I’ve read some of Sowell’s work and I broadly agree with some of his arguments! Correlations are not causations, cum hoc ergo propter hoc, etc. When I wrote this piece two years ago, I actually mentioned this as well if you read all the way through.
“This analysis is a more thorough and less naive analysis, but it has its flaws. The most significant one is clearly the lack of data on applicants to FBK. Are the majority of applicants white? Are the applicants of color and female applicants less qualified? Is Blue Key failing to encourage specific groups to complete the application process?”

Ideally, what you could do here is take a similar approach to Arcidiacono et al (http://public.econ.duke.edu/~psarcidi/legacyathlete.pdf) when they were examining Legacy and Athlete preferences, which is to know as much as you can about each individual applicant and see if the factor of Legacy/athlete status (or in our case, race) predicts entrance while holding all other factors the same. However, we have no individual level info so this is impossible.

I think the gender argument in the piece is actually the strongest. We have very good evidence that women, even from an early age, are rated as having better social and behavioral skills (DiPrete and Jennings 2012; Entwisle, Alexander, and Olson 2007; Perkins et al. 200), earn better grades, and also have teachers rate them as being more competent ((DiPrete and Buchmann 2013; Downey and Vogt Yuan 2005; Dumais 2002). So given that, our prior should be that if GPA is a strong signal for whether or not an applicant gets into FBK, there should be more women in FBK.

Also, on a final note, I would be very careful casting your vision of society’s vision onto my vision.

Written by


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store