Validity of Conclusions of Neuroscientific Studies on Gender

The place to ask questions about the basic values of Atheism Plus, feminism and social justice.

Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby Cipher » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:36 am

I don't really care what you get all of the time and from whom

Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone who is neither... the voice of privilege.
*rolls eyes*
Look, simpleton, this is part of the problem with what you're doing. You're ignoring the actual, real-world consequences of the claims you're making, and showing an utter lack of empathy or consideration for the people who bear the brunt of those consequences.
Oh, I may be on the side of the angels - but don't think for one second that I am one of them.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby LeftSidePositive » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:45 am

Who's talking about IQ?


Did you read the methodology of the paper? They used the Full Scale Intelligence Quotient score (FSIQ) to correlate it to the volumes in different brain regions. They matched subjects by IQ score and saw which voxels in the brain were bigger for which genders in those subjects that had higher IQ. Are you really too lazy to read the methodology of papers you cite?!

And as for your first link: OH HOLY FUCK! WHAT?! How the fuck is it even POSSIBLE to "think with your white matter"?! ...


he wasn't talking about IQ genius. He wasn't saying men were smarter.


Do you understand that we're talking about problems with the neurobiology of the paper? There isn't one and only thing that could possibly be wrong with neuroscience research, and then it's totally peachy if the general IQ is the same. There are A LOT of harmful gender stereotypes about HOW women vs men think, not only the final IQ. We are saying his conclusions are nonsense given how brains actually work, and these generalities about white matter vs. grey matter are physiologically invalid. Did you not understand this?!

two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior


Voxel-based volumetric analysis is insufficient to determine "two different types of brains." 48 subjects are insufficient to determine "two different types of brains." A methodology greatly vulnerable to statistical variation is insufficient to determine "two different types of brains." Correlative research in general is insufficient to determine "two different types of brains."

I have an idea on functional plasticity


Until you make an attempt to define it I don't believe you.

You know what "inherit our learned traits" means,


No; this means nothing. These are mutually contradictory concepts, and I already told you that.

I'm sure you're noggin'll figure it out.


YOUR!!!!!

OK, so functionlly the brain of a man and a woman can end up very different,


Ending up different over time says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about fundamental differences between men and women. Differences that are the result of different patterns of socialization and life experiences would not be so different if people were treated fairly, and not held to a bunch of limiting stereotypes about gender.

as I was saying the whole fucking time.


No you weren't--you were making claims about genetic differences.

That was in response to: "Possible differences in psychology/physiology/biology means you have to clean the house?" Way to ignore the question - correct answer was no.


Correct answer is YES. Yes people claim that because women are naturally different we're expected to do housework. Yes people claim that because women are naturally different we "choose" to work less hours because domestic duties fall disproportionately to us. Yes people claim that psychological differences must be the reason we're not that interested in math and science. Yes this is our lived experience of the sexism we have to go through, so FUCK YOU for denying it!

I don't really care what you get all of the time and from whom; except that you've gotten it enough to shove Archie Bunker caricatures down every one's throat who doesn't believe that scientific findings, whichever way they lean, shouldn't be used for as excuses for social grievences.


This is completely irresponsible. The fact that fallacious reasoning is frequently used to disadvantage women and minorities needs to be a cause for skepticism of privilege-reinforcing theories. In short, the more harm a hypothesis is likely to do or the higher the stakes, the higher the level of confidence must be needed to accept it. For more, read Cordelia Fine on the subject.

LeftSidePositive gave it a go, but didn't read far enough into the article to understand the results were that the equivalent IQ is reached by differeng parts of the brain. Functionally different, yet equal.


No, you fucking idiot. I READ THE ACTUAL PAPER and you didn't, you lazy fucking self-centered intellectually incurious piece of shit. We are trying to tell you that the "different parts of the brain" bit is laughable to those who understand neuroscience--we don't give a fuck that the overall IQ of the subjects was the same. The "they are functionally different" attitude is harmful, and is also NOT SUPPORTED BY THE DATA. Not at all. You are mansplaining egregiously when you think you--with no understanding of neuroscience or indeed apparently any scientific research at all!--can talk down to scientists with multiple advanced degrees and assume WE don't understand when we're telling you the flaws in your reasoning. You are the fucking embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect!
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby Botzu » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:57 am

I think the list is splendid and does a great job of covering many of the feminist values that most feminists could agree on. I appreciate the gender neutrality in many of the points too. I think my only criticism is that some of the points seem like they could be merged as concepts overlap(ie 1 and 3).
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby LeftSidePositive » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:07 am

Botzu wrote:I think the list is splendid and does a great job of covering many of the feminist values that most feminists could agree on. I appreciate the gender neutrality in many of the points too. I think my only criticism is that some of the points seem like they could be merged as concepts overlap(ie 1 and 3).


