Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/108

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fact, involving alike every department of Nature; and more especially evolution of the organic kingdom, and the origin of species by derivation, must be regarded as an established truth of science. But, remember, evolution is one thing and materialism another and quite a different thing. The one is a sure result of science; the other a doubtful inference of philosophy. Let no one who is led step by step through the paths of evolution, from the mineral to the organic, from the organic to the animate, and from the animate to the rational, until he lands logically, as he supposes, into blank and universal materialism—let no such one, I say, imagine for a moment that he has been walking all the way in the domain of science. He has stepped across the boundary of science into the domain of philosophy. Yet the step seems so easy, so natural, so inevitable, that most do not distinguish between the teachings of science and the inference of philosophy, and thus the whole is unjustly accredited to science. Now, as most people not only do not make, but have never imagined, any such distinction, I am anxious to make it clear to you. This I can best and most briefly do by some simple familiar illustrations.

It is curious to observe that no sooner do we find out, in any work of Nature, how it is made, than we all say that it is not made at all; it made itself. So long as the origin of species was a mystery, every one admitted that species must have had an intelligent Maker. But no sooner did we discover the process, than every one seemed to think that no Maker is necessary at all. Now, the whole object of science is to discover processes by which things are done; or how things are made. Is it any wonder, then, with this perverse tendency of the present mind, that science should ever and anon seem to destroy belief in a Supreme Intelligence?

Again, it is curious to observe how an old and familiar truth, coming up in a new form, startles us as an impossible paradox. I well remember some twenty-five years ago, when the little instrument the gyroscope first made its appearance, how it startled everybody by its seeming violation of the laws of gravity. Imagine a heavy brass wheel rotating rapidly at one end of an axle, while the other end is supported on a vertical column. So long as it rotated, the heavy wheel, instead of falling, remained suspended in mid-air, revolving meanwhile slowly about the point of support at the other end of the axle. At first sight it seems as wonderful and as paradoxical as the body of Mr. Home, the spiritualist, sailing in mid-air in full view of his gaping and noble audience. In the case of Mr. Home, we suspect some mistake or deception; but there is no mistake about the gyroscope. Yet this strange paradox, which startled people so, and which so flooded scientific literature with explanations, is an old familiar fact in a new form. The problem is precisely the same as that of the boy's top, which spins and leans, and slowly revolves in its leaning, but does not fall so long as it continues to spin.