Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/130

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120
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and Postulates of the Theory of Capillarity" ("American Journal of Science," 1384; also, "Journal de Physique," 1885).

42. "Criticism of Bassnett's Theory of the Sun" ("Overland Monthly," 1885).

43. "The Evidence of the Senses" ("North American Review," 1885).

44. "The Metric System" ("Overland Monthly," 1885).

45. "Thought Transference" (ibid., 1885).

46. "Barometer Exposure" ("Science," 1886).

47. "Electrical Phenomena on a Mountain" (ibid., 1887).

48. "Standing Tiptoe; a Mechanical Problem" (ibid., 1887).

49. "Vital Statistics, and the True Coefficient of Mortality, illustrated by Cancer" ("Tenth Biennial Report of the State Board of Health of California," 1888).

50. "The Decadence of Truthfulness" (1889).

About fifty additional papers are omitted from this list.


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CORRESPONDENCE.



THE MENTAL BIAS OF WITNESSES.

Editor Popular Science Monthly:

IN the recent controversy between Prof. Huxley and Dr. Wace, I was struck by the fact that the latter does not seem to have seen that the truth of the gospel narratives is not so much a matter of literary criticism as of psychological criticism. Though M. Renan prove, with stronger arguments than Dr. Wace attributes to him, that the Gospel of St. Mark was written by an eye-witness, the doubt still remains as to whether the eye-witness could be trusted. We all know that even in this age, from which superstition is supposed to have been eliminated, people can not always be trusted to give an exact account of what they have seen; and how much more would this be likely to be true of the imaginative Oriental! "All the vaporing," as Dr. Wace calls it, "about the great critical operation of the present century" in "Robert Elsmere" is in reference to this point, the value of human testimony — not whether such a one wrote at such a time, but just how much he was influenced, when he did write, by his psychological tendencies, and also by the traditions of which he, in common with his fellow-men, was the heir. When we find in the ancient religions of India, Persia, and Egypt exactly the same supernatural elements that we find in the gospel stories, and sometimes even a resemblance in details, such as there is between certain points in the life of Krishna and of Christ, we can not help drawing the conclusion that these supernaturalisms were, in their essence, survivals from older religions, and, in their attachment to the life of Christ, were a proof of the psychological tendencies of the people of that time toward supernaturalism; but that such conclusions should in any way affect the sincerity of Christ himself is perfectly absurd. Dr. Wace thinks that, unless Christ were what he is claimed by orthodox Christians to be, he would be perjuring himself, for example, in the Lord's Prayer, by addressing "our Father," which must show that he was aware of a special connection between God and himself; it neither shows a special connection nor hypocrisy on the part of Christ, but is a most natural form of expression. Even in the hymns of the "Rig-Veda," probably forming the oldest book in the world, men worshiped Dyaus-Pitar (Heaven-Father), so the conception of "our Father who art in heaven" is far older than the time of Christ. Through the unbiased study of comparative religion — a far better way to arrive at the truth than the study of literary criticism — the figure of Christ is made to stand out as the greatest revealer of absolute truth; and the supernatural elements which have been welded into his gracious life, refined of trivialities which attached to them in other religions, are but the attempt of the human mind to clothe in fitting outward symbol the truth which springs from within.

Helen A. Clarke.

Philadelphia.




WHY NOT "COBBLE-UP" THE HUMAN BODY?

Editor Popular Science Monthly:

The loud trumpeting of Dr. Brown-Séquard's alleged discovery of an "elixir of life" suggests another still more rational and practicable way of securing immortality, accompanied by youth and beauty, which I am amazed that no eminent surgeon has as yet