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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/786

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Synthetic Philosophy," as well as those which Mr. Mozley entertained in his early days, were in some way derived from my father. Were this true, the implication would be that during the last five-and-twenty years I have been allowing myself to be credited with ideas which are not my own. And, since this is entirely untrue, I can not be expected to let it pass unnoticed. If I do, I tacitly countenance an error, and tacitly admit an act by no means creditable to me.

I should be the last to underestimate my indebtedness to my father, for whom I have great admiration, as will be seen when, hereafter, there comes to be published a sketch of him which I long ago prepared in rough draft. But this indebtedness was general and not special—an indebtedness for habits of thought encouraged rather than for ideas communicated. I distinctly trace to him an ingrained tendency to inquire for causes—causes, I mean, of the physical class. Though far from having himself abandoned supernaturalism, yet the bias toward naturalism was strong in him, and was, I doubt not, communicated (though rather by example than by precept) to others he taught as it was to me. But while admitting, and indeed asserting, that the tendency toward naturalistic interpretation of things was fostered in me by him, as probably also in Mr. Mozley, yet I am not aware that any of those results of naturalistic interpretation distinctive of my works are traceable to him.

Were the general reader in the habit of criticising each statement he meets, he might be expected to discover in the paragraph quoted above from Mr. Mozley reasons for skepticism. When, for example, he found my books described as occupying several yards of library shelves, while in fact they occupy less than two feet, he might be led to suspect that other statements, made with like regard for effectiveness rather than accuracy, are misleading. A reperusal of the last part of the paragraph might confirm his suspicion. Observing that, along with the allegation of "family resemblance," the closing sentence admits that the course of human affairs as conceived by Mr. Mozley was the reverse in direction to the course alleged by me—observing that in this only respect in which Mr. Mozley specifies his view it is so fundamentally anti-evolutionary as to be irreconcilable with the evolutionary view—he might have further doubts raised. But the general reader, not pausing to consider, mostly accepts without hesitation what a writer tells him.

Even scientific readers, even readers familiar with the contents of my books, can not, I fear, be trusted so to test Mr. Mozley's statement as to recognize its necessary erroneousness; though a little thought would show them this. They would have but to recall the cardinal ideas developed throughout the series of volumes I have published, to become conscious that these ideas are necessarily of much later origin than the period to which Mr. Mozley's account refers. Though, in Rumford's day and before, an advance had been made toward the doc-