"When he started talking about innate differences in aptitude between men and women, I just couldn't breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill," Dr. Hopkins said. "Let's not forget that people used to say that women couldn't drive an automobile."
This sort of thing (the objections, not Summer's comments) drives me nuts: to begin with, Summers was requested by the conference organisers to be provocative, and he stressed that fact repeatedly in his talks. Much more important, the comments did not show a bias. Is it biased to say that most men are taller than most women because of biological differences between the sexes? Research has consistently shown that men tend to score higher than women on mathematical tests; I even blogged about an extensive study last month. On the other hand, women tend to have better language skills. Some of these differences may be (as certain feminists like Dr. Hopkins claim) entirely due to sociological differences, but is it so inconceivable that there is an innate difference in talents? Even if there were such a difference, what does it matter? People like Dr. Summers are not claiming that men are intrinsically 'better' than women; math skills (or intelligence tests in general, for that matter) do not measure a person's worth any more than height does. All Summers did was advance it as one possible reason for the under-representation of women in scientific careers.
Unfortunately, it appears that at least to a few people, political correctness is more important than a genuine understanding of the problem being considered. I'm glad to see that Dr. Summers is standing by his remarks.
Update: Tall, Dark, & Mysterious makes some good points. This is getting more publicity than I thought it would; there's even a Slashdot article.