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Via Amanda and Twisty, maybe men are not smarter than women:

[A] scientific study just published in American Psychologist provides strong reasons to doubt that there are many inborn differences between genders. Janet Shibley Hyde, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has shown that in most cases psychological differences are small or nonexistent. It turns out that there is no difference in how good girls and boys are at maths. Girls' self-esteem is widely believed to nosedive on entering puberty; in fact, that of boys does so as well. In most respects, the genders communicate in the same way - forget all that stuff about men interrupting more and being less self-revealing.

Only a handful of the nostrums of evolutionary psychology survive Shibley Hyde's scrutiny. It's true that women can't throw things as hard or as far; they do not masturbate nearly as much, and are not up for casual shagging to the same degree; and they physically attack others dramatically less often. Taken overall the study shows that, to a very large degree, in terms of gender difference, we do start as blank slates, and it provides one of the strongest ever scientific foundations for equal-sex social policies. But then how could we ever have doubted it?

How could we ever have doubted it? Well, it is just one study sooo . . . Here are details on the study.

NOTE: Yeah I know Summers didn't say men were smarter than women, he just said they had greater aptitude in math and the sciences than women. Huge difference.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A counterpoint, for anyone interested (none)
    All I do is read about this issue and I still can't make up my mind.

    Here's one of the best books I've read on the topic:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0670031518/103-1719505-0815858?v=glance

    republicans would move heaven and earth to save a brain dead white woman, but let kids drown just for being born below the poverty line

    by danthrax on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:13:08 AM PDT

    •  ... but I don't agree with summers (none)
      I'm 100% certain that for all the differences between genders -- inherent, and socialized -- there are no significant intellectual differences that translate to superiority in any subject.

      republicans would move heaven and earth to save a brain dead white woman, but let kids drown just for being born below the poverty line

      by danthrax on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:16:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  context of terminologies (4.00)
        or categories of discussion: several years ago, Time magazine popularized some heavy duty observations about "what is intelligence?"  If my memory serves--average white guys who tend, for the most part, to manage the USofA like to rate intelligence on the basis of ability in maths & in verbal skills.  Many other factors or features or skills are ignored.  Among them are an ability to get along with other people (social IQ), spatial/visual ability (perceptual IQ), ability to know & position your body in space/time (a sort of kinesiology IQ), and an ability to correlate location & time (orientation IQ).  Some of these are measurable, however the academic world does not value them--except in athletes & fundraisers.

        My observation is that a lot of useful time has been pissed away comparing math & verbal scores on standardized tests to determine how people will perform in college.  And even my list leaves out one of the most highly prized skills or abilities or "intelligences": that of composing & performing & appreciating music.  Ta-daaa.

        Various sub-categories of homo sapiens perform at such wildly different "levels" in all of these areas that to gender-specifically focus on two of them is inherently silly.  Finally, in my arrogant opinion, the most important form of intelligence is the ability to ADAPT.  bon chance

  •  It's true. (none)
    It's true that women...  ... do not masturbate nearly as much

    But, I respect their right to do so, if that's what they want.

    hink

  •  The point that is always overlooked, (none)
    is not what gender is "better" at one thing or another, but which gender "prefers" one thing or another.

    Women are just as good at math as men, but they tend to not like it.  They're less passionate about it.  People work harder at the things they enjoy, or can at least tolerate.

    Women are also better at multitasking, but less likely to become fixated on one thing.  This is why secretaries are stereotypically women.  Because they are able to take care of many different things for a boss that focuses on one thing at a time.

    Men are more likely to obsess over one thing, and do that one thing very well, at the expense of other things.  This is why a man is more likely to become sucessful.  He's more likely to neglect his family, his health, and his free time, towards a goal.  A woman, is more likely to choose a career with flexibility, so she can take care of herself and the people around her.

    It all comes down to MOTIVATION.

    •  Heh (4.00)
      That's true. That's why women prefer to be stay at home moms and not go to college.

      Preferences.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:24:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was a huge (4.00)
        article in the NY Times the other day interviewing women at elite colleges who plan to become stay-at-home mothers.

        My objection to this article is not that there is anything wrong with that career or life choice, but that the only time we ever hear about the direction of women's lives in the newspapers and magazines of the chattering classes, they always seem to advocate going back to the kitchen.  These women are presented as plucky, fearless adventurers, venturing back into the home in defiance of those evil liberal expectations, rather than as people who have bought into the much more pervasive idea in American society that women have to make a choice.

        If women in America do have to make a choice between career and family, it is not because of the inherent morality of the issue.  It has much more to do with the complete and utter absence of social policy protecting women.  The U.S. is one of the few countries in the affluent West without decent maternity leave (or paternity leave) legislation.  At the same time, protections for contraception and reproductive freedoms are in doubt.

        So here's the thing:  if the right is going to insist upon the right to life, then they should at least make it easier for women to actually raise these children.

        Ohh... I'm sorry, Mr. Wingnut.  You said, you don't want to make it easier for women?  Right... my mistake.  I should have known.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:47:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well (none)
          .S. is one of the few countries in the affluent West without decent maternity leave (or paternity leave) legislation.

          I think what you mean is there is no legislation that forces companies to offer paid maternity leave, or forces the government to pay for maternity leave.  Big difference.  FMLA offers maternity leave protection; many states go further; and some are considering paying from unemployment to fund paid maternity leave.

          they always seem to advocate going back to the kitchen
          No way.  It's interesting because it's the opposite of what is expected.  How many articles have I read that talk about the "super mom who does it all" - work, family, social life, etc.  It seems like a million of them.  Hell, there are entire magazines devoted to "working moms".  

          It's an interesting social trend - highly educated women deciding not to enter the career world.  The perception is it's only stupid rural women who want to stay home - the women who are oppressed by men.  This, clearly isn't always the case.

          rather than as people who have bought into the much more pervasive idea in American society that women have to make a choice.
          There IS a choice to make.  As a mother, you cannot work fulltime and raise your child/children fulltime.  It's just a matter of time.  There is no way to do it possibly.  The choice is: work fulltime, send the child/children to day care or babysitter; stay home fulltime, raise the child/children instead of working; some combination of the two (part time day care, part time work, etc).

          So here's the thing:  if the right is going to insist upon the right to life, then they should at least make it easier for women to actually raise these children.
          The conservative base is terrified that this will just become yet another bonanza of welfare abuse.  Paid maternity leave will increase the population explosion for those who can least afford it, and start the treadmill of welfare even earlier - to be pre-birth.  

          •  The flawed idea in all of this (4.00)
            is that ONE PERSON should raise children (any children).  Children need a vast array of people in their lives (far more than two) and the extended isolation of what the "golden agers" deem to be the ideal situation of child rearing is far from it: atomized nuclear family arrangements.

            In other industrialized nations, even mothers who don't work send their pre-school aged children into what we call "day care" because we believe that kids are sent there because they need child care.  In other societies kids are sent there because its a good thing for kids to experience and because those societies value children as more than possessions of individuals (or individual families).  

            That the radical religious right is afriad of the women's movement, of expanded options for women and expanded choices for families is really the key.  They don't support families, they support only a very limited range of families and what families should be. The radical religious right is patriarchal, but they couch their embrace of patriarchal authoritarianism in a
            "family friendly" language.  That's what has to be broken through.  Using psychology, cognitive science, myth, religious doctrine, or anything else to support what is a fundamentally patriarchal and authoritarian set of policy objectives needs to be discouraged and the way you do that is to expose the fundamental patriarchal and authoritarian set of policy objectives (and ideological frames) at every turn. Authoritarian patriarchy is anti-family, its that simple.

            The issue really ISN'T whether women stay home or go to work or which women do that. All three of these are important sub-questions, but they aren't the big picture question.

            The issue is far more broad-based: do we have an educational system that is life-time: do we encourage all of our citizens and residents regardless of gender, class, race and age to be curious, knowledgeable, continually learning and offered the opportunity to do so.  Do we have a work-family-social system that is mutually supporting and reinforcing or are the different dimensions of this system working against one another?  If the latter is the case (which I believe) in whose interests does this work?

            In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

            by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:44:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no (none)
              that ONE PERSON should raise children (any children).  Children need a vast array of people in their lives (far more than two) and the extended isolation of what the "golden agers" deem to be the ideal situation of child rearing is far from it: atomized nuclear family arrangements.
              Up to one person DOES do the raising of the child.  

              That one person is either mom, a surrogate, or no one.  That's what child rearing is. Of course there are more people involved, but this comes down to responsibility.  Who is responsible for that child?

              The issue is far more broad-based: do we have an educational system that is life-time: do we encourage all of our citizens and residents regardless of gender, class, race and age to be curious, knowledgeable, continually learning and offered the opportunity to do so.  
              No, that question is bullshit and unrelated to the "work or stay" home debate.

              The question is who is going to raise your child.  School is school.  I am talking about who is going to raise your child during his/her formative years - who is going to take care of that child from infant to school age.

              Many parents send their child to 10+ hrs a day of day care from age 6 weeks and on.  Then they send them to school + day care.  

              That's the question here.  It has nothing to with religious right authoritarian bullshit.  

              It has to do with who is responsible for your child: you or someone else.

              •  Not in intelligently organized societies (none)
                only in bureacratically organized societies.  

                This is simply false:

                Up to one person DOES do the raising of the child.  

                That one person is either mom, a surrogate, or no one.  That's what child rearing is. Of course there are more people involved, but this comes down to responsibility.  Who is responsible for that child?

                It is neither the way it is nor the way it has to be.  It is the way we have "chosen" both, directly and indirectly, based upon forms of social organization, policy decisions, ideological beliefs and some rather specific social, economic and political objectives.  There's absolutely nothing natural about having one person "responsible for" any child, as both anthropological and historical investigation reveals. Is is not the way it has to be.  Child rearing is far, far more than who is responsible for the child.  This is a very, very modern manifestation, a manifestation of a risk society, a bureacratic society.  

                Remember too, that there are multiple senses of the concept of responsibility: we can be responsible "for" something/someone (as is most common in our hyperindividualized society), but we can (and should) also be responsible "to" somethings/someones.  We in the US often let that sense of being responsible to each other, previous and next generations, the common good, the public sphere, etc.

                The idea that one individual has to be "responsible for" a child, essentially puts children back into the category of private property rather than mutual humanity, and we have some pretty severe social consequences that arise from parents thinking of their children as property (a vestige of patriarchy that we haven't yet rid ourselves of and which our hyperindividualized and superconsumerist society then tends to exacerbate, not to mention our bureaucratic anti-social systems which eschew social forms of accountability and social safety nets that are always looking for individuals to stick with the bill -- the reason our government is so heavily invested in programs like marriage promotion, despite the appearance of religious influence there).  

                In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:13:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  haha (none)
                  You go to great lengths to justify paying a stranger $10/hr to raise your child.

                  The bottom line is still that ONE person is responsible - actually does - the raising of a child.  Maybe that's not how it should be, but that is how it is.

                  Either a parent raises the child, or a day care worker/teacher/babysitter does, or no one does.

                  It's a matter of physics: one person is doing one thing at one time.

                  If more people are involved I am not saying that's bad, just that the direction comes not from the "other" people, but from the responsible party.

                  •  Let me guess that you have no children (none)
                    and if you do, have little conceptualization of children, child rearing or anything else.

                    The point isn't to pay ANOTHER individual to raise a child, its to pay all of us to raise children. The identity of any individual who raises any individual child is not really relevant to the discussion, but the question is to get out of the individual mind set when it comes to creating, caring for, raising, training, fostering, nuturing, educating the next generations.  It is never an individual act and we make our first mistakes in assuming it is.

                    Remember, even our own individuality is socially produced. There's no physics involved in that.

                    In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                    by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:26:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i do (none)
                      I do have children!

                      The point isn't to pay ANOTHER individual to raise a child, its to pay all of us to raise children.
                      Sorry, but its who is crazy.  The point is do you pay someone else do the child raising, or not.  

                      A child requires a person to care for him or her.  That is a fact.  The article and debate is who is the person who should do that.

                      You make it sound like it is no such person who cares for that child, but rather, some of type of uber collective.

                      It's not.  There is a single person who will do the bulk of child care.  

                      The question is who is the best person for that role?  You'd love to make this some anti-religious right wing bullshit debate, but it's not.

                      It comes down to responsibility: who is responsible for raising the child - someone else or you.

                      From that all things flow.

                      •  Honestly (none)
                        if this:

                        You go to great lengths to justify paying a stranger $10/hr to raise your child.

                        is what you think the point is, then I feel very sorry for your children.  A personal opinion only.  but remarks like this, don't lead me to have very much respect for anything you might have to say on the subject.

                        If that's what you think this comes down to, there's a whole lot you are missing, and not any productive purpose in our continuing a discussion.  

                        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                        by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:52:00 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  it does (none)
                          Sorry, but you make it seem like some great amorphous blob called society will raise your child.

                          It comes down to who is going to spend the majority of time with your child: you or someone else.

                          Because thats the decision facing Americans.  

                          Everything you have said is rationalization for (1) putting your kid in day care for 10 hrs a day, (2) putting your kid in government schools for 10 hrs a day, thne day care after that, (3) putting your child a distant second after yourself.

                          Call it whatever you want.  But that's what it is.  Society will not raise your child.  Or the government.

                    •  do YOU have children? (none)
                      I do.  And your image of childcare doesn't jibe with any of my experiences in raising a child.  This idea of "getting out of the individual mindset" - what the fuck does THAT mean??  When someone has to get up every two hours to feed a baby, there ain't any collectivization about it.  The individual with the milk or formula, and the means to provide it, becomes extremely important.  Likewise, when you need to go to an important emergency meeting and you need a sitter to watch your kid for a couple of hours.  And so on.

                      It sounds to me like you've learned about this stuff in academia along with lots of wonderful buzzy jargon.  That's fine for the classroom but not for real life.

                      New Orleans will never die

                      by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 11:54:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes (none)
                        I do, and as most people who have been reading this site for a while know, my statements aren't "buzzy academic language" but based on real life experience.  

                        I'm a single parent, so you don't need to tell me anything about what parenting is in real life, but I'm talking about more than parenting, but child rearing, which is a collective, social activity even when individuals do it.  The whole point is that the forms it tends to take in our overly individualized and overly commercial (not unrelated developments) for middle and working class folk is not what it has to be (or what it should be).  That's the point, that in the way we both parent and think about parenting we reduce the whole of child rearing, a set of social tasks and processes that are actually collectively arrived at (and could be collectively understood) into a set of individual acts, and then we go about those acts fully expecting them to be individual and placing the responsibility on individuals.  

                        The point is, we are far too focused on the individualized and that serves to make things that aren't really individual tasks or responsibilities seem to be that way, "naturally".  And this is coming from some one who has done most of the tasks associated with taking care of children, literally by myself, to a degree that is unusual in mainstream US society.  

                        Just to clarify, to equate "parenting" with "child rearing" is one of those language and ideological tricks that serves to make our socially arrived at ways of doing things appear to be natural, at the same time that it hides the alternative ways to understand and do the stuff we are talking about (i.e. raising, educating, nuturing and equipping the next generation [or two/three] for life on the planet and in  society).

                        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                        by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 02:15:52 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  you are essentially correct, (none)
                          I would venture to wonder what culture you were brought up into.  I think many people responding on this thread only have had exposure to the american culture.  it may be the same with you, but you have an inside understanding of other cultures.

