Human Tendencies

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    IN the annals of the British Association there will be found not one but many landmarks in the history of science. The Blackpool meeting of 1936, it is probable, will stand out as a whole, certainly in popular iflemory, as the one meeting above all others which from the inception of the Association up to that date has endeavoured to address itself on a united front to a diagnosis of the current ills of human society. The presidential address, no less remarkable for its controlled imagination than for its keen insight into and power of analysis of complex social phenomena, set the keynote of the meeting; and it was a striking testimony to the sense of responsibility to the community which is felt by the men of science of to-day that the lead given by the president of the Association was followed not alone by the sections dealing with the biological and humanistic sciences. Even a branch of study so academic, so apparently remote from the stress of current social problems as palaeontology, afforded Prof. H. L. Hawkins in the presidential address to Section C (Geology), part of which appears in this issue of NATURE (p. 534), the material for pungent comment on current tendencies in human development.

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