Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/320

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passu. Each would consist, say, of two lectures a week, and the rest of the time would be filled up with the dissection of typical animals, the performance of the simpler physiological experiments, and the preparation and examination of microscopic specimens of animal tissues, all illustrative of the main points put forward in the lectures. The student would also be made to draw sketches of his dissections and microscopic preparations, and to describe them and the results of his experiments briefly in writing, and so while learning thoroughly how to dissect and use his microscope, and the conditions of success in physiological experiment, he would also have his powers of observation regularly trained and tested.

In connection with these courses there should be a museum, containing not a bewildering multitude of specimens, but a small number of dissections and skeletons of typical animals, especially of those which it is important for the student to know, but which are too rare to be obtained in quantities allowing each to dissect one for himself; and these specimens should be so placed that they may be freely accessible to those desiring to study them. It is far better to have to replace an injured specimen occasionally than to have the things locked up behind glass doors, so as to render their thorough examination impracticable to those for whose examination they are placed there. Moreover, especially in connection with the physiological course, there would be needed from time to time, according to the subject-matter of the lectures, demonstrations of certain points; in cases, for instance, needing the employment of the more delicate instruments, or where niceties of manipulation were required, such as a beginner could not be fairly expected to overcome.

I ought perhaps here to refer to the subject of vivisection. Physiology is concerned with the phenomena going on in living things, and vital processes cannot be observed in dead bodies; and from what I have said you will have gathered that I intend to employ vivisections in teaching. I want, however, to say, once for all, that here, for teaching purposes, no painful experiment will be performed. Fortunately, the vast majority of physiological experiments can nowadays be performed without the infliction of pain, either by the administration of some of the many anæsthetics known, or by previous removal of parts of the central nervous system; and such experiments alone will be used here for teaching. With regard to physiological research the case is different: happily here too the number of necessarily painful experiments is very small indeed; but in any case where the furtherance of physiological knowledge is at stake—where the progress of that science is concerned, on which all medicine is based, so far as it is not a mere empiricism—I cannot doubt that we have a right to inflict suffering upon the lower animals, always provided that it be reduced to the minimum possible, and that none but competent persons be allowed to undertake such experiments. Placed,