Good vs. Feel Good, or Sans* Science

Don’t trust what makes you feel good, even if that relates to what you think you know about women and men.

By Eh’den Biber

* (Sans means ‘without’ in French)

 

Nice is dead. Good has a future. Nice doesn’t have a future, because nice ends up with gulags.
(Eric Weinstein in a recent interview to Lex Fridman from the Articifical Intelligence Podcast)

 

Last week SANS EMEA had their annual European Security Awareness Summit. I have been a critic of the conference for a few years, mainly for the reason that there is no real scientific vetting that takes place when deciding who the speakers are. I’ve submitted a topic (“Cyber Autism“) for this year’s conference and it was not chosen, which is fair game.

 

One of my speakers this year, Jane Frankland, who describes herself as “Entrepreneur, author + change agent”, wrote in the past a book called “InSecurity – Why a Failure to Attract and Retain Women in Cybersecurity is Making Us All Less Safe“. She now speaks in expert panels, conferences, and was recently voted SC magazine’s “50 women of influence 2019”. As was said in this article, in 2019 she launched an online branding programme “to help women raise their visibility and create more role models in the industry”, which, by the way, costs £798 GBP.

 

There’s one small tiny problem here. Tiny problem.

The problem is that Jane is not telling the whole truth – well not full scientific one, at least.

 

 

Good vs. Feel Good.

In an interview Jane conducted to “PwC Luxembourg TechTalk” podcast and was published last week she said the following: “When it comes to security, we (women) are fundamentally different than men… we see risk in a different way, that’s the difference. We are naturally more risk averse {than} man. This manifest itself, I think just under 200 studies that I picked up looking how men and women see risk in a different way… women are really good at assessing odds, and this manifest itself in an increase avoidance of risk.”

This is simply not true.

Yes, yes. I get it. I’m a middle-aged man. White man, to be precise. Who was born in Israel. Yes, even a Jew. I got it that for many of the post-modernists who reached this phase of the article will know by now everything they need to know about my patriarchy privileges, on the fact I’m a fake-Jew Zionist racist who has benefited from the oppressive Apartheid state he grew in. What can I say? You know me so well.

To everyone else, I will provide a quote from a review done about a book that was publish in 2017. I will bring the quotes from the website “Gender & Development” which describes itself as “…a unique journal that is also a project. Its aim is to inspire, influence and support development and humanitarian policy and practice, promoting social justice and gender equality.

Hopefully that will satisfy all the postmodernists out there, even though the fact that I brought this reference should make it immediately a Haram*.

(* ‘Haram’ means ‘forbidden {by god}’ in Arabic)

 

The book that was in review is called “Gender and Risk-Taking: Economics, Evidence, and Why the Answer Matters” by Julie A. Nelson who is a Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Senior Research Fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, USA. It was reviewed by Diane Perrons.

 

The book focuses on the multiple research about women vs men when it comes to risk taking. As Diane Perrons wrote, “…these studies claim to have found supportive evidence for the belief that women and men act differently when it comes to taking risks – with women being more cautious or risk-averse than men. However, Julie Nelson argues that authors, or commentators on their work, simplify and overstate their findings by stating only that the findings show that women are more risk averse than men when it would be more accurate to say: in our sample, we found a very small statistically significant difference in mean risk aversion between men and women, with women on average being slightly more risk averse. But the degree of similarity is also very high, with upwards of 95 per cent of women and men having the same degree of risk aversion (p. 138). This finding is more nuanced and complex, and less suited to the sound bites favoured by popular reporting and social media in particular.”. The example the author gave was of height differences between women and men. If it is statistically correct to say that there is a 95% chances that the next man you will see in the street will be taller than the next woman who you will see, when it comes to risk, the chances of you passing a woman who will be more cautious from a risk perspective than the next man is only 5%.

The reviewer was so impressed by the way Julie A. Nelson has managed to explain the topic that she even added “the book is a must for any research student and any academic or policy worker, and indeed any enlightened decision-maker who wishes to make decisions on the basis of evidence rather than prejudice.”
So here you go. What Jane is saying is true, but it’s totally out of context, and hence misleading. Telling part of the truth so it matches one’s perception of reality is playing with a confirmation bias which we are all susceptible to, and it is wrong. If that was the only inaccuracy that Jane was advocating, that would have been fine. The problem is that the claims in her book are fundamentally incorrect to say the least. I’ve written about it an article called “Correlation is NOT causation”, where you can read how the major claims Jane advocates are incorrect. What Jane is saying not truth, but an ideology driven by an agenda.

 

You’re not Nice

I understand that what I’ve written above might make some of you uncomfortable. Why on earth do you have to publicly shame anyone? Please take notice that in the past I have offered Jane to respond to my claims. If I recall correctly she replied at some point, and said she will, but never did.

Second point – at that point of time (2018) Jane didn’t had a mentorship program, which now she does, and which will end with people who will go via the training thinking they enhanced their understanding of themselves and others, but in reality will develop a perception of reality which is not based on truth but on an ideology.

 

I understand it is not nice to say that someone else is not telling the truth because it puts you in a position you must be very careful with your words. It’s no wonder why many cultures and religions talk about “Judgement Day”, because to face the ultimate truth, one in which including fully experiencing the fragility of our own mortality is something most people fear most. Those who don’t fear it are either people who never dared to face the truth or people who did.

And that brings me to my current not nice situation. Telling a lot of people that their belief about the women in cybersecurity situation is wrong might is something I am aware will not going to make them feel good, but it the right thing to do, and therefore it is a good thing to do. The truth matters. As Douglas Murray said in a recent conversation with, Andrew Doyle, the creator of the satirical character Titania McGrathMost people are in a much more difficult position in their lives. Anyone who works in the public sector, anyone who works in government, anyone who works increasingly in large sways of the private sector know that this staff is coming for them, and that they are being asked to believe things which they are finding incredibly hard to believe. But unless there are people laughing at this, pointing out the absurdity and so on, there would be this endless agreement and agreeing with things that are not true. And the reason I mind this, is because…we know from the histories of totalitarianism that totalitarianism demands that people believe things and agree to things they know not to be true. Why? To demoralise them”.

Truth is what separates suffering to happiness, between hell from heaven. Truth is what allows us to be fearless in the now, and the only thing that stands between us and a cyber nightmare.

 

The truth is that none of us are women nor men. What we are, at the deepest sense, is consciousness experiencing itself via a body of a man or a woman. We are one love, and the only thing that separates us from experiencing it is the lies we tell ourselves in our imaginary story we call “the truth”. Be here, be you, be love, and discover the truth. That’s it.

Let us all seek the truth, before it will be too late, because until we realize that our problems are related to our own perception of reality we will be pushing ourselves closer and closer to the end of the cliff of our civilization. If anyone thinks our civilization is so bad when it comes to our personal freedoms and the relationship between men and women I invite them to take one flight and experience for themselves how it is to live in a totalitarian state, or in a dictatorship, or a country run by religious laws. Be very careful to embrace ideologies, especially those who claim they can provide justice. The real way out of the suffering is to witness our true self. It’s a journey, I can assure you, and this journey doesn’t take you to happy places when you don’t choose the truth, especially on the topic of the relationship between men and women. Remember: Correlation is NOT causation.

Eh’den Biber

© All rights reserved 2019

 

 

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