrow majority in favour of it, but 32% of responders actually thought that the proposition would actually mean that it would keep thinks as they are and block race as an criterion. Only 39% understood what the proposition would do (and among those 65% were in favour). So based on that small slice of info I think that there is no simple narrative that can be spun out of that proposition outcome.
  3. And I ask again, was it based because it recognized race or was it bad because it had colonial assumptions and the resulting outcome? I am not familiar with the laws surrounding residential schools, but would it have been better if the system did not explicitly mentioned First Nation children, but only targeted children in certain areas, which just happened to be inhabited by First Nation communities? So again, should we evaluate policies solely based on their mechanisms or shouldn't we take the outcome into account?
  4. I only had a very cursory look on the lit in a very different context. As a whole, it seems that the dynamics is very complex, especially as the perpetrator-victim interaction heavily influences the victims. Rape victims who were also subject to child abuse are more likely to attribute blame to themselves, for example. It is a well-known observation that in abusive relationships the perpetrator creates a situation where the victim believes that the situation is their fault, which is likely to colour their view. The smoking example is related to a different phenomenon, I think. Folks that have e.g. overcome adversity or have become successful tend to ascribe it to their own abilities (but again, it also correlates with their belief in a just world, so it may a bit of a chicken or egg situation) and then are less empathic to failures of others. There are studies that show that a belief in meritocracy (specifically, belief that the world is based on meritocracy, which is related to the just world hypothesis), is inversely correlated with traits such as empathy and is associated with higher levels of stereotyping. (see e.g. Madeira et al. Frontiers in Psychology, 2019; https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02007)
  5. It does not provide 100% protection nor is it supposed to. But it decreases likelihood of transmitting diseases. It is pretty much the absolute minimum you could do to keep others safer.
  6. Simply put, yes. The biggest benefit is that it limits spread of droplets, so if you or someone else is infected unknowingly but wear a mask, it is much less likely that you infect someone. Whether it protects you depends on the type of the mask and how safely you handle it. For protection, keeping distance and washing hands seem to protect more reliably.
  7. To add to that, and to repeat a question that I do not feel has been adequately answered: why is using one criterion (e.g. race) inherently bad, if it leads to a more favourable outcome (say better health or education), whereas another one (e.g. test scores) are inherently good, if they lead to disparity and benefitting the wealthy? In other words, what is the basis to assume that certain factors are inherently bad, if not the outcomes that they cause?
  8. And that is a big fallacy right here. Grades correlate with academic success, but not nearly as good as, say income. School districts explain more of the variation in grades than individual difference. I.e. grading is not an objective measure of performance, but rather select for folks who can afford the best preparation and schools. So if you use scores, you are in fact using a proxy for income (what you explicitly said you did not want to do). This, again is a failure of the system which creates in us the the belief that we are fair, while having a system in place that decidedly is not. I will note the graduate level however, things get shaken up a bit. I have found that scores are not a great indicator of individual performance anymore.
  9. I think that what you describe is not a psychological effect per se, but rather a symptom of certain types of political views, but there are underlying psychological reasons for elements of it (such as blaming victims). What I means is the reason why certain folks are not seen as victims, whereas others might be, tends to be heavily influenced by societal views and politics. To take a recent example, certain folks view refugees as victims, whereas others might consider them as threat. Other examples have shown that e.g. in cases of rape, victim blaming is related to racial stereotypes and correlate with racism scores. When it comes to healthcare, studies from the 70s have shown that certain political ideologies blame individuals and their decisions on poor health, rather than e.g. failures and cost in the medical system. Another related belief is the so-called just-world hypothesis, in which individuals believe that the world is inherently morally fair (e.g. noble actions are rewarded and evil actions are punished). Those knowingly or unknowingly ascribing to this belief obvious also tend to blame the victim as the assumption is that they did at least something wrong, otherwise they would not have encountered the bad event and so on. I suspect at least one element of it, is that folks want to belief that they are in entire control of their lives. And if they are, they cannot be victims. Conversely, folks only become victims because of their choices, rather than circumstances (as the latter would be contrary to their assumption of control). There are, as mentioned, political overlays as well as self-experience that influence the likelihood of such attitudes. For example unsurprisingly, folks who are struggling are less likely to believe in a just world.
  10. So the good news for now is that it is still quite non-trivial and that it is still not quite as specific as folks would like. I.e. even under the best conditions it is likely to create unwanted mutations. As such, things are still difficult and unlikely to happen on a broad or superficial basis. Another thought is what level of editing we are talking about. Editing, certain cells and re-implanting them, would be something else compared to manipulations in embryos, for example. And lastly, we are still limited in the understanding of our genome. With some exceptions, editing parts of our genome will have unintended consequences and as such I do not (yet) see it fundamentally different than playing around with mutagenic substances, which is also not generally allowed. That is not to say that these and other methods are not a bioethical issue, they clearly are. While we face technical limitations, they may be overcome at some point. And we will have to think more about how we view our genomes. That, is not quite as trivial, as obviously through life we do change it (mostly, but not exclusively in epigenetic ways), but in an untargeted way. If we had the means to control the outcome, in a perfect way, should we do it? The case is most obvious for fatal genetic diseases. But obviously there is a huge grey area. I doubt that we have a clear answer, considering that we often lack such in areas unrelated to genetics. Why should this case be different?
