In his wonderful book, The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould writes of the fallacy
of ranking, or our propensity for ordering complex variation as a gradual ascending scale. Metaphors of progress and gradualism have been among the most pervasive in Western thought . . . ranking requires a criterion for assigning all individuals to their proper status in the single series. And what better criterion than an objective number? . . . one number for each individual . . . to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups — races, classes, or sexes — are innately inferior and deserve their status. In short, this book is about the Mismeasure of Man.
Humankind seems to have an inveterate propensity for sorting the sheep from the goats. There seems to be nothing we enjoy more than placing people, races, genders…
View original post 501 more words