Is There a Foolproof Science?


THE task of human thought, as many have conceived it, is to explain the universe in which we live and of which we are living and conscious parts. That is a highly ambilious programme. We all ‘accept the universe,’ to use a familiar phrase, but without knowing exactly what it is we have accepted. Is it friendly, or hostile, or neutral? Is it dead or is it alive?

Facts are popularly regarded as antidotes to mysteries. And yet, in sober earnest, there is nothing so mysterious as a fact. One cannot name a single fact in nature, the whole truth of which is known to anybody. It was thought that Newton had discovered the whole fact of gravitation. Einstein is making that extremely doubtful. And if this is true of single facts, what shall we say of that total fact we call the universe? It will be time enough to explain the universe when we have completely discovered it, which we are far from having done, as Hume so often reminds us. Some have even doubted whether it is a universe at all. William James calls it a ‘pluralistic universe,’ which is an indirect mode of saying that ‘universe’ is not the best name for it.

Should a time ever come when the total fact of the universe stood solidly before us, completely discovered, it would instantly explain itself, and so relieve us at a stroke from all our philosophical botherations. The explanation of the universe is not outside it, but inside it.

It would be more in accordance with the reality of things, and more modest on our part, if we were to say that the task of thought is rather to discover the universe than to explain it. Such a mode of statement has many advantages. One is that it would establish a more friendly relation between Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Instead of regarding these three as rival claimants for the explanation of the universe, we should then regard them as partners in its discovery. They would meet on the ground of common modesty. Each of the three, by frankly admitting that the fact before it was not the whole universe, but the merest fragment of it, would be in a mood to combine its efforts with the other two for enlarging that fragment into something more significant and more satisfactory. A change would then take place very similar to that which many of us are now desiring in the affairs of civilization. The field of knowledge, instead of being broken up into rival empires, each putting forth a preposterous claim to the hegemony of truth, would become an organism of federated powers, a league of spiritual nations, engaged together in the coöperative task of discovering the facts.

Facts are too often spoken of as if they were poor naked things, which exist for the purpose of being exploited by our lordly intellects, while explanations are a kind of aristocracy whose function is to order the facts about and live by sweating them. Or again, facts are conceived as a voting democracy, or a vulgar multitude, which determines by a majority of votes the laws that are to ‘govern’ it. I suggest that all this is wrong. Facts are the true aristocrats of the spiritual world. We need to recover that reverence for fact which Carlyle extolled so highly, and deplored so bitterly, as the lost virtue of the modern world. Eagerness to find the facts must not be confused with reverence for them when found. Of such eagerness we have plenty; of such reverence we have not enough. Facts, as I said just now, are highly mysterious things — that perhaps is why they are so stubborn. It will tax the united resources of science, philosophy, and religion to explore the mystery which lies hidden in the humblest of them. Every fact contains a bit of reality, and since reality is alone divine, there is a good reason for reverencing it.

We are wrong also in regarding an explanation of the fact as something we superadd to the fact. Our explanations simply measure the extent to which the fact has deigned to honor us with its acquaintance. They mean that our intimacy with the fact has gone just so far. Get the fact complete, and you would have it completely explained. In one of the classical passages of philosophy Spinoza says the same thing. ‘Reality,’ he says, ‘is that which explains itself and needs nothing else to explain it.’ All turns therefore on getting the fact, the reality. The smallest contributions to that end, whether made by a theologian or a man of science, will be gratefully received by mankind. No other contributions are worth anything. All others resolve themselves, as Carlyle would have said, into mere ‘cant5 — speech which has lost touch with reality, and is often most unreal when it takes the form of philosophical diction or of parliamentary eloquence.

Sir Oliver Lodge has recently declared that the nature of matter is to be in motion, and not at rest. Matter resembles a lively young child who never sits still unless made to do so. A tired mother once said to her little girl, ‘Mary, why can’t you sit still?5 ‘Recause God won’t let me,5 said Mary. Well, matter is like that, according to Sir Oliver Lodge. If ever we encounter matter in a state of rest, the reason is that other matter moving in a contrary direction has brought it to a standstill. Even then it is not really at rest, but inwardly kicking against the check that has been imposed upon it, like the sitting child, and ready to start forward in one direction or another the instant the restraint is removed. So that what physics has to explain about matter is not why it moves, but why it seems to stop moving.

Professor Bergson has a similar remark about mind. In his treatise on memory he tells us that what psychology has to explain is not why we remember but why we forget.


