Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/775

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
753
SCIENCE AND MORALITY.

more than one eighth of a horse-power acting continuously for the twenty-four hours; or it equals one hundred and eighty-two horse-powers working for one minute.

But the combustion of carbon does not include the total oxidation within the body; for, in less degree, hydrogen, sulphur, phosphorus, and iron, are also burned.

A large part of the energy thus produced is utilized in the unceasing labor of the circulation and the respiration. In a year the number of respirations is, in most persons, over nine million; and one hundred and twenty-five thousand cubic feet of air carried through the lungs purifies at least five thousand tons of blood. Yet, so perfect is the apparatus, that we are almost unconscious of its action, unless warned by disease, or the delicate lining of the air-tubes is irritated by some foreign matter.

 

HAS SCIENCE YET FOUND A NEW BASIS FOR MORALITY?
By Professor GOLDWIN SMITH.

TO ask whether Science has yet found a new basis for morality, or even to answer that question in the negative, is a widely different thing from saying that morality can not exist without religion. It is still more widely different, if possible, from imputing immoral tendencies to science. No sane being doubts that the tendency of truth of every kind is moral, or that the tendency of falsehood of every kind, if persisted in, is immoral. But we are not bound to accept at once as science everything that is tendered as such by scientific men on subjects with which, perhaps, they have not long been familiar, and at a time when the excitement created by great discoveries is sure to give birth to a certain proportion of chimeras. If we were, we should have to accept the theory of the automaton man, which has been pressed upon us by the very highest scientific authority with a confidence bordering on the despotic, and that of the "citizen atoms," which, according to Haeckel, while diffused through space, concerted among themselves the structure of the world. Nor in any case can we allow ourselves to be hurried headlong by the current of new opinion into negative any more than into positive conclusions; above all, when the abjuration of a belief involves not merely a change in treatises of philosophy, but the greatest practical consequences, such as the abolition of religion. For abolished religion ought to be, and must be, as soon as it is proved to be founded on falsehood; the proposal of freethinkers, like Renan, to keep up the system as the means of restraining the vulgar and protecting the refined enjoyments of the cultivated, being no less shallow and, in an age