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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/135

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EDITOR'S TABLE.

on the "Principles and Practice of Medicine"; but the chapter in question was selected for use as a tract because it states the case against alcohol with all the exaggeration and suppression needed for party purposes. Dr. Warren describes it as "full of error and misstatement concerning the physiological action of alcohol," while "the therapeutic inferences drawn therefrom are, to say the least, most doubtful." One example will suffice to show to what extent—if we may trust Dr. Warren, who writes with a very full command of his subject—the truth has been economized in the pamphlet in question. The author, after stating that "the experimental researches of Lallemand. Perrin, and Duroy proved conclusively that alcohol was eliminated as alcohol, unchanged chemically, from the lungs, skin, and kidneys," adds that these experiments have been confirmed, except that it is claimed that "the amount eliminated is not equal to the whole quantity taken." "Surely," says Dr. Warren, "no beginner would infer from the last quotation that every competent investigator had found the amount eliminated, not only not equal to the whole quantity taken, but really to form only a small fraction of it; yet such is actually the case." We have not space to follow Dr. Warren in his very thorough examination of this anti-alcohol manifesto; but we very heartily concur with him in some of his concluding remarks. "There are times," he says, "when it may be well not to tell the whole truth; but I have yet to learn how the human race can be benefited, in the long run, by systematic deception, and by the wholesale circulation of what is, to say the least, not true." Again: "The temperance movement of the future will have to recognize that the field for its activity lies not in the dissemination of falsehood about what alcohol is and does, but in the control of its rational use and in the prevention of all abuse. Intemperance is a terrible weed, but its roots will be found to be entangled amid many social problems of heredity, poor food, overwork, bad cooking, and bad homes, all quite as important, if not more important, than the question of alcohol." The main object of the present article, however, is to protest, in the name of science, against the tethering of it to any party policy whatever; and in the name of social and political justice against laying hold of the public schools for the propagation of opinions based as yet upon very incomplete inductions. Our temperance reformers have ample scope for a wise and beneficial activity without seeking to control the schools and without perverting opinion by the dissemination of unfounded statements under the guise of science.

 

 

A FURTHER ADVANCE.

We noticed, at the time of its appearance, an article by the celebrated Roman Catholic biologist, Mr. St. George Mivart, claiming for members of the Catholic Church the fullest liberty of opinion in all matters pertaining to science. In Mr. Mivart's opinion, it was a fortunate thing for the world that the Church had blundered so egregiously in condemning and punishing Galileo for putting forward the true theory of the heavens. It was a lesson that the Church would not be likely to forget as to the expediency of minding its own business; and it was an instance to which the laity could always appeal in case ecclesiastical authority should ever seek to set itself up as a judge of scientific questions. To-day, after a lapse of two years, Mr. Mivart comes forward with another plea for liberty—this time in connection with questions of history and criticism. He states that, in writing his former article, he purposely expressed himself very strongly, in order that, if there was anything in the position he took of a nature to call for ecclesiastical censure, he might hear of it; but that, far from having been visited with censure, he