Author: Claire Lehmann

How a Rebellious Scientist Uncovered the Surprising Truth About Stereotypes

The Sydney Symposium At the back of a small room at Coogee Beach, Sydney, I sat watching as a psychologist I had never heard of paced the room gesticulating. His voice was loud. Over six feet tall, his presence was imposing. It was Lee Jussim. He had come to the Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology to talk about left-wing bias in social psychology. Left-wing bias, he said, was undermining his field. Graduate students were entering the field in order to change the world rather than discover truths.1 Because of this, he said, the field was riddled with flaky research and questionable theories. Jussim’s talk began with one of the most egregious examples of bias in recent years. He drew the audience’s attention to the paper: “NASA faked the moon landing – therefore (climate) science is a hoax.” The study was led by Stephan Lewandowsky, and published in Psychological Science in 2013. The paper argued that those who believed that the moon landing was a hoax also believed that climate science was a fraud. The abstract …

What Next After Paris?

The Paris attacks have been declared by Francois Hollande as an “act of war” by the Islamic State. The military have been mobilized, and Hollande has proposed changes to the French Constitution. This national state of emergency has occurred less than a year after the killings at Hebdo and the worldwide campaign of #JeSuisCharlie. Much has been said about the attacks that does not require repeating. Yet it is worth bearing out that the Paris attacks may indeed be an inflection point in this century’s history. One week later and the world still grieves. Many of us felt like something was burned, slashed and broken in the hours and days after we heard the news. We can all imagine ourselves at a rock concert, eating at a café, or attending a football match, having a good time. I have visited Paris only once, but my memories of the city flooded back, mixed in with the horrified knowledge that the people who were shot were just like me. We do not know to what extent the …

Western Leaders Can No Longer Ignore Saudi Atrocities

“I believe men and women should be treated equally,” said David Cameron in 2013. “If that’s what being a feminist is, then yes I’m a feminist”. It is ironic that Cameron uttered these words in 2013, as it was the same year in which the UK made a secret pact to elevate the most misogynistic regime in the world to the UN Human Rights Council. Saudi Arabia has an abominable record of oppressing women. The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index in 2012 ranks Saudi Arabia 131 out of 135 countries. Yet cables obtained by Wikileaks show that the UK and Saudi Arabia traded votes in order for each country to secure a position on the Human Rights council as recently as 2013. The House of Saud’s scandalous position within the Council was again brought to the media’s attention by the recent election of Faisal bin Hassad Trad – the Saudi Ambassador to the UN – to the chair of a panel of independent experts on human rights. UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer has …

The Paradox of Female Happiness

Women are about 75 per cent more likely than men to report having recently suffered from depression. Women are also about 60 per cent more likely to report an anxiety disorder. These sharp discrepancies observed by Oxford professor Daniel Freeman, were found in eight of 12 nations from which statistics were taken. They also support a study which found that women reported higher levels of happiness than men in the 1960s but that this gender gap has now reversed. Why the change? What does this mean when women are healthier, better educated, enjoy more economic freedom and more opportunities than we did 35 years ago? Since the 1960s it has become socially acceptable to leave unhappy marriages. The stigma that once existed around free expression of female sexuality has softened. Legislation is in place to protect women from sexual harassment. By many objective measures, women in the West have never been more liberated. For all of this improvement many women are unhappy. Freeman, a clinical psychologist, noticed a gap in the literature on sex differences in …

A Platform for Free Thought

At Quillette we respect ideas. Even dangerous ones. Our writers are a collection of individuals from across the political spectrum, with different life stories and backgrounds. We aim to bring our expertise together into one platform – to create an organic group committed to free thought. How to Submit We aim to provide a platform for original thought and quality cultural criticism. We will feature writing from non-journalists including scientists and artists, and will strive to give writers freedom to take risks and express controversial ideas. But we can’t do it alone, we need you, the reader, to join us. At Quillette, we believe this is achieved through story. If you have a story to tell, that is original and exciting, please send it through to claire@ec2-54-165-31-57.compute-1.amazonaws.com, or use the below contact form, and it will be considered for publication. It may be a personal narrative, a scientific hypothesis, an opinion piece, or investigative journalism. The best pieces will be chosen and featured on Quillette on a weekly basis. – Claire Lehmann, Editor in Chief     …

Feminism must be Reclaimed from Radicals

Few serious thinkers will argue that the women’s movement is no longer necessary. Few would argue that the movement does not have a noble history. Liberal feminists however, need to reclaim it. Although feminism has a noble history, it was hijacked in the 1970s, with motley crews such as the New York Radical Women and the Redstockings stealing the show. After that, “radical” feminism was propelled by the likes of Andrea Dworkin and Catharine Mackinnon. Dworkin, whose contempt for women matched her hatred of men, famously wrote that women who enjoyed heterosexual sex with men were “collaborators, more base than other collaborators have ever been: experiencing pleasure in their own inferiority.”[1] These radical feminists incited a backlash against all of feminism, despite only ever representing its lunatic fringe. In contrast to radical feminism–built on the dubious theory of sexual castes– the philosophy of liberal feminism is empirical and straightforward. Under classical liberalism, women have the inalienable right to be educated, employed and self-determining, and within the broader feminist canon, there is a treasure-trove of pragmatic …

Activists should calm down. Science is not so sexist

 “Academic Science isn’t Sexist” declared Wendy Williams’ and Stephen Ceci’s op-ed in The New York Times last October. Their piece summarised a 67 page review published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest called “Women in Academic Science: A Changing Landscape”[1]. Working alongside two economists, they compiled data from several hundred analyses of women’s participation in sciences – from the life sciences such as psychology – to the more math-intensive disciplines such as engineering and physics. The biggest barrier for women, they found, was that they saw academic jobs as being in conflict with family formation. Despite this, they found that the picture painted was one of “gender fairness, rather than gender bias”. Women across the sciences were more likely to receive hiring offers than men, their grants and articles were accepted at the same rate, they were cited at the same rate, and they were tenured and promoted at the same rate[2]. Just two weeks after Williams’ and Ceci’s op-ed was published, the online fracas ‘shirtstorm’ happened. The lead scientist of the Rosetta Mission, …