The Necessary Arts of Quantification

(c) 2012, Davd

Me-thinks it’s time to raise a somewhat academic and difficult topic—not difficult for men to accept so much as difficult to do well.

One reads frequently on men’s websites, complaints that the androsphere is all talk and most of that talk goes nowhere. Perhaps quantification, “of all things”, may furnish some of the answers to those complaints, and strengthen our criticism of Feminism’s unjust and even socially destructive aspects.

Let’s use as a first example, one of the common acronyms of the “androsphere”, NAWALT: “Not All Women Are Like That. To me, it’s obviously true; but not very informative. For instance, my sister1 wasn’t most of the things men find abusive and call “That;” while our mother was many of them—so my sister improved on our mother in many respects, and i honoured her for improving and still do. Our paternal grandmother had very few “Like Thats” (and was a Pentecostal preacher when very few women were. Her church had about the same proportion of men in its congregation as others of the denomination; which it wouldn’t likely have had if she were “Like That.”) She, and my sister, got honoured for her many virtues and few faults.

Two exceptions are enough to confirm “Not All …” They didn’t provide men other than me and my brother-in-law with much help in planning their lives, though. If we could improve on “Not All …” by estimating a percentage of women who “Are Like That”—who would divorce a man for disobedience, who would get pregnant on the sly and sue for child support, who would falsely accuse a man of rape, etc. ad. naus.—those percentages would be much more valuable than “Not All”.

We could, seriously, get to work on estimating some of those percentages. It’s the kind of research that sociology as i learned it in graduate school, naturally and normally does. As may be obvious to many of you reading this, there’s a risk that women who have man-unfriendly qualities or tendencies will lie about them if asked directly2; so to the extent we “use survey research” to estimate the prevalence of the “Like That” qualities, the more promising approach is likely to be gathering men’s experiences and perhaps, public records of some of the “… Thats.”

Beyond estimating percentages, we could go on to estimating correlations. What observable “properties” of women are good predictors of “trouble”, of marital fidelity, of a good co-worker (and for some men, a good “mistress”?) If you have a business and hire employees, what are good predictors that a woman will get along with a man-boss, do good work at whatever tasks you want to hire done, be off-work relatively seldom … some of these “employee qualities” may have different correlations among women than among men3. Again, there is a risk of lying if we ask women directly about their less-than-noble qualities, so to estimate their correlations with things men can often observe, as to estimate their prevalence, the more promising approach is likely to be gathering men’s experiences and perhaps, public records.

(Those readers who have studied social-statistics, survey research, or both, probably have heard the maxim, “Correlation is no proof of causation.” There are techniques, not perfect but worth using some times, for getting some indication of causation in surveys; and there are experimental techniques, some of which can be embedded in survey research, for getting rather good evidence of causation. And even when causation is quite unknowable, correlation can have great “indicative value”: If wearing padded lingerie and extra high heels goes with lack-of-fidelity, which-caused-which might be worth knowing, but the warning not to place one’s trust is just about as good when one doesn’t know4.)

I’m not going to try to design “research studies” in this short posting; i think what’s above indicates that the research will be hard, challenging work, and i also believe that the suffering men have gone through in recent decades, could be significantly and valuably reduced by quantitative statistics on “the Thats.” Hard though the work will be, it’s well worth doing. If enough other men take an interest in doing the research, then i can probably offer some useful participation. (I’ve sent my “curriculum vitae” to the Webmaster, to back up my claim to competence; and he’s welcome to share the information in it with serious, interested men—and men-friendly women.)

Quantifying “man-unfriendly” qualities in populations of women, and their correlations, is not a substitute for replacing man-unfriendly laws, bureaucracies, and practices. Removing misandry from laws and from public policies and practices, is just as valuable as removing racial discrimination—and just as morally necessary to any society that seeks to be decent rather than oppressive. It could well be that credible quantitative estimates of important kinds of misandry and their correlations, would help get those changes made.

Just for instance, i would confidently predict [“hypothesize”] that where divorce is granted only for grievous fault and marital fidelity is supported by public policy and practice, divorces are rarer and more men are willing to marry…

… which could even be good for many women—especially the kinds of women wise and prudent men prefer.

 

Notes:

1. may her place in Heaven be her continuing joy—she died over a decade ago of leukemia.

2. False rape accusations (and many statements made in divorce conflicts), are lies; and if a woman will lie “to the Law”, it’s no surprise that she might also lie to a questionnaire or an interviewer.

3. I would guess that many of these questions alluded to about workers, have been studied and are addressed in business-schools as part of “employee selection”.

4. This “example” is made up for the reader’s amusement based on folklore; i would guess it would be confirmed if suitable survey research were done; but until the survey is done, the guess is called a “hypothesis” in academic-Latin, not a finding.

 

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About Davd

Davd (PhD, 1966) has been a professor, a single father keeping a small commercial herb garden so as to have flexible time for his sons, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. He is a practicing Christian, and in particular an advocate of ecoforestry, self-sufficiency horticulture, and men of all faiths living together "in peace and brotherhood" for the fellowship, the efficiency, and the goodwill that sharing work so often brings.
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