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Most articles support Summers

The last 24 hours may have been one of the first day-long periods in which the media mostly endorsed, not criticized, Larry Summers, and supported the freedom of speech and scientific inquiry. (Judging by the ensemble available at I mean the version of Lawrence Summers before he had to say what he finally said.

I expect the percentage to continue to rise. Why? It's simply because those who oppose Summers don't have too many things to say. In fact, they want nearly everyone to close their mouth (and lab, if it studies any details about the brain). Virtually all articles against Larry Summers may be summarized as follows:

  • The speech of Lawrence Summers was outrageous - everyone who has heard it should either black out or throw up. He has no right to speak in this way. Women are discriminated. You can see that they have a smaller representation in various professions - and most people (both men and women) believe that men are more likely to be successful in these professions. This proves that discrimination is everywhere around us because everyone with the right opinions about the world knows that the women are identical to the men, perhaps except for one organ. Note that this is not a circular argument because it is not a circular argument.
  • Why should we investigate the reasons behind the differences when we already have a holy, perfectly politically correct answer that has been prepared for us - namely discrimination - which is endorsed by all true believers in political correctness? Moreover, Summers' comments may convince some girls that the comments may be true. It's a complete catastrophe if someone knows something that can be true, and academia should prevent this threat. Note that Harvard University's logo even has "Veritas" isolated in a triangle which shows that everyone outside the triangle is safely protected not only from "Veritas" (the truth), but also from everything that could potentially become "Veritas".

Note that the newspapers could have saved a lot of money if they reposted this universal comment, instead of paying hundreds of authors of these mostly weak and uninteresting articles.

On the other hand, the articles that support Summers have much more to say and they are very diverse. The following list is kind of sorted from the newest ones:

  • Ana Veciana-Suarez - mother of 4 boys and 1 girl - boys will be boys
  • Readers - of International Herald Tribune - the gender differences are assets
  • Jeremy Beecher - Academia harmed by sound-bite culture; unpopular ideas will be unpopular even if they are true
  • Caitlin Hall - Harvard president makes valid point - there are also, as usual, brainless batallions of PC police calling for Summers' ouster
  • Cathy Young - Boston Globe - Summers spoke the truth; the real scandal is that Summers was forced to grovel to save his job
  • Matt Crenson - ABC news and a lot of other media - Summers's observations are not controversial among the experts
  • Vladimir Shlapentokh - a Russian-born professor from Michigan compares the politically correct prosecutors to Lysenkoist (anti-genetics) and the proponents of intelligent design; Summers, lacking the courage of Giordano Bruno, ...
  • Readers of New York Post - all three are supporting Summers; PC movement preferes to stifle debates; the contrition tour is getting sickening - that crowd can't be appeased
  • Stephen Braun - L.A. Times - brilliant and abrasive Summers ... (neutral article)
  • Georgie Ann Geyer - one of the most experienced feminists agrees with Summers: "fair" does not mean "same"
  • Michael Lewis - Bloomberg - Summers is the only thoughtful, interesting president, the only one who is not a coward; he assumed that the women were his peers who were looking for the truth and they did not appreciate it
  • Christopher Caldwell - Financial Times - "I know of no community as committed to free inquiry as this one," wrote Larry Summers even though he had almost lost his job because of his commitment to free inquiry
  • Warren Coats - let's not the truth, whatever it is; we are individuals, not averages
  • Mark Ayoub - in defense of an arrogant male chauvinist
  • Aljazeera - repeats the Reuters story (Summers is exhibit A...) and introduces it with a picture saying "restrictive laws are inhibiting academics in the United States"
  • Washington Post - an editorial opinion - it's a university's function to provoke fresh thinking, especially about big issues that are "too important to sentimentalize", as Summers rightly puts it
  • Margaret Carlson - L.A. Times - Summers is brilliant
  • New York Post - Harvard's thought police
  • Kathleen Parker - about womanhood
  • Mike North - genders are different and water is wet
  • Arnold Kling - four standard deviations in the distribution; about Kling's daughter who had to answer "yes" to the question "Is gender socially determined?" - I kid you not; shame on Summers's critics, praise to his defenders; discrimination damages the discriminator; self-regarding attribution bias; male dominance
  • Elie Dvorin - Academic hypocrisy - comparing Churchill and Summers
  • Zach Musgrave - U. of Washington - Summers not sexist - What is really at stake is academic freedom
  • Phyllis Schlafly - The feminists who have no sense of humor ... lassoed Summers and dragged him ... Communists used to punish ... but feminists took it to new heights ... When will American men learn how to stand up to the nagging by the uncivil feminists whose sport is to humiliate men?
  • CNN - Male and female brains different - it's as easy as X and Y - about 100 structural differences known
  • Dan Byrne - Michigan needs someone like Summers - this man is brilliant
  • Free Lance Star - Sexes are different, it's simple biology - a scary story of David whose penis was removed. David became Brenda, they celebrated that he became a woman. But as far as his brain went, these were just feminist lies. He continued to be David. He was thinking as a man. He became a man again, and later commited suicide
  • Brenda Maddox - the Guardian (British socialist newspaper) - nicely written short biographies of important women in science - and how the feminists hijacked Rosalind Franklin
  • Chuck Colson - Denying the obvious
  • Stuart Taylor - Why feminist careerists neutered Larry Summers
  • Bill O'Reilly - About radicalization of faculties
  • John Leo (Alan Greenspan's twin) - What Larry meant to say
  • The Age - Australia - sexes innately different - unless you are PC, steer clear of Harvard
  • Kara Falchini - women in average are weaker in football and different in math.
  • Walter Williams - Anti-intellectualism among the academic elite - very informative; also studies how genetic differences correlated with sexual orientation and races affect various things, and what people think (and like to think) about these issues. Note that the author is African American. Reprinted in Townhall, DC; Worldnetdaily, OR; Washington Times.
  • Gill Spencer - takes an example of Nancy Hopkins; the 13:1 boys:girls ratio for the math score above 700 as evidence of differences. Also mentions that Larry Summers has female-like empathy and verbal skills. ;-)
  • Daniel Koffler - from Yale - why equal isn't identical; "the irony at Hopkins' expense is that she is presenting herself as a caricature of the helpless, constantly-fainting Victorian "woman of the house." If feminism is to have any point at all, ..."
  • Human Events - "What’s not 'up for discussion,' in short, is what’s politically incorrect." - Also talks about 4% - which is the percentage of ... registered Republicans plus Libertarians at Harvard. This is a *real* underrepresentation - but this one is apparently politically correct.
  • James Koch - professor - Summers should not be gagged
  • Daily Californian - Sex and the university - "this political environment stifles free speech and ideas."
  • Seattle PI - Does one gender do better? - A lot of graphs and data about the brain differences and jobs, with overall conclusions that should not offend anyone.

