Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Decline of Men

The Decline of Men
How the American male is tuning out, giving up, and flipping off his future
by Guy Garcia

Grabbed this from the new books' shelves at the library. Might have been a mistake.

Men are doomed. 300,000 years ago, the human Y chromosome supposedly had 1400 genes. Today it contains 45. So it will soon be extinct. (What a misunderstanding of evolution!) Men are supposedly so different from women "as to render them almost a separate species". Women's brains are better integrated than men's. Testosterone levels in men are dropping 1.2% per year. Self-control, cooperation and verbal participation are difficult to impossible for many boys, yielding girls a huge advantage in the classroom. The sky is falling!

One of the problems with the book is that far too often it simply documents a relative decline of men with respect to women, which is only to be expected as women become the equals of men in practice, not just in principle.

Over the past twenty-five years the number of women enrolled in undergraduate colleges has grown more than twice as fast as that of their male counterparts. By 2006, women outnumbered men on American college campuses by more than two million, and the gap is growing.
Now let's look at what the National Center for Education Statistics says:
Enrollment in degree-granting institutions increased by 16 percent between 1985 and 1995. Between 1995 and 2005, enrollment increased at a faster rate (23 percent), from 14.3 million to 17.5 million. Much of the growth between 1995 and 2005 was in female enrollment; the number of females enrolled rose 27 percent, while the number of males rose 18 percent. During the same time period, part-time enrollment rose by 9 percent, compared to an increase of 33 percent in full-time enrollment. Enrollment increases can be affected both by population growth and by rising rates of enrollment. Between 1995 and 2005 the number of 18- to 24-year-olds increased from 25.5 million to 29.3 million, and the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college rose from 34 percent to 39 percent. In addition to the enrollment in accredited 2-year colleges, 4-year colleges, and universities, about 434,000 students attended non-degree-granting, Title IV eligible,1 postsecondary institutions in fall 2005.

So the decline is relative to women, not an absolute decline, nor a decline relative their share in the population. This is not "a national emergency with economic, sociological and cultural ramifications...".

Another problem with the book is that it examines many possible explanations for the apparent decline of men, but leaves them as plausible stories. How we might go about checking whether the stated explanation is correct is not touched upon. Rather, the book goes from opinion to conflicting opinion. If it is not clear what the problem is (see above) and even less clear what the cause of the problem is, then it is impossible to solve.

Ultimately, I couldn't go more than about halfway through the book. Since I've held the book for one week beyond when some poor schmuck placed a hold on it, I have to go to the library to return it. As in now.

The book rates a single star.


changcho said...

Ah, pseudo-science at its best! Such a title might make one raise an eyebrow and make me want to browse through it - thanks for the warning.

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