The high cost of marchin’, marchin’ for “Science”: If female, you could be road kill yourself

Political correctness decreed that there were no important brain differences between men and women but tests were done mainly on male animals. And, because the resulting problems didn’t help various political causes, they were dangerous to publicize. From Claire Lehmann at Commentary:

The insistence that gender differences were and are immaterial to the proper functioning of a free society has been a feature of our common conversation since the 1970s. It was the key to “second-wave feminism,” the political and social movement that took women’s liberation beyond issues of suffrage and wages and employment to the question of how a just society orders itself.

By the close of the 20th century, however, the insistence that gender differences be treated as inconsequential had ossified into orthodoxy precisely at the moment when the biological sciences were uncovering differences between the sexes that had hitherto been unknown. An ongoing tug-of-war has resulted between scientists who investigate sex differences and activists who oppose such research. This battle over theory has had horrific real-world consequences. The minimizing of sex differences in areas of health and medicine in particular has led to sweepingly harmful and often fatal results, especially for women.

I’d always wondered about that. I remember suffering through laborious explanations in social psychology texts that I proofread and indexed, as to how all such differences were artifacts of sexist bias in testing. For example, even differences in violent crime rates might just be bias…

Everyone on the project knew that such claims could not possibly be true because the ordinary experience of survivors, not their biases, contradicted it. Survivors of violent crime worked among us! Yet no one dared say a thing.

It’s good that social sciences are not really sciences anyway. But seeing how their point of view has spread into medical sciences, which can actually help people, is disconcerting:

It’s worth noting that historically, the hostility toward such research came not from the laboratory but from the humanities and social sciences. A 1986 paper in American Psychologist titled “Issues to Consider in Conducting Nonsexist Psychological Research” gives us a snapshot of the attitudes prevalent at the time. The authors state that “[sexist] bias need not be introduced into research intentionally or consciously” and that “even well-established findings can harbor unsuspected sexism.” They question whether objective scientific methods were even appropriate for use on women as women. Perhaps most troubling was their assertion that a male scientist studying female subjects is, by definition, “sexist.” Consider the following fiasco. More.

Well, if naturalism rules, maybe it is science’s destiny to be governed by cranks, crackpots and ideologues. We did not evolve so as to perceive reality, right?

See also: Blinkers Award goes to… Tom Nichols at Scientific American! On why Americans “hate science”

Objectivity is sexist.

Marchin’, marchin’ for Science (Hint: the problems are back at your desk, not out in the streets)


Even Michael Shermer thinks social science is politically biased