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During the closing decades of the 18th century, and the opening decades of the 19th century, a constellation of literary and scientific luminaries appeared in the European sky which indicated and inaugurated the Age of Reason. God was dethroned and Reason become the throned sovereign of philosophy. Now science receives our highest worship. The scientist is the pope of today and sits in the Vatican of world authority. We receive his learned revelation in a spirit of religious awe. We trust his pontifical pronouncements as once nearly all Europe trusted the creeds and dogmas of the church.

It is not the purpose of these thoughts to decry science, to cast contempt upon that vast structure of patiently acquired facts. I possess a profound respect for the intellectual abilities and the patient character of the scientist. I believe his work has its right and useful place in life. But I do not believe that place is highest. The practical utility of the scientific method is not to be deprecated. Only the fool will scorn the wonders which science has given man, though we would do well to pause and remember Disreali's perceptive remark: "The European talks of progress because by the aid of a few scientific discoveries he has established a society which has mistaken comfort for civilization.' The fact that his attention inwards, to use the same methods of experiment and deduction upon the subjective world, to turn his searchlight of investigation towards the center of his own mind, and he will penetrate the sphere of the spiritual. Science has made the strides of a giant, but all her steps are in one direction - out wards, ever outwards. This is as it should be. Now the time has come to put an inside to her discoveries, to ensoul the forms she has created.

Is the soul a mere academic concept, an intellectual plaything of the professors to accept or deny? Is it only something upon which theologians may victoriously sustain their theses, and at which rationalists may fire their verbal shrapnel? At present the scientist can find no chemical trace of soul; he cannot make it register on any of his instruments as he can make a gas register. But if chemical and mechanical reactions cannot be obtained, he need not therefore give up the quest baffled. Another way lies open. It may not be a conventional way, but it leads to the same objective - the discovery of the soul. If he loves truth better than convention, if he values the understanding of human life more than he values the understanding of a bit of rock, he will investigate that way.

  1. (a) What is the tone of the phrase 'a constellation of literary and scientific minds' ?
    (b) What is the writer's attitude to science ?
    (c) How does the writer compare scientists with the pope ?
  2. (a) The author says he is not trying to decry science. So what is he trying to do ?
    (b) Where should the scientist turn for his search and why ?
    (c) What method should the scientist use to experiment in spiritual matters ?
  3. (a) Explain the quotation from Disraeli in your own words.
    (b) Why do scientists not investigate into the soul ?
  4.   For each of the following words give one word or short phrase ( not more than seven words ) which has the same meaning as it has in the passage.
      i.   dethroned   v.   deprecated
      ii.   revelation   vi.   perceptive
      iii.   awe   vii.   strides
      iv.   decry   viii.   shrapnel
  5. In your own words, summarize what the writer is upset about with regard to scientists attitudes and what he thinks they should do. Use not more than 160 words.
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  1. (a) The writer is obviously sarcastic.
    (b) he thinks that science is trying to be a know all.
    (c) Whereas the pope at one time told people what to believe in, now scientists are doing it.
  2. (a) He wants science to be unbiased about all subjects.
    (b) Science should apply itself to spiritual knowledge.
    (c) He should turn his study inwards into himself.
  3. (a) The people of Europe talk about progress because of a few discoveries by science, and have assumed that good living was civilized.
    (b) They cannot apply their conventional knowledge to the study of souls so they shrink from it.
  4. i depose
    ii enlightenment
    iii fear
    iv criticize
    v to be belittled
    vi understanding
    vii moves
    viii salvo
  5. At one time it used be the church which dictated what was correct or wrong. Now science has got this attitude. I believe that science has its place in the nature of things, but I do not accept that it should be the highest authority. Scientists have confined their attention to the world of objectivity and this does not reduce their discoveries, but they should pay attention to what lies within man. They have to use the same methods to go into matters which are spiritual. This does not happen now as all science's steps are taken outwards. the time has come for science to look inwards.

Science cannot make the excuse that it cannot find traces of the soul with all its methods and tools. The way to go about seeking spiritual truths may not be the conventional method that it is used to. But if science values human life more than materials, it should investigate in this direction. ( 160 words )


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Comprehension 1


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