Page:The Scientific Monthly vol. 3.djvu/469

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apart from and exalted above description if they can apply the terms analysis, or especially causal analysis, to iL As though the treatment of causal factors which are intrinsic in an organism were not part of the description of that organism, and as though causal factors extrinsic to the organism; that is, belonging to the organism's environment, were essentially a part of biology at all ! I believe full and imbiased consider- ation will convince any one that the word analysis, occurring so frequently in recent biological writings, always means analytic description and classification, as these terms are elucidated above, if it has any objective meaning at all. It is undoubtedly true that as touching organisms them- selves a vast amount of analysis has been practised upon them that is not descriptive; but this is because it is purely speculative — because it is subjective and not objective. Most of the analysis of the characters of adult organisms into "determinants,*' "determiners," "factors," etc., of the germ, is of this sort. And as touching the environments of organisms it is a remarkable thing once one comes to notice it duly that the results of innumerable researches have been published in biological journals during the last two or three decades, that were not in a strict sense biological. The studies were undertaken not so much to learn the nature of organisma as to test the properties of certain physical and chemical agents in respect to their influence on organisms. Incidentally, one might almost say, they have brought out many suggestive facts about how organisms may behave when placed under imusual and unnatural conditions. But they have not taught us so very much about the normal behavior of normal organisms under normal conditions. Indeed, a con- siderable number of biologists have been so bewildered by what they have seen and by their mode of speculating, that they have seriously ques- tioned whether there is such a thing as a normal organism in a normal environment t

The sooner it is borne in upon the minds of all students of living beings, no matter with what aspects of such beings they may be occu- pied, that they are engaged in the great task of describing and classi- fying the living world ; and, so far as " pure biology " is concerned, are doing nothing else, the sooner will objective biology get itself set off from subjective biology and the sooner will philosophical biology become purged of the many morbific growths which now impair its health and mar its beauty. Never more than in this present day when experi- mental research has gained so wide and lasting, and, on the whole, benefi- cent a hold in biology, has there been need of fidelity to description and classification. Never more than now, I say, because the practical work of experimentation on organisms does not promote observance of the classifier's watchword neglect nothing. Indeed, when the experimental method is raised, as some enthusiasts try to raise it, to the high place of an end in itself, the tendency is rather to neglect everything except

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