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The Book of the Damned

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Author Topic: The Book of the Damned  (Read 3545 times)
Dusk
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« Reply #45 on: April 21, 2009, 01:28:23 pm »

by scientists who examined it: and that "the chemical analysis also identified it as a lichen."

This was back in the days when Chemical Analysis was a god. Since then his devotees have been shocked and disillusioned. Just how a chemical analysis could so botanize, I don't know—but it was Chemical Analysis who spoke, and spoke dogmatically. It seems to me that the ignorance of inhabitants, contrasting with the local knowledge of foreign scientists, is overdone: if there's anything good to eat, within any distance conveniently covered by a whirlwind—inhabitants know it. I have data of other falls, in Persia and Asiatic Turkey, of edible substances. They are all dogmatically said to be "manna"; and "manna" is dogmatically said to be a species of lichens from the steppes of Asia Minor. The position that I take is that this explanation was evolved in ignorance of the fall of vegetable substances, or edible substances, in other parts of the world: that it is the familiar attempt to explain the general in terms of the local; that, if we shall have data of falls of vegetable substance, in, say, Canada or India, they were not of lichens from the steppes of Asia Minor; that, though all falls in Asiatic Turkey and Persia are sweepingly and conveniently called showers of "manna," they have not been even all of the same substance. In one instance the particles are said to have been "seeds." Though, in Comptes Rendus, the substance that fell in 1841 and 1846 is said to have been gelatinous, in the Bull. Sci. Nat. de Neuchatel, it is said to have been of something, in lumps the size of a filbert, that had been ground into flour; that of this flour had been made bread, very attractive-looking, but flavorless.

The great difficulty is to explain segregation in these showers—

But deep-sea fishes and occasional falls, down to them, of edible substances; bags of grain, barrels of sugar; things that had not Been whirled up from one part of the ocean-bottom, in storms or submarine disturbances, and dropped somewhere else—

I suppose one thinks—but grain in bags never has fallen—

Object of Amherst—its covering like "milled cloth"—

Or barrels of corn lost from a vessel would not sink—but a host of them clashing together, after a wreck—they burst open; the corn sinks, or does when saturated; the barrel staves float longer—

p. 55

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