May 16, 2022

"Personal essays that don’t make an argument are generally not op-eds."

"Even if the op-ed includes a personal story, it should have a point to make — something readers can engage with and think about. Journalistic investigations without an argument are not op-eds. Poems and works of fiction usually aren’t op-eds either. Neither are reviews of books, movies, television shows or other media.... When considering op-eds, we look for pieces that will accomplish one or more of the following goals for our readers:

  • Help people more deeply understand a topic in the news
  • Help them understand what it means for them.
  • Equip them with arguments they can employ when talking about the subject.
  • Elevate ideas that help them think about the world differently.
  • Expose them to topics they might not have heard about.
  • Help them better articulate their own perspective.
  • Help them understand perspectives different from their own....
"We strive to publish a diversity of opinions on our op-ed page. Often, that means we are specifically seeking viewpoints that are different from those of our columnists or the Editorial Board."

From "The Washington Post guide to writing an op-ed" — featured at the top of the website front page today.

You know, people are not that good at making arguments. Way too much of what we see these days is a demand for agreement and a threat or insinuation that you're going to be in trouble if you don't agree. Or there's a pettish insistence on avoiding anyone not already on your side and not inclined to go along with whatever's the next thing that people like you go along with. 

What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval? What on earth would you say? Well, maybe WaPo has some op-eds that will give you some talking points.

68 comments:

Gahrie said...

What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval? What on earth would you say?

That's easy. The Left has been doing it for decades:

"Shut up and obey you tool of the White, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic Patriarchy!"

Humperdink said...

I would gently respond with facts. Unfortunately in today's political environment, you are wasting your time.

Case in point, Biden's approval rating is in the 30 percentile. In what area do these 30 percenters think Biden is doing a good job? Any area? Any topic?

"Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig." (Robert Heinlein)

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Those bullet points are unbelievable. The last one especially. And the pull-quote asserting that the Post is “specifically seeking viewpoints that are different from those of our own” made me LOL. Would that it were true!

Enigma said...

Bezos, as owner of the WP, is revealing public heebie-jeebies about the inane Biden administration. He just tweeted that Manchin saved the Democrats from themselves.

https://thehill.com/news/senate/3489294-jeff-bezos-says-manchin-saved-biden-administration-from-themselves/

Slowly, slowly, slowly Trump Derangement Syndrome may be fading. The Oligarchs are perhaps returning to their old self-serving and diverse goals rather than mainly interested in crushing the Orange Man. Or, some are becoming de facto Trump allies after seeing Biden-Harris in action.

Leland said...

WaPo has talking points? Like fake dossiers and unnamed sources with a fact checker to spin opinion into a fact? Neat slight of hand tricks, but are they really persuasive? It seems to me that overtime, that much damage to your credibility can cause you to be sold to some oligarch that will use you as their own mouthpiece.

Ice Nine said...

>You know, people are not that good at making arguments.<

Most especially the Washington Post in making its argument as to what its propagandistic op-eds are supposedly meant to do.

Kai Akker said...

There are excellent arguments made in your Comments section just about every day.

JPS said...

"Or there's a pettish insistence on avoiding anyone not already on your side"

A related assumption is that anyone who disagrees with you is beyond persuasion. Why would you bother trying? There's no getting through to those people.

"What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval? What on earth would you say?"

Before I figure out what I'd say, I would remind myself of some helpful guidelines:

- Argue with what those people are saying, not with what others on their side, who aren't present, have been known to say;

- Argue with what those people are actually saying, not with what I think they might as well be saying;

- Whenever I am tempted to say "You're a fucking idiot," remember to pause and say instead, "I disagree with you, and here's why:" And, more broadly,

- Don't get personal; walk away from attempts to make it personal

Not that I always live up to these. But I'm trying, and think I'd be better off if I did.

Jokah Macpherson said...

In addition to having trouble making arguments, a lot of people have trouble even making a point. I review a lot of writing for work and a common problem is spamming information for pages on end without ever getting around to the 'so what'.

Kevin said...

