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1746 comments

I already knew that (0, Flamebait)

koreaman (835838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394392)

Bah with the research and the studies, I could have told you that in one second.

Re:I already knew that (5, Funny)

Begossi (652163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394539)

From Family Guy [familyguyquotes.com] :

Lois: I guarantee you a man made that commercial.
Peter: Of course a man made it. It's a commercial Lois, not a delicious thanksgiving dinner.

Re:I already knew that (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394568)


Harvard president says that women lack natural ability in math and science

Doesn't matter so long as they know

How hot to have the fucking oven for my dinner, fuck.

How cold to keep my fucking beer, fuck.

How to trim my fucking mullet, fuck.

What fucking channels Nascar and football are on, fuck.

How to fill the fucking Camaro, fuck.

but are females... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394394)

better at getting FP? I think NOT.

Re:but are females... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394406)

you fucking failed it, bitch

a joke (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394400)

Why shouldn't you buy a woman a watch?

There's a clock on the stove! ba-dum-kssh

Doesn't add up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394402)

Women control most money in us and they can't add? WTF...

Re:Doesn't add up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394469)

Maybe your money, you fucking pansy.

Lack of rational thinking (4, Insightful)

not_a_product_id (604278) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394405)

Not saying the guy's right but a lot of the comments I've heard seem to be based on this being automatically sexist as opposed to people showing good studies that demonstrate the this isn't at all correct.

More of a "You can't say that." than "That isn't correct.

Re:Lack of rational thinking (3, Funny)

kjshark (312401) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394424)

Must.....Control......Fist of Death.........

Re:Lack of rational thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394430)

Oh gee... so I guess at that particular faculty 1 time a week is gonna be sufficient for the coming year.... At least they can count that!

The phrasing of the blurb is misleading too. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394499)

And why shouldn't it be it's slashdot.

He said something to the effect of innate differences might play a significant role in why women generally don't excel in careers in math and science. One, duh. I haven't been to a "Maintain the Phalocracy" meeting in what? ever. Two he didn't say it was because math was hard. And Three, he didn't say it was because all women are born with a mint called a vagina some girls are born with the ability to mint a few singles day, and other hundreds by the truckload. Men are not so blessed. They have to be good at something or they starve to death and disappear from the statistics about people who aren't good at something.

The next big contraversial revalation will be that women are more emotional.

Re:Lack of rational thinking (4, Insightful)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394514)

The guy was being provacative but he was not being derogatory. He knew exactly what he said and what it would cause but he did not insult women's ability to achieve the highest levels of achademics.

I agree that people think first "You can't say something like that?!" before ever considering "That can't be correct can it?"

substantiation (4, Insightful)

brlewis (214632) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394524)

From the article, this guy says:
"It's possible I made some reference to innate differences," he said. He said people "would prefer to believe" that the differences in performance between the sexes are due to social factors, "but these are things that need to be studied."
And one of his critics:
"Here was this economist lecturing pompously (to) this room full of the country's most accomplished scholars on women's issues in science and engineering, and he kept saying things we had refuted in the first half of the day," said Denton, the outgoing dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Washington.

Now, who's substantiating his comments and who isn't?

Re:Lack of rational thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394529)

Of course, the open liberals can't listen to any kind of a new idea or evaluate it as a possibility. It takes a chauvinist to do that I guess ;). I don't know if he's right, and neither does he as he stated; but he certainly shouldn't be given a hard time for proposing the hypothesis. He apparently has preliminary work behind the hypothesis, so why are these "scientists" rejecting it as awful without waiting for the results further study?
I can tell ya, I've met a lot of women who are far better at math than I am: However, I'd believe that there may be predisposals against math with women because most women I know despise math where most men I know just do it and usually complain about their professors.
There is about 5ish girls in my department and grade, and probably 120 men: Computer Science. I'd love nothing more than to see that reversed; seriously, I could use the dates!

Re:Lack of rational thinking (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394530)

There are historical reasons that people see such comments as "automatically sexist".

