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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/107

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SCIENCE STUDY AND NATIONAL CHARACTER.

have a rational cause and a reasonable object. They do not forbid feeling, but they require thinking.

Secondly, they defy prejudice. They call for the open court, the fair trial, the impartial judge. They say "No" to worthless witnesses and to packed juries.

Thirdly, they demand a sufficient amount of evidence. True science is the enemy of wildcat theories and reckless generalizations. "The United States has always come out on top in every war!" cries one. "There's no danger that we'll ever be whipped." "I don't like foreigners," says another. "I had a Frenchman for a neighbor once, and he was dishonest. I'm in favor of shutting out foreigners." Such reasoning as this—and how astoundingly common it is!—must be cut down at the root by the habit of trained induction.

Fourthly, the love of truth and appeal to reason, which are in the very grain of the scientific mind and heart, laugh at credulity. They do not scoff at authority, or reject it. But they say: "We must know. If we learn from you, we must know that you know. Who are you? How do you know? If you know, you will not offer us absurd contradictions of reason and accepted truth."

Again, they make their abode with the man who can receive them at his own intellectual fireside. They require that his mind be his own, that his opinions be his own, that his acts be his own, and that he defend his property in them, have pride in them, and stand by them.

Again, they demand sufficient time for care, for securing the evidence and for weighing it, and for considering its effect. They demand the completed work, and they reject all results which do not come from time employed, but are hasty guesses.

And they are not tossed about like a wave of the sea. They do command to prove all things, but they also exhort to hold fast that which is good. First, to what is good of our own and in ourselves. It is well enough to throw away our guesses, quickly made and often wrong. But the fruit of honest investigation, the conclusions of careful reasoning on sufficient information, these are the science student's riches. He may add to them or replace some of them by better, but he will not throw them away at a suggestion, or trade them to the first speculator who offers something else. He will not have a supply of new beliefs for every day, or for every month, or for every year. Second, we should hold fast the proved good which we have received from others. And we should honor and revere those who have opened the way for us to the truth—those who have above other men possessed the power of reason