Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/723

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CORRESPONDENCE.

CORRESPONDENCE.



Messrs. Editors.

IN a good but caustic review of Mr. Mallock's book—"Is Life worth Living?"—you make use of a sentence which would seem to reflect on all alike who are engaged in the study of theological problems: "We have here the last brilliant exploit of the theological mind in its warfare with modern science." Permit me, as a student of theology and a lover of modern science, to read you a short lecture. Many of the young ministers to-day are firm believers in evolution, and preach it. This theory is by no means a hindrance in our study of theology, but the best instrument which has so far been placed in our hands. If on our desk the Bible lies, so also do Spencer's "First Principles" and his "Sociology." If we respect and study Jesus, so do we Spencer and Tyndall and Clerk Maxwell. These have a gospel for us—they have a hope. The young theological mind is very far from engaged in a warfare with science; it is anxious, and hoping, for firmer ground than we now have. If science can help us, and it can and does, in making this life more valuable, the future brighter, and ourselves better, we welcome it. We are not troubled about reconciling theology and science; we take what we can in both, after honestly and carefully investigating for ourselves, and then allow them to reconcile themselves. What we have to do with is the truth pure and simple. Some of us will not pledge ourselves to any "body of divinity," either ancient or modern; we will not swear by Bibles, old or new, nor believe all the spirits, either in the Gospels or the biologies. The writer of the preface to the American edition of Spencer's "First Principles" tells us that his hope is in the young men. Many of them are with him. We now only ask you to remember this, and let us investigate in our own fields, mindful of the fact that we are each doing our best to find the truth. We are side by side oftener than we imagine, even if some college presidents will not see it. None are so blind as those who will not see.

It would not be out of place if in the "Monthly" you would give an article, now and then, bearing directly on the theological questions—the higher theological questions, not the petty disputes of the sects.

 You have our hand.
A Young Theologian. 
 Keene, N. H., January 21, 1880.
 

 

THE AGE OF ICE

Messrs. Editors.

An article under the above title, published in the October number of the "Monthly," appears to have brought upon its author the charge of plagiarism. But his own note with the accompanying editorial, published in the February number, not only completely exonerates him, but actually converts the charge into an encomium. For the writer of the article in question can scarcely fail to appreciate the compliment of being charged with borrowing, from so reputable an author, ideas which prove to have been made public before the able work of Mr. Croll had seen the light.

But, if the accusing party had carefully and understandingly read the article of Mr. Norton as well as those which he charges Mr. Norton with plagiarizing, he would never have made the charge. For he would have discovered in the former article statements quite excusable, when the date of their writing is known, but which would never have been made had Mr. Norton read cither the work of Mr. Croll or the articles of Mr. Merriman. The object of the present writing, however, is neither to vindicate nor to criticise.

But, since the "Monthly" is almost solely relied upon by so many readers as an exponent of the latest scientific discoveries and opinions, the publication of Mr. Norton's article, so long after it was written, seems liable to mislead this class of readers. The conductors of the "Monthly" may not, therefore, deem it inappropriate to give place in their columns to a very brief statement of the points in which the article is likely to convey an erroneous impression:

1. In the published abstract the author says: "The southern hemisphere has at present a winter of 187 days and a summer of 179 days. We may justly infer that during this winter more snow and ice accumulate than the shorter summer is able to melt."

In the lecture this statement may have been accompanied by such an explanation as to prevent a misconception; but, as published, it must leave on the popular mind the impression that, because the summer is shorter, therefore the heat received from the sun is less—an impression which many have received; whereas it was long since shown that the earth receives from the sun exactly the same amount of heat from the