Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/121

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EDITOR'S TABLE.

mental activity, were introduced. These are invaluable in education, and if shorn away, so that nothing but direct results are imparted, the quickening, arousing influence of science is lost to culture. Karl Grün well observes: "Science either enjoys perfect liberty, or she is not free at all. Setting up hypotheses and tracing their ultimate consequences are part and parcel of science, and of the liberty of science;" and we may add that its use in this form is a part of the liberty of education.

It is one of the chief glories of science that it has first taught men the supreme value of truth, and the disciplines of character that the earnest pursuit of truth involves. Truth on its own account and for its own sake is its one great object, and, in proportion as it can be incorporated in education and made the incentive of mental activity, will education attain its highest and noblest object. A writer in the German periodical Kosmos, replying to Prof. Virchow, thus gives effective expression to this idea:

"Scientific research aims at the discovery of truth, never inquiring who is to be benefited thereby. The question, Qui prodest? (Who is benefited?) is fortunately of as little account in science as the other question, Cui nocet? (Who is hurt?) Hence whether the evolution doctrine favors the Socialists or the Ultramontanes, the high and dry Conservatives, the Moderates, the Liberals, the Radicals, or any other party, must be a matter of entire indifference to the earnest investigator, and must not be permitted for a moment to lead him astray in his researches. The truth must be established for its own sake, and for no other purpose. Any other consideration, even though it were urged by a Virchow, must be absolutely rejected. Ever since science first began there have been heard authoritative voices calling 'Halt!' to the restless spirit of speculation, and it were a grave injustice not to recognize the value of such admonitions. They who warn against danger, and they who engage in scientific speculation, are both indispensable for the development of science; but we must ever bear in mind that scientific progress always, almost without an exception, has come from the labors of those who dared to give expression to thoughts which were as a leaven to the minds of their contemporaries, and who were persecuted for heresy, and laid under a ban by the authorities. The most splendid triumphs of science are the fruit of the empiric demonstration of ingenious hypotheses. Even in cases where these hypotheses have proved untenable they have caused men to think, and that in itself constitutes a new advance of science. We could as little dispense with them as with the leaven in bread. All honor, then, first of all to the men to whom we are indebted for hypotheses which have given a stimulus to research; which, so to speak, constitute a landmark in the history of science; finally, in the mastering of which, in one sense or the other, a full generation or more has been employed! Honor, again, to those intellectual princes of whom the German proverb is true that, 'when kings build, there is work for cartmen!' "
 

 

PROFESSOR MAX MÜLLER ON "THE ORIGIN OF REASON."

And, while we happen to be on the subject of evolution in Germany, we may refer to another episode in relation to this subject. Prof. Max Müller, well known as a philologist, has written an ambitious paper on "The Origin of Reason," in which he follows Prof. Ludwig Noiré, a German philologist, and called a "rank evolutionist." Müller points out how Prof. Noiré has laid under contribution Spinoza, Descartes, Leibnitz, Kant, Locke, Schopenhauer, and Geiger, for materials to construct an evolution theory, his own contribution being that the development of mind is to be come at through the study of language. Noiré does not think much of Darwin, but prefers Cuvier, and works up his scheme out of metaphysical materials, rather than the results of modern science. This Müller indorses, saying, "Every system of philosophy which plunges into the mysteries of Nature without having solved the mysteries of the mind, the systems of natural evolution not excepted, is pre-Cartesian and mediæval." It is somewhat curious to characterize as mediæval that new spirit which arose