In the Tim Hunt Affair, Where Have All the Grown-Ups Gone?
Regarding the colossal farce of the Tim Hunt affair, about which I wrote previously on this site, more remains to be said about the doubling down of Hunt’s dissembling critics and delators. Connie St. Louis, his principal and most effective accuser, whose pre-redacted CV has now been rumbled as a document full of misrepresentations and “downright falsehoods,” is unrepentant about the snuff job she helped foment. Berating Hunt for sexism and old-boyism while bowdlerizing his text and excerpting only the “problematic” portion of his pre-luncheon toast, she essentially reverse-triggered the larger context of his speech. In this way she tampered with evidence in order to convict her prey.
For this piece of skullduggery, she suffered no qualms of conscience. “I’ve no regrets about breaking a journalistic story,” she boasted.
In fact, her story has nothing to do with journalism as we once knew it. It is a journalism so yellow and speckled it resembles a rancid banana. Of course, if she is referring to contemporary journalism, then she is spot on, for most mainstream reporting in our day is little more than a vast propaganda and indoctrination mill serving the progressivist cause. In a fair milieu, it is not Hunt but St. Louis who should be drummed out of her profession and summarily dismissed from her teaching post. If I were Tim Hunt, I would immediately retain a pitbull lawyer and sue for malfeasance, libel, and defamation of character.
The shoddy thinking and false logic of the progressivist camp -- not to mention its programmatic disingenuousness, conscienceless puerility, and Star Chamber methodology -- are perfectly exemplified by another Hunt basher, namely Washington Post columnist Rachel Feltman, who self-righteously fulminates that Hunt is an abettor of the anti-woman-in-science cadre. Is it not obvious, she seems to believe, that women have suffered egregiously from the patriarchal conspiracy against women in science? After all, “only 13% of people working in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics] are women.”
Feltman presumes that such a numerus clausus derives almost entirely from male prejudice rather than, to a far larger extent, from the more plausible case of test scores and demonstrated competence, which determine acceptance into the scientific disciplines. The figures she cites are inherently ambiguous, given their built-in assumptions and a priori data-collecting techniques. Feltman is just another typical journalist who has not done her homework, grappled with her subject, or applied the tenets of common sense. Her ideological agenda has overridden her professional integrity -- the pervasive tendency of the progressivist establishment, in which orthodoxy trumps fact and reason.
Naturally, there will inevitably be some degree of prejudice in all human affairs, and the less the better. Where unjust discrimination exists, it must resolutely be confronted -- on both sides of the gender fence. For an example of out-and-out gender bias, however, Feltman might have consulted the practice of famous academic and radical feminist Mary Daly, who throughout her 33-year career at Boston College refused to allow male students into her upper-level classes.
This exclusion was consistent with her belief, as stated in a 1999 interview with EnlightenNext Magazine: “If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males.”
This dottle is still lit and smoking in the Mammy Yokum pipes of her legionary associates and disciples. One thinks of the late Andrea Dworkin, who believed male seduction and all heterosexual penetration amounted to a form of rape; or Sally Miller Gearhart, who, in an article entitled "The Future -- If There Is One -- Is Female," contended that the proportion of men must be reduced to 10% of the human race; or Catherine A. MacKinnon, who argued that the only difference between convicted rapists and men in general is that the former got caught; or Valerie Solanas, who wrote: “Every man, deep down, knows he’s a worthless peice [sic!] of shit.” This is just to name only a few of the more malicious feministikas.
Such invective is as preposterous as it is extreme, and reflects discreditably not on its target but on its exponents. A far more sensible and relevant discussion about competence, ability, and gender was initiated by former president of Harvard Larry Summers, who proposed the socially taboo thesis that, although women excel in many fields, they are generally weaker in math, engineering, and the hard sciences. Such under-representation, he suggested in his now infamous speech on the subject, was owing less to patterns of discrimination and socialization and more to a “different availability of aptitude at the high end” of math and science. “There is relatively clear evidence,” he said, “that whatever the difference in means -- which can be debated -- there is a difference in the standard deviation and variability of a male and female population.”
Summers later attributed greater emphasis to cultural patterns of behavior and expectation, but his original insights drew from copious experience and studied differences in gender biology. For this apostasy, Summers was hounded out of the presidency.
Mary Daly, however, resigned at the end of her long, prejudice-riddled career rather than admit she was wrong, for which act of putative heroism she was celebrated and revered.