                          in the indian culture there is heavy reliance on the "extended family", and oftentimes they will live in different areas in a family compound and different relatives will perform cooking and cleaning tasks, helping with homework, entertain, and put the kids to sleep.  I was born and raised in a very white suburb of this country not so long ago, and I still saw a vestige of that setup.  four families lived in two-flats next door to each other, and no one locked their doors.  the kids would kind of get "assigned" off periodically, during stretches of the day.

                          in this country we regard that as a backward family setup, but I think you are seeing some of the advantages here.

                          but even if I wasn't indian, I learned about this in grade school social studies growing up.  it seems so removed from life now that no one recognizes that it could ever have existed.

                          Q:"You've called Bush a loser." A:"And a liar." Q:"You apologized for the loser comment." A:"But never for the liar, have I?" - Rolling Stone with Harry Reid

                          by alivingston on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 06:31:47 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  I agree with you that we shouldn't (none)
                    throw our kids in day care all the time, and that kids need lots of love and attention from a couple of central caregivers.  BUT I agree also with a gilas girl that our society made up of little isolated family cells makes it much harder to raise kids, and I really am bothered by this:

                    You go to great lengths to justify paying a stranger $10/hr to raise your child.

                    I don't know where you get off jumping to that conclusion, and I am offended on behalf of a gilas girl, whether she has kids or not-- jeez.  Who are you to judge, exactly?

                    You'll find us moms are a little sensitive on this issue.

                    •  "your" (none)
                      "Your" was not intended to be directed at anyone.

                      I am me to judge.  I don't care how you raise your family, but don't come bitching to me about your kid later on.  

                      I am not advocating "little isolated family cells".  I am advocating parents taking responsibility for their kids.

                      If you put your kid in the hands of $10/hr strangers, don't be surprised when you don't like what you get.  You are no longer raising the child, no one is.

                      •  How can "you" not be directed at anyone? (none)
                        And, to make matters worse, you (yes, I mean you) did it again.  You're missing the valid point that I think a gilas girl is making-- in our culture, we view "day care" as just what you're saying, dumping our child with strangers for money, and so it's not surprising that that is sometimes what it turns out to be (though many day care providers are excellent, etc.).  

                        But if we think of child-raising as a more expansive project, and encourage our kids to be nurtured (not just "babysat") by a wider range of people, while still preserving a central role for a primary caregiver or two (I notice you ignored that part of my post), it's beneficial for the kids and parents, both.

                        I can tell you, my daughter is very close both to me and to her dad, and is in "day care" about 15 hours/week; she's in general very happy; but, when we have been visiting with extended family, seeing lots of grandparents, uncles and aunts, and she's been getting attention from all different people-- she feels a real loss when she comes home to our little nuclear-family house.  Parents can't be "on" all the time; so it is nice for kids to have back-up playmates.  That is all.  I don't see how that is a evasion of responsibility.

                        But the reason I bothered to start this argument is not because I disagreed with you-- I only disagree partially-- but because I thought it was really inappropriate to criticize a stranger's child care decisions.

                        Believe me-- I will never come bitching to you about my kid later on!  Why would I?

            •  Day Care (none)
              It's one thing to put your kid in a "mom's day out" program at age 2 or so for an hour or two each week, or to put your child in pre-school for one or two hours a day several hours a week when they are 3 or 4. But you aren't ever going to convince me, or many other Americans, that having strangers raise your child so that you can work is a good thing for families or the farmed-out children.

              Children need their parents most of all. Yes, they need opportunities to socialize with other children and other adults, too. But when taking advantage of those opportunities becomes a cover for actions really aimed at shifting the responsibility for caregiving away from a parent, then mistakes are being made.

              The primary responsibility for children must remain in all circumstances with the parents, not inlaws, schoolteachers, daycare workers, or governments.

              •  Far too narrowly focused (none)
                But you aren't ever going to convince me, or many other Americans, that having strangers raise your child so that you can work is a good thing for families or the farmed-out children.

                I don't ever plan to convince you or other Americans, as I find that most Americans have such fucking screwed up ideas about social organization, child rearing, and everything else, that "convincing" isn't a model worth pursuing.

                Just the choice of language you've used indicates to me we are talking about fundamentally different planets here:

                "strangers" -- in intelligently organized societies, people who are in your community are not "strangers", and certainly anyone who is part of the social process of raising children (who, by the way are also members of the society and therefore need to be socialized and raised as such, rather than as private property) is by definition NOT a stranger, but someone in that important human community that is your day-day life.

                "farmed-out" -- this vision of a home is quite foreign to me, my home is my community, my city, my region, my nation, my fellow human beings around the world who are working to make the quality of life on the planet the kind of planet I want to live in.  Your vision here speaks of a very strong gated community mind set.

                "so that you can work" -- buddy, I've been unemployed for over 3 years now, "can" work is something that just doesn't jibe with needing to work and living in an ecomony that can't seem to provide living wage jobs for enough of its citizenry so that we can live. In Europe the social welfare state provides funds for mothers (single or married) to stay at home so that they don't need to work, and they provide schooling/and pre-schooling for children below the age of public schooling not simply as a form of day care, but because they recognize that children who grow up isolated (and mothers or any other care giver who remain isolated) while raising children is also a bad thing for the children, the mothers and society. Just look at cases like Andrea Yates, where the the fact that she was home schooling five kids in the paranoid vision of fear of the larger world that the evangelical culture tends to nurture is not an unimportant side note. we all benefit when are kids learn they are part of our society rather than just their parent's possessions (and reflections of their parents' narcissism) early and consistently.  Ideally, as a single parent, I'd love to live in a society where I didn't "have" to work (not "can") work, where some of the financial burdens of taking care of children were shouldered collectively rather than individually (which really is what "responsible for" means in our society, don't pretend otherwise), but I live in the United States of America, a culture that gorges itself on individualism, then runs into its collective bathroom and vomits it all back up again to feed the regurgitated mess to its children.

                Throughout history, and especially in the societies of wealth, children have been reared by those not their parents. In many cultures, children are raised outside of the nuclear family model. There's lots of ways to do it, but our blindspots don't allow us to see beyond that which makes us comfortable. This has proven successful and unsuccessful in equal ratio to the success and unsuccess of children who have been reared by their parents.  The parental fact is really irrelevant, it masks what the true factors are. Plenty of parents shouldn't raise kids, but do. Plenty of people who aren't parents have raised other people's kids beautifully.  The parental factor isn't key.  Its the "raising" factor that's key.

                In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                by a gilas girl on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 10:54:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Two questions (none)
                  I agree with you that not everyone has a choice about whether and how much to work. When it is necessary to do so, then obviously help with child care is essential. But I also think that many people don't need as much material things as they think they do and would do right by their kids by making do with less income so that they can spend more time with their children.

                  You say that I show a "gated community" outlook. I think not. What I think is that parents must assume and fulfill the primary responsibility for raising their children because, otherwise, the values and ideals taught those children will not be theirs. Moreover, the issue is ultimately one that speaks to the role of family vs. other institutions. Once we make a societal decision that a family is not principally responsible for its own needs, we start marching down a road that leads to the devaluation and ultimate destruction of the family unit as the basic building block of society.

                  Now, that said, you are certainly right that children benefit from exposure to other children and other adults. Many kids spend regular time with relatives or neighbors, teachers and ministers, other kids. That is to the good in most cases. But it's one thing to give your kid a healthy social life and a chance to grow with the independence he or she needs as maturity develops. It's another to simply say that your role as parent is no more important than your neighbor's role, the teacher's role, or even a relative's role.

                  As Hillary Rodham Clinton has said, "Parents bear the first and primary responsibility for their sons and daughters - to feed them, to sing them to sleep, to teach them to ride a bike, to encourage their talents, to help them develop spiritual lives, to make countless daily decisions that determine whom they have the potential to become." It Takes a Village (And Other Lessons Children Teach Us) at page 11.

                  My wife and I, like many other couples, have decided to give up income and live a simpler life so that we can care for our own children. My wife works three days each week, I work three days each week, and we have one day together. We know it is not always easy for folks to make a similar choice, but we feel that there is no higher calling, no greater responsibility, and no more rewarding work than the raising of children.

                  •  THis (none)
                    But I also think that many people don't need as much material things as they think they do and would do right by their kids by making do with less income so that they can spend more time with their children.

                    is probably true of a big chunk of middle class people.  It is certainly not the case for people who work for wage, especially wages less than $10/hr.  Raising even one child on that kind of incomeis down right impossible and not something that I would call "a choice". The point is that there has to be an income and sometimes in some markets its takes two people working to equal one income.  Sometimes, as in my case, there is only one adult in the family, so that person has to work.  You are assuming a normative situation that isn't necessarily the norm.

                    I am a single parent.  I don't have a "choice" about working.  If I don't work, we don't have money.  There isn't a choice there. (And lately, there hasn't been much work there, either, which is an even uglier situation).  

                    In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                    by a gilas girl on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 09:48:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Hillary is only correct (none)
                    As Hillary Rodham Clinton has said, "Parents bear the first and primary responsibility for their sons and daughters - to feed them, to sing them to sleep, to teach them to ride a bike, to encourage their talents, to help them develop spiritual lives, to make countless daily decisions that determine whom they have the potential to become." It Takes a Village (And Other Lessons Children Teach Us) at page 11.

                    for the contemporary moment in our society.  It doesn't HAVE TO BE this way, just because it is at the moment.  In other cultures, both historical and contemporary, parents may or may not bear the first and primary responsibility for all these things regarding their offspring.   This is a way that has evolved (and not altogether naturally, or at least, without some vested interests organizing society so that it turns out this way).   That doesn't mean that it can't change.

                    There's something in the tone of your post that suggests you believe only those who chose (or are able) to follow the path that you have chosen have their children's best interests at heart. That's disturbing and potentially bad for children if you honestly believe that, given the kinds of beliefs, policy positions and misguided sense of universalism about parenting that it can lead to.  

                    In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                    by a gilas girl on Sat Sep 24, 2005 at 09:54:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  What about the father (none)
            Why isn't that choice talked about.  As a guy who is thinking about a family, I know it is part of our thought process.  

            I think good points are made by a lot of different perspectives on this issue, my problem is the exclusion of males from the decision and responsbility. These choices are not predetermined.

            •  Because (none)
              men don't have the same instinct for raising children as women.  Women, in general, are much better at it, having an ingrained instinct for it.

              Men play a better supportive role when it comes to raising a child.  That's not to say that a man that is capable, should not raise a child.  If the woman has a better job, then maybe it is worthwhile to have a stay-at-home dad.  But it'll take a lot more effort for him to learn how to do it, than it would for a woman.

              A man would particularly be useful for the types of things that it doesn't take maternal instinct to do.  For example, picking things up from the store, taking the kid to the doctor.  Changing the kid (particularly in the middle of the night).

              •  I don't buy your premise. (none)
                Sure, there are tendencies with the sexes, but people are adaptable, and there is no reason why, in a modern society such as our own, that say, two men or one man would make worse parents than a hetero couple or one woman.

                Buying into the idea of "maternal instinct" as some kind of biological absolute is just a way of absolving men from the sense of equal responsibility.

                And other nations don't share your sense of an absolute maternal instinct.  If a couple wants to take one year maternity leave and one paternity leave, it is possible in other countries (I think paid in both Canada and Germany, from what I know).  If there was a sense that things would go seriously awry during that year of paternity leave -- like something out of Three Men and a Baby -- then maybe those societies wouldn't have embraced it.  But people are flexible, and those nations have decided that there is little wrong with leaving the father as the primary caregiver for a year while a woman, say consolidates her career or does other things.

                I think it is rather revealing that the U.S. continues in the old-fashioned direction that it does, and that every couple of years, the Atlantic or some such magazine has some kind of article drawing attention to women's biological clock.  That is a product of American conservatism, and not of any inherent truth.

                Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

                by Dale on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:12:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Watch what happens to a woman who becomes pregnant (none)
                  and you might change your mind.

                  First, Three Men and a Baby was a movie.

                  Second, are you going to model your economics based on Canada, which has taxes almost as high as China, and Germany, which has unemployment reaching 15%?

                  Sure, there are all types of things that COULD work, but there are also things that we know work.

                  •  Taxes as high as China? (none)
                    Get out of here!  Taxes are higher, certainly, but get a grip.

                    Think about what those taxes pay for:  they pay for medicare, which is in itself all the difference between the American system and our own (I'm Canadian, btw).  So the premiums that American corporations are expected to pay (explain to me how that makes economic sense) are built into the tax regime, meaning that all Canadians have access to the system.

                    As for 15% unemployment, I think I would rather be an unemployed person in a social democratic nation than a marginally employed person in your "free market" utopia.  

                    Consider this:  You've got one individual, who is down on his luck, and is perhaps bummed that they're out of work, but who has access to funds to make ends meet in the interim.  You've got another individual who is working two jobs, has no health care -- despite his chronic health issues, exaccerbated by poor nutrition -- and who can still barely make ends meet, despite the demands of family, which are considerable, because the mother has to stay at home because day care is unaffordable and maternity leave is non-existent.

                    Which individual is crapping their pants, I ask you?

                    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

                    by Dale on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:35:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Laugh out loud funny... (none)
                you sound like you live in the 50s.  I have three kids and do just fine thank you.  In fact I probably have a higher tolerance for the screaming kid factor than my wife.  Your argument is the one some men use to rationalize handing off the kids to mom when things get difficult-"you're much better at this than I am dear...gotta go golfing now!"  None of my kids came with user guides and I don't recall my wife having all the answers written on her "females only" crib notes.  Our family approaches child-rearing like most things-as a team.  When I must travel for work my wife steps up and covers me-just like I do for her when work obligations require seeing clients on off hours.  Being a competent parent is gender neutral.
            •  Yes, that's it exactly. (none)
              The father is the elephant in the corner, so to speak.  Women only have to make a choice between career and family if we refuse to saddle men with any expectation of parental responsibility.

              Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

              by Dale on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:14:25 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That choice is often talked about (none)
              but mostly in highly authoritarian terms.  Look to the right wing religious and family values groups and you'll find all the talk you want about fathers and fathers' "choice".

              What you say here, however is vitally important:

              These choices are not predetermined.

              Its precisly because of this that the politics of both reproductive freedom, and family policy is so difficult (and such a bugaboo for the authoritarian right).  The choices are not predetermined, but they are easier to keep control of if we organize the world as if they were, which is what patriarchy actually is, if you think about it.

              This is the reason the abortion question, family planning, family policy, social services, etc. must remain guided by principles of democracy, justice, diversity and sustainability, not an arbitrarity arrived at set of authoritarian principles that both derive from and serve to reinforce an understanding that these things are somehow predetermined.  Those are the real political AND moral issues/questions and the way to approach the ethical dimensions IMHO.

              In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

              by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:21:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Huh? (none)
                You say that abortion policy should be "guided by principles of democracy, justice, diversity and sustainability."

                Do you mean to say that taking a human life is okay as long as the majority approves of it?

                How can the death of an innocent unborn human being ever be "just"?

                I always thought that one of the very few ideals that should, and often does, unite diverse cultures is the sanctity of human life. Do you mean to say that we should consider the taking of an innocent's life an immoral act only if the specific culture in which it happens does so?

                Finally, I cannot see how tolerating and even encouraging the killing of babies leads to a "sustainable" society. If anything, it leads to social decay, moral confusion, political intransigence, and resentment of authority. This, in any event, is what I think we see here in the United States.

          •  A couple of things... (none)
            You think paid maternity leave will generate a population explosion for low income people?  I would like to see the figures on that; I don't think Canada, or Germany, which both have generous government provisions for maternity leave, have faced some kind of population nightmare.  That's buying into a conservative phobia that has little basis in reality.

