Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/597

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579
SCIENCE AND THE WOMAN QUESTION.

ascertain its internal structure. The-weight which it will lift, or the distance which it will travel in a given time, is an unfailing index of its quality. If it were possible to collect all the results of the muscular activity of men, from the beginning of civilization until the present, and likewise all the results of the muscular activity of women for the same period, we should reason instantaneously, from these phenomena, to the superior quality of masculine muscle. We should need no resurrection of dead men and women to demonstrate the difference.

Let us now consider with more attention the general physiological law that quantity of power is in proportion to the size of the body. This brings us to the still more fundamental principle of the inseparability of matter and force. A large amount of matter represents more force than a small amount; and this law includes vital organisms as well as inorganic masses. Under proper conditions for test, the amount of power evolved by any vital organism is in direct ratio to the size and weight of that organism. This settles the question of quantity of power permanently in favor of man. The weight of all the men of civilized countries would exceed that of all the women by perhaps fifteen or twenty per cent.

Again, it is an accepted truth of modern science that all human energy is derived from the food, and is an exact equivalent of the amount of food consumed and assimilated. The amount of food assimilated by men exceeds the amount assimilated by women by about twenty per cent. This fact has popular recognition in the higher rate of board demanded for men. It inevitably follows that man, as a sex, representing more food-assimilation than woman, must represent more energy of some kind. If the collective weights and food-assimilating capacities of men should ever fall below those of women, there would follow a reversal of the present relations; but, while these two facts remain, it follows, with mathematical certainty, that the amount of power evolved by men must exceed that evolved by women. While man eats more, he will stand for more. It may be simply more muscle, but it must be more of something. Scientific students are rapidly coming to the conclusion that the human body is subject to the same laws of the conservation and transformation of energy which pertain to the whole material universe. Power is in direct proportion to size. The kind of power will depend upon the organization. Food converted into muscle will reappear as work; food converted into brain will reappear as thought and speech. We have a right to insist on the legitimacy of judging brain-power by brain-products. We value brains for thought as we value looms for manufacture. A barrel of brains is of no account, unless we can evolve from them a steam-engine or a poem. We have seen it hinted, in a recent essay by Dr. Bedell, of Chicago, that women probably possess a larger amount of actual nervous matter, in proportion to the