Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Proof of difference

Interesting debate between Elizabeth Spelke and Steven Pinker about sex differences.

If I had to pick a winner I'd choose Spelke, but more interesting to me are their assumptions and how they made their arguments:

"First, we agree that both our society in general and our university in particular will be healthiest if all opinions can be put on the table and debated on their merits. We also agree that claims concerning sex differences are empirical, they should be evaluated by evidence, and we'll all be happier and live longer if we can undertake that evaluation as dispassionately and rationally as possible. We agree that the mind is not a blank slate; in fact one of the deepest things that Steve and I agree on is that there is such a thing as human nature, and it is a fascinating and exhilarating experience to study it. And finally, I think we agree that the role of scientists in society is rather modest. Scientists find things out. The much more difficult questions of how to use that information, live our lives, and structure our societies are not questions that science can answer. Those are questions that everybody must consider..."

Kuhn's "normal science". Popper nods. Wittgenstein shakes his fist. Feyerabend shakes his head. If I had to pick a winner, I'd say I don't agree to the rules.



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