politics and culture: February 2005 Archives

Harvard University president Lawrence Summers has suffered acrimonious condemnation, and may have jeopardized his job, for suggesting that the underrepresentation of women in engineering and some scientific fields may be due in part to inherent differences in the intellectual abilities of the sexes. But Summers could be right.
(MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer)

I think that it is obvious that there are differences in general between men and women. One is not superior to the other, and both can be taught to do all kinds of tasks. One of the greatest physicists in history was a woman, Marie Curie. Albert Schweitzer M.D. was known more for his nurturance than for his technical skill as a physician. I personally think that the disparity in the number of women vs men in the so-called hard sciences has more to do with a 'one size fits all' theory of education than with any innate differences in intelligence. I learned math and science in a very different way than my brothers did. I actually know and use more of these than either of my brothers do, also. But I flunked chemistry in High School because the way it was taught was so alien to my way of thinking and learning. My brothers have excellent language skills and use them regularly - but they both struggled in High School because the ways in which language was taught were oriented to a feminine way of learning. To quote Boston Globe columnist Cathy Young, "Summers also touched feminism's third rail: biological differences between the sexes."

Another factor is that women, by and large, are simply unwilling to sacrifice their legitimate desires for family on the altar of scientific ambition. The last page of Sunday's Boston Globe magazine (alas, not available on-line) pointed out that the tragedy isn't that most women are unwilling to put in the 80 hour workweek routinely, but that most men are. I used to get lots of folks saying to me, "you're so smart, why don't you just become a doctor?" to which my reply is pretty much, "I don't want to give up 11 years of my life". My family came first. We wanted a large family and I knew that would mean that there would be other things that wouldn't happen. I have few regrets, and none at all about having six children.

I watch the struggles that our OB residents go through, and it makes me sad to see what choices these young women are forced to make. The work week for residents was recently decreased from the triple digits to the double digits, and there is still wailing from the older docs that the new residents aren't paying their dues, and that they aren't going to be as well qualified when they graduate.

The bus came by


I have lots of internet friends, some of whom I may never meet in real life. One is Anne, who I have known for quite some time through the Association of Christian Childbirth Professionals. She posted this little reminescence, from which I snagged this quiz.
I missed the bus, myself. I have always seemed to be out of synch with my peers, either too early or too late on some trend. Maybe that's a good thing, I don't know.

Thank you Peggy Noonan


The Blogs must be Crazy
And thank you Bene Diction for finding this.
I especially like her item #6

It is not true that there are no controls. It is not true that the blogosphere is the Wild West. What governs members of the blogosphere is what governs to some degree members of the MSM, and that is the desire for status and respect. In the blogosphere you lose both if you put forward as fact information that is incorrect, specious or cooked. You lose status and respect if your take on a story that is patently stupid. You lose status and respect if you are unprofessional or deliberately misleading. And once you've lost a sufficient amount of status and respect, none of the other bloggers link to you anymore or raise your name in their arguments. And you're over. The great correcting mechanism for people on the Web is people on the Web.

There are blogs that carry political and ideological agendas. But everyone is on to them and it's mostly not obnoxious because their agendas are mostly declared.

"Bringing it all back home"

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The ever erudite Mr. Luse


posts his review of Million Dollar Baby.
all I can say is, "Amen, tell it brother!"

Fascinating reading

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Demographics and the Culture Wars
American birth rates today are the highest in the industrialized world yet even those are nonetheless just below the replacement level of 2.1.
Thanks to my dear friend at Keel the Pot.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the politics and culture category from February 2005.

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