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Title: The Old Riddle and the Newest Answer
Author: Gerard, John, 1840-1912
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     The Lord St. Alban would say to some philosophers--"Gentlemen,
     nature is a labyrinth, in which the very haste you move with, will
     make you lose your way."
                                     BACON, _Apophthegms_.









The enemies of Science are not the philistines alone--if any still
remain--who would muzzle or stifle her. More numerous and dangerous are
those--professedly of her own household--who ascribe to her pretensions
of which she herself knows nothing, and strive to make her responsible
for a philosophy entirely beyond her scope. With this object efforts are
assiduously made to popularize the idea that nothing in heaven or earth
is beyond her ken, and that she has rendered all such beliefs impossible
as alone can satisfy the deeper cravings of humanity. At the same time
the very brilliance of her achievements is apt to dazzle our eyes,
blinding them to the extremely narrow limits of the field in which she
can operate, and making us rush to the conclusion that she has solved
the riddle which from the beginning of time Nature has offered to every
thinking mind,--or at least that what her search-light cannot illumine
must for ever remain unknowable.

How far such assumptions are rational, it is the object of the present
enquiry to examine by means of the evidence furnished by Science herself
in her own regard.

I have to thank Mr. W. E. Darwin for permission to use the illustration
of feathers of the Argus Pheasant from his illustrious father's _Descent
of Man_, and for the loan of blocks for the purpose. Through the
courtesy of Messrs. Macmillan I am allowed to copy a portion of the
plate in the late Professor Huxley's _Lectures on Evolution_,
illustrating his pedigree of the Horse. If I forbear to mention others
who have kindly supplied me with information, it is only lest it might
be supposed that they are anywise responsible for the use I have made of
it. The design on the cover of the present volume I owe to my friend Mr.
Paul Woodroffe.

J. G.

_March_ 10, 1904.


In this edition, which has been thoroughly revised throughout, a few
corrections have had to be made, especially in the Index, and in one or
two instances alterations or additions have appeared advisable for the
sake of clearness or accuracy of expression. Nothing has, however, as
yet been brought to the author's notice which affects any substantial
point in what he has written.

_July_ 28, 1904.


This edition has again been thoroughly revised, and some new matter
appended which bears on various points raised in the original volume,
especially the establishment of the important group of the
_Cycado-filices_, as affecting the succession of plant life on the
earth, and recent evidence concerning the pedigree of the horse.

_December_ 21, 1906.




Certainty that there was a Beginning of the World--What
was there before?--The Great Problem, to be
answered by Reason and Science                                    1-3



Principles of Reasoning--Scope and method of Science              4-7



Term variously used for a Process and a Principle. We
commence with the latter                                          8-9



Evolution as a Philosophy--Main features of the
system                                                          10-14



Erroneous use of the term frequent: its scientific use          15-19



A combination of two other "Laws," viz.--The indestructibility
of Matter, and the Conservation of
Energy--But there is also Dissipation of Energy--Consequences
inferred from this as to the Duration
of the Universe                                                 20-28



The "Law of Continuity"--Alleged breaches--Seven
evolutionary stages deduced to be scientifically
unexplained, or even inexplicable                               29-34



Constitution and Properties of Matter inconsistent with
Haeckel's evolutionary system--Also the Laws of
Motion--Radium and its revelations                              35-44



Evolution here considered as a process--In its larger
sense, postulates spontaneous generation--which,
however, Science disallows--Protoplasm and Crystallization      45-66



Origin of simple sensation and consciousness even less
explicable than that of life--Gulf between man
and the lower animals--Language exclusively
human--The significance of Free-will can be impugned
only by the absurdity of denying its existence                  67-85



The order of the _Cosmos_ requires a Cause--No cause
known to us can produce such a result except Intelligence--Hence
we infer Purpose or Design and
are led to Theism--Scientific evidence as to this,
"the Grand Question"                                           86-109



What "Chance" means--It is the sole alternative to
Purpose or Design--Arguments against Purposive
Creation--The Existence of Pain--The Mysteries
of Generation                                                 110-125



The Monistic Philosophy--Its utter lack of a scientific
basis--Contradicted by the ideas of morality and
truth--Not really adopted by Monists themselves               126-139



"Evolution" now to be considered in its most restricted
signification--Organic Evolution, or "Transformism,"
not identical with Darwinism--The
nature of the questions before us                             140-148



Though no essential part of our enquiry, Darwinism
must be studied on account of importance ascribed
to it--Baseless claims on its behalf--True character
of the system--Natural Selection and its mode of
action--Phenomena which seem to favour Darwinism--Difficulties
on the other side--Limits of
Variation--Specific stability--Adverse probabilities--Natural
selection can produce nothing--Transitional
developments useless or harmful--Artistic
ornaments unexplained--Flaws in argument--Organic
progress--Rudimentary Organs--Embryology--Scientific
opinion as to Darwinism                                       149-203



Palæontology furnishes the only sound basis for argument--The
nature of the evidence required--The
history of Life as known to us is inconsistent
with evolutionary theories--Haeckel's "ante-periods"--Conclusion
to which facts point                                          204-238



Arguments on behalf of Evolution--The genealogy of
the Horse--Haeckel's Pedigree of Man--Darwin's
plea of imperfection of the geological record--No
evolutionary process is yet demonstrated; Still less
has anything been done to establish Evolution as a
creative force                                                239-269



Reason leads to conclusions which physical science cannot
reach--The recognition of a First Cause beyond the
Sensible Universe an intellectual necessity--Knowledge
of this cause attainable by reason--Conclusion                270-280


A. Recent Scientific Verdicts concerning Darwinism and
Transformism                                                      281

B. Development of Plant life--the _Cycadofilices_                 284

C. The Course of Evolution                                        285

D. The pedigree of the Horse: further evidence                    286

INDEX                                                             289




That the world as we know it had a beginning is a truth which there is
no denying. Not only have philosophers always argued that it must be so:
the researches of physical science assure us that it has been so in
fact. Astronomy, says Professor Huxley,[1] "leads us to contemplate
phenomena the very nature of which demonstrates that they must have had
a beginning." The hypothesis that phenomena of Nature similar to those
exhibited by the present world have always existed, the same authority
assures us,[2] "is absolutely incompatible with such evidence as we
have, which is of so plain and so simple a character that it is
impossible in any way to escape from the conclusions which it forces
upon us." This conclusion, physicists tell us, is inevitable when we
study the laws by which the operations of Nature are governed, and as
Professor Balfour Stewart writes,[3] we thus become "absolutely certain"
that these operations cannot have existed for ever, and that a time
will come when they must cease. In like manner, a recent and competent
witness to the conclusions of contemporary Science, lays down,[4] as one
of the truths which her latest discoveries compel us to accept, that the
world is not eternal, that the earth is cooling from a state of heat
rendering life impossible, to one of physical exhaustion equally fatal
to it. Accordingly "Life must have had a beginning and must come to an
end,"--and our whole Solar System (he adds) must similarly have had a
commencement, at a period not infinitely remote.

But, if the world had a beginning, what was there before it began?
Something there must have been, and something which had the power of
producing it. Had there ever been nothing, there could never have been
anything, for, _Ex nihilo nihil fit_. That nothing should turn into
something is an idea which the mind refuses to entertain. Nor is the
case any better even if we suppose that matter had no beginning, that it
has existed for ever as we know it now, and that at first there was
nothing else. For if so, whence have all these things arisen which,
according to all observation and experiment, matter cannot produce, as,
organic life, sensitive life, consciousness, reason, moral goodness? Had
matter been always what it now is, and had there been no source beyond
matter whence the power of producing all these things could be derived,
they could never have been produced at all, or else they would have
come into being without a cause. It would be like a milestone growing
into an apple-tree, or a mountain spontaneously giving birth to a mouse.

We are therefore compelled by common-sense to ask when we consider
Nature, What is the force or power at the back of her, which first set
her going, and whence she draws the capability of performing the
operations which we find her performing every day; that force or power
which must be the ultimate origin of everything that is in the world?
This is the great fundamental problem which the student of Nature has to
face, and beside it all others fade into insignificance. It is with this
that we are now engaged. We have to ask how our reason bids us answer
it, and the first question which arises naturally is, What light is
thrown on the subject by modern Science, of whose achievements we are
all so justly proud?



In studying a question such as this, we must commence by being
determined, on the one hand to accept nothing as true but what our
reason warrants us in believing, and on the other hand to follow the
guidance of reason as far as, rightly used, it will lead us. The
principle formulated[5] by Professor Huxley, as the foundation-stone of
what he termed "Agnosticism," is that which must needs be adopted, and
as a matter of fact has ever been adopted, by rational men.

     Positively--in matters of the intellect follow your reason as far
     as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration. And
     negatively--in matters of the intellect do not pretend that
     conclusions are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable.

But to justify the confidence which we thus repose in it we must
obviously be careful to use our reason aright, and not to attribute to
it any conclusions which it does not really sanction. It is this right
use of reason that is specially claimed for modern "Science,"[6] which,
as we are again assured by Professor Huxley, is only another name for
sound reasoning--"_Science_," he declares,[7] "_is, I believe, nothing
but trained and organized common-sense_.[8] ... The man of science, in
fact, simply uses with scrupulous exactness, the methods which we all,
habitually and at every moment, use carelessly."

There can be no sort of question that so long as men of science really
act thus, and confine themselves to the treatment of matters in regard
of which they can claim special knowledge, common sense bids us listen
to them with respect, and even with submission. But the same common
sense requires that we should satisfy ourselves that they truly deserve
the character assigned them, and pretend to no knowledge on the score of
Science but what their scientific methods are competent to acquire. When
they step beyond this their own proper domain, whatever weight may be
given to their opinions upon other grounds, they cease to speak in the
name of Science.

What then, we must ask, is the province of Science, and what are her

"Science," always understanding by the term physical or experimental
Science, deals with the universe so far as it is known to us through our
senses. The universe known thus we call "Nature," and the whole stock in
trade of Science is the examination and verification of natural
phenomena, with such inferences therefrom as ascertained facts
legitimately suggest. From careful and trustworthy observation she can
learn what are called the "Laws of Nature," that is to say the manner in
which the various elements and forces of the universe are found
constantly to act, in given circumstances; she can, to some extent,
discover the chain of causes and effects, or more properly of
conditions and consequences, through which natural operations are
carried on. She can even construct hypotheses as to what she cannot
directly observe, namely, the nature of substances and forces; and such
hypotheses are justified in proportion as they are found to tally with
facts. If constantly thus justified, they are styled theories, and come
to be practically assumed as established truths. But it must ever be
remembered that Science can take no step in advance which is not based
on fact, and that when facts are not forthcoming for its support an
hypothesis or a theory has no scientific value.

Bearing this in mind, we will proceed to enquire what Science has to
tell us regarding the origin of the world, and the manner in which it
has come to be what it is.



We are constantly assured that Science compels us to believe in
"Evolution," and that in this doctrine is to be found the explanation of
the universe whereof we are in quest. We must however in the first place
make sure that we understand what "Evolution" means, and if we look into
the question, it speedily appears that the term is very differently
understood by those who use it.

Some who style themselves "Evolutionists" mean only that, as a matter of
established fact, the organic world, the world of life, whether animal
or vegetable, has been brought to its present condition by _genetic_
development of one species from another, in the natural course of
descent and through the operation of natural laws; and that as we see
plants and animals of the same kind propagated one from another at the
present day, so in the course of long ages the lower and simpler forms
of life have given birth to the higher and more complex.

Others again do not limit this process to organic creatures, and believe
that from first to last, the whole world, inorganic and organic alike,
has resulted from the action of forces such as those with which Science
deals; and that life has thus arisen in purely natural course out of
non-living matter, the universe in its original condition having been
constituted as a vast machine which was bound to produce all that has
since arisen.

In either of the above senses--of which the second obviously includes
the first,--"Evolution" is understood as no more than a _process_ which
is said to have occurred. But there is a more extreme school which takes
"Evolution" for much more, namely for a power, principle, or "law,"
which both governs and accounts for everything, and requires no further
cause beyond itself.

If this paramount "Law of Evolution" can be established, there is
clearly an end of our enquiry, for here is the ultimate explanation of
everything which we are seeking. But what has Science to say concerning



That there is a self-existing and self-sufficing "Law of Evolution" to
which everything in the world must be ascribed, is the doctrine of those
Evolutionists who are most active in propagating their creed and who
most loudly proclaim that it alone is scientific. The great leader and
prophet of this school, Professor Ernst Haeckel, assures us[9] that he
gives expression,

     to that rational view of the world which is being forced upon us
     with such logical rigour by the modern advancements in our
     knowledge of nature as a unity, a view in reality held by almost
     all unprejudiced and thinking men of science, although but few have
     the courage (or the need) to declare it openly.

The plain and rational conclusion thus exhibited is, he tells us,[10]
the special glory of modern research.

     It is true [he writes] that there were philosophers who spoke of
     the evolution of things a thousand years ago; but the recognition
     that such a law dominates the entire universe, and that the world
     is nothing else than an eternal "evolution of substance," is a
     fruit of the nineteenth century.

So far as concerns the world which we actually inhabit, its first
beginning, we must, he tells us, suppose[11] to have been a vast nebula
of infinitely attenuated and light material, rotating upon its own

     Given this first beginning of the cosmogonic movement, it is easy,
     on mathematical principles, to deduce and mathematically establish
     the further phenomena of the foundation of the cosmic bodies, the
     separation of the planets, and so forth.

Nor are we to suppose that the beginning of this particular process was
in any true sense a beginning at all. Evolutionary philosophy such as
Professor Haeckel's, necessarily teaches that beginnings and endings
succeed one another everlastingly, one world-system arising phoenix-like
from the ashes of another.

     The nebular hypothesis above described has recently [we are
     told][13] been strongly confirmed and enlarged by the theory that
     this cosmogonic process did not simply take place once, but is
     periodically repeated. While new cosmic bodies arise and develop,
     out of rotating masses of nebula in some parts of the universe, in
     other parts old, extinct, frigid suns come into collision, and are
     once more reduced by the heat generated to the condition of nebulæ.

It appears, in fact, to be assumed that this cyclic process has been
actually demonstrated, for we are told[14] that astronomy reveals, in
the endless depths of space, "Millions of circling spheres, larger than
our earth, and, like it, in an eternal rhythm of life and death."

Moreover, "life" is here to be understood literally, for it is a
cardinal article of such evolutionary belief that equally with the
foundation of cosmic bodies and the separation of planets, the
production of organic life, of plants and animals, has been wrought by
forces which the material universe contains within itself,[15] and

     We now definitely know that the organic world on our earth has been
     continuously developed "in accordance with eternal iron laws." ...
     An unbroken series of natural events, following an orderly course
     of evolution according to fixed laws, now leads the reflecting
     human spirit through long aeons from a primeval chaos to the
     present order of the cosmos.

Finally, at the back of all these processes, we are to recognize the one
ultimate reality, the universe itself, which originates and undergoes
all these evolutions. In its regard Professor Haeckel tells us[17] that,

     The universe, or cosmos, is eternal, infinite, and illimitable. Its
     substance, with its two attributes (matter and energy) fills
     infinite space and is in eternal motion. This motion runs on
     through infinite time as an unbroken development, with a periodic
     change from life to death, from evolution to devolution....

And again:[18]

     The two fundamental forms of substances, ponderable matter and
     ether, are not dead and moved only by extrinsic force, but they are
     endowed also with sensation and will (though naturally of the
     lowest grade); they experience an inclination for condensation, a
     dislike of strain; they strive after the one and struggle against
     the other.


     Movement[19] is as innate and original a property of substances as
     is sensation.

Such is the raw material whose metamorphoses produce, or rather
constitute, all possible worlds, while paramount over every thing
dominates the "Law of Substance," under which title Professor Haeckel
unites the scientific principles of the indestructibility of matter,
and the conservation of energy. Thus is the conclusion reached,[20]

     Towering above all the achievements and discoveries of the century
     we have the great comprehensive "law of substance," the fundamental
     law of the constancy of matter and force. The fact that substance
     is everywhere subject to eternal movement and transformation gives
     it the character also of the universal law of evolution. As this
     supreme law has been firmly established and all others are
     subordinate to it, we arrive at a conviction of the universal unity
     of nature and the eternal validity of its laws.

Accordingly we are to conclude with Goethe that all proceeds by iron law
to the fulfilling of inevitable destiny; or as an ardent disciple
proclaims, who undertakes to expound the new creed to the people,[21]

     We rest in sure and certain hope that no force and no combination
     of forces can stop the process of Evolution, which from a speck of
     jelly has developed such living forms as Charles Darwin and Herbert
     Spencer, and which has produced the beauty of the earth and the
     heavens from formless ether.

This outline of the Evolutionary system in its widest and fullest sense
will enable us to judge upon what grounds it can claim the sanction of
Science. Various points here present themselves for consideration, which
demand separate treatment.



As we have seen, the doctrine of Evolution is presented by its advocates
as being based upon the existence of a "Law of Evolution," or "Law of
Substance," which both brings about evolutionary processes, and
certifies us of their occurrence, so that we may appeal to it as an
authority for our belief in the facts of evolution themselves. Thus as
Professor Milnes Marshall told the British Association,[22]

     The doctrine of descent, or of evolution, teaches us that as
     individual animals arise, not spontaneously, but by direct descent
     from pre-existing animals, so also is it with species, with
     families, and with larger groups of animals, and so also has it
     been for all time.

It is not said, be it observed, that the establishment of such facts
teaches us the doctrine of evolution, but that the doctrine assures us
of the facts; and the utterances constantly met with, of which the above
is a fair sample, have no signification if they do not mean this. In
the same way Professor Haeckel declares[23] that his fundamental cosmic
law "establishes" the eternal persistence of matter and force, and their
unvarying constancy throughout the entire universe, becoming thus "the
pole-star that guides our Philosophy through the mighty labyrinth to a
solution of the world problem," and the key to this supreme problem, he
further tells us,[24] is found in one magic word--Evolution.

It would certainly appear from all this, that by "Evolution" we are to
understand some sort of entity at the back of the world, with power at
its disposal capable of effecting all its operations,--something in fact
remarkably like the First Cause of which we are in search,--and that by
its "Laws" are signified some definite forces, the practical action of
which has been ascertained by us, so that we can foretell the course of
events under them, as we can that of the planets or the tides under the
influence of gravitation.

But is it scientific, or even intelligible, to use words thus, and to
assign any such significance to such terms as "Law of Evolution," "Law
of Substance," or any other "Law of Nature"? We are repeatedly warned to
the contrary by so high an authority as Professor Huxley. Once, for
instance, he discovered in a sermon of Canon Liddon's this "fallacious
employment of the name of a scientific conception," for which it was
however added, the preacher "could find only too many scientific
precedents."[25] This fallacious use of terms, which nowise differs from
that under consideration, Professor Huxley thus denounces:

     It is the use of the word "law" as if it denoted a thing--as if a
     "law of nature," as science understands it, were a being endowed
     with certain powers, in virtue of which the phenomena expressed by
     that law are brought about.... All I wish to remark is that such a
     conception of the nature of "laws" has nothing to do with modern
     science.... A law of nature, in the scientific sense, is the
     product of a mental operation upon the facts of nature which come
     under our observation, and has no more existence outside the mind
     than colour has. The law of gravitation is a statement of the
     manner in which experience shows that bodies, which are free to
     move, do, in fact, move towards one another.... The tenacity of the
     wonderful fallacy that the laws of nature are agents, instead of
     being, as they really are, a mere record of experience, upon which
     we base our interpretations of that which does happen, and our
     anticipation of that which will happen, is an interesting
     psychological fact: and would be unintelligible if the tendency of
     the human mind towards realism were less strong.

A law, accordingly, "is not a cause but a fact,"[26] and we must learn
laws from facts, not facts from laws. It is indeed evident on a
moment's thought, that to speak of the Law of Evolution as causing
things to be evolved, is like saying that the law of growth makes things
grow. Till we know what happens, there is nothing of which Science can
take account.

     True scientific teaching, I cannot too often repeat [says Professor
     Tait][27] requires that the facts, and their _necessary_
     consequences alone, should be stated, as simply as possible.

In like manner Professor Huxley,[28] undertaking to vindicate full
scientific value for his own favourite Biology, does so by pointing out
that biological methods are similar to those of every other branch of
Science, since they begin with the observation of facts, and from this
proceed to various applications of the knowledge so acquired. And
Professor Haeckel himself tells us regarding his own mode of

     The means and methods we have chosen for attaining the solution of
     the great enigma do not differ, on the whole, from those of all
     purely scientific investigation: firstly, experience; secondly,

Therefore, although the phrases we have already heard from him, are
found when scrutinized to be only phrases, which explain nothing, it
may be supposed that he elsewhere produces such proofs of his doctrine
as will place it on a scientific basis. For these we will now seek.



We have just been told by Professor Haeckel, that the means and methods
which he has chosen for the establishment of his philosophy are, on the
whole, identical with those employed in all purely scientific
investigation, namely, first experience, and secondly inference.

But here a grave difficulty at once presents itself. How, either by
experience or by inference, can we learn anything about the
commencements of the universe, as to which we have heard so much? How
the first bodies, whether organic or inorganic, actually arose, neither
philosophy nor science can definitely say, for the latter was not there
to see, and the former has no facts on which to argue.[30] But if
neither by observation, nor by clear inference, can the account that has
been given be substantiated, that account cannot pretend to be
scientific, for it rests not upon knowledge but upon speculation,--and
as Professor Tait warns us,[31] "That of which there is no knowledge is
not yet part of Science."

This plain consideration seems to account for a fact which is
undoubtedly highly significant. Professor Huxley had certainly no
prejudices against evolutionary systems, could they but be
satisfactorily established. He knew all that Professor Haeckel has urged
on behalf of his own theory, and showed how much he was in sympathy with
it by naming after his friend the ill-starred _Bathybius Haeckelii_, the
deep-sea slime which was at first supposed to bridge the gulf between
the organic and the inorganic worlds, and to be living stuff in process
of spontaneous manufacture. Nothing, in fact, as he himself admitted, in
his controversy with Dr. Bastian, could have suited him better than a
demonstration that Nature possesses all the powers necessary for her own
processes, and that the explanation of all is within the scope of
Science. But, at the same time, he reverenced scientific truth beyond
anything else, and he was keenly sensible of the danger attending the
use of hypothetical explanations, leading to conclusions which cannot be
experimentally tested, which danger he carefully shunned.[32]
Accordingly, not only did he never lend his countenance to what
Professor Haeckel represents as the inevitable conclusions of Science,
but he even plainly intimated that those who advanced such views were
going much farther than Science warrants. The doctrine of Evolution, he
declared,[33] is not only attacked on false grounds by its enemies, but
is made by some of its friends to cover so much which is disputable, as
to force him in self-defence to make his own position clear in its
regard. And the first point of his explanation is to repudiate the idea
that we have any such knowledge as Professor Haeckel assumes. "I have
nothing to say," he writes, "to any 'Philosophy of Evolution.'"

Being thus necessarily destitute of support either directly from
observation or by inference from observed facts, it would seem that only
in one way can Professor Haeckel's system of cosmogony, or
world-production, obtain any support from Science. If amongst the
operations now in progress in the universe, is to be found evidence of
an exhaustless and self-renewing energy, a mainspring capable of keeping
the machine going everlastingly, then undoubtedly there will be an
explanation forthcoming, which, whatever difficulties may still remain
on other grounds, will at least furnish a complete mechanical account of
things within the ken of Science. May we not suppose that this is what
is claimed as being supplied by the "Law of Substance," which is
represented as the cornerstone of the whole edifice, the supreme triumph
of scientific discovery, and, in fine, "the universal law of
evolution"? Let us see how far such a notion can be styled scientific.

As has been shown, a "Law" is nothing but a statement that a certain
kind of fact is found to occur in certain circumstances. Professor
Haeckel has told us that the "Law of Substance" is a blend of two such
statements, namely, "the Law of the persistency or indestructibility of
matter," which signifies that in no instance within our knowledge is any
particle of matter destroyed, and "the Law of the persistence of force,
or conservation of energy," which signifies that the sum of force, at
work in the world, and producing all phenomena, is similarly found to be

It must here first be observed that the term "Conservation of Energy,"
is more correct and intelligible than "Conservation of Force"; by
"Energy" being understood the power of doing "work," that is to say, of
overcoming resistance.[35]

It is in this form alone that Force becomes subject to observation and
can be measured by Science, and the Law of Conservation which
observation reveals is thus stated: The sum of all the various energies
in the universe is a constant quantity, which can be neither increased
nor diminished, though it may be changed from one form to another;[36]
such forms being motion, heat, chemical action, electricity, magnetism.

But another point is of far greater importance. The mode in which
Professor Haeckel states this fundamental Law is altogether deceptive.
He tells his readers only half the truth, and when the other half is
told, not only is his whole doctrine found to receive no support from
the Laws of Energy, but it is these very Laws which appear most
incompatible with it.

For, along with the Law of the Conservation, there is another, of the
Dissipation of Energy. It is perfectly true, as Professor Haeckel often
repeats, that the sum of Energy existing in the universe remains ever
the same: but it is no less certain, as he unfortunately fails to remind
his readers, that the stock of Energy _available for the work of the
universe_ is growing less every day. Though none is ever destroyed, much
is constantly _lost_, being dissipated, or radiated into space, in the
form of heat which can never be recaptured or translated into any form
which can be of any practical avail. "It is lost for ever as far as we
are concerned."[37]

From what we have heard concerning the Law of Substance it might
naturally be supposed that it certified us of the continued existence of
the power required to carry on the operations of Nature, and that,
accordingly, reason bids us to suppose these operations to be
everlasting. But this neglected element of the reckoning, or _Entropy_
as it is styled, leads scientific men to an entirely different estimate.
Thus Professor Balfour Stewart writes:[38]

     Although, therefore, in a strictly mechanical sense, there is a
     conservation of energy, yet, as regards usefulness or fitness for
     living beings, the energy of the universe is in process of
     deterioration. Universally diffused heat forms what we may call the
     great waste-heap of the universe, and this is growing larger year
     by year.

     We have [he continues] regarded the universe, not as a collection
     of matter, but rather as an energetic agent--in fact, as a lamp.
     Now it has been well pointed out by Thomson,[39] that looked at in
     this light, the universe is a system that had a beginning and must
     have an end; for a process of degradation cannot be eternal. If we
     could view the universe as a candle not lit, then it is perhaps
     conceivable to regard it as having been always in existence; but if
     we regard it rather as a candle that has been lit, we become
     absolutely certain that it cannot have been burning from eternity,
     and that a time will come when it will cease to burn. We are led to
     look to a beginning in which the particles of matter were in a
     diffuse chaotic state, but endowed with the power of gravitation,
     and we are led to look to an end in which the whole universe will
     be one equally heated inert mass, from which everything like life
     or motion or beauty will have utterly gone away.

It is doubtless true that attempts have been made to show that this
conclusion is not final, and that there may be resources whereby Nature
is able to recoup herself, and to draw upon some bank unknown to us for
her missing store. As we have seen, Professor Haeckel simply takes for
granted that some such means of recuperation exist and operate, and he
is not wholly without countenance from others. Thus, no less an
authority than Sir William Crookes addressing the Chemical Society as
its president, thus expressed himself:[40]

     If we may hazard any conjectures ... we may I think premise that
     the heat radiations propagated outwards, ... by some process of
     nature unknown to us, are transformed at the confines of the
     universe into the primary--the essential--motion of chemical atoms,
     which the instant they are formed, gravitate inwards, and thus
     restore to the universe the energy which would be lost to it
     through radiant heat. Hence Sir William Thomson's startling
     prediction falls to the ground.

But it need not be pointed out that if an advocate so eminent as Sir
William Crookes is reduced to pleas like this on its behalf, the case
for Renovation of Energy must be singularly destitute of anything
resembling scientific support. Suppositions which are avowedly hazarded
as conjectures, and which must appeal to processes of Nature of which we
know nothing, whatever authorship they may boast, have nothing to do
with Science, and possess no sort of value for our purpose.[41] It must
of course be allowed that we may still be utterly in the dark as to the
whole of this question, and that further discoveries may one day
completely upset all our present notions. But we are concerned with the
evidence which Science has now before her, and with the assertion so
confidently advanced that this makes the Law of ceaseless Evolution an
indisputable truth. We find, on the contrary, that this Law runs
directly counter to the facts as they are at present known to us, and to
the conclusions drawn from them by the most authoritative
representatives of science.

Nor is it only our own globe and solar system that appear to be thus
bound towards an inevitable doom. The eternal rhythm of life and death,
of which we have been told as pervading the endless depths of space,
has no better title to scientific sanction. Like the minor province
which we inhabit, the whole universe, we are assured,--so far as we have
means of calculating,--must ultimately arrive at a condition of eternal
stagnation,--its component parts being drawn close together by their
mutual attractions,--so that motion ceases; while the heat replacing it
being equally diffused, becomes as incapable of doing work as water
between two pools on the same level is of turning a mill. As the writer
lately quoted sums up the matter:[42]

     Slow as the process of condensation is, it is not endless. In time
     all the meteoric dust will be collected into stars or planets; and
     in time the law of dissipation of energy will bring all these
     bodies to a uniform temperature. So at last the movements due to
     the original unequal distribution of matter will cease, and the
     life of the universe will come to an end. We know of no process of
     rejuvenescence, by means of which dissipation of energy and the
     force of gravitation might be counteracted. Several attempts have
     been made to refute the theory of the dissipation of energy, but
     all have failed.

This, however, is but the first of many difficulties which must be
disposed of ere the account of the world's genesis which we are
considering can pretend to our acceptance on the ground that reason and
science proclaim its truth.



The doctrine that the universe is an automatic machine,--self-originated
and self-sustained--undoubtedly rests upon a principle formally
recognized by some evolutionists, as the "Law of Continuity," and taken
for granted by many who do not put it into words. This principle
is,--that everything must always have happened according to the same
laws of Nature which operate now; that there can never have been a
"miracle," understanding by this term whatever is beyond the scope of
natural forces; and that, accordingly, the whole of the world's
history,--one stage as much as another,--falls within the province of
Science. By no one has this position been more clearly stated than by
the late Professor Romanes.

     All minds [he tells us][43] with any instincts of science in their
     composition have grown to distrust, on merely antecedent grounds,
     any explanation which embodies a miraculous element. Such minds
     have grown to regard all these explanations as mere expressions of
     our own ignorance of natural causation; or, in other words, they
     have come to regard it as an _à priori_ truth that nature is always
     uniform in respect of method or causation; that the reign of law is
     universal; the principle of continuity ubiquitous.

He goes on to declare that "The fact of evolution--or, which is the same
thing, the fact of continuity in natural causation--has now been
undoubtedly proved in many departments of nature," and that, in
particular, "throughout the range of inorganic nature" it is "a
demonstrated fact."

If this be so, it must necessarily follow that the Laws of Nature, as
Science finds them operating, sufficiently explain not only all that
happens in our present world, but also all that must have happened while
this world was being produced. According to what has already been said,
by "The Law of Continuity" no more can be signified than that Continuity
is a fact, that the world has actually come to be what it is through the
continual operation of just the same natural forces as we find at work
to-day. That things _did_ so happen we have not and cannot have, direct
evidence; for no witness was there to report. We can but draw inferences
from the present to the past, and argue that what Nature does to-day,
she must have been capable of doing yesterday and the day before. Only
thus can continuity of natural laws possibly be established. It would
obviously be vain to argue that we must suppose no other forces ever to
have acted than those we can observe, because, for all we know, other
conditions may so have altered as to make their results altogether
different from any of which we have experience.

It is likewise manifest that if we are to speak of demonstrated facts,
and of conclusions placed beyond rational possibility of doubt, proofs
must be forthcoming sufficient to compel scientific assent.

And here lies the difficulty. Very much must unquestionably have
happened in the course of the world's making for which the Laws of
Nature as we find them now acting cannot account, and which, therefore,
Science cannot attempt to explain. So we are assured by eminent
scientific men,--men, too, who desire nothing more than to find an
explanation, but are driven, in search of one, as we have already seen
Sir W. Crookes, to plead the limitation of our knowledge, and that there
may be capabilities in Nature of which we are ignorant. But it remains
always true, that what we do not know is not yet part of Science, and
that if our scientific information, so far as it goes, is adverse to the
Law of Continuity, it is quite unscientific to bring arguments for the
law not from our knowledge, but from our lack of it. Still more
unscientific is it to proclaim that Science has pronounced judgment in a
sense contrary to that of all the evidence hitherto presented to her.

Amongst the men of Science who testify as above, we may begin with Herr
Du Bois-Reymond, an avowed Evolutionist and Materialist, whom Professor
Haeckel styles, "the all-powerful secretary and dictator of the Berlin
Academy of Sciences."[44] He can be suspected of no prejudices which
would prevent him from accepting Professor Haeckel's cosmogony, if only
he found the evidence satisfactory. Far from this, however, he
declares,[45] that the history of the universe confronts us with no less
than seven problems, for which Science has no solution to offer, and
some of which he holds to be for ever insoluble. These he styles
"Enigmas," and they are:

(1) The nature of Matter and of Force.

(2) The origin of Motion.

(3) The origin of Life.

(4) The apparently designed order of Nature.

(5) The origin of sensation and consciousness.

(6) The origin of rational thought and speech.

(7) Free-will.

The first, second, and fifth of these are in the opinion of Du
Bois-Reymond "transcendental," or beyond possibility of solution. The
others, in his judgment, have certainly not yet been solved, but
_perhaps_ may be solved some day. As to the last, he much doubts whether
it should not also be classed as "transcendental."

       *       *       *       *       *

It thus appears that in the judgment of a competent witness, and one
no-wise biassed by preconception or prejudice, so far from it being
true that Professor Haeckel's story of the universe is imperiously
imposed on us by the results of Science, not one but several great gulfs
in the course of that history must have been bridged over somehow, which
Science confesses she cannot bridge, so far as her present knowledge
goes, that is to say, so far as she is Science at all.

Professor Haeckel, it is true, loudly pronounces Du Bois-Reymond's
declaration to be mere "dogmatism"[46] of a "shallow and illogical
character," and he undertakes to show that with the help of his own
philosophy the enigmas cease to be enigmatical.

     In my opinion [he writes] the three transcendental problems (1, 2
     and 5) are settled by our conception of substance; the three which
     he [Du Bois-Reymond] considers difficult, though soluble[47] (3, 4
     and 6) are decisively answered by our modern theory of evolution;
     the seventh and last, the freedom of the will, is not an object for
     critical scientific inquiry at all, for it is a pure dogma, based
     on an illusion, and has no real existence.

How far such a mode of rebuking dogmatism appears convincing, must of
course depend on what the reader understands by an argument. Some points
already considered may help us to a right estimate of proofs which are
based upon "Our conception of substance," or "Our modern theory of
evolution," and we shall presently inspect more closely the nature of
the difficulties which we are invited so summarily to dismiss.
Meanwhile, even though not final or conclusive, the testimony of such a
man as Du Bois-Reymond serves at least to prove that it is possible to
be thoroughly familiar with Science and her teaching, and yet to believe
that as yet she knows nothing at all concerning questions which, as we
have been assured, she has conclusively answered. And, as we shall
presently see, if Professor Haeckel's account of things be the true one,
there are many more scientific men of the first rank who are equally in
the dark.

In a word, while according to Professor Haeckel there is in the universe
but one Riddle, which he tells us he has solved,--in the opinion of
another who is certainly no less entitled to speak in the name of
Science, there yet remain seven to which no answer has yet been given,
and to three, at least, of which none will ever be found.



In the forefront of the problems which have been pronounced to be not
only unsolved but insoluble, are the nature and origin of the ultimate
factors arrived at by Science in her study of the constitution of the
universe,--Matter, Force, and Motion.

With the first and last of these alone need we at present concern
ourselves, for "Force," as Science knows it, is always associated with
Matter, and signifies no more in her terminology than that which
produces, or tends to produce Motion. On the other hand, we are
told,[48] that "The contents of the material universe may be expressed
in terms of Matter and Motion."

By "Matter" is understood "Sensible Substance," the stuff composing all
of which our senses tell us, and which forms the object of Scientific
investigation. What do we know concerning this raw material whereof
worlds are made?

As we have seen, Professor Haeckel and his school are ready to tell us.
Matter, we are assured,[49] is self-existent and imperishable, "it has
no beginning and no end; it is eternity." Together with Ether, it
occupies infinite and boundless space. It is in ceaseless motion; and
its interminable modifications produce everything that ever was or ever
will be. Movement[50] is one of the "innate and original properties" of
Matter. So are Sensation and Will,[51] but these, we are warned,[52] are

Obviously, however, it is not enough that these things should be said,
they require likewise to be proved; and the question must immediately
suggest itself, Whence is proof to come? Not, by any possibility, from
observation and experiment. For who can speak, of his own knowledge, to
eternity or infinity? The only conceivable supposition is that Science
has so thoroughly mastered the nature and properties of Matter here and
now, as to be furnished with evidence unmistakably pointing to the above
conclusions. Thus alone can she be quoted on their behalf; and it must
always be remembered that the philosophy which we are examining is
nothing if not scientific.

But, in the first place, is it quite clear of what our philosophers are
speaking? They use the term "Matter" as though it represented some one
definite thing: but this is very far from being the case.

     We must remember [says Lord Grimthorpe][53] that matter is not an
     unit, as a creator is, and that talking of it so is merely a
     rhetorical artifice when used in philosophical inquiries.... Matter
     is nothing but the sum of all the ultimate particles or atoms
     contained in the universe, or in any particular mass that we are
     dealing with.... A very large proportion of the atoms of the
     universe have never been within millions and billions of miles of
     each other.

Therefore, he goes on to urge, the doctrine of the self-existence of
Matter, must mean that each several atom is self-existent, or "every
atom its own god." How comes it then that they all obey the same "Laws"?
How have their various provinces been allotted? Above all, how are they
not all the same, but--so far as we know--divided into classes widely
different from one another? For, according to our present
knowledge,--and we cannot too frequently remind ourselves that upon this
alone can any sound conclusion be based,--there are, in round numbers,
some seventy different species of atoms, whose diverse qualities are
absolutely necessary for the production of the world. Had all atoms been
of one kind, we could have had none even of what used to be called the
Four Elements,--neither Earth, Air, Fire, nor Water.

