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Women: What Are You Doing?

9 Jun

June 9, 2018

Recently, I was with my Mom and we were taking car service downtown. Mom takes this particular car service a lot. she knows the drivers and they know her. She’s a regular. On this particular day we were sitting in the back and as we approached the destination she leaned over to me and handed me the money for the driver. She wanted me to give it to him. (I’m sure you’re wondering why I didn’t pay for the trip. Simple. Mom wouldn’t let me.)

I have no idea why she wanted me to give it to the driver when she takes this car service all the time and pays herself. I started to ask her why but she said “because I said so,” which is good enough for me coming from Mom.

But this isn’t the first time. It’s not a unique phenomena that woman- independent, strong women- defer to a man when it comes time to handle money. I’m not talking about paying, I mean literally holding and handing money to someone.

Longtime readers of this blog, at least those who admit to reading this blog, may recall a trip I made back in my teaching days as a chaperone to a bus load of kids touring colleges around Boston. It was led by a very strong-willed female teacher. She set it up, arranged the bus, made hotel reservations, etc. Yet at the end of the trip when it came time to tip the bus driver, she handed me the money to give the driver. Why? She had been dealing with him all along, giving directions, etc. But when it came to handing him some money, this strong and in charge woman decided a man should do it.

Slightly more recently, when I worked at the Company I Am still not allowed to name, I went on a corporate trip with my group to Delaware. It was a miserable trip and you can read about it here. The highlight was the view from my hotel, which was a swamp. We got on a shuttle bus, me sitting behind the driver, one of the group sitting next to me, the boss behind me, the other group member behind her. I was not paying any attention at all until this happened:

When the driver asked where we were from, my boss literally kicked the back of my seat and said “answer him.” I had to ask him to repeat the question since I had totally zoned out as soon as I got on the shuttle, day dreaming about ditching all responsibility and going the heck home.

 

Again, when it came time to deal with a man, my boss, a woman who was not afraid to yell and kick my seat, deferred to a man to answer a question. I wasn’t the spokesman of the group at any other time, before or since, and other than a mumbled “hey” I hadn’t had any interaction with the driver. But when it came time to make small talk, somehow my boss, rather than answer him herself, wanted me to do it. Did I mention I was the only man in the group?

Why? Is this some sort of reverse chivalry? Do they think they are doing me a favor by having me do the stereotypically male things, like tipping and dealing with directions? Is there a kind of reverse feminism at work? I really don’t understand. So ladies, I ask you- what is this odd behavior all about? Is this a throwback to the attitude of some things are men’s work? Is this a set back for feminism? Or is this just the way things are? 

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The Fallacy of “Settled Science.”

24 May

May 24, 2018

Please forgive this digression. There has been a lot of talk in the news about various topics, and the terms “scientific consensus,” “scientists agree,” and most egregiously, “settled science” have been bandied about as if they mean something.

Do not take this as my opinion on any topic. Do not read into this and think you know my opinion on global warming or genetically modified food or any topic you think I may or may not be referring to. I am not referring to any of them.

I am sick of the phrases “scientists agree” and “scientific consensus.” Those are nonsense. Science is not decided by committee.  

Scientists once agreed the sun revolved around the Earth.
Scientific consensus said that there were canals on Mars.
Scientists agreed that it was impossible to travel faster than light.
Scientific consensus said that there was nothing smaller than an atom.

Science grows and evolves as our knowledge grows and new discoveries are made. That’s why a new ligament in the human body was recently discovered. (1) That’s why the discovery of an Earth-like planet could lead to finding extraterrestrial life. (2) That’s why not all extinct species may remain extinct. (3)

Scientific agreement and consensus are not necessarily facts. They are theories and ideas and like any other theories or ideas can be disproven by later experimentation and observation.

“Settled science” is the most unscientific phrase of all. It closes the mind. It ends inquiry. It denies exploration. It is the exact opposite of what science is about. Science is NEVER settled.

 

(1) http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/11/06/your-knee-bones-connected-to-your-what-scientists-discover-new-body-part/

(2) https://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/nasas-kepler-discovers-first-earth-size-planet-in-the-habitable-zone-of-another-star

(3) http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-evolution-human-origins/could-we-see-return-ancient-extinct-species-001400

 

One last point. If you believe in the Flat Earth Theory, don’t think this helps your cause. There’s science and then there’s bad science. The Flat Earth Theory is based on poor observation, disregard of contradictory facts, and blind adherence to dogma.

 

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