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The Edge hosted a debate (see here) between Harvard psychologists Steven Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke on "The Science of Gender and Science." Specifically, on the Summers related debacle, the assertion that gender disparities in the sciences may be related to innate difference between the sexes.

On the whole I consider this whole affair the epitome of a PC witch hunt. The unreasonable (ie, patently false) stance on a subject of large relevance, and the cowardly reaction to criticism from the otherwise self-assured Summers suggests that the zeitgeist will not tolerate nonconformity on this issue. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard gave Summers a vote of no confidence after his impolitic remarks (see here ), and the faculty made very clear their motivation by also passing a second motion expressing regret for Summers’ Jan. 14 remarks on women in science.

There are some truths in every generation, in every society, that one does not mention. I guess biological differences in statistical groups is our unmentioned elephant in the room. Here are some snippets of Spelke's presentation:
Spelke: There are no differences in overall intrinsic aptitude for science and mathematics between women and men. Notice that I am not saying the genders are indistinguishable, that men and women are alike in every way, or even that men and women have identical cognitive profiles. I'm saying that when you add up all the things that men are good at, and all the things that women are good at, there is no overall advantage for men that would put them at the top of the fields of math and science.
This suggests a very empirical assertion, one that demands careful empirical study to determine if, when you add everything up, all the biological credits and debits related to the objective “excelling at math or science”, it comes out equal. In other words, competitiveness and nurturing, attributes that even Spelke concedes differ between men and women, are equally successful methods of scientific inquiry and exposition. If this is so, and if we are making scientific assertions, it demands an empirical assessment. But of course this same Harvard academic voted to recommend censuring Harvard President Larry Summers for merely suggesting the possibility that genetics explains some of the disparity in male/female scientist ratios. If it’s all an empirical issue, how can investigation be censured? What does it say when a highly plausible assertion receives the rare “official stamp” of faculty opprobrium at one of the world’s more prestigious universities?

Elizabeth Spelke ends her speech with this observation:
Spelke: Could biological differences in motives — motivational patterns that evolved in the Pleistocene but that apply to us today — propel more men than women towards careers in mathematics and science?
My feeling is that where we stand now, we cannot evaluate this claim. It may be true, but as long as the forces of discrimination and biased perceptions affect people so pervasively, we'll never know.
This little aside suggests she wants to have it both ways: “we’ll never know”, while earlier stating “there is not a shred of evidence” for a biological explanation.
Spelke: I think the only way we can find out is to do one more experiment. We should allow all of the evidence that men and women have equal cognitive capacity, to permeate through society...Then we can see, as those boys and girls grow up, whether different inner voices pull them in different directions
Note the careful wording here. Enlightened liberal that she is, she would never censor, but she would “allow all the evidence” for one side of the debate to “permeate through society”. The other side’s evidence is not mentioned, but implicitly it is being censored, it is not given equal weight on its merits, but rather is consigned to inferior status based solely on the nonpreferred claim it supports. That's not science, that's wishful thinking.
abiola meinte am 11. May, 19:23:
How do you know this?
You keep saying stuff like the following
There are some truths in every generation, in every society, that one does not mention. I guess biological differences in statistical groups is our unmentioned elephant in the room.
And yet, despite the fact that I actively follow the research literature on the genetics of quantitative traits, I don't know of any such "truths" that aren't of the banal variety "most men are stronger than women because of testosterone"; on the contrary, it's been my observation that the less people actually know of the complexities of the subject, the more certain they tend to be of the "truths" which "pc" academics are supposedly unwilling to admit.

We don't even know how many genes control eye or skin color - with estimates for the latter ranging from as few as 2 to as many as 120 - let alone whether and/or pleiotropy and epistasis figure into how said genes interact, so anyone who confidently states as you do that there are "truths" about something as complex as high end mental functioning, which are being denied because of "political correctness", simply isn't worth taking seriously; that certain preconceived notions seem "obviously" true to you doesn't mean they are anything of the sort.

While I do think Summers was subjected to a witch-hunt by certain members of the Harvard faculty, I think uninformed defenses like yours just fuel the fires of self-righteousness which those who have sought to bring him down are nurturing. 
HedgeFundGuy antwortete am 11. May, 19:45:
Methinks thou doth protest too much
You admit testosterone differs between sexes. Do you believe it has no impact on statistical disparities between men and women in various fields? Our knowledge about all this is imperfect, I admit, but are you then willing to say that it is therefore unreasonable to assert there are any valid generalizations about human subpopulations? Is it uninformed to assert that men are faster than women in the 100 meter dash? That Ibos are faster than Pygmies?

You wouldn't get so excited if I said 8X7=54. There are clearly many biological realities (such as testosterone) that vary systematically between groups and have large effects, and your note of the uncertainty about the precision of this knowledge does little to make such evidence invalid. 
pauln antwortete am 12. May, 08:28:
If any defenses fuel the fires of self-righteousness, they're the informed ones, not the uninformed.

(Intelligent) people ignore the claptrap that's off base and defend themselves violently when the criticisms start to hit a little close to home. 
MrM meinte am 12. May, 14:19:
Empirical Science
One does not need to know to explain a phenomenon to be able to observe it. For example, I may not know what exactly drives the color of skin, but I can observe a correlation between the skin color and the geography.

As a matter of fact, throughout all history science has been largely driven by empirical observations that it could not explain and which prompted development of new theories.

The only reason folks like Pinker are trying to come with plausible explanations is because often time the other sides would not even listen to the empirical evidence unless they are offered a plausible explanation of what could explain the gender differences 
Matt Munro (guest) meinte am 18. May, 17:16:
I can't beleive that anyone using the pharase "overall intristic aptitude" is taken seriously. What the hell does that mean ?

Three quick proofs that men and women are innately different

1) Embodiment. It is obvious that physical form effects behaviour and ability, otherwise a rat would be able to operate a computer and I, at 1.3M tall could be a world class basketball player. Men and women have different bodies, and therefore different behaviour.

2) Mating strategies. Men and women have different mating strategies, these drive behaviours which go way beyond obvious manifestations of "the mating game".

3) The visual system. (Just one exapmple of the many differences in brain structure and function). There are observed differences in the optic discs of men/women. These affect visual perception, perception affects behaviour and thus ability. There are a only a few cases of documented quadrachromacy in the world and they are all women. Women see colour differently.

What I don't understand is how the PC bridage can maintain such an outmoded 1970s "nurture" theory, when scientific advances are showing them to be little more than wishfull thinking on an almost daily basis.
I'm assuming this American feminist is a baby boomer and will hopefully retire soon (along with all the other lefty boomers) alllowing psychology to re-claim itself from the sociology department and be a proper science again.