But,--apart from this,--What is known concerning this same "Matter"? Has
Science so thoroughly fathomed its constitution as to be able to
declare that it possesses all the properties we have heard assigned to
it,--Sensation and Will, even of the unconscious kind, whatever that may
be,--locomotive power,--eternity,--and, in its collective capacity,

So far from this being the case, scientific men who were most willing,
and even anxious, to assign to Matter a foremost, if not _the_ foremost,
place in Nature, have done so precisely upon the ground, not of our
knowledge, but of our ignorance. No better examples need be sought than
Professor Huxley, and Professor Tyndall, who alike agreed, in the words
of the latter,[54] "to discern in Matter the promise and potency of
every form and quality of life." But Huxley took his stand on the
declaration, that we know so little about Matter as to make it
impossible to say of what it may not be capable, for we cannot so much
as be certain of its existence, and use the term only "for the unknown
and hypothetical causes of our own states of consciousness,"[55] while
Tyndall described the process, whereby the promise and potency are
realized, as "the manifestation of a Power absolutely inscrutable to the
intellect of man."

Speculations thus founded upon the absence of evidence, whatever else
they may be, are certainly no part of Science; and when we turn to what,
being established by scientific methods, is a possible basis of
scientific argument, we find that in every instance it contradicts
instead of supporting the assertions we have heard.

To begin with the question of Motion, as being both of supreme
importance, and one more open than some others to observation and
experiment. According to Professor Haeckel's teaching, "movement is an
innate and original property of substance," that is to say of Matter,
and in consequence, "Substance is everywhere and always in uninterrupted
movement and transformation." It is by thus attributing to matter an
inherent determination to move that he meets Du Bois-Reymond's
difficulty as to the origin of motion.

But this is in direct opposition to the first of Newton's Laws, which
are universally recognized as the most firmly established and
unquestionable of all scientific conclusions. This law tells us that a
body at rest will continue at rest for ever, unless compelled by some
force to move; just as a body in motion will continue to move at the
same rate and in the same direction, unless compelled by force to arrest
or alter its course. Upon the universal certainty of this law the whole
of our Natural Philosophy depends: but it absolutely blocks the way for
the idea that Matter has an innate tendency to move itself, which is
thus quite unscientific. Not self-movement but _Inertia_ is the property
which Science ascribes to Matter.[56] It may further be observed that
the idea of inherent motion is absurd and unintelligible; for movement
cannot be in more than one direction at a time: so that a mass, or an
atom, of Matter could tend to move only by having an intrinsic impulse
in a straight line towards some one particular point. If it should tend
to move indifferently, in all directions at once, it would remain
motionless, each such tendency being neutralized by its opposite.

As to the further claim made on behalf of Matter to be endowed with
Sensation and Will, of any description, it must be enough to say that no
one has ever pretended to find any evidence whatever to this effect, or
to detect the faintest trace of such properties;--and that on the
contrary, all experience shows inorganic Matter, (that is, Matter not
incorporated in living animals or plants,) to be utterly lifeless and
inert. It is a mere abuse and perversion of terms to speak of Science as
countenancing any conclusion but that to which such experience points.
The attempt to invest Matter with these attributes Professor Tait
stigmatizes as "non-science," or "pseudo-science."[57]

     The Pygmalions of modern days [he writes] do not require to beseech
     Aphrodité to animate the ivory for them. Like the savage with his
     _Totem_, they have themselves already attributed life to it.... The
     latest phase of this peculiar non-science tells us that all Matter
     is _alive_; or at least that it contains "the promise and potency"
     (whatever these may be) "of all terrestrial life." ... So much for
     the attempts to introduce into Science an element altogether
     incompatible with the fundamental conditions of its existence.

In fine, to make us realize not merely how extremely narrow are the
bounds of our knowledge, but even how much narrower they may be than we
suppose, there enters upon the scene Radium, like the golden apple that
came to disturb the harmony of the celestials. What lessons this
turbulent and unconventional element will ultimately be found to teach,
and how far it will revolutionize the laws of Nature as hitherto
accepted, remains, of course, to be seen: but this at least is clear. In
presence of it, scientific men find that they are sure of nothing they
thought most certain, not of the indestructibility of matter itself, on
which is based that Law of Substance which we have seen made responsible
for so much.

It had been thought that whatever else might change or perish the atoms
of which we have heard, as the ultimate constituents of Matter, were
beyond the reach of any vicissitude. "No man," said Dalton, their
discoverer, "can split an atom." Thus too Mr. Clodd, while acknowledging
that the constitution even of atoms may some day be found to be liable
to disorder and decay, clearly teaches that, as a practical certainty,
we have in them got to something final. Taking one particular kind, an
oxygen atom, as a text, he thus discourses:[58]

     It matters not into how many myriad substances--animal, plant, or
     mineral--an atom of oxygen may have entered, nor what isolation it
     has undergone: bond or free, it retains its own qualities. It
     matters not how many millions of years have elapsed during these
     changes, age cannot wither or weaken it; amidst all the fierce play
     of the mighty agencies to which it has been subjected it remains
     unbroken and unworn; to it we may apply the ancient words, "the
     things which are not seen are eternal."

But now, with the recognition of radio-activity, and the disintegration
of atoms into their constituent "electrons" which this is held to
evidence, we have changed all that. Such disintegration, it is affirmed,
must imply dissolution and death, alike of the atoms themselves and of
the universe which they compose. As Sir William Crookes told the
physicists assembled at Berlin, June, 1903:

     This fatal quality of atomic dissociation appears to be universal,
     and operates whenever we brush a piece of glass with silk; it works
     in the sunshine and raindrops, in lightnings and flame; it prevails
     in the waterfall and the stormy sea.

Matter he consequently regards as doomed to destruction.[59] Sooner or
later, it will have dissolved into the "formless mist" of "prothyle"[60]
and "the hour-hand of eternity will have completed one revolution."

Consequently, we are told,[61]

     The "dissipation of energy" has found its correlative in the
     "dissolution of matter." We are confronted with an appalling sense
     of desolation--of quasi-annihilation.

It is no doubt true, here again, that such judgments cannot be called
final, and that not all scientific men will accept them as they stand.
But all alike are forced to agree that our previous notions are
completely upset, and that we are compelled to recognize the fact that
of these fundamental questions we know far less than the little we
seemed to know. What, then, is to be thought of Professor Haeckel's
confident utterances, which could be justified only on the supposition
that we know everything? And what becomes of the famous Law of
Substance, if both its parts are found thus to contradict the conclusion
he would draw from it?

The case is thus summed up by the writer of the article just cited:

     The discovery of radio-activity is one of the most momentous in the
     history of science. "There has been a vivid new start" (we again
     borrow Sir William Crookes' expression). "Our physicists have
     remodelled their views as to the constitution of matter." The
     remodelling indeed has hardly commenced.... What is undeniable is
     that the Daltonian atom has, within a century of its acceptance as
     a fundamental reality, suffered disruption. Its proper place in
     nature is not that formerly assigned to it, ... its reputation for
     inviolability and indestructibility is gone for ever. Each of these
     supposed "ultimates" is now known to be the scene of indescribable
     activities, a complex piece of mechanism composed of thousands of
     parts, a star-cluster in miniature, subject to all kinds of
     dynamical vicissitudes, to perturbation, acceleration, internal
     friction, total or partial disruption. And to each is appointed a
     fixed term of existence. Sooner or later, the balance of
     equilibrium is tilted, disturbance eventuates in overthrow; the
     tiny exquisite system finally breaks up. Of atoms, as of men, it
     may be said with truth, "_Quisque suos patitur manes_."

"Here," in fact, "we meet the impenetrable secret of creative



The question concerning the origin and nature of Life is of supreme and
vital importance not only for those who speak of Evolution as a force or
principle by which everything is guided and governed, but also for such
as understand by the term no more than a process which they say has
actually occurred. Evolutionists of this second class disclaim, with
Huxley, any "philosophy of Evolution." They are content to take the
world as a going concern, at the farthest point in the past to which,
even speculatively, Science can trace it, as that vast primordial nebula
of which we have heard.[63] Given this,--assuming the existence of such
a nebula, constituted as they suppose,--they believe that the whole
subsequent history of the world is fully explained by the uniform action
of the same laws of matter which we find in operation to-day. Not only
is the establishment of our Solar System, of sun and planets, to be
thus accounted for, but likewise the production of life, of the organic
world of plants and animals.

Hence it necessarily follows that life must originally have been evolved
naturally from lifeless matter, for all are agreed that not only in the
nebula, but on the earth when it first started its independent career,
life did not, and could not, exist.

     There has been [says Virchow][64] a beginning of life, since
     geology points to epochs in the formation of the earth when life
     was impossible, and when no vestige of it is to be found.

     If the evolution hypothesis is true, [says Huxley][65] living
     matter must have arisen from not-living matter; for by the
     hypothesis the condition of the globe was at one time such that
     living matter could not have existed in it, life being entirely
     incompatible with the gaseous state.

     There was a time [says Tyndall][66] when the earth was a red-hot
     molten globe, on which no life could exist.

Accordingly, as Professor Huxley acknowledges, spontaneous generation is
an evolutionary necessity. Unless such generation can be shown to have
taken place, or at the very least unless it can be shown to be naturally
possible, the theory which requires it cannot be an established truth.
But it is precisely as a scientifically established truth that the
doctrine of Evolution is presented to us, so firmly established indeed
that we are warned "to doubt it is to doubt science."[67] It presents
itself, moreover, as the most precious result of modern research, the
appearance of which is as a sunrise illuminating the field of

This being so, and it being the first principle of Science that we
should take nothing on faith and accept only what can be proved, it is
our plain duty to satisfy ourselves, as scientific methods alone can
rightly satisfy us, that a doctrine of such paramount importance is
entitled to demand our acceptance.

What methods can claim to be scientific, all are agreed. Advances in
science, Professor Tait warns us,[69]

     come or not, as we remember or forget that our Science is to be
     based entirely upon experiment, or mathematical deduction from

     Men of science [says Tyndall] prolong the method of nature from the
     present into the past. The observed uniformity of nature is their
     only guide.[70]

     The man of science [says Huxley] has learned to believe in
     justification, not by faith, but by verification.[71]

In this manner must we test the Evolution theory, and spontaneous
generation as an essential element thereof. We will begin with
Professor Huxley's statement of what he styles "the fundamental
proposition of Evolution."[72]

     That proposition is [he writes] that the whole world, living and
     not-living, is the result of the mutual interaction, according to
     definite laws, of the forces possessed by the molecules of which
     the primitive nebulosity of the universe was composed. If this be
     true, it is no less certain that the existing world lay,
     potentially, in the cosmic vapour; and that a sufficient
     intelligence could, from a knowledge of that vapour, have
     predicted, say the state of the Fauna of Britain in 1869[73] with
     as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the breath in
     a cold winter's day.

That is to say, the supposed nebula was a vast piece of mechanism, of
unimaginable complexity, the component parts of which under the
influence of such forces as gravitation, heat, chemical affinity,
electricity and magnetism, have produced everything that has since
appeared on earth, vegetable and animal life amongst the rest. How are
we to assure ourselves that such was really the case?

Professor Tyndall has told us that the only scientific method is to
prolong the method of nature from the present into the past, taking her
observed uniformity for our only guide, and in like manner we have heard
it laid down by Professor Romanes, that we must assume as a first
principle that the laws of nature are always and everywhere the same,
and that by their uniform operation everything is done. It is therefore
quite clear that as no man was present when life first made its
appearance, to observe and record whence it came, the only way in which
we can possibly proceed, without violating every scientific canon, is to
argue from what happens now, to what must have happened then,--to show
that inorganic matter can in fact generate organic life, and to conclude
that the same laws must have worked the same results in the past as they
do in the present.

But this is precisely what cannot be done, for one of the most
conclusive results of modern research has been to show that in the
present world spontaneous generation never occurs, that living things
come only from living parents, and that from organic matter alone can
the smallest particle of organic matter be derived. _Omne vivum e vivo,
omnis cellula e cellula, omnis nucleus e nucleo._ Upon this point there
is now complete agreement amongst scientific authorities, and what is
most remarkable, none are more strenuous in upholding the doctrine of
_Biogenesis_,[74] than some of those who with equal vehemence proclaim
the doctrine of Evolution for which the occurrence of spontaneous
generation is a necessity.

Never, for example, were there Evolutionists more pronounced than
Professors Huxley and Tyndall, and they both saw clearly that without
spontaneous generation there could not have been evolution such as they
maintained. Yet when the occurrence of spontaneous generation, here and
now, was asserted by Bastian and Burdon Sanderson, they, following in
the wake of Pasteur, repudiated the notion, and Tyndall in particular
conclusively disproved the experiments by which it was supported.[75] As
Huxley wrote to Charles Kingsley:[76]

     I am glad you appreciate the rich absurdities of spontogenesis.
     Against the doctrine of spontaneous generation in the abstract I
     have nothing to say. Indeed it is a necessary corollary from
     Darwin's views if legitimately carried out.

A few years later, writing to Dr. Dohrn[77] upon the same subject, he
made use of a phrase--which in his mouth expressed the uttermost limit
of disbelief: "Transubstantiation will be nothing to this if it turns
out true."

In the same year as President of the British Association he chose for
the subject of his inaugural address, "Biogenesis and Abiogenesis," and,
after a careful examination of the case for each, pronounced the former
"to be victorious all along the line."

In spite of all this, however, he assured himself as an Evolutionist
that spontaneous generation must once have been not only a possibility
but a fact. In the same Presidential address, after piling up evidence
against it--he thus continued:[78]

     But though I cannot express this conviction of mine too strongly, I
     must carefully guard myself against the supposition that I intend
     to suggest that no such thing as Abiogenesis has ever taken place
     in the past, or ever will take place in the future. With organic
     chemistry, molecular physics and physiology yet in their infancy,
     and every day making prodigious strides, I think it would be the
     height of presumption for any man to say that the conditions under
     which matter assumes the properties we call "vital" may not, some
     day, be artificially brought together. All I feel justified in
     affirming is that I see no reason for affirming that the feat has
     been performed yet.

     And looking back through the prodigious vista of the past, I find
     no record of the commencement of life, and therefore I am devoid of
     any means of forming a definite conclusion as to the conditions of
     its appearance. Belief, in the scientific sense of the word, is a
     serious matter, and needs strong foundations. To say, therefore, in
     the admitted absence of evidence, that I have any belief as to the
     mode in which the existing forms of life have originated, would be
     using words in a wrong sense. But expectation is permissible where
     belief is not; and if it were given me to look beyond the abyss of
     geologically recorded time to the still more remote period when the
     earth was passing through physical and dynamical conditions, which
     it can no more see again than a man can recall his infancy, I
     should expect to be a witness of the evolution of living protoplasm
     from not living matter.... That is the expectation to which
     analogical reasoning leads me; but I beg you once more to recollect
     that I have no right to call my opinion anything but an act of
     philosophical faith.

Here we have the whole state of the case put for us in a nutshell. On
the one hand, all known facts are against the idea of spontaneous
generation, and therefore, so far as she can at present go, the verdict
of Science must condemn that supposition. But, on the other hand, the
fundamental principle of Evolution cannot be justified unless
spontaneous generation has taken place, and accordingly, although
Evolution is the very thing which we should be engaged in establishing
by the evidence of facts, it is held to be reasonable and scientific to
infer that facts which we cannot verify must exist because they are
wanted. It is admitted that the requisite evidence is lacking, and
therefore we must not go so far as to express belief in the facts: but
we may indulge in expectations,--which seem, however, to imply belief in
the thing expected,--and meanwhile we may go on believing firmly in the
Evolution theory itself, which includes belief in the missing facts.
This, we are told, is "philosophical faith." But, to say nothing of what
we have heard from others, Professor Huxley elsewhere[79] warns us
against faith as the one unpardonable sin: and as we have heard him
declare the man of science has learned to believe in justification, not
by faith, but by verification.

And as to the expectation which he avowed, there appears to be no slight
force in the response of his adversary Dr. Bastian:[80]

     What reason [he asks] does Professor Huxley give in explanation of
     his supposition?... The only reason distinctly implied is because
     the physical and chemical conditions of the earth's surface were
     different in the past from what they are now. And yet, concerning
     the exact nature of their differences, or the degree in which the
     different sets of conditions would respectively favour the
     occurrence or arrest of an evolution of living matter, Professor
     Huxley cannot possess even the vaguest knowledge. He chooses to
     assume that the unknown conditions existing in the past were more
     favourable to _Archebiosis_ (life-evolution) than those now in
     operation. This, however, is an assumption which may be entirely
     opposed to the facts.

It is thus hard to understand how Professor Huxley could profess to
justify his expectations by verification, for that the above account of
the matter is no-wise overstated we have his own acknowledgment:[81]

     Of the causes which have led to the origination of living matter,
     it may be said that we know absolutely nothing.... Science has no
     means to form an opinion on the commencement of life; we can only
     make conjectures without any scientific value.

Such a witness as Huxley might well suffice, but the question is so
important as to make it advisable to call some others, though only a few
amongst many who testify to the same effect.

Like his friend and ally Huxley, Professor Tyndall believed that
spontaneous generation had once occurred, and denied that it occurs now.
As to the former article of his creed he was even more pronounced in his
materialism. We have already heard him proclaim that in matter is to be
discerned the promise and potency of all terrestrial life. He likewise
inclined to believe that not only life but consciousness is immanent
everywhere, in the vegetable and mineral no less than in the animal
world,[82] and that not merely life and consciousness, but:

     All our philosophy, all our poetry, all our science, and all our
     art--Plato, Shakespeare, Newton, and Raphael--are potential in the
     fires of the sun.[83]

Beliefs such as these might be thought to imply that the genesis of life
is a simple affair, but Tyndall was no less convinced than Huxley that,
as things are, it cannot be obtained without antecedent life on which
to draw. Having described the experiments devised to test the matter, he
thus concludes:[84]

     Here, as in all other cases, the evidence in favour of spontaneous
     generation crumbles in the grasp of the competent enquirer.

At the same time, he was equally certain that life must have had an
inorganic origin and that Science bids us so to believe. His various
utterances are not, it is true, very easily reconciled. On the one hand
he lays it down that "Without verification a theoretic conception is a
mere figment of the intellect." On the other hand in his Belfast Address
he thus expressed himself:

     Believing, as I do, in the continuity of nature, I cannot stop
     abruptly where our microscopes cease to be of use. Here the vision
     of the mind authoritatively supplements the vision of the eye. By a
     necessity engendered and justified by Science I cross the boundary
     of the experimental evidence.... If you ask me whether there exists
     the least evidence to prove that any form of life can be developed
     out of matter, without demonstrable antecedent life.... [men of
     science] will frankly admit their inability to point to any
     satisfactory experimental proof that life can be developed, save
     from demonstrable antecedent life.

Far, however, from being a mere figment, his mental vision is
represented as the most unalloyed product of reason. He writes:[85]

     Were not man's origin implicated, we should accept without a murmur
     the derivation of animal and vegetable life from what we call
     inorganic nature. The conclusion of pure intellect points this way
     and no other.

The conclusion of pure intellect, however, having nothing to show for
itself in the way of evidence, we are again referred to a condition of
things concerning which we know, and can know, nothing.

     Supposing [writes the Professor][86] a planet carved from the sun,
     set spinning round an axis, and revolving round the sun at a
     distance from him equal to that of our earth, would one of the
     consequences of its refrigeration be the development of organic
     forms? I lean to the affirmative.

It is no doubt interesting to know to what opinion the Professor
inclined, but is this sort of thing Science?

In the same manner Mr. Herbert Spencer, the philosopher of evolution
_par excellence_, thus reports:[87]

     Biologists in general agree that in the present state of the world
     no such thing happens as the rise of a living creature out of
     non-living matter. They do not deny, however, that at a remote
     period in the past, when the temperature of the surface of the
     earth was much higher than at present, and other physical
     conditions were _unlike those we know_,[88] inorganic matter,
     through successive complications, gave origin to organic

Mr. Darwin himself, who is constantly supposed to have upheld, or even
to have demonstrated, the fact of spontaneous generation, is amongst the
strongest witnesses against it. He was indeed disposed to believe that
the living will some day be found to be producible from the lifeless,
the ground of his expectation being the "Law of Continuity,"[90] or the
assumption that from the beginning of nature to the end one only kind of
law uniformly operates, namely the same as we now experience. But this
is to assume the whole question at issue, for unless it can be shewn
that there has been spontaneous generation, we cannot be assured that
there is such a Law of Continuity. And despite his expectation Darwin
always denied that the origin of life has been--sometimes even that it
can be--explained. Thus he wrote on various occasions:

     It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one
     might as well think of the origin of matter.[91]

     As for myself I cannot believe in spontaneous generation, and
     though I expect that at some future time the principle of life will
     be rendered intelligible, at present it seems to me beyond the
     confines of Science.[92]

     No evidence worth anything has as yet, in my opinion, been advanced
     in favour of a living being, being developed from inorganic

Here we may conveniently pause and take stock of our results. On the one
hand, we are bidden in the name of Science to learn the past from the
present, and the present from observation and experiment alone. On the
other, we are invited to believe in an occurrence which observation and
experiment negative in the present, on the ground that the circumstances
must once have been entirely different from any with which we are
acquainted. Obviously, the real motive of belief is that naïvely
expressed by Professor Haeckel, who tells us that spontaneous generation
is proved by the doctrine of Evolution;[94] which then in its turn is
proved by spontaneous generation.

Two points must however be noticed in which it is attempted to find
present evidence in favour of spontaneous generation.

First, there is Protoplasm--the "Physical Basis of Life," or Living
Matter, being that form of matter by which life is always accompanied.
In this no chemical element unknown elsewhere, is to be found; the cells
of which it consists are compounded of Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, and
Carbon; and it has been argued, especially by Huxley, that it is
therefore not different in kind from other compounds; that as Oxygen and
Hydrogen form water, Oxygen and Carbon, Carbonic Acid, Hydrogen and
Nitrogen, Ammonia,--so the four combined, in proper circumstances and
proportions, make Living Matter, without the aid of any vital force or
principle. And Haeckel with his habitual audacity foretells the
artificial production of Protoplasm for purposes of commerce. But, as
Mr. Stirling observes,[95] man has always known that he is made of dust,
and that the only part of him perceptible to sense is substantially the
same as the earth beneath his feet. All that he now learns in addition
is that when such matter is wedded to life it undergoes marvellous
transformations which in part at least we are able to recognize, but are
wholly unable to comprehend. This Professor Huxley himself admits:

     The properties of living matter [he writes][96] distinguish it
     absolutely from all other kinds of things, and the present state of
     knowledge furnishes us with no link between the living and the

Not only that: the subject is full of complexities of which Professor
Huxley gives no hint, and which it would even seem he did not himself
perceive. In his celebrated lecture on the Physical Basis of Life[97] he
gives his hearers to understand that all Protoplasm is the same, that
its particles are as the bricks with which any sort of edifice may be
constructed, a cathedral or a gin-shop, a palace or a hovel. The
protoplasm of a mushroom, for instance, he declares to be essentially
identical with that of him who eats it, into which it is most readily
convertible. He also speaks of the effect of eating mutton being to
"transubstantiate sheep into man." But, positive as are these
statements, they are far from representing scientific truths, and we are
told by Sir William Thiselton-Dyer that he himself would not know what
to do with a candidate who should advance such views in an
examination.[98] As to the mushroom and the mutton, Sir William adds,
that except the definition of a crab, as a red fish that runs backwards,
attributed to the French Academy, he can call to mind no statement "so
compact of error."

In reality, instead of all Protoplasm being the same, the differences
are infinite. Particles from different sources may be indistinguishable
by the microscope or by any test that chemistry can apply, but this only
increases the mystery of their nature, for each has its own functions
and will perform no others. The Protoplasm of a plant will do what that
of an animal, seemingly identical, cannot do. That of a fish will
convert the same nutriment into quite a different formation from that of
a man.

     It is no doubt true that a particle of fungoid differs in no
     appreciable physical respect from one of human protoplasm, yet the
     former will never emerge from the fate of the humble mushroom,
     while the other may be instinct with the thoughts of a Prime

As Mr. Stirling sums up the matter:[100]

     There is nerve-protoplasm, brain-protoplasm, bone-protoplasm,
     muscle-protoplasm, and protoplasm of all the other tissues, no one
     of which but produces only its own kind, and is uninterchangeable
     with the rest. Lastly, we have the overwhelming fact that there is
     the infinitely different protoplasm of the various infinitely
     different plants and animals, in each of which its own protoplasm,
     as in the case of the various tissues, but produces its own kind,
     and is uninterchangeable with that of the rest.

It thus appears that the character of Protoplasm, far from making it
easier to conceive the mechanical production of living things, does but
immensely aggravate the difficulty. As Sir William Thiselton-Dyer avows:
"I do not see even the beginning of a materialistic theory of
protoplasm." And Haeckel's idea that we shall succeed in creating
organic life does not commend itself to such an authority as Sir Henry

     It is true [he says][101] that there are those who profess to
     foresee that the day will arise when the chemist, by a succession
     of constructive efforts may pass beyond albumen, and gather the
     elements of lifeless matter into a living structure. Whatever may
     be said of this from other standpoints, the chemist can only say
     that at present no such problem lies within his province.
     Protoplasm, with which the simplest manifestations of life are
     associated, is not a compound, but a structure built up of
     compounds. The chemist may successfully synthesize any of its
     component compounds, but he has no more reason to look forward to
     the synthetic production of the structure than to imagine that the
     synthesis of gallic acid leads to the artificial production of

And M. de Quatrefages thus sums up the conclusions at which he arrives
from minute study of the lowest forms of life:[102]

     I make bold to affirm that the deeper Science penetrates into the
     secrets of organization and phenomena, the more does she
     demonstrate how wide and how profound is the abyss which separates
     brute matter from living things.

The other point requiring notice is crystallization. Inorganic matter,
as we know, can build up crystals, the wonderful structure of which
results from the molecular properties of the substance crystallized. Why
then, some would ask, may not matter in the same manner produce

But, in the first place, this, as we have heard, is what it is never
found to do. Crystals we can produce at pleasure, in what quantity we
will. But all efforts have not yet succeeded in obtaining the most
minute speck of living matter. Moreover, nothing can be more widely
different from organic structures than crystals. The latter are always
mathematical, the former never: the latter grow by outside accretion, of
the one kind of particles whereof they consist: the former by absorption
and assimilation of various foreign substances: the latter are wholly
independent of anything like an ancestor: for the former an ancestor is
in our experience indispensable: crystals can be dissolved and
recrystallized: living matter once destroyed can never be reconstituted.
Above all, the particles incorporated in the crystal are absolutely
quiescent, so far as any portion of matter can be said to be so, no more
able to change their position without external force than the bricks in
a wall, while those in living tissue at once become subject to "the
whirlwind of life," involving constant change the cessation of which is

     It is inexplicable to me [says M. de Quatrefages][103] that some
     men whose merits I otherwise acknowledge, should have compared
     crystals to the simplest living forms.... These forms are the
     antipodes of the crystal from every point of view.

To the same effect speaks Mr. A. R. Wallace, Mr. Darwin's associate in
the discovery of the Darwinian theory. In a work expressly devoted to
the vindication of that theory, Mr. Wallace declares that far from the
way of evolution being made clear by Science from end to end--"there are
at least three stages in the development of the organic world where some
new cause or power must necessarily have come into action." And at the
head of them he places that which we are now considering, writing

     The first stage is the change from inorganic to organic, when the
     earliest vegetable cell, or the living protoplasm out of which it
     arose, first appeared.... There is in this something quite beyond
     and apart from chemical changes however complex; and it has been
     well said that the first vegetable cell was a new thing in the
     world, possessing altogether new powers....[105]

Such testimonies are sufficient for our present purpose. In face of them
it cannot be pretended that Science _knows_ anything of spontaneous
generation or gives her verdict in its favour. On the contrary, as
Professor Tait declares:[106]

     To say that even the very lowest form of life, not to speak of its
     higher forms, still less of volition and consciousness, can be
     fully _explained_ on physical principles alone, ... is simply
     unscientific. There is absolutely nothing known in physical science
     which can lend the slightest support to such an idea.... To suppose
     that life, even in its lowest form, is wholly material, involves
     either a denial of the truth of Newton's laws of motion, or an
     erroneous use of the term "Matter." Both are alike unscientific.

Yet it is precisely in the name of Science that we have been told to
accept the spontaneous origin of life from inorganic matter, as a
clearly demonstrated truth, and no riddle at all.

But as Professor Virchow, Evolutionist and Materialist as he was, well
said in regard of this very point in the Munich Congress of 1877:

     If we would speak frankly, we must admit that naturalists may well
     have some little sympathy for the _generatio aequivoca_
     [spontaneous generation]. If it were capable of proof, it would
     indeed be beautiful! But, we must acknowledge, it has not yet been
     proved. The proofs of it are still wanting.... Whoever recalls to
     mind the lamentable failure of all the attempts to discover a
     decided support for the _generatio aequivoca_ in the lower forms of
     transition from the inorganic to the organic world, will feel it
     doubly serious to demand that this theory, so utterly discredited,
     should be in any way accepted as the basis of all our views of



Leaving for later consideration the fourth of Du Bois-Reymond's Unsolved
Enigmas, namely the seemingly pre-ordained order of the universe, we may
conveniently group together the three which follow it, as much
resembling that which has just occupied our attention. These problems,
it will be remembered, are (_a_) the origin of simple sensation and
consciousness, or, in other words, of the faculties possessed by
animals; (_b_) that of rational thought and speech; (_c_)
Free-will.--Here again we are bound to ask, in the name of right reason
and common-sense, what light has really been thrown on such questions by
Science, and how far she has changed their aspect,--that so we may guard
against the delusion of imagining ourselves to be in possession of more
knowledge than we actually possess.

(_a_) _Simple sensation and consciousness._ As regards the actual origin
of the higher form of life which distinguishes the animal from the
vegetable, we are obviously no better informed than we have found
ourselves to be concerning the first beginnings of life in any form,--no
evidence as to the actual facts being available, or even possible, for
our enlightenment. Once more we can only argue from the present to the
past, and enquire whether the progress of science has made it more
reasonable to suppose than it seemed in pre-scientific days that animal
life has been spontaneously evolved, either from inanimate matter or
from the vegetative life of plants. This enquiry so much resembles that
which we have just concluded as to make it unnecessary to pursue it at
any length.

We find, in fact, that men of Science who have no prepossessions
whatever against Evolution, and would willingly accept the Law of
Continuity at all points, if only evidence were forthcoming, find here
not only an unsolved problem, but one even more difficult than the
Origin of Life itself. Du Bois-Reymond for example places this amongst
his "transcendental" enigmas, to which an answer will never be found,
whereas he thinks that the origin of vegetable life, although at present
a mystery, may one day be explained. The expression of his
opinion,--that by no possibility can we ever understand how
consciousness could be evolved from matter--has, he tells us[107] been
vehemently contradicted, but, he adds, nothing in the way of argument,
or beyond mere assumptions, has been brought against him. Of these
assumptions he notices only that of Professor Haeckel, "the Prophet of
Jena," who protests against such limitations of our possibilities as
treason to the sacred cause of Evolution. The progress we have made in
intellect, says Haeckel, beyond our barbarous progenitors, is sufficient
to show that we are on the high road of development towards a stage as
far in advance of the present, as this is of the past; and when that is
attained, our knowledge will be full and will embrace all this. But,
asks Du Bois-Reymond in reply, is this mighty progress of ours so very
evident within the period concerning which we have any information? Has
the mental capacity of our race notably improved since Homer?[108] or
its faculty of thinking since Plato and Aristotle? At our present rate
of progress, long before the high-water mark prophesied by Haeckel is
reached, the earth will have become uninhabitable. And, were it
otherwise, the highest point of intellect to which conceivably man could
attain, would be that of the "sufficient intelligence" whereof we have
been told, which, from an inspection of the cosmic nebula could foretell
all that was to issue from it. And, adds Du Bois-Reymond, even could we
do this, we should still be unable to understand the origin of
consciousness, which would require intelligence of another order than
ours, however magnified.

So again Mr. Wallace tells us,[109] after speaking of the beginning of
life as we have already heard,

     The next stage is still more marvellous, still more completely
     beyond all possibility of explanation by matter, its laws and
     forces. It is the introduction of sensation or consciousness,
     constituting the fundamental distinction between the animal and
     vegetable kingdoms. Here all idea of mere complication of structure
     producing the result is out of the question. We feel it to be
     altogether preposterous to assume that at a certain stage of
     complexity of atomic constitution, and as a necessary result of
     that complexity alone, an _ego_ should start into existence, a
     thing that _feels_, that is conscious of its own existence. Here we
     have the certainty that something new has arisen, a being whose
     nascent consciousness has gone on increasing in power and
     definiteness till it has culminated in the higher animals. No
     verbal explanation or attempt at explanation--such as the statement
     that life is the result of the molecular forces of the protoplasm,
     or that the whole existing organic universe from the amœba up to
     man was latent in the fire-mist from which the solar system was
     developed--can afford any mental satisfaction, or help us in any
     way to a solution of the mystery.

Unquestionably, there is no lack of speakers and writers who flatly
contradict such views, and assert that animal life, equally with
vegetable, could be, and must have been, naturally evolved from
inorganic nature. The above testimonies, however, amply suffice for our
present purpose, and with them we may be satisfied; for at least they
make it plain that Science has found no evidence as to the origin of
sensation and consciousness conclusive enough to compel belief. And
where there is no scientific evidence even alleged, such as might
require the training of a specialist for its due appreciation, one man
of ordinary intelligence is as competent a judge as another, and
scientific experts are on a level with the rest of us.

(_b_) _Rational thought and speech._ What has just been said applies
with equal force to this matter likewise. Unless Science have some
positive evidence to bring, demonstrating how the gulf can be bridged
which separates the intelligence of the most degraded races of men from
the highest of the brutes, and how articulate language can spontaneously
have arisen, which is the necessary appanage of reason, we have all
equally the means of forming our conclusions on the subject.

That the gulf between man and the lower animals is here immense we have
the evidence of Mr. Darwin.

     No doubt [he writes][110] the difference is in this respect
     enormous, even if we compare the mind of one of the lowest savages,
     who has no words to express any number higher than four, and who
     uses no abstract terms for the commonest objects or affections,
     with that of the most highly organized ape. The difference would,
     no doubt, still remain immense, even if one of the highest apes had
     been improved and civilized as much as a dog has been in comparison
     with its parent form, the wolf or jackal. The Fuegians rank
     amongst the lowest barbarians; but I was continually struck with
     surprise how closely the three natives on board H.M.S. _Beagle_,
     who had lived some years in England and could talk a little
     English, resembled us in disposition and in most of our mental

Mr. Darwin goes on to argue, however, that the difference between man
and beast is one of degree only and not of kind; that this can be
"clearly shewn"; and that there is unquestionably

     a much wider interval in mental power between one of the lowest
     fishes, as a lamprey or lancelet, and one of the higher apes, than
     between an ape and a man; yet this immense interval is filled up by
     numberless gradations,

from which he concludes that by a like series of steps, of which,
however, no trace is left, our progenitors have been able to mount from
the simian to the human level.

Clear however as Mr. Darwin pronounces the evidence to be, it is very
far from being so considered by other eminent naturalists. So convinced
an Evolutionist as Mr. Mivart, for example, declared on various
occasions that his reason abundantly sufficed to convince him that there
was a wider break in nature between man and the highest ape, than
between the highest ape and an oyster or even a mushroom.

It is evident that the evidence which permits judgments so diverse as
these cannot be said conclusively to prove the former existence of a
bridge every vestige of which has, by the acknowledgment of all parties,
entirely disappeared. We are therefore left to determine for ourselves,
whether the powers of our own mind, as each knows them in himself, are
of a totally different nature from those of dogs and horses, and
chimpanzees such as the late lamented "Consul," or whether we are
superior only in degree, as a sheep-dog is more intelligent than a
sheep, or a fox than a goose.

If in any respect such an enquiry can be made definite and therefore
profitable, it is clearly in regard of Language. This, as said above, is
an essential adjunct of reason such as ours, and on the other hand it
forms the plainest boundary between the domain of the human race and
that of the brutes. It is, says Professor Max Müller, our Rubicon on the
hither side of which men alone are found. Given reason such as ours,
whatever mode of communication might be open to them, we cannot suppose
its possessors failing to establish a medium of intercourse. In existing
conditions, man can make an alphabet out of the clicks of a needle or
the flashes of a mirror, and if his vocal organs were no better than
those of a baboon, we cannot imagine him content generation after
generation with inarticulate howls and yells. But this is just the case
of the animals. They are _never_ found to make the smallest progress in
the direction of a code of signals. Dogs indeed, as Mr. Darwin
says,[111] having developed in captivity the new art of barking, have
further learnt to vary this accomplishment according to the
circumstances that provoke it, and have distinct tones to express the
diversity of their feelings, as when hunting, or angry, or setting out
for a walk, or shut up in a kennel or out of a house. Some dogs, he
might have added, refine still further, and will betray by their style
of bark not only that they are hunting something, but what it is that
they have come upon, whether a rabbit, a cat, or a hedgehog. But, as the
Chevalier Bunsen observes,[112] and his observation includes such
manifestations as the above:

     Animal sounds are the echoes of blind instincts within, or of the
     phenomena of the outward world, uttered by suffering or satisfied
     animal nature, and in all cases resulting from mere passiveness.

By rational language, on the other hand, is signified, to quote Mr.

     The external manifestation, whether by sound or gesture, of general
     conceptions:--not emotional expressions or the manifestations of
     sensible impressions, but enunciations of distinct judgments as to
     "the what," "the how," and "the why."

Consequently, as Bunsen declares:

     The theories about the origin of language have followed those
     about the origin of thought, and have shared their fate. The
     materialists have never been able to show the possibility of the
     first step. They attempt to veil their inability by the easy but
     fruitless assumption of an infinite space of time, destined to
     explain the gradual development of animals into men; as if millions
     of years could supply the want of the agent necessary for the first
     movement, for the first step in the line of progress! No numbers
     can effect a logical impossibility. How indeed could reason spring
     out of a state which is destitute of reason? How can speech, the
     expression of thought, develop itself in a year or in millions of
     years, out of unarticulated sounds which express feelings of
     pleasure, pain, and appetite? The common-sense of mankind will
     always shrink from such theories.

Bunsen's words were echoed even more forcibly by professor Max Müller,
speaking as President of the Anthropological Section of the British
Association at Cardiff in 1889.

     What [he asked] does Bunsen consider the real barrier between man
     and beast? It is language, which is unattainable, or at least
     unattained, by any animal except man.

