Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/303

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APPLETONS'

 

POPULAR SCIENCE

 

MONTHLY.



JULY, 1899.



SCIENTIFIC METHOD AND ITS APPLICATION TO THE BIBLE.
By the Rev. DAVID SPRAGUE, B. D.

"TRAINED and organized common sense" is Professor Huxley's definition of science. There is probably no better.

The popular mind persists in thinking that there is a wide difference between science and knowledge in general. Yes, there is a wide difference, but it is just the difference that there is between a trained and organized body of men for the accomplishing of some great work, and a crowd of men unorganized and undisciplined. What unscientific knowledge has accomplished may be roughly seen in the condition of savage races to-day; while the changes wrought by knowledge trained and organized, in enlarging the sum of knowledge, in extending men's power of perception, and in increasing the facilities not merely for living, but for living well, are changes in comparison with which all others recorded in history are trifling.

It will be profitable for us, in order to get a clearer idea of scientific method, to trace as briefly as possible the history of science and the development of the scientific idea.

The very beginning of science is beyond our ken. We can form no idea of just what stage in the intellectual development of the race witnessed the rise of training and order in men's knowledge. Long before the dawn of history there must have been some degree of orderliness in men's knowledge—some grouping of facts, and reasoning from one thing to another. Rude classification would be made, e. g., among animals, as some were found to be good for food and others not; so among herbs, as to size, form, color, use for food and medicine, poisonous qualities, etc.; so among woods, as