Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/92

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In considering each of the previous channels of infection I have pointed to some remedy. That which promises most in dealing with infection conveyed in the manner just indicated is the early isolation of persons suffering from the several infectious fevers.


"IF it were a qualification for his office," Mr. Stephen remarked, "to be impartial in the sense of not having an opinion on the matter, it would have been hardly possible to select a less qualified chairman in all London than himself. He believed that the spread of scientific influence had not only not been bad, but that the thing of which we stand most in need is a great deal more scientific thought and method in every direction. He felt, however, that his case was so strong that he could afford to give points to the opposite side; and for this reason, and because to a certain extent he was prepared to go with the opener in his remarks, he hoped to be able to point out fairly where the various arguments which had been used found their proper place. The only definition, or rather description, of science which ever appeared satisfactory to him was, that Science is that body of truths which may be held to be definitely established, so that no reasonable person doubts them. To speak of mischievous science is, therefore, to assert that truth is mischievous, an assertion to which no one would be likely to seriously agree, especially in such a place as University College. If it is to be supposed that science is mischievous, it must either be meant that certain false theories which call themselves science are wrongful, which may well be the case, or that the scientific progress at the present time happens to be exercising a mischievous influence.

"No one denies that science may accidentally lead to a large number of our particular mischiefs, as in the case of the invention of dynamite; but it can not in any way be admitted on that account that science is mischievous. For the question arises, If science is bad, what can be substituted for it? and in what way will these mischiefs be remedied if we are not scientific? It is impossible to say that erroneous impressions will make us better off than correct ones. For instance, the old belief in medicine subjected people to years of tor-

  1. Remarks by Mr. Leslie Stephen in summing up a debate at University College, London, on the motion by Mr. B. Paul Newman: "That the spread of scientific thought and method has, on the whole, exercised an injurious influence on English society." The motion was supported by Mr. N. Mickleman, and opposed by the Rev. A. Capes Tarbolton and Mr. J. G. Pease.