NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE. XVIII—FROM MAGIC TO CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS.
ANDREW DICKSON WHITE
WE have seen thus far, first, how such men as Eusebius, Lactantius, and their compeers, discouraged scientific investigation as futile; next, how such men as Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas, and the multitude who followed them, turned the main current of mediæval thought from science to theology ; and, finally, how such Church authorities as Popes John XXII and Innocent VIII, and the heads of the great religious orders, endeavored to crush what was left of scientific research as dangerous.
ON an irregular and unfenced patch of waste land, situated on the outskirts of a small town in which I spent part of my boyhood, there stood a notice board bearing the inscription, “A Free Coup,” which, when translated into the language of the southron, conveyed the intimation, “Rubbish may be shot here.
BY malformations are here understood those structures that are so unusual as to attract attention and so curious as to suggest that they are individual freaks to be explained by some peculiarity of surroundings or not at all. They may occur more frequently with some species of plants than with others, but are usually outside of the reign of the rules of inheritance, and therefore not governed by the ordinary laws of vegetative growth.
MARRIAGE AND KINSHIP AMONG THE ANCIENT ISRAELITES.
COLONEL A. B. ELLIS
IN the article on Polyandry which appeared in The Popular Science Monthly for October, 1891, we had occasion to refer to the custom of raising up seed to a deceased elder brother as indicating that the Israelites had formerly practiced that form of polyandry in which the associated husbands are brothers ; and in the present article we propose to pursue the investigation there hinted at, and to inquire to what extent the Israelites conformed to what appear to have been the normal phases of evolution of marriage and kinship in early times.
IN a paper, bearing the title of A Plea for the Early Extirpation of Tumors, Dr. Gouley makes a succinct argument, based upon long experience, in favor of removing morbid growths from the human economy in a very early stage of their development.
WE sought to show, in an address on the Influence of European Civilization on Colonies (1889), that civilized nations can not impose their civilization on the lower races, and to demonstrate the insufficiency of education, institutions, or creeds to change the social condition of inferior peoples.
ON the night of June 14, 1770, the great French astronomer Messier first saw the captive comet. It then appeared as a small patch of haze against the cloudless sky, but it rapidly grew larger and more brilliant, until, on July 2d, when it passed nearer to the earth than any other known comet, it was as bright as the North Star, and its diameter was twice that of the full moon.
WHEN the newspapers lately announced the names of eminent electricians which are to adorn the Electrical Building at the Columbian World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893, we were surprised, nay, disappointed, to find that the respective officials left out the name of a man of science whose merits would fully entitle him to that honor.
WINSLOW, in his Anatomy of Suicide, says, “A person who accustoms himself to live in a world created by his own fancy, who surrounds himself with flimsy idealities, will, in the course of time, cease to sympathize with the gross realities of life,” and any one who will take the trouble to read the biographies of men of genius will see that this statement is borne out to a remarkable degree.
I BELIEVE biologists are pretty well agreed that, if the present course of human evolution continues unchecked, the coming man is in serious danger of evolving into a bald-headed animal. What is to be the fate of the coming woman in this respect no one, as yet, has been bold enough to prophesy, though I think it may be safely assumed, for reasons presently to be given, that unless the aesthetic instincts of man should undergo a radical change, she will not only retain her “crowning” beauty unimpaired, but in augmented abundance and splendor.
INTERNATIONAL prehistoric congresses have for a whole generation exercised a great influence upon the researches and the ideas of our contemporaries. This institution was founded at the time when the discoveries of Boucher de Perthes of the existence of man in the Drift period ; the observations of Ferdinand Keller on pile constructions ; those of Cristi and Lartet on the troglodytes of the Dordogne, and of Vorso on the kitchen-middens ; and the theory of Darwin and his disciples, were producing a revolution in scientific traditions.
IT was an English maxim, as old as Harold, and it is probably a safe one to-day, that "horses feel a famine first.” The meaning, of course, is that, in the commencement of a dearth of cereals, the stables would be pillaged of the grains fed to the horses by a hungry populace before it clamored to the authorities for bread.
IN his work on the Principles of Science, Jevons described with great clearness the logical phases of scientific theories and illustrated them by a wealth of instances drawn from the sciences of mathematics, physics, astronomy, and chemistry.
IN The Popular Science Monthly for November Mr. J. B. Mann discussed the question, “Are Business Profits too Large ?” His article is a defense of those business methods which have made the Vanderbilts, the Stewarts, and the Goulds. It is our purpose to briefly examine the statements from which he draws his conclusion.
THE thoughtful student of universal history can plainly see, under the clear light afforded by modern research, that the line of continuity from the lowest savagery, to the highest civilization is unbroken ; the vast interval between the two extremes being filled by “the series of advances through which the marvelous and complicated mechanism of refined societies has issued from the savage condition in which the first men long lived.
AN article by M. L. Niesten, published in the thirty-ninth volume of the Monthly, showed how greatly science is indebted to amateur astronomers ; that about half of the living astronomers whose work had gained a footing in science were amateurs; that many of the most important discoveries in the heavens had been made by them ; and further, that “other laborers than astronomers have assisted in the advance of the science by furnishing amateurs easier means of examining the sky and bringing the greatest exactness into their observations.
IN the interesting work by M. Maspero, entitled Ancient Egypt and Assyria, a translation of which has lately been published in this country (Appletons), a vivid description is given of the way in which, in the fourteenth century B. c., an Egyptian physician would have proceeded to cope with a serious case of disease.
MORAL INSTRUCTION OF CHILDREN. By FELIX ADLER. New York : D. Appleton & Co. International Education Series. Pp. 270. Price, $1.50. THIS book is a sign of the times. It is one among many responses to the deepening public conviction that character, no less than intellect, demands education if it is to come to its best ; education as well reasoned, systematic, and thorough as science and sympathy can make it.
Early Electric Railways,—According to Mr. Edward Trevett’s book on Electric Railroad Engineering, the first electric railway was constructed by Thomas Davenport, a blacksmith, of Brandon, Vt., who exhibited in Springfield, Mass., in 1835, a small model electric engine, running upon a circular track, the circuit being furnished by primary batteries carried in the car.
MR. T. C. STEARNS records, in the Popular Science News, as a result of his observations of many snakes of every usual size, that he finds them lying in the spring on hill slopes in their torpid state. He never saw them lying straight, but they were all in the form of the letter S.