Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/255

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intense vulgarity of its philosophy, for its gross, unblushing materialism, for its silly credulity in catering out of every fool's dish, for its utter ignorance of what is meant by induction, for its gross (and, I dare to say, filthy) views of physiology—most ignorant and most false—and for its shameful shuffling of the facts of geology so as to make them play a rogue's game. I believe some woman is the author; partly from the fair dress and agreeable exterior of the 'Vestiges,' and partly from the ignorance the book displays of all sound physical logic. A man who knew so much of the surface of physics must, at least on some one point or other, have taken a deeper plunge; but all parts of the book are shallow. . . . From the bottom of my soul I loathe and detest the 'Vestiges.' 'Tis a rank pill of asafœtida and arsenic, covered with gold-leaf. I do, therefore, trust that your contributor has stamped with an iron heel upon the head of the filthy abortion, and put an end to its crawlings. There is not one subject the author handles bearing on life, of which he does not take a degrading view."

There is not much writing in this style nowadays, a generation having made a great difference in the spirit with which this subject is discussed. It is noteworthy that the furious denunciations of the doctrine that man has been created through the unfolding of the universe, rather than by a special miracle, are now put less on the ground of mere dislike and disgust than on that of its scientific falsity. It is strangely said that the idea of the derivation of the human race by the operations of natural law, such as govern the development of the individual, is unscientific, while the notion that man was supernaturally injected in a perfect state into the existing system of things is held to be the true scientific view. For the benefit of those who want to hear both sides, we republish, in the May Supplement, a vehement diatribe, by Dr. Elam, purporting to be a reply to Prof. Tyndall's "Man and Science." He is at home in the style of Sedgwick when writing upon the "Vestiges," but he has the sense to see that the question is after all a scientific one. He says:

"Not because it is unutterably disgusting and humiliating, but because the idea is profoundly and irredeemably unscientific, founded on false data, false conceptions, and false reasonings, do I altogether repudiate our 'wormy' and ape-like ancestry. Upon man everywhere, debased, degraded, fallen from his high estate though he may be, I see the seal and impress of his special and divine origin."


The Rev. Joseph Cook seems to be trying, commendably, to state things as they are, but finds it difficult. The other Monday he characterized The Popular Science Monthly as a "useful" periodical, and in this he was quite correct. He also affirmed that it is "crudely edited," and here he was, no doubt, much nearer the truth than he is wont to be. But when he speaks of Virchow in connection with the Monthly his old propensities overcome him. He said of Prof. Virchow's discourse on "The Liberty of Science in the Modern State:" "The Popular Science Monthly has indeed published an imperfect report of this great address; but it has failed, as has also Asa Gray, of Cambridge (in an article in the Independent), to bring out the breadth of the collision between Virchow and Haeckel." A false impression is here created, to say the least. We have not printed an imperfect-report of Virchow's address, but a full and faithful translation of it. As to our having failed to bring out the "breadth of the collision between Virchow and Haeckel," it happens that we have done that very thing, and are the only parties that have done it. We printed both speeches—side by side—in the February Popular Science Supplement, and, moreover, so that they can be sold with ten other elaborate articles at half the price that Murray charges for Virchow's speech alone. If, therefore, any one wishes to get a clear notion of the breadth, depth, height, and momentum, of this remarkable "collision," he will find it in the periodical