Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/241

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SCIENCE AND SOCIAL PROGRESS

also to take account of the future instead of confining himself entirely to the present. For example, when man understands the true nature of such phenomena as volcanoes, earthquakes and floods, instead of attributing them to the vengeance of an angry god, he is in a position to protect himself intelligently from their injurious effects.

A third effect of science is that it restrains and directs the emotional life. In helping to make reason instead of passion the guide of our actions, it has done more than seems at first apparent, even though at times it has tended to go too far in stifling the legitimate action of the feelings. Under the increasing domination of reason man has had a better perspective and has been able to discriminate between important and unimportant things. At the same time he has attained greater self control. Instead of giving way to blind passion he has acted with greater and greater deliberation. This increased power of discrimination and greater self-control have had a remarkable effect upon man's actions. In giving him greater toleration they have done much to decrease strife. Man is much less likely to go to war over fancied grievances or over petty differences. And in all kinds of activities man is much more likely to count the cost before entering upon them. He will not, from a passing impulse, enter upon great undertakings which are impossible of execution. Reason, therefore, in supplementing impulse, has done much to cause man to avoid destructive and useless activities and to economize time and strength in the pursuit of useful ones.

The final result of science upon progress is the one most generally recognized. Science is the basis of art, and the progress of knowledge has stimulated and perfected the useful arts. Science has enabled us to make great strides in the conquest of nature, and has made possible to some extent the control of different forms of life. The resulting increase of wealth has made possible far greater happiness and has opened new channels of social progress. This result of science is so far-reaching that only the general effects can be mentioned here, the more detailed results will be considered later in connection with the separate sciences.

As the progress of science has altered the course of human progress so materially in the past, and as it is likely to be the most important factor in determining social progress in the future, it will be of great advantage to study the immediate causes of the advancement of science, as well as the social conditions in which these causes are most likely to be active. The distinction between the causes and conditions of the advancement of science is not hard to understand, though it may not be possible always to follow the dividing line exactly in discussion. Science is advanced by individual effort, and stimuli to the individual form the immediate cause of its advancement. But these individual