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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptic > 23.2 > The Rooney Rule

The Rooney Rule

The Value of Diversity in Birds, Bees, and People

DAN ROONEY PASSED AWAY IN APRIL OF 2017 AT THE age of 84. An Ambassador to Ireland under the Obama Administration, he was perhaps best known for being President and Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers National Football League team. He was also known for the “Rooney Rule” that required each NFL team to interview at least one underrepresented minority candidate in the process of searching for a new head coach. The rationale was simple: the rule would help create a fairer and more representative coaching structure in the league. For Rooney, increasing the diversity of coaches was the morally correct path to take. Many organizations beyond the NFL have made, and continue to make, similar arguments for diversity, grounded in the uplifting sense of equity and justice. Are there also scientific reasons for increasing diversity in our schools, workplaces, and communities? There are.

We are inundated with calls for increasing diversity and inclusion in schools, agencies, and workplaces. Although these calls often are built upon moral arguments, there are also practical bottom line benefits of diversity to human groups. Might such benefits of diversity exist in non-human animal groups as well? Although research into this question is in its infancy, a number of recently published studies suggest that animals gain fitness benefits from diversity in their groups. We can use this research to further reinforce the scientific reasons for encouraging greater diversity in society.

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About Skeptic

THE RISE OF THE NONES Imagining No Heaven — The Rise of the Nones and the Decline of Religion; Never Doubting God — Surveys on Belief in God’s Existence; Persistence of Belief in a Purposeful Universe; Honor, Dignity, Victim — A review of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars; The SkepDoc — Premature Ejaculation in the News: How Headlines Influence Our Thinking; Is the Earth Flat? Flat Earthers Are Back — How do You Best Make the Argument for a Round Earth?; Conspiracy Theorists and the Harm They Do; Bruce Perkins and Another Terrible Tragedy of the Recovered Memory Movement; Deterrence and Its Discontents: Now That Nuclear War Seems to Be Getting More Likely Again, It’s Time to Turn a Skeptical Eye on Deterrence; Reality Need Not Diminish Our Concept of Our Place in the Cosmos; Junior Skeptic — Perpetual Motion; and more…