Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/680

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however, probably were in part of a like origin; and should at last reach coarsely crystalline rocks, in which, while occasional sediments would be possible, the majority were originally igneous, though modified at a very early period of their history. This corresponds with what we find in nature, when we apply, cautiously and tentatively, the principles of interpretation which guide us in stratigraphical geology. I have stated as briefly as possible what I believe to be facts. I have endeavored to treat these in accordance with the principles of inductive reasoning. I have deliberately abstained from invoking the aid of "deluges of water, floods of fire, boiling oceans, caustic rains, or acid-laden atmospheres," not because I hold it impossible that these can have occurred, but because I think this epoch in the earth's history so remote and so unlike those which followed that it is wiser to pass it by for the present. But, unless we deny that any rocks formed anterior to or coeval with the first beginning of life on the globe can be preserved to the present time, or, at least, be capable of identification—an assumption which seems to me gratuitous and unphilosophical—then I do not see how we can avoid the conclusion to which we are led by a study of the foundation-stones of the earth's crust—namely, that these were formed under conditions and modified by environments which, during later geologial epochs, must have been of very exceptional occurrence. If, then, this conclusion accords with the results at which students of chemistry and students of physics have independently arrived, I do not think that we are justified in refusing to accept them because they lack the attractive brilliancy of this or that hypothesis, or do not accord with the words in which a principle, sound in its essence, has been formulated. It is true in science, as in a yet more sacred thing, that "the letter killeth, the spirit giveth life."


By J. M. ARMS.

THE question before the educators of our country is a practical one, involving important and far-reaching results. Shall science lessons be given in elementary schools? It is a question which can be answered affirmatively or negatively only by considering why and how such lessons shall be given. What I have to say on the subject will be more practical than theoretical, as whatever views I hold are based wholly upon ten years' experience in teaching natural science to young people from five to twenty years of age. This being the case, my remarks must be necessarily more personal than I would wish.

  1. Read at the "National School of Methods," Saratoga, August, 1888.