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

  • Hard Little Machine

    It’s easy enough to test empirically. If the dearth of women in science is 100% because of big mean old men, then create two entirely parallel systems with identical funding: chick science and regular science. And let them ‘do’ science however they like, At point the only challenge will be how to objectively tell who’s better at what. The chick science people and regular science people will have to agree HOW to decide the difference between success and failure. And if the chick scientists lose out and then whine and moan that THAT’s unfair too – – – who cares?

    • Yes, theoretically. But this does not take into consideration the cumulative effect of history (since prehistory). It is difficult to shake this off – and claim as nature what may just be nurture and habit.

      • Solo712

        So, Avi, we end up assuming what the feminists are trying to prove, i.e. that the criteria of scientific objectivity are male biased. But there is no “cumulative effect of history” in the finding that males have on average greater “natural” aptitude for abstract thinking and understanding of spatio-temporal structures and functions. This will be observed in primitive cultures as much as in complex advanced societies. It is also not disputable that there are individuals among women who have their brains wired like men and show from childhood “male” intellectual aptitudes, which translate later in their interest in STEM. That these women were in the past history barred by prevailing social mores from pursuing their interests is true (and sad) but not all that relevant these days. None of the women who live in the West today can make that complaint. The feminists who are complaining are as a rule intellectual nullities in sciences and their ridiculous claims are nothing more than scheming originating in “science envy” and transparent attempts to eliminate males from positions of authority in all aspects of social life.

        • Hey, I am not an ally of the flaky modern “feminists” or their theses. But I am an ally of women as such. I said in my post below that “women are biologically and even psychologically different from men”- I do not deny that, though I hesitate to add exact details to this general statement, remaining open regarding individual attributes and generalities. My attitude is just to always keep in mind the fundamental respect that men must have for women and women for men, without prejudices. Many feminists and anti-feminists seem to lose this fundamental respect for their opposite number. The thing is to behave and think with both self-respect and other-respect. The problems are due to mental confusion.

  • PaulW

    As a statistician this makes me wonder whether some of the consistent problems that are arising in polling might be related to sex/gender questions. A key stratification variable (both pre and post sample survey) is always sex, always hitherto (to my knowledge) restricted to female/male categories. But now perhaps on census forms (speculating here) people list their “gender” (not their biological sex) and thus cause disturbances in a formerly predictable variable. Pretty well every survey depends upon the census numbers for creating non-response adjustments and the like, so if those numbers are tainted in some systematic way ….

  • Of course women are biologically and even psychologically different from men, but it does not follow that they are morally and politically inferior (or for that matter superior) to men. The answer to sexism is mutual respect. You give respect, you get respect – in both directions. You act like an a—ole, you deserve to be treated like one.