Is Philosophy Just A Guy Thing? Not In My Classroom. (A Response To William Lane Craig)

According to a woman named Alexandra, writing into his site, Reasonable Faith, William Lane Craig’s April newsletter “casually stereotype[d] men and women, and complain[ed] that the church is becoming increasingly feminized, and has difficulties in attracting men.”

In reply to the letter, Craig proceeded to make his case that Christian apologetics has a “peculiar attraction” to men compared to women. The support for the claim is entirely anecdotal:

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 is a realization that gradually and unexpectedly forced itself upon me. 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. These facts seem to me to be undeniable.

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. Of course, this is just my best suggestion, and if you’ve got a better hypothesis to explain the disparity, Alexandra, I’m open to it. But there has to be an explanation.

Let me just say, having taught 93 philosophy courses myself, nearly all of them at the introductory level where students are not self-selecting, I honestly have no indication whatsoever that women find philosophical questions and arguments less attractive than men do. I am not saying this because I’m generally pro-feminist. I’m saying that in all sincerity when I think about my most engaged and outspoken students, they’re so mixed gender wise I couldn’t even begin to speculate about whether either gender has predominated overall in our constantly interactive class discussions. I couldn’t even begin to speculate who has had on balance more high quality comments. In any given class, the distribution of participants and quality contributions, as far as I can tell, is simply random between men and women.

The only thing I do know is that one time when I underwent a teaching observation, the professor sitting in kept close track of the participation and the genders of the participants and noted that the women were participating much more than the men in that particular class. It’s not always like that. It’s unpredictable. But I would not be surprised if, when it has come to participation, I have had as many male dominated classes as female dominated ones. Thinking back on the vast majority of my classes, it’s such a mixture that I couldn’t begin to guess.

I have no concrete evidence that anything I do makes women open up more than they might otherwise. The only thing I do that may be helpful is that I mediate all discussions so students are always talking to me instead of directly to each other. This makes direct confrontations between students rare and insofar as men are sometimes socialized to be more confrontational and women are sometimes socialized to be less so, this is almost never a factor in my classes. I also am extremely supportive of all my students. They don’t feel judged and tested when I call on them. Even if they only have a tenuous grasp of what they want to say, I am encouraging and supportive and I will seize on whatever seed of a good idea they have gotten a hold of and praise them for it and patiently help them develop it, and then I’ll develop it for myself and let them see clearly that it was a fruitful idea indeed.

That kind of nurturing, collaborative, non-combative approach to philosophy opens people up (all people, not just women). And insofar as women suffer from negative messaging in the form of stereotype threat and might take being shot down as reinforcing any socially conditioned doubts about their abilities, I am assiduously removing such barriers. I don’t do it any more for women than for men, and nor do I, in the classroom, think of women as needing it more than men need it. I have always just treated all students equally in this regard.

Only in the last year or two have I even started wondering why women participate more in my class than they do in the field of philosophy at large. In thinking it over, this is the most likely thing I have figured that may be having the effect of removing the extra barriers that exist to women feeling comfortable, confident, and eager to participate in philosophy contexts. I presume that the average woman is more likely to be turned off to philosophical debates when they resemble pissing contests or are generally conflict heavy, given how much more the average woman is socialized towards maintaining social equilibriums and how much more men are socialized towards competitiveness (that exacerbates naturally higher levels of testosterone, which themselves correlate with greater competitiveness). But, I am only speculating here and am very interested in women’s thoughts on the issue.

And, it goes without saying that even if true these are just generalizations. I myself am a male philosopher who is seriously put off by the kinds of philosophers who see philosophy as a blood sport or an opportunity to appear superior to others. While I can certainly get extremely passionate and aggressive when making an argument and can stand up to the nastiest, most dismissive, and most contemptuous philosophical interlocutors without being cowed, I am usually not one to initiate hostilities into an otherwise genial discussion. I really want to feel like disagreements are collaborative endeavors. So I don’t start philosophical fights (I finish them).

But I digress. Whatever problems philosophy has had achieving gender balance on the professional level (and there are infamously serious problems), I see not a trace of it coming from the relative interest or ability levels of beginning students with respect to the questions at hand.

