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gender differences

Posted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 3:05 pm
by ross nolan
Looking for evidence? Surely there are enough cases of 'gender allocation'( in ambiguous anatomy) where the person involved simply "knew" that they had a different inherent orientation to what was 'natural' for the sex assigned to them and normal for their friends .

For example genetic boys ,even though dressed as girls and otherwise encouraged to act female will intuitively play with toy trucks etc rather than the female toys -- they have not read either Plato or the SES literature but are acting in inherently different ways .

Different does not automatically mean better/worse by some arbitrary standard or value system -- this seems to be the gist of the discussion if I read it right . Men are undoubtedly more ham fisted than women on average and are more likely to be oblivious to emotional cues from their children or other people and are more 'thing focussed' than they are on people . It takes all kinds ....

That Plato quote as to losing half of society if women do not engage in the main occupations of society is interesting -- if one takes the position that women are exactly as capable as men then perhaps they are to be criticised for not adding their contribution in somewhat more equal amount as have the male gender.

If one accepts that civilization,thinking,technology and all the other fruits of intellectual development that characterize the existing modern world are in fact something of value (as opposed to the 'back to Eden', noble savage , luddite type school ) then one has to ask what stage of progress might have now been reached if women had been allowed or more forcibly asserted their right to participate in the 'nuts and bolts' of building society. (essentially Plato's point and hardly misogynist)

Arthur C Clarke criticised the Chinese for 'dropping the ball' sometime in the middle ages (ca 15th century) when they decided to cease all contact with the outside world, recalled their great fleet that was approaching a backward Europe, (and burnt their ocean going vessels on return) and renounced all further developments in metallurgy,science in general and many other technologies and social improvements that they had pioneered. In his view mankind could have stood on the moon several hundred years earlier than we did if the interchange of scholars and knowledge had occurred. (I know that going to the moon was of little inherent value to mankind but it might have averted a "hot war" between ideologies and certainly led to computers,the internet,and lots of other accelerated developments of some value that might have been delayed by many decades otherwise )

Where will mankind be in another two hundred years at the present rate of technological progress ?(Australia did not have one gram of metal in it ,or a single durable structure only a little over that long ago -- with the exception of a little native copper or gold, unused by anybody -- try boiling water,cooking etc etc without any metals just as a start )

The ancient Greeks certainly acheived an astounding amount in geometry,trigonometry, astronomy and many other scientific and technical fields as well as making great discoveries in pure mathematics, philosophy and reason -- all without any economic or material incentives or reward pretty much but purely for intellectual satisfaction and enrichment . (As was true of most scholarship at least up until the time of Newton . )

As to underutilized female capabilities I think I agree with Plato -- one notable difference between the allied and german war efforts was that the Allies drew upon the female population for production of wartime equipment, aircraft, engines etc at which they proved highly capable -- the best welders were women as well as instrument fitters etc ;- the Germans hardly employed their womenfolk in such a degree using instead forced labour by prisoners and conquered people . They considered the women to be "breeders" for the NAZI super race and hence did not use them for 'industrial purposes' .

My observation of the SES attitude to women, and confirmed by the testimony of others who had gone further , was that they were somewhat to be "seen but not heard" to some degree -- the "tutorial assistant" role mentioned seemed to consist of a passive sitting in silence throughout the proceedings only being used occasionaly by the lecturer as a foil or to agree to something -- a woman 'student' in another class aptly used the nickname "Madge" for this almost Zombie like role (I think the reference is to a Barry Humphries -- AKA "Dame Edna Everage"-- female character who is almost vegetative )

Hope this doesn't result in more brickbats.....


Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:38 am
by a different guest
bella wrote: I'm not sure I believe that a view of gender difference in strengths and capabilities is simply an "unenlightened view" that will be overcome with enough education and exposure.

Damn, the tea-making. Humm, a cup of tea just tastes better when someone else makes it, regardless of their nether appendages or lack thereof. It'd have to be pretty bad to get me to pay attention.

Bella - well it certainly won't be "overcome with enough education" in an SES kid's school which constantly reinforces gender stereotypes.

As to the tea-making - the tea my SIL produces looks and tastes like she has vageuly waved a tea bag in the general vicinity of the cup and then sploshed far too much milk in.


Ross - my favourite toys as a young child were matchbox cars and a construction set. Should I be having a chromosone check? Mind you being provenly fertile female and a good lactator, I don't think there is much point.

I suspect you have been reading the latest Good Weekend - but skipped the bit where the article pointed out that there is FAR more to "gender" than what chromosones one has. There are other triggers which they are trying to pin down. Look at the case of the woman who was technically XY but felt ALL female.

The foetus starts off as female - hormones CHANGE the foetus into a male. It could therefore be said that the NATURAL form for humans is "female" - kinda blows that story about ribs into the weeds!

Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:31 am
by Free Thinker
ADG - Remind me to e-mail you about the delicious dinner I made tonight with my favorite ceramic pots.

Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:53 am
by a different guest
did it involve tea FT??? ;)

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:07 am
by Free Thinker
No, it didn't involve tea, but I didn't need any metal!

