Thursday, January 07, 2010

Girls 'are the equal of boys at maths' claims recent study

The journal article underlying this report was not yet online at the time of writing but there is an extended summary here. The research seems to be based on school tests rather than IQ tests. That is rather stupid. Girls mature faster so are mentally older than boys of the same chronological age. Girls also work harder at school. It is in adulthood that underlying differences have to be sought and there is no doubt about the findings there.

The journal reference is: Nicole M. Else-Quest, Janet Shibley Hyde, Marcia C. Linn. Cross-National Patterns of Gender Differences in Mathematics: A Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 2010; 136 (1): 103-127. Excerpt from a popular summary below

Girls are just as good at maths as boys but fail to pursue the subject because they lack confidence in their abilities, a global study has found. Research among almost half a million students in 69 countries debunked the myth that boys are better at maths.

But the stereotype is putting talented girls off following careers related to the subject, such as engineering, information technology and science, according to the U.S. researchers.

The study, by a team from Villanova University in Philadelphia, was based on international tests taken by 493,495 students. Professor Nicole Else-Quest, from the university, said: ‘These results show that girls will perform at the same level as the boys when they are given the right educational tools and have visible female role models excelling in mathematics. ‘Stereotypes about female inferiority in mathematics are a distinct contrast to the scientific data.’ She said the results showed an even spread of scores between girls and boys.

The research, published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin, also looked at the level of confidence both boys and girls had when completing the tests. ‘Despite overall similarities in math skills, boys felt significantly more confident in their abilities than girls did and were more motivated to do well,’ said Professor Else-Quest.



Intellectuals and Society: Part II

by Thomas Sowell

Ideas are such intangible things that it is hard to believe that they have had a huge impact on the lives of people who are not intellectuals and who, in many cases, have paid little attention to those ideas. Yet both secular and religious ideas have moved the emotions of many-- and have moved leaders who moved armies.

When we look back on the Spanish Inquisition, on the Crusades of the past and the Jihads of the past and present, we see chilling examples of the effects of ideas. But the secular ideologies of the 20th century killed millions more people in Germany, Russia and China-- and similarly in pursuit of higher goals, even if those ideals were used cynically by those with power, as in the past.

If there is any lesson in the history of ideas, it is that good intentions tell you nothing about the actual consequences. But intellectuals who generate ideas do not have to pay the consequences.

Academic intellectuals are shielded by the principles of academic freedom and journalists in democratic societies are shielded by the principle of freedom of the press. Seldom do those who produce or peddle dangerous, or even fatal, ideas have to pay a price, even in a loss of credibility.

Who blames Rachel Carson, an environmentalist icon, because her crusading writings against DDT led to the ban of this insecticide in countries around the world-- followed by a resurgence of malaria that killed, and continues to kill, millions of people in tropical Third World countries?

Even political leaders have been judged by how noble their ideas sounded, rather than by how disastrous their consequences were. Woodrow Wilson-- our only president with a Ph.D.-- was an academic intellectual for years before entering politics, and his ideas about a war to end wars, making the world safe for democracy, and the right of self-determination of peoples, have been revered in utter disregard of what happened when Wilson's notions were put into practice in the real world.

No one today takes seriously the idea that the First World War was a war to end wars, and many now see it as setting the stage for a Second World War. Indeed there were those who predicted this result at the time. But they were not listened to, much less lionized, like Woodrow Wilson.

Like many intellectuals, Woodrow Wilson assumed that if things were bad, "change" would automatically make them better. But the autocratic governments in Russia and Germany that Wilson abhorred were followed by totalitarian regimes so oppressive and murderous that they made the past despots look almost like sweethearts.

As for the self-determination of peoples, that turned out in practice to mean having whole peoples' fates determined by foreigners, such as Woodrow Wilson, who joined in the dismemberment of empires, with dire consequences in the 1930s, as Hitler picked off the small and vulnerable newly created nations, one by one-- an operation that would have been far more dangerous if he had had to face the larger empires of which they had been part before the First World War. To this day, we are still living with the consequences of carving up the Ottoman Empire to create far more unstable and dangerous states in the Middle East. But Woodrow Wilson's words sounded great-- and that is what he and other intellectuals are judged by.