"Well, women have this wonderful nurturing instinct, but of course they're not so good at things outside the home, like voting or schoolwork, and certainly the hard sciences of engineering and math would never appeal to them."
compare with
"Let's face it - black people are just better than us at basketball. Of course, they're not very smart, but that's not their fault!"

As recently as 45 years ago it was the social norm in America that middle-class women did not express an opinion to their husbands. (Of course they had husbands. And good ones, too! They didn't go to college for nothing.)

It's easy to lose this perspective in more recent times, but one must remember what these people have gone through to get where they are, and one must wonder whether the overt tones of bigotry have been eliminated or have just become more subtle. The indignation people express often seems like overreaction; but not everyone who has an opinion has an irrational foundation.

Nancy Hopkins, a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who walked out midway through Dr Summers's remarks, said: "This kind of bias makes me physically ill. Let's not forget that people used to say that women couldn't drive an automobile."

During Dr Summers's presidency, the proportion of tenured jobs offered to women has fallen from 36 per cent to 13 per cent. Last year, only four of 32 tenured job openings were offered to women.


("Mommy truck" and "Daddy truck" hereby qualifies as the funniest excuse for scientific proof ever, by the way.)

Unfortunately any study would be irrelevant. (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394561)

The current doctrine that is present in most schools and society will not allow a view to exist even if it could be backed with fact.

We are too concerned with feelings compared to facts. We are willing to ingore an obvious issue simply because it might offend someone.

Fortunately this issue is relatively harmless but other issues which offend people based on the conclusions of studies are being hushed all in the name of sensitivity and political correctness.

Great! (5, Funny)

Momoru (837801) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394407)

Now we just need them to study why they are so bad at driving too! ;)

Re:Great! (1)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394485)

There should already be plenty of field data on that.

Re:Great! (5, Insightful)

kclittle (625128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394492)

Actually, the Insurance industry has known for years exactly who the worst drivers are: males. Especially the young ones, filled with 10x more testosterone than brains...

Sooo stupid. (1, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394411)

It doesn't matter if you have facts to back up an assertion like that, you're still going to pay a price in suffering that makes it far better to just shut the hell up.

You'd think the president of freaking Harvard would know better.

Re:Sooo stupid. (2, Insightful)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394440)

Proof yet again that even the supposedly more intelligent folks on the planet are fully capable of inserting their foot into their mouth.

Oh well. Supposedly we learn by our mistakes.

Unless their fatal. Then it's just natural selection.

Re:Sooo stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394454)

well the git who wrote it has a reputation of being woman-unfriendly...

PC == Keep your mouth shut?? (5, Insightful)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394464)

It doesn't matter if you have facts to back up an assertion like that, you're still going to pay a price in suffering that makes it far better to just shut the hell up.

So it is "Safer" and "easier" to "shut the hell up" about something that is politically incorect if the price is a large amount of suffering? I wonder what would have happened to the Civil Rights movement and Womens Sufferage (among other movements) if people thought that way in the 20's and 50's/60's.

Well you won't have long to wait. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394533)

George Bush will be appointing new Supreme Court Justices in not too long, and that attitude is why he won.

Re:PC == Keep your mouth shut?? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394534)

So it is "Safer" and "easier" to "shut the hell up" about something that is politically incorect if the price is a large amount of suffering?

We are talking about the President of Harvard not the leader of various Women's Rights movements. The President of Harvard should keep his mouth shut when it comes to saying something that isn't politcally correct.

It is his job to represent the University and the alumni who donate to it. Personally, if I was a wealthy graduate of Harvard and female (especially one in the sciences) I'd be pretty willing to remove my $10 million grant from my will.

Re:PC == Keep your mouth shut?? (3, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394536)

I don't think of this so much as being PC as I think of it as being sexist, and I think that the race/womens movement would agree that sexism/racism is bad.

What reason could you have for running a huge study on the intellectual limits of one sex or another, or one race or another, but to use that information to exclude that race or sex on the basis of their supposed lack of ability?