Neal: You're no saint. You got a free cab, you got a free room and someone who will listen to your boring stories. I mean, didn't you notice on the plane when you started talking, eventually I started reading the vomit bag? Didn't that give you some sort of clue, like hey, maybe this guy is not enjoying it? You know, everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate. You choose things that, that are funny or mildly amusing or interesting. You're a miracle. Your stories have none of that! They're not even amusing accidentally! "Honey, I'd like you to meet Del Griffith. He's got some amusing anecdotes for ya. Oh, and here's a gun so you can blow your brains out. You'll thank me for it." I-I could tolerate any, any insurance seminar, for days. I could sit there and listen to them go on and on with a big smile on my face. They'd say, "How can ya stand it?" And I'd say, "'Cause I've been with Del Griffith. I can take anything." You know what they'd say? They'd say, "I know what you mean. The shower curtain ring guy." It's like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest. You know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except that I wouldn't pull it out and snap it back, you would. And by the way, you know, when, when you're telling these little stories, here's a good idea. Have a point. It makes it so much more interesting for the listener!

gilbar said...

What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval? What on earth would you say?

Well, if i could have them cancelled*.. They'd Quickly decided that they DID crave my approval

cancelled* you KNOW what i mean. If you Don't, just wait a few years (months?) you'll see it

Kevin said...

What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval?

A question which used to be asked in High Schools across the country.

Sadly, no more.

Kevin said...

I was on Twitter for the first time in a while yesterday and could see how the place continues to devolve into unpleasantness.

For many people the idea is to send a Tweet which "nukes" the discussion, causing all counterarguments to become null and void, then quickly strafing all attempts to rebut as unworthy of engagement and clearly indicating the other person's inferiority and non-personhood.

This is what passes for argument these days.

M Jordan said...

Sounds like they want their Op-Ed’s to be talking points memes for the midwit masses.

h said...

I had a college roommate who used to say derisively, "Oh. Proof by repetition." The WaPo comment sections are nearly exclusively "persuasion by bullying".

tim maguire said...

For those who are persuadable, I try to address their concerns. Talk about what's important to them and how my point of view better serves their values. If I'm knocking down their objections, I try to be fair in how I summarize them. And I don't focus on the ones that are easiest to knock down, I focus on the ones that are most important to them. If I can't refute their best arguments, I should hand the pen over to someone else because I'm not the right person for the job.

Try to avoid point scoring--that's not an argument, it's selfishly wasting their time.

BothSidesNow said...

Carl Rowan, a former op ed writer for the Wash Post, now deceased (oh my, I just checked wikipedia he died in 2000, where has the time gone) was a delight to read. His shopworn but entertaining formula was to recount a dialogue with a cab driver he had had that morning on his way to the office. The cab driver, of course, disagreed with Rowan on whatever position Rowan was taking in the op ed. And Rowan was honest about it -- often he let the fictional cab driver get the better of the argument.

Rowan said that on many important issues, if you weren't at least a little bit unsure as to whether you were on the right side, then you did not understand the issue very well.

Narayanan said...

Do WaPo ever use pictures/photos
"A Picture is Not an Argument" by Leonard Peikoff

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

Sounds like Senator Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed on the wrong newspaper then. πŸ˜‰

Kate said...

Putting aside the fact that I doubt WaPo expresses a diversity of arguments, all of these deeply felt articles will only be read by people who pay. I've noticed that most leftie websites charge for you to see their content. All these lovely op-eds are for the elite. That's the real hypocrisy.

Sebastian said...

"What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you"

What if you are never in that situation? What if one group of people decides you should never be in that situation? What if disputes are settled by the assertion of power? What if convincing is for loser schmucks?

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

You know, people are not that good at making arguments.

Well, for one, you should know the other side’s arguments as well if not better than you know your own argument. This is very difficult according to Jordan Peterson…

πŸ‘‰πŸ½ https://youtu.be/DpB6eDG5WnY



ConradBibby said...

"Equip them with arguments they can employ when talking about the subject."

So it's assumed the reader holds a position on the subject even before being told of the arguments that support it. Well, at least the Post is being honest about this.

Narayanan said...

Professora? commented []
''' ... Way too much of what we see these days is a demand for agreement and a threat or insinuation that you're going to be in trouble if you don't agree. Or there's a pettish insistence on avoiding anyone not already on your side and not inclined to go along with whatever's the next thing that people like you go along with.
=======
was Professora also describing WaPo approach to content presentation ?

Owen said...

"...pettish insistence..."

Nice. Very nice. Gonna steal that adjective.

Robert Marshall said...

NYT says it wants to "[e]levate ideas that help [their readers] think about the world differently."

I don't think so! As Jesus Quintana says in The Big Lebowski, "Laughable, Man!"

They want their readers to think just like their editorial board thinks, and to shun anyone who thinks otherwise. It's hard to imagine a more closed-to-new-ideas group. Unless those new ideas involve some previously unknown marginalized group, or some previously unimagined abnormal sexual orientation.

