Saturday, December 08, 2007

Differences in female abilities

Post below lifted from Taranto. See the original for links

From the New York Times:
Girls won top honors for the first time in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, one of the nation's most coveted student science awards, which were announced yesterday at New York University.

Janelle Schlossberger and Amanda Marinoff, both 17 and seniors at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School on Long Island, split the first prize--a $100,000 scholarship--in the team category for creating a molecule that helps block the reproduction of drug-resistant tuberculosis bacteria.

Isha Himani Jain, 16, a senior at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pa., placed first in the individual category for her studies of bone growth in zebra fish, whose tail fins grow in spurts, similar to the way children's bones do. She will get a $100,000 scholarship.

The three girls' victories is "wonderful news, but I can't honestly say it's shocking," said Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Hopkins helped start a national discussion about girls and science two years ago when she walked out of a talk by Harvard University's president, Lawrence H. Summers, after he suggested that innate differences between men and women might be one reason that fewer women than men succeed in math and science careers. Dr. Summers apologized during the ensuing furor; he announced his resignation as Harvard's president 13 months later.

How pathetic is it that the Times can't report on these young ladies' accomplishments without using it as an opportunity to take potshots at Larry Summers for failing to adhere to feminist orthodoxy? But since they brought it up, we feel obliged to point out that this in no way disproves anything Summers said. He did not claim that no women succeed in math and science, only that fewer women than men do. That it is newsworthy when girls win a science contest only serves to underscore Summers's point.

Moreover, as intelligence expert Charles Murray noted in a 2005 Commentary essay, the differences between men and women are more pronounced in more abstract fields such as mathematics and theoretical physics than in less abstract ones like biology and medicine, the areas in which the girls won the prize:
In the humanities, the most abstract field is philosophy--and no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world's great philosophical traditions. In the sciences, the most abstract field is mathematics, where the number of great female mathematicians is approximately two (Emmy Noether definitely, Sonya Kovalevskaya maybe). In the other hard sciences, the contributions of great women have usually been empirical rather than theoretical, with leading cases in point being Henrietta Leavitt, Dorothy Hodgkin, Lise Meitner, IrSne Joliot-Curie and Marie Curie.

None of this is to disparage the accomplishments of the Siemens Competition winners. They have already accomplished more in science than any but a handful of women or men ever will, and we wish them all the success in the world if they choose a career in science (or, for that matter, if they don't). But is it really necessary for Hopkins and the Times to superimpose upon these young people's achievement a political agenda based on assumptions that cannot withstand honest scrutiny?



Was Key Intel for NIE Planted by Iran? "Given that the Iranians knew we were trying to uncover as much information as we could regarding their nuclear program, is it to be believed that they were incapable of planting written notes and engaging in over the air conversations that would mislead America? Recall, that before the Iraq War, Colin Powell played a tape of Iraqis discussing what was believed to be WMD. Surely, the Iranians knew we were eavesdropping. Just as Saddam Hussein misled observers regarding his nuclear program to scare off his foes, the Iranians could very well be doing the reverse-creating a false picture to disarm its opponents. An Iranian source was also credited with bringing documents to the attention of Western authorities. The possibility of a double agent is explored here. A similar human source, Curveball, gave us false information regarding Iraq and WMD. Has history repeated itself?"

No Journo Wants a Million Dollars?: "As you may recall, at the American Spectator dinner, T. Boone Pickens offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove anything the Swift Veterans said was wrong. John F . Kerry offered to take him up on that but has remained silent when Pickens asked him to put up the proof. Other Tom, an online friend, has asked a useful question at Just One Minute: "I continue to wonder: inasmuch as Boone Pickens's offer of a million bucks was made to "anyone"--not just John Kerry--who could prove any SwiftVet allegation false, why have none of the journalists who routinely describe those allegations as "discredited" come forward to claim the prize? Do they simply not like money?"

Highly informative news item: "Sacramento police are looking for a man who robbed a person at gunpoint in the south Sacramento area Thursday morning. The armed robbery occurred around 7:42 a.m. in the 6600 block of Valley Hi Drive, a police dispatcher said. It does not appear that the victim was injured. Further details about the incident are not yet known." [Political correctness blocks details and impedes crime-solving. A wonder that "man" was mentioned]

A Word of Caution on the Bush Mortgage Plan: "At the very least, if the Bush Administration plan is truly voluntary, it's unnecessary. Loan holders and servicers have plenty of incentive to do that themselves. No one sitting in a central office can hope to set the right mortgage terms for millions of borrowers, lenders, and investors. Like all so-called five-year plans, the five-year interest rate freeze by its design would pretty much have only negative effects and worsen the credit slowdown. While apparently no taxpayer dollars are directly involved (at least not yet), by pressuring the rewrite of millions of mortgage contracts, the Paulson plan could have even greater costs on the economy as well as future aspiring homeowners than even a direct taxpayer bailout. The credit market depends on the sanctity of contracts for everything from the financing of mortgages to new small businesses. But if regulators can negate contracts anytime there is a problem, much of this credit could dry up." [For more details of the Bush plan, see here]

Fox Derangement Syndrome at the New York Times : "The folks in the bubble over at the New York Times are whining that the Fox News Channel won't show an absurd ad from far-left actor Danny Glover and the even further left Center for Constitutional Rights, run by Marxist Columbia professor and Hillary Clinton donor Michael Ratner."


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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