Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/616

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cals on this side of the ocean, catching up the allusion, dilute it still farther, and presently it becomes a sort of intellectual goose-pond for these dabblers to disport themselves in. The clear fountains of knowledge from which it sprang are lost to sight, and only a mud-puddle remains in view.

Let me now sum up briefly my object in writing these pages. I have not written them to attack either clergymen or journalists, for I will not attempt to deny that much useful scientific knowledge finds its way to the popular mind through the pulpits and the newspapers. My purpose is twofold: First, to call attention to the silly character of much of what is called "popular science;" and, secondly, to urge upon true scientific men the importance of rendering real knowledge more accessible to the masses. There is a demand for science, or the trash which is written would not be read. It works into nearly all departments of common life, and is, in one way or another, of immediate interest to almost every one. Yet, as I have already said, the current popular lectures upon scientific topics are frothy and worthless: the theologian often misrepresents science for partisan purposes; and the newspapers, with all the good they may do, are too frequently conducted by those ignorant of all science. The people seek for knowledge, and unwittingly get much chaff with their wheat. In some respects the popular mind is filled with absurd superstitions. Strange psychological phenomena are attributed to "animal magnetism," and other natural wonders are apt to be fathered upon electricity. The latter innocent force is made responsible for almost every thing unusual. Therefore it seems to be time that true students of science should seek to popularize their learning. Faraday, Tyndall, Huxley, and others, have done an admirable work abroad, and their example should be more generally followed here. Our lyceums need more scientific lectures, and our best thinkers and observers should be ready to work in that direction. Men of science constantly lament that the government does not extend more aid to scientific research. The government is a popular one, and the people must be trained before its help can be expected. Therefore, it is for the interest of the teachers as well as for the good of the people, that scientific truths should be popularly put forward in simple, untechnical language, and made accessible to all.

By G. M. B.

THE last number of the Journal of the Statistical Society had an interesting article, by Mr. Hyde Clarke, on the "Geographical Distribution of Intellectual Qualities in England."

The writer proves, by the use of a numerical test, that the towns