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February 18, 2005

Harvard: brains optional

From the New York Times:

Bowing to pressure from his faculty, the president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers, on Thursday released a month-old transcript of his contentious closed-door remarks about the shortage of women in the sciences and engineering. The transcript revealed several provocative statements by Dr. Summers about the "intrinsic aptitude" of women, the career pressures they face and discrimination within universities.

Dr. Summers's remarks, which have only been described by others until now, have fueled a widening crisis on campus, with several professors talking about taking a vote of no confidence on the president next week. That idea alone is unprecedented at Harvard in modern times.

Oh come on people -- what he said is true! Men, on the average, do better in some fields, and women, on the average, do better in other field. Live with it. How can people become Harvard professors while remaining so closed minded and ignorant? Sorry, stupid question.

Posted by Jack Lewis at February 18, 2005 08:59 AM

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Before going off half-cocked, it's always a good idea to reread to make sure one has a handle on the salient issues.

The question isn't whether men do better than women in some fields (it's well-settled that they do); the question is why men do better than women in some fields. Summers suggested it's because women lack some 'math gene'. If that's true, then I guess one could plausibly argue that you lack a 'reading comprehension gene'.

Posted by: jpe at February 18, 2005 09:12 AM

But he never said there was a "math gene" (talk about lack of reading comprehension) he simply pointed out the very real biological as well as sociological factors that created the different aptitudes.

Posted by: Jack at February 18, 2005 04:03 PM

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