Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/106

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radeship is lost through this want of understanding. It is this gulf that I desire to bridge over, to the best of my power. That the scientific thinker may consider his business in relation to the great life of mankind; that the noble army of practical workers may recognize their fellowship with the outer world, and the spirit which must guide both; that this so-called outer world may see in the work of science only the putting in evidence of all that is excellent in its own work; may feel that the kingdom of science is within it: these are the objects of the present discourse. And they compel me to choose such portions of my vast subject as shall be intelligible to all, while they ought at least to command an interest universal, personal, and profound.

In the first place, then, what is meant by scientific thought? You may have heard some of it expressed in the various sections this morning. You have probably also heard expressed in the same places a great deal of unscientific thought; notwithstanding that it was about mechanical esergy, or about hydrocarbons, or about eocene deposits, or about malacopterygii. For scientific thought does not mean thought about scientific subjects with long names. There are no scientific subjects. The subject of science is the human universe; that is to say, every thing that is, or has been, or may be, related to man. Let us, then, taking several topics in succession, endeavor to make out in what cases thought about them is scientific, and in what cases not.

Ancient astronomers observed that the relative motions of the sun and moon recurred all over again in the same order about every nineteen years. They were thus enabled to predict the time at which eclipses would take place. A calculator at one of our observatories can do a great deal more this. Like them, he makes use of past experience to predict the future; but he knows of a great number of other cycles besides that one of the nineteen years, and takes account of all of them; and he can tell about the solar eclipse of six years hence exactly where it will be visible, and how much of the sun's surface will be covered at each place, and, to a second, at what time of day it will begin and finish there. This prediction involves technical skill of the highest order; but it does not involve scientific thought, as any astronomer will tell you.

By such calculations the places of the planet Uranus at different times of the year have been predicted and set down. The predictions were not fulfilled. Then arose Adams, and from these errors in the prediction he calculated the place of an entirely new planet, that had never yet been suspected; and you all know how the new planet was actually found in that place. Now, this prediction does involve scientific thought, as any one who has studied it will tell you.

Here, then, are two cases of thought about the same subject, both predicting events by the application of previous experience, yet we say one is technical and the other scientific.