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James Love
James Love
4 months ago

Those who deny sex differences are like flat earthers

Skink
Skink
4 months ago
Reply to  James Love

Except, the flat earthers are humble and faded into the background, minding their own business.
The author is right. Second wave feminists screwed up, and when the Reimer twin study fell apart, nobody said anything.
How the heck did that BS get started, anyway? That men and women are interchangeable? It made no sense then either.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  James Love

So are those who will only affirm that there are sex differences which they like.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago

What a champ Kathleen Stock is; a woman with real intellect and balls.

I myself was amazed to hear on Women’s Hour last year (I think) that women should get separate psychiatric services because their brains were actually built differently to men’s.

Well, I dropped the tea towel and had to sit down for a bit as I quietly adjusted my view of the previous 40 years of Feminist blah to precisely the opposite effect.

But of course, no grievance group wants any idea to gain precedence which may be used against them or put them in a less than favourable light.

Most Muslims wouldn’t admit that many of them basically have been brought up to hate Jews and loathe Israel, but that has become self-evident in the last few weeks. Likewise, most left-leaning academics.

This is why, while identity politics appears to offer so much and to get results, it unfortunately relies on much misrepresentation and manipulation; the end always justifies the means.

Whereas ultimately it is a poisoned chalice.

Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Accepting reality is necessary to improve the lives of women. For example, it is abundantly clear that the pay gap in western countries like the UK is primarily the result women having children. It has little if anything to do with discrimination.
Once we accept this, we can come up with sensible solutions that actually make a difference.
One option is forcing fathers to take a much bigger role in parenting, perhaps even taking over fully from the mother after weening. But will this be what most parents actually want? I suspect this will result in a further decline in fertility.
A second option, which I prefer, is to provide substantial financial compensation for couples that have or adopt children. Given the burden and cost of having/caring for children, and the crucial important of children to our future, that seems a very fair and wise transfer payment.

Terry M
Terry M
4 months ago

One option is forcing fathers to take a much bigger role in parenting
Better, teach that a man can be a good parent, and that his particularly male traits can be a valuable addition to the child’s upbringing. This is, in fact, happening among more enlightened people, but is drowned out by the constant father-bashing of the MSM and the entertainment industry.
Brains display a bimodal distribution, centered around a male and a female ‘peak’ but with considerable spread around each. The peaks appear to be tuned to evolutionarily useful traits, but one is not better than the other; both are useful for different aspects of human flourishing. Vive la difference, as they say.

Brad Sealand
Brad Sealand
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Nice. And exactly right. “Bimodal Distribution” as a bell curve works perfectly, and while “peaks” may be separated, the tails considerably overlap. This article, constructed and articulated by a female brain, is an example of the rigorous “logic” so often assigned to males. And, as you put so well, the entire evolutional spectrum is essential to human flourishing — at least so far!

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Well said, Terry.
While movies and media are hilarious in their relentless, over the top portrayal of “girl power”, I noticed how often movies have almost no positive father figures depicted. Wonka to take a recent example.

Boys and men thrive on responsibility. Tell them they are important, their role matters, and they will walk barefoot on glass to be there for their kids.

And that phrase “forcing fathers to take a much bigger role”.
Ugh.
Disgusting on multiple levels.
Firstly, parenting is not a punishment that you have to be forced to do.
Secondly,, the reason fathers can’t spend time is because they are away earning money so that the mothers can be around.
And finally, plenty of fathers are very close and involved – only to be flung off as soon divorce happens. Instead of “forcing” fathers, how about making sure the many who do play a vital role in parenting, are able to retain access to their kids.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

But there is the flip side to your defense of fathers. My niece filed for a divorce last year because her husband won’t work. He quit his job five years and refuses to get another. He is a college graduate. My niece, a poorly paid teacher, works around the clock to support their two children. His job now is to make her life a living hell. You know what? I hope his kids never want to see him again, because he didn’t even bother to make their lives more secure.
—-Kimberly

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Would he have been justified in divorcing her if she had decided she didn’t want to go back to work after the kids and be a stay at home mum?

Chris J
Chris J
4 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Why assume he is at home looking after the kids?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

All sorts of fathers (and mothers).
The example you cited is one where the family is better off without a father.

Problem is, legally, he probably is stronger placed than a father who is the exact opposite cares for his kids, earns well and is keen to support his family and would like to be involved.
Crazy as that may sound.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
4 months ago

“abundantly clear that the pay gap in western countries like the UK is primarily the result women having children.”
No it is not. It is much more due to women refusing to join careers that involve higher risk, outdoors work, physical stress or isolation, longer and uneven hours and STEM knowledge.
All of these add to pay, and women even before children refuse to work as plumbers, on oil rigs or take STEM degrees.

Incidentally, from personal experience and looking at friends, spending time on children doesn’t reduce your career potential, especially on services and government jobs (where most women work) due to more time flexibility.

“forcing fathers to take a much bigger role in parenting”
Or maybe we can force women to marry lower earning men and then take primary responsibility for their household expenses.
If anything, having children and being responsible financially for them improves career earnings because you are much more focussed and aggressive on earning money.

Women, in my experience, are far more likely to just give up a job because they don’t like it, in banks and other high pressure jobs. Not because they have kids, but because they refuse to take the responsibility for paying school fees and mortgages, and can afford to “take time off to look after kids”.

Chris J
Chris J
4 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Where is this assumption of refusal coming from. Are the men who don’t do these jobs also refusing.

Their are women plumbers, electricians, etc; and even women working on oil rigs these days.

One of the main reasons for women not looking for work in “male jobs” is harassment when they do.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris J

3/4th of government employees are women.
That ratio is rather lower for plumbers and oil rigs.

And a century back, most jobs were “male jobs” and most college graduates were men.

Strangely enough, women didn’t face harassment in taking up jobs in teaching, admin or HR.
Neither did they face “discrimination” in non STEM college courses.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago

Whilst I agree the gender pay gap has little to do with discrimination these days, the reasons behind what remains are multi faceted and more complex than the one you pick on.
Without going into all the issues, as that would take a very long comment, which is not really anything to do with what the article is about, my view is there remains a gender pay gap, which is not actually a problem and therefore needs no solutions

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

An excellent original idea.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

I myself was amazed to hear on Women’s Hour last year (I think) that women should get separate psychiatric services because their brains were actually built differently to men’s.

Well yes – but only since a deficit view of males and masculinity has become pretty well established in popular culture. This idea is far more acceptable in that light.

Chris Amies
Chris Amies
4 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

But aren’t a large proportion of users and practitioners in psychiatric services, women? That sounds like an argument for separate services for men!

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
4 months ago

Bizarrely, given his intellectual background, this appears to be the approach adopted by former mathematical physicist Eric Weinstein, who in a widely circulated clip this week claimed that “there are people with male brains in female bodies, and conversely”, arguing that society should be more compassionate towards them.
You’re sort of late to the party on this one, Kathleen, since the transactivists have been claiming this for years. In fact, that’s the whole reason this research was allowed to see the light of day in the first place. If it weren’t for the fact that it is perceived to support the trans agenda, believe me, the research would have been deep-sixed and the researchers on the breadline before you could say Jack Robinson. The claim has been that men who claim to be women actually are women because MRIs have shown they have “female brains”. Leaving aside the question of why rather minor differences in the structures of their brains should overrule the rather major differences in the structures of their genitals and genomes, it also begs the question of how, exactly, one defines a “female” brain in the first place if the status of “female” depends entirely on the subjective experience of the person claiming to be female.
(Apropos of this, while visiting the Boston Museum of Fine Arts today, I noticed that the restrooms were marked MEN’S RESTROOM: For Self-Identifying Men, and I wondered, “Who’s going to know?” I mean, it had urinals, but if you’re a lady who calls herself a gent and you lack a weenus, just use a stall.)

David McKee
David McKee
4 months ago

In the hippest parts of London now, you find gender-neutral toilets. One set is clearly marked, “with urinals” and the other set “without urinals.” It’s hard not to see a bit of hedging of bets here. The imp in me longs to swap the signs around, just to see what would happen.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

A recent development in some Scottish sites is to distinguish the two sets with signs: one of a woman in a skirt, the other of a man in a kilt.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

How do you know which is which?

David Hewett
David Hewett
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You clearly do not recognise a Heffalump trap when you encounter it.
As Eric Morecombe might put it “there is no answer to that.”

