How does Stephen Jay Gould appeal to pathos in Women's Brains?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stephen Jay Gould was an important scientist in the fields of Evolutionary Biology and Science History. His television appearances were widely watched and discussed, and his books and papers are considered essential reading in his fields.

In Gould's book The Panda's Thumb, he wrote an essay titled "Woman's Brains," in which he discussed the long-held biological theory that women -- and by extension other minorities -- are intellectually inferior to men because of the size of their brains. Gould explains previous literature, notably by Paul Broca, which used the debunked pseudoscience of Craniometrics to show how brain size affects intelligence, and gives his conclusion that variance in brain size has little-to-no effect on intelligence in humans.

To make his case stronger, Gould compares the specified case group, women, to other minority groups who have also been discriminated against in history due to the commonly held belief of inferiority. Today, discrimination against race, religion, or social status is frowned upon, but Gould explains how discrimination against, for example, African slaves was based partly on a learned belief that they were mentally inferior; similarly, women have been thought of as inferior based on many factors, including strength and temperament. By equating the incorrect scientific bias against women with similar incorrect bias against other minorities, Gould appeals to our modern emotional bias against discrimination in all forms.