06/17/2005: Those Better Aptitudes...
Aptitude Adjustment by Richard Cohen (Washington Post) is yet another entry in the Men/Women Debate over aptitude and intrinsic qualities suitable for certain abilities.
”….I cannot be certain that Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, has read the article. But if he did, I bet he wondered why it is possible to suggest that certain Jews are smarter than other people but not remotely possible to suggest that women might not be as brilliant in science and engineering as men. When Summers did precisely that back in January -- when he wondered out loud about such matters as "intrinsic aptitude" -- he got his head handed to him. He was not, mind you, stating this as a fact -- just throwing it out along with other factors that might account for why men outnumber women on the science, engineering and math faculties of first-rate universities. What he did not do -- and this was his mistake -- was limit the possibilities to the only politically correct one: sexual discrimination of one sort or another.
But if Jews could adapt to their environment in a certain way, why couldn't women or men? After all, to the eye, there is no distinction between a Jew of European origin and a non-Jew of European origin -- or even a Jew of non-European origin. Yet to that same eye, there is plenty to distinguish a man from a woman. They have bodies designed for different things. If, as the Utah scientists propose, Jews adapted to their environment to produce better businessmen (and not better farmers or soldiers), then why couldn't men or women have adapted to their particular environments in a similar way? Maybe -- just maybe -- there's a link between not being able to express your feelings and solving Fermat's Last Theorem? (Notice the question mark.) I understand full well that beliefs in racial or ethnic superiority or inferiority have accounted for tragedies beyond comprehension -- everything from the Holocaust in Europe to slavery in America. But at root, these were ideologies in which facts either did not matter or were concocted to serve a predetermined end. This is what happened with Summers. He was shouted down not because he was wrong, but because he ought to be wrong; not because he might not be right, but because he should not be right. It did not matter to many of his critics that at least since the 1980s, researchers have found boys doing better at math than girls -- not all boy and all girls, mind you, just those at the highest ranges of achievement. Among the very best, boys are the very bestest.”
But what I’ve suggested is that while it’s most possible that Women would not be much better suited (on the whole) to outperform Men at Math…they would be suited to do a MUCH Better Job of running the World.
We’ve had – what? – four thousand years of male dominated Nations (kingdoms, empires, villages, communities, whatever…) and the world really isn’t that much better off to the degree of peaceful cooperation and functioning than it was during the Egyptian consolidation of Upper and Lower Mesopotamia, the Roman expansion of the Empire, the Huns invading Europe, the Crusades, WWI, WWII or our now WWIII (as some call our “War on Terrorism”).
So, for those of you who haven’t followed my occasional megalomaniac rants:
It’s Time to Let Women Run the World.
Hey, it couldn’t be half as bad the Crap going on today – and might just be a Whole Lot Better!!!
Karen on 06.17.05 @ 05:07 AM CST