A Mencken Chrestomathy - Chapter 19, Science, Chapter 20, Quackery Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 19, Science, Chapter 20, Quackery Summary and Analysis

In Chapter 19, Mencken reflects on science. He discusses the nature of hypotheses, arguing that we need more of them and says that men are good at making guesses. He discusses Darwin, arguing that progress among humans often moves too fast and incites reaction. He then critiques a philosopher, Mr. Ayres, for arguing that science cannot teach us how to live because it cannot account for the moral order. In another essay, Mencken contrasts the very different jobs of the biologist and the physicist/astronomer.

Mencken thinks that astronomers are too "cavalier" about there being life on other planets. It seems that the absence of carbon on these planets makes it unlikely. He also sees the progress of civilization as trading one nuisance for another. He argues that the telephone is a "boon to bores." Mencken...

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