Connect with us

Essay On Summers Comments On Women In Science

Discussion in 'General Electronics' started by Steven O., Apr 9, 2005.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. Steven O.

    Steven O. Guest

    In January of 2005, Harvard President Lawrence Summers delivered a
    speech where he speculated about the causes of the disparity in
    professional achievements between men and women in
    science/engineering. The speech provoked a firestorm of critical
    comments, particularly in academia, but also in the general media.

    I have written an essay in response to Summers' critics. The gist of
    the essay is not to take a stand on Summers' hypotheses, but rather to
    support and promote the free expression of ideas in general.

    The essay can be found at
    http://www.spyingonthecollegeofyourchoice.com/Essays.shtml

    Fair Disclosure: The site is a partly commercial site which promotes
    my book, Spying On The College Of Your Choice. However, the content
    of the essay is "on topic" in terms of addressing the ethical issues
    behind both Summers' speech and the response it received.

    I would welcome feedback from readers. You can find my e-mail address
    by poking around the Web site.

    Steve O.


    "Spying On The College Of Your Choice" -- How to pick the college that is the Best Match for a high school student's needs.
    http://www.SpyingOnTheCollegeOfYourChoice.com
     
  2. muha

    muha Guest

    The guy was right. They got all over him because he insulted many
    people before. (This time, he touched on one of the ortodoxies of the
    academic lefties and Harvard is full of them.) But he is a poor
    politician and a presidency at a big uni is mostly politics with a bit
    of administration. If he was just a prof, he would be free to say a
    provocative stuff.


    that is the Best Match for a high school student's needs.
     
  3. In general, I think the statements that are half true tend to generate the
    greatest amount of controversy. Those that are obviously wrong get dismissed
    out of hand. For example: "All women are incredibly stupid."

    People also dismiss statements that are true, if they are believed to be
    true. "The world is round." is not going attract as much today as it would
    six centuries ago.

    "Women are no good at math." is half true. Most men are no good at it
    either, but that is another story.

    My personal experience has been that average women do not take up their
    hobbies or work as passionately as average men do. For example, very few
    women get obsessed by computers even though many women do work with
    computers. If they do, it is more likely to be with a use of computers, such
    as chatting, rather than with the technology itself. This unwillingness to
    be obsessive about such things is probably a good thing--but it is
    different.

    Bill
     
  4. Guest

    Yes, a significant step in the "advancement" of Western academic
    intelligentsia towards, what was the phrase, the "ashheap of history".
    I read it. Couldn't agree more, I give it two thumbs up. Bah, in case
    you're following, you may be interested.

    Mati Meron | "When you argue with a fool,
    | chances are he is doing just the same"
     
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al Guest

    http://www.president.harvard.edu/speeches/2005/nber.html

    Given finite resources, should you invest them in improving the small
    number of best candidates who will vie for a smaller number of top
    postions? Or should you invest those finite resources in a much
    larger number of second rate candidates to compete for those same few
    positions, and simultaneously overtly screw the intrinsically
    qualified cohort?

    Really hot lamproite or kimberlite diamond ore is a mere 1 ppm wt-%
    diamond (5 carats/tonne will make you astoundingly wealthy). Cornell
    University backs onto a kimberlite dike! Follow the service road from
    the Snee Hall parking area to its intersection with College Ave. The
    kimberlite dike crosses Cascadilla gorge just upstream from the
    College Ave. bridge. It cuts through the Devonian siltstones beneath
    Snee Hall. Look just upstream from an abandoned flight of stairs that
    led from College Town to the creek. Diamonds strongly bond to grease
    boards. It is not overmuch difficult to pan for them.

    Oops! Cornell kimberlite is not diamondiferous. How much money will
    you spend mining Cornell kibmerlite before you find diamonds?

    Dumping literal annual tens of $billions into unqualifed women,
    Blacks, Browns, Reds, queers, morons, and every other *privileged*
    disadvantaged group in the expectation of them performing like
    out-of-the-box qualified people is utter madness. How much money will
    you spend mining Cornell kimberlite before you find diamonds?
     
  6. Guest

    Ahh, you're not up with modern social ideas. Objective competence is
    so not in. And it is all just a social construct anyway. We'll
    declare the second raters to be first raters, and once we'll do so,
    they'll become so:)

    "I can't give you a brain, but I'll give you a diploma" (from the
    Wizard 0f Oz).

    Mati Meron | "When you argue with a fool,
    | chances are he is doing just the same"
     
  7. GR_GR

    GR_GR Guest

    What is interesting is that if you counter a stupid generalization with
    another, arguments can get really heated.
    So when it comes to seeing stupid generalization about woman, simply
    counter with equally stupid generalization of men, and vice verse.
    The whole point of the OP's point was to troll and cause strife, not to
    further the feminist agenda.
    As a troll it was a beauty!
     
