Junk science

The Guardian too is reporting on the criticism of the Science Museum’s pink and blue brains exhibit, and wording it more sharply than Pink News did.

The Science Museum in London is facing criticism for a “junk science” exhibit that asks visitors to test whether they have a blue or pink brain.

Prof Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, an expert on the teenage brain at University College London who has been advising the Science Museum, said the exhibit in its current form was “out of date, to say the least”.

She added: “I saw it recently and was pretty shocked by the misleading message, which doesn’t correspond to the scientific evidence.”

Prof Gina Rippon, of the University of Aston, said: “The stereotyped view of a ‘hard-wired’ link between sex and gender is wrong and potentially harmful as it implies that this is somehow the ‘natural order of things’.”

And that it really is ok that men dominate STEM fields…except ones where the pay and status are low, the way they used to be in coding.

Prof Joe Devlin, a neuroscientist at University College London, said there were well-established differences between the male and female brain, such as hormone levels, and that the male brain was on average larger, in line with body size. But it is not clear how these differences translate, if at all, to differences in cognition.

“That’s where things get really shady,” he said. “I’m worried about that stuff and I’m not sure there’s a good basis for any differences in cognition. The stuff about men being better at spatial things and women being better at language, that just seems like nonsense.”

Rippon agreed: “There are, of course, differences between the brains of men and the brains of women related to reproductive processes. But with respect to the structures and functions of the brain which are related to cognitive processes there really are none.”

Oh well, it’s only the Science Museum.

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