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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/432

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ordinary student. Mr. Glazebrook tells the story of Maxwell's life in a little less than the first half of the book before us, devoting the rest to an account of his works. The first part is enlivened by a sprinkling of characteristic incidents, while many extracts from his letters and addresses, together with a few of his verses, help to show the real nature of the man. His scientific work is grouped under three heads: Color perception, molecular physics, and electrical theories. He made researches experimentally as well as by mathematical processes, and a spinning top carrying various colored disks of paper became in his hands a most effective piece of apparatus. His later views on the molecular theory are to be found in the articles Atom and Diffusion in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, but more important than his achievements in the two foregoing subjects were his theories as to electricity and magnetism. What these were our author tells with considerable fullness, giving some history of the subject before Maxwell, and quoting frequently from Maxwell's papers. A concluding chapter shows how discoveries made since his death, especially those of Hertz, have firmly established his views. Throughout the volume the effort has been constant to give readers with little knowledge of mathematics a realizing sense of the truths of physical science discovered by Maxwell, but it was impossible to avoid some details which only adepts will appreciate.

 

In the two parts of his recent book[1] Prof. Zahm has performed two services for Christians, especially Catholics, who are not quite clear as to what evolution is, and are concerned about the alleged conflict between this doctrine and religion. He first explains evolution with mi;ch fullness of detail and in an entirely nontechnical manner. He corrects at the outset the common error which restricts evolution to Darwinism, although he states that in this book he will deal especially with evolution in the organic kingdoms. He finds some rudiments of the theory in the speculations of the Greek philosophers, and traces its history down to the present time; he tells of the fanciful notions concerning fossils and gigantic bones found in the earth, which were held down to a recent period; he gives a sketch of the spontaneous generation controversy; and in two chapters he presents the evidences of evolution and the objections that have been urged against it. Then taking up the alleged conflict, which he everywhere treats as unreal, he ascribes many of the misunderstandings on this matter to misuse of terms, especially the terms "Creation" and "Nature," which he undertakes to define in accordance with Catholic theology. Classifying evolutionists as monists, agnostics, and theists, he discusses in succession their several standpoints as regards religion. In discussing monism he deals only with the utterances of Ernst Haeckel, whom he handles without gloves. He is more moderate with the exponents of agnosticism, although rating this view as worse than atheism, because the atheist will discuss the existence of God, while the agnostic denies that there are any data for such a discussion. He falls into the common error as to the source from which Huxley obtained the word agnostic, but gives in a footnote a quotation from a writer who evidently knew its real origin. He sees nothing


  1. Evolution and Dogma. By Rev. J. A. Zahm, C. S. C. Pp. 461, 12mo. Chicago: D. H. McBride & Co.