     You know [he continued] how for a time, and chiefly owing to
     Darwin's predominating influence, every conceivable effort was made
     to reduce the distance which language places between man and beast,
     and to treat language as a vanishing line in the mental evolution
     of animal and man. It required some courage at times to stand up
     against the authority of Darwin, but at present all serious
     thinkers agree, I believe, with Bunsen, that no animal has ever
     developed what we mean by rational language, as distinct from mere
     utterances of pleasure or pain, a subject lately treated with great
     fulness by Professor Romanes. Still, if all true science is based
     on facts, the fact remains that no animal has ever found what we
     mean by a language; and we are fully justified, therefore, in
     holding with Bunsen and Humboldt, as against Darwin and Romanes,
     that there _is_ a specific difference between the human animal and
     all other animals, and that that difference consists in language as
     the outward manifestation of what the Greeks meant by _Logos_.

It is moreover evident that, far from speech having generated reason, as
some have preposterously maintained, it is reason which generates
speech, no less inevitably than sunlight produces the spectrum when it
passes through a prism. The seeming paradox of Wilhelm von Humboldt is
in fact a sober truth: "Man is man only through speech, but in order to
invent it he must already be man." We have plain evidence that before
means for the internal expression of it are found, the mental word
(_verbum mentale_) is awaiting them, and that without this it would be
as impossible for any sort of rational speech to be produced as for an
apple to be grown without an apple-tree.

Evidence to this effect is furnished by recorded instances of persons
who from early childhood, or even from birth, were deaf, dumb, and
blind, and appeared to be cut off from all possibility of human
converse, the "gates of Mansoul" being thus almost entirely closed. Such
are the well-known cases of Laura Bridgman, Miss Keller, and Martha
Obrecht, who had been thus afflicted since their earliest childhood, the
two first named from the age of two, and the last from that of three
years.[114] Also the more recent instance of Marie Heurtin, who was so
born, and consequently could not have even the faintest glimmer of any
knowledge these senses could convey.[115] Yet, by the exercise of
ingenious and unwearied charity, a means of communication was elaborated
through the sense of touch, and the souls which had seemingly been
buried alive, shewed themselves responsive to such advances,--often
astonishingly so,--and revealed their possession of faculties identical
with those of their rescuers. We are told, for example, of Marie Heurtin
that her intelligence proved to be quick, that she was even "unusually
clever, evidently eager for knowledge, and, as sometimes happens, her
faculties being prevented by her infirmity from wasting their powers on
external objects, were all the more fresh and vigorous." Even more
wonderful is the case of Miss Keller, who attained a degree of culture
and accomplishment far beyond the common level of those possessing the
use of all their senses.

Somewhat akin to such instances is that of the savages from Tierra del
Fuego mentioned above by Mr. Darwin. In their case likewise, when they
were brought into communication with people possessed of higher culture
than their own degraded race, it was found that the corresponding
faculties within them were not dead, or as yet non-existent, but only
starved into lethargy; and, the opportunity being given, they speedily
caused surprise by unmistakable proofs how closely they resemble

Thus we find that in this branch of our enquiry there is one broad fact,
which all must recognize and none can deny. No race of men has ever been
known which could not speak, nor any race of animals which could, or
which had made the first beginnings of intelligent language. Facts being
the only groundwork of Science here is undoubtedly something whereon she
may build an inference, and this inference will certainly not be that
the faculties of men and animals are radically identical. And if we are
told, as we constantly are, that it is more truly scientific to admit
such identity, should there not be some other facts, still more
significant and equally well established, to exhibit on the other side?

But of what character are the arguments actually adduced? It will be
sufficient to quote a few which come with the highest authority.

We may start with the almost classical specimen contributed by Mr.
Darwin himself.

     It does not [he says][116] appear altogether incredible that some
     unusually wise ape-like animal should have thought of imitating the
     growl of a beast of prey, so as to indicate to his fellow monkeys
     the nature of the expected danger. And this would have been a first
     step in the formation of a language.

Similarly Professor Whitney writes of some supposed "pithecoid"[117]

     There is no difficulty in supposing them to have possessed forms of
     speech, more rudimentary and imperfect than ours.[118]

And so again Professor Romanes:[119]

     Let us try to imagine a community considerably more intelligent
     than the existing anthropoid apes, although still considerably
     below the intellectual level of existing savages. It is certain
     that in such a community natural signs of voice, gesture, and
     grimace would be in vogue to a greater or less extent. As their
     numbers increased ... such signs would require to become more and
     more conventional, or acquire more and more the character of

Of course, as Mr. Mivart replies,[120] there is no difficulty in
supposing anything we choose, or in seeing animals in imagination
performing feats which never yet have they been known to achieve in
fact. But no amount of such suppositions or imaginations will furnish
Science with the scantiest apology for a foothold, nor can the germs of
language attributed to pithecoid communities or the sagest of their
patriarchs, be considered as of any greater value than the speeches put
into the mouths of the animals by Æsop or "Uncle Remus."

It is also to be noticed that in these accounts of the origin of
language, the essential element of reason is always quietly smuggled in
as a matter of course. Thus Mr. Darwin's wisest of the pithecoids was
able to "think of" a device for the information of his fellows. There is
not the smallest doubt that any creature which had got so far as _that_
would find what he wanted. It is but the old case of the man who was
sure he could have written Hamlet had he had a mind to do so. Like him,
the ape might have made the invention, if he had a mind to make
it;--only he had not got the mind. So too, Professor Romanes' missing
links use tones and signs which acquire "more and more" the character of
true speech: which could not be unless they contained some measure of
that character already. But it is just the first step thus ignored which
spans the gulf between man and brute.

There is another factor upon which, in conjunction with these
suppositions, great stress is wont to be laid, namely that of time; it
being apparently taken for granted that if only time enough be given
anything whatever may come about. Thus Professor Romanes tells us[121]
that his imaginary _Homo alalus_, or speechless man, must probably have
lived for an "inconceivably long time," before getting far enough on the
road towards speech to give him such an advantage as enabled him to
crush out his less accomplished congeners; and that even after this
point was reached, another "inconceivable lapse of time" must have been
required to turn him into _Homo sapiens_, or man as he actually is.
Immense intervals, he further tells us, must have been consumed in the
passage through various grades of mental evolution; "The epoch during
which sentence-words prevailed was probably immense"; "It was not until
æons of ages had elapsed that any pronouns arose."

Meanwhile, there is no scrap of evidence that as a matter of fact any
thing of all this ever happened at all, and as Bunsen has observed no
millions of years, even were millions available at discretion, could
ever supply the want of the faculty without which nothing in the way of
language could ever be accomplished.

(_c_) _Free-will._--Here is another human faculty which Du Bois-Reymond
declares never to have been accounted for by natural causation, and he
greatly doubts whether it should not be classed among the problems that
must be for ever insoluble.

Professor Haeckel, as we have seen, gets rid of all difficulties on this
score by laying it down that "the freedom of the will is not an object
for critical scientific inquiry at all, for it is a pure dogma, based
on an illusion, and has no real existence."

It is plain that for his purpose this is the only course possible. If
the will be really free, there can be no question of finding a
mechanical explanation of it. There is therefore no alternative but to
cut the Gordian knot, and to declare that the liberty which the vast
majority of men believe themselves to exercise every instant, is proved
by Science to be no better than a pure dogma, that is to say, a mere

When we seek for his indication of the line of argument whereby this
position is made good, the information supplied is less full than might
be desired. He begins[122] with a rather lengthy sketch of the history
of controversy in this regard,--which contains the remarkable statement
that "Some of the first teachers of the Christian Churches--such as St.
Augustine and Calvin--rejected the freedom of the will as decidedly as
the famous leaders of pure Materialism, Holbach in the eighteenth, and
Büchner in the nineteenth century." Then he proceeds:

     The great struggle between the determinist and the indeterminist,
     between the opponent and the sustainer of the freedom of the will,
     has ended to-day after more than 2,000 years, completely in favour
     of the determinist. The human will has no more freedom than that of
     the higher animals, from which it differs only in degree, not in
     kind. In the last [i.e. the eighteenth] century the doctrine of
     liberty was fought with general philosophic and cosmological
     arguments. The nineteenth century has given us very different
     weapons for its definitive destruction--the powerful weapons which
     we find in the arsenal of comparative physiology and evolution. We
     now know that each act of the will is as fatally determined by the
     organization of the individual, and as dependent on the momentary
     condition of his environment, as every other psychic activity. The
     character of the inclination was determined long ago by _heredity_
     from parents and ancestors; the determination to each particular
     act is an instance of _adaptation_ to the circumstances of the
     moment wherein the strongest motive prevails, according to the laws
     which govern the statics of emotion. Ontogeny teaches us to
     understand the evolution of the will in the individual child.
     Phylogeny reveals to us the historical development of the will
     within the ranks of our vertebrate ancestors.[123]

That is all. It is needless to observe that jargon like this proves
nothing. Of anything approaching to evidence there is here, manifestly,
no vestige, and there is consequently nothing which can avail to win our
assent as rational men.

It is likewise obvious that we have here a question as to which every
human being has the means of judging equally with the most eminent man
of Science, and modern improvement of the methods and instruments of
research leaves us just where we always were. The final evidence on the
subject every man has within himself, in the most vital facts of his own
experience. Into the philosophy of the matter it is neither necessary
nor advisable at present to go. In dealing with profound yet elementary
questions, regarding which our means of knowledge are thus simple and
direct, men are apt to bewilder themselves when they begin to
philosophize, and to persuade themselves that they cannot be sure
precisely of those things that are most certain. George Borrow is by no
means the only one who has tormented himself with doubts as to his own
existence.[124] A still larger number have professed to believe
themselves mere machines compelled to go like clocks, and to do only
what has been predetermined for them. But such beliefs are for the
lecture-room or the study only, and in practical life every one behaves
as if both he himself and others--especially others--were responsible
for their conduct. So common-sense teaches, than which we shall not find
a safer guide. "Sir," said the eminently common-sense Dr. Johnson, "we
_know_ our will is free; and _there's_ an end on't. All theory is
against the freedom of the will; all experience for it.... But, Sir, as
to the doctrine of necessity, no man believes it. If a man should give
me arguments that I cannot answer to prove that I cannot see; because I
cannot answer his arguments, do I believe that I have no eyes?"

Thus we find once again that the doctrines which some would force upon
us in the name of Science, on whatever they are founded, have no basis
of fact, and cannot therefore rightly call themselves scientific.



That the world which we inhabit is a _Cosmos_, ruled by law and order,
no one has ever attempted to deny. Only because laws are everywhere
found awaiting discovery, is natural science a possibility. What such
laws really are, we have already considered. They are, as Mr. Lewes puts
it, the paths along which the forces of nature travel to their results;
and it is only because these forces keep invariably each to its proper
path, that we are able to follow them with our minds, either to learn
anything concerning them, or to turn our knowledge to practical account.
In something of the same manner, it is because we are assured that our
railway trains will run on their appointed lines, that we can learn from
Bradshaw how to get to Exeter or to Edinburgh;--but the forces of Nature
are never derailed. It is, in fact, as we have heard, the first
principle of Science, that "the reign of law is universal, the principle
of continuity ubiquitous,"--and upon this the validity of all her
methods and conclusions wholly depends. It is taken for granted, with
absolute confidence, that what is once found to happen will be exactly
repeated in like circumstances,--that the laws experimentally observed,
regarding motion, heat, light, sound, chemical combination, electricity,
magnetism, and the rest, will be faithfully obeyed, in every minutest
particular, as certainly as suns will rise and set, or moons wax and
wane. Were it not so, were the forces of Nature to act spasmodically and
at random, and did not their common action so result as to establish or
subserve other laws of bewildering complexity,--as in molecular
dynamics, the mechanism of the heavens, and the processes of organic
life,--we could learn no more from the study of nature than from a page
of type which had been set up by an idiot, or an anthropoid ape.

Here is another factor in our problem, and one which has from the first
attracted the attention of thinking men. No feature of nature impressed
them more than this same reign of law and order, apparent everywhere;
and on this account they called the world _Cosmos_, instead of _Chaos_.
And, since it is self-evident that everything must have a reason for its
being, that whatever is not self-existent must have a cause other than
itself, they felt compelled to enquire what manner of cause would
account for law and order. The like enquiry we have still to pursue, and
by methods radically the same as ever; for amid all her discoveries
Science has found nothing which does anything whatever to furnish an
answer. All that has been done is enormously to multiply the aspects
under which the problem presents itself.

It is now not merely in the larger and more obvious operations of Nature
that we can trace this marvellous ubiquity of law, but in her most
hidden processes and inmost constitution. At every point, we are forced
to ask why things should be as they actually are, and how they came to
be subject to conditions which they cannot be supposed to have created
for themselves. Why, for example, should the ultimate elements of
matter,--be they atoms, or electrons, or whatever else,--always and
everywhere observe the same rules of the great game in which they serve
as counters? Why, to take a concrete instance, should atoms of Hydrogen
in Sirius, or in a star of the Milky Way, obey just the same laws as do
those with which we make coal-gas or spirit of salt? These various
atoms, as Lord Grimthorpe reminds us, have never been within billions of
miles of one another. What is the mysterious influence which links them
together across the depths of space? That they are so linked is obvious;
for if we can ascertain the existence of such a substance in other
spheres, it is only because the light it emits, exactly agrees when
analyzed in the spectroscope with that of hydrogen flames in our own
laboratories. How comes it, again, that the seventy different kinds of
atoms, (to speak in round numbers)--are distributed--according to
Mendeléeff's periodic law,--among some seven groups or families, the
members of each group resembling one another in various particulars,
wherein they differ from the rest? Or, to pass from atoms to molecules,
(in which atoms of the same or of different kinds combine, to build up
simple or compound substances respectively,)--how is it that molecules
of the same kind are always constructed upon exactly the same model,
resembling one another far more closely than sovereigns struck from the
same die, or different copies of this morning's _Times_? It was in this
uniformity of type, character and behaviour, repeated always and
everywhere, in instances multiplied "beyond the power of imagination to
conceive," that Sir John Herschel[125] saw a feature stamping atoms and
molecules as "manufactured articles, and subordinate agents," which, no
less than a line of spinning-jennies, or a regiment of soldiers clad in
the same uniform, and going through the same evolutions, imply a
controlling force directing things according to a definite system.

These and innumerable other particulars of detail has Science added to
the problem: but of anything which can supply an answer, she knows no
more than did the first man who ever mooted the question within his own

And if in the inorganic world we find food for such considerations, with
immensely greater instance are they forced upon us by a study of the
organic. Here we enter a new realm of mystery, for the laws we encounter
actively energizing at every point, are altogether different from those
with which hitherto we have had to deal. The matter which enters into
the constitution of living things,--animals or plants--is precisely the
same as that of which the inorganic world is constituted. No single atom
or molecule is found in the one which has not been drawn from the
other;--nor when incorporated in a living structure do atoms or
molecules suffer any alteration, or change their nature in any respect,
for, says Clerk-Maxwell,[126] throughout all changes and catastrophes
these remain "unbroken and unworn." Nevertheless, they fall at once
under the spell of a force which introduces into their operations an
order altogether new, for it somehow strikes across all the laws of dead
matter, setting up a new code of its own, which endures just so long as
life lasts, and is never met with apart from life. And these organic
laws issue in marvellous results. Professor Haeckel himself, after
endeavouring to show that from the inorganic world no arguments can be
drawn to favour the supposition of design in Nature, thus

     But the idea of design has a very great significance and
     application in the _organic_ world. We do undeniably perceive a
     purpose in the structure and in the life of an organism. The plant
     and animal seem to be controlled by a definite design in the
     combination of their several parts, just as clearly as we see in
     the machines which man invents and constructs; as long as life
     continues, the functions of the several organs are directed to
     definite ends, just as is the operation of the various parts of a

How Haeckel proceeds to argue that such appearance of purposive design
is merely fallacious, we need not here stay to enquire; our present
concern is to attempt to realize the evidence of law and order which the
world everywhere exhibits. As we have just heard, the parts of an
organism, like those of a motor-car, or a chronometer, combine their
operations for the production of definite ends; the attainment of which
depends in all instances upon the nicest correspondence of various
details of their work. Thus, that there should be eyes capable of
seeing, the laws of optics must be satisfied, reflection, refraction and
the rest, just as exactly in the making of an eye as in that of a
telescope. _De facto_ they _are_ satisfied. The eye, Mr. Darwin
styles[128] "a living optical instrument as superior to one of glass as
the works of the Creator[129] are to those of man." He speaks, moreover,
of "all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different
distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the
correction of spherical and chromatic aberration."[130] Therefore,
however we are to account for them, the laws which govern the
production of eyes successfully solve a practical problem and satisfy
laws which were in force before an animal with eyes appeared on earth.

In just the same way, the requirements of sound are met by the
structure of the ear, which Sir Henry Holland, for example,[131] judged
more wonderful than that of the eye itself.

So again as to wings. They are in the first place such marvellous pieces
of workmanship that as Mr. Pettigrew writes concerning one of their
forms.[132] "There are few things in nature more admirably constructed
than the wing of a bird, and perhaps none where design can be more
readily traced." But, moreover, wings entirely different in plan, as of
birds, bats, and all the varieties of insects, alike satisfy the laws of
aerostatics, and successfully solve in practice the problem of flight, a
problem which we are unable to solve even theoretically. "It is
evident," writes Lord Grimthorpe,[133] "that nobody yet thoroughly
understands the whole theory of flying, though we are seeing it
continually, and have unlimited opportunities of examining all sorts of
wings. The explanation that appears plausible for one kind, not only
will not do for another but seems refuted by it." Yet in a multitude of
different ways, the forces of Nature succeed in effecting what with all
our Science we cannot shew to be possible.

And concerning not merely one portion of a creature's structure, but the
whole, Professor Huxley declares:[134]

     The horse is in many ways a remarkable animal; not least so in the
     fact that it presents us with an example of one of the most perfect
     pieces of machinery in the living world. In truth, among the works
     of human ingenuity it cannot be said that there is any locomotive
     so perfectly adapted to its purposes, doing so much work with so
     small a quantity of fuel, as this machine of Nature's
     manufacture--the horse.

These are but a few out of countless similar examples. "We are
constantly discovering," says Lord Grimthorpe, "new complications and
processes, and what to all common sense appear contrivances, in the
organs of all living things, and indeed we can find no limit to them."
In all these cases an instrument is fashioned precisely adapted to the
performance of a certain function, and it is therefore obvious on first
principles that there must exist _some_ power capable of producing such

It will probably be answered that there are forces enough in Nature to
account for everything, and that these furnish the needful explanation.
But, as Mr. Croll rightly insists,[135] Force by itself explains
nothing. Its mere exercise has no tendency whatever to produce such
effects. There must likewise be Determination of Force in the one
definite direction required, and it is in the source of this
Determination that the true cause must be sought to which the result is
due. It is not simply because iron is hammered and filed that a
railway-engine is produced; nor is it sufficient that a block of marble
be chipped with mallet and chisel in order to obtain a statue of Apollo.
Unless some influence comes in to direct the forces in such cases to
their respective results, the results will never by any possibility be
secured. And in the processes of Nature such direction or determination
must be exercised in particulars inconceivably intricate, to which the
works of man furnish no parallel. As Mr. Croll writes:

     If a tree is to be formed, the lines of least resistance must all
     be determined and adjusted in relation to the objective idea of the
     tree; of the root; of the branches; of the leaves; of the bud; of
     the fruit; and of every part of the tree. But this is not all: the
     tree is built up molecule by molecule, each of which requires a
     special determination, and, beyond all this, we have the
     structureless protoplasm, which must be differentiated according to
     the objective idea of the whole. What produces this marvellous
     adjustment of means to ends?

And as he insists in another passage:

     The determinations which take place in nature occur not at random,
     but according to a plan--an objective idea. Thus the question is
     not simply what causes a body to take some direction, but what
     causes it to take, among the infinite number of possible
     directions, the proper direction in relation to the idea. In the
     formation of, say, the leaf of a tree, no two molecules move in
     identically the same direction or take identically the same path.
     But each molecule must move in relation to the objective idea of
     the leaf, or no leaf would be formed. The grand question,
     therefore, is, What is it that selects from among the infinite
     number of possible directions the proper one in relation to this

And this sort of thing is going on in every blossom and leaf and blade
of grass, in every hair and every feather over the surface of the earth.

Truly does our author find here "The Grand Question," for in it we touch
the very heart of our whole problem, and are forced to consider more
closely than we have hitherto done of what character must be the
ultimate Cause which alone can explain the world.

It is, as we have seen, a first principle of Science, that in enquiries
such as this, we must proceed from experience to inference, from the
known to the unknown. Arguing thus, we may legitimately gather from
observed phenomena, that something exists, which even though it be not
directly within the range of our senses, must certainly be capable of
producing such phenomena: just as the perturbations of one planet have
revealed the existence of another; and the lines in their spectra have
taught us the chemical constitution of the sun and stars.

This principle being borrowed by Science from common-sense, has
instinctively been ever adopted by those who set themselves to enquire
of what kind must be that unseen Power at the back of Nature to which
the fact of law and order may be ascribed. And as there is but one
force or power within the range of our experience capable of producing
such an effect, it is but natural that this should have been constantly
assumed to represent, at least by analogy, the nature of the power
required. That there is but one cause known to us experimentally, which
can determine the operation of force towards the attainment of a
preconditioned result, none will deny--namely the purposive action of an
intelligent will, as known to us in ourselves and in our
fellow-men;--and to Will accordingly, immensely more intelligent than
ours, has been ascribed the establishment of those laws which the
highest intellects of our race are able partially and dimly to

It is thus that we are led to the fundamental doctrine of Theism, to
belief in an intelligent First Cause, according to whose design the
universe has been fashioned; a cause which must have all that is found
in the universe or any part of it, including man, and more--for it has
of itself what all else derives from it--whose purposes necessarily
transcend our mental grasp--but whose modes of thought are reflected in
our own, by which they can in some measure be followed through a study
of their results.

If such a belief, so grounded, be unscientific, as is constantly
assumed, there must be good arguments to the contrary. It should be
demonstrable, either that Science has shown such a line of reasoning to
be unsound, or that she has discovered within her own domain something
which, at least conceivably, can do the work thus attributed to
Intelligence--in which case the much-quoted dictum of Lord Kelvin will
be in point,--that if a probable solution of any problem can be found
which is consistent with the ordinary course of Nature, we must not go
beyond Nature in search of one.

If, on the other hand, the above line of reasoning cannot be
invalidated, and if scientific methods can discover nothing competent to
effect what has undoubtedly been effected, it is not easy to see how it
can be unscientific to proceed by inference to what is confessedly
beyond the scope of observation and experiment.

That "Teleology," or the doctrine of Final Causality,[136] is unworthy
of serious consideration, is without doubt a common assumption, and some
writers seem to think that an argument is sufficiently discredited if it
be styled "teleological." Yet this rather formidable term represents no
more than the belief that the infinite adaptations of means to results
observed in Nature are the effect of purpose, not of chance. And if we
eliminate purpose, what is there left to furnish an explanation, beyond
the indubitable fact that such adaptations have always been found in
organic nature, and that we have learnt confidently to anticipate that
they will appear generation after generation according to the "law of
heredity"? But this obviously only tells us that they have been produced
and are likewise transmitted, and throws no light whatever on the cause
of the marvellous processes to which their production and their
transmission are due. If we have any rational grounds for expecting that
such processes will continue to occur, it cannot be merely that they
have occurred before, but we instinctively infer that the cause to which
they are ultimately due continues to operate. We are thus as far as ever
from an answer to the question, What is that cause?

     It may be urged [says Newman][137] if a thing happens once it must
     happen always; for what is to hinder it? Nay, on the contrary, why,
     because one particle of matter has a certain property, should all
     particles have the same? Why, because particles have instanced the
     property a thousand times, should the thousand and first instance
     it also? It is _prima facie_ unaccountable that an accident should
     happen twice, not to speak of it happening always. If we expect a
     thing to happen twice, it is because we think it is not an
     accident, but has a cause. What has brought about a thing once, may
     bring it about twice. _What_ is to hinder its happening? rather
     what is to make it happen? Here we are thrown back from the
     question of Order to that of Causation. A law is not a cause, but a
     fact; but when we come to the question of cause, then we have no
     experience of any cause but Will.

Here is the crucial point: "We have no experience of any cause but
Will;" and it follows that if, as Science bids us, we base inference on
experience alone, there can be no doubt about the conclusion to which we
shall be led.

       *       *       *       *       *

No different is the verdict of Sir John Herschel:

     The presence of _Mind_ [he writes][138] is what solves the whole
     difficulty: so far, at least, as it brings it within the sphere of
     our consciousness, and into conformity with our own experience of
     what action is.

That the introduction of intelligent purpose, as a factor, sufficiently
meets the requirements of our reason cannot be denied. As Bishop Butler
insists, it is even impossible for any man in his senses to say that the
problem can be more easily solved without it. And witnesses not merely
unfriendly, but positively and even bitterly hostile, are compelled to
admit that on whatever other grounds they may reject Theism, it is not
because this doctrine is inadequate as an explanation of the world we

     It seems to me [says Professor Huxley][139] that "creation," in the
     ordinary sense of the word, is perfectly conceivable. I find no
     difficulty in imagining that, at some former period, this universe
     was not in existence; and that it made its appearance ... in
     consequence of the volition of some pre-existent Being. The
     so-called _à priori_ arguments against Theism, and given a Deity,
     against the possibility of creative acts, appear to me to be devoid
     of reasonable foundation.

Similarly, that uncompromising foe of religious belief in any shape,
Professor W. K. Clifford, replying to Dr. Martineau who based his
argument on the existence of the moral law, as well as the evidence of
design in Nature, wrote thus:[140]

     I fully admit that the theistic hypothesis, so grounded, and
     considered apart from objections elsewhere arising, is a reasonable
     hypothesis and an explanation of the facts. The idea of an external
     conscious being is unavoidably suggested, as it seems to me, by the
     categorical imperative of the moral sense; and moreover in a way
     quite independent, by the aspect of nature, which seems to answer
     to our questionings with an intelligence akin to our own.

On the other hand, where is an alternative hypothesis to be found of
which as much can be said,--which will justify itself to reason, by
accounting for the facts? That no purely materialistic or mechanical
theory will suffice is not only obvious to common-sense, but is
acknowledged by those who would gladly find such a theory sufficient.

     It would be a great delusion [writes Weismann][141] if any one
     were to believe that he had arrived at a comprehension of the
     universe by tracing the phenomena of Nature to mechanical
     principles. He would thereby forget that the assumption of eternal
     matter with its eternal laws by no means satisfies our intellectual
     need for causality.

Similarly, Professor Huxley admits that even his primeval cosmic nebula
with the world potential in its womb, leaves something to desire.

     The more purely a mechanist the speculator is [he writes][142] the
     more firmly does he assume a primordial molecular arrangement of
     which all the phenomena of the universe are the consequences, and
     the more completely is he thereby at the mercy of the teleologist,
     who can always defy him to disprove that this primordial molecular
     arrangement was not[143] intended to evolve the phenomena of the

Accordingly, although he was clearly persuaded that Theism is a doctrine
which we can never have sufficient grounds for accepting, Professor
Huxley repudiated the notion that scientific discovery has done anything
to disprove it. Thus he tells us,[144] that, in order to be a
teleologist, and yet accept Evolution, it is only necessary

     to suppose that the original plan was sketched out ... that the
     purpose was foreshadowed in the molecular arrangements out of which
     the animals have come.

And again,[145] he thus expressed himself regarding two objections
commonly brought against Darwinism, namely that it introduces "chance"
as a factor in nature, and that it is atheistic:

     Both assertions are utter bosh. None but parsons believe in
     "chance"; and the philosophical difficulties of Theism now are
     neither greater nor less than they have been ever since Theism was

Accordingly, as has already been urged, in regard of this question we
are precisely where men have always been,--dependent upon arguments such
as satisfied philosophers like Cicero, who declared that when we regard
the starry heavens the existence of a Deity of surpassing intelligence
must appear no less obvious than that of the sun in the sky.[146]

That scientific enlightenment is not incompatible with such reasoning,
we have sufficient evidence in the fact that amongst those whose
conclusions are wholly in accord with Cicero's, men are to be found
standing in the very front rank of Science.

Like the Roman orator, Sir Isaac Newton declared that the existence of a
Being endowed with intelligence and wisdom is a necessary inference from
a study of celestial mechanics, and that to treat of God is therefore a
part of Natural Philosophy.[147]

     We assume, as absolutely self-evident [say Professors Stewart and
     Tait][148] the existence of a Deity, who is the Creator and
     Upholder of all things.

     When we contemplate the phenomena of vision, [says Sir G. G.
     Stokes,][149] it seems difficult to understand how we can fail to
     be impressed with the evidence of design thus imparted to us. But
     design is altogether unmeaning without a designing mind. The study
     then of the phenomena of nature leads us to the contemplation of a
     Being from whom proceeded the orderly arrangement of natural things
     that we behold.

Lord Kelvin's recent declaration is even more vigorous.[150]

     I cannot say that with regard to the origin of life Science neither
     affirms nor denies creative power. Science positively affirms
     creating and directive power, which she compels us to accept as an
     article of belief.

Thirty years earlier Clerk-Maxwell in concluding his famous lecture
before the British Association[151] thus spoke concerning Molecules:

     They continue this day as they were created, perfect in number and
     measure and weight, and from the ineffaceable characters impressed
     on them we may learn that those aspirations after accuracy in
     measurement, truth in statement, and justice in action, which we
     reckon among our noblest attributes as men, are ours because they
     are essential constituents of the image of Him who in the beginning
     created, not only the heaven and the earth, but the materials of
     which heaven and earth consist.

It is of course not to be denied that there are eminent men of science
who altogether dissent from such opinions, and reject Theism as false,
or at least as lacking any rational claim on our acceptance. That,
however, is not the point. The above testimonies have not been adduced
as if their authority could settle the question, which is one to be
determined not by authority, but by argument. At the same time, it is
abundantly evident that it is not argument but supposed authority which
influences the great majority of those who style themselves
rationalists. By what modes of reasoning their creed is supposed to be
established they have usually little idea: but they firmly believe, as
they are constantly assured, that no one who knows what Science is can
pretend to credit an antiquated doctrine which she has entirely
exploded. It is to show what degree of truth attaches to such
statements, that our witnesses have been called--and for this purpose
their testimony is undoubtedly sufficient. As Lord Rayleigh in his
Presidential address told the British Association:[152]

     It is true that among scientific men, as in other classes, crude
     views are to be met with as to the deeper things of Nature; but
     that the life-long beliefs of Newton, of Faraday, and of Maxwell,
     are inconsistent with the scientific habit of mind, is surely a
     proposition which I need not pause to refute.

And when from authority we turn to the line of argument adopted by those
who would impugn that upon which Theists rely, and who reject the idea
of an intelligent First Cause either as superfluous, or as incapable of
verification, we find but two courses one or other of which they feel
themselves compelled to adopt, although it is not very easy to
understand the state of mind which can rest satisfied with either.

Some, on the one hand, frankly admit that Science has not by her own
proper methods discovered any ultimate principle of things, and never
will. But on that very account, they maintain, this ultimate principle,
whatever it may be, must remain utterly unknown to us--for we can never
_know_ anything except by the methods of Science. Accordingly, although
the theistic hypothesis would confessedly furnish such an explanation as
is lacking, we must not adopt it because we cannot test it

And yet in ordinary life we have no difficulty in arguing from effect to
cause in just the same manner, and satisfying ourselves of the existence
of what we can as little touch or see as the First Cause itself. Thus we
are convinced of the genius of Shakespeare and Napoleon, and that there
was a difference between the character of Robespierre and that of Howard
the Philanthropist. But no man ever saw or touched either genius or
character, which can be known only by their results. It is by inference
far less legitimate that those proceed who, like Haeckel, seek in the
forces of Nature themselves an explanation of phenomena which, as we
know them, they are wholly incapable of producing. Instead of arguing
that a cause must therefore exist which is beyond Nature, but whose
character our own experience enables us in some measure, and
analogically, to learn, these philosophers start with the assumption
that no such cause is possible, and then proceed to draw the consequence
that the condition of Nature must once have been totally different from
what it actually is, enabling her forces to produce results which no
experience of any sort indicates as possible.

Those who adopt such an attitude of nescience, and in the proper sense
of the word are termed Agnostics, find themselves compelled accordingly
to leave their system in the air, with no basis more solid than the
elephant and tortoise on which Hindoo astronomers rested the world. They
must ignore the fundamental principle of Causation, from which we
started our present enquiry, and in consequence it is impossible that
their systems should, as Professor Weismann says, satisfy our
intellectual needs.

Others, on the other hand, declare that the Theistic hypothesis must be
dismissed, because a better has been found, Science having discovered
within her own sphere an effectual substitute for the supposed First
Cause. When we enquire what this may be, we are told that it is the "Law
of Substance," or "Evolution," or "Nature" herself, or an "Infinite
Eternal Energy unknown and unknowable," but devoid of intellect and
will--or "Monism," or some other similar abstraction which can represent
no idea at all, unless--as often happens--it be clad in the robes of its
rival, and credited with the very powers and attributes denied to the
First Cause, so as to become practically the same thing under another
and misleading name. Regarding this point there will be more to be said
presently. Here, it will be sufficient to note that this is in truth the
only meaning which can be attached to much of the language of so-called
scientific writers.

     Who [asks Mr. Wollaston][153] is this Nature ... who has such
     tremendous power, and to whose efficiency such marvellous
     performances are ascribed? What are her image and attributes when
     dragged from her wordy lurking-place? Is she aught but a pestilent
     abstraction, like dust cast in our eyes to obscure the workings of
     an intelligent First Cause?

So at the end of his life Clerk-Maxwell characteristically observed,
that he had studied many queer religions and philosophies, but had
found none of them that would work without God concealed somewhere.

Finally, a warning uttered by Lord Rayleigh in the address quoted above
must not be forgotten. After acknowledging that "unfortunately" there
are writers speaking in her name who have set themselves to foster the
prevailing belief that Science necessarily tends towards materialism, he
thus continued:

     It would be easy, however, to lay too much stress upon the opinions
     of even such distinguished workers as these. Men who devote their
     lives to investigation cultivate a love of truth for its own sake,
     and endeavour instinctively to clear up, and not, as is too often
     the object in business and politics, to obscure, a difficult
     question. So far the opinion of a scientific worker may have a
     special value; but I do not think that he has a claim superior to
     that of other educated men, to assume the attitude of a prophet. In
     his heart he knows that underneath the theories that he constructs
     there lie contradictions which he cannot reconcile. The higher
     mysteries of being, if penetrable at all by the human intellect,
     require other weapons than those of calculation and experiment.



An objection is no doubt awaiting us which many consider absolutely
fatal to the argument for purpose or design in nature, as above
presented. That argument, it will be said, rests entirely upon the
assumption that the sole alternative to Purpose is _Chance_, an
assumption which, if not dishonest, betrays ignorance scarcely less
discreditable: for men of science constantly warn us that there is no
such thing as Chance,--that every occurrence in nature, one as much as
another, testifies to the uniformity and regularity of natural
causation,--and that if we speak of any phenomenon being due to Chance,
this term is but a conventional symbol signifying that we do not know
what caused it.

Amongst those who take up this position, which is well-nigh universal,
no better representative need be sought than Professor Huxley, who
treated the point formally, and was manifestly well satisfied with his
performance. We have already heard him declare belief in Chance to be an
absurdity of which none but parsons could be guilty, a class in which he
clearly conceived the low-water-mark of intelligence to be reached. On
another occasion,[154] he set himself expressly to the exposure of what
he described as, "The most singular of the, perhaps immortal, fallacies,
which live on, Tithonus-like, when sense and force have long deserted

     Probably the best answer [he writes] to those who talk of Darwinism
     meaning the reign of "Chance," is to ask them what they themselves
     understand by "Chance." Do they believe that anything in this
     universe happens without reason or without a cause? Do they really
     conceive that any event has no cause, and could not have been
     predicted by any one who had a sufficient insight into the order of
     Nature? If they do, it is they who are the inheritors of antique
     superstition and ignorance, and whose minds have never been
     illumined by a ray of scientific thought.

As an object lesson for his enlightenment, the Professor bids one of
these benighted folk betake himself to the sea-shore on which a heavy
storm is breaking; and having painted a rather elaborate word-picture of
the scene, he thus continues:

     Surely here, if anywhere, he [the unenlightened one] will say that
     chance is supreme, and bend the knee as one who has entered the
     very penetralia of his divinity. But the man of science knows that
     here as everywhere, perfect order is manifested; that there is not
     a curve of the waves, not a note in the howling chorus, not a
     rainbow-glint on a bubble, which is other than a necessary
     consequence of the ascertained laws of nature; and that with a
     sufficient knowledge of the conditions, competent
     physico-mathematical skill could account for, and indeed predict,
     every one of these "chance" events.

This, however, is mere beating of the air, having no bearing whatever
upon the question at issue; and we can only wonder that so able a man as
Huxley could thus absolutely miss the whole point, while remaining
serenely unconscious that he did so. No sane man ever entertained the
foolish notion with which he credits his man of straw. On the contrary,
it is precisely those whom he so heartily despises, that _dis_believe in
Chance, and deny it any share in the making of the world. They neither
regard Chance as a possible cause of phenomena, nor make of it a kind of
deity or fetish, as some appear inclined to do with Science. Their
contention is that according to those who, with Huxley, reject the idea
of intelligent purpose, Chance would needs be introduced as a ruling
element in nature, which would be absurd. Nor in thus arguing do they
introduce any notion so irrational as that of "absolute" Chance, of
events happening without causes. But unquestionably there can be
"relative" Chance. A cause fully sufficient for the production of a
result, may have no tendency whatever to determine or direct this result
to a particular end; and if in such circumstances this end be attained
it is by Chance. In particular, should many independent results of
purely mechanical forces combine to produce a result, as intelligence
would combine them, its production can only be ascribed to Chance.
"Chance" has therefore a very real meaning. It is not a Cause, but the
absence of Cause: not of Cause altogether, but of the _determining_
Cause requisite for the production of certain results. The argument
based upon the impotence of Chance to obtain such results, is precisely
that which the most exact of all the Sciences, Mathematics, accepts and
applies in the Theory of Chances.