I am not concerned at the moment to defend these statements. But either of them may be taken as an illustration of the true nature of science. Science, like matter and mind, like Mary also, is essentially that which moves. God will not let it sit still. It moves in an infinite number of directions, and it moves endlessly in any direction in which it is started. Science is never static, never stagnant, never content with the boundary it has reached. It is always dynamic, always breaking bounds. If at any time it seems to be arrested by something it cannot explain, it is not really so, any more than matter is. The outer arrest serves only to throw it into an intenser state of inner activity, like Mary; so that we must think of it, not as passive in face of the obstacle, but as pressing against it with all its might and ready to break through at the first weakening of the resistance. Science, we may say, abhors a limitation, as fiercely as nature abhors a vacuum, and as fiercely as Mary abhors having to sit still.

Through forgetting this quality of science, the problem of its limitations has been misconceived. It has been made into a territorial problem. The mind of man in these days is much addicted to territorial problems, as we know to our bitter cost. The habit of thinking in political categories, which has done so much harm in other directions, has led many of us to blunder in dealing with the limitations of science. The attempt has been made to set up a kind of spiritual geography, in which the world of human interests is mapped out into kingdoms, this being assigned to philosophy, this to religion, this to science, and so on, each territory separated from the others by defended frontiers. To my mind the problem does not present itself in that form at all. To think of science as restricted to a kingdom is no less absurd than to think of it as imprisoned in a bottle, like the imp of Stevenson’s story. All this talk about respective territories, about science having a mandate here and philosophy having a mandate there, and religion having a mandate somewhere else, is a mere exercise in political metaphors that are utterly inapplicable to the matter in hand. The problem has no resemblance at all to the problem that was tackled in the Treaty of Versailles — and we ought to be thankful it has n’t. Even if science could make such a treaty with philosophy and religion, we may be sure that it would not be kept for a day longer than either party found convenient.

Nothing could be plainer than the interpenetration, at every point, of the business in which the three are respectively engaged. The problem is not one of static relations like those between rival empires on a map, but of relative movements among different varieties of the same energy, which not only move incessantly, but move together if they move at all. It may be that one of the three moves faster than the other two, in which case the limitations of the two will consist in the fact that they do not move as fast as the first — a difference which may be greatly to their advantage. Napoleon said that, wherever a goat can go, a man can go. So too I am inclined to say that, wherever one of these three can go, the other two can follow. And the one that reaches the summit first will not stay there long unless the other two follow up with the oxygen and the supplies. But these also are metaphors. The point is that, from the moment we grasp the dynamic nature of science, we shall be on our guard against confining it in a limited territory of its own.

Science, philosophy, religion are not, then, rivals for the hegemony of the spiritual world, but coadjutors in a common enterprise, and the more there is of any one, the higher the part the others can play. You can be a good Samaritan when you have nothing but oil and wine to pour into the wounds of your neighbor, and nothing but a tired ass to put him on. But you can be a still better Samaritan when science has taught you the art of antiseptic surgery and supplied you with a wellsprung motor ambulance to take the poor man to hospital. Religion would make us good Samaritans. With the help of science it can make us better ones.

We all revere the good Samaritan. But the only good Samaritan we can recognize in these days is the man who is using all the means that science furnishes to improve himself in the part. Otherwise we miss the point of the parable. Was it not the essential feature in the conduct of that good man that he went one better than the conventional moralists who passed by on the other side? We imitate him, therefore, by going one better than he did. That is the essence of what is meant by ‘go, and do thou likewise.’ If you should transplant the good Samaritan, just as he was, into the twentieth century, he would be inefficient. His methods of dealing with wounded persons were the best that were then and there available. They represented the limitations of science in the first century, and the infinitude of man’s spirit in all ages. But they would be altogether inadequate on a modern battlefield or in a slum.

That may remind us of another thing. We are very fond in these days of asking what is the Christian remedy for our various social evils — for war, poverty, industrial strife, and all the rest. Ought we not rather to ask what is the real remedy for these things? May we not be perfectly confident that whatever the real remedy may be, that and no other will turn out in the long run to be the Christian one? An unreal remedy is not turned into a real one by clothing it in Christian phraseology. Ought not those of us who claim to be Christians to begin our search for remedies from that end, making reality our centre-piece throughout? If we begin by asking first what is ‘Christian,’ we shall often find ourselves confusing eternal principles with antiquated methods of applying them. This mistake will be serious enough when we are dealing with a single man, who is bleeding to death by the wayside. It will be far more serious when we are dealing with wounded societies and with deeply stricken civilizations. In these great matters also we often go backward to the oil and the wine and the tired ass, when we ought to be going forward to antiseptic surgery and to scientific transport. We are specially fond of the tired ass, loading him with burdens he was never intended to carry.