Seriously. I'm not a PC guy, but when I see crap like this, I can only really see one reason for it. He's making a case that Harvard needen't worry about having a balanced enrollment in math or science, because females are too stupid to be in those courses of study. He doesn't cite any studies, he doesn't seem to have any facts except for crap about his freaking 5 year old.

He deserves to be roasted.

Re:Sooo stupid. (1)

BlueCup (753410) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394493)

heh, indeed, just like Galileo paid a price, or Martin Luther King... offensive truths are better kept to yourself, look at the price those people paid...

Sarcasm... Sometimes the truth offends people... and this isn't a bad thing. I'm not saying that what this guy said is the truth, I certainly don't have enough information, but I feel that this person has reached a position where it's fine that he share his opinions, even if they are unpopular.

Re:Sooo stupid. (1)

crimson30 (172250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394502)

you're still going to pay a price in suffering that makes it far better to just shut the hell up.

Yeah... it's such a bad idea to speak the truth. How could somebody stoop so low?

Re:Sooo stupid. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394562)

So you think women are stupid at MAth and Science?

You got any facts, or you just pissed you can't get a date?

Lessons of Married Life (4, Funny)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394508)

It doesn't matter if you have facts to back up an assertion like that, you're still going to pay a price in suffering that makes it far better to just shut the hell up.

Married life teaches this very lesson.

-kgj

Re:Sooo stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394546)

Let's try to rephrase this a little: It doesn't matter whether it's true or not. You can spend all the money you want conducting the research that proves this hypothesis either true or false, but who is it going to affect? The people that are really going to be hurt by this are women who are genuinely very good at Maths. And if you're applying for a job, it doesn't really matter whether you are a woman or not, all that matters is how you perform. Anything else is discrimination.

Re:Sooo stupid. (5, Insightful)

TuataraShoes (600303) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394559)

Perhaps there comes a point where a person of integrity can no longer tow the politically correct line and must call it as he sees it. Perhaps being able to retain some dignity and look oneself in the mirror as a professional academic is worth the heat he'll have to take. So I disagree entirely that it far better to just shut the hell up.

It's like... no one commentating on athletics will admit the obvious fact that black sprinters are faster than white. Because if you admit that, then you have conceded that some races may be naturally better at some things than other things, perhaps whites think better than blacks... shock, horror!

To me it is obvious that women are generally better at somethings and worse at others than men. I hope I live to see the day when we laugh at the quaint squeemishness of our age to admit what every other age and people have plainly known.

Of course, this does not mean that an individual woman may not be the best mathematician, or perhaps a white man will again win the 100 metres. (We now have a white heavy-weight boxing world champion.) Individuals are in no way subject to a statistic which generalises a population.

Article text for your convenience (0, Flamebait)

Karma Troll (801155) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394412)

Women Lack 'Natural Ability' In Some Fields, Harvard President Says
Comments Came At Economic Conference


POSTED: 4:06 pm EST January 17, 2005
UPDATED: 4:19 pm EST January 17, 2005


CAMBRIDGE, Mass -- The president of Harvard University prompted criticism for suggesting that innate differences between the sexes could help explain why fewer women succeed in science and math careers.

Lawrence H. Summers, speaking Friday at an economic conference, also questioned how great a role discrimination plays in keeping female scientists and engineers from advancing at elite universities.

The remarks prompted Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist Nancy Hopkins - a Harvard graduate - to walk out on Summers' talk, The Boston Globe reported.

"It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women (at Harvard) are being led by a man who views them this way," Hopkins said later.

Five other participants in the National Bureau of Economic Research conference, including Denice D. Denton, chancellor designate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, also said they were offended by the comments. Michael Sims is a cocksucker. Four other attendees contacted afterward by the Globe said they were not.

Summers told the Globe he was discussing hypotheses based on the scholarly work assembled for the conference, not expressing his own views. He also said more research needs to be done on the issues.