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

With difficulty. There is usually at least one clearly desperate Englishman searching for the sign he expects.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

I popped into a museum last Saturday but had to leave after 10 minutes as the Council wokery and general nonsense had brought me out in a rash; ‘gender neutral’ toilet, mea culpa before the permanent exhibition about the ‘problematism of displaying cultural artefacts from zzzzzzz’, and finally a special show (next to a room containing a 3000 year old Eqyptian mummy) ‘celebrating 50 years of Hip-Hop Kulture’.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

There were only a couple of PC fingers-to-the-eye that I spotted while I was there, but the few that I saw were sufficiently aggravating that after a while I stopped reading the associated captions. One that was particularly outrageous was a Stalinesque re-writing of Egyptian history that assured visitors the Egyptians were an “entirely African” civilization. I’ll bet the composer of that write-up was smugly proud of himself, as every word was technically accurate while the combined effect was highly misleading. I regret not taking a picture of it, but I’m planning on going back, so I’ll get one then. (I have a bad back, so walking and standing for long periods of time tend to cause discomfort; it took me over two hours just to do the first floor, and it was getting late. It’s a big museum.)
I was, however, rather amused by an exhibition of “Sister Comrades”, which was composed of photographs of female Black Panthers, as it’s well established that the Black Panthers (no relation to the article posted elsewhere today on Unherd) were in fact highly misogynistic; I can’t remember where I read it, but I recall a quote by Bobby Searle or Huey Newton or somebody stating that there was no room for women in their revolution.
At the same time, in one exhibition of 17th and 18th century silverware, there was a candelabra where the main support was that of a mythological figure the caption stated was “Atlas” but which was plainly Herakles, as it was wearing the skin of the Nemean Lion. Is it too much to expect that a major American museum at least label its (non-black) exhibits accurately? I suppose it is. I guess they have more important things to worry about, like representation or inclusion or whatever the buzzword of the day is.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Funny!

John Murray
John Murray
4 months ago

The claim has been that men who claim to be women actually are women because MRIs have shown they have “female brains”. 
I know that claim has been made, but my understanding is that the structures that are identified in those studies are actually associated with sexual orientation. So, they’ve found some common brain structures in lesbians and heterosexual men (both oriented to females), and gay men and heterosexual women (both oriented to males). When it has been alleged that MRIs show trans-women have “female brains” it is actually that the study has not accounted for sexual orientation of the trans-women concerned (e.g., they’re actually gay males who have transitioned).
The fact that nobody, as far as I’m aware, has suggested that diagnoses should be conducted by brain scan, seems telling to me. You’d think if you could actually tell that easily it would then be the most responsible and obvious thing to do before anybody got medical treatment.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

I imagine some of those trans people studied were already taking cross-sex hormones – which are going to reconfigure the brain to some degree.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Already known to have nothing to do with it as the links I have already posted here before prove.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

This is the study you are thinking of. It is the first and I think the only one to control properly for sexual orientation:
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-17352-8
“Both transgenderism and homosexuality are facets of human biology, believed to derive from different sexual differentiation of the brain. The two phenomena are, however, fundamentally unalike, despite an increased prevalence of homosexuality among transgender populations. Transgenderism is associated with strong feelings of incongruence between one’s physical sex and experienced gender, not reported in homosexual persons. The present study searches to find neural correlates for the respective conditions, using fractional anisotropy (FA) as a measure of white matter connections that has consistently shown sex differences. We compared FA in 40 transgender men (female birth-assigned sex) and 27 transgender women (male birth-assigned sex), with both homosexual (29 male, 30 female) and heterosexual (40 male, 40 female) cisgender controls. Previously reported sex differences in FA were reproduced in cis-heterosexual groups, but were not found among the cis-homosexual groups. After controlling for sexual orientation, the transgender groups showed sex-typical FA-values. The only exception was the right inferior fronto-occipital tract, connecting parietal and frontal brain areas that mediate own body perception. Our findings suggest that the neuroanatomical signature of transgenderism is related to brain areas processing the perception of self and body ownership, whereas homosexuality seems to be associated with less cerebral sexual differentiation.”
The last bit is particularly interesting. Whereas transgenderism is not a female brain in a male body or vice versa, it is related to how the individuals see themselves – it is indeed all in their heads, but not in the way gender ideology wants it to be.

Martin Goodfellow
Martin Goodfellow
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

From the language used in this posting, it would appear that the experiment was set up to produce desired outcomes that had already been decided beforehand. Things that are ‘believed’ are not necessarily true. The search for justification along ‘natural’ lines goes on and on, as if that will result in social acceptance of differences. Unfortunately for the persuers, there is no guarantee of this.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago

The way empirical science works is you set a hypothesis and a null hypothesis and then you devise a test which appropriately controls for potential variables (it is impossible to control for all potential variables so you need to pick the ones you believe could have the most impact) to see if there is evidence as to which is more likely to be correct. There can be more than just those 2 hypothesises but the more you over complicate it the harder it becomes to get clear results.
Unfortunately there has been a lot of very poor biased science in this arena, largely because the toxicity of the subject has deterred decent scientist from doing and then publishing decent science (this is not the only area of science where this has happened, we saw it a lot during the pandemic and continue to see it in climate change).
Follow the link to read the full paper, rather than just the abstract I quoted and make up your own mind whether this is a good bit of science or a biased bit of science. It most certainly has its weaknesses, therefore even if you think it is basically good, how much weight should you attribute to it as you decide for yourself what you believe?
Good science is the only way we can get a better understanding of the real world, however we need to accept that it will never lead to the perfect truth and it must always be continuously questioned and that each time more is better understood that understanding will raise yet more questions.

John Murray
John Murray
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Thanks! Appreciate the confirmation I was not going completely senile (yet).

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

“I know that claim has been made, but my understanding is that the structures that are identified in those studies are actually associated with sexual orientation.” <– You know no such thing, you have faith it is so. That is why you have dismissed the links I posted already which invalidate your faith.
“The fact that nobody, as far as I’m aware, has suggested that diagnoses should be conducted by brain scan, seems telling to me.” <– It tells only of your idiocy, any willingness for no morally explicable reason to abuse transgender people.
The fact is that the current psychiatric criteria are more than 99% accurate at determining the result of the knowns and unknowns of the sexual dimorphism to the human brain. Why should the unknowns of the mechanism to it be permitted to be a cause for withholding care appropriate to a result?

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Using “idiocy” in your argument, makes any discussion with you redundant.


Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago

Accurate description is not redundant.
The “gender critical” are idiots — at best. Many are hateful, child abusing bigots.

John Murray
John Murray
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Already found you out confidently asserting complete nonsense about Olympic standards and history on the thread about sports. Not for a moment going to take anything you say on this topic as anything other than highly motivated drivel.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

“Already found you out confidently asserting complete nonsense about Olympic standards and history on the thread about sports” <– No you have not, which is why you can quote none.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

The inclusion of 99% accuracy completely invalidates your post.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter F. Lee

Except there is receptively seen to be only a <1% regret rate to undertaking medical transition.
So you have no legitimate complaint.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  John Murray

Exactly.

Denise Edwards
Denise Edwards
4 months ago

I’m quite sure that Kathleen has been aware of this for a very long time. Her point was about Weinstein’s recent comments.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
4 months ago

‘The claim has been that men who claim to be women actually are women because MRIs have shown they have “female brains”. ‘
When I asked once to see an article about those MRIs , I was pointed to articles which stated that transwomen have different brains to real women.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

“I was pointed to articles which stated that transwomen have different brains to real women.” <– No, you were not. You were pointed to articles showing a male to female transgender person’s brain is not statistically duplicative in all respects of a stereotypically cisgender woman’s brain — but you ignored the similarities and the like discrepancies between cisgender women.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago

I can picture a non-fictional nightmare world in which these terminological contortions combine with our cultural coarseness to produce:
“Male-Identified: with or without weenus; Female-Identified: with or without vuhjayjay; Non-conforming: all plumbing works”
Smoothly handled. What an advancement!

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago

“Leaving aside the question of why rather minor differences in the structures of their brains should overrule the rather major differences in the structures of their genitals and genomes,” <– Because, bigoted fool, only those differences amongst people between the ears produce the whole of the personality. There is none of it in the reproductive organs, or, the left pinkie toe, or, the right elbow.
When the brain is dead, the person is gone, even if every other thing about them is intact.
You are the clanging gong.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

I’ve never been called a gong before. I was belle of the ball once, but never a gong.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago

Great!

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

So once the brain is gone, do the ‘intact’ organs continue to live on? What a phenomenally stupid non-argument that is. Methinks your brain is already gone, or corroded to the point of non-funcionality. Your endless solopsistic sputtering just proves how right those of us who don’t deny biological reality are and how detached from reality and rationality you and the rest of your tribe are. Put a sock in it already, you’re not convincing anyone with this moronic tripe of yours.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

“So once the brain is gone, do the ‘intact’ organs continue to live on?” <– Which has nothing to do with it, since the point is only the brain is the person.
Because you apparently think you can have a conversation with a de-cerebrated body kept alive by machines, you are the one denying biology.
No one can convince anyone of anything they are existentially terrified of admitting, no matter how true it is.
The brain alone is the person.

David Shepherd
David Shepherd
4 months ago

You are assuming that the software in question and a brain scan will support an individuals belief they have a brain the wrong body. It may not, or it may; but we are hyposesising ahead of any data.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
4 months ago

Trenchant and true. Stock is on top of here game, again
 Not to be lost in the depth of her specific arguments; the general un-Woke reality check:

“As with progressive arguments about reality generally, sometimes the most pressing task is not to establish what is true or false, but rather to lure people away from accurate apprehension of a socially dangerous idea.”

