Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/428

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superiority of ignorance as a guide of conduct. Yet science is simply knowledge classified, systematized, made orderly, impersonal, and exact, instead of being left unclassified, fragmentary, personal, and inexact. Auguste Comte calls it "common-sense methodized and extended." There is plenty of knowledge which is not exact, and of exact knowledge which is not methodized. There is plenty of experience which is personal and incapable of being communicated to others. Wanting the illumination of many minds, this store cannot do the work of science, which is the experience of many enlarging the experience of each. If there is immense benefit in knowing what are the facts and the order of the physical world in which we live, and of the social world in which our higher life is lived, there is clearly a great advantage that this knowledge should be made orderly and communicable; and the dread of such an arrangement of knowledge is obviously irrational. Thus enlightened, we recognize in science the deliberate effort to reduce the chaos of sensible experiences within the orderliness of ideal constructions, condensing multitudes of facts into simple laws—an effort which the intellect acknowledges as a supreme duty, and which conduct acknowledges as a guide.

Another source of the dislike is the opposition of our native tendencies. Science is abstract, impersonal, whereas our experiences are concrete and personal. It is systematic, and systematization is troublesome: our native indolence renders us impatient of labor, and our impatience leads us to prefer the facile method of guessing to the difficult method of observing: we have to be trained into the preference of observing what the facts are, instead of arguing as to what the facts must be. Science, moreover, is greatly occupied with remote relations; now, to feel an interest in these we must first have had them "brought home" to us. Knowledge springs from desire. It begins when prolonged observation, stimulated by emotion, replaces the incurious animal stare at things; and for this prolongation there is needed a sustaining motive. The sustaining motive of research is the conviction of the vast increase of our power which science creates. Measuring by a foot-rule and measuring by trigonometry may be taken as types of common knowledge and science: the result reached may in some particular case be the same, whichever method be used; but the incomparable extent of the second method, which is applicable where the foot-rule cannot reach—which measures the heights of mountains and the distances of stars—furnishes the sustaining motive to the study of trigonometry.

Science demands exactness, and this demand irritates the vulgar mind. The impatience with which your cook listens to your advice that she should measure and not guess the quantities (advice you can never get her to follow) is but the same movement which rouses your resistance when any one desires to test your opinions by weighing the evidence, or endeavors to show that your traditional beliefs rest on no verifiable observations. Is not he who insists on evidence commonly