Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/410

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
396
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tion. Misrepresenting it as Professor Birks misrepresents it, another writer had before him similarly based on his misrepresentation sundry-animadversions. Though still regarding the statement I had actually made (not the one ascribed to me) as valid, I concluded that it would be best to remove the stumbling-block out of the way of future readers, and therefore decided to replace the illustration by another. The rest of the chapter remains exactly as it was, and its argument is not in the remotest degree affected by the substitution. Nevertheless, Professor Birks, wrongly describing the nature of the illustration, and wrongly attributing the removal of the illustration to change in my belief, also wrongly conveys the impression that the doctrine which the illustration contained had some vital connection with the general argument of the chapter and with the doctrine of the work; and by conveying this impression calls forth exultation from religious periodicals.

Were I to deal with Professor Birks's book page by page, a much larger book than his would be required to expose his misstatements, perversions, confusions. The above examples must suffice. I will add only that in one belief of his I cordially agree with him. At the close of his preface he says, "I think that those who take the pains to read my strictures, and compare them with the statements of the work to which they are a reply, will find the effort repaid by a clearer apprehension of the topics in debate." And I venture to join with this the expression of my belief that if readers follow Professor Birks's tacit suggestion, "a clearer apprehension of the topics in debate" will not result from acceptance of his criticisms.

 
Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Left - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Circle - 6px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Right - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg

LUBBOCK ON INSECT CONSERVATISM.

SIR JOHN LUBBOCK will certainly earn the praise of accumulating more facts upon which we may found reasonable inferences as to the intellectual character of the ant, than all his acute predecessors in the same field put together. And his latest published observations on the subject, communicated to the Linnæan Society, and printed in their "Transactions," contain some of his most interesting results. These results we should describe generally as showing that the ants display, first, a preternaturally keen sense of consanguinity; next, a good deal of that narrow conservatism which is so often the result of too much belief in the family and too little receptivity for the ideas of the external world; in the third place, a thorough distrust of revolution, so that they are almost equally afraid of establishing a new dynasty and of destroying an old one; and, finally, a good deal of the skepticism which narrow conservatism inevitably engenders toward all