Conference organizers said Summers was asked to be provocative, and that he was invited as a top economist, not as a Harvard official.

The two-day, invitation-only conference of the Cambridge-based National Bureau of Economic Research drew about 50 economists from around the country to discuss women and minorities in science and engineering.

Summers declined to provide a tape or transcript of his remarks, but he did describe comments to the Globe similar to what participants recalled.

"It's possible I made some reference to innate differences," he said. He said people "would prefer to believe" that the differences in performance between the sexes are due to social factors, "but these are things that need to be studied."

He also cited as an example one of his daughters, who as a child was given two trucks in an effort at gender-neutral upbringing. Yet he said she named them "daddy truck" and "baby truck," as if they were dolls.

It was during such comments that Hopkins got up and left.

"Here was this economist lecturing pompously (to) this room full of the country's most accomplished scholars on women's issues in science and engineering, and he kept saying things we had refuted in the first half of the day," said Denton, the outgoing dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Washington.

Summers already faced criticism because the number of senior job offers to women has dropped each year of his three-year presidency.

He has promised to work on the problem.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

ARTICLE TROLL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394498)

Michael Sims is a cocksucker.

Nice

I'd be interested (4, Interesting)

AEton (654737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394414)

I'd be interested to see what peer-reviewed, repeatable research there exists on actual gender differences.

I remember hearing in a developmental psych class that only 5-10% of the 'standard' gender differences have any biological basis; and the NY Times article on this topic quotes a woman who was angry because, if I remember right, the entire morning of the symposium had been spent dispelling those same myths.

The trouble with this kind of research seems to be that there's too much political intrigue - every scientist is going to be accused of (or possess) some kind of bias in American gender-polarized society, and that is difficult to filter out even if you're aware of it.

Maybe we should just move to Sweden.

Biased science in America? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394472)

You must be thinking of some other country, because here we never use crap science to prop up political ideology or stereotypes.

Re:I'd be interested (1)

ScienceThinker (785481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394517)

I remember hearing in a developmental psych class that only 5-10% of the 'standard' gender differences have any biological basis; and the NY Times article on this topic quotes a woman who was angry because, if I remember right, the entire morning of the symposium had been spent dispelling those same myths.
Then I say you were severely misled by the lecturer who said it, since the differences between male and female brains are very large and are not compatible with the idea of environmental or societal pressures. If the entire morning of the symposium had been spent dispelling myths, then it should have gone for the "Blank Slate" myth first of all. As for the commments of Nancy Hopkins, they were simply sexist, offensive and unscientific.

Well, it's no surprise,,, (4, Funny)

mfifer (660491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394415)

... Math is hard [foresitecomputing.net] ;-)

Re:Well, it's no surprise,,, (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394513)

I like apples...

That reminds me...how many apples does it take to make applesauce?...

I can barely Imagine how pissed off I'd be (5, Funny)

Illserve (56215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394416)

If someone got up on stage and claimed that men were innately bad at having babies.

It would be an ugly, ugly scene.

Re:I can barely Imagine how pissed off I'd be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394461)

True. Men are much better at making them than having them.

Re:I can barely Imagine how pissed off I'd be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394523)

Yeah,
next they'll claim women are better at breastfeeding too!

Thats so 1800!

Re:I can barely Imagine how pissed off I'd be (5, Funny)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394570)

Hey, my father gave birth to a baby, and I'll be damned if he wasn't the best baby-maker I've ever seen. Of course, he had to work twice as hard at making babies to even earn a sliver of respect in the woman-dominated baby field. But after years of perseverence, the other baby makers came to think of him as "just one of the girls," ...

what a bunch of crap! (1, Funny)

presarioD (771260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394417)

On other news today:

Harvard Presidents compete in IQ with American Presidents!

Women bad at maths.... (5, Insightful)

Phillip2 (203612) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394418)

economists bad at genetics.

Take your pick. I know which I think is more likely.

