Comments for Reading the End http://readingtheend.com before I read the middle Mon, 25 Sep 2017 03:09:00 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Comment on Review: Playing Dead, Elizabeth Greenwood by Tasha B. (heidenkind) http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/19/review-playing-dead-elizabeth-greenwood/#comment-32305 Mon, 25 Sep 2017 03:09:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8245#comment-32305 Haha, me too! I was like, “What a great set-up for a thriller.”

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Comment on Review: Testosterone Rex, Cordelia Fine by 12758 http://readingtheend.com/2017/04/03/review-testosterone-rex-cordelia-fine/#comment-32304 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 20:27:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=7914#comment-32304 Her previous book Delusions of Gender was rightly criticised in the official monthly publication of The British Psychological Society by reviewer Prof Simon Baron-Cohen who wrote:

“So how does she deal with experimental findings that show either prenatal or neonatal influences on sex differences? Here, her main strategy (arguing that sex differences can be made to vanish by using the trick of manipulating social psychological variables) just doesn’t apply. So she is forced to adopt a different strategy, namely, dissecting the experiments that purport to show prenatal or neonatal influences, to reveal that such experiments are flawed and therefore incorrect in their conclusions. This is Fine’s last-ditch attempt to make sex differences go away.”

“Being a co-author of some of these experiments I can examine her criticisms with the benefit of close knowledge of the studies she discusses, and found errors in her critiques. For example, in our newborn study (Connellan et al., 2001), which showed that girls look longer at a human face and boys look longer at a mechanical mobile, Fine attempts to dismantle this evidence by saying we should have presented both stimuli at the same time, rather than one at a time, since one at a time might have led to fatigue-effects. However, she overlooks that it was for this very reason that we included counter-balancing into the experimental design, to avoid any risk of such order-effects.”

“Secondly, she argues that the experimenter may not have been totally blind to the baby’s sex because there might have been ‘congratulations’ cards around the bed (‘Congratulations! It’s a boy!’). However, she overlooks that it was precisely for this reason that we included a panel of independent judges coding the videotapes of just the eye-region of the baby’s face, from which it is virtually impossible to judge the sex of the baby. Fine is right that our newborn baby study needs to be independently replicated, given its importance for establishing a human sex difference in the mind at a point in development before culture has had a chance to have any influence. But it is an example of where Fine’s scholarship shows some shortcomings, where details are overlooked in order to fit her biology-free theory of human sex differences.”

“Although we would all like to believe in Fine’s extreme social determinism, efforts to explain (purely in terms of social variables) why neurodevelopmental conditions like autism, learning difficulties, and language delay affect boys more often than girls lead to the ludicrous position of blaming these conditions on sexist factors in society (or in parents). And extreme social determinism has major difficulties explaining why left-handedness is more common in boys (12 per cent) than girls (8 per cent). In contrast, a moderate position that recognises that – over and above the important role of the social environment – biology may also play a small role opens up all sorts of lines of inquiry (e.g. into the effects of prenatal hormones and genes). Autism runs in families and many genes have been implicated, and it may turn out that some of these are relevant to why it is sex-linked.I have also been impressed to see consistent correlations between amniotic fetal testosterone (FT) levels and measures of social development across 10 years of follow-up studies of a cohort of typically developing children we have been tracking, whose mothers all had amniocentesis during pregnancy (Baron-Cohen et al., 2005). An extreme biological determinism would be equally ludicrous, since there is no doubt that social variables can amplify and interact with such biological effects.”

“Fine is of course obliged to try to find fault with these hormone studies, challenging, for example, whether FT in the amniotic fluid reflects FT in the brain. Again she overlooks that if we could measure FT in the brain in an ethical way, we would. FT in amniotic fluid is the next best ethical option, and it seems to be showing us that FT is associated with sex differences in the mind.”

