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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to the injury of female health. Our correspondent says that there is little question in regard to the facts, but that "woman is unfairly weighted for the race." Whether unfairly or not, she certainly is so seriously weighted that she cannot win in rivalry with her less-weighted competitor. The real question, then, is, whether this difference is accidental and removable, or whether it is radical and permanent, and belongs to the very constitution of the sexes. Upon this point we hope the Monthly will soon have something further to say.

 

 

"BACKING OUT."

We are able to congratulate a number of our newspaper friends upon the happy relief they have experienced through the alleged "backing out" of Prof. Tyndall from the positions taken in his Belfast address. In the preface to that address he said that he had his moods of feeling like other people, but that "the doctrine of material atheism" did not commend itself to him in his hours of clearness and strongest conviction. And in his recent lecture on the "Crystalline and Molecular Forces," a revised copy of which we received from the author and have printed, he says that "the profession of that atheism with which I am sometimes so lightly charged" would be an impossible answer to the question "whether there is no power, being, or thing in the universe whose knowledge of that of which I am so ignorant is greater than mine." That is, in a word, Prof. Tyndall denies that he is an atheist, and this is called "backing out."-"Backing out" from what? How can a man back out unless he has first gone in? When or where did Prof. Tyndall ever avow himself an atheist? Whether a man is an atheist or not, he ought to understand himself quite as well as his neighbors. "Oh! but his doctrines imply atheism! his science leads to materialism;" and so it turns out that Prof. Tyndall's atheism is imputed and constructive, something existing in the imaginations of those who worry themselves about other people's religion. It is curious to note how the tactics of those who assume to take charge of the religious concerns of others have been quite reversed in these later times. Formerly the manipulators of thumbscrews aimed to extract from suspected doubters the concession of religious belief—to make them acknowledge that they were Christians; now the policy seems to be to fasten upon them the imputation of disbelief whether they admit it or not. "No matter what you say—you are an atheist, and an atheist you shall be!" But it is said by the newspaper editors, "Prof. Tyndall declared solemnly before the British Association that there are great potencies in matter, and that he even discerns in it 'the promise and potency of every form of life,' which we hold to be the same as abolishing Almighty God, and we are not going to have that done." It is curious how every step of scientific advancement has been met in this way. When the question was one of the simplest physical actions in matter, that of the attraction of its masses for each other by a demonstrative mathematical law, there was the same intense solicitude about what was to become of the Deity. When Newton published the "Principia," even the great Leibnitz sounded the alarm, and affirmed that the English philosopher "had robbed the Deity of some of his most excellent attributes, and bad sapped the foundation of natural religion." There is no trouble about that now. We can even discern how the operation of this grand and universal law, so far from being derogatory to the Infinite Power by which the universe is governed, must greatly expand and exalt our conception of the administration of Nature. And is it not barely possible that, by enlarging and deepening our view of the po-