Tag: stereotypes

November 11 2009

Q: How does evolution explain why men tend to outperform women in mathematics and spatial reasoning?

A: Our species has a long biological heritage of men going out to do the hunting while the women stay at the camp to do the gathering. The men that tended to get lost because of their terrible spatial skills were the ones that tended to go hungry, so the men that were more likely to know their way around were more likely to feed and then breed. Over the generations, this tendency has made males slightly more prone to better spatial reasoning.

There are many factors that led to this, but males tend to be more logical while females tend to be more analytical. This is true, but it is far from being the rule. The important word is “tend” in this situation. Males are neither smarter nor more logical than females. Just take a long look at the most vocal sports fans. And females are neither dumber nor less logical than males. Just take a long look at the list of female scientists/physicists/mathematicians of the world.

While it’s easy to overgeneralize based on minute differences, it is the height of foolish to assume that men are naturally pre-disposed towards mathematics and reason. Males tend to be taller and stronger, but that is quickly reaching the point where it’s completely irrelevant. In an enlightened civilization such as ours, it’s increasingly hard for people to play the gender card, especially since it’s just a card trick anyway.

October 10 2009

Q: Do you find the term “westerner” offensive?
Depends a bit on who says it, but it’s beginning to get to me. It never botherred me before but i have a Muslim collegue from Afghanistan who has used it in a few to many inaccurate and offensive contexts and now it really rubs me the wrong way. e.g. my least favourite “the average westerner had 600 sexual partners in their lifetime” he got this out of a pemphlet in his mosque, i have no idea how they got this figure, they must have got the sluttiest college kid they could find and then extrapolated that behaviour over 80 years or something, or just made it up.

A: I find the use of any term that overgeneralizes any group of people annoying, but I am not offended by it. That kind of language is just a symptom of a larger problem. I mean, really, 600 sexual partners is pretty heroic…even for Americans.