Page images



of six cases, and concludes that the need in modern sociology is “the establishment of university laboratories adequately equipped biologically, medically, and statistically, whose sole business shall be sociological research.”

It cannot be doubted that Pearson is correct in maintaining that “if we penetrate beneath the surface polities of the moment we find great social problems which are really biological in character.” He illustrates dangers in the interference with conditions without considering the full biological consequences of the inference; points out that elimination of child labor reduces the economic cause of the fecundity and that the proposed enforced withdrawal of the mother from wage-earning during from six to nine months around the period of childbirth would again reduce birth-rate and not that of a feeble-minded class.

The specific errors he attacks are: (1) an error that a certain school clinic had produced any change in the rate of development of the children; (2) the assertion that in Switzerland imbeciles are more apt to be conceived during vintage than at other seasons; (3) the assertion that the toothbrush drill in school will diminish the proportion of carious teeth; (4) the conclusion that the greater size of children in two- or three-room apartments over one-room apartments is due to crowding; for the better class (and better nourished) occupy the larger apartments, also the larger (and hence more grown-up) families do so; and hence these are larger than the children of small apartments; (5) the conclusion of a causal connection between pauperism and phthisis, which show a high correlation, is weakened by showing that there is a high correlation between the increasing cancer death-rate and increasing expenditure for apples. This last is a dangerous line of argument, for it shows up the fundamental weakness of many biometric methods—they show a correlation but do not demonstrate a causal relation. Finally, Pearson attacks in similar fashion a certain inference as to cause and effect from the decline of disorder in a town dating from the establishment of a reformatory.

The general impression that is left by these critiques is the inadequacy of the statistical method pure and simple to give an interpretation of biological problems. Most of the conclusions Pearson attacks are statistical conclusions. The errors arose from reliance on the statistical method of reaching conclusions. Pearson himself has, at sundry times, drawn most unwarranted conclusions from too fond a reliance on the output of statistical methods. As Galton said twenty-four years ago, "It is always well to retain a clear geometric view of the facts when we are dealing with statistical problems, which abound with dangerous


[ocr errors]

pitfalls, easily overlooked by the unwary, while they are cantering gaily along upon their arithmetic.” The great lesson that we can draw from this criticism of the conclusions based on one set of statistics by the use of another set of statistics is that to get at the truth in social matters we need about four-fifths analysis of the problem and one-fifth figuring.


Social Progress in Contemporary Europe. By FREDERIC AUSTIN

OGG, PH.D., Assistant Professor of History in Simmons
College. New York: Macmillan, 1912. Pp. viit384.

In speaking of socialism (p. 341), Professor Ogg says that "few words in any language have ever been more grossly abused.” This is probably true, but I think we may except, as one of the few, the word "progress" at least, and perhaps also the word "social.” Every age has its foibles, and one of ours, and a most significant one, is to be always talking of progress without knowing with any certainty what we mean by it. We do not know what is progress, but we are bound to have more of it-as Mr. Chesterton says. And therefore we are reduced to the necessity of supposing that whatever gets itself established is a step in the right direction. Conflicting tendencies are reconciled by falling into chronological sequences; and since national unity is the last great phase of European history, the unification of Germany, for example, at whatever cost to public morality, is judged to be a great gain-a tremendous victory for "progress.”

Professor Ogg does nothing to get us out of this vicious circle. He frankly assumes that all the main tendencies of the nineteenth centurynationality, democracy, industrialism, and humanitarian social reformare evidences of the onward and upward march of humanity. The book is indeed pervaded by a certain air of condescension toward ancestors, a certain complacent satisfaction in whatever is modern and strictly up to date. However, there is no great harm in this attitude, while there may be some advantages in it. At least, it has enabled Professor Ogg to write a useful book-a book which enlightens us little about social progress in contemporary Europe, but one which does give us, well and compactly presented, much desirable information about the changes that have occurred in the organization and activities of European society since the eighteenth century.

The two chapters on the "Old Régime" and the “Revolution," with which the book opens, seem somewhat perfunctory, and they are perhaps open to the charge of being rather superficial. In general, the discussion of political changes is least valuable. For example, the main events connected with the passage of the Reform Bill are clearly presented, but Professor Ogg scarcely allows us to see how much more there was involved in Parliamentary reform than a mere extension of the suffrage. He indeed quotes Walpole's statement that it was "the largest revolution which had ever been peaceably effected in any country,” without seeming to understand very clearly why it was a revolution at all. On the other hand, the chapters on the “Transformation of English Agriculture" and the “Industrial Revolution in England” are excellent. These, and other chapters on economic conditions public protection of labor, the care of the poor, the spread of social insurance, the organization of labor, and the like-should make the book extremely useful as a supplementary text for elementary college classes in nineteenth-century history. It is, besides, a readable book, and will doubtless circulate widely among nonacademic readers of contemporary history.


[ocr errors]



The Minister and the Boy. By ALLAN HOBEN, Ph.D. Chicago:

The University of Chicago Press, 1912. Pp. 171. $1.oo net;

$1. 10 postpaid.

