Institute of Christian
Prof. W. I. Thomas.
Prof. Thomas, in an unusually thoughtful address, showed us the largeness of the subject when treated according to historical method. It was of special value because it presented a phase of the subject often neglected and which had not be touched upon by the other speakers.
After mentioning the six specific rules of a celebrated German sociologist, he dwelt upon the following truths in connection with the subject.
1. Distinguishing between the two sides of the question.
a. As a pure essence; that is, the subject considered apart from any application.
b. As an applied science; that is, the facts as considered in their relation to human society.
2. Subject comprehensive of three tasks.
a. Descriptive, or the gathering of facts.
b. Statical, or the deduction from the facts gathered in which we may deduce certain principles of action.
c. Dynamic, or the available sources which we may use in the application of these principles.
3. As a synthetic science it is related to the other sciences, such as Biology, Physiology, Psychology, Anthropology and many others. And as the task is to determine the nature of the facts, we must weigh carefully the data as gathered by these sciences. An illustration is found in the important question as to the marriage of near kin. This question is properly a sociological one, but it can be considered intelligently only by a careful study of Anthropology and the sciences.
A large amount of the work beneath the surface is necessary. As the engineer n the construction of a bridge must perform much that is know as "dead work," so the Sociologist cannot satisfy himself with a mere consideration of the forces at work on the surface, but probing deeper must estimate carefully the facts as gathered by other sciences.
The danger of confound the principle and the program.
We may understand the principle at issue in the labor strike at Chicago, but have we a program ?
The church bears a peculiar relation to this great question. It has in its possession the principle which alone can solve the problem, namely, that of love. But has it a program ?
In closing, the speaker referred with great keenness to the prevailing fallacy, that if the world had the spirit of Christ there would be no social problem, showing that there would still remain physical questions belong properly to Sociology.