Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/413

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SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL GOOD WILL

Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On thee our hopes we fix,
Oh save us all.

Religion, poetry and art have been of untold value to tribes and peoples; they will surely adjust themselves to the world as it now is and should become. Science needs no reconstruction; it is by its nature universal and gives a common interest and object to all nations. A scientific advance or discovery made in one place is equally true and equally important everywhere. When a state appropriates money for research or when a university or scientific foundation is endowed by private gift a contribution is made to the welfare and to the peace of the whole world. Smithson, an-Englishman, might well establish the institution that bears his name in the United States: it is for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."

The methods of science and the spirit of science are adverse to the jealousies, resentments and passions which lead to war. Dependence on hypotheses and induction tends to careful weighing of facts and delay before coming to conclusions. The quantitative method, the application of mathematics and probability, enables us to measure our knowledge and our ignorance. The genetic method discredits revolutions and catastrophes; it gives us faith in the slow processes of evolution. The writer, a psychologist by profession, knows very well that a scientific man may be correct and cautious in his researches, but unwise and rash in other relations of life. None the less it is true that the spread of scientific education and of scientific investigation is slowly leading to objective points of view and moral conduct in daily life. The scientific spirit is a pervasive and permanent force making for the world's peace.

Science not only gives us peace, but also the means to make worthy use of peace. An industrial civilization in which each has as many comforts and is spared as much misery as may be strikes our inherited instincts as a tame and tiresome Walhalla. But science gives us an object; it can even satisfy the inborn spirit for excitement and adventure. The frontiers in the wilderness disappear as civilization encircles the earth; but the frontiers of science will always become larger and more remote as they are further extended. War between nations may become inconceivable; but however numerous may be the battles waged and won by science, there will always be unconquered worlds beyond. The hundred thousand physicians of our country, its fifty thousand engineers, its ten thousand men of science engaged in research, form an army more inspiring to the imagination than soldiers idling in barracks or confined in the venereal wards of hospitals. The dealing with germs of disease, with poisons, explosives and radiations, is not less heroic than the risking of life on the battlefield.