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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/723

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701
EDITOR'S TABLE.

large, looks like a deficiency of observation. In such cases as these the mind that is absent here is present elsewhere; and what it is doing there the world will in due time find out. It is impossible, we hold, for any one man to be observant in all directions; if he is, it is certain he will not have a colossal intellect. Still, the truth which should be borne in upon every student's mind is that if he would make independent progress he must be an independent observer. He must take in once for all the truth that the materials needed for scientific construction lie afield, and that he must keep his eyes open in order to see and distinguish them. At every moment the man of science may say, "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of" in any philosophy yet formulated; and some of those things he should aim at discovering for himself. Any mind that is once thoroughly interested in any branch of study will be observant, and conversely a certain practice in observation may create an interest not before felt in a certain department of study. It may also be remarked that the dividing line between observation and deduction is very narrow and more or less shadowy; and therefore to cultivate the logical faculty is to create an appetite for observations, or at least for facts. The logical mind sees where facts are wanting, and will not be happy till it gets them.

As might be expected, Sir Archibald Geikie makes a special application of what he has to say on the need of observation to his own science of geology—a study which is a constant challenge to the observing eye and the constructive intellect. He dwells impressively on the delight which the rational contemplation of Nature imparts to the student whose higher faculties have been awakened, and who has been taught what to see and how to consider it. "The movements of the clouds, the fall of rain, the flow of brook and river, the changes of the seasons, the succession of calm and storm, do not pass before your eyes now as once they did. While they minister to the joy of life, they speak to you of that all-embracing system of process and law that governs the world." Certainly this capacity for the higher enjoyment of Nature is the happiest result of scientific culture; and were it an invariable or even a very general result, there could never be any question as to the humanizing and liberalizing effect of devotion to scientific studies. If the result in question is not always attained, it is simply because the study of science has not been approached in a right spirit. It is not science that is at fault.

Sir Archibald dwells finally on the need for accuracy, thoroughness, breadth, and patience on the part of those who would worthily pursue a scientific career. If his words were duly heeded we should have more of generous co-operation and sympathy among scientific investigators, and less of selfish petty rivalry and clamorous contention in regard to questions of priority. The eminent author has nobly conceived the character and function of the man of science in the present age; and we can not but hope that his sage and earnest counsels to the rising generation of scientific workers will bear abundant fruit in days to come.

 

 

FADS AND FRAUDS.

We notice that a magistrate in a Canadian city has inflicted fines, under a "vagrant" act, upon two individuals who had been practicing the alleged art of palmistry. Both of these parties were proved to