Holy shit, an on-topic post!!! Where did THAT come from?!

Anyway, thanks! Yeah, I'm not quite sure where to come down on the similar-but-different ones. I kinda did 1 and 3 that way because the image I had with 1 was the classic patriarchal religions, and then I thought 3 needed to be fleshed out separately because there's kind of a difference between overtly oppressing someone and pseudo-empowering them. That, and I wanted to keep most points to one sentence wherever possible. Matter of personal taste, I suppose. :)
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby simpleton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:05 am

What is this, the nineteenth fucking century?! It tried to correlate IQ scores to brain volumes in different regions


This is what I was replying to, and the very first sentence of the summary reads: "While there are essentially no disparities in general intelligence between the sexes..." So yes IQ was used in the study - I'm talking about findings: "These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior"

That was in response to: "Possible differences in psychology/physiology/biology means you have to clean the house?" Way to ignore the question - correct answer was no.
Correct answer is YES. Yes people claim that because women are naturally different we're expected to do housework.

We're not talking about claims that people make... .do possible differences in psychology/physiology/biology means you have to clean the house? The correct answer is still NO.

We are trying to tell you that the "different parts of the brain" bit is laughable to those who understand neuroscience--we don't give a fuck that the overall IQ of the subjects was the same. The "they are functionally different" attitude is harmful


What's harmful is how these studies are erroneously applied by sexists, not the studies themselves. Draw the conceptual difference. The guy who wrote the paper doesn't understand neuroscience? - or am I going to just take your word for it? The summary is written in plain english, for us non-nueral scientists:
"In general, men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of – or connections between – these processing centers. " - which while interesting in and of itself, doesn't keep you from bringing social issues back into science.

And if ANYONE googles differences between men and women there are numerous examples of PH.D's who see evidence of this 'equal but different' idea I keep talking about... so there are plenty of people who disagree with you.

And finally, let's pretend all of this is a zero sum game, in which cultural divides have so changed us via neural plasticity to the point that the results are of the above. Does that justify sexism? NO, and that should always be your answer - otherwise studies of the brain CAN have social impacts, and YOU are part of the problem.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby LeftSidePositive » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:44 am

simpleton wrote:I'm talking about findings: "These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains


And we have told you multiple times that the study was completely insufficient to show this. We have corrected your misconceptions multiple times. Take this to the education forum and get the fuck out of here.

do possible differences in psychology/physiology/biology


You haven't even established these EXIST, let alone the conclusions you want to draw from them. And, for you to so tenaciously support the conclusions of ridiculously flawed research while claiming you'll so magnanimously ignore the implications is fucking bullshit. Don't fucking waste my time until you can find me a rigorous study that actually establishes what it claims to establish.

not the studies themselves.


No, you miserable fucking idiot. The studies are insufficient in themselves. The conclusions are invalid. We have already explained how the neuroscience behind this study is just plain wrong and fails to take into account the basic biochemistry of how neurons work. We already described how it doesn't use a metric that is even remotely sensitive enough to assess brain function. Again, the fact that you are too fucking stupid to understand basic methodology when it has been explained to you multiple times, and too fucking stupid to understand what our objections are to the paper when we state them multiple times, means you need to get your ass off this thread and over to the educational forum NOW.

The guy who wrote the paper doesn't understand neuroscience? - or am I going to just take your word for it?


We already explained to you what he did wrong, in detail.

