Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/770

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and hypotheses. Science consists in the interpretation of facts, and this always begins with hypothetical conjecture; while the progress of science is nothing else than the growth of hypothesis and of theory by which facts are put in their proper relations.

Mr. Godwin avers that science has nothing to do with questions of "primal origin," by which he means, as we gather from a passage to be directly quoted, questions of the origin of the universe* the origin of our earth, the origin of plants and animals, the origin of man and his institutions. This is certainly an extraordinary statement to put forth to the scientific men of the present day. And that a great problem of Nature which is soluble, is yet not a problem of science, but belongs to a method which "proceeds not by demonstration and proof," is a statement that will be equally surprising. As for the method of "insight," "intuition," "moral reasoning," and "revelation," it had been tried on the phenomena of Nature for thousands of years, and it was exactly because it had broken down that the method of science arose. The order of the universe has been discovered by demanding "demonstration and proof;" but on what ground is it assumed that the problem of the present operations of the universe is of a different nature from the problem of its past operations? The order of Nature is one and continuous, and the same method which has given us a knowledge of its present workings can alone be competent to give us the knowledge of its past workings. Science is the coördination of facts, that is, putting them in order, but they must be coördinated in their sequences as well as in their coexistences—in time as well as in space. Nor is it any more possible to study the present in Nature, without going back to the past which has created it, than it is to do the same thing in political affairs. It is now well recognized that our knowledge of existing things is profoundly dependent upon our knowledge of the way they have been produced. The present phase of astronomical science embraces the problem of the formation of the solar and stellar systems. What is geology but a history of the formation of the earth? Zoology has been revolutionized by modern embryological studies. The psychological point of view is now that of the development of mind. Philology has become a science through the study of lingual origins; and sociological science has at its foundation the problem of the origin and growth of social activities and organizations. Questions of origin, of derivation, and of transformations in time, are, in fact, the supreme characteristics of the science of the nineteenth century.

Mr. Godwin forbids it. He might as well forbid the flow of the Gulf Stream; it cannot be arrested till the study of cause and effect is ruled out of the scientific court as an illegitimate procedure. The study of origins is the highest issue of ages of scientific preparation, and the ripening of science into an authentic philosophy.

Of Mr. Godwin's three or four examples of illegitimate science, here is one. He says: "Then there is another of these outside teachers of science, but this one is entitled to the highest respect—though I think he rides a hobby beyond the capacity of the creature to carry—who contrives a vast process of cosmic evolutions, who tells us that a great while ago—ten thousand years—no, a hundred million of millions of millions of years ago—a nebulous gas was diffused through the immensity of space, which first twisted itself into a solar system, then into a world, then into layers of mineral strata, then into vegetable spirales, into animal motions, into human vortices called societies, into iliads, parthenons, and Shakespeares, and at last into a grand philosophy of evolution—the crown and consummation of the