"Anything outside our closed set of ideas is disinformation. Or maybe misinformation. Can't remember which, but one of the two. We'll get back to you after consulting with Ms. Jankowicz."

Robert Marshall said...

PS - I said "NYT", but meant "WaPo".

As I used to say back in junior-high, "same diff."

JAORE said...

"Help them understand perspectives different from their own...."

I'd more likely buy into this IF the WaPo showed a glimmer of understanding perspectives not far left.

Unless the understanding is that those OTHERS are all white supremacists.

Static Ping said...

It is nice they have higher standards for op-eds than their front page stories.

Gospace said...

Pro- maskers, pro-lockdown, and covid "vaccine" supporters are immune to facts and logic. One lesson that's been learned over the last two years.

Emotion based decisionmakers are immune to fact and logics.

n.n said...

Often, an op-ed is a rhetorical device, an empathetic appeal, a handmade tale to steer opinion for democratic leverage.

Eleanor said...

The middle school writing competency test given in 7th or 8th grade is to write a persuasive essay. The kids are allowed the use of a dictionary to help them with spelling. The standard prep to get them to understand what is expected is to have them write several four paragraph essays in the years leading up to the test. Most kids master the format. Sixteen coherent sentences can be a stretch for some of them. The dictionary helps with spelling, but it can be a time sink if a kid needs help with a lot of basic words. The kids get two grades. One for the writing mechanics, and one for their powers of persuasion.

The writing prompt involves some controversy that affects kids. It might be something like should kids be required to wear bike helmets, how many days a year should they go to school, or should schools have dress codes. Something controversial, but not polarizing. I've graded thousands of these essays, and the hardest thing for the kids to do is take a side and stick to it. They aren't given the prompt ahead of time, and some of the statistics they make up to support their arguments can be hilarious. They don't get docked for "fake news" because the folks who created the scoring grid are more interested in whether the kids understand they should use "facts" to support their argument than whether the facts are true. This test has now been given long enough the kids who got good grades for making stuff up are now working as journalists.

If you're interested, the elementary school writing competency test is writing narratives, and the high school one is expository.

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

On a second reading… what’s with all the helping?

Jamie said...

ISTM that the very first bullet point is easy to play fast and loose with. If the writer has a story to tell that involves Lived Experience of Oppression, then the point is allowed to be, "It's terrible and unfair and un-American that I was forced to go through this" without the slightest engagement with arguments in favor of the status quo. Or at least so it seems to me from pull-quotes; I don't subscribe.

Although - it occurs to me that the bullet point just says the writer has to make an argument, not that the writer has to defend that argument. So (shrug) I guess there's no issue. Any manner of aggrievedness can be turned into an op-ed as long as the writer remembers to argue for or against something in the process of getting it all out.

(I say this as someone who vents on these pages way more than I should.)

William said...

The French saying is that one can only be argued out of a position that one was previously argued into. In any event, so far as I can recall, I have never won an argument in my life, and it's too late now for me to now take up the quest of winning influence....I'm looking back at why and how I changed my mind on various positions. I no longer think that the Iraqis will greet us as liberators when we invade their country. That argument was refuted on factual grounds. I changed my mind about gay marriage. I think that was because I didn't really care that much about the issue, and, in any case, gay marriage is inherently the more conservative position...Sex, guns, covid: there are lots we don't know about these subjects. There's more to gain in keeping an open mind than in making a winning argument.

lonejustice said...

Understanding both sides of an issue is really important.

When I was in law school at the University of Iowa, you had to take a course in Trial Advocacy, and you were forced to argue the side of the plaintiff in a hypothetical lawsuit, and then you had to turn around and argue the side of the defendant.

Most of my law career was as a criminal prosecutor. Whether preparing for a jury trial, or a motion to suppress evidence, or anything else, I always believed it was imperative to know your opponent's case at least as well, if not even better, than your own case. You can get tunnel vision if all you look at is the evidence that helps your case. Law enforcement officers hated this. They wanted me to focus just on the strengths of their cases. They hated it when I told them the weaknesses of their case and the strengths of the criminal defendant's case. They even sometimes wondered which side I was on! But I found this was the best way for my witnesses and me to be prepared and to get a conviction.

Mark said...

You wanna hurt me, Kevin? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I’m an easy target. Yeah, you’re right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you… but I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings. Well, you think what you want about me; I’m not changing. I like… I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. ’Cause I’m the real article. What you see is what you get.

tim in vermont said...

"Well, maybe WaPo has some op-eds that will give you some talking points."