For these reasons, we moralists ought to think twice before imposing limitations on science. Unless we are careful, we shall find that in limiting science we are also limiting ourselves. And yet it is a fact, and one of which we have little reason to be proud, that moralists have been busy for a long time in an unwise attempt to keep science in her proper place, to rail off certain enclosures within which she has no right to set her foot, the idea being that, unless our waters are preserved, we shall catch no fish.

These attempts at enclosure have come to nothing. Or rather they have served to provoke infractions at the very points where the barrier was set up.

In the country district where I spent my boyhood there were two woods. One was defended by the notice, ‘Trespassers will be prosecuted.’ The other was open to the public. The open wood I seldom visited; there was little in it to attract the adventurous spirit, all that was poachable having been poached long before. But the prohibited wood was the scene of my most ardent investigations. The rarest birds built their nests in its trees. There were snakes also in that wood, and many a fearful joy. Even the distant barking of the keeper’s dog did not deter me, for I had come to terms with the keeper.

Does not the history of science present a similar phenomenon? Have not many of her greatest victories been achieved on territory she was once forbidden to enter? By taking such elaborate precautions to guard our preserves from scientific poachers, have we not given a hint to these adventurous spirits that there was something inside worth poaching? Physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, biology, anthropology, psychology — where are these sciences doing their best work at the present moment? They are doing it behind the limitations, behind the barriers, behind the trespass-boards set up against them by the philosophers and theologians of the past. I have often thought that men of science would be more willing to keep within their limits if the other side were less forward to tell them what their limits are. There is no surer way to provoke infraction.


There is a method of dealing with our subject which resolves itself into a severe logical exercise. It is a difficult operation. Technically it is the question of the validity of certain logical categories. Can the logic we make use of in the natural sciences be carried over without modification into the science of the spirit? To many of us it has become clear that in passing from the things of nature to the things of spirit we must adapt the form of our logic to the new business, if we are to think as reasonable beings. Formal logic for formal things; live logic for living ones. This is what I should argue for if I were dealing with the matter technically. The reader might find it rather tiresome. It is the sort of discussion on which one should embark only when he has the audience under discipline, and is able to impose penalties for not attending to what he has to say.

But fortunately the question has another side — what one may call its human aspect. Until the human aspect of it has been apprehended, we are not well planted for dealing with the logical difficulties. To that side let us now turn. We shall immediately find ourselves in the presence of one of the limitations of science.

So far as I can see, there is no kind of truth which cannot be wrongly applied. We have machines that are said to be foolproof. But there are no foolproof truths. We have strong rooms and Milner’s safes and automatic cashiers that are said to be knaveproof. But there are no knaveproof truths. Fools and knaves do their business, not so much by believing what is false, as by misusing what is true. If there is any truth in this universe which would convert a fool into a wise man merely by being staled, I do not know of it. But I know of many shining truths, which fools have made use of to their own undoing, and which the tyrants of mankind have made use of for turning this fair earth into a ruin and a desolation. Some of them are scientific truths — they have ended in poison gas. Some of them are philosophic truths — they have ended in quackery, which is the poison gas of the spiritual world. Some of them are religious truths — they have ended in persecution.

In my studies of philosophy it sometimes seems to me that the philosophers have been trying all along to get truth into such a form that nobody could misuse it. It is like the search for the philosopher’s stone. They never find it. There never was a truth so strongly proved or clearly stated but some villain could exploit it for his own ends or some fool make a mess of it. Truth is, at one and the same time, the most splendid and the most dangerous thing in the universe. Some people, who have seen this clearly in the realm of the positive sciences, have thought that it would be otherwise in the realm of philosophy or of theology. But there is no safety there either. The harm that is done by the misapplication of philosophic truths may be more subtle in its operation but is none the less ruinous in its effects.

Every new statement of truth introduces new hazards into the life of humanity. When was civilization so richly endowed with truths stated and proved as it is to-day? And when was civilization in so hazardous a condition?

