Do Facts Matter?
By Arnold Kling
In the recent Larry Summers flap, his chief antagonist was Nancy Hopkins, an MIT biologist. A reader forwarded me a link to a paper by Patricia Hausman and James H. Steiger on an earlier Hopkins controversy.
the 1999 publication of A Study on the Status of Women Faculty in Science at MIT was a watershed event. According to the report, female scientists at the Institute had suffered “pervasive” discrimination. After it was leaked to the news media, the report became frontpage news —and a frequently cited model for combating sex discrimination. Some, however, have questioned the report’s claims, and we find their skepticism is well founded. A careful reading of the report and its media coverage leads to the inescapable conclusion that something is just not right with this story.
The paper looks at empirical evidence on scholarly output of male and female biology professors at MIT. This evidence could be viewed as showing that males had earned their advantageous positions by publishing more frequently.
For Discussion. Is this an issue where people are open to empirical persuasion?