LOL

Carol said...

Neal: You're no saint.


Tl;dr

Iman said...

Post’s Propensity for Propagation of Propaganda…

Jupiter said...

"A question which used to be asked in High Schools across the country."

Indeed. It's really quite astonishing, what has become of the activity known as "debate". It apparently now consists entirely of black people reading incomprehensible, half-memorized screeds at each other as fast as they possibly can. Oh, and then they get awards for it.

jim5301 said...

The first two comments - "I know all the answers and I know that everything you believe is not only wrong, but demonstrates that you are an evil pig." Certainly the right approach to persuade.

tim in vermont said...

So much of discourse is bogged down by "thought stopping cliches" designed to prevent further inquiry. Just watch Howard's posts for a master class on the use of this technique, not coincidentally, favored by cults.

IRL, I find if pretty easy to get people to at least understand my thinking, if not win them over entirely, on-line, it takes a lot longer, but patiently ignoring the BS smears, try not to get drawn into name-calling, honestly listening, and providing evidence and logical arguments seems to work best.

There is an "attribution fallacy" that is a very powerful propaganda technique, you take somebody like Trump and "isolate him and personalize the attacks," and it becomes very difficult even for people who want to be fair minded, to hear his words honestly. The WaPo is not "fair minded' "Democracy is best smothered in darkness," this their motto, they exist as a clearinghouse for FBI and CIA leaks intended to manipulate, not inform. Being informed is their job, after all.

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

Let's rephrase that...

We are from a newspaper, and we are here to help.

Lem Ozuna from the Braves said...

Meanwhile, independent journalism is being squeezed by PayPal.

Link to PayPal's IndyMedia Wipeout

How can anybosy make good arguments when the facts are being curated, massaged and sometimes downright obfuscated by the major newspapers like WAPO. (see Russia hoax)

RMc said...

"The Washington Post guide to writing an op-ed"

1. Blame Trump.
2. You're a racist.
3. Blame Trump.
4. Who killed Bambi?

mikee said...

"What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval?"

My wife's siblings took their senile mother to a lawyer and transferred Medical Authority for her from my wife, a physician of 30+ years, to themselves. To "honor mother's wishes" they wanted her to starve at home and die, before the inheritance could be reduced by elder care costs.

Convincing her siblings to reinstate my wife as their mother's Medical Authority took only 6 months, a law firm, and about $25,000 in legal fees on our side, and some similar expense to her brother and sister.
To convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval, you use a big stick, and swing hard with it: the law if it works, for example. Of course, we convinced the siblings of nothing. They still complain about my wife "tearing the family apart" with her insistence that they not starve their mother to death through benign neglect, and complain about spending every cent of their mother's money used for her care.

rhhardin said...

Coleridge wrote Op-Eds for about twenty years, and Princeton University Press has collected them ("Essays on His Times" three volumes, being collectively a single subvolume of their Collected Coleridge).

My favorite was that a conflict of interest is the pulley on which good character is hoist into public view, so memorable that it's in the final index under "pulley."

rhhardin said...

"Do you know that according to Aristotle a person who dies crushed by a column does not die a tragic death? And yet here is that nontragic death hanging over you."

MadTownGuy said...

From the post:

"What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval? What on earth would you say? Well, maybe WaPo has some op-eds that will give you some talking points."

Turn their talking points into 'psy-op-eds.'

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mike (MJB Wolf),

No, actually I think you're doing the WaPo an injustice there. They do have several conservative Op-Ed writers, and they get constant grief about them. Off the top of my head: George Will, Marc Thiessen, Hugh Hewitt, Gary Abernathy, Henry Olsen (sometimes), Megan McArdle (sometimes). They might seem de minimis with a much larger array of writers on the other side, but the commentariat (which is, believe it or not, a hell of a lot Leftward of the paper itself) wants them all gone, so that its reading might be absolutely unsullied by wrongthink.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Kate,

It isn't just the "leftie" papers that charge for their content. The WSJ certainly does; I think IBD does. The Orange County Register does. I'm not thinking of a lot of other conservative op-ed papers (OK, NY Post, Washington Times), b/c there simply aren't many of them.

Richard Aubrey said...

I've never found facts to be useful. Couple of iterations on factual matters, back and forth, and the progs go ad hom.
Some get an alarmed look like a vampire contemplating a Crucifix. Those, I feel sorry for.

Chris said...

