There are innate biological differences between men’s and women’s sports interests, say evolutionary psychologists.
Title IX is big in the news these days, as the Obama administration seeks to use the provision of the 1964 civil rights law to force colleges into compliance with his agenda for promoting the normalization of transgender status (hear FRC’s Washington Watch May 5 about how Obama has redefined “on the basis of sex” to include gender confusion).
The rationale for Title IX in 1964 came not only from a desire for fairness to women and girls in sports programs, but from “the assumption that females’ sports interest is intrinsically equal to that of males,” the American Psychological Association says in a piece posted on Science Daily. How sound is that assumption?
Because the assumption has “policy implications,” three psychologists studied sex differences in sports in 3 ways. First, they found that females generally have less interest in sports – and this applies to all cultures and all times. Second, they considered four “adaptive, functional hypotheses” for this observation. Finally, they looked into whether the difference is due to cultural conditioning. Has any program been able to reverse the difference? “In particular, no experimental manipulation or systematic historical comparison has ever shown a decrease in the sex difference,” they say. “Moreover, several studies indicate that prenatal hormones contribute to males’ greater sports interest.” Men and women, surprisingly, are different!
The take-home points from this review are that the sex difference in sports interest is (1) substantial and widespread, (2) partly due to evolutionary pressures that differentially affected males and females, and (3) unlikely to be fully overturned by socialization. These points challenge the bedrock assumptions of many scholars and policy makers. Most notably, Title IX is a U.S. law that prohibits sexual discrimination in educational opportunities, including sports, and Title IX is generally implemented under the assumption that females’ sports interest is intrinsically equal to that of males. The present research indicates that this implementation may require revision.
They’re not saying that opportunities for female involvement in sports should be diminished. But if the interest in sports for boys and men is truly “substantial and widespread” – and has been throughout history and across cultures – then the basis for Title IX lacks empirical support, putting liberals and evolutionists at cross currents in this instance. How this could impact the current policy dispute about transgender accommodation remains to be seen.
The paper by Deaner, Balish, and Lombardo is published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences. where, even from “an evolutionary perspective,” they find that “females’ underrepresentation generally reflects lesser interest, not merely fewer opportunities for engagement. Moreover, there is mounting evidence that male and female athletes generally differ in their motivation, specifically their competitiveness and risk taking.”
The headline of Science Daily’s article is revealing: “Sex difference in sports interest: What does evolution say?” Where does our culture go for answers? They go to their idol, Darwin-Baal. The Bearded Buddha is their Guiding Guru, their Delphic Oracle. “Please, Mr. Darwin, grant unto us wisdom who seek your favor. Are men and women different?” Their critics on the sidelines wag their heads, replying, “Open your eyes, idiots.”
Exceptions prove the rule. For every female Olympian, there are many more males. Men are, on average, larger and stronger. That doesn’t mean better, superior, or more worthy – just different. Where are the female powerlifters? It’s true that some sports are female dominated (rhythmic gymnastics, etc.), but even when both sexes have equal opportunity to compete, far more males will step up to the plate; by nature, they are much more interested in sports, being competitive by nature, more willing to take risks, and built usually stronger and more muscular. There are good biological reasons for policies that make men compete against other men in the pool and on the track, rather than against women. The authors found, “this sex difference occurs in all societies described thus far, from hunters and gatherers to large contemporary societies. For example, in every society with available data, males participate in sports at least twice as much as females in terms of frequency or duration.” It takes decades of brainwashing to blind people to the obvious.
What the article implies is that Title IX does not provide fairness for female athletes as much as it discriminates against males. If the empirical evidence these psychologists amassed were to drive policy, there should be twice as much federal funding for male sports as for female sports. Would that ever fly in this politically correct world? The International Olympic Committee is equally embroiled in controversy about alleged “fairness” and now has to decide if biological men should be allowed to compete against women if they declare themselves transgender females. Political correctness could cause the implosion of the Olympics.
Republicans get a bad rap as “anti-science” but ask yourselves, who is being rational and empirical here? Conservatives affirm biological differences between men and women. They know you can’t declare yourself to be what you biologically aren’t. Watch the absurd extremes that PC-brainwashed college students go to in allowing a male interviewer to declare himself a six-foot-five Chinese woman in this video clip on Townhall.com. Who trained these students to let everyone declare themselves to be whatever they wanted to be? It wasn’t Republicans, conservatives, or Christians. It was Democrat progressives who posture themselves as champions of science.
We’re glad these three psychologists had the courage to question a popular leftist position, but we contend that evolution has nothing to do with male-female differences. Examine the 4 mutually exclusive just-so stories they offered up:
- Two hypotheses seem relevant for both males and females. One hypothesis focuses on the importance of needing to ally with coalitions in between-group contexts… [irrelevant to the issue]
- …while the other emphasizes the need to develop social and motor skills. [irrelevant to the issue]
- Another hypothesis holds that individuals compete in sports to gain status and that nonparticipants monitor sports performances so they can evaluate potential competitors and allies. The evidence indicates that this hypothesis applies chiefly to males. [But this could equally apply to females in an Amazon-style culture, so it explains nothing.]
- A fourth hypothesis is that sports serve as courtship displays that advertise participant quality to the opposite sex. This hypothesis effectively explains some aspects of females’ sports interest. [Well, then, give all the federal funding to male sports! Let the guys strut their stuff for “female choice” (a favorite evolutionary meme).]
None of these hypotheses improves on the Stuff Happens Law in explanatory power. The Bible’s creation account, though, makes perfect sense: God intelligently designed two equal yet different individuals for complementary roles, to ensure the reproduction of the human race and the expression of His image and attributes in their respective unique ways. For elaboration on this theme, read the novel Perelandra by C. S. Lewis.