Thursday, January 20, 2005

Update on Summers

Larry Summers has apologized for offending people with his remarks on women in science. Here is his official statement (pdf).

Now let's brace ourselves for the debate about whether or not he should have apologized. (Correct answer: yes.)

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew,

I hate to point this out, but the idea that Summers should apologize for suggesting that research might shed light on this is definitely an example of irrational political correctness used to suppress free inquiry. There is nothing wrong with research, even if it might (I emphasize might) lead to answers that make us feel uncomfortable.

It is interesting that you would assert that Summers should apologize for merely proposing that intellectual inquiry and research proceed on a question, but then would suggest in other posts that more offensive concepts, such as Marxist history, deserve to be part of intellectual discourse. Further, there seems to be some disconnect between your defense of the Implicit Association research, which is highly speculative, and your suggestion that research on Mr. Summer's idea does not even deserve to be done. 

Posted by David Welker

1/25/2005 05:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an astonishing misrepresentation of my position. In fact, I am pretty much convinced that gender differences do exist, that research in the field is valuable, and that innate gender differences may contribute (note: contribute!) to the gender gap in science.

My point in the previous post was to say that we should bracket that whole debate and focus on discrimination. The unfortunate and presumably unintended effect of Summers' comments was to discount the importance of discrimination, and this is what he has quite rightly apologized for. (You'll notice in his apology that he never recanted the idea that there might be innate sex differences or that research in this field could be useful.) 

Posted by Andrew

1/25/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe I spoke too quickly - I'm not 100% convinced, but the evidence that I've seen looks pretty good to me. And I would never advocate cutting off a line of scientific research just because it is ideologically suspect. 

Posted by Andrew

1/25/2005 10:41:00 AM  
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