Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/595

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

MARCH, 1882.


 

SCIENCE AND THE WOMAN QUESTION.
By Miss M. A. HARDAKER.

ALMOST all social reforms are made top-heavy by a false philosophy. Facts are of easy accumulation, but the scientific rule of deducing no principle which facts will not prove gets but unwilling countenance from reform agitators. The reform philosophy which asks for the elevation of women admits an inferiority of position and power on their part, but at the same time claims that this inferiority is due to temporary causes. It bridges the broad gulf between masculine and feminine achievement by the excuse of a different environment. If the difference is, indeed, due to temporary conditions, it is, of course, removable by the removal of such conditions. It is the purpose of this paper to consider whether the difference (especially in intellectual power) of the two sexes is attributable to permanent or to temporary conditions. The nearest way of getting at this question is to attack it upon its physiological side.

Students of physiology see that a final and conclusive law can not yet be drawn from differences in brain-weights and measurements, because of the present imperfection of such data. But there is an even broader and better foundation from which to build up a conclusion, and I propose to stand on this more general ground. In order, however, that such physiological details may have due influence upon the general argument, I give a few of the best-established facts. Professor Bastian's work on the brain, published in 1880, sums up his studies of this organ as affected by sex. I condense or quote from him the following statements: "Difference of sex, in its influence over capacity of skull, is often greater than difference of race. . . . Difference of cranial capacity between the sexes increases with the development of the race, so that the male European excels much more