February 19, 2005

Pinker on the Summers Flap

This piece by Steve Pinker contains interesting comments on the merits of Summers's now-famous talk, and closes with a comment on the fminist reaction:
"To believe something with a perfect faith, to be incapable of apostasy, is a sign of fidelity to the group and loyalty to the cause. Unfortunately, the psychology of taboo is incompatible with the ideal of scholarship, which is that any idea is worth thinking about, if only to determine whether it is wrong.

At some point in the history of the modern women's movement, the belief that men and women are psychologically indistinguishable became sacred. The reasons are understandable: Women really had been held back by bogus claims of essential differences. Now anyone who so much as raises the question of innate sex differences is seen as 'not getting it' when it comes to equality between the sexes. The tragedy is that this mentality of taboo needlessly puts a laudable cause on a collision course with the findings of science and the spirit of free inquiry."

Free inquiry. What a concept!

And if we're going to have an orthodoxy, can't we have a more interesting one than feminism?

No comments: