Men respond more readily

Adam Lee notices that William Lane Craig has a lot in common with Sam Harris and Michael Shermer. Craig wrote a column about the “feminization” of Christianity, and well you’ve guessed the plot already, haven’t you.

[H]e’s noticed that the audiences for his lectures are nearly all men:

First is my observation that apologetics seems to have far more interest for men than for women.

That observation is based upon an enormous amount of experience in speaking on university campuses, at apologetics conferences, and in classroom teaching… It became very evident to me not only that the audiences which came to these events were largely male but that in event after event only the men stood up to ask a question.

Oh dear. We all know what’s coming. It’s so easy to guess the plot when they start that way. We could recite the rest in our sleep by now.

And why should apologetics classes appeal predominantly to men? To explain this, Craig dusts off the old saw, “women don’t do thinky“:

Second is my hypothesis that this disparity is to be explained by the fact that men respond more readily to a rational approach, whereas women tend to respond more to relational approaches.

Bingo! We have bingo. We have so much bingo we’ve run out of places to put it all.

Once again I will point out that he probably wouldn’t say that if the comparison were not women : men but blacks : whites. He would probably come up with a different intuitive explanation, perhaps equally wrong and uninformed, but not invidious in quite that way.

Yet man after man after man after man has no inner check whatsoever on saying that about women. “Women don’t do rational.” They think it and say it and don’t even notice how glaringly sexist it is. They think it and say it and don’t even notice how barely separated it is from saying “women are stupid” or “women can’t think.” All that, and they respond with outrage and indignation when women say yo that’s sexist.

It’s striking how much Craig, a staunch Christian apologist, sounds like some of our male atheist “leaders”. They, too, have fielded questions about the gender imbalance in their audiences; and they, too, have often responded with clueless, patronizing, armchair answers about how they’re just too unimpeachably rational to appeal to women – that is, when they’re not snarling about “social justice warriors”, or pining for the good old days before political correctness when men could grope women with no repercussions.

It is striking, isn’t it. It never stops surprising me. I always – naively – think they must know better, so I’m always surprised to see that they don’t.

H/t Dana


  1. Kevin Kehres says

    You know, I kinda feel sorry for you with your tired little ladybranz, so unable to do thinky so much. But hey, someone’s gotta make the sammiches, you know.

    When you’ve offered the exact same argument as the odious Craig, that should be an indication that you’re doing something terribly, awfully, incontrovertibly wrong. I mean, this is a guy who wrote an entire book declaring Einstein to be wrong about the theory of relativity because he wanted to introduce something called “god’s time”. Fucking GPS, how does it work?

  2. dshetty says

    Im curious whether the dislike of Craig will win over dislike of women.
    Do we expect a “well Craig could be right and facts are facts” or do we get a “Harris said something totally different than Craig”

  3. johnthedrunkard says

    In religion, as in harassment and rape, the victims tend to be female and the ‘perps’ male. Craig is probably reflecting this generalization, though unconsciously.

  4. Anthony K says

    Im curious whether the dislike of Craig will win over dislike of women.

    It shouldn’t. One argument that atheists love to use because it’s obviously the epitome of rationality itself is that you shouldn’t criticize your allies over minor disagreements if you agree with their general goal. Most commonly, this argument is used by atheists to criticize other atheists who criticize other atheists, because the second group of atheists in that clause are hurting the cause.

    So, what about acknowledging the estrogen vibe? Is that not an important enough point of agreement for Harris and Craig that they should stop arguing about whose god does or doesn’t exist and focus on their shared enemy, namely SJWs?

    If it is not, then it must not be an important point. Best to ignore it. If you’re an atheist and you want to claim that it’s also important to acknowledge the science of estrogen vibes, you gotta add a plus to your atheism.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    “Women don’t do rational.”

    And William Lane Craig does?

    You keep using that word…

  6. Anthony K says

    And William Lane Craig does?

    Oh, I’m sure that in some facets of his life he does. He’s just a public ass. So, no different than most atheist leaders in that respect.

  7. electrojosh says

    I will admit that Harris and Shermer’s comments took me back to that “good old timey preaching” of my religious days – something I had hoped wouldn’t be present in secular discourse. Sigh.

  8. Rob says

    One of my uncles was an Anglican lay preacher. He attended weekly bible study classes along with other men from the district.
    I asked my Aunt (also very religious) why she didn’t attend – were women not allowed to? She just smiled and replied that in her view expressing her faith in a practical, rather than theoretical, manner was more important. My Aunt and her friends cooked meals for those in need, made or collected clothes, raised money for charities (often secular ones) and shuttled the elderly to doctors, shops etc.
    When I asked my Uncle why women did not attend the classes, he replied that women didn’t think as deeply as men. I caught my Aunt smiling at that.
    My Aunts reasoning may have been simple, but it was a deep deep river.

  9. smrnda says

    Maybe women who think find Craig’s apologetics to be nonsense? Perhaps such shoddy reasoning in support of bad ideas would only appeal to someone who stood to gain something by membership in a patriarchal subculture?

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    Anthony K @ # 6: … no different than most atheist leaders in that respect.

    Asininity does not diametrically oppose rationality. Dawkins, Shermer, (even Harris sometimes), don’t blow it so blatantly on the Spockian logic level, despite their hypocrisies on the ground in the 21st century. If you disallow Arguments from Authority and his other favorite fallacies, Craig couldn’t even muster the brainpower to defeat a mere Vacula-class critique.

  11. sonofrojblake says

    @johnthedrunkard, 3:

    In religion, as in harassment and rape, the victims tend to be female and the ‘perps’ male.

    Citation needed. The vast majority of the reports I’ve heard of regarding sexual assault by religious “leaders” have concerned assaults by men on boys.

  12. Jackie says

    Is Dawkins retweeting Craig yet?

    If Craig believed in one god less, I think Dawkins would do just that.

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