            Secondly, why do women have to make a choice?  Why aren't men asked to be part of that choice?  All of this goes beyond the question of maternity/paternity leave:  of course that system would be strained in the current work environment.  But that's because American social policy prioritizes growth above all other social values.  So Americans are overworked, they are expected to ignore the fact that European countries have under a forty-hour work week, they have no social safety net to take up the slack. Forget about dual-income families -- many Americans are dual-income people, they have to work two jobs just to make ends meet.  Health care is not a given, so many families have to go into debt to deal with unexpected eventualities.  And on top of that, you saddle them with an unforgiving debt regime that is not only inhumane, but makes bad economic sense.

            This is the social environment in which maternity and paternity leave fail to materialize, and it is little wonder.  But it makes you think about why Americans are uniquely saddled with so many ridiculous expectations, so few choices.

            Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

            by Dale on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:27:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Who Should Raise My Kids - Strangers or I? (none)
            There IS a choice to make.  As a mother, you cannot work fulltime and raise your child/children fulltime.  It's just a matter of time.  There is no way to do it possibly.  The choice is: work fulltime, send the child/children to day care or babysitter; stay home fulltime, raise the child/children instead of working; some combination of the two (part time day care, part time work, etc).

            A.  Well said.
            B.  There is a PRICE to pay.  So, either you pay the price (giving up career until the kids are 6 yo, or 16, or you decide; giving up expensive cars or foreign trips, etc. OR your child does (being raised without a mommy).  Somebody has to pay the price.
            C.  Who should raise the child - the parent or a stranger, errr...daycare worker, baby-sitter, neighbor, etc.

            In other words, who should give LOVE and VALUES to your child - you or a stranger, err..(did I say it again?)
            D.  Here is a big LIE - "quality" time.  B.S. There is no "quality" time, its "quantity" time. Its the time you spend with your kids.  Kids don't want you to be next to them 24/7, but they want to know you are next to them.  They might read a book or play with the toys in the next room, run around in the yard, BUT they want you to be there - for 5 seconds, 30 seconds, 5 min - when they drop in or want to be near you.

             

        •  the extended family support system (4.00)
          doesn't really exist anymore.

          with two incomes needed to survive, one's choices suck.

          My husband has either stayed home with our son or worked nights to accommodate my (better-paying, more secure, etc) job, but as a result we do struggle to keep up financially.

          What annoys me about people like my young niece (who - ugh! - voted for Bush) is that she thinks she deserves accolades for staying home with her daughter while her husband goes to work and they struggle with bills, and she admits to anxiety/loss of sleep about finances.  I wonder about the toll taken on her husband having to carry the financial load alone.  

          I don't have a problem with her making the choice to stay home with her kid but don't get all uppity about those of us who a) have to have two incomes or b) the man stays home and the woman has to work, even though she'd like to stay home sometimes -- it's just not possible.

          It's just assumed by repubs that the good mother stays home and the good dad goes to work, and any other arrangement is sub-par.

          "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

          by marjo on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:24:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  disagree (2.00)
            It's just assumed by repubs that the good mother stays home and the good dad goes to work, and any other arrangement is sub-par.
            All things being equal, any other arrangement is sub-par.  That's the crux.  You have to admit it.  In any given situation, the ideal is two healthy parents, the mom raising the child fulltime.  

            Now, the reality is that all things are not equal.  And I am fine with that.

            As far as incomes goes, a huge number of people who say that they require two incomes are not being honest.  The fact is that "survival" means "comfortable upper-middle class existance".  It means vacations, pre-prepared food, dining out, movies, cable, high speed Internet, DVDs, air conditioning, nice clothes, new cars ever few years, junky toys and video games, and all the trappings of non-essential American life.

            The fact is that most families could get by on one middle of the road income.   They elect not to.

            •  She has to admit it?? (none)
              Or, if "you" didn't mean her, but "one has to admit it," I beg to differ.  I, for one, don't admit it.  Uh, lots of people don't admit it, you know.
              •  That's fine (1.00)
                You are a moron then, that's all.

                The best situation is mom at home, dad at work, all things being equal.  

                •  sorry, that's bullshit (none)
                  The best parent, regardless of gender, should spend the most time at home raising the kids.

                  Now, how to decide who is best at parenting?  I'm better at some aspects of parenting (cuddling, nurturing, juggling several balls at once, getting the shoes on the correct feet) but my husband is better at other aspects (e.g., keeping calm in a situation where the kid needs to be disciplined, instead of losing his temper in a spectacular fashion, as I tend to do).  He's much less of a control-freak/micromanager than I am, which is a really excellent skill for parenting.  He's also extremely patient, which I am not.

                  We end up spending approximately the same amount of time with our son, so our strengths and weaknesses are balanced out.

                  New Orleans will never die

                  by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 12:07:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  well then (none)
                    The best parent, regardless of gender, should spend the most time at home raising the kids.
                    Then all things are not equal if one parent is better than the other, are they?
                  •  Actually . . . (none)
                    It seems to me that BOTH parents should spend time acting as primary caregiver for their children. Men and women do often have different approaches to the job and, like any two individuals, different talents and skills. But children benefit from the parenting styles of each and need lots of time with each.

                    My wife and I split the week evenly. We spend Sunday together as a family. I work Monday, Wednesday and Friday and she works Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. We don't use day care.

                    I knew next to nothing about caring for kids at the time my first daughter was born. But after two-plus years I am pretty confident that I can handle almost anything. While my wife and I agree on the basic philosophy and goals of our parenting, I don't handle everything or react to things in the same way that she does. My kids benefit from learning that no two people are alike. I think that principle holds true pretty generally.

                •  Uh, wow. Never mind. <n/t> (none)
                  •  yeap (2.50)
                    Yeap.  That's right.  You have nothing to say.  

                    Loser.

                    •  You know, I'm not sure I've ever (none)
                      in seriousness been called a moron OR a loser before.  It's kind of fun, actually.

                      But that's my last word, dipshit.  Enough fun for today.  I have work to do.  

                      •  well (none)
                        Well its good.  Apparently people are too afraid to call you what you are.

                        A moron and a fool of grand proportions.

                        •  I know you are but what am I? (none)
                          OK, it isn't fun anymore.  WTF is your problem? Know when to quit, dude.
                          •  I never let (none)
                            I never let wrongheaded morons who can't defend thier point have the last word.  It will never happen.

                            If you can't acknowledge that all things being equal the ideal family is a working father, and a stay at home mom who raises the kid(s), then you are delusional, wrong, and a moron.

                            There is, literally, no debate.  It is not even a scientific question.

                          •  Huh? (none)
                            There is, literally, no debate.  It is not even a scientific question.

                            Who "can't defend their point"?

                            If you insist on having the "last word" after this (so that's what it's all about), you're welcome to it.  I hope I don't forget your userID, as I don't really ever want to talk to you anymore.

                          •  response to idiot (none)
                            I said:
                            All things being equal, any other arrangement is sub-par.  That's the crux.  You have to admit it.  In any given situation, the ideal is two healthy parents, the mom raising the child fulltime.

                            To which you said:
                            "I don't admit it"

                            then

                            "Uh.  Nevermind"

                            Which is when I called you a loser with nothing to say.

                            Things being equal, the best situation for a child is two healthy parents, the mom raising the child fulltime while dad works.  You deny this.  You apparently have some secret method that's super top secret that no one else knows about that produces better results.  But you just can't say what it is, or provide any type of basis.  In fact, you can't even spell out what is a better situation.

                            Therefore, you a fool, moron, loser, and idiot.

                            See?

                            And yes, I will have the last word.  You've posted, what, four or five times about not responding, being done, not talking to me.  I don't you have it in you, gasbag.

                            Therefore,

                          •  Wrong (none)
                            You, sir, are overgeneralizing things. Whether the traditional arrangement, "all else equal," is best is a question that cannot be answered. That is because things are never equal - not even on an hour to hour or day to day basis.

                            I think it is a bit over the top to be as critical of someone who disagrees with you as much as you were. People can and should choose the parenting arrangements that work best for their own families. As long as they are fulfilling their parental responsibilities well, what's to criticize?

                            We also need to stop stereotyping fathers as being incapable or less capable of child care than mothers. I can tell you from personal experience that this is not the case. That something is traditional does not mean it is best for children.

                          •  wrong (none)
                            That is because things are never equal - not even on an hour to hour or day to day basis.
                            They certainly can be equal enough.

                            But even if not, you should be able to agree to the statement if intellectually honest: all things being equal the best arrangement for the welfare of the child is fulltime mom, working dad.

                            We also need to stop stereotyping fathers as being incapable or less capable of child care than mothers. I can tell you from personal experience that this is not the case. That something is traditional does not mean it is best for children.
                            It's a good indicator though!  I am not saying a father can't be a good stay at home dad.  I am not saying it should be discouraged.  I am saying nothing of the sort.  I am talking about what the ideal is.

                            Ideally, the mother should raise the child with help and support from the father.  That's the model.

            •  your biases aside... (none)
              My husband and I ARE raising our kid on one income.  We have for most of the 7 years since he was brought home needing 24-hour care as a preemie and my boss wouldn't let me take off from work to be with my son.

              My husband has held some jobs but they have been without benefits, without vacation time, without security and lower pay.  So yeah, maybe I should have married a higher wage earner.  But is it better to have two parents married who love each other and the wife works and the dad stays home, or is it better for the wife to stay home with a husband working a high-profile job who's never home to see the kid?

              We forego a lot of luxuries.  No vacations -- what's a vacation?  Not much dining out, simple meals, $1 movies, central air conditioning taht we don't run to save money, one car that we drive until it's a hazard on wheels, but yes, we splurge on cable and high-speed internet and a few junky toys for the kid, so I guess that's why we are struggling.  And no, we don't have large credit card debt.  No stereo, no iPod, no 2nd house, no jewelry or fancy clothes or gas barbecue or anything like that.  

              But my point wasn't what parent is "better" to stay at home.  My whole point is that my niece seems to think she's a better mom than I am because she IS carrying debt and letting her husband handle it, than I am for working 40 hours a week while my entirely able husband does his share of parenting.  And my other point is (as you concede) that nothing is ever ideal and there are trade-offs.  

              But I do resent the assumption that people who are having a hard-time making ends meet for any reason -- due to job loss, or health bills, or low income, or lack of security net, whatever -- are somehow just living too damn high off the hog to make sacrifices for their kids.

              "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

              by marjo on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 01:54:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the question (none)
                But I do resent the assumption that people who are having a hard-time making ends meet for any reason -- due to job loss, or health bills, or low income, or lack of security net, whatever -- are somehow just living too damn high off the hog to make sacrifices for their kids.

                I counsel the poor and low-income financially in my community.

                The first time we meet the people always think the are living on nothing.

                In most parts of the country a family of 4 can live comfortably on $23,500 income before taxes without government subsidy.  That's a job making about $11.25 hour, no overtime pay, no bonuses, no tips.

                I worked with a family for two years that had twin premies (then aged 1), a husband and a wife.  They were able to make ends meet, and save $125/month towards a rainy day fund.  That's almost 7% savings, not bad by any modern standard.

                but yes, we splurge on cable and high-speed internet and a few junky toys for the kid, so I guess that's why we are struggling.
                I don't know why you are struggling, some people have it harder than others.  My guess is that, if you are paying what is average, you are paying about 90-100 a month on cable + internet.  There are other costs of course, electricity for your PC probably runs $5-10 a month, the computer itself probably cost something to stary (though not necesarily) and space (I've been around families who needed a seperate room for their computers.  The difference in rent between a 2 and 3 bedroom apartment is non-trivial).  So, is an extra 100-110 a month killing your budget (not including toys)?  I have no idea.  Maybe, maybe not.

                We have for most of the 7 years since he was brought home needing 24-hour care as a preemie and my boss wouldn't let me take off from work to be with my son
                That's sad to hear.  Depending on your state and the exact time you probably would have had a very good case against your boss.  Assuming you worked for a fairly good size company (>17 employees) and had been there at least 12 months when you went out on leave, you would have been guaranteed either 3 months or 6 months leave.   If they violated that then you would have a pretty easy case.

                And my other point is (as you concede) that nothing is ever ideal and there are trade-offs.  
                Don't get me wrong.  There are ideal circumstances: many families are doign the ideal arrangement: stay at home mom, working dad, good family life.  It sounds like you are doing it also, as well as your neice.  I am not suggesting that your husband can't do his share of parenting.  However, make no mistake.  If you are home with the child while he is working you are raising the child.  He is assisting.

            •  Right (none)
              I think you're dead on. The real issue is: are you as a parent willing to sacrifice the luxuries in order to give your kid what he or she most needs - that is, time with you?

              Most people think they "need" so much and they insist on having it even if that means depriving their kid of their parenting time. Our parents and grandparents knew that wasn't a good way to go.

              Not to say it isn't difficult to make ends meet with one income. It is. But it can certainly be done if parents think carefully about what is really a necessity and what is just fluff.

              •  It's a matter of phrasing, really (none)
                You nailed it better than I could.

                It's a matter of quantity of time, not just quality.  I hear that a lot - "I am going to spend some quality time with JR afte the game on Sunday".  

                Quantity counts.  A lot.  "Quality" time usually means the amusement park, shopping, video games, or other substitute filler.  It hardly means doing house work together, or reading, or doing charity work, etc.

                But it can certainly be done if parents think carefully about what is really a necessity and what is just fluff.
                Absolutely.  So right you are.

                I've found it helps to phrase it accurately.

                Parents who spend more time with children love their children more than parents who slough off raising them to others out of conveience or to maintain a certain lifestyle.  That's the bottom line.  If are working to afford luxuries instead of taking care of your child you don't love your child as much as some parents.  

                •  "quality time"- inaccurate, misleading (none)
                  A. The phrase "quality time" is dangerous, because its  inaccurate and misleading.

                  The real answer is "quantity time."  

                  B.  Every parent must ask himself/herself -

                  (1) How many hours a day do you spend with your child?

                  (2) Who should pay the PRICE - your child or you?

                  And you thought there was free lunch, when it came to parenting. Darn. :-)

      •  Except... (none)
        In Canada at least the men seem to have disappeared from universities. Now the ratio is approaching 2 women for each guy (yup about 60-65% women, and only 35%-40% men). Women now make the majority of undergrads in all faculties except engineering!  

        So where are the guys? Since women usually marry up, who will they marry or hang out with? and if they don't, where will the kids come from?

        The way the world is evolving is very much geared towards women (and this from me - a guy). Women should have a firm hand on the place in about 10-15 years (what is left of it that is.)

        Just because you can doesn't mean you should!

        by taonow on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:30:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Check the articles. (none)
          I think part of that article's point was that women only "marry up" in societies where it's necessary to do so - some Scandinavian countries were given as an example of places where women don't marry up because there's no economic reason to do so.
        •  Women with Degrees & Men Without Degrees (none)
          There is a growing number of unmarried women, who are college graduates or professionals, because there are not too many men (proportionate amount) to marry.

          Just look around the Washington DC, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, etc.

    •  Math aptitude (4.00)
      A couple of other facts to keep in mind on this issue:  1) in some other cultures, like in some parts of the middle east, women are considered better at math than men, and 2) the differences between men and women on tests like the SAT vanish after adjusting for the number of higher level math classes taken.  Girls in high school are simply not  pushed to take higher math classes like boys are: not only is there a lot of research on this, I know it from personal experience. I was discouraged from taking calculus my senior year in high school, when most of the boys I know were encouraged, despite having a high aptitude.
    •  And That's Why (none)
      Men never put down the toilet seat.

