Re: Genius -- the evidence

Hal Finney (
Fri, 24 Jan 1997 07:49:14 -0800

From: Lyle Burkhead <>
> They say women are discouraged from studying mathematics. Well,
> I'm sorry. No doubt, the poor dears are discouraged. When I see them
> eating one meal a day and spitting blood, then I'll know they are
> serious.

Consider another possibility: not that women lack mathematical talent,
the intelligence needed to be considered geniuses, but rather that they
prefer to devote their attentions to more worldly concerns: family,
relationships, life.

Lyle's story about the sacrifices and dedication necessary (in at least
some cases) to become a first rate mathematician emphasizes the importance
of other factors than intelligence. I think we can see this in other
areas as well. In my experience, women are on the average less interested
in some of the speculative technological areas that we discuss here, like
the singularity, nanotech, posthumanism, etc. Many women consider these
topics as excessively abstract and cold, not directly related to the
realities of life.

I don't have any basis to make claims regarding whether these differences
are cultural or biological! And naturally there are exceptions among
both sexes. But what I observe is not that women are less intelligent,
but that they have different interests and a different focus on what
is important.