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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/420

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406
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

anxious to invest it in the new power company. The dividend was the result of a liquidation of the Gold from Sea Water Company, and represented half of her original sum. She had come out of one delusion with a loss of half of her property, and was now ready to enter another one with the remaining half. It was an old-fashioned notion that women should be kept in ignorance of business, for business knowledge, it was thought, was the concern of the husbands. This notion prevails still in some quarters, and there may be some connection between the number of women in Christian Science temples and their lack of education in practical matters, or in what may be called the legal business habit—a habit which weighs the probabilities of this and that, and leads to ways of exact thinking.

One of the remedies for this proneness of women to invest in scientific bubbles, to invest money on faith, is the lack of exact training, which is not acquired by them either in private schools or colleges. The classes of philosophy and psychology in women's colleges are crowded, while those in the exact sciences have only handfuls. This remark also applies to the students in men's colleges, and we realize in this respect how closely college women imitate college men. They follow the latter also in the habit of taking lecture courses, a custom which increases vagueness, inaccuracy of thought, and looseness of statement. This choice of studies by the young women in their colleges is a serious question for mankind, in view of the speculative spirit which the feminine sex show toward scientific bubbles and schemes which promise an inordinate rate of interest; for the graduates of these colleges will become teachers of youth, and if not teachers they have an influence upon the coming citizen during his formative period. As teachers they will far outnumber men teachers, and they are fast coming into competition with men also in the routine of business offices and in certain positions in commercial houses. In these activities they will need a balance of judgment, exactness of thought, and business habits. They should be given a sufficient knowledge of the elements of physical science to know that power can not be created from nothing, and that the great mass of our knowledge of mechanics and of the relation of electricity to mechanics can not be overturned by any new discovery. Whatever is discovered must be related to what has preceded it. This is a characteristic of a science, and this is what distinguishes it from a delusion—namely, the great body of related facts put upon a mechanical basis, so that any fact can be substantiated and any phenomenon repeated. When this latter test is applied to many of the isms of the day they fade into thin air, and young women need especially to be taught to apply such