"In general, men have approximately 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence than women, and women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence than men. Gray matter represents information processing centers in the brain, and white matter represents the networking of – or connections between – these processing centers. "


AND THIS HAS NO FUNCTIONAL SIGNIFICANCE WHATSOEVER. Here: I will tell you what this means: They took about 40 brain regions and measured their volumes in 48 subjects. They took subjects IQ scores and divided them by gender. They looked to see which brain volumes had an over-threshold R^2 correlation with the results of the IQ score in each gender. Due to either random fluctuations in statistics or slight differences in head size and shape, certain correlations were above threshold in one group, while other correlations were above threshold in another group. That's it. Firstly, it fails to understand that the size of the region has very little, if any, bearing on how metabolically active it is, what networks it's involved in, or what stimuli it responds to. Secondly, this is not hypothesis-driven research: any fluctuations would be counted positive in this study, and they would shoehorn them into their conclusions. If you take two groups and test enough variables, you will be almost guaranteed to get differences by chance fluctuation. Have these results actually been validated? Are the same areas correlated in different groups of people? Thirdly, correlation does not equal causation: there is no reason to believe that all regions in the brain that happen to be correlated with IQ in a sample of 24 people are actually directly involved in any way. This is ridiculously shoddy research, and the fact that you can't understand this means that you need to shut the fuck up and educate yourself.

And if ANYONE googles differences between men and women


You do understand, don't you, that you're biasing your google search, right?

there are numerous examples of PH.D's


This is nothing more than argument from authority, and especially since you can't understand the methodology of the research you're quoting or the basic science behind the rebuttals, it is intellectually dishonest to look for anyone with a PhD behind their name who seems to be saying what you want and then put them forth as authorities when you don't understand them, nor have you shown the basic fucking decency toward the quality of the debate to educate yourself on the topics with which you try to challenge your opponents. You are behaving like a fucking creationist, so stop it.

so there are plenty of people who disagree with you.


Argument from popularity!

in which cultural divides have so changed us via neural plasticity


Awww, you're cute when you try to use terms when you transparently have no idea what they mean!

Does that justify sexism?


Based on your "well it's not sexist if you lampoon both men and women!" I would say you have an extremely superficial idea of what sexism is. I would also point out that by assuming there are gender differences between men and women so resolutely even when your data has fallen around your ankles, your pompous contention that you can ascribe complex behaviors like "nurturing" to biologic determinalism, and your insistence on considering yourself an equal (or even superior) analyst to women who are highly educated in a field of which you clearly know nothing, you are exhibiting sexist behavior. If you don't understand why what you are doing is sexist, then you need to get to the education forum and ask.

and YOU are part of the problem.


How? By expecting evidence for the claims presented to me? By knowing enough background science to actually examine them? By considering the ramifications of what I say and realizing that different claims require different levels of support? Well, I guess I'd better go repent me of those grievous sins!
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby rumblestiltsken » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:24 am

For anyone else who is interested in this derail -

The study that has been linked is science, and as such requires a deep understanding of neuroscience and the methods used before anyone can assess how to interpret it. There are flaws and strengths of that study. They are irrelevant to this discussion.

To discount it in this argument does not require deep knowledge. The study uses 48 subjects from the same social setting, presumably with similar socialisation. Demographics are only addressed in passing.

Therefore this study has nothing to say on whether the effects seen are related to biological difference or are caused by socialisation. To do that there would need to be controls, say from other cultures or groups without similar gender roles. Trust me that this sort of study is not currently technically feasible.

As a general rule - neuroscience is hard. Drawing conclusions about anything seen on a experiential level is just bad science.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby simpleton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:29 am

I am well aware of the bias of the google search, as well as the appeal to authority. I tried to bias the google search the other way and still came up with studies supporting my idea. If I'm not a PH.D., so the best source of information comes from those qualified to make an assesment, yes? Not saying any of the studies are definitive alone, but we're harping on that one source and there's plenty more out there. We haven't much touched statistical differences in behavior and hormonal differences... or even personal experiences. - and I haven't even made a definitive claim, just stated a belief!

"These findings suggest..."

And the study didn't make a definitive claim either, just what the results suggest!

"is consistent with clinical findings that frontal brain injuries can be more detrimental to cognitive performance in women than men."

