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precision of strictly biologic creatures. Mr. Ward traces on the obverse side of his coin the real changes which biologic forces create, and then turning his coin over, he imagines a series of biologic ghosts rehearsing the drama of the obverse side. Looking on the obverse side, he sees the grooves made by the tendency of the vital forces to follow the line of least resistance, and then on the reverse side he imagines that he sees the mental ruts made by a like tendency of ideas to trail after one another.
Such psychology is merely ghost biology, and has not the semblance of a true science about it. There are no true inductions based on psychic phenomena. To return to the earlier illustration of method, it makes psychology like science B, which has its principles determined by long-range deductions from science A, and then the deductions are verified by the assumed effects which the forces of science B have on the phenomena of science C.
The second presupposition of the scientific mind to which I refer is due to the opposition existing between the scientific and theological methods of reasoning. The scientist assumes that all phenomena have a natural explanation, and that there are no breaks, missing links or "mysteries," which must be referred to the theologian or metaphysician for an explanation. To avoid the possibility of such gaps, there is a strong inclination to go beyond the existing body of exact knowledge, and to create sciences and to supply hypotheses by which such gaps can be avoided. The whole world of phenomena must be explained naturally at any cost, and thus a series of ghost sciences is created to supply the defects in the real sciences.
Locke, in his "Elements of Natural Philosophy," closes one of his chapters as follows: "All stones, metals and minerals are real vegetables, that is, grow organically from proper seeds, as well as plants." In this statement we have the essence of a ghost science, and if Locke had the disposition and versatility of Mr. Spencer, this thought might have
been expanded into a volume. This kind of geology would have proved just as serviceable in disproving the claims of the theologians that geologic facts have no natural explanation as Spencer's analogies about organisms which serve the like purpose in sociology at the present time. Locke was not willing to await the rise of a true science of geology, but, like Spencer, he resorts to biologic analogies to fill in the gaps.
These two presuppositions of the scientific mind, a cramped imagination and a disposition to discover at any cost a "natural" explanation for all phenomena, have been the source of many serious errors. Remember how many centuries the true explanation of the motions of the planets were delayed by the bias of scientists who affirmed that the planets must move in circles because these are the only perfect, geometrical figures. The opposition of the followers of Newton to the new theory of light came from this source. They could not conceive how light could be carried through space except by the movement of particles from body to body governed by the elementary laws of motion. Their theory of light was merely a ghost physics and with its aid they delayed for a century the acceptance of the true theory. Chemistry and biology in their early years had also to contend with ghost sciences created by the presuppositions of the scientists who first attempted to occupy these fields. When Comte created his hierarchy of the sciences, he put phrenology in the place of psychology. He must have a natural explanation of mental phenomena, and as biologic studies had not yet assumed a definite form he created out of phrenology a science in which he could secure the needed physical basis for the mind. It was of course merely a ghost science, but it enabled him to assume a scientific air and to forestall any charge of incompleteness which might be raised against his system.
Comte has called attention to three states of mind which characterize three distinct stages of human progress, the
theological, the metaphysical and the positive. During the first two stages, the theological and metaphysical bias of men caused them to waste their time and energy in endeavors to connect the phenomena of the world with unseen causes and entities. A more complete statement of human progress would divide it into four stages, putting the bias of scientific minds on a par with that of the theological or metaphysical minds. The desire to explain all phenomena through some simple element; the attempt to combine all the sciences into a hierarchy in which the principles of each special science would be derived deductively from the underlying sciences and not inductively within its own field; the determination to have a natural explanation at any cost even when recourse must be had to shallow analogies; the inability to break away from the concrete modes of thought fitted for one science when the phenomena of another science are the subject of investigation; all these in their united effect have delayed the progress of thought even more effectively than have the corresponding errors of theologians and metaphysicians. These feelings have caused a series of ghost sciences to appear, which have deceived their originators and diverted the attention of investigators from fertile fields where progress is possible. A new era for positive science cannot be inaugurated until the bias of the scientific mind is as fully recognized and as carefully guarded against as are the other forms of intellectual bias which are now so completely discredited.
Aside from the causes already mentioned for the failure of biologic sociology there is another even more important. This is the inadequate conception possessed by biologists of what really constitutes the environment of an organism or of a society. This may appear a surprising statement, as no formula is more common in the writings of this school than that of the adjustment of the organism to its environment. But if a close examination is given to what is included under discussions of this relation between the organism
and the environment, it will be found that the organism occupies the attention and that the problems of the environment are neglected.* While assuming to handle not merely the problem of life, but also that of the conditions of existence, the latter is treated not by direct study, but by inferences drawn from a study of effects of the conditions of existence on the development of organic life. Changes in organisms, we are told, are due to changes in the environment. It is assumed that changes in the environment have preceded every change in organic life, but we are left in the dark as to what these changes in the environment were that have modified organic life. Spencer's writings, for example, are meagre and crude in their allusions to the environment, and in one place † he says that the environment may be left out of consideration altogether.
The biologic method, as I have shown, is a study of a record of effects from which the causes are to be inferred. The organism is an effect of the contact between it and its environment. Biologists have studied these effects to get at the laws of life but have neglected the environment in which lie the causes of the effects they study. A direct investigation of the environment would reveal the principles which produce changes in organisms and thus create a progressive evolution. It is possible to obtain deductively in this way what otherwise can be acquired only through inferences from effects. The study of effects in search of causes is much more liable to error than is a study of causes to determine effects.
An unfortunate result of this procedure is an erroneous concept of the hierarchy of the sciences. Biology is put
"Throughout Biology proper, the environment and its correlated phenomena are either but tacitly recognized, or, if overtly and definitely recognized, are so but occasionally; while the organism and its correlated phenomena practically monopolize the attention." Spencer's "Psychology," vol. i., p. 134.
+"In brief, then the propositions of Biology, when they imply the environment at all, imply almost exclusively its few general and constant phenomena, which, because of their generality and constancy, may be left out of consideration." Ibid.,
immediately after chemistry, and is followed directly by psychology and sociology. A progressive evolution is thus taken for granted, but the conditions which determine it are entirely neglected. If the conditions of social progress are sought it is wrongly assumed that they result from the laws of life and not from the peculiarities of the environ
Another error has crept into the current concepts of the environment of society because the attention of biologists is directed primarily to the study of the lower forms of life. These organisms receive their nutriment directly from their environment. Their organs of assimilation come in contact with the environment, and thus the food supply becomes a part of the environment of the individual. The process of organic development encloses the organs of assimilation within the body, and the process of social development makes the act of food getting indirect. Society, through its economic organization, gets the food and other material directly from the environment, and then, within the society, the distribution of these products among its individual members takes place. The environment thus is mainly social, and touches the individual at but few points. Through the development of individual organisms, or of social relations, many processes cease to be problems of an adjustment to the environment. These processes take place within society, or even within the individual organisms. They are thus removed from the environment, and are free from its direct influence.
The environment of a single isolated creature is moreover very complex and extraordinary, because it is affected by so many local conditions. It is made up partly of the physical peculiarities of the region which it inhabits, and partly of the influence of the organisms with which it comes in contact. It may live on some form of organic life, and be in turn the prey of other forms. If you force a multitude of different organisms into a limited area, the environment of each