Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/339

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unconsolidated superficial deposits of the earth; and it is only where there is collateral evidence that such testimony is acceptable to the cautious student. Now, the sediments of Lake Lahontan are generally, and in Walker River canon almost wholly, unconsolidated, and so the probabilities are against the verity of the association."[1]

When Prof. Wright's second book, Man and the Glacial Period, appeared, the subject was one of popular interest, and it was thought that the book would do harm. Thereupon his fellow-workers criticised the book in various scientific journals, and sometimes spoke very disparagingly of it, as being unworthy of acceptance—all intended to warn the public against a book widely advertised and circulated as the greatest contribution that had ever been made to glacial geology. The fact that in support of his pretensions the author. Prof. Wright, signed his name as a member of the United States Geological Survey, was especially offensive to the others who had been engaged under the auspices of the survey, whether as volunteers, professorial assistants, or permanent employees.

When Prof. Wright found his book thus attacked, he skillfully evaded the real issue—the truth or error of his conclusions—and he or certain of his personal friends raised the cry of persecution by the official geologists of the United States. Most of those who criticised him were professorial geologists, like himself, who had aided the Geological Survey with their work. Prof. Wright was thus attacking his fellow-workers in the field, not deigning to make scientific reply to scientific objections, but making only general statements in relation thereto, and turning the issue on the right of geologists to criticise his work, which he assumed was not official, though he had placed his name on his book with an official title.

All this required no reply from me, until at last Mr. Wright enlisted the championship of The Popular Science Monthly. An article by Mr. Claypole, of Ohio, was published in the April number of the journal, making a bitter attack upon the professorial geologists and upon the regular employees of the United States Geological Survey, and in no covert way attacking the administration of the survey itself. This attack, based as it was on error in every paragraph, would still have called for no response from myself, but would have been passed by, had not the editor of the journal attempted to draw a lesson therefrom in condemnation of the work of the Geological Survey and of that of the professorial geologists and volunteer assistants connected with the universities, colleges, and State surveys of the entire

  1. American Anthropologist, vol. ii, 1889, pp. 301-312.