Challenge a person's beliefs, and you challenge his dignity, standing, and power. And when those beliefs are based on nothing but faith, they are chronically fragile. No one gets upset about the belief that rocks fall down as opposed to up, because all sane people can see it with their own eyes. Not so for the belief that babies are born with original sin or that God exists in three persons or that Ali is the second-most divinely inspired man after Muhammad. When people organize their lives around these beliefs, and then learn of other people who seem to be doing just fine without them--or worse, who credibly rebut them--they are in danger of looking like fools. Since one cannot defend a belief based on faith by persuading skeptics it is true, the faithful are apt to react to unbelief with rage, and may try to eliminate that affront to everything that makes their lives meaningful.
Socrates: Have you noticed on our journey how often the citizens of this new land remind each other it is a free country? Plato: I have, and think it odd they do this.Socrates: How so, Plato?Plato: It is like reminding a baker he is a baker, or a sculptor he is asculptor.Socrates: You mean to say if someone is convinced of their trade, they haveno need to be reminded.Plato: That is correct.Socrates: I agree. If these citizens were convinced of their freedom, they would not need reminders.
According to Aristophanes in Plato's The Banquet, in the ancient world of legend there were three types of people.In ancient times people weren't simply male or female, but one of three types : male/male, male/female or female/female. In other words, each person was made out of the components of two people. Everyone was happy with this arrangment and never really gave it much thought. But then God took a knife and cut everyone in half, right down the middle. So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing half.
The tape measures and weighing scales of the Victorian brain scientists have been supplanted by powerful neuroimaging technologies, but there is still a lesson to be learned from historical examples such as these. State-of-the-art brain scanners offer us unprecedented information about the structure and working of the brain. But don't forget that, once, wrapping a tape measure around the head was considered modern and sophisticated, and it's important not to fall into the same old traps. As we'll see in later chapters, although certain popular commentators make it seem effortlessly easy, the sheer complexity of the brain makes interpreting and understanding the meaning of any sex differences we find in the brain a very difficult task. But the first, and perhaps surprising, issue in sex differences research is that of knowing which differences are real and which, like the intially promising cephalic index, are flukes or spurious.