This is Not the Answer You’re Looking For

Men might be better at seeing detail and motion, but did that originate on the Serengeti?Creationist non-answers are in a permanent state of hyperinflation, but the one in Men and Women See Differently…Literally, Brian Thomas’ first article after his own short hiatus, is quite a nice example. The paper being talked about is Sex & vision I: Spatio-temporal resolution (there was a part II, not cited in this article), which showed that “As with other sensory systems, there are marked sex differences in vision.” According to Brian evolution can’t explain this, but the bible can:

Why are men and women different in the way they perceive the world and process and communicate information? Could nature have selected these trait differences? If so, how would these differences contribute to survival? Abramov apparently has no answers to these questions. “The evolutionary driving force between these differences is less clear,” he said.

Abramov said that as the concluding sentence to the press release, but it is not true to say that he has “no answers” – from the paper itself:

We suggest that testosterone plays a major role, leading to different connectivities in males and in females. But, for whatever reasons, we find that males have significantly greater sensitivity for fine detail and for rapidly moving stimuli. One interpretation is that this is consistent with sex roles in hunter-gatherer societies.

However the paper does not seem to be interested in the evolutionary aspect to the research, instead devoting its time to establishing the existence of the phenomena and discussing their relevance to clinical research – avoiding the kind of evidenceless speculation that gives evolutionary psychology a bad name. And just because the evolutionary cause cannot be determined immediately does not mean that it isn’t there. Even if there wasn’t one – i.e. the sex differences were purely the inevitable consequence of different levels of testosterone without any selective benefit – then this would still not be a problem. But there probably is a selective cause here, and the related concept of sexual dimorphism has been known since Darwin’s day.

Despite all that, Brian thinks that he has a better explanation, writing:

It is “less clear” because evolution is not remotely responsible for crafting males and females, whose similarities and differences were purposely built by God. Jesus acknowledged His creativity when He admonished a group of religious leaders, saying, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.”

When it comes to the science of the sexes, the Bible has the answer.

Religion is apparently supposed to answer the “why” questions, but this is clearly not its finest hour. The Mark 10:6 quote is irrelevant, and so is Thomas’ footnote to his “purposely built by God” claim:

A primary purpose of marriage is for it to reflect the relationship between Christ and His Church: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself” (Ephesians 5:22-28).

That’s got nothing to do with sex difference in vision – the Bible does not have “the answer” here by any stretch of the imagination. (The passage is also kind of stupid, but that’s another issue entirely.)

There are plenty of articles like this in the archives of the ICR, but this one is particularly bad. If I were Thomas I would have had difficulty writing this article with a straight face. I doubt that even he thinks he has put forward a proper explanation.

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