Guest post: If we could knock down these ridiculous cultural preconceptions

Originally a comment by James Garnett on The “Men’s & motor” area.

David Evans@1:

I think some men as well as women are likely to be put off by the idea that intellectual brilliance is what is needed in science.



In Japan they teach that science and math take lots of hard work.


The notion of the “brilliant scientist” infuriates me. I have long maintained that anyone of reasonable intelligence and drive can make useful and important advances in the sciences if they make the effort of learning the background well, and putting in the (large amount of) effort that is required. It takes years to pick up the background and years of toil to start making the advances, but almost anyone can do it. Sure, if you’re lazy, or unwilling to think, or prone towards intellectual dishonesty, or clinging to dogma, then you probably cannot do it.

The Brilliant Scientist Up On The Pedestal Of Veneration is one of the bricks in the wall that is used to keep women out. “Girls aren’t good at math”, “brilliance is beyond average people”, etc. etc. yada yada yada. It’s horseshit.

I am the very epitome of an average person. Average in talent and intelligence, that is. I’m privileged to be male and white, but I’m still average. And yet even I, through hard work (plus the cultural expectation that I’m somehow better at STEM cuz white and male) have made modest advances in my field.

People who are neither white, nor male, nor “brilliant” work just as hard, and could do just as well in their science careers, if we could knock down these ridiculous cultural preconceptions.

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