Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/540

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tube from the other, although he may know on which side his bread is buttered.

Even the surgeon, whose profession is eminently scientific, is too often shamefully ignorant of the very elements of chemistry, physics, and mechanics, the three general sciences which, together with the trivial science of anatomy, make up the whole of the science of his profession.

On the bench the want of scientific culture is painfully conspicuous. Speaking under correction, I suppose I may go so far as to say that, theoretically, law is founded upon justice; that it is, at all events, a more or less crude effort toward that rather illusive ideal. As a matter of fact, lawyers will tell you, with beaming countenances, that English law is an inchoate hotchpotch of enactments and precedents, obsolete, imaginary, supplementary, and contradictory. In fact, the idea of right is replaced by an indefinite number of rules of an arbitrary character. It is here to be well noted that the study of such arbitrary information—I will not call it knowledge—has and must have a narrowing influence; it deadens the mind, as it must deaden it, to the perception of principles. Now, the laws of Nature are not parliamentary enactments, and a judge, in his questions to witnesses, and in his remarks and summings-up, when scientific matters are before him, often appears at great and painful disadvantage through his efforts to codify Nature. Frequently, indeed, his remarks, as reported, are the funniest things in a daily paper. Of course, the efforts of the judge are greatly aided by counsel, who are supposed to be able to master any question in any science in twenty minutes. I am ashamed to say how justice is aided by the "scientific experts," generally of third or fourth rate standing in their professions—well, this is also an unpleasant subject. As to the final outcome of the suit, as a court generally reverses the decision of the one below, a great deal depends upon whether there is an odd or even number of courts between the first and the last. But I for one do not want either to ridicule or pity that which should be sober and majestic. And if it is not possible that every judge should have scientific training, it would be surely advisable that one or two should have it, and that causes involving scientific questions should be brought before such alone.

As it is from the universities that the so-called liberal professions are to a great extent recruited, I am bound to speak a word or two as to the position of science in them.

Of the teaching of science at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge I need say but little. The weighty list of names illustrious in mathematics and astronomy which the latter of these can show, might be considered sufficient to redeem it from the reproach of neglect of scientific culture. But in such an estima-