  8. The essay can be found at case
    you're following, you may be interested. <<


    I give it two thumbs up also, being as how it makes the daring and
    breathless assertion that academia should have as priority the search
    for truth (for its own sake-- gasp) and political considerations be
    damned.

    Why, this kind of thing is almost *Emersonian* in its credo. By which I
    mean it'll be a long before YOU are invited back to Harvard to speak.
    And forget about getting to be president there.

    If you keep going down this road, you'll eventually get to Voltaire and
    then Spinoza, and finally even Socrates. And then down the rabbit hole.
    So stop now, before you succeed in becoming a true autodidact, and
    eventually start to need glasses. And finally come to believe that our
    modern educational institutions are full of pompous fools who got where
    they are by performing an act which requires less brains than
    chapstick.


    SBH
     
  9. Karl Uppiano

    Karl Uppiano Guest

    I'll take scholarship over indoctrination any day. People should be able to
    talk about this stuff, especially in universities. They're supposed to be
    looking for the truth, not spouting dogma.
     
  10. I'll take scholarship over indoctrination any day. People should be
    able to
    talk about this stuff, especially in universities. They're supposed to
    be
    looking for the truth, not spouting dogma. <<

    You're in trouble already, young man. Mandatory women's studies and
    sensitivity training for you, followed by expulsion.
     
  11. Jim Logajan

    Jim Logajan Guest

    Summers wasn't engaging in scholarship. He was speculating, off the cuff,
    at best. That is more akin to what people people do at a bar, over a
    beer.

    That men are superior to women was, and many cases still is, the most
    accepted dogma. Summers wasn't stating some truth, he was the one who
    attempted to use a handful of questionable observations which ended up
    reiterating dogma that is thousands of years old.

    Last I looked, no matriarchies (oppressive to men or otherwise) have
    formed in the tiny handful of years that women have had the vote and the
    right to birth control, so all this angst to "protect" Summers from his
    shoddy "scholarship" seems sadly misplaced.

    Sure, people should be able to talk about unpleasant things. And it is
    only right and proper that people should be able to get angry about
    questionable "truths" that have been used in the past as rationale to
    curb their rights.
    Your sarcasm is misplaced. Summers' took a piece of statistical
    information (the comparative width of scores from "standardized" IQ tests
    between genders) and ran too far with it. Considering the mountain of
    evidence showing that the legacy of patriarchal dominance (feel free to
    contest that history - it'd be amusing) lingers on, to claim it was no
    longer a factor worth considering in his analysis really showed Summers
    to be, at best, naive. It certainly wasn't very "academic".

    The use of IQ curves to demonstrate anything is misguided, since I seem
    to recall that among other failings, they need to be renormalized every
    few years (indicating they aren't quite measuring intrinsic ability) and
    external factors _do_ change the curves:
    http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/pr/95/950802Arc5122.html
    http://www.skeptic.com/04.3.siano-bellcurve.html
     
  12. Guest

    First, he said explicitly that he's going to speculate. Second, his
    "speculations" were based on existing observations.
    There is little questionable about the observations that the standard
    deviations for the distributions of various cognitive abilieties
    (probably not only cognitive) are a tad larger for men than for women.
    Straight from a PC manual, this one.
    Too far? He pointed that such difference amounts to a lot when you
    get to, say, 4 standard deviations away from center. Takes an idiot
    to say that a statement to this effect is "too far".
    But he didn't say anything like this. He did say, in fact, that
    social and cultural factors may have influence and even open bias may
    exist. Only, he added that there may be intrinsic factors, as well.
    So now you crossed the boundary from spewing PC gibberish to plain
    lying. Which is about what could've been expected.

    Mati Meron | "When you argue with a fool,
    | chances are he is doing just the same"
     
  13. Guest

    Yep. Another mess to take care of.
    Okay. I'll take a hike to the library.

    /BAH

    Subtract a hundred and four for e-mail.
     
  14. Guest

    Sigh! You do need to get out more. Who do you think did the
    work so can play with the toys you have today?

    <snip>

    /BAH

    Subtract a hundred and four for e-mail.
     
  15. Guest

    Wonderful. Let us waste yet more money on proving there are
    differences between men and women. Even preschoolers know this
    is a fact. How about putting that money into paying for the
    outrageous prices of getting through grad school. Oh, GASP!!
    There I go again..combining common sense and financing in the
    same breath.

