Re: Twin Studies [was Re: HR25Show82099 - BS]

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 00:49:39 -0400

Elizabeth Childs wrote:
> Phil Osborne said:
> > > Women - not all of them, obviously, but way too many - are anti-rational
> > > and
> > > consistently resist science and technology.
> It may be the case that the organized anti-rationalists are
> disproportionately female, although probably not very much so. Some
> statistics here would be interesting - gender breakdown of Rifkin-associated
> groups, for example. Based on my years in Berkeley, I suspect you'd get
> about 60-40 female.
> But the fact that extreme anti-rationalists are disproportionately female
> does not necessarily imply that most women are anti-rationalist. As an
> analogy, most murderers are men, by a very large proportion. But most men
> are not murderers.

Just as most geniuses are men, but not all men are geniuses.

> Yes, women, on average, have been slower to start using computers than men,
> although I don't think the gap is all that great. The commercial World Wide
> Web started in 1995. It's four years later, and I vaguely recall reading
> that web usage now stands at 50-50 male to female. This isn't much of a lag
> time, and even in 1995 I think the ratio was something like 67-33.
> In the last four years, having a personal computer has become exponentially
> more useful to the average person than it used to be. Before then, unless a
> person was interested in games, programming, pornography, spreadsheets,
> Compuserve, or wordprocessing, there wasn't really a lot you could do with
> your computer. You wouldn't have to be "irrational" to go to the computer
> store, decide that there's nothing in your daily life that requires any of
> these functions, and save several thousand dollars for something else.

Having come back to computers since the advent of the GUI myself, I can say that the practical uses of computers have ben obvious to any intelligent person since about 1991. It is true that most women have only picked up using PCs (and usually start off with macs) in the last 4-5 years. Prior to that my experience tells me that women have had a greater distrust of the technology, with no rational basis for the fear.

Mike Lorrey