Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/517

This page has been validated.

meval Man in Europe," and "The Antiquity of Man," we have no room to speak. Prof. Winchell deduces a general view, which harmonizes all the phases of evidence, and though contravening the old traditions, must be accepted in proportion as men esteem truth to be more desirable than error. He says:

"This scheme of prehistoric times, embracing only a few conjectural features, weaves in all the facts of history and science. If it traverses old opinions, we need not mourn. New truths are better than old errors. Fact is worth more than opinion. Certainty is more desirable than confidence. Progressive knowledge implies much unlearning. The loss of a belief, like the death of a friend, seems a bereavement but a false belief is only an enemy in a friend's cloak. It is only truth which is divine; and, if we embrace an error, we shall not find it ratified in the oracles of divine truth. We who hold to the valid inspiration of the sacred records may feel assured that nothing will be found affirmed therein which collides with the final verdict of intelligence. Nor has the color of the first man any concern with a simple religious faith. If our creed embodies a dogma which enunciates what is really a conclusion, true or false, based on scientific evidence—that is, evidence brought to light by observation and research—that may be exscinded as an excrescence. All such subjects are to be settled by scientific investigation—not by councils of the Church. Ecclesiastical faith has had a sorry experience in the attempt to sanctify popular opinions. A faith that has had to surrender the geocentric theory and the denial of antipodes, and of the high geological antiquity of the world, should have learned to discriminate between religious faiths and scientific opinions. Religious faith is more enduring than granite. Scientific opinion is uncertain; it may endure like granite or vanish like a summer cloud. Religious faith is simple, pure, and incorruptible; scientific opinion is a compound of all things, corruptible and incorruptible. Let us not adulterate pure faith with corruptible science. An unadulterated faith can be defended by the sturdiest blows of reason and logic; a corrupt faith puts reason and logic to shame."

Principles and Practice of Teaching. By James Johonnot. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 395. Price, $1.50.

As it is now the latest, so Prof. Johonnot's new work on education is undoubtedly the best manual of school guidance that has yet been prepared. It is better adapted to the present condition of educational progress than any other teachers' manual that we have yet seen. Two things have come prominently forward in the recent development of thought with reference to the work of instruction: 1. Science is gaining a more liberal recognition in our courses of study, and is more and more coming to be the chief thing; and, 2. Teachers are compelled to give more attention to psychological science as an indispensable prerequisite to the intelligent management of school-work. There is still need enough for advancement in both these directions, for there are plenty of schools that are hardly beyond the middle ages in their appreciation of science, and plenty of teachers who are as ignorant of the laws of mind as the untutored savage. But these considerations are surely though slowly emerging into confessed prominence, and are beginning to take that controlling position in the philosophy of education which is bound to be universally conceded to them in the not very distant future.

Prof. Johonnot is by no means a blind admirer of things established in our educational systems. He clearly sees that the whole subject is in movement, that in many respects current education is profoundly imperfect, that a critical spirit widely prevails in regard to it, and that there is plenty of work for reformers in bringing the general practice into harmony with principles that have been definitely worked out. He is not only a practical educator of large experience in the special work of training teachers, but he has his independent views of what is needed, and how to attain it; and his work will accordingly be found fresh, suggestive, and stimulating, to all teachers and school officials who are devoted to organizing and carrying out the best plans of instruction. That he has reached anything like a finality in the policy of school management he would be the last to claim; but we must cordially concede to him the merit of having grasped the problem of practical culture in its latest exigencies and newest developments. In a growing and unfolding subject, methods must be tentative and proximate: it is enough if they are better than their predecessors. Prof. Johonnot has well digested for us the latest theoretical wisdom regarding the principles of teaching, and he has embodied these in an improved system of practice, which has stood the test of experience. Having unfolded the general principles of culture in the earlier and chief portions of his work, the author devotes the last hundred pages to