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Amadan

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Currently reading

Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference - Cordelia Fine This is not what I'd call a "popular science" book -- it's aimed at an intellectual audience with some understanding of science and a willingness to deal with academic language. That makes it less accessible than a lot of the talk show-fodder books it's debunking, like all those ridiculous "Why Men Are Insensitive Horndogs Who Suck at Housework (Surprise! It's Biology!) and Women Are Born Loving Ponies and High Heels" books. Fine takes on pretty much the entire field of neuroscience, or rather, that segment of the field that's publishing books claiming that men and women are hardwired to act like sitcom characters.

Her conclusion (which she argues convincingly with thorough deconstructions of one study after another, and/or how that study was reported) is that a lot of what people think has been "proven" -- that the language centers in a woman's brain are more closely tied to the emotion centers than those of a man, that boys demonstrate greater aptitude for spatial manipulation, that boys think with their left-brain and girls think with their right-brain, that toddlers "naturally" exhibit gendered behavior regardless of efforts to raise them in a gender-neutral manner -- is simply false, or at least, far from proven.

I found this a very balanced entry in the nature vs. nurture debate. Contrary to the characterizations of some of her critics, Fine is neither strident nor ignorant of the science. She's a feminist, to be sure, and she gets a bit snarky with some of the more ridiculous modern claims of gender essentialists (and is a bit too fond of making a point by leading with a particularly egregious howler from a hundred years ago), but she isn't trying to wish away innate sex differences, nor claiming that everything is a social construct. However, anyone who reads this and remains unconvinced that there's a whole lot of socialization going on in both your right-brain and your left-brain will probably not be convinced by any other mountain of evidence.