The answer to the question which Professor Huxley evidently deems
unanswerable is plain enough. By "Chance" is meant the concurrence,
unguided by Purpose, of independent forces to produce a definite effect.
"Chance" denotes the absence of Purpose, as "Vacuum" denotes the absence
of air; and when it is denied that certain results can come about by
chance, or fortuitously, it is as when we deny that life can be
sustained _in vacuo_. It is no positive feature or action of the vacuum
that we have in mind, for its essence is negative; but just because of
that negative character, experience has taught us, that it cannot fulfil
certain functions. In the same manner the potency of "Chance" is denied,
simply because it is not Purpose.

That there are phenomena for which "Chance" thus defined cannot account
is, surely, obvious. If a man sits down at a piano and plays "God Save
the King," no evidence in the world would persuade Professor Huxley or
any one else, that the performer had never before seen a musical
instrument, nor knew of the existence of such an air or any other, but
just put his fingers on the keys as the spirit moved him. Such a story
would be rightly felt to be absolutely incredible: and yet the notes he
produced--equally with those of the howling chorus of winds and
waves--were the necessary effects of physical causes; given that
particular strings were struck, they could not but follow. The whole
point is, however, that in this case the result is _not_ a howling
chorus, but a melody; not mere formless noise, but an orderly
composition, constructed on definite principles which our mind can
recognize. It is in regard of this particular feature of the result that
Force of itself, as we have seen, explains nothing, and that, if there
is to be any explanation at all, we must know something as to how Force
received the needful Direction or Determination.

It is only in regard of human action that we can, as in the above
instance, find an example of what may be called pure fortuity, for such
action alone can be traced up to an initial cause, namely the exercise
of Will. No one can have a right to call the action of natural forces
fortuitous; on the contrary, we have seen arguments that in the
inorganic world itself purpose must be recognized. But an action
directed by purpose to one result may be quite fortuitous in regard of
another. A man who digging a foundation for a house finds a buried
treasure, discovers this by chance. Although his action was ruled by a
most definite purpose, that purpose was not this. So again when,
according to the old story, certain Phœnician mariners finding no
stones on the sea-shore suitable for the purpose, used blocks of natron
to support their cooking-pots, and so produced glass, they were led to
the discovery by mere chance. And in like manner, however definitely the
forces of matter may be determined each to its own proper end, there are
results which if produced by them must be as purely fortuitous as such
an invention made by men who thought only of preparing their dinner. The
cable which was being laid to America having, in 1865, snapped and sunk
in mid-Atlantic, it was determined in the following year to attempt its
recovery. Meanwhile the shore-end at Valencia was still connected with
the dial-plate, on which messages had been scored between ship and shore
while the cable was intact. A telegraphist was constantly on duty,
watching the needle which was never still, being deflected hither and
thither by the earth-currents, working through the wires. On a sudden,
however, the needle spelled out the letters "Got it," and it was known
with absolute certainty that there was a man at the other end. It is no
doubt perfectly true that each previous movement had been the necessary
consequence of the force applied, just as truly as those which coincided
with the conventions of the telegraphist's alphabet; but win any one say
that such coincidence could conceivably be attributable to the forces of
magnetism alone, however exact to the laws according to which they

It must always be remembered that the question we have to discuss is,
how far Science casts any light upon such questions as the one before
us. And since "Science" is taken to mean knowledge acquired through the
observation of phenomena alone, we have at present to enquire whether
material forces, the only ones of which observation directly tells us
anything, could have produced such effects as we have considered,
otherwise than by mere "Chance"? If they could not, is it imaginable
that they produced these effects at all? And it appears obvious that
unless there be Purpose at the back of Nature, Chance must be
acknowledged as the architect of the universe.

Professor Huxley tells us, it is true, that such an idea could be
entertained by no one whose mind had ever been illumined by a ray of
scientific thought. In face of this it is rather remarkable to find that
the idea was undoubtedly entertained by Mr. Darwin, who took for granted
that to deny Purpose is to affirm Chance.

     I am conscious [he wrote to Asa Gray][155] that I am in an utterly
     hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is
     the result of chance; and yet I cannot look at each separate thing
     as the result of Design.

And again:[156]

     I cannot any how be contented to view this wonderful universe, and
     especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is
     the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as
     resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or
     bad, left to the working out of what we call chance. Not that this
     notion _at all_ satisfies me.

Professor Haeckel too is by no means in accord on this point with his
friend Professor Huxley. He writes:[157]

     One group of philosophers affirms, in accordance with the
     teleological conception, that the whole cosmos is an orderly
     system, in which every phenomenon has its aim and purpose; there is
     no such thing as chance. The other group, holding a mechanical
     theory, expresses itself thus: The development of the universe is a
     monistic mechanical process, in which we discover no aim or purpose
     whatever; what we call design in the organic world is a special
     result of biological agencies; neither in the evolution of the
     heavenly bodies nor in that of the crust of our earth do we find
     any trace of a controlling purpose--all is the result of chance.
     Each party is right--according to its definition of chance. The
     general law of causality, taken in conjunction with the law of
     substance, teaches us that every phenomenon has a mechanical cause;
     in this sense there is no such thing as chance. Yet it is not only
     lawful, but necessary to retain the term for the purpose of
     expressing the simultaneous occurrence of two phenomena, which are
     not causally related to each other, but of which each has its own
     mechanical cause independent of the other. Everybody knows that
     chance, in this monistic sense, plays an important part in the life
     of man and in the universe at large. That, however, does not
     prevent us from recognizing in each "chance" event, as we do in the
     evolution of the entire cosmos, the universal sovereignty of
     nature's supreme law, _the law of substance_.

There is a good deal here which is less clear in the way of argument
than could be wished. The famous _Law of Substance_, as we have seen,
has two articles: The indestructibility of matter, and the conservation
of energy. What light either of these principles may be supposed to shed
on such questions as the adaptation of organs to their functions is by
no means obvious. To say that there is no design in the organic world,
because it is a special result of biological agencies,--is quite of a
piece with the contention which has actually been made, that we can no
longer argue to Design, with Paley, from the analogy of a watch, since
"nearly every part of a watch is now made by inanimate machinery."[158]
Thus much, however, is perfectly clear: the competence of Chance is
recognized to originate a world like ours, and to enable Nature, as
Professor Clifford says, seemingly to answer our questionings with an
intelligence akin to our own.

It would thus appear that when Newton asks,--Was the eye fashioned
without knowledge of the laws of light, or the ear, without knowledge of
those of sound?--we are to answer in the affirmative, and to say that
such organs are but special results of biological agencies, under the
general management of the Law of Substance.

That such a reply cannot with any truth be termed scientific is
plain--for it touches matters which by her own acknowledgment Science
cannot reach;--nor does it seem probable that this kind of talk would
convince anybody, were there nothing more. Undoubtedly those who
persuade themselves that the Order of the Universe can be sufficiently
explained without introducing the idea of purpose or design, are
influenced by other considerations than these.

(1) With some it is the argument, which appears chiefly to have weighed
with Mr. Darwin, who constantly speaks of it as the great obstacle to
that belief in Design which the marvels of the universe would otherwise
necessitate. This he based on certain features in Nature which appeared
to him incompatible with the work of a beneficent Author, mainly the
existence of suffering amongst animals in whose case it cannot be
supposed to subserve any purpose of moral benefit. As he wrote to Asa

     I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should
     wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us.
     There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade
     myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly
     created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their
     feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat
     should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in
     the belief that the eye was expressly designed.

Such a mode of meeting the arguments for Design, though only indirect,
undoubtedly deserves serious consideration, touching as it does the
darkest of all mysteries--the Origin of Evil. It is clear, however, that
in Mr. Darwin's case, and probably in that of many others, its effect
was due in no slight degree to imagination rather than to reason. He
picks out one or two instances of seeming cruelty in Nature, as though
they were something exceptional, and appears to imply that they create
an obstacle to a belief which Nature as a whole almost forces upon him.
In reality, the same sort of thing goes on everywhere. Animal life from
beginning to end is a record of rapine and slaughter, as Tennyson
declared in a verse too trite to bear quotation. The most petted of pet
dogs has no more compunction than a tiger in worrying creatures weaker
than itself, and a robin-redbreast takes far more lives daily than does
a sparrow-hawk. But to draw from these facts such large conclusions--is
quite another matter. Can we imagine that we are qualified by the
fulness of our knowledge to pronounce judgment and declare that there
can be no good end where we fail to perceive one? As Mr. Darwin admits
in the very same passage: "I feel most deeply that the whole subject is
too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on
the mind of Newton."

How much is there in the actions of persons much lowlier than Newton
which to the most intelligent of animals, dogs, elephants, or monkeys,
could they speculate at all, must seem wholly devoid of sense;--as for
instance that men should spend such continual labour in digging and
ploughing. So again, in his famous lecture on Coal, Professor Huxley
depicts what might have been the reflections of a giant reptile of the
Carboniferous Epoch, suggested by the seemingly senseless waste of
nature's powers in the production of the primeval forests, that have
furnished the coal measures, to which so much of our progress and
civilization is directly due.

And, after all, given the universal law of death for all living things,
it would hardly appear that we can assure ourselves that any attendant
circumstance constitutes a greater evil--as Mr. Darwin's argument seems
to assume; and yet, it does not appear ever to have been argued that
there can be no purpose in Nature since no organic life endures for
ever. Most probably, if we knew enough, we should plainly see that
nothing could be more cruel than to have omitted the carnivora from
creation, leaving herbivorous animals to multiply till they starved one
another to death, or at least to perish of senile decay far more
painfully than under the fangs of tigers and wolves. Instances might
moreover be quoted which serve to remind us how impossible it is rightly
to estimate the true character of suffering amongst creatures altogether
different from ourselves. Thus when, as eye-witnesses report, young
scorpions clinging to their mother devour her alive, scientifically
avoiding as long as possible all vital parts and mortal wounds--we are
inclined to consider them monsters of wickedness, and their parent as a
model of motherly devotion, whose sufferings cannot be less horrible
than those of a caterpillar similarly eaten by the ichneumon grub. But
we cannot with any reason impute more moral blame to the young
scorpions, than to the lambkins which draw sustenance from their dams in
another fashion which we find touching and poetical; while as for the
mother--who doubtless treated her own parent in just the same
fashion--she exhibits no symptom to show that she resents her
offsprings' advances, any more than does the ewe, but on the contrary
has her sting ever ready for any one who would interfere with them.

(2) It is a still more common objection to the doctrine of purpose
everywhere in Nature, that such an idea is negatived by the continuity
and uniformity of natural laws, precluding the notion of constant
interference by another, supernatural, Agent. But this objection is
based upon an entire misconception. No one imagines such intervention,
or that purpose guides nature as a pilot guides a ship by repeated
orders to the man at the wheel. Undoubtedly the reign of law in nature
is uninterrupted, but in that law purpose is interwoven as the
controlling element; just as the mind of Homer governs the hand of every
printer who sets up type for a new edition of the _Iliad_.

(3) Finally, there is the argument, already alluded to, that inasmuch as
the most complex structures are daily transmitted under our eyes by
generation, we have evidence that nature can produce them from her own
resources, and by the operation of a merely natural law, such as no one
doubts generation to be.

Such an argument, it is evident, merely begs the question at issue,
offering as it does no explanation, or suggestion, as to how a power so
marvellous was acquired. It would be equally philosophical to argue that
there is nothing wonderful about the genius of a great poet because we
confidently anticipate that it will be exhibited in the next piece he

It is likewise clear that, here again, imagination rather than reason
furnishes the argument. In the first place, were there nothing else, no
explanation whatever would thus be afforded as to how the structures in
question were first produced, before they could be transmitted. And,
secondly, which is still more important, generation--far from furnishing
an explanation of anything--introduces us to mysteries yet more
inscrutable than any we have yet encountered, and to problems which
seem to admit of no possible solution apart from, not only Purpose, but
transcendent Power.

Doubtless the propagation of life is ruled by natural law, but how such
law effects its object we understand immeasurably less than we
understand the flight of birds or butterflies. As a recent writer
reminds us,[160] what is transmitted from parents to offspring "is not a
new form or structure, but only the _potentiality_ of such a new form:
which, in suitable circumstances, builds _itself_ up out of surrounding
inorganic and organic material." As Lord Grimthorpe expresses the same

     If we suppose an apple-tree to have once grown somehow, and to have
     somehow got power to produce seeds, that would not produce any more
     apple-trees, unless the seeds, and all the adjacent atoms that are
     wanted, had the power and the will to combine and grow into another
     apple-tree. The first hen that laid an egg performed a wonderful
     feat enough, but it would have done no good unless the atoms of the
     egg also knew and resolved what to do to turn themselves into a
     chicken. Yet spontaneous evolutionists are in the habit of slurring
     over generation as a thing too "natural," and therefore too easy
     and simple to require explanation.

The continual operation of a law such as this, certainly does not remove
mysteries, nor make it more easy to understand how the order and the
marvels of the universe can rationally be attributed to Chance rather
than to Design, according to "this new philosophy of effects without
causes and laws without a lawgiver."[162] For "fortuitous" means, as
Professor Case has well observed,[163] not the accidental, as opposed to
the regular laws of nature, but the spontaneous necessity of nature, as
opposed to the voluntary designs of intelligence. Nor is it only in the
organic world that we find the need of such a factor to explain
phenomena; for it is throughout more essential than any other force to
account for Nature as we find her--in such a manner as to satisfy the
logical demands of our mind. We learn as little from observation and
experiment as to the fundamental laws of matter,--gravitation, for
instance, which Faraday and Herschel termed "the mystery of mysteries,"
or chemical affinities, or the nature of Ether--as concerning anything
in organic nature; though in the latter we undoubtedly mount to a higher
plane of mysteriousness. And in either case we could learn nothing
whatever,--that is to say, Science would be wholly impossible,--did we
not find natural phenomena respond to our enquiries with what seems an
intelligence akin to our own. And accordingly it appears but
reasonable,--that is to say, truly scientific,--to exclaim as did even
Diderot--"Quoi! le monde formé prouverait moins une intelligence que le
monde expliqué!"



All systems of philosophy that reject the idea of an intelligent First
Cause, which alone is self-existent, and whose being is of a higher
order than that of aught else,--base their denial on the assumption that
no such distinction of nature either exists or is possible,--that there
is but one reality, namely the substance whereof the sensible world
consists,--that this has always existed with the same forces it has now,
and that it is the source of all phenomena. This assumption of the
unreality of whatever is beyond the scope of sense, which has ever been
at the bottom of materialistic systems, is now elaborately formulated as
a creed, declared by Professor Haeckel and his following to be the only
creed which science can tolerate. This is termed _Monism_,--from the
Greek Μὁνος, "single," and is opposed to _Dualism_, or the
doctrine that there are two orders of being, or two distinct substances,
material and spiritual.[164]

According to monistic teaching, therefore, there exists but one _Thing_,
that which we usually call Matter, but might equally well call
Mind,--for all phenomena whatever, whether mental or material, are but
various shapes which it assumes, exhibiting diverse aspects of itself.
Thus all the objects which appear to have a being of their own,--as the
globe we inhabit, the furniture of earth and heaven, we ourselves,--are
but the forms momentarily assumed by this protean entity in its
ceaseless transfigurations, and have no more existence of their own than
the ripples on a pool of water or the faces we see in the fire. It
follows that when the particular phase of this basic substance is ended
which brings us into being, (or rather which we _are_,) we like
everything else, sink into blank nothing,--so that the mighty dead whom
nations honour, or the loved ones whose memory we cherish, are blotted
out of existence as utterly as the days and nights which made up the
span of their lives. But amongst its permutations and combinations this
solitary reality can produce the phenomena which we call thought, just
as much as those which we call motion, and accordingly the _Aeneid_ or
_Hamlet_ is its work, a mechanical product of evolution, no less than a
seam of coal, or an eclipse of the moon.

Such, in outline, is the philosophical system which commends itself, as
Professor Haeckel assures us,[165] to all men of science, who combine
the necessary conditions, of scientific knowledge, mental acumen, moral
courage, and intellectual independence. It may be rightly described as
materialistic pantheism; for while, according to it, everything is
equally divine, in the only sense in which anything can be so,
everything is likewise equally material, as falling under the category
of what we know as matter, and within the direct cognizance of physical

Accurately to sketch a doctrine such as this is a task of no slight
difficulty. It undoubtedly contradicts the instinctive teaching of our
consciousness, so that, as Professor Haeckel admits[166] in the
primitive stages of both religion and philosophy Monism is unknown.
Moreover, even those who most loudly profess it, have by no means as yet
succeeded in realizing their own system, and after having from time to
time formally enunciated its articles, proceed forthwith to ignore them,
and in the staple of their discourse speak like other men in terms which
have no meaning if the tenets of their creed have any. As a natural
result their exposition of monistic doctrine is not very easy of
apprehension, but it seems to be not unfairly reflected in the above

Professor Haeckel himself thus expounds "that unifying conception of
nature as a whole which we designate in a single word as Monism."[167]

     By this we unambiguously express our conviction that there lives
     "one spirit in all things," and that the whole cognizable world is
     constituted, and has been developed, in accordance with one common
     fundamental law. We emphasize by it, in particular, the essential
     unity of inorganic and organic nature, the latter having been
     evolved from the former only at a comparatively late period. We
     cannot draw a sharp line of distinction between these two great
     divisions of nature, any more than we can recognize an absolute
     distinction between the animal and the vegetable kingdom, or
     between the lower animals and man. Similarly, we regard the whole
     of human knowledge as a structural unity; in this sphere we refuse
     to accept the distinction usually drawn between the natural and the
     spiritual. The latter is only a part of the former (or _vice
     versâ_); both are one. Our monistic view of the world belongs,
     therefore, to that group of philosophical systems which from other
     points of view have been designated also as mechanical or as

More concisely and clearly, Professor Romanes tells us:[168]

     Mental phenomena and physical phenomena, although apparently
     diverse, are really identical.

And in a work recently issued for the express purpose of expounding and
diffusing the new gospel, we read:[169]

     Just as the same particles of matter may at one time form parts of
     a rose, and at another time parts of a mushroom, so the same force
     may at one time strike a church as lightning, and at another time
     may be the mother-love that rocks the cradle.

If such conceptions are not easy to grasp, there can be no doubt as to
the practical conclusions to which they lead. We have already heard from
Professor Haeckel that human freedom is an utter delusion. We have
likewise seen that the only term in prospect is utter annihilation,
which Professor Haeckel endeavours to persuade us is the consummation we
ought to wish.

"The best we can desire," he says,[170] "after a courageous life, spent
in doing good according to our light, is the eternal peace of the grave.
'Lord give them an eternal rest.'"

It is evident however that in order to secure such a reward it is not
necessary to show any courage, or attempt any sort of good-work, for
according to him it equally awaits the most selfish and abandoned


     At our death there disappears only the individual form in which the
     nerve-substance was fashioned, and the personal "soul" which
     represented the work performed by this. The complicated chemical
     combinations of that nervous mass pass over into other
     combinations--by decomposition, and the kinetic energy produced by
     them is transformed into other forms of nature.

      Imperial Cæsar, dead and turned to clay,
      Might stop a hole to keep the wind away, etc.--

       *       *       *       *       *

which lines others besides Haeckel are fond of quoting on this subject
as if they had any possible connexion with it. It would be more to the
point, and far more interesting, were some indication afforded of the
chemical equivalent of the qualities which made Cæsar imperial, or those
which distinguished the author of the above lines from the bards of our
Music Halls. That, when a man is no more, his material part may serve
various material purposes, is no more than was known to the first savage
who made a drum with his enemy's skin, or used his skull for a

As has been said, the Monistic philosophy claims to be above all things
scientific, and upon this ground are we bidden to accept it. But what is
the meaning of this claim? The one argument, apart from mere assertion,
brought to show that spirit is not distinct from matter, is drawn from
the part undoubtedly played by the brain in the process of thought,
though we see far less in this, as in other connexions, than the
assertions made by unscientific writers might lead us to imagine. But
when all this is most fully acknowledged can it be said that the state
of the question is changed from what it was? To listen to Monists, it
might be supposed that the intimate connexion between soul and body is
a new discovery, undreamt of in former ages,--and that we have now
arrived at a demonstration that it is our material part that actually
does our thinking. But, as a matter of fact, like other fundamental
questions, this is exactly as it has ever been, and so far as Science is
concerned, we are just as much in the dark respecting it as men ever
were. Though the philosophers of former days were unaware of all the
departmental details of brain activity, they understood as well as we do
the essential point, that in our composite nature soul and body form
_one_ being, whose every operation is of mixed character like itself.
The soul alone is the intelligent principle, yet all objects of
knowledge must come to it through sense, and in the senses it can be
reached only by the mechanical media of light, or sound, or touch. So
firm was their grip of this principle that the Schoolmen styled the soul
the "substantial form" of the body, and in their mouth this term
expressed a union more essential and intimate than modern philosophers
can perhaps imagine.

And, on the other hand, have all the results of modern research brought
anything to light which tends to show that matter can by any possibility
_think_? We are assured on the contrary, upon unimpeachable authority,
that however we may succeed in tracing the mechanical processes of
sensation to their furthest limit, it remains absolutely inconceivable
to us how the gulf is crossed that lies between this and rational
perception. So Professor Tyndall tells us:[172]

     The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding
     facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite
     thought and a definite molecular action in the brain occur
     simultaneously, we do not possess the intellectual organ, nor
     apparently any rudiments of an organ, which would enable us to pass
     by a process of reasoning from one to the other. They appear
     together, but we do not know why. Were our minds and senses so
     expanded as to enable us to see and feel the very molecules of the
     brain, were we capable of following all their motions, all their
     groupings and electrical discharges, if such there be, and were we
     intimately acquainted with the corresponding states of thought and
     feeling, we should be as far as ever from the solution of the
     problem--"How are these physical processes connected with the facts
     of consciousness?" The chasm between the two classes remains still
     intellectually impassable.

With these views Professor Huxley[173] expresses his agreement, and
although he contrives to confuse the issue very considerably, as is not
unusual when he undertakes to philosophize, he lays down in the clearest
possible terms that nothing whatever is _known_ as to the connexion of
mechanical processes with thought, whence it follows that on this point
Science has nothing to tell us.

"I really know nothing whatever [he writes] and never hope to know
anything, of the steps by which the passage from molecular movement to
states of consciousness is effected."

It should be needless to repeat that if nothing is known regarding all
this, it is mere charlatanism to pretend that Science tells us anything
about it, and those who make such assertions use words to which no
meaning can attach. Unfortunately such a practice is far from uncommon
in connexion with these questions. What sense can there be conceivable
in the well-known materialistic doctrine that the brain secretes
thought, just as the proper organs secrete bile or saliva? Bile and
saliva are material substances, with a definite chemical constitution,
each adapted to one definite function. But, Thought! It would be as
intelligible to talk of secreting the British Constitution, the Steam
Engine, and the Differential Calculus.

So much for the sole basis of Monistic argument. When we turn to some
other considerations it certainly becomes no easier to understand the
claim of Monism to be scientific. In the first place, as we have seen,
in order to furnish the system with any semblance of truth, it has been
found necessary to attribute to the ultimate elements of matter
qualities which all our experience denies them; for Professor Haeckel
has told us that "the two fundamental forms of substance, ponderable
matter and ether, are not dead, and only moved by extrinsic force, but
they are endowed with sensation and will." Of such attributes, and that
of self-mobility, it is unnecessary to add anything to what has been
said already. Assuredly nothing can look less like the great ultimate
reality, of whose ceaseless metamorphoses, we are but a flitting phase,
than the material substances with which we can do what we like,
investigating their laws, exploring their constitution, and setting them
tasks which we know exactly how they will accomplish.

Another point in the same connexion is no less important. What is this
one _Thing_, this Ultimate and Solitary Self-existent Reality, from
which Monism takes its title? Professor Haeckel has told us of two
fundamental forms of substance,--ponderable matter and ether. These he
evidently supposes, as his creed requires, to be radically the same: but
what right has he to take such a supposition for a fact? and unless this
unity be a fact, what becomes of Monism? What has Science ever
discovered that can justify any one in speaking of Ether and Matter as
one and the same? How, then, can a theory that assumes their identity be
termed "scientific?"

Or, leaving Ether alone, "that half-discovered entity," as Lord
Salisbury styled it on a famous occasion, and restricting our attention
to ponderable matter, concerning which we know a little more,--how can
even this be spoken of as "One"? As we have seen already it is only by a
figure of speech that the term "Matter" can be used at all. It stands
not for a single thing, but for countless millions and billions of
atoms, dispersed through space, some of one kind some of another, no one
of which can be imagined to owe its existence or its properties to any
other. To say that matter is self-existent is to say that every several
atom is self-existent. If this be so, and if this be the ultimate
Reality,--then there are as many first principles, or first causes, as
there are atoms. Yet none of these could do anything to the purpose
towards the evolution of anything, without the concurrence of a
multitude of others, nor would such concurrence be possible but for the
reign of law, which none of them can have instituted, but to which all
alike are subject. Were matter the great reality, even matter composed
of "animated atoms," the term _Monism_ would be sadly out of keeping,
and should yield its place to _Myriadism_. If, on the other hand, there
_is_ a unifying principle amid such diversity, this it must be which can
control and direct all to one end.

It is undoubtedly hard to understand how the First Principle of all
things can be supposed to consist of Atoms, but this is one of the
perplexities in which monistic doctrines abound. That atoms _are_, so
far as we know, the ultimate constituents of the Fundamental Reality,
Professor Haeckel admits. It is true, he adds, that our knowledge of
these ultimate elements is still far from satisfying, and he likewise
anticipates that atoms will someday be discovered not really to be
ultimate, but forms of something, more primal still.

     Although [he says][174] Monism is on the one hand for us an
     indispensable and fundamental conception in science, and although,
     on the other hand, it strives to carry back all phenomena, without
     exception, to the mechanism of the atom, we must nevertheless still
     admit that as yet we are by no means in a position to form any
     satisfactory conception of the exact nature of these atoms, and
     their relation to the general space-filling, universal ether.
     Chemistry long ago succeeded in reducing all the various natural
     substances to combinations of a relatively small number of
     elements; and the most recent advances of that science have made it
     in the highest degree probable that these elements ... are
     themselves in turn only different combinations of a varying number
     of atoms of one single original element. But in all this we have
     not as yet obtained any further light as to the real nature of
     these original atoms or their primal energies.

From which it is clear, that, while the considerations above presented
lose none of their force, the Monistic system, by the avowal of its
chief apostle, is based on complete ignorance concerning all which could
furnish it with a foundation.

But by far the most serious consideration yet remains. If, according to
Monistic teaching men are but bubbles on the surface of reality, and are
inevitably carried as it wills,--there is an end of all distinction
between good and evil, right and wrong, merit and guilt. One man, or one
line of conduct, is as good, or as bad, as another, being all equally
the products of Evolution, and aspects of the great Monistic
principle;--"Jack the Ripper," and Socrates, Messalina and Queen
Victoria, Chief Justice Scroggs and Sir Thomas More, are none of them in
any possible sense one whit better or worse than the others,--inasmuch
as they all did but act as puppets actuated by one and the same
original, playing its own part in them all.

And in like manner as regards Truth. It must follow that a man's
beliefs, like his actions, are as much beyond his own control as his
stature or the colour of his hair. If Professor Haeckel calls Monism
supreme wisdom, and I call it nonsense, we are equally right, for each
is the mouthpiece of the same one all-embracing first-principle. What
each believes is the only thing possible for him to believe, and, so far
as he is concerned, is the only truth.

But here comes in a perplexity. If such be the case, if there be no
Free-will, and no possibility whatever of doing or believing anything
but what is predetermined for us as a necessary part of our
being,--where is the sense of all the strenuous efforts that are being
made to convert the people to a belief which, according to its own
principles, nothing in the world can make them accept, unless nothing in
the world can prevent them from accepting it? What again is the meaning
of organizations, such as we hear of, for giving ethical instruction to
the young on a Monistic and determinist basis? What can be the possible
sense of giving ethical lectures to young people, if it is really
believed that the course of each is marked out for him more rigorously
than the path of a city omnibus? "If" said Professor Paul Darnley in Mr.
Mallock's clever satire,--"If we would be solemn, and high, and happy,
and heroic, and saintly, we have but to strive and struggle to do what
we cannot for an instant avoid doing,"--namely, conform to the laws of
matter. If Monists were to limit their aspirations to this, their
teaching would at least be intelligible. It ceases to be so, when they
feel compelled to graft on their Monistic stock the Dualistic notions of
Right and Wrong, Truth and Error. But, as Dr. Johnson said respecting
Free-will, no one ever believes the arguments on the other side, however
loudly he may profess to do so. And in the same way it is quite clear
that no Monist can get himself really to accept Monism.[175]



We have now considered the question of Evolution in the larger and more
fundamental signification of the term to which, as we noted at starting,
very different meanings are attached; and at this stage of our
discussion it will be convenient to sum up the main conclusions at which
we have arrived.

It is, in the first place, unwarrantable to pretend that the discoveries
of modern Science, brilliant and marvellous as they undoubtedly are,
have thrown any light upon the origin of the Material Universe, or of
its forces, or of the laws according to which its operations proceed.
Nor has Science anything to tell as to the origin of life, of sensation,
or of reason. Nothing as yet discovered by her, or which she can discern
any prospect of discovering, adds aught to our knowledge regarding such
points as these.

Therefore, to say that the doctrine of Evolution as affirmed by Science,
explains the existence of the world we know, is untrue and unscientific.

Moreover, we have seen that, as a factor without which the Order of
Nature is unintelligible, the First Cause to which her existence is
owing must be possessed of Intelligence, determining her processes
according to its purposes. Hence it follows that no system of philosophy
satisfies our reason which would find the ultimate explanation of all
things in the forces of matter themselves which it is the province of
Science to investigate.

On the other hand, in maintaining that Purpose must needs have acted, we
do not assume to pronounce as to the manner of its action. To say that
Purpose rules every detail in the making or development of the universe,
does not by any means signify that it interferes at every step with the
laws of Nature. Rather, these laws are the expression of Purpose,--its
machinery to secure its designed result. Assuming, for instance, the
primeval existence of Professor Huxley's cosmic nebula, so constituted
that the actual world was bound naturally to issue from it, as does a
chicken from an egg, or an oak from an acorn,--while we find it
inconceivable that such a piece of mechanism should originate without an
intelligence to design it,--we have no difficulty in supposing that
intelligence to have exhibited itself once for all at the first
beginning, and to have fashioned the actual world by shaping the causes
or conditions by which it was to be produced, thus making everything,
not directly and immediately but as St. Augustine held "_causaliter et

       *       *       *       *       *

There remains for consideration Evolution in its narrower sense, in
which its operations are restricted to organic nature, such Evolution
being commonly, but incorrectly, identified with "Darwinism." Understood
thus, "Evolution" signifies no more than that the various species of
animals and plants have descended _genetically_ one from another,
through a graduated series of intermediate forms which link them
together. _Darwinism_ is one particular mode of explaining how such
transformations may be accounted for,--namely, by what is known as
"Natural Selection." The theory of Evolution, as thus concerned with
Organic life in particular, is compendiously described as
"Transformism," under which head Darwinism is evidently included.

Transformism makes no pretence to account for the origin of life,
whether animal or vegetable. Living things must exist before any
question arises as to their transmutation. But, given the existence of
life, Transformists undertake in the first place to show that Organic
Evolution has, as a matter of fact, occurred, and is still in process of
occurrence; and secondly, to exhibit the manner in which this process is
actually worked out. As to the first point, all Transformists, whether
Darwinians or others, are necessarily at one, for the fact of Evolution
is equally essential for every explanation of its method. It is when
they come to explain in what manner evolutionary transformations have
been wrought that Transformists divide themselves into various schools,
each of which relies upon some particular factor to furnish the required
explanation. Thus besides Darwinians pure and simple, there are
neo-Darwinians, Lamarckians, neo-Lamarckians, Weismannists, and others,
ascribing the results to physiological selection, sexual-selection, or
other forces, rather than natural selection. Of such systems, however,
excepting only Darwinism, it will be unnecessary to speak in particular.
The great fundamental question is whether genetic Evolution be really
established as a fact,--which, as has been said, equally affects them
all--and if it be advisable to treat more in detail of Darwinism, it is
not because this does not hold good of it as of the rest--but because
this particular system has obtained such a position, is so much in the
mouths of men, and has been made the basis of so many and such
far-reaching consequences, that it is impossible to pass it by.

Much the same may indeed be said even of the assumed fact of Organic
Evolution underlying all Transformist theories. This does not affect the
fundamental problems with which we are concerned, and leaving untouched,
as it does, the question of the origin of Life it makes even less
pretence than the cosmic-nebular hypothesis just spoken of to trace the
operations of Nature to their ultimate source. It might therefore appear
superfluous to devote to it so much attention as, if treated at all, it
must needs demand.

But, whatever may thus appear from the point of view of strict logic, it
is abundantly evident that in common estimation the assumed fact of
Organic transformation is the foundation-stone of Evolutionary systems
of every kind. And not unnaturally; for here at last we have something
with which Science can deal, strictly according to her own methods. If
she knows, and can know, nothing from actual observation concerning the
first beginnings of matter, of the cosmic nebula, or of life, it is
quite otherwise with the history of living things since they first
appeared, and with the phenomena of life as it exists and is propagated.
Here are questions which are strictly scientific, forming the
subject-matter of Palæontology and Biology, and these Sciences
supplemented by others, such as Geology, Physical Geography, and
Astronomy, furnish a mass of evidence bearing upon the subject of
Organic Evolution. When therefore the great majority of men of Science,
declare that the fact of genetic Transformism is established beyond the
possibility of doubt, Evolutionists find themselves supplied with a
plausible foothold on which to stand and rest their fulcrum, while, like
Archimedes, they proceed to move the world.

That men of Science generally thus agree, cannot be questioned, and
although this agreement is by no means so universal as is popularly
supposed, there is no doubt that were the question to be settled by
enumeration of the authorities on either side, Transformism would win
easily. It may also be freely acknowledged, that Transformism in general
and Darwinism in particular are theories to which on _à priori_ grounds
no exception need be taken, and that, so far at least as concerns their
general scope, apart from the origin of Man, no one can reasonably
start with a prepossession against them. Nay, we will go farther, and
say that to our way of thinking it appears immensely more probable, that
things should always have gone on as they go on now, by the operation of
the same natural laws, and that specific forms should have been
naturally produced, as individuals of a species are produced now, by
generation,--rather than that not only repeated acts of specific
creation, but any operations totally different from those we witness,
should have occurred to interrupt, and as we should judge, to mar, the
Law of Continuity.

All this is true. But we are engaged on a scientific enquiry,--and if
there be one principle more than another upon which Science insists, it
is that we should prove all things, not by authority, but by
evidence,--and that we should seek evidence, not in pre-conceived ideas
as to what should be, but in observation of what is. Accordingly, while
we are most ready to accept Transformism or Darwinism should we find
solid reasons for doing so, we are bound, for the sake of Science, to
demand unimpeachable proofs before subscribing to doctrines which are
made responsible for so much.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before proceeding farther it will be necessary to exhibit more in detail
the exact character of the question we have to discuss.

According to the celebrated "Formula" of Mr. Herbert Spencer--"Evolution
is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion;
during which the matter passes from a relatively indefinite, incoherent
homogeneity, to a relatively definite, coherent heterogeneity; and
during which the contained motion undergoes a parallel transformation."
It would be interesting to know what idea this definition conveys to
many of those who are in the habit of quoting it, but, so far as organic
Evolution is concerned, it must mean that whereas in the earlier and
lower forms of life one organ performed many different functions in an
imperfect manner, evolutionary development has gradually produced higher
forms, in which each function has its special organ, by which it is more
perfectly discharged. As an extreme instance of the former condition,
the Hydra has but two organs, an outside which respires, and an inside
which digests. If it be turned inside out these functions are reversed;
the skin becoming the stomach, and the stomach the skin. Thus Evolution
has been an ascending process from the lower to the higher, from the
less to the more organized.

Such, it must be added, has undoubtedly been the course of life. Amongst
plants and animals alike, it began with lower and simpler forms, after
which succeeded in due order others more developed and elaborately
organized, the order in which they came upon the scene being much the
same as that in which we should naturally arrange their specimens in a
museum. Thus in the vegetable kingdom, first came such growths as
sea-weeds and fungi, followed by ferns and club-mosses,--yews and
pines,--and so through grasses, canes, and palms, to the highest group
in which are included our forest trees and the bulk of our garden
flowers. In like manner, the animal series,--to mention only leading
groups of which evidence is found,--starting with almost structureless
_Protozoa_, followed by such forms as starfish and sponges, worms,
molluscs and crustaceans, has advanced to vertebrate creatures--fishes,
amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals,--and finally to man.

Thus, in a quite intelligible sense, there has certainly been Evolution,
or development,--that is to say, an orderly progression from lower types
to higher, throughout the history of life on earth, from its
commencement to the present time. But, this is not the point. Was such
Evolution or development _genetic_? Was it wrought by descent with
modification of form from form? _That_ is what we have to enquire. If
this has not been so, there has been no Evolution in the sense intended
by Evolutionists.

According to their highest authority, Mr. Herbert Spencer, Evolution
means "the production of all organic forms by the accumulation of
modifications and of divergences by the addition of differences to

     Beyond all question [he adds] unlikenesses of structure gradually
     arise among the members of successive generations. We find that
     there is going on a modifying process of the kind alleged as the
     source of specific differences, a process which, though slow, does,
     in time, produce changes--a process which to all appearance would
     produce in millions of years any amount of changes.[176]

The Transformist doctrine is, therefore, that one species of plants or
animals, has in natural course grown out of another, through the
aggregation of changes each exceedingly minute. Darwinism adds that the
ruling principle of this process is Natural Selection. These are the
points on which our enquiry turns, and we may conveniently commence with
the second.



