PZ gets to have some fun hypothesizing various methods whereby women have been genetically modified (GMW) to become smarter, but then rolls around to the real point:
What this current study by James Flynn of worldwide intelligence test scores actually shows is that a) whatever intelligence tests measure is plastic, b) the variation in those scores is not a measure of biological limitations (although I’d argue that our intelligence is a biologically human property), and c) shifting cultural environments can induce relatively rapid changes in the responses of developing human minds.
Women aren’t getting smarter. They have the same biological properties in this generation that they had in the previous generation, and the generation before that. What’s changing is a culture that allows women to slip free of sociological limitations at a young age and encourages them to practice using those brains. …
IIRC various minority groups for decades have been arguing that IQ tests have bias against certain groups – could this just be another example? One might hypothesize that: a) cultural changes for young girls have allowed them to better understand factors (say vocabulary) that bias the test in favor of males, or, b) the creators of the tests are slightly removing the gender bias. So whatever IQ tests measure woman are either now better suited, or less impaired, in scoring higher on the tests.
PZ seems to want to employ a use-it-or-lose-it kind of argument (“encourages them to practice using those brains“) but this is stated without any proof so therefore presumably just conjecture. And the cultural bias against women, esp. younger girls, is certainly well documented but is there any indication that any cultural shifts are encouraging more thinking today vs some time in the past? This is certainly a possible explanation but I’d bet on simple old testmanship as the key factor.