Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/215

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ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE.

sketches of Iceland, as published in Harper's Magazine. This hoax obtained some local celebrity, and even found its way into the general press. Several rural clergymen made it an especial topic in their Sunday discourses; and certain agricultural papers, backed by letters from these same teachers, assured the world that the "Pine River man" was no Cardiff giant, but a bona-fide "creation of God!" But even all this evidence failed to make Ruddock's fossil remunerative, and it was sold to the proprietor of a third-rate side-show for a mere trifle.

After these attempts, it is safe to assert that no ignorant person will again attempt a "prehistoric man," either with or without a caudal appendage. And it is probable that no scientist will be guilty of such an imposition. The greatest wonder is that no counterfeits of the only true fossil men discovered—those of the Mentone caves in France—have reached this country. With their success in the manufacture of artificial stone, the Chinese could doubtless produce a figure that would defy any but the most thorough scientific scrutiny. As John is given to such little games, it would not be at all surprising if he should yet enter the field.

 
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ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE LOGIC OF SCIENCE.
By C. S. PEIRCE,
ASSISTANT IN THE UNITED STATES COAST SURVEY.

FIFTH PAPER.—THE ORDER OF NATURE.

I.

ANY proposition whatever concerning the order of Nature must touch more or less upon religion. In our day, belief, even in these matters, depends more and more upon the observation of facts. If a remarkable and universal orderliness be found in the universe, there must be some cause for this regularity, and science has to consider what hypotheses might account for the phenomenon. One way of accounting for it, certainly, would be to suppose that the world is ordered by a superior power. But if there is nothing in the universal subjection of phenomena to laws, nor in the character of those laws themselves (as being benevolent, beautiful, economical, etc.), which goes to prove the existence of a governor of the universe, it is hardly to be anticipated that any other sort of evidence will be found to weigh very much with minds emancipated from the tyranny of tradition.

Nevertheless, it cannot truly be said that even an absolutely negative decision of that question could altogether destroy religion, inasmuch as there are faiths in which, however much they differ from our own, we recognize those essential characters which make them worthy to be called religions, and which, nevertheless, do not postulate an actu-