“Ultimately, for me, the biggest weakness of Fine’s neurosexism allegation is the mistaken blurring of science with politics. Her book reads as a polemic about the implicit political bias underlying the science of sex differences. However, this ignores that you can be a scientist interested in the nature of sex differences while being a clear supporter of equal opportunities and a firm opponent of all forms of discrimination in society. One endeavour need have nothing to do with the other. Fusing science with politics is, in my view, unfounded”.

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Comment on Review: Playing Dead, Elizabeth Greenwood by Cee Arr @ Dora Reads http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/19/review-playing-dead-elizabeth-greenwood/#comment-32303 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:54:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8245#comment-32303 Yep, most Brits are aware of Canoe Man. It was the kind of fraud that can only really happen in Britain *face palms.* And they got away with it for *years* – which is pretty unbelievable, really!

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Comment on Review: Playing Dead, Elizabeth Greenwood by Michelle http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/19/review-playing-dead-elizabeth-greenwood/#comment-32302 Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:43:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8245#comment-32302 This sounds really interesting. Yes, canoe man was a big news item a year or two ago. Funnily enough, this summer I heard a talk on the intriguing story of Grace Oakeshott, who was a pioneer of further education for women in England at the end of the 19th century. She was married, without children, but sadly died in her 30s when swimming on holiday in France. Her clothes were found on the beach. Well, a researcher was writing a book about these female pioneers, and did a Google search for more information, and was amazed to find that an amateur play about her had been performed in New Zealand, written by her granddaughter! She did a lot of investigation, and found Grace had run off with her husband’s best friend. They sailed from Marseilles to New Zealand, and started a new life as a married couple, where she continued her good works under her new name. She told her family about her life in Britain, presumably missing out her first marriage. In those days they didn’t have to worry about the internet! The researcher, Jocelyn Robson, has written a book about it.

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Comment on Review: Playing Dead, Elizabeth Greenwood by Kristen M. http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/19/review-playing-dead-elizabeth-greenwood/#comment-32301 Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:46:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8245#comment-32301 Wow. This sounds really interesting … but SIX FIGURE STUDENT LOANS? Yikes. That’s a real horror story.
And I can’t bring myself to read The Painted Queen yet either. 🙁

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Comment on Too Busy Reading about Pirates: A Links Round-Up by JeanPing http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/15/busy-reading-pirates-links-round/#comment-32300 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:48:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8248#comment-32300 Also, never heard of Boondock Saints. I gather this is OK.

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Comment on Too Busy Reading about Pirates: A Links Round-Up by JeanPing http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/15/busy-reading-pirates-links-round/#comment-32299 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:47:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8248#comment-32299 Sigh. *I* like medieval studies, and I think Taylor Swift is pretty fun some of the time. Now I am sad.

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Comment on Review: Playing Dead, Elizabeth Greenwood by Citizen Reader http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/19/review-playing-dead-elizabeth-greenwood/#comment-32298 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:11:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8245#comment-32298 Oh MY–I must have this book right now. Thanks for the great review.
I think I read somewhere once that men definitely do get caught more than women–they can’t help themselves, they often go back to familiar environs where they get caught. When women go, they GO. Typical. Don’t send a lad when you need to get the job done!

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Comment on Review: Playing Dead, Elizabeth Greenwood by Jeanne http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/19/review-playing-dead-elizabeth-greenwood/#comment-32297 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:47:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8245#comment-32297 I read this to the end before it penetrated my foggy brain that you are talking about non-fiction! What a world.

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Comment on Review: Playing Dead, Elizabeth Greenwood by Bride of the Book God http://readingtheend.com/2017/09/19/review-playing-dead-elizabeth-greenwood/#comment-32296 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 10:34:00 +0000 http://readingtheend.com/?p=8245#comment-32296 Oh yes, I remember Canoe Man. He was supposed to be dead but was hiding in their house and they were caught after being photographed in Central America, I think. Ordinary looking couple, prosecuted for fraud. Does she mention John Stonehouse at all?

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