As you may have seen via this comment on A fabulous Manly Meal, Harriet Hall has a long post on Gender Differences and Why They Don’t Matter So Much. The key point is –
Average Differences Don’t Tell Us Anything About Individuals
The point that often gets overlooked in these discussions is that gender differences are averages for the group. They are irrelevant to a discussion of what jobs any individual woman is qualified for or interested in. And it doesn’t mean we can predict what proportion of men or women will gravitate to any given area of human endeavor.
Precisely. I keep saying exactly that.
But even more interesting than the post, perhaps, is a comment by David Gorski (Orac, you know). It’s the 8th one down – there are no permalinks for comments.
To be fair, in another article Shermer did rather foolishly inflame the issue by calling the issue a “witch hunt” and including a mind-numbingly silly and gratuitous Nazi reference:
It was not one of Shermer’s finer moments, I’m afraid.
Also, to be fair, there is a misogyny problem in the skeptical movement. It’s hard not to come to that conclusion if you spend some time perusing the Slymepit:
We’ve given Gorski a hard time here a few times lately (on and off) for not calling out Shermer’s Nazi reference when he did call out a considerably milder one of mine. (Milder in the sense that I didn’t compare Grothe to Nazis, I compared blaming women for complaining to blaming Jews for complaining in 1936 [i.e. Nazi but pre-Final Solution] Germany.) So there we go: now he has. Fair’s fair.
But what he says about the misogyny problem and the slyme pit is even more striking. Exactly so, and thank you for saying so. Seriously.
Stephanie recorded a lot of examples the other day, ending with one for me.
“I’M A BIT OF A CUNT WHEN I’M ON ACID!!!”
Geddit? I’m ancient and disgusting, I’m a cunt, and I deserve some acid. Funny stuff.
Yes, we have a misogyny problem in the skeptical movement. If the sane part of the skeptical movement explicitly distances itself from that kind of shit the way David Gorski did, then the problem will become much smaller.