Science Guardian

Truth, beauty and paradigm power in science and society

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

Supporting the right of exceptional minds to free speech, publication, media coverage and funding against the crowd prejudice, leadership resistance, monetary influences and internal professional politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, HIV(not)AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, information technology, religions and cults, health, medicine, diet and nutrition.

***************************************************

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Halton C. Arp wki/obit/txt/vds/txt/txt/bk/bk, Henry Bauer txt/blg/ blg/bks/bk/txt/bk/vd, John Beard bk, Harvey Bialy bk/bk/txt/txt/rdo/vd, John Bockris bio/txt/ltr/bk, Donald W. Braben, Peter Breggin ste/fb/col/bks, Darin Brown txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/vd, Giordano Bruno bk/bio/bio, Frank R. Buianouckas, Stanislav Burzynski mov, Erwin Chargaff bio/bk/bio/prs, James Chin bk/vd, Nicolaus Copernicus bk, Mark Craddock, Francis Crick vd, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw txt/bk, Roger Cunningham, Charles Darwin txts/bk, Erasmus Darwin txt//bk/txt/hse/bks, Peter Duesberg ste/ste/bk/txt/vd/vd, Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman bio, John Fewster, Rosalind Franklin, Bernard Forscher tx, Galileo Galilei, Walter Gilbert vd, Goethe bio/bk/bio, Nicolas Gonzalez tlk/rec/stetxt/txt, Patricia Goodson txt/bk/bk, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Etienne de Harven bk/txt/vd, Alfred Hassig intw/txt, Robert G. Houston txt, Steven Jonas vd, Edward Jenner txt, Benjamin Jesty, Adrian Kent vd, Thomas Kuhn, Fred Kummerow, Stefan Lanka txt/txt/vd, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen vd, Paul Lauterbur vd, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, James Lovelock, Andrew Maniotis, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, Christi Meyer vd, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Luc Montagnier txt/txt/vd, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling prs/vd/vd, Eric Penrose, Roger Penrose vd, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick bio/vd/bk, Robert Root-Bernstein vd, Sherwood Rowland, Otto Rossler, Harry Rubin, Marco Ruggiero txt/txt/intw/vd, Bertrand Russell Carl Sagan vd, Erwin Schrodinger, Fred Singer, Barbara Starfield txt, Gordon Stewart txt/txt, Richard Strohman, Thomas Szasz, Nicola Tesla bio/bio, Charles Thomas intw/vd, Frank Tipler, James Watson vd/vd, Alfred Wegener vd, Edward O. Wilson vd.

ACADEMICS, DOCTORS, AUTHORS, FILMMAKERS, REPORTERS AND COMMENTATORS WHO HAVE NOBLY AIDED REVIEW OF THE STATUS QUO

Jad Adams bk, Marci Angell bk/txt/txt/txt, Clark Baker ste/txt/rdo/vd, James Blodgett, Tony Brown vd, Hiram Caton txt/txt/txt/bk/ste, Jonathan Collin ste , Marcus Cohen, David Crowe vd, Margaret Cuomo, Stephen Davis BK/BK,/rdo, Michael Ellner vd, Elizabeth Ely txt/txt/ste, Epicurus, Dean Esmay, Celia Farber bio/txt/txt/txt/vd, Jonathan Fishbein txt/txt/wk, T.C.Fry, Michael Fumento, Max Gerson txt, Charles Geshekter vd, Michael Geiger, Roberto Giraldo, David Healy txt, Bob Herbert, Mike Hersee ste/rdo, Neville Hodgkinson txt /vd, James P. Hogan, Richard Horton bio/vd/vd, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Johnson, Claus Jensen vd, Phillip Johnson, Coleman Jones vds, William Donald Kelley, Ernst T. Krebs Sr txt, Ernst T. Krebs Jr. txt,/bio/txt/txt/ltr, Paul Krugman, Brett Leung MOV/ste/txt/txt/tx+vd/txt, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge blg/intv/intv/txt/txts/txt/intv/txt/vd/vd, Bruce Livesey txt, James W. Loewen, Frank Lusardi, Nathaniel Lehrman vd, Christine Maggiore bk/ste/rec/rdo/vd, Rouben Mamoulian txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/doc/flm/flm, Noreen Martin vd, Robert Maver txt/itw, Eric Merola MOV, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Michael Moore bio/MOV/MOV/MOV, Gordon Moran, Ralph Nader bk, Ralph Moss txt/blg/ste/bks, Gary Null /txt/rdo/vd, Dan Olmsted wki, Toby Ord vd, Charles Ortleb bk/txt/bk/intw/flm, Neenyah Ostrom bk, Dennis Overbye, Mehmet Dr Oz vd, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos ste/vd, Maria Papagiannidou bk, Thomas Piketty bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk, Robert Pollin txt/vd/bk, Jon Rappoport bio/bk/bk/ste/bk/bk/vd, Janine Roberts bk/bk, Luis Sancho vd, Liam Scheff ste/txt/bk/bk/rdio/vd, John Scythes, Casper Schmidt txt/txt, Joan Shenton vd/vd, Joseph Sonnabend vd, John Stauber, David Steele, Joseph Stiglitz bk/txt, Will Storr rdo Wolfgang Streeck, James P. Tankersley ste, Gary Taubes vd, Mwizenge S. Tembo, John Tierney vd, Michael Tracey, Valendar Turner rec, Jesse Ventura bk, Michael Verney-Elliott bio/vds/vd, Voltaire, Walter Wagner, Andrew Weil vd, David Weinberger bio/bk/blg/blg/BK/bk/pds, Robert Willner bk/txt/txt/vd, Howard Zinn.

