Bari Weiss on Testosterone

 

Actually, it’s Bari’s guest, Carole Hooven, who is the expert on testosterone. Bari interviews her in this podcast, which I very much enjoyed.

Ms. Hooven is an evolutionary biologist who lectures at Harvard. Her views, while eminently sensible and also in accord with my own thoughts on the matter of human sexuality (but I repeat myself), are generating increasing friction among faculty and students (mostly graduate students, she’s careful to note) at uber-woke Harvard.

I applaud Ms. Hooven for her bravery and her robust defense of free speech and scientific integrity. And I applaud Bari for having another excellent guest on what is fast becoming one of my favorite podcasts.

The subject of the interview was Ms. Hooven’s new book, T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us, which is available on Amazon here and Barnes and Noble here.

I’m halfway through Stephen Meyer’s book on intelligent design, which I’m reading so that I can offer a fair critique of his thesis (with which I disagree quite a lot). I’ve just purchased Ms. Hooven’s book and, if she writes with the same respect for science as she speaks, I look forward to reading when I finish the book in progress.


I’m out of pocket for another couple of weeks and essentially absent from social media, but wish you all a wonderful summer.

P.S. Another interesting Bari Weiss podcast, this one with a woman of the left who has become a victim of the radical neo-racism of CRT. A 21st Century Witch Hunt.

Ms. Weiss continues to impress me with the range and quality of her interviews.

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I listened to the Bari Weiss interview on Bridget Phetasy’s podcast.  The woman sounds solid, the kind of liberal you can have a civil and fun conversation with (Camille Paglia is another).  The fact she’s a victim of free speech makes her a kindred spirit – not necessarily one of us, but a fellow free-speecher who paid the price for being honest . . .

    • #1
  2. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hank, can you elaborate on Ms. Hooven’s views?

    Does she just explain that testosterone actually changes male biology, and detail some of the resulting differences?

    • #2
  3. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I did follow the link to the Amazon and Barnes & Noble descriptions of the book, which includes the following:

    And, crucially, the fact that many sex differences are grounded in biology provides no support for restrictive gender norms or patriarchal values. 

    Well, I don’t agree with this, and it seems to be something that is completely outside the expertise of an evolutionary biologist.  I expect a biologist to have expertise that would enable her to tell us how things are, but no special expertise that would allow her to draw moral conclusions.

    Such a biologist may have a personal opinion, of course, but there is something very wrong in giving the patina of scientific legitimacy to conclusions that are outside the purview of a scientific field.

    • #3
  4. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I did follow the link to the Amazon and Barnes & Noble descriptions of the book, which includes the following:

    And, crucially, the fact that many sex differences are grounded in biology provides no support for restrictive gender norms or patriarchal values.

    Well, I don’t agree with this, and it seems to be something that is completely outside the expertise of an evolutionary biologist. I expect a biologist to have expertise that would enable her to tell us how things are, but no special expertise that would allow her to draw moral conclusions.

    Such a biologist may have a personal opinion, of course, but there is something very wrong in giving the patina of scientific legitimacy to conclusions that are outside the purview of a scientific field.

    Ah, Jerry.

    First, that sentence does not appear in the book. I don’t know who writes the blurbs and reviews. (I think publishers often do.)

    Secondly, this is in the book (emphasis mine):

    [F]eminist critics of the science of sex differences can also be influenced by the fear that biology will be used to condemn women to domestic drudgery or otherwise reinforce the patriarchy. That concern may or may not be reasonable, but it is irrelevant to the truth of scientific hypotheses. And, in the case of testosterone, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that these irrelevancies are motivating a lot of the critics.

    This is consistent with her tone during the interview.

    I’ll let you know what I think of the book after I’ve read it.

    By the way, I’ve noticed that Barnes and Noble has gotten aggressive about slapping woke language on books that run contrary to the narrative. I forget what title I was looking at recently, but the overtness of their bias on a purely sales site surprised me. I don’t know if Amazon is doing that as well, but I rather expect it. And, again, I don’t know who wrote the blurb you quoted (and which, honestly, I don’t find quite as alarming as you do, in that it could be read simply as an effort to decouple political rights from biological science).

     

    • #4
  5. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hank, thanks for the explanation.  I’ll probably take the time to listen to the podcast, given your fine explanation.

    I didn’t initially notice, but that’s a funny double-entendre in the post title.  Maybe someone could find funny meme of a really butch Bari, looking like Rambo or something.

    • #5
  6. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Henry Racette: eminently sensible and also in accord with my own thoughts on the matter of human sexuality (but I repeat myself)

    😂😂😂 

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Ah, Jerry.

