Star Trek: The Next Generation

"Angel One"

*

Air date: 1/25/1988
Written by Patrick Barry
Directed by Michael Rhodes

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Angel One" is tripe, with endless season one cliches, whose plot lines are assembled into a massive incoherent mess where you end up caring about none of it. Strange society that looks completely human but is completely backward? Check. "Weighty" Prime Directive issues? Check. Highly contagious virus that virtually shuts down the ship and threatens to kill everyone? Check. Race to solve a problem while we have a ticking clock (in this case, scheduled executions)? Check. Second ticking clock involving the Enterprise in orbit (in this case, the need to deploy to the Neutral Zone ASAP)? Check.

Not one damn bit of sense or compelling drama regarding it all? Check.

Much like "Justice," the episode begins with a ludicrous premise that's impossible to take seriously (as presented) before then trying to get all serious on us with a Trekkian message about growth and tolerance. Angel One is run solely by women. The men are oppressed and essentially told to keep their place. This is shown in the silliest of ways, and we snicker when one of these annoying men interrupts Riker and government head Beata (Karen Montgomery) while they're about to seal the deal. (Should Riker be sleeping with the heads of states on such missions? Might not violate the PD, but it seems awfully inappropriate.)

The plot ostensibly is about the status of some Federation survivors who crashed on Angel One and brought with them the idea of men as equals (gasp!), thereby poisoning this society's status quo. Riker can't interfere in their forthcoming executions because of the Prime Directive, which leads to some of the most interminable, ponderous "substantive" dialog in TNG's run. The lesson here is as muddled as the plot ... and it's sanctimonious in TNG's worst way, until we're waiting for the soapbox to collapse, or, better yet, explode.

Previous episode: Datalore
Next episode: 11001001

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50 comments on this review

Corey
Mon, Apr 23, 2012, 12:42pm (UTC -6)
I agree Riker's liason with the head of state was dubious to say the least -- what if it resulted in WORSE relations with the Federation and Angel One? Riker should have been demoted!

At the very least, though, Riker is very in character do so, however. He always obliges females of any race, as long as they aren't ugly.

He even took two kisses in "Perfect Mate" from someone (the empathic metamorph) who is going to be a wife in a few days -- his reasoning? Just because he's curious. Is he going to take liberties with my wife, "just because he's curious"? I would have demoted him if I were captain. A command officer especially should have more self-control than that.

As for the episode itself, it was just middle of the road for me, two stars on Jammer's scale.
Rikko
Sun, Jul 29, 2012, 2:51pm (UTC -6)
Lol, excellent review Jammer. It's actually a pretty fun read.

Unlike this episode.

It's not the worst S1 episode (that dubious honor goes to "A Matter of Honor") but it's, certainly, one of the most boring. By the time they started talking about the prime directive I wanted to shoot myself.

I found myself watching the clock every 5 minutes. There's just not drama, not tension and not a single line of good dialogue.

The show is kinda sexist too. Wait for two guys to take over a world full of women. Yeah, right.
xaaos
Tue, Oct 30, 2012, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
Some cliche things I never liked about Star Trek in this episode:

a) The holodeck has a lot of activities, even mountain climbing and Wes acts like geek, the very second he gets in, he is throwing a snowball to his friend.

b) Enterprise gets near a new planet and Picard tries to make contact. It's like they are calling to a telephone number. And all the times, the person who responds is the "president" of the planet (aren't there any secretaries?). He is never busy of "afk", he stands always by the "phone"...Of course he speaks English fluently! And most of the times, this "president" is the leader of the whole planet, like there aren't any countries on it. And this "president" has the roles of lawmaker, minister of defence and police, ambassador, judge, executioner aswell.

One last thing: did Riker get Picard's licence in order to sleep with an alien? (I recall what happened with poor Ensign Kim in VOY when he slept with a sexy alien and that caused a major diplomatic issue :P)
Van_Patten
Thu, Nov 1, 2012, 1:58pm (UTC -6)
The season's halfway point (if you count Encounter as two episodes) and worth reflecting on how the season shapes up.

Of course, I doubt were the series shown now that it would have been picked up for another 13 episodes, let alone another 6 seasons, even with the benefit of the StarcTrek moniker. Looking at my ratings vis a vis Jammers, he seems a touch more generous, with only two utter clunkers in the season's first half, and two episodes above the 2.5 star middling/ mediocre bar. I was surprised given the opprobrium levelled at some episodes, how few poor episodes there were. Only three ('Code of Honour' , 'Lonely among us' and 'Justice' ) are below 2 stars, with the last five instalments all hitting 2.5 stars. Nevertheless, recurring middling fare probably wouldn't have saved the show now, but there's some promising signs.

Enter thus, the first ep of the season's second half, the notorious 'Angel One' which crashes the series back down to the depths. It is for the most part, fully deserving of the calumnies it receives. Jammer has listed the clichés and hallmarks of lazy writing that characterise the episode. Rewatching it did nothing for it. The sets look hokey, the acting is at best passable in the case of Karen Montgomery (Beata) and to be frank, poor in the case of Sam Hennings (Ramsey) and Patricia McPherson (Ariel) - the script s a real turgid mess - the story doesn't hold up to scrutiny fr any real time, and despite attempts to set up multiple jeopardy premises, the story fails to create enough tension. The egregious use of the Romulans as a plot device (flatly overwritten in the series's finale) also annoyed me.

The weakest episode since 'Code of Honour' and fully agree with Jammer on the 1 star rating. That only because of two even weaker entries subsequent to this which merit even lower ratings in comparison. A month after Christmas, this Turkey was still very much on the table.
DPC
Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
If mullets and big female hair are turn-ons, forget the "special interest" cable subscription... just rewatch this turkey over and over again.

It's eye-candy trying to make up for a plot so cheese-driven that "Justice" is a masterpiece by comparison.

And just how many STDs does Riker have by this point in the show's, anyhow? Never mind when we get to "The Game" when he must have contracted another 50 more by then... and somebody PLEASE think of the children! Riker outproduced Kirk, that's a given...
PD
Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 4:59pm (UTC -6)
An very mediocre episode, the story is completely predictable and boring and the only bits enjoyable are the little jokes like Worf's extreme sneezes, Rikers ridicilous native clothes and Picard losing his voice.

shame those jokes didn't have a better story around them.
DG
Thu, Dec 20, 2012, 6:07am (UTC -6)
The really irritating thing is how implausible this all is.

Angel One's sexism seems on par with Victorian England. (As opposed to say, Islam or the Ferengi)

Imagine American time travelers go back in time to the 1800s to retrieve a modern all-female Book Club and having it go like this... Say What?

Riker's speech at the end, when inverted like that, sounds even more sexist than Angel One...'evolvement'. Geez...
William B
Sat, Mar 23, 2013, 10:23pm (UTC -6)
In 1988, Star Trek: The Next Generation bravely comes out and says that executing people for opposing sexism is wrong. Thanks, TNG!

This episode is so muddled that we go through a whole episode wherein the central conflict is whether or not Beata will end up executing Ramsey for his anarchist subversive ways, and not once getting any indication:

1) what it is that Ramsey hopes to accomplish,

2) what exactly it is that Ramsey et al. are *doing* which is so dangerous to the fabric of society,

3) whether there are any men on Angel One who follow Ramsey's whatever-it-is.

Ramsey vaguely says that men on Angel One aren't allowed to vote or "have opinions." I mean, I guess Ramsey "has opinions," but it'd be ridiculous for Ramsey and the other people from the Odin to ask for the vote themselves since they are not from Angel One. They married Angel One women, one of whom has to keep her marriage a secret, and I guess those women, Angel One natives, are ready to accept that men can be partners in a relationship -- if they're space aliens. The only male character native to Angel One we see at any length of time is Beata's servant, who doesn't exactly read to me like he's about to start blowing up buildings as part of a men's suffrage movement. Riker helpfully says at the episode's end that social attitudes were already evolving on Angel One to gender equality before Ramsey got there and Ramsey and his people became a symbol. Uh, if you say so, Commander. The thing is, while we see Ariel a tiny bit, the only Angel One character who actually talks and has a point of view that is articulated is Beata.

The irony then is that it's actually possible that Beata is totally right. Maybe unbeknownst to us, a) all the men native to Angel One really are genuinely, physically/mentally incapable of handling complex tasks, b) Ramsey and his crew basically go around blowing up buildings and machine gunning women down as part of their revolutionary campaign. I mean, that is unlikely, but the episode gives us no idea what exactly it is that is going on.

The other funny thing about this episode is that the gender inversion ends up working against the "sexism is bad" message in ironic ways. The episode is generally arguing against patriarchal sexism and implicitly arguing for the right of women to vote and 'have opinions,' but it's Riker who gives the big big speech preaching tolerance, while Troi and Yar don't particularly do or say anything later in the episode. Ramsey talks for his people; Ariel never once (to my memory) speaks up in favour of her own experiences. Not only does this have the effect of having men do all the preaching about gender equality, it also (once again) means that no one from Angel One is the voice of tolerance. At least Crusher cures the disease, meaning that one female crew member is shown accomplishing something.

Riker sleeping with Beatta is dumb, dumb, obviously. But there is something interesting about the way Riker wears that objectifying outfit. Because, look -- it is a fashion disaster and ridiculous-looking, but it's actually not THAT much of an exaggeration from the outfit that Troi wears every week so that the audience can gawk every week at Marina Sirtis' boobs. At least, I hope that was intentional.
William B
Wed, Apr 24, 2013, 7:05pm (UTC -6)
Incidentally, there's an episode of MAD MEN in which a supporting character reveals that he has written a Star Trek spec script "The Negron Complex," a tale which a race of aliens are oppressing another group. This script is roundly mocked, and one of the other characters mentions, groaning, that the "twist" in the script is that the oppressed Negrons are white. "Angel One" is pretty much on this level.
Eduardo
Sat, May 11, 2013, 6:10pm (UTC -6)
Angel One's definitely not one of season 1's better hours, but it does have a couple of scenes that I've always admired.