Another reason to despise Left ideology. But why does the Left find this attempt at slight of hand necessary. Why not just say the truth “So what if there are some generalizable differences between groups such as men and women, that means little to nothing when considering any individual”


Studio Largo
Studio Largo
4 months ago
Reply to  Matt Sylvestre

Any recognition of individualism is anathema to the venal proto-Maoist hordes of today’s ‘progressive’ left.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Studio Largo

As a liberal, I would name the distinction “the extreme radical left”.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago

Great. Following the peculiar political thinking in a nuanced way and unarguably fair.

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago

Just because there are two sexes and that is binary, does not mean that human beings are mental and emotional capacities are binary.

Men and women have essentially the same elements in their emotional and mental makeup, the variances are in the proportions. Even then, within the universe of men and the universe of women, there is large variation. Sort of like a ying and a yang. The same basic shape but with inverse proportions.

What we are talking about is proportions and probability.

MOST men and most women are somewhere on a curved scale between what we call male and female characteristics. Most men fall somewhere to the more male side, most women fall somewhere more on the feminine side, but both have the same fundamental elements.

It is at the extreme tails of the curves where we see any real large scale differences, but those are the tails.

But I really do not think we needed science to tell us this. Most of us have known this instinctively for most of our lives.

The problem I see is that many people, feminists in particular, have concluded that this is a bad thing.

I would argue that the differences are a strength if we choose to see them as such.

I cannot understand how people who believe that diversity is a strength would then choose to argue that diversity between the sexes is a bad thing.

It seems to me that the most feminist argument to make is that women, with their preponderance of feminine characteristics bring a healthy diversity of perspective to any endeavor. Most things in life are best when there is balance.

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

How simple and sensible? But of course women are irrational plus truth and logic are male traits, so let’s forget about it.

Chris J
Chris J
4 months ago
Reply to  Karl Juhnke

The male “truth and logic” that leads to war and other horrible things.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

‘MOST men and most women are somewhere on a curved scale between what we call male and female characteristics.’
What scientific evidence leads scientists to the conclusion that any given characteristic can be put either into the ‘male’ category or into the ‘female’ category’?

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

It’s a circular argument. The reason characteristics are described as male is because most men tend to display them and vice versa for feminine. There have always been more feminine men and more masculine women both in terms of personality and physical characteristics they are just rarer.
It is important to accept people the way they are drawing on their innate or developed strengths and abilities to get the best out of them and to enable them to lead fulfilling lives. The problem is when the real differences between men and women are either used to unfairly discriminate against one or the other or are denied – either by feminists railing against unfair discrimination or by transactivists. This is not the first time KS has had the decency to admit that feminists bear at least some of the responsibility for creating the monster they are now fighting.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Yes to the overall thrust of your post, and to nearly all of its individual strokes.
“The problem is when the real differences between men and women are either used to unfairly discriminate against one or the other or are denied – either by feminists railing against unfair discrimination or by transactivists
You leave out instances of ongoing paternalistic control of women, especially in non-Western countries. And outright sexist hatred by a minority of “red-blooded” males, who may use force to silence or hurt women–usually in their own household or with current/would-be/ex-girlfriends–according to a natural advantage in strength and higher average level of aggression.
We should be careful not to overcorrect by ascribing all sex-based discrimination to feminists and transactivists. And if we are to acknowledge difference and the validity of certain voluntary divisions, such as more female nurses and more male carpenters, we menfolk should also retain a certain gentleness and gentlemanliness toward women.
I’m not saying that you or most men don’t.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Possibly I could have punctuated my point better. It is the denial, not the discrimination part, that I ascribe to feminists and transactivists.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

That seems more accurate. I get that not every aspect of an issue can or should be addressed in a single comment but I still appreciate your clarification.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

What monster?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I too feel that we can observe Evolution and notice the value of specialisation in the two different sexes (and probably in the multiplicity of genders)

MJ Reid
MJ Reid
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

So are all people who are ambidextrous and have non-sided brains also non binary in gender?

Daniel P
Daniel P
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

That is kinda silly Steven.

I specifically said “What we CALL male and female characteristics” and I did that for precisely that reason.

If you prefer, we could call them “socially expected traits”

Your simply being difficult.

But I will give you this, we could call them anything that you want.

We could even look at them individually rather than cumulatively.

We could have a bell curve just for “empathy” and another for “aggressiveness” and another for “spacial awareness”.

No matter how we do it, it is going to tell the same story. That being that at the extremes of the tails we will find mostly one sex of the other, that the majority of men and will fall just to one side of the center of those curves and the women just to the other side of the center of those curves.

But we can also say that there will be groups of individuals from either sex that will be some odd combination.

But the tails and the people with uncommon combinations are not the majority by definition. But when a society wants to set policies that benefit the most people most of the time, we need to look at where the majority of the people are, not at the outliers even when those outliers often have a disproportionate impact.

Philip Tisdall
Philip Tisdall
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The “tail wagging the dog” is the aphorism I use for this.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Let me introduce you to something called a histogram, and, bimodal distribution.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histogram
The distribution of sexually dimorphic characteristics in humanity are strongly bimodal, and there is no reason to doubt that a few as 1 in 10 if not 1 in 20 have anything other than in their personal development other than simply and entirely per usual male or female.
The stupidity and evil of Social Conservatives is to yield to their emotional need to discard the middle as being nonexistent or subhuman, or per se evil — when it is the Social Conservatives who are evil about it.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

So you harbor a certain fondness or at least tolerance for Political Conservatives, or just diagnose their stupidity and evilness differently?
In your estimation: What percentage of the world population is best described as stupid and evil?

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The percentage does not matter as long as that percentage is making progress towards it’s goals of abuse and persecution.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

Talia. Your comment is borderline illiterate. Read it again; it makes no sense. Posting a link to a generic definition of a histogram seems to be intended to make you sound clever but provides absolutely no evidence germane to the subject.

Rather a flimsy peg anyway to hang on the extremist comment “social conservatives are evil….etc”.

There is simply overwhelming evidence that men and women vary significantly on a number of key attributes. There is some overlap, but it’s not great. This is scientifically attested as well as being reflected quite accurately in popular culture, those heavily indoctrinated on progressive “the world should be this way” culture perhaps excepted. (Though even they act and speak quite differently). Why this should even be controversial escapes me: we don’t doubt that almost all men, are much physically stronger than almost all women.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

“There is simply overwhelming evidence that men and women vary significantly on a number of key attributes.” <– The histograms about whichattributes are key to not — as you are — being illiterate about the topic.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

This is what happens when a girl reads a complicated article.

andy young
andy young
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

The Bell curve.

Brad Sealand
Brad Sealand
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Exactly right. “Bimodal Distribution” as a bell curve works perfectly, and while “peaks” may be separated, the tails considerably overlap. This article, constructed and articulated by a female brain, is an example of the rigorous “logic” so often assigned to males. As another commenter put it: the entire evolutional spectrum is essential to human flourishing.

Saul D
Saul D
4 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

“It is at the extreme tails of the curves where we see any real large scale differences, but those are the tails.”
The statistical tails are important. Obviously the ‘inner’ tails (if you overlap the male and female Bell curves) have some women with more male characteristics than some men, and vice versa. It’s where stereotypes break down – we are mostly the same more often than not. But the outer tails are where the important differences are seen.
For instance, men are more likely to be risk takers. At the outer tail you will find men who take bigger risks than most other men, and tolerate bigger risks than all but a tiny number of women. The thing is to realise this is entirely orthogonal to intelligence or other characteristics.
Some of these men will be disaster-cases where risk matches up with poor decision-making or intelligence and ends up in failures potential including prison, debt, homelessness.
However, those with better decision-making or more intelligence have an increased possibility of success, simply because their willingness to take gambles more often, and to take risky decisions, which, when done right, can give extra large rewards. The tail explains both why more men are in prison, and why men are more likely to become high performers in society.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago

Excellent article. For an encore, I suggest Kathleen dissects the differences between female and male dominated organisations. Is it a coincidence that cancel culture and other forms of verbal oppression seem to be most widespread in areas like Academia, Publishing and HR?

Edwin Blake
Edwin Blake
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I used to think this, but after watching Douglas Murray switch from being anti-cancelling to being vigorously pro banishment, it made me reevaluate things. I think it depends more on what one feels strongly about.
In his case the issue to precipitate the change was Israel.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

Doesn’t DM ‘bat for the other side’?
In which case QED?

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
4 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

It is entirely consistent to be in favour of free speech, and to be opposed to the toleration of intimidation and violence which makes free speech impossible. The surge of antisemitic attacks since October 7th, and the never ending protests on our streets and in our universities, are just an extension of cancel culture.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

I agree that it is probably more complicated which is why I framed the issue with a tentative question. On the other hand, it would be odd if organisations dominated by women did not operate differently to some degree from organisations run by men – and indeed from organisations with a balanced mix. I would be genuinely interested in what Kathleen has to say since she appears not only reality based but both observant and psychologically insightful.

