Sunday, January 23, 2005

Feminists owe Larry Summers

and women an apology.

The very notion of "underrepresentation," based as it is on the implicit goal of numerical parity, greatly prejudices our ability to understand why women make the choices that they do. If women gravitate to the hard sciences less than to other fields, we ought to grant them the intelligence of sentient creatures, recognizing the potential loneliness of such choices while trying to understand why groups and individuals act as they do. It is not Mr. Summers who owes women an apology; it is the complainers and agitators who owe both him and all of us an apology for trying to shut down discussion of an "inequality" that is not likely to disappear.
UPDATE: More cricism by Patricia Houseman

What is it like right now to be a student of Nancy Hopkins? To see your dissertation advisor as so fragile that she walks out of an academic meeting because she can't stand hearing an idea? What are students to do if they reach conclusions at odds with her thinking? What is it like to attend a university where the committee on the status of women feels free to chastise the president for discussing a legitimate topic supported by decades of peer-reviewed scientific research? What does his willingness to back off when confronted with their pressure say to students who want to pursue research on that topic? Or to students who want to pursue research on any controversial subject?