Accordingly, Professor Thompson supplements the doctrines of the "Conservation of Matter" and "Conservation of Energy" with the new doctrine of the "Conservation of Electricity," which, indeed, is the title prefixed to his communication.
There are, of course, thoughtful physicists (and their number is increasing from day to day) who do not share the delusion that every momentary device for sorting and grouping facts is to be hailed as a new scientific revelation, and who do not dream of calling upon any one to uncover his head before every passing conceit as though it were an eternal truth. But, unfortunately, these men are not always in the high places, and are averse to obtruding themselves in public as vindicators of the authority of science.
I certainly cherish sentiments of the sincerest admiration and respect for the high-minded and generally modest men who devote their energies to the extension of the bounds of knowledge, and, in the interest of thorough and effective work, shut themselves up in narrow and dingy workshops from whose windows a wide survey of the scientific horizon is difficult or impossible. And I appreciate fully the impropriety of troubling and interrupting them with idle and frivolous criticisms and suggestions. I know that they are under the necessity of arranging and combining their crude materials upon such principles and hypotheses as they have at hand—that they can not make bricks without straw. But when a scientific specialist appears as an intruder in discussions for participation in which his habitual occupations have tended, not to qualify, but to disqualify him; and when, instead of listening and saying what he has to say respectfully, he turns to the crowd and vociferates about "charlatans," "pretenders," and "paradoxers," my thoughts involuntarily run into the words of an old Greek which have been stored in my memory since my boyhood days:
Ος ὁέ κε μηΤ’ αὐτὸς νσέη μητ ἇλλον άκοὐων
Εν ὖνρμῷ βάλληται, ὅδ’ αὐτ’ ἀχρἠῖος ἀνήρ.
|THE EYE-LIKE ORGANS OF FISHES.|
ONLY a few biological studies can count on so general an interest as those which concern the diversities in the sense-life of animals. We wonder at the stories of snails and mussels that have ears in their feet, or on their backs, or in the folds of their mantles, or which, like the Argus of mythology, have many eyes, or which have eyes on all their limbs; or of those creatures which, like some fishes, have organs of taste all over their skin; or of animals on which have been discovered nervous organs that do not seem to relate to any of