*****************************************************
I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeletons of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life. - Arthur Koestler

One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison. – Bertrand Russell

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. - Samuel Johnson

A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. – Mark Twain

Although science has led to the generally high living standards that most of the industrialized world enjoys today, the astounding discoveries underpinning them were made by a tiny number of courageous, out-of-step, visionary, determined, and passionate scientists working to their own agenda and radically challenging the status quo. – Donald W. Braben

An old error is always more popular than a new truth. — German Proverb

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. – Mark Twain

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his income depends on his not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster, but an opportunity. - Alfred North Whitehead

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. – Samuel Johnson

Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!” – Leo Tolstoy

The evolution of the world tends to show the absolute importance of the category of the individual apart from the crowd. - Soren Kierkegaard

Who does not know the truth is simply a fool, yet who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a criminal. – Bertold Brecht

How easily the learned give up the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of ideas in their imagination. – Adam Smith

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned. – Mark Twain

The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. If we watch ourselves honestly, we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated. – Arthur Koestler

Whenever the human race assembles to a number exceeding four, it cannot stand free speech. – Mark Twain

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith

There isn’t anything so grotesque or so incredible that the average human being can’t believe it. – Mark Twain

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.- Blaise Pascal.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. – Voltaire

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence. – Samuel Johnson

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Human Nature)

Important: This site is best viewed in LARGE FONT, and in Firefox for image title visibility (place cursor on pics to reveal comments) and layout display. Click the title of any post to get only that post and its Comments for printing. All posts guaranteed fact checked according to reference level cited, typically the original journal studies. Full guide to site purpose, layout and how to print posts out is in the lower blue section at the bottom of the home page.
---Admin AL/E/ILMK---

Sexist math paradigm falls

Schoolgirls now at parity with boys in math – what next?

Female Bach or Einstein still unlikely, but huge economic advantage in view for PC ruled countries

Will human race double its resourcefulness in science and even art?

veil.jpgGirls are as good at math as boys, according to a huge new study from Berkeley and Wisconsin that seems to seal the finding beyond question. One of male mankind’s oldest and most universal beliefs has been toppled forever:

Girls no longer left behind in math, study shows

Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, July 24, 2008

(07-24) 11:04 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — A new study comparing the math scores of 7 million students across the country shows what the five female university researchers already knew: Girls are just as good as boys at math.

The research seems to settle a long-running debate over the existence of a math gene that gives boys an edge over girls in advanced coursework and ultimately in the workforce.

“Today we do know that women can do math,” said Marcia Linn, UC Berkeley education professor and co-author of the report, published in Friday’s issue of “Science.”

The study found no difference between boys and girls in performance on math tests given in grades two through 11.

Decades ago, that wasn’t the case. Girls took fewer advanced math and science courses and those who did posted lower scores.

Concerted efforts over the last 20 years to encourage girls to pursue math seem to have paid off. By 2000, high school girls were taking calculus at the same rate as their male peers, which could be interpreted as showing they no longer felt shut out of the most demanding math courses.

