Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/796

This page has been validated.
776
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

so very angry with some obscure people called Agnostics, whose views, if we may judge by the accounts left in the works of a great positivist controversial writer, were very absurd.

To put the matter briefly, M. Comte, finding Christianity and Science at daggers drawn, seems to have said to Science: "You find Christianity rotten at the core, do you? Well, I will scoop out the inside of it." And to Romanism: "You find Science mere dry light—cold and bare. Well, I will put your shell over it, and so, as schoolboys make a specter out of a turnip and a tallow candle, behold the new religion of Humanity complete!"

Unfortunately, neither the Romanists nor the people who were something more than amateurs in science could be got to worship M. Comte's new idol properly. In the native country of Positivism, one distinguished man of letters and one of science, for a time, helped to make up a roomful of the faithful, but their love soon grew cold. In England, on the other hand, there appears to be little doubt that, in the ninth decade of the century, the multitude of disciples reached the grand total of several score. They had the advantage of the advocacy of one or two most eloquent and learned apostles, and, at any rate, the sympathy of several persons of light and leading—and, if they were not seen, they were heard all over the world. On the other hand, as a sect, they labored under the prodigious disadvantage of being refined, estimable people, living in the midst of the worn-out civilization of the Old World; where any one who had tried to persecute them, as the Mormons were persecuted, would have been instantly hanged. But the majority never dreamed of persecuting them; on the contrary, they were rather given to scold, and otherwise try the patience of, the majority.

The history of these sects in the closing years of the century is highly instructive. Mormonism. . .

But I find I have suddenly slipped off Mr. Harrison's tripod, which I had borrowed for the occasion. The fact is, I am not equal to the prophetical business, and ought not to have undertaken it.—Nineteenth Century.

 


 
Something, it appears, is to be said in favor of the theory that the earth has received and is receiving supplies of carbon from meteors and space. A meteor that was found at Youndegin, Western Australia, in 1854, contained carbon of a form resembling graphite, but harder, and occurring in cubic crystals, of which about a hundred were separated. Observations of geological strata indicate an increase of carbon in the crust of the earth since the earliest times, for the rocks of the older formations contain less of it than those of the carboniferous and succeeding ones. Dr. Sterry Hunt has attributed the additional supplies to carbonic-acid gas diffused in space, and holds that the supposition that our atmosphere ever contained the whole amount at once would involve the presence of more enormous quantities of it than we can reasonably admit.