As a child I was told – mostly by my sisters – that girls were made from “sugar and spice and all things nice” while boys came from “snips, snails and puppy dog’s tails”. More recent research has suggested this is not strictly accurate. Studies of schoolyard behaviour, for example, have indicated that both little boys and girls are equally malevolent and prone to forming ruthless gangs but, while the former resolve differences by punching each other, the latter prefer more verbal tactics and are adept at forming coalitions to spread malicious gossip. It is also alleged that mean girls bear grudges, while boys tend not to, and take more pleasure in being foul to outsiders than boys who tend to ignore non gang members (except to extract sandwhich money and for other pragmatic purposes).

Do these patterns roll forward in modified forms into adulthood and into the workplace? Perhaps. I am not sure. Certainly in primitive, primate and baboon societies, there is often a balance between the individual alpha male ostensibly in charge and the influence of the females who acting collectively can set the limits of acceptable behaviour and can expel individuals from the group – up to and including the alpha male – if they go too far. Perhaps we should regard Harvard and Cambridge as the equivalent of baboon bands unbalanced by the lack of any alpha males and consequently subordinated entirely to the usual collective methods of lady baboons. I suspect – or hope – Kathleen has a more subtle and sophisticated view.

My hunch – and experience – is that organisations with a balanced mix work best and that those ruled over by a female gang persecuting dissidents are as objectionable as those dominated by some irritable patriarchal despot.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

irritable patriarchal despot is definitely less dangerous. It is much easier to overthrow him than to calm down a crowd of frenzied females. In this sense, really difficult times await us, look how many female fools are included in governments (Ursula von der Leyen is a perfect example) or participate in actions led by Saint Greta.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

I thought that Douglas Murray was in favour of deporting terrorist immigrants. Isn’t that a bit different from sacking peopole because of their opinions?

Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
4 months ago
Reply to  Edwin Blake

You’re right. Disappointing. And one has to wonder if, all along, what he was really concerned about was not freedom of speech but ensuring people with the views he shared didn’t get cancelled.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago

Can’t argue with that!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

And yet these ‘Gorgons’ always seem to go unpunished!
For example why has Alison Rose NOT been stripped of her Damehood as she so richly deserves?

POSTED AT 0907 GMT, and immediately SIN BINNED.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago

Just been censored myself.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie


 it has now reappeared but with the ability to vote on or respond missing.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

It’s still censored then! But should shortly return.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago

The moderation system Unherd is using is indeed strange. I used a word which can mean a Dutch sea wall or be a derogatory term for a lesbian. I had used it purely in the sea wall context with no double entendre to the other. When the comment finally reappeared, the word had been changed, presumably by a person rather than a bot, to “d**e”.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

“The moderation system Unherd is using is indeed strange.” <– It is built to protect the Herd at Unherd from wrongthink and data contrary it’s flavor of progressivisim.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

That’s because certain keywords put a comment into auto-quarantine, often for 12 or even 24 hours. Comments that are heavily downvoted in short order get this treatment too (though that may have changed since the update–a lot of real crowd-displeasers are sticking around of late).
They almost always post eventually, but with enough of a lag that the discussion is often over, and with a misleading time stamp for the original attempt to post the comment.
Yet some of the most abusive and backward comments go straight through and stay put.
Given the liveliness and popularity of the comments section at UnHerd, some effort should be made to vet comments (in real time or within a hour let’s say)–for their actual abusive/incendiary character, or lack thereof.
In my estimation: Talia Perkins is correct–even a stopped analog clock is accurate twice a day–that the auto-censorship bot, and sometimes the active moderation, favors politically and socially conservative and traditional viewpoints overall.
At the NYT and many other places, the reverse is true.
* Think “early-20th-century Russia” or “1940s Germany”

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I can understand why the word I used triggered the bot. What I don’t understand is why it was felt necessary to partially obscure the word when it was being inoffensively used in and entirely inoffensive context.
Unherd articles, and even more so the comments underneath them, are very much tomorrow’s chip paper. That is probably a good thing.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I am constantly downvoted on this site (does that count as verbal oppression). Following your logic that must mean there’s a lot of women using male usernames!

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

There’s a suggestion that there are two different people commenting under the heading “UnHerd Reader”. Very confusing.

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Arresting and entertaining though the suggestion that most of the commentators on UnHerd are trans men is, I suspect your logic is flawed. There are perhaps other possible explanations for the downvoting. In theory, UnHerd is favour of not only freedom of speech but independent thought. In practice, you may have been overdoing it if you are hoping for popularity.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The stoning scene from ‘Life of Brian’ comes to mind:

‘Are there any women here?’

Suspiciously deep voices respond ‘No!’

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

‘UnHerd Reader’ is the default for a one’s name being blank in the Unherd Account Profile. As I have stated on several occasions, all you have to do is fill in your name in the Unherd Account Profile.

Lizzie J
Lizzie J
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Banks, law firms, oil companies – they’re all at it.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
4 months ago

“Indeed, there is an increasingly popular narrative amongst anti-feminist commentators such as Matt Walsh that the current transactivist derangement still gripping many institutions started with feminism. In most ways this is diabolically unfair, especially since radical feminists were at the forefront of fighting transactivist ideas years before Walsh cottoned on.”

It might be ‘diabolically unfair’, but is it true?

Karl Juhnke
Karl Juhnke
4 months ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

It is.

Fafa Fafa
Fafa Fafa
4 months ago

The bones, the skin, the liver, the muscles, the hairs, the heart, the aorta, the pancreas, the thyroid gland, the kidneys, the stomachs – and we are not talking about just size, but also function, e.g. the cardiac repolarization, the motor unit action potential (muscle), the density of nephrons (kidneys), the activity of the gastric alcohol dehydrogenase (alcohol tolerance) etc, etc, etc, are all different between males and females. Now, whether you like it or not, the functional plus is mostly on the male side. Blame the unintelligent designer, but you might as well get upset about humans not having wings or gills.

OF COURSE, PLEASE, OF COURSE!!! this does not mean that women are inferior, only that they are biologically different because during the course of evolution, which only recently has become irrelevant, were selected for different tasks. It would probably take several thousand more years for humans to evolve into being biologically truly genderless. If the trend thru the younger and younger generations continue as is, we may actually reach that state. Or, after the apocalypse, biology will reassert itself. I would love to live long enough to see how this will play out.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

The same differences are found in all mammals and a lot of other species – it is Billions of year of evolution, not just the relatively short time humans have been evolving.
A lot of these differences are important for making sure a person gets the right medical treatment, which means the NHS should not be indulging in “trans friendly” policies as they are highly likely to end up harming trans people.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I was chatting with an RN at a hospital and the subject of trans people came up. She was exasperated with having to deal with pronouns in a medical setting where it’s so important to know exactly what you’re dealing with because, God forbid, the wrong bit gets chopped off, so to speak.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Fafa Fafa

Those sections of society which move towards ‘genderless’ will die out for lack of babies and those sections (mostly religious) which maintain gender differences, roles etc will have ~3x more babies and take over in ~2 generations.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
4 months ago

Whilst nominally about sex differences in the brain, this article neatly sums up the problems with public debate over a wide range of topics.

I’ve often wondered if people on the left have less logical brains. I don’t know the answer, I just wonder.

Arthur King
Arthur King
4 months ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

The Left does think differently, look to the work of Johnathan Haidt, The Righteous Mind.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
4 months ago
Reply to  Arthur King

Thanks for the recommendation, looks interesting.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
4 months ago

I wouldn’t claim to be any sort of expert but it has always seemed self-evident to me that if evolution can result in dimorphic male and female sex classes to the extent that one sex can gestate offspring and the other can’t, then at least in principle the evolution of male and female brains is logically possible.

But of course – as Prof Stock observes – too often logic has little to do with such debates which are dominated by paradigms prioritising social and political goals over the pursuit of objective facts.

Terry M
Terry M
4 months ago

My quick take when I was involved in such discussions:
“Plumbing’s different, wiring’s different” That doesn’t make one better or worse.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

And every “intersex” combination and result not inherently incompatible with life occurs in a population at some rate.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
4 months ago

“a man gets to blame his brain for repeated failures to notice that his wife is crying.”

We notice. We’re just pretending we don’t in the hope that we can avoid spending the next 4 hours talking about it.

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
4 months ago

I’m sure we can rely on Ash Sarkar to push Judith Butler hard on this issue in her forthcoming widely-publicised interview.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

Not so widely publicised that I have any idea who either of those people are.

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You will find them both on Wikipedia. Event is here:
https://www.tickettailor.com/events/novaramedia/1166860

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Nik Jewell

No thanks.

Nik Jewell
Nik Jewell
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

My point precisely, but sarcasm fails direly BTL 🙂

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
4 months ago

If I were to reflect on Judith Butler’s deconstruction of our binary sexes as reproductive mammals… well, a social philosophy that is essentially based on the idea of a flexibly gendered or non-binary mind distinct from the ‘accident’ of sexed materiality (so giving rise to this transgender concept of a soul trapped in a body)… it’s just one big circle really because what she is doing is defending a lesbian identity whose new and radical materiality she wants to promote.
And of course, Professor Butler does so by insisting there is no fixed materiality at all, our bodies are simply a process of becoming. This is post-structuralism denying any material structures at all (like the facticity of a male and female intelligence discussed here) and so right back in the trap of Descartes’ mind-body problem- wholly regressive then.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
4 months ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Judith Butler engages in intellectual activity that, were it physical, would have made her go blind years ago.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Voted you up because it is funny, but not literally true.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
4 months ago

Could these AI techniques be used to detect brain differences in other categories than male/female?
For example, could we detect brain differences between left/right handed people?

