meep (meep) wrote,

Two comments on this:

Men "smarter" than women

1. I have no doubt that there are more men at high IQ levels than there are women at those levels.
2. I also believe there are more men at low IQ levels than there are women at those levels.

Of course, I don't see any comments relating to #2. Because nobody cares about the mix of sexes in the mentally retarded.

The scientific issue here, to me, is why do men vary more than women when it comes to several measurable dimensions that both sexes share. Maybe it comes from men having only one X chromosome, and thus are more liable to mutations being expressed in phenotype. Maybe it has to do with the effect of prenatal hormones, or development in puberty, or some other such developmental concerns.

I highly doubt that larger standard deviations in measurable characteristics has much to do with social/cultural situations. However, that can be tested, too, bymeasuring various features in very different cultures. Of course, one needs to note that genetic differences can make the differences there, as well, if the cultures have a different distributions of genotypes (which they probably do).

As for what the policy implications of such research, I don't see any. I don't see people bitching that the government needs to do something about the fact that women are shorter than men, in the aggregate (except perhaps to make sure crash testing is done with smaller dummies in the driver's seat, too). Most realize that fact doesn't stop individuals like my 6-foot-tall sisters-in-law being taller than most men. Measuring things in the aggregate can help find some average differences, but says little about the actual individual.

The fact that there are more men than women at my IQ level doesn't tell me much about my capabilities. It might explain why I like hanging out with men more than women, on an aggregate basis, but that's about it. Not that I'm tempted to hang out at Mensa; having gone to enough "gifted" programs, I've seen that high IQ doesn't necessarily translate into being actually interesting or productive. I'd rather join reading groups (like St. John's) or other interest groups (like Toastmasters) where the only admission requirement is interest in the subject or skill at hand.

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