Which correlates with other findings!

and your insistence on considering yourself an equal (or even superior) analyst to women who are highly educated in a field of which you clearly know nothing


Uh yeah, don't know what to say about this. Sorry I don't really value random people on the internet as authorities on which to base my conclusions. But it's because you're a woman right? Spare me the self-righteous bullshit.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby simpleton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:38 am

Therefore this study has nothing to say on whether the effects seen are related to biological difference or are caused by socialisation.


Nor should they matter. Women deserve to be treated as equals regardless of any real or percieved differences. No one should be marginalized for believing there are real differences between men and women - not told to shut up, or go get an education, there isn't science we agree on that settles it definitively one way or the other. If you believe we are ultimately very similar, good on you.

If your belief is that science should ever determine social roles, you're an amoral ass, and don't deserve to be called a feminist. Female or not.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby neamhspleachas » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:06 am

As the General Forum is not the place to teach 101, I'm moving this thread to the Ed Forum.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby rumblestiltsken » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:31 am

Thanks.

Do you understand why simpleton? It was probably not your intention (I hope) but your argument appears to support gender essentialism - that there are relevant essential (read: built in by biology) differences between men and women. This ignores a whole range of human experience.

You appear to be saying that differences exist, and whether they are essential or learnt, that makes no difference.

It makes a huge difference, because learnt behaviours like societal misogyny can be changed. Biology cannot.

So, while you may not have meant to support that view, that is how it has been read by almost everyone who has responded to you. Your intention doesn't matter, because in the main forum there are marginalised people who could read what you wrote and potentially even be triggered by it. This is why the thread has moved, and that is sad because the OP of this thread was a really good thing. You have successfully sidelined the point of this thread by resisting a friendly suggestion to start a new one on what you wanted to talk about.

Does that make sense?
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby simpleton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:48 am

It makes sense, yes, and I don't intend to make a point of 'gender essentialism' as part of some maligned philosophy, nor did mean to sideline the OP, or trigger anyone... and on the same tolkein, I didn't percieve any suggestion to start a new thread elsewhere as friendly (and they weren't, let's be honest, we're adults right?)

You are correct that I am saying that the origin of differences of males and females (nature vs. nurture) should not matter, we all deserve equal respect.

It makes a huge difference, because learnt behaviours like societal misogyny can be changed. Biology cannot.


Is there a danger here though, that if we insist biology matters so much, we are putting the very societal and political implications on potential research when it need not be there? Evolution would have devastating societal consequences if we excepted survival of the fittest as some cultural norm, so I don't know why we're suddenly putting our values and policies in the hands of science, and it's a grave mistake.

All and all, with or without education in modern feminism philosophy, this is a fundamental philosophical and unbridgable divide. The reason I can talk about possible differences so openly and candidly, and appear sexist seems to be because I simply base my politics and morals on how we should treat each other. We should be allowed to be different; culturally, biologically if that be the case.

Any way if LSP wants to repost the original - or if anyone else does, I'm not going to go back and continue what I've already discussed here.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby piegasm » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:13 pm

simpleton wrote:It makes sense, yes, and I don't intend to make a point of 'gender essentialism' as part of some maligned philosophy, nor did mean to sideline the OP, or trigger anyone... and on the same tolkein, I didn't percieve any suggestion to start a new thread elsewhere as friendly (and they weren't, let's be honest, we're adults right?)

You are correct that I am saying that the origin of differences of males and females (nature vs. nurture) should not matter, we all deserve equal respect.

It makes a huge difference, because learnt behaviours like societal misogyny can be changed. Biology cannot.


Is there a danger here though, that if we insist biology matters so much, we are putting the very societal and political implications on potential research when it need not be there? Evolution would have devastating societal consequences if we excepted survival of the fittest as some cultural norm, so I don't know why we're suddenly putting our values and policies in the hands of science, and it's a grave mistake.

All and all, with or without education in modern feminism philosophy, this is a fundamental philosophical and unbridgable divide. The reason I can talk about possible differences so openly and candidly, and appear sexist seems to be because I simply base my politics and morals on how we should treat each other. We should be allowed to be different; culturally, biologically if that be the case.

Any way if LSP wants to repost the original - or if anyone else does, I'm not going to go back and continue what I've already discussed here.


The reason I can talk about possible differences so openly and candidly, and appear sexist seems to be because I simply base my politics and morals on how we should treat each other.


