Steven Pinker On Gender Imbalances In Science

My favorite linguist, Steven Pinker (whose book – How The Mind Works – I have on my shelf), comments on the recent incident where Harvard President Lawrence Summers’s, at a conference on gender imbalances in science, raised the possibility of innate sex differences as a possible cause of why women are not represented in the sciences. As you may recall, Nancy Hopkins, MIT biologist, stormed out of the room to avoid “passing out from shock”.

This is my favorite part:

The analysis should have been unexceptionable. Anyone who has fled a cluster of men at a party debating the fine points of flat-screen televisions can appreciate that fewer women than men might choose engineering, even in the absence of arbitrary barriers. (As one female social scientist noted in Science Magazine, “Reinventing the curriculum will not make me more interested in learning how my dishwasher works.”) To what degree these and other differences originate in biology must be determined by research, not fatwa. History tells us that how much we want to believe a proposition is not a reliable guide as to whether it is true. (emphasis added)

If only more (modern day) liberals understood this point!

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