      "Everything that rises must converge"

      by jpgod on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:44:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's also why (none)
        the woman always knows where you left your keys.

        They might not have seen the keys, but they can figure out where they are because they know where they're not.

        Men are hunters, women are gatherers.

        •  And people who over-generalize (none)
          are always wrong.  (Get it?  That's a joke.  It points out the absurdity of your claims.  See?  It's funny.)

          Now let me go make a bajillion dollars as a stand-up comic saying dumb-ass things like "women are always . . . and men are always . . . "

          "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

          by LithiumCola on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:02:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  When the conversation (none)
            is specifically an attempt to generalize, then overgeneralizing isn't exactly a bad thing.

            OF COURSE there will be exceptions.  That's why they are generalizations.  But the generalizations are overwhelmingly true. So for every 1 case that doesn't fit the generalization, another 30 do.

            You will find women who become passionate about something.  But very rarely will they neglect their health and family in pursuit of that goal.  Has it ever happened? Probably. Do I care? Not really, since I'm just generalizing.

            •  Huh? (none)

              But the generalizations are overwhelmingly true. So for every 1 case that doesn't fit the generalization, another 30 do.

              Does that apply to all generalizations, whenever and wherever they are made?  Or just the ones you accept, right here, right now?

              "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

              by LithiumCola on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:20:51 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  there are PLENTY of women who (4.00)
              are passionate and singleminded about a subject, a discipline, or a career outside the home, and who will devote the greater portion of their lives to it.  They may even neglect their health and family responsibilities for this passion.  Just like men.

              However, women who do this tend to be viewed as lousy mothers, selfish egomaniacs, and/or castrating bitches, while men who do this are viewed as leaders, visionaries and accomplished movers-and-shakers.

              So it's not surprising that a lot of capable women choose to take the more traditional path and find their rewards in being wives and mothers.

              New Orleans will never die

              by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:33:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And once again (none)
                the biggest damn problem with discussing gender issues on dKos rears its ugly head again:

                the inability of people to think sociologically when discussing issues of social systems/structure (like gender, race and class).  Just because you can find one, a handful or even a sizable/measureable number of counter examples does not render the original sociological statement (what people in colloquial terms like to call "over generalizing") invalid.

                Armando:  here's why these discussions will never get anywhere.

                In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:49:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "sociological" is one thing (none)
                  "Biological" is another.  I refuse to let anyone pigeonhole me into any slot because of my biological femaleness.  Which isn't concrete and immutable, either, in spite of its biological nature.  

                  Any statement about "Men are like this, women are like that" is a lazy generalization and intellectually bankrupt.

                  New Orleans will never die

                  by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 10:56:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I too, am against lazy generalizations (none)
                    which is why I despise that kind of "some women, some men" format for argumentation, it is simply lazy generalizations in the reverse direction.

                    I agree with you that the original poster to whom you were responding was making lazy generalizations, but I don't like the common format disputations against so-called "lazy generalizations" because they tend to be equally lazy, I find.

                    In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

                    by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 02:04:03 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  you're wrong (none)
                      You miss the not-so-subtle difference between "women/men" and "some women/some men."  The former is a lazy generalization.  The latter is an illustration of how such generalizations miss the bigger, complex picture.  Who can deny that some women and some men don't fit the profile?  Only those who are invested in the profile.

                      The most important variations are between individuals, not genders.  Fun and diverting though it may be to discuss vast sociological constructs, anything that discounts individual experience and individual character is worthless.

                      And you haven't addressed my comments about being slotted into a particular pigeonhole due to my biological gender.  Such pigeonholing doesn't fit with the way I am and the way I live my life.  So it's neither accurate nor useful.

                      New Orleans will never die

                      by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 02:45:24 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Also in the beginning (none)
            God created man and woman.  But Samuel Colt made them equal.
        •  Men don't even LOOK (none)
          It's like the male eyeball can't look at more than one thing at a time.  My husband and son are helpless finding things RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM because they are tunnel-visioned or easily confused or just don't care... pick one.

          "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

          by marjo on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:26:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  hmmm (none)
      Men are more likely to obsess over one thing, and do that one thing very well, at the expense of other things.

      I guess that explains the masturbation issue.

    •  Secretaries are typically women... (none)
      for historical reasons.  Not least of which is the early typewriter and the fact that women's fingers were better suited for them.  The profession was quickly segregated from men (for the most part) and retains a stigma among many men today.

      I truly doubt multitasking has much to do with it.

      Anything's possible with Commander Cuckoo Bananas in charge. -Homer J. Simpson

      by Cheez Whiz on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:57:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (none)
        It certainly wasn't the case during the days when men were secretaries.  People seem to have forgotten that many of these professions were at one time held by men.

        And the reasons are far more complicated that small fingers and technological determinism.

        In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

        by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:02:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Diamond and QWERTY keyboard layout... (none)
          Think is was Jared Diamond in 'Guns, Germs, and Steel' who mentioned that the QWERTY layout sucked and it was because of reason 'x' that it was adopted in the first place. Maybe he didn't mention what reason 'x' was, but anyone know??
          •  It was Diamond (none)
            but I don't remember it either, and don't have the book handy at the moment.

            In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

            by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:27:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  QWERTY (none)
            When you type on a manual typewriter it's possible to hit two keys quickly enough that the levers that make the impression on the paper jam together. THE QWERTY layout was designed to minimize that happening.

            Other layouts, like Dvorak, attempt to use human factors in laying out the keyboard to make typing faster. It's not completely correct to say that QWERTY was designed to slow down typists, although an ergonomic analyis makes QWERTY look inefficient.

            It turns out (in some places this'll start a huge flame war) that in unbiased tests, Dvorak typists aren't much if any faster than QWERTY typists.

            I should read Diamond - I wonder if relies on the conventional wisdom regarding QWERTY to make some point, or has actually looked at recent studies.

            We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

            by badger on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:59:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh sure. (none)
              Make a comment that points out the problems with my comment, and get it posted before I finish typing mine.

              Thanks a lot.  :)

              •  Well, if you weren't typing (none)
                on that slow keyboard layout ...

                I was told that QWERTY was layed out to get certain  hammers away from the center faster by moving them to the outside, but I wouldn't swear it's the truth.

                We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

                by badger on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 10:31:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Haven't read Diamond (none)
            but when I took User Interface Design in graduate school, we were told that the QWERTY layout was designed to slow down typists so that they wouldn't type so fast that the keys would jam.
        •  True enough... (none)
          And the reasons are far more complicated that small fingers and technological determinism.

          Good point.  What are some of the other factors (besides the obvious sexism).

          I remember watching the movie "Party Girl" where it claimed that Dewey selected women to be librarians because he thought a "rote system" such as his decimal encoding was perfect for memorization by those of "limited intellectual curiousity" such as women.  I have no idea if that's a correct assertion, but it sounds plausible.

          Anything's possible with Commander Cuckoo Bananas in charge. -Homer J. Simpson

          by Cheez Whiz on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:57:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Hang on! (4.00)
      Wait a sec, dude.  Has it ever occurred to you that men are more likely to pursue a goal single-mindedly because they CAN?  Because they know that all the other, incidental matters of their lives will be reliably handled by competent, multitasking, running-around-like-chickens-with-their-heads-cut-off WOMEN?

      I'm passionate.  I could get fixated.  I'd LOVE to spend hours, days, weeks, years working on a single brilliant idea.  But... alas... my husband doesn't do the laundry, pay bills, manage appointments, or remember birthdays... so, I can't.  (I don't mean to say he doesn't do anything.  But, you know, men just aren't as good at multitasking as women.

      Either that, or nobody makes them do it.)

    •  not just MOTIVATION... (none)
      is not what gender is "better" at one thing or another, but which gender "prefers" one thing or another.

      Women are just as good at math as men, but they tend to not like it.  They're less passionate about it.  People work harder at the things they enjoy, or can at least tolerate.

      Women are also penalized socially for behaving in ways that don't conform with the female stereotype. Would you really "prefer" something that's guaranteed to invite disapproval, no matter how much you like it or are good at it?

      There's also this interesting phenomenon called stereotype threat - basically, the notion is that the more aware you are that a stereotype exists, the more anxious it makes you and the more it hurts performance. So women who are good at math but are aware of the stereotype that "girls aren't good at math" may get anxious in the performance of mathematical analysis. Their work suffers because they're so afraid they're going to fulfill the stereotype that they end up confirming the stereotype.

      To say it's all a matter of what people like and prefer is pretty reductive. The process of limiting what people perceive as possible for themselves starts really, really early.

      •  Wow... (none)
        ...so this is a recognized, named phenomenon?

        I mean, I've seen myself doing it, sure...when threatened my response is to become defiant and belligerent, and it's triggered by this all the time. I've seen other young women do the same, too, but I didn't know it was a generally recognized phenomenon.
        Thanks for this comment! ::opens Wikipedia window::

        •  yep, quite a bit of research... (none)
          ...is done on it in social psychology.

          A few articles:

          Stereotype Threat in Men on a Test of Social Sensitivity. Koenig, Anne M.; Eagly, Alice H. Sex Roles Vol 52(7-8)2005 p.489-496

          Stereotype Threat and the Social and Scientific Contexts of the Race Achievement Gap. Cohen, Geoffrey L.; Sherman, David K. American Psychologist Vol 60(3)2005 p.270-271 American Psychological Assn, US

          Stereotype Threat Might Explain the Black-White Test-Score Difference. Helms, Janet E. American Psychologist Vol 60(3)2005 p.269-270 American Psychological Assn, US

          Knowing Is Half the Battle: Teaching Stereotype Threat as a Means of Improving Women's Math Performance. Johns, Michael; Schmader, Toni; Martens, Andy Psychological Science Vol 16(3)2005 p.175-179 Blackwell Publishing, United Kingdom

  •  It doesn't matter, either way (4.00)
    Equal rights for all humans should not depend on genetics. Equal rights for all humans comes from a higher place than science.

    Therefore, discussions about whether men or women are "smarter" of whether blacks or whites are "smarter" are simply 100% beside the point.

    •  This is what I believe too (none)
      I want people to be born equal or relative equal. I don't always know if that's genetically the case. But for the sake of a functional society, I think it's important to assert that 'all men and women are created equal' and work from there.

      republicans would move heaven and earth to save a brain dead white woman, but let kids drown just for being born below the poverty line

      by danthrax on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:22:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An equality of moral worth for all humans (none)
        should be our aspiration regardless of differences in IQ, height, or ability to hurl a baseball at 98 mph.

        "All men (TJ did mean people) are created equal" is a moral aspiration, not a statement of science.  

        •  All men, not all populations (none)
          Studies collect data on populations and then usually report the average result. In most pairs of populations (men/women, black/white, whatever) there is an overlap on whatever is being measured.

          There aren't a lot of guys who have a 98 mph fastball, but there are some women who can throw a ball faster than some men. Making decisions or assumptions based on the averages for a population denies individual rights - studies say nothing about the abilities or characteristics of individuals.

          We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

          by badger on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 10:06:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Only if you stick your head in the sand (none)
      Therefore, discussions about whether men or women are "smarter" of whether blacks or whites are "smarter" are simply 100% beside the point.

      And, without answers to those questions, how will you know whether people are treated equally or not?
  •  That's Right! (none)
    (Norman Span (King Radio))
    An all time great calypso song, now done by everybody.

    "Let us put man and woman together
    And see which one is smarter
    Some say man, but I say no
    The woman got the man like a puppet show

    It ain't me, it's the people that say
    The men are leadin' the women astray
    But I say that the women today
    Are smarter than man in every way
    Well that's right, the women are smarter
    That's right, the women are smarter

    Little boy sat down and cried
    An old man passin' asking him why, he said
    I can't do what the big boys do
    Old man sat down and he cried too

    Ain't me, it's the people that say
    The men are leadin' the women astray
    But I say, that the women today
    Are smarter than man in every way

    That's right, the women are smarter
    That's right, the women are smarter

    That's right, the women are smarter
    That's right, the women are smarter

    Well that's right, the women are smarter
    Smarter than man in every way."

    Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. - Mark Twain

    by Rolfyboy6 on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:18:32 AM PDT

  •  In addition (none)
    In addition to not masturbating as much, Women are also better investors then men.

    Not sure if the two phenomena are related, however.

    Oh when the frogs. . Come marching in. . Oh when the FROGS COME MARCH-ING IN!

    by pontificator on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:18:33 AM PDT

  •  I haven't gone back and reread his speech, (none)
    but I was under the firm impression that he said that fewer women make the decision to continue pursuing educational positions in math over time (due to family priorities, etc.) and this made fewer of them available for the tenure track and top positions.

    so the small percentages of women in math was NOT due to aptitude, but to decisions they made.

    but I missed the larry summers wars here, so perhaps this was already argued.

    Q:"You've called Bush a loser." A:"And a liar." Q:"You apologized for the loser comment." A:"But never for the liar, have I?" - Rolling Stone with Harry Reid

    by alivingston on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:18:42 AM PDT

    •  You misstate his view (none)
      See my response to leslielet

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:23:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, you've misstated Summers's remarks. (none)
        As I demonstrate in this comment

        • Summers did not say what you claim he said; and

        • what Summers did say is entirely consistent with Janet Shibley Hyde's very interesting article.


        f/k/a one of the people "`Our country, right or wrong!' . . . when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." (Sen. Carl Schurz)

        by another American on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:59:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't worry about the confusion (none)
      Armando got kind of obsessed with Summers and wants everyone to know it, so he invokes Summers in every gender story whether it's relevant or not.

      It's gotten a bit old, but we're getting used to it.

    •  not just that (none)
      Summers pontificated about his twin daughters playing with trucks, but in a girly-girl way: "Now the mommy truck is carrying the baby truck."  Or some such fucking bullshit.  And he implied we were supposed to draw conclusions from that.

      New Orleans will never die

      by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:37:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What Summers actually said (none)
    Just a helpful link to Summers' speech here.

    In the darkness, with a great bundle of grief, the people march -- Carl Sandburg

    by lesliet on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:18:51 AM PDT

    •  Yes (4.00)
      He said this:

      There are three broad hypotheses about the sources of the very substantial disparities that this conference's papers document and have been documented before with respect to the presence of women in high-end scientific professions. One is what I would call the-I'll explain each of these in a few moments and comment on how important I think they are-the first is what I call the high-powered job hypothesis. The second is what I would call different availability of aptitude at the high end, and the third is what I would call different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search. And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described.

      "Different availability of aptitude at the high end."

      Men are better than women at it if you want to take your blinders off.

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:22:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sigh (none)
        We've been over this a million times.  What Summers said was that men have greater variability in scientific ability.  So there are more genius men than genius women, but there are also more idiot men than idiot women.  He did not say that on average men are smarter than women.

        From your description this study doesn't refute that statement at all.  Nevertheless, I'll take a look at it and get back to you.  

        A gaffe in Washington is when you tell the truth and people act surprised.

        by hotshotxi on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:30:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are more (none)
          genius women than men?

          So all acacdemics in the sciences are geniuses?

          No kidding? Pleaase. We have been over this and you don't want to deal with the import of his statements.

          They mean what they mean.

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:32:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I just reread the excerpts now, (none)
          and if you are correct, then there would be no difference between #2 and #3.  I at least give summers more credit than to repackage the same point as two different points.

          Q:"You've called Bush a loser." A:"And a liar." Q:"You apologized for the loser comment." A:"But never for the liar, have I?" - Rolling Stone with Harry Reid

          by alivingston on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:50:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why???? (none)
            I at least give summers more credit than to repackage the same point as two different points.

