Minute Physics Is Wrong

Minute Physics is an extremely popular channel that, as its name implies, produces videos about physics. Except not this time. This time Minute Physics is talking about bias.

In his second video about Simpson’s Paradox, Henry talks about this phenomenon in the context of gender discrimination in school admissions. Basically, when lumped together, this paradox creates an illusion that women are disproportionately underrepresented in admissions. However, when each department is looked at separately, it resolves the paradox and reveals the reality that women actually have a higher rate of admission.

Ultimately, that tells us women in fact aren’t being discriminated against at an institutional level, but that women overwhelmingly gravitate towards fields of study with more competitive admissions. But then, the question arises of — why? To this, Minute Physics performs a leap of paradoxical proportions and parrots that women are “shunted toward them” by society, not only without proving that theory, but chastising everyone who doesn’t accept it unquestioningly.

Not only is this absurd, but in fact damaging to women. Although the description of Simpson’s Paradox is accurate, it careens off into the non-scientific conclusion that men and women would have identically overlapping interests were it not for some implicit societal bias.

This rests on the ideologically driven, false premise that men and women are interchangeable. Non-binary worker units, if you will. That in some way, society is hamfisting us into archaic gender roles. Women want to be engineers and loggers and chief executives, you see, it’s just that society convinces them that they aren’t good enough or welcome. Well, hold on a Minute (Physics™), his obvious implication that males and females are essentially blobs of gender waiting for the collective to mold them in a patriarchal image is one totally divorced from science.

Whether he meant to or not, Henry awkwardly hinges the conversation on the premise that the priorities of women are innately inferior to that of men. The underlying claim of this fantastical idea is patronizing at its core. It suggests that women don’t realize that they’re making a tradeoff, as if they’re too dumb to realize that if they seek qualifications in less lucrative fields, they won’t make as much money.

Here’s an idea: women can understand that pursuing less lucrative fields makes them less money, but they’re still interested in them. This isn’t because of a grand social conspiracy against their self-advancement. In fact, the general divergence between male and female interests and meanings of success is an evolutionary one that is inextricable from each and every one of us. Hormones alone account for a large degree of neurological development, which guides our behavior in subtle but significant ways. Enumerating the myriad ways that the sexes diverge would be a digression better suited to an introductory Biology course. Or a book. Perhaps, a channel called Minute Biology. Unfortunately for Henry’s audience, they’re lead to believe that, not biologists, but “commenters believe women and men intrinsically differ in academic interests and abilities.”

In any event, it’s well established that females prefer tighter social bonds. This much is clearly demonstrated in Scandinavia and Benelux. In the Netherlands, firing someone for switching from full-time to part-time is illegal. 75% of women in the Netherlands have taken advantage of this, compared to only 25% of men. Is this not the feminist ideal of a society? Who is compelling these women to work fewer hours?

The answer would be, nobody. Beyond a certain point, money is merely a measure of a man’s status, status that is crucial to his reproductive strategy — that’s rooted in biology. For women, sacrificing their social bonds to 60-hour work weeks isn’t fulfilling. Once people are able to keep the lights on and food on their tables, working an infinite amount of hours in exchange for money they don’t have the time to enjoy is nonsensical — unless, of course, it meets a demand that transcends material well-being and enters the realm of biological reproductive strategies. In spite of every egalitarian effort to push women in the direction of making more money, Dutch women choose to work less, while ranking considerably happier than women in the West.

Henry muses that these biological truths remain true throughout time. He’s right! Biological realities don’t change because of ideologically driven movements. Ideology can’t change biology.

The idea that a woman’s pursuit of happiness must conform to that of man’s reveals the only bias that needs to be confronted, Henry, is your male one. In fact, this is the central argument of what constitutes “mansplaining.” After all, it is his presumption that women cannot or should not be happy without producing as much money as men. But why should women sacrifice their social lives at the altar of wealth creation if they viscerally reject it at every turn?

The rich bit of irony lies in Henry scolding society for not confronting its biases, while remaining reluctant to face his own, even when it’s put in plain sight.