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From an Easy Chair

Naturevolume 79pages3132 (1908) | Download Citation



SCIENCE renders the people a three-fold service. The increase in material comfort and in facility of communication which have resulted from ability to direct the forces of nature have been sufficiently proclaimed by public speakers and acclaimed by their hearers. It is less clear that the public recognise the more important service rendered by the army of trained men of science, which wages ceaseless war against pestilence, flood, and famine. The scouts of this army penetrate the unknown, under conditions making no small demands on their courage, and render possible the advance of humanity. But even if sufficient regard be paid by the ordinary intelligent citizen to the material service done him by science, it can hardly be denied that he has no conception of his indebtedness on the intellectual and moral side. Yet scientific method, whenever and wherever made welcome, has imparted greater freedom and clearness of thought, has widened imagination and sympathy, and has led to a truer perception of life and character based upon concepts of law and order. Nor need we regard as a small matter the sum of intellectual enjoyment and stimulus derived from the progress of discovery. This progress would be quickened if the people met the demand of science for intelligent sympathy with its aims and methods; for active and liberal support of investigation; for national and personal action in respectful accord with the results established by investigators accredited by their fellow-workers.

From an Easy Chair.

By Sir E. Ray Lankester, Pp. viii+144 (London: A. Constable and Co., Ltd., 1908.) Price 1s. net.


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