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Probably but it would be about training the AI correctly. Basically it is an AI model (all models are wrong some models are useful), which has been shown to get the sex of the person whose brain patterns it is analysing right 90% of the time. It therefore gets it wrong 10% of the time. What the developers of this claim is that by understanding why the AI gets it right, it reveals potential useful information to help treat neurological conditions better. What would be the purpose of left handed Vs right handed?

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

‘What would be the purpose of left handed Vs right handed?’
TO help stroke victims paralysed on one side by determining which part of the brain deals with motor functions?

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

So all this research is predicated on the observation that “the brain lights up” and we can fit the various lighted areas into our current social constructions?
But what does it really light up for?
Neuroscience is not yet a science as we have no clear consensus on why, or even how the brain works as it does.
An honest paper would talk about conclusions based on what we think may be happening given our current state of understanding (practically zero) and these may be subject to change in the future when we understand more.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

“We Know Next to Nothing”, a 30-page peer-reviewed article about a double blind trial?
It’d be nice if there was more baseline humility among researchers, but that’s unlikely, especially with the subset that think it’s only a short wait before we can use our inherited consciousness to conclusively understand and “explain away” consciousness.
Every minor advance or “confirmation” of common sense is touted as some secular revelation, and every non-expert, like me, can skim the linked research and feel important, either in favor or opposition. We remain, in 2024, both impressive and way too self-impressed as a species.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

This idea – that we know ‘next to nothing’ about the brain is widespread.
As a school teacher i remember discovering educational neuroscience (around 2005) and enthusing to my colleagues and school leaders that, as a teacher’s job is to train the brain, knowing something about the learning process would be helpful to teachers.
Interest level? Near zero. No hostility, just a lack of interest or engagement.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It is a true fact that there is a lot less fact and truth in the world than we think (or at least have been conditioned to think) there is. The start point of any science has to be that we do not know, hypothesises are formed and tested to create theories. Sometimes these theories can evolve into laws, which hold true in certain circumstances, but must always be subject to further testing as none of them are truth or fact. Proper science is therefore a continual search for less wrong answers based on additional evidence, which will create more questions than answers along the way.
The politicised abuse of science to convince the masses that a political ideology is some how the incontrovertible truth is the greatest scourge of our time – pick any subject you like from climate change, through the pandemic responses to the topic of this article.

George Venning
George Venning
4 months ago

Lots of food for thought but, unless I misread, it wasn’t clear to me that the detected differences in male and female brains was innate rather than acquired.
Which is surely pretty important given that brains can change depending on how we use them.
We’ve all heard about the famous finding that undergoing “the knowledge” results in significant structural changes to the parts of the brain associated with route-finding. That has been known for years and did not require an AI to detect it.
The knowledge involves several hours of daily study over a couple of years in adulthood (i.e. at a point when the brain has become less plastic). Isn’t it likely that, even if male and female brains started off identical, they would end up different after a lifetime of different socilaisation starting in infancy. And, once again, if these differences have only just been detected using AI and the changes to cabbie brains have been known for ages, isn’t it possible, that even after all that different socialising and use, the differences between male and female brains are no more distinctive than the differences between cabbie and non-cabbie brains.
In which case this evidence would point in pretty much the opposite direction to the one that the author is suggesting. Wouldn’t it?

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

It is called neuroplasticity (mentioned but not fully explained in the article). It slows down, but does not stop after puberty – quite old stroke victims can be taught to walk again by different parts of the brain being trained to perform the functions that were damaged.

George Venning
George Venning
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Exactly. so the existence of what seem to be small observable differences in the brains of adult males and female doesn’t seem to me to be proof of the existence of male and female brains at all.
If we accept that brains can change quite a lot and if the differences are small enough to fit within the scope of the brain’s capacity to change in response to training/stimulus/socialisation then this finding would actually appear to point in precisely the opposite direction to the one the author suggests.
I’m not saying she’s wrong about the possibility that male and female brains are different, simply that this isn’t evidence of it. .

Magdalena Piorunek
Magdalena Piorunek
4 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

My thoughts exactly.
This study included people aged between 20 and 35, so only adults well into male/female socialization. Now, if the study was conducted on newborns, and still showed these differences, then we would be onto something regarding the presence of biological brain differences, differences innate rather than acquired. But on top of being an AI study, it wasn’t even conducted as such.
So how exactly does it irrefutably disprove the theory that the male and female brains start off with minimal differences, and the rest is socialization – reflected in the brain via neuroplasticity? To me it truly doesn’t at all.
If the cabbies have different brains than non-cabbies, if people who speak multiple languages display brain differences next to monolingual people, then it’s only logical to say there will be differences developed in individuals due to the life-long process of socialization than informs a person that there are behaviors, interests, ways of displaying emotion, dressing etc. expected of one socially just on the basis of sex.

George Venning
George Venning
4 months ago

“Neurobiologists there have discovered that a specially designed “deep neural network”— that is, an AI presumably devoid of the misogynist prejudices of ordinary mortals
This is a funny sentence to write in the same week as the blow up over google’s “woke AI” fiasco

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

It is KS’s subtly satirical sense of humour, which is why so many enjoy reading her stuff.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago

Here is an example of feminist doublethink: Bereaved parents who lose a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy in England can now receive a certificate in recognition of their loss. And: In England, Scotland, and Wales, you can legally have an abortion up to 23 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy, in line with the Abortion Act 1967. Does the recognition of the loss of a baby under 24 weeks assign personhood to the baby? If so, then abortion becomes murder if not, what exactly is being mourned, has been lost? If it is just a bundle of cells, shouldn’t a person who has had a limb amputated also be given a certificate to recognise their loss?
Also, I have for decades been confounded by the term emotional intelligence: in what sense is it intelligence? I think it is what used to be called sensitivity (emotional awareness) or in the case of Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility, sensibility. I understand how it acquired the label emotional intelligence; those considered intelligent in the traditional sense are frequently easily manipulated by the ‘emotionally intelligent’ plus the unintelligent ‘emotionally intelligent’ were desperate to be called intelligent. In days gone by, being genuinely (highly) intelligent was considered a handicap. It is interesting to consider how and why attitudes changed.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

I have for decades been confounded by the term emotional intelligence

Say no more.
That explains the first part too. That “doublethink” is entirely rational. Some people may be extremely attached to the unborn child. Others may not and prefer to abort it.
Helpfully your comment gives a clear example of the distinction between intelligence and emotional intelligence.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Actually, I am regarded as exceptionally intelligent in the traditional sense (I was even been accused of being a genius by a highly qualified professional who was stung because he thought I didn’t consider him intelligent – I had never considered whether he was or wasn’t, I was only interested in whether or not he was competent). Your line of reasoning implies it is completely reasonable to kill those that one is not attached to. I guess you are ‘emotionally intelligent’. The intelligent generally recognise (moral) implications unless they are corrupt. The definition of corruption being the inability to distinguish between right and wrong. If the miscarried foetus is a person then abortion is murder. There are legal ramifications.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

Self praise is NO recommendation.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago

It wasn’t self praise, it was an observation. You obviously consider intelligence something to boast about. I have always considered being intelligent rather a handicap, rather a curse, and spent much of my younger life in silence rather than disagreeing. As a child, I would lose games on purpose so as not to upset others. There was a time I yearned to be ordinary. As I noted in a comment above, it is only relatively recently that high intelligence has been considered an asset. In the past, it was considered particularly unfortunate if a woman was intelligent as men would not desire her. I have genuinely been trying to figure out what emotional intelligence is. I used to know a woman who went on an on about emotional intelligence, I could never figure out what she meant by it, but she did complain that one of her husband’s faults was he didn’t know how to be nice to people. She was very good at being nice to people when she wanted something which is why I figured emotional intelligence involves emotional manipulation. She was definitely not intelligent, but I never once uttered the word intelligence or spoke about intelligence in her presence. It has taken me many decades to figure out what I think intelligence is despite having worked in AI (despite not knowing what intelligence is, I did understand it could not be replicated artificially as my philosophical reading had revealed to me nobody actually knows what intelligence is and when they believe they have a method of defining it rigidly, it all falls apart). I consider you learned. I have no idea if you are intelligent or not.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

Well AR I apologise if I caused you any offence but it did read as if you might have been ‘crowing’ but I now fully accept you weren’t!

What is intelligence? Or is it just another word for cunning? Either way I don’t think it is anything “to boast about”. No Englishman I know of would ever be so stupid as to ‘blow his own trumpet’, far better to ‘keep your powder dry’. I know this infuriates Americans who feel it is slightly deceitful but ‘old habits die hard’.

