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August 28, 2005

Charles Murray On Differences In Male and Female (Group) IQ

Always a touchy subject. But obviously there are differences between men and women, including in how our brains work; men and women are essentially alien species to one another, linked only by the fact that our genitals seem to to fit together. If it weren't for genitals and pheremones, we'd be like the white-black and black-white aliens on Star Trek.

Evolutionary biologists have some theories that feed into an explanation for the disparity. In primitive societies, men did the hunting, which often took them far from home. Males with the ability to recognize landscapes from different orientations and thereby find their way back had a survival advantage. Men who could process trajectories in three dimensions—the trajectory, say, of a spear thrown at an edible mammal—also had a survival advantage.8 Women did the gathering. Those who could distinguish among complex arrays of vegetation, remembering which were the poisonous plants and which the nourishing ones, also had a survival advantage. Thus the logic for explaining why men should have developed elevated three-dimensional visuospatial skills and women an elevated ability to remember objects and their relative locations—differences that show up in specialized tests today.

But this doesn't explain why a woman, flicking through channels on TV, always seems to find two women talking in a kitchen -- a repeated scenario constituting 90% of all female-friendly Movies of the Week -- endlessly fascinating and the subject for further investigation. You can try blocking out the We and Oxygen and Lifetime channels, but they have evolved the ability and drive to unblock these channels.

I guess I know the answer-- women are more interested in and adept at detecting social clues about relationships and power-positions between women, and find two women talking in a kitchen an interesting little puzzle for exploration into alpha and beta, dominant and submissive behaviors.

Men, meanwhile, just see two women talking in a kitchen and comprehend that, whatever fascinating dominance-displays are behing exhibited, neither sandwiches nor brownies are being made. It's all, therefore, a horrible waste of time and resources.

Men, meantime, have evolved the drive to watch documentaries about the history of airplanes, because we have some deep-seeded biological imperative to hear things about the Spruce Goose we've already heard six thousand times before.

If Murray really wants to do the world a service, he can research the reasons women ask their favorite question -- "Are you mad at me?" -- even when you're plainly not mad, just admiring the planking on the Spruce Goose; and why women, even when plainly, demostratively angry (and making sure you know that) keep saying "No, nothing's wrong" when you ask them, but then get even angrier when you stop asking and go back to watching Shark Week on TBS.


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posted by Ace at 11:29 AM

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