I’m not exaggerating. I feel like William Lane Craig is describing a completely different world from the one I work in daily. And, in fact, I suspect that that might be a big part of the actual problem. He is talking to college students who have self-selected to go to a conservative Christian college and he is talking to audiences disproportionately representing conservative Christians. And in conservative Christianity, patriarchal attitudes towards women are prevalent.

A conservative Christian girl grows up being taught that she is never to teach men, never to be the pastor in front of the church doing theology, and that her highest value in life is in her relationships to others as mother, wife, daughter, caregiver, etc. Or, even if she is lucky enough to escape that teaching in both her home and her home church she nonetheless grows up at least having to treat that patriarchal viewpoint as a serious theological possibility that she has to carefully refute (or accommodate) from countless fellow conservative believers–any number of whom she may respect spiritually and feel bad about having to differ from.

On Facebook, Bobby Struck (who pointed out the Craig article to me in the first place) sums up what’s going on here succinctly:

Step 1: Create institutional biases and social norms that prevent or otherwise discourage a certain group of people from commonly taking part in a certain activity.

Step 2: Point out the consequences of Step 1 –that a certain group of people doesn’t commonly take part in some activity– and claim it as evidence of the non-politically-correct “way things are” and further as evidence that you were justified all along in prepetuating the biases and norms in Step 1.

The circularity is perfect, and wholly vitiating.

And what is most troubling here is that while Craig repeatedly challenges anyone who doesn’t like his conclusions to come up with an alternative explanation for why more men participate in his classes and lectures than women, he never once suggests that they start brainstorming ideas for a solution to the problem of gender imbalance.

It is one thing for him to honestly think he sees a correlation between gender and interest when it comes to thinking about the reasons for his faith. But his laziness in not even bothering to introspect as to whether it is his, or the church’s, fault that women are apparently not seeking to maximize their understanding of the supposed intellectual supports for their faith, is troubling. His failure to show any interest in inspiring more women to care about apologetics is troubling.

He is more interested in proving himself right that women just aren’t as attracted to apologetics as men and, worse, he’s hung up on how Christianity is supposedly losing men. So, after supposedly isolating a fact that his own specialization within his faith is losing women, his only worry is how to attract more men. He shows no concern, say, that women who do not study apologetics may be failing in an intellectual, moral, and spiritual responsibility to give an account for why what they believe is true. This seems a matter of complete indifference to him, so long as they believe. He also shows no concern that he might be failing them by not learning how to reach them.

His gripes about a “feminized” Christianity leave me as aghast as anything. As I’ve talked about before, even as I grew up in a conservative Evangelical Christianity where it was a serious matter of debate whether women should be allowed to be preachers, I always saw my faith in otherwise very egalitarian terms and never as being epitomized by beer commercial masculinity. In his article Craig tries to show his masculine bona fides by mocking a female sportscaster for suggesting to a quarterback that he must feel bad for the other team when he sees his team is beating them in a blowout. Craig gives all the men reading along a jovial manly punch in the arm saying, “Uh, I don’t think so!” (Weirdly, he cites his wife as laughing along with him at the interviewer’s question. Not very feminine of her. Tsk tsk.)

When I was a Christian, I would have seen the view of the good man as a chest thumper as wholly “worldly”. Christianity was a religion of love, self-sacrifice, humility, kindness, compassion, forgiveness. It had nothing to do with competitiveness. Not that I would have been against competitiveness. I loved baseball dearly. But the idea that compassionate feelings had to be mocked or were a threat to feminize Christianity instead of ideally realize it never would have crossed my mind.

I mean, whatever happened to sportsmanship at least? I wouldn’t have been surprised if in Christian athletics they had a custom of having opposing teams pray together as a way of emphasizing their deeper unity off the field. When I was a kid in Little League, we had to high five everyone on the other team and say “good game” before leaving. I would have thought Christians would at least aspire to that minimum of graciousness and not pump themselves up on how the proof of what manly men they are is that they feel nothing for the vanquished foe and laugh contemptuously at the very suggestion that they feel a little bad to embarrass him in a lopsided victory. Professional athletes actually have all sorts of sportsmanship understandings about not showing up the losers and rubbing it in their faces. It would only be becoming for them not to encourage petty “nyah-nyah-nyah-na-nanna-na” attitudes within themselves.