    😂😂😂

    • #6
  7. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: eminently sensible and also in accord with my own thoughts on the matter of human sexuality (but I repeat myself)

    😂😂😂

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    Ah, Jerry.

    😂😂😂

    What does she say about… you know what nevermind.

    • #7
  8. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hank, I had the chance to listen to the podcast.  It was pretty good.

    Funny story about Hooven’s effort (years ago) to collect Ugandan chimp urine in the morning, and the chimp “wife-beater” episode that she observed.

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I did follow the link to the Amazon and Barnes & Noble descriptions of the book, which includes the following:

    And, crucially, the fact that many sex differences are grounded in biology provides no support for restrictive gender norms or patriarchal values.

    Well, I don’t agree with this, and it seems to be something that is completely outside the expertise of an evolutionary biologist. I expect a biologist to have expertise that would enable her to tell us how things are, but no special expertise that would allow her to draw moral conclusions.

    Such a biologist may have a personal opinion, of course, but there is something very wrong in giving the patina of scientific legitimacy to conclusions that are outside the purview of a scientific field.

    Ah, Jerry.

    First, that sentence does not appear in the book. I don’t know who writes the blurbs and reviews. (I think publishers often do.)

    Secondly, this is in the book (emphasis mine):

    [F]eminist critics of the science of sex differences can also be influenced by the fear that biology will be used to condemn women to domestic drudgery or otherwise reinforce the patriarchy. That concern may or may not be reasonable, but it is irrelevant to the truth of scientific hypotheses. And, in the case of testosterone, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that these irrelevancies are motivating a lot of the critics.

    This is consistent with her tone during the interview.

    I’ll let you know what I think of the book after I’ve read it.

    By the way, I’ve noticed that Barnes and Noble has gotten aggressive about slapping woke language on books that run contrary to the narrative. I forget what title I was looking at recently, but the overtness of their bias on a purely sales site surprised me. I don’t know if Amazon is doing that as well, but I rather expect it. And, again, I don’t know who wrote the blurb you quoted (and which, honestly, I don’t find quite as alarming as you do, in that it could be read simply as an effort to decouple political rights from biological science).

    It sounds like Hooven is focusing on the science, and staying away from the policy implications.

    I find the feminist agenda to be much more dangerous and damaging then you do, Hank.  Look at that quote from the book, about the “fear that biology will be used to condemn women to domestic drudgery or otherwise reinforce the patriarchy.”  This seems quite hostile to the traditional role of wife and mother, which is among the most important jobs in the world.

    I do appreciate that Hooven neither agreed nor disagreed with this concern. 

    The feminist agenda often seems to be to decouple women from family.  I think that this is the source of serious problems in this country, from illegitimacy to abortion to falling fertility rates.

     

    • #9
  10. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I did follow the link to the Amazon and Barnes & Noble descriptions of the book, which includes the following:

    And, crucially, the fact that many sex differences are grounded in biology provides no support for restrictive gender norms or patriarchal values.

    Well, I don’t agree with this, and it seems to be something that is completely outside the expertise of an evolutionary biologist. I expect a biologist to have expertise that would enable her to tell us how things are, but no special expertise that would allow her to draw moral conclusions.

    Such a biologist may have a personal opinion, of course, but there is something very wrong in giving the patina of scientific legitimacy to conclusions that are outside the purview of a scientific field.

    Ah, Jerry.

    First, that sentence does not appear in the book. I don’t know who writes the blurbs and reviews. (I think publishers often do.)

    Secondly, this is in the book (emphasis mine):

    [F]eminist critics of the science of sex differences can also be influenced by the fear that biology will be used to condemn women to domestic drudgery or otherwise reinforce the patriarchy. That concern may or may not be reasonable, but it is irrelevant to the truth of scientific hypotheses. And, in the case of testosterone, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that these irrelevancies are motivating a lot of the critics.

    This is consistent with her tone during the interview.

    I’ll let you know what I think of the book after I’ve read it.

    By the way, I’ve noticed that Barnes and Noble has gotten aggressive about slapping woke language on books that run contrary to the narrative. I forget what title I was looking at recently, but the overtness of their bias on a purely sales site surprised me. I don’t know if Amazon is doing that as well, but I rather expect it. And, again, I don’t know who wrote the blurb you quoted (and which, honestly, I don’t find quite as alarming as you do, in that it could be read simply as an effort to decouple political rights from biological science).

    It sounds like Hooven is focusing on the science, and staying away from the policy implications.