            Why would you grant him this "credit"?  Repackaging the same point as two different points (as 14 different articles) is the hallmark of academic publishing, and thus academic success.  Its also the mark of a successful politician.  Summers is both.  Odds are that he's most likely to have only one idea a life time and to try and build a career around that.

            In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

            by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:55:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  sorry, meant my comment (none)
          for hadnot.

          Q:"You've called Bush a loser." A:"And a liar." Q:"You apologized for the loser comment." A:"But never for the liar, have I?" - Rolling Stone with Harry Reid

          by alivingston on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:52:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You're right. In this instance, Armando's wrong. (none)
          For proof please see this comment.

          f/k/a one of the people "`Our country, right or wrong!' . . . when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." (Sen. Carl Schurz)

          by another American on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 12:23:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  whatever (none)
        Obviously this debate has been beaten into the ground on many occasions, but we all know that Summers meant at the high end of the distribution of math ability (i.e,. there are more male math wizzes -- the type that become professors at Harvard -- than female).  I guess for simple minds this is translated as men are better than women at math, but continually repeating it, Armando, doesn't make it true.
        •  Yes (none)
          I'll let his words speak for him, not yours.

          I can read English as well as you thank you.

          Funny, how so many people understood it my way.

           

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:33:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no (none)
            Not sure what I can say to that except you clearly do not read English well if that is your take away from Summers statement.  As for how many people understood it your way -- what kind of argument is that?  Many people believed Iraq was in bed with Osama...

            Just admit you are trying to make a point and twisting Summers words to do so.  Of course, you won't admit that's the case... but many people understand it to be true.

            •  dude, chill (none)
              I was trying to address your point and responded to wrong comment, but

              if you are correct, then there would be no difference between #2 and #3.  I at least give summers more credit than to repackage the same point as two different points.

              Q:"You've called Bush a loser." A:"And a liar." Q:"You apologized for the loser comment." A:"But never for the liar, have I?" - Rolling Stone with Harry Reid

              by alivingston on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:54:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Why give him any credit at all? (4.00)
                Lots of people give Bush credit he doesn't deserve because they assume the POTUS couldn't possibly be as crazy as Bush clearly is.

                Yes, Summers did specifically refer to "aptitude at the high levels." BUT. People only say stuff like that when they really think is "men are better than women at math." It's code. You take your offensive attitudes and repackage them into the worst thing you think you can get away with.

                "I don't hate black people -- just those awful gangsta rappers!" "I don't think women are stupid in math -- I just think there aren't as many women who are REALLY REALLY GOOD in math!"

                Any time there is a huge gender disparity in something we should take a look at that thing and where the disparity comes from -- and try to eliminate prejudices and artificial social barriers. We might eliminate all of that stuff and still find more men than women teaching math at ivy league schools. Or we might not. But Summer's comment, even if it were not sexist, is still a cop-out -- he's saying, "nothing to fix here -- the girls just don't wanna teach math!"

                So, it's sexist. And it's lazy.

                •  you and I are making the same point, (none)
                  look at the comment flow.

                  Q:"You've called Bush a loser." A:"And a liar." Q:"You apologized for the loser comment." A:"But never for the liar, have I?" - Rolling Stone with Harry Reid

                  by alivingston on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:01:22 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Is it da Vinci or Bible code? (none)
                  BUT. People only say stuff like that when they really think is "men are better than women at math." It's code.

                  Paranoia is treatable, you know. Although a recent study says the medications don't work as well as advertised...
                •  Gangsta (none)
                  If I hate gangsta rappers that's code for I hate black people? Hm.

                  So when I say I hate it when Geto Boys or some group busts a dope rhyme about rapin' and killin' some bitch, that's just code ... I'm really saying I don't want black people to talk about human rights, or anything at all for that matter, right? I hate all black singers, too I guess, right?

                  The ability of some people to see racist intent in virtually any actions or words whatsoever... it's like seeing Jesus in a cheese sandwich. But the latter is funny and harmless, and the former is pernicious and destructive...

            •  Nonsense (none)
              I qote his words. And in English they mean what they mean.

              I twisrt nothing.

              In my own view, is what Summers said, these are three possibilities and factors.

              And number 2 says what it says. And he says it is the second most important.

              Sheesh.

              The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

              by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:25:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The far greater fallacy (4.00)
          in this line of thinking, however, is that higher level ability in math leads to "success as an academic, even at a place like Harvard".  Being a successful academic does not really require genuis ability in your subject, it requires an ability to publish a great deal, which is the operational standard we use to measure "genuis", "smartness" and "success", but the skills to publish a great deal are not the same as "higher math and science ability".  And all of those skills are very, very, very heavily socially mediated.

          In a democratic society some are guilty, but all are responsible. -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

          by a gilas girl on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:59:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Hmm... (4.00)
          I must have a simple mind.

          I guess it doesn't really matter to me whether someone has said a) there are more women dummies than men dummies, or b) there are fewer women geniuses than men geniuses.

          I'm still insulted either way.

      •  "There are three broad hypotheses..." (none)
        That statement is a bit instructive. Hypotheses are testable statements representing different thoughts as to the explanation of some phenomenon.

        Summers was recounting what he saw discussed as different explanations for an outcome. That's perfectly reasonable. He didn't endorse that one as the one he thinks is correct.

        •  I think a bit later on... (none)
          he says something to the effect of "I think the data can only be explained by using each of these factors." I'm too lazy to go look for it now though. :-)
        •  Pffft (none)
          " And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described."

          Sheesh.

          The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

          by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:24:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In my own view .... probably (none)
            Not exactly a ringing endorsement that the scientific community should accept the idea.

            Although many people misuse the terms, to a well-trained scientist, a hypothesis is NOT a theory. It is a potential theory which needs to be investigated.

            The fact that someone has personal views about the likely outcomes of any investigation is normal. But unless you are an Aristotelian, someone's personal views sans experimentation are not valid evidence.

      •  No. You've misstated Summers's remarks. (none)

        Please see my comment detailing what Summers actually said and its consistency with the Shibley Hyde paper.


        f/k/a one of the people "`Our country, right or wrong!' . . . when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." (Sen. Carl Schurz)

        by another American on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:18:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm all about the differences (none)
    Cheers to the differences (oh, oops, that's that other topic). The only proof I need that men are not smarter than women: George W. Bush.

    Aw hell, we have Ann Coulter - okay let's just say we're even, 'kay?

    George Bush is an unnatural disaster.

    by michele2 on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:19:38 AM PDT

  •  If women attacked others (none)
    as often as men do, they would be de-sexed at birth.

    If a man is violent he should be castrated and made safe for society. As a practical solution without any cultural, symbolic garbage attached.

    •  how violent is violent? (none)
      If a man is violent he should be castrated and made safe for society.

       maybe there's some snark I'm not getting, but that statement by itself is one of the most idiotic things I've read on this site.

      •  a murderer, serial rapist (none)
        someone who cannot control themselves. Why is it idiotic if the procedure is proven to make him no longer violent? Why is idiotic if it works? Why is it idiotic if it keeps others safe? It is idiotic because of the false significance you place on certain body parts.
        •  Open can, release worms. (4.00)
          I would go so far as to argue that murderers and serial rapists should be given life in prison, where it is much more difficult to assault women.  Besides, I'm sure there are a few historical examples of castrati being violent.

          Your support of castration reeks of sexual revenge, which the justice system is not supposed to be motivated by.  How can you possibly think a form of physical mutilation is an appropriate punishment for anything?.  Of course, if the perp volunteers for it, that's another matter.

          As for ordinary wife-beaters and such, castration would be wholly disproportionate.  We have domestic abuse laws and shelters for a reason.

          I wouldn't quite call your idea idiotic.  Just not very well thought out.

          Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.

          by Cream Puff on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:56:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  chemical castration (none)
            involves no chopping, it reduces the amount of testosterone. It has proven to stop violent behavior. Some criminals have asked to be castrated this way and have been denied. Putting them in jail for life is a poor solution when they can become non-violent citizens. I open this can of worms to show how irrationaly we are in regards to men's "balls" - there is more legend here than fact. I am not saying anything about the penis - just reducing the chemical (testosterone) that when in excess can cause violent behavior. No revenge, nothing but logic.  
            •  No less assault (none)
              If a person volunteers for it, that is something different I suppose. But chemical castration is no less assault by the state if it is done per force of law than physical castration. I would be interested in links to your references on the successful use of the technique, it's something that I am interested in and have never heard of a definitive study on the matter.
              •  it is no more invasive (none)
                than a depressed person taking anti-depressants, a menopausal woman taking hormones - in fact that is all it is - hormone therapy for men with too much testosterone. In order to make otherpeople safe it is a better choice than a straight jacket, the death penalty and any current method we now have. I will work on finding you the links.
                •  Except... (none)
                  Except that if you want to stop taking pills you can just...stop taking them.

                  Pills are not surgery.

                  Galatians 6:9-And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

                  by Haroshia on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:52:02 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  it is not surgury (none)
                    it is injections. We dont let violent criminals walk out of prison before their term is up - some not at all, so why would we let them stop doing something that makes them less violent and keeps others safe? If you have a condition that makes you kill and/or rape then your choices are limited - you either take the medicine that reduces your violence or you sit in jail - most would actually prefer chemical castration but our fear/ignorance of it keeps us from implementing it.
        •  c'mon now (none)

          I always get worked up when people talk about performing nonvoluntary surgery on jocks who get into too many bar fights. Because that's what it WILL come down to.
          It's that whole "cruel and unusual punishment" thing. If we gave everyone a labotomy at birth, that "works" to stop violence too. Why stop at "violent" people? Whatever happened to prevention?
        •  Wow (none)
          I don't even know where to begin. I place no particular emphasis on penises. I am just not sure that you have the correct notion of what the criminal justice system is about.

          The point Republicans, and apparently you as well, fail to understand is that the American Justice System should not be about vengance, it should be about prevention (incarceration) and rehabilitation (education) where possible. Revenge has no place in a Democratic and humane society. Where rehabilitation is impossible we have life in prison. Physical violence against criminals, which includes your suggested castration and the death penalty (not to mention torture and others I am surely forgetting) should not be allowed, because they are neither preventive of future crimes by others and put the state in the role of killing/hurting someone which is not good for anyone.

          •  Quick questions on justice... (none)
            I often see people make similar points on the nature of justice, so I thought I'd ask you some questions. (These are actually real questions, and not any veiled attack.)

            1. Without getting too far afield, if the judicial system is motivated by prevention and rehabilitation, would you advocate arresting people who had not yet committed a crime but were highly predisposed to in order to prevent / rehabilitate them?

            2. Moreover, if someone is an incorrigible car thief so rehabilitation fails, the only preventative measure would seem to be to just to lock the person up forever, which seems to me an extreme and "undeserved" punishment. (As opposed to re-arresting them each time they are released and steal a car.)

            I would like to avoid these possibilities, but I've never quite understood how to logically prevent these without making the justice system, at least in part, retributive (ie. there is an element of "the criminal deserves this", which is similar to but distinct from vengeance).
            •  Answers (none)
              Good questions:

              Here's your answers:

              By it's nature, CJS is punitive, but I believe it should not vengeful. Punishment is in a sense a form of deterence, albeit not very effective as a prevention of crimes by others. However, the likelihood of the person in prison commiting another crime against society while there is very low.

              1) I don't believe in preventetive incarceration for "future crimes". Although incarceration is in a sense just that, I believe that it's impossible to know fore sure what someone will do. If it was actually possible to deterimine what someone "would do" with 100% certainty, then I suppose I would have to call myself undecided on the issue. However, the Constitution would have to be considerably amended to allow such a thing.

              None of these things are simple, however, I just believe that violence by the state in any form in criminal matters is wrong and unhelpful

              2) I do believe in lifetime incarceration for incorrigibles, even thieves, if their crimes are large enough. If someone continually robs banks, then life in prison is fine with me, if they continually shoplife candy bars then no. Thieves are disruptive to society and as such need to be removed.

              •  Thanks for answering! (none)
                Brief responses:
                #1. I didn't so much mean prevention in a "Minority Report" sense as in a more mundane sense. Example: poor teenage males in large cities often end up in gangs. Gangs are breeding grounds for violent antisocial behavior. In a purely preventative / treatment approach, one could "arrest" someone for merely being in a gang and place them in some sort of rehabilitative environment (eg. foster home). This would not require certainly that the person would/did commit a crime, but only an acknowledgement that the person's circumstances are dangerous.

                #2. That seems logical within the framework of prevention/treatment. Ok.

                Thank you for answering!

                •  I attended a conference.... (none)
                  on preventing youth violence shortly after the school shooting at Thurston High School in Springfield Oregon.  (I was a grad student at UO at the time)

                  The one thing all of the expert presenters agreed on is that although there are lots of "indicators" for violent behavior, the vast majority of people with those indicators never become violent.

                  I guess you could say the rate of false positives is extremely high.

                  If we get to the point where brain scan technology can predict violent behavior with a lower rate of false positives, then this will become a very difficult ethical issue, IMO.

                •  #1 (none)
                  I don't believe in that sort of arrest. I don't think that you can punish someone for their situation (or even help them through rehabilitation) until they commit a crime, it's one of the painful parts of living in a democracy I suppose. Although, for teens, any non-adult the situation is somewhat different, the membership in a gang might be construed as a form of parental neglect and perhaps in that instance it might be okay, I would have to think on it more.
                  •  I agree (none)
                    with you on this, which leads me to the conclusion that my ideal judicial system is, at its core, retributive: we cannot do anything to an individual (even to "help" him/her) until they are guity of something (ie. "deserve" to be helped/punished). I was just curious if you were able to get around this issue somehow.
                    •  Hmmm...disagree slightly (none)
                      It's only retributive if you consider the reason that you are sending them to prison is to punish them. I do not. I think the reason to send them to jail is to prevent them from commiting another crime, and there is two levels, 1) they cannot commit a crime in prison, and 2) they try to rehabilitate. I don't see any conflict.
          •  It occurred to me just now... (none)
            that I didn't read your "where possible" and so I probably thought you were making a stronger statement than you actually were. If so, I apologize. :-)

            Also, I'm not sure if the person to whom you are responding is necessarily talking about vengeance. When a male dog behaves poorly, we often respond by neutering it. We're not punishing the dog for misbehaving; we're just removing the reason he misbehaves. This is just raising that principle to people: fix the person by removing part of their motivation/ability to commit a crime/misbehave. (The grandparent may have been going more for a vengeance aspect, but it's too early in the morning for my subtextual skills to be working.)

            The objection I would raise to it (aside from it making me feel icky) is that it treats human beings not as rational agents able to judge/control their own actions but as biological miscreants that require fixing.

          •  some violent criminals (none)
            are violent because they have too much testosterone. Chemical Castration resolves this. They lose the violent feelings (there are cases where it is done and documented) and can return to society and live among others without being a threat.

            It is a solution and a prevention in cases where the person feels violent because of the overabundance of the chemical testosterone in their system. Before people think this is cruel, or revengeful, I suggest instead of reacting - research.

            We have a logical, humane solution for some male criminals that is discounted purely on misunderstanding. The same type of reactions others may have to gays, based on fear and not reality.

            •  Other fears (none)
              I think some (small? large?) group of people -- well, me at least -- may simply be worried about the existence of a slippery slope where we begin to treat people less as rational agents and more as biochemical machines. Social structures in human culture are generally built on the assumption of rational agency holding primacy over socialization and biochemisty, and I at least prefer it that way. Obviously this is a self-contradictory point of view since it's clearly irrational to deny human irrationality in the face of biochemical and socialization arguments. :-)
    •  Hillary 2008? (none)
      OT - sorry.  The sig line just took my breath away.  Another 'liberal hawk' or whatever you call those people trying to get the poor/compassionate/civil rights/human rights votes while acting cowardly by invading and conquering small foreign countries...despicable.

