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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/370

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

turns to section 171, where the celestial applications of the general law are considered, he will find the Solar System alone instanced as having progressed toward a moving equilibrium; and the moving equilibrium even of this not compared as alleged. Neither in that section nor in any subsequent section of the chapter, is any larger celestial aggregate mentioned as progressing toward a moving equilibrium. Contrariwise, in the succeeding chapter on "Dissolution," it is said that "the irregular distribution of our Sidereal System" is "such as to render even a temporary moving equilibrium impossible" (p. 531). On pp. 533-4 it is contended that even local aggregations of stars, still more the whole Sidereal System, must eventually reach a diffused state without passing through any such stage. And had not conclusions respecting the changes of the Universe been excluded as exceeding the bounds even of speculation (p. 536), it is clear that still more of the Universe would no moving equilibrium have been alleged; but, had anything been alleged, it would have been the reverse. How, then, has it been possible, the reader will ask, for Professor Ward to write the sentence above quoted? If instead of vainly seeking through the sections devoted to "Equilibration" and "Dissolution" in relation to celestial phenomena, he turns back to some introductory pages he will find a clew. I have pointed out that in an aggregate having compounded motions, one of the constituent motions may be dissipated while the rest continue; and that in some such cases there is established a moving equilibrium. In illustration I have taken "the most familiar example"—"that of the spinning top"; and to remind the reader of one of the movements thus dissipated while the rest continue, I have used the word "wabbling"; there being no other descriptive word. What then has Professor Ward done? That mode of establishing an equilibrium which the spinning top exemplifies, he represents as extended by me to celestial phenomena, though no such comparison is made nor any such word used. Nay, he has done so notwithstanding my assertion that a moving equilibrium of our sidereal system is negatived, and regardless of the implied assertion that still more would be negatived a moving equilibrium of the Universe, could we with any rationality speculate about it. Actually in defiance of all this, he says I compare the motion of the Universe to that of a "wabbling" top. Having constructed a grotesque fancy, he labels it "ridiculous" and then debits me with it.

I can not pursue further this examination of Professor Ward's criticisms: other things have to be done. Whether what has been said will lead readers to discount the laudatory expressions I quoted at the outset, it is not for me to say. But I think I have said