Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Makes You Feel Like A Man

The Onion, "Girls = Boys In Math."


Lisa said...

Although it has been misquoted in numerous newspapers, the NSF study found that although girls and boys perform equally at the mean, there is higher variance in male performance, which indicates more "geniuses and dullards" among men.


- Female engineer

Tim said...

I guess Goldilocks's porridge is "just right."

This was Larry Summers's argument as to why Harvard didn't have more tenured female scientists. There are more male geniuses, and Harvard hired geniuses.

The problem wasn't exactly Summers' science, or even his application of it (although that was shaky too), but that it didn't answer the question that was asked (why Harvard had passed on hiring so many talented and qualified female scientists). It assumed that these female scientists didn't exist (or Harvard would have hired them) and then sought to explain this fact. Which, like the argument itself, was true in the aggregate (IQ variation in the populace) but false in the particular (the actually existing pool of PhDs and accomplished scientists that Harvard was drawing on, and in some cases adding to shortlists, but not making offers).

Mostly, though, the old mathematician in me chuckled when I read "Luke Casey's" quote: "But linear algebra was the only thing that ever made me feel like a man."