There are significant biological differences between men and women

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand there it is – there really are differences between women and men therefore it’s fine to discriminate against women and Tim Hunt wuz robbed.


Ophelia Benson ‏@OpheliaBenson 3 hours ago
@jonrotten3111 Not at all. Job comes with tenure, pay, rights. Hon position does not. Hon position can be revoked at any time.

jonrotten31 ‏@jonrotten3111 3 hours ago
@OpheliaBenson so they revoked his position over his comments without giving him a chance to apologise or explain.

Ophelia Benson ‏@OpheliaBenson
@jonrotten3111 Imagine Hunt telling a group of black scientists they should be in segregated labs.

jonrotten31 ‏@jonrotten3111
@OpheliaBenson not a good analogy because there are significant biological differences between men and women, not between races

Note that “jonrotten” uses a photo of Hitchens as his thumbnail. People who use photos of Hitchens for their thumbnails are guaranteed to be assholes.


  1. monad says

    Sheesh, Tim Hunt did have a chance to apologize. And he did take that chance to say he was sorry and to explain – only the explanation was that he stood by the objectionable remarks and was just being honest. But I guess that can be written out of the narrative too.

  2. says


    Even, hypothetically, if there were significant differences, then it would be all the more reason not to discriminate!!!

    Imagine if someone proffered the argument that it was OK to make fun of people with Downs Syndrome because, after all, there are signficant differences… What a horrible, horrible position to adopt. Civilization’s purpose is to protect and assist and enhance the quality of life to those individuals who came up unlucky in the genetic lottery or subsequent events.

  3. Hj Hornbeck says

    Quoting JS Hyde never gets old.

    The striking result is that 30% of the effect sizes are in the close-to-zero range, and an additional 48% are in the small range. That is, 78% of gender differences are small or close to zero. This result is similar to that of Hyde and Plant (1995), who found that 60% of effect sizes for gender differences were in the small or close-to-zero range. The small magnitude of these effects is even more striking given that most of the meta-analyses addressed the classic gender differences questions—that is, areas in which gender differences were reputed to be reliable, such as mathematics performance, verbal ability, and aggressive
    behavior. For example, despite Tannen’s (1991) assertions, gender differences in most aspects of communication are small. Gilligan (1982) has argued that males and females speak in a different moral “voice,” yet meta-analyses show that gender differences in moral reasoning and moral orientation are small (Jaffee & Hyde, 2000). […]
    It is time to consider the costs of overinflated claims of gender differences. Arguably, they cause harm in numerous realms, including women’s opportunities in the workplace, couple conflict and communication, and analyses of self-esteem problems among adolescents. Most important, these claims are not consistent with the scientific data.
    Hyde, Janet Shibley. “The gender similarities hypothesis.” American psychologist 60.6 (2005): 581.

  4. Rob says

    So, women are (to slightly misquote the song) “friends with breasts and all the rest”. However, in my experience, women I know are not that different from men I know except in matters of obvious socialisation. Women scientists have consistently been amongst my most valued and admired colleagues throughout my working life and so frankly jonrotton can go fuck himself.

  5. chrislawson says

    Of course there are major biological differences between men and women. The question is whether there are biological differences in the ability to work as scientists that are sufficiently large to empirically discriminate against women in science. And the answer is no, there are not, and anyone who says otherwise is looking for a fake biological excuse to pursue old-fashioned culture-based sexism.

    We discriminate against people all the time — we don’t let people with serious vision impairment drive cars; we don’t let people with HIV donate blood; we don’t let children with anaphylactic peanut allergy eat peanuts. But all of these are justified by (i) reams of scientific evidence and (ii) justifiable public health and safety concerns. Discriminating against women in science is just moronic and unfair. And if people like Tim Hunt can’t work with women, then they should be the ones who are excluded from labs.

  6. says

    not a good analogy because there are significant biological differences between men and women, not between races

    Hidden behind this statement is the boring old assumption that women need to dress a certain way, or be segregated apart from men, because men simply cannot control themselves around women. It’s insulting to men and oppressive of women, and because it’s an invalid assumption, the analogy to racial segregation was perfectly apropos.

    Also, it’s interesting that the Dawkins’ side is focusing narrowly on Hunt’s desire to segregate science labs. If women are so emotionally fragile and weepy and men are so unable to control themselves around women, shouldn’t the segregation be mandated across all professions? Let’s just go straight to being Saudi Arabia, if these things are so real. That men and women work together effectively in almost any profession you can think of, really underscores the ridiculousness of this “debate”. Hunt’s words were nothing more than a reflection of his (apparently long-held) belief that women just shouldn’t be in science, his wife and a few others notwithstanding.

  7. =8)-DX says

    @MrFancyPants, wasn’t Hunts official position that he was talking about the problems *he* had in dealing with female scientists, *his* inability to separate his romantic and professional life. I guess.

  8. David Evans says

    @=8)-DX, Tim Hunt’s closing line was “when you criticize them, they cry”. That’s about them, not about him (unless he has a special ability to make women cry, in which case I think we should be told).

  9. chrislawson says

    =8)-DX, yes Hunt did say that, but he also said women were fragile to criticism and that he advocated gender-segregated labs as a solution rather than the more obvious solution of people like him learning to manage inappropriate emotions.

  10. latsot says


    People who use photos of Hitchens for their thumbnails are guaranteed to be assholes.

    Yeah, he might as well go the whole hog and call himself skepticaljohnrottenelleventyone.

    It would make it even easier to ignore him.

  11. John Morales says

    Regarding this proposition:

    … there really are differences between women and men therefore it’s fine to discriminate against women …

    I find it deplorable that it is not obvious to everyone that whether or not such differences exist, the only relevant discriminant for suitability to a particular position is the meeting of the necessary selection criteria, so that any such differences are an utter irrelevance to the making of that determination… except when gender itself is a criterion.

  12. says

    3 things happens when you have girls in the lab. Wrong mr. Hunt, there are 4 things that happens when you have “girls” in the labs and the 4th one is that when you mess up with them, you get fucked.

  13. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    People who use photos of Hitchens for their thumbnails are guaranteed to be assholes.

    Not to mention naming himself after one of the biggest jackasses in music. And I’m saying this as a huge fan of both Public Image Ltd. and the Sex Pistols (despite their many problematic elements).

  14. khms says

    Did they take away that honorary position? I thought he resigned before they could even talk to him?

  15. johnthedrunkard says

    Humans have the LEAST sexual dimorphism of all the primates. And how does Mr Rotten determine how significant racial differences might be?

    Koreans are significantly shorter than Sub-Saharan Africans…just think of the expense of adjusting the height of lab-benches. And the poor White guys having to duck under the edge of the fume-hoods….

  16. says

    The least of all the primates? I don’t think that’s right. Gibbons and siamangs for instance look like twins, and then think of lemurs, to say nothing of many monkey species.

  17. says

    These people appealing to differences between the sexes to justify discrimination and prejudice are fools. The different outcomes are just as likely due to how we treat the sexes differently. Forcing people down particular social paths will have an effect. An effect that likely affects many issues involving sex and gender.

    Some people are desperate to keep the social tools based on lies. I want to know more about why.

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