      I'm reminded of a quote I'll be repeating from now until Hillary loses the 08 race:

      If you always do what you've always done,
      You'll always get what you've always got.

      Vote 3rd party.

      •  I have voted 3rd party (none)
        and was a Green. Its like rooting for the losing team perpetually.
        •  Understood, but at least you needn't be ashamed... (none)
          as maybe I should be.  I ended up voting Kerry, in DC - where he had a massive win.  

          I reasoned, just before I cast my ballot, that if Kerry did win, then I wanted him to win the popular vote by as much as possible - for a man-date.  

          For shame, for shame on me.  After Kerry sabotaged (and then denied it) the best Dem candidate running - Howard Dean - I still voted for Kerry.

          Dean, in my book, is still too much of a warmonger, but he's quite possibly not a total coward, and he was a sure Dem win waiting to happen - still is.  And I voted for the guy who sabotaged him.  Truly unbelievable. Unconscionable.  Blah.

          But you had some serious guts to go Green.  More than I and most of the other people on this site who actually agree with the Green Party more than the Dem Party, but have decided that running with the crowd is, though more cowardly, also less likely to prompt criticism from the fascists.

    •  Other ideas... (none)
      Heck yeah...some other ideas...

      If a man is proven to be a consistant thief, they should remove his hands.  Without hands he will have a very difficult time stealing anything.  Hand removal has been proven effective at preventing thievery.

      If a person is a child pornographer, remove his eyes.  Without eyes it is not possible to watch child pornography, and will therefore solve the problem of him watching these things.

      If a person is accused and convicted of repeated sexual harassment/purgery, remove their tongue.  Tongue removal has shown itself to be an effective counter to speach crimes, and should therefore be considered acceptable.

      All of these things are reasonable, as the organs I am suggesting being removed obviously serve no other purpose than to enable the criminal to commit crimes.

      </snark>

      Galatians 6:9-And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

      by Haroshia on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:38:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it is not removal (none)
        as i said many times. it is chemical castration - no more than medicine - hormone therapy. perhaps a new word should be coined to keep people from freaking out. we are not talking about chopping off a man's precious balls, we are taking about him taking hormones so he has less testosterone which has been proven effective in making them less violent - and less likely to be a sexual predator. so instead of calling it castration, lets call it hormone therapy - for that is precisely what it is.
  •  The gender issue (none)
    is a long and complex debate, well worth having. However the statement "...we do start as blank states" in terms of ANYthing is simply false. We have too many millions of years of evolution to start as blank anything.

    Perhaps the writers meant to imply that in terms of gender the differences are minor, or non-existant, but that would mean that both genders start with the same inherited tendencies, not with none.

  •  That's not a fair characterization (none)
    he just said they had greater aptitude in math and the sciences than women

    That is NOT what he said.  He said that "innate differences" may be PART of the explanation of why there are more men than women at elite levels in math and science.

    He was referring to numerous studies that show more men than women achieve the very highest levels of distinction in areas like math and that the DISTRIBUTION of achievement for men and women is different.  Women are better ON AVERAGE, but more men score at the top.

    The study referred to here does nothing to explain this.

    •  He said (none)
      There are three broad hypotheses about the sources of the very substantial disparities that this conference's papers document and have been documented before with respect to the presence of women in high-end scientific professions. One is what I would call the-I'll explain each of these in a few moments and comment on how important I think they are-the first is what I call the high-powered job hypothesis. The second is what I would call different availability of aptitude at the high end, and the third is what I would call different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search. And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described
      .

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:26:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Celebrate our differences (none)
    I for one am glad that men and women are different. I don't believe this blank slate idea for a second and one study (even a meta analysis like this one) that implies it will not make it so. I would love to know what the unsynthesized studies found, how she chose the studies she used. It's not as simple as saying I looked at 46 studies and these are the results.

    This line:

    She says differences between the genders tend to disappear when the broader research is considered.

    makes me very suspect of her methodology. I will read the paper when I get it, but I have serious doubts.

    I have read extensively on this subject and I am convinced that there are some real and somewhat dramatic differences in area aptitudes. It's intriguing that someone that runs an article like that teaches a course call "The psychology of women", if they are no/small differences they should disband the course. The point is not to be the same, it is to be equal, ALL people should be equal equal equal, other than that who cares.

    •  Selective acceptance (none)
      Hell, I am guilty too.

      Can we agree that the jury is still out on this?

      The SCOTUS is Extraordinary.

      by Armando on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:29:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (none)
        I agree. It's certainly not decided. The human mind is one of the great mysteries. I am very curious on how a number of these issues finally shake out. I unfortunately will likely not be alive once the whole mystery is solved, but we learn more everyday. I love this stuff. Keep up the good work btw.
    •  if people argue (none)
      that men and women are the same, I will argue they are innately different.

      If people argue that men and women are innately different, I argue they are basically the same.

      I'm just contrary that way.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:39:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm quite happy (4.00)
        that women and men are different sexually.  It makes life interesting.  For cultural reasons, women and men have different things to say about life.  That's also interesting (sometimes unfortunate, and sometimes fun).

        But when it comes right down to the brass tacs, we're all fellow and sororial travelers to the grave.  

        Every person, and here I mean every person . . . remains, in a fundamental way, a mystery.  We all know that.  We never know anyone as well as we would like to.  Not even ourselves.

        Worrying about plumbing is whistling over the grave.  Worrying about stastical differences in the graduate-student population of universities in a country on the Western Continent in the year 2005 is a good thing to do.  It means we want to do better.  Wondering whether it means anything about who we are is a bit silly.

        Quoting Laurie Anderson:

        When you see a man who's broken, pick him up and carry him,

        When you see a woman who's broken, pull her all into arms.

        'Cause we don't know where we come from, we don't know what we are.

        That about says it, in my opinion.

        "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

        by LithiumCola on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:53:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Two cents (4.00)
      on the "psychology of women" thing, I just wanted to respond that there are certainly differences between how men and women perceive and react to the world. That's not really the argument; the argument is whether those differences arise from vastly different social situations or whether they are innate and biological. The course could just as well be "the psychology of subordinate groups in society", though the specific issues that affect various groups (Blacks, women, queers, whatever) are somewhat unique.

      The problem is that IMO this is a question that will never be answered, largely because it would be impossible to conduct a study on gender that completely nullifies the social situation of the people being studied. Unless we were willing to, say, stick babies in experimental isolation chambers for their childhoods and see how it pans out. Not, clearly, going to happen.

      When we look at really broad and poorly defined things like aptitude or preference for certain fields, the problem becomes huge; are there less women in science because they either don't like science or are not as good at it, or are there less women in science because they have virtually no female role models in the field, receive (from personal experience) vastly different treatment from classmates and teachers than men do, have no social encouragement toward the kind of "cold, hard" thinking that the hard sciences require, so forth?

      That's just impossible to answer, and the key on this level, IMO, is to assume no differences because that's what social equality, here equality of opportunity, requires.

      The other important point here is that, even if you don't buy this particular study (and I would have to read it, too), its existence does a nice job of pointing out that a study in and of itself can go any direction on this. We science geeks like to pretend we're immune from bias; a cursory glance at some of the history of science says otherwise, particularly when we shine the scientific light on ourselves. It's not just that data or methodology may be biased, but also the whole way we approach a study, the initial questions we decide to ask, so forth. Particularly, again, when as humans studying human behavior, we can hardly claim to be impartial observers.

      I fall on the other side from you, and tend to think that any innate differences that there might be are probably incredibly minor. Various cultures deal with gender in vastly different ways, and often with very different results. There are a great many Russian women in math and hard sciences, for example; this is hard to explain via innate differences.

      Long ramble, sorry. This is complicated stuff, and being transgender/ish and also a gender theory geek, I am always uber-focused on this topic, so I can ramble way too much.

  •  Studies, schmudies ... I trust calypso (none)
    Man Smart (Woman Smarter)
    Written by - Norman Span
    .
    I say let us put man and a woman together
    To find out which one is smarter
    Some say man but I say no
    The woman got the man so day should know
    .
    And not me but the people they say
    That de men are leading de women astray
    But I say, that the women of today
    Smarter than the man in every way
    .
    That's right de woman is ah smarter
    That's right de woman is ah smarter
    That's right de woman is ah smarter
    That's right, that's right

    Sing it, Harry Belafonte!

  •  man smart woman smarter (none)
    Let us put man and woman together
    And see which one is smarter
    Some say men but I say no
    The women got the men like a puppet show

    Ain't me, it's the people they say
    The men are leading the women astray
    But I say, it's the women today
    Are smarter than the men in every way

    That's right! the women are smarter
    That's right! the women are smarter
    A little boy sat down and cried
    An old man passing asked him why
    He said I can't do what the big boys do
    Old man sat down and he cried, too

    Ain't me, it's the people that say
    The men are leading the women astray
    But I say, it's the women today
    Are smarter than the man in every way
    That's right, the women are smarter
    That's right, the women are smarter

    It ain't me, it's the people that say
    The men are leading the women astray
    But I say, it's the women today
    Are smarter than the men in every way
    That's right, the women are smarter
    That's right, the women are smarter
    That's right, the women are smarter
    Smarter than the men in every way
    That's right, the women are smarter
    That's right, the women are smarter
    That's right, the women are smarter
    Smarter than the men in every way
    That's right it's the people that say the men are leading the women astray
    But I say, it's the women today, are smarter than the men in every way
    That's right they're smarter

    I have been radicalized by the worst Administration in history.-- Armando

    North Cacalacky Politics

    by dtp0601 on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 07:34:04 AM PDT

  •  For more info, here's a link (none)
    For those interested, this is a link to a debate between Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on this, video and audio:

    Debate
  •  He didn't say that men have a greater (none)
    aptitude.  

    He said that given the disparities, IT IS WORTH EXPLORING WHETHER men have a greater aptitude for those subjects.  I never understood the furor.  It is well-known and not disputed that women's brains react differently to certain stimuli then men's brains.  That does not make the superior or inferior, just different.  (Now of course there is still this question of whether it is a result of genetic development or cultural development).  Nonetheless, there is evidence that the brains are in fact differently wired.  Is it not good science to ask whether those differences in wiring promote certain aptitudes?!  They may not, as the cited study demonstrates.  They may.  That is not the issue.  The issue is whether research should be done.  And it should.  

    No one would think of opposing research to see if black react differently to certain drugs then whites (and they do).  I do not think any rational person would oppose "racially sensitive" drugs (i.e., drugs that would work preferentially in blacks, whites, Asians, w/e) if those drugs were indeed preferable to the generic.  So if it is ok to research innate differnces in teh function of your heart and blood vessels, why is it not OK to conduct the same research with respect to brains?  This is not about PC.  It's about science.

  •  Abstract of paper, if you're interested (none)
    The differences model, which argues that males and females are vastly different psychologically, dominates the popular media. Here, the author advances a very different view, the gender similarities hypothesis, which holds that males and females are similar on most, but not all, psychological variables. Results from a review of 46 meta-analyses support the gender similarities hypothesis. Gender differences can vary substantially in magnitude at different ages and depend on the context in which measurement occurs. Overinflated claims of gender differences carry substantial costs in areas such as the workplace and relationships.
    •  Very helpful. (none)
      Reading this abstract was quite helpful.

      It points out that there's this huge pop culture focus on the differences between males and females, when really, the similarities might greatly outweigh the differences.  This isn't about saying that there are no genetic differences, just that the attention paid to the differences is disproportionate to the number and impact of those differences.  

      So if there's all these similarities, and yet the differences are what gets all the attention, AND the differences tend to end up with men winning out on those traits that are most valued by our society - well then, it seems like there's a particular agenda behind the undue focus paid to the differences.

      I've read comments that say that studies like these are lauded because they come up with the "PC answer" to these questions; however, shouldn't we give the same scrutiny to opposing studies?  Why are the "PC" studies considered to be more scientifically suspect than the studies that prop up the status quo?

  •  I don't know about this writer, though ... (none)
    Men and women (or at least baby boys and girls) may have no mental differences at birth, but I wonder about this writer's level of intelligence!

    "[A] scientific study just published in American Psychologist provides strong reasons to doubt that there are many inborn differences between genders."

    Oh, there are inborn differences.  I see some of them whenever I change my daughter's or her cousin's diapers.  Maybe the writer meant mental, but they really ought to have said that.  

    "It turns out that there is no difference in how good girls and boys are at maths."

    Is that like the Internets George Bush likes to talk about?

  •  'He just said they had greater aptitude' (none)
    No, he didn't.

    He said they had greater variability in aptitude. There is a difference.

  •  i'm sorry (none)
    I always get worked up when people talk about performing nonvoluntary surgery on jocks who get into too many bar fights. It's that whole "cruel and unusual punishment" thing. If we gave everyone a labotomy at birth, that "works" to stop violence too. Why stop at "violent" people? Whatever happened to prevention?
    •  Does anyone else have the experience (none)
      after "Kossing" a lot, that you almost look for the pull-down rating menu on just people you're talking to in a bar or something?

      The mojo system exported to the world at large would be a more humane method perhaps.

      "Oops, you've been rated as undesriable by too many people, you disappear!"

  •  women and men (none)
    It has been my observation that at least one intellectual difference between male and female is real:  Women believe that they understand the male mind and can see the world through the same eyes.  Men generally concede that we have no idea how the female mind views the world.

    you know you're in trouble when your dreams are interrupted by commercials

    by the basque on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:05:23 AM PDT

    •  I've read that the subliminated (none)
      in any culture is better able to divine the dominant segment.

      for example, (if this is true) blacks or other discriminated groups have a better understanding of whites than white do of minorities.

      that said, I think women are neurologically wired to read people better.  Maybe something to do with trying to figure out what their babies want.

      "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

      by marjo on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:35:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  interesting point (none)
      That may be why so many male fiction writers have a difficult time writing convincing female characters.  

      New Orleans will never die

      by hrh on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:41:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have it on good authority (none)
        (male friends)
        That some female writers have a similarly difficult time writing convincing men.

        When I write men, I tend to 1. Take a woman, 2. Add nonstop obsession with sex. So far that's worked pretty well.

        Okay...kidding. Sort of. Seriously, though, I think that we do best if we assume there are no gender differences other than the obvious physical ones, and everything else is just individual variance.

    •  As a male (4.00)
      I've always been insulted by that view. It seems to imply that we men are simplistic beings, akin to cavemen in their thought processes and desires. "Ugh ugh meat, ugh ugh sex, ugh ugh antidisestablishmentarianism" As if women aren't thinking the same exact things! Men can be complex too:


      Deep


      Incomprehensible


      What is he thinking?

  •  A single comment from over a year ago (4.00)
    Let.  It.  Go.

    The most important lesson of Katrina is that there are things that are worse than taxes.

    by RequestedUsername on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:09:14 AM PDT

  •  Faster (none)
    Here's all Summers needs, when talking about an elite institution's policies and results:

    While intelligence testing is a flawed and rightly-questioned discipline, there is one result that has been consistent for a century — the distribution of intelligence is wider for men than women. The study you're highlighting is claiming that on average the average is just the same. We can grant that, and still Summers, in the context of Harvard, has a strong point because of the width of distribution.

    Simply: there are more men at both the moronic and genius ends of the scales. We're only talking about a few percent who fall at either extreme; and where you put the borderlines of extremity is arbitrary; but for every woman who scores as a total moron, there are several men; for every woman who scores as a total genius, there are several men.