    I find the feminist agenda to be much more dangerous and damaging then you do, Hank. Look at that quote from the book, about the “fear that biology will be used to condemn women to domestic drudgery or otherwise reinforce the patriarchy.” This seems quite hostile to the traditional role of wife and mother, which is among the most important jobs in the world.

    I do appreciate that Hooven neither agreed nor disagreed with this concern.

    The feminist agenda often seems to be to decouple women from family. I think that this is the source of serious problems in this country, from illegitimacy to abortion to falling fertility rates.

     

    Jerry,

    I probably agree with you more than you suspect about the damage done by feminism. In particular, I object to the damage done to women by feminism, especially the more radical and modern forms.

    I really don’t care what the author’s opinions are about the appropriate social roles for women, as long as she doesn’t pervert science in their defense. Clarity versus agreement: I respect her concern about the destruction of language and integrity.

    • #10
  11. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    The feminist agenda often seems to be to decouple women from family.  I think that this is the source of serious problems in this country, from illegitimacy to abortion to falling fertility rates.

    Scott Yenor would agree with you.

    • #11
  12. Chris Oler Coolidge
    Chris Oler
    @ChrisO

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    I don’t know who writes the blurbs and reviews. (I think publishers often do.)

    You’re right, to a degree. As an editor, I didn’t often use a direct quote for blurbs, I usually rewrote them. I was careful to accurately represent the reviewer’s opinion. If the review was not good, I just put it in the file and let it disappear.

    • #12
  13. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    In his book The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, John Coates, a neuroscience researcher turned Wall Street trader, discusses the linkages between the brain/mind and other aspects of the human organism, especially hormones. He is particularly interested in how hormonal reactions can impact the financial markets, but the applicability of his ideas is clearly not limited to this sphere. He argues that a testosterone feedback loop tends to drive excessive risk-taking by men, to the point that “the trading community at the peak of a bubble or in the pit of a crash may effectively become a clinical population,” and cites a British politician who has also become a neurobiology researcher, to the effect that the same syndrome affects political leaders.

    Concerning women in the financial world, Coates dismisses the common argument that the short supply of women in trading jobs is due to their distaste for the rowdy trading-floor environment, pointing out that there are plenty of women doing well in sales positions on those very same trading floors. He suggests that women may not be as good at, or as inclined to, very-short-cycle decision-making of the kind required of traders, but are equally good or perhaps better at longer-cycle risk-taking as is required of asset managers, and cites the much higher % of women among asset management companies than among traders. (He also argues that trading skill will be of diminishing importance as this function is increasingly performed in microseconds by algorithms.)

    There’s some discussion of these points at my mini-review of the book, here:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/33448.html

    • #13
  14. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    David Foster (View Comment):

    In his book The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, John Coates, a neuroscience researcher turned Wall Street trader, discusses the linkages between the brain/mind and other aspects of the human organism, especially hormones. He is particularly interested in how hormonal reactions can impact the financial markets, but the applicability of his ideas is clearly not limited to this sphere. He argues that a testosterone feedback loop tends to drive excessive risk-taking by men, to the point that “the trading community at the peak of a bubble or in the pit of a crash may effectively become a clinical population,” and cites a British politician who has also become a neurobiology researcher, to the effect that the same syndrome affects political leaders.

    Concerning women in the financial world, Coates dismisses the common argument that the short supply of women in trading jobs is due to their distaste for the rowdy trading-floor environment, pointing out that there are plenty of women doing well in sales positions on those very same trading floors. He suggests that women may not be as good at, or as inclined to, very-short-cycle decision-making of the kind required of traders, but are equally good or perhaps better at longer-cycle risk-taking as is required of asset managers, and cites the much higher % of women among asset management companies than among traders. (He also argues that trading skill will be of diminishing importance as this function is increasingly performed in microseconds by algorithms.)

    There’s some discussion of these points at my mini-review of the book, here:

    https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/33448.html

    We live such a weird time. We are in the golden age of our understanding of the human mind and new scientific methods are becoming cheaper and more widely used. At the some time, we live in an era of stultifying conformity to the stupidest ideology ever.

    • #14
  15. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    I wonder how President Biden’s testosterone levels are these days.

    • #15
  16. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I did follow the link to the Amazon and Barnes & Noble descriptions of the book, which includes the following:

    And, crucially, the fact that many sex differences are grounded in biology provides no support for restrictive gender norms or patriarchal values.

    Well, I don’t agree with this, and it seems to be something that is completely outside the expertise of an evolutionary biologist. I expect a biologist to have expertise that would enable her to tell us how things are, but no special expertise that would allow her to draw moral conclusions.

