You raise a good point. There are certain statistically proven differences between sexes and making generalizations based on these statistics is a good strategy for example under the conditions you specified. Differencies of this kind include things like "men on average are taller than women" and "women on average have higher percantage of body fat than men". I don't think anyone in here has a problem with generalizations like these.
My point was that there is a different class of generalizations which is problematic. One of the examples I used above was "men don't cry". This implies that if you don't adhere to the norm described, you don't fit in. Showing emotions is "unmanly" and and boys are actually told this when growing up (using a masculine example purely intentional). While the claim "men don't cry" might have some statistical support, we should think about the causal relations between the claim and the reality. The fact that the claim exists and is used bringing up boys will establish a situation where it becomes a norm. Men will not cry because they are told not to, not because that is inherently built in the Y chromosome. With generalizations like this everyone in here should have a problem.
On your comment about excluding discussions about sex from other discussions about rationalism: I think this would generate a unneccessary blind spot. Rationalism should be applied whenever possible, and I find discussions about sex in no way an exception to this "rule". The area is difficult because humans are so interested in it and it affects us in many ways, most of which are hard to see. This is why there might be a lot to gain.
I'm asking why he thinks that different gender ratio would be a big change. Are men and women so different from each other that it would be noticeable? Even if the discussions are strictly about rationalism?
I'm also asking why he thinks change like that wont happen. Are women inherently less rationalistic?
And a question for you: why it is likely that people who want to join have that skewed sex ratio?
(Disclaimer: I'm asking these questions because I'm interested in what people think, and I'm trying to keep them as "unthreatening" as possible. But as they are questions, they always seem somewhat aggressive :P)
I'm well aware that communities like this tend to be extremely gender-skewed. Perhaps I should have elaborated on my question(s):
Why 20% women would be a big change?
Why timtyler doesn't see it happening?
I didn't see what Alicorn said in her post as a start or continuation of politicization in here. I saw it as an observation of possible biases.
I agree with you on the issue that those camps are unneccessary and harmful, but I think that excluding this topic from rationalistic discussion would do more harm than good. As you say, modelling general human female as a mechanical system is standard in both thinking and in language. Why is it so? Must it be so? Is the same true with generic human male? Is there any value in making such generalizations of either sex? These all are questions which must be considered if that standardization is to be upheld.
Your mention about deleting your account made me realize that in a small way I'm taking part in this model-building. Using distinctively feminine nickname will affect how people read my replies, and I'm considering changing it. The problem is that when people don't instantly recognize the poster as a female, they will assume that it is a man and this too will contribute to the traditional models. If anyone has good suggestions about solving this problem or finding a way around it, I would like to hear them :P
I would also like to find out why you think there would be loss of rationality with different gender distribution in LessWrong?
(P.s. using a simplistic language algorithm http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.php (The Gender Genie) has determined that I'm a man)
This post (and the comments on it) made me finally to register in here, partly because I had few discussions about similar topics just a few days ago.
As knb said: "This site is hugely less sexist than society at large." While this might be true, it only means that most people in here are "less wrong" than society at large. This does not mean that they are right. It also has the same ring to my ears as "Some of my friends are black/jewish/".
Gender bias is rampant even in the internet where it should hold no sway (there are no visual clues, no pheromones etc.), and denying its excistence only enforces it. If you want to see it, just try using feminine nickname for few weeks.
On the topic of objectification and PUA, I have decided to read "The Book" because I know that I hold a bias against it.
Heteronormative examples actually bother me more than masculine ones, and this might be because there are no gender specific pronomins in my native language. My brain just seems to skip over the usual "he/his/him" and interpret it as a gender neutral version.
Generalizations of certain type of either sex are very annoying. By this I refer to things like "men don't cry" and "women are such gossips". My annoyance with things like these most likely stems form two points. First, I don't recognize myself or anyone I know in them (I know, anecdotal evidence and all that). Second, they put up a framework according which one should behave.
As Alicorn says, costs of this type of thinking can be very high. For excample, because of "women are the weaker sex" they were effectively shut out of the intellectual community until about 100 years ago. Because of "men are not caring" they still lose custodity battles more often than not, and end up being deprived of their children.
Basically, assigning certain attributes to either sex effectively prohibits those attributes in the other sex. That is not useful or rational, that is just limiting the potential.