September 20, 2006

Who Would Have Seen This Coming? Uh, Everyone

Well, it’s settled then. As The New York Times gleefully reports, the thorny question of female aptitude in the hard sciences has been conclusively answered. Obviously, they’ll be no further arguments from anyone; this whole issue has finally been put to rest.

Why, just check out the opening paragraph from the Gray Lady’s report, which was penned by one Cornelia Dean:

Women in science and engineering are hindered not by lack of ability but by bias and “outmoded institutional structures” in academia, an expert panel reported yesterday. The panel, convened by the National Academy of Sciences, said that in an era of global competition the nation could not afford “such underuse of precious human capital.” Among other steps, the report recommends altering procedures for hiring and evaluation, changing typical time-tables for tenure and promotion, and providing more support for working parents.

Well, gee: Who could argue with this all of this? After all, as the Paper of Record tells us, the NAS gathered “an expert panel,” and thus their findings must be unassailable.

But wait. Who makes up this “expert panel”? Well, its head was Donna E. Shalala, a former secretary of health and human services in the Clinton administration and a well-known feminist.

Also on board was Elizabeth Spelke, a professor of psychology at Harvard whose views on this matter should already be crystal clear. In regard to Larry Summers’ purportedly sexist remarks on women in the hard sciences—which were surely the impetus behind this “expert panel” in the first place—Ms. Spelke said: “I disagree point for point.” Ah, so Ms. Spelke already knew the conclusions the “expert panel” would come to before she became one of its “experts.”

And let’s not forget panelist Ana Mari Cauce, a University of Washington psychologist and contributor to the tome Bringing Cultural Diversity to Feminist Psychology. Nor should we leave out Ruth J. Simmons, the president of Brown University and a board member of the radical feminist journal Meridians. Gee, can anyone say “ringers”?

Hmmm. It’s starting to sound as if the NAS’s study was something of a foregone conclusion.

But wait, dear reader, it gets even more pathetic. The obviously dispassionate and objective panel of “experts” dedicated its work to Denice Denton, the deceased chancellor of UC Santa Cruz who was a lesbian crusader for feminist causes. Huh: Perhaps the only thing this panel is “expert” in is fooling dimwitted journalists into spreading its propaganda.

We mean, come on: Having these folks head an investigation that pertains to feminism is like putting Charles Murray on a committee studying tax reform. Or like asking Perry Anderson to present a report on Marxism. You might as well save yourself the effort. If you don’t know what you’re going to get in advance, you are quite possibly brain damaged.

For some reason, though, the Paper of Record perceives that a feminist junta concluding that women require more preferential treatment in the sciences is dynamite proof of anything. It’s bad enough that the NAS set up a wretchedly partisan panel to study such an important question in the first place. It’s even worse that the Times essentially printed their press releases for them.

Posted at September 20, 2006 12:01 AM | TrackBack