In the last post, I predicted that when it comes to gender identity, the answer to the nature vs. nurture question will probably be yes. But there is also a chance that the question will never be answered because many radical feminists don’t want scientists to study gender-based disparities. The mere possibility that rigorous science may discover some fundamental and unalterable differences between men and women (beyond the obvious, of course) is frightening enough to some feminists that they actively work to squelch the whole discussion.
Not only are these ideological attacks blatantly anti-science, but they are also completely unnecessary. Feminists should not fear an honest discussion on the observed differences between men and women – unless, of course, their real goal is seizing the power to manipulate their fellow human beings.
A statistically significant difference between men and women may not matter at the level of the individual. If you test a population of human beings on a particular skill – for example, mathematical problem solving – the scores will generally be normally distributed. Why does this matter? Well, if you compare the distribution of scores for women and the distribution of scores for men, you will see a considerable amount of overlap even if the mean for one group is significantly higher than the mean for the other. Thus, the difference between the means can’t be used to justify willful discrimination against women because it is always possible that an individual woman will turn out to be more of a math whiz than an individual man.
On the other hand, uncovering stable differences between men and women on particular dimensions should make us think twice about establishing gender quotas by fiat – or forcing institutions and businesses to bow and scrape before feminist hustlers simply because they are male-dominated. If – dare I say it – natural differences between the genders are one day revealed, then the mere fact that there’s a statistical disparity in a certain profession will cease to be sufficient proof that discrimination exists — and that, I think, can only serve the cause of true social justice. For too long, feminists have demanded that certain entities prove a negative.