    Or, perhaps, the premise is a myth. I don't know what the guy
    used for his data. If it's these idiotic entranace exams, one
    should note that the final scores are not a good metric anymore.
    My nephew has taken these tests at least three times and will
    choose which score gets sent to colleges.

    The Liberals love this kind of smoke and mirrors. It helps to
    ensure a dumbing down of the public. One should note which
    state Harvard occupies. This state is in the throes of trying
    to measure teaching and learning based on performance rather
    than birthing circumstances.
    I give him an E for including a gender bias in the real question
    which should have been about why Americans aren't choosing
    science and math. The current ads by one of the teachers'
    unions is bitching about how they have to teach math and
    English instead of art.

    /BAH


    /BAH

    Subtract a hundred and four for e-mail.
     
  16. As far as I am concerned, the statements on this thread in support
    of Summers have been about as well-informed as the above.

    Educated European opinion six centuries ago was that the earth is
    round.

    --
    Mostly economics: <http://www.dreamscape.com/rvien/#PublicationsForFun>
    r c
    v s a Whether strength of body or of mind, or wisdom, or
    i m p virtue, are found in proportion to the power or wealth
    e a e of a man is a question fit perhaps to be discussed by
    n e . slaves in the hearing of their masters, but highly
    @ r c m unbecoming to reasonable and free men in search of
    d o the truth. -- Rousseau
     
  17. Summers did not seem to want to bother familiarizing himself with the
    scholarship on his topic, as any academic should before talking to
    the experts in the field. He has a history of arrogance, and that has
    something to do with the reaction of the Harvard faculty.

    Summers was not engaging in scholarship. He is not an academic. He
    is an administrator. He was making ill-informed comments to justify
    Harvard's failings.
    Which has nothing to with nature versus nurture debates, or what is
    intrinsic and what is socialization.
    The above is not rational argument. No rational reason has been
    given to reject the statement that Summers was "reiterating dogma
    that is thousands of years old."
    Which has nothing to with nature versus nurture debates.
    The above is stupid. We have no reason to know that any
    misrepresentation is deliberate.

    Summers ranked the factors. He did not merely "add... that there may
    be intrinsic factors, as well." Is Mati lying by omission?

    --
    Mostly economics: <http://www.dreamscape.com/rvien/#PublicationsForFun>
    r c
    v s a Whether strength of body or of mind, or wisdom, or
    i m p virtue, are found in proportion to the power or wealth
    e a e of a man is a question fit perhaps to be discussed by
    n e . slaves in the hearing of their masters, but highly
    @ r c m unbecoming to reasonable and free men in search of
    d o the truth. -- Rousseau
     
  18. Some types of scholarship ARE speculations! Working out a new theory or
    approach is a speculation because success is not guaranteed. What you
    are complaining about is the Summers' speculation was not rigorous
    enough for you, are worked out well enough in the detail.

    A proper study of the matter should reveal whether there are intrinsic
    differences in the way females think as compared to males and if there
    are such differences what are they.

    The lack of female theoretricians in physics and mathematics (say) could
    be explained in sociological or psychological terms or -maybe-, just
    -maybe- there is a genetic factor (gasp!). Of course the Liberals will
    greet such a finding with the same hostility that greeted -The Bell
    Curve-. There are certain quesiton which Should Never Be Raise,
    according to some kinds of Liberal thinking.

    From a practical point of view, Summers should have thought the matter
    out and worked up his position in such a way that it could be defended
    logically and perhaps with relevent work in genetics, sociology and
    psychology, further backed up with statistics. The Liberals would still
    go boo! hiss! but with appropriate backup they simply could not dismiss
    the position out of hand.

    I give Summers an A for raising a reasonable question and a D for
    picking the wrong venue to raise it.

    Bob Kolker
     
  19. The fact that Summers allowed even for the -possibility- of intrinsic
    genetic differences in the way femaies think as compared to males is the
    Harvard equivalent to yelling Nigger, Nigger out loud. The authors of
    -The Bell Curve- met the same kind of reaction.

    Bob Kolker
     
  20. Chan-Ho Suh

    Chan-Ho Suh Guest

    My personal belief, filtered through my plethora of biases, has been
    that average men do not take up their their hobbies or work as
    passionately as average women do. Let me give an example so I don't
    seem like a dickhead. Very few men have an obsession for poetry or
    other literary artforms even though many men do work with words. (This
    is a clear observation, free from any slant by me of course.) If they
    do, it is more likely to be with a use of words, such as filling out
    forms or loudly asserting macho statements, rather than any art. This
    unwillingness to be obsessive about such things (and general lack of
    imagination) is probably a good thing, (after all, someone has to fill
    out all those damn forms), but it is obviously different from being
    truly creative and intelligent.
     
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day

-