THE SCIENTIST'S ATTITUDE
A critical mind is necessary for the discovery of truth in Nature. There is often a vast difference between the result an investigator expects to find and what he does obtain, but he must put his hopes aside and follow the new light if he is to be a worthy contributor to the scientific knowledge. By this method alone are the conclusions and principles reached which form the refined gold of science. Advance is made by the study of cases, which cannot be embraced by general principle, by the possession of an eye to detect exceptions and of a mind willing to examine them instead of putting them aside because they are not in harmony with pre- conceived ideas.
Exceptions to rules are welcomed by a scientific investigator not only because the rules has been tested by them and found wanting but also because they show that there is still further knowledge to be gained. In this respect the attitude of the man of science differs from that of ordinary life; for most people instinctively cherish convictions based upon the experience of a few cases or conditions and are adroit in avoiding evidences contrary to what they wish to believe.
They cannot understand the habit of mind, which looks upon all truth as relative and temporary, and rejoices at the disclosure of a fact that refuses to fall within the limit of an accepted principle. It may be impossible for human intelligence to perceive ultimate reality, but it is possible to observe Nature with an unbiased mind and to bear truthful testimony of things seen.
The love of truth is the beginning and the end of wisdom. It is with the astronomer as he searches the sky from his watchtower and it animates the naturalist as he scrutinizes mud gathered from the ocean bed; t is the heart of scientific life, a stimulus to high endeavour and a standard of righteousness. In this spirit Nature must be approached, and by it is admission gained to the temples of her learning.