“Equalization of math enrollment has led equalization of performance,” Linn said.

Those gender gaps, however, still exist in performance on science assessment and in the workplace, Linn said.

Previous studies have shown that girls are just as capable at math as boys, but the new research was the first to look at such a massive sample of students across the country – taking advantage of the standardized test scores now required by No Child Left Behind.

The research team compared the average performance of all students on the tests, the scores of the most gifted children and the ability of students to solve complex math problems.

“In all cases, girls measured up to boys,” the authors said.

Statistical information from 10 states was included in the study, including California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wyoming.

E-mail Jill Tucker at jtucker@sfchronicle.com.

So Larry Summers has got his wish and science has spoken on the issue. Given that research was all he asked for, it seems unfair that he should have had to resign as Harvard’s President in 2006. Let us all who think for ourselves in these PC hot areas be glad that at least most Harvard students thought he should stay. But Alas, he is stll being misreported for stating a conclusion and not a question, as per the San Francisco Business Times today:

In January 2005, Harvard University President Lawrence Summers sparked controversy when he said that innate differences between men and woman caused fewer women to be successful in science and math fields. Summers said he was only trying to provoke debate.

His comments earned him the ire of the feminist community, with the National Organization for Women demanding he step down. One professor left his speech saying that if she had stayed, “I would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.” In 2006, Summers resigned as president, a move students opposed 57 percent to 19 percent.

Doubling human brain power

Evidently we can now be sure that the brain is an organ whose powers are ruled in both sexes by social and psychological factors, an organ of great potential which is highly adaptable in youth and indeed all through life. Motivated exercise builds our neurons just as it builds muscle, even in our senior years, when it appears to prolong life. Encouragement from teachers, parents and peers is a major influence for all, with criticism, disapproval and negative expectations all powerful brakes.

Presumably the same kind of study will eventually have the same result in art and science, toppling the age old belief that women are handicapped in those areas by brain structure or function. Or will it? One waits to see if a female Beethoven will ever emerge in music. World chess champions remain male, even though there are very strong female players.

Ah yes, now we see that the study also showed that boys are still much more variable than girls, who tend to crowd the middle portion of the distribution. Girls may be remain much less competitive at the extremes:

Boys’ Math Scores Hit Highs and Lows:
More boys scored extremely well — or extremely poorly — than girls, who were more likely to earn scores closer to the average for all students.

One measure of a top score is achieving the “99th percentile” — scoring in the top 1% of all students. Boys were significantly more likely to hit this goal than girls.

In Minnesota, for example, 1.85% of white boys in the 11th grade hit the 99th percentile, compared with 0.9% of girls — meaning there were more than twice as many boys among the top scorers than girls.


Boys’ Math Scores Hit Highs and Lows
By KEITH J. WINSTEIN
July 25, 2008; Page A2

Girls and boys have roughly the same average scores on state math tests, but boys more often excelled or failed, researchers reported.

The fresh research adds to the debate about gender difference in aptitude for mathematics, including efforts to explain the relative scarcity of women among professors of science, math and engineering.

In the 1970s and 1980s, studies regularly found that high- school boys tended to outperform girls. But a number of recent studies have found little difference.

The latest study, in this week’s journal Science, examined scores from seven million students who took statewide mathematics tests from grades two through 11 in 10 states between 2005 and 2007.

The researchers, from the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley, didn’t find a significant overall difference between girls’ and boys’ scores. But the study also found that boys’ scores were more variable than those of girls. More boys scored extremely well — or extremely poorly — than girls, who were more likely to earn scores closer to the average for all students.

One measure of a top score is achieving the “99th percentile” — scoring in the top 1% of all students. Boys were significantly more likely to hit this goal than girls.

In Minnesota, for example, 1.85% of white boys in the 11th grade hit the 99th percentile, compared with 0.9% of girls — meaning there were more than twice as many boys among the top scorers than girls.

The reason for the difference isn’t known, and the results may not apply to all ethnic groups.

The study found that boys are consistently more variable than girls, in every grade and in every state studied. That difference has “been a concern over the years,” said Marcia C. Linn, a Berkeley education professor and one of the study’s authors. “People didn’t pay attention to it at first when there was a big difference” in average scores, she said. But now that girls and boys score similarly on average, researchers are taking notice, she said.

