Thursday, October 13, 2005

WSJ: The Bell Curve: The Inequality Taboo - sex differences WSJ: The Bell Curve: The Inequality Taboo - sex differences

In this WSJ article, Charles Murray starts by addressing the sex issue, starting out with the Lawrence Summers affair last January, when he, the president of Harvard, got himself in serious trouble with liberals in general, and feminists in particular, by suggesting that maybe some research should be done to determine why women aren't adequately represented at the highest levels (esp. this week, the Nobel Prize level) of physics and mathematics.

The reaction of some of the feminists there (and later) was, frankly, hilarious. One apparently got almost physically ill that he would even broach this subject. A female professor getting physically ill over the thought that there might be some reason, outside of societal programming, behind this. If that is representative of the level of open mindedness at that august university, I will advise any parents I meet not to send their kids there. I surely will try to dissuade my daughter from going there.

Because, really, the evidence is already in. On average, males are somewhat better at spatial reasoning than are females (see my discussion a couple of months ago on "The Essential Difference"). Add to this that the standard deviation for male intellectual abilities is greater than that for females (meaning a broader bell or normal curve), and way out at the extremes necessary for the absolute top levels of performance in these areas, you have a lot more males. At the 1st male standard deviation, there is some male advantage. It becomes quite noticeable at the 2nd, and at the 3rd or so, it becomes overwhelming.

This is all simple statistics. And a Harvard professor got physically sick over it.

I should add that Murray also pointed out that at the higher ends of many professions, and, in particular here at, say, the Nobel Prize level of physics, an extremely high level of dedication and single mindedness is required. This, again, is a more male trait, if, for no other reason, than that woman are, by their nature, more susceptible to the pull of parenting. A male can more easily shut out any kids or spouse he might have and concentrate on his work than can women. This is no different than the established fact that if a kid cries during the night, that crying is far more likely to wake up the mother than the father (on average).


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

But it isn't wholly clear that brain-based biological differences between men and women are the actual thing that causes the difference in the proportions of men and women in careers in science. You can point to "innate differences" all you want, but until you can show that intellectual ability is more important than social influence, so what?

8:19 AM  

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