I remember senior English in high school with Mrs. Cooper. She directed our reading of literature (classic novels, stories, and poetry) Monday through Thursday, and every Friday she gave us a topic to write an essay on. The essay had to have an introduction with a thesis statement, two or three paragraphs to argue in favor of our thesis, and a concluding paragraph. We never wrote a personal essay. To this day I am grateful for this class and the way it taught me to think.

On a side note: I also took a US history class that senior year. Shockingly, we did learn about slavery, the mistreatment of indigenous peoples, and other difficult topics. What we did NOT learn is that America is evil and all white people are racist. I count myself fortunate.

Bruce Hayden said...

“When I was in law school at the University of Iowa, you had to take a course in Trial Advocacy, and you were forced to argue the side of the plaintiff in a hypothetical lawsuit, and then you had to turn around and argue the side of the defendant. ”

That’s the theory, at least. Then in Con Law, in LS, the prof (a leftist, but an honest one) asked someone to take the con side of Roe v Wade. Whoops. That was beyond the pale. It’s over 30 years later, and the leaked Alito opinion overturning it covers little new ground that should have been trod in that Con Law class, but wasn’t. Instead, the feminists organized the class to March down to the registrar to get the prof formally admonished for even suggesting that there might be any problems with the opinion.

LibertarianLeisure said...

Old school days, you submitted a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

JAORE said...

"Indeed. It's really quite astonishing, what has become of the activity known as "debate". It apparently now consists entirely of black people reading incomprehensible, half-memorized screeds at each other as fast as they possibly can. Oh, and then they get awards for it."

Years ago I saw the beginnings of this. An article described a debate competition. One side argued the presented subject. The other side, from an HBCU, argued a completely different topic about oppression.

Old dopey me, I assumed the second side would be dismissed out of hand and admonished. Instead they "won" the competition. Slope adequately lubed we proceed to the above described outcome.

Tim said...

The biggest problem I have with convincing people is that the vast majority just do not get math. I follow the statistics, which can lead me to be wrong sometimes, because a 95% confidence interval means exactly that, and 1 in 20 times will be either slightly wrong and even more rarely catastrophically wrong. But a large majority treats math like religion, and just blindly accepts stuff that is obviously wrong because it comes from a "scientist". And I have little patience to deal with people who do not understand the math. Math is hard, and does not have feelings. Larry Summers is a really good example. There are more really smart men than there are really smart women. The average intelligence of each is very close, and so is the median, but the standard deviation for men is larger, which makes a flatter curve, which means more really high "g" men. This is controversial for some reason. There are also more really low "g" men. ie, dolts. This is not controversial for some reason. Anyone else see a problem with this?

wildswan said...

People aren't immediately persuaded by facts or arguments because they just think that you've caught them off guard and that, given time, they could find facts and arguments to refute you. Time, as well as a good argument, is a part of controversy when you hope to change minds.

jim5301 said...

Tim - The facts are what they are. However, one must ensure that the IQ test itself is not biased toward men in some way. Further - what are we talking about - for every 100 really smart men there are 50 really smart women or for every 100 really smart men there are 99 really smart women? In the later case - so what?

Further is the question how one uses this alleged fact. One could say that the reason there are more male CEOs is because there are more highly intelligent men than women. But of course there could be many other factors at play.

The key to persuasion in my opinion is that both parties have to approach the discussion in good faith and with an open mind. And step one is to find a set of facts that one can agree upon.

In my opinion there is very little effort to persuade by many of the more popular commentators here. Calling someone who disagrees with you in good faith a fascist is probably a nonstarter.

Lurker21 said...

People aren't interested in making logical arguments for anything and they aren't interested in hearing them. Writers have to establish that they are members of the same tribe as their readers. Readers expect that.

So writers have to put all the signs that they are on the right side up front. Sometimes they never actually get around to making an argument. By the time they do they've already lost anyone who's in the other tribe, and those in the writer's own tribe are already convinced, and the writer isn't telling them anything new.

Can you really come up with logical arguments for some of the things Biden is doing? The people who come up with those policies and the people who support them haven't always reached their conclusions based on facts or logic.

Journalistic investigations without an argument are not op-eds. Poems and works of fiction usually aren’t op-eds either. Neither are reviews of books, movies, television shows or other media....