Write to Keith J. Winstein at keith.winstein@wsj.com Regardless of the details the vast question raised once again by the study is just how much the human race has lost by burdening and restricting the potential of half of its members. Islamic fundamentalist countries such as Saudi Arabia are not only flouting fundamental human rights but shooting themselves in the rear end with their restrictions on the freedom of their women to exercise their full abilities.

saudiwomencar.jpgAt the moment, women are still not officially allowed to drive in that life-denying country, but so many are doing so that it is expected that that particular fence will fall soon:

(From Could the ban on women drivers be lifted? – Hamida Ghafour in The National July 19 2008 )

“I worked for an insurance company and quit last month, but they told me when they had meetings with officials they were told women will be allowed [to drive] this year. So we are waiting.”

Yet another indication came at a press conference on July 13, when the director general of the Saudi traffic department announced that new laws to curb dangerous driving were not gender specific. Previously, the rules referred to men, but now “the new law speaks only about the driver of the vehicle and there is no specification of either man or woman”, he told reporters…..

“I think we will drive by the end of the year,” says Wajeha al Huwaider, 46, who caused a sensation in March when she posted a video of herself on YouTube driving around her company’s compound……

“Can you imagine a girl driving? She will be followed home by seven guys. Guys follow a girl home even if she is in a car with her family. If you allow them to drive, you need to change the whole social atmosphere.”

chinaapple.jpgSince America is one of the most liberated societies in this regard, or so it pretends, it will retain a strong economic and cultural advantage as long as the gap lasts. But will it? Looking at photos of Chinese youth gathered round the toys being shown off in the new Apple store in Beijing, it is easy to imagine that the new generation in Asia may be quite liberated after all.

(Click to enlarge) On the other hand, while the girl looks equally thoughtful she does seem a little pushed out of the way by the boys… hard to say. We need a study.

In fact, the US economy is sloughing off women in the workforce unusually rapidly as hard times gather, according to the the Times story on Tuesday (Jul 22), Poor Economy Slams Brakes on Women’s Workplace Progress, a story on the falling percentage of women at work, a reversal of seven earlier recoveries since 1960 which ended with more women at work than before.

Anyhow, one of the grandest global paradigms, the assumption that girls are inherently less able to learn math skills than boys, is now defunct, and an eventual doubling of human capacity in this and other arenas seems in view.

See also Girls catch boys in math says Cal, Wisconsin study – San Francisco Business Times
Girls catch boys in math says Cal, Wisconsin study – San Francisco Business Times – by Elizabeth Rauber

A new study from the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, says that girls now perform as well as boys on standardized math tests.

The study also said that girls take the same number and level of math courses as boys in elementary and high schools.

The results differ from studies done 20 years ago, which suggested that girls matched boys in elementary school but fell behind by high school.

UC Berkeley education professor Marcia Linn, an author of the study, said, “Now that enrollment in advanced math courses is equalized in high school, we don’t see gender differences in performance.”

On July 16, Linn testified before the Congressional Science Technology Engineering & Math Education caucus, calling for efforts to boost the number of women in science courses, where they are underrepresented.

Linn told the San Francisco Business Times “that one of the really important things we’ve noticed is that people are surprised by these findings, which shows there are still stereotypes out there. An important implication (of the study) is that parents and teachers need to encourage both men and women.”

“When we looked closely at these new tests, they are not as challenging, they focus more on recall than on problem solving,” Linn said. “We need to make sure tests that we use require the kind of reasoning that the business world would like and that we all need.”

Janet Hyde, a psychology professor at UW Madison, blamed cultural stereotypes for the lack of female mathematicians, engineers and physicists. “If your mom or your teacher thinks you (girls) can’t do math, that can have a big impact on your math self-concept,” said Hyde, another author of the study.

In January 2005, Harvard University President Lawrence Summers sparked controversy when he said that innate differences between men and woman caused fewer women to be successful in science and math fields. Summers said he was only trying to provoke debate.

His comments earned him the ire of the feminist community, with the National Organization for Women demanding he step down. One professor left his speech saying that if she had stayed, “I would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.” In 2006, Summers resigned as president, a move students opposed 57 percent to 19 percent.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Bad Behavior has blocked 1331 access attempts in the last 7 days.