Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/724

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
704
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

cember, a paragraph of which we may here quote:

"This evidence" (viz., for a recent submergence, as supposed by the Duke of Argyll and others) "consisted of shell-beds inclosed in true glacial deposits eleven hundred feet above the sea at Macclesfield near Manchester, and fourteen hundred feet above the sea at Moel Tryfaen, on the northern flanks of Snowdon in Wales. Prof. Lewis and those who have followed out the clews which he started, have proved that these shell-beds were not direct deposits during a submergence of the country, but rather beds washed out of true glacial deposits which had been shoved along by the ice in its passage over the bottom of the Irish Sea. The shells were pushed up with the mud from the sea bottom, as pebbles are known to have been in so many instances. The melting of the ice furnished the water necessary for partially working over the original deposit and sorting out and stratifying the inclosed gravel and shells."

A proof that this is the true explanation is that "the shells are not such as would haunt the same place under water. In these beds rock-haunting and mud-loving species and shallow-water and deep-water species are indiscriminately mingled together."

We see here once more the value of close and thorough observation. No point in scientific theory should be considered settled till all the facts are in. If the Duke of Argyll wants to prove that the whole of England got a dip in the days of the patriarch Noah, say about five thousand years ago, he will have to look about for other arguments. As the case now stands, the shells to which he pointed so triumphantly tell an altogether different story.

 

 

STOVES WITHOUT FLUES.

There has recently appeared a fresh illustration of "what knowledge is of most worth" in the dangers that come from the pitiful ignorance of the simplest facts of science still prevailing among presumably well-informed persons. Certain "patent fuels" have been put on sale, to be used in stoves without chimney connection, and are advertised as being entirely harmless. The natural result has followed. Gullible merchants, ministers, and even doctors have been buying them and nearly smothering themselves or their friends with the gases which must result from the combustion of any form of carbon. The makers of these fuels state that ventilation is required with their apparatus, but their customers reason, Why let in the cold air if the fuel is harmless, as stated? or they imagine that one opening from a room into a hallway secures "ventilation." Probably most of the victims of the patent fuels have read about the process of combustion, but they have not learned its nature from experiments that would make this knowledge real to them. Their education has been of the antiquated but not yet abandoned kind which substitutes the study of books for the study of things. As an explorer who tries to cross a deep river is drowned if he can not swim, so any one who lives in the present age, when natural forces are being put to service as never before, is badly off if he does not understand how to use these forces without letting them overwhelm him. Science is doing many wonderful things in these times, but its achievements always consist in employing the laws of Nature, never in circumventing them.

 

LITERARY NOTICES.

The Lost Atlantis, and other Ethnographic Studies. By Sir Daniel Wilson. New York: Macmillan & Co. Pp. 409. Price, $4.

This is a posthumous work, completed in accordance with the author's desire by his daughter. It is described in his note-book as "a few carefully studied monographs, linked together by a slender thread of ethnographic relationship." The thread, as nearly