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So this guy, Larry Summers, was picked by Obama to head up the White House's national economic council. And I hear all over that that's all controversial because he once said while he was president of Harvard that women are dumber than men or something to that effect. I keep hearing all of this reactionary bullshit that's calling for his head and saying that his selection reflects poorly on Obama, and I don't think anyone's taking into consideration what the dude actually said when he said it. I remember back in 2005 when it all went down and people overreacting then. From what I understand, he was giving a talk about how there are more men than women in top science and engineering jobs, and the question of, "Well, why?". And he gave the possible answers as being... "More men are practically able to or want to have their lives dominated by their career", which is especially true considering that men don't have to take maternity leave. "The people that do the hiring are sexist", which, taken as a broad generalization, has small but significant merit. And "men's science/engineering abilities and interest have more variance than that of women's", meaning that while men and women have no significant average difference, there are a higher percentage of exceptionally gifted men in these areas than women (and on the same note, a higher percentage of exceptionally inept men). Think of it like the men's bell curve is slightly flatter than the women's. And since a lot of these jobs pull in the top players in a given field, they would statistically favor men. Me, I don't see that as a sexist remark. I see it as a plausible correlation between two statistically significant findings. The problem is that when people get caught up on bigoted ideologies, they love to take statistically significant findings and pretend like they're practically significant, even when they're not. When people want to see themselves as superior, they just gobble up any numbers that seem to demonstrate that they are, without allowing the truth of the matter to give them a sense of context that would, upon any honest examination, squash the relevance that these statistics have in our day-to-day decisions of how to treat people. So no, Mr. Racist, I don't care that you found some numbers somewhere that say that Black people are dumber than White people. You're still an idiot for your confederate flag t-shirt. And no, Mr. Sexist. I don't care that there's a statistically significant difference in the average spatial reasoning abilities of the sexes or whateverthefuck. You're still an asshole for not hiring that person just because she has breasts. Meh. I have a cold. I just wanted something to vent about to get my mind off of work.