Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/27

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15
CAN MAN BE MODIFIED BY SELECTION?.

dreaded disease hydrophobia. Thanks to vivisection, its abolition in the near future seems no longer to be a matter of doubt.

Within the last three years Pasteur has announced that, by passing the virus through the monkey, he has been able to protect dogs from hydrophobia by vaccination with this weakened virus. The French Government recently appointed an eminent scientific commission to report on the alleged discovery.[1] Pasteur furnished them with 23 vaccinated dogs. These 23, and 19 others unprotected, were all inoculated from rabid animals. Of the 19 unprotected, 14 died. Of the 23 protected dogs, one died of diarrhœa, and all the others escaped. It* has yet to be tried on a man suffering from hydrophobia, but, should our reasonable hopes be realized, what a boon it will be!

With this brief summary of a few of the recent practical benefits from vivisection, I must close. I have given you only ascertained facts for your future use in the communities in which you may settle. They may assist you in forming public sentiment on a basis of fact, of reason, and of common sense. The sentiments of our own profession, so constantly and so conspicuously humane, are always against inflicting pain; but if in yielding to sentiment we actually increase disease, and pain, and death, both among animals and men, our aversion to present pain is both unwise and actually cruel.

In conclusion, let me wish you the greatest success in your professional life, and the richest blessings of our kind heavenly Father. Farewell.

 
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CAN MAN BE MODIFIED BY SELECTION?![2]
By W. K. BROOKS.

THE certainty and rapidity with which our domesticated animals and plants may be modified in any desired direction by selective breeding must be regarded as a reason for believing that, if it were possible to pursue the same course with man, the human race also might be rapidly improved in the same way. It is difficult to prove this, for we are almost entirely removed, by our control over Nature and by our artificial life, from the influence of natural selection; and, as we can not dictate to men and women whom they shall marry, we can not bring about a union of those with the same congenital characteristics, or propagate for a number of generations a peculiarity which it is desirable to perpetuate and intensify.

There is reason to fear that our freedom from the influence of natural selection may lead to the degeneration of the race unless some

  1. "Medical News," August 30, 1884.
  2. Review of a paper by Alexander Graham Bell, read before the National Academy of Sciences, November 13, 1883, upon the "Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race."