You almost seem to be invoking the supposed is-ought problem here which I would venture to suggest (correct me if I'm wrong) that most people here regard as something of a fallacy. Surely how we ought to treat each other has to be based upon how the world actually works, no? If our subjective impressions of the differences between sexes are social constructs, then they're not based on reality; they're based on our intuition which we know to be easily fooled. Some may in the end turn out to be correct but, if they do, it's accidental. The point of bringing science into the discussion is so that we can figure out which are fundamental differences and which aren't so we can stop imposing harmful limits on each other for no reason.
People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant. - Helen Keller
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby simpleton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:42 pm

I'm not sure I follow the fallacy; using my philosophy - whether or not a difference can be shown to definitively exist (I believe for example there is a difference), we should treat each other with mutual respect - seeks to dissassociate whatever is, from what ought to be.

And no we shouldn't use science (what is) to determine our morals. Ever. Otherwise we would be sterilizing people with disadvantegous genese diliberately to cleanse the genepool. We would be engaged in a whole host of immoral behaviour if that were the case.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby piegasm » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:51 pm

But why? Why do you want to disassociate what is from what ought to be? How do you propose to be able to say anything intelligible at all about what ought to be if you don't first have a solid grasp of what is? That is what I mean when i say "fallacy". If you're not basing your "oughts" on "is-es", what are you basing them on? Your belief that there is a difference? What if your belief is wrong? How do you know you're treating someone respectfully if your notion of what is respectful is based on a false belief?

Edited to respond to your edit...

So using what we know about how the world works to determine how we ought to behave would result in immorality but building our morality upon who knows what intuitions, biases, stereotypes, bigotries, etc. won't? I'm going to have to echo what others have said in this thread and conclude that you're really not fully thinking through the consequences of what you're saying.
People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant. - Helen Keller
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby simpleton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:08 pm

I have a solid grasp that we've been able to breed passivity and aggressiveness in rats, and desirable traits in dogs. I know we could likewise breed only humans with desireable traits to shape future generations. Doesn't sterilizing people sound wrong to you though? How do you seperate what is from what ought?

It's because we value each other as human beings, and we have respect for the human experience. There is also a wide range of intelligences amoungst humans, you don't view yourself as better than those with a lower IQ do you? I don't, on a fundemental level we all deserve respect, because we are all conscoius beings who have values rooted in empathy, we understand other peoples experiences matter, because ours does.

Let's extend this to animals. I have a dog I know is VERY genetically different than me. I love my dog to death, not because it's earned some genetic pass, or somehow worthy of anything, just the fact that it is a conscious being who's experience while alive has value to it, and my extension, value to me.

I don't see how basic empathy and respect towards other people should pass some sort of genetic/ cultural/ physiological litmus test... THAT is the dangerous ground.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby piegasm » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:18 pm

simpleton wrote:I have a solid grasp that we've been able to breed passivity and aggressiveness in rats, and desirable traits in dogs. I know we could likewise breed only humans with desireable traits to shape future generations. Doesn't sterilizing people sound wrong to you though? How do you seperate what is from what ought?

It's because we value each other as human beings, and we have respect for the human experience. There is also a wide range of intelligences amoungst humans, you don't view yourself as better than those with a lower IQ do you? I don't, on a fundemental level we all deserve respect, because we are all conscoius beings who have values rooted in empathy, we understand other peoples experiences matter, because ours does.

Let's extend this to animals. I have a dog I know is VERY genetically different than me. I love my dog to death, not because it's earned some genetic pass, or somehow worthy of anything, just the fact that it is a conscious being who's experience while alive has value to it, and my extension, value to me.

I don't see how basic empathy and respect towards other people should pass some sort of genetic/ cultural/ physiological litmus test... THAT is the dangerous ground.


Stop strawmanning me with social Darwinism. Nobody in this thread has suggested anything remotely like that. Answer the questions in my last post please. If you have an idea about what women, for example, are like (abilities, preferences, etc.) which is based on nothing remotely resembling reality, how can you be so presumptuous as to think you're being empathetic or respectful toward her?
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby simpleton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:27 pm

My apologies if you've percieved me as strawmanning - I'm only trying to draw a comparison from what we both know to be fact - evolution, and how compares to what we are speaking about now.

