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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/313

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REPLIES TO CRITICISMS.

in those having them, imperatively demand beliefs that Sir W. Hamilton would regard as untrue. A New-Zealand chief, discovering his wife in an infidelity, killed the man; the wife then killed herself that she might join her lover in the other world; and the chief thereupon killed himself that he might go after them to defeat this intention. These two acts of suicide furnish tolerably strong evidence that these New-Zealanders believed in another world to which they could go at will, and fulfill their desires as they did here. If they were asked the justification for this belief, and if the arguments by which they sought to establish it were not admitted, they might still fall back on emotional consciousness as yielding them an unshakable foundation for it. I do not see why a Feejee-Islander, adopting the Hamiltonian argument, should not justify by it his conviction that, after being buried alive, his life in the other world, forthwith commencing at the age he has reached in this, will similarly supply him with the joys of conquest and the gratifications of cannibalism. That he has a conviction to this effect stronger than the religious convictions current among civilized people is proved by the fact that he goes to be buried alive quite willingly; and, as we may presume that his conviction is not the outcome of a demonstration, it must be the outcome of some state of feeling—some "emotional consciousness." Why, then, should he not assign the "facts" of his "emotional consciousness" as "imperatively demanding" this belief? Manifestly, this principle, that "consciousness must be accepted entire," either obliges us to accept as true the superstitions of all mankind, or else obliges us to say that the consciousness of a certain limited class of cultivated people is alone meant. If things are to be believed simply because the facts of emotional consciousness imperatively demand them, I do not see why the actual existence of a ghost in a house is not inevitably implied by the intense fear of it that is aroused in the child or the servant.

Lastly, and chiefly, I have to deal with Dr. Mansel's statement that "Mr. Spencer, on the other hand, takes these negative inferences as the only basis of religion." This statement is exactly the reverse of the truth, since I have contended, against Hamilton and against him, that the consciousness of that which is manifested to us through phenomena is positive, and not negative as they allege, and that this positive consciousness supplies an indestructible basis for the religious sentiment ("First Principles," § 26). Instead of giving here passages to show this, I may fitly quote the statement and opinion of a foreign theologian. M. le pasteur Grotz, of the Reformed Church at Nismes, writes thus:

"Is Science, then, the natural enemy of Religion? To preserve our religion, must we cry Science down? Why, Science, experimental Science, is now beginning to speak in favor of Religion; and it is Science that is about to reply at once to M. Vacherot and to M. Comte through the mouth of one of the thinkers of our age, Mr. Herbert Spencer."....