Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/150

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a human pattern of thought." This is very beautiful, and mainly so because the man who utters it obviously brings it all out of the treasury of his own heart. But the "hue" and "pattern" here so finely spoken of are neither more nor less than that "emotion" and that "objective knowledge" which have drawn this suicidal fire from Mr. Martineau's battery.

I now come to one of the most serious portions of Mr. Martineau's pamphlet—serious far less on account of its "personal errors," than of its intrinsic gravity, though its author has thought fit to give it a witty and sarcastic tone. He analyzes and criticises "the materialist doctrine, which, in our time, is proclaimed with so much pomp, and resisted with so much passion. 'Matter is all I want,' says the physicist; 'give me its atoms alone, and I will explain the universe.'" It is thought, even by Mr. Martineau's intimate friends, that in this pamphlet he is answering me. I must therefore ask the reader to contrast the foregoing travesty with what I really do say regarding atoms: "I do not think that he (the materialist) is entitled to say that his molecular groupings and motions explain every thing. In reality, they explain nothing. The utmost he can affirm is the association of two classes of phenomena, of whose real bond of union he is in absolute ignorance." This is very different from saying, "Give me its atoms alone, and I will explain the universe." Mr. Martineau continues his dialogue with the physicist: "'Good,' he says; 'take as many atoms as you please. See that they have all that is requisite to Body' [a metaphysical B], 'being homogeneous extended solids.' 'That is not enough,' he replies; 'it might do for Democritus and the mathematicians, but I must have something more. The atoms must not only be in motion, and of various shapes, but also of as many kinds as there are chemical elements; for how could I ever get water if I had only hydrogen elements to work with?' 'So be it,' Mr. Martineau consents to reply, 'only this is a considerable enlargement of your specified datum' [where, and by whom specified?]—'in fact, a conversion of it into several; yet, even at the cost of its monism' [put into it by Mr. Martineau] 'your scheme seems hardly to gain its end; for by what manipulation of your resources will you, for example, educe consciousness?'"

This reads like pleasantry, but it deals with serious things. For the last seven years the question proposed by Mr. Martineau and my answer to it have been accessible to all. Here, briefly, is the question: "A man can say 'I feel, I think, I love,' but how does consciousness infuse itself into the problem?" And here is the answer: "The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought and a definite molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously; we do not possess the intellectual organ, nor apparently any rudiment of the organ, which would enable us to pass, by a process of reasoning,