Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/765

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EDITOR'S TABLE.

EDITOR'S TABLE.

 

THE SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATIONS.

THE American and British Associations for the Advancement of Science have again assembled in their customary annual meetings, the former in St. Louis, and the latter in Dublin. The American meeting was not large, its location being unfavorable to draw people from remote distances in the heat of August. But a fair amount of work seems to have been done, as those who came were interested and active men in their several departments of science. The chief event of the session seems to have been, as it undoubtedly should be, the delivery of the presidential address. President Newcomb wisely chose a topic of general interest, and, moreover, did not hesitate to enter boldly upon the discussion of questions of a high philosophical character, and concerning which the mind of the age has by no means settled down into the repose of unanimity. He considers the scientific method of thinking, as contrasted with the theological method, and pictures the progress of scientific thought in clearing away the old theological interpretations of Nature, and giving us a new and truer view of the realities and method of the universe. The doctrine of teleology, of final causes, or ends to be secured in the economy of Nature is instructively discussed, and the influence of science in doing away with this mode of viewing the course of things is well pointed out. The addresses given before the subsections of the Association were meritorious on their several topics, and we are glad to see that Prof. Grote, in his address on "Education as a Succession of Experiences," went into the grounds of scientific education, and made a forcible appeal to the body to take a deeper interest in the work of diffusing science and bringing its influence to bear more directly upon the schools of the country in respect of their scientific teaching. He says:

"The demand has come up from teachers throughout the country that they should be better informed as to the manner in which the sciences may be introduced into the schools, and the matter to be taught. It is the duty of this Association to furnish such information. If we have not sympathized with this inquiry in the past, let us assist it in the future. It is quite evident that the sooner it commits itself, as a matter of principle, to the furtherance of science among the people, the more following it will have and the greater influence. The Association must be prepared to demand more time for scientific studies from the public school authorities, and it must show that education in this aspect of it is a matter that not only falls properly under its cognizance, but which it is also prepared to take hold of."

These are wise and weighty words, and we hope they will be heeded in conducting the future operations of this body.

The British Association had a large and successful meeting in Dublin, to one feature of which we desire to call attention, as worthy of imitation by the American society. The British Association admits members each year called "associates," which may consist of strangers, citizens, ladies, or anybody who wishes to join without any regard to scientific qualifications. They, of course, take no part in the business, and merely enter into social relations with the body for the time being, but they pay the same fees as regular members. Five hundred associates joined in Dublin, which not only gave fullness to the attendance, and increasing interest to the proceedings, but secured $2,500 to the treasury to aid in the va-