What Are You Saying, Scott Aaronson?
By Bryan Caplan
Scott Aaronson’s effort to mediate the virtual war between feminists and nerds has gotten a lot of attention. But only a handful of people have remarked on a rather strange belief Aaronson has avowed:
I believe there still exist men who think women are inferior, that they
have no business in science, that they’re good only for
sandwich-making and sex. Though I don’t consider it legally
practicable, as a moral matter I’d be fine if every such man were thrown
in prison for life.
A few possibilities:
1. This is a joke. Maybe, but it sure doesn’t seem like it. Nothing else in Scott’s list of beliefs sounds jokey.
2. It’s not meant to be taken literally. Perhaps, but highly unlikely. Scott seems like a careful, literal-minded guy.
3. He spoke in haste, and doesn’t really believe it. Happens to the best of us.
Which brings us to the scarier stories:
4. He is signaling loyalty to intolerant feminists, even though he doesn’t really agree with them.
5. He said what he meant, and meant what he said.
My question for Scott: Where does the truth lie? Thanks in advance.
P.S. If you’re tempted to reply, “He admitted that jailing men for their retrograde views is legally impracticable, so who cares?,” you should read Mike Huemer on the power of hypothetical reasoning.