It must first be observed that special consideration of Mr. Darwin's
theory is rendered necessary even more imperatively on account of the
claims advanced on his behalf by others, than of those to which he
himself made any pretence. Without question the idea prevails almost
universally, that he has furnished a scientific explanation of all
organic phenomena through the operation of purely natural laws, and has
thus rendered obsolete the idea that any power beyond Nature is required
in order to account for the totality of things, or that there are any
features of the world which indicate the operation of intelligent

That such ideas should be widely prevalent amongst those who, having no
special acquaintance with the subject, must depend for their knowledge
on the popularizers of Science, is scarcely wonderful, for such
teachers, with scarcely an exception, so declare, and occasionally real
men of Science lend the weight of their authority to similar

It will be sufficient to cite Professor Haeckel, who writes thus:[177]

     It seemed to Kant so impossible to explain the orderly processes in
     the living organism without postulating super-natural final causes
     (that is, a purposive creative force) that he said, "It is quite
     certain that we cannot even satisfactorily understand, much less
     elucidate, the nature of an organism and its internal faculty on
     purely mechanical natural principles--it is so certain, indeed,
     that we may confidently say: It is absurd for a man even to
     conceive the idea that some day a Newton will arise who can explain
     the origin of a single blade of grass by natural laws uncontrolled
     by design. Such a hope is entirely forbidden us." Seventy years
     afterwards this impossible Newton of the organic world appeared in
     the person of Charles Darwin, and achieved the great task that Kant
     had deemed impracticable.

It is quite impossible to understand how such an assertion can be made
by any one who knows the facts. Not only did Mr. Darwin never profess to
have achieved any thing of the kind,--he repeatedly and distinctly
disclaimed and repudiated any such supposition. Thus at the very end of
his life (August 28, 1881) he wrote concerning one who had spoken of him
like Professor Haeckel:

     He implies that my views explain the universe; but it is a most
     monstrous exaggeration. The more one thinks, the more one feels
     the hopeless immensity of man's ignorance. If we consider the whole
     universe, the mind refuses to look at it as the outcome of
     chance.[178] The whole question seems to me insoluble.

But it should not be necessary to appeal to such disclaimers in order to
show how absolutely unwarrantable are the pretensions made on Mr.
Darwin's behalf to have solved, or to have attempted to solve, the
fundamental problems which scientific research unceasingly suggests but
has never been able to elucidate. It should be quite sufficient to
examine his theory as it actually is, and although its scope is
immensely less ambitious than has been represented, it still occupies,
even in its genuine form, a position of sufficient importance to
challenge investigation.

Mr. Darwin's famous and epoch-making book, published in November, 1859,
was entitled _On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection,
or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life_. In it
he undertook to show how from one species[179] of animals or plants,
another, quite distinct from it, may be derived by means of processes
which go on in Nature every day, through the accumulation of minute
differences occurring in successive generations, and guided to their
collective result by the force of "Natural Selection." As man, he
argues, has by means of selection been able to produce in a brief space
such astonishing varieties among his domestic animals and plants--as
dogs, pigeons, roses or apples,--Nature, with the practically unlimited
ages of geological time at her disposal, must be able to produce far
greater and more enduring transformations, through the accumulation of
minute differences, such as those upon which man has worked,--if only a
factor can be found which amid the infinity of diverse and discordant
variations spontaneously occurring, could, like the breeder or the
gardener, pick out those leading to one particular result, and thus
secure its accomplishment. Such a force Mr. Darwin conceives is found in
"Natural Selection," which he thus explains.

The tendency of organic life, whether vegetable or animal, being to
propagate itself enormously,--and the life-sustaining capacity of the
earth being limited,--it necessarily follows that only a fraction of the
creatures which are born can survive to maturity, and that while those
best fitted to live will live, those less well fitted will die. Thus,
there is set up a constant struggle for existence, in which every
advantage, however slight, must tell, so that those possessing such
advantages in one generation will be the parents of the next. But in the
course of propagation, the offspring never exactly reproduce the parent
form, from which they vary, some in one way some in another, and as some
of these variations cannot help being advantageous to their possessors
in the struggle, we have here the required factor for the production of
new forms. Any thus beneficially equipped, (although the variation, and
consequently the advantage, must in each instance be exceedingly
slight,) will have the chances on their side against their less favoured
fellows, whom in the long run they will supplant. And as their
offspring, or some of them, will carry the profitable variation somewhat
further, the stream of life will thus be set in such a direction as will
ultimately bring about what might at first appear impossible

Thus, to take a simple and favourite illustration,[180] winged insects
inhabiting an island far from other land, are liable to be blown out to
sea and drowned. It is in consequence, an advantage to them to have
their power of flight curtailed, or taken away, and consequently in such
situations their wings are generally found to be so reduced as to permit
little or even nothing in the way of flying. Or to take an example of
another kind,[181] the extraordinary length of neck which characterizes
the giraffe enables it to browse on the higher branches of trees
inaccessible to other vegetable feeders, and thus gives it an advantage
over them in times of drought and scarcity of fodder. It can accordingly
be easily understood, how its present structure has resulted from
gradual elongations of the neck, each conferring on its possessor a
slight advantage.

The work attributed to Natural Selection in such instances, though no
doubt highly important, is comparatively facile, and it would be
difficult to say that it could not be accomplished. But Mr. Darwin
ascribes to the same factor, not merely such modification of existing
structures, but the creation of entirely new mechanisms for specific
purposes. We have, for instance, heard his description of the eye and
its manifold "inimitable contrivances:" yet all these, he persuaded
himself, might be thus accounted for. The idea, he confessed,[182] seems
at first sight preposterous; yet, though not without much
difficulty,[183] he succeeded in convincing himself, that given the
rudest and most rudimentary form of eye to start with--no more than a
nerve sensitive to light but incapable of forming an image--Natural
Selection might develop therefrom, through an infinite series of
gradations the inconceivably complex machine that is now found in the
higher vertebrates,[184] and the totally different but equally
marvellous organs of sight possessed by insects, crustaceans, and other

In like manner, Mr. Darwin contended, might the most complex and
wonderful instincts be generated. As an example may be cited that by
which the hive-bee constructs its combs--of which he thus speaks:[185]

     He must be a dull man who can examine the exquisite structure of a
     comb, so beautifully adapted to its end, without enthusiastic
     admiration. We hear from mathematicians that bees have practically
     solved a recondite problem, and have made their cells of the proper
     shape to hold the greatest possible amount of honey, with the least
     possible consumption of precious wax in their construction. It has
     been remarked that a skilful workman with fitting tools and
     measures, would find it very difficult to make cells of wax of the
     true form, though this is perfectly effected by a crowd of bees
     working in a dark hive.[186] Granting whatever instincts you
     please, it seems at first sight quite inconceivable how they can
     make all the necessary angles and planes, or even perceive when
     they are correctly made. But the difficulty is not nearly so great
     as it at first appears: all this beautiful work can be shown, I
     think, to follow from a few simple instincts.

He accordingly proceeds to argue, that beginning with circular cells,
like those of Humble Bees, and progressing through an intermediate form,
circular where free, but with flat partition walls where two or more
cells touch one another, it is quite possible to suppose that Natural
Selection has effected the whole improvement, those insects which
accomplished any advance towards more scientific workmanship, and thus
made materials go further, having been able to secure a livelihood
better than their competitors.

Such in brief outline is the Darwinian system, which undertakes to
account for all the alleged facts of Organic Evolution by means of the
above factor, variously described as "Natural Selection," or the
"Survival of the fittest in the Struggle for Existence." It should be
remembered, though it is constantly forgotten, that it is this
particular theory as to the working-cause of evolutionary
transformations which is the essence of Darwinism. Mr. Darwin did not
originate the idea of genetic transformism, which is almost necessarily
suggested by the systematic development of life-forms to which Geology
bears witness. Consequently, long before he came on the scene, the
doctrine of transformation had been propounded, especially by Lamarck,
and if it had met with no general acceptance, this was chiefly because
no force was indicated which seemed to offer a satisfactory account of
the mode in which the required changes could have been wrought. Such a
force Mr. Darwin's "Natural Selection" was widely taken to furnish, and
his theory was eagerly welcomed and adopted by those who only required
such a basis on which to ground beliefs to which they were already
predisposed, and Darwinism thus obtained that pre-eminent position
which it still retains, at least in popular estimation.

Two special arguments may here be mentioned, which, although they really
apply to all systems of Organic Evolution, have obtained a prescriptive
right to be quoted particularly in favour of Darwinism, their bearing on
which is easily seen.

The first is based on the frequent occurrence of "rudimentary,"
"fragmentary," or "vestigial" structures in animals and plants, which,
although now seemingly useless, or even harmful, to their possessors,
may be assumed to have been of service to their ancestors, but under
changed conditions to have been thrown out of work by Natural Selection,
and atrophied by disuse. Such are--the splint-bones of the horse,
representing lost digits,--the rudimentary legs of some whales and
serpents,--the _mammae_ and mammary glands of male mammals; and in the
vegetable kingdom,--the aborted pistil in male florets of some
_compositae_,--the useless corolla of certain wind-fertilized flowers,
as _plantago_, and indeed the whole floral apparatus of plants which,
like Wordsworth's pet the Lesser Celandine,[187] seldom ripen their
seeds, but depend on other methods of propagation. The other fact cited
on behalf of Darwinism is unquestionably very striking. In the course of
their embryonic development, and even in the initial stages of their
life after birth, higher animals pass through various phases in which
they exhibit the characteristics of lower forms. Thus all life starts
from a cell, in which there is nothing to shew whether it is ever to be
anything more than a cell, or is to evolve a plant or animal,--nor, in
this latter case, what sort of animal it is to be--a mollusc, for
instance, a frog, or a mammal. At a later stage[188] it is impossible to
distinguish the embryos of lizards, birds, and mammals except by size.
Even the human fetus at an early period bears vestiges of gill-clefts or
arches, pointing to an aquatic existence. When the extremities come to
be developed,[189] "The feet of lizards and mammals, the wings and feet
of birds, no less than the hands and feet of man, all arise from the
same fundamental form." The young of flat-fish such as soles and
turbots, when they leave the egg are not flat, but shaped like ordinary
fish, and they wear their eyes in the normal fashion, one on each side
of their head, not both on the same side like their parents--whose form
however they presently by degrees assume. Young lions and black birds
are spotted, showing their affinity respectively to panthers and
thrushes--and so on in numberless instances. All such features, it is
assumed, indicate the _phylogeny_ of each animal, or the history of the
race to which it belongs. As Professor Milnes Marshall succinctly put
the matter:[190]

     The phases through which an animal passes in its progress from the
     egg to the adult are no accidental freaks, no mere matters of
     developmental convenience, but represent more or less closely ...
     the successive ancestral stages through which the present condition
     has been acquired. Evolution tells us that each animal has had a
     pedigree in the past. Embryology reveals to us this ancestry,
     because every animal in its own development repeats this history,
     climbs up its own genealogical tree.

Such are not by any means the only instances in which the Darwinist can
appeal to Nature for facts with which his theory well agrees, and which
therefore so far furnish a persuasive argument in its favour; but these
are perhaps the chief ones, and the best known, and may serve as
representative of their class which it is impossible for us to examine
in detail.

It now remains to enquire how far, from the point of view of Science,
with which alone we are concerned, the Darwinian hypothesis can make
good its claim to our acceptance. When we proceed accordingly to examine
the grounds upon which it rests, it must be confessed that as we do so
it becomes increasingly difficult to understand how such a theory has
been able to obtain such wide acceptance, especially on the ground that
scientific evidence is in its favour.

On the very threshold of any such enquiry lies a difficulty the gravity
of which seems to be strangely overlooked. Darwinism by its own
confession knows nothing of Origins, not even of the Origin of Species
itself. There must be life already existing before Natural Selection has
anything to select; there must be eyes and honey-cells of some kind,
before they can be improved; there must be Species, before one can be
transformed into another. Is it not evident, however, that the cause--of
whatever kind it may be--which brought any of these into being, must
have _something_,--not to say everything,--to do with the capacities and
potentialities by which its future history is conditioned? But this
supreme and vital factor Mr. Darwin entirely eliminates from his
calculation. In his system, the initiating force has no more to do with
the subsequent career of its productions, than has the gas which lifts a
balloon with the direction in which it travels. It is not, on his
theory, as the impulse which, besides raising from earth an arrow or
rifle bullet, directs it to a goal, but, on the contrary, an organism
once launched on its course is left to be driven hither and thither and
twisted into this form and that, as clouds are by the wind. For the
variations through which transformations are wrought, Darwin could find
no better epithet than "fortuitous," and it is laid down by his
staunchest disciples that if such variations be predetermined towards
certain results, there is an end of Darwinism.

It is not easy to understand how any theory can be deemed satisfactory
which thus ignores the initial force, of whose existence and potency we
have far clearer evidence than of any other.

When we turn from its omissions to study Darwinism as it is, obviously,
in the first place, still, more than forty years since it was given to
the world, it remains only an hypothesis, based not upon observation or
experiment but speculation. In no single instance, past or contemporary,
is one species known to have originated from another. The fact upon
which Mr. Darwin primarily relies is that of variation. Undoubtedly
amongst both plants and animals the offspring are not mere slavish
reproductions of their parents, as if cast in the same mould, but
exhibit individual differences, working upon which in domesticated
instances, man can by selection produce wonderful varieties, as has
already been admitted. But, as M. de Quatrefages says,[191] this tells
us no more than that species admit of variation; it does not prove that
they are capable of transformation, which is the whole point. Certainly,
such transformation has never within our knowledge been effected. No
breeder or fancier has succeeded, or can hope to succeed, in producing a
new species. Moreover, as was pointed out by a critic whose ability Mr.
Darwin himself candidly acknowledged,[192] the range of variability as
we find it in any species is strictly limited, and although at first it
is easy,--in the case of some few animals or plants,--to make great
changes in particular directions, by selective breeding, it becomes more
and more difficult as we proceed to continue in the same line. If, for
instance, in the case of pigeons, a bird can be produced in six years
with head and beak only one-half the size of those whence the process
started, are we to say that in twelve years their bulk will be reduced
to a quarter, and in twenty-four to an eighth? No one could suppose
anything so absurd. Mr. Darwin would answer, that he relies upon the
vast periods of geologic time to produce alterations such as we cannot
possibly attempt within the few years at our disposal. But, it is
replied, no length of time will avail anything for such a purpose,
unless there be some force to produce variations in the required
direction, to the required extent. Such a force is not proved to
exist--all the evidence is against it. Where art is most practised in
improvement of breeds, or the obtaining of any peculiarities--as with
the speed of racehorses, the size of toy-terriers, or the "points" of
prize cattle, it becomes most strikingly apparent that we have reached a
limit beyond which species will not vary. And until such a cause as we
require is fully proved to exist, its supposed effects cannot be made
the basis of scientific argument.

     A given animal or plant, [says the Reviewer] appears to be
     contained, as it were, within a sphere of variation; one individual
     lies near one portion of the surface, another individual near
     another part of the surface; the average animal at the centre. Any
     individual may produce descendants varying in any direction, but is
     more likely to produce descendants varying towards the centre of
     the sphere, and the variations in that direction will be greater in
     amount than the variations towards the surface. Thus a set of
     racers of equal merit indiscriminately breeding will produce more
     colts and foals of inferior than of superior breed, and the falling
     off of the degenerate will be greater than the improvement of the
     select (p. 282).

Similarly M. Blanchard declares:[193]

     All investigation and observation make it clear that, while the
     variability of creatures in a state of nature displays itself in
     very different degrees, yet in its most astonishing manifestations
     it remains confined within a circle beyond which it cannot pass.

And the facts of nature, as we know them, far from favouring the
instability of species, exhibit a tenacity of form compelling us to
treat them as practically immutable. Thus, as Mr. Carruthers points
out,[194] in the notoriously variable genus _Salix_, or willow-tribe,
which seems to be actively advancing towards a multiplication of its
subdivisions, sub-genera, species, varieties, and hybrid forms,--one
species is found, _S. polaris_, dating from before the Glacial Epoch,
which has been driven from England and other lands, by climatic changes,
to within the Arctic circle of both Hemispheres,--yet amid this stress
of circumstances has preserved its specific identity, down even to the
casual variations, which might be supposed to furnish the
starting-points for new developments. Yet in this tribe, if anywhere,
evidence of specific evolution might be looked for.[195]

Other instances seem to show that even under new and trying conditions
those creatures survive best which keep closest to the central family
type, not those which diverge in any direction. Thus, of European
sparrows introduced in America, Mr. Bumpus writes:[196]

     Natural Selection is most destructive of those birds which have
     departed most from the ideal type, and its activity raises the
     general standard by favouring those birds which approach the
     structural ideal.

Variation supplies the raw material upon which Natural Selection is
supposed to work. When we turn to examine the process by which its
results should be produced, we find, quite apart from the above
difficulties, a crop of others still more formidable.

It must be remembered, that the variations on which Natural Selection
must work are in each instance extremely minute, well-nigh
infinitesimal. Mr. Darwin was as strongly opposed to the idea of Nature
making sudden bounds, as to that of a predetermined course of
development. But, he argued, an extra chance of living, however slight,
must necessarily tell in the long run, the theory of probabilities
giving results as certain as any others in mathematics, and, according
to these, we may confidently say that, given sufficient time, the
favoured individuals would infallibly distance their competitors.

The impressiveness of such an argument depends upon its seemingly
mathematical character, which is however wholly fallacious, for the
probabilities are all the other way. It is perfectly true that a
beneficial variation however slight will confer on its happy possessor a
corresponding advantage in the struggle for life, as compared with each
_individual_ of the non-favoured herd, but, as to that herd
collectively, the chances would, on the contrary, ensure that _some_ of
its members should outlive the favoured one. Let us even imagine the
advantage of the latter to be very great, great enough to double his
chances, so that the odds on his surviving each of his fellows will be
two to one. Yet if there be a dozen of them to contend with, the odds
will be six to one _against_ his surviving the lot. And what of the
actual case of minutest benefits conferred by variation? In order to
give them even an equal chance of survival, the numbers of those
possessing such advantages must be large in proportion as the advantages
themselves are small. Thus, if a variation increases the chance of life
by one-thousandth part, so that the odds on its possessor are 1001,
against 1000 on each non-possessor, yet unless the number of possessors
be to that of non-possessors as 1,000 to 1,001, their collective chances
will not even be equal. As it is quite absurd to suppose that casual
variations could ever occur in such wholesale fashion, how can it be
supposed that, were Natural Selection the only factor operating, minute
advantages could be accumulated by variation even in the simplest cases?

But it is also hard to suppose that in any actual case is the matter so
simple as it appears to our limited comprehension. To take for instance
the above example of the giraffe. It is very well to have a neck that
will reach high-branches of a tree,--but this is not everything. For the
mere prolongation of life, much else is required, fleet limbs to
distance lions, and keen senses, sight, hearing, and smell, to give
warning of the approach of human or other hunters, to say nothing of the
extra strengthening of muscles and bones which increased size and weight
demands. Unless, however, improvements in all these respects happened
casually to concur in the same individual, which could scarcely happen,
it is clear that each would militate against the others, for the
survival of an individual beneficially developed in one respect, would
tend to the extinction of other beneficial developments, possessed by
individuals whom he overcame in the struggle for life.

Even the case of the insular insects is by no means so plain as might at
first sight appear. There can be no doubt that wings are of _some_
advantage, or on no system could they be supposed to exist. Nor do their
advantages cease because disadvantages outweigh them. If some insects
are blown out to sea when flying, others will doubtless perish in one
way or another because they cannot fly. It may even be that those which
can fly _best_ will survive, as being able to make head against a breeze
which overpowers others. Natural Selection will thus have many arrows in
its quiver, some of which must reach the wrong objects.

Still more clearly does this appear in the case of complex structures in
which, if they were produced as Mr. Darwin supposes, variation must have
hit simultaneously upon independent contrivances, without each of which
all the others would be useless and confer no benefit at all. In the
eye, for example, to mention but one or two of innumerable similar
points, it would be of no avail to have a retina, even such as has been
described, without a lens to throw an image upon it, set just at the
proper distance, and provided with muscles to alter its shape according
to the distance of the object. How can Natural Selection be even
conceived to have set to work on such a task as this?

It is still more fundamental to observe that, according to Mr. Darwin's
own showing, Natural Selection is purely negative in its action. "If it
does select, it selects for death and not for life."[197] It can
originate nothing, but only destroy. All that it does for favoured races
is to spare them while it sweeps away others, and the sole benefit they
derive from it is to have more ample resources upon which to draw. But
as for anything they possess in the way of structure or character, they
must derive it entirely from themselves--Natural Selection can no more
confer it, than the labourer who weeds a garden bed makes the flowers
that grow there. Let it be imagined that the first human beings on
earth, any number of thousand years ago, planted a garden, and
determined to produce a rose, by eliminating every plant that did not
show some promise of progress rose-wards. Let the gardeners have been
endowed with acumen sufficient to detect every symptom of such a
tendency, and let their operations have been carried on without
interruption to this day,--it is obvious that if roses had resulted, it
could only be because among the plants they allowed to remain there
existed a rose-making quality of some kind, to which, and not to
anything done by human art or skill, the result was due. It would
likewise have to be supposed that there were infinite other
potentialities latent in the original plants, as of evolving thistles,
shamrocks, or leeks--all equally awaiting their opportunity. Selective
action could effectually put such competitors out of the way; but in the
way of developing a race it could but leave it entirely to itself.
Precisely similar is the part played by Natural Selection, except that
it must needs play it immensely more slowly,--and if no one can fancy
that human agency could by any possibility grow roses unless from some
stock predetermined to grow into a rose and nothing else, what grounds
have we that can be called scientific for attributing to a blind
struggle for life an incomparably greater potency? Nor does it avail to
quote the immense extent of time which may be supposed to have been
available. No more than Natural Selection has time by itself any
creative power. We know on the contrary by experience, that when things
are not controlled by some principle of order, the lapse of time serves
only to make confusion worse confounded.

Another consideration of prime importance is too frequently ignored. On
Darwinian principles, each step in any development can be made, not
because it leads to an advantageous result in the future, but only
because it is itself advantageous. At each stage favoured individuals
survive others because they are favoured here and now, not because, when
the development they promote shall be completed, their remote
descendants will be favoured. Hence it must, for instance, be possible
to suppose, that all the intermediate forms between two extremes,
whereof one is supposed to have originated the other, were, each in its
day, so beneficial as to preserve their possessors at the expense of
non-possessors. But can this possibly be even imagined?

To take one example. We have heard, speaking of embryology, that the
feet of lizards and the wings and feet of birds arise from the same
fundamental form of limb, whence it is argued that birds and lizards are
alike descended from a common sauroid, or lizard-like, ancestor, whose
limbs in the case of the former class have developed into wings and into
feet of a totally new type,--while scales were developing into feathers,
and innumerable alterations of internal structure were simultaneously in
progress. But if so, to confine our attention to one particular, it
must be true that each of the innumerable minute gradations between the
fore-limb of a lizard and the wing of a bird, was in its turn the best
kind of member for a creature to possess, giving him a distinct
advantage in the struggle for existence. Nothing, however, appears
plainer than that this could not possibly have been the case. The limb
shaping towards a wing would be a very clumsy and inefficient leg long
before it got to the point at which it became of the slightest use for
purposes of flight, that is to say before its alteration was accompanied
by any utility whatever. We can neither imagine that creatures furnished
with limbs of such intermediate forms could have been otherwise than
hopelessly handicapped by them, nor do we find anywhere in the rocks any
trace whatever of the innumerable series of modifications which would be
needed to link by imperceptible gradations legs and wings together.

It only serves to make the matter less intelligible, that there _are_
found in Secondary strata some few relics of birds with decidedly
saurian characteristics,[198] as the _Hesperornis_ and _Ichthyornis_ in
the Chalk, and the _Archæopteryx_, most ancient of fowls, lower still,
in the Oolite. All these creatures have lizard-like heads and teeth; the
_Archæopteryx_ in addition has decidedly reptilian characters connected
with its wings and tail. But none of them throw the slightest light upon
the point we are now considering. In the case of all, the problem of
flight has been completely solved. Their wings are no rudimentary
structures half way between legs and wings, but as finished productions
as those of to-day. As Professor Huxley acknowledges, if the skeletons
of _Hesperornis_ and _Icthyornis_ had been found without their skulls,
they would probably have been classed without more ado amongst existing
birds. The latter "has, [he tells us,] strong wings, and no doubt
possessed corresponding powers of flight." The wings of _Hesperornis_,
he says, resemble those of our divers and grebes, and were probably
used, like theirs, chiefly for swimming.[199] As for the _Archæopteryx_,
its reptilian features notwithstanding, it is a perfectly-appointed
bird. As Sir Richard Owen testifies,[200] its wing, despite the
peculiarities mentioned, is completely developed as to all essentials.
Nor does even this member furnish the creature with its most bird-like
characteristics,--but the keeled breast-bone, so intimately connected
with the requirements of flight,--and, still more markedly, the feet.
Professor Huxley writes: "The feet are not only altogether bird-like,
but have the special character of the feet of perching birds; while the
body had a clothing of true feathers."

Thus, to whatever these Saurian birds may testify,--and the extreme
importance of their evidence none will question--they no more serve to
bridge the gulf between reptiles and birds, than a group of volcanic
islets like the Azores bridges the Atlantic, for they supply no vestige
of a continuous way from one term to the other. Rather, they do but
enhance the mystery of the transformation, to the manner of which,
despite their composite features, they furnish no clue.

All such difficulties are enormously aggravated by a consideration
which, obvious as it is, seems seldom to be considered. The arguments we
commonly hear appear to imply that _one_ parent is sufficient to secure
the transmission of a beneficial variation to the next generation. But,
of course, the parent requires a mate, and unless this mate has chanced
to hit on the same line of variation, it cannot be supposed that it will
be transmitted. Seeing, however, the exceeding minuteness of these
variations in each instance, they can avail nothing to bring together
the right mates to perpetuate them. Two reptiles, for instance, are not
the more likely to pair because their fore limbs have taken the first
faint and distant step towards becoming wings, while in the vegetable
kingdom, notwithstanding Erasmus Darwin's _Loves of the Plants_, the
idea of any choice of partners is still more grotesque. The allotment of
mates must therefore be left to Chance; and the results will follow the
ordinary laws of probability. Accordingly, if we suppose so large a
proportion as five per cent., or one in twenty, of any species to
possess an advantageous variation,--only one in twenty of the
individuals thus favoured will secure a similarly favoured mate,--for
each will have nineteen wrong selections offered to him or her, for one
right one. Only one pair in four hundred will therefore transmit the
variation to five per cent. of _their_ offspring, or one in eight
thousand of the species, and of these only one pair in
a-hundred-and-sixty-thousand will make an advantageous match. Such is
the inevitable consequence of leaving any definite result to Chance: and
here it is that Natural Selection is found to betray the most fatal of
all its deficiencies; for, whatever its advocates may say, it is Chance
and Chance alone upon which it relies. Just because man can and does
select the proper mates, is he able to produce by breeding the results
to which Mr. Darwin appeals as evidence, that Nature having no such
power of selection, must be able to produce results of which man cannot
even dream.[201]

Natural Selection is in truth no selection at all, that is just its weak
point, which the title conferred upon it serves to hide. What are called
its products owe no more to it than Wellington owed his generalship to
the bullets which did not hit him at Seringapatam. If they are not
determined to a particular development they can attain it only by

Of Chance, enough has already been said. It is, however, worth our
while to observe how constantly to the last Mr. Darwin was haunted by
the consciousness that this was in reality the factor upon which his
system must depend, and that it could not possibly account for much that
he came across in nature. If, as he confessed, the sight of a peacock's
tail-feather made him sick, it was just because its elaborate beauty, to
which no commensurate advantage can be supposed to attach, forbade the
notion that his theory could account for it. So, of another still more
marvellous instance in which Nature exhibits artistic power, namely the
ball-and-socket ornament on the wings of the Argus pheasant, he

     No one, I presume, will attribute this shading, which has excited
     the admiration of many experienced artists, to chance--to the
     fortuitous concourse of atoms of colouring matter. That these
     ornaments should have been formed through the selection of many
     successive variations, not one of which was originally intended to
     produce the ball-and-socket effect, seems as incredible as that one
     of Raphael's Madonnas should have been formed by the selection of
     chance daubs of paints made by a long succession of young artists,
     not one of whom intended at first to draw the human figure.


1. Basal portion of secondary wing-feather; nearest body, shewing first
rudiment of "ocelli."

2. Portion of secondary wing-feather near body, shewing "elliptic"

3. Part of secondary wing-feather, shewing developed "ocelli."

Feathers from wing of Argus Pheasant, from Darwin's _Descent of Man_.]

Nevertheless, Mr. Darwin proceeds to argue at considerable length that
an explanation consistent with his theory is favoured by the occurrence
on the same wings of designs exhibiting every stage of gradation from a
mere spot to the finished ball-and-socket _ocellus_; in the same way as
the tail feathers of a peacock advance from a mere sketch to the
completed design. It is not easy, however, to understand in what way
this is supposed to solve the difficulty and not vastly to increase it.
That a finished artistic effect should be fortuitously produced at all
would be incredible enough. That it should be worked up by Chance
through a series of processes, each doing something towards its
completion, is surely not less, but far more inconceivable.

In such a mode of explanation, however, is exemplified a feature which
must not be forgotten in discussing Darwinism,--namely the fatal
facility with which seeming arguments can be procured on its behalf. As
Mr. Mivart well remarks:[203] "The Darwinian theory has the great
advantage of only needing for its support the suggestion of some
possible utility, actual or ancestral, in each case--no difficult task
for an ingenious, patient, and accomplished thinker." And our _North
British_ Reviewer makes a similar comment: "The believer who is at
liberty to invent any imaginary circumstances, will very generally be
able to conceive some series of transmutations answering his wants."

Or if, as in the above instance of the Argus' eyes, a series is actually
found, it is even less difficult to take for granted that it can have
but one significance; while such assumptions are too frequently
accepted without hesitation or demur, although it would be no easy task
to show that they rest upon any solid grounds. When, in addition, either
Mr. Darwin himself or some of his leading partisans has declared that
some unverified process has undoubtedly occurred, or that they see no
reason to doubt its occurrence, or that nothing which we know precludes
its possibility,--it appears to be widely supposed that something
substantial is thereby added to the scientific evidence, and that the
suppositions thus sanctioned may even rank as facts. But however such a
method may avail to secure acceptance for a doctrine, it does nothing
for its scientific value. Such a style, as Mr. Mivart says,[204] is
calculated to impress only minds too easily dominated, and not prepared
by special studies accurately to weigh the evidence put before them.

Illustrations of this strange method of procedure are furnished in
connexion with various points already mentioned. Thus, as we have seen,
Mr. Darwin attempts to explain the origin of rational speech, by the
conscious utterance of a significant sound by an unusually wise ape-like
creature. In favour of this very large suggestion, Mr. Darwin has
nothing more substantial to say[205] than that "it does not appear
altogether incredible," which does not appear to take us very far.[206]
Yet I have seen this described as an "idyllic scene" shedding an
entirely new light on the subject. So again in regard of the evolution
of the eye.[207] Having summarily enumerated the various stages of
development exhibited by this organ as actually existing in various
animals, Mr. Darwin goes on to say that when we remember how small the
number of living forms must be in comparison with extinct, and the other
gradations that may consequently have existed, "the difficulty ceases to
be very great" in believing that Natural Selection has connected the
most rudimentary with the perfect structure. Similarly, as to the
cell-making instinct of the bee,[208] having postulated four several
suppositions for which evidence is not forthcoming, he concludes: "By
such modification of instincts ... I believe that the hive bee has
acquired, through natural selection, her inimitable architectural
powers."[209] Similar examples might be multiplied indefinitely.

Not unfrequently the tone of such utterances is more imperious. Thus, of
the descent of Man from some animal ancestor Mr. Darwin pronounces[210]
"The grounds upon which this conclusion rests will never be shaken," and
again[211] "the possession of exalted mental powers is no insuperable
objection to this conclusion" ... "It is only [p. 32] our natural
prejudice which leads us to demur to this conclusion." He even goes so
far as to declare that his view is forced upon every man who is not
content to assume the mental attitude of a savage.[212]

Argumentation of this character, which he finds common with Darwin to
other Evolutionists, is judged by de Quatrefages to be one of the
weakest and most misleading features of their systems.

     Personal conviction [he writes],[213] mere possibility, are offered
     as proofs, or at least as arguments in favour of the theory. Can we
     admit their validity? Obviously not. The human mind can conceive
     many things: is that a reason for accepting them all?... Obviously
     more serious proofs are needed. After all, save where a
     contradiction is involved, everything is _possible_.... If
     adopting, under the shadow of Oken's great name, his principle of
     the repetition of phenomena, a naturalist should maintain that each
     of the planets has its own Europe, its England, and its Darwin
     expounding to the Jovians and Saturnians the origin of species, I
     do not quite see how one would set about showing him that he was
     wrong. Unquestionably the thing is _possible_. Are we to draw the
     conclusion that it is a fact?

Again,[214] the same distinguished naturalist, having quoted Darwin's
very elaborate explanation of a difficulty, remarks:
     We see how with Darwin, as with his precursors, one hypothesis
     necessitates another. But can he, at least, by means of these
     subsidiary theories, these comparisons, these metaphors, account
     for all the facts? No, he himself honestly confesses more than once
     that he cannot. It is true that he adds "I am convinced that the
     objections have little weight, and the difficulties are not
     insoluble." But is this conviction of his a proof, or even an

M. Blanchard likewise comments vigorously on this mode of argumentation.
Speaking of the Mole and Darwin's explanation of its blindness, namely
that having taken to living under-ground it lost its eyes through
disuse--which he considers a most preposterous supposition,--M Blanchard

     The realms of fancy are boundless; but the observer who is
     concerned with realities can only have recourse to the facts of
     science. Fossil remains discovered in very ancient strata show that
     the underground animal of present times does not differ from his
     geological counterpart. The Mole belongs to a very peculiar type,
     and has no nearer European relatives than the Hedgehog and the
     Shrew. Can we imagine a common ancestor of Shrews, Hedgehogs, and
     Moles? On this point Mr. Darwin expresses no opinion,--which should
     not be, for when confronted by forms clearly differentiated, he is
     wont to extricate himself from difficulties with matchless
     facility. The intermediate links, he will say, were doubtless less
     fitted to live than were the others, and so have disappeared. After
     _that_ the Evolutionists consider any one quite out of date who
     does not consider himself entirely satisfied with so felicitous an

M. de Quatrefages denounces another fatal defect often observable in the
method of proof.

     Mr. Darwin frequently complains that our actual knowledge is
     incomplete. But instead of discovering in our lack of precise and
     extensive information a motive for caution, he appears to derive
     from it only greater daring. Doctrines based on the instability of
     species have often been combated by geologists and palæontologists.
     In reply to their objections Darwin devotes a whole chapter to
     shewing the imperfection of the geological record. "For my part,"
     he concludes, "I look at the geological record as a history of the
     world imperfectly kept and written in a changing dialect; of this
     history we possess the last volume alone, relating only to two or
     three countries. Of this volume, only here and there a short
     chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a
     few lines. Each word of the slowly-changing language, more or less
     different in the successive chapters, may represent the forms of
     life, which are entombed in our consecutive formations, and which
     falsely appear to have been abruptly introduced. On this view, the
     difficulties above discussed are greatly diminished, or even

     On my part [continues M. de Quatrefages] I will ask whether such a
     conclusion is the correct one. No doubt, Darwin is right in
     refusing to certain naturalists the right to dogmatize on the
     strength of uncompleted studies, or scanty and isolated
     observations. Is he therefore entitled to allege as proofs on his
     own behalf the very gaps of science, appealing to the lost volumes
     and leaves of Nature's chronicle? Clearly not. But the slightest
     reflection suffices to recognize that this appeal to the unknown,
     so frankly evidenced in the above passage, lies at the root of all
     argumentation analogous to that which I have tried to
     describe--that of Maillet, Lamarck, and Geoffroy,[216] as well as
     Darwin. Only the unknown, in sooth, can open the boundless region
     of speculation, where the possible replaces the actual, and where,
     despite the widest knowledge and the soundest intelligence, one
     comes as by a fatality to find a conclusive proof on one's own
     side, precisely in that of which we profess to know nothing.

So again, speaking of a certain conclusion of Professor Haeckel's
concerning the embryology of lemurs, which MM. Grandidier and Alphonse
Edwards afterwards proved experimentally to be altogether erroneous, de
Quatrefages writes:[217]

     Haeckel will perhaps answer that the publication of his book
     preceded the observation of the French savants. But such a plea
     itself discloses a method of procedure which is common to the
     majority of evolutionists, and of which, it must be added, Darwin
     set the example. When confronted by a question about which nobody
     knows anything, they appeal precisely to this want of knowledge,
     and draw arguments from their very ignorance.

In like manner speaks the Reviewer already cited more than once.

     The peculiarities of geographical distribution seem very difficult
     of explanation on any theory. Darwin calls in alternately winds,
     tides, birds, beasts, all animated nature, as the diffusers of
     species, and then a good many of the same agencies as impenetrable
     barriers.... With these facilities of hypothesis there seems to be
     no particular reason why many theories should not be true. However
     an animal may have been produced, it must have been produced
     somewhere, and it must either have spread very widely or not have
     spread, and Darwin can give good reasons for both results.

And again:[219]

     We are asked to believe all these maybes happening on an enormous
     scale, in order that we may believe the final Darwinian "maybe" as
     to the origin of species. The general form of his argument is as
     follows:--"All these things may have been, therefore my theory is
     possible, and since my theory is a possible one, all those
     hypotheses which it requires are rendered probable." There is
     little direct evidence that any of these maybes actually _have

In no respect, moreover, have Darwin's followers more closely imitated
their master than in the construction of such hypotheses, which would
appear to constitute in the eyes of many the most important work of
Science. Attention has very largely been diverted from Nature as
actually existing, which seems to be studied more for the light it can
be supposed to throw upon evolutionary history, than simply for itself,
and it seems to be thought that to imagine the mode of an evolutionary
process is equivalent to establishing the facts which that process
supposes. By this method lengthy and learned papers are written
concerning the transformation of one species into another, which in
reality do no more than describe in minute detail all the changes which
must have taken place, _if_ the said transformation really occurred.
That Science is thus benefited, is not the opinion of some at least who
are well entitled to speak on her behalf, for as the President of the
Linnean Society recently observed,[220] as one grows older, it becomes
more and more apparent that facts alone are of any serious interest, and
that speculations however ingenious and attractive are best left to the
constructive and destructive energies of the young. So too, a few years
ago, the President of the Microscopical Society complained that interest
in living creatures is largely supplanted by dead ones.[221]

     We read much [he said] of the animal's organs: we see plates
     showing that its bristles have been counted, and its muscular
     fibres traced to the last thread; we have the structure of its
     tissues analyzed to their very elements; we have long discussions
     on its title to rank with this group or that; and sometimes even
     disquisitions on the probable form and habits of some extremely
     remote, but quite hypothetical, ancestor, who is made to degrade in
     this way, or to advance in that, or who is credited with one organ
     or deprived of another, just as the ever-varying necessities of a
     desperate hypothesis require....

