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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
authority as a system of cosmogony being discredited on all hands by the abandonment of the obvious meaning of its writer. It is a poem, not a scientific treatise. In the former aspect it is forever beautiful; in the latter aspect it has been, and it will continue to be, purely obstructive and hurtful. To knowledge its value has been negative, leading, in rougher ages than ours, to physical, and even in our own "free" age, as exemplified in my own case, to moral violence.
To the student of cause and effect no incident connected with the proceedings at Belfast is more instructive than the deportment of the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland; a body usually wise enough not to confer notoriety upon an adversary by imprudently denouncing him. The Times, to which I owe nothing on the score of sympathy, but a great deal on the score of fair play, where so much has been unfair, thinks that the Irish cardinal, archbishops, and bishops, in their recent manifesto, promptly and adroitly employed a weapon which I, at an unlucky moment, had placed in their hands. The antecedents of their action cause me to regard it in a different light; and a brief reference to these antecedents will, I think, illuminate not only their proceedings regarding Belfast, but other doings which have been recently noised abroad.
Before me lies a document, bearing the date of November, 1873, but which, after appearing for a moment, unaccountably vanished from public view. It is a memorial addressed by seventy of the students and ex-students of the Catholic University in Ireland to the Episcopal Board of the University. This is the plainest and bravest remonstrance ever addressed by Irish laymen to their spiritual pastors and masters. It expresses the profoundest dissatisfaction with the curriculum marked out for the students of the university; setting forth the extraordinary fact that the lecture-list for the faculty of Science, published a month before they wrote, did not contain the name of a single professor of the Physical or Natural Sciences.
The memorialists forcibly deprecate this, and dwell upon the necessity of education in science: "The distinguishing mark of this age is its ardor for science. The natural sciences have, within the last fifty years, become the chiefest study in the world; they are in our time pursued with an activity unparalleled in the history of mankind. Scarce a year now passes without some discovery being made in these sciences which, as with the touch of a magician's wand, shivers to atoms theories formerly deemed unassailable. It is through the physical and natural sciences that the fiercest assaults are now made on our religion. No more deadly weapon is used against our faith than the facts incontestably proved by modern researches in science."
Such statements must be the reverse of comfortable to a number of gentlemen who, trained in the philosophy of Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, have been accustomed to the unquestioning submission of all other sciences to their divine science of Theology. But