Phil

Doesn't this guy say nearly the same thing? (5, Informative)

Gyan (6853) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394422)

Simon Baron-Cohen, a psych prof. at Cambridge has a book:

The Essential Difference: The Truth about the Male and Female Brain [amazon.com] .

From the beginning of the book: "The female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy. The male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems."

Has anyone read it?

P.S. This guy is a cousin of Ali G. Don't know what that ought to signify :)

Re:Doesn't this guy say nearly the same thing? (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394484)

Are empathy and `understanding systems' different? Surely empathy is simply a subset of `understanding systems' tiered towards the system known as the human brain.

Give him a break: he's an economist! (5, Funny)

leoc (4746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394426)

Being an economist, he wouldn't even know what real science is. What he practices is a pseudo-science, at best.

Logic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394429)

I'd like to see some 'scholarly' work that shows the same for logic.

Research? (0, Troll)

necrogram (675897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394432)

I think i can hack his job... the guy draws his research from the way his kid plays with toys truck.... friggen great.

Or maybe (4, Insightful)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394435)

It's because women don't stay in the technical fields due to the sexist and condecending culture found there.

Re:Or maybe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394571)

Going to an engineering school and being in an engineering field, I have to agree with this. Even the non-engineering women had a tendancy to leave the school because of its somewhat sexist attitude.

Get out the Asbestos undergarments... (5, Insightful)

Machine9 (627913) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394436)

...this is obviously a flamewar waiting to happen. Or it would be if slashdot wasn't mostly male ;p

I just wanted to chime in by saying that "have less aptitude for" does not automatically mean "all suck at".

This is getting lots of attention (3, Informative)

discontinuity (792010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394441)

The NYTimes has been running this story on their main page for the past day. Story is here [nytimes.com] .

Apparently, he made these remarks in an effort to provoke discussion more than to express his beliefs. Or at least that's the spin on it.

Quote?? (1)

johndiii (229824) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394442)

What, exactly, did Summers (yes, it's "Summers", not "Somers", as anyone who had clicked through to the article would know) say? The article did not have a quote; Summers could or would not provide a tape.

Hmm... (4, Funny)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394443)

Husband: "Sweetheart, be careful you don't overdraw the account again..."

Wife: "Honey, you know women are bad at math..."

female on slashdot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394444)

I'm sure the female slashdot member will be upset by such a statement.

Re:female on slashdot (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394506)

Yes, both of them are up in arms...

Re:female on slashdot (0)

turgid (580780) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394538)

That's just some pervy bloke pretending...

What a dick (0, Troll)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394446)

I think the subject says it all. Guys like this make me feel shame for being a man.

Re job offers and "math is hard" barbie (0, Flamebait)

AndyChrist (161262) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394448)

Whether the decline in job offers to women under his benevolent rule is wrong depends on how things were before it.

And who cares if the reasons are biological or social? In every school I ever went to, about 80 percent of the best math students were boys. If women chose to slack off in math, that's their damn choice. Isn't that what women are supposed to want? Women in general can't really come out looking good if you look at this issue. Because either it's their fault, or it's their genes' fault.

If I'm sounding a little mysoginistic it's because I don't think anyone should be humoring delusions...mass or individual.

All generalizations are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394451)

including this one....

Bad "science" can come from anywhere, including some guy at Harvard.

Rare? (1)

CypherXero (798440) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394452)

Wow, I wonder if it's a rare thing to have 2 female friends that are both proficient at math. I have two female friends, and they're both under 20, and are in Calculus classes, and make A's.

Re:Rare? (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394507)

Calculus isn't really hard math though. I'm guessing this paper isn't suggesting girls won't be able to caclulate a gradiant vector over a defined region, etc..

Women bad at math, while men innately good at... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394457)

...sticking their foot in their mouth.

Film at 11!

Stupid phrasing of the obvious (5, Informative)

Meostro (788797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394467)

Men and women are different. Whoda Thunk!?!

He just said the right thing the wrong way... he was apparently trying to "be provocative" according to the same AP article [cnn.com] on CNN.