One is the scene where Geordi finally sits on the Captain's Chair for the first time. There's this little private moment, beautifully brought to life by LeVar and his genuine reverence for the chair.

The other is the scene in which Riker decides he can't live with the guilt of leaving Ramsey's men to die, and promptly decides to beam them against their will, violating every Starfleet reg there is. Jonathan had quite a few memorable moments in that first season. To me, this was one of them, in terms of conveying Riker's guilt.

If TNG had a more gutsy attitude in its storytelling, it could have had Riker actually do it, and then face the consequences of his actions. It would have really added to the show's weight, especially considering Remmick's grilling of the crew, four episodes later.
SkepticalMI
Mon, Aug 26, 2013, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
Boring, silly episode all around. Besides the points other people brought up, I'd like to point out that Riker's "dilemma" is also ridiculous on its face. A society has the right to decide its borders and who deserves to live there. Ramsey and his crew did not have a visa to visit Angel One, and did not have a Green Card to stay there. Thus, the Angelone-ians had every right to demand they leave. If I get shipwrecked in, I don't know, Tanzania or somewhere, and decide I like it, I can't just stay. The Tanzanians can kick me out if they like. And if they didn't have a single boat (presumably Angel One is not a spacefaring planet, so this is the closest analogy), then Tanzania would have every right to dump me off at an American embassy and tell them to get rid of me.

But Riker and Data seemed to say they had no right to force someone to leave if he didn't want to, regardless of the laws of the society. If Ramsey decided to stay on the Enterprise and refuse to leave, would Picard have been ok with it? I think not.

And the Prime Directive only applies to Starfleet and not Federation citizens? So I can muck around on a pre-warp culture and pretend I'm a god or something and no one would complain? Sounds to me like that makes the Prime Directive useless.

Meanwhile, the plague on board the ship served only to fill up time and is a transparent attempt at a "B" plot. It served little purpose (other than conveniently preventing Riker's abduction of the prisoners), and had little tension. Did anyone really care? A ship like that is that susceptible to a random virus; shouldn't that have been a key takeaway? It could have been an interesting story. Instead, it was "a bunch of people got sick at a bad time, but then got better." And other than Geordi's first command (which, btw, Picard was an idiot for not ordering Data to beam up and assume command the moment he knew he was that sick), it was not particularly interesting watching any of these people.

And while this isn't the episode's fault, I also blame it for being in the wrong place in the season. In Datalore, Picard mentioned off-hand that they were late getting to their appointment in upgrading their computer. Sure enough, in 11001001, that's what they do. It should have been a nice bit of continuity, but instead Angel One was sandwiched in between them. I suppose they could have been diverted from their rendezvous with the Bynars by discovering the wrecked ship, but they should have mentioned it to complete the continuity. Instead, I get the feeling the order of episodes was changed post-production. Too bad.
Gabriel
Thu, Dec 12, 2013, 1:06am (UTC -6)
I totally disagree with all the comments above and with your review and most of the other reviews. Maybe I'm too new in the Star Trek universe, but I thought this episode was amazing. It shows another culture with strong sexism, in a fun and intelligent way, using this opportunity to criticize our own society. It gives room to some important character development, like Data being the robot with huge precision in following orders, as any other human couldn't do (and for doing so, saving the day), it shows La Forge as the captain and his fears in the duty (Worf gives him good advice on that), and so on. It has some cool moments with Riker being as diplomatic as smart (as a man) getting laid with Beata. If he didn't like this, maybe Beata wouldn't spare the revolutionaries lives.

I also liked how all those troubles (disease, romulans, execution, etc) comes all together, giving the right ammount of tension without getting out the focus on the plot. Yes, maybe it has some flaws, like when they get a oold even if in the last episode they said cold wasn't more a disease in the future. But I think those flaws aren't enough to make this episode bad.

And yes, Beata is gorgeous.
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Jun 12, 2014, 1:18pm (UTC -6)
The only way this could have been worse was if Beata had started asking "Brain and brain, what is brain?"
DLPB
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 12:11pm (UTC -6)
This is as close as liberals will ever get to having their crazy wet dreams made a reality. Back in the real world, women are outnumbered at MENSA, and in lists of geniuses, and chess champions, and at virtually all sports and human endeavours. Not sexism, not "glass ceiling", just stark reality that men and women are different. No amount of socialist propaganda can change it.
Paul M.
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 12:25pm (UTC -6)
I heard that women in Saudi Arabia are especially useless. Must be their genetics are even worse than usual among womenfolk.

On the other hand, maybe opportunity has something to do with it? Crazy suggestion, I know.
Elliott
Tue, Aug 5, 2014, 1:10pm (UTC -6)
Oh, DLPB, you make it rather easy to assume that backwards political thinking begets backwards social thinking, or is that reversed? I suppose we'd find your name on those MENSA lists and chess tourneys, would we?
DLPB
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Women have equal opportunity at tennis, running, darts, pool/snooker, and chess. And many other endeavours. They do not come close to the men. I am not making an argument that men are "better" than women, since men are generally the ones creating the most crime and dysfunction. But men are also overwhelmingly the driving force in science, now and in the past, as well as in the massive majority of fields.

The fact men have many more neurons in their neocortex than females (among other significant differences), may have a lot to do with it. Certainly it is a proven fact that men are generally stronger, faster, taller, and have better hand-eye coordination and spacial awareness.

All you need to do is look for the female equivalent of Feynman, Federer, Kasparov, Einstein, Picasso, Dickens, Bolt, and so on and so on and so on.

There isn't one.
Robert
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
I'm not going to argue you on some of the more physical things. Women athletes typically do not hold a candle to the male ones. It's very edge-case though... so it's an odd argument. For instance, the best female basketball player ever to live might be able to hack it in the NBA, but she'd only be famous for being a woman. She'd not be a Jordan, Shaq or Magic level player. But the males in the NBA are the edge of case of male anyway. She'd still be physically superior to 99.9999% of men.

Similarly, I don't know if saying there is no female Einstein is a really good way to present your case. There's no living male Einstein either (except perhaps Hawking). But those are still 2 in a hundred years kind of minds. There are brilliant females in science and engineering as well. And perhaps there WAS a female Einstein, but she was making babies and cooking for her husband, because she was supposed to.

But seriously.... there is no female Dickens and Picasso? How about Bronte and Kahlo. Just to name two (or three... both Brontes... off the top of my head).
DLPB
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
You tell me where Kasparov, Einstein, Federer, Feynman, Mozart equivalents are. They don't exist, and you can moan until the cows come home, but the facts are that males dominate a huge number of achievements now and in the past. And that's the end of your argument.
Robert
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 2:22pm (UTC -6)
Well I answered the Federer question.

To quote me "I'm not going to argue you on some of the more physical things. Women athletes typically do not hold a candle to the male ones."

A male in the top .0001% of physical power is clearly going to be a superior athlete to anyone else in any field of athletics that does not largely rely on being incredibly tiny, aerodynamic and graceful. It just is. The Williams sisters could still destroy 99.9999% of male tennis players of course, but the top man vs the top woman? Nah, it's always going to be the male. At the physical edge case, male genetic potential wins out in most arenas.

Art/literature, at least you seem to have backed off a bit. As to Einstein, I think I mostly answered that too. Women just didn't have the opportunity to go into those fields that they do now. Perhaps we WILL have a female Einstein in the next 100 years. Since these people are once in a lifetime (or rarer.... where was the next male DaVinci!) it's not as those they just pop up all the time. Marie Curie made greater contributions to science than 99% of male scientists, though I'd not really put her up with Einstein.

I will grant there is no household composer I can be sure everyone would know in the vein of throwing out Curie, Kahlo and Bronte. Kasparov is neat, but if you can teach a modern computer to play chess like a genius I don't know that he belongs on this list.

I guess my point is just that such a woman would have to be born and placed in a situation where she could hone these skills. If nobody sought fit to educate Einstein I doubt we'd know his name....
Elliott
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 3:40pm (UTC -6)
You'd also be hard-pressed to find the female Pol Pot, McCarthy, Hitler or Stalin, wouldn't you?

The reason males dominate the upper echelons of our society is that our society's parameters for greatness (be it benevolent or otherwise) has been defined by men. The deck is stacked because the historically dominant sex has conditioned our society to view its own gender's superior attributes as universally superior.
Robert
Tue, Sep 2, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -6)
Elliott makes a good point. Male activists point to the fact that edge case women cannot achieve physically what edge case men can in sports and since this is true you'd be foolish to assume there aren't other differences and those differences must be the reason men make contributions to most fields at an incredible rate.

Except correlation != causation and just because you can prove a physical disparity between the sexes and achievement in sports does not mean that there is a mental disparity that causes the achievement gap in other things. Quite literally the deck has been stacked against women.

And as for the physical side... well it's amazing what testosterone will do for most athletes....
DLPB
Sat, Sep 6, 2014, 6:22pm (UTC -6)
Nice excuse haha
Robert
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 9:09am (UTC -6)
@DLPB - Who's making an excuse? Men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities. That's pretty basic science. The point is that there is no pretty basic science to prove that men also have high intellectual ability.

And for the intellectual side of things there is just no way to prove that the female Einstein wasn't pumping out babies for her husband at 17 while her stupid brother was going to college because girls didn't need to go to college.
Dave in NC
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 2:40pm (UTC -6)
@ Robert

This is mostly me playing devil's advocate, but it is a bit of a logical fallacy to say that the (basically universal) second-class treatment of women in history could ONLY be because of the physical dominance of men.

