Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/286

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272
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

light rays are penetrable by other rays produced by electrical discharges in a very attenuated gaseous medium. How we are to derive any confirmation of the existence of a spiritual body from the action of these rays which could not equally have been drawn from the action of ordinary light rays in traversing such dense substances as glass and various crystals, is a question which it would probably puzzle the Herald and Presbyter to answer.

4. As to the possibility of two particles of matter occupying the same space at the same time, any one who chooses to indulge that pleasing and profitable fancy can do so; but how it can help in the present emergency we do not see. Any difficulty which there may have been about admitting the doctrine of a spiritual body has not arisen in the least from our ordinary conceptions of matter, because we know perfectly well, and have known for so long that the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, that one form of matter may be permeated by another form  — the metals by gases, for example —  in varying volumes. The trouble has not been to find room for the spiritual body in the natural body, but to find something more than a mere assertion of its existence at all or anywhere. This, unfortunately, is a difficulty which some persons can not be brought to understand: give them leave to think that what they want to believe is not impossible, and presto, they consider it proved. We have no objection in the world to the theory, whether Paul's, or Homer's, or Plato's, of a spiritual body; but we do think it a little hard that because a laborious experimenter like Röntgen has brought to light a new property of radiant energy — while, like a well-trained man of science, he only affirms what he has been able to demonstrate — others should rush in and insist that, without being aware of it, he has bolstered up some doctrine of theirs for which not one scintilla of evidence can be given. As this kind of thing, however, evidently can not be helped, we can only hope, as we said before, that in some mysterious way it may serve a useful purpose. It is better, on the whole, that each successive advance of science should be acclaimed as a confirmation of orthodoxy than denounced as a new manifestation of impiety; and certainly better far the treatment given to Röntgen and his tubes and screens than that meted out to Galileo and his telescope.




Scientific Literature.

SPECIAL BOOKS.

The first volume of the Criminology Series was the result of a special research; the second has a broader and more philosophical scope.[1] Obviously the collection and choice of data lie at the base of any reasoning in criminology. Considerable attention has been paid to such data as anatomical, physiological, and psychological anomalies of criminals. These. Prof. Ferri is convinced, are of value almost solely with respect to born criminals. He makes five classes of criminals: criminal madmen, born

  1. Criminal Sociology. By Enrico Ferri. Pp. 284, 12mo. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Price $1.50.