isis unveiled: xii (forbidden ground)

“As to the advance of scientists, their very learning, moreover, is impeded by these two causes – their constitutional incapacity to understand the spiritual side of nature, and their dread of public opinion. No one has said a sharper thing against them than Professor Tyndall, when he remarks, “in fact, the greatest cowards of the present day are not to be found among the clergy, but within the pale of science itself.”

If there had been the slightest doubt of the applicability of this degrading epithet, it was removed by the conduct of Professor Tyndall himself; for, in his Belfast address, as President of the British Association, he not only discerned in matter “the promise and potency of every form and quality of life”, but pictured science as “wresting from theology the entire domain of cosmological theory”; and then, when confronted with an angry public opinion, issued a revised edition of the address in which he had modified his expression, substituting for the words “every form and quality of life”, all terrestrial life. This is more than cowardly – it is an ignominious surrender of his professed principles.

At the end of the Belfast meeting, Mr. Tyndall had two pet aversions – Theology and Spiritualism. What he thought of the former has been shown; the latter he called “a degrading belief”.

When hard pressed by the Church for alleged atheism, he made haste to disclaim the imputation, and sue for peace; but, as his agitated “nervous centres” and “cerebral molecules” had to equilibrate by expanding their force in some direction, he turns upon the helpless, because pusillanimous, spiritualists, and in his Fragments of Science insults their belief after this fashion: “The world will have a religion of some kind, even though it should fly for it to the intellectual whoredom of Spiritualism.”

What a monstrous anomaly, that some millions of intelligent persons should permit themselves to be thus reviled by a leader in science, who, himself, has told us that “the thing to be repressed both in science and out of it is ‘dogmatism!'”

We will not encroach upon space by discussing the etymological value of the epithet. While expressing the hope that it may not be adopted in future ages by science as a Tyndallism, we will simply remind the benevolent gentlemen of a very characteristic feature in himself. One of our most intelligent, honorable, and erudite spiritualists, an author of no small renown, has pointedly termed this feature as “his (Tyndall’s) simultaneous coquetry with opposite opinions.”

If we are to accept the epithet of Mr. Tyndall in all its coarse signification, it applies less to spiritualists, who are faithful to their belief, than to the atheistical scientist who quits the loving embraces of materialism to fling himself in the arms of a despised theism; only because he finds his profit in it.

We have seen how Magendie frankly confesses the ignorance of physiologists as to some of the most important problems of life, and how Fournie agrees with him. Professor Tyndall admits that the evolution-hypothesis does not solve, does not profess to solve, the ultimate mystery.”

H. P. Blavatsky

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