December 11, 2013

Seventeen years later

From the NYT:
Are Women Just ‘Choosing’ Not to Pursue Science Careers? 
By Vikas Bajaj 
The second editorial in our series about science and math education, which focuses on women and minorities, has sparked an impassioned debate among online commenters about the career choices women, and to a lesser extent minorities, make. 
Some readers argued that we are seeing a problem where there is none. If girls are choosing not to pursue computer science or engineering careers, that simply means they are not interested in those fields and may never be no matter how much effort is put into removing gender bias and stereotypes. But other commenters — many of them women — made a forceful case that parents, teachers and employers are pushing girls away from these professions.

When I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphatic cancer in December 1996, I noticed that a substantial percentage of the doctors, researchers, and assistants working hard to save my life were women. Whether this was because society malevolently "steers" women away from mechanical engineering and into the life sciences, or whether females tend to prefer fields with living rather than inert subject matters is an interesting conundrum to debate.

But, 17 years later, I just want to say to all the people of both sexes in the life sciences who are the reason I'm still here: 

Thank you.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Why so few conservatives in the academia, arts, and media?

Of course, Libs will say it's because conservatives simply aren't interested in those areas.

That would be half-true. Most conservatives are less into that stuff than Libs are. But it's also true that the academia, media, and the arts community make it known loud and clear that anyone who deviates from political correctness is not welcome.

Anonymous said...

Why more Asian and Jewish girls than black or Hispanic boys in the STEMS?

Shouting Thomas said...

One of your best bits ever, Steve.

Yes, both sexes serve in their own ways.

You've got to serve somebody.

Corn said...

Glad to hear you're doing well Steve. My mom is one year out from a stem cell transplant (had Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's herself) and is still cancer free thank goodness.
And I think you're right. I think women are drawn more to the medical sciences than the engineering disciplines.

Anonymous said...

Is New York Times 'choosing' to be stupid? I think so. I mean all those writers cannot be that stupid in reality.

Anonymous said...

Amen to this post. Both genders did an amazing job and continue to perform their work in the medical field without any ceremony or publicity. Just day in and day out work that in the long run, helps to prolong live and help people continue to live full and productive lives.

Thank you to all who work in the field of medicine and be especially blessed during this holiday season time of year.

Daniel said...

In addition to a good grasp of reality, you've got a good heart.

ben tillman said...

My father has non-Hodgkins lymphoma as well, and his doctors have been men, as far as I know, but your point is well-taken, of course. I'm glad you've done so well since the diagnosis.

Steve Sailer said...

Stanford cancer expert Ronald Levy receives King Faisal Prize in Medicine


STANFORD, Calif. — The development of a drug that has revolutionized the treatment of many types of cancer has earned its inventor, Ronald Levy, MD, the 2009 King Faisal International Prize in Medicine.

More than 30 years ago, Levy, now chief of the oncology division at the Stanford University School of Medicine, embarked on a research agenda that harnessed the power of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Levy developed the concept that a drug made from a naturally produced blood protein called an antibody could be a cancer-fighting machine.

On March 29, Levy, who holds the Robert K. and Helen K. Summy Professorship at Stanford, will be honored for this seminal discovery by Saudi Arabian royalty, who will present Levy with his most prestigious international award to date.

Rituxan, the drug that resulted from Levy’s work, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997, making it the first commercial antibody to treat cancer. “Now it’s recommended for treating almost every lymphoma patient, and over 1 million people have been treated with it so far,” he said.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps any genetic based differences in male/female interface to these occupations might be candidly admitted and then significantly compensated for by gender varied teaching technologies? Arthur Jensen in the early 70's in his explorations of Level I and Level II learning generated clear suggestions how lower IQ children might be taught more. Why not an honest approach to how females with typically low spatial reasoning gifts might be taught in ways to sidestep or minimize what nature has put in place?

Anonymous said...

Arthur Jensen back in the early 70's proposed that the facts of life might be used to overcome biologically based hurdles to learning. His notions of Level I and Level II learning abilities allowed to certain programmed step by step methods to notably enhance learning for otherwise limited children. Why not get real about the evolved differences in men and women re, say, visual-spatial (mathematical?) learning abilities and then interface technology and learning presentations to eliminate or minimize what nature has evolved?

Anonymous said...

In addition to a good grasp of reality, you've got a good heart.

Hear, hear! I'm happy you've continued to do so well.

Anonymous said...

By ignoring Asians the NYT is simply LYING.

the homosexual century said...

Saw a story about a woman promoting a "virtual dressing room" a la Joan Jetson and thought this would be a nice example of female tech innovation, if that was actually the case (the story seemed to imply it). And it's a technology that could be put to other uses aside from clothes shopping... Then I checked the company's LinkedIn page and all but 2 of the employees were male.

Anonymous said...

Women's interest in Science and Engineering:

Biology > Chemistry > Physics > Math
BioMed E > Chem E > Environ E > Civ E > Mech E > EE
Architecture > Engineering
Anthropology > Archaeology > Geology > Astronomy
Med School > Pharma School

Holds across all colleges and employers. In all cases, the more abstract and less contact with the human world, the less interest from females.

DWBudd said...

Steve -

an interesting post. Obviously, the writers for the NYT are professionals, and thus they choose their words carefully for both the denotation and connotation.

It's not accidental, in other words, that terms such as "opening up" are used in lieu of others.

Anyways, I liked your thank you at the end. Rituxumab was a real breakthrough, and has led to any number of later biologic discoveries. Right now, the next-generation of immuno-oncologic molecules is about to come to the market, offering what may be a leap forward in cancer (and other) treatments. There is some thinking that these sorts of therapies could help in rheumatism and neuroscience as well.

I would just like to add that, while much of the research has come from academic and basic science (e.g., government-funded research), much also comes from "big pharma."

You know; one of the evil "bigs" (big oil, big pharma, big agriculture).

I work in the pharma industry, and it seems almost uniquely that our products, unlike software or tech gee-gaws (iphones, etc.) are almost uniquely the target of arguments along the lines of "the items are so valuable, their prices MUST be limited."

I.e., antipode of classic economic theory, where price is correlated in a positive way with empirical value.

Lex said...

"Gender Equality Paradox" - episode of Harald Eia's "Hjernevask"(Brainwash) series. It's on Youtube. You posted about him once.

Anonymous said...

Why so few conservatives in the
academia, arts, media?
Part of it is the pervasive discard of tradition and of the notion that an educated person first masters traditional views and only then has a rational basis to reject, modify, or embrace tradition. Tradition is not at all imparted in "higher" education and tends reflexively to be discredited (without being known ). The distinction is between a barbarian and an heretic and campus USA is a garden of high tech, high IQ barbarism within a fakey bubble world.

dcite said...

It was two women doctors who were whistle blowers concerning the contamination of Salk vaccine with cancer-causing SP 40 monkey virus (probably responsible for the cancer epidemic today). For their pains, they were ostracized from the crowd and NIH. They put their heads together and came up with some solutions. You can read about it in Ed Haslams, "Mary, Ferry, and the Monkey virus." Fascinating.