Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/827

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SCIENCE AND “CHRISTIAN SCIENCE.”

chemistry, zoölogy, botany, astronomy, and geology would also be reduced to chaos, for these together with physiology are based on observation and induction, which Mrs. Eddy declares we can not trust. “Christian Science eschews what is termed natural science,” she says, and she condemns the use of observation when she asserts that “it is morally wrong to examine the body in order to ascertain if we are in health.” “Putting on the full armor of physiology, and obeying to the letter the so-called laws of health (so the statistics show), have neither diminished sickness nor lengthened life”! On the other hand, she affirms that “science is the watchword of our day,” and calls attention to some of its benefits; in another place she indorses the results of astronomy. But that she is wofully ignorant of science is shown by such expressions as, “The angle of incidence is the reverse of the angles in the objects reflected”; “The blind forces called attraction, adhesion, and cohesion are not substances of matter”; “We tread on forces. Withdraw them, and the universe would collapse.”

The genuine science of mental therapeutics is a very simple one. It has been discovered by physicians here and there at various times, and, if not adequately developed, it at least does not contradict the principles on which all science is based. The theory is, that mental impressions, however produced, act through the nervous system upon the various organs of the body so as to stimulate or obstruct their functions as the case may be. Such mental action is a matter of common observation. Whenever the cheek flushes with embarrassment or pales with fear, mental influence is producing its effect on the body. Great anxiety or grief causes loss of appetite, and may bring on an attack of dyspepsia or any other disease to which the person is liable. Fright has turned the hair gray in a few hours. Dr. Murchison wrote: “That jaundice may have a nervous origin has long been known. There are numerous instances on record of its being produced by severe mental emotions, such as fits of anger, fear, shame, or great bodily suffering.”

Dr. Durand, of New Orleans, according to the “Picayune” of that city, recently made a test of mental influence by giving a hundred patients a dose of sweetened water. Fifteen minutes after, entering apparently in great excitement, he announced that he had by mistake given a powerful emetic, and preparations must be made accordingly. Eighty out of the hundred patients soon fell to vomiting.

On the other hand, the tonic effects on a patient of hope, cheerfulness, and a determination to get well, have been frequently commented upon, and many intelligent physicians have made good use of such mental aids in practice. Dr. John Hunter wrote