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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/474

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

hypotheses which Christian Science presents; but it would have less resemblance to the world we know than has Alice's Wonderland. For any person for whom logic and evidence are something more real than ghosts or myths, the feat must always be relegated to the airy realm of the imagination and must not be brought in contact with earthly realities. And yet the extravagance of Mrs. Eddy's book, its superb disdain of vulgar fact, its transcendental self-confidence, its solemn assumption that reiteration and variation of assertion somehow spontaneously generate proof or self-evidence, its shrewd assimilation of a theological flavor, its occasional successes in producing a presentable travesty of scientific truth—all these distinctions may be found in many a dust-covered volume, that represents the intensity of conviction of some equally enthusiastic and equally inspired occultist, but one less successful in securing a chorus to echo his refrain.

I cannot dismiss 'Eddyism' without illustrating the peculiar structures under which, in an effort to be consistent, it is forced to take shelter. Since disease is always of purely mental origin, it follows that disease and its symptoms cannot ensue without the conscious cooperation of the patient; since "Christian Science divests material drugs of their imaginary power," it follows that the labels on the bottles that stand on the druggist's shelves are correspondingly meaningless. And it becomes an interesting problem to inquire how the consensus of mortal mind came about that associates one set of symptoms with prussic acid, and another with alcohol, and another with quinine. Inhaliug oxygen or common air would prepare one for the surgeon's knife, and prussic acid or alcohol have no more effect than water, if only a congress of nations would pronounce the former to be anæsthetic and promulgate a decree that the latter shall be harmless. Christian Science does not flinch from this position. "If a dose of poison is swallowed through mistake and the patient dies, even though physician and patient are expecting favorable results, does belief, you ask, cause this death? Even so, and as directly as if the poison had been intentionally taken. In such cases a few persons believe the potion swallowed by the patient to be harmless; but the vast majority of mankind, though they know nothing of this particular case and this special person, believe the arsenic, the strychnine, or whatever the drug used, to be poisonous, for it has been set down as a poison by mortal mind. The consequence is that the result is controlled by the majority of opinions outside, not by the infinitesimal minority of opinions in the sick chamber." But why should the opinions of οί πολλοὶ of influence in such a case, and the enlightened minorities be sufficient to effect the marvellous cures in all the other cases? Christian Scientists do not take cold in draughts in spite of the contrary opinions or illusions of misguided majorities. The logical Christian Scientist need not eat. "for the truth is food does not