Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/66

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56
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

have a general certificate signed by certain professors, and setting forth his object, also to be renewed every year; and that special certificates might be severally obtained for reading certain excepted dialogues, for copying from them, for publishing them, or, in rare cases, for translating them.

However reasonably such a system might be administered, who can doubt the result would be a diminution of the number of scholars, and a check to the progress of learning?

Now this is what legislation has done for physiological experiments. The act (39^ and 40 Victoria) was hastily drawn and hurriedly discussed; for noble lords and honorable gentlemen who had been taught from childhood to vivisect for unscientific purposes were eager to hurry off to their own merry vivisections, for which they were ready provided with license and certificates. And it works as might be expected. Some shrink from seeing their names figure in disreputable newspapers, and receiving more or less savagely abusive anonymous letters. Others have no laboratories, and find difficulty in licensing their houses. Others are refused the certificates they require.

In one case two thoroughly qualified men were anxious to carry out an important investigation on the treatment of snake-bites. They procured venomous snakes from a distance, and applied for the special certificates necessary. Considerable delay ensued; various objections were raised, and set at rest; and at last all the certificates were obtained; but meantime the snakes had died.

 
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MYTHOLOGIC PHILOSOPHY.[1]
By Major J. W. POWELL.
II.

IV.—Outgrowths from Mythologic Philosophy.

THE three stages of mythologic philosophy that are still extant in the world must be more thoroughly characterized, and the course of their evolution indicated. But in order to do this clearly, certain outgrowths from mythologic philosophy must be explained, certain theories and practices that necessarily result from this philosophy, and that are intricately woven into the institutions of mankind.

Ancientism.—The first I denominate ancientism. Yesterday was better than to-day. The ancients were wiser than we. This belief in a better day and a better people in the elder time is almost universal among mankind. A belief so widely spread, so profoundly enter-

  1. An Address delivered before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at Saratoga, New York, August 29, 1879, by Major J. W. Powell, Vice-President of Section B.