Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/177

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163
AGNOSTICISM: A REJOINDER.

At Eschscholtz Bay, on Kotzebue Sound, in latitude 66° 15,' Kotzebue discovered in 1818 a cliff of frozen mud and ice "capped by a few feet of soil bearing moss and grass."[1] Large numbers of bones of the "mammoth, bison (?), reindeer, moose-deer, musk-ox, and horse, were found" at the base, where they had fallen down from the cliff during the summer thaw. Sir Edward Belcher and Mr. G. B. Seeman afterward visited the same spot and corroborated Kotzebue's account. From their report it was evident that the conditions in northern Alaska are very similar to those in northern Siberia, where so many similar remains of extinct and other animals have been found in the frozen soil. The section described at Eschscholtz Bay seems to be simply the edge of the tundra which is so largely represented in the central portions of the Territory.


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AGNOSTICISM: A REJOINDER.

By Prof. T. H. HUXLEY, F.R.S.

THE concluding paragraph of the Bishop of Peterborough's reply to the appeal which I addressed to him in the penultimate number of this review, leads me to think that he has seen a personal reference where none was intended. I had ventured to suggest that the demand that a man should call himself an infidel, savored very much of the flavor of a "bull"; and, even had the Right Reverend prelate been as stolid an Englishman as I am, I should have entertained the hope, that the oddity of talking of the cowardice of persons who object to call themselves by a nickname, which must in their eyes be as inappropriate as, in the intention of the users, it is offensive, would have struck him. But, to my surprise, the bishop has not even yet got sight of that absurdity. He thinks, that if I accept Dr. Wace's definition of his much-loved epithet, I am logically bound not only to adopt the titles of infidel and miscreant, but that I shall "even glory in those titles." As I have shown, "infidel" merely means somebody who does not believe what you believe yourself, and therefore Dr. Wace has a perfect right to call, say, my old Egyptian donkey-driver, Nooleh, and myself, infidels, just as Nooleh and I have a right to call him an infidel. The ludicrous aspect of the thing comes in only when either of us demands that the two others should so label themselves. It is a terrible business to have to explain a mild jest, and I pledge myself not to run the risk of offending in this way again. I see how wrong I was in trusting to the bishop's sense of the ludicrous, and I beg leave unreservedly to withdraw my misplaced confidence. And I take this course the more readily as there is

  1. See Prestwich's "Geology," vol. ii, p. 463 et seq.