The 550th anniversary of the University of Heidelberg was made the occasion for two notable speeches, the one by Bernhard Rust, Reich Minister for Education, on "The Freedom and Objectivity of Science in the National Socialist State," the other by Professor Ernst Krieck, of the University of Heidelberg, on " The Answer of German Science to the Minister's Appeal." The audience included representatives from learned institutions all over the world, drawn together, as the Minister himself said, "by a cotnmon bond which knows no barriers of state and nation," and had a thought-reader been included he would have been in a position to make a most remarkable contribution on world-thought after following the workings of the minds of this foreign audience as it listened to the representative of the Fuhrer and to the Professor reciting his lesson like a wordperfect schoolchild. .
Revolutionary Reform The Minister reminded his hearers, with pride, that the present is at least the third occasion on which Germany has broken away from the general " Western Front" and told them that, just as the Reformation signified the end of the uni fled basis of learning in the Middle Ages, so now the German University (and with it German Science) is again in the process of revolutionary reform.
National Socialism, he said, born of a national substance which has restored the German people from a fragmentary chaos to a united whole, from a state -of mind incompatible with its being to a fixed mental attitude, necessitates the reformation of every sphere of national life on the basis of its own law and a new ,coticeptiotz,of man. This new con frigiNgins Oft! 'nal! is bound to his country and its needs by both history and destiny, and that he should be proud to accept and bow to the fate thus allotted to him. It also. as Professor Krieck emphasised in his speech, sees nothing but fallacy and deceit in the idea that man is an independent and free being with a controlling intellect based on pure human reason.
Science a Mask for Politics
He protested that reproaches for intolerance of the free spirit of science and for the expulsion of scholars who dared to voice their own opinions rather than those of the government were due to a misunderstanding of the case, and maintained that true science was entirely free and unfet
tered. Scholars had been expelled, not because'of their championship of the liberty of science, but because they had misused the name of science and masked political activity under the cloak of intellectual authority.
Others (Jews) had been expelled because, being of different blood and race, it was impossible for them to pursue scientific research work according to the unwritten
laws of the German spirit. The true liberty and independence of scientific research lies in its characteristic method of approach to reality, and the new autonomy and liberty of science lies in its power to represent the intellectual organ of the vital forces of the people and of our historical destiny, and to present them in obedience to the law of truth.
No Spiritual Principle
" Every nation," said Professor Krieck, " in every period must pattern its life according to its own law and corresponding fate, and science with all other spheres of life falls under this particular law. The purpose of humanity is not uniforInity but an abundance of national and historical formations." He denied the old conception of science and of " a spiritual principle which, with universal validity, for all mankind, shall produce perception and truth which, independent of race and nation, period and history, must be everywhere and always the same."
What .the state of science would be within a very few years if these views were held by other nations it is difficult to conceive, but since the intellect is unreliable perhaps this is of little importance, the more so that any conception would be certain to run counter with the outlook of National Socialism and therefore be entirely wrong. It is a matter for very great regret that Section D of the British Association did not contrive to entice the Fuhrer, the Minister for Education and Professor Krieck to Blackpool. as .contributors to the discussion on "Race Concepts," for the outcome of this •cliscusSions, in which biologists of several •nationalities took part, was a general agreement that there is no such thing a,s " race" as understood by National Socialism.
Bad Biology Of all the bad books which have been produced since .Biology became a school subject, A General Zoology, by.l. M. Allen (Dent, 7s. 6d.) is quite the worst we have seen. Not only is the general treatment of types too scrappy to convey any adequate
knowledge, but the style of the writer conveys false ideas in many places, while it also contains many really first-class "howlers." Two short quotations will suffice to show the justice of this criticism.
" The animal is also capable of obtaining a hold on its prey by drawing the eyeballs into the buccal cavity. Teeth of this type are not sunk in sockets in the jaw, and are therefore readily replaced." " The amoebocytes, or blood cells, are typically of two kinds: erythrocytes or red corpuscles, and leucocytes or white cor
puscles." Many of the figures are of a corresponding standard,
The National Nature Magazine To our mind the November issueof Zoo is quite the best number of this new magazine. Dr. Huxley, writing on " The Open Book of Evolution," shows how various exhibits at the Zoo and the Natural History Museum help to give us some idea of this phenomenon; L. R. Brightwell, in an article " When Reptiles Ruled the World," explodes the idea that Lough Ness or any other part of the world may hold some antediluvian survivors; Seton Gordon gives an entrancing account of Seals; V. C. Wynne Edwards, of McGill University, art equally interesting one on Sea Birds; E. C. Le Grice demonstrates some of the marvellous internal structures of such things as fish and shells by means of X-ray photographs; E. A. Guest tells us of the wonderful Bird Preserve which has resulted from the work of an ordinary farmer in Ontario—Jack Miner; and the results of transplanting Birds of Paradise from New Guinea to the West Indies are described.
The various monthly features are up to their usual high standard. We wish, however, that the editor would penalise heavily every writer who talks about "animals and birds," as if the latter were not animals. " Beasts" is a good English word.