    So men and women may average the same; and well-over 90% of men and women fall into the same middle range of intelligence. But in the context of educational institutions that take only the top couple of percent (as defined by SATs which are just somewhat-narrowly-focused intelligence tests) there will be more candidates for those jobs which truly require outstanding intelligence among men than women. Some of those jobs are in math and science.

    Socio-biology (aka evolutionary psychology) generally sucks, really. But the sort of reason that it might offer for this is that nature can afford to take more chances with males than females, so it tosses the dice more, and it's the odd chances that produce real genius and real imbicility. In this case, that sort of makes sense.

    •  Yes, and I'm sick of the misrepresentation here (none)
      Armando and others just can't stop themselves from making the same moronic attack on Summers. I don't know. Is Armando just plain stupid? Can he not read Summers words? They have been transcribed. Or is he just a dishonest piece of hackery deliberately misrepresenting what Summers said?

      Frankly,  I don't think that any job in academic life or any other sphere requires mental abilities at the teensy tiny tip of the bell curve where there are more men there than women, so Summers' remark about intelligence was a red herring. But I am heartily sick of Summers being attacked for things he did not say.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

      by expatjourno on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:51:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Emily Latella moment (none)
    Summers calling them "...three broad hypotheses.." was the real problem, my god, no wonder people jumped on it.

    ...never mind.

  •  No, he did not say that... (none)
    He said that men might have greater math aptitude.  Can you imagine that?!  The audacity to suggest... the un-suggestable!

    I read all that crap - it should have been no big deal, a call to arms for more research at best - for someone to disprove Summers - but a bunch of dishonest wannabe feministas got their panties all twisted because some dude effectively said, "white men can't jump."

    Who knew that Larry Summers was God?

    If anything, he said something to be laughed at and disproved, but instead, a bunch of intellectual cowards walked out of the room and began to spew venom without any evidence to back up their PMS-inspired tantrums.

    Pathetic.

    Are we allowed to say that men are physically stronger than women?  Is it ok to say that black men have bigger penises than white men?  Or must we toe the party line, resigning ourselves to the faith-based scripture of anti-intellectualism so commonplace in the fascist wings of our society?

    The following statement supports some of Summers remarks:

    [A] scientific study just published in American Psychologist provides strong reasons to doubt that there are many inborn differences between genders.

    With such strong scientific evidence to suggest major differences between the sexes, should it have been the detonation of an intellectual WMD for someone to suggest that men might be better at math?  If the opposing viewpoint was so obvious, then why did Janet Shibley Hyde even bother to do her study?  She could have just said, "Duh!  Of course women are as good at math as men," and have been done with it.  But instead, presumably much to the dismay of the intellectual feminist thugs in our midst, she did the research anyways - in spite of the 'obviousness' of the results.  So much for scientific inquiry...

    If Summers was wrong about his hypothesis - and I'm far from convinced that he was - guess what - he wouldn't be the first to hypothesize and ... <gulp> ... be incorrect about that hypothesis.  It's called scientific inquiry - not scream and cry and stomp your feet as loudly and obnoxiously as you can until mommy buys you that piece of candy.

    p.s.  I read/skimmed the first half of Female Chauvinist Pigs : Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, and it's pretty decent.  Disagreed with quite a few points, but some of the observations/insights are legit. The main problem I have with it is that it seems to me the author is fundamentally disconnected from any intellectual opposition to her p.o.v. She talks with all manner of people - most of whom have a great stake is not being intellectually honest, because they're defending their paychecks.  Defending one's paycheck is legit, but that doesn't relieve the author of her responsibility to tease out the full argument.  For instance, the author just can't seem to grasp - or is not willing to admit - that a woman getting naked in front of a camera can be empowering for that woman. How is it possible for the author to be so obsuse and/or intellectually dishonest and/or elitist?  Got me.

    •  "PMS-inspired tantrums" (none)
      I don't have tantrums.  I just crave chocolate.

      </off-topic>

    •  No offense (4.00)
      But your post seems larded with personal psychological issues that go beyond the scope of this discussion. I'm ALL for intellectual truth and unflinching discussion of any topic. But, uh: dishonest wannabe feministas got their panties all twisted intellectual feminist thugs in our midst PMS-inspired tantrums a woman getting naked in front of a camera can be empowering for that woman seem rather personally revealing and subjective rather than objective critiques of the issue.

      George Bush prancing on the aircraft carrier: one of America's worst moments

      by grushka on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:18:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No offense (none)
        but don't take yourself so seriously.

        Here - let me break it down for you:

        'dishonest' because shouting down anyone you disagree with is intellectually dishonest.

        'wannabe' because screaming at the top of your lungs and stomping your feet is not feminism.

        'feministas' because these screaming women were more totalitarian thug in their behaviour than intellectual adversary.

        'got their panties all twisted' because I love the thought of making a thuggish feminista angry and frustrated and literally shocked to her senses by my use of such abusive, male chauvinist language.

        'intellectual feminist thugs in our midst' because we need to drive the point home that thuggish behaviour will not be tolerated.

        'PMS-inspired tantrums' because the crybaby antics of these anti-intellectual feministas do serious damage to the feminist cause by forcing would-be listeners to tune-out their ravings as well as any/all serious discussion about these very important issues.

        'a woman getting naked in front of a camera can be empowering for that woman' because I read what women write, and I'm not afraid of stating the obvious even when the conventional wisdom refuses to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

        As for this:

        seem rather personally revealing and subjective rather than objective critiques of the issue.

        Personally revealing?  I hope so.  That was the point, after all.  Many of us can't stand the thuggist behaviour of Rethugs, and we're not about to start accepting it from self-described 'liberals'.

        Subjective?  You bet.

  •  WTF? (4.00)
    "that women can't throw things as hard or as far"

    Speak for yourself.  I wish this whole, "women can't be as...." as men would just frickin' stop.

    There are men who aren't as mentally and physically strong as the women I know.  

    Men are not the barometer of which a growing number of women measure their abilities.  If I did that, I'd be really, really weak. Period.

  •  Junk science strikes again. (none)
    She correlated unrelated studies to "prove" her point there was no difference. Considering that each study would have a different sample number, different methology and aim, it's hard to see what the value of such an exercise could be.


    Someone from the Blank Slate crew wanted a soundbite for the media, and got one.

    •  often used (none)
      meta-anaylsis, as it is refered to, is often used in studies where it might be too difficult or too expensive to repeat the work. statstical techniques, which are probably too difficult for me to do, are used to account for the differences in study conditions.
      •  Doesn't help much. (none)

        You still have to select studies and assign a weight to the results of each one.  This results in a conclusion that's almost completely arbitrary, based on the whims of the one conducting it. There are several reasonable criterion for weighing each one, and you can pick and chose between which one you want until you produce the final result you desire.


        So long as you picked what appears to be a "reasonable" criterion, you can claim that you weren't aiming for the specific result.


        More "consensus" science.  Beautiful.

  •  "casual shagging" (none)
    This was the point at which I determined the above block quote was not directly from the scientific study.

    at least I hope not.  Is that a technical term?

    ;O)

    "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

    by marjo on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:31:54 AM PDT

  •  Hyde's American Psychologist Article (PDF) (none)

    ---
    More dangerous are the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.

    by Titian on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:32:46 AM PDT

  •  PCness (none)
    What bothers me is that people judge this kind of research by its result. This research claims that there aren't any significant (mental) gender differences. Since that's the PC result everybody wants, it'll probably get praised.

    If someone has the audacity to present some research that shows that men may have the edge in some areas, they get crapped on, since that's not the wanted PC result.

    I can't judge how valid any of that research is (this one or other). It seems likely that there are mental gender differences. I don't care. Men are better, women are better, they are equal.. I really don't care; in the end it takes both genders to make the world go 'round. It's just annoying that this kind of research is almost impossible to discuss rationally and scientifically because of PC kneejerking.

    I do not have my own blog.

    by Frank on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:37:52 AM PDT

  •  On Irrefutable Difference (4.00)
    There is one difference between men, as a group, and women, as a group, that is irrefutable and it all stems from the fact that the Y chromosome does next to nothing. The Y chromosome probably has between 70 and 300 genes held in 50 million base pairs. By way of comparison, the X chromosome probably has between 900 and 1200 genes held in 155 million base pairs. Little guy's not much of a heavy lifter, especially for his size. This does have one statistically irrefutable effect on men in general for all traits that appear on the X and don't have a counterpart on the Y - the distribution of those traits will be wider in men than in women. Think of it this way: in the grab bag that decides what genes you are stuck with, women get to draw twice on anything with the X chromosome, men only get to draw once. Because of this, the traits on the X chromosome will tend to average out more in women than in men, good or bad. Thus, you see women who have hemophilia, color blindness, and 'male' pattern baldness less often than men. It will be the same for any trait with the only difference being that recessiveness will determine the exact shape of the distribution, and in that way determine whether men or women get the short end of the stick in each particular instance.

    The important thing to remember, however, is that this tells you absolutely nothing about any particular man or woman. Just like I can tell you the mean roll of a six sided dice (3.5) but that doesn't tell you anything about what any particular roll will be.

  •  What has always served me well... (none)
    is the belief that there really are no differnces between men and women that aren't easily explained by sociology (the way, culturally, in which men and women are raised), and physiology (the obvious physical difference).

    I've never believed in the Mars/Venus crap.  When a man and a woman figure out a way to communicate, it usually turns out that they want the same things.

    Certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man. - OWH

    by blockbuster on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:51:02 AM PDT

    •  Mars Venus (none)
      That book bugged me enormously for a font nerd reason: the "Men are from Mars" font (Architecture or something like that) is used for all the background typesetting -- the author's name, etc. Then "Women  are from Venus" is in some goofy script font. So even the TYPESETTING reinforces the idea that men are the default from which women are a variation. (yeah...a majority...some variation)

      Yes, even typesetting can be sexist.

      But it bugged me for another reason. If his hypothesis were true, then GAY COUPLES wouldn't have communication problems. But they do.

    •  North Dakota/South Dakota (none)
      Katherine Dindia wrote a response to Mars/Venus with this title. And far be it for me to miss any opportunity to point out that John Gray is a quack with a mail-order ph.d. hawking stereotypes without ever having done a minute of research in his life.
    •  Autism (none)
      Autism is much more prevalent (approximately 4x) in males than females.

      Autism is a disorder which affects the way people learn, think, and sense the world around them.

      Autism is a spectrum disorder which ranges from completely debilitating, to barely noticable.

      No-one has been able to find any environmental factor which causes autism, despite extensive research.

      In my opinion, this suggests that there are probably fundamental differences in the way men and women think, even as infants.

  •  Great, buried line... (none)
    At the bottom of the article, we find men hold the values which are most valued in American society today:

    The research did find men outranked women in verbal and physical aggression, physical strength, speed, body esteem and activity level.

    It's like:

    Oh - p.s. and by the way - men are better at everything that matters.  Have a nice day.

    Doh!

    •  Only a few of those characteristics (none)
      are very useful in modern life.

      Based on your comment, men will have a strong future in management and many construction trades.

      However, aggression and strength can only go so far.

      You can bully employees easily, but it can be risky to bully customers.

      The ability to listen patiently may be more useful for future lawyers and doctors.

  •  Armando misstates what Summers said. (4.00)

    Janet Shibley-Hyde's paper, "The Gender Similarities Hypothesis" is quite interesting, and a useful corrective to difference theorists such as Carol Gilligan, Deborah Tannen, and John Gray. Unfortunately for Armando's dig at Harvard President Larry Summers, however, Shibley-Hyde's paper is not inconsistent with his actual remarks at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Indeed, the approach that Summers entertained, and which Armando mischaracterizes, as one of three possible explanations for the under-representation of women at the highest levels of math and science, is one that Shibley-Hyde concludes "merits continued investigation."

    Shibley-Hyde's gender similarities hypothesis is that

    males and females are similar on most, but not all, psychological variables. That is, men and women, as well as boys and girls, are more like than they are different. In terms of effect sizes, the gender similarities hypothesis states that most psychological gender differences are in the close-to-zero . . . range, a few are in the moderate range . . . , and very few are   large . . . or very large. . . .

    Shibley-Hyde recognizes, however, that her meta-analysis does not answer the question of variability(emphasis added):

    One caveat should be noted, however. The foregoing discussion is implicitly based on the assumption that the variabilities in the male and female distributions are equal. Yet the greater male variability hypothesis was originally proposed more than a century ago, and it survives today (Feingold, 1992; Hedges & Friedman, 1993). In the 1800s, this hypothesis was proposed to explain why there were more male than female geniuses and, at the same time, more males among the mentally retarded. Statistically, the combination of a small average difference favoring males and a larger standard deviation for males, for some trait such as mathematics performance, could lead to a lopsided gender ratio favoring males in the upper tail of the distribution reflecting exceptional talent. The statistic used to investigate this question is the variance ratio (VR), the ratio of the male variance to the female variance. Empirical investigations of the VR have found values of 1.00 -1.08 for vocabulary (Hedges & Nowell, 1995), 1.05-1.25 for mathematics performance (Hedges & Nowell), and 0.87-1.04 for self-esteem (Kling et al., 1999). Therefore, it appears that whether males or females are more variable depends on the domain under consideration. Moreover, most VR estimates are close to 1.00, indicating similar variances for males and females. Nonetheless, this issue of possible gender differences in variability merits continued investigation.

    Against this background, brought to our attention by Armando, let's examine his contention that "Summers . . . said they [men] had greater aptitude in math and the sciences than women."

    By not providing a link to Summers's remarks, Armando makes it somewhat difficult to verify his claim about what Summers supposedly said. The transcript may be found, however, both

    The transcript demonstrates the invalidity of Armando's claim, that is, Summers did not say that men "had greater aptitude in math and the sciences than women." Rather, he entertained the "greater male variability" hypothesis that, according to Shibley-Hyde, "merits continued investigation."

    Summers was addressing "the issue of women's representation in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions." In this connection, he noted that

    the role of women in science is [not] the only example of a group that is significantly underrepresented in an important activity and whose underrepresentation contributes to a shortage of role models for others who are considering being in that group. To take a set of diverse examples, the data will, I am confident, reveal that Catholics are substantially underrepresented in investment banking, which is an enormously high-paying profession in our society; that white men are very substantially underrepresented in the National Basketball Association; and that Jews are very substantially underrepresented in farming and in agriculture. These are all phenomena in which one observes underrepresentation, and I think it's important to try to think systematically and clinically about the reasons for underrepresentation.

    Summer then offered three "broad hypotheses about the sources of the very substantial disparities that this conference's papers document and have been documented before with respect to the presence of women in high-end scientific professions."

    One is what I would call the-I'll explain each of these in a few moments and comment on how important I think they are-the first is what I call the high-powered job hypothesis. The second is what I would call different availability of aptitude at the high end, and the third is what I would call different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search. And in my own view, their importance probably ranks in exactly the order that I just described.

