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February 23, 2005

Just guessing...

...but I'm guessing Fred Reed doesn't think too much of the Master of the Donjon here at Castle Argghhh!!! See if you don't agree. Not that I argue much with his premise... but those last paragraphs bite a bit.

Fred's musings start here.

Summers Falls In Winter's Spring

Personally, I'd Rather Have A Possum As President Of Harvard

February 20, 2005

By Fred Reed

It seems that Larry Summers, a timid man mysteriously president of Harvard, has suggested that men might be better than women at mathematics. He has been beset by the fanged mouselets of academe, and is now busily cringing like a puppy who has wet the rug. We must not mention what the correct do not want to hear.

Yet maybe we should. Let us reflect on differences between the sexes:

Men are taller, heavier, stronger, more durable, and more enduring. They have higher erythrocyte counts, greater cardiac volume, build muscle faster with exercise, and are more strongly constructed. All of this is perfectly well known scientifically, having been studied to death by exercise physiologists. It tracks with daily observation, with athletic records, with attempts by the military to train women as soldiers (they are much weaker and have many more injuries in training). It is why you don't see women in the NFL, why the sexes have separate athletic teams. On the other hand, women live longer.

Intellectually the differences are more complex, but equally well known among people who study such things. Men are distinctly better in mean mathematical-logical-spatial reasoning, and either very slightly ahead or very slightly behind in mean verbal ability.

Large snippage to encourage you to visit Fred's site to read the rest and dodge the wholesale slaughter of intellectual property rights. The Whole Thing can be read here.

He sums up here.

Men can be civilized at the local or neighborhood level. Well-bred and preferably educated males, whether in Switzerland, Fukuoka, or the white suburbs of Washington, go to work, invent things, try to better the world, and only very occasionally kill each other. Boys, if raised to be gentlemen, usually will be. Of course this only works if women are ladies. It comes down to a society's instilling, and insisting on, high standards of behavior. Dueling should be discouraged.

At the global level, things are more difficult. The male readiness to think in terms of abstractions makes the world a chess game. Combativeness easily trumps morality. It is men, not women, who fantasize about nuking China. Given that almost all countries raise armies and train them to fight, it is to be expected that they will want to. The unprincipled tend to rise to power. I suppose the best hope is that countries will become sufficiently integrated with each other, as Western Europe seems to have done, that fighting just doesn't seem attractive. Probably a long shot.

For the record - I'm not for nuking China. I fantasize about girls, mostly SWWBO, and armored cars. And I really like soft, cuddly, furry critters. I've risked my life to save turtles on a highway (back when the Armorer had some moves... now... well, the turtle's in trouble if there's a lot of traffic... But I've got a house full of kittens and puppies (and a basement with a were-kitten in it - if you're a regular comment reader, you know what I mean).