Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/692

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Cicero, Demosthenes, or Plato? Probably not one in a hundred. But formerly, when Emerson, Phillips, Holmes, Everett, and Alcott were on the lyceum platform, it was necessary for those who heard them to have a knowledge of the classics to intelligently follow them. Times have changed and the natural and physical sciences have taken their place. These offer the greatest advantage in holding the student's attention, stimulating thought, and cultivating the spirit of true investigation; they require the strictest habits of observation, induce concentration, arouse energy, educate the senses, train the hand to delicate manipulation, quicken the faculties of reasoning and powers of judgment; and the varied and useful information which they afford is given in the clearest and most convincing form. When pleasure and desire of learning are fostered together under these influences the amount of knowledge gained will be proportional to the time and opportunity for study.

In science, the student feels that rules are merely summary expressions of a number of concrete facts; and he familiarizes himself with methods of proof, and accepts only that which is susceptible of proof. It is in this way that the sciences become one of the most important means at our command for moral and intellectual training. When studied in a reverential spirit they develop the most intense desire for truth and inculcate an equal hatred for all pretense and falsity and an intolerance of all dogmatism and bigotry. They offer the same evidence for acceptance that they demand for conviction; and in the facts which they discover every theory is tested by being put on trial. All true scientific structures are builded on knowledge and not on faith, on proof and not on current opinion, for all opinions, preconceived notions, hypotheses, and even accepted doctrines are held in abeyance until the evidence is in and has been duly weighed. That mind and manhood are thus trained alike in a pre-eminent degree by the systematic study of the sciences is now beyond dispute. Many of the older classical colleges have abandoned some of their traditions to make room for these comparatively modern studies, which shows how general has become the appreciation of science as a means of intellectual and moral training, when taught by the laboratory method.

But beyond all these acquirements is the judicial attitude of mind which comes as a supreme characteristic of scientific study. In his investigations the true scientist endeavors to present absolute fairness toward all evidence and offers no resistance to its conclusions. His mind thus opens itself to all the avenues of truth, and he welcomes all the results of his investigations with equal cordiality.

Owing to peculiarities of the eye, ear, and brain, investigators