Craig thinks that what men need is to see that Jesus is “not only a tough guy but a smart guy”. You know, a “guy’s guy“. Not a God. Not even a perfect human. Guy’s need to connect with Jesus as a fellow guy. And mysteriously women are turned off to what Craig is saying.

Finally, “Jesus was a badass” spiels from Christians are always so forced and artificial and desperate they just beg for a parody. I’m suggesting one along the lines of Breaking Bad. Someone can do that scene where Jesus asks his disciples who he is and they tell him what various opinions are and then he says “Who do you say I am?” Except instead he says, “Do you know who I am?” And they say. “Yes.” And he says, “Say my name.” “The Christ.” “You’re goddamm right.” (Then, for good measure, doing his best Heisenberg impression: “I AM THE SAVIOR! I AM THE ONE WHO SAVES!”)

Ophelia Benson also blogged about Craig’s remarks after I sent her the link to them.

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“The History of Philosophy” and “Philosophy and Suicide”
A Moral Philosopher on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
ISIS’s Iconoclasm, The Bible, and The Problem With Taking Literalism Literally
About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • sinmantyx

    I’m not going to lie.

    One main motivator for possibly diving into a Philosophy PhD one day, is the increased opportunity to tell sexist philosophers to stick it.

  • Wendy R. Dragon

    A sexist male apologist of a patriarchal religion doesn’t see either his sexism or how it turns off women, but instead comments on the outcome (women not participating) as evidence for his sexist hypotheses? How much easier can he make it to point out his profound problems with logic?

  • Olivia Fowler

    I think the attitude you describe is part of why I, as a female with in an interest in philosophy, migrated through apologetics and right out the other side into atheism. Not that it was easy. I just remember (as far back as when I was ten or eleven) how ministers and teachers stopped trying to answer my questions, even to the point of ignoring when my hand went up. I could not figure out what they were afraid of, though I have an idea now.

    • ctcss

      I’m curious as to what Christian outlook was represented by your ministers and teachers. As a Sunday School teacher myself, I have always tried to answer questions from my students, and I would never have wanted to shut out someone of 10 or 11 (or younger). Having good questions from someone of that age is rather neat, I think. But I come from a very non-mainstream type of Christianity where (among other things) literalism isn’t used, we don’t have original sin, we have no hell or devil, Jesus is not viewed as God, “Just have faith” was never a go-to answer, etc. That may have made it much easier for me to answer my student’s questions. Also, I wasn’t afraid of saying “I’m not sure, but I’ll try to find out.”

    • Olivia Fowler

      It will probably not be a surprise to you when I say it was a Baptist environment in the beginning (which is a big house, but this was a very literalist congregation). I specifically remember one guest minister at VBS, when I asked questions about friends of mine who were in an independent charismatic church that practiced speaking in tongues. It was in the Bible, and they were all for a literal interpretation of the Bible, so why didn’t we do that, too? LOL I ended up switching to a church with a broader view and attending a Presbyterian University, where I encountered versions of the same sort of thing. Eventually my questions were met with questions about my sexual purity (!!! I was a virgin, but the implication was that only fallen women would ask such questions? I’m not even sure.) I studied and learned to read Greek, and dedicated a lot of effort to understanding the world in terms of religion. At every juncture I encountered a subtle prejudice that I suspect had more to do with the configuration of my nethers than the workings of my brain. I only just admitted to the A-word in the last year, and even though I’m not out to much of my extended family, I’m comfortable with the label now.

    • ctcss

      Wow, that’s so sad. I can’t believe anyone would treat your questions like that. A religious question is a religious question no matter who asks it, and IMO it is deserving of an honest and helpful answer. Why in the world would anyone question a woman’s right to understand such things when Jesus explicitly told Martha that “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” when Mary was intently listening to what it was that Jesus was teaching and Martha objected.

      Your people lost a good, sincere thinker who simply wanted to understand God more and didn’t even seem to realize that they were throwing away something valuable. I hope you are finding your new home a more welcoming one, although humans of whatever stripe seem to have a way of being unkind without grasping what it is that they are doing. (I certainly have done my share of it!)

      Actually, I do have one more question. I can see the line leading from their treatment of you to the conclusion that another home would be preferable, but I am not seeing a clear line from what you have related to atheism. Did you reach that conclusion based on their treatment of you (or from unstated theological questions that you had that they failed to answer ), or did you arrive at that standpoint based on other study of your own?

