Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/122

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110
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
EDITOR'S TABLE.

 

THE DOCTRINE OF EVOLUTION.

THE editor of Scribner's Magazine, in a leading article in the October number, attempts to bring The Popular Science Monthly into reproach for its obnoxious opinions. There is a certain doctrine lately much talked about that is known to be odious among a great number of magazine-buying people. It is charged (on what authority is not stated) that the editor of The Popular Science Monthly is an irrepressible partisan of this doctrine, and that, having made certain specious promises to its readers to furnish them with good, sound, scientific reading, he has betrayed their confidence by setting his pages ablaze with expositions of this doctrine, that so many people are known to regard with detestation. The little game here undertaken is old, and has been often played with success; but, with the growth of intelligence and liberality, it is getting disreputable, and our neighbor is welcome to all he can make by it. It is customary in such cases not to be very scrupulous about the means resorted to for effecting the object, and the present instance is no exception to the custom. The editor commences by trying to be ironical about the claims of science in culture, and quotes from our prospectus the remark that it is "of the highest concern that thought should be brought into the exactest harmony with things." We are still of opinion that the neglect of this requirement is the fundamental defect of education, and we venture to intimate to our critic that this is exactly "what's the matter with him." His statements not only fail to harmonize with the things he is talking about, but they grossly misrepresent them. After quoting some sentences from our prospectus, the editor says:

"It is therefore painful to find that, when we pass from the well-taken prospectus to the actual monthly, the strict inductive inquiry fades softly away, as in a dissolving view, and in its place blazes out one of the most high-flown of human speculations. The strong bias of the editor as an evolutionist cannot be repressed, and the attempt is made to educate the public mind-into the phraseology and methods of what is at best a speculation, under the name of science 1 If this were called the Youmans, or Evolution Monthly, the mischief would be circumscribed; but, as the doctrine of Evolution, with its offspring, Darwinism, is nothing more yet than a provisional hypothesis, based on a priori reasonings, and not on any valid induction of facts, the attempt to clothe it in the imperial garb of science, and set it for an arbiter of all beliefs, is greatly to be deprecated in the interest of true culture."

The statement here made, that under editorial bias our pages have been set ablaze with evolution speculations in violation of prospective pledges, is simply not true. We promised our readers to represent the present state of thought on the leading questions that are agitating the scientific world. The doctrine of evolution, as everybody knows, is one of these questions, and had we avoided it we should have broken our promise, and broken faith with our readers. Nor has the subject received the excessive attention that is charged. Our first volume, just completed, contains about a hundred main or leading articles, and of these but three deal with the subject of Evolution or Darwinism, and one of them is an attack upon its fundamental principle. Of the articles contributed by the editor, not one has been devoted to the object alleged—"that of educating the pop-