Are you claiming that none of the differences between men and women are cultural? To me, that seems as obviously incorrect as saying all of them are. Not to go all ‘fallacy of the grey’ here but this really does seem to be an issue where both sides are a major influence. IQ is around 50% heritable, the other 50% also matters, though.
My view is that if we accept both biological and cultural influences on behavior then behavioral geneticists, neurologists, evolutionary psychologists, etc. focus their effort on the biological side and sociologists and academic feminists focus on the cultural side. Can you not see how, at least in theory, this is an interesting dynamic? Even if it were the case that all academic feminists think all observed social differences between men and women come from social causes (which, again, I think is a weakman argument) can’t you see that there’s something worth investigating there?
There is a fascinating feedback loop between biology and culture and the ways in which (mostly) static biological realities are interpreted culturally in many different ways and how this can shape the lives of people living within that culture are varied and difficult to describe simply. One of the things that I love so much about the rationalist community is their daring attempts to tackle really challenging issues in a clear manner. Things like the Human’s Guide to Words sequence or SSC’s Categories post take a look at the nuance and complexity of language and culture and make an honest, and in my view surprisingly successful, attempt to pull coherent, useful models out of the mud. I think we should do this for more stuff and I think gender is one of the issues that could really use a nice, demystifying treatment.
And when I ask myself where I might find people who could help with this ‘demystify gender’ project, I recall that there is an entire field of study that deals with this topic specifically. Even if there’s a bunch of crap coming out of that field, hell, even if 95% of it is people trying to find ways to confuse the issue harder or just trying to score political points, surely there’s clear-thinking people in there somewhere, right? There are people who went to school to study this stuff because they found it interesting in the same way some people find probability theory or linguistics interesting.
I’m not saying we should open the floodgates to every tumblr feminist with a grudge, but do you really think that trying to find open-minded gender studies researchers who would be willing to engage in adversarial collaboration would be such a terrible idea? Do you really take such an uncharitable view of the field you can’t imagine any usable work coming out of it?
IQ is around 50% heritable, the other 50% also matters, though.
This sounds like it’s written by a person who’s not quite clear what X percent heritable means. Apart from that making up numbers like this for rhetorical purposes and treating them as if they are factual is bad form.
The right answer to the nature vs. nature debate isn’t it’s 50-50 but: That’s a bad question and a bad frame for understanding reality.
Instead of debating nature vs. nature one should look at the empirical findings we have and build up a view on the world based on them.
I agree, that was a confused point for me to make that didn’t advance my main argument. The initial claim Anderson made was that the field of gender studies advocated total social determination of all observed differences between genders, I argued that this was not the case and provided an instance of a gender communications researcher discussing the biological influences on gendered behavior.
The point about IQ was a half remembered factoid from a metastudy I read a while back and I’ve been unable to find subsequently so it’s likely misremembered. It’s irrelevant to the discussion though, I think.
Exactly 50-50 would be very surprising result for a meta-study. “50% heritable” has an exactness that “around half heritable” doesn’t have.
Treating both of those the same way is what I would expect from people who don’t respect actual numbers.
It was, as I admitted, a mistake. I was being inexact as it was not critical for my central point, if it was I would have looked it up, failed to find it, and adjusted my approach (or more likely, left out IQ altogether). I’m unsure what continuing to belabor this accomplishes aside from chastising me for insufficiently respecting numbers.
You admitted a mistake but it wasn’t the mistake for which I was criticizing you. I don’t have a problem with people misremembering numbers. This prompted me to explain my criticism.
I’m afraid that’s the case.
Alright, a different angle then. If we did find some academic feminists or gender studies researchers who were willing to engage in good faith, serious discussion without trying to be activist or throwing around accusations of -isms or -phobics, would you object to their presence in the community? The hostility you’ve shown towards an entire field is something I find deeply concerning.
Perhaps you and I just have fundamentally different approaches towards outgroups since I honestly cannot think of a single group I would treat the way you’ve been treating feminists in this discussion.
New age pagans, reactionaries, anarchists, neoliberals, small-c-conservatives, and even the alt-right; I consider these to be among my outgroups and I could make major criticisms of their core philosophies as well as how they generally conduct themselves in discourse. But if a member of any one of them actually wanted to engage me in a real discussion in good faith I would take them up on it (time permitting, of course) and if they brought up evidence I had overlooked or perspectives I hadn’t considered then I would gladly update my views in response.
It’s very simple: if you are a real academic you spend your time savaging your own ideas until you cannot assail them further, and then you put them out there for your peers to do exactly the same in ways you hadn’t considered.
This is pretty close to my entire ethos; it’s the reason I became a rationalist in the first place and the reason I think the rationalist community has a chance to help the world where so many ‘grand vision’ movements have failed. But we have to be willing, no, eager, to engage our ideological opponents and take from them what value we can.
When I see you repeating antifeminist talking points and taking a dramatically uncharitable view of a huge academic field and political movement (and yes, I am bothered by the extent to which those two overlap) which seems to be informed by their most vitriolic and toxic members (and yes, the more moderate members seem to do frustratingly little to reign in their extremist counterparts) what I keep thinking is: we’re supposed to be better than this.
good luck getting them to sit down to talk with people that don’t believe exactly the same thing they do.
I’ve decided to interpret this as genuine. Throughout this whole conversation I’ve been annoyed at you for not engaging with what gender studies scholars actually believe, but my exposure to their ideas has basically been Wikipedia, some mild googling, and popular media. We’ve been going back and forth about whether feminists can argue coherently and in good faith and whether the field of gender studies is suitably rigorous but I’m only just now realizing the best way to resolve the question is to read some of their stuff critically and form my own opinions.
I’ve got a hypothesis that feminist social theory could be a helpful addition to the ever-growing rationalist canon and a way to test that just by doing a little reading. I’ll let you know if it turns out you were right all along.