As to emotional intelligence I shall have to pass that on to my Springer Spaniels who are experts in this field.

Fortunately my Chief-of-Staff is super bright and makes all the really important decisions. Thus I can ignore the manic struggle for ‘success’ that seems to trouble so many these days.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago

I don’t think being accused of over intelligence is something you have to worry about, racist grandpa.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago

You’re genuinely brilliant, no doubt in my (less acute) mind.
And you have more self-awareness than I’ve given you credit for. Best of luck.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago

Amazing how someone so intelligent has the writing style of a particularly slow witted 14 year old!

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago

The socialist modus operandi: never debate, just insult and terrorise with slogans and name calling. Read my comment below. I guess you are expert at producing the incredibly dense, intended to confound, full of completely unnecessary jargon, type of writing produced in social studies (I refuse to call it science) which when translated into the vernacular is generally revealed to be gibberish, and you consider that grownup writing.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago

As with all socialists, I’ve always felt CS could be replaced by AI with all its programmed biases and we would not know the difference.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
4 months ago

You are proving my point exceptionally well with this gibberish.
Bub, anyone who claims to be “exceptionally intelligent” is almost certainly a fool. You obviously are.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago

If you read my comment carefully, you will see I didn’t claim to be exceptionally intelligent. I stated that I was considered exceptionally intelligent and it took me many decades to figure out what capacity the word intelligence actually refers to. In fact, until very recently, I considered those who were generally considered unintelligent, far more intelligent than myself. My working definition of intelligence was clearly completely different to the standard definition.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I strongly suspect it is the ‘emotionally intelligent’ who are responsible for the creation of slogans and names which are used to silence people. They understand the emotional impact of calling people transphobes, racists, islamaphobes etc and of the slogans Black Lives Matter and trans women are women. They are most likely involved in the creation of the social setting in which these names and slogans have such power. They are not intelligent but they are ideologues. They use slurs as weapons as their ideologies cannot withstand rational debate.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

Well, not exactly. Some of them are more than intelligent in the old-fashioned sense of the word, they are just happy to take advantage of the incredible stupidity of others

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

I fully appreciate some are both ‘emotionally intelligent’ and regularly intelligent. Though I think we all have a dark side and if we allow it, it will seize upon any ideology or slogan that it can profit from and apply it.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

I was talking about people who don’t believe for a second the crap they say.
I saw this type of people in the USSR

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

I did notice that when Russia abandoned communism, those high up in the communist party immediately embraced capitalism and seized the national assets demonstrating they had no genuine belief in or commitment to communism. They embraced the ideology which profited them most. It is true, there are those who do this consciously and those who do so unconsciously (lack self-knowledge or insight). That is why Jung believed it was imperative people acknowledged their dark side, acknowledged their shadow thereby brining it into consciousness, then, at least, they would no their true motives.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

I agree, but Jung is not necessary. Ordinary scoundrels 🙂

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago

You are clearly bright in a cognitive sense, but tend to confuse your opinions with facts quite often, in my informed opinion. But I sense a great deal of integrity and sincerity in your posts.
Since my teens I’ve made an effort to increase my compassion and understanding toward those whose ideas, experiences, or preferences differ sharply from mine–with partial, sometimes wavering success. I was never devoid of empathy (and I’m not saying that you are) but I wasn’t born with an abundance of it. We can build toward more, with great willingness and determination to do so.
What’s called emotional intelligence overlaps with empathy and interpersonal understanding. Would you be happier if the term were “emotional awareness”? Because there is surely a version of cognitive/cerebral intelligence (the only type you’re ready to acknowledge) that lacks awareness of other people and can be too quick to forfeit kindness in the interest of perceived truths that may be mistaken or self-serving–and which are certainly limited, given the total absence of omniscient mortal beings.
But both the emotional and intellectual sides of our awareness can coexist, to our mutual and overall benefit. Not according to an even or formulaic split, and not in the same balance and challenges for each person. (I get that most of this obvious and uncontroversial*; my intention is only to be thorough and fair).
I agree that antiracist and trans-rights extremists are not being intelligent in any sense. They are not displaying emotional awareness but hypersensitivity and motivated bullying–ideologues as you say. They tend to consider it fine to denounce and vilify those who disagree with or dare to oppose them. (To be painstakingly fair, there are far-Right factions who do this too, the hyper-progressives are merely the current Western “leaders” in this regard).
I know what you mean about being taken advantage of by the “emotionally intelligent” or perhaps those with a wily intuition. I’ve had to fight against social naivete and general gullibility my whole life. I still get fooled a lot, but less often and not for as long. And this is from the standpoint of someone who, in self-administered IQ tests, only measures from high into the bright-normal to barely-a-genius range, depending on the test. (Even lower when it comes to mechanical knowledge and abstract spatial awareness–no wonder I struggled to be a good carpenter!). I was in the “gifted” class as a kid, but so were several who didn’t seem very bright to me–perhaps in my narrowness and pride. I’ve always wanted to learn more for learning’s sake, but also to guard against ever being made to feel stupid, which no amount of reading, contemplation, or conversation can prevent–at least for me!
I don’t know what it’s like to be a true cognitive outlier as I think you may very well be. It’s true that many such people, who are more often but of course not always men, have a very hard time of it in the embodied world (if you will). I can partly sympathize with and make an additional effort to empathize with your experience as a female genius with limited social awareness.
I say all this–at no one’s request–even though you once insulted my (admittedly hasty and imperfect) reasoning concerning my birth country of Canada, by saying Canadians were phony as a whole–which I found to be reductive and only kind of true. Then we exchanged unpleasantries. Remember that?
I respect your forceful and unyielding contributions to these comment boards. Please remember that most of us are not as smart as you, and cannot be rather one-sidedly intellectual. Not all of us should be; it takes all kinds, kumbaya, la di da–right?
Cheers,
AJ
*And now see that you have acknowledged this in another of your comments here.

Aphrodite Rises
Aphrodite Rises
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

As you have taken the time and made the effort to produce this comment, I will reply to some of it. I have no idea what you mean when you say I confuse fact and opinion. Clearly, unless quoting someone else, my comments usually contain my opinions (which are constantly evolving). My opinions are based on facts which is why I can always back them up. If you provide an example of me confusing fact and opinion that would be useful. Group characteristics never apply to every member of a group. You can say whatever you like about the British, I would just be curious not offended. I get the sense you think you can get to know me through my comments and you want to lecture me. I would never think that I knew someone because I had read their comments in the same way I don’t think I know the author of a novel. Just because I do not mention the extreme right, it doesn’t mean I am not aware of them, though I am inclined to believe that the extremes of left and right are to a certain extent indistinguishable (higher death count belongs to the left) . I don’t think it is necessary to actually believe something to include it in a comment. I believe in exploring ideas. I don’t really know what I think about most things. I can tell you who I feel most intellectually aligned with at the moment: Jordan Peterson (I was searching for a Jungian interpretation of the OT whilst he was actually working on one, unbeknownst to me: I really wish he would complete the work. I was incredulous and delighted when I found his youtube videos) and Bishop Barron. John Lennox interests me. There are others too but right now I am exhausted and cannot think of them They frequently articulate my own beliefs and ideas but far more eloquently. I don’t care whether people are intelligent or not, I would focus on interesting. I am mystified by the current obsession with intelligence and suspect emotional intelligence is a rebranding by those who would not otherwise be considered intelligent. I do not find the pleasure I take in another’s company to be determined by their intellect. I have never considered myself a genius, for most of my life I didn’t consider myself intelligent. I am different in the sense what I find hard, most find easy and what I find easy, most find hard. I don’t attack people though I do defend my position. I am frequently attacked but I believe my ideas should be challenged. I want them challenged though a lot of the attacks on Unherd are a result of people wanting to silence me because they feel threatened by my point of view.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
4 months ago

Would that be the same AI that depicts female Southeast Asian popes? Native American Greek philosophers (coincidentally, the Americas were unknown in the ancient world) and black Vikings in an African desert setting?
That AI isn’t even able to distinguish fact from fiction, and if a person probably couldn’t find its own nose, which is why I am not giving it any credibility whatsoever.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  Katja Sipple

That AI has been told not to distinguish fact from fiction.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

The misnomer of misnomers

Hilary Easton
Hilary Easton
4 months ago

Does anyone know how the researchers distinguished inherently male/female characteristics from environmentally acquired same? To do this they would have to look at the brains of new born babies, I suppose.
The reason I ask is because of the now well-established plasticity of the brain, some neuroscientists going so far as to say that everything we do and say and think changes the brain. At the same time, we have know for decades, at least, that there are average empirical differences between the sexes in terms of spatial awareness, verbal reasoning and so forth, but again, the origins of same are not proven.
Personally, I think it would be odd, considering the physical differences between the sexes, if there weren’t inherent differences in the brain structure, but this should not be used, as it has in the past, to enforce a social gender norm on individuals.

