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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

purposes, and of a quality such as would not dissolve lead, or form a deposit when boiled. 3. It should be clear and bright, agreeable to the eye, and refreshing to the taste. 4. It should be well aërated, of a nearly uniform normal temperature, and not like river or surface water, unduly warm in summer and unduly cold in winter. All that is needed, in the opinion of Mr. Homersham, and most of the other authors of papers, to insure abundance of such pure water, is that public opinion be educated to insist upon it. Works adequate to provide a regular supply of wholesome water, whether for towns or for small groups of dwellings in the country, might be constructed at moderate expense.

 

How Teleological Ideas are acquired.—In the course of his able address on "Education a Succession of Experiences," Prof. Grote, Vice-President of the Natural History Section of the American Association, remarks as follows upon the futility of teleological arguments: "From the imperfection and limitation of our senses comes not only a succession of experiences which are incomplete, but a general concept with regard to external matters, which must be of necessity misleading. We are here but a short time, and see little of the outcome of passing events, and can know nothing of the outcome of the world itself. Thus it has come to pass that what we have not fully observed we have assigned to an unknown cause. We have fitted Nature into our own measure, directly led thereto by the imperfection of our knowledge, and we have arrived at the concept that design exists in the world about us as it is displayed in our own handiwork and the work of animals, which, with ourselves, exhibit design in their operations. But in reality what we see in the details of the structure of animals and plants is not design, but adaptation. Suppose we leave a coat in a closet, and while it is there it is visited by a female clothes-moth, which deposits thereon numerous eggs. The little worms hatched from the eggs would at once commence to make free with the nap, and eat holes in the coat with a good appetite. If they ever thought about the matter, would they not conclude that the coat was hung there for their special benefit? They would do so merely because the coat was there. The fact that they adapted it to their own use would be construed by them into a belief that it was designed for their benefit. They would inevitably regard the owner of the coat, could they arrive at this conception, as their benefactor and the preserver of the whole race of maggots. They would know nothing of the thousands of clothes-worm eggs that perish because they never get anything to eat. The fact that life is sacrificed by the wholesale in Nature tells against the argument of design. And Nature is as careless of the species as of the individual. In the crust of the earth are contained the remains of millions of types of form of which Nature has not been careful, but has crushed them out, because they could not adapt themselves to the changing conditions which surrounded them."

 

Is the Evolution Theory atheistic?—Prof. Simon Newcomb's address, on his retiring from the annual presidency of the American Association, is a singularly lucid exposition of the state of the case as between the teleological and the mechanical explanations of the operations of Nature. The drift of his argument is best seen in the summary with which the address concludes, and which is in substance as follows: First, when men study the operations of the world around them, they find some of these plainly determined by law, while others appear to be purely arbitrary. This latter class of operations men attribute to the direct action of supernatural beings, gods; and they further ascribe to these gods aims, designs, to be attained through these interventions in the course of Nature. Further, men believe themselves able to discern these designs, and thus to explain these arbitrary operations. But, as knowledge advances, one after another of these operations is found to be really determined by law. Final causes having thus, one by one, disappeared from every thicket which has been fully explored, the question arises whether they now have or ever had any existence at all. On the one hand it may be claimed that it is unphilosophical to believe in them when they have been sought in vain in every corner into which light can penetrate. On the other hand, we have the difficulty of accounting