Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/118

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108
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of them have even chemical laboratories which many a professional chemist would not despise.

Now, is not all this truly admirable and worthy of imitation? Is it a wonder that we find among the Germans so many scientific specialists, so many laymen taking the liveliest and most intelligent interest in scientific researches, so many journals devoted to popular science? What do we have in France instead of all this? Only a few dry scientific lessons a week, which repel rather than interest most of the pupils of our lyceums. Those who achieve eminence in science afterward have to learn their rudiments in natural history at the colleges, and then to possess not only a natural proclivity, but also special gifts for that kind of study. England is in this respect still worse off than we. The best proof of this is to be found in the fact that, whenever that country sends out a scientific expedition, most of the branches of research have to be intrusted to German savants. May our government, which I know to be animated with the earnest desire of perfecting our system of instruction in our lyceums, turn no deaf ear to my humble voice. Let us learn from our powerful neighbors in Germany. They appreciate the value of early practical and theoretical instruction in natural science. True, they have not so brilliant a galaxy of scientists as we have in Paris; but the knowledge which their youngest pupils possess in natural history far surpasses that acquired in our lyceums.

 


EDITOR'S TABLE.

COFFEE-HOUSES AGAINST RUM-SHOPS.

THE contrasts of the deductive and inductive habits of mind are seen in philanthropy as well as philosophy, and give rise to two schools of reformers. What we may call deductive reformers start from general principles, and many of them never get much further. Reformers of this stamp are apt to be impracticable. Whether their plans can be carried out, or what the results may be, concerns them much less than the soundness of the postulates. If the cause be right, and the evils and wrongs attacked are undoubted evils and wrongs, they hammer away at them, generation after generation, regardless of anything except that they are in the line of their duty. This school has no patience with expediency, which seeks for the best thing under the circumstances, because it abhors the philosophy of circumstances, and will never compromise high principles. Reformers of this type generally work with the tongue rather than the hand, and their crusades are for the dissemination of their doctrines. They may do a great deal of good, but there is a great deal of practicable good that they certainly tail to do.

There is another class of reformers whose habits of thought are more inductive, viz., they study the facts first, perhaps make trial or experiments with them, allow for conditions, aim at attainable ends, and form their conclusions on the basis of experience. They may have just as decisive views in regard to abstract rights and wrongs as the opposite school; but, as the world is constituted, they think that wisdom consists in following expedient and practicable courses by which actual results can be reached. They therefore take into account many considerations which the other party ignores, and are apt to be looked upon as temporizing, make-shift, and patchwork philanthropists.

These two attitudes of mind are well illustrated in the temperance reform. A large party has been striving for half a century to eradicate the evils of intemperance by proclaiming certain great inflexible principles and insisting upon their being uncompromisingly carried out. Immense evils result from the use of alcoholic drinks as beverages, and it has been thought to extirpate these evils by reprobating the use of anything alcoholic under any circumstances, and by outlawing the commerce in these beverages. The rum-shops have been denounced, and the