    Such a biologist may have a personal opinion, of course, but there is something very wrong in giving the patina of scientific legitimacy to conclusions that are outside the purview of a scientific field.

    Ah, Jerry.

    First, that sentence does not appear in the book. I don’t know who writes the blurbs and reviews. (I think publishers often do.)

    Secondly, this is in the book (emphasis mine):

    [F]eminist critics of the science of sex differences can also be influenced by the fear that biology will be used to condemn women to domestic drudgery or otherwise reinforce the patriarchy. That concern may or may not be reasonable, but it is irrelevant to the truth of scientific hypotheses. And, in the case of testosterone, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that these irrelevancies are motivating a lot of the critics.

    This is consistent with her tone during the interview.

    I’ll let you know what I think of the book after I’ve read it.

    By the way, I’ve noticed that Barnes and Noble has gotten aggressive about slapping woke language on books that run contrary to the narrative. I forget what title I was looking at recently, but the overtness of their bias on a purely sales site surprised me. I don’t know if Amazon is doing that as well, but I rather expect it. And, again, I don’t know who wrote the blurb you quoted (and which, honestly, I don’t find quite as alarming as you do, in that it could be read simply as an effort to decouple political rights from biological science).

     

    Thank you for stepping in and rescuing this fair and womanly author. That was chivalrous of you, though I hope no one on the Left notices you performing such or me making the comment.

    The slapping woke language on everything is inevitable, I guess, due to the PC culture being everywhere. Plus I image the book reviewers for Barnes and Noble are in their 20’s, and don’t really know much outside the world of The New and Most Sacred Values. What’s that old saying, that goes like: “When all you own is a hammer, everything must be treated like a nail.” ??

    Anyway you’ve got me hankering to read her work.

    • #16
  17. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    By the way, I’ve noticed that Barnes and Noble has gotten aggressive about slapping woke language on books that run contrary to the narrative.

    B&N has a big opportunity to pick up customers who are tired of Amazon dominance, and they are screwing it up.  Their e-book offering is mediocre: no reviews on the site, no links to alternative used copies of the book, the bookmark feature on the Nook is just about unusable.  Rather pathetic, really.

    • #17
  18. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    An excellent discussion,  breath of fresh air in a otherwise leftist polluted topic. It was wonderful to hear views expressed that, in fact, conform to scientific thinking as it was taught to me in years of university training, rather than the nonsense pushed by a media more interested in pushing a political agenda. Hooven is a brilliant scientist who also happened to be a caring, sensitive woman. 

    I must admit one moment when I was set back on my heels: Weiss mentioned her “wife” while making a particular point. I suppose that I am still a bit of a fossil in terms of definitions used these days to define and discuss partners in single sex marriages. It still catches me off guard when it happens. At the same time, I am impressed that she has reached a point in our culture that she feels comfortable using that language to describe her partner. The fault is mine, not hers.

    • #18
  19. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):
    Weiss mentioned her “wife” while making a particular point.

    Is she gay? Sigh. What a waste.

     

    • #19
  20. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

     

    Regarding Ms. Weiss and her same-sex partner….

    I think homosexuality is, while somewhat abnormal, nonetheless a real and sincere sexual proclivity felt by quite a few people. It’s not something I care about one way or the other. I’ve long advocated robust civil unions, arrangements that would have precisely the same legal status as marriage, as an option for same-sex couples. On the other hand, I oppose the top-down redefinition of cultural institutions, and so opposed same-sex “marriage” and refuse to use the words “marriage,” “husband,” or “wife” to describe people in such a union. That’s just me being stodgily protective of language, which I think is too often tortured today to achieve social goals.

    Ms. Weiss is, as I understand it, in a legally sanctioned same-sex relationship. That’s wonderful, and I wish her and her partner all the best. I continue to be impressed by her willingness to responsibly address contentious issues in a way that seems often to place her in opposition to progressive orthodoxy.

     

     

     

    • #20
  21. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):
    Weiss mentioned her “wife” while making a particular point.

    Is she gay? Sigh. What a waste.

     

    I too regret it when homosexuals with great genes do not contribute to humanity by breeding. I think it is immoral for Spencer Klavan to be homosexual. I am fine with regular people being gay though. 

    • #21
  22. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Eugene Kriegsmann (View Comment):
    Weiss mentioned her “wife” while making a particular point.

    Is she gay? Sigh. What a waste.

     

    I too regret it when homosexuals with great genes do not contribute to humanity by breeding. I think it is immoral for Spencer Klavan to be homosexual. I am fine with regular people being gay though.

    I was raised Roman Catholic, and we would always refer to young hot priests as “Father What-A-Waste”.

    • #22