Evil Harvard President Suggests Possible Differences Between Sexes
Why I Am Not A Lefty, Part MXLVIII
So, as far as I can tell from this
story, Lawrence H. Summers, president of Harvard, was giving a talk at an economics conference and noted that some people (but not he himself) had done research which might indicate that there might be cognitive differences between men and women that play some role in preventing female scientists and engineers from advancing at top universities.
As a result--and remember, this made CNN.com--one person walked out and five other people reported being "offended." Later, the person who walked out, one Nancy Hopkins, said:
"It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women (at Harvard) are
being led by a man who views them this way"
Um...let's replay that: It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women are being led by a man who views them this way
. First, according to Summers he doesn't "view them this way," nor did he say that he did. He said that some research suggested that it was true. Second, even if he did view them "that way," there's nothing wrong with doing so if that's what the data indicates. Third, everything he said is perfectly consistent with thinking that these (gush
young women are (GUSH
and consistent with thinking that they are discriminated against.
I don't know much about this issue, but the last thing I read on it suggested that there ARE cognitive differences between males and females. Furthermore, the cognitive differences that were indicated would, in fact, explain the phenomenon in question--and some other mysterious phenomena as well. According to what I've read--y'all correct me if you know better--males have a flatter intelligence curve than females. Upshot: more very highly intelligent males and
more male idiots. If so, this would explain not only why (a) more top scientists, scholars, and engineers are male, it would also help to explain why (b) more males end up in prison and (c) why more females are being admitted to universities for undergraduate work.
With regard to (c): remember, you don't need to be a genius to be admitted to most undergrad programs, you really just need to be above-average in intelligence (and reasonably diligent). At any rate, it may very well be that more women than men are above-average in intelligence but more men than women are far
above average in intelligence. If most scholars and scientists at top universities are well above-average in intelligence, then, if the intelligence curves are as I've described them, then we should expect more male professors and more female students.
Anyway, none of this in any way indicates that women aren't discriminated against. Whether they are or not in academia is, IMHO, an open question. If I absolutely had to guess about it, I'd guess that there still is some kind of background assumption that men are in general more intelligent than women; on the other hand, women do
(in philosophy, anyway) frequently get truly extraordinary affirmative action benefits. Maybe it all balances out, maybe it doesn't. I just don't know.
My suspicion is that the "brilliant" women from "elite" universities are, like most of the other students at elite universities, mostly rich kids who had innumerable advantages, and that they will be the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action programs. There is, of course, some reason to believe that the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action are the wealthy--wealthy women and minorities, that is, who are already advantaged relative to even highly intelligent white males from, say, Appalachia. Again, this isn't my area of expertise, that's just the upshot of the latest stuff I read. Again: please do correct me if I'm wrong.
Anyway, this little story reveals a lot about what's wrong with the academic left. In fact, I'm offended by the very suggestion that there are lefties in academia...AND by the suggestion that there might be some reason to believe that some of them might have been offended at some point! That's it. I'm walking out of this blog right now...