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Sullivan on the Larry Summers Pseudoscandal - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
February 21st, 2005
10:48 pm

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Sullivan on the Larry Summers Pseudoscandal
Larry Summers, president of Harvard University, gave a talk about the under-representation of women in top positions of the exact sciences, suggesting that there is, in fact, a biological ground to male majority at the very top of achievement in exact science. A great uproar, from both academics and laypersons, ensued. Andrew Sullivan eloquently explains why Summers should be appreciated, and what his critics are doing wrong.

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Current Music: John Cale -- A Child's Christmas in Wales

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From:leehee
Date:February 22nd, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
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Thanks!
I found the article, though debatable, using Sullivan's own words, very interesting.
From:pelig
Date:February 22nd, 2005 01:36 am (UTC)
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Also, the always delightful Steven Pinker commented on the subject:

http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/media/2005_01_19_crimson.html
From:pelig
Date:February 22nd, 2005 01:37 am (UTC)
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(That was not sarcasm, just to clarify. Pinker really is always delightful)
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From:ijon
Date:February 22nd, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)
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Yes, Sullivan quotes Pinker in his post.
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From:ygurvitz
Date:February 22nd, 2005 04:31 pm (UTC)

I posted the link on my LJ...

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I called Sullivan's article "insightful", only to be told I have misspelled "inciteful".
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From:shunra
Date:February 23rd, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC)
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Perhaps by way of explanation, I should point out that Summers' comment would have been less inflammatory if his hiring practices didn't show that he practices what he preaches - and hires far fewer women than men for senior teaching positions at Harvard.

It's not that there aren't good women in the sciences - it's that folks like Summers are keeping him out.

Did you also, btw, see his statement about how any criticism of Israel constitutes anti-Semitism? The man is a loose cannon. It's not that he raises issues that people tiptoe around, it's that he is a full-blown atavistic idiot, who delights in an uproar - a troll, if you like, but rather than lurking about online, he's in a position of influence.

Hence, the word "inciteful".
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From:ygurvitz
Date:February 24th, 2005 09:30 am (UTC)

Some criticism of Israel *is* anti-semitic

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Such as the position, becoming more and more common, that Israel has no right to exist. The people spouting these views views do not come out and say that Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Zimbabwa or any other tyranny has no right to exist; they single out Israel. This smacks of anti-semitism.
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From:shunra
Date:February 24th, 2005 03:37 pm (UTC)

Saying every Jew should die or change religion - that's anti-Semitism

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Saying that people who are Jews have differing abilities in scientific subjects - that's anti-Semitism (especially if said by the head of prominent university - as in the policy of numerus clausus). Refusing to business with people because they are Jewish - that's anti-Semitism. Refusing to let your child play with a Jewish child, to include the Jewish classmate in class activities... ...that's anti-Semitism.

Saying that the state of Israel, with its inherent discrimination against people who aren't Jewish, needs to regroup in a less racist manner... ...that's not anti-Semitic.
It is is not about Jews, as Jews. It neither harms nor threatens Jews - except in that it suggests tht the practice of preferring people of Jewish descent is an untenable one.

Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe would also do well to regroup in a less racist manner. There is some urgency in getting Israel to do so, at the moment.

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Now, here's a perplexing question for you: is it an anti-Semitic act to translate the Talmud's more non-Jew-hating passages? Right now, these passages are inaccessible to anyone who does not have a fairly extensive Jewish education - a self-selecting anti-anti-Semite filter. But if I were to translate them... ...would I be serving truth, or the evil?
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From:novartza
Date:February 26th, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Translating Talmud's passages

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That depends on who does the translation, how well the translation is done, how faithful it is to the context in which those passages were original;ly wriotten and whether the translation includes the traditional commentaries and the way these passages were understood by the prominent Talmud scholars during the generations.
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