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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/830

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

about the nature of disease to recognize symptoms which indicate the fitness of this agency, too little of science in general to realize that a means suitable to remove one condition may be entirely inadequate or unsuitable to counteract another. Hardly a means of healing is known but had extravagant claims and prophecies made for it when it was first brought into use, which afterward settled down into a very moderate compass. Take, for instance, the transfusion of blood. The early transfusionists reasoned, in the style of the Christian Scientists, that the blood is the life. Take the bad blood out of a man and put new blood into him, and you draw off his diseases and infirmities and put new life into him. They even hoped to dispel insanity by this infusion of new life, and some went so far as to prophesy that moral infirmities would be cured in this way. The theory of Christian Science may seem very beautiful to persons of a highly religious and highly emotional nature, but it has no more connection with the cure of disease than a rainbow has with the multiplication table. It is a pretty fancy, and one hardly has the heart to dispel the illusion, but it is “as false as it is fair.” Many of the most sanctimonious healers, who make the most impressive appeals to the piety of their victims, are in the business simply for the money they can get out of it. Others are honest, but are themselves deceived. It is fortunate that the patients of the Christian Scientists generally go back to the physicians when anything serious is the matter with them, or we should see a greater slaughter than has already occurred. About ninety-five per cent of the believers in this doctrine are women, and to their sensitive feelings the above may seem like ill-natured and hasty language. But it is neither. It is an earnest and deliberate effort to use the tests of science so as to show how unsubstantial is this rainbow-bridge upon which they are asked to trust their lives.

The Christian Science craze will have its day and then die out, like the blue-glass delusion and other crazes of like character. Already signs appear that it has reached its highest limit in the eastern part of the country, and that its decadence has begun. It is not occupying so much space as formerly in the newspapers; and it is becoming less profitable to those who practice it. A lady and her husband who set up a Christian Science school and hospital in New York recently found themselves a thousand dollars out at the end of the winter and gave up the business. In the West, however, where it appeared later, the movement still maintains considerable vigor.

It will have done good if it compels physicians to adopt mental healing, not as a panacea, but as an addition to the curative means now at their command, and for occasional intelligent use. This done, the sooner Christian Science, as a distinct mode of treat-