It may seem strange that so many people of great intellect have said and done so many things whose consequences ranged from counterproductive to catastrophic. Yet it is not so surprising when we consider whether anybody has ever had the range of knowledge required to make the sweeping kinds of decisions that so many intellectuals are prone to make, especially when they pay no price for being wrong.

Intellectuals and their followers have often been overly impressed by the fact that intellectuals tend, on average, to have more knowledge than other individuals in their society. What they have overlooked is that intellectuals have far less knowledge than the total knowledge possessed by the millions of other people whom they disdain and whose decisions they seek to override.

We have had to learn the consequences of elite preemption the hard way-- and many of us have yet to learn that lesson.



If You Can Find a Better Deal, Take It!

by Ann Coulter. I had no idea that Ann Coulter was so Christ-filled but this is as good a sermon as any pastor ever gave -- JR

Someone mentioned Christianity on television recently and liberals reacted with their usual howls of rage and blinking incomprehension. On a Fox News panel discussing Tiger Woods, Brit Hume said, perfectly accurately: "The extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Hume's words, being 100 percent factually correct, sent liberals into a tizzy of sputtering rage, once again illustrating liberals' copious ignorance of Christianity. (Also illustrating the words of the Bible: "How is it you do not understand me when I speak? It is because you cannot bear to listen to my words." John 8:43.)

In The Washington Post, Tom Shales demanded that Hume apologize, saying he had "dissed about half a billion Buddhists on the planet." Is Buddhism about forgiveness? Because, if so, Buddhists had better start demanding corrections from every book, magazine article and blog posting ever written on the subject, which claims Buddhists don't believe in God, but try to become their own gods. I can't imagine that anyone thinks Tiger's problem was that he didn't sufficiently think of himself as a god, especially after that final putt in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last year.

In light of Shales' warning Hume about "what people are saying" about him, I hope Hume's a Christian, but that's not apparent from his inarguable description of Christianity. Of course, given the reaction to his remarks, apparently one has to be a regular New Testament scholar to have so much as a passing familiarity with the basic concept of Christianity.

On MSNBC, David Shuster invoked the "separation of church and television" (a phrase that also doesn't appear in the Constitution), bitterly complaining that Hume had brought up Christianity "out-of-the-blue" on "a political talk show." Why on earth would Hume mention religion while discussing a public figure who had fallen from grace and was in need of redemption and forgiveness? Boy, talk about coming out of left field!

What religion -- what topic -- induces this sort of babbling idiocy? (If liberals really want to keep people from hearing about God, they should give Him his own show on MSNBC.)

Most perplexing was columnist Dan Savage's indignant accusation that Hume was claiming that Christianity "offers the best deal -- it gives you the get-out-of-adultery-free card that other religions just can't." In fact, that's exactly what Christianity does. It's the best deal in the universe. (I know it seems strange that a self-described atheist and "radical sex advice columnist f*****" like Savage would miss the central point of Christianity, but there it is.)

God sent his only son to get the crap beaten out of him, die for our sins and rise from the dead. If you believe that, you're in. Your sins are washed away from you -- sins even worse than adultery! -- because of the cross. "He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:14. Surely you remember the cross, liberals -- the symbol banned by ACLU lawsuits from public property throughout the land?

Christianity is simultaneously the easiest religion in the world and the hardest religion in the world. In the no-frills, economy-class version, you don't need a church, a teacher, candles, incense, special food or clothing; you don't need to pass a test or prove yourself in any way. All you'll need is a Bible (in order to grasp the amazing deal you're getting) and probably a water baptism, though even that's disputed.

You can be washing the dishes or walking your dog or just sitting there minding your business hating Susan Sarandon and accept that God sent his only son to die for your sins and rise from the dead ... and you're in! "Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9.

