15 APRIL 1882, Page 23

Science a Stronghold of Belief. By R. B. Painter. (Sampson

Low and Co.)—Belief, we fear, has not a very powerful champion in Mr. Painter. With much that he says as to the dogmatism and pre- sumption of men of science we quite agree, but we think he now and then misrepresents them, and also that he is occasionally inconsistent with himself. For example, he appears to hold that the Bible ought to be regarded as an ultimate authority on all subjects, and yet he ex- pressly tells us that it was not meant to teach us scientific truth. If so, Professors Tyndal and Huxley may fairly reply that there can be no meaning in saying that they contradict the Bible, when they deal only with matters of physical science. Much, indeed, of our author's reasoning seems to us singularly weak and inconclusive, and here and there he drifts, we think, into positive absurdity. He appears to think that animals are, in some instances, perverted by Satanic influence. Such a notion seems hardly worthy of one who professes to be a man of science, and in some quarters would be quite enough to deprive his work of any sort of sincere regard or attention. How- ever, he wholly rejects "spiritualism," and thinks that Dr. Carpenter has successfully exposed it. We think that in his zeal for a good cause he is apt to misrepresent his opponents, and he uses such words as "materialism" in a loose, vague way, and often fixes the charge of it on those who would promptly repudiate it. Nothing is gained by caricaturing the opinions of those from whom we differ, however ridiculous those opinions may be.