      All the best.

      [edited to add a question]

    • Olivia Fowler

      No, I went through several stages on the way here. It wasn’t an emotional choice. There is sexism in every belief group, atheists are no exception. It started with learning to read the Christian scriptures in their original language, and went through a variety of fairly complex theological discussions with people from a variety of religious backgrounds, most of whom are still my dear friends. I didn’t go into it because I didn’t want to go into it. It was a logical choice for me. The extreme ideological lengths people would go to in order to support a premise to which they had an emotional attachment was staggering to me. It wasn’t easy to finally admit that religion is entirely man made.

      While I still admit the possibility of a god (and honestly acknowledge my awe at the organizing principles of the universe), I have come to find institutional religion personally abhorrent. I don’t mind it if others want to believe in god or practice a faith if it brings them happiness. I seriously doubt whether a more hospitable environment for rationalism within a faith community would have made any difference. I did eventually find one, and stayed there quite a while.

      If it helps you understand my perspective it’s probably worth mentioning that I have a fairly rare personality type that is statistically least likely to believe in a god. Atheism might very well be something intrinsic to my nature. When Ricky Gervais thanked god for making him an atheist, I felt a pang of sympathy rather than seeing it as entirely facetious. I just don’t think I ever really had it in me to believe. I’m not passing judgment on believers, I just don’t think I’m any more capable of believing in god than I am of being sexually attracted to a potato.

    • ctcss

      I hope I didn’t touch a raw nerve here. If so, I apologize. I was honestly curious about how you came to be an atheist. But as usual, I have some more questions if you wouldn’t mind venturing to answer them.

      I’m not quite sure what you meant by “The extreme ideological lengths people would go to in order to support a premise to which they had an emotional attachment”. Would you feel comfortable illustrating that with an example or two? Personally, I’m not sure I would have ever termed my own premises about God to be emotionally based, so I find this concept to be a bit confusing. But then, I may be missing your point and not realizing how it may pertain to how I operate in my own belief about God. Your honest input would be appreciated.

      Also, by “religion is entirely man-made”, did you mean that it is entirely fake and consciously made up with an aim to dupe people, or did you mean that humans set up the organization of it, and established it with their best conditional understanding (which could change over time) about God? If the latter (best conditional understanding that could change over time), I’m not sure I see a problem. If the former (entirely fake), I would probably disagree, at least as a universal statement.

      Your statement “I have come to find institutional religion personally abhorrent” I can understand if you are referring to a toxic take on theology, or a hypocritical practice of an otherwise kindly and principled theology. Either variety has problems, but the first has problems in its very foundation, while the latter IMO comes about from a lack of loving, humble, honest, and sincere practice. I believe the first is avoidable by evaluating a theology as best as one can before deciding to throw one’s lot in with such a group. The second might be dealt with by actually learning to live up to the high ideals of the theology in question and leading by example. (This is assuming that the entire religious body is not hypocritical and is actually interested in living in a higher, more principled way. However, if the religious body has become entirely hypocritical, then perhaps the once benign theology has now become toxic in nature.)

      Your statement “I just don’t think I ever really had it in me to believe” is rather intriguing. Do you mean that your personality type cannot believe (trust) in God, or that you find it hard to believe (trust) in anything? For example, do you find it hard to trust people as well? (Just to clarify, unlike God, people can be seen. However, despite our ability to see people, one cannot necessarily see what those people are thinking, and thus, some people may build their lives around betrayal of others and prove to be untrustworthy. Ideally, we should only place trust in those people who have proven themselves to be trustworthy over time.)

      Another large area of everyday life that often requires trust in the unseen is justice. It is basically composed of ideas and thoughts, i.e. something which is invisible. In essence, when one goes into a courtroom to be tried for a capital offense, one is trusting one’s very life to that which is intangible. We do not enter a courtroom armed with physical weaponry in order to defeat the opposing side. Rather, we go in knowing that our fate is dependent on the ideas expressed in laws (hopefully, crafted to be fair), and also in the ideas put forth by the defending and prosecuting attorneys. Those ideas are further evaluated by a judge and jury. The final evaluation of all those ideas determines our fate, and all of it is dependent on that which is essentially invisible.