To suggest that there is literally no possibility of intelligence being some kind of contributing factor (even in our deep evolutionary past) seems to be an absolute statement about something unprovable.
Elliott
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 3:03pm (UTC -6)
@Dave in NC

The fallacy is in assuming that intelligence (especially in a whole gender or species) is quantifiable the way physical strength is. No doubt, if males had lacked the intelligence necessary to co-evolve the species forward, they would not have been dominant in most cultures, but in other species, where the female is larger and stronger, we don't assume that her intelligence is also greater than her male counterparts, just that her physical strength supplied her dominance.

In any event, as I said before, the edge which males' ability to physically dominate women has given them ("us," I should say) no doubt made typically male *forms* of intelligence more highly valued. Thus prototypically male intelligence is viewed as universally "more" than female intelligence. It gets a little chicken-or-the-eggy, but fossil evidence shows absolutely no signs that male homo sapiens developed higher intelligence at a greater pace or...erm...volume? than females. And the disparity between our physical natures is a hold-over from ancestors which predate society and culture at all.
Robert
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
Actually Dave you'll find we're arguing the same thing. My point wasn't that the second class treatment was because of physical dominance. My point was that it is provable that men are physically superior to women in some ways (and in particular, we value a lot of these ways in modern sports). It is not really provable in any direction why there has been no female Einstein.

Statistics teaches us that if Einstein was really a one in a million kind of scientist (or higher) and men outnumber women in the sciences 10 to 1 (or more throughout history), then we'd have to wait 10x longer for a female Einstein (if we assume that is the reason we have not had one).

I'm not necessarily saying that numbers are the reason we have not had one (in a factual way), only that it is my belief that the number of women who have had the opportunity to excel at science means that we will have to wait a lot longer for a female Einstein. Even now she could be born in the middle east in a place where girls don't even go to school. And then we've missed her.

My point (to quote myself) was just that "there is no pretty basic science to prove that men also have high(er) intellectual ability". I'm not saying for sure that it's not true, but DLPB seems to be trying to link the (rather obvious) fact that men are stronger to the (what he would consider a rather obvious fact) that men are smarter. From his argument.

"But men are also overwhelmingly the driving force in science, now and in the past, as well as in the massive majority of fields.

The fact men have many more neurons in their neocortex than females (among other significant differences), may have a lot to do with it. Certainly it is a proven fact that men are generally stronger, faster, taller, and have better hand-eye coordination and spacial awareness.

All you need to do is look for the female equivalent of Feynman, Federer, Kasparov, Einstein, Picasso, Dickens, Bolt, and so on and so on and so on.

There isn't one."

I'm merely offering an alternate theory as to the lack of a female Einstein. I don't claim to be able to prove my theory (although I think it's logically sound). The overall point I was trying to make is that there are alternate possibilities and there is no proof for his theory.
Dave in NC
Mon, Sep 8, 2014, 8:16pm (UTC -6)
First off, it's really nice to converse with intelligent people, so yeah, just wanted to throw that out there.

To the point, I'm not a huge believer in gender superiority/inferiority (hence my admission that I was playing devil's advocate). However . . .

@ Robert

About the only point that I've seen someone make that I thought perhaps had some merit was the disparity between the numbers of male and female AUTODIDACTS, but again that was more circumstantial than anything.

@ Elliot

I agree with the chicken/egg analogy. There's really no way forensically to assign a cause one way or the other.
Trident
Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 9:16am (UTC -6)
DLPB is so wrong, stupid and ignorant that it hurts me to read his rants.
dlpb
Mon, Nov 24, 2014, 7:20pm (UTC -6)

Trident - Fri, Oct 3, 2014 - 9:16am (USA Central)
DLPB is so wrong, stupid and ignorant that it hurts me to read his rants.

=========

Well, firstly, it wasn't a rant. Secondly, the fact you can only insult, as a substitute for reason, shows who the ignorant one is here ;0

I'm sorry that the truth hits a nerve, but my original point stands. We don't mix female and male players at most sports and games, and when we do, they almost never win a match, let alone a championship. Sorry.
Shannon
Wed, Jul 22, 2015, 4:50pm (UTC -6)
How the show didn't get immediately cancelled after this calamity, which ranks right up there with Code of Honor, is anyone's guess. Who the hell was writing these episodes? And more importantly, why did the powers that be think these were quality episodes to produce, even in 1988? Oh well, at least we have the hindsight of knowing that TNG got much better.
Diamond Dave
Mon, Aug 17, 2015, 2:07pm (UTC -6)
A shocker in every way, consisted of a stilted, clunking take on gender equality in which Riker gets to teach the leader of a matriarchal society the meaning of the Earth word "love" and then undermines its entire social order in two poorly written sentences. In the meantime an artificial countdown fails to generate any sense of peril and of course both A and B story resolve themselves in seconds at the end of the episode. Even the somewhat amusing comedy moments seem tacked on as an after thought.

And if the virus was so virulent - how did Crusher not get it? 1 star.
kiamau
Sat, Sep 12, 2015, 10:59am (UTC -6)
(KLINGON SNEEZE)
Jack
Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
SkepticalMI said:


"And the Prime Directive only applies to Starfleet and not Federation citizens? So I can muck around on a pre-warp culture and pretend I'm a god or something and no one would complain? Sounds to me like that makes the Prime Directive useless."

True enough...and by Season 7 Picard was berating Worf's civilian brother Nikolai for precisely that.

John
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 4:13pm (UTC -6)
how does worf and the captain get hit with snow thrown by Wesley when standing outside the holodeck? shouldnt the snow not exist?
Ambrose
Tue, Jan 12, 2016, 12:45pm (UTC -6)
John, according to the old TNG technical manual the holodeck works using two different tools to create touchable objects. One is just a hologram backed up by complicated force fields. The other is replicators. So when someone on the holodeck picks up a drink and drinks it, the holodeck has actually replicated the drink so it tastes like something and doesn't just disappear at the person's mouth. Its hard to say exactly what the holodeck decides will be replicated and what won't, but I'm guessing a replicated snowball would feel a lot more real then a snowball made of forcefields which wouldn't be cold or wet.

It's also speculated this is why the safeties can be turned off. While Picard said "even a holographic bullet can kill," it's more likely that in that instance the holodeck replicated a real gun with bullets, since it isn't really clear that force fields could be used to kill (this is a bit of speculation though).

The problem with all this comes later in Voyager, when the ship doesn't have enough energy to use the replicators but has plenty of energy to use the holodecks. The excuse always was that the holodeck system had a separate incompatible energy source that the rest of the ship couldn't use. Which doesn't make much sense to begin with, but then when you consider that holodecks are also huge replicators it completely falls apart.
petulant
Mon, Jan 25, 2016, 12:28pm (UTC -6)
@Ambrose

Thanks i also wondered about that, in 'The Big Goodbye' 2 holographic characters stepped out of the holodeck before disappearing and i just thought it was bad writing but then in 'Angel One' Wesley throws a snowball out of the holodeck and i just remembered Voyagers Doctor not being able to step out of the Holodeck at all!
James
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 7:09am (UTC -6)
Ugh. These comments.

But before I get into that, let me explain why the social commentary in Angel One is incredibly cringe-worthy.

1) You have a system run, exclusively - by rule of law - by women.

The law of western society does not preclude women from taking positions of leadership. They have, in many cases. As with #4, this is a quality only observed in extreme outliers of human history. And as I explain in #3, the reason men more often have taken on positions of leadership, is because they're evolutionarily predisposed towards doing so. Towards having more interest in doing so, and towards having the qualities required to do so.

2) In which the men cannot vote, are not respected, and are subservient in virtually every way.

Men, as a general group, have not always been able to vote either. It used to be that only white, wealthy, landowning men could vote (and if they died, their widows were allowed to represent their household as well). There was very little time between when men in general were allowed to vote, and women gained the universal right to vote. Which men still to this day do not have, as they are obligated to first sign up for the Selective Service system before they're afforded various rights and services, including the right to vote. In this way, women have had a superior voting right to men for nearly a full century now.
As for the disrespect given to and subservience expected of the males of Angel One, this is not analogous to human society. For one thing, everyone gets disrespected. Absolutely everyone. You can't quantify, or draw general rules in which you can claim one is disrespected more, unless their a group genuinely treated as inferior - like the Africans, Irish, and Italians of half of American history. I put it to you that the disrespect women - both as individuals and as a group - face is greatly more visible, but not greater than, that which is and has been faced by men.

3) As Beata explained, men have the simple life of pleasure and being provided for, while the women have the responsibility of making society work.

This part I actually appreciate. Because it holds true to the historical reality of what the episode's premise is supposed to mirror. Men, throughout human history, have been expected to be providers and protectors. And just as how the men of Angel One find this to be the natural way of things, it is the natural way of things in human society for men to more often develop strong leadership skills, to aspire for those positions of high-status, and to take on the challenges of providing for and protecting women. It's hardwired into our evolutionary psychology and into our very genetics for men to more often aim for these roles. They have evolved for the purpose of fulfilling them. And both men and women have evolved to value women and their well-being greatly, to take great offense toward their mistreatment, and to not extend this empathy to men, and instead treat them as disposable. And that's just another aspect of how men have evolved to fall into the roles they have. The same is true on Angel One, and while that doesn't excuse their actual sexism and draconian treatment of nonconformity, I can respect it. Both the men and the women have evolved to fall into the roles they did on Angel One, and if you take away the actual sexism, it's fair to say that they fall into those roles because their most comfortable there, because they evolved to be so. Just as it happened on Earth with the sexes reversed.

"4) Deviating from this accepted matriarchal model warrants the death penalty."

