The answer to the ideological “sexes-must-be biologically-identical” argument is simple. We should, and must, give both sexes (and all ethnic groups) complete equality of opportunity as a moral principle — for such equality is the foundation of a good society. Average differences in behavior are just that — average differences — and do not justify differential treatment of individuals, whether their groups be based on sex or ethnicity. Somehow the “blank slaters” can’t grasp that simple principle.Yes, blank-slateism is an unscientific ideology, but I question his analysis of what blank-slaters do and do not grasp.
To be fair, blank-slaters base their ideology on biological determinism being used in the past by bigots to suppress groups, but let us remember that blank-slateism remains not science but ideology, an ideology that is not only biologically misguided but whose fears can be overcome by changes in morality.
Some feminists argue against even the possibility of men being better than women at some brain functions, and then point to research saying that women are better than men at some things. Obviously such an argument is not following science, but just some sort of female advancement ideology.
Leftists have a blind spot when they say, "complete equality of opportunity as a moral principle ... is the foundation of a good society." They take this on faith, and it often leads them to socialist ideas if taken to logical conclusions. They never really explain how such a society is better than some other society that might be better at creating wealth or happiness.
Coyne endorses this book review:
So are female and male brains the same or different? We now know that the correct answer is “yes”: They are the same or similar on average in many respects, and they are different, a little to a lot, on average in many other respects. The neuroscience behind this conclusion is now remarkably robust, and not only won’t be going away, it will only grow.Coyne does make a point that it is counter-productive to tell girls that they are just as smart as boys. Since men greatly outnumber women among successful scientists, it only convinces them that career advancement in the sciences is thwarted by misogyny, sexism, and harassment. So they drop out for that reason. It would be better to just tell them the truth.
The book is downright farcical when it comes to modern animal research, simply ignoring the vast majority of it. The enormous power of animal research, of course, is that it can establish sex influences in particular on mammalian brain function (such as sex differences in risk-taking, play behavior, and responses to social defeat as just three examples) that cannot be explained by human culture, (although they may well be influenced in humans by culture.) Rippon engages in what is effectively a denial of evolution, implying to her reader that we should ignore the profound implications of animal research (“Not those bloody monkeys again!”) when trying to understand sex influences on the human brain. She is right only if you believe evolution in humans stopped at the neck.
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