Are women genetically superior to men?
A number of modern myths about the genetics and development of the sexes—that the Y chromosome is ‘inferior’ to the X chromosome and that all babies start off female. CMI writers Dr Robert Carter, Dr Carl Wieland, and Lita Sanders help dispel these myths.
R.B. from the United States writes:
What is your response to the XY Chromosome argument that women are genetically superior to men in that they have two X chromosomes?
CMI’s Dr Robert Carter responds:
Pardon the boldness of my answer, but my response is simple: “Balderdash!”
The line you are quoting comes straight out of the women’s lib movement and is not only full of invective against men, but is also full of scientific and ethnological nonsense. Back in the 70s, it was decided that the Y chromosome was a vestigial leftover, a shriveled up piece of garbage that was just hanging around in the human species. The appearance of the Y chromosome under a microscope helped that view (it is a bit crooked when condensed). Certain movers and shakers in the women’s liberation movement seized upon this and used the argument extensively to bolster their cause. What is amazing about this is that it flat out contradicts what the leading Darwinists taught for a hundred years (see The history of the teaching of human female inferiority in Darwinism), especially Darwin himself, who was quite convinced that women were evolutionarily inferior to men, and said so in print, with detailed arguments.
Today, however, we know the Y chromosome is a master control switch, affecting the expression of thousands of genes on all of the chromosomes. And, its presence is profound, as there are major physical and psychological differences between men and women, no?
The Y chromosome is much less variable than the X. Why? From an evolutionary perspective, this is supposedly because men are better at having children with multiple women (polygamy, rape, mistresses, mid-life crises) than vice versa. Thus, the “effective population size” of men is smaller and, thus, superior Y chromosomes are more successful at propagating. One could argue that the higher reproductive variance among men has led to the evolution of superior Y chromosomes. Of course, I think this is nonsense.
One could also reverse the feminist argument: Because men have more genes than women (!), one could attempt to say it is women who are less evolved or genetically inferior. This is also nonsense.
From a Christian standpoint, neither men nor women are superior to the other. Rather, they were created for different roles (in a similar way that Jesus [the Son] and God [the Father] are equal but with different roles within the Trinity). I don’t want to get into an argument about God’s design for the role of men and women in the church or in society, and I have very strong opinions, but, in God’s eyes, we have equal “worth” and equal access to Heaven and the promises made in the New Testament for believers (Galatians 3:28).
For your consideration: Does CMI think women are inferior? and The Bible’s high view of women grounded in the creation account
Dr. Robert Carter
D.B. from Australia writes:
Does science describe a human infant as first female in the womb, and later developing into male or female as the fetus grows? If so, is this contradictory to the biblical account of the origin of man and women, that women was taken from man?
Thank you for your time!
D., your brother in Christ.
Thanks for writing in. From fertilization, the new human being is genetically male (XY) or female (XX), disregarding a few exceedingly rare genetic anomalies (XXY, etc.). The embryo develops in the earliest stages in the same way regardless of the sex of the embryo, and the presence and amount of different hormones (notably testosterone) controls how the fetus develops. The notion of labeling it ‘female’ can only be defensible in the most trivial way, in that it ‘looks less male’, or put another way, the subsequent male development is a more drastic departure from the original ‘common start’ than the female. But since a male baby is exactly that from the very first, it cannot properly be called ‘female’—they just develop along the same pattern in the earliest stages, which is actually sound engineering design.
Incidentally, even if it was the other way around, we don’t see how it would contradict the order of their original creation, as that was a one-off event that is not necessarily going to be mimicked in the programming that controls human reproduction from then on. But of course that is now a moot point.
Dr Carl Wieland and Lita Sanders