This is something completely non-analogous to the vast majority of human society, over the vast majority of history. The thing which comes closest are Islamic fundamentalist nations, which are anthropological outliers by a wide margin.


The social commentary of this episode is confused to the point where it doesn't even know what it's trying to mirror, and how representative what it's trying to mirror is of human society in general.

That being said, let's look at some of these comments that inspired the "ugh" from the beginning of this one.

"You'd also be hard-pressed to find the female Pol Pot, McCarthy, Hitler or Stalin, wouldn't you?"

Yes, because men have more often taken on positions of leadership due to being more biologically predisposed towards doing so. Just as how if you have vastly more male scientists you're more likely to find the odd male Einstein, if you have vastly more male leaders you're more likely to find the odd male Hitler. The statistical fact that with a larger sample you'll have more outliers, is a double edged sword that doesn't discriminate based on what qualities we find morally good.
But I won't cringe at this quote because I'm fairly sure you're making the same point.

"The reason males dominate the upper echelons of our society is that our society's parameters for greatness (be it benevolent or otherwise) has been defined by men. The deck is stacked because the historically dominant sex has conditioned our society to view its own gender's superior attributes as universally superior. "

No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. Not men. Saying that the results we see mean that men must have stacked the deck, is directly analogous to saying that the fact that women, being more flexible, dominate gymnastics must mean that women have stacked the deck against men. No, their inherently greater flexibility is a practically valuable quality for achieving their goal of being great gymnasts. The same is true of men and what roles they've dominated.

"Elliott makes a good point."

No he doesn't.

"Male activists point to the fact that edge case women cannot achieve physically what edge case men can in sports and since this is true you'd be foolish to assume there aren't other differences and those differences must be the reason men make contributions to most fields at an incredible rate."

1) There are other differences.
2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said.

"Except correlation != causation"

Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength.

"and just because you can prove a physical disparity between the sexes and achievement in sports does not mean that there is a mental disparity that causes the achievement gap in other things."

There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields.

"Quite literally the deck has been stacked against women."

No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that.

Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet.

"The fallacy is in assuming that intelligence (especially in a whole gender or species) is quantifiable the way physical strength is. No doubt, if males had lacked the intelligence necessary to co-evolve the species forward, they would not have been dominant in most cultures, but in other species, where the female is larger and stronger, we don't assume that her intelligence is also greater than her male counterparts, just that her physical strength supplied her dominance."

We also don't assume the same for men, it just happens to be that men both have greater physical capabilities and a wider trend of intellectual capacity. Those qualities most likely evolved that way because they were beneficial towards the practical tasks that men were responsible for throughout history, and because the qualities complement each other in allowing one to fulfill those roles.

"In any event, as I said before, the edge which males' ability to physically dominate women has given them ("us," I should say) no doubt made typically male *forms* of intelligence more highly valued."

First of all, there's no causation between these two things. Secondly, males do not use their physical abilities to dominate their female counterparts, they've used their abilities to dominate nature and other males - very often in protection of their female counterparts. Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better. One is objectively greater in practical value than the other, and that's why even in a female-oriented education system it's the form of intelligence we focus on instilling in our youth. It has nothing to do with stacking decks and everything to do with practical value.
Robert
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 8:37am (UTC -6)
"No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. "

Actually it does in a lot of ways. Considering we were talking about sports and chess and I can't think of one that was invented by a woman. So in some spheres it clearly matters. Obviously Einstein is going to be awesome by any standards.

"No he doesn't."
"1) There are other differences."

Deep thoughtful rebuttals here.

"2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said."

There's overlap. Male activists are often proponents of male exceptionalism in the workforce (ie the concept that because males are so awesome at the things that society needs for the most part and women are so awesome at babies that men should go out and make the money while women stay home barefoot and pregnant). I'm not trying to paint you as one of those people, but there is overlap in MRA arguments and what's being said here. If you disagree go Google "Mens Rights Activism".

"Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength."

You're going to see in a minute why this truism is so important....

"There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields."

Any proof on that besides correlation? The fact that there are few women in STEM does not mean men are better at STEM unless you remove all other variables from the equation. The reason I constantly cite correlation!=causation is because it's a really simple concept that few people actually are capable of processing because they think they understand data. But if you have proof beyond correlation I'd love to see it.

"No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that."

Some of these arguments are preposterous, others slightly more interesting (though I won't say better). First of all, sodomy is still against the law in some places technically but we have universal gay marriage. I think there may even still be anti-interracial marriage laws still on the books, though a few places dealt with that a few years ago so maybe they are all gone now. The draft laws haven't been updated because we've had an all volunteer army for 50+ years. Old outdated laws tend to sit around gathering dust. If someone tried to arrest someone for having a blow job in their own house I promise that law would be addressed. And if the draft were ever to be reinstated it would be reexamined. For all intents and purposes unless you're retired, you've never seriously worried about being drafted.

I think circumcision is stupid, but I'm not sure it has a bearing here. People are allowed to all number of stupider things to their kids (especially in the name of religion... which is the origin of circumcision). That's more an issue of children not having any rights to protect them against stupidity than it has to do with gender differences. For God's sake kids have died because their parents don't believe in blood transfusions or vaccinations! I'd be all for taking away parent's ability to be stupid.

Now that I've wasted breath on some of the more ridiculous nonsense I'll get to the actual meat of that which is that the deck is stacked against boys but they are so awesome at STEM that they rise above that. To support you cite that the majority of college graduates are girls but the majority of STEM graduates are boys. This is still, largely, a substance less argument based on correlation. It's actually an interesting thought that academia in general is leaving more boys behind and it's entirely possible that it's true. That doesn't necessarily prove that "the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)" but it probably is a problem that needs addressing. That said... how does women graduating at a higher rate then men prove that STEM fields are not stacked against women? These data points are not even related. I could use it to "prove" the opposite! STEM is SOOOO stacked against women that even though there are more women in college and more women graduating college there are so little women in STEM fields. That's how stacked it is!

This is why taking 2 different sets of data points and correlating them together to make an argument is pointless. You need to have something else backing up your assertion!

"Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet. "

Your right, you have not! I do not yet see the beginning of an argument. I see a lot of random thoughts, opinions and unrelated data points though.

"Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "

I can give you a real world example and a possibly hypothesis for how this is not necessarily true. In my field, a STEM field, most of the professors/text book authors are male. Perhaps, as you say, most of academia is stacked against boys. This might make sense if girls and boys brains worked differently. After all women are the primary educators in the lower grades (until I hit high school I was probably running 90% women... and until I hit 7th grade I was at 100% women teachers). So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might) all of the teaching and testing might be in a way that's easier for girls, since girls are the ones making the lessons/tests. So back to my field. Is it not possible that it's harder for women in these classes the same way it is for men in other classes? And when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part? In the Seven Sisters colleges they fill their STEM classes. Often taught be women as well. But I will say that as a manager in a STEM field I find mixed groups tend to come up with more creative solutions to problems. It can be a lot of things but in my feeling male "forms" of intelligence in my field are not better but just different. Having different views on a problem is a good thing. I wish I could hire more women at my company because I value their contributions to their teams.

In conclusion your argument thinks very highly of evolution and the natural order but concludes that we reached these societal divisions in gender because they are for the best. With all due respect... I think that's a lot of crap. Evolution does not take place over such a short period of time and the truth is that my brain would have been useless a century ago. Nobody would have wanted me to go to school for engineering. As a man I'd have been responsible for working on the farm or some other manually labor most likely. Sure there were always scientists but in reality men worked and women did babies because people had broods and the work was very physical. When we switched to more people doing office jobs women kept doing babies because that's what they had been doing.... but they had been doing that because they were more suited to babies than they were to physical labor! That was your evolution! It has nothing to do with STEM. There weren't tens of thousands of yearly STEM graduates 100 years ago!

You want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today. Because that suits your world view. Not because you have any facts to back it up.
William B
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 10:16am (UTC -6)
@Robert, hear hear.

Also, one presumes that the deck cannot be stacked against boys, because we have evolved this system and therefore it is the best. Just as this episode is the product of the whole of human evolution, and is therefore the best.

To be fair, though, I actually agree that there are specific areas, some of them very important, in which men are (if I could use that term) discriminated against. That men are drafted to fight in wars (frequently against their own interests) is tragic, though not specifically because women are not. However, I think that men are drafted or circumcised or whatever has little bearing on the question of why there are a greater number of male leaders than female.

As for women in STEM fields, look: If we are looking at anything but the very recent past, women did not have the opportunities that men had. Emmy Noether, maybe the most brilliant mathematician of the 20th century, had to work without pay for years and years and even after gaining approval from the most renowed mathematicians of the age had to lecture under Hilbert's name until 1919 because the philosophy department refused entry to a woman. University math and science departments are still frequently hostile to women -- fellow grad students who were female have indicated which male professors they simply have to avoid for fear of sexual harrassment, which limits career options. The point is not that the male dominance of STEM fields is necessarily 100% the result of discrimination, but I strongly disagree with the notion that relative historical and even recent absence of notable female figures in STEM proves that women lack potential in those fields and thus that we know that girls suck at math generally.
William B
Mon, Apr 25, 2016, 10:19am (UTC -6)
Though of course Robert is right about the draft in the US in particular -- since the draft has not been invoked and is not likely to be invoked (or at least, that is how it seems to me), it has no current bearing. Insofar as it has historical bearing, so does the fact that women had no right to vote until the early 20th century, and any number of other limitations on women's rights which have since been amended.
James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 9:12am (UTC -6)
""No. Society, first of all, doesn't have parameters for greatness. It has qualities which are more practical, or less, for the aim of achieving greatness. And it's those practicality which define what qualities are valuable. "
Actually it does in a lot of ways. Considering we were talking about sports and chess and I can't think of one that was invented by a woman. So in some spheres it clearly matters. Obviously Einstein is going to be awesome by any standards."

