Liberal prof compares ideological opponents to flat-Earthers
- A Seattle University professor claimed in a recent interview that debating whether "unconscious bias" deters women from entering STEM fields is like "debating if the Earth is flat."
- Responding to an article by Professor Stuart Reges, who argues that the evidence does not support that premise, Ruchika Tulshyan fretted that reading the article would itself make life harder for female STEM students.
A Seattle University professor recently worried that women in STEM may feel bad after reading an article on innate sex differences, which she later claimed do not exist.
The remark is the latest salvo from the academic community after University of Washington Professor Stuart Reges argued in Quillette that innate sex differences can help explain why women are less likely to study computer science.
The professor, Ruchika Tulshyan, was responding to Reges’ claim that evidence supporting the “unconscious bias” hypothesis as the key explanation for the lack of women in STEM is “unraveling more day by day.”
Of the unconscious bias hypothesis, Reges said “I don’t think there’s strong scientific evidence [to support it anymore],” though he did note that the explanation is convenient because it “fits a nice political narrative that we live in an oppressive society.”
Countering Reges, Tulshyan claimed that there is “a very, very strong body of evidence” affirming the role of unconscious bias in deterring women from entering STEM fields, though she would not cite any studies when reached by Campus Reform.
“I mean, it is extremely, extremely difficult, to argue against the evidence…I feel like we’re debating whether the earth is flat at this point,” Tulshyan told GeekWire during a recent podcast interview.
Further, she claimed that innate sex differences do not exist, saying that there are “fundamental differences between men and women in the way that they’ve been conditioned, not in the way that they’ve been hardwired.”
Though Reges wasn’t given an opportunity to respond to Tulshyan during the moderated podcast, he told Campus Reform in a Sunday interview that he was surprised by how Tulshyan failed to acknowledge the existence of sex differences.
Tulshyan’s CV does not indicate experience researching sex differences, but she does position herself as a “diversity consultant,” and recently published a book titled The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Equality in the Workplace.
Reges says he has no ill-will towards Tulshyan, but was surprised that she would so readily dismiss his concerns over unconscious bias during the GeekWire podcast without presenting alternative evidence to support her claims.
“Progressive ideology is so predominant on campus these days that faculty like Tulshyan are not used to being challenged,” Reges noted. “Just Google ‘bogus unconscious bias’ and anyone can find reputable science and news outlets questioning this theory.”
At the end of the podcast, Tulshyan also expressed concern over how Reges’ female students would feel upon reading his Quillette essay.
“You can imagine for those women in computer science at UW, think of all the barriers that they overcame anyway to be there,” Tulshyan fretted. “And then to have to deal with this? It must be so hard.”
Reges’ essay for Quillette, “Why Women Don’t Code,” can be read here.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen