brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

Mark D. Morin mdmpsyd at
Sun Jul 7 06:15:59 EST 2002

Peter Douglas Zohrab apparently has no grasp of statistical analyses and
> Mark Morin tried unsuccessfully to cover up his inability to refute my
> points, in his message (repeated below, with my comments added):
> "Mark D. Morin" <mdmpsyd at> wrote in message
> news:3D26D82C.CDCF294F at
> > Peter Douglas Zohrab wrote:
> >
> > > What I am leading up to here is that the above webpage tries to ignore
> size
> > > and concentrate on structure, for the simple reason that the two authors
> are
> > > both female,
> >
> > ah no. it's because you compare apples to apples not to oranges.
> I don't know what you consider to be an intelligent refutation, but using a
> primary school metaphor doesn't cut any ice with me.  Could you please
> attempt -- however pathetically -- to explain the relevance of fruit to this
> discussion ?

If you have an apriori reason to believe to samples are different and
you have an anomolous subject in one sample, you test for differences
from the sample the subject came from, not the other one.

> >
> > > and we all know that the average female brain is smaller than
> > > the average male brain.  If the female brain is smaller than the male
> brain,
> > > then this must be either because all of its parts are scaled-down
> versions
> > > of the equivalent parts of the male brain, or because there are
> > > size-differences of various sorts between the various parts of the two
> types
> > > of brains (including even the absence of one or more parts of the brain
> in
> > > the male or the female brain), such that these differences, in toto,
> result
> > > in a female brain that is smaller than its male equivalent.
> >
> > and the relevance to function is?
> >
> I am not using the vague term "function".  I am using the terms "IQ" (a test
> result), on the one hand, and "size/weight" on the other.  I believe in
> clear thinking.

"IQ" is no less vague than function as IQ is defined as one's
functioning on IQ tests.
same question.

> > > If the fact that one part of Einstein's brain is 15 % larger than the
> mean
> > > for a sample of brains that output a mean IQ of 116 is causally
> connected to
> > > his "genius" (or whatever word you want to use), then there is a prima
> facie
> > > case to investigate, as regards the size-difference between male and
> female
> > > brains.  In other words, if size mattered for Einstein versus the rest
> of
> > > us, we would not be wasting our time following up the idea that it might
> > > matter for male brains vs female brains.
> >
> > do you know of an easy way for a male's brain to become female? or vice
> > versa?
> >
> That must be one of the most irrelevant questions I have ever come across in
> a discussion.  Please stick to the topic, if that doesn't embarrass you too
> much.

Please hide your own embarrasment.  Unless there is some way to equate
the samples, it is not scientificly justifiable to compare apples to
oranges.  You acknowledge that male brains can't become female and vice
versa so males should be compared to males and females should be
compared to females.

> >
> > > I gather from the radio interview
> > > I heard that big men don't have bigger brains than small men, and big
> women
> > > don't have bigger brains than small women -- so it's not a question of
> > > body-size that's at issue here.
> > >
> > > Now, it may well be that women's mean IQ is found to be the same as
> men's
> > > mean IQ, but, in view of the above discussion, that result would have to
> be
> > > a bit suspect. I have plenty of experience of academics preferring to
> state
> > > what is politically correct than what is true.
> >
> > well, you can look into the empirical data--there is no significant
> > difference.
> I have already said that I don't trust the academics who construct the tests
> that produce the IQ data.  

Then if you are looking for differences in IQ, you are talking in
You can not trust all you want. In so doing, you reflect your own
paranoia not the lack of integrity of the test.

> The various "abilities" that IQ tests test for,
> and the test items that are used, have been challenged for alleged cultural
> bias, 
> and they can be challenged for (anti-male) sex bias, as well.  

How?  Point me to one peer reviewed article that makes this challenge.
Are you even familiar enough with the tests to make this idiotic
statement? What specific items are biased?

> These
> "abilities" and test items are not grounded in observable psychological or
> neurological reality in any direct way.  

I beg to differ.  Neurosurgeons ask me to assist in identifying lesion
location and IQ tests are one of the tools that I use in that process.

> The issues surrounding IQ tests
> have been politicised -- I can recall a lot of students protesting when
> Eysenck came to speak at my university, for example.  I suspect political
> interference, since men are an underclass in Western universities at
> present.
> >
> > > In fact, many academics
> > > consider it to be the height of naivety to state something that is
> merely
> > > true, when the opposite is widely known to be politically correct !
> >
> > and it's pretty stupid to ignore empirical evidence so that you can
> > focus on your own biases.
> >
> It's extremely stupid to ignore logical argument and reiterate your own
> biases.

Show me the data that support your logical argument.  Any argument that
stands in contrast to the data is not logical. Or, did you fail stats in

"How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh. "Well, it's when people call out 
at you just as you're going off to do it, `What are you going to do, 
Christopher Robin?' and you say, `Oh, nothing' and then you go and do 
it. It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't 
hear, and not bothering."
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