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How Not to Make a Point

May 27th, 2008 · 3 Comments

The Boston Globe runs a piece arguing that the “gender gap” in the sciences may be attributable, not to institutional discrimination, but rather gendered differences in career interests.   Jessica Valenti replies that there are these three girls who are awesome at science, so there. In other words, the way to rebut the scurrilous stereotype that “women like to work with people, and men prefer to work with things” is to respond to a statistical argument with a personal anecdote. For all I know, the Globe piece is totally off-base, but this is not the most compelling riposte ever.

Tags: Science · Sexual Politics



3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 lemmy caution // May 27, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    It isn’t a “personal anecdote”. I don’t think she knows any of the top three prize winners of this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

    I agree that it isn’t much of a response to the boston globe article.

  • 2 Rod McFadden // Jun 2, 2008 at 9:41 am

    It *is* a good example of the logical fallacy of ‘accident’; here are 3 young women who are *awesome* at science; therefore, all women could be awesome at science if sexual discrimination didn’t exist.

  • 3 Julian Sanchez // Jun 2, 2008 at 11:01 am

    OK, fair enough, that may not have been the most precise word choice. But I think the broader point holds.