Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/125

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115
EDITOR'S TABLE

pointing out the diversities of scientific opinion, and remarked: "I heard one of the greatest scientific men in America reply, when somebody said, 'You must at least admit that there is a division of opinion among scientific men in regard to the doctrines of Darwin,' 'No, there is no difference of opinion among scientific men.' 'Why not?' 'Because,' said he, 'no man who supports the doctrines of Darwin is entitled to be called a scientific man.'" As to who the great man was who made this destructive remark, nobody will need to guess twice; but it squelches Prof. Allman, and turns the British Association out-of-doors as a lot of mere scientific pretenders, for their representative biologist aired his vagaries as follows: "I have thus dwelt at some length on the doctrine of evolution, because it has given a new direction to biological study, and must powerfully influence all future researches."

Prof. Allman regards the doctrine of evolution as a great and actual truth of Nature, still obscured and embarrassed by many difficulties, and in this he is at one with its oldest and strongest adherents; but he insists that it harmonizes and explains so extensive a range of facts, which are without explanation on any other view, as to become invaluable as an instrument of scientific research. On this point he says:

"The hypothesis of evolution may not, it is true, be yet established on so sure a basis as to command instantaneous acceptance, and for a generalization of such wide significance no one can be blamed for demanding for it a broad and indisputable foundation of facts. Whether, however, we do or do not accept it as firmly established, it is, at all events, certain that it embraces a greater number of phenomena, and suggests a more satisfactory explanation of them, than any other hypothesis which has yet been proposed.... Or, finally, is the doctrine of evolution only a working hypothesis which, like an algebraic fiction, may yet be of inestimable value as an instrument of research? For, as the higher calculus becomes to the physical inquirer a power by which he unfolds the laws of the inorganic world, so may the hypothesis of evolution, though only an hypothesis, furnish the biologist with a key to the order and hidden forces of the world of life. And what Leibnitz and Newton and Hamilton have been to the physicist, is it not that which Darwin has been to the biologist?" Only to think of it! Would it not have been well if those British scientists had got some American to teach them what science is, and how to preserve it from perversion and degradation?

 

 

PROFESSOR CZERMAK.

Our readers will recall an important lecture on "Hypnotism in Animals," a translation of which, by Miss Hammond, appeared in The Popular Science Monthly for September. It gave some of the results of a very interesting research in comparative psychology; and, in a second lecture upon the same subject, in the present number, the results of the investigation are continued, with some strictures on the so-called experimental investigations of "spiritualism." The originality of this inquiry, and the practical lesson that is drawn from it, will be sufficient to secure a careful perusal of these discourses, but the reader's interest in them will be increased by the painful announcement of the recent death of their distinguished author, which occurred September 15th. Prof. Czermak was the head, and in fact the proprietor, of the famous Physiological Laboratory in Leipsic, where he lived. He was the inventor of the laryngoscope, and his treatise upon it was translated and published by the Eng-