He also gave an example of what he intended (emphasis mine):
"It's possible I made some reference to innate differences," he said. He said people "would prefer to believe" that the differences in performance between the sexes are due to social factors, "but these are things that need to be studied."

He also cited as an example one of his daughters, who as a child was given two trucks in an effort at gender-neutral upbringing. Yet he said she named them "daddy truck" and "baby truck," as if they were dolls.

That example says "innate difference" to me, but I'd like to see more detail.

No quote in the story?!? (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394471)


A front-page story, where a local TV news station is the only source? And the article doesn't even actually have a quote?

Is slashdot turning into FARK?

BTW, he was reportedly speaking at a conference on women and minorities in engineering.

Problem (1)

anakin876 (612770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394473)

One of the problems with any claim like this is that almost no one will fund or publish studies like this. It's pretty tough to find someone willing to stand up and say "look, our research indicated that these differences are there." Unless you are publishing results that reinforce the "everyone is the same" stereotype, you are going to have a very difficult time.

What an idiot... (1)

TheMediaWrangler (817300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394480)

Here was this economist lecturing pompously (to) this room full of the country's most accomplished scholars on women's issues in science and engineering, and he kept saying things we had refuted in the first half of the day

The scholarly work was not his. It was that which he says was assembled for the conference. His 'scholarly work' on the subject was summed up in an example he gave about observing his daughter playing with toy trucks as if they were dolls. What a dork.

Harvard Sucks (-1, Offtopic)

theycallmerenda (765018) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394482)

At this year's Harvard-Yale Game, a number of Yale students dressed as the 'Harvard Prep Squad' gave out large cards to fans in the Harvard side and convinced them to hold them up after a Harvard touchdown, proudly spelling out "WE SUCK." Quite possibly the greatest prank ever... http://www.harvardsucks.org/ [harvardsucks.org] (Yale '04, been reading /. since living with two CS majors)

Re:Harvard Sucks (1)

Vengie (533896) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394509)

What college? You beat me to the hs.o troll ;) [And what have you been doing since may?]

Re:Harvard Sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394549)

Too bad Yale's a safety school [safetyschool.org] .

Harvard pres is a MIT grad (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394487)

Lawrence Summers graduated from MIT in economics in 1975, but spent grad school and academic career at Harvard. His uncle is the famous economist Paul Samuelson. Larry has been promoting stronger math and science requirements at Harvard. An "educated person" needs to know these subjects. Harvard recently created a School of Engineering. Not to compete with MIT but to fill in the gaps with Harvard's specialties.

just a thought (1)

coolcold (805170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394491)

ok, I didn't RTFA. But just wondering if it takes into account how both men and women handle stress, likelyhood of enjoying tackling problems, how each sex concentrate and how long both studies.

I do agree men are better in logics, and maybe thats the reason being better in maths? But women could as well concentrate better than men, so why would men be better in maths?

I just think it is hard to define which sex is better in maths. Please correct me if I am wrong

Hmmm, cause of effect? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394495)

I seem to recall plenty of psycological studies showing that the intelligence of women was evenly distributed i.e. more evenly distributed along a density graph. As opposed to males, who seems to have rather large extremes, both at the low end of the scale, and the high end of the scale. I.e. both more male morons, and more male geniuses. So, the question is, is the observation that women seem to lack natural ability for science, the cause or the effect of this psycological fact. Ohh, and som female mathematicians.
Antoine LeBlanc, Ada Lovelace, Sonja Kovelevsky.

Variability (2, Interesting)

JJ (29711) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394496)

Statistically, he is correct, women on avergae do worse in math. It's the variability that shoots him down though. Individual women can and do excell in math. Just as there are both male and female math illiterates, there are female and male math geniuses.

It Just Goes To Show You ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394497)

... why tenure can be a bad thing.

Encouraging and discouraging (2, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394500)

women lack natural ability in math and science

This might be a fact. But what does it mean? Should women now be encouraged or discouraged in math and science? IMHO both encouraging and discouraging have very bad side effects. Encouraging leads to disillusions and discouraging is generally bad and may deprive society from brilliant women.