And in all of those spheres, it's directly tied into practical skills for achieving the intended goal.


"No he doesn't."
"1) There are other differences."
"Deep thoughtful rebuttals here."

I had already explained why he doesn't.


""2) This has nothing to do with "male activism", and neither does anything DLPB said."
There's overlap. Male activists are often proponents of male exceptionalism in the workforce (ie the concept that because males are so awesome at the things that society needs for the most part and women are so awesome at babies that men should go out and make the money while women stay home barefoot and pregnant)."

Try not to poison the well some more with this nonsense. There's a distinction between the act of advocating or engaging in activism for men's rights, and a person being a traditionalist. They can do both at once, but that doesn't make the two concepts inherently related.


"I'm not trying to paint you as one of those people, but there is overlap in MRA arguments and what's being said here. If you disagree go Google "Mens Rights Activism".

"Those people... who advocate for the advancement of the rights of men."

I am a men's rights advocate. I'm also a women's rights advocate. Those are pretty much two essential ingredients to being a human rights advocate. Which is itself a pretty essential ingredient to being a humanist.


""Amazing truism. It doesn't negate the fact that there are differences beyond physical strength."
You're going to see in a minute why this truism is so important...."
"There is a difference between men and women when it comes to mental ability. And the difference is that on a scale of intelligence, women trend toward the middle, while men have a wider trend. Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields."
Any proof on that besides correlation? The fact that there are few women in STEM does not mean men are better at STEM unless you remove all other variables from the equation."

I didn't say men were "better at STEM". I said they're more often interested in STEM. And the fact that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence, is itself causation for men more often getting the top positions in intellectually strenuous fields of work.


""No it hasn't. They are the ones who have the most government assistance, are politically represented without having to consent to being forced into war, and are the ones that actually have greater legal rights. Not just in regards to voting, but in regards to reproductive rights, and the right to not have one's genitals mutilated at birth. And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework). Which is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates. Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields, the ones they more often take interest in and the ones that are arguably the most intellectually challenging. Funny, that."
"Some of these arguments are preposterous, others slightly more interesting (though I won't say better). First of all, sodomy is still against the law in some places technically but we have universal gay marriage. I think there may even still be anti-interracial marriage laws still on the books, though a few places dealt with that a few years ago so maybe they are all gone now. The draft laws haven't been updated because we've had an all volunteer army for 50+ years. Old outdated laws tend to sit around gathering dust. If someone tried to arrest someone for having a blow job in their own house I promise that law would be addressed. And if the draft were ever to be reinstated it would be reexamined. For all intents and purposes unless you're retired, you've never seriously worried about being drafted."

That's entirely besides the point. For one thing, that may be the circumstances now, but that's not what they were not that long ago. No matter which way you look at it, women do have a superior right to vote. They're not obligated into that system on the basis of their gender. They don't get refused basic rights and services for choosing not to participate in it.


"Now that I've wasted breath on some of the more ridiculous nonsense I'll get to the actual meat of that which is that the deck is stacked against boys but they are so awesome at STEM that they rise above that."

That's not even what I said.


"To support you cite that the majority of college graduates are girls but the majority of STEM graduates are boys. This is still, largely, a substance less argument based on correlation."

I said that "the education system actually is stacked against boys" and that this "is reflected in the fact that men are the minority of college graduates". I then said, "Yet, despite the fact that you deny any inherent differences beyond physical ability, they still massively dominate STEM fields".
Meaning the fact that there's less men than women, and still more men and STEM than women in STEM, is evidence of a difference between the sexes beyond physical ability. It's literally all right there, in plain text.


"It's actually an interesting thought that academia in general is leaving more boys behind and it's entirely possible that it's true. That doesn't necessarily prove that "the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)" but it probably is a problem that needs addressing."

I didn't say that was proof of it, I said that that was a reflection of it. I didn't explain how the education system is stacked against boys, I was listing things out.
This quote, "And there are many more disparities, like the fact that the education system actually is stacked against boys (both by human bias and by the institutional framework)", references the two ways in which the education system favors girls.


"That said... how does women graduating at a higher rate then men prove that STEM fields are not stacked against women?"

Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant. That or you favor the tactic of overwhelming your adversary with endless misrepresentation and fallacy. I didn't make that argument.

If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference.
(https://www.nsf.gov/attachments/134059/public/PNAS-2015-Williams-141887811 2.pdf)


"These data points are not even related."

You're right, they're not.


"I could use it to "prove" the opposite! STEM is SOOOO stacked against women that even though there are more women in college and more women graduating college there are so little women in STEM fields. That's how stacked it is!"

i suppose that's why it's a pretty ramshackle straw-argument, innit?


""Tell me more about how the deck is stacked against women, because I haven't even gotten started yet. "
Your right, you have not! I do not yet see the beginning of an argument. I see a lot of random thoughts, opinions and unrelated data points though."

In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.

Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating.


""Thirdly, "typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "
I can give you a real world example and a possibly hypothesis for how this is not necessarily true. In my field, a STEM field, most of the professors/text book authors are male. Perhaps, as you say, most of academia is stacked against boys. This might make sense if girls and boys brains worked differently. After all women are the primary educators in the lower grades (until I hit high school I was probably running 90% women... and until I hit 7th grade I was at 100% women teachers). So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)"

Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me.


"all of the teaching and testing might be in a way that's easier for girls, since girls are the ones making the lessons/tests. So back to my field. Is it not possible that it's harder for women in these classes the same way it is for men in other classes?"

Questions like these have actually been studied pretty thoroughly. Sure, there are classes the genders naturally gravitate toward. That, if you recall, was a point of mine regarding the fact that there's differences in the mind between the sexes. As I corrected you on earlier, I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men.

If two groups have opposite trends in preference between two different choices, this doesn't mean either choice is "stacked against" either group.


"And when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?"

No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it.


"In the Seven Sisters colleges they fill their STEM classes. Often taught be women as well. But I will say that as a manager in a STEM field I find mixed groups tend to come up with more creative solutions to problems. It can be a lot of things but in my feeling male "forms" of intelligence in my field are not better but just different."

I don't see "forms" of intelligence as gendered, and I didn't argue that they were.


"Having different views on a problem is a good thing. I wish I could hire more women at my company because I value their contributions to their teams.
In conclusion your argument thinks very highly of evolution and the natural order but concludes that we reached these societal divisions in gender because they are for the best."

No, that's actually not what I think. We reached these societal divisions in gender because they've been the most working models for a long time. My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology. (Pause to self-reflect there.)


"With all due respect... I think that's a lot of crap. Evolution does not take place over such a short period of time and the truth is that my brain would have been useless a century ago. Nobody would have wanted me to go to school for engineering. As a man I'd have been responsible for working on the farm or some other manually labor most likely. Sure there were always scientists but in reality men worked and women did babies because people had broods and the work was very physical."

Yes, exactly what I said. We went through physical and mental dimorphism because it worked for us, because of the various pressures we had to survive. And all of this is in regards to my simple point that women and men - are different. In ways beyond just physical dimorphism, which you already agreed with. Now you're once again doodling all over the page, and mashing everything that's been spoken about into this straw-blob of conflated amalgam.


"When we switched to more people doing office jobs women kept doing babies because that's what they had been doing.... but they had been doing that because they were more suited to babies than they were to physical labor! That was your evolution! It has nothing to do with STEM. There weren't tens of thousands of yearly STEM graduates 100 years ago!"

You're the one who combined those things into this absolute mess of a strawman.


"You want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today."

I have not said a single thing even suggesting this. You're all over the place, dude.


"Because that suits your world view. Not because you have any facts to back it up."

You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. And now we're here, and you got this sophistic protoplasm all over my new shoes.

Thx.
James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 9:29am (UTC -6)
"Also, one presumes that the deck cannot be stacked against boys,"

I didn't presume it, I gave reasons for thinking so.


"because we have evolved this system and therefore it is the best. Just as this episode is the product of the whole of human evolution, and is therefore the best."

Not analogous to any of the arguments I made, or any of the positions I expressed.


"To be fair, though, I actually agree that there are specific areas, some of them very important, in which men are (if I could use that term) discriminated against."

I know, it's such a taboo. I mean, you might be called a piece of filth men's rights advocate!


"That men are drafted to fight in wars (frequently against their own interests) is tragic, though not specifically because women are not."

I didn't say they should be, I said they had a superior right to vote, which they objectively do. Meaning men should not have to either.


"However, I think that men are drafted or circumcised or whatever has little bearing on the question of why there are a greater number of male leaders than female."

Yeah, you're right, it does have little bearing on that. Nobody said it had any. What I said that has bearing on that topic, is that it's a part of our dimorphism that males more often have qualities we would describe now as beneficial for leadership, and that men more often have interest in assuming a leadership or other high-status role.


"As for women in STEM fields, look: If we are looking at anything but the very recent past, women did not have the opportunities that men had. Emmy Noether, maybe the most brilliant mathematician of the 20th century, had to work without pay for years and years and even after gaining approval from the most renowed mathematicians of the age had to lecture under Hilbert's name until 1919 because the philosophy department refused entry to a woman. University math and science departments are still frequently hostile to women -- fellow grad students who were female have indicated which male professors they simply have to avoid for fear of sexual harrassment, which limits career options. The point is not that the male dominance of STEM fields is necessarily 100% the result of discrimination, but I strongly disagree with the notion that relative historical and even recent absence of notable female figures in STEM proves that women lack potential in those fields and thus that we know that girls suck at math generally."

I never said either of those two things, or even implied them.

