The New York Times has taken a position on the Larry Summers “women aren’t good at science” controversy:

Last week’s release of the long-sought transcript of his remarks is
not likely to improve things much. Dr. Summers compared the shortage of
female scientists at the highest ranks of academia to, among other
things, the shortage of Jewish farmers, and white men in the National
Basketball Association. (Coming soon: Female Biologists Can’t Jump.)

Dr. Summers’s defenders say he is being tarred for the very
intellectual openness that places like Harvard are supposed to
encourage. Even in the best of circumstances, it’s questionable whether
the head of an institution that has a bad reputation when it comes to
promoting female scientists was the perfect person to free-associate on
why women have trouble getting tenure. However, the transcript provides
the best possible refutation of the charge of political correctness.
Whatever Dr. Summers was doing at the conference, it had nothing to do
with serious intellectual inquiry. “I don’t think anybody actually has
a clue” was one operative phrase. “I don’t remember who had told me”
was another. It was every woman’s nightmare of what a university
president thinks privately about equal opportunity.

We have
been informed many, many times in the past that Dr. Summers likes to
make waves, and who could blame him? It’s fun to toss out provocative
ideas and watch as everyone’s ears redden and all eyes turn to the
daring speaker who started the hubbub. But it’s an exercise better
restricted to radio talk show hosts than the heads of major academic
institutions. Harvard is supposed to be teaching its students not just
how to start a controversy, but also how to have an intelligent

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