Here we touch upon a point which has a very important bearing on that oft-debated question of the relation of religion and science. Let us grant, for the sake of argument, that religion possesses a realm of truth that is immune from scientific criticism. But what then? When you have safeguarded your truth from scientific invasion, when the theologian has effectively said to the scientific man, ‘Thus far and not farther shalt thou come,’ does it follow that you have also safeguarded your truth from being made a wrong use of? I cannot see that it does. I cannot see that religious truths are rendered immune from the danger of misapplication simply because the scientific man is not allowed to criticize them. Has the name of God never been taken in vain? Is there nothing at all in that terrible indictment of Lucretius: tantum religio suadet memalorum? If natural science has yielded her poison gases, can we say that religions truth has never been made use of to poison life, to sow discord among brethren, to maintain abuses and to foster persecution? Can we claim that religious truth, any more than scientific truth, is either foolproof or knaveproof? Let us try to see this thing in its right proportion. What really matters for religious truth is, not to save it from criticism by outsiders, but to save it from betrayal by insiders. May we not say that a naturalist who makes a human use of natural science is nearer the Kingdom of God than a supernaturalist who makes an inhuman use of supernatural science?

There is an illustration of this in the civilization of ancient Greece. Greek civilization stands out preëminent in the admirable use it made of what it knew. Yet measured by our standards it knew very little. In the sphere of science their knowledge was elementary, but it led the Greeks straight into art, into the creation of things of beauty which are joys forever. Out of their elementary mathematics arose the incomparable proportions of the Parthenon. We, with a hundred sciences at our elbow, make our cities sordid and ugly; they, with the bare elements of two or three, made Athens beautiful and glorious. They had the secret of turning truth into beauty. They passed from truth to beauty with an ease of transition which the modern world has lost. What was truth to-day became beauty to-morrow.

May we not say that a little science turned into beauty is worth more to mankind than a lot of science turned into money?

Or think how Plato was educated. Plato was a great educationalist, but what kind of education did he receive himself? What would modern standards say to it? No dead languages. Of course he knew Greek, having learned it at his mother’s knee. He knew it far better than many of us know the English into which we translate him. But he himself could not translate the ‘simplest sentence’ of Greek, as set by a modern examiner, into English or into anything else. No Latin. No modern languages. No literature, save that of his native land. No Greek history after the year 347 B.C. He did not even know the difference between B.C. and A.D. No Roman history beyond the Samnite wars, if even that. No European history. Of all the lessons which history has been teaching mankind for the last twenty-three centuries, Plato knew not one. Nothing about the American Civil War, or about the World War.

And what about science? What about ‘evolution ‘? Mathematics of the simplest, physics of the crudest, no algebra, no calculus, no laws of motion, or theory of gravitation. Nothing about the circulation of the blood, and the foggiest notions about the functions of the brain. Of astronomy a little, and yet a little that was surprisingly effective in expanding his imagination, in spite of the fact that it was upside down. But of chemistry, geology, biology, botany, physiology, as we understand them, virtually nothing. All these were as yet unopened chapters in the history of science. No printed books to tell him about them or about anything else. His whole library might have been carried in a wheelbarrow. No illustrated editions. No newspapers. No monthly reviews. No Atlantic. No South Kensington, with its stuffed gorillas and its models of the dinosaur. No British Museum, with its Library and its mummies. When Plato was born, King Tut-ankh-amen had already been sleeping his long sleep for seven hundred years, but no Egyptologist had yet thought of putting him in a glass case.

Such was Plato’s education. If we cannot say precisely what it was, we can at least say what it was not. It was neither classical nor scientific nor theological, in our sense of the words. What a limited outlook for a philosopher who claimed to be the spectator of all space and time! How queer the obvious is when you come to think of it! And yet, in spite of his limitations, — the limitations of his science, the limitations of his classics, the limitations of his history, the limitations of his theology, — Plato was not only a supremely educated man, but has left us in the Laws the profoundest treatise on educational theory that was ever written. How did he manage it? I leave that as a conundrum to the educationalists.

My own answer to it would be, that the test of sound education lies less in what we know and more in the use we are making of our knowledge. Plato made good use of his.