If you have an idea about what women, for example, are like (abilities, preferences, etc.) which is based on nothing remotely resembling reality, how can you be so presumptuous as to think you're being empathetic or respectful toward her?


I don't know, I don't really have think about it too often. Most people, women and men alike, find me to be a pretty nice guy. I'm fairly agreeable all around. Sorry a don't have a huge sweeping philosophy for that, 'golden rule it' I guess. That's a starting point, how would I like to be treated? Suggesting that men and women have differences isn't to assume we're so alien that we can't sit in mixed groups and socialize.

Consider this. If a new study comes out tomorrow that states all of these assumed differences have been verifiably proven (for the most part, as has been mentioned there is a range of experiences, as well as a spectrum of what is considered male / female) - would you suddenly rework all of your social relationships with all of the people of the opposite gender, to make sure you are putting them in the appropriate place? Because my attitudes and morals wouldn't be affected at all.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby emptyell » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:28 pm

Simpleton,

I think I understand your viewpoint and perhaps even share it to a certain degree but I think you are making at least one significant error in your thinking. This is the confusion of the general case with the specific. Regardless of the extent to which there may be generalized differences between men and women this says very little about the differences between any particular man and woman.

To use sports as an analogy, while it is true that men are generally faster runners than women the fastest woman is only slightly slower than the fastest man but much faster than the slowest, and that's even true if we consider only people who participate in track and field. If we include the general population the overall difference is even smaller. The overlap is far greater than the difference.

Applying this to other qualities:

Aggressive
M__________xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx_____
W_____xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx__________

Nurturing
W__________xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx_____
M_____xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx__________

The graphics are representational only to illustrate my point and I am not looking up and citing sources as I feel these examples are (in general) non-controversial. The extent to which any generalized differences are culturally or genetically determined is clearly more contentious but immaterial to my point.

So what I am trying to say here is that any cultural norms, memes, tropes, etc that focus on (and even celebrate) the marginal generalized differences between men and women serve to stigmatize individuals who are perceived to be inconsistent with those norms.

Finally, you should not be insulted by suggestions to refer to the educational forum or other sources. I know a fair amount about fixing cars and motorcycles but I would not expect my opinions to be authoritative on a forum of professional mechanics. There are people here who know a lot more (a whole lot more) about feminism than you and I. If you are going to express contrary opinions you better be prepared to back them up with a lot more than you have so far. If you don't want to do the work, that's fine but don't expect that your opinions will get much respect. If you don't think feminism is a complex subject deserving of considerable study then you probably don't belong here.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby rumblestiltsken » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:54 pm

Good post emptyell, although I think if we had accurate scale then we would need hundreds of x-es to see a single x surplus on either end. There is just no good evidence for pretty much any biological differences above background noise.

To simpleton, here is the prime problem with what you are saying. You are speaking about an idealised world where people judge each other fairly. Because of that you can say things like 'i don't even think about biology" and you throw around non-specific ambiguous ideas about differences between genders.

The world we live in is full of people who do think about biology, and use it as an excuse to break down people different from them. So you passively saying "there probably are differences, I just don't think they matter" without any knowledge or evidence is tacitly aggreing with a whole range of awful people. It is providing cross-noise on the voices who fight back against biology-based-bigotry. It harms the discourse.

This is a meta-issue, and one that everyone who engages with social justice needs to consider. Will my words hurt the people or the movement? It is a tricky question, and we all try to get better at answering it each day.

There is a lot to learn here, we are all learning. The key is not fighting back when a quorum of good people are saying you are wrong. In that situation, stop, listen and start with the assumption that they are right. It is the only way I ever learnt anything, which essentially means I never learnt anything worth knowing about social justice for 90% of my life.

If you ever watched the youtube video by philhellenes "Why didn't anybody tell me", social justice can be just like that but even more powerful. All you have to do is listen. Changed my life.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby SubMor » Tue Sep 04, 2012 3:48 pm

simpleton wrote:And no we shouldn't use science (what is) to determine our morals. Ever.

Are you kidding me!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME.

I don't think you are, and that's greatly troubling.

