The National Organization For Women (NOW) has called for Harvard University’s President, Lawrence Summers, to resign because of his suggestion that women may be innately inferior to men in their ability to excel at math and science.
That disturbs me.
Summers’s statement was a suggestion, not a claim, and there’s evidence to refute it, but isn’t science supposed to ask all questions and consider all possibilities? We’re talking about the brain, one of the most complex and, as yet, least understood subjects of scientific study. As The New York Times reports:
Researchers who have explored the subject of sex differences from every conceivable angle and organ say that yes, there are a host of discrepancies between men and women – in their average scores on tests of quantitative skills, in their attitudes toward math and science, in the architecture of their brains, in the way they metabolize medications, including those that affect the brain.
Summers may have spoken in a provocative manner to a sensitive audience, but he was doing what institutions of higher learning are supposed to do: seeking the truth by asking questions. NOW’s knee-jerk reaction serves neither science nor feminism.