      I bring this up just to help illustrate the point that I regard my own belief in God to be similar to one’s belief in justice. I can’t see God, but I am quite willing to trust that which I understand God to be and to stand for, just as I am willing to trust the process of law and justice and what they stand for instead of arming myself the teeth in order to obtain my safety by taking the law into my own hands. But perhaps the main reason I trust God in this manner is that I feel I have experienced enough safety in doing so that I consider my trust in God to be well placed. My trust in God going forward is based on the safety I have experienced with (what I believe to be) God’s help looking backwards at my life. (For real. My wife and I rely on prayer. So, for instance, instead of going to the hospital ER when a health emergency comes up, we freely and voluntarily rely on prayer instead. This is not offered as any formal proof of God’s existence, but it does serve to illustrate the level of trust we both feel regarding God. And for both of us, that trust has developed over time through experience. Neither of us regards what we do as blind faith, but rather as reasoned trust.) In a similar way, I trust my wife going forward (although I cannot read her mind) because throughout our marriage, she has proven herself to be a trustworthy partner.

      So, exactly how does your personality type view the concept of trust? And is your take on belief (in God or anything else) coupled with the notion of trust, or is your belief (or lack thereof) based on something else?

      All the best.

    • Olivia Fowler

      No sore spots. Just bored.

      Would you feel comfortable illustrating that with an example or two?

      Attachment to the Bible as the literal, perfect and unchanging word of god. Attachment to ideas of gender essentialism perpetuated in most religious traditions. Attachment to stories of the afterlife that contextualize and validate personal choices. Attachment to the idea of having something special, supernatural and transformative to offer one’s fellow mammals. The need to endlessly mansplain the Great Truth to disinterested people. That sort of thing.

      “Also, by “religion is entirely man-made”, did you mean that it is entirely fake and consciously made up with an aim to dupe people, or did you mean that humans set up the organization of it, and established it with their best conditional understanding (which could change over time) about God?”

      Either one works. The result of either is indistinguishable on the macro level.

      I have no issues with a loving, honest and sincere belief in God, as long as it results in treating others kindly. I mistrust groupthink, and organized religion has a way of punishing those who think differently, even on fine points of doctrine. It’s a waste of energy. Churches have split over the question of whether Adam had a navel. Theology is often a distraction from doing and being good.

      I have no difficulty trusting things that exist, if they appear trustworthy. Your question is nonsensical to me. As to prayer, the practice of meditation and contemplation has many beneficial physical and neurological effects, and if you listen to the descriptors of people who engage in those practices, they are usually described in the same terms.

      “So, exactly how does your personality type view the concept of trust? And is your take on belief (in God or anything else) coupled with the notion of trust, or is your belief (or lack thereof) based on something else?”

      My concept of trust is exactly the same as anyone else’s. Why would it be different? I’m starting to question your sincerity in this, because either you are asking questions based on assumptions about the world that are not universally agreed upon, or you’re being deliberately obtuse. If I told you I had given you an invisible, imperceptible chair, would you be trusting enough to sit in it? Would you accept it’s existence because I pointed to ancient texts describing the infallibility of the chair?

      I really think you’re just dicking with me now. All your questions seem based on assumptions about the nature of reality that make them impossible to answer without lengthy re-contextualization, and I have things to do.

  • Rosie

    I was always very interested in apologetics (though I did live in some fear of losing my salvation if I entertained too many liberal ideas), but as it could not possibly lead to any money-making in my denomination (which bars women from the clergy) I wasn’t going to waste any credit hours on it. And my 18 hours of classes per semester towards my degree kept me rather too busy to study it much on the side. By the time I quit school and started reading on my own, I was already well on my way to unbelief.

    In short, you and Bobby Struck have the right of it.

    (I’d also like to see how Craig explains the passion my female pastor friends have for apologetics, but I suspect he’d be too busy telling them they’re going to hell for daring to preach to listen to anything they have to say.)

