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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    documentaries on gender differences

    Here's an excellent Norwegian documentary series on gender differences. It could be summed up as evolutionary biologists wipe the floor with constructivists. It's got English subtitles.

    Part 1


    Part 2


    Part 3


    Part 4


    Part 5


    Part 6


    Part 7



    I think the world is a better place if we have gender equality. But modern feminism is so wed to the constructivist idea that men and women have biologically identical brains that I think it's now preventing equality in progressive countries (like the Scandinavian countries). The risk of being so tied to one way to see biology, is that if this one way fails, it'll be a backlash for all feminism.

    And of course, accepting that men and women have biologically different brains, doesn't mean that all women should be housewives. That would be silly. But perhaps we should stop guilting women who pick traditional female jobs. Just let women (and men) pick the careers they like and be supportive of it, no matter. Feminism to me is letting men and women follow their hopes and dreams without guilting them or pressuring them in any way. Let their own wishes be respected.

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    the baby-eater
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    The problem with the argument that gender roles are entirely social constructs (what I assume you mean by constructivism in this context) is that it is not based on science. It's an ideology. Without hearing the claims by the academics in that documentary, I would have considered arguing against such a position to be a straw man fallacy.

    This is also an area of science that is subject to a great deal of motivated reasoning, because it is so politically charged.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfield View Post
    The problem with the argument that gender roles are entirely social constructs (what I assume you mean by constructivism in this context) is that it is not based on science. It's an ideology. Without hearing the claims by the academics in that documentary, I would have considered arguing against such a position to be a straw man fallacy.

    This is also an area of science that is subject to a great deal of motivated reasoning, because it is so politically charged.
    If you'd emitted the word "entirely" your statement would have been correct. But as it stands now, you're wrong. Gender roles are social constructs... partly. And partly biology. That's what science tells us. Certain sociologists have made claims that gender roles are social constructs...only. But this is based on zero science.

    Also... as the evolutionary psychology researcher Anne Campbell points out, thinking that evolutionary pressures adapted our bodies ONLY... and not our brains is an absurd hypothesis. There is no other animal where we make these kinds of hypothesis. The nature or nurture debate is dead today. It's been settled. All biologists say it's both. And obviously a part of the pre-programming we get from birth is defined by gender.

    I believe that society strengthens innate gender differences and make them more extreme. If we didn't the gay debate wouldn't exist today. But that it's not an either or situation. There's been plenty of research on colour preference in babies. Newborns have no preference. Pink for girls and blue for boys is a learned trait. But there's plenty of stuff that isn't learned. Girls are more interested in social interactions. Boys are more interested in competing. Playing with dolls is innate for girls. Not for boys. As they said in the film, the more testosterone in the baby, the later they learn language skills. The list is long.
    Last edited by DrZoidberg; 05-13-2014 at 02:49 PM.

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    the baby-eater
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    You say I'm wrong but I was merely stating the "constructivist" position, not my own position. You and I are in agreement.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    I think that the insistence on that the environment is the most important is the good ole' Christian idea of free will. The mind has to be separate from the body, since the mind was (allegedly) given free will. This idea has lingered. People have a tendency to insist that it is true because it's was feels right. But it feels right because it's the old obsolete way to look at the mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    I think that the insistence on that the environment is the most important is the good ole' Christian idea of free will. The mind has to be separate from the body, since the mind was (allegedly) given free will. This idea has lingered. People have a tendency to insist that it is true because it's was feels right. But it feels right because it's the old obsolete way to look at the mind.
    That doesn't make any sense. Academic feminists insist that it is the environment because it fits their narrative. It has nothing to do with Christianity. For many years Christians have been perfectly content with saying that women have a proper, biological role.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DrZoidberg View Post
    I think that the insistence on that the environment is the most important is the good ole' Christian idea of free will. The mind has to be separate from the body, since the mind was (allegedly) given free will. This idea has lingered. People have a tendency to insist that it is true because it's was feels right. But it feels right because it's the old obsolete way to look at the mind.
    That doesn't make any sense. Academic feminists insist that it is the environment because it fits their narrative. It has nothing to do with Christianity. For many years Christians have been perfectly content with saying that women have a proper, biological role.
    Agreed. Most objections to gender differences or race differences come from the relatively non-Christian liberal left that seeks to equalize outcomes for all groups. Any kind of biological differences undermine the ability to point to all outcome differences as the result of discrimination and injustice.

    Of course, conservatives and Christians embrace differences but for ideological and not rational reasons. Mind-body dualism and the notion of a soul within Christianity are contradicted by mind-brain dependence and thus by groups with physical differences also being mentally different. However, Christians and conservative are skilled at ignoring the logical contradictions within their beliefs. Differences between groups have ideological appeal to conservatives and monotheists because they lend themselves easily to hierarchies of worth and power which is a central feature of most monotheistic worldviews and conservative ideology.

    In sum, only a tiny % of people base their beliefs about group differences on the available science or any kind of reasoned thought. Most either reject differences or embrace them on ideological grounds, and its mere coincidence if their beliefs happen to cohere with the science.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    I just saw that part 6 requires a password. The same documentary can be found on youtube

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0Fx6gpl2gI

    This one is on genetic differences due to race. It's hysterically funny. The presenter is brave. Making potentially racist jokes all the time, but does it such a way that nobody thinks he's really racist. He obviously isn't. When he asks a geneticist if it's possible to create a human-chimpanzee hybrid slave race I almost died laughing.

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    About race and comparing to the vast differences in especially temperament of dog breeds, I think that the analogy is not very good.

    Didn't dogs get that way by Neoteny? And the smaller and cuter dogs by even more neoteny? Do any human groups have a lot of neoteny?
    First blush I would think that Thai (as example) people have a some higher degree of Neoteny than Aboriginal Australians. But is that provable?

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repoman View Post
    About race and comparing to the vast differences in especially temperament of dog breeds, I think that the analogy is not very good.

    Didn't dogs get that way by Neoteny? And the smaller and cuter dogs by even more neoteny? Do any human groups have a lot of neoteny?
    First blush I would think that Thai (as example) people have a some higher degree of Neoteny than Aboriginal Australians. But is that provable?
    That wasn't the point. The point is that all dogs are more genetically similar to each other than humans, yet display a vast array of genetic differences. The question is, if we accept that dogs have different physical and mental characteristics, when why is it so controversial to think that humans also have different innate physical and mental characteristics based on race (or breed)?

    To date pretty much all the research we have on the topic has been funded by racists. Most (if not all) of that research is pseudoscientific racist nonsense. The few non-racist researchers on the topic have met so much political resistance their research has gone nowhere. I know there's been some serious research in Israel and Iceland. Also some research comparing Kenyans (the greatest genetic variance within a population) and Native South Americans (the smallest genetic variance within a population).

    Simply by comparing the genetic variance of humans with other animals, all geneticsts agree that there likely are mental differences between human races. They may be small and subtle, like enhanced face recognition or enhanced colour recognition. The point is that we have no clue today. Until we do some serious research into the subject we leave a knowledge-vacuum that racists are exploiting. Today, we can't say, based on science, that they're wrong. And like all other atheists I don't give much credence to opinions and beliefs based faith alone.

    Btw, it just stuck me that we have studied racial differences between humans when it comes to colour recognition, and there is none across the globe. We're all pretty similar in this regard. But the little bits and pieces we have aren't good enough IMHO.

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