I said - and I repeat for the nth time now - men have a wider range of intellect than women (so if you choose one of the dumbest or the smartest people at random, you're more likely to get a man; men occupy the lowest and highest tiers), and men display interest in STEM fields more often than women. I then said that this is why there are more men in STEM fields and more male professors in STEM fields.

Sure, in the past STEM fields were arguably stacked against women. But now women receive a 2:1 hiring preference over men in STEM fields, no doubt because people want to get more women into STEM. That's not what a field stacked against a certain group of people looks like.


"Though of course Robert is right about the draft in the US in particular -- since the draft has not been invoked and is not likely to be invoked (or at least, that is how it seems to me), it has no current bearing."

Whether or not it will likely be invoked again, has no bearing on whether or not it is a system which discriminates against men and gives women a superior voting right.


"Insofar as it has historical bearing, so does the fact that women had no right to vote until the early 20th century, and any number of other limitations on women's rights which have since been amended."

Then so does the fact that most men didn't have the right to vote either, and any number of limitations on men's rights which have yet to be amended.

I'm perfectly fine with that.
Robert
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 10:34am (UTC -6)
"Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant."

It's funny... that's my opinion of much of your argument. What frustrates me is that

1) You present unproven opinions as facts : Example - "the FACT that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence". Or at the very least if you have magical proof of this you failed to note where I asked you for some and then did not provide it.

2) And you bring together data points that are not proven to be related and tie them together : Example - "If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference." Pro-tip, the fact that the few women that manage to graduate from a field that is stacked against them are damned good at what they do should not be shocking and is NOT evidence for the field not being stacked against them.

"In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.

Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating."

I actually don't know what to say to this. It is not possible to argue that the deck is not stacked against women because boys are circumcised or because nobody has challenged an old draft law (because of it's extreme unlikeliness to ever be activated) over it's offending of modern gender sensibilities. It just doesn't have a bearing on the subject. Even if you could prove that these things indicated male discrimination (which I could possible even get behind) that doesn't say anything about female discrimination. Which is the subject. This isn't some bizarre calculus. You can't use random points of discrimination on both sides of the equation and say they cancel each other out!!! Especially when I explained why circumcision really doesn't count (parents abuse little boys and girls fairly equally under the guise of religious tolerance... this is a minor's rights issue, not a male rights issue) and I assure you that in the unlikely event we moved away from robots and back to people serving in war and we needed a draft that the gender discrimination inherent in there would be easily challenged. It's hardly "superior voting rights". That's a specious argument. This is still analogous to the ridiculous anti-sodomy laws that nobody takes off the books because nobody has challenged them. You could probably argue gender-discrimination of the draft before the Supreme Court and win....

"Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me."

I do agree to an extent. I think it's much like the way a program can be ported to run on my Android and your iPhone though (apologies if you don't have an iPhone, it's just an example). I don't think it's better, just different.

"I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men."

I'm a little confused in a way that may require re-reading the entire thread, although that'd be mighty painful at this point. I'm fairly certain when you said "Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields. " that you were trying to say that men's tendency to have more men be on the high end of intelligent biologically is responsible for their high achievement in STEM, not any deck stacking against women. Is that not what you were trying to say?

But more to the point, STEM is the entire point of the conversation you have chosen to chime in on. At least it is to me. There are really 2 things that have gone on in this thread as far as my understanding of it, so feel free to chime in if you feel differently.

1) There has been a lot of discussion about if gender differences in the achievement gap for the average case is based on society stacking the deck against women or not.

2) There has been a lot of discussion as to why the edge cases don't exist for females (and if they do... in some cases I argued that they did).

3) And possibly as a third thing if 1) has any bearing on 2).

I'd personally like to remove physical differences from MY part of the conversation. You and I are both perfectly capable of agreeing (I think) that men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities in anything where being small and flexible isn't a benefit. So discussing physical edge cases or average cases seems rather pointless. Britney Grimer could probably kick our combined ass at basketball and LeBron could beat her with ease. That's not to take away anything from female edge cases in physicality, they are quite impressive, but these are sports in which male characteristics are desirable.

So then we have the achievement gap. Well when we're talking edge cases DLPB is talking Einstein, Feynman and Kasparov. Science, science and math. STEM. Art is easier. I can find you really well known female artists and authors. Maybe not AS MANY as men, but again... women were home raising the kids, we might have missed out on some brilliant female artists and authors, right?

So then you have the basic case achievement gap. Of which you've probably got 3 possibilities. Power positions (politics and high management), earnings and (again) STEM. I actually think the earnings argument has too many factors in it to actually be good, so I'd like to scratch that one. Statistics with too many variables is painful and I feel some of the tossed around quotes on this subject are subject to bad statistics as well. I'm not saying there isn't an "earnings gap", I just don't want to get into it.

So you have that on the base and edge case women are under-represented in STEM, politics and management. I say that it's because "when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?" (feel free to substitute in politics or management for STEM in that sentence). You say "No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it."

So you dismiss my argument outright with no facts. Just "No." If there was a female Einstein we'd have met her because she'd have found a way. Even if her Middle Eastern father refused to send her to college. Or she wasn't raised in a family where college for girls was an expectation. Or she was afraid to raise her hand in math class "www.nytimes.com/1993/11/24/technology/to-help-girls-keep-up-math-class-wit hout-boys.html?pagewanted=all"

"My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology."

I'd be interested to hear any of that.

"You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. "

You do realize you've criticized me more for making multiple points than you have defended your own... But beyond all that you seem to think that ""typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better. "

So men can land spacecraft on a comet and women are better nurturers. But my assertion that you "want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today." is bonkers?

You spend your entire post heavily implying things and then tell me I'm bonkers for reading those things into what you say. Which is bonkers. Sure perhaps you don't specifically mean "babies" when you say "the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better". Maybe you think that they'd make good social workers and teachers too. But you sure don't mean that women are better at landing spacecrafts on comets. But then I'm crazy for talking about STEM. Because that's clearly not implied in your post. And the fact that you can't prove that women's "form of intelligence" is less good at landing spacecrafts on comets is irrelevant. You just know there can't be any societal factors in there?

Or am I misreading things again?
James
Fri, Apr 29, 2016, 6:35pm (UTC -6)
""Again, you're connecting dots spatially nearby but numerically distant."
It's funny... that's my opinion of much of your argument. What frustrates me is that
1) You present unproven opinions as facts : Example - "the FACT that men dominate the populations of the highest and lowest intelligence". Or at the very least if you have magical proof of this you failed to note where I asked you for some and then did not provide it."

There's a lot of information available online in regards to the observation of higher degrees of variability in males. The intelligence bell-curve I've been referencing is just one aspect of that.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-how-and-why-sex-differences/201101 /how-can-there-still-be-sex-difference-even-when-there-is


"2) And you bring together data points that are not proven to be related and tie them together : Example - "If I intended to show how STEM fields aren't stacked against women, I'd have linked you to the study showing that women received a 2-1 hiring preference in STEM fields, with the exception of economists, who showed no preference." Pro-tip, the fact that the few women that manage to graduate from a field that is stacked against them are damned good at what they do should not be shocking and is NOT evidence for the field not being stacked against them."

They receive a 2-1 hiring preference for having the same qualifications and experience. Which DOES indicate that the field is not being stacked against them, and that there are active efforts to bring more women into positions within the field.
https://www.nsf.gov/attachments/134059/public/PNAS-2015-Williams-1418878112 .pdf (same link as before)
"The main experiment (n = 363: 182 women, 181 men) consisted of a between-subjects contest between identically qualified female and male applicants for an assistant professor-ship who shared academic credentials and lifestyles (plus the Y foil candidate). The six lifestyles studied were single without children, married without children, married with children and stay-at-home spouse, married with children and spouse working outside home, married with children and spouse working inside home, and divorced with children. Candidates’ children were always described as two preschoolers. A random stratified sampling procedure was used (SI Appendix). Our data revealed an overall strong preference for female applicants over identically qualified males who shared the same lifestyle (Fig. 1). This preference for women was observed across all three Carnegie classifications of institutions, all four fields, and both genders of faculty, with the exception of male economists (see following)."

And I agree with the authors of the paper here, that the myth of sexism being pervasive in STEM (or, more specifically to this discussion, that STEM is stacked against women) is itself one of the factors in the perpetuation of this drought of women in STEM. In fact, around the 70s-80s was the peak of women in STEM, and not long after the claims of pervasive sexism in STEM began, began the downward descent toward the current trough of women in STEM:

"Once hired, women prosper in the STEM professoriate (14, 16–18): They are remunerated, persist, and are promoted at rates roughly comparable to men’s (14) after controlling for observable characteristics, including academic productivity. However, to be hired and eventually tenured, women must first apply. Unfortunately, despite their success once hired, women apply for tenure-track positions in far smaller percentages than their male graduate student counterparts (14, 16, 18). Why might this be? One reason may be omnipresent discouraging messages about sexism in hiring, but does current evidence support such messages? Despite this question’s centrality to any informed discussion about women’s underrepresentation in academic science, only one experimental study (7) contrasted faculty ratings of the relative “hirability” of hypothetical identically qualified women and men. Results showed that both female and male psychology faculty members downgraded a hypothetical woman’s academic record compared with an identical man’s. However, this study was published 16 years ago and involved only one field, psychology, a discipline that is more than 50% female (14)."


