Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It also has a 1984 mode: "Cantlon suspects the answer involves the societal messages girls and young women get"

This kind of conspiracy theory being backed up by medias and politicians really become tiring. It’s easy to blame "society" for everything without ever identifying a potential mechanism, formulating a testable (and possibly refutable) hypothesis which is the basic job of a scientist. And of course this kind of claims are never accompanied by a single concrete exemple... which would be easy to find if there was even a small basis of reality behind them.

And of course this kind of claims are never accompanied by a single concrete exemple

How about a 10 percentage point difference in the share of women among STEM graduates between the Netherlands and Denmark?

Unless you're suggesting there's some sort of biological factor involved that makes Danish women more suited to go into STEM, society's the remaining culprit, even if the exact mechanisms have yet to be identified...

And this is not impossible. The obvious example is the north vs south Korean. The same people, but different nutrition, different lifestyles. Now the NK people are obviously smaller and I'd bet, have a much lower IQ (the lack of food doesn't help with math activities!) I'm certain that there are many subtle differences in how people live in Netherlands and Denmark.

How do you expect this to work: To get a gender imblance, only one of the sexes would have to suffer these adverse effects due to, say, nutrition. That would likely still be caused by social factors...

Because makes and females have different nutrition, different habits and fir example use different drugs. It may be something silly like different contents of birth control pills. It's not a secret that small changes in amount of consumed zink, calcium or iodine make big impact on body and mental abilities.

In my opinion, that was outside the bounds of the study; Cantlon was being asked to speculate. That said, sexism is the mechanism and it's a pretty big part of our society; there are lots of studies on this already. So much so that some people think one gender is "naturally" better at math then the other.

If there is indeed a biological reality underlying the stereotype, supposedly it's because there are various genes affecting mental functions that reside on the X chromosome. Guys only get one copy, and the story goes that this leads to more outliers in either direction (ie more geniuses as well as knuckleheads).

Not sure how much water this holds...

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact