Among his comments to a conference of economists last month, according to the transcript, Dr. Summers, a former secretary of the United States Treasury, compared the relatively low number of women in the sciences to the numbers of Catholics in investment banking, whites in the National Basketball Association and Jews in farming.
My best guess, to provoke you, of what's behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon - by far - is the general clash between people's legitimate family desires and employers' current desire for high power and high intensity; that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude; and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.
After the transcript was issued, Dr. West volunteered his reaction to the latest imbroglio.
"I've been praying for the brother, hoping he would change," Dr. West said in an interview. "It's clear he hasn't changed. I feel bad for Harvard as an institution and as a great tradition. It was good to see the faculty wake up. The chickens have come home to roost."
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