Game, Set, Match: Noer

Reader Response to “Don’t Marry Career Women” – Game, Set, Match: Noer

Game, Set, Match: Noer
Forbes erred egregiously in juxtaposing the original piece by Mr. Noer with the “counterpoint” by Ms. Corcoran: at best, her response is poorly considered and at worst it is simply personal experience and opinion.
A standard debate, or pro-con column as presented in its current form, involves each side laying out its premise(s), providing evidentiary support or refutation, offering its interpretation of that evidence, and then ultimately reaching conclusions based on the evidence and interpretations presented. Noer’s piece meets all of those criteria while Corcoran’s clearly fails to do so.
1) Noer offers numerous sources (cited more fully in the original 9 points) to support his contentions while Corcoran offers…none.
2) Assuming Noer’s sources are biased, Corcoran should have refuted them with evidence of her own. She does not.
3) Assuming Noer has incorrectly interpreted the evidence he proffers, Corcoran should have explained how he misinterpreted the data. She does not.
Instead of 2) or 3), Corcoran concedes that Noer has offered evidence and that this evidence supports his position: “According to the experts cited by Michael, marrying a “career girl” seems to lead to a fate worse than tangling with a hungry cougar.” In fact, the only impeachment Corcoran implies is that perhaps all of “[t]he experts cited in his story” have “overlook[ed] the other key variable: What is the guy doing?” When balanced against Corcoran’s opinion alone, perhaps Noer and all of the sources he cited are woefully mistaken, but the more plausible explanation, absent any evidence from Corcoran otherwise, is that Noer is actually correct.

But Corcoran nonetheless challenges the conclusions Noer reaches. And how, pray tell, does she do so?
a) Emotional appeals and deprecatory swipes
Noer’s piece is “downright frightening” and his rationale merely a “dipstick test”
NB: Denigrating the opposition’s arguments is not suggestive of the merits of one’s own.
b) Anecdotal evidence based solely upon her personal [marital] experience
“I’ve been working since the day I graduated from college…I have two grade-school-aged children. Work definitely takes up more than 35 hours a week for me. Thankfully, I do seem to make more than $30,000. All of which, according to Michael, should make me a wretched wife.”
NB: Offering personal experience as support is not conducive to an objective debate. Is Noer, for instance, to respond that Corcoran is wrong because she is a “wretched wife”?
c) Unsupported hypotheticals
“Say you marry your college heartthrob.”
NB: While fanciful “what ifs” may be de rigueur in talk of ethics or philosophy, they are clearly out of place in a discussion where the other side is employing fact.
d) Personal opinion
“The essence of a good marriage, it seems to me, is that both people have to learn to change and keep on adapting.”
NB: Perhaps Corcoran should recall the aphorism about opinions and everyone having them.
Despite its jocular tone, Noer’s piece offers factual evidence with interpretation that allows Noer to support the conclusions he reaches. Corcoran’s rebuttal, in stark contrast, offers conclusions resting only on unfounded assertions and personal anecdotes. For Forbes readers, deciding the winner of the “debate” in this light should prove no great feat.

08-29-2006 11:38 AM

Re: Game, Set, Match: Noer
I agree with your analysis for the most part. Do you remember a while back when the President of Harvard lost his job on account of suggesting that there might be biological differences that explain the low number of women in math and science?

I don’t want to act childish, but I also assume that women who are critical of Noer’s article support abolishing the male only draft.

08-29-2006 11:46 AM

Re: Game, Set, Match: Noer
Regular Contributor

Do you remember a while back when the President of Harvard lost his job on account of suggesting that there might be biological differences that explain the low number of women in math and science?

Here’s what Larry Summers said.

I guess what’s so astounding is he was at a conference trying to figure out why there are so few women in science, and he got totally skewered for having a brain and a couple of hypotheses for people to consider, which you’d think would all be a Good Thing. The PC crowd totally went hysterical and devoured him. That’ll teach men to work on women’s problems.

“The loudest, most strident voices calling women weak, stupid, and incapable of competing in the world at large are the feminists.” – zed the zen priest

08-29-2006 12:02 PM

Re: Game, Set, Match: Noer
I’m similarly reminded of Nancy Hopkins’ [physical] reaction to Summers’ remarks:

Someone like MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins, the hysteric … who, hearing Summers, “felt I was going to be sick. My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow.” And, “I just couldn’t breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill.” She said that if she had not bolted from the room, “I would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.”

How does one discuss a matter when the opposition feigns physical illness at mere broaching of the subject in question?

Noer should take heart since some of Summers’ audience appreciated his articulation of the position:

“I left with a sense of elation at his ideas,” said Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economics professor who attended the speech. “I was proud that the president of my university retains the inquisitiveness of an academic.”

What Summers said “is controversial and should be debated,” said David Goldston, chief of staff of the House Science Committee, who was also at the meeting. “But there ought to be some place in America where you can have a thoughtful, non-ideological private discussion.”

08-29-2006 02:49 PM

Re: Game, Set, Match: Noer

You can hear the crickets chirping….  Guess that shut them up!

08-29-2006 02:52 PM

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