    Focusing on the "different availability of aptitude" hypothesis, Summers emphasized that, "[e]ven small differences in the standard deviation will translate into very large differences in the available pool." In particular, Summers calculates that a standard deviation of 20% (d = 0.20 in Shibley-Hyde's terms), produces a difference of "five to one, at the high end." Here's the full context of what Summers said on this point (emphasis added):

    If one supposes, as I think is reasonable, that if one is talking about physicists at a top twenty-five research university, one is not talking about people who are two standard deviations above the mean. And perhaps it's not even talking about somebody who is three standard deviations above the mean. But it's talking about people who are three and a half, four standard deviations above the mean in the one in 5,000, one in 10,000 class. Even small differences in the standard deviation will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out. I did a very crude calculation, which I'm sure was wrong and certainly was unsubtle, twenty different ways. I looked at the Xie and Shauman paper-looked at the book, rather-looked at the evidence on the sex ratios in the top 5% of twelfth graders. If you look at those-they're all over the map, depends on which test, whether it's math, or science, and so forth-but 50% women, one woman for every two men, would be a high-end estimate from their estimates. From that, you can back out a difference in the implied standard deviations that works out to be about 20%. And from that, you can work out the difference out several standard deviations. If you do that calculation-and I have no reason to think that it couldn't be refined in a hundred ways-you get five to one, at the high end. Now, it's pointed out by one of the papers at this conference that these tests are not a very good measure and are not highly predictive with respect to people's ability to do that. And that's absolutely right. But I don't think that resolves the issue at all. Because if my reading of the data is right-it's something people can argue about-that there are some systematic differences in variability in different populations, then whatever the set of attributes are that are precisely defined to correlate with being an aeronautical engineer at MIT or being a chemist at Berkeley, those are probably different in their standard deviations as well. So my sense is that the unfortunate truth-I would far prefer to believe something else, because it would be easier to address what is surely a serious social problem if something else were true-is that the combination of the high-powered job hypothesis and the differing variances probably explains a fair amount of this problem.

    According to Shibley-Hyde, a difference in standard deviation of 0.20 counts as "small." (Shibley-Hyde, page 1.) So there's no inconsistency between

    • her claim that "men and women . . . are more alike than they are different";  and

    • Larry Summers's hypothesis that a small difference in the standard deviation of aptitude in math and science would produce a large difference in the availability of men and women "at the high end."

    Please note that I'm not arguing that Summers's hypothesis is correct. Nor that it is the sole or primary explanation for the under-representation of women at the highest levels of math and science. What I am saying, evidently along with Shibley-Hyde, is that the hypothesis is worthy of investigation. I'm also saying that Armando has misstated what Larry Summers said about this highly emotional issue.

    f/k/a one of the people "`Our country, right or wrong!' . . . when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right." (Sen. Carl Schurz)

    by another American on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 08:56:24 AM PDT

  •  If you read Stephen Pinker's... (none)
    ... "The Blank Slate" that danthrax so helpfully linked to in the first comment, one would not have such a kneejerk reaction to the awkward, self-important comments (typical of university presidents) that Summers made.

    Nor would one attempt to downplay the fact that science can sometimes be mis-used by the left for "feel good" reasons just as easily as the right does...

  •  this really isn't news (none)
    Canary and Hause did a meta-analysis in 1993, surveying research on sex and gender differences in communication. Their results indicate that observable differences in communicative behavior are accounted for by sex about 2% of the time, and those differences are not large, nor are they in significant areas. The remaining 98% of difference either isn't (men and women are doing the same thing, but are being judged differently) or comes from gender (socialized roles and patterns of behavior without intrinsic biological links).

    What is of greater concern - and a great link to Delaware Dem's diary on the rec list - is how perceptions are created that perpetuate stereotypes, such as "men are better at math" and "women are nurturing by virtue of biology". That, IMO, is where Summer's role and controversy is relevant.

  •  Men more often vote Republican: (none)
    'nuff said?
  •  a blank slate? (none)
    The author is joking right?  It's been disproved ever since John Money put it forth in his work at Johns Hopkins in the 1960s.  

    His first victim was one boy in a set of identical twins who had his penis burned off in a circumscision accident.  John Money came along and proposed that the child be raised a girl.  It didn't work and throughout, Money was making up 'excellent' results to show the world, much to the joy of feminists in the 1960s who thought they now had proof we are all alike.

    "Brenda" eventually reclaimed his male identity and took the name of David Reimer.  David sadly committed suicide in May 2003.

    The case has thoroughly documented by Milton Diamond, and a book, "The Joan-John Story" by John Colapinto was a best seller.

    More recently, some doctors have stuck with the "blank slate" theory and have caused numerous children (probably in the hundreds) emotional and physical harm.  The "modern way" of dealing with certain birth anomolies such as micropenis or absence of a penis has been to surgically castrate the child by removing the testicular tissue and surgically creating female looking genitals.  The child is then raised as a female using nuture and reinforcing behavior and the administration of hormones such as estrogen at birth.

    According to the research of Bill Reiner, these procedures have been a dismal failure. See link

    There are plenty of women out there with XY chromosomes (AIS) who were born looking like females and developed as females and identify as females.  Most are also heterosexual FWIW.

    There are more women out there born XX but born virilized at birth but because the current practice in medicine believes they won't have a stable gender identity if they have a big clitoris, they must have it removed or surgically shortened.  Most identify at lesbian or bi, fwiw, and a good number of them transition to male at some point despite having their large clitoris stolen from them.

    I would encourage anyone who believes we are blank slate at birth to consider how they would feel had they had a sex reassignment done on them at birth.

    There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.--John Adams

    by tvb on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:32:58 AM PDT

  •  This is dumb, dumb, dumb (none)
    Women have a vagina and ovaries.  Men have a penis.  There are already significant physical differences.  Anyone who doesn't think that there might be possible differences in the brain is putting political correctness above science.
  •  A lot of the differences between men and (none)
    women are simply due to the social consequences of being a male or female.

    I mean things like throwing a ball. I can't throw a ball as well as men due to simple physics. The same is true for a number of physical activities. A woman's hips are less efficient from a bio-mechanical view.

    I think the same is true for other things also. Women are regenerally smaller and not as strong as men and that simple fact makes the social dynamic different. It isn't really a social construction and I'm not talking about a genetic influence on behavior, but the real fact of having a certain body in a world where there are other bodies that are stronger, larger and more efficient.

    The important thing to remember that there is a power dynamic between men and women, just as there is a simular dynamic between parents and children. There are many reasons for this dynamic, social conditioning, hormones, genetics and...just being male or female. They all mix together in one big mess.

    Reality is that which, once you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. -- Philip K. Dick

    by brenda on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 10:21:03 AM PDT

  •  LOL (none)
    Uhmmm. I will charitably assume this is ignorance rather a Repub like misinterpreting research to fit what one wants it to say not what it says. As someone pointed out upthread the actual findings tend to support Summers not contradict him.

    As the study says a Variance Ratio of "1.05-1.25 for mathematics performance (Hedges & Nowell)" is pretty close to 1 which suggests a tremendous overlap between male and females. But pretty close to 1 and equal to 1 are not the same. Those small variations at the tails might translate into exactly one the things Summers (and many others) have speculated about. When you are talking about 1 in 10,000 people even the smallest change in variance can have a tremendous impact.

    Actually the study goes beyond Summers to cite a large number of studies that found small but positive effect sizes for elements of higher order math (spatial reasoning for example). Again a small effect size means tremendous overlap (say 85 or even 95%). But it also means at the upper extreme there will be more males than females.

    That there might be some differences on AVERAGE between men and women on certain functions should surprise no-one. Again I will charitably assume ignorance rather than a Repub like willful and blind idiological unwillingness to think about things contrary to our beliefs. But men and women can (ON AVERAGE) differ in how their brains are structured, relative sizes of particular areas, the hormones they are exposed to, the prevelance rates of disorders that involve the brain (i.e. Autism spectrum), even regional neuronal density.

    We are far from knowing exactly how the tremendous number of "hardware" differences translates into functional differences. And make no mistake it would drive me nuts if my 2 year old daughter was pushed away from math if she turned out to have the apptitude and wanted to do it. But while there may be a tremendous amount of similarity and overlap, you would have to be pretty anti-science to argue there could be no biological sex differences.

  •  Armando quit lying (none)
    Summers never said boys were better than girls at math. Stop slandering the man.
  •  You misrepresent Summers... (none)
    ...to the point of slander. He absolutely did not say what you claim he did. Your "NOTE" just makes your post more stupid.

    Summers did not compare the abilities of average men and average women. He compared their variances, implying that there are more men at the top and at the bottom of the range. This is a reasonable hypothesis, not just based on anecdotal evidence, but also consistent with what can be expected from the process of evolution.

    It makes me sick that my fellow progressives/liberals keep making such brainless and vicious accusations. I am proud to be a liberal and I like to think that liberals are more thoughtful and civil than conservatives. Unfortunately, it is hard to feel confident in that picture when so many liberals keep reacting to Summers with an orthodoxy matching that of Tom DeLay and Benedict XVI.

  •  Amazing. (none)
    Men and women are different. Didn't realize that one <wink>

    Both "Nature" and "Nurture" have conspired to make men one way and women another. And as a man, I thank God that women don't fight and screw as much as men do.

    And no, I wouldn't be shocked to even learn that women surpass men in certain academic areas, while men surpass women in others. Not by much, but by a percentage point or two.

    Why should I be ashamed to admit my girlfriend beats me at trivial pursuit? Why should she be ashamed that I beat her at chess?

    But keep in mind, humankind IS a rainbow of variety----some people have IQs of 70 or lower, some have IQs of 200+.

    The first and primary lesson is to respect everyone, regardless of their ability or intelligence level. There are people described as "mentally handicapped" out there that can outplay YOU on the piano. I guarantee it.

    But if the mentally challenged were, on average, far better than "normal" people at the piano, would we discourage "normal" people from playing? Hell no!

    Secondly, we ought to encourage everyone to seek out their dreams. If a girl wants to be a doctor, enable her to fulfill that---whether "societal gender bias" or "a lack of self-esteem" or or whatever would hold her back otherwise.

    And Mothers, if your son wants to be a world sewing champion, HELP HIM. He just may beat a girl or two in the process.

    Outside the box solutions at low, low prices!

    by Jonathan4Dean on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 03:49:28 PM PDT

  •  thanks for responding (none)
    You obviously have more experience in this area than I do.  Neither my husband or I are very gifted in finances.  When my son was born premature, he stayed in the hospital for four months.  My husband had been laid off from his state govt. job shortly before that.  I had health problems so I went on extended maturity leave, trying to spend as much time as possible at the hospital and hoping to be able to nurse.  As a result of this, my income dropped to 70% (my choice to sacrifice the income in favor of nursing my kid... but the nursing was never really worked) but of course, our bills went up.

    My extension ran out a couple of weeks before my son finally came home needing 24-hour care.  Even though I had vacation time I had saved prior to the birth, my boss felt I had been out of work long enough and would not allow me to tack it on after my disability leave, giving me only one week off for the stressful transition of bringing my son home, learning the use of the monitors, etc.  Because I had to go to work, my husband had to quit his temporary job to stay home with my son.  

    Since that point we have been slowly climbing out of debt and dealing with high predatory mortgage rates.  With each re-fi my status improves somewhat.  And yes, probably we could live much cheaper.  But we're getting by.  My marriage is solid, my son is healthy, and yes, we do spoil him.  I wasn't able to have another one.

    You obviously have a lot of experience helping people.  But I did want to stress that my husband for the first few years was my son's preferred caretaker and my husband is still more patient with him than I am, I think.  He's a good dad and I'm not sure I'm that great of a mom.  But we do all right.  People's situations are just too complicated for blanket statements about what's right or wrong.  I admit, I do feel resentful because I never had even a month at home with my kid and I guess that's my problem to get over.

    thanks for listening.  :o)

    "Every act of becoming conscious is an unnatural act." - Adrienne Rich

    by marjo on Wed Sep 21, 2005 at 09:15:42 PM PDT

  •  The middle finger to Summers AND Hyde (none)
    I realize this is old news, but my own feeling about the Summers thing is this - as an official of Harvard (on official business, or not) he should have kept his damn mouth shut.  My family and teachers always told me that I could do whatever I dreamed of, and though it was an obvious over-statement, I think it was the right thing to say.  If scientific evidence were out when I was a teenager that women didn't have as good of a chance in math, I would have never made it as far as I have.  What an unnecessary and unwarranted blow he gave young women dreaming of going to legendary Harvard.  The one truth in any of this is that we are all creatures that are prone to low self esteem - how about boosting us up and getting us motivated to learn instead of bringing us down, Summers??

    I fully understand what he was saying about the distribution of math aptitude being broader in men, but even this DOES make a difference.  When you get to Ph.D. level coursework, you're dealing with the top <1 percentile of students at a university like Harvard or MIT.  This is also true of professors - they are obviously the top of their field.  So to me, this is just an excuse for his biased hiring practices.  

    This has already been controversial in my small circle and I'm sure it will be here, but IMO this kind of research should not even be done.  I have yet to see any benefits of it and can't even imagine what they would be.  What would we learn if we found out women are more likely to type at a faster rate than men?  Most of us would get nothing from it; the rest would use it as an excuse for their sexist idea that men should not be secretaries.  This is what is happening here.  Surely they could be doing something more useful??  

    And, btw, there is a gigantic difference between comparing smarts and physical attributes.  Most of us are no longer cavemen and strength no longer correlates with your success.  Your self-worth and intellectual potential, however, play into both your earning capacity and social status.

    •  Put the finger back, please (none)
      IMO this kind of research should not even be done.  I have yet to see any benefits of it and can't even imagine what they would be.

      It can have huge benefits. The big question is whether we should measure equality of treatment of individuals by the equality of outcomes across groups. If there is no statistical difference between men's and women's abilities at the high ends of their respective distributions and if there is no innate difference in preferences relevant for career choice, than we should strive for equal numbers of men and women at the top academic positions. But if those conditions are not met, then equal numbers can only be achieved through discrimination.

      The research that Summers proposed would help in applying the ethical principle that each person should be given equal opportunity to succeed on his or her own merits. It would also help in efficient allocation of resources, because discrimination in the workplace is a waste of human potential and thus of society's wealth.

      •  Totally disagree -- middle finger proud (none)
        The differences that could possible be there are so small that they would never warrant being content with 1/27 profs being female (as is the case in my department).  There is no way the difference is so large.  This type of research is an EXCUSE for discrimination and I see no way it could some how act to avoid it.  We are far, far away from the point that we have to worry about so-called "reverse-discrimination."

        I take it you also believe that affirmative action is discrimination?  Sorry if so, you've lost me.

      •  Enfant, period (none)
        At Issue You dare to dole out a 1 rating for my snarky comment about a right-wing asshole like William Bennet?  (not here, but on this same diary where I speculate about what drugs the former drug Czar is on. Since you don't bother to comment there, I will take it up here).

        The FACTS

        This is a liberal, democratic blog. William Bennet shall be subjected to ridicule here whether you like it or not.  Your "1" rating is therefore misguided and inappropriate.

        The SOLUTION
        You want to censure me for satirical comments aimed at right wing pig-fuckers?  I recommend sucking little green footballs.  

        I had my own blog for a while, but I decided to go back to just pointless, incessant barking. --Cartoon Dog, The New Yorker

        by markymarx on Thu Sep 29, 2005 at 05:13:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  group statistics & judging individuals (none)
    Here's an interesting essay by a journalist/philosopher in Trinidad, Kevin Baldeosingh:
    http://www.caribscape.com/baldeosingh/miscellaneous/sober/2001/america.html

    It's his last paragraph that is particularly sane and pertinent to this discussion.  Here are his concluding sentences.  They're taken out of context, and you may be very surprised--enraged, even!--when you read the rest of his essay.

    The ethical principle, which bigots can never understand, is that it is wrong to judge an individual according to the stereotype, or even the statistical truths, of their group. Men may rule, but there will always be those women who are as qualified and as committed as men: and sexist bias should not be allowed to shaft their ambitions.

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