Why are there more men in physics than women?
Three Australian academics have an answer.
They say it’s because boys are born with a penis.
To be more specific, it’s because boys play with their penis.
In an article in the TES (the former Times Educational Supplement) they make the point that each male child effectively come equipped with a small hosepipe.
They learn from an early age to control the flow of liquid from this device.
They play games by directing the flow at various objects.
They also compete with other males for distance and height.
Effectively boys are learning the relationship between force and trajectory.
The academics calculate that boys will do this roughly five times a day for the first fourteen years of their life.
This results in around 10,000 experiments, an experience that girls obviously don’t have.
Which is why boys start physics with an unfair advantage.
The academics have data covering 7,000 students over eight years.
This leads them to believe that “Playful urination practices may give boys an advantage over girls when it comes to physics.”
They found “Girls experience of formal, mathematically codified physics start with a topic that males have already experienced more learning in relation to.”
They found there were certain questions that only one third of girls answered correctly compared to two thirds of boys.
“The difference in performance arises primarily from questions that involve projectile motion – things that have been thrown, kicked, fired, etc.”
So the academics concluded that the way to get more women into physics is to recognise this and change the teaching syllabus.
“It’s not necessary for physics curricula to begin with projectile motion. Other topics, such as energy conservation, could be taught first instead.”
I find the danger lies in making conclusions from sweeping generalisations.
As a male child I came equipped with the device they describe.
I don’t remember it as an endless source of games (certainly not five times day for fourteen years.)
And anyway, I was useless at physics.
Everyone else in class, including all the girls, always finished above me.
If only I’d known I had an unfair advantage in calculating force and trajectory in projectile motion.
But that’s what happens with academics.
They don’t live in the real world.
They live in the world of data on a page interpreted subjectively.
These three academics are all physicists.
Therefore, in their world, everyone starts out interested in physics.
So their only question is, what stops them progressing?
And they look for data that can be shoehorned to fit their subjectivity.
They never notice their premise is flawed.
I know, like me, not everyone starts out interested in physics.
Penis or not.
Of course, to the physicists this makes no sense.
People who live by data believe they are the ultimate in objectivity.
It is incomprehensible to them that they are just as subjective as everyone else.
Their premise is obviously valid, so they just have to find the cause.
They believe their opinions are facts.
And this is what makes them really dangerous.
This is what makes all ‘experts’ dangerous.
As Lao Tzu said “The wise man knows he doesn’t know. The fool doesn’t know he doesn’t know.”