Archive for Friday, February 11, 2005

Cultural causes

February 11, 2005

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To the editor:

Judy Roitman, Margaret Bayer and Milena Stanislavova, in their excellent "Take A Stand" piece on Feb. 3, touched on a point that needs to be emphasized: Even IF an experiment could be designed that would demonstrate that, on average, there is a physical difference in the anatomy of women's brains that limits mathematical ability (an unlikely possibility at best), it would not mean that this difference is not culturally caused.

Recent research has revealed that animal brains do not come hardwired, but evolve, adapt to the environment, their structure determined by ongoing interactions among genetic instructions and the surroundings in which they grow. The current human environment consists almost entirely of culture.

Philip Kimball,

Lawrence

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