PZ to “man-boys”: ‘I’m old’

PZ found a talk where the speaker, Philip Zimbardo, argues that boys and men are underperforming in a life in a number of ways. Zimbardo points to stats that show that boys are 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, 30% more like to drop out of high school, and less likely to achieve certain higher education levels than girls. PZ had this to say:

The difference also leads to many man-boys who can’t interact with women except on the most superficial and cartoonish level.

[Zimbardo is] talking about a real problem, but I was not convinced by his explanation. He attributes it to a phenomenon called arousal addiction, where people are hooked on constant stimulation of any kind, and he blames it on the internet, video games, and porn. I get very suspicious when anyone starts talking about the internet rewiring our brains…because a) I haven’t seen any persuasive data that it’s a serious and significant, let alone deleterious phenomenon, and b) everything rewires our brains — we respond to experience.

In other words, PZ pretty much disagrees with everything about the talk, but he wanted to take the opportunity to denigrate “man-boys”. Part of his motivation is obviously his inundation in feminism, but I think there’s more to it. All these stats focus on younger generations. As we’ve seen before, PZ is like most old people in that anything to do with younger generations is probably bad in some way. After all, there isn’t any evidence that men today are any different from the men of yesterday when it comes to flirting, sociability, getting laid, etc. Old people just like to imagine as much.

I think the real issue here is that things like ADHD are over-diagnosed and in a way which favors diagnosing boys. Things like drop out rates are more difficult to explain; I don’t really know what the source of that problem is. And my hypothesis on the difference in higher education levels is that people are more able than ever to take out loans to enable themselves to go to school. That has led to a dramatic increase in the pool of people attending college, a place where men have traditionally out-numbered women; it isn’t so much that men aren’t going to college as much, but rather that women are going more. And besides that, good paying jobs in certain industries (such as those which require significant physical labor) tend to favor men.

Or it’s just that men are awful, awful creatures who just want to rape women and laugh about farts. One or the other.

7 Responses

  1. Kids are definitely getting to be bigger weenies, there is mountains of evidence from experiments conducted at my driving school and my former Army unit.

    Weenies I say, weenies.

  2. And ADHD is bullshit in 90% of cases I think. I’m sure it exists, but come on now it’s like every other kid!

  3. still obsessing over PZ…

    what a pathetic wanker you’ve become, Hawkins.

    seriously, you have… issues…

  4. I would take some time to address your concerns, Ichthyic, but I’m afraid you may just run away from the argument like you did last time.

  5. This is a pretty awful post , Michael. PZ said what he said, not even close to what you projected. I commented at Pharyngula, stating that Zimbardo has no credibility. Several commenters ripped apart Zimbardo’s statements.

  6. I hardly said anything about Zimbardo. In fact, I agree with PZ that his reasoning (Internet, porn, etc) is bunk. But I agree for different reasons. This up-and-coming generation is hardly any different than previous ones. If anything, the most notable differences between this generation and the decaying generations is that this one is more highly educated than all the rest, most Humanities majors notwithstanding.

    This is the same old garbage that happens as every generation grows older. “Why, back in my day we knew how to treat a lady proper!” and “When I was a lad we had to walk to school in 4 feet of snow and it was all uphill – both ways!”

  7. If anything, I think a study is needed on how people’s attitudes get deformed as they age. Time again we see this pattern: reasonable, intelligent adults become querulous “kids today are AWFUL” old cranks, even before Alzheimer’s sets in.

    You’d think that having seen this trend happen with their own parents, as well as countless examples of documentary evidence in books, TV, radio, film, etc., that people would be forewarned enough to watch for such signs of deterioration in themselves. But it keeps on happening; the elderly mutate into caricatures, griping and muttering about “kids today” and pretending that society was Just Peachy back when THEY were young.

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