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OVERTHROWS SCIENCE IN NOVEL DOCTRINES

Rx the Life Atom: by Calvin Samuel Page. Science Publishing Company: 1923. $2.50.

By J. H. H.

A glance at the title of Mr. Calvin Page's new solution of the insoluble leads one to suspect that his novel doctrines and "discoveries" are intended as a powerful prescription to cure all uncertainties in science. The author would be a glorified doctor to the universe.

Instinctively the human mind craves universal laws, formulae, astoundingly simple solutions of complex problems. Onivin Page has a rather eloquent reply to this quest for a smooth path. He turns to Rx (pronounced Rex) for an explanation of the hitherto inexplicable in nature; "Rx, the most wonderful, abundant, and essential kind of matter known to man", and in a rambling treatise for the lay reader not only overthrows all existing theories of the constitution of matter and proves the Bible scientific, but explains Einstein.

From the scientific point of view the book is of doubtful value--a mere rebellion, it seems, for rebellion's sake.

Hydrogen The Basic Element

After a century of intensified research, physicists are coming back to the old hypothesis of William Prout that all matter is made up of one fundamental stuff--hydrogen. The laws of conservation of mass and energy, and the law of limited transmutability of matter, too, are in a state of flux. Calvin Page disregards completely the efforts of such eminent workers as Rutherford, Aston, J. J. Thomson, Soddy, and Millikan, and boldly launches forth upon the exploitation of his formula, phlogistic in its nature, intended to explain all natural phenomena in a "common-sense" way. He is backed by no experimental evidence whatever; the treatise is purely philosophical and deductive, reminding one of the works of the Phlogistonists of the sixteenth century, but based even more upon unproven postulates. Mr. Page's utter disregard for the scientific distinction between hypothesis, theory, and law, and his garbled manner of exposition detract from the philosophical as well as from the scientific value of his work.

As an evidence of self-reliant, independent thinking the book has merit; it may be the type of literature needed to stimulate an intellectual awakening and a keener interest in scientific theory. Its unorthodoxy in itself is no criterion. John Stuart Mill once spoke wisely of the "clearer and livlier impression of truth produced by its collision with error".

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