Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/869

This page has been validated.

heard an interesting paper from Mr. L. O. Howard, of Washington, detailing his plan of campaign against the mosquito. He employs kerosene spread as a thin film over the breeding-places of the insect; the oil remains efficacious for two weeks, and, as a little of it goes a long way, the cost is a mere trifle.

A capital lecture, fully illustrated, on Hypnotism, was given to the Rochester public by Prof. Joseph Jastrow, of the University of Wisconsin. Mr. C. K. Gilbert, of Washington, who discoursed on Coon Butte and Theories of its Origin, did not prove so interesting. It is perhaps in its endeavor in some measure to requite hospitality by its public lectures that the management of the Association is most open to criticism. Had popular elements in the Rochester programme received more attention, it is safe to say that the local accessions would have exceeded the small total of twenty-six.

Madison, Wis., was chosen for the next place of meeting, with Prof. William Harkness as president. The vice-presidents elected were: Section A, Mathematics and Astronomy, Prof. 0. L. Doolittle, South Bethlehem, Pa.; B, Physics, Prof. E. L. Nichols, Ithaca, N. Y.; C, Chemistry, Prof. Edward Hart, Easton, Pa.; D, Mechanical Science and Engineering, Prof. S. W. Robinson, Columbus, O.; E, Geology and Geography, Prof. C. D. Walcott, Washington; F, Zoölogy, Prof. H. F. Osborn, New York; G, Botany, Prof. C. E. Bessey, Lincoln, Neb.; H, Anthropology, Prof. J. Owen Dorsey, Tacoma, Md.; I, Economic Science, Prof. William II. Brewer, New Haven, Conn. The probable time of the next meeting will be the week beginning August 19, 1893.

The Geological Society of America accepted an invitation to hold its winter meeting at Ottawa, Canada, December 28th-31st.



Essays upon some Controverted Questions By Thomas Henry Huxley, F. R. S. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1892. Pp. 489. $2.

Most of these essays were first printed from time to time in the Nineteenth Century, and afterward republished here in the Monthly. They were written, the author says, without premeditated purpose or intentional connection in reply to attacks upon doctrines which he holds to be well founded; or in refutation of allegations respecting matters lying within the province of natural knowledge which he believes to be erroneous. The circumstances of their origin gave them a polemical tone, the traces of which disappeared from his heart after the heat of controversy was over, but which he has allowed to remain as being most just on the whole to all, and especially as excusing the occasional severities his antagonists may have indulged in. The author's main thought in the papers has been to show that the events of the world and of life have been and are the outcome of a regular sequence according to fixed laws, and that the intervention of a supernaturalism on which much stress is laid by the "other side" is superfluous—not necessary, and not proved; not that he denies the existence of a supernaturalism, or of real powers and knowledge, equivalent to those which the supernaturalists predicate; for, "looking at the matter from the most rigidly scientific point of view, the assumption that amid the myriads of worlds scattered through endless space there can be no intelligence as much greater than man's as his is greater than a black beetle's; no being endowed with powers of influencing the course of Nature as much greater than his as his is greater than a snail's, seems to me not merely baseless, but impertinent. Without stepping beyond the analogy of that which is known, it is easy to people the cosmos with entities, in ascending scale, until we reach something practically indistinguishable from omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. If our intelligence can in some matters surely reproduce the past of thousands of years ago, and anticipate the future thousands of years hence, it is clearly within the limits of possibility that some greater