You don't think we should use the world's best proven method of understanding what's actually TRUE in determining our morals? Do you think our morality should be based on something other than reality? If you think we should use factual information to determine what right and wrong behavior is, you need to withdraw this cliche immediately.

simpleton wrote:Otherwise we would be sterilizing people with disadvantegous genese diliberately to cleanse the genepool. We would be engaged in a whole host of immoral behaviour if that were the case.

This is not science. This is ideology. Science does not say "the genetically weak (whatever that means) should be cleansed from the genepool." A bullshit social agenda says that, and it has no place in any rational discussion of public policy or science.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby simpleton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:09 pm

This is not science. This is ideology. Science does not say "the genetically weak (whatever that means) should be cleansed from the genepool." A bullshit social agenda says that, and it has no place in any rational discussion of public policy or science.


Maybe you missed the analogy, so let me break it down. We were talking about whether any of the differences between men and women could have some biological roots. I believe its possible. Some people believe that's immoral because of the connatations. Because if women were different there would be a justified reason to discriminate.

But people are different, genetically. We know how evolution works, and using that science we could cleanse our genepool, or implement a philosophy of science like survival of the fittest. I'm sure you could interpret the implications of evolution in many other ways. but What does that have to do with our social contract, our implicit responsibility to treat each other with dignity because we are conscious beings who deseve as much? That's how I begin thinking about morality, with the social contract, and work my way up from there.

You tell me. What has the scientific method taught you about morality? Additionally, IF some study came out showing biological differences between men and women, how would that shape how you treat the opposite gender?

And when you answer, keep it in context. At least rumblestiltsken and emptyell could find some level of mutual respect as we disagreed.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby SubMor » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:14 pm

simpleton wrote:You tell me. What has the scientific method taught you about morality? Additionally, IF some study came out showing biological differences between men and women, how would that shape how you treat the opposite gender?

Maybe you missed the point, so I'd be happy to repeat it. The scientific method has taught me how to ascertain what's true. Morality is a completely meaningless concept if you can't figure that out.

The scientific method can also tell us what ways to live are beneficial. Is it good for society to murder apostates? Is it good for people to be drowned for the dark art of devil seduction as a means to practicing magic? Is it better to live in cities, with all the technological conveniences that entails, or disconnected hovels scattered randomly across the wilderness? Is it more productive for people to be allowed to or forbidden from murdering each other at the slightest provocation?

If you don't think those questions have something to do with the scientific method, you need to get right over that non-overlapping magisteria crap.
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby piegasm » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:54 pm

simpleton wrote:My apologies if you've percieved me as strawmanning - I'm only trying to draw a comparison from what we both know to be fact - evolution, and how compares to what we are speaking about now.

If you have an idea about what women, for example, are like (abilities, preferences, etc.) which is based on nothing remotely resembling reality, how can you be so presumptuous as to think you're being empathetic or respectful toward her?


I don't know, I don't really have think about it too often. Most people, women and men alike, find me to be a pretty nice guy. I'm fairly agreeable all around. Sorry a don't have a huge sweeping philosophy for that, 'golden rule it' I guess. That's a starting point, how would I like to be treated? Suggesting that men and women have differences isn't to assume we're so alien that we can't sit in mixed groups and socialize.

Consider this. If a new study comes out tomorrow that states all of these assumed differences have been verifiably proven (for the most part, as has been mentioned there is a range of experiences, as well as a spectrum of what is considered male / female) - would you suddenly rework all of your social relationships with all of the people of the opposite gender, to make sure you are putting them in the appropriate place? Because my attitudes and morals wouldn't be affected at all.


If a new study came out tomorrow? No. People earlier in this thread have talked at great length about what constitutes a well-done study. I would want to know that this one met those standards before acting on anything it claimed to find. But let's just say the mainstream scientific consensus came to some incontrovertible conclusion which was at variance with what I had always assumed to be true. It would be immoral of me not to strive to adjust my behavior accordingly. If your morals would not be affected by learning that things you had always held to be true were not, in fact, true, you are a despicable human being.
People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant. - Helen Keller
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Re: Feminist values of Atheism+

Postby rumblestiltsken » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:00 pm

The beauty of science is that paradigm shifts are rare, instead we whittle away the chaff and are left with the gold, or something.

Science will not overturn "everyone is equal". We don't need to worry about that. We already have big enough samples.

Morality and reality are equal. Welcome to A+!
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