Herbert Purdy’s response to the very silly comment of ‘professor’ Kirstein Rummery

Regular followers of this blog will know of the excellent blog of Herbert Purdy. He’s an occasional commenter on our blog pieces, and he posted a lengthy and powerful response to a very silly comment left by ‘professor’ Kirstein Rummery, a co-director of the Feminist and Gender Studies Centre at Stirling University.

On Friday we issued a public challenge to Emma Ritch, the Executive Director of Engender, a Scottish feminist campaigning organisation. She claimed that ‘much evidence’ supported the notion that increasing female representation on corporate boards is a driver of improved corporate performance, and we’ve given her until 5pm next Friday, 29 May, to provide that evidence, or become our next ‘Lying Feminist of the Month’ award winner.

In our blog piece we pointed out that reports and studies by McKinsey, Credit Suisse, Reuters Thomson, Catalyst (a radical feminist campaigning organisation, based in New York) and others were not claiming the existence of a causal link between more women on boards and enhanced financial performance, contrary to what is so often claimed by feminists.

Our challenge came to the attention of ‘professor’ Rummery, who is on the board of Engender. She posted the following comment:

Not that great at your research, are you? Read this.

The EU briefing paper, a masterpiece of the dark art of spinning, cited the very studies which in our blog piece were revealed as NOT demonstrating a causal link. ‘Professor’ Rummery had unwittingly nominated herself for our next ‘Gormless Feminist of the Month’ award. Herbert Purdy’s response to her is a gem, and takes up the remainder of this blog piece:

“And you are not that good at doing what you are meant to be doing, madam!

That is, seeking always to test the evidence and disprove the null hypothesis – and particularly avoiding at all costs that most basic of academic errors – mistaking correlation for causation.

Have you never heard of ‘Cum hoc ergo propter hoc’ (with this; therefore, because of this). The familiar fallacy of thinking that because two things happen simultaneously, one must be a cause of the other? You know, the things professors are meant to watch out for in their students?

Would you conclude that someone who pulled the toilet chain at the same time an earthquake hit and the house fell down around him actually caused his own misfortune?
Did it never cross your mind when you clicked the button on this sarcastic comment, that the respondent firms in the paper you cite might have achieved the same levels of performance despite the degree of diversity in their senior management teams?

Apparently not. Instead, you offer a bullet point list: a descriptive narrative that only just stops short of saying more women = better performance, but leaves some pretty obvious hints (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) for the unwary. Are you seriously prepared to offer such a work as counter evidence to a series of robust longitudinal studies over several years that point in the opposite direction? It is possible that those studies might be flawed in their conclusions – of course they might – but at least their methodology is robust and far sounder that the evidence you cite.

When you first read your cited work, did it not cause you immediately to question its obvious bias and screamingly obvious correlation/causation error? If one of my students had come up with a comment like yours, I would have been having a very serious word with her, suggesting firmly that she revisit some of the principles of the philosophy of research. Your thinking is puerile. It would never pass even at undergraduate level, let alone doctoral/professorial level, and it ill-befits the title of professor.

You are a typical example of the low-grade people who are now gaining academic chairs in what we used to call universities – centres of the pursuit of learning and truth – but are now little more than madrassas of the now threadbare, wholly discredited Marxist ideology of feminism. Your are a promoter of feminism.

And lest anyone be in any doubt about this allegation of mine against you, your own words betray you: ‘My final area of research concerns gender …’ here. Ah, gender. That political term, not a biological descriptor, that comes from feminist thinking. That attempt to place a social construct on maleness and femaleness, and to highlight the differences between men and women in terms of sex-based social structures and sex-based social rôles.

Not only is your academic ability worth squat, you are a charlatan: a blatant ideological feminist, using your rôle as a professor to promulgate its precepts, and prepared to cite any old form of political propaganda in support to spread your hollow cause, creating traps for the unwary.

People like you are overseeing the decline in standards of our universities, because you are prepared to accept and even promulgate political documents based on little more than advocacy research. People like you: blind, bigoted people with political agenda that come before the pursuit of truth, are part of the malign campus culture we see today.

Friedrich Hayek said of people like you: you are ‘the second hand purveyors of ideas’ – here. You are part of that left-wing intellectual class he so eruditely exposed more than 50 years ago, which has colonised our campuses, and you surely are not worthy of the position you hold.

You utter, utter fool!”

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