  11. So you are saying denying a group of people opportunities is inherently the same as trying to provide them with the same opportunity as everyone else? Having a system that results in lower life expectancy in some folks is inherently as bad as one that tries to improve the outcome for vulnerable folks? Sorry I fail to follow that argument. As to MigL i would like to echo Zapatos'argument that AA are correction mechanism, especially as other more fundamental issues may never be resolved. And again we cannot just assume symmetry when it does not exist. Assume, for example a system of apartheid, but with equal distribution of power. Folks may behave badly to each other but inherently there is no reason to assume that one group wouldbe suppressed. If folks were racist in a system with equal power distribution, the outcome wouldn't require AA or similar measures. People would be dicks but again likely no systematic disenfranchisement. It is only when we add historic elements and power imbalance where we create an inherently unfair system, which we need to address.
  12. I am not looking at the justification, but at the outcome. So just to clarify, you think that using certain measures are inherently negative, regardless of the outcome? Should we then or should we not for example investigate why certain outcomes such as health or education appear to correlate to certain degrees with things like associated race?
  13. If I may add to that as a question to MigL, is it also independent on the outcome? I.e. if the outcome results in racial disparity it is as racist as a measure that results in equity. If so, I think one potential barrier in the discussion is that different definitions of racism are at play here.
  14. I think it boils down to the issue that many people do not distinguish between institutional (or systemic) vs individual racism sufficiently nor is the context acknowledged. It ignores for example, that systemic racism can arise from measures that do not explicitly acknowledge race. Often it is phrased in the context of innocent mistakes, though they can also be part of a specific strategy. Atwater, a Republican strategist outlined the Souther strategy more explicitly: By using the broadest brush one could find one then becomes possible to equate measures that try to specifically balance out inequalities borne from such policies, with the unfair practice themselves and leverage such false dichotomies to undermine efforts to create a fairer playing field. In fact, some might even argue that because practices as mentioned in the quote do not explicitly mention race, they are somewhat less racist, which seems delusional to me at best and malicious at worst. Another issue is that many folks are so used to the unfair and faulty system, that they assume that this is natural or the the norm, whilst not realizing that all the rules are constructed, often with unfairness in mind. Of course it would be better to eradicate all unfair elements of the system (which extend far beyond things like education) but as we can see, there is a pushback even with those small measures, nevermind eradicating large, complicated systemic ones. This is in part where privileges plays a role. From a position of privilege, equality looks like a loss. Again, the reason why there are cases where race, gender or other attributes might need to be addressed specifically, is because there is a system that knowingly or not knowingly has created unfair disparity along those lines and either still creates it and/or have created such deep historic damages that the repercussions are still there and need to be addressed in order to overcome them (i.e. folks cannot boostrap themselves if someone stole their boots first). I should also add that this is a common misconception, racial quotas are explicitly forbidden in the US, but one can have efforts to increase diversity. I am not sure about the legal landscape in Canada in that regards but I believe that targets can be set internally to measure progress in creating diversity, which seems to be structurally similar. I wished that folks in sciences would be that rational. It is true that especially in medical sciences there is this huge knowledge gap and it is also true that most researchers are aware and would agree with that issue. However, for a long time it actually has been difficult to add diversity as a subject matter to a research proposal. Reviewers could, for example penalize studies that have very large cohorts if they try to address sex differences in their studies (as most at that time would simply create a male cohort). Funding agencies somewhat recently started addressing this issue by requiring researchers to at least address why they do not consider sex in their studies, but there is still a huge disparity in the type of research. A part is also due to lack of representation of high level female researchers. Minority research is even trickier to get funding (despite what some people might claim). It is again fairly recent that there are at least a few researchers who would look at such studies favourably. I personally had grants rejected at least partially because my proposed study cohort was not sufficiently representative of the broader population (i.e. had too many minorities ). Again, those are systemic issues, with having researchers/reviewers being not sufficiently diverse and propagating a certain assumption of normalcy that has massively hurt many aspects of our biological understanding.
  15. On average fees are lower in Canada than in the US, but it is not exclusively due to how the system is financed. There are other differences that may not be universal, such as that in Canada there are often no tuition waivers for graduate students in natural sciences, whereas it is fairly common in the US. However, both are partially subsidized and both are massively higher than in countries where the costs are entirely or mostly met with public funds.
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