The president of Harvard University has caused a stir among academics by suggesting women have less "innate ability" at science and maths than men.
Former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers argued one group outperformed the other because of genetics, not just experience, the Boston Globe said.
Ah, women just don't have "the science gene". What an idiot.
, who attends Harvard, has this to say:
Fun czars aside, one very annoying thing about Harvard was that every so often you'd get some awful campus controversy and, since it was Harvard, the awful controversy would work its way into the national media. Robert Rubin then decided to go make this problem much worse by getting his good friend Larry Summers the job as President, apparently with orders to go piss people off every 9-18 months or so. Is President Summers' problem in this regard genetic, or is it the product of socialization? I couldn't say.
, however, thinks it's an overreaction:
These sorts of attacks irritate me to no end. There is legitimate research being done in the area that very much jives with Mr. Summers’ conclusions (if you can call them that). But it’s improper to talk about the results of this groundbreaking research because it might be misinterpreted by some as proof of superiority of one gender over another. The PC stormtroopers at it again. I don’t know what’s worse: that it happens or that it doesn’t suprise me anymore.
Sorry, I gotta got with Yglesias here...Summers sounds like a sexist goofball. Of course, another story I read said he is unwilling to release a transcript of the talk, so under those circumstances I have to go with descriptions of what he said, rather than verbatim comments.
He's the president of one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Women are underrepresented in science, and spewing this sort of crap surely isn't going to help that...unless it spurs women to prove him wrong.
I liked this bit:
Nancy Hopkins, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was one of the academics who walked out of the conference.
She said that, had she not done so, she "would have either blacked out or thrown up".