  • Paul So

    I think you’re correct, Craig hasn’t considered the possibility that self-selected bias is an issue here. However, I have a slightly different problem with Craig. I’m not exactly sure why Craig is inclined towards an explanation of apparent gender difference that lean towards natural differences between men and women. Why hasn’t he considered an explanation that attributes to some cultural norms or social causes as explanations instead of bio-psychological differences? I personally suspect that Craig possibly buys into this idea that most cultural gender differences can be explained by (fundamental) sexual difference between men and women, but sometimes I’m surprised that he isn’t aware that view is not only politically incorrect but it is also controversial in empirical studies from biology to psychology; he should have been more cautious (to be fair, he said he “hypothesize”).

  • Mogg

    Apologetics and theology were what I wanted more of – rigorous thought and justification, without just telling me that everything will work out if I have faith. I think one of the final steps towards leaving the church was signing up for an introductory course for people who were considering becoming lay ministers, and having the very first lesson emphasise the supposed obviousness of the uniqueness and authority of the Bible without any delving into the history of how it was put together. Sorry, but I want the details of *why* it is unique, or authoritative, as opposed to any other collection of holy writings. Why this one?

    This wasn’t just any old course, but the introductory course of one of the premier theological colleges of a major denomination, with a correspondence course which is offered internationally.

    • Dawn

      I’m not sure but I am wondering if you’re referring to the Episcopal program, Education for Ministry out of Sewanee?

      I do know it doesn’t really deal with with the uniqueness of the text either (in fact it works hard to draw direct lines to Gilgamesh, the Greeks, etc.) but I think that’s because it assumes the participants are Christians, who for their own reasons, have decided for themselves that the Bible is unique and authoritative. I think that’s a fair assumption for a program of decided Christians. I’m a former student and current mentor of the course and what I came away with was that the Bible is unique and authoritative because I choose to make it so. Period.

      My minister and former mentor liked to say the course wasn’t really meant to provide answers but rather help people ask better questions.

      Anywho, It may not be the course you were referring to but it may have had a similar reason for not discussing that.

  • wtfwjtd

    The SNL “Jesus visits Tebow” skit isn’t quite the parody that you are asking for Daniel, but it’s not too far off:


  • MarnieMacLean

    I’ve watched a few debates with Craig and non-believers and and mostly he makes me tired. I would have no interest in engaging in conversations with him. He makes me think of this Onion article,33916/
    He’s either going on and on just to hear his own voice or he’s being patronizing. I’m trying to imagine if I’d feel any differently if I sided with his views but it’s a bit of a stretch to do so. Anyway, the point is, for me, I’ve spent my entire life having people talk down to me, I wouldn’t choose to engage with someone I suspected would be patronizing. I enjoy philosophical debate but not with people who have already decided I shouldn’t worry my “pretty little head” about it all.

  • Liralen

    Glad to hear that women are faring better in philosophy than in my chosen profession, electrical engineering. I received my degree in 1985 and I’ve been a bit disappointed that there aren’t more women in the field by now. I’ve always felt that I stumbled into it by accident, having somehow missed the message that I wasn’t supposed to be good at math. And feeling sad now that I know that girls are brainwashed into thinking they can’t be good at it. In my mind, math is just another language, primarily statements that simplify relationships. If stereotypes had any truth to them, by all rights, women should be good at math.

    On the bright side, I don’t get much man-splaining in real life. Quite the contrary, I seem to make them nervous.

  • R Vogel

    “And what is most troubling here is that while Craig repeatedly challenges anyone who doesn’t like his conclusions to come up with an alternative explanation for why more men participate in his classes and lectures than women, he never once suggests that they start brainstorming ideas for a solution to the problem of gender imbalance.”
    Gives you a pretty good insight into whether or not he thinks it is actually a problem, doesn’t it? I have heard this ‘feminizing’ bit for quite a long time (close on 30 years) – again, gives you a good insight into their true feelings about women.
    I will give him an alternative explanation – Maybe women are smarter than men and don’t care to argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or engage in the bizarre moral gymnastics you have to go through to justify G*d commanding genocide in the Bible.

  • CarysBirch

    I was the first woman to graduate from my (conservative, evangelical) college’s philosophy program with philosophy as my primary degree (there was one woman in the class ahead of me and two others who graduated at the same time I did but all three of them had philosophy second to a primary major). My program director had great esteem for William Lane Craig and was on first name terms with him. We, his students, sort of “osmosed” that regard. I find it frustrating looking back that my intellectual role models didn’t really think I even belonged on the playing field.

    I’ve found better role models since, but still.