There is another aspect of the question which must by no means be
overlooked. It has to be assumed that Natural Selection, or the survival
of the fittest in the struggle for existence, necessarily tends to the
benefit of the _race_ and moreover to its farther development on the
upward grade, towards a more perfect and more specialized
organization;--in Mr. Herbert Spencer's words, to progression from a
relatively indefinite incoherent homogeneity, to a relatively definite,
coherent heterogeneity. But here many questions occur.

In the first place, a consideration presents itself, which appears to
furnish the most formidable of all difficulties in the way of Mr.
Darwin's hypothesis. How can this struggle for existence be supposed to
have any tendency to promote organic development to ever higher and more
perfect types, in the orderly sequence which has in fact occurred? The
"Survival of the fittest" means only the survival _of the fittest to
survive_,--of such as can find means of living where others cannot.
Unless it can be shown that increased complexity of organization
necessarily brings with it such increased vitality, Natural Selection
can do nothing for organic development. If the mere power of living be
the only factor in the process, as on Mr. Darwin's showing it is, a man
is only a more complicated and delicate machine for securing the same
object which can equally well, or better, be attained by a mole, a
cockroach, or a microbe. And who will say that, so far as this
particular end is concerned, he is better equipped than creatures which
all the resources of civilization are powerless to exterminate?

That practical advantage in the struggle for existence must necessarily
accompany increased specialization of organs, and thus produce a
"higher" organization, was a prime point of Mr. Darwin's argument,
though at the same time he found himself compelled to encumber it with
qualifications which go very far to neutralize its force; for he had to
explain the obvious fact that so many creatures which represent the
lowest and least specialized forms of life, have survived down to our
own time. Thus he writes:[222]

     The degree of differentiation and specialization of the parts in
     organic beings, when arrived at maturity, is the best standard, as
     yet suggested, of their degree of perfection or highness. As the
     specialization of parts is an advantage to each being, so natural
     selection will tend to render the organization of each being more
     specialized and perfect, and in this sense higher; not but that it
     may leave many creatures with simple and unimproved structures
     fitted for simple conditions of life, and in some cases will even
     degrade or simplify the organization, yet leaving such degraded
     beings better fitted for their new walks of life.

     By this fundamental test of victory in the battle of life, as well
     as by the standard of the specialization of organs, modern forms
     ought, on the theory of Natural Selection, to stand higher than
     ancient forms. Is this the case? A large number of palæontologists
     would answer in the affirmative; and it seems that this answer must
     be admitted as true, though difficult of proof.

That is to say, Natural Selection is just as ready to degrade as to
elevate a creature, according to the actual requirements of the
circumstances in which it is placed, and how far progress has been the
rule, rather than stability or retrogression, is a question for
geological history to determine. This we shall have to consider in our
next chapter.

It is likewise obvious that so far as the mere struggle for existence is
concerned, a species each of whose individual members is but poorly
furnished, may nevertheless flourish unimpaired on the mere strength of
its fecundity. It is thus, says M. Blanchard,[223] that the lower forms
of life continue to hold their own despite the enormous ravages to which
they are subject. The herring, for example, affords food to all the
fowls of the air and fish of the sea, over and above the myriads
annually requisitioned by man. Yet its hosts show no sign of being
exterminated or even reduced. Much the same is the case of the cod; but
a tribe one individual of which has been known to produce nine million
eggs does not require much in the way of coherent heterogeneity to
ensure its survival.

Thus it appears that of itself Darwinism affords no explanation whatever
of the regular progression of life forms from lower to higher, to which
the records of Nature bear witness, and which is the one solid fact
suggesting the idea of Evolution.

Such are some of the reasons which, on purely rational grounds, appear
amply to justify those who decline to pledge their faith to Darwinism,
in spite of the popularity it enjoys. But what is to be said of the
phenomena cited as furnishing positive and unimpeachable evidence in its
favour, which were mentioned above in our sketch of its main features?

First as to the rudimentary, fragmentary, or vestigial organs so common
in Nature. These, it is said, being of no possible advantage to their
possessors, and often a serious disadvantage, can be explained only by
supposing that they were serviceable in the past to the ancestral race
whence these possessors are derived, and have since been superseded by
other modifications of structure, so as to dwindle away by disuse. This,
no doubt, seems a very plausible explanation, but it does not follow
that we ought immediately to adopt it as a certainty, instead of
setting ourselves to examine how it accords with all the facts. Nothing
is more dangerous and less scientific than to be in a hurry to conclude
that everything is certain which seems to ourselves probable, especially
if it suits a theory of our own. Unfortunately, this law is too
frequently more honoured in the breach than the observance. In the
present instance, Professor Haeckel himself furnishes an example. He is
quite sure that the rudimentary structures can have but one
significance, and that they are fatal to the idea of purpose in Nature,
the object of his special aversion, and so he has proposed a new term,
"Dysteleology," to embody this idea, of which he says,[224]

     _Dysteleology, or the theory of purposelessness_ [is] the name I
     have given to the science of rudimentary organs, of suppressed and
     degenerated, aimless and inactive, parts of the body; one of the
     most important and most interesting branches of comparative
     anatomy, which, when rightly estimated, is alone sufficient to
     refute the fundamental error of the teleological and dualistic
     conception of Nature, and to serve as the foundation of the
     mechanical and monistic conception of the universe.

It will be sufficient to quote Professor Huxley's remarks upon this
passage, taken from the very laudatory review he wrote of the work in
which it occurs.[225]

     Professor Haeckel has invented a new and convenient name,
     "Dysteleology," for the study of the "purposelessnesses" which are
     observable in living organisms--such as the multitudinous cases of
     rudimentary and apparently useless structures. I confess, however,
     that it has often appeared to me that the facts of Dysteleology cut
     two ways. If we are to assume, as evolutionists in general do, that
     useless organs atrophy, such cases as the existence of lateral
     rudiments of toes in the foot of a horse place us in a dilemma.
     For, either these rudiments are of no use to the animal, in which
     case, considering that the horse has existed in its present form
     since the Pliocene epoch, they surely ought to have disappeared; or
     they are of some use to the animal, in which case they are of no
     use as arguments against Teleology. A similar, but stronger
     argument may be based upon the existence of teats, and even
     functional mammary glands in male mammals.... There can be little
     doubt that the mammary gland was as apparently useless in the
     remotest male mammalian ancestor of man as in living men, and yet
     it has not disappeared. Is it then still profitable to the male
     organism to retain it? Possibly; but in that case its
     dysteleological value is gone.

In later editions Professor Huxley further observed: "The recent
discovery of the important part played by the Thyroid gland should be a
warning to all speculators about useless organs."[226]

It seems, therefore, the wiser part to refrain from basing any vital
conclusions upon these organs until we can assure ourselves that our
knowledge warrants our so doing. As the same Professor Huxley intimated,
it might be well for palæontologists, and doubtless for biologists
likewise,[227] "To learn a little more carefully that scientific '_ars
artium_,' the art of saying 'I don't know.'"

So again as to the phenomena of embryology. No doubt they are very
striking and impressive. That the most highly developed creatures, and
man himself, should in the first stages of existence exhibit the
characteristics of lower forms, is an exemplification of development no
less signal than the succession of ascending types witnessed to by the
rocks. It is not easy to see, however, why it should be taken for
granted that this can only signify genetic descent from all such forms,
and that these embryo animals are engaged in climbing up their
genealogical trees. Yet this is usually assumed as a matter of course,
and any one who ventures to question the validity of such an inference,
must be prepared to find himself accused of dogmatizing.

And yet, after all, upon what grounds does the assumption rest? That
such a recapitulation of racial experiences forms no essential feature
of Evolution is sufficiently evident from the case of the vegetable
world,--for plants do not climb _their_ genealogical trees, or pass in
the seed through a series of botanical phases. And as to animals, since
through all varieties of form, each always arrives at the required term,
it is obvious that, apart from any archaic associations, and on
Darwinian principles themselves, these forms must be the best for the
purpose at each respective stage,--perhaps the only ones by which the
term could be reached. It is therefore, to say the least, quite
conceivable, that we have here the whole explanation and need go no

In certain instances this obvious consideration is strikingly
illustrated. Thus the salamander, an Amphibian of the newt family,
brings forth its young in adult condition without gills.[228] But
previously to birth they have gills relatively large. The experiment
having been tried of bringing some of them forth by artificial means
before their time, and placing them in water, the first thing they did
was to cast off these big gills, which were speedily replaced by new
ones of much smaller size, and evidently better suited for the work
required, as they lasted as long as a fortnight.

Here, in the first place, it is quite impossible to suppose that the
large gills would continue to appear unless they were of advantage
during the period of gestation. It is equally evident that it is not
from a previous aquatic condition that they are inherited, for in such a
condition they are useless. Finally, as Mr. Mivart observes, the new
gills, suitable for unwonted conditions, were developed "not in a
struggle for existence against rivals, but directly and spontaneously
from the innate nature of the animal."

This view of the matter commended itself on mature consideration to so
ardent an evolutionist as Carl Vogt, with whom we may couple M. de
Quatrefages, who cites his words with approval as follows:[229]

     It has been laid down as a fundamental law of biogenesis that
     ontogeny (the development of the individual) and phylogeny (that of
     the race) must exactly correspond.... This law which I long held as
     well founded is absolutely and radically false. Attentive study of
     embryology shows us, in fact, that embryos have their own
     conditions suitable to themselves, very different from those of

"In a word," M. de Quatrefages continues, "the learned Genevan professor
rightly considers that, 'The ontogenesis of all organic beings without
exception, is the normal result of all the various influences which
operate upon such beings.'"

But it must, moreover, be noted that the story which embryology can be
made to tell is by no means so plain as we might easily be led to

Thus, although snakes are held to be descended from lizards, and some of
them have rudimentary legs even in the adult stage, others have no trace
of limbs even in the egg, while they _have_ vestiges of gills, and thus
would seem to be visibly linked to ancient water-dwelling ancestors, and
not to far more recent land-dwellers. Again;[230] Amphibians (frogs,
newts and the like) agree in some respects, as to the development of the
germ, with mammals, differing in the same respects from reptiles and
birds. But reptiles and birds are supposed to be a more recent
development than Amphibia, and therefore should intervene between them
and mammals on the genealogical tree. Moreover the eggs of one group of
Amphibians are found to exhibit some remarkable resemblances to those of
reptiles and birds, from which it would thus appear to have derived
them, although on other grounds it is declared to be of an older stock
than theirs. Most frogs, toads, and newts come out of the egg as
tadpoles, furnished with gills and so breathing in water. This should
signify that these creatures are descended from fish or fishlike
ancestors. But one frog (_Rana opisthodon_) is never a tadpole even in
the egg, from which he gets out by means of a special opener on his
snout which he has somehow acquired. On the other hand certain
newts[231] breed as tadpoles instead of in their mature form, which
looks like an attempt to climb down the tree instead of up.

It will be remembered that the latter phrase was that used by Professor
Milnes Marshall. Yet even he expressed himself strongly concerning the
exaggerations of Professor Haeckel on this subject. In his review of
Haeckel's _Anthropogenie_,[232] after observing that many descriptions
of human embryology have been based on observations of dogs, pigs,
rabbits, or even chickens and dogfish, he thus continued regarding the
book before him:

     A student who relied on Professor Haeckel's description, would
     obtain an entirely erroneous idea of the development of the human
     embryo.... It is a matter for great regret that a book of 900
     pages, bearing such a title, should be allowed to appear, in which
     the account of the actual development of the human embryo is so
     inadequate or even erroneous.

Far more fundamental, however, is a remark of Mr. Mivart's, that if, as
Darwinians say, the development of the individual is an epitome of that
of the species, the latter must like the former be due to the action of
definite innate laws unconsciously carrying out definite preordained
ends and purposes. For although cells or embryos may be
indistinguishable from one another, and may appear to us identical in
constitution, their differences are absolute. Each is determined to be
one sort of animal and no other, and can live at all only on condition
of developing towards the prescribed form.--Therefore, whatever evidence
the embryonic forms may be supposed to afford in support of Evolution,
they have nothing in common with the haphazard process of Natural

And here again Professor Huxley found himself obliged to enter his
_caveat_, and to intimate his opinion that some of his friends were
inclined to build too confidently upon this foundation. As his
biographer Professor Weldon writes in the _Dictionary of National

     Darwin had suggested an interpretation of the facts of embryology
     which led to the hope that a fuller knowledge of development might
     reveal the history of all the great groups of animals at least in
     its main outlines. This hope was of service as a stimulus to
     research, but the attempt to interpret the phenomena observed led
     to speculations which were often fanciful and always incapable of
     verification. Huxley was keenly sensible of the danger attending
     the use of a hypothetical explanation, leading to conclusions which
     cannot be experimentally tested, and he carefully avoided it.... In
     the preface to the _Manual of the Comparative Anatomy of
     Invertebrated Animals_, he says: "I have abstained from discussing
     questions of ætiology,[233] not because I underestimate their
     importance, or am insensible to the interest of the great problem
     of Evolution, but because, to my mind, the growing tendency to mix
     up ætiological speculations with morphological generalizations
     will, if unchecked, throw Biology into confusion."

Accordingly, Huxley himself based his faith in Evolution on
palæontological evidence, and attempted to decide the precise course it
had followed only "in the few cases where the evidence seemed to him
sufficiently complete." This line of enquiry we have still to pursue,
but meanwhile, it is evident that the phenomena we have been
considering, failing to meet the approval of so thorough-going an
Evolutionist as he undoubtedly was, cannot be said to furnish convincing
scientific evidence in favour of Darwinism.

It will be asked how it comes to pass, if the Darwinian system really
lies open to so many objections, that it occupies so large a place in
scientific estimation. To this we must reply that, in spite of its great
name, its success has throughout been popular rather than truly
scientific, and that as time went on it has lost ground among the class
of men best qualified to judge. Evolutionists there are in plenty,--but
very few genuine Darwinists, and amongst these can by no means be
reckoned all who adopt the title, for not a few of them--as Romanes and
Weismann--profess doctrines which cannot be reconciled with those of
Darwin himself. Meanwhile, an increasing volume of scientific opinion
sets definitely against Darwinism as an adequate explanation of the
philosophy of life, and falls into the view expressed long ago by
Charles Robin[234] who, as a freethinker, had no antecedent objections
against it, "Darwinism is a fiction, a poetical accumulation of
probabilities without proof, and of attractive explanations without

It would be tedious to cite testimonies at length, but, in addition to
M. de Quatrefages who has made a full and careful study of the whole
question, [_Charles Darwin et ses précurseurs Français_, and _Les Emules
de Darwin_] may be mentioned such continental scholars as Blanchard [_La
vie des êtres animés_], Wigand [_Der Darwinismus und die
Naturforschung_, etc.], Wolff [_Beiträge zur Kritik der darwinschen
Lehre_], Hamann [_Entwicklungslehre und Darwinismus_], Pauly [_Wahres
und Falsches an Darwins Lehre_], Driesch [_Biologisches Zentralblatt_,
1896 and 1902], Plate [_Bedeutung und Tragweite des Darwinschen
Selektionsprincip_], Hertwig [_Address to Naturalist Congress_,
_Aachen_, 1900], Heer [_Urwelt der Schweiz_], Kölliker [_Ueber die
darwin'sche Schöpfungstheorie_], Eimer [_Entstehung der Arten_], Von
Hartmann [_Wahrheit und Irrthum im Darwinismus_], Schilde
[_Antidarwinistisches im Ausland_], Du Bois-Reymond [_Conference_,
August 2, 1881, etc.], Virchow [_Freiheit der Wissenschaft_, etc.],
Nägeli [_Mechanisch-physiologische Theorie der Abstammungslehre_],
Schaafhausen [_Ueber die anthropologischen Fragen_], Fechner [_Ideen zur
Schöpfungs-und Entwicklungsgeschichte der Organismen_], Jakob [_Der
Mensch_, etc.], Diebolder [_Darwins Grundprinzip_, etc.], Huber [_Die
Lehre Darwins kritisch betrachtet_], Joseph Ranke, and Von Bauer,--all
of whom either reject Darwinism altogether, or admit it only with fatal

Special weight must attach to the adverse verdict of M. Fabre, styled by
Darwin himself "that inimitable observer," who declares that he cannot
reconcile the theory with the facts he encounters.[235]

It must be sufficient to quote one or two of our own countrymen, whose
utterances will enable us to form an opinion as to the true scientific
status of the doctrine.

We may begin with Huxley, the great popular champion of Darwinism, who
did more than any other man to spread the new doctrine. Yet, strange to
say, he seems never to have really accepted its fundamental tenet
himself, always appearing very shy of Natural Selection, and carefully
abstaining from committing himself to any responsibility for it. Thus in
his treatise on _Man's Place in Nature_, he thus explains his position
in its regard:

     Mr. Darwin's hypothesis is not, so far as I am aware, inconsistent
     with any biological fact; on the contrary, if admitted, the facts
     of Development, of Comparative Anatomy, of Geographical
     Distribution, and of Palæontology, become connected together, and
     exhibit a meaning such as they never possessed before; and I, for
     one, am firmly convinced, that if not precisely true, that
     hypothesis is as near an approximation to the truth as, for
     example, the Copernican hypothesis was to the true theory of the
     planetary motions. But for all this, our acceptance of the
     Darwinian hypothesis must be provisional so long as one link in the
     chain of evidence is wanting; and so long as all the animals and
     plants certainly produced by selective breeding from a common stock
     are fertile with one another, the link will be wanting. For, so
     long, selective breeding will not be proved to be competent to do
     all that is required of it to produce natural species.

This missing link, like various others, has never been supplied, and in
consequence Professor Huxley never abandoned his attitude of reserve. On
the contrary, when, in 1880, he delivered an address to celebrate "the
Coming of Age of the _Origin of Species_" he discharged the task without
once mentioning Natural Selection, which is to that work as the Prince
of Denmark is to _Hamlet_.

But there is one passage in the said address, which deserves to be
specially remembered:

     History warns us that it is the customary fate of new truths to
     begin as heresies and to end as superstitions; and, as matters now
     stand, it is hardly rash to anticipate that, in another twenty
     years, the new generation, educated under the influences of the
     present day, will be in danger of accepting the main doctrines of
     the _Origin of Species_, with as little reflection, and it may be
     with as little justification, as so many of our contemporaries,
     twenty years ago, rejected them.

In 1886, Professor Romanes pronounced as follows:[236]

"At present it would be impossible to find any working naturalist who
supposes that survival of the fittest is competent to explain all the
phenomena of species-formation."

As to the actual position now occupied in Scientific opinion by Mr.
Darwin's hypotheses, we may content ourselves with the declaration of
Professor S. H. Vines in his Presidential address to the Linnean
Society, May 24, 1902.

     1. It is established that Natural Selection, though it may have
     perpetuated species, cannot have originated any.

     2. It is still a mystery why Evolution should tend from the lower
     to the higher, from simple to complex organisms.

     3. The facts seem to admit of no other interpretation than that
     variation is not [as Darwin supposed] indeterminate, but that there
     is in living matter an inherent determination in favour of
     variation in the higher direction.

That is to say, Darwin's _Origin of Species_ does not explain the Origin
of Species; and as to the laws which govern Evolution we can be sure
only that they are not those which he assigned.

In like manner, Sir Oliver Lodge pronounces:[237]

     Take the origin of species by the persistence of favourable
     variations; how is the appearance of these same favourable
     variations accounted for? Except by artificial selection not at
     all. Given their appearance, their development by struggle and
     inheritance and survival can be explained; but that they arose
     spontaneously, by random changes without purpose, is an assertion
     which cannot be made.

We are thus in a position to form our own judgment as to the claim made
on behalf of Mr. Darwin, with which we started this chapter--namely,
that he has eliminated all mystery from the organic world by the
discovery of natural mechanical laws by which all its operations are
governed. It is, indeed, difficult to understand how Darwinists
themselves can suppose their system to make any such claim, for, as M.
Paul Vignon truly observes,[238] "La science darwinnienne s'imaginait
avoir triomphé du Sphinx, alors qu'elle avait simplement décomposé le
problème dans une monnaie d'énigmes moins rébarbatives en apparence." As
has been said, it is far more on account of the vast consequences
professedly based upon it, as a sure foundation stone, than for its own
sake, that it has seemed advisable to devote so much attention to the
study of Darwinism, quite apart from which the whole question of organic
Evolution still demands consideration.

It seems far more just to conclude with M. Fabre:[239]

     Let us acknowledge that in truth we know nothing about anything, so
     far as ultimate truths are concerned. Scientifically considered
     nature is a riddle to which human curiosity can find no answer.
     Hypothesis follows hypothesis, the ruins of theories are piled one
     on another, but truth ever escapes us. To learn how to remain in
     ignorance may well be the final lesson of wisdom.[240]



Leaving the field of speculation and "ætiology," we have now to enquire,
not to what causes organic Evolution may be attributable, but how far it
can be shewn to have actually occurred. This can be learnt only from the
history of life upon earth as disclosed by the evidence of palæontology,
or the geological record, and we are thus brought to the investigation
of that evidence, by which alone, as Professor Huxley agrees, can the
truth about Evolution be scientifically or satisfactorily established.
In his address recently mentioned on occasion of the twenty-first
birthday of the _Origin of Species_, having spoken of various advances
of our knowledge, as in comparative anatomy and embryology, which had
helped to win acceptance for transformist doctrines, he thus continued:

     But all this remains mere secondary evidence. It may remove
     dissent, but it does not compel assent. Primary and direct evidence
     in favour of evolution can be furnished only by palæontology. The
     geological record, so soon as it approaches completeness, must,
     when properly questioned, yield either an affirmative or a
     negative answer; if evolution has taken place, there will its mark
     be left; if it has not taken place, there will be its refutation.

This is common sense. Evolution can claim to be a scientific truth, only
so far as clear evidence is forthcoming that Evolution there has been.
If the geological record be sufficiently complete to prove or disprove
its claims, the question is settled for ever. If, on the other hand, the
record be not complete enough for a conclusive verdict, it is, at least,
hard to understand the grounds of such a statement as that the doctrine
of Evolution has long since passed beyond the stage of discussion among
scientific thinkers;[241] or that of Professor Marsh, that to doubt
Evolution is to doubt Science; or of Professor Huxley himself[242]--"So
far as the animal world is concerned, Evolution is no longer a
speculation, but a matter of historical fact."

This historical enquiry is accordingly all-important, and it is one
which should be easy to undertake without any prepossessions, for it is
hard to see upon what _à priori_ grounds these could rest. That there
has been Evolution in one sense of the term is obvious,--that is to say,
development of organic types from lower to higher forms, from the
sea-weed or fungus to the oak or the rose, from the star-fish or the
coral-insect, to the eagle or to man. The question is, not whether there
has been such a progressive succession of forms, but whether one form
has proceeded from another _genetically_, being produced in the same
manner as individuals of a species now are. That this has been the case,
as Professor Huxley tells us in the same address, is the cornerstone of
evolutionary teaching. He appears indeed to restrict Evolution within
the limits of classes and groups, but such restriction is so contrary to
all his principles that the words which seem to imply it can scarcely be
taken as having any definite significance. Should the appearance of
different classes and groups require to be severally accounted for, we
should be landed back in the system of separate creations against which
he is never tired of inveighing.

     The fundamental doctrine of all forms of the theory of evolution
     applied to biology [he says] is that the innumerable species,
     genera, and families of organic beings with which the world is
     peopled have all descended, each within its own class or group,
     from common parents, and have all been modified in the course of

And, holding as he does that palæontology furnishes the necessary
evidence, he thus continues:

     And, in the view of the facts of geology, it follows that all
     living animals and plants are the lineal descendants of those which
     lived long before the Silurian epoch.

Here is a plain issue, and one, as has been said, to be discussed
without prejudice. That the innumerable forms of organic life should
thus have been genetically derived one from another, is no more
difficult to conceive than that they should have come into existence at
all. Moreover, it appears to our minds almost a first principle that
natural law must suffice to account for the phenomena of nature from
beginning to end, and that any system is self-condemned which finds
anywhere in these phenomena evidence of a non-natural, or supernatural,
interposition. Has not such a theologian as Suarez, following St.
Augustine, laid it down as an axiom[243] that God does not directly
interfere with the operations of Nature, when He can effect His purposes
through natural causes? Undoubtedly, too, it is difficult for our minds
to imagine in what way, except through genetic evolution, the successive
production of more and more developed types could be effected.

But, as has before been observed, what seems to us probable is not
therefore proved to be true. What we want are facts, and by facts we
must be ready to abide. At the same time, it is not very easy to
understand the supreme importance which evolutionists generally appear
to attach to the descent of all living creatures from some _one_
original, and their abhorrence of the idea that the power, whatever it
was, which first produced life, may have operated repeatedly, at
different epochs, to repeat the production. It seems to be assumed that
this must imply "miracle" and interruption of the continuity of Nature,
to admit which is irrational and unscientific. But since life did
unquestionably once originate somehow, which Science makes no attempt to
deny, why should it be so improper to suppose that it originated more
than once, at various times and in various forms, and that,
consequently, genetic descent with modification, or "Evolution," is not
the explanation of typic development? As Sir J. W. Dawson writes[244]
concerning the oyster tribe, whereof two species are found in the Coal
Measures (one European and the other American), and a continuous
succession of species ever since:

     All these species may have proceeded from one origin, by descent
     with modification, or, on the other hand, the same causes which led
     to their origination in the Carboniferous may have operated again
     and again.

It must, however, be remembered that, if the theory of genetic descent
with accumulation of minute modifications be the true explanation of the
production of new forms, it necessarily follows, that could a complete
record be forthcoming of the ancestry of any actual species, there would
be found in that pedigree no distinction of species or genera, for no
sharply marked lines of limitation would be discoverable. It would be
like the case of a man who had been photographed every hour of his life
from birth to old age;--immense though the difference might be between
the two extremes, the gradations of change would at all points pass as
imperceptibly into one another as do the phases of the moon. This
consideration is both fundamental and obvious, yet it would seem to be
almost universally ignored. It appears to be thought that, in order to
demonstrate the fact of evolution, all that is needed is to find a form
here and there, in some sense intermediate between others,--like the
reptilian birds already mentioned. This would imply that the course of
Evolution must be like that of an army, making long marches from point
to point, and traceable only by the remains of its camp-fires: whereas
it should be as that of a glacier continuously creeping on, and leaving
its tracks at one point as much as another. What are wanted, therefore,
as evidence for Evolution, are not isolated specific forms uniting some
characteristics of those which they are supposed to connect,--as
Nelson's men-of-war form a stepping-stone between the vessels of the
Norsemen and the ironclads of the present day,--but a series sufficient
to show, or at least to indicate, that all changes have been gradual and
insensible, without the introduction at any point of a new element. To
pursue the illustration, such a new element would be gunpowder or steam
in the evolution of the battle-ship, for by no mere development could
bows or javelins produce a cannon, or sailing ships a steamboat.

Therefore, in proportion as the geological record approaches
completeness, its testimony,--if it is to be in favour of
Evolution--must tend more and more in this direction, and unless, in
some instance at least, clear evidence be discoverable of the melting of
one form into another, it cannot possibly be said that we have
sufficient proof that such a process ever occurred. Mere graduated
resemblance of isolated forms does not necessarily imply such
transmutation, as we see for example in the methodical progression of
shape, exhibited by various crystals, and even more remarkably in the
affinities which we can recognize among what we know as elementary

There is another important point to be borne in mind. According to the
teaching of Evolutionists such as Darwin or Haeckel,[245] every Species
has originated from a single ancestor,--or, as they should rather say,
from a single pair.

If this were so, it would necessarily follow that every new form,
originating in some particular spot of earth, would very gradually
spread thence to other regions, fighting its way along. As Mr. Darwin
acknowledges,[246] "The development by this means (i.e. Natural
Selection) of a group of forms, all of which are descended from some one
progenitor, must have been an extremely slow process; and the
progenitors must have lived long before their modified descendants."

Of this gradual spread of new types there should, at least in some
cases, be some palæontological evidence.

It is likewise by no means easy to understand how species thus generated
could stand solitary and isolated from kindred forms in the records of
the earth. The pair of individuals which started a new persistent
group,--its members all stamped with the same specific characters, while
all around were in a state of flux and divergence,--differed from their
immediate ancestors, as we have seen, only infinitesimally. They can
have differed no more from many of their contemporaries, for all the
lines of descent must ramify afresh in each generation, and so form a
web rather than anything like a line. It is not very easy to understand
how a pair here and there struck root and founded a species, while the
thousands which jostled them round about failed to do so, for the others
which survived longest must be supposed to have resembled them most
nearly, and therefore to have participated in their advantages. At
least, we should expect to find around them the débris of the multitude
they vanquished in the struggle for existence.

We are told, moreover, that, with hardly an exception, the organic forms
found in a fossil state must be supposed to be the last of their
special line of development, which terminated in them; so that neither
can they be claimed as the direct ancestors of any other forms, fossil
or living, nor can any others which are actually known be claimed as
their progenitors. The genealogies supplied for almost all known
species, extinct or existing, are admittedly conjectural, and as in the
most famous instance of all, namely the supposed common ancestor of
simians and men, the links are persistently "missing." Thus M. de
Quatrefages, speaking of the human pedigree as set forth by Professor
Haeckel, writes thus:[247]

     All species, existing or extinct, are said to have been preceded by
     _ancestral forms_ which have disappeared without leaving the
     slightest vestige behind them. The _amphioxus_ itself, which more
     than any other realizes the type of the group it represents, was
     preceded, according to Haeckel, by the _provertebrate_, which no
     man has ever seen, but of which, nevertheless, the Jena professor
     gives us a figure, and describes the anatomy.

Thus the number of forms postulated by the theory of genetic Evolution,
must have been enormous beyond conception, in comparison with those
belonging to the numerically insignificant groups which formed the mere
extremities of branches on the genealogical tree.

This being premised, we must ask what Geology has to tell us on the
subject, and it will be well to begin by briefly recalling the main
features of the geological record.

       *       *       *       *       *

The stratified rocks comprising the crust of the earth, in which fossil
plants and animals are found embedded, have evidently been formed at
successive periods, chiefly by the agency of water, each formation
having begun as a sediment like the mud or ooze at the bottom of our
oceans and seas. Geological investigation has proved that the
chronological order of the strata thus deposited can be satisfactorily
determined, and they are found to divide themselves, in respect of the
organisms they contain, into three great series, lying above the _Azoic_
(or lifeless) rocks, older than them all.

These series, beginning from the bottom, in which order we shall have to
trace their history, are most conveniently named _Primary_, _Secondary_,
and _Tertiary_, otherwise termed respectively, _Palœozoic_ ("ancient
life"), _Mesozoic_ ("middle life"), and _Kainozoic_ ("recent life").
Each of these again, contains various formations, or as we may call them
volumes of its chronicle, each of which has its fixed place in order of

Thus, always proceeding from below upwards, in the _Primary_ series,
commencing with the _Laurentian_, we find successively the _Huronian_,
_Cambrian_, _Silurian_, _Devonian_ or _Old Red Sandstone_,
_Carboniferous_, and _Permian_.

In the _Secondary_, the lowest formation is the _Triassic_ or _New Red
Sandstone_, followed by the _Jurassic_ or _Oolite_, and the _Cretaceous_
or _Chalk_.

Finally the _Tertiary_ has three main divisions; the _Eocene_, or "dawn
of the recent," _Miocene_, or "less recent," and _Pliocene_, or "more

Above these comes the series now in progress, variously called,
_Quaternary_, _Post-Tertiary_, and _Pleistocene_, or "most recent."

       *       *       *       *       *

It seems advisable to begin our investigation with the vegetable
kingdom, as its classification being comparatively simple, the essential
points of its development are easily followed. We cannot do better than
start with the summary of its main divisions furnished by Mr.

     The vegetable kingdom is divided into sections, according to the
     simplicity or complexity of structure. Associated with plants of
     simple structure we find, as a rule, more elementary organs of
     reproduction. Linnaeus made two great divisions, of flowering
     (_Phanerogams_) and flowerless plants (_Cryptogams_).... The higher
     group have flowers, with their stamens and pistils, which produce
     seeds, while the lower group are without flowers and bear spores,
     which are much simpler bodies than seeds. There are seven main
     groups of spore-bearers--the _algæ_ or water-weeds; the _fungi_ or
     mushroom family; the _lichens_, which cover old walls and rocks
     with patches of coloured vegetation; the _mosses_ with their green
     leaves and urn-shaped fruit; the _ferns_ with their large and
     usually much-divided leaves, on the back or edges of which the
     spores are borne; the _horsetails_, found in wet places, having
     jointed hollow stems and spores produced in little cones; and the
     _club-mosses_, upright or creeping leafy plants found on our
     mountains. These seven groups may be arranged in two divisions,
     according to the tissues of which they are formed. In the first
     four the whole plant is composed of _cells_, while in the last
     three a firm _vascular skeleton_ is present. These characters are
     of great importance to the student of fossil plants.... The
     flowering plants are more complex in their structure, and in their
     organs of reproduction. The lowest group of these plants is the
     _Gymnosperms_, or naked-seeded plants, like our yews and pines. The
     other flowering plants (_Angiosperms_) have their seeds in a closed
     fruit. These are divided into two sections from characters derived
     from the embryo plant in the seed, depending on whether this minute
     plant has one seed-leaf (_cotyledon_) or two, and so we have
     _Monocotyledons_ and _Dicotyledons_. The higher group, or
     dicotyledons, have been arranged into three divisions, according to
     the complexity of the flower. In one large group (_Apetalae_) the
     pistil and stamens are not surrounded by petals, e.g. in the oak
     and the stinging nettle: superior to them are the plants
     (_Monopetalae_) in which the petals form a cup, as the
     blue-bell[249] and the gentian, while the highest group
     (_Polypetalae_) have all the petals separate, as the buttercups and

It is most important to recollect that on evolutionary principles the
first representatives of any such classes--and the same holds of animals
as well--must have been generalized forms, representing the type in the
rough, or, in Mr. Herbert Spencer's phrase, exhibiting by comparison
with their successors indefinite incoherent homogeneity, as contrasted
with definite coherent heterogeneity. They should bear the same sort of
relation to the finished articles worked up by Evolution as did the
first bone-shaker bicycle to our latest patterns, or the news-sheets of
Cromwell's time to the _Times_ or _Graphic_ of to-day. On this, as we
saw in the last chapter, Mr. Darwin strongly insists, confessing at the
same time that the Geological record alone can establish such progress
as a fact.

How these various classes of plants appear actually to have come upon
the scene, Mr. Carruthers relates both in the paper from which we have
just quoted, and at greater length in the address which he delivered as
President of the Geologists' Association,[251] to the following effect.

In the first place, he declares that although the geological record, at
least as known to us, is very imperfect, and represents only an
insignificant fragment of plant-history,

     There is a large series of plant-remains completely and accurately
     known which supply a fair representation of the great events of
     plant-life that have taken place on the earth since Palæozoic
     times. And these are more than sufficient to establish or destroy
     this hypothesis [of genetic evolution] by their testimony.

There is--he goes on to say--indirect evidence of the existence of
vegetable life, long before we find any actual remains. Such indirect
evidence is afforded in the first place by the abundance during this
period of animal life, needing plants for its sustenance, and secondly
by the enormous quantity of carbon in the rocks, which must have been
secreted from the atmosphere by vegetable tissues. There are also
certain surface marks or impressions occasionally to be found, which are
probably due to plants of a soft and perishable character like the
cellular cryptogams, and which although extremely vague and undefined,
at least do not contradict the evolutionist, who regards them as
evidence that the _Algæ_ were, as according to him they ought to have
been, the primeval plants. Mr. Carruthers adds a caution however, which
can find its application in other instances as well:

     While making this admission in relation to the vegetation of these
     older rocks, I must protest against the practice of completing the
     record of life forms, by filling in particular groups without any
     authority except the writer's impression of an adopted hypothesis,
     and then basing arguments on these assumptions in support of the
     hypothesis which created them. So completely has


               | Post Tertiary.|                                    |
   Tertiary.  {| Pliocene.     |                                    |
              {| Miocene.      |                                    |
              {| Eocene.       |                                    |
   Secondary. {| Chalk.        | Dicotyledons (Apetalæ, Polypetalæ, |
              {|               |   Sympetalæ).                      |
              {| Oolite.       |                                    |
              {| Trias.        |                                    |
               |               |                                    |
              {| Permian.      |                                    |
              {| Carboniferous.| Monocotyledons.                    |
              {|               |                                    |
              {| Devonian, or  | Clubmosses, Horsetails, Ferns,     |
              {| Old Red       |   Gymnosperms.                     |
              {| Sandstone.    |                                    |
   Primary.   {| Silurian.     | } Cellular Cryptogams.             |
              {| Cambrian.     | }                                  |
              {| Huronian.     | } Indications of Plants,           |
              {| Laurentian.   | }   not determinable.              |
               | AZOIC.        |                                    |

     phylogenetic [or racial] evolution become the creed of some leading
     naturalists that they unwittingly proceed in this manifestly
     unphilosophical method. But it is a first axiom, though one often
     forgotten, in this as in every scientific enquiry, that no step can
     be made in advance which is not based on fact.

After this initial stage, the story becomes much clearer, and at the
same time less easy to reconcile with evolutionary requirements.

Instead of making their appearance singly and successively, and passing
imperceptibly one into another, all three groups of Vascular Cryptogams,
and the Gymnosperms into the bargain, come on the stage together, in the
Devonian strata; and Monocotyledons in the lower Carboniferous
immediately following. There is no trace whatever of the development of
any of these forms from the earlier cellular cryptogams:

     But [says Mr. Carruthers] the evolution of the Vascular Cryptogams,
     and the Phanerogams, from the green seaweeds, through the
     liverworts and mosses, if it took place, must have been carried on
     through a long succession of ages, and by an innumerable series of
     advancing steps; and yet we find not a single trace either of the
     early water forms or of the later and still more numerous dry-land
     forms. The conditions that permitted the preservation of the
     fucoids in the Llandovery rocks at Malvern, and of similar cellular
     organisms elsewhere, were, at least, fitted to preserve _some_
     record of the necessarily rich floras, if they existed, which
     through immense ages, led by minute steps to the Conifer
     [_Gymnosperm_] and Monocotyledon of these Palæozoic Rocks.

