Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Apologist for David Stove

I apologise for recommending the work of David Stove. I apologise for enjoying it, and thinking Stove to be the greatest essayist ever. He was not all that keen on being politically correct. He wrote against Darwinism, sociobiology, egalitarianism, relativism and other silly ideas. Here is an excerpt from his essay "The Intellectual Capacity of Women":

I believe that the intellectual capacity of women is on the whole inferior to that of men. By "on the whole," I do not mean just "on the average"; though I do mean that much. My belief is, if you take any degree of intellectual capacity which is above average for the human race, as a whole, then a possessor of that degree of intellectual capacity is a good deal more likely to be man than a woman. ... In the past almost everyone, whether man or woman, learned or unlearned, believed the intellectual capacity of women to be inferior to that of men. ...

An opposite belief has become widely current in the last few years, in societies like our own: the belief that the intellectual capacity of women is on the whole equal to that of men. If I could, I would discuss here the reasons for the sudden adoption by many people of this opinion. But I cannot, because I have not been able to find any reasons for it, as distinct from causes of it. The equality-theory (as I will call it) is not embraced on the grounds of any startling facts which have only lately come to light. It is not embraced on the grounds of some old familiar facts which have been misunderstood until lately. It is not embraced, as far as I can see, on any grounds at all, but from mere prejudice and passion. If you ask people, "What evidence is there for the equality-theory?", you do not get an answer (though you are likely to get other things).

[Stove poses this excellent] question to the equality-theorists: What would convince them of the falsity of their belief? What would they even regard as being some evidence against it?

Any serious answers to these questions would be instructive, but I do not really expect to receive any such answer. The evidence for the inferior intellectual capacity of women is so obvious and overwhelming, that anyone who can lightly set it aside must be defective in their attitude to evidence; and our contemporary equality-theorists are in fact (as I have hinted several times), religious rather than rational in their attitude to evidence. As providing some further indication of this, the following thought-experiment may be of use. Suppose that the historical evidence had been the exact reverse of what it has usually been: that is, suppose that the intellectual performance of men had been uniformly inferior, under the widest variety of circumstances, to that of women. Rational people would in that case be as confident of the superior intellectual capacity of women as they now are of the reverse. But would those people who are at present equality-theorists be as confident then as they are now of the equal intellectual capacity of the two sexes? To ask this question is to answer it. The fact is, our egalitarians treat evidence on a basis of heads-I-win-tails-you-lose; indeed, to say so is "putting it mild," at that.

1 comment:

Vache Folle said...

This is what comes of hanging around the wrong kind of women. I have myself met quite a few who were not smart enough to appreciate my charms.