Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/864

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lead to still greater results, and the note of which was, specifically, speculation on "guiding forces and the realization of ideals." Of course, this newer morphology would only be the old pre-Darwinian speculation back again; and we think it is tolerably safe to conclude that such a reintroduction is not contemplated by the leaders in science to-day, and is in no wise a probable event.

The comparative study of animal forms resembles more or less all other comparative studies. It does not lead to the discovery of ideals in any sense, any more than does the comparative study of myths. We are merely led back from more developed to less developed forms, indicative of simpler conditions of life and a less varied play of the action of natural selection. We are no nearer to any "Why" when studying amoeba; than when investigating the structure of the highest vertebrates. The whole result of comparative biological study is to show us the order, and to some extent, the conditions of development of animal and vegetable structures, and to establish connections, affiliations, and homologies where, apart from the comparative method, no resemblances or correspondences of any kind could be detected. As our knowledge in any field of investigation attains a certain completeness, the imagination is impressed more and more with the wonderful unity of plan which prevails throughout the works of Nature; and at times we thrill as we catch, or 6eem to catch, the pulsations of universal life. These emotions come to us not in the search for ideals, but in that humbler search for facts and co-ordinating principles which some would have us forsake, as being altogether too humble and below our high prerogative as intellectual and moral beings. To us the world and humanity furnish an ample school for the training of our highest faculties, the religious not excluded. All depends on the spirit in which knowledge is pursued. Without grappling with problems that are in their nature insoluble, we may seek to adjust ourselves progressively to the highest knowledge we can attain, and thus to reach the highest and best self-development. If we do this, the path of knowledge will be for each one of us a path of ascent, and we shall find that, without any investigation of the Why, we have solved life's problem in the best possible manner.


The meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this year was characterized by a calm studiousness which was promoted by the quiet but thrifty environment in which it was held. The address of the retiring president, although confined to the one science in which Dr. Brinton has won his chief eminence, was a model for such addresses, in that the whole of it could be "understanded of the people," while at the same time furnishing food for thought to the man of science. It is no doubt easier for an anthropologist to prepare such an address on his science than for the specialist in some other fields, for the science of man is no foreign ground to any intelligent human being. This was demonstrated by the continued interest and large attendance at the sessions of the Anthropological Section. The addresses of mast of the vice-presidents dealt with broad aspects of the several sciences. That of Mr. F. H. Ousting, on The Arrow, was more like a special paper, but the expressions of interest on the part of his hearers showed that they found no fault with him on that score. The public has often been