Michael Spedding
Michael Spedding
4 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

Sorry I am coming in late to this interesting discussion and I like the article,, and I like the comment above,
“Personally, I think it would be odd, considering the physical differences between the sexes, if there weren’t inherent differences in the brain structure, but this should not be used, as it has in the past, to enforce a social gender norm on individuals”..
BUT I was ‘gobsmacked’ by the the fact that anybody thought male and female brains were the same (although like all biology, there is a spectrum).
I have had the extreme good fortune to run TWO psychiatry research centres, and to interact with top brain scientists all over the world. There are many parts of the brain which are essentially similar, but pregnancy has immense effects on the brain (like adolescence), including reshaping the endogenous opioid system.which affects a lot more of our mood and feelings than people give it credit for. There are many classes of drugs to which male and female rats, mice, and humans, react completely differently. Non-human primates show very different social behaviour, based on the way their brains are wired by sex. We should treasure these differences, and compensate for (some of) them – while putting down male-attempted dominance.

El Uro
El Uro
4 months ago

while putting down male-attempted dominance – A completely erroneous judgment, dictated by the desire to please either fashionable ideologies or cute women. The desire to dominate is a natural and necessary feature of male behavior, as far as one can conclude from observing animals of different species. By suppressing attempts at male dominance, you will get an obviously doomed human community, and it doesn’t matter why it will die out, be it other communities or natural disasters.
It is frankly strange to hear such a statement from a man professionally involved in psychiatry. However, scientific administrators are capable of much…

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
4 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

We’ve looked at the ‘nature/nurture’ aspects of brain development in relation to boys’ underachievement in school. Taking averages, more boys than girls have slower language development, that’s genetic. https://equi-law.uk/yes-he-can/
However, as you point out, plasticity is significant and early intervention in language can boost the language skills of those students (mostly boys) and transform their educational outcomes later.
Curiously, few in education are interested: the dept for education gathers the data every year, but does not identify it as something to be addressed. Researchers are not interested.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  Hilary Easton

but this should not be used, as it has in the past, to enforce a social gender norm on individuals.

Thats the important bit. Any woman who wants to become an engineer, say, should be free to do so. But if not that many do, we should not automatically assume they are being excluded – and we should not just double down until we get the result we want. Ultimately you end up forcing or guilting people into roles they don’t actually want or enjoy.

Brian Matthews
Brian Matthews
4 months ago

Walk up to a 100 people and ask which way north is. I suspect there will be a sharp variation between the answer received by males and females.

Not that it’s a bad thing. Just different.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
4 months ago

we are “looking at what should be called sex/gender differences” rather than “sex differences” or “gender differences”.

That grating noise I am hearing from the pages of the Telegraph is Gina Rippon desperately moving the goalposts. Her opinion that there is no difference between the male and the female brain was always nonsense. Now it has been proved irrefutably to be nonsense.

My prediction is that when more of this evidence comes in, she will drag the goalposts off the pitch entirely and then claim that the new evidence proves how she was right all along.

Mike Bell
Mike Bell
4 months ago

Good stuff. Looking only at averages, not individuals, my take is:
> There are minor differences in cognitive ability. Girls a bit better at reading, boys a bit better at 3-D visualisation, for example.
> There are no differences in average intelligence.
> There are significant differences in communication styles, reaction to danger, interest in people v things, etc.
Let’s celebrate the differences and the advantages each have in different areas of life.
Let’s remove the barriers to girls in STEM and boys in HEAL, but not set targets or push people to do things they don’t want to do.
If we have more brilliant female primary school teachers – great.
If we have more brilliant male engineers – great.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

If we have more brilliant males and females at anything, great.

Philip Tisdall
Philip Tisdall
4 months ago
Reply to  Mike Bell

I think that the intelligence argument is based on the idea that the male intelligence curve skews right. This means that the genius group has proportionately more males. Chess champions by gender is often used to illustrate the point.

Ray Ward
Ray Ward
4 months ago

Here we go again with what I call the water’s-wet-and-fire’s-hot syndrome: statements of the absolutely glaringly obvious presented as astounding revelations which had never occurred to anyone before!

James Anthony Seyforth
James Anthony Seyforth
4 months ago

It’s only higher education that stifles intuition and sensibility to produce the absurd social landscape we’ve had for over 60 years now. Every uneducated fool knows the truth of the differences between men and women, so imagine what that makes of the ‘highly’ educated!! Better to be a fool than a smart idiot.

It’s all talk and blab and no humanity from my observations…

James Kirk
James Kirk
4 months ago

Times change, careful what you wish for but I used to bait feminists moaning about not getting CEO jobs. Gays achieved recognition, tiptoed past and grabbed the jobs while they were arguing.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago

Informed, honest people already accepted that “male” and “female” brains are not identical in their dimorphism, with the consequence of creating the fact there are men and women.
https://www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(21)00425-2/fulltext
https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/03/16/structural-brain-differences-for-transgender-people#1
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31134582/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8955456/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8604863/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139786/
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180524112351.htm
https://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/2015to2019/2016-transsexualism.html
None of those are debunked, only dismissed by zealots who want to deny that transgender people have a physical intersex condition between their ears and their legs, and also sometimes between their ears.
None of you Social Conservatives bigoted towards transgender people have or will produce any substantial criticisms of any of that work, and should this finding at Stanford be seen to also extend to transgender people in a way you will not like — you will dismiss it too.

G M
G M
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

So those who disagree with you are ‘bigots’?

Whatever happened to rational free discussion and debate.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  G M

It has nothing to do with mere “disagreement”.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
4 months ago
Reply to  Talia Perkins

I guess you see it as a bone-deep evil concerning which you possess a special discernment and are the high arbiter. Does that make you some version of an essentialist?
I don’t disagree with some of your points like the (quite rare) occurrence of true intersex people and the (statistically tilted) fluidity of gender expression.
But you demonstrate close to zero intellectual charity, appetite for good-faith exchange, or humility of any kind. You are not winning any converts but only hurting your own cause and those of your compatriots. You have become a non-religious version of a hellfire-obsessed zealot, for whom dissent is conclusive evidence not merely of wrongness, but proven wickedness.
Please do a little better, for everyone’s sake.

Talia Perkins
Talia Perkins
4 months ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

There is no such thing as a real disagreement about repeatedly measured facts, not any more than a Flat Earther can be other than a liar or deluded, or both.
“But you demonstrate close to zero intellectual charity, appetite for good-faith exchange” <– There is no such thing existing in the “gender critical” side, and there is no lack of humility in stating facts.
“Please do a little better, for everyone’s sake.”  <– I will not let up on any of your bigots, for the sake of the innocent you seek persecute.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
4 months ago

We can’t really isolate the brain in this discussion. https://phys.org/news/2021-06-human-brain-testis-highest-common.html

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
4 months ago

This is a good point that is often missed or ignored.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
4 months ago

So, men and women are different after all. Who knew. Well, who other than the vast majority of people able to think outside of the group think mentality that has castrated rational discussion on just about everything. It is strangely ironic that people can except that thousands of years of evolution creates a sort of hard-wiring, and then lose their minds over the idea that the two sexes are not identical.
Well, no; their roles through time have not been identical. It doesn’t mean that each man is like the rest or that all women are the same, but generalities and stereotypes exist for a reason – they are always grounded in some truth. Different is not a value judgment; it does not imply better or worse. It just means different, which one would think the proponents of diversity would be all over.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago

I couldn’t read the whole article linked to concerning Matt Walsh, but I would hazard a guess that he’s saying something similar to what I’ve been saying recently too: radical feminists do indeed bear the responsibility for helping create radical transgender ideology.

Of course feminism isn’t solely responsible, because transgender ideology is founded principally on the politics of intersectionalism, which really makes it a Progressive disaster in general rather than specific to feminism. But the intersectional mechanics of gender victimhood that have been harnessed by the trans-rights lobby? All of that nonsense comes from a generation’s worth of stupid feminist activists who insisted that women’s rights could only be protected on the assumption that they were victims of society in general and men in particular. In retrospect it is easy to see why such a bizarre and demented system of values, once accepted by the Establishment, would lie open to any other social group that could produce an even greater claim to gender-based injustice. The fact that transgender victimhood is fatuous isn’t the point: so too was feminist victimhood, and that got itself into public life, so here we all are.

I must admit, I suppose, that it might be a little harsh to blame feminists for operating on the seemingly safe assumption that there are only two sexes and genders, so what could possibly go wrong? But here’s the thing: when you set out to deceive, you can hardly complain when you’re outmanouevred by an even better bullshitter.

So, tough shit, feminists – this one’s on you.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
4 months ago

Not like Kathleen to make a blatant logical error:
>  the current transactivist derangement still gripping many institutions started with feminism. In most ways this is diabolically unfair, especially since radical feminists were at the forefront of fighting transactivist ideas years before Walsh cottoned on. But it’s true that certain feminist academics wrote the playbook for wishful thinking about reality.
Yes, it was the radfems who defined truth as ‘that which advances the feminist agenda’. However other self-anointed Victim groups quickly adopted the same technique including the trannies. This is not diabolically unfair, it is the sad truth, and the fact that this strategy blew up in the radfem’s faces does not change that fact. At what point Matt Walsh ‘cottoned on’ is quite irrelevant. the fact that the TERFS are now trying to reverse the damage is also null evidence as to the fact that they created that problem in the first place. Respecting her as I do, I expect Kathleen to eat this not wish it were not so.

