THE IMPERFECTIONS OF SCIENCE
MR. ROBERT WARD, discussing the questions
of Heat and Light in the November Journal of Science, shows
us how utterly ignorant is science about one of the commonest
facts of nature--the heat of the sun. He says:--"The question
of the temperature of the sun has been the subject of investigation
by many scientists. Newton, one of the first investigators of
the problem, tried to determine it, and after him all the scientists
who have been occupied with calorimetry have followed his example.
All have believed themselves successful, and have formulated their
results with great confidence. The following, in the chronological
order of the publication of the results, are the temperature (in
centigrade degrees) found by each of them: Newton, 1,669,300°;
Pouillet, 1,461°; Zöllner, 102,200°; Secchi, 5,344,840°;
Ericsson, 2,726,700°, Fizeau, 7,500°; Waterston, 9,000,000°;
Spoeren, 27,000°; . . . Deville, 9,500°; Soret, 5,801,846°;
Vicaire, 1,398°; Violle, 1,500°; Rosetti, 20,000°.
The difference is, as 1,400° against 9,000,000°, or
no less than 8,998,600°! There probably does not exist in
science a more astonishing contradiction than that revealed in
these figures." And again. Ever since the science of geology
was born, scientists have accepted the theory that the heart of
our globe is still a mass of molten matter, or liquid fire and
only a thin crust is cool and solid. Assuming the earth's diameter
to be about 9,000 miles, this crust they have estimated to be
relatively to it only as thick as the film of a huge soap-bubble
to its entire diameter. And they have assumed that the alleged
increasing temperature in certain deep mines as we go from the
surface downwards supported this theory. But science, through
the mouth of Mr. Ward, rebukes this as a fallacious theory though
still without sufficient data--"it is confidently asserted
that the interior of the earth is in a red-hot molten condition,
and that it is radiating its heat into space, and so growing colder.
One of the results of the Challenger and other explorations
of the deep ocean is to determine that the water towards its bottom
is freezing cold. Considering that the ocean covers nearly three-fourths
of the entire globe, this fact certainly does not support the
theory of central heat accompanied by radiation. The coldest water,
it is true, usually sinks by its greater weight towards the bottom,
and that, it may be said, accounts for its coldness; but, on the
theory of radiation the water of the ocean has been for long geological
ages supported on the thin crust of the earth, through which the
central heat has been constantly escaping, and yet it is still
of freezing coldness! Experience would say that the heat cannot
have escaped through the water without warming it, because the
capacity of water for heat is greater than that of any other substance.
We can no more imagine such a radiation, and consequent accumulation
of heat in the ocean, without the natural result of a great rise
in temperature, than we can believe in a pot resting for hours
on a hot fire without the usual result of boiling water. We have
no reason, therefore, to believe, as has been suggested, that
the earth is growing colder, or that we, in common with all living
things, are destined to be frozen out of existence and the earth
itself finally swallowed up by the sun."
And now let us ask our smart young graduates of Bombay, Calcutta,
Madras and Lahore how they like this view of the infallibility
of that modern science for whose sake they are ready to abandon
the teachings of their ancestors. Is there anything more unscientific
in their speculations, granting, even, that they are as stupid?
Theosophist, February, 1881
"No Religion Higher Than Truth"
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