Gender differences

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Sat, 25 Jan 1997 23:58:22 -0600

[Kathryn Aegis continues:]
> My suggestion: If you yourself are not furthering human sexuality
> through experimentation or study, leave the subject to those who are.
> The focus of transhumanism is the future, not debating the dreary status
> quo.

I continue to try and find a cure for being a teenager. I find
evolutionary psychology to be the key and necessary tool in that area.
Although perhaps not yet a researcher in the area, I can hardly afford
to leave the subject to those who are. If you are seriously claiming
that there are *no* inherent personality differences between male and
female, it would place a substantial portion of my work on a level with
Freudian psychoanalysis.

This is a highly controversial area. Even if you are a researcher
[credentials?] and I am not, I don't think your particular and
scientifically disputed viewpoint should reign unchallenged simply
because you happen to be the only credentialed researcher on the list.
Are you seriously stating that evolutionary psychology is now viewed as
a baseless and failed experiment by the majority of gender-difference
researchers? I was strongly under the impression that it remained a
controversial but viable hypothesis.

In any case, if you're going to try and pull rank, I'm going to dump ALL
the responsibility for presenting (and source-quoting) ALL sides of the
argument on our friendly local accredited researcher. Why should I hunt
through my puny reference collection? I've got a perfectly good
researcher who, having pulled rank to get me to stop presenting my
chosen point of view, would now seem obligated to present all
controversial viewpoints in addition to her own. So I leave it to you,
Dr. Aegis, to explain to the breathless public the current scientific
status of gender differences and evolutionary psychology. Though of
course I may, if I find your viewpoint too skewed, have to jump right
back in (credentials or no) to ensure that scientific perspective is

But as far as I can tell, the current situation is this:

- Gender differentials are controversial;
- Gender symmetry is controversial;
- Evolutionary psychology is a beautiful hypothesis;
- And everyone who isn't grinding an ax agrees that
BOTH genes AND the environment have something to do with it.

> Of course, you don't state what year it was published or what level
> of textbook it is.

The Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Fourth Edition:
Copyright 1985.
Around 2000 pages not including the index; highly technical.

> The APA only last year removed homosexuality from
> the list of sexual disorders, and new research on gender will change
> even more approaches.

I am not responsible for psychiatrists and their shamanistic prejudices;
but for my decision to use (if not trust) their experimental data.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.