Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/431

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ON THE DREAD AND DISLIKE OF SCIENCE.

ous examples of men eminent in science and sincere in their theological professions, not to admit that the mind can follow two logics, and can accept both the natural and the supernatural explanations. Whether the mind ought to do so, is another question. Let no one, therefore, suspect me of a doubt as to the sincerity of theologians who proclaim that the sphere of science is limited to the processes of the physical world, and may be frankly accepted in all that it teaches respecting such processes, without in the least involving the moral world, or in any way affecting the truths respecting that moral world which theology derives from a source independent of experience. Science, they say, systematizes whatever experience reveals; its test is Reason. Theology systematizes what had been revealed from a higher source; its test is Faith. Between reason and faith there is an absolute demarkation; and between science, which relies on observation and induction, and theology, which relies on precept and intuition, there is no conflict. As the artist appeals to the chemist for a theory of salts, and to the mathematician for a theory of singular integrals, but declares both chemist and mathematician to have no voice in a theory of art, so the theologian accepts the teaching of mathematician, physicist, chemist, and biologist, in their respective departments, but peremptorily excludes each and all from the supreme department of moral and religious duties founded on a theory of the relations of the world to its Creator.

Thus stated, one must admit a sufficient logical consistency in the present condition of compromise, and need suppose no kind of insincerity, no conscious equivocation in the acceptance of both the natural and the supernatural modes of explaining phenomena. Nor, indeed, could the fundamental inconsistency of such a compromise have been even recognized, until the quite modern extension of scientific method to moral questions had come to complete the disintegrating effects of historical and philosophical criticism applied to the sacred books on which theology relied. In the earlier stages of development, although the natural explanation was adopted in reference to the most familiar experiences, and framed the rough theories of common-sense for the habitual guidance of conduct, both in relation to the physical world and to society, the supernatural was adopted in reference to whatever was unusual and unseen; and the wider range of this speculative method was due to the immensity of ignorance. The slow progress of positive knowledge has more and more enlarged the domain of natural explanation, more and more restricted the domain of the supernatural. Yet, even now, the majority of cultivated men regard the facts of human nature as only partly explicable without aid drawn from the supernatural; and resist, as impiety, the attempt to assign natural causes in explanation of moral relations. That is to say, there where the operation of natural causes escapes our penetration, supernatural causes are invoked. Just as to men, ignorant of natural conditions, thunder was