Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/113

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105
DO ANIMALS REASON?

living plant. Forestry schools that have for their class room the wooded mountains and the botanical gardens with their living herbaria are welcome steps toward the same end of phytoecology.

In view of the above facts, and many more that might be mentioned did space permit, the writer has felt that the present incomplete and faulty presentation of the subject of the newer botany should be placed before the great reading public through the medium of a journal that has as its watchword Progress in Education.

 
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DO ANIMALS REASON?
By the Rev. EGERTON R. YOUNG.

THIS interesting subject has been ably handled from the negative side by Edward Thorndike, Ph. D., in the August number of the Popular Science Monthly. Dr. Thorndike, with all his skill in treating this very interesting subject, seems to have forgotten one very important point. His expectation has not only been higher than any fair claim of an animal's reasoning power, but he has overlooked the fact that there are different ways of reasoning. Men of different races and those of little intelligence can be placed in new environments and be asked to perform things which, while utterly impossible to them, are simple and crude to those of higher intelligence and who have all their days been accustomed to high mental exercise. If such difference exists between the highest and most intelligent of the human race and the degraded and uncultured, vastly greater is the gulf that separates the lowest stratum of humanity from the most intelligent of the brute creation. The fair way to test the intelligence of the so-called lower orders of men is to go to their native lands and study them in their own environments and in possession of the equipments of life to which they have been accustomed. The same is true of the brute creation. Only the highest results can be expected from congenial environments. To pass final judgment upon the animal kingdom, having for data only the results of the doctor's experiments, seems to us manifestly unfair. He takes a few cats and dogs and submits them to environments which are altogether foreign to them, and then expects feats of mind from them which would be far greater than the mastering of the reason why two and two make four is to the stupidest child of man. As the doctor has been permitted to tell the results of his experiments, may I claim a similar privilege? While I did not use dogs merely to test their intelligence—my business demanding of myself and