Monday, August 07, 2006

"Male" brains and "female" brains.

I found a lot of howlingly bad articles over the weekend. Here we find another one, purporting to demonstrate that "girl brains" are different than "boy brains". The first problem, which I will from here on ignore, is that there are only two sexes. The intersexed (and, for that matter, the transgendered) would disagree.

The article proceeds to witter on about different "operating systems" in the brains of the two sexes, and that females are "naturally" better at communicating and understanding social/emotional situations. We then get some blatant deployment of the naturalistic fallacy, claiming that since there is this "natural" difference, women "should" be in different social positions and there "should" be change in the political realm.

It's too stupid to deserve a point-by-point refutation, but it's really funny to read.


Anonymous said...

"Boy brains" have been shown by science to be fairly different than "girl brains."

You can deny the conclusions of the science (though I would argue that such a denial is irrational), but you can't argue that the science exists, and it is fairly conclusive.

However, no difference has been found in the general intelligence between the two (though I have read about a study finding that men are 3 points higher). Discrimination based on sex is ridiculous.

I've encountered many women who are better than math than me. I like to think, in my conceit, that it's because they spend more time on it, but the fact remains.

Here's one link, of many:

ADHR said...

Read the post again. I wasn't denying that there are biological differences; what I was denying was that these have any significant macro-level consequences. That is, I was denying that girls are therefore better "emotionally" and "socially" and "should" in charge of the "political" realm. It's the naturalistic fallacy (with healthy doses of the genetic fallacy) from beginning to end.

Denying the science is not irrational insofar as there are no clear divisions between sexes. Sex is a continuum, not an either/or. So, we should actually expect to see a broad spectrum of different brain structures, with many people clustering close to one end or the other of the continuum, but a few scattered elsewhere. If science doesn't show that, then I'm suspicious about the concepts that are being deployed by the researchers.