Tuesday, December 09, 2008

No Veritas Allowed

Former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary and current Barack Obama economic advisor Larry Summers famously was forced out as President of Harvard University after suggesting that the relative lack of women professors in the scientific disciplines might result in part from inherent genetic differences between men and women. He did not say that was the only factor, but it was one possible contributor.

As Washington Post syndicated columnist Ruth Marcus points out, Mr. Summers' statements were consistent with current research. A somewhat higher number of males than females have test scores placing them in the highest percentile in math. In fact, such tests reveal that males are somewhat more likely to be either really smart or really stupid. Females, like males, can be found on all points on the spectrum, but they are a bit less likely to be found at the extremes.

Yet, in a statement that reveals how bizarre American society has become, Ms. Marcus concludes that Mr. Summers was "boneheaded" to make those statements because of "the job that he held." Really? He was the President of an Ivy League university. So, a bastion of academic inquiry is not a place where one can be bold about theoretical formulations or the pursuit of truth?

Hat Tip: Michael Barone


Blogger Lanette said...

While you certainly have a valid point with regards to academic inquiry, it should be noted that Ms. Marcus' final conclusion is that ultimately, Mr. Summers was let go over political correctness more so than sexism, perceived or real.

Political correctness needs to be dug into with more depth. Not only does it destroy individual lives, but there are serious implications of harm on our society.

7:57 AM  
Blogger MCO said...

That political correctness trumped academic inquiry, not to mention inconvenient facts, was precisely my point.

11:50 AM  

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