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Source: Lucifer, the Light-Bearer
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial column
Document title: “The Movement in Favor of Ignorance”
Author(s): James, C. L.
Date of publication: 28 November 1901
Volume number: 5
Issue number: 46
Series: third series
Pagination: 370

James, C. L. “The Movement in Favor of Ignorance.” Lucifer, the Light-Bearer 28 Nov. 1901 v5n46 (3rd series): p. 370.
Moses Harman; William McKinley (medical care: criticism: personal response).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Mary Baker Eddy; Galileo Galilei; William McKinley; Henry C. Roberts.
Click here to view the Moses Harman editorial in Lucifer No. 889 referred to below.

The date of publication provided by the magazine is November 28, E. M. 301.

Whole No. 893.

Alternate magazine title: Lucifer, the Lightbearer.


The Movement in Favor of Ignorance [excerpt]

     Henry C. Roberts is respectfully informed that I hate to have the editor of Lucifer make himself ridiculous, first because I respect him highly, secondly because whatever tends to set people of ordinary information laughing at him, is an injury to the cause of woman. If he wishes to know further why I fear the publication of the editor’s experience as a medical practitioner would have that effect, I refer him to that statement in Lucifer, No. 889, that McKinley was killed by Czolgosz “and the medical doctors.” Is the editor of Lucifer aware that twenty years ago a wound through both walls of the stomach would have been certainly fatal in an hour or two? Does he know that McKinley lived a week with such a wound? Is he aware that McKinley’s recovery was expected on Wednesday following the Friday when he was shot? Does he know the reason it was expected is that hundreds as badly wounded as McKinley do recover every year? Is he aware that the disappointment of McKinley’s physicians is almost unanimously attributed neither to the nature of the wound nor of the treatment, but to the patient’s advanced age and bodily weakness? I cannot believe he does, for that would convict him, not of criticizing the physicians as individuals—neither he nor I can at all judge whether their treatment were [sic] the best,—but of a most uncandid sneer at science in general and its recent progress. I must then, believe he does not know all these facts. But that means he does not know as much about medicine and its recent history as any ordinarily careful reader of the newspapers. And one who does not, can only make himself absurd by writing about it—a suggestion which I hope the editor will not take unkindly, since my whole object in making it is to dissuade him from becoming absurd. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
     It may be the mistake of my life to believe in observation and experiment. Perhaps the “progressive hygienists,” whose knowledge of the subject dates from the Peloponnesian war; or the Catholic exorcists; or Mrs. Eddy’s disciples; or “Indian doctors”; or natural bone-setters, “who never saw the inside of a vivisection hell”; or Seventh Sons of Seventh Sons; are indeed the surgeons and physicians of the future. But I am not in the least afraid. The Movement in Favor of Ignorance causes many deaths. It gives great encouragement to Comstockery and Popery. It makes a few individuals ridiculous, who are capable of better things. But it can no more stop the progress of inductive science now, than it could the motion of the earth in Galileo’s time.



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