RE: Fred Reed - The Dave Barry of Racists

From: Harvey Newstrom (
Date: Mon Aug 06 2001 - 15:47:49 MDT

J. R. Molloy wrote,
> BTW, if testosterone can explain why 95% of those in prison are male, why
> should it not also explain why 95% of those in Congress are male? For that
> matter, why should it not explain the achievements of Socrates, Newton,
> Einstein, Galileo, et al.?

It doesn't. There is a whole history of research into biological factors of
human behavior, particularly hormones, and particularly estrogen and
testosterone. Commonly held beliefs about testosterone and estrogen are
mostly false stereotypes. Crime studies have not found any relationship
between testosterone and crime. I think people here are assuming that most
men have more testosterone than most women, and that women in prison are
more masculine than most women. These stereotypes are not true.
Testosterone might be a factor in anger or aggression, but most crimes are
not sudden crimes of passion. Most crimes are drug-related in the US, or
money-related otherwise. Even serial killers or rapists are usually not
spur-of-the-moment acts that happen out of a burst of uncontrolled emotion.

The closest biological factor that has been linked with possible criminal
behavior is the presence of an extra Y chromosome. Although this is the
male sex chromosome, and most people assumed that those who possess it would
be more masculine, this does not turn out to be the case. Such men are
usually tall and skinny, possibly slightly higher intelligence, but often
disturbed. They do not have increased testosterone, but have increased
mental problems and anti-social problems that contribute to crime. Most of
these studies have been discredited due to poor statistical methods. The
assumptions about testosterone or masculine-linked crime genes have since
been discarded.

Other studies in testosterone in men and in women do not detect any relation
to testosterone and intelligence, achievement, social standing, etc. While
there are social difference between men and women, studying testosterone
alone does not explain the differences. Men with more testosterone are not
more likely to succeed, be intelligent, advance farther in business or
academics. The same is true for women. Testosterone regulates a lot of
biological functions in the body, but it does not have much to do with
mental processes or social behavior. Even in sexual activity and behavior,
testosterone has not been found to have any affect. Many studies on
straight and gay men have found no correlation between testosterone or
estrogen levels and sexual orientation, submissiveness/aggressiveness, or
sexual prowess. Testosterone does not seem to even have much effect on
people's sex lives as most people think it would.

This information comes from my memory of my college days when I minored in
Biology and Psychology.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Fri Oct 12 2001 - 14:40:03 MDT