## Tuesday, March 08, 2005

### Docket items

Next Tuesday, there will be two anti-Summers moves at the FAS faculty meeting at Harvard. J. Lorand Matory wants the faculty to state that it lacks confidence in Summers. This is the more radical of the two docket items.

Theda Skočpol, the wife of William Skočpol, an experimental physicist from B.U., wants the professors to regret 's statements and style, as explained in Skočpol's recent confusing speeches, and express their appreciation for the continuing self-humiliation of our president.

Both colleagues of ours - Matory and Skočpol - have spoken about the issues at recent faculty meetings, and both of them are misguided. It seems that the critics of Lawrence Summers prefer sociological arguments over science - so let me propose 54 sociological arguments that they are not right: recent articles about the brouhaha. The articles support Summers and they were collected kind of randomly, and I apologize if an interesting article is missing in this list.
• Steve Pinker - The New Republic - a defense from a famous psychologist
• Pat Buchanan - Summers's unpardonable sin loosed the left's dogmas, fear
• Phyllis Schlafly - Feminists find no solace in science that disagrees with them
• Christopher Davis - Image concerns shackle students
• 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
• 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.
• 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...

1. Hello Lubos,

These type of people who try to silence Summers and his like are a product of the postmodern ideology of relativism. And it is not at all surprising that they even go to the extent that they stubbornly deny apodictic empirical facts.

As you might recall, they succeeded in preventing Rocco Buttiglione from becoming the European Union's new commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security just because his views did not conform to their so called 'political correctness'.

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3. Dear Quantoken,

stop it already. I am not interested in the question what you're interested in.

I never said or wrote that I don't want to turn this blog into a political one. This is a semi-scientific semi-political blog, and it has always been.

Best
Lubos

4. To the first poster. I did not know about Buttiglione's case, thanks for informing us. (I looked at some websites about it.) It's shameful how powerful these "politically correct" people have become.

Quantoken: just to make it clear: on this blog, the political correctness does not enjoy any power whatsoever. My political correctness is certainly not questionable: I am unquestionably considering political correctness to be a type of intellectual cancer, and I am irritated by your outrageous comment that freedom should not exist.

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I assure you that you are absolutely free not to be interested in one topic or another. And you are more than free not to read the blog at all.

All the best
Lubos

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I am really sorry if you're disappointed. But I am erasing not only some of the inflammatory statements that are over the edge in an otherwise peaceful context that could be harmed, but also the signs of - and sorry for using the word that I feel is appropriate - blackmailing, especially if they're completely off-topic.

Proposing emotionally based reactions to the very appearance of an article is, in my viewpoint, blackmailing.

The topic of this article is very important for me and not only for me, and it was not a sequence of typos ;-) that I posted about it. I view your reaction as an attempt to silence me in the same way in which others have been trying to silence president Summers.

Once again, I will always be saddened ;-) if a reader is lost, but the integrity and independence of the blog will be primary as long as this blog exists.

Sincerely Yours
Lubos

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11. Hi Lubos,

I have an interesting question for you.

Do you believe that women are 'intrinsically' inferior to men in science based professions?

1. If so please could you provide experimental references for such an assertion?

2. If you believe that the question of gender differentiation is more complicated, then here is my answer as to why women are not doing themselves justice in regards to Post Graduate level Science.

Just when women were able after years of revolting discrimination to pursue science (you agree right!), due to global competition, working as a scientist / engineer became a much more problematic career path!

This is the real deal as I have spoken with loads of women who are brilliant at math, but all say that the number one reason for being a doctor / lawyer / manager are wages!!! Hell, even TEACHERS get better pay (in good private schools that is)!

So if America really wants more Women in Science and Technology, inprove Pay!

An amateur mathematician

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13. Dear Zelah,

no, I don't believe that women are intrisically inferior in exact sciences.

On the other hand, I am convinced that the distribution curves of different abilities and various interests differ significantly between the genders.

As a mathematician, you should be able to understand the strong effect of different variances of the distributions if they're different.

And I am even more convinced that hundreds of structural and functional differences between the male and female brains are known, and I know many of them. See some articles listed in this text - for example the article on "CNN".

Roughly ten other articles speak about the same issue, and they contain information how to get to the right source of information.

I don't think that the discrimination, if relevant at all, becomes special and unusually large in "our" fields. People just freely choose their fields, and it's just experimentally true that people have been choosing fields that differ between the genders. Universal discrimination can't explain this data. Especially because it's enough to have a few places that don't discriminate in order to kill discrimination completely.

You are not the only one who knows smart women who would never work under the conditions in science, as opposed to law etc. Be sure that there are men of the same kind, too.

This whole discussion is partly about the natural expectations about the percentage of women in the "idealized", perfect future. Some people believe that it shall be 50:50, others don't. Of course that if you impose a new law that will force everyone to pay 2x as much to women as men, the women who are already employed will get more money. ;-)

However, the places that will also care about other things - such as the expenses - will probably avoid hiring women even more under these conditions.

What you say is not a solution of any problem. The lower average salaries of women in science is just a different but equivalent description of the very same fact observed in reality (at least so far) that men in average get "higher".

Best
Lubos

14. Lubos, I believe you might be interested in an article Rovnoprávnost, mzdy a mužské mozky (sorry, people, Czech only) by Pavel Kohout (if you haven't read it yet, that is).

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16. Great post, Lubos.

I'm a refugee from the English department there. I spent my entire graduate student career in the closet -- as a Republican and as someone who considered Milton superior to Rigoberta Menchu (gasp!).

I thought it was different in the sciences.