The greatest service of the biology of the past decade consists in having placed the science of the rearing of plants and animals in good pedagogic form. The placing of the art of breeding upon a teachable, scientific basis, and the realization of what is possible through the fullest exercise of the man factor, gives a very hopeful aspect to the agriculture of the future.
It is to be regretted that our students of heredity and our breeders are not in closer touch with each other. Though the responsibility for this lack of intimate association rests with both parties, I am inclined to think that the biologists are most at fault. In the first place, some of those most sanguine of a complete revolution in breeding practise destroyed what confidence the agriculturists had in them by extravagant and unwarranted predictions and by recommendations that were altogether impracticable. Following this extreme optimism, the same men, during the past few months, have evidenced a pessimistic attitude and, what is worse, have not refrained from expressing their reactionary ideas to the people who were beginning to share some of the former optimism. These pessimistic utterances are based upon data concerning supposed non-inheritance, which data, when not rejected by the practical breeder, are to him suggestive of contrary conclusions. This unfortunate condition is attributable to the disposition of the teachers to discuss the higher debatable points with pupils who have not yet had time to master the elements.
Since the passage of the Adams Act in 1906, much new work has been inaugurated that has for its object the establishment of the right relations between science, and especially biological science, and agriculture. Some of the experiment-station projects have yielded principally negative results, but are none the less valuable on that account. More and better trained workers are needed, and this fact will no doubt bring to the aid of biology and agriculture many capable workers such as have heretofore been discouraged by the lack of opportunities to make themselves useful in this field.
"The achievements of 'pure' science in one generation constitute the formulæ of the 'applied' science of the next." These students of applied science are also certain to be of great service to pure science. Some of the most valuable scientific conclusions have been derived from the results and carefully kept data of experimenters engaged in work carried on for commercial advantages. Continued additions to the science, as worked out into their applications, will continue to modify farm operations.
But it is not alone through agriculture that the world is increasingly indebted to our biologists. If ninety per cent, of our farmers are hampered in their work by their present ignorance concerning heredity, it can be said with equal truthfulness that over ninety per cent, of our