John Tierney had a piece in Tuesday’s New York Times on “A new frontier for Title IX: Science.” Anyone who’s read anything by Tierney before knows to expect anti-woman idiocy, but the Times dignified his piece by putting it not in the opinion section, but in the science section. And that poor editorial decision makes the piece worth responding too.
If you haven’t yet read the article, here’s how Tierney starts out:
The members of Congress and women’s groups who have pushed for science to be “Title Nined” say there is evidence that women face discrimination in certain sciences, but the quality of that evidence is disputed. Critics say there is far better research showing that on average, women’s interest in some fields isn’t the same as men’s.
Tierney’s phrase “critics say…” translates to “I’m going to ignore decades of research on bias and barriers and focus on the few studies that favor my personal opinion.”
I don’t have the stomach to deconstruct the whole piece, but fortunately two excellent bloggers (and probably others as well) have already taken on the task.
Physioprof (guest-blogging at Feministe) smacks down Tierney step-by-step (with his usual colorful language). Among his steps:
Step 5: Women “just happen” to like “dealing with people” instead of “manipulating objects and machines”, which is for MANLY MEN!!!1!! It’s just like in caveman times: the MANLY MAN cavemen manipulated objects and hunted down vicious wild animals while women chatted with one another by the campfire.
Pat at Fairer Science does a fantastic job rephrasing Tierney, showing us his (il)logic, and writing a letter to the NY times. Here’s a sampling:
Yup the reason girls don’t go into the physical sciences and engineering must be genetic (unlike those pesky social and life sciences). And if that is your conclusion before you write the article, it is really helpful if you limit your interviewees to those who have already decided “gee girls just don’t like science and math”
If you blogged about the Tierney piece, or saw other posts around the Internets, please add links in the comments. Feel free to share your thoughts on the “article” as well…