Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/573

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557
EDITOR'S TABLE.

tudes of presumably educated people, many of them living in luxury made possible only by scientific invention, dislike both the name and the thing. They dislike the exactness of science, dim as their apprehension of it may be ; they dislike its methods ; they dislike the standard it sets up truth, conformity to fact, without regard to previously established opinions. The apostle of truth who preaches severe doctrine in the wilderness is not to their liking; give them one clad in soft raiment who preaches comfortable doctrine in a richly upholstered church. And how is it with the men into whose hands the practical applications of science bring measureless wealth? Do they, as a general thing, show any recognition of its importance to the world? Are they interested in aiding research ? Do they determine that no one who has an impulse toward scientific discovery shall, if they can help it, lack the means of laboring in so noble a direction? Alas, no! The favorite direction for the rich man's wealth is toward the theological college. From the number and magnificence of the donations and bequests to theologi- cal colleges, in this country particularly, one would suppose that the age was starving for theological knowledge, or perchance that theology had produced the wealth that was the source of these benefactions. How the theological or denominational colleges treat science, in so far as they may adopt it as a branch of study, two or three well-known in- stances suffice to show Dr. Winchell driven from the chair of Geology in Vanderbilt University; Prof. Woodrow from the chair of Natural Science at the Columbia (S. 0.) Theological Seminary ; and Prof. Toy, now of Harvard, from a position held by him in a similar insti- tution at Louisville. As we write, Prof. Briggs, of this city, who, though not a student of natural science, believes in the application of scientific principles to questions of ecclesiastical history, is in danger of losing his chair at the Union

��Theological Seminary ; while a Canadian scholar, Prof. Workman, of Victoria University (Methodist), is running a similar risk from an exactly similar cause. We have no wish to speak un- kindly of theological colleges in general ; some of them, as we know, are doing excellent work in certain directions; but we are strongly of opinion that be- quests or donations to such colleges are not apt to advance the cause of science. That cause will no doubt gain ground more and more through the general ad- vance of society, however much money our millionaires may devote to impeding its progress ; but it might be greatly helped by judicious benefactions. A French savant, M. Cahours, has lately bequeathed the sum of one hundred thousand francs to the French Academy of Sciences for the purpose of assisting young men of a scientific bent of mind to pursue original researches or experi- ments for which they may not them- selves possess the means. This we re- gard as one of the most hopeful ways in which wealth seeking a useful social application could be expended. Much work that would be valuable remains undone simply because the person pos- sessing the germ-idea is unable, through lack of pecuniary resources, to develop it. Or the man with the idea puts him- self in the hands of others, who, taking advantage of his poverty, make such terms as leave him with only a vestige of interest in the product of his own brain. There is room for much im- provement in the attitude of men of wealth, and indeed of society at large, toward science; and, as Prof. Menden- hall showed last year in his address at Indianapolis, there is room for improve- ment in the attitude of men of science toward the community at large. The best fruits of science will not be reaped, and society will not undergo its great transformation, until, on both sides, the needed improvement is accomplished until science receives the place of honor in the thoughts of all, and those who ore