An illustration of a different kind is furnished by the science of psychology, one of the most promising and ambitious of the sciences. I suppose that no psychologist will be offended by hearing it classed as a natural science. He would hardly wish it to be called supernatural, though some of its recent developments have an air of supernaturalism that makes them attractive to many. In the ancient world the millennium was promised when kings became philosophers. Nowadays we are more modest and think it enough, at least for a start, that our rulers should become psychologists. The medical profession is becoming deeply imbued with psychology; the clergy are dabbling in it and even members of Parliament, who seldom study science, are beginning to take it up. Most important is the part which psychology is beginning to play in theories of education. It seems likely that in a few years we shall all be under psychological treatment of one kind or another— a rather fearful thought. For it is one thing to treat other people psychologically; it is another thing when everybody is applying psychology to you. I do not find it altogether a pleasant prospect. A time when every man looks upon his neighbor as an opportunity for practising arts of ‘suggestion’ is all very well so long as you think of yourself as the practitioner, and not as the neighbor. My own impulse in such a world would be to run away whenever I saw my brother man.

During the recent war the charge was frequently brought against the Germans that they were ‘bad psychologists.’ And so indeed they were. But they were bad psychologists not in the sense that they knew nothing about that science, — for they knew a great deal, — but in the sense that they made a bad use of what they knew. That seems to me a danger to which psychology stands exposed more than any other of the natural sciences. Instead of being a science which begins to work beneficent results the moment it is stated, it seems rather to multiply the danger points in the conduct of life. We make a mistake in assuming that psychology turns itself automatically into therapeutics. It can equally turn itself into the opposite — whatever the proper name for that may be. The tyrants and exploiters of mankind, the deceivers and the persecutors, become tenfold more dangerous when you arm them with psychology. Napoleon was an accomplished psychologist in his own department. Man is, at one and the same time, the wisest and the most gullible of all animals; and the very qualities that make him the wisest are also the qualities that make him the most gullible. If you want to catch a rhinoceros, there are but two or three kinds of traps you can make use of. But a thousand traps lie ready for the deceivers of mankind. I do not doubt that psychology is a splendid tool in the service of beneficent motives. But in the service of sinister motives it leads to the invention of traps.

Among the current applications that are being made of psychology one of the most notable, though perhaps the least noted, is the so-called ‘art of advertisement.’ Has it ever occurred to the reader, as he contemplates the beauties of an advertisement hoarding, or the seductive young ladies on the backs of the magazines, that he is there and then being practised upon by astute psychologists—that he is, so to speak, under psychological treatment, and not exactly in the way of psychotherapeutics. There are colleges in America and elsewhere, extensively equipped foundations, where they study the art of advertisement, and psychology forms part of the curriculum. A careful study of their productions makes it clear that these experts know all about the group mind, the herd instinct, the psychology of the crowd, the subliminal self, the suppressed libido, autosuggestion, heterosuggestion, and all the rest of it. Many of them are masters in the art of hypnosis — hypnotism being the master principle of their craft.

McDougall and Stout, William James and Le Bon, Freud and Jung, have not prophesied in vain to these artists. Is it not a significant thing that the very same methods which my spiritual adviser makes use of to tranquillize my soul, and my medical adviser to restore my shattered nerves, are also being made use of by these other practitioners to make me buy their whiskey or their pills? The hypnotic medium is a picture of the whiskey bottle, so presented as to fix your eye and be unescapable; or a smiling portrait of some cheerful Christian who has been brought back from the gates of the grave by taking the pills. By exhibiting these objects in due season, the will of the operator to sell the whiskey is transformed into the will of the patient to buy it — transformed, mark you, without the patient knowing that any such transformation has taken place. Which is hypnotism. What further proof is needed that the millennium is not to be brought in by the mere statement of psychological truths, by making psychology accessible to everybody?


Eugenics and criminology are other sciences, or would-be sciences, to which the same considerations need to be applied. Neither of these is either foolproof or knaveproof.

With regard to eugenics, there is, it must be confessed, something highly attractive in the dream of a world governed by an efficient birth-control, under which the breeding of desirable human types would be promoted or enforced, and the breeding of the undesirable restrained. But, in democratic countries at all events, such a system could not be effectively worked without a general agreement on the definition of a ‘desirable’ and of an ‘undesirable’ type. On that point it seems likely that great diversity of opinion will always exist even among enlightened persons. And even if we suppose that these diversities were reduced to the one difference between Liberal and Conservative, — the Liberal breeding for the largest variety of types, the Conservative breeding for the few types already proved by experience to be valuable, — even so, it would be extremely awkward to be governed now on the one principle and now on the other, as well might happen in a voting democracy.