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:24 pm
by a different guest
I use Pyrex cookware a lot - don't think they have any metal in them either.

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 7:20 pm
by NYC
Thanks for the link. Interesting article, interesting website?unfortunate book title, but I guess they think it makes their research more marketable.

I was asking for evidence to support
the obvious fact that MOST men are characteristically better at certain kinds of abstract thinking than MOST women
not that there ARE differences between the sexes. You mention that someone with ambiguous anatomy at birth may actually have a strong identification with one sex -- even if the person is raised as female, if he has the male chromosome he will feel like a boy. You don?t mention the small but significant number of people who clearly have the chromosomes and genitalia for one sex, but are convinced they are ?really? the opposite, enough so to endure painful and expensive surgery, a lot of social disapproval, and lifelong hormonal prescriptions to change their gender.

But basically I was looking for some kind of empirical testing that links your assertion that
?Men are undoubtedly more ham fisted than women on average and are more likely to be oblivious to emotional cues from their children or other people?
with something innate and ?natural? in the male sex, rather than a result of conditioning. I guess I?m glad you think we should employ the womenfolk outside the home as well as in it.

I?m surprised my Plato comments got up your nose that much. I guess I appreciate your effort to be civil & fair.

I?m trying to write a letter to the school heads in NY, asking them if they agree that ideally women should obey a man & if they teach that here. I?m finding it a tiresome letter to write, since I don?t really doubt that they do. But in the interests of, I dunno, fairness or thoroughness I feel obligated to ask them.

The two things that have most strongly put me off participating in the org are this breathtaking sexism & Bella?s remark that since new students are concerned about assistants taking notes in class, the School has asked them to do it later so nobody realizes they are doing it. Stunning. That is an ethically retarded approach.

Posted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:45 am
by a different guest
But in the interests of, I dunno, fairness or thoroughness I feel obligated to ask them.

Tiresome tho the task might be in writing the letter, I don't think I am the only one here that would be interested to hear of their response (if you get one).

Good luck with it NYC :)

Posted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 5:14 pm
by bella
NYC, it needn't be tiresome. You could just, you know, ask them.

"Hi, do you teach that females should obey men at some point? Any reason for that? I've heard that this is something I might expect, and I wanted to know for myself." 50 words or less.

I do feel that I want to clarify my position on your quote:

Bella’s remark that since new students are concerned about assistants taking notes in class, the School has asked them to do it later so nobody realizes they are doing it.

I didn't say this was a cause and effect thing. I speculated. Here's my quote on the subject:

NYC, you make a good point about the note-taking seeming either benign or threatening depending on your previous experiences with the school. Someone sitting in the room silently taking notes probably seems threatening to many people who've just joined, though, and heaps of people ask about it. Perhaps that's why our most recent note-taking exercises were to be done after we got home, as was suggested. Kinda puts the note-taker on the spot to prove they weren't sleeping, too. ;)

It could also be to minimise distraction for students and assistant, or because it was a pain in the neck for assistants to do (as I said when asked about it by my tutor). I really have no idea, and it's sort of disingenuous of you to paraphrase my comments like that.

In my school, the group assistants don't actually write notes on the group at all at this point. Include that query in your letter to the NY leaders - I'm serious. I'm also one who'd be curious about the type of response you got.

Posted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 1:07 am
by mgormez
a different guest wrote:Tiresome tho the task might be in writing the letter, I don't think I am the only one here that would be interested to hear of their response (if you get one).

Yes, count me as one too, who'd like to know.

asking for evidence

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:28 am
by ross nolan
Dear All, I can't spend endless time and effort responding in some specific detail to every frivolous 'challenge' -- right now I am involved in my local council (landlords to the SOP/SES here) hosting a "scientific lecture" series "proving" that the world is six thousand years old , that all dinosaurs ate grass, that Pterodactyls still live in Africa, that the "ICA stones" (see web) prove that humans and dinosaurs lived together and that only the great flood wiped them out (except for those few pesky pterodactyls ...) etc etc etc -- even makes the SES look 'normal' -- doesn't say much for the judgement of the local council though .

Look up "amazing discoveries' website and Professor Walter Veith if interested ... Ahh. the work of a Bright is never done.

As to "that rib etc, blown away" the 'lecturer' at this 'event' (actually sponsored by the seventh day adventist church/cult) stated that 'you can make a woman from a man's rib because men have both x and y chromosomes but Adam could not have been 'born of woman, because there would have been no y chromosome available from the first woman ."

Is he right (biologically) ? Not my field. Perhaps you can clone women but not men . Is this of great import to ADG ? ....... why ?

The common perception of male versus female thinking is summed up in the "women can't read maps and men won't ask directions " .

Women's thinking is and has to be influenced by the consequences of childrearing and other female biological facts -- men tend to act rapidly and possibly less introspectively than women who might historically (and prehistorically) have had to think about 'the kids' a bit more and to plan longer term etc than men .

Surely a whole lot of health, biological and other indisputable differences must react on the psychological make up of both genders .

