Bigotry and Logic

A friend of mine recently expressed to me the opinion that women are generally weaker than than men when it comes to physical strength. Of course the evil monkey who sits on my shoulder encouraged me to make a big deal out of this, insinuating that this perspective made my friend sexist. Of course I was only teasing him. But it was truly fascinating to watch him attempt to back out of such a claim, in spite of the logic that supported it. We, as a society, often tend to put political correctness before logic. As heterosexual males of European decent, we have benefited from certain privilege. As a result, some of us tend to gravitate toward a hypersensitive and sometimes hyperbolic perspective of issues regarding equality. This may largely be attributed to guilt as a result of inequality in our country’s history. But guilt should never supersede logic. So let’s look at the info online: http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/fig2-e1424910126512.jpg
http://strengthlevel.com/strength-standards/male/lb
http://www.livestrong.com/article/509536-muscular-strength-in-women-compared-to-men/

Or, better yet, do your own research. A common misconception when it comes to issues like this is that individual differences, like physical strength, determine a group of people’s value as a whole. This logic says “Men can lift more, so men are more valuable”. But this claim is only accurate when we assign a specific kind of value. “Men can lift more, so men are more valuable when it comes to a task with which one’s ability to lift more is beneficial”. We are not all the same. And that’s okay. Some of us are better than others at some things. Women tend to be smaller than men. Again, don’t take my word for it: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a074807.pdf. More body mass means more room for muscle. This is logical.

One issue into which we run when attempting to place generalizations on any group of people is the exception to the rule. We can say, generally, men are physically stronger than women. This does not mean all men are stronger than all women. This confusion may come as the result of the way we speak about groups of people. To simply say “Men are stronger than women” does not specify wether the topic of this claim is all men or a general idea of men as a group of people.

But the biggest issue we run into when attempting to generalize groups of people is when we make assumptions based on small sample sizes or inaccurate data. Let’s say I, in my 31 years on Earth, had only come in contact with chihuahuas who smelled like barley. From my experience, I may conclude all chihuahuas smell like barley. I may rationalize that being a chihuahua makes a dog smell like barley. This assumption is based on recognition of a correlation and assumes cause and effect. Now since you may notice that most chihuahuas do not tend to smell like barley, you may look for other reasons for my assumption. Perhaps I live near a chihuahua farm near a barley field. As implausible as this may seem, at least if follows logic.

So my friend said women are weaker than men. If he was talking in a general sense and did not mean all women and all men, this claim conforms to my perspective of the world. Does this mean we are both sexist? The claim is based on experiential data of a significant sample size, does not make assumptions about the value of one gender over another, and is logical.

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