Women, IQ and complementarianism
I am going to be completely predictable. Can’t help it. Having lived my entire life with the teaching that women are not logical enough to make their own decisions, I feel it! There was even a poor chap who visited my home blog a while ago and insisted for about 100 comments that he knew men were more logical than women because he was more logical than his wife.
So …. here is the Raven’s test. It is a test of non verbal logical reasoning. This is the test which Jim Flynn used to compare the IQ of men and women, and found women have pulled up alongside men. (A little past actually, but I am trying to be too polite to say that. It’s meaningless.) Here are a few details,
The author of the study, James Flynn, a New Zealand-based researcher known as an IQ testing expert, said that over the past century, women have lagged slightly behind men in IQ testing scores, at times by as much as five points. But now, Flynn said women have closed the gap and even inched ahead in this battle of the intelligent sexes.
“Over the last 100 years, everyone in the developing world has been gaining about three IQ points, but women have been gaining faster,” Flynn told ABC News. “This is the result of modernity. In every country where women have an equal chance of modernity, women have caught men [in IQ testing].”
Flynn has not yet published the results of his study, saving that for a book he will publish in September. But he told ABC News that he collected data from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Estonia and Argentina on scores on a standard IQ test, called the Raven test. Each country tested at least 500 men and 500 women, most between the ages of 15 and 18, Flynn said.
Now here is the basis of complementarity of men and women, first, according to Wayne Grudem,
This explanation seems to me to best suit the wording in 1 Timothy 2:14. Paul is saying that women should not teach or have authority over men in the congregation of God’s people for two reasons: (1) Because God gave Adam a leadership role when He created him first and Eve second (v. 13), and (2) God gave men, in general, a disposition that is better suited to teaching and governing in the church, a disposition that inclines more to rational, logical analysis of doctrine and a desire to protect the doctrinal purity of the church, and God gave women, in general, a disposition that inclines more toward a relational, nurturing emphasis that places a higher value on unity and community in the church (v. 14). Both emphases are needed, of course, and both men and women have some measure of both tendencies. But Paul understands the kinder, gentler, more relational nature of women as something that made Eve less inclined to oppose the deceptive serpent and more inclined to accept his words as something helpful and true.
To say this is not at all to say that men are better than women or that women are inferior to men. That would be contrary to the entire biblical testimony. But if in fact God has created us to be different, then it is inevitable that women will be better at some things (in general) and men will be better at other things (in general).
To take an obvious example, women are better at bearing and nursing children than men (for men cannot do these things!). This does not make women better than men, but it does make them better than men at some things. Similarly, because of their size and strength, men (in general) are better boxers and wrestlers and football players, for no women are able to compete against men at a professional level in these sports. This does not mean that men are better than women, but they are better at some things than women. Similarly, academic achievement tests regularly show that women (in general) are better than men in verbal skills, while men (in general) are better than women in mathematical skills and skills having to do with spatial concepts. While there are numerous exceptions, these things are true of men and women in general, and they say somethingabout our nature. Similarly, men tend to be more aggressive and to gravitate toward positions of leadership and dominance, and women tend to be more relational and to gravitate toward community and cooperation. These things are neither “better” nor “worse,” but they are different. In the same way, it seems that 1 Timothy 2:14 is saying that men are better suited for the task of governing and of safeguarding the doctrine of the church. This does not mean that women could not do this task, and do it well, at least in certain cases. But it does mean that God has both established men in that responsibility and has given inclinations and abilities that are well suited to that responsibility.
Yet we must be cautious at this point. We should not say, “Since Paul’s reasoning is based on different general tendencies in men and women, there will be some unusual women who can be elders because they don’t fit the generalizations but reason and relate more like men.” We should not say that because Paul does not say that; he prohibits all women from teaching and governing the assembled congregation, not just those with certain abilities and tendencies.12 And he does so first because of the order in which God created Adam and Eve (v. 13), and second because he sees something in Eve that is representative of womanhood generally (v. 14) and therefore applies broadly and in principle to all women as they are representatives of womanhood as well. Grudem. Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth. page 73.
And according to Tom Schreiner,
God’s order of creation is mirrored in the nature of men and women. Satan approached the woman first not only because of the order of creation but also because of the different inclinations present in Adam and Eve. Generally speaking, women are more relational and nurturing and men are more given to rational analysis and objectivity…appointing women to the teaching office is prohibited because they are LESS LIKELY to draw a line on doctrinal non-negotiables, and thus DECEPTION AND FALSE TEACHING WILL MORE EASILY ENTER THE CHURCH…” (pg. 71; quote itself taken from Thomas Schreiner’s “Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, pp. 145-146). (Upper case thanks to this post.)
Can we be friends now? Now that women are not, as a group, less capable of logic, rationality and objectivity, can we stop telling women that they are “too emotional.” Maybe this will free men up to express more emotion – hey, if logic and emotion can inhabit the same human body without displacing each other, maybe we don’t have to fear it, mock it, or whatever. Let’s be relational and rational – together.
Let’s communally ditch the ideas that women are less logical, and, while we are at it, have less need for respect than men, and are given less responsibility for their own families than men. Let’s ditch these really bad ideas.