""In response to my series of points regarding how the deck is not stacked against women in western society, you called them preposterous, and then tried to argue that I shouldn't care about gender-discriminating voting laws, and that circumcision is "stupid" and you essentially agree with me, but it has no bearing on the subject.
Then you say I have not presented an argument. Fascinating."
I actually don't know what to say to this. It is not possible to argue that the deck is not stacked against women because boys are circumcised or because nobody has challenged an old draft law (because of it's extreme unlikeliness to ever be activated) over it's offending of modern gender sensibilities. It just doesn't have a bearing on the subject. Even if you could prove that these things indicated male discrimination (which I could possible even get behind) that doesn't say anything about female discrimination. Which is the subject. This isn't some bizarre calculus. You can't use random points of discrimination on both sides of the equation and say they cancel each other out!!! Especially when I explained why circumcision really doesn't count (parents abuse little boys and girls fairly equally under the guise of religious tolerance... this is a minor's rights issue, not a male rights issue)"

It's both a minor's rights issue, and a men's rights issue. For one thing, circumcision is arguably completely absent any religious aspect except for Jewish people, and even more and more Jewish people are substituting the circumcision ritual with one that doesn't involve genital cutting. It didn't get its inception in the US because Christians still believed themselves to have an obligation to engage in the Jewish tradition, it got its inception from Puritanical values leading people to mutilate their boys to discourage masturbation. One of the people leading the push for this practice was John Harvey Kellogg, the corn flakes guy. He advocated for it to be performed without pain-reducing treatment so that contact with the penis would be psychologically associated with intense pain. He also advocated for girls to have their clitorises treated with acid to discourage sexual activity from them as well. It's a men's rights issue because, despite there being the same "justification" for treating their clitorises with acid, infant girls are protected from genital mutilation. Infant boys routinely undergo it, and have their foreskins sold to cosmetic manufacturers to be used to make various creams and lotions. All justified on baseless religious grounds, by medical bunk, and by aesthetic preference. I agree that parents should have their "right to be stupid", as you put it, cut down to size, but to say that this isn't a rights disparity faced by men on the basis of their sex is simply false. The obligation to the covenant of circumcision, for Christians, is tossed out with the rest of the Old Testament laws. Such as "don't eat shrimp" and "don't wear mixed fabrics". It doesn't have ground to stand on as far as religious background goes.

That being said, it's pretty simple why I made these points. The claim was that society's deck is stacked against women, by men, for men. I listed out facts which are evidence that the deck is not stacked for men, and if anything it's stacked against them. Which would indicate that if the deck is not working in women's favor, it's not because it's been stacked against them. It's because the deck is garbage - for everybody. Certainly not especially so for women.


"and I assure you that in the unlikely event we moved away from robots and back to people serving in war and we needed a draft that the gender discrimination inherent in there would be easily challenged. It's hardly "superior voting rights"."

Hardly? It's an objectively superior voting right.


"That's a specious argument. This is still analogous to the ridiculous anti-sodomy laws that nobody takes off the books because nobody has challenged them. You could probably argue gender-discrimination of the draft before the Supreme Court and win...."

I already pointed out that this is a rights disparity which results in men who do not participate in the offending system, being refused basic rights and public services. There are still consequences to not signing up for Selective Service, even though they stopped prosecuting for it about three decades ago. So no, it's really not analogous to an obsolete law against sodomy, because people who engage in sodomy anyways are not systemically denied the right to vote, the right to drive, and are not rendered ineligible for various public services.


""Right there. "So if women and men's brains work differently (which I actually think they might)". Way back when you were drawing a jagged smiley face on your connect-the-dots puzzle, I was arguing that there is a difference between the sexes beyond physical attributes like strength and flexibility. Here you even agree with me."
I do agree to an extent. I think it's much like the way a program can be ported to run on my Android and your iPhone though (apologies if you don't have an iPhone, it's just an example). I don't think it's better, just different."

I agree that it's not better, just different. In fact I would say that the difference itself makes the human species as a whole better. And that our differences should be cherished as the complementary parts of humanity's whole that they are, rather than denied.


""I never tried arguing against the specific claim that STEM was stacked against women (until earlier in this comment at least). I was arguing that society wasn't stacked against women, and for men."
I'm a little confused in a way that may require re-reading the entire thread, although that'd be mighty painful at this point. I'm fairly certain when you said "Meaning that both the dumbest and the smartest tend to be men, while women trend toward the intellectual middle-ground. And this does cause an achievement gap. Among other things. It gives men a leg up in intellectually strenuous fields like those in STEM, and they're also more inclined towards taking an interest in those fields. " that you were trying to say that men's tendency to have more men be on the high end of intelligent biologically is responsible for their high achievement in STEM, not any deck stacking against women. Is that not what you were trying to say?"

No, I made that point after you assumed that's what I was talking about (and responded to me as such). Before you replied to me I was making the point that there are mental differences between men and women, because I was arguing against something someone else had said earlier in the thread.


"But more to the point, STEM is the entire point of the conversation you have chosen to chime in on."

I've chimed in on a variety of points made in this thread, but before you and I started our exchange I don't believe anything I was arguing against had to do with STEM. I spoke about society as a whole (men in particular) not actually stacking the deck against women, and I spoke about men and women having mental differences as well as physical differences, rather than just physical differences as someone claimed.


"At least it is to me. There are really 2 things that have gone on in this thread as far as my understanding of it, so feel free to chime in if you feel differently.
1) There has been a lot of discussion about if gender differences in the achievement gap for the average case is based on society stacking the deck against women or not.
2) There has been a lot of discussion as to why the edge cases don't exist for females (and if they do... in some cases I argued that they did).
3) And possibly as a third thing if 1) has any bearing on 2)."

I would say this is probably a pretty accurate representation of the main points being discussed in the thread. Some of the things I chimed in on were in regards to more tangential things mentioned by people in the thread, besides those main points of discussion. In my initial post, I used quotes so it would be more apparent that I was speaking about specific things people have said.


"I'd personally like to remove physical differences from MY part of the conversation. You and I are both perfectly capable of agreeing (I think) that men are typically larger and testosterone filled which improves athletic abilities in anything where being small and flexible isn't a benefit."

Sure.


"So discussing physical edge cases or average cases seems rather pointless. Britney Grimer could probably kick our combined ass at basketball and LeBron could beat her with ease. That's not to take away anything from female edge cases in physicality, they are quite impressive, but these are sports in which male characteristics are desirable.
So then we have the achievement gap. Well when we're talking edge cases DLPB is talking Einstein, Feynman and Kasparov. Science, science and math. STEM. Art is easier. I can find you really well known female artists and authors. Maybe not AS MANY as men, but again... women were home raising the kids, we might have missed out on some brilliant female artists and authors, right?"

I can agree with that.


"So then you have the basic case achievement gap. Of which you've probably got 3 possibilities. Power positions (politics and high management), earnings and (again) STEM. I actually think the earnings argument has too many factors in it to actually be good, so I'd like to scratch that one. Statistics with too many variables is painful and I feel some of the tossed around quotes on this subject are subject to bad statistics as well. I'm not saying there isn't an "earnings gap", I just don't want to get into it."

I don't see there as being a wage-gap based on discrimination, I see there as being an earnings gap based on heavily influential factors mainly in the realm of personal choice. But we don't have to get into that.


"So you have that on the base and edge case women are under-represented in STEM, politics and management. I say that it's because "when you add in the cultural biases that make STEM intimidating for women couldn't you see that playing a part?" (feel free to substitute in politics or management for STEM in that sentence). You say "No. People with a passion for something don't get held back from that thing due to nebulous "cultural biases" discouraging them from pursuing it."
So you dismiss my argument outright with no facts. Just "No." If there was a female Einstein we'd have met her because she'd have found a way. Even if her Middle Eastern father refused to send her to college. Or she wasn't raised in a family where college for girls was an expectation. Or she was afraid to raise her hand in math class "www.nytimes.com/1993/11/24/technology/to-help-girls-keep-up-math-class-wit hout-boys.html?pagewanted=all""

I completely concede that in the past, not even a distant past, women had less freedom to pursue their interests. But nowadays that's not so much the case, and in the context of the present, I would say that yes, we have come to the degree of personal freedom that an individual's intense passion would overcome what little cultural pressures remain to inhibit them from pursuing those passions. Maybe that's naive of me to think, but I don't think so. You're right that someone raised in an intensely traditional environment has more cultural pressure to contend with than someone who wasn't. But that is increasingly becoming a rarity, and the institutions themselves have already evolved past the infinitesimal knuckle-dragging minority of people who genuinely seek to typecast the youth into traditional gender roles. You're right though, I shouldn't have dismissed your question so offhandedly like that. I apologize.


""My advocacy actually expresses opinions and feelings very much against tradition and the biases ingrained into our evolutionary psychology."
I'd be interested to hear any of that."

I would say that simply advocating for men's rights and expressing the observation that the world is not stacked against women are themselves very divergent concepts from that which our evolutionary psychology has developed a bias for. Simply recognizing men's vulnerabilities and the ways in which they as a group get the short stick, is very much against our natural intuitive biases of women being a class in need of protection and deserving of pedestalization, and men being a class of disposable, independent people who do the protecting (and harming). Just look at how the very concept of men's rights advocacy is demonized, trivialized, and ridiculed online. It's an open display of cognitive dissonance.


""You don't know anything about my worldview. You responded as if the concept of making more than one point and talking about more than one thing in a single post is completely foreign to you. "
You do realize you've criticized me more for making multiple points than you have defended your own..."

Actually, I was being critical of how you conflated and mixed points that I made and topics I was speaking on, and responded accordingly. It results in miscommunication and my words being misrepresented. I take responsibility for that, though. I could have been clearer in my initial comment as to what I was talking about, and when what I was talking about shifted to something else. So, I'll own that and apologize.


"But beyond all that you seem to think that ""typically male" forms of intelligence are valuable not because men have been dominant and have stacked the deck in their favor, but because they are valuable for practical purposes. "We're contrasting the form of intelligence which has allowed us to land a spacecraft on a comet, to the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better."
So men can land spacecraft on a comet and women are better nurturers. But my assertion that you "want it to be true that because men were better at the most valuable non-baby job 100 years ago that they are still better at the most valuable non-baby job today." is bonkers?"