This is just the last 24 hours or so. The number of articles that support Lawrence Summers and his points is roughly 300+ (many of them being copies of others), with the same number of articles that mostly oppose his comments. Some articles from the previous day or so:

  • Dan Thomasson - Nature or Nurture? - "When Harvard President Lawrence Summers injudiciously defied the Gods of Political Correctness by suggesting..."
  • Concord Monitor - "...Summers grovels before the goddesses of hyper-political correctness..."
  • Reuters - IQ related area may differ between men and women - some details packaged to a package that should not offend anyone
  • Human events - by Mac Johnson - Summers speaks truth, then apologizes
  • Feminists, meet Mr. Darwin - Robert Wright accused those who deny innate differences of holding "patently false beliefs about human nature."
  • Robyn Blumner - Hysteria in the ivory tower - "Alternative explanations are no longer welcome. This should be distressing to people who care more about uncovering the truth than assuaging hurt feelings.". The same article with a photograph appears here. I guess that many readers of my blog will study the correlation between the beauty of the female authors and their agreement with Summers, and I'm afraid that the signal they find will be striking.
  • Barbara Simpson - Maybe it's time to be afraid - about the freedom of speech and poor Larry (I'm putting it here because there is a photograph here, too) ;-)
  • Diana West - Ladies, please... - "I hate 'women', those who make a career out of it..."
  • Shawn Augsburger - UC Irvine - Summers entitled to free speech - differences between brains...

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snail feedback (6) :

reader torbjorn said...

"...sexes innately different..." - I certainly hope so!

"This proves that discrimination is everywhere around us..." Obviously, since men owns about 99 % of the Earths capital/resources (UN stats).

Which is why Summers speech enrages women. PC is strong in US in particular; hold that speech anywhere else and you will _still_ get that reaction.

Seems to me Summers is a dense bloke if he couldn't see what was to come. Maybe that is enough reason to want him gone? :-)

reader JesseM said...

Debates about innateness always assume the position is that women have less innate ability at math/science, but couldn't it also be true that women have less innate tendency to be interested in devoting so much time to thinking about such topics? Why is it, for example, that there are so many more male crackpots than female crackpots? It should be apparent that it doesn't take much mathematical skill to come up with an elaborate crackpot physics theory, so differences in average ability can't explain this very well, but differences in average interest might. I think any theory that purports to explain the lopsided ratio of male and female science professors should also be able to explain the lopsided ratio of male and female crackpots, regardless of whether the theory says cultural or genetic differences play a more important role in explaining these ratios.

reader Arun said...

I suppose the irony in first insisting that Summers' remarks were scientific and now counting the number of supporters of those remarks escapes Mr. Motl. It confirms what everyone knew, that those remarks were not scientific, but political in nature, and counting the number of supporters determines the value of the remarks.

Remember, Mr. Motl is against any scientific consensus, and so this poll of articles cannot be said to be a seeking of consensus.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hey guys!

The number of male crackpots is much much larger than the number of female crackpots. Men have a broader width of the distribution of intelligence. They are more male geniuses, and more male idiots.

JesseM, I disagree that it is enough to be average to come up with ambitious but stupid theories. One must be very self-confident and very stupid to do such things. Ask Quantoken. His or her gender was never published, but I definitely bet that Quantoken is male!

The science about the brain, its functions, and its correlations with the gender is a *hard science*. The number of supporters does not matter in science.

On the other hand, the question whether a university president has a support to continue is a political question. In democracy, it is decided by a weighted average of the opinions of the people where the weight measures the relevance of the people for a given question.

I am very carefully distinguishing what is science and what is politics. The fact that Summers enjoys the support of most of the community - and the society - is a political question. The content of many articles justifying why he's right is hard science.

All the best

reader Anonymous said...

Actually, a Harvard University department has held a forum with over 100 scholars to discuss Summer's statements on its scientific merits.

Conclusion: on it's merits, what SUmmers said was a load of rubbish.

But I guess Bill O'Reilly is more scientific than 100 Harvard professors :-/

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear anonymous,

I assure you that no department of Harvard has held a forum that would question Summers' statements. You must have made a mistake in the application of your reading skills.

It's also not true that the Stanford workshop you probably wanted to mention was universally critical about Summers. They agreed that the reasons for the disproportion need to be studied. Sheri Shephard "presented studies that suggested that the men and women who drop out of engineering degrees tend to do so because of the fast pace, heavy workload and poor teaching quality of engineering courses. Because men and women face the same difficulties, these reasons do not adequately explain why there are so many more men in engineering."

So your way of informing is like the Radio Yerevan.


P.S. Is it true that the Soviet watches work as well as the Swiss ones? Yes, even much faster!

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