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JAMA 100 Years Ago
September 12, 2012


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2012;308(10):957. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3195

“No philosophy evolved from the inner consciousness of man has ever done man half the good that has been secured to him by the discovery of the agents of infection. In fact, no discovery in science has failed to better the lot of man.” With these significant words Prof. V. C. Vaughan of the University of Michigan replies, in an admirable address1 that merits wide distribution, to the strictures of those modern writers who charge science with being essentially materialistic in its aims and scope. These philosophers, evolving what they assume to be an exalted idealism out of their inner self, are all too frequently in apparent ignorance of the real contributions which science has made alike to knowledge and to human happiness. Confident that the “inner life” contributes some superior sort of moral worth to the individual, they fail to grasp the significance of the forces about us and the biologic tendencies within us which determine in largest measure what constitutes human welfare and social and racial betterment.