Anyway Vive la difference.

How about some more discussion on the other SES dogma and it's effect on the members,children etc -- after the exposure to another 'splinter' pseudo scientific /quasi religious groups mumbo jumbo worldview (the 6000 year old earth/great flood/literal bible plus latter day prophetess'revelations' etc ) I am wondering if the SES has any views on the 'creation' , existence of dinosaurs, angels,prophecy,apocoliptic scenarios etc etc -- some streams of Hinduism are either silent on such things or contradictory -- do they revert to some christian beliefs here or dip into the Zen, Buddhist or some other credo ? Would be interested to know (if you believe in a literal Elephant headed diety or any of the other Hindu panopoly then I guess anything is possible )

Over to you Ross.

PS "Madge Alsop" is the Barry Humphries character who was "Dame Edna's" bridesmaid and is (probably) mute -- no one really knows because Dame Edna only ever talks about her and condescedingly to her without awaiting a reply -- pretty close to my observation of the female "assistant" although other women did give the 'lecture' and almost word perfect as conveyed in the journalists description on the Irish
website .

PPS. NYC (I think) -- did the vegetables in your ceramic pot get cut up with ceramic knives ? Is your house built with ceramic nails ? Do you drive a ceramic car ? Sometimes I use the words "on average " or "in general" etc to indicate that I am not ruling out the occasional two headed person to say each individual is of one sex (several two headed people(s) exist but both have always been the same sex so any "resolution"of these sexual thinking differences remains empirically impossible -- ie the female brain in a male body, both ways .

If you want to try you can boil water in a standard paper cup over a gas flame (don't use waxed paper and use the thinnest cup available ) -- Professor Julius Sumner Miller used to demonstrate it .

Incidentally I hadn't read any "Good Weekend" story .

Indians (American kind) used to heat water in leather "pots" by dropping stones heated in a wood fire into it -- nomadic people have some problems with brittle,heavy ceramics. They also invented the shaving method called "UGG" wherby you used a bivalve (eg Oyster) shell to grip and pull out facial hair -- personally I prefer metal razor blades and lots of other metal artifacts including pots -- my father did an apprenticeship at Pyrex - you can be assured that withoiut metals you cannot make Pyrex cookware and you also have to dispense with your metal stove etc .

What was the point of the metals versus 'natural' materials debate ?

Yours, Ross.

Evidence on kalpas

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 9:36 am
by erikdr
I am wondering if the SES has any views on the 'creation' , existence of dinosaurs, angels,prophecy,apocoliptic scenarios etc etc -- some streams of Hinduism are either silent on such things or contradictory -- do they revert to some christian beliefs here or dip into the Zen, Buddhist or some other credo ?

Okay, different thread but maybe a short one. The basic model they follow is more or less the same as was copied later by Buddhism:

Kalpa's (Super-aeons) and inside them three Yuga's. If I rember well the Vishnu-Yuga (growth), Brahma-Yuga (maturing) and Kali-Yuga (decline); or in western terms Golden/Silver/Bronze age. Now we are supposed to be in the Bronze age. After that this world will 'fall to pieces' until a Big Bang creates the next world for the next kalpa.

Specific for SES is that they say that only those 'happy few' with enough Sattva will be reborn in ever better states, and finally also their karma will help them to bridge the inter-kalpa gap and go on to the next cycle. Some Xtian influence I guess.

So no nonsense on Creation, more the classic Hindu style which coexists not that badly with the Evolution theory. (As long as you define that Evolution does not 'see beyond' the boundaries of scientific history, and that the races/beings of the Brahma-Yuga have not yet been found by the scientists despite many unexplainable sights and traces in historic sites in e.g. India.)


Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 11:06 pm
by a different guest
women can't read maps

I can.

physiological + psychological

Posted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 11:42 pm
by Leontius
Dear Ross,

Being the polymath that you obviously are, you will no doubt be aware of that seminal work "The Second Sex", Simone deBeauvoir (1949).

Would you say that "indisputable differences" between the sexes arise either from fundamental physiological or or from psychological differences? Or are there fundamental differences in both aspects?

Furthermore, do your carefully placed caveats - "in general" "tend to" etc. - imply that it is possible to find examples of 'manly' women and 'effeminate' men to the point that, in your definition, a physical man could be said to act like a woman and vice versa?


Posted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:07 pm
by NYC
You are correct that I misread/misrecalled your speculation on the reason for hiding note-taking as something the School actually stated. However my mistake was entirely sincere. And I'm not at all convinced that your speculation is inaccurate. You've been in the School for five or six years, right, so you have a good idea of how it operates. "Minimizing distraction for students" sounds like it's just a more subtle way of saying the same thing, anyway.

I'm not going to ask about practices in the Australian school, since I think I will have a difficult enough time getting a frank answer about the New York one. If I don't put some effort into phrasing the questions I want to ask, more than what you outline, I won't get a real answer.

Since people seem interested, I guess I'll post a draft on the site. I'd appreciate any help in closing the loopholes in phrasing the questions, and of course let me know if I misinterpret something posted.