Meet distinguished neuroscientist, Cordelia Fine. Dr Fine is a research fellow at the centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the Australian National University. I’ve recently read her book, A Mind of Its Own, which is both witty and insightful. I highly recommend it.
In her article on page 28 of the HIGHER EDUCATION of today’s THE AUSTRALIAN, entitled Boys set adrift by dud science, Dr Fine is drawing attention to those greedy reductionists who use science to “explain” brain and cognitive functions and related matters.
The article discusses how many commentators present research in a way that is “shockingly careless, tendentious and even dishonest. Their over-interpretation of scientific research is so extreme that it becomes a form of fabrication”.
In her article Dr Fine says, “Recently, for example, well-known Australian child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg claimed emotion and language parts of the brain that are one and the same in girls are completely different in boys. According to Carr-Gregg, this “fact” about boy and girl brain structure “explains so much”, including, apparently, why girls like pink and cuddle trucks and boys rip the heads off Barbies.”
She goes on to say that not only do claims like this make no sense but “saddest of all … these crowd-pleasing neuroscientific explanations can also subtly change the way we see our own nature … and may result in doing boys and men a great disservice”.