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Mega Science For Choads Debunking

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, July 8, 2008 3:25 EDT

I wish Slate would let me embed their frigging videos, because I’d love to embed the one they have up summarizing a series up by Amanda Schaffer examining all the non-science masquerading as science that claims to find vast differences between men and women’s brains, differences that always point to women being a biologically inferior sex—stupid, talks too much, illogical, only good for being fucked and diapering babies. Sadly, there are now women writing books in this vein, though of course they dress up the differences in language that pretends that they’re not claiming that women are inferior and should be relegated to second class status. If you slap a woman’s name on a book that claims women are inferior, it gives it more credibility, which it shouldn’t, because believers should automatically assume that the female author is as stupid as the rest of her gender supposedly is. But you know, you can’t claim it’s sexist if a woman said it.

I say bullshit. But read Schaffer’s easy and quick series to see why. Claims about scientific discoveries of women’s natural inferiority are usually not worth the paper they’re printed on, but they sell well because they appeal to people’s “common sense”. But what we perceive to be true is rarely correlated directly with what is true, and there’s many reasonable explanations for the beliefs that Schaffer debunks in this piece.

Women talk more than men. This is because people compare how much you talk to a baseline of how much you should talk ideally. The baseline for men is “frequently” and for women it’s “little to never”. Women do talk more than our allotted baseline, but as it turns out, we don’t talk more than men. I mean, I do. But I’m the exception to the rule.

Women are more empathetic. This is the bait of praise (see, you’re better at something, isn’t that special?), but the switch is that women’s supposed greater empathy means that we get to have all the responsibility for family relations and worse, dancing around trying to read men’s brains and adapt our behavior to our partners (lesbians are completely left out of the equation, or assumed to be some kind of he-women), instead of men giving an inch. You see, men would love to do nice things for us and care about us in return, but they can’t. So all the emotional work is yours, ladies. Schaffer shows that what little evidence there is for women’s greater empathy is muddled and points not to “hardwired” differences, but environmental ones. If men had as much responsibility for emotional work as women, they’d be as empathetic.

Women are less logical. Pretty much all attempts to shoehorn women out of the higher-paying fields of math and science into the arts or even the nurturing fields is based on a single study showing men are a little better at rotating 3D objects in their head. You just know that if it had gone the other way around, they’d claim that this shows that women are evolved to spend all our time at home rearranging furniture.

Anyway, these are just my takes on the whole shebang. Schaffer’s got the goods, science-wise.

Netroots Nation Panel!

By Jesse Taylor

Amanda’s post just reminded me, but I’ll be moderating a panel at Netroots Nation called Different Tones and Wider Nets, with a panel of stars, from the moderately shrill to the intensely shrill: Amanda Marcotte, Some Shitty Site Atrios, Eschaton Digby, Hullabaloo Rude Pundit, Rude Pundit Kevin Drum, Political Animal We’ll also be co-hosting a party the last night of NN with one Mr. Jim Hightower, who you may know from such awesome things as…


Campus Progress panel

By Amanda Marcotte

I’m currently in D.C. getting ready for a presentation tomorrow on reproductive justice for the Campus Progress National Conference. If you’re coming to the convention, I’d be much obliged if you could come see our talk. Should be some interesting stuff, and I definitely like doing presentations for the young,…


And From The Ashes Of Destruction…

By Jesse Taylor

Please please please please please goddammit please. If there’s a way that Carly Fiorina and Mitt Romney can get melded together in some tragic-yet-incredible explosion to form the World’s Worst Running Mate, I heartily support it. Perhaps in some event that also consumes the Crocs factory whole, leaving its owner…


Obvious Limitations

By Jesse Taylor

Matt talks about term limits: It really does seem a bit odd that a mayor with a 67 percent approval rating should be forced from office because of a term limits law. I suppose I understand the theory that presidential-level term limits serve as a check on tyranny, but there…


This Is The Movement That Won The Presidency…Twice

By Jesse Taylor
Monday, July 7, 2008 21:56 EDT

Redstate really is easy pickings, Jesus. From the “Obama will pawn the silverware” files: This guy will sell anything. So much for the new politics. Obama’s campaign is more motivated by money and fundraising than any campaign in recent memory. One wonders if this will continue into an Obama presidency.…


Such An Uncle Sam

By Jesse Taylor

I’m supposed to be shocked by the image in this post, according to David Brody. I’m more impressed that they even changed the skin color on the hand, myself. Let’s be clear here – anti-choicers are always going to paint every Democrat with even the slightest pro-choice inclinations as someone…


Ken Hutcherson: Seattle government official is racist

By pams

Oh please. From the “news” organ of Don Wildmon’s American Family Association, a propaganda piece to shore up the tattered rep of Seattle-area homobigot Ken Hutcherson, who is a card-carrying member of the professional “Christian victim” set. You’ll recall that Hutcherson spoke at Mount Si High School’s MLK, Jr. Day…


Profiled by the MSM: article on my blogging in the N&O

By pams

My email and voicemail were full of reactions to today’s Raleigh News & Observer’s profile of me by Sadia Latifi, “Blogger gets respect: Durham resident writes on progressive issues.” It’s a good look at my blog, with quite a bit of personal background that people may not know about me…


They Can Sell A Mil Sayin’ Nothing On A Track

By Jesse Taylor

What a constant contingent of reporters trailing a presidential candidate gets you: It’s been one week since the Obama campaign agreed to a “protective pool” or “bodywatch” — allowing reporters to follow the Illinois Democrat, not only in his public moments, but his private moments of down time off the…