     Further, these earliest plants are not generalized forms of the
     various tribes to which they belong, but they are as highly
     specialized as any subsequent representatives of the particular
     group to which they belong, and wherever they differ from later
     plants, it is in the possession of a more perfect organization.

       *       *       *       *       *

From all which facts Mr. Carruthers thus argues:

     The complete absence of intermediate forms, and the sudden and
     contemporaneous appearance of highly organized and widely separated
     groups, deprive the hypothesis of genetic evolution of any
     countenance from the plant-record of these ancient rocks. The whole
     evidence is against evolution, and there is none for it.[252]

Dicotyledons furnish evidence of especial value. On account of their
higher organization, they are easily distinguished from both
Monocotyledons and Gymnosperms; and they present features which clearly
differentiate them amongst themselves. They did not make their entry
till after a long interval--and their remains are therefore to be found
in strata comparatively recent and better known to us than those of the
older rocks. It is in the Chalk, the newest of the Secondary or Mesozoic
formations, that they first exhibit themselves, and they do it in the
same fashion as their predecessors.

When the Dicotyledons appear in the upper cretaceous beds,
representatives of the three great groups [_Apetalæ_, _Monopetalæ_,
_Polypetalæ_] appear together in the same deposit. Moreover, these
divisions are represented, not by generalized types, but by
differentiated forms, which, during the intervening epochs, have not
developed even into higher generic groups.

       *       *       *       *       *

And, here again, there is no vestige of intermediate species, linking
dicotyledonous plants with other types.

     No trace of a plant belonging to this great division has yet been
     detected in any earlier stratum [than the upper chalk]. There is no
     evidence whatever for Haeckel's statement that the _Apetalæ_
     probably existed in the Triassic and Jurassic periods.... It cannot
     be doubted that the conditions favourable to the preservation of
     Monocotyledons and Equisetums would have secured the preservation
     of some of the _Apetalæ_, had they existed. This absence can be
     accounted for only on the supposition that they formed no part of
     the then existing vegetation. And in the deposits older than the
     Trias, or in any subsequent deposits, no intermediate form has been
     detected,--no Gymnosperm or Monocotyledon which exhibits in any
     point of its structure a modification towards the more highly
     organized Dicotyledon.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nor, on the same authority, is this all.

     It is equally important in its bearing on the hypothesis of genetic
     evolution that the generic groups above named have persisted from
     the first known appearance of Dicotyledons, throughout the whole of
     the intervening ages, and still hold their places unchanged among
     the existing forms of vegetation. The persistence of generic and
     specific types, and the certain knowledge we possess of the life of
     many existing species of Phanerogams and Cryptogams which have come
     down through the Glacial Epoch, have not been sufficiently
     considered in their bearing on the hypothesis.

We have already seen something of an example which illustrates this
point in a remarkable manner,--that of _Salix polaris_, the willow which
has so obstinately preserved its specific identity amid great stress of
circumstances. It belongs to a very variable genus--one in which if
anywhere evidence of genetic development might be looked for. Yet it is
found that since a period prior to the great Ice Age, or Glacial epoch,
it has remained absolutely unchanged. At such a rate, we cannot but ask,
how long would Evolution take to get back to the generalized type-form,
or common ancestor, of the genus _Salix_, and then to that of the Order
_Salicineae_, which includes poplars as well as willows. "The Ordinal
form, if it ever existed, must necessarily be much older than the period
of the upper Cretaceous rocks, that is than the period to which the
earliest known Dicotyledons belong."

And it is obvious that when we had got back to the parental stock of the
willow tribe, we should still, as evolutionists, be separated by a gulf
still vastly greater from the common ancestor of all Dicotyledons, of
oaks, apple-trees, primroses, and daisies no less than of willows and

The significance of all these various facts is thus summed up:

     The whole evidence supplied by fossil plants is, then, opposed to
     the hypothesis of genetic evolution, and especially the sudden and
     simultaneous appearance of the most highly organized plants at
     particular stages in the past history of the globe, and the entire
     absence amongst fossil plants of any forms intermediate between
     existing classes or families. The facts of palæontological botany
     are opposed to Evolution, but they testify to Development, to
     progression from lower to higher types. The cellular Algæ preceded
     the Vascular Cryptogams and the Gymnosperms of the Newer Palæozoic
     rocks, and these were speedily followed by Monocotyledons, and, at
     a much later period, by Dicotyledons. But the earliest
     representatives of these various sections of the vegetable kingdom
     were not generalized forms, but as highly organized as recent
     forms, and in many cases more highly organized: and the divisions
     were as clearly bounded in their essential characters, and as
     decidedly separated from each other as they are at the present day.

So much for the vegetable world. As for the animal, although the number
and complexity of its divisions makes it less easy to present so
complete a sketch in these moderate limits, the features of its history
are very similar. As Sir J. W. Dawson recounts it:[253]


               |  Post Tertiary.   |  Man and Modern Mammals.       |
             { |    Pliocene.      |                                |
             { +----------------------------------------------------+
   Tertiary. { |    Miocene.       |                                |
             { +-------------------+--------------------------------+
             { |    Eocene.        | Placental Mammals (Ungulates,  |
             { |                   | Unguiculates, Rodents,         |
             { |                   | Whales, Bats).                 |
             { |    Chalk.         |                                |
             { +-------------------+--------------------------------+
   Secondary.{ |    Oolite.        | Birds.                         |
             { +-------------------+--------------------------------+
             { |    Trias.         | Marsupial Mammals.             |
             { |    Permian.       | Reptiles (various orders).     |
             { +-------------------+--------------------------------+
             { |  Carboniferous.   |                                |
             { +-------------------+--------------------------------+
             { |  Devonian, or     | Millipeds, Insects, Spiders,   |
             { | Old Red Sandstone.| Scorpions, Fish, Batrachians,  |
             { |                   | etc.                           |
             { +-------------------+--------------------------------+
   Primary.  { |   Silurian.       |                                |
             { +-------------------+--------------------------------+
             { |   Cambrian.       | Shell Fish, Sponges, Molluscs, |
             { |                   | Crustaceans, Worms, etc.       |
             { +-------------------+--------------------------------+
             { |   Huronian.       |  }                             |
             { +-------------------+--}-----------------------------|
             { |   Laurentian.     |  } Protozoa.                   |
               |    AZOIC.         |                                |

In the Cambrian age, we obtain a vast and varied accession of living
things, which appear at once, as if by a sudden and simultaneous
production of many kinds of animals. Here we find evidence that the sea
swarmed with creatures near akin to those which still inhabit it, and
nearly as varied.... Had we been able to drop our dredge into the
Cambrian or Silurian ocean, we should have brought up representatives of
all the leading types of invertebrate life that exist in the modern
seas--different, it is true, in details of structure from those now
existing, but constructed on the same principles, and filling the same
places in nature.

In the latter half of the Palæozoic we find a number of higher forms
breaking upon us with the same apparent suddenness as in the case of the
early Cambrian animals. Fishes appear, and soon abound in a great
variety of species, representing types of no mean rank, but, singularly
enough, belonging in many cases to groups now very rare; while the
commoner tribes of modern fish do not appear. On the land, Batrachian
Reptiles now abound, some of them very high in the sub-class to which
they belong. Scorpions, spiders, insects, and millipedes appear as well
as land-snails: and this not in one locality only, but over the whole
northern hemisphere.... Nor do they show any signs of an unformed or
imperfect state.... The compound eyes and filmy wings of insects, the
teeth, bones, and scales of batrachians and fishes; all are as perfectly
finished, and many quite as complex and elegant, as the animals of the
present day.

This wonderful Palæozoic age was, however, but a temporary state of the
earth. It passed away, and was replaced by the Mesozoic, emphatically
the age of Reptiles, when animals of that type attained to colossal
magnitude, to variety of function and structure, to diversity of habitat
in sea and on land, altogether unexampled in their degraded descendants
of modern times.... Strangely enough, with these reptilian lords
appeared a few small and lowly mammals, forerunners of the coming
age.[254] Birds also made their appearance.

The Kainozoic, or Tertiary, is the age of Mammals and of Man. In it the
great reptilian tyrants of the Mesozoic disappear, and are replaced on
land and sea by mammals or beasts of the same orders with those now
living, though differing as to genera and species. So greatly indeed did
mammalian life abound in this period that in the middle part of the
Tertiary most of the leading groups were represented by more numerous
species than at present, while many types then existing

     have now no representatives. At the close of this great and
     wonderful procession of living beings comes Man himself--the last
     and crowning triumph of creation the head, thus far, of life on the


In the above Diagram the progress of Organic Development, as manifested
in higher and higher types, is indicated by the increasing divergence of
new forms from primitive simplicity of structure, represented by the
medium line separating the vegetable and animal kingdoms.

The _Supposed line of continuous Evolution,_ indicates the gradual
course which should be taken by Development, on Darwinian or Spencerian
principles, by accumulation of minute differences in successive
generations, as contrasted with the abrupt and simultaneous appearance
of highly differentiated types, as spoken of by palæontologists.

[_To face page 227._]]

It must be sufficient to quote one other remark:[255]

     There is no direct evidence that in the course of geological time
     one species has been gradually or suddenly changed into another....
     On the other hand, we constantly find species replaced by others
     entirely new, and this without any transition. The two classes of
     facts are essentially different, though often confounded by
     evolutionists; and though it is possible to point out in the newer
     geological formations some genera and species allied to others
     which have preceded them, and to suppose that the later forms
     proceeded from the earlier, still, as the connecting links cannot
     be found, this is mere supposition, not scientific certainty.
     Further, it proceeds on the principle of arbitrary choice of
     certain forms out of many, without any evidence of genetic

Having given a tabular view of Geological periods and Life-epochs,
similar to those presented above, our author remarks:[256]

     If in the table above we were to represent diagrammatically the
     development of animals and plants, this would appear not as a
     smooth and continuous stream, but as a series of great waves, each
     rising abruptly, and then descending and flowing on at a lower
     level along with the remains of those preceding it.

And here may be noticed an observation made amongst others by the Comte
de Saporta[257] on the remarkable parallelism of Animal and Vegetable
development. After a period in which these kingdoms were respectively
represented by aquatic _Algæ_ and _Protozoa_, land animals and land
plants appear to have come in much at the same epoch; and afterwards
dicotyledonous plants immediately preceded the advent of mammals.

Mr. Mivart is of like mind with the others we have heard. "The mass of
palæontological evidence," he writes,[258] "is indeed overwhelmingly
against minute and gradual modification." He points out, with the _North
British_ Reviewer so frequently quoted, that had the later forms of life
descended from the earlier, through such a series of imperceptible
gradations as is imagined, the probability would be that no two fossil
specimens would be exactly alike, whereas in fact numbers are found of
certain particular patterns, and none whatever between them, fossil
animals and plants falling naturally into species, genera, families, and
other categories just like those of the present day.

It is this total absence of graduated series, linking different forms
together, that is the great and fundamental difficulty in the way of
genetic evolution. Yet this seems very seldom to be realized, and it
seems constantly to be assumed that in order to establish the genetic
continuity of two creatures no more is required than to discover
another standing more or less between them. Thus in the most famous of
all instances, how often do we hear of "the missing link" between man
and ape,--as though should a generalized form be disclosed, which might
be considered a common ancestor, the question of man's simian origin
would be finally settled. In the same way, as we have seen, the
existence of birds with reptilian features, is taken by some as
conclusive proof that birds and reptiles have descended from one stock.
But what is most imperatively wanted, is persistently wanting,--namely
some evidence of a series in which one form passes to another, as in a
dissolving view. And yet, genetic evolutionists must suppose such series
to have been the universal rule throughout the whole course of life on

     Assuredly [writes M. de Quatrefages][259] is it not singularly
     unfortunate for the evolutionary theory that so many facts which
     tell against it should have been preserved in the scraps of
     Nature's great book which remain to us, and that invariably those
     which would have told in its favour were recorded in lost volumes
     and missing leaves?

In some particular instances the absence of any trace of intermediate
forms is especially significant. The tribe of Bats, for instance, is a
very singular one. The wings, in which form the fore-limbs are
specialized, represent the same elements as our own hands; and other
modifications of the same members have produced the paws of cats and
dogs, the hoofs of horses and cattle, and the flippers of whales and
porpoises,--to mention no others. What countless hosts of the Bat's
ancestors must have lived and died while by accumulation of minute
differences the primitive generalized limb whence all these diverse
forms originated, was being turned into a wing capable of flight. Yet of
all these no vestige is to be discovered. "Whenever the remains of bats
have been found," says Mr. Mivart,[260] "they have presented the exact
type of existing forms." The same, he tells us, holds good of other
flying creatures--birds and pterodactyles--(or flying lizards--now
wholly extinct). No trace of any of these is forthcoming while their
wings were in the making. "Yet had such a slow mode of origin as
Darwinians [and genetic evolutionists generally] contend for, operated
exclusively in all cases, it is absolutely incredible that bats, birds,
and pterodactyles should have left the remains they have, and yet not a
single relic be preserved in any one instance of any of these different
forms of wing in their incipient and relatively imperfect functional

There are other creatures which stand in solitary isolation, with no
fragments of a bridge to connect them with the general body. Such is the
rattlesnake's family, whose pedigree, Mr. Mivart declares,[261] we
cannot even imagine--"The ancestors of the rattlesnake are beyond our
mental vision."

     But the number of forms [says the same author][262] represented by
     many individuals, yet by _no transitional ones_, is so great that
     only two or three can be selected as examples. Thus those
     remarkable fossil reptiles, the Icthyosauria and Plesiosauria,
     extended, through the secondary period, probably over the greater
     part of the globe. Yet no single transitional form has yet been met
     with in spite of the multitudinous individuals preserved. Again,
     with their modern representatives the Cetacea, one or two aberrant
     forms alone have been found, but no series of transitional ones
     indicating minutely the line of descent. This group, the whales, is
     a very marked one, and it is curious, on Darwinian principles, that
     so few instances tending to indicate its mode of origin should have
     presented themselves. Here, as in the bats, we might surely expect
     that some relics of unquestionably incipient stages of its
     development would have been left.

Professor W. C. Williamson likewise remarks[263] on these _lacunæ_ which
persistently occur at crucial points:

     If [he writes] these generic types [of plants] first came before us
     in such clearly defined forms, when and where did the transitional
     states make their appearance? The extreme evolutionists constantly
     affirm of those who believe in special creation that they
     "habitually suppose the origination to occur in some region remote
     from human observation," and that "the conception survives only in
     connexion with imagined places where the order of organic phenomena
     is unknown." It is legitimate to retort upon them that they as
     habitually resort to "strata now covered by the sea"--to rocks
     "from which all traces of such fossils as they probably included
     have been obliterated by igneous action," and to mysterious
     "migrations from pre-existing continents to continents that were
     step by step emerging from the ocean." Unfortunately, so far as the
     vegetable kingdom is concerned, we have as yet failed to discover
     any traces of these mysterious strata or hypothetical continents in
     which the transitions from one plant-type to another were being
     brought about. The believers in special creations are not the only
     reasoners who have made free use of hypothetical possibilities.

He presently adds:

     We have no evidence that unaided Nature has produced a single new
     type during the historic period. We can only conclude that the
     wonderful outburst of genetic activity which characterized the
     Tertiary age was due to some unknown factor, which then operated
     with an energy to which the earth was a stranger, both previously
     and subsequently. The knowledge of this factor is what we need in
     order to perfect our philosophy; and until we obtain that
     knowledge, many things must remain unaccounted for, so far as
     primeval vegetation is concerned.

And elsewhere Professor Williamson reiterates the same idea:[264]

     I contend stoutly [he says] that, however numerous may be the facts
     that sustain the doctrine of evolution (and I am prepared to admit
     that there are many that do so in a remarkable manner), this
     unexplained outburst of new life demands the recognition of some
     factor not hitherto admitted into the calculations of the
     evolutionist school.

In the record of fossil fishes he finds some features which are
particularly hard to harmonize with any theory of genetic
evolution.[265] Amongst the very earliest representatives of this class,
even in the upper Silurian, are found remains of sharks, in his opinion
the highest order of fish, and in the Devonian and Carboniferous above,
of _Ganoids_ armour clad, like the sturgeon. But nowhere below the Chalk
do we find a single scale of _Cycloids_ or _Ctenoids_, which in regard
alike of the scales themselves, of the nervous system and of the
reproductive organs, are much below the sharks, and not above the
_Ganoids_. To complicate matters still more, however, the skeleton of
_Cycloids_ and _Ctenoids_ is more highly organized than that of the
others, and it is thus equally impossible to describe them as
progressive or as retrogressive types.[266]

Over and above this absence of intermediate or link forms, the witnesses
who have been cited insist on the fact that those earliest found are
not simple or generalized representatives of their respective types, as
the theory of genetic evolution requires them to be, but are as
perfectly finished and specialized as those appearing in later ages. To
their testimony on this point may be added that of Professor Huxley, who
while frankly confessing that he would be glad enough to find evidence
in favour of such progressive modification, was constrained by his love
of scientific truth to bear witness as follows:[267]

     The only safe and unquestionable testimony we can procure--positive
     evidence--fails to demonstrate any sort of progressive modification
     towards a less embryonic, or less generalized type, in a great many
     groups of animals of long-continued geological existence. In these
     groups there is abundant evidence of variation--none of what is
     generally understood as progression; and if the known geological
     record is to be regarded as even any considerable fragment of the
     whole, it is inconceivable that any theory of a necessarily
     progressive development can stand, for the numerous orders and
     families cited afford no trace of such a process.

So again he declared at a later period[268] summarizing what he had said

     In answer to the question, What does an impartial survey of the
     positively ascertained truths of palæontology testify in relation
     to the common doctrines of progressive modification?... I reply: It
     negatives these doctrines; for it either shows us no evidence of
     such modification, or demonstrates such modification as has
     occurred to have been very slight; and as to the nature of that
     modification, it yields no evidence whatsoever that the earliest
     members of a long-existing group were more generalized in structure
     than the later ones.

He went on, however, to say, on this latter occasion, that discoveries
made in the interval afforded much ground for softening "the Brutus-like
severity" which eight years before he had exhibited in this regard, by
disclosing such evidence as he had declared to be lacking. From the
samples, however, which he produced, it does not appear that this fresh
testimony comes to very much; and in view of the observations with which
he accompanied the exposition, it would seem that in only one instance
did it appear to himself thoroughly satisfactory.

     Every fossil [he said][269] which takes an intermediate place
     between forms of life already known, may be said, so far as it is
     intermediate, to be evidence in favour of Evolution, inasmuch as it
     shows a possible road by which Evolution may have taken place. But
     the mere discovery of such a form does not, in itself, prove that
     Evolution took place by and through it, nor does it constitute
     more than presumptive evidence in favour of Evolution in general.

     It is easy[270] to accumulate probabilities--hard to make out some
     particular case in such a way that it will stand rigorous
     criticism. After much search, however, I think that such a case is
     to be made out in favour of the pedigree of the Horse.

Of this famous instance we have already heard, and since it will be
examined at length in the following chapter, we will not dwell further
upon it here.

So obvious indeed is this deficiency for evolutionary requirements of
the Geological record, that Professor Haeckel attempts to supply the
want by boldly interpolating a number of periods during which the
metamorphoses occurred, but of which no record was left. He assumes that
between the epochs of depression, when fossils were deposited beneath
the water, there were other epochs of elevation when the land was dry
and no deposits could occur, and he supposes that the abrupt changes of
flora and fauna exhibited by successive formations, are due to the lapse
of time of which we have no organic record in what he styles these

As to this summary mode of loosing the Gordian knot, it will be
sufficient to quote Professor Huxley's verdict: "I confess this is
wholly incredible to me."[271] And although in his favourable review of
Haeckel's book[272] he showed himself far more tolerant of gratuitous
speculations, than his utterances on other occasions might have led us
to expect, upon this point he declared: "I fundamentally and entirely
disagree with Professor Haeckel."

We may sum up the testimonies of which the above are representative in
the words of two authorities by no means hostile to Evolution. M. Edmond
Perrier,[273] having shewn how this theory is suggested by the
successive developments of type, and how the phenomena of organic life
seem to harmonize with it, thus continues:

     Unfortunately, when we descend to details, such palæontological
     gaps present themselves that every sort of objection is possible.
     The chain which morphology has allowed us to piece together is
     continually snapped when we essay to travel back into the past....
     The art of distinguishing realities from phantoms of the
     imagination is what has made modern science so great and so mighty.
     She is strong enough to win honour by avowing ignorance, and
     because men see her always determined to speak the truth, they
     gradually realize that she is not dangerous.

And in his Presidential address to the Linnean Society, May 24, 1902,
Professor S. H. Vines thus expressed himself as to the genealogical
table of organic life, which ever since the doctrine of Evolution was
accepted, it has been sought to construct:

     Though here and there fragments of the mosaic seem to have been
     successfully pieced together, the main outlines, even, of the great
     picture are as yet but dimly discernible.

     The fact that organic Evolution should have proceeded so far as it
     has within such limits of time as may reasonably be allowed,
     admits, to my mind, of no other interpretation than that variation
     is not indeterminate, but, as Lamarck and Nägeli have urged, there
     must exist in living matter a certain inherent tendency or bias in
     favour of variation in the higher direction. It is this tendency or
     bias that I venture to regard as the primordial factor.

But it is precisely such an inherent tendency of organic life to develop
on predetermined lines, which Darwinians and other advocates of
Evolution by the agency of physical forces alone, vehemently repudiate
as fatal to their whole system.

     [Since Professor Williamson wrote, the opinion has been adopted
     that for the very reason which induced him to place the Sharks
     above the _Cycloids_ and _Ctenoids_, their relative positions
     should be reversed. The Sharks being a more "generalized" type,
     with features more akin to those of land-dwelling reptiles, and the
     others more "specialized" for purely aquatic conditions, the
     latter, it is argued, are a higher evolutionary product. As a
     necessary corollary it is assumed that vertebrate life originated,
     not, as had been supposed, in the sea, but in swamps or lagoons on
     the shore-line. It must, however, remain a question how far the
     facility with which theories can thus be modified according to
     requirements, is calculated to inspire confidence in them.]



We have heard Mr. Carruthers' declaration, based upon his survey of
palæontological botany, "The whole evidence is against Evolution, and
there is none in favour of it."

Remarkably enough, at almost the same period[274] Professor Huxley
concluded a discussion of palæontological evidence with a precisely
contrary pronouncement--"The whole evidence is in favour of Evolution,
and there is none against it." On other occasions, also, he distinctly
maintained that it is just this line of enquiry which conclusively
establishes Evolution as no longer a theory, but an historical fact. To
such a conclusion, he tells us,[275] "an acute and critical-minded
investigator is led by the facts of palæontology;"--and, again, "If the
doctrine of Evolution had not existed, palæontologists must have
invented it, so irresistibly is it forced upon the mind by the study of
the remains of the Tertiary mammalia."

Such declarations clearly challenge consideration, especially when it
is remembered how strict were the views which Professor Huxley professed
as to the necessity of proofs for our beliefs,--"that it is wrong for a
man to say he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition
unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that

We therefore turn naturally to his lectures on Evolution, wherein he
treats the palæontological argument _ex professo_, and we find that his
verdict is based upon a few selected instances, such as that of the
reptilian birds already mentioned, which he considers favourable to
Evolution, and one which he terms _demonstrative_,--namely that of the
Horse. This he treats in some detail; in regard of it he delivers the
positive judgment which we have just heard, and it therefore in a
special manner demands our attention.

As furnishing evidence for the history of the horse, two features are of
special importance, his limbs, and his teeth. Of these we may confine
our attention to the former, as being, at once, sufficient for our
purpose, and within the scope of ordinary observation.

The horse family, or _Equidae_, belong to the tribe of Ungulates, or
hoofed animals, some points of whose anatomy require to be considered in
relation to our own.

Taking first the fore-limbs. What we call the "knee" of a horse is in
reality the wrist,--the true knee, or rather elbow, being what we call
the "shoulder." Below the knee comes the "cannon bone," corresponding to
the middle bone of the hand, and below it the "pastern," "coronary," and
"coffin" bones, representing the joints of the solitary middle-finger,
while the hoof is its greatly enlarged and thickened nail. Similarly, in
the hind-limbs; the "hock" is veritably the ankle, and again the lateral
digits are suppressed, the middle toe alone remaining.

It thus appears that an Ungulate such as the horse, is an extreme
modification of the general Mammalian plan, his members being highly
specialized for a certain kind of work. His leg and hoof, as the theory
of genetic Evolution declares, have been gradually fashioned to their
present shape from an original limb in the common Mammalian ancestor,
which by other modifications has equally produced the totally different
members possessed by other mammals.

That the horse is descended from a race bearing more than one digit on
each extremity, seems to be indicated by the splint-bones which are
found on the cannon-bone of both fore and hind legs, and which represent
the second and fourth finger and toe, and also by recorded occurrences
of polydactyle horses, one of which has a distinguished place in history
as Julius Cæsar's charger.[277]

That the animal as we now know him is the lineal descendant of various
other ungulates, in whom the digits were gradually reduced from the
normal number of five, to their present solitary representative,
Professor Huxley and other Evolutionists hold to be demonstrated by the
discovery in due succession of various equine specimens, in which this
diminution is gradually exhibited.

The remains of these animals are all found in _Tertiary_ strata, of
which, it will be remembered, there are three great divisions, the
_Eocene_, _Miocene_, and _Pliocene_, the first named being the most
ancient, and the last the most recent.

The genus _Equus_, or at least our modern horse, _Equus caballus_, can
be traced no further back than the _Post-tertiary_ period. The
succession of forms leading up thither commences at the bottom of the
_Eocene_, and extends to the upper _Pliocene_.

Following Professor Huxley's guidance, we trace the pedigree downwards,

     Firstly, there is the true horse. Next we have the American
     Pliocene form, _Pliohippus_. In the conformation of its limbs it
     presents some very slight deviations from the ordinary horse. Then
     comes _Protohippus_, which represents the European _Hipparion_,
     having one large digit and two small ones on each foot.... But it
     is more valuable than _Hipparion_, for certain peculiarities tend
     to show that the latter is rather a member of a collateral branch,
     than a form in the direct line of succession. Next, in the backward
     order in time, is the _Miohippus_, [_Miocene_], which corresponds
     pretty nearly with the _Anchitherium_ of Europe. It presents three
     complete toes--one large median and two smaller lateral ones; and
     there is a rudiment of that digit which answers to the little
     finger of the human hand. The European record stops here: in the
     American Tertiaries, the series of ancestral equine forms is
     continued into the Eocene. An older Miocene form, _Mesohippus_, has
     three toes in front, with a large splint-like rudiment representing
     the little finger, and three toes behind. The _radius_ and _ulna_,
     _tibia_ and _fibula_,[278] are distinct. Most important of all is
     the _Orohippus_, from the Eocene. Here we find four complete toes
     on the front limb, three toes on the hind-limb, a well developed
     _ulna_, a well developed _fibula_.

Here, when the lecture which we are considering was delivered, the
series terminated:--and upon the facts as above given Professor Huxley
thus commented:

     Thus, it has become evident that, so far as our present knowledge
     extends, the history of the horse-type is exactly and precisely
     that which could have been predicted from a knowledge of the
     principles of Evolution. And the knowledge we now possess justifies
     us completely in the anticipation, that when the still lower Eocene
     deposits, and those which belong to the Cretaceous Epoch have
     yielded up their remains, we shall find, first, a form with four
     complete toes and a rudiment of the innermost or first digit in
     front, with probably a rudiment of the fifth digit in the hind
     foot; while, in still older forms, the series of the digits will be
     more and more complete, until we come to the five-toed animals, in
     which, if the doctrine of Evolution is well founded, the whole
     series must have taken its origin.

Finally he was able to add in a note that since the delivery of the
lecture, Professor Marsh had discovered a new genus of Equine Mammals,
_Eohippus_, corresponding very nearly to his description of what might
first be looked for. "This," adds Professor Huxley, "is what I mean by
demonstrative evidence of Evolution.... In fact, the whole evidence is
in favour of Evolution, and there is none against it."

       *       *       *       *       *

That these facts are indeed most remarkable and deserving of all
attention, cannot be questioned. But before we can agree that they are
conclusive and demonstrative in Professor Huxley's sense a good many
considerations require to be carefully weighed.

(i.) It is obvious, in the first place, that here as in all other
instances which we have seen, the one thing is lacking which is really
wanted in order to prove Evolution, namely evidence of one species
gradually shading off into another. The creatures of which we have
heard, are each isolated from the rest, and indeed very much isolated,
for each belongs to a different _genus_,[279] which shows that the
differences between them are substantial. They are, in fact, farther
apart from one another, than the zebra or the donkey from the horse, for
both of these are classed in the genus _equus_,--or than the Bengal
tiger is from the domestic pussy-cat, both belonging to the genus

These various ungulate forms thus stand a long way from one another, and
if they were once connected together by a bridge, or rather a causeway,
we ought certainly to find some traces of it, and not always of those
particular types which require to be united. If we suppose the very
distinct species actually known to have been the piers of such a bridge,
yet what has become of the arches? Till some vestiges of these be found,
or, at least, some positive evidence that arches there actually were,
can it be said that the story of the fossil _equidae_ furnishes
convincing testimony on behalf of the supposed evolution? Affinities
these various forms undoubtedly exhibit: it has yet to be shown that
affinities necessarily imply descent.

There is, however, something even more remarkable. We have seen that
Professor Huxley prognosticated beforehand the discovery of _Eohippus_,
and specified pretty nearly the features it would be found to present.
In the same way, Professor Marsh[280] anticipates and describes a still
more remote ancestral form, for which, though it has not yet been
found, he has provided an appellation, _Hippops_. But if either
Professor really believes in Evolution, why does he take for granted
that we shall chance upon one particular form, standing like a solitary
outpost by itself, and not upon any other trace of the stream of life
whereof it was but one transient phase? Such predictions may be evidence
that the occurrence of these progressive forms is regulated by something
analogous to Bode's Law of interplanetary distances, and that their
discovery may be looked for at certain intervals. But the very fact that
their actual position can be so accurately specified serves to show that
it is very definitely fixed.

(ii.) Moreover, a very grave difficulty at once suggests itself, of
which Professor Huxley makes no mention. The horse as we now have him,
_Equus caballus_, is a native of the Old World, and has been introduced
to America only since the time of Columbus. There had, it is true, been
horses in America previously,--belonging to the genus _Equus_, perhaps
even to the species _caballus_,--they had, however, been long extinct,
and no memory of them remained. But, as will be noticed, the pedigree
given by Professor Huxley consists almost entirely of American animals,
to which category belong all whose names terminate in _-hippus_, and
these cannot with any reason be assigned as progenitors to the European
horse. As Sir J. W. Dawson observes:[281]

     In America a series of horse-like animals has been selected,
     beginning with the _Eohippus_ of the Eocene--an animal the size of
     a fox, and with four toes in front and three behind--and these have
     been marshalled as the ancestors of the fossil horses of
     America.... Yet all this is purely arbitrary, and dependent merely
     on a succession of genera more and more closely resembling the
     modern horse being procurable from successive Tertiary deposits
     often widely separated in time and place. In Europe, on the other
     hand, the ancestry of the horse has been traced back to
     _Palæotherium_--an entirely different form--by just as likely
     indications, the truth being that as the group to which the horse
     belongs culminated in the early Tertiary times, the animal has too
     many imaginary ancestors. Both genealogies can scarcely be true,
     and there is no actual proof of either. The existing American
     horses, which are of European origin, are, according to the theory,
     descendants of _Palæotherium_, not of _Eohippus_; but if we had not
     known this on historical evidence, there would have been nothing to
     prevent us from tracing them to the latter animal. This simple
     consideration alone is sufficient to show that such genealogies are
     not of the nature of scientific evidence.

(iii.) Even apart from this fundamental difficulty, there is much
diversity as to the precise genealogy. We may compare together the lines
of ancestry favoured--(1) by Professor Huxley, (2) In a case exhibited
in our Museum of Natural History to illustrate the subject, (3) By Mr.
Mivart,[282] (4) By Mr. Lydekker,[283] (5) In The _Evolution of the
Horse_, a pamphlet issued, January, 1903, by the American Museum. This
last gives the very latest version of the pedigree, but, naturally, of
the American Horse alone.

   _Huxley._  |_British_      | _Mivart._   |_Lydekker._        |_American
              |_Museum Case._ |             |                   | Museum._
  Equus       |Equus          |Equus        |Equus              |Equus
  Pliohippus  |               |             |                   |
  Protohippus |Hipparion      |Hipparion    |Hipparion          |Hipparion
              |               |Protohippus  |Protohippus        |Hypohippus
  Miohippus   |               |Anchitherium |Anchitherium       |Merychippus
  Anchitherium|Anchitherium   |             |{Anchilophus       |{Mesohippus
  Mesohippus  |Protohippus    |Pachynolophus|{(_form allied to_)|{ (_2 species_)
              |{Mesohippus    |             |                   |Epihippus
  Orohippus   |{ (_2 species_)|             |{Hyracotherium     |Protorohippus
  Eohippus    |Hyracotherium  |Phenacodus   |{Systemodon        |Eohippus
              |               |             |                   |_An undiscovered
              |               |             |                   | ancestor_
              |               |             |                   | (Hippops)

It will be observed, that whereas _Hipparion_ is disallowed by Professor
Huxley as not being in the direct line of descent, in all the other
genealogies he appears as the immediate ancestor of _Equus_. Also that
in all these tables, Old World and New World forms are used
indifferently to supply progenitors for the same successor. Also that
there is no agreement at all as to the earlier ancestry. It would
likewise appear that even the existence of _Eohippus_ himself is not
beyond question, for in our Museum galleries and guide-book his name
always has a note of interrogation appended. The American authorities
give an anticipatory sketch of the limbs of the ancestor which still
remains to be discovered.

There is something even more remarkable.


                        / +---------------------------------------------------+
               Recent. {  | Equus Caballus.{*}                                |
                        \ +---------------------------------------------------+
                        / |                                                   |
                       {  | Equus Stenonis.{*}{**} E. Sivalensis.{*}{**} &c.  |
          Quaternary.  {  |     Hippidium.{**}  E. Americanus.{**} &c.        |
                       {  |                                                   |
                        \ +---------------------------------------------------+
                        / |                                                   |
                       {  |                                                   |
                       {  | Pliohippus.                                       |
           /           {  |                                                   |
          {  Pliocene. {  | Hipparion.{*}{**}  Protohippus.                   |
          {            {  |                                                   |
          {            {  |                                                   |
          {             \ |                                                   |
          {               +---------------------------------------------------+
          {             / |                                                   |
TERTIARY. {            {  |                                                   |
          {   Miocene. {  | Hypohippus.  Parahippus.                          |
          {            {  | Miohippus.  Anchitherium.{*}                      |
          {            {  | Merychippus.                                      |
          {            {  | Mesohippus.                                       |
          {             \ |                                                   |
          {               +---------------------------------------------------+
          {             / | Epihippus.                                        |
          {            {  | Orohippus.  Hyracotherium.{*}                     |
          {    Eocene. {  | Protorohippus.   Pachynolophus.{*}                |
          {            {  | Eohippus.                                         |
           \           {  | Phenacodus.                                       |
                        \ |                                                   |
                          |                                                   |
                          | Hippops (undiscovered).                           |
              SECONDARY.  |                                                   |
                          |   No trace of Mammals except small                |
                          |       Marsupials and Insectivora.                 |
                          |                                                   |

{* Indicates an inhabitant of the Old World. All others are American.}

{** "Not in direct line of ancestry."}

Huxley's lecture exhibiting the pedigree we have been considering was
delivered in 1876. We have already seen that six years earlier he had
declared himself satisfied, after much search, that though other
genealogies might be doubtful, we had in the case of the Horse something
really satisfactory. But the pedigree of 1870--which he thus indicated
as scientifically established--was totally different from that of 1876,
and was acknowledged as erroneous by the very acceptance of the latter.
In 1870 the ancestry presented for _Equus_ consisted of _Hipparion_,
_Anchitherium_, and _Plagiolophus_. Of these, _Hipparion_ was in 1876
specifically disallowed as a direct ancestor: _Anchitherium_ was
displaced by _Miohippus_, and although we are told that these creatures
"correspond pretty nearly," the Horse cannot be descended from _both_,
especially as they dwelt in different hemispheres. Finally
_Plagiolophus_ disappears from the amended pedigree altogether. Nothing
could more vividly illustrate the danger of such speculations than that
an authority so clear-headed and conscientious as Professor Huxley
should thus proclaim his acceptance of a genealogy which he had on after
information to renounce. Nor to him alone have such misadventures
happened. Mr. Darwin too thought the claim of _Hipparion_ to ancestral
equine rank to be beyond dispute. "No one will deny," he wrote,[284]
"that the _Hipparion_ is intermediate between the existing horse and
certain older ungulate forms." Yet, as we see, this has been denied by
his champion Huxley himself.

(iv.) The materials available for the reconstruction of these various
equine forms, are far less satisfactory than might easily be supposed.
As a rule, each is known to us only by small fragments of its skeleton,
so that we can have no assurance as to what the whole animal was really
like, or even that all parts assigned to one creature really belonged to
him. We can accordingly feel no certainty that if we could see any of
these as a whole we should find it possible to suppose that the horse
descended from it. Thus in _Hippidium_, an American genus closely allied
to _Equus_, it is at least doubtful whether the digits did not terminate
in claws.[285] One species of _Hippidium_ is known only by a solitary
tooth. Of _Hyracotherium_ only the skull has been found: of _Orohippus_
only parts of jaws and teeth and a forefoot: of _Epihippus_, "only
incomplete specimens."[286] Accordingly, Professor Williamson, speaking
of the discoveries of Professor Marsh and others, thus expresses

     Beyond all question, some of the gaps that have hitherto separated
     the three animals [_Anchitherium_, _Hipparion_, and _Equus_] are
     filled up by these discoveries; but I want yet more evidence before
     I can arrive at the conclusion that the doctrine of Evolution is
     proved by these facts beyond the possibility of question. It
     appears to me that before I can unhesitatingly give to the
     testimony of these fossil horses the full value I am asked to do, I
     must know more about them than is at present possible. It will not
     be enough that the limbs and teeth of these creatures indicate
     transmutation, but such transmutation must be evidenced by every
     part of the animal. This demand is especially applicable to the
     stages which intervene between the Hipparion and the horse....
     Myriads of individuals must have existed to effect the gradual
     shading of the one into the other in every part of its body.

