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Thread: A Physicist Said Women's Brains Make Them Worse at Physics — Experts Say That's 'Laug

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    A Physicist Said Women's Brains Make Them Worse at Physics — Experts Say That's 'Laug

    I certainly see nothing wrong with the premise. Woman and men are different physically, to believe that their brains would think the same would be illogical, simply based on the evidence.

    A male physicist claimed during a lecture that men are discriminated against in physics. He also said that there are fewer women than men in physics largely because of innate differences in intelligence between the sexes, and partly because women are less interested in physics.

    But experts in neuroscience, intelligence and the interactions of gender and society told Live Science that they weren't impressed.

    "I find that pretty laughable, actually," said Maria Natasha Rajah, a cognitive scientist and expert in neuroimaging at McGill University in Quebec.

    Alessandro Strumia, the physicist in question and a professor at Pisa University in Italy, gave his presentation to a crowd at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), one of the word's most important nuclear physics organizations. The topic of the day was gender in physics, and the crowd was mostly composed of women, according to The Guardian.

    Over the course of several slides of his presentation, which are available online, Strumia laid out an IQ-based argument for disparities between men and women in physics.

    "Physics graduates have top IQ," he wrote. "It's needed."

    He pointed to a study that suggests that while men and women have similar average IQs, men vary more, with very slightly more men at the low and high ends of the spectrum. This is the truth behind gender differences in physics, he argued. And efforts to bring gender balance to physics are the result of "cultural Marxism" and politicians "promoting a victimocracy" and "ideology" ignoring "blind human biology," he added.

    He further argued that men are discriminated against in physics, presenting data suggesting that men at CERN have more total citations, on average, than women. (The raw number of times one's papers have been cited is sometimes considered a mark of prestige in academia.) He also argued that a single example where a woman with fewer citations than him was hired over him was evidence of this bias. (In fact, a woman, Donna Strickland, was awarded part of the Nobel Prize in physics this morning (Oct. 2), for the first time in 55 years.) [7 Women Who Broke Barriers in Science and Tech]

    Live Science spoke to experts in cognition, IQ and the sort of data-driven gender disparity research Strumia attempted to conduct here. Here's what they had to say.
    On men's and women's brains

    "There are some studies that show differences in brain structures," between men and women, Rajah said. "Sometimes, it's women that have larger areas of the brain and sometimes it's men, depending on what you're talking about."

    The main reason for that, she said, is likely hormonal differences during development, which are thought to have some impact on brain development. [10 Surprising Facts About a Man's Brain]

    But it's a huge leap to say those brain differences make men better physicists, she said, because for the most part scientists don't know how these slight brain differences impact cognition — or which sex, if either, is better off because of those differences. Further, and more important, on a biological level, men and women overlap vastly more than they diverge.

    Evidence suggests, she said, that society and life experience play much larger roles in distinguishing the sexes than brain differences.

    "You're learning from day one and you're in society from day one," she said. "We know that children by the time they are 4 or 5 [years] of age, they are already using gendered language and attributing words like 'intelligence' or 'brilliance' more to men."

    Any judgment about men's and women's mental abilities from experiments following years of societal interference is inherently flawed, she said.
    What we do and don't know about IQ

    You've probably heard about IQ — a test that's supposed to measure innate intelligence. But many neuroscientists don't take IQ tests very seriously as measurements of essential intelligence, because these tests are easily confounded by cultural differences and years of education, Rajah said. [Are Big Brains Smarter?]

    That said, there are researchers who look at IQ, other measures of intelligence and the factors that influence them. One of the most well-known is Stuart Ritchie, a psychologist at the University of Edinburgh. He and his colleague published a study in June in the journal Psychological Science showing that education is the single strongest factor known to raise IQ scores.

    "The claim about males and females having the same [average] IQ but males having a wider variance is true," Ritchie told Live Science. "This is what's found in almost every study."

    There is a sensible discussion scientists could have about that, Ritchie said, But it isn't enough to justify Strumia's claim, he said.

    "The question is," he said, "is a wider IQ variance … of the size found in these studies, enough to explain the wide disparity in high-IQ STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] professions like physics?"

    https://www.livescience.com/63730-ph...t-physics.html


    Mark
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    Ahhh, well, booollliiisiies………………….. men can't multitask like women do. besides, physics is...………………………...BOOOOOOring………..

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    Hmmmm...the guy offering the theory got beat out for a piece of the Nobel by a woman. His "theory" couldn't possibly be a little sour grapes. Nah, scientists are above such things, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    Hmmmm...the guy offering the theory got beat out for a piece of the Nobel by a woman. His "theory" couldn't possibly be a little sour grapes. Nah, scientists are above such things, right?
    What he said is more important than who he is. What do you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 80zephyr View Post
    What he said is more important than who he is. What do you think?
    I think some people are naturally talented in a specific area and others are not so talented in that specific area, but the biggest factor in success is hard work and being well-prepared by early education for areas of more rigorous study. Also, wasting time on prize envy holds you back.

    Oh, and physics nerds probably don't get laid much, which makes them cranky.

    High-level posts like CERN - actually, academia in general - is kind of like pro sports or Hollywood stardom. There are hundreds if not thousands of top-notch, brilliant scientists who aspire to the few high-profile, high-dollar jobs in physics. If Strumia insists on being a liability to the organization from a funding perspective, he can and will be replaced.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    I think some people are naturally talented in a specific area and others are not so talented in that specific area, but the biggest factor in success is hard work and being well-prepared by early education for areas of more rigorous study. Also, wasting time on prize envy holds you back.

    Oh, and physics nerds probably don't get laid much, which makes them cranky.

    High-level posts like CERN - actually, academia in general - is kind of like pro sports or Hollywood stardom. There are hundreds if not thousands of top-notch, brilliant scientists who aspire to the few high-profile, high-dollar jobs in physics. If Strumia insists on being a liability to the organization from a funding perspective, he can and will be replaced.
    So the arguments about the bell curve, etc, really don't matter?

    Mark
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    Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 80zephyr View Post
    So the arguments about the bell curve, etc, really don't matter?
    Consolation prize for outstanding performance in irrelevancy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
    Consolation prize for outstanding performance in irrelevancy.
    Lol. Of course its irrelevant that men geniuses outnumber women geniuses 8 to 1.

    I mean, how could it be anything but irrelevant?

    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by 80zephyr View Post
    Lol. Of course its irrelevant that men geniuses outnumber women geniuses 8 to 1.

    I mean, how could it be anything but irrelevant?

    Mark
    Well, that depends on the definition of genius.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Marva View Post
    Well, that depends on the definition of genius.
    Not really. We have pretty accurate methods to establish I.Q. Men as a group are both stupider and smarter than women. Women as a group are 'more normal' than men in terms of intelligence, mental illness, personality disorders, etc.

    There are way more men with high I.Q. than there are women. Being a genius doesn't necessarily translate into doing ground-breaking work. There are a lot of other personality factors in play but no one doing really revolutionary work in science and math doesn't have a very high I.Q.

    That's just the way it is.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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