And the position would be still worse if it be true, as the pessimists assert, that the voting majority is already composed of undesirables. Carlyle, for example, was deliberately of the opinion that the people of Great Britain were ‘mostly fools,’ and the people of America ‘mostly bores.’ The statement is probably a gross libel on both nations, but we should have to be very sure of its falsehood before entrusting either nation with self-government on eugenic lines.

And worse things are not impossible. Were the British or American people, for example, ever to fall into the hands of a government like that of Russia at the present moment, it is certain that many of us who now regard ourselves as eugenically entitled to breed and multiply would be classed as ‘undesirables,’ and eliminated forthwith.

With regard to criminology the danger is still more obvious. A science which acquaints us with the conditions under which criminals are produced, and thereby enables us to prevent their production, is no doubt of the highest value, but on condition that the noncriminal classes, as crime is defined by respectable persons, have the application of it.

But in a world which has produced a thinker like Nietzsche, and a government like that of Russia, we cannot count on crime being always defined as the respectable middle classes are now defining it. If philosophers of the type of Nietzsche should ever become ‘kings,’ or governments like that of Russia extend into our own countries, the science of criminology would be instantly turned against the very classes which have created it, and are now looking to its teachings to rid them of evildoers. In Russia several notable criminologists have already been shot. One was discovered by an English traveler, clothed in rags and selling newspapers on the street in Moscow.

And, short of these extremities, even a slight change in the definition of crime would suggest applications of criminology by no means in harmony with the interests of men and women now regarded as eminently virtuous. Of criminology, then, — as of eugenics,— we may confidently say that it is neither foolproof nor knaveproof.

And if this holds true of the sciences we have named it holds true of the rest. They all stop short at the point where the choice has to be made between their right and their wrong application: the one leading to the things that hurt, and the other to the things that heal. At that point, approaching the question from the human side, we encounter the final limitation of natural science, and, let me repeat, of supernatural science also, if there be such a thing.


In the history of the human mind we observe a kind of race, a race between science and life, in which the science that explains our life never quite overtakes the life that is being explained. It is an exciting phenomenon. Science is the pursuer; life is the pursued; and we may observe that the more science quickens its pace in pursuit, the more rapidly does life speed on ahead of it, so that the one can never overtake the other. Every new acquisition of knowledge thrusts our life forward into new conditions and raises the rate at which we are living. By learning to understand our life up to date, we put ourselves in a position to live differently henceforward.

When science declares the law of their action to human beings, she provokes them to make themselves exceptions to it. Tell me, for example, that all men are liars, and you at once suggest to me the desirability of beginning to speak the truth; so that, when science comes upon the scene to-morrow, she will have to modify her law and say ‘all men are liars except one.’

Or give me a statistical uniformity; for instance, that men lie six times out of thirteen. At once you suggest to me the desirability of reducing the proportion, and new statistics must be compiled accordingly.

And so it goes on. I am always just ahead of your scientific generalizations about me. Nay, it is precisely your telling me what I am to-day that puts me on my mettle to be something else to-morrow. The life of the human mind thus presents itself as an endless movement, in which the march of science, whether natural or supernatural, never quite overtakes the final problem of its application. The point where responsibility rests upon us all lies just ahead of the last point reached by advancing science, and is continually being thrust forward by the forces behind it. The more the pursuers quicken their paces, the more the fugitive quickens his.

This inability of science to overtake responsibility is what I mean by its limitation.

The applied sciences are no exception; they are, rather, the chief examples — precisely those which are most easily misapplied by bad men. Applied science will tell you how to make a gun; but it will not tell you when to shoot or what, to shoot at. Do you say that moral science will look after that? I answer, in the words of St. Paul, that ‘I had not known sin but for the law.’

Moral science, in revealing the right use of my gun, inevitably reveals the wrong use also; and since the wrong use will often serve my selfish purpose better than the right, my neighbors run a new risk of being shot at and plundered. A bad man armed with moral science is another name for the Devil. If Mephistopheles had been examined in this subject by a modern university, he would have carried off all the prizes. At that point moral science and natural science are in the same boat.

How shall we name this fugitive something which science can never overtake? I have called it ‘life.’ Others, more correctly perhaps, would call it the spirit, the soul, the self, the mind, the will. I do not think it matters greatly what we name it, so long as we recognize, first, that it exists, and, second, that it carries the fortunes of humanity.

Let education look to that! This is the point where all the enterprises of education, and all the activities of religion, which is education raised to its highest power, come to a focus. If we educate at all other points, but fail to educate at the point of responsibility, we shall inevitably come to no good end.