women and hormones and voting, oh my!

insert fingers into ears and scream LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!

this would be pretty funny if it weren’t so sad:

“After reader backlash, CNN axes article about how hormones affect women’s votes”

“Following a firestorm of negative feedback, CNN hastily deleted from its website late Wednesday virtually all mention of a study about the effect hormones have on women’s political preferences.

“‘A post previously published in this space regarding a study about how hormones may influence voting choices has been removed,’ a message posted on the website at 8:15 p.m. read. ‘After further review it was determined that some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN. We thank you for your comments and feedback.'”

mustn’t offend the sheeple’s sensibilities! sheesh. like goofy hormones and SEX never entered into any woman’s (or even any man’s) electoral choice. gimmeabreak!

here’s (some of) the offending post:

“Study looks at voting and hormones”
“Hormones may influence female voting choices

“While the campaigns eagerly pursue female voters, there’s something that may raise the chances for both presidential candidates that’s totally out of their control: women’s ovulation cycles.

“You read that right. New research suggests that hormones may influence female voting choices differently, depending on whether a woman is single or in a committed relationship.

“Please continue reading with caution. Although the study will be published in the peer-reviewed journal Psychological Science, several political scientists who read the study have expressed skepticism about its conclusions.

“A bit of background: Women are more likely to vote than men, other studies have found. Current data suggest married women favor Gov. Mitt Romney, in a 19% difference, over President Barack Obama, while Obama commands the votes of single women by a 33% margin, according to the study. And previous studies have shown that political and religious attitudes may be influenced by reproductive goals.

“In the new study’s first experiment, Kristina Durante of the University of Texas, San Antonio and colleagues conducted an internet survey of 275 women who were not taking hormonal contraception and had regular menstrual cycles. About 55% were in committed relationships, including marriage.

“They found that women at their most fertile times of the month were less likely to be religious if they were single, and more likely to be religious if they were in committed relationships.

“Now for the even more controversial part: 502 women, also with regular periods and not taking hormonal contraception, were surveyed on voting preferences and a variety of political issues.

The researchers found that during the fertile time of the month, when levels of the hormone estrogen are high, single women appeared more likely to vote for Obama and committed women appeared more likely to vote for Romney, by a margin of at least 20%, Durante said. This seems to be the driver behind the researchers’ overall observation that single women were inclined toward Obama and committed women leaned toward Romney.

“Here’s how Durante explains this: When women are ovulating, they ‘feel sexier,’ and therefore lean more toward liberal attitudes on abortion and marriage equality. Married women have the same hormones firing, but tend to take the opposite viewpoint on these issues, she says.

“‘I think they’re overcompensating for the increase of the hormones motivating them to have sex with other men,’ she said. It’s a way of convincing themselves that they’re not the type to give in to such sexual urges, she said….

‘We still have the ovulatory hormones that have the same impact on female brains as across other species,’ she said. We want sex and we want it with the best mate we can get. ‘But there are some high costs that come with it,’ she said, particularly for women who are already in committed relationships.

“This isn’t the first time hormones have been looked at in connection to voting. Last year Israeli researchers published a study in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology examined the stress hormone cortisol in voters in Israel. Levels of this hormone were higher in people right before they were about to vote than in the same people when they were not voting.

“Durante’s study on women noted that liberal attitudes favor social equality and tend to be less associated with organized religion. Conservatism is more about traditional values and is linked to greater participation in organized religion.

“The most controversial part of the study is not only that hormonal cycles are linked to women’s preferences for candidates and voting behaviors, but also that single women who are ovulating are more likely to be socially liberal, and relationship-committed women are more likely to be socially conservative, said Paul Kellstedt, associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University.

“One of the major caveats this paper fails to address is that men also have biochemical changes, Kellstedt said….”

that’s a reasonable caveat, and i’d like to see that studied, too — AND written about by the msm!

(note: comments do not require an email. people! sheesh.)

sad and pathetic

lest we forget aaaaall of the fantastic contributions to science that (those three or four geeks — ok, five! — in) the muslim world made over the last (what is it?) 1400 years or so, scientific american has a slide show up: “the forgotten history of muslim scientists.”

i’d leave it at “no comment” — except they just had to go and try to include all the WOMEN in the islamic world who made fantastic contributions to science. *sigh*

(not surprisingly) this is the best that they could come up with. a cartoon drawing:

Fatima al-Fihri: It wasn’t just Muslim men. The oldest continuously operating university in the world—Al-Qarawiyyin founded in Fès, Morocco, in 859—was founded by a merchant’s daughter: Fatima al-Fihri. The university, on the grounds of a grand mosque built by al-Fihri, subsequently produced a slew of leading Muslim thinkers.”

well, that’s great that she founded a “university” — but if i were one of these women looking to be reassured that my sex had also contributed LOTS to science (which i’m not), i think i might be a little disappointed at this. some chick coughs up some of her inheritance to fund a madrasa? that’s all they got?

political correctness is sometimes just sad and pathetic. (oh wait … maybe that should read “always.”)

previously: the hard sciences are soooo sexist!

(note: comments do not require an email.)

true grit


jonah lehrer says that … well, i’m not sure what he says. he kinda waffles, afaics: innate talents cannot, alone, account for success — one has to have the “grit” to keep on practicing as well — so success (or not) is not just a product of our natures. -??- something like that, anyway.

of course, the question is begged: where does this “grit” come from?

here’s some silliness from his post:

“And this leads me to one of my favorite recent papers, ‘Deliberate Practice Spells Success: Why Grittier Competitors Triumph at the National Spelling Bee.’ The research, published this month in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, was led by Angela Duckworth, a psychologist at Penn. (Anders-Ericsson is senior author.) The psychologists were interested in the set of traits that allowed kids to practice deliberately. Their data set consisted of 190 participants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, a competition that requires thousands of hours of practice. After all, there are no natural born spellers.

no? well, i can tell you about some natural born non-spellers: people with dyslexia. prolly not too many of them winning spelling bees.

and what about people with visual|photographic memories? don’t you think they might have an advantage in a spelling bee? i can tell you the answer to that right now — yes. i don’t have a perfect photographic memory (d*mn!), but i do have a very visual one — and i use it to help me remember how to spell. and i used it a LOT when i used to win all the school spelling bees when i was a kid. (it never occurred to me to go in for spelling bees “professionally” — maybe i just don’t have the “grit.”)

which brings me back to grit. where the h*ck does that come from? mightn’t that be innate? how about the hyperfocusing abilities of aspies? sounds an awful lot like grit to me.

lots of good, sensible comments in response to lehrer’s lame-o post. like:

“Grit has value to the already talented, which motivates them to competitively apply it. The untalented soon realize that grit without a sign of progress is a waste of time. This idea that without grit you would not have talent to begin with simply has the dynamics here bassackwards. Mozart, anyone?”

yeah. can we all just puh-leeeese get over whatever pc hangups we might have and agree that success in a field takes both innate abilities (i.e. talent) AND practice (the driver of which might be innate)? is that really so hard?

previously: you, too, can have perfect pitch!

(note: comments do not require an email.)