Earlier today we posted a piece relating to the latest post by a feminist blogger, Sarah Ditum:
In her latest post Sarah Ditum refers to Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender. It’s the feminists’ book of choice whenever anyone puts forward the theory that sex differences in behaviour might be partly biological in origin, relating to differences between the brains of human males and females at birth – a theory which is supported by a large and growing body of evidence, yet assaults a cornerstone of gender feminism.
A number of books by world-renowned psychologists and brain scientists arrive at different conclusions to those drawn by Ms Fine, one particularly good one being Professor Simon Baron-Cohen’s book The Essential Difference (2003). The book’s basic thesis is that the male brain is hard-wired for systemising (so men are drawn to fields such as engineering) while the female brain is hard-wired for empathising (so women are drawn to the caring professions). Reasonable people (by definition, feminists are excluded) would surely expect gendered brain differences to have resulted from the different evolutionary niches occupied by men and women over millennia.
So I was intrigued to read an exchange in the comment stream following Sarah Ditum’s new piece, which mentions one of Simon Baron-Cohen’s studies. In case the exchange is ‘pulled’, here it is:
It seems you have chosen only the statistics where women are victims and then smeared all men because ‘masculine contempt for women and desire to control women’ is the cause of domestic violence.
You scoff, ‘as if a preference for pictures of princesses or cars were a secondary sexual characteristic’, however, it may well be true. It is measurable on the first day of life that boys prefer mechanical things and women prefer faces, and all the way to adulthood that men prefer systematising, women prefer empathising. If this is the case, surely boys do prefer cars and girls do prefer the idea of romance?
You need to read Cordelia Fine and meet some babies. It is measurable on day one that babies can’t play with anything because they have no fine motor control. Idiot.
Please, if you read what I actually said, which is that it is ‘measurable on the first day of life that boys prefer mechanical things and women prefer faces’. Of course I’m referring to Simon Baron Cohen’s study, Sex differences in human neonatal social perception, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163638300000321
You, Sarah, are clearly the idiot.
Like I said: read Fine.
‘Like I said: read Fine’. What an utterly pathetic, lazy, and yes… IDIOTIC response.
The full Abstract of the Simon Baron-Cohen study (first published in 2000) to which CharlieOneFour refers (the term ‘neonate’ means ‘newly born child’):
Sexual dimorphism in sociability has been documented in humans. The present study aimed to ascertain whether the sexual dimorphism is a result of biological or socio-cultural differences between the two sexes. 102 human neonates, who by definition have not yet been influenced by social and cultural factors, were tested to see if there was a difference in looking time at a face (social object) and a mobile (physical-mechanical object). Results showed that the male infants showed a stronger interest in the physical-mechanical mobile while the female infants showed a stronger interest in the face. The results of this research clearly demonstrate that sex differences are in part biological in origin. (my emphasis)
We look forward to seeing if this exchange continues.