If you do that, every rotten, sinful thing you've ever done is gone from you. You're every bit as much a Christian as the pope or Billy Graham. No fine print, no "your mileage may vary," no blackout dates. God ought to do a TV spot: "I'm God Almighty, and if you can find a better deal than the one I'm offering, take it."

The Gospel makes this point approximately 1,000 times. Here are a few examples at random: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23. In a boiling rage, liberals constantly accuse Christians of being "judgmental." No, we're relieved.

Christianity is also the hardest religion in the world because, if you believe Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead, you have no choice but to give your life entirely over to Him. No more sexual promiscuity, no lying, no cheating, no stealing, no killing inconvenient old people or unborn babies -- no doing what all the other kids do. And no more caring what the world thinks of you -- because, as Jesus warned in a prophecy constantly fulfilled by liberals: The world will hate you.

With Christianity, your sins are forgiven, the slate is wiped clean and your eternal life is guaranteed through nothing you did yourself, even though you don't deserve it. It's the best deal in the universe.




That other America: "As we tramp forth into 2010, America’s great divide widens. A recent Rasmussen poll shows a stark difference. Government workers see the economy getting better, while those in the private sector see it getting worse. Different perspective or different reality? Well, during this economic downturn, 6 percent of those in the private sector have lost their jobs, while public sector employment has dipped only 1 percent.”

CA: Schwarzenegger wants more federal loot: "California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday vowed to pry more dollars from the federal government, which he said took more than it gave, but left details on how to close a $19.9 billion state budget gap until later this week. In a state of the state speech, the governor said creating jobs was the top priority for his last year in office and proposed spending $500 million in worker training funded by part of the budget which is in surplus. … [he] called for tax reform, protection for higher education spending — and more money from the federal government.”

Obama orders air marshal surge by February 1: "President Barack Obama has ordered a ’surge’ of federal air marshals to be in place by Feb. 1 in what officials said was a ‘race against time,’ with other suicide bombers believed to be in the terrorist pipeline, although there is no specific imminent threat, federal officials told ABC News. Under a preliminary plan, the officials said the already existing federal air marshal force of more than 3,200 personnel would be deployed almost exclusively to overseas flights flown by U.S. carriers.”

That’ll show’em: "As Matt Yglesias has argued, every Al Qaeda attack via the civil aviation system — even the failed ones — leads to new security measures that impose additional real costs on air travel and the sectors of the American economy dependent on it. Richard Reid tried to smuggle a bomb in his shoe, and everyone now has to take their shoes off before boarding. Someone was rumored to be planning an attack with liquid explosives, so now everyone’s searched for shampoo bottles. If Al Qaeda were really smart, they’d have somebody smuggle a bomb in their rectum; the resulting TSA policy of rectal searches for everybody would shut down the entire airline industry and throw the U.S. the rest of the way into a Great Depression. Every time the U.S. national security state reacts to another terrorist incident, you can almost hear Bin Laden and his cronies giggling in a cave somewhere: ‘Look! They’re doing it! The stupid schmucks are doing it! Hee hee hee!’”

Trust the people: "It is instructive to note the similarities between the incidents surrounding Richard ‘Shoebomber’ Reid, Umar ‘Christmas Bomber’ Abdulmutallab, and even United Airlines Flight 93 on the day of the 9/11 attacks: Government Security measures were unable to prevent the attacks. 100% safety will never be possible — not in the real world. Each time a new security measure is used, would-be terrorists will simply use a different ploy. Obama’s ‘tightening’ of security on flights originating in a list of 14 nations is doomed to failure, as terrorists simply set up bases, obtain passports, and choose to depart from nations not on that list. But there is a more important similarity between these events: Flight 93 missed its Washington target because passengers took action and subdued the terrorists. Richard Reid’s plot failed because passengers subdued him and bound him with seatbelt extensions and headphone cords, and a doctor on the flight plied him with valium. Umar Abdulmutallab failed because a passenger subdued him.”


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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" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


1 comment:

randian said...

I'd like to see the math test they gave. If it's anything like IQ tests, it's intentionally biased in such a way as to cause boys and girls to get the same average scores.