Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/92
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
by the finest and most delicate instrumental adjuncts and physical testings, with which we are acquainted. Of this primary something — appearing as a flocculent mass or nebulosity floating in space — all that we can now say is, that it appears to be hydrogen or some other closely allied substance. Further curdled, or condensed to a degree sufficient to permit its light to be subjected to spectrum analysis, the presence of many of the terrestrial elements — as oxygen, magnesium, iron, carbon, silicon, sulphur, and the like — is revealed to us, apparently associated with the hydrogen in the form of infinitely fine dust; and the evidence and reasoning are to the effect that, from the further and continued condensation and chemical action of this gas and cosmical dust, the condensed nebula, nebulous suns, other suns, planets, and all other forms of associated matter with which we are acquainted, have originated. Like a true scientist, Prof. Lockyer stops here, and does not attempt to go beyond the legitimate scope of scientific observation and deduction. He indeed assumes that this primary matter is endowed with motion, and that the force of gravitation is also present and potential; because it is impossible to conceive of the existence of matter in space free from these qualities. He does not raise the question how the hydrogen, the infinitely fine dust, the qualities of motion and the force of gravitation originated; and the problem of original creation, although removed further back as it were, remains as inscrutable and unanswerable as ever. Nay, more than this, he does not raise the most interesting and startling theme of speculation suggested by this revelation of stellar and matter evolution, which is this: Of this primal form of matter — the beginning of the history of cosmical evolution one of two things must be true. Either associated with this dust and gas from the beginning were the germs of all the vital and mental energy that have since manifested themselves in connection with matter, or they were not. If the affirmative is true, then vital and mental energy, or what we may term life, was associated with inorganic matter in an active or latent state — from the beginning. If the negative is the case, then the vital and mental forces or germs have been subsequently introduced or imparted from without. And if so, when and where was the bridge by which matter, life, and spirit were brought into association constructed? There must have been a time and place in cosmical history! A time and place in the process of evolution! If cosmical dust and associated hydrogen, in condensing into nebula and suns, are subjected to heat of a greater degree of intensity than anything within the range of human experience, as all astronomers seem to be agreed, it is certain that nothing organic could have existed concurrently; and there is, therefore, hardly a shadow of evidence that inorganic matter, especially after having been subjected to incandescence, could ever have originated even protoplasm, by mere association of atoms. The evidence would therefore seem to be strongly adverse to the idea of any original association of the vital principle with matter. — Editor.]
By ELAINE GOODALE.
IN the course of several years' conscientious effort to civilize those barbarians within our borders — the American Indians — I have been unwillingly impressed by the fact that barbarism offers several points of evident superiority to our civilization. It is well known that whole tribes of Indians — indeed, all of them to some extent — have been demoralized and degraded by contact with the lowest whites, and are no longer fair types of the barbarian. A few others have been transformed by schools and lands in severalty into commonplace farming communities, with no very striking features of their own. Let us consider briefly the pe-