OBSERVATIONS AND PROPOSED REBUTTAL TO STEVEN PINKER’S PRESENTATION IN “THE GENDER AND SCIENCE DEBATE BETWEEN PINKER AND SPELKE”
Steven Pinker’s presentation on the gender and science debate brings into foray the controversial and the somewhat touchy topic of under representation of women in the field of physical sciences, mathematics and engineering concentrating on the elite universities like Massachusetts institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University. In a niftily presented staging of his points, Pinker keeps the tone of his speech calm, calculated with an efficient humorous demeanour to give a comic relief to the otherwise statistical and somber topic. At once personal and at one calmly detached, Pinker goes through to explain the statistically backed up information regarding the poor show of the woman in the mathematical and scientific arenas. He starts off with a datum of the percentage of women in a specific field, the numbers were as follows: Mathematics – 8.3%, Chemistry – 12.1%, Chemical Engineering – 10.5%, Physics – 6.6%, Mechanical Engineering – 6.7%, Electrical Engineering – 6.8%, Civil engineering – 9.5%, Computer Science – 10.6%, Astronomy- 12.6% With a dismal show in the technical and scientific domains, Women went on to analyze the data backed by several explanations, scientific, sociological and biological. According to Pinker the reading of the statistic in hand can be done in several ways, one being the extreme “nature” position where the discarding of the women is done on the basis that women “lack the temperament for science” and the other being the extreme “nurture” position where every biological difference is meted out to be indistinguishable. Then what is the stance that Pinker is taking, it’s the considerately named “intermediate” position where he says “that the difference is explainable by some combination of biological differences in average temperaments and talents interacting with socialization and bias”. Pinker himself...
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