Physique and Intellect

Physique and Intellect

Physique and Intellect

Physique and Intellect

Excerpt

The most effective introduction to Professor Paterson's book would be a page divided down the middle, the left hand column listing the most commonly accepted views of the relation between mental traits and their bodily accompaniments and the right hand column listing the conclusions set forth in the present volume. By this device a striking disparity between science and layman's lore would be disclosed. The column containing superstitions sometimes fantastic, errors elaborately buttressed, prejudices so ingrained as to seem "self-evident," would be endlessly long. The human mind is insatiably eager to detect positive connections between events and phenomena within and even beyond the range of its observation.

On the other hand, the sobering and disillusioning activity of counting negative instances, by which we detect the failure of a law to apply universally or what is the same thing, the falsity of the law, is reluctantly indulged in by laymen and even by accredited scientists. Even when correctly practiced it fails to hold for long the attention of any except the stoutest and most quantitatively minded skeptics, for its use discloses tangles of relationships among data for which only intricate statistical techniques are adequate instruments of analysis. Here the layman certainly falters and even the educator, physician or psychologist, in the desperation born of practical need, may revert to the comforting and supporting affirmation of positive connections. In that case, since he is unintentionally a victim of the oldest fallacy in human thought, he follows the traditions of the medicine man. His . . .

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