Dr. Hoben's book on the “boy” should be carefully read by every person interested in social welfare. The treatment of the subject is broad, thorough, and practical. The author shows that he has been both a careful student of the large forces of which the boy's life is a part and also that he has had practical experience in dealing with boys. He is not only well informed on the subject but he is thoroughly human. So well does he describe the boy's life and needs that the reader is assured that Dr. Hoben must possess very much of the boyish quality to which he refers in these splendid words: “Genius and success in life depend largely upon retaining the boyish quality of enthusiastic abandon to one's

. . The thing in men that defies failure is the original boy, and no man is really a man who has lost out of him all the boy” (p. 10).

The superiority of this book over so many which have been prepared for social workers is in the combination of practical suggestions with a broad knowledge of the subject. Most of these books have been so abstract and theoretical that the worker received but comparatively little aid from them. The practical book, on the other hand, is frequently but a collection of artificial rules which fail to impart the spirit of the

[ocr errors]


work. Such a book affords little help to the worker confronted with conditions which differ from those for which the rules were made. Dr. Hoben avoids both extremes. His broad appreciation of the boy problem enables him not only to give the reader the right attitude toward the work but also to describe definite incidents as illustrations of method of procedure.

The chapter contents are well indicated by the chapter titles. Chap. i is the “Call of Boyhood.” So eloquently does the author plead the cause of the boy that one is led to believe that the life of the church and of society are at stake rather than the development of the boy. Chap. ii is an instructive discussion of “An Approach to Boyhood.” Chaps. iii and iv contain the geography of the problem under the titles: "The Boy in Village and Country” and “The Modern City and the Normal Boy." Chaps. v to viii are devoted to the four great factors in the life of the boy, namely: play, vocation, citizenship, and religion. These chapters are filled with splendid suggestions on each of the topics mentioned. Chap. ix, entitled "The Church Boys' Club," contains a description of the machinery of a boys' club. Particularly valuable is the statement of the qualifications of the man who would be a leader in this work.

The narrowness of the title of the book is the only adverse comment worth mentioning. While the author may be amply justified in his selection of the title, both by the minister's need for instruction on the "boy problem” and by the adaptation of many suggestions to those needs, the book is too valuable to be limited to any one class. The combination of scientific principles and practical methods, presented in this brief and readable form, makes this book a real contribution not only to boys' club leaders but to every class of social workers.




Problems in Eugenics. Papers communicated to the First Inter

national Eugenics Congress, held at the University of London, July 24 to 30, 1912. London: Eugenics Education Society, ,

1912. Pp. 486.

The eugenics movement which started in England a generation ago has not only become international in scope but has reached a stage of international co-operative work which finds its first expression in an international congress. The volume contains communications from America, England, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and Denmark.


The papers are presented under the sections of biology and eugenics, practical eugenics, education and eugenics, sociology and eugenics, and medicine and eugenics, those by Continental authorities being published both in the language in which they were read and in translation. It is not possible to remark upon the character of the thirty-two individual papers presented and published nor to criticize the volume as a whole.

Professor G. Sergi restates (p. 18) his criticism of Boas' study of immigrants, but adds nothing to his former argument, which has been well answered by Boas in a recent number of the American Anthropologist (1912). Sergi's statement that was regards the external tegumentary

“ characters with their adjuncts, the color of the skin, of the hair, and of the iris, and the character of the hair and of the eyes, we can affirm categorically that today these are as fixed as the skeletal characters," and that“only in crossings the external characters undergo alterations” (p. 22) is an extraordinary biological characterization. Hansen's assertion “that the later children of a mother are heavier than the first, the weight increasing by about 75 grams from birth to birth, and we do not know how many of the infants are first-born(italics not in the original] which he gives as "a well-known fact,” is only apparently contradicted by Boas' repeated finding that the first-born is, on the average, heavier than subsequent ones, since Hansen refers to weight at time of birth, and Boas to later development.

Dr. Agnes Bluhm (pp. 387 ff.) returns to an old superstition much repeated in the treatises on obstetrics but one which should be relegated once for all to the limbo of the past until special researches show the contrary; viz., the superstition that archaeological evidence shows an increase in the size of the skull, hence the greater difficulty of civilized peoples in childbirth. It is no longer permissible to write: "The development of the brain decides the size of the skull. The greater skull measurements of the civilized races are probably the outcome of 'selection' through long periods of time. It is possible that the female pelvis has not increased in proportion, and has not accommodated itself to the enlarged skulls" (p. 389).

There is another type of wrong inference from insufficiently sifted data which the eugenists may well afford to dispense with, that, viz., which tells us, as did Galton, of the inheritance of temper and the similar study of Pearson with regard to the inheritance of talent, in school children (see p. 401), where the influence of environmental factors has not received its due meed of attention.

Dr. F. C. S. Schiller's paper on "Practicable Eugenics in Education"

« PreviousContinue »