Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/636

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



It is probable that this remarkable process of reduction has some far-reaching significance with reference to the origin and meaning of sexuality. Already theories concerning it have been suggested; but we are yet on the threshold of knowledge of the facts on which profitable theories must be based, and, until we have penetrated further within the portal, we can afford to suppress our propensity for speculation.


By C. F. HODGE, Ph. D.,



FOR about thirty years the vivisection question has been before the public in this country. Discussion has often been hot and bitter, both in the press and in society, and again it is upon us in exactly its old form. What are we to do with it? What, so far as this country is concerned, has the controversy accomplished? After careful reading of all the important literature upon both sides, it appears to me that nothing has been gained either way. Both sides are practically where they were thirty years ago, and the failure seems to be due to fundamental misunderstandings of the real points at issue. In several hundred antivivisection publications I am unable to find a passage which reveals the least conception on the part of their writers of the real purpose which a physiologist has in his work. On the other side, while definite arguments have been advanced, no generous effort has been made to give the public a clear notion of what the physiologist in the study of health and the pathologist in the study of disease are driving at. Can something be said which shall do this? Or must physiologists work on under the distrust and suspicion of society because their aims and purposes are misunderstood?

The real question at issue, moreover, has been buried under personalities and under matters of detail, themselves involved in bitterest possible medical controversy, and the merits of which no amount of discussion, but time and experiment alone, can determine. Only by freeing the argument entirely from these things, and by placing it upon higher grounds, can we hope for intelligent peace upon this contested field. What, then, is the purpose of biological science?

Man finds himself in company upon the earth with an infinite number of living things, and he has found it of inestimable value to learn something about this maze of life. The science which