As there are very obvious physical "differences" between women and men,
I've no doubt there may also be inner ones as well. The issue is
whether "difference" means superiority--at anything. Put Hypatia or
Marie Curie or Ada Lovelace or Barbara McClintock next to any typical
man, and the superiority in science and math is all one way. So it
simply means nothing even if broad tendencies exist. We know
historically that women can be good to brilliant on anything men do.
Even war--as in Boadicea or the women spies of WWI or all those
ambulance drivers and front line nurses. That there are few is due to
the prevention of their participation until very recently. Not that I
see war as a great test. It's just that there is no evidence at all
that men are better at anything than women except perhaps lifting large
objects--unless, as I noted, it's a little, frail man and a tall strong
woman--and any gorilla can outlift any typical man.
Historically, men claimed for themselves a superiority based in
difference that had no connection whatever to it, prevented women from
learning and then called them ignorant, controlled them and then said
they were unable to control themselves.
It is in that context that Summers's remarks must be considered--they
call for considering superiority under the guise of just being open
minded. Humanity tried that for most of history, and it was stupidly
>>> [log in to unmask] 02/25/05 3:20 AM >>>
All that being said, it is true, is it not, that women have active
centres in both hemispheres while men have only the left hemisphere
speech centre active. The right one is vestigial. Surely that could
for some differences in awareness, preferences, skills and interests.
(I have had this fact confirmed by a number of psychologists. It's
not just a theory or somebody's fanciful invention).
Nancy Gish wrote:
>Well, it was just my university, but a few years ago I was on a
>committee to study just that, and the results were not encouraging
>despite clear improvement in humanities. In science it is quite
>different, and it takes little more than a skimming through the lists
>faculty in departments to see how few there are.
>His remarks were only taken out of context in the sense that he framed
>them with the general caveat that we should consider all possible
>explanations. With all due respect, that is crap. We used to consider
>the possibility that slaves preferred being slaves, that black people
>were descended from Cain and so cursed, that Jews killed Christ, that
>the Irish were all barbarians. We all now see such blind self puffery
>and discrimination against others for what it is. But it is still
>thought ok to be just so thoughtful about whether women are not quite
>to what men can do.
>In any case--EVEN IF IT WERE TRUE that there is a larger percentage of
>men who are good at science (for which there is no evidence), it would
>be meaningless because most people are not brilliant at either poetry
>science, and the women who are should not be defined by those who are
>not. Most men are, as a group, stronger than women, (so are gorillas),
>but that does not mean a small, thin man is a match for a tall strong
>woman with a black belt.
>Summers took the discussion back to a trivial and vicious notion of
>innate ability based in gender. All history denies it. Was George
>Eliot a lesser writer when they found out her name was really Marianne?
>Does the better performance of girls on verbal tests mean we should at
>least consider that there are far too many men getting tenure in
>English? That is the absurd context he set up.
>>>>[log in to unmask] 02/24/05 11:22 PM >>>
>Thank you for the link . To add my 2 pence or cents, I think Summers's
>comments were taken quite out of context--far out of context--, nor did
>almost anyone concentrate on the original context surrounding them.
>(However, I do not admire the man, finding his argument on why the
>developed world ought to pollute the undeveloped world much worse than
>the present fray.)
>But the tea-storm which ensued was rather illustrative. There are, it
>appears, whole panels devoted to studying the progression of academic
>science careers. As someone who works with academic scientists, I am
>amazed to find in an area that is richly funded by publicly and
>privately, where most graduates are able to find some related and
>relatively well-paid employment, that there are whole groups devoted to
>studying how many PhDs in sciences proceed to tenure, etc.
>When is the last time someone studied how many humanities PhDs even got
>academic jobs, or related non-academic jobs, never mind tenure and
>well-paid? And irrespective of male or female?
>On Thursday, February 24, 2005, at 04:37 PM, Rickard A. Parker wrote:
>>Nancy Gish wrote:
>>>Even the arrogant stupidities of Lawrence Summers are not
>>>forbidden, just stupid and arrogant. (yes, yes, he was being
>>>provocative and academic, etc.,
>>Have you actually read Summers' comments? For those interested the
>>transcript is at
>> Rick Parke
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