Friday, August 26, 2005

The Inequality Taboo :: Commentary

Charles Murray writes:
The historical reality of male dominance of the greatest achievements in science and the arts is not open to argument. The question is whether the social and legal exclusion of women is a sufficient explanation for this situation, or whether sex-specific characteristics are also at work.

Mathematics offers an entry point for thinking about the answer. Through high school, girls earn better grades in math than boys, but the boys usually do better on standardized tests. The difference in means is modest, but the male advantage increases as the focus shifts from means to extremes. In a large sample of mathematically gifted youths, for example, seven times as many males as females scored in the top percentile of the SAT mathematics test. We do not have good test data on the male-female ratio at the top one-hundredth or top one-thousandth of a percentile, where first-rate mathematicians are most likely to be found, but collateral evidence suggests that the male advantage there continues to increase, perhaps exponentially.
Is this difference perhaps due to socialization or opportunity? Murray argues these cannot explain all the difference. Read the whole thing if you are willing.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

(eye roll) More sophistry from Murray. Why bother?

3:45 AM  

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