R Wright
R Wright
4 months ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

I am glad commenters are refusing to allow this to be memory holed. For years people here have been pointing out the dangers of feminist postmodernist relativism.

Susan Scheid
Susan Scheid
4 months ago

Yes, fact denial is never the right approach. I see at least three distinct aspects that need to be addressed with any scientific study before conclusions are drawn about what it signifies:
1) Establish that the study has been properly conducted and properly indicates both strengths and weaknesses of the findings and where further research is needed to confirm the findings. (As one example, in the recent lactation mess, outlets like the BBC took a study at face value and ran with it; meanwhile, Milli Hill has completely debunked it. We see this over and over, in “trans”-related suicide stats, women’s sports, the list goes on.)
2) Determine, with intelligence and nuance, what the study actually shows and apply it only within those parameters.
3) Be careful not to make moral value judgments that, for example, assign superiority to female attributes over male attributes or the converse.
I would look forward to learning Dr. Stock’s views, perhaps in a follow-up post.

Michael Lipkin
Michael Lipkin
4 months ago

More awesome writing from Stock. I particularly like the observation that there can be wide dispersion of capabilities along various axes between groups. So one had better adopt the policy of not making prejudgements about any individual.
Appreciation of dispersion and overlap between groups is something that academics and philosophers, indeed humans in general, seem to have a problem with.
Perhaps due to the discretisation of reality by the application of words to it.

James Kirk
James Kirk
4 months ago

Not to be over serious but at home in our little mutual cooperative we’ve come to the conclusion we are quite primitive. I hunted far and wide, she gathered closer to home. She drinks water all the time, camp being close to the river / lake and knows where everything is. She nibbles on berries, nuts and fruit. I know where nothing is and eat mammoth burgers or steak looking askance at her choking barbs of broccoli, pronounced bro coli, like e coli. That the sun comes up in the east just over a neighbour’s roof, the big tree at the bottom of the garden is North and the pigeons and crows perch facing into the wind, prevailing from the south west is of no concern to her as is the half round sprudel reamer in the tool shed that may one day come in handy. I go blind in fridge light and she must identify butter and bacon amongst the foliage therein. It works quite well most of the time.

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
4 months ago

Fabulous article, as usual, from Kathleen. Please keep it up!

G M
G M
4 months ago

The problem started when some (including many so-called feminists) started to devalue feminine traits and gave value only to masculine traits.
The solution is to give equal value to feminine traits that are different from masculine traits.

G M
G M
4 months ago

Male and female characteristics are on a Bell curve.

Some women at the tail end of the Bell curve have characteristics that the average male has, and vice-versa.

This does not mean that they are a different gender/sex.

It only means that they have some characteristics of the other gender.

In other words a person is either male or female (with a few very rare exceptions) but everyone is an individual with different characteristics.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago
Reply to  G M

Well yes, but this study suggests the bell curves do not overlap as much as we thought. There won’t be one set of bell curves: some characteristics will overlap more than others. Also AI success was 90% (I think) in matching brain to body: so some people are less than typically brain body matched. Would be interesting to see if trans people fall into that category (that they do is not self evident) – and what other groups: women in stem fields, for example?

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
4 months ago

As a “sexist pig,” or more accurately a committed racist-sexist-homophobe, I want to say that it is much easier to live in this world with the God-given knowledge that men and women are as different as chalk and cheese.
But I admit that it was not until I got to an age where my hormones stopped experiencing women as sexual objects and saw them as human beings that I came to realize how stunningly different men and women are.
My favorite sexist maxims are:
Women expect to be protected; men know they are expendable.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

In retrospect, for researchers to rule out systematic brain differences largely caused by biological factors in a sexually dimorphic species like ours — and, even more boldly, before adequate technology had been developed to spot them — was always going to pose a reputational risk

Perhaps the least of our concerns. Far more worrying is the way these ideas have slipped into policy, for example in education, where the idea that boys should be socialised to behave more like girls – that there is something fundamentally wrong with male behaviour – has been implemented. With what damage, we will perhaps never fully know.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

Equally though, in countries like the UK where feminised skills like verbal reasoning and emotional intelligence are increasingly demanded in the jobs market, it could be that the discovery would end hurting men’s life chances more.

Of course we only have limited information so far, and some of our ideas of female advantage and male deficit may also turn out to be ideological myths. The evidence, for example, is that average levels of emotional intelligence are roughly equal between men an women – the popular myth is very different.

I’ll stake my claim and say that the following may emerge from future research: women are more competitive and less cooperative than supposed; men are better at team work; women are more aggressive than supposed; men manage emotion more effectively; women are more open to peer group pressure; men have strengths in cognitive empathy and their empathy is less specific to friends and family; female empathy is to some degree gender based – more female directed.

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

there is an increasingly popular narrative amongst anti-feminist commentators such as Matt Walsh that the current transactivist derangement still gripping many institutions started with feminism.

Clearly there is some truth in this – though it is more an unintended consequence of feminist ideas. If you conceptually unhook gender from sex, you open the way to trans. Also the existence of trans was taken by many feminists as evidence that gender was not innate but socially constructed. They saw it as supporting their case. And, is it likely that the practical deconstruction of gender in education, culture and society, with its critique of both femininity and masculinity (but especially the latter), has had no impact on how comfortable children feel with who they are?

Neil Garrod
Neil Garrod
4 months ago

Where Every Shade of Grey Has a Name

Raised to the power by binary clout
Electrons spin round from zero to one
Circling the life flame like laagering wagons
Defending what’s in and keeping what’s out

Tides pull the alga as sun beats the rhythm
Predicting the right way with strictest precision
No nuance or doubt, the model is god
No lunacy suffered through this special prism

Systems of colour manage the flow
Red warns of danger, no sense to proceed
Green lures with earnest, go forward with speed
Yellow has meaning more hazy and mellow

Prime yellow’s in doubt, with wide open stance
Listens to others with respectful demureness
Reviled, as an upshot, lacking in sureness
Rejecting all dogmas to revel in nuance

Colours are coded in circular wheels
Primary, secondary, tertiary array
Mix them together get some sort of grey
Now life becomes subtle, probing ideals

Shades are mysterious, nothing is tamed
That’s where we are now, a paletted meme
So mould and reshape a new colour scheme
Where all shades of grey are baptized and named

Neil Garrod March 2022

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

A really good piece, but perhaps too focussed on academia and its disputes. More worrying is what the effects are, on society and individuals, of trying to implement a false ideology, against the natural grain over decades. Why, before pushing their ideology on society, did these people not ask the simple question: what if we turn out to be wrong? If so, then what harm might we be doing?

David Morley
David Morley
4 months ago

Again, such manoeuvres are by now a well-known staple of reality-denying transactivism, but arguably, reality-denying versions of feminism got there first.

Which is another part of the case made by people like Matt Walsh – that feminists wrote the playbook on unfair fighting, now being used by trans activists.

Peter F. Lee
Peter F. Lee
4 months ago

I wonder how much the differences in brain development takes place after birth and are dependent on how the child is brought up and grows to puberty.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter F. Lee

I’ve read two different books recently that talk about a blast of testosterone that kicks in at a certain point in the neonatal development cycle in males, that results in significant developmental and wiring differences in their brains. One thing it does is slow down development of the corpus callosum – the bundle of nerves by which the two brain hemispheres communicate. Male brain hemispheres don’t “talk” to each other near as much or as well as female brains, which probably explains better functional recovery of women from strokes. But the isolation is probably necessary to improve geo-spatial reasoning which tends to go on only in one side of the brain. There is another big testosterone blast around the time of puberty, but this first one seems to have profound effects on brain development. There are some developmental disorders which mute it and then correspondingly the differences are not nearly so profound.

Pete Marsh
Pete Marsh
4 months ago

“an AI presumably devoid of the misogynist prejudices of ordinary mortals — can reliably sort brains into male and female categories ”

The tech cos of California are more than able to train it to give the “right” answers according to the current dogma!

Samantha Stevens
Samantha Stevens
4 months ago

Been married a hella long time. Men and women have different brains. Yup! Needed no scientific test to tell me that.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago

Another excellent philosopher, Janet Radcliffe Richards, said roughly this in her popular book ‘The Sceptical Feminist’ back in 1980. She was reviled by many feminists of the time for betraying the cause. It is natural to fear that if you agree with her (and Kathleen Stock) you must be missing something, because so many acclaimed feminist academics think otherwise. That fear diminishes once you see how easy it is for ideological groupthink to take over academic sub-disciplines, aided by an ‘apostolic succession’ of appointments and promotions.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 months ago

This research while necessary is like research which finds that Husain Bolt runs very fast. Anyone with common sense and observes the world can see that male and female brains are different. (And that transsexual brains are the same as their biology).
I bet though this research won’t be covered by the bbc and the mainstream media.