IMHO women are better suited for management positions. Most women I met are more socially engaged and far better at multi tasking. The politics that come at higher management levels require deviousness that is not uncommonly found in women. Again, this doesn't mean anything specific.

In case you wonder, I'm a man.

Gee, doesn't this guy watch tv? (1, Funny)

EulerX07 (314098) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394501)

There's no way men can be smarter then women in any area. Look at all these men in tv ads that can't even do anything and need the help of those smarter, more mature female version of ourselves.

Sometimes I wonder how I manage to dress myself in the morning and get to work, since my chromosomes make me so dumb.

BS (1)

bob whoops (808543) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394504)

"Summers told the Globe he was discussing hypotheses based on the scholarly work assembled for the conference, not expressing his own views. He also said more research needs to be done on the issues." That's BS, and he knows it. If they weren't his own views, he wouldn't be presenting them. If he believes this research to be true, then it would be his own view.

yeah right (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394505)


same goes for black people and arabs right ?
said the fat white american professor from a country that practiced slavery up until a generation ago

nurture not nature

Thats OK (-1, Troll)

headhot (137860) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394511)

Women make up for being bad at math with Boobies. I would take nice boobies over math skills any day.

Few questions to ask (1)

GarbanzoBean (695162) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394516)

There are a few questions to ask.

First, while it is possible that there are differences between sexes, are the differences larger or smaller than the differences between individuals in each group? Statistically significant doesn't mean significantly larger.

Second, are the differences detrimental to the scientific process? It is possible women think differently, but it doesn't mean necessarily worse. In my undergraduate studies, there was a female student who could see symmetry in crystals looking at it from any directions, none of the other students and the TAs could do that.

Process required to do science is very far removed from the goal, relying on superstitions and intuition. Right now, the process is (historically) biased toward males. But there is no evidence that this is the best way to go.

other major controvesies (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394518)

Mr. Summers criticized some of the Black Studies professors at Harvard as not being rigorous scholarship (with good cause in my opinion). Two of them left, decimating Harvard's formerly top program.

I believe that... (-1, Troll)

cpuenvy (544708) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394519)

You know, it is not cool to generalize, since somebody can pick apart your argument easily. But. There is no proof that everybody can be good at everything. There is proof, however, that men and women are wired differently. This could explain why men are probably more likeley to excel in Math and Science. Men, for the most part, are wired to be hunters, which needs the problem solving skills to complete the job. Women, on the other hand, are wired to be gatherers.

Anyone who tells you different is full of shit. This is the way we evolved, and this is the way it is.

In other news (1)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394525)

Harvard pres says females naturally bad at math. In other news, the president of Harvard has said that while females naturally bad at math indeed, males on the other hand often demonstrate serious linguistic deficiencies, especially while composing article headlines. "I say males naturally bad at language," she added, seeing a puzzled expression on the Slashdot editor's face.

Book recommendation (4, Informative)

vondo (303621) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394527)

For anyone interested in reading about the differences in the way the male and female minds work, there is a very interesting book: The First Sex : The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World [amazon.com] by Helen Fisher.

Her basic premise (backed up by various studies) is that pre-historically, the tasks of men and women drove the evolution of their brains and chemistry (hormones). For example, because men did the hunting, they had to understand spacial relationships better. Because a group of women in a tribe took care of the children together, women had to work better with others and multi-task.

I can't recall specifically, but I think she makes the point that the male mind is (on average, of course) better suited for engineering because of the spacial relationship thing. But, her basic premise is that the directions the world, and even corporate culture, are heading benefit women and we should expect them to lead much more in the future.

Out of context? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394532)

Sounds like something like this could have very well started out with, "Even in fairly recent times, many psychologists believed that..."
Quotes out of context are pretty dangerous.

They should fire him (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394543)

During his tenure at Harvard, there has been a decrease each year in the number of women offered professor jobs.

