Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sixty years

Larry Summers suggested that innate sex differences as an explanation of natural science career success differences might be an hypothesis to be explored by scientists of good will. His critics have included scientists who prefer that the question remain out of bounds.

This is the week of the 60th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation and an occasion for some reflection on that era. Nazi Germany and other places included high-brow types who had an easy time pontificating about innate differences. Many who should have known better in this country also said and wrote stupid -- and ultimately vicious -- things about race.

Poor Larry Summers. He assumes that the scientists in his day and age who might investigate differences in gender performance are better souls than the freaks we see in history.

His optimism is, in my view, refreshing. Even appealing. Some of us believe that in 60 years a corner has been turned.