Thursday, July 11, 2019

Marina Koren: "Why Men Thought Women Weren't Made To Vote," With Gratuitous (?) Anti-Damore BS

This was somewhat interesting up until the end. It really is hard to grok such a mindset. The arguments seem to have been based entirely on what is technically known in the philosophy biz as "making shit up." Maybe it seemed plausible at the time. Maybe someone really familiar with the relevant history could explain how it might. But it all seems alien now.
   Unfortunately, it ends with some anti-male BS, and some BS about Damore and "mansplaining":
   Antisuffragists’ rhetoric did not vanish when William T. Sedgwick’s worst nightmare came true and Congress granted women the right to vote in 1919. It became diluted in the decades after, but dregs have stuck around. A century later, people continue to consider womanhood a handicap. Last year, a male physicist said at a conference that men outnumber women in physics because women are just worse at it. In 2017, Google fired a male software engineer who posted a memo to an internal message board arguing that women’s underrepresentation in the technology industry could be explained by biological differences between the sexes. And Jorgensen-Earp wonders whether perhaps a certain kind of discourse that is commonly derided today borrows from an old tradition.
   “It is fun to contemplate whether minor modern irritations such as ‘mansplaining’ are based on some men’s belief that women are less mentally fit,” she says. “Or, heck, maybe they just like to hear themselves talk."
Honestly, the piece isn't great, and one suspects that this latter stuff was the point all along--trying to pretend that e.g. Damore's memo is a continuation of antisuffragism. Pretty typical of this sort of thing, really. This is an inexcusably dishonest characterization of Damore's arguments. And, as I and many others have noted: those arguments are consistent with the best current evidence in cognitive science. Mostly they suggest that women just aren't as interested in e.g. coding--which, again, is consistent with the evidence. There's also excellent evidence that, at the IQ-level of good coders, there are fewer women than men. But we've been through all this before. The left is wrong about Damore; that's a fact, and there's no denying it in the absence of dishonesty or ignorance or political correctness. To be clear, that's to say: Damore is right that his suggestions are respectable from the perspective of current best science. Needless to say, they could be false; that's a different matter. The gratuitous anti-male sexism at the end is NBD in my book. But I'll just point out that you'd never get away with a low-blow like that aimed indiscriminately at, say, feminists.


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