Actually, when I said "we're contrasting the form of intelligence...", I was addressing them without the gender attribution, essentially saying "we're not contrasting male and female forms of intelligence, we're contrasting this kind of intelligence and this other kind of intelligence". I made the point that men, who do typically trend towards one form of intelligence, did not come to their place of historical power through physical domination. I said they came to that place of power not by physically dominating women, but because they are more inclined towards striving for positions of leadership and high-status (this is actually a directly causal effect of having more testosterone), and because they trended towards a form of intelligence that was of great practical use for facilitating a position of leadership.
And yes, these divides still exist today, when people have more individual freedom to take what path in life they choose. Men are still more often engineers, scientists, large-scale leaders (women actually have an advantage - again, evolutionarily based - in community leadership, and this is reflected in the forms of leadership they trend towards pursuing), and hard laborers. Women still predominate schooling, community organization, professional childcare, psychology, pediatrics, etc. I wouldn't put it as "men are better at non-baby jobs", because that would be an oversimplification of what I'm pointing to: a evolutionarily rooted divergence between the genders in trends of interests, natural skills, passions, and pursuits. The interests, natural skills, passions, and pursuits men display trends in, are what led to men taking on those positions of power. Not physical dominance, which is what I was arguing against.


"You spend your entire post heavily implying things and then tell me I'm bonkers for reading those things into what you say. Which is bonkers. Sure perhaps you don't specifically mean "babies" when you say "the form of intelligence which allows us to emotionally empathize better". Maybe you think that they'd make good social workers and teachers too. But you sure don't mean that women are better at landing spacecrafts on comets."

Should I? I don't think they're worse at it either, I just see them as less often doing so because of biologically-ingrained difference trends between the sexes.


"But then I'm crazy for talking about STEM. Because that's clearly not implied in your post. And the fact that you can't prove that women's "form of intelligence" is less good at landing spacecrafts on comets is irrelevant."

I'm the one in this thread who addressed the different forms of intelligence without the attribution to gender, first of all. And yes, the form of intelligence women trend more often than men towards is, in fact, worse at landing spacecrafts on comets than the technical, mathematical forms of intelligence men more often trend towards.

In other words, the kind of intelligence that makes one an effective teacher, social worker, community organizer, or psychologist, is obviously less practical for landing spacecrafts on comets than the kind of intelligence that makes one an effective mathematician or engineer. I don't need to prove that, it's pretty self-evident.

But yeah, all of that really is irrelevant to what I actually said because I was making an argument against the claim that men maintained their historical position of social power through physical dominance.

Also, in early humanity's hunter-gathering societies, there was more often a matriarchal social structure (male-led societies took off around the agricultural revolution). Because women evolved to trend towards the form of intelligence which makes them good community leaders, and because of evolutionarily rooted biases towards the pedestalization (and often deification) of women. This is literally the same argument I made for how men didn't come to their positions of power through physical dominance, but just on the flipped side of the coin, explaining how women came to their positions of power without physical dominance.

I think I have explained everything I was saying with the utmost clarity at this point. Again, I apologize if it was the way I wrote that caused the conflation and confusion here. Hopefully now everything's clearer and I won't feel compelled to respond again.
Chrome
Sat, Apr 30, 2016, 12:04am (UTC -6)
I don't think this episode was ever trying to give any searing commentary on Earth's society's current treatment of gender. If anything, it's sort of like looking into a mirror of human societies of the early 20th century (in terms of discrimination) but gender-flipped. Overall the message is thoroughly hammy, but if you view the show as a comedy, it works on some levels (Gosh, *poor* Riker).

As for this James-Robert discussion, the crux of the argument seems to be "Things aren't really that bad for women in our society and men suffer from Affirmative Action" with Robert flatly denying this pointing out how hard women have it.

I will say this: history has taught us that the shackles of discrimination can and will be abused by those in power. Whenever it's possible, a gender neutral law is best, and when that's not possible, laws that discriminate based only on tried, tested, and verifiable reasons can work but under scrutiny.

Yes, at one point men weren't allowed to attend schools to be nurses, but women unquestionably have had it much worse and it's only now that things are getting *almost* equal.
Ivanov
Fri, May 6, 2016, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
Mixed opinion on this episode. The whole time I was thinking just LEAVE with your wives and children and settle on one of the thousands of colonies the federation owns! Why did they insist on staying on a world that's beliefs obviously conflict with their own? thats like if a federation ship crashed on a Ferengi colony and the women decided to settle down and fight for women's rights!
mik73
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 9:24pm (UTC -6)
Re-watching Season 1 and was somewhat dreading the appearance of this episode. I remembered the main premise and plot points (specifically the 'surprise twist' relationship between Ariel and the leader of the survivors). I remembered in my youth being somewhat aghast and offended at the 'tables being turned' nature of the Matriarchal society. In 'prepping' for the show by reading Jammer's review and subsequent comments my dread was only amplified. I came close to just hitting 'delete' on the PVR and giving it a pass. But felt I owed it to nostalgia and mild case of OCD to 'complete' my S1 trip down memory lane.

So I just finished watching it, and I'm somewhat shocked to find that I wasn't as offended by the viewing as I expected. Yes, overall the quality of the script, plot contrivances and premise are largely absurd. But I find myself looking at the episode in a kinder light (or at least with more forgiveness) for technical and performance reasons.

I see some real progression in the acting choices made by the TNG crew. Riker/Frakes fares very well I thought (I'll expand on his role shortly). I also appreciated Brent Spiner's continued refinement of the 'Data' persona we will all learn to love in seasons to come (still in a groove after Datalore I suppose). Troi, Geordie and Worf also seem to be a bit more comfortable in their skins (albeit Worf has a minimal role, as usual, but his command advice to Geordie was a nice touch). Stewart doesn't have much to do other then act sick and indulge in his 'get off my lawn' persona to Wesley.

McFadden still seems to me a bit awkward, like she doesn't yet know how her character is supposed to relate to the rest of the crew. Or she to her fellow actors; particularly Picard/Stewart. I like the character, and I like McFadden as that character...but there's something holding her back from 'fitting in' quite yet.

Yar / Crosby also remains awkward, but not in a way that indicates much room for growth or improvement to be brutally honest. I don't know all the gory details of how she was feeling about her position on the show at this point, her (or the producer's) estimation of her acting abilities, or the quality of the scripts she was given. But this episode is, unfortunately, a marker to me that things just aren't working out.

To the plot itself - Surprisingly I wasn't nearly as offended or off-put by the whole gender-bender Matriarchal thing as I remembered from my viewings years ago. I think it was handled somewhat 'gingerly' by all concerned. We're still in the 80's here, so I guess there's only so far they would go to try and throw their male viewership for a loop.

Certainly it had it's share of 'men are brainless' lines and condescension sprinkled here and there to remind us of how 'backward' their society was. All in silly good humour for the most part. But overall they didn't hammer the gender vs gender thing as much as I thought they would (definitely not as ham-fisted and unbearably self-righteous as it would be if written by modern hacks).

This can be largely attributed to how Riker handles things (and is handled *cough* by the planet's leader). I was impressed that he really tried not to rock the boat with regards to their customs. It would be easy to come in guns blazing and spend the episode preaching to all in earshot how misguided they all are. All of the Away team seem to be in sync with Riker and Data's Prime Directive conclusions (even if they don't make much sense from a real world law point of view). At least we are spared the usual 'school lesson' a senior officer has to give a junior, who should know better.

Now add in the fact that both the main female leaders from this planet fall hard for the first 'strong alpha male' type that happens along, and much of the gender politics behind the plot gives way to Season 1's infamous 'sexcapades in space' routine.

Anyway, I won't defend the plot, the stricken-crew cliche, multiple countdowns, one-note planetary political system, another band of survivors refusing to leave, etc. This is definitely a Season 1 episode and lacks much of the refinement in script and plot we would see later on.

But I'll give this 2/5 stars for not beating me over the head with the women vs men thing. For growing comfort, if not growth, by the actors in their roles (Crosby excluded, alas). A fine outing for Riker in most respects. And a marked improvement in some technical aspects of lighting and camera angles (no annoying fish-eye shots of Stewart's nose for example...ugh).

Definitely better times ahead, but there was enough here to keep it off the bottom rung of Season 1's worst offenders for me.

mik73
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
Of course silly me I forgot Jammer uses the 4-star rating standard. So make it 1.5 / 4 stars on that scale. Not quite scraping the bottom of the barrel for the various and sundry merits I managed to dig up. :)
borusa
Wed, Oct 26, 2016, 3:34pm (UTC -6)
All the above respectfully agreed.
For me though I remember when I first saw this my jaw hit the deck at the blatant rip-off of / startling coincidence with / unconscious influence from the Anglo-German series from the 1970s: Star Maidens where a female dominated society spins into the solar system on the wayward planet Medusa.In that show two downtrodden but 'revolutionary 'men escape to Earth but are pursued by the beautiful but deadly Medusan girl troopers obeying the commands of the planet's female cougar-like leader.
Sheesh: next I'll be suggesting that the Borg are a blatant rip-off of the Cybermen from Doctor Who!
But back to Angel One-did Riker infer that the matriarchal society was evolving just from Mistress ( hehe) Ariel's relationship with Ramsey?

Also Federation Law is weird isn't it?
Granted Ramsey's lot are not bound by Starfleet's codes but surely they remain Federation Citizens.
Riker seems to acknowledge this by accepting that Beata is within her rights to murder her citizens which, in this case, means only Ariel unless Ramsey and co were granted citizenship of Angel One .
In that case though surely Riker would have to leave them to it.
Well I dunno but for sf or any genre story to succeed these internal consistencies should not be left in the plot.

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