Previously it was suggested that new psychological research address areas related to females that might prove to be embarrassing (or at least a bit deflating) to women in general. How did this sorry state of affairs arise?
The modern watershed moment occurred in 2005 when then Harvard University President Lawrence Summers suggested in a speech that there might be innate differences between the genders with respect to intellectual development; and that research in this area might prove to be fruitful. A firestorm of controversy broke out, with professor Nancy Hopkins of MIT at the center. From her account, listening to Summer’s suggestions caused a strong response in her. “I felt I was going to be sick” she stated. Columnist Jonah Goldberg even suggested that she had the vapors.
Lawrence Summers was quickly gone from Harvard. At the time of his hiring, he was considered to be the ideal candidate for that position. A former Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, he was universally hailed as a brilliant economist. As President of the Premier US University, it was the perfect marriage.
Many people assume that universities are institutions oriented toward teaching. This they are not. Teaching is secondary (if that). Universities are research institutions. This is made clear to professors (and the world at large) though hiring and promotion decisions. This research focus is justified by the idea that the pursuit of knowledge benefits all (thus the public funding for most). At the bedrock of this is the scientific method (which is dispassionate and apolitical). Further more, professors have “academic freedom” in which they can pursue new knowledge without outside interference, The justification for such is that some lines of inquiry may prove to be unpopular, and the pursuit of pure knowledge requires protection.
Once again, what is it that Lawrence Summers suggested? And what was the result? And did this happen at the top US University? And what is the logical conclusion?