At Universities across this country, there are departments with no women faculty. This is appalling and I hope this guy gets fired for his comments and his lack of leadership at the supposedly flagship American institution.

4 reasons this guy is wrong (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394544)

He makes a grandiose statement about gender differences without relying on any actual studies

Economics and mathematics are totally different subjects.

How a child plays with her toys has no bearing at all on how good she will beat mathematics.

Nature vs. Nuture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394551)

I think it's a largely environmental difference, personally.

I've known plenty of women who were capable of being good at math and science, but few who actually /choose/ to persure that capability.

Let's face it, from an early age, little girls are given dolls to play with, while little boys are given building blocks. Might this have something to do with the common belief that women are bad at space relations? One wonders.

And it's a perpetuating cycle in terms of career/degree choice. Girls in school don't see a whole lot of women who are mathematicians, engineers, or scientists that they can apire to -- sure they're out there, but not in significant numbers. They are, however, starting to see a decent number of women in professions like business and law, where the gender ratios in colleges are starting to balance out much more so than technical fields.

And traditionally female jobs still remain that way, for example, teachers and nurses. Not to say that it "should" be that way, but it is. Probably 80% of elementary school teachers are women, and probably 80% of Education majors in most colleges are women. I'm sure many of those women could be good at math, but for some reason they have *chosen* not to be.

Just a thought...

Why such generalizations are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394552)

The problem with generalizations such as this is that while it may be generally true that on average, men are better at math than women, there will almost certainly be some women who are better than almost all men at math. So if you take any one man and woman at random and automatically assume that the man is better at math (during a hiring interview, for example), then you could be making a serious mistake.

It's when generalizations such as this are applied to individuals without accounting for the enormous variation of individuals from the "average" that you get into trouble. This is why making such generalizations is "politically incorrect." On a personal level, I wouldn't want one of my daughters to read such a study and automatically assume, "Oh, I better not even try at math and science since this study proves that women aren't good at it."

It doesnt "mean" anything (1)

voss (52565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394553)

Even if women ON AVERAGE are less good in science and math then men...so what? Thats no reason to discourage women who ARE good at science and math.

Women bad at math eh? (2, Interesting)

i64X (582393) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394556)

Tell that to the female Japanese foreign exchange student that we had in my 9th grade class that used to mop the class with us because she was doing the equivalent of Calc III in Japan while we were rockin Algebra I in the US. :)

Mr. Summers does prove one thing... (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394557)

You can be successful and an idiot all at the same time.

i am a woman that majored in mathematics (1)

f()bz (839819) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394558)

As a woman that majored in mathematics (pure math, not applied) I must say that he has dug himself into a bit of a hole. Even if he doesn't release his speech, I would find it professional of him to at least release the specific sources and studies he was "discussing":

Summers told the Globe he was discussing hypotheses based on the scholarly work assembled for the conference, not expressing his own views.

If he was discussing work for the conference, he certainly must have twisted some of the evidence because "Five other participants in the National Bureau of Economic Research conference...also said they were offended by the comments."

Personally, math education before the college level in the united states has suffered greatly in the past ten years. Some teachers don't know how to teach basic proof-based logic for any gender let alone girls. Luckily I had a slew of fantastic teachers who encouraged me even when I was doubling in classical music performance and had half as much time to devote to mathematics at university.

~f

If he can back up his assertions (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394564)

with facts, that is the only thing we should be concerned about. Not about whether his views shatter our pre-conceived notions about how the world should work.

Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11394565)

This entire discussion is ridiculous. Women are just as good as men at absolutely everything a man can do.

Damn shame (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11394569)

Larry Summers was not only the guy who waived tuition at Harvard for underprivileged students. He was the only guy in the Clinton administration who knew just how bad the end of the dot.com bubble would be. IIRC, the New Yorker quoted him as comparing the 90s with the 20s: exuberant times leading into steep crises.

In short, he's a prescient guy who just screwed up his legacy. Damn shame.

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