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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/515

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THE MOTIVE FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

Wheeler Electric Company. Mr. Joseph Sachs has also invented an electric engine, which is described in Cassier's Magazine for February, 1895. Undoubtedly in the future some machine of this kind will be introduced, but at present the industry is still in its infancy.

[To be concluded.]

 

THE MOTIVE FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.
By HUBERT LYMAN CLARK.

AT the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Oxford in August, 1894, the president, the Marquis of Salisbury, delivered a remarkable address on Unsolved Problems of Science, which called forth much criticism, particularly from scientific journals. The speaker called the especial attention of his audience to four great questions which, with all the boasted advances of science, still remain unsolved, and the solution of which seems as far distant to-day as ever. These questions were, the origin of the chemical elements, the problem of the ether, the origin of life, and the theory of evolution. The tendency of the address was certainly not to give encouragement that these problems would soon or even ultimately be cleared up by the work of scientists, but rather indicated a certain satisfaction that there were nuts to crack which even the British Association would find too hard. This tone was especially evident in the treatment of the subject of organic evolution, and the speaker made it plain that he considered certain of the objections to that doctrine conclusive and was ready, for one, to fall back on the doctrine of design to explain all the innumerable variations and adaptations which we see in animal and plant life about us. That the whole address was certainly reactionary there can be no doubt, but it seems to be unfortunately true that certain of the criticisms which it has called forth are to be equally condemned for going at once to the other extreme. In one of the leading scientific magazines of this country the reviewer says, under the heading Back to Dogma:

“It needs but a few moments of careful and candid consideration to show that the doctrine of design means the death of scientific investigation. If things are so because they were intentionally made so or because certain processes were miraculously expedited, then the universe may be the theater of will, but not of forces the operation of which we can hope to understand. . . . The reason why the doctrine of design is so popular is partly because it is such a saver of intellectual toil, and partly because by