For years I've thought it's ridiculous that women are smaller than men. There's no reason why we should just accept this.
Embodied cognition is an endlessly interesting area of research. I don't know what's been done on the condition of chronic smallness with respect to other beings, mates, authorities, and so forth. The fact that women are smaller than men is a profound state of nature that could easily shape hundreds of downstream consequences, and can certainly be a factor in the cloak of silence that is all familiar to too many women.
We evolved this way for a variety of reasons, and I don't remember all the factors. I haven't thought about sexual dimorphism in a long time either. Evolution is a bitch though.
It staggers me, takes my breath away, to think about how we evolved, how humans emerged from all of this. It staggers me to think of how a conceptual consciousness emerged. That is not a normal thing, an ever-before thing. It staggers me to think of the evolution of human language, with is tightly bound up in our conceptual consciousness. Evolution sprouted beings who appear to have free will at important levels of analysis, beings who do art and airplanes and archaeology. Out of the blood and death and relentless math of fitness value, the punctuated equilibria, genetic bottlenecks and asteroid reboots, we got rappers, Frederick Douglass, the Magna Carta, telescopes, Mighty Mouse, and I Know What You Did Last Summer.
And I can see evolution as granular, ruthless, arbitrary, and charmless. Our adaptations are often orthogonal to our current values and aims, or even incompatible with them. Separately, I think it's perfectly reasonable for someone to not understand evolution, to find it unintuitive, and to be unmoved by it. I think screaming at people who aren't charmed by evolution is a fascinating strategy, and an unimpressive scholarly pastime.
Evolutionary psychologists like to point out that we're still evolving. True dat. But this observation misses an important fact. We are clearly going to take the reins on a much shorter timescale than it will take for any ongoing adaptive processes to yield noteworthy changes in who we are. It's 2015. We know we're going to improve ourselves in the future. It will probably start with disease prevention.
China is already looking into boosting average IQ. I think we know far too little about IQ, intelligence, human cognitive processes that bear on both intelligence and aptitude, the facets of intelligence, the trade-offs, or the meaning of life to be mucking around with genetic engineering aimed at producing more talented engineers or better clay for tiger moms anytime soon. It's too early. Gattaca was a warning.
But we know it's inevitable that we will improve ourselves – "improve" by our own standards, which are the only ones that matter. Within a hundred years, we will surely see some movement there, and probably within fifty (I think Kurzweil overestimates the speed of progress.)
At some point we'll be able to sort out this whole chronic smallness situation, this fundamental fact that shapes the way women and men interact. Our size difference shapes the nature and relation of men and women in more ways than I will ever be able to identify. It's not going to be simple. I might be missing something. Perhaps we would lose something important, something more important than the benefits of equalization. I doubt it. It's ridiculous that women are smaller than men.
José L. Duarte
Social Psychology, Scientific Validity, and Research Methods.