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November 10, 2008

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You perform a valuable service in reminding people of what it was that Summers actually said, but you then diminish your accomplishment by saying that it was "irresponsible" of Summers to speculate as he did. It was certainly impolitic of Summers, given the political correctness that sadly reigns among the Harvard faculty and the left-wing talking heads and interest groups. But to say that a scholar is irresponsible when all he's done is to engage in an intellectual discussion is to join those who have undermined the most fundamental values of the academy.

Summers' only real shame was his groveling to the Harvard community after they so outrageously attacked his statement. And as it turned out, even the groveling couldn't save his job. Better he should have a mensch.

Better he should have been a mensch. I hate it when my last sentence gets screwed up. (Accord, Giles Coren)

Rob, perhaps we should cut Brendan some slack. You and I post anonymously. We're free to write what we please. But, Brendan needs to remain in the good graces of Duke faculty, many of whom hold radical feminist views. IMHO it showed a lot of courage for Brendan to go as far as he did in defending Summers.

which could mean that there could be more men at the high and low end of the ability distribution:

Yes, but we don't pick math and science professors from the low (or middle) end of the spectrum. We pick them from the top.

The Summers controversy wasn't that he thought women were intrinsically stupider than men at math. He was president of one of the elite institutions of higher learning in the country and not only didn't think the lack of women professors in math and science was a problem, he was effectively arguing that that was the way things should be.

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