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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

speaks of "people who are in rebellion against all order in society; who think marriages should be dissolvable at will; that parents ought to have no control over their children," and so on through quite a list of absurdities, the last being the opinion that "any quack or impostor who chooses to put a brass plate on his door calling himself a physician, a lawyer, or what not, should occupy exactly the same position as those who have entered the various professions after complying with the constituted educational test of fitness." Now, we are not acquainted with any persons, nor have we heard of any, who hold this opinion; but we do know of some who consider that if there is anything that tends to bring the capable man and the ignoramus down to a common level, it is the brass door-plate under existing conditions. The public understand now that they have a guarantee that the M. D. on a door-plate or diploma means something definite; whereas the fact is that it may cover the widest possible diversity of attainments and abilities. The present system casts a kind of mysterious sanctity round the very blunders of the authorized physician, so that good wives may be heard talking of them with bated breath almost as if they were treading on holy ground. The doctor in fact is treated in general with far more consideration and even reverence than the minister, and, so far as we can see, his science only suffers through the distinction made in his favor. Whatever Mrs. Fawcett may think of it, we are strongly of opinion that medical science will never make the progress it is capable of till it is wholly set free from state control. Instead of such freedom placing the impostor and the competent practitioner on a level, it is the very thing, we are persuaded, that would do most to drive impostors, certified and non-certified, out of the "profession."

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Moral Teachings of Science. By Arabella B. Buckley (Mrs. Fisher). New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 122. Price, 15 cents.

Science has been many times accused of having no tendency toward morality, and, in fact, of exerting an opposite influence by releasing men from some restraints that formerly held them to the path of virtue. It is true that the adherents of science have not yet been able to construct a complete system of ethics, based on the evolution philosophy, but their position has been that of a builder who is jeered at because his house has no roof before he has had time to raise its walls in the face of the hindrances thrown in his way by his critics. The old conception of the universe is a growth of tens of centuries; must the new be thoroughly worked out in a single generation? However, scientists have no disposition to shirk the ethical problem, and now that they have achieved a suitable vantage-ground are already beginning to develop a solution of it. The present volume is designed to show in a simple manner that science does tend to produce moral conduct, and how its moral teachings are to be looked for. The author affirms at the outset that acquaintance with scientific truth can not give us false guidance with respect to conduct. If selfishness is not the universal law of progress, she says, "we need have no fear that the study of natural laws will mislead us into believing it. With our limited knowledge we may often be perplexed, but so long as we do not overstrain the facts we shall not be confounded. If it be true that the instincts which lead us to be just and merciful, honest and unselfish, pure and affectionate, to fear moral degradation, and to aspire to nobleness of character, are inherent in the very laws of our being, then we shall find the gradual development of these qualities in the groundwork of living nature. In a word, we shall find evidence that high moral duties are not true merely because all religions have taught them, but that all religions have taught them because they are true."

The author admits no question as to the existence of God, but declares that his "ultimate nature and attributes" "must tran-