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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/639

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THE VIVISECTION QUESTION.

education are naturally trained all the resources of quackery, whose trade would be gone. And where free expression is accorded to all alike, progress must be made in the teeth of ignorance too dense to have any conception of its own depth, and in the face of brawling charlatanry and screaming fanaticism. With nearly half our people dying before or about the prime of life, this is the situation. To teach ideas of cause and effect with reference to matters of health and disease, to inspire at least a willingness to heartily co-operate in efforts to control the causes of disease, our public-school system seems well adapted. But even here there is a serious tendency to hamper and restrict the proper teaching of physiology.

 

II.—VIVISECTION FROM THE STANDPOINT OF RELIGION AND MORALITY.

If vivisection is impious, immoral, or demoralizing, it must be abandoned as a method of research, and further discussion on grounds of utility is precluded. Hence this aspect of the subject must receive our first attention. Scarcely a paper appears against the practice of vivisection which does not contain solemn appeals to the Deity. These are too sincere to be ignored. In fact, the most active supporter of the agitation in England would confine the discussion wholly to these grounds, and invites us to "leave, then, utility alone, and all the weary controversy which hangs upon it." With the help of God, it (the national conscience) will yet abolish vivisection.[1] A recent expression of the American Society is as follows:

Resolved, That we, the American Antivivisection Society, believe vivisection to be morally wrong; to be distinctly opposed to the intent of a beneficent Creator, who wills the happiness of all his creatures; that we should, as Christians, unite in every effort for its suppression, and, as the best weapon of the Christian is prayer, Resolved,[2]etc.

The argument has been cast by Cardinal Manning into the following syllogism: Truth of Nature must be sought only by methods in harmony with the perfection of Nature's God. Mercy is one of the perfections of God. Vivisection is not in harmony with perfect mercy.[3] Therefore truth must not be sought by vivisection. How the worthy cardinal knows that vivisection is not in harmony with God's perfect mercy he nowhere explains. This is the all-important question. If this proposition is true, vivisection is impious, and must be abandoned immediately, no matter what its value to science, or utility to mankind.


  1. Miss F. P. Cobbe. A Charity and a Controversy, London, 1889, p. 4.
  2. American Antivivisection Society Report, 1892, p. 19.
  3. Manning. Annual Address, Victoria Street Society, March 20, 1887.