Maybe they should have a page for those. Or maybe that's what the Style or Living section is for. Newspapers used to include a wider variety of imaginative material. They could always go back to that, especially now that they aren't printing the news anymore.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Michelle, those exceptions to my assertion have something in common. They are all old, from Bush administration or earlier and since the Trump era some like Will and McArdle are almost 180 degrees out of phase with their pre-Trump writing.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Mike (MJB Wolf),

Okay -- George Will is 80 or so (and has been writing for WaPo since the late 70s). McArdle is not; I've followed her from Asymmetrical Information to the Atlantic to WaPo (wait, was there another stop in there?), and while she's far less recognizably libertarian than she was twenty years ago, she's still right-ish, and possibly middle-aged, but not "old."

Will, of course, has gone so far off the Republican Party that he's renounced his membership. Hewitt is old, but also a pretty prominent conservative voice (probably, after Will, the best known of the lot). I have no clue of Thiessen's and Abernathy's and Olsen's ages.

I suspect that by "old" you basically mean "pre-Obama." Fair enough, but that's, what, thirteen years ago? I thought editorial columnists' shelf lives were longer than that.

Tim said...

Jim5301 - g is a really good predictor of certain things. Men and women take the same test. The difference becomes really pronounced at the extreme ends. Which means that there may be four to five times as many men with 200 IQ as there are women. But in the whole country that may only be 100 to 20. And IQ in this case refers only to g and those things it predicts.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

You know, people are not that good at making arguments. Way too much of what we see these days is a demand for agreement and a threat or insinuation that you're going to be in trouble if you don't agree. Or there's a pettish insistence on avoiding anyone not already on your side and not inclined to go along with whatever's the next thing that people like you go along with.

What if you had to convince people who don't agree with you and don't crave your approval? What on earth would you say? Well, maybe WaPo has some op-eds that will give you some talking points.


Replace "people" with "the Left", and your statement would be correct.

It's why the Left is so in to censorship and violent "mostly peaceful" protests. It's because they don't have any rational arguments, and are upset at any demand that they make them.

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...
McArdle is not; I've followed her from Asymmetrical Information to the Atlantic to WaPo (wait, was there another stop in there?)

Bloomberg.

WaPos during the Trump years really screwed her up. She used to be able to make coherent arguments, not so much any more, because she's not allowed to say anything that might upset any of the mentally ill Left

Greg The Class Traitor said...

jim5301 said...
Tim - The facts are what they are. However, one must ensure that the IQ test itself is not biased toward men in some way.

No, actually, you have to establish that the test is meaningfully and unjustifiable based against women, if you wish to challenge the conclusion

Further - what are we talking about - for every 100 really smart men there are 50 really smart women or for every 100 really smart men there are 99 really smart women? In the later case - so what?
https://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/SexDifferences.aspx
The paper that supports the conventional wisdom is Jensen, A. R., & Reynolds, C. R. (1983). It finds that females have a 101.41 mean IQ with a 13.55 standard deviation versus males that have a 103.08 mean IQ with a 14.54 standard deviation

So, we use pnorm from R, which in the case below we do first the male numbers, then the female numbers, getting the fraction of men (women) who score above 140 (130) on an IQ test:
> pnorm (140, mean = 103.08, sd = 14.54, lower.tail = FALSE)
[1] 0.005555279
> pnorm (140, mean = 101.41, sd = 13.55, lower.tail = FALSE)
[1] 0.00219995
> pnorm (130, mean = 103.08, sd = 14.54, lower.tail = FALSE)
[1] 0.03205283
> pnorm (130, mean = 101.41, sd = 13.55, lower.tail = FALSE)
[1] 0.01743077

So, to answer your question:
If "really smart" means "top 2%" (i.e. Mensa members) it's 54 women for every 100 men
> 100*0.01743077/0.03205283
[1] 54.38138
If really smart is closer to t0p 1/2 of 1% (i.e. National Merit Scholar Semi-finalists) it's slightly less than 40 women for every 100 men
> 100*0.00219995/0.005555279
[1] 39.60107

With a US population of around 330 million, that means 833k men and 330k women IQ 140 or over.

Make the cutoff IQ 150 instead of 140, and it's 94k men vs 25k women.

So, it you're looking at a male-female disparity in an intellectual field that favors men, and it's a high end field, that's what an honest person would expect to see in an honest system

Greg The Class Traitor said...

jim5301 said...
The key to persuasion in my opinion is that both parties have to approach the discussion in good faith and with an open mind. And step one is to find a set of facts that one can agree upon.

Great!

So, which issues here have you approached with good faith and an open mind?

In my opinion there is very little effort to persuade by many of the more popular commentators here. Calling someone who disagrees with you in good faith a fascist is probably a nonstarter.
Well, yes.

But the other person has to start with a good faith argument. Not a common occuraence here by members of the Left, other than the Professor