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This is a call for questions about the claims made in the "Google Manifesto".

I'm posting this in Meta because the claims should probably be split into multiple questions. This would be a good place to discuss the project of verifying the claims at large. (I won't be personally creating questions for these claims due to lack of time, at least not in the next few days.)

Here are some publications that argue that Damore's claims are largely likely incorrect:

Here are some publications that argue the claims are likely largely correct:

It's important to point out that Damore never claimed that all men or all women have certain traits, but that the distribution of traits between men and women are different, in part because of social reasons such as gender roles and discrimination, and in part because of biological reasons.

For every claim that he makes, the following questions arise:

  • Is the purported difference observable, regardless of the cause?
  • Is the purported difference caused in part by biological reasons?
    • Do we have sufficient evidence that shows that the difference has partial biological causes?
    • On the other hand, do we have sufficient evidence that shows that the difference has completely social causes?
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    If you want the questions, ask them. Others may equally lack time to do so, and likely due to asking/answering different questions instead that interest them. – Nij Aug 13 '17 at 9:31
  • @Nij, will try to do that when I have some time. Just wanted to leave the floor open for anyone else interested in this topic to do so. – Andres Riofrio Aug 13 '17 at 15:50
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    @AndresRiofrio I don't want to get fired from google so I'm backing away from here. This board leans pretty hard on this subject given the answer about strength assumes differences are likely from how people are raised, meaning testosterone must be fake science. skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/15416/… – daniel Aug 15 '17 at 17:29
  • @daniel - That strength question is quite an embarrassment to the site, in my opinion. The amount of rationalization and willful blindness on display there certainly fuels claims that this site is not free from certain types of bias. There are subjects that this community hasn't really figured out how stay objective about, and we might be able to improve by really examining what went wrong there. – Ask About Monica Sep 19 '17 at 18:25
  • @kbelder I originally thought the ticked answer was a skillful spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, the medicine being the grip strength graphs and the sugar being the idea that maybe it's how society makes people stronger and not dimorphism (but it is most likely dimorphism). Then after nat dropped some (now deleted) angry logic and redgrittybrick edited it I don't know what to think. But it's not just this site so... hide your power level. Thats the bad advice I would have given James damore – daniel Sep 19 '17 at 22:27
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The Google memo, "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber", by James Damore is a great source of claims for SE.Skeptics. In it, Damore contested several popular superstitions based on scientific findings.

At current, the only posts are:

I'd note that the memo also contained political and social commentary; that content is off-topic here. However, factual claims that can be analyzed scientifically remain valid even if some see them as political (e.g., climate change; genetics). Ideally any post about the memo should focus exclusively on verifying a specific, quoted claim.

Quick notes:

  1. Memo reproductions are unreliable.

    The memo itself was a modifiable post that underwent many revisions and was leaked through reproductions. Quotes should clarify the source that they're from, ideally disclaiming the source as an unverified reproduction. At current, I've found this PDF copy to be the most helpful.

  2. Memo claims may be offensive to some.

    This memo got a lot of headlines because its claims made many people feel uncomfortable. This isn't a concern here; we debunk misinformation even if it's popular misinformation. However, it's best to present claims in an objective tone, which may require some filtering as the original source has a slightly more aggressive tone.

  3. The memo's content was about biological relevance.

    The memo's central theme was that biological differences lead to variations in behavior, such that biologically distinguishable groups (particularly by sex, in this case) can't be presumed to be indistinguishable.

  4. Claims in the memo are about population-averages, not individuals or absolutes.

    The memo's explicit in stating that its claims concern bulk averages, not individuals or absolutes. So, any claim like "men are taller than women" should be understood in that sense.

    I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

    -"Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber " (2017-07) [unverified reproduction]

    To reiterate, this content should be seen as factual claims to be scientifically analyzed without concern for politics.

  5. Notable related/counter-claims to the memo can also be discussed.

    The memo generated tons of headlines and controversy, resulting in many related claims (some agreeing, some disagreeing). These related claims can also be asked about when notable.


On a final note, I'd point out that the backlash to these claims surprised many, probably including Damore who was fired. I'd encourage participation despite this harsh reception, rejecting "The Kolmogorov option" (related HackerNews thread) - but not the blog post describing it, which is excellent reading!

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    the fact that Damore was fired didn't surprise me. Even if his memo was perfectly rational the delivery was extremely poorly executed: it was made available company-wide and was doomed to at least distract or temporarily hinder productivity of thousands of employees (over 50k people work at Google) that were allegedly neurotic and what not according to his claims. IMO immediate loss to business was enough to justify it on sheer economical basis. – KolA Aug 14 at 16:56
  • @KolA Thanks -- I hadn't really considered that the memo may've been distressing enough for some of the Google employees to cause a company-wide disruption to productivity. I'd assumed that it was more like a political debate that employees were having in their off-hours, and those who disagreed with Damore's political position wanted him fired to shut him up. But your point seems like a reasonable explanation of top-execs' logic; I wonder how much disruption may've been caused? – Nat Aug 14 at 19:39

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