(v.) It should likewise be remarked that in one not unimportant
particular, the plates so commonly given to illustrate the horse's
ancestry do not fairly represent the facts. It would appear from them
that all the animals were much of a size, which doubtless greatly
assists the imagination in picturing them as all in one line of descent.
But as a matter of fact they differed in stature extremely, and the
remoter supposed progenitors were comparative pigmies. _Hyracotherium_,
for instance, was "about the size of a hare,"[288] and according to
Professor Cope, _Orohippus_ was the exact counterpart of this diminutive
steed. The hypothetical _Hippops_, which Professor Marsh locates in the
lower Tertiary or upper Secondary rocks, can, he thinks,[289] now "be
predicated with certainty;" and amongst other things it "probably was
not larger than a rabbit, perhaps much smaller." Sometimes, so far as
evidence goes, it even seems that in respect of size there was
deterioration instead of advance as the lineage progressed. Thus
_Epihippus_, found in the Upper Eocene, is considerably smaller than
_Protorohippus_, found in the Middle Eocene; "but," says the American
pamphlet,[290] "no doubt there were others of larger size living at the
same time," which will scarcely be called convincing.



(vi.) Worthy of notice also is "the remarkable circumstance that in the
line of evolution culminating in the modern Horse, a parallel series of
generically identical or closely allied forms occurs in the Tertiaries
of both Europe and North America, from which it has been suggested that
on both continents a parallel development of the same genera has
simultaneously taken place."[291] And, as we have seen, while the
American pedigree must have been entirely different from the European,
it terminates equally in both continents with the genus _Equus_, if not
actually with _Equus caballus_.[292] But, on any mechanical system of
evolution, it is impossible to suppose that developments conducted along
separate roads could thus be brought to meet in one terminus.[293] Mr.
Darwin did not conceive it possible that the same species should be
produced twice over, "if even the very same conditions of life, organic
and inorganic should recur,"[294] and the production of genuine horses,
not only in widely diverse circumstances, but through totally different
ancestors, must appear still less conceivable. Consequently, says Mr.
Mivart,[295] "it follows from this generic identity, that classification
will be no longer Darwinian, but one more Aristotelian, and will regard,
not the origin but the _outcome_ of development, whether of the
individual or the species."

(vii.) There is, however, another consideration more serious than any of
the above. In order to set the theory of genetic Evolution upon a sound
and substantial basis, it is not sufficient to show that the last
ungulate is lineally descended from the first,--_Equus_ from _Eohippus_,
_Hyracotherium_, _Phenacodus_, or _Hippops_,--but that this first
ungulate himself--whichever it was--has been, or at least may have been,
similarly developed from a non-ungulate Mammalian ancestor, the common
parent of all the protean forms assumed by his progeny. To develop all
these from one original, through a graduated series in each case, by the
infinitesimal process of descent with modification, would require a
period of time inconceivably long--immensely longer than that required
to change one ungulate into another. Ungulates, as has been said, are a
highly specialized type of Mammals, and although they walked on the
nails of five digits instead of only one, a vast amount of Evolution
would be required to bring them even to this point, from that whence all
Mammals are said to have started. There must also have existed, while
this development was in progress, a teeming and multitudinous mammalian
life, as raw material for its operations--and of this at least _some_
trace should remain.

But, so far as we know, the first Ungulates made their appearance upon
earth quite as soon as did any other mammals from which they could
possibly have sprung. _Phenacodus_, is in fact described as,[296] "The
most primitive Eocene mammal yet discovered." He appears in the Lower
Tertiary; while the Secondary and Mesozoic rocks beneath,--the whole
period covered by which would be none too long for the evolution of
Tertiary mammals generally,--are practically devoid of mammalian remains
altogether, exhibiting only a few small marsupials, from which we can no
more suppose _Phenacodus_ and the huge and various beasts who were his
Eocene contemporaries to have developed, than from opossums the size of

It also complicates matters not a little to find that when placental
mammals first show themselves all over the world at the beginning of
the Eocene,--while this highly specialized order of the Ungulates seems
to have been much the most numerous, it had a host of contemporaries, of
extreme diversities of structure:--as for instance Unguiculates (or
clawed animals) allied to the Hyena and the Fox, Rodents (gnawing
animals) akin to the Squirrel, as well as Whales and Bats. Of the
Cetaceans, Sir J. W. Dawson tells us:[297]

     The oldest of the whales are in their dentition more perfect than
     any of their successors, since their teeth are each implanted by
     two roots, and have serrated crowns, like those of the seals. The
     great Eocene whales of the South Atlantic (_Zeuglodon_) which have
     these characters, attained the length of seventy feet, and are
     undoubtedly the first of the whales in rank as well as in time.
     This is perhaps one of the most difficult facts to explain on the
     theory of Evolution.... "We may question," says Gaudry,[298] "these
     strange and gigantic sovereigns of the Tertiary oceans as to their
     progenitors--they leave us without reply." ... Their silence is the
     more significant as one can scarcely suppose these animals to have
     been nurtured in any limited or secluded space in the early stages
     of their development.

The Bats, as is obvious, would require quite as much transformation from
the generalized mammalian type as the Whales themselves, though in
quite another direction. But they appear with their wings fully
developed, in the Eocene, in both Hemispheres.

     Gaudry thinks [writes Sir J. W. Dawson][299] that it is "natural to
     suppose" that there must have been species existing previously with
     shorter fingers[300] and rudimentary wings; but there are no facts
     to support this supposition, which is the more questionable since
     the supposed rudimentary wings would be useless, and perhaps
     harmful to their possessors. Besides, if from the Eocene to the
     present, the Bats have remained the same, how long would it take to
     develop an animal with ordinary feet, like those of a shrew, into a

Such instances are by no means singular, nor are like difficulties
confined to the Eocene. In the Miocene above, about the time when
Anchitherium flourished, there appeared a family with whom he might
claim relationship, for they were not only akin to the Ungulates but
Perissodactyles, or "odd-toed," like himself. These were the
"Proboscideae"--"the beasts that bear between their eyes a serpent for a
hand," in other words the Elephants and their allies. These, like other
families, amongst their earliest representatives included the giants of
their race, for some of their Miocene specimens[301] are about half as
large again as the largest of our modern elephants. Professor Ray
Lankester has recently declared[302] that we now understand the genetic
affinities of these creatures, whose faces have been pulled out into
trunks with the nose at the extremity, and in support of his statement
he adduces the features of the cranium as exhibited in certain
recently-discovered specimens. But how far can conclusions be called
final which are based upon such partial evidence?[303] As M. Gaudry,
convinced Evolutionist as he is, acknowledges, in regard of this very

     Like the Mastodons, the Dinotheria appeared suddenly. Whence did
     they come? from what quadrupeds did they spring? At present we do
     not know.... The points of difference [from other mammals] taken as
     a whole, and compared with the points of resemblance, are too great
     to enable us to point to any relationship between the Proboscideans
     and animals of other orders as yet known to us.

Such then are some of the still unanswered questions connected with the
genesis of the Horse, "the most famous instance of geological
evidence"[305] which Professor Huxley selects as proving Evolution to
demonstration. It is by no means easy to understand how it could ever be
supposed to merit any such description. In view of the various
difficulties recited above it can hardly be thought that there is
satisfactory evidence even of the modicum of Evolution for which alone
are such arguments brought, namely within the limits of the _Equidæ_.
Even were the reality of this established to the full, how would such
evidence compare with that we have heard, drawn not from one corner of
Organic Nature, but from a review of the great lines of its

We find indeed that while Professor Huxley declares palæontology to be
the main support of Evolution, other authorities tell us the exact

     The doctrine of organic evolution [says Sir J. W. Dawson][307] is
     essentially biological rather than geological, and has been much
     more favoured by biologists than by those whose studies lead them
     more specially to consider the succession of animals and plants
     revealed by the rocks of the earth.

Similarly Professor Williamson,[308] speaking of the efforts made to
obtain evidence on behalf of Evolution, says: "Not only living, but
extinct animals have been appealed to; Professor Huxley especially has,
with his wonted skilfulness, made use of the latter to buttress the
geological side of the structure, which is confessedly its weakest one."

More important than all,--Mr. Darwin himself fully acknowledged that the
palæontological evidence is far short of what it should be:--and
attempted to meet the difficulty by pleading the imperfection of the
geological record:--a plea to be more fully considered presently.

We must not leave unnoticed the method of dealing with the geological
record adopted by Professor Haeckel. Of this we have already seen a
slight specimen,--- in the gratuitous and baseless assertion that the
apetalous Dicotyledons date as far back as the Trias, at the very bottom
of the Secondary period, by which, were it a fact, a serious
Evolutionary void would be filled. In the same manner he draws a
perfectly imaginary picture of the submarine forests of primeval days,
in which "we may suppose" all the forms of after vegetation to have
begun their career as seaweeds.[309]

But in regard of his favourite doctrine of the bestial origin of man, he
goes much further, and prints[310] an elaborate genealogy upon which
Professor Huxley in reviewing him makes no adverse remark. In this he
exhibits, as a simple matter of scientific fact, an "Ancestral Series of
the human pedigree," which ninety-nine per cent, of his readers will
naturally suppose to be based upon palæontological evidence. This
wonderful genealogy stands thus:

1. _Monera._ 2. Single-celled Primeval animals. 3. Many-celled Primeval
animals. 4. Ciliated planulæ (_Planæada_). 5. Primeval Intestinal
animals (_Gastræada_). 6. Gliding Worms (_Turbellaria_). 7. Soft-worms
(_Scolecida_). 8. Sack worms (_Himatega_). 9. _Acrania._ 10.
_Monorrhina._ 11. Primeval fish (_Selachii_). 12. Salamander fish
(_Dipneusta_). 13. Gilled Amphibia (_Sozobranchia_). 14. Tailed Amphibia
(_Sozura_). 15. Primeval Amniota (_Protamnia_). 16. Primary Mammals
(_Promammalia_). 17. _Marsupialia._ 18. Semi-apes (_Prosimiæ_). 19.
Tailed narrow-nosed Apes. 20. Tail-less narrow-nosed Apes (Men-like
Apes). 21. _Pithecanthropus_ (Speechless or Ape-like Man). 22. Talking

     The first thing to remark [says M. de Quatrefages][311] is that not
     one of the creatures exhibited in this pedigree has ever been seen,
     either living or fossil. Their existence is based entirely upon
     theory.[312] All species, existing or extinct, are said to have
     been preceded by ancestral forms, which have disappeared leaving
     no vestige behind.... All the ancestral groups more or less ill
     represented in the actual organic world, do not suffice to fill up
     the gaps in his pedigree; from one stage to another there is
     sometimes too broad a gulf. Then Haeckel invents the types
     themselves, as well as the line of descent to which he assigns them
     [for example No. 7, The _Scolecida_, and No. 21,

This kind of "Science" does not deserve to be treated seriously. It will
be sufficient to cite another observation of M. de Quatrefages:[313]

     If Darwin erred in regarding our very ignorance as to some degree
     telling in favour of his notions, he never tried to re-write the
     missing volumes of the earth's history, to restore the chapters
     which have been torn out, or to fill the blanks upon pages that
     have come down to us. But this is just what Haeckel does
     continually. Whenever a branch or a twig is lacking on his
     genealogical trees, whenever the transit from one type to another
     would appear too abrupt, were we to restrict ourselves to creatures
     actually known, he invents species and groups bodily, to which he
     unhesitatingly assigns a place in phylogeny, often a part in
     phylogenesis. Sometimes he calls in ontogeny to countenance the
     discovery of supposed ancestors: but frequently he does no more
     than affirm their existence. He thus creates a fauna, entirely
     hypothetical, of which Vogt rightly said that no man ever saw a
     trace of it, or ever will.

It is in this fashion that Professor Haeckel habitually solves the
Riddles of the Universe.

As Vogt himself wrote,[314] "We shall be compelled to patch and alter
these genealogical trees of species, which up to this time have been set
forth as the last word of Science, and especially of Darwinism."

And Du Bois-Reymond,[315] "Man's pedigree, as drawn up by Haeckel, is
worth about as much as is that of Homer's heroes for critical

There remains to be considered Darwin's own explanation of the admitted
deficiency of palæontological evidence.

     The main cause [he writes][316] of innumerable intermediate links
     [between different forms] not now occurring everywhere throughout
     nature, depends on the very process of natural selection, through
     which new varieties continually take the places of and supplant
     their parent-forms. But just in proportion as this process of
     extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of
     intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly
     enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every
     stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not
     reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps,
     is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged
     against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the
     extreme imperfection of the geological record.

How imperfect this record is he proceeds to argue at length, and he has
no difficulty in showing how much of it has at one time or other been
defaced by natural causes, and how small a portion has been laid open to
our inspection. But although his demonstration on this point is
continually quoted, as though it solved the difficulty, it does not
appear that it need detain us long.

It is, in the first place, obvious that the absence of evidence cannot
prove the truth of the theory of Evolution or any other, and it is proof
of that theory which is required. Apart from palæontological facts, as
Professor Huxley has told us, there can be no conclusive evidence one
way or the other; and if the geological record be not sufficiently
complete to supply such evidence, the theory cannot possibly claim to be
scientifically established.

Is it not also, as M. de Quatrefages has remarked, very singular that
precisely that evidence must be supposed always to have perished which
the Evolution theory imperatively requires, while so much remains which
appears to contradict it?

But, moreover, as Mr. Carruthers says, incomplete though the record
undoubtedly is, and limited as is our knowledge even of what
exists,--there still remains a vast mass of information which it has
actually supplied, and there seems to be no reason for denying that, as
to the particular point under consideration, its testimony is ample. If,
as on the principles of genetic Evolution must be the case, there were
in each line of descent no successive species or genera, made up of
forms clustered round one point in the course of development more than
another, how comes it that we find always and everywhere just such
isolated clusters, naturally forming genera and species; and that in no
single instance do we find any trace of the graduated series linking
them together? Is it not quite impossible to suppose, that at all points
in Nature we stumble upon exactly those instances which disguise, and
apparently contradict, the method upon which she invariably works?

It is likewise obvious that the practice of Evolutionists is quite
inconsistent with their own plea, for their arguments are constantly
unmeaning except on the assumption that the geological record is
sufficiently complete for practical purposes. In the example of the
Horse, for instance, which we have been considering, the whole case for
his Evolution is based upon the supposition that the completed _Equus_
did not exist during the earlier periods when _Eohippus_,
_Anchitherium_, _Hipparion_ and the rest of them were preparing the way
for his appearance, and that none of these lived simultaneously with
others more ancient still which are set down as _their_ ancestors. But
on what does such a supposition rest? Simply on the absence of remains
of the more developed, in the strata containing those of the less
developed. If such a reason be sufficient--which we will not
question--it is likewise sufficient to establish the non-existence of
intermediate forms to bridge the wide breaches in the supposed
pedigree, and we must accordingly conclude that such intermediate forms
there never were.

It is no less evident that whatever further evidence is found, may tell
the wrong way, from the evolutionary point of view, no less than the
right one; either by discrediting supposed link-forms, or by introducing
us to new and strange types which increase our difficulties by requiring
lines of communication to be established with them. Thus, as Mr. Mivart
tells us,[317] "It is undeniable that there are instances which appeared
at first to indicate a _gradual transition_, which instances have been
shown by further investigation and discovery not to indicate truly
anything of the kind." Another example of the same sort is furnished by
the recent discovery of _Arsinoetherium_, a genus of very large and
heavy hoofed beasts, the relics of which have been recently discovered
in the upper Eocene of Egypt. This creature was something like a large
rhinoceros, but had no connexion whatever with that family. In fact, we
are told, its horns, of which it has four, two on top of its head, and
two smaller above the eyes, and also its teeth, make it stand quite
apart _from all other mammals_.

It thus appears that when the theory of genetic Evolution comes to the
bar of Palæontology, the most favourable verdict to which it can pretend
is, Not proven.

One thing is certain. All the evidence we possess in regard of Organic
Evolution, leaves the question of the origin, the propagation, and the
development of life exactly where it has always been. No force has been
found by Science to which we may ascribe the origin of the world we

As the Count de Saporta writes:[318]

     Although the problem of "creation,"--formerly thought so simple,
     and dated almost within human ken and the period of human
     history--has now been relegated to a period too distant to be
     imagined, it would be childish to say that on that account the
     problem has ceased to exist. Its limits have, it is true, been
     shifted; but we are bound to acknowledge that they have nowise been
     altered. The horizon may have broadened and receded before us more
     and more, but the relative position of the objects we have to
     investigate remains precisely the same.

So too M. Blanchard:[319]

     There has never been witnessed, and it is impossible to imagine the
     apparition of a creature not derived from another creature: it
     would therefore be folly to pretend to an explanation of creation.
     If, as the advocates of transformism suppose, all species sprang
     from some primitive types, or even from a single primordial cell,
     the appearance, whether of those types or of that parent cell of
     the living world, would be neither more explicable nor less
     marvellous than the appearance of a host of creatures.

And, in like manner, Darwin's great ally and admirer, Sir Charles Lyell,
when he had time to realize all the bearings of his friend's theory,
wrote to him,[320]--"I think the old 'creation' is almost as much
required as ever."



It is time to return to the point from which we started our whole
enquiry, and to ask what has been gathered in the course of it towards a
solution of the question with which we began. That the Cosmos in which
we dwell, the world of law, order, and life, has not existed for ever,
we saw to be a truth enforced by the researches of physical Science, no
less than by the clear teaching of reason. It certainly had a beginning,
and there must be a cause to which that beginning was due,--a cause
capable of producing all which we find to have been actually produced.
The material Universe and the mechanism of the heavens,--organic life
with all its infinite marvels and varieties--animal sensation--human
intelligence--canons of beauty, the law of good and evil--all these must
have existed potentially in the First Cause, as in the Source whence
alone they could be derived.

The Nature of this Cause was the object of our quest. In particular we
set ourselves to examine the assertion now so loudly made that Science
has found a full explanation in the forces of the Universe itself as
they come within her cognizance, that is to say, the material forces
which she can directly observe, and upon which she can experiment. In
particular we have studied the Law of Evolution, in its various
significations, and other laws subsidiary to it, in order to determine,
from the point of view of reason and Science alone, whether it can be
said that the prime factor of which we are in search is thus supplied.

The result has been to make it evident that while modern discovery has
immensely multiplied and magnified the marvels which have to be
accounted for, it has disclosed nothing which can be supposed to account
for them in a manner to satisfy our reason. So far as the forces of
Nature are concerned, the mysteries that lie beyond are even darker than
they were. The origin and nature of matter and force, the source of
motion, of life, of sensation and consciousness, of rational
intelligence and language, of Free-will, of the reign of law and order
to which all Nature testifies,--all these are for Science utterly
unsolved problems, which, as some amongst her teachers tell us, must
remain for ever insoluble. Even less prospect, if possible, can there be
that any mechanical forces will ever account for perception of the
sublime and beautiful,--and above all--of the distinction between right
and wrong.

Here, then, Science stops,--confessing that she can be our guide no
farther, and lending no colour whatever to the unscientific pretensions
which are so noisily advanced by some persons in her name. Her domain
is the world of sense, and it is evident that nothing existing within
that realm can possibly furnish an explanation which will satisfy our
intellectual need for causality.

Are we therefore to say that we can know nothing concerning the First
Cause to which the phenomena of the Universe are due? Such is the
Agnostic's position. What we have no means of knowing, he says, we must
not pretend to know. It were irrational and dishonest to do so. When
Science fails us, the true wisdom is to profess ignorance,--thus only
can our position still be scientific.

But is such a principle itself scientific? Is it not a gratuitous and
monstrous assumption that we can know nothing but that of which our
senses directly tell us? That the Universe has a cause is no less
certain than that the Universe exists, for of that cause it is the
monument. And, as of the whole, so of every part or element which it
contains, it is absolutely certain that there must be a cause, and one
adequate to the production of what has actually been produced; for as
the proverb says, "Nothing is to be got out of a sack but what is in
it." From such conclusions there is no escape;--and since it is
impossible to find the cause required within the world of material
forces and sensible phenomena, it becomes no less obvious that it must
lie beyond, across the frontier which nothing material can pass.

       *       *       *       *       *

Therefore, also, we know something concerning that Cause,--very little,
perhaps, in comparison with what we cannot know,--but still something
very substantial. We know that such a Cause exists. We know that it must
possess every excellence which we discover in Nature,--all that she has,
and more; since what she derives from it, the Cause of Nature has of
itself. In it must be all power, for except as flowing from it there is
no power possible. Finally, as a capable Cause of law and order in
Nature, and of Intellect and Will in man, the First Cause must be
supereminently endowed with Understanding, and Freedom in the exercise
of its might,--or it would be inferior to its own works.

     Since there must have been something from eternity, [says
     Bolingbroke][321] because there is something now, the eternal Being
     must be an intelligent Being, because there is intelligence now;
     for no man will venture to assert that non-entity can produce
     entity, or non-intelligence, intelligence. And such a Being must
     exist necessarily, whether things have been always as they are, or
     whether they have been made in time: because it is no more easy to
     conceive an infinite than a finite progression of effects without a

It is therefore not easy to understand how we can avoid the conclusion
of the distinguished men of Science whom we have heard declare that they
assume "as absolutely self-evident" the existence of a Deity who is the
Creator and Upholder of all things.

It will probably be answered that this is mere Anthropomorphism; which
formidable term appears by many to be considered sufficient to close the
whole question, and to rule the idea of a personal God out of court. Did
not Voltaire remark that if in the beginning God made man to His own
image and likeness, man has well repaid Him ever since? And what can be
more conclusive than that?

But what--after all--does "Anthropomorphism" mean in this connexion?
Simply, that being men we have to speak in human terms, even of what is
superhuman. By no possibility can we do anything else. Limited as we are
by the conditions of our nature, we can find no mode of expression
except such as is based upon sensible experience; and although we can
convince ourselves by rational inference of the existence, and to some
extent of the character, of what is beyond sense, we can frame no
description of it, nor even a phantasm or image by means of imagination,
except so far as we are able to draw upon the phenomena of the external
world. Thus it is that artists who endeavour to represent an immaterial
being, as an angel, a djinn or a sprite, though the essence of the
object they would depict is that it has no body, have perforce to give
it one, though they make it as little gross as possible, for otherwise
they could not portray it at all. But however such images may be
refined and etherealized they are intended to be understood only as
conventional figures to suggest to the mind its own concept, which is as
different from them as the notes produced by a singer are from those on
the score from which he sings. No one imagines that the genius of Music
is a young woman holding a shell to her ear, or that the Cherubim are
heads and wings and nothing more. So it is with statements of the
Theistic belief concerning the First Cause, or God. To put this into
words we are compelled to use the only materials within our reach, and
to borrow our phraseology from that which, within our experience is the
highest and noblest element found in the Universe,--namely our own
intelligence and will. These beyond question must be transcendentally
possessed by the Cause on which they depend. So far Anthropomorphism is
sound sense; that is to say, so long as it attributes all possible
excellence to the source of all. It is foolish and unscientific only
when it attributes to the Absolute and Unconditioned the limitations of
an inferior order of being. We may truly say that a penny is contained
in a pound,--but it does not follow that a sovereign must be of copper.
According to the scientific doctrine that all our familiar forms of
energy are ultimately derived from the Sun, it might well be argued from
observation of a farthing rushlight that Solar Energy includes heat and
light; but not that it is fed on tallow. This appears to be plain and
obvious enough, often as it is forgotten or ignored. As Sir Oliver
Lodge has lately put the matter:[322]

     Shall we possess these things and God not possess them? Let no
     worthy human attribute be denied to the Deity. There are many
     errors, but there is one truth in Anthropomorphism. Whatever worthy
     attribute belongs to man, be it personality or any other, its
     existence in the universe is thereby admitted; we can deny it no

Or as Professor Baden Powell expresses the same argument:[323]

     That which requires thought and reason to understand must be itself
     thought and reason. That which mind alone can investigate or
     express must be itself mind. And if the highest conception attained
     be but partial, then the mind and reason studied is greater than
     the mind and reason of the student. If the more it be studied the
     more vast and complex is the necessary connexion in reason
     disclosed, then the more evident is the vast extent and compass of
     the intelligence thus partially manifested, and its reality, as
     existing in the immutably connected order of objects examined,
     independently of the mind of the investigator.

The reluctance frequently manifested by scientific men to admit the
force of so plain an argument, appears to be generally due to a
fundamental misconception. It is constantly assumed that to introduce
the element of purpose in Nature is to deny the continuity of Natural
law, and that to speak of design in regard of a process or a structure,
is equivalent to saying that a non-natural agent intervenes at that
particular point and takes the work out of Nature's hands. This, it may
be supposed, was Professor Huxley's idea when he spoke of "the commoner
and coarser forms of teleology," giving as an instance the supposition
that eyes were constructed for the purpose of enabling their possessors
to see. It might indeed be replied that, at any rate, it is less
difficult to suppose this, than that eyes were constructed without any
purpose of seeing, or knowledge of the laws of optics;--but evidently it
is taken for granted that Theists imagine every purposive item in nature
to be violently introduced from without, like the forms of lions or
peacocks into which topiarian gardeners clip their shrubs. But, as has
been said, the laws of Nature are the expression of the mind of God: it
is through them that He accomplishes His design. As Professor Romanes
came to see at the close of his life, it is strange what jealousy there
is of admitting the Creator into Creation. "It is still assumed on both
sides," he wrote,[324] "that there must be something inexplicable or
miraculous about a phenomenon in order to its being divine,"--and
although we must utterly demur to such a description of the position of
Theists, it undoubtedly is true of their adversaries. Their objections
on this head can only signify that it is with the laws of Nature as
with a railway locomotive from which the driver, having got up steam and
set it going, jumps off, leaving it entirely to its own devices. But, as
a legislator, if rightly interpreted, speaks by the mouth of every judge
who administers the law in practice, and applies it to concrete
cases,--so the Author of Nature, whose laws cannot be perverted,
provides through them for all that is to be operated by the forces He
has instituted.

So it is that, as Professors Stewart and Tait have told us, we must
conceive of Him as not the Creator only, but likewise the Upholder of
all things, while Lord Kelvin declares[325] we are unmistakably shown
through Nature that she depends upon one "ever-acting Creator and
Ruler." It is in this omnipresence of Divine influence that Monism finds
the modicum of plausibility which serves it for a foundation. It runs,
indeed, into the absurdity of endeavouring to explain such Omnipresence
by identifying the finite with the Infinite, and attributing to matter
qualities which all experience, and very specially all scientific
experience, contradicts; but, for all that, it scores a distinct point
as against mere materialism, which Comte declares to be "the most
illogical form of metaphysics," and the late Sir Leslie Stephen, "not so
much error as sheer nonsense." Theism avoids the error of either
extreme. While it teaches the essential and fundamental distinction
between the Absolute and the contingent, between the Creator and His
creatures, it teaches likewise that He is ever present in His works, and
that in their every operation He is manifested.

And so, in the words of Rivarol, God is the explanation of the world,
and the world is the demonstration of God. The acceptance of a
Self-existent, All-powerful, and intelligent Being can alone serve as a
basis for any system of Cosmogony which satisfies our intellectual need
of causation; while, on the other hand, the nature of this Being, as
necessarily beyond the scope of our senses, can be known to us only
indirectly through the effects of which He is the cause.

By no one has this conclusion been more clearly stated than by Lamarck,
the real father of Organic Evolutionism, whom many would therefore
represent as an atheist. His words are so much to the point that with
them we may conclude.[326]

     Of the Supreme Being, in a word of God, to whom all infinitude is
     seen to belong, man has thus conceived an idea, which, though
     indirect, is sound, and which necessarily follows from what he
     observes. In the same manner, he has formed another idea, equally
     solid, namely of the boundless power of this Being, suggested by
     the consideration of His works....

     Nature not being intelligent, nor even a being, but an order of
     things constituting a power subject to law, cannot therefore be
     God. She is the wondrous product of His Almighty will: and for us,
     of all created things she is the grandest and most admirable. Thus
     the will of God is everywhere expressed by the laws of Nature,
     since these laws originate from Him.


_A._ _Evolution and the lower forms of life_ (_p. 165_).

A singularly instructive field for the study of the mutability or
stability of species should be afforded by the lower forms of life, in
which organization is reduced to a minimum, they being mere masses of
protoplasm without even a containing envelope, while their nourishment
is of the simplest. It would therefore appear that environment should be
all-potent to modify them and produce specific modifications, while the
extreme rapidity with which they propagate their kind, and that
unisexually, ought to require no vast extent of time to make such
transmutations apparent.

It is found, however, on the contrary, that nowhere in organic nature
does the type remain more rigidly persistent. Professor Macbride, for
example, tells us,[327]

"The Myxomycetæ may be regarded as the organic group in which the forces
of heredity,--whatever these forces may be--are at their maximum: they
have responded as little as possible to the influence of their

To the same effect speaks Professor Paulesco of Bucharest, of other
elementary organisms.[328]

What is still more remarkable, these same organisms are extremely
sensitive to altered conditions of environment, which have a direct and
immediate influence, gravely modifying their morphological and
physiological characters, changes in respect of light, minute
alterations of temperature, or the introduction of a new chemical
substance, even in infinitesimal quantity, frequently causing them to
assume forms very different from the specific type, and profoundly
modifying their nutritive processes.

Here, it was at first thought, when Pasteur revealed their history, is
clear evidence of specific transformation. But he presently convinced
himself and others that it is not so, for although liable to assume such
polymorphic forms according to the conditions in which they find
themselves, there is no alteration of specific nature, and if the
original circumstances be restored, the original forms reappear--"une
élasticité functionelle de la cellule lui permettant de se plier à des
conditions variées d'existence sans changer d'être." (Pasteur.)

As M. Duclaux adds:[329]

"La notion d'espèce ne disparait pas pour cela. La variabilité est un
caractère comme un autre, bien que plus difficile à inscrire dans la
classification, et une espèce est aussi bien définie par les
sensibilités diverses qu'elle manifeste que par la petite liste des mots
et de propriétés dans laquelle on croyait pouvoir autrefois enfermer
toute son histoire.... La lien de l'espèce c'est la loi qui préside à
ces changements, et la variété des formes et des fonctions n'est pas du
tout en contradiction avec l'unité de l'espèce."

_B._ _Note on Chap. XV. p. 203._

Since the foregoing pages have been in type there has come to hand the
New York _Literary Digest_ of January 23, 1904, containing the following
article (p. 119).


The recent death of Herbert Spencer lends special timeliness to the
above topic, which is being actively debated just now in German
theological circles. The immediate cause of the revival of interest in
the present status of the Darwinian theory is found in a lengthy article
by the veteran philosopher, Edward von Hartmann, which appears in
Oswald's _Annalen der Naturphilosophie_ (vol. ii. 1903), under the title
'Der Niedergang der Darwinismus' ('The Passing of Darwinism'). That the
famous 'philosopher of the unconscious' is not prejudiced in favour of
biblical views has been more than clear since the publication of his
_Selbstzersetzung der Christentums_ ('Disintegration of Christianity')
in 1874. Hartmann in his new article has this to say--

'In the sixties of the past century the opposition of the older group of
savants to the Darwinian hypothesis was still supreme. In the seventies,
the new idea began to gain ground rapidly in all cultured countries. In
the eighties, Darwin's influence was at its height, and exercised an
almost absolute control over technical research. In the nineties, for
the first time, a few timid expressions of doubt and opposition were
heard, and these gradually swelled into a great chorus of voices, aiming
at the overthrow of the Darwinian theory. In the first decade of the
twentieth century it has become apparent that the days of Darwinism are
numbered. Among its latest opponents are such savants as Eimer, Gustav
Wolf, De Vries, Hoocke, von Wellstein, Fleischmann, Reinke, and many

These facts, according to Hartmann's view, while they do not indicate
that the Darwinian theory is doomed, undermine its most radical

'The theory of descent is safe, but Darwinism has been weighed and found
wanting. Selection can in general not achieve any positive results, but
only negative effects; the origin of species by minimal changes is
possible, but has not been demonstrated. The pretensions of Darwinism as
a pure mechanical explanation of results that show purpose are totally

Other scholars think that Hartmann does not do full justice to the
reaction that has set in, particularly in Germany, against Darwinism.
This sentiment is voiced by Professor Zoeckler, of the University of
Greifswald, in the _Beweis des Glaubens_ (No. xi.), a journal which
recently published a collection of anti-Darwinian views from German
naturalists. He calls the article of Hartmann 'the tombstone-inscription
[_Grabschrift_] for Darwinism,' and goes on to say:

     'The claim that the hypothesis of descent is secured scientifically
     must most decidedly be denied. Neither Hartmann's exposition nor
     the authorities he cites have the force of moral conviction for the
     claim for purely mechanical descent. The descent of organisms is
     not a scientifically demonstrated proposition, although descent in
     an ideal sense can be made to harmonize with the biblical account
     of creation.'

Views of a similar kind are voiced in many quarters. The Hamburg savant,
Edward Hoppe, has written a brochure, _Ist mit der Descendenz-Theorie
eine religiöse Vorstellung vereinbar?_ [Is the Theory of Evolution
reconcilable with the Religious Idea?] in which he takes issue, in the
name of religion, with the purely naturalistic type of Darwinian
thought. The most pronounced convert to anti-Darwinian views is
Professor Fleischmann, of Erlangen, who has not only discarded the
mechanical conception of the origin of being, but the whole Darwinian
theory. He recently delivered a course of lectures, entitled 'Die
Darwin'sche Theorie,' which have appeared in book form in Leipsic. He
comes to this conclusion: 'The Darwinian theory of descent has not a
single fact to confirm it in the realm of nature. It is not the result
of scientific research, but purely the product of the imagination.'

       *       *       *       *       *

From another article in the same journal (p. 116), entitled 'A Study of
Creation,' the following paragraphs may be cited:

     "The French have never been enthusiastic Darwinians. It is,
     perhaps, not surprising, therefore, to find a French geologist, M.
     Stanislas Meunier, arguing in the _Revue Scientifique_ (December
     19) against all schools of transformism and stoutly maintaining
     what is practically a doctrine of special creation. He admits that
     living beings form a connected series; but the connexion, he
     believes, is not one of physical descent, but inheres in something
     outside of and pre-existent to the earth. He does not name it, but
     he would probably not object to the inference that it is the mind
     of a creator.

     "M. Meunier gives at some length his reasons for rejecting
     Darwin's, Lamarck's, and all other theories of transformism. All we
     can be sure of, he thinks, is that, as in the case of the various
     kinds of pottery, we have to do with an orderly development,
     although he thinks it is not a development by descent. He closes,

     "'Doubtless we cannot usefully risk any hypothesis on the mechanism
     of the production of living things; but it is, perhaps, a step in
     advance only to come to the conclusion that the cause of life and
     its manifestations on the earth is exterior to the earth; that it
     is anterior to our world, just as are doubtless the laws of physics
     and chemistry, which govern the relations of matter and force
     throughout space.

     "'The philosophy of science can lose nothing by the admission of
     points of view that, far from narrowing our subjects of study,
     enlarge them beyond all limits; and this is, perhaps, the occasion
     to show once more to persons who are turning toward metaphysics in
     their thirst for mystery, that they will find in pure science that
     wherewith they may satisfy their legitimate aspirations.'"

_C._ _Succession of Plant forms p. 220._

Recent investigations have led to the remarkable discovery that many
fern-like plants of the Carboniferous rocks, hitherto classed as
Cryptogams, were in reality seed-bearers, and thus intermediate between
Cryptogams and Cycads, the most primitive of existing seed-plants. They
have accordingly been placed in a special group "Cycadofilices," or
"Fern-Cycads," and regarded as transitional types, the view that they
are the remains of a natural bridge connecting the Ferns with the
Gymnosperms having received wide support,[330] and at first sight this
conclusion would appear natural and obvious. But here, as in other
cases, the difficulty is that the seeds which have been found are all
fully developed; there are none in the intermediate stages between true
spores and true seeds; we have the finished article, but no trace of
seeds in the making; which upon any theory of evolution must have been
exceedingly numerous. Hence Dr. Scott tells us:[331]

"The important discoveries of the seeds of the Pteridosperms scarcely
touch the question of descent, for these organs are of too advanced a
type to throw light on the probable derivation of the group."

In this instance, therefore, as in others, it remains true that in no
case is any trace found of rudimentary character in the earliest fossil
specimens of any class.

It is undoubtedly a further puzzle that some of the Carboniferous
cryptogams which did not bear real seeds, yet simulated them, a habit
not easily explained on evolutionary principles.

_D._ _The Course of Evolution._

The evidence of Professor Vines quoted in the text (pp. 202, 237)
receives a remarkable confirmation from that of Dr. Smith Woodward,
Keeper of Geology in the National Museum of Natural History. Speaking
before the International Congress of Arts and Science, St. Louis,
U.S.A., September 22nd, 1904, he thus touched upon the same question,
which he illustrated especially from the history of fossil fishes, which
he has made his special study.[332]

     "It must be confessed that repeated discoveries have now left faint
     hope that exact and gradual links will ever be forthcoming between
     most of the families and genera. The 'imperfection of the record,'
     of course, may still render some of the negative evidence
     untrustworthy; but even approximate links would be much commoner in
     collections than they actually are if the doctrine of gradual
     evolution were correct. Palæontology, indeed, is clearly in favour
     of the theory of discontinuous mutation, or advance by sudden
     changes, which has lately received so much support from the
     botanical experiments of H. de Vries.

     "Further results obtained from the study of fossils have a bearing
     even on the deepest problems of Biology, namely, those connected
     with the nature of life itself. For instance, it is allowable to
     infer, from the statements already made, that the main factor in
     the evolution of organisms is some inherent impulse--the 'bathmic
     force' of Cope--which acts with unerring certainty whatever be the
     conditions of the moment."

_E._ _Pedigree of the Horse._

Some recent evidence on this subject certainly does not clear away the
difficulties set forth in the text.

From _Nature_, Sept. 8, 1904, p. 474.

     "Professor Osborn (in a lecture before the British Association)
     mentioned that more than a hundred more or less complete skeletons
     of horses and horse-like animals had been found in North America.
     He thought he had established the fact that horses were
     polyphyletic, there being four or five contemporary series in the
     Miocene, but that the direct origin of the genus _Equus_ in North
     America was not established with certainty."

Professor Sedgwick, _Student's Text Book of Zoology_, p. 599.

     "Much has been written on the ancestry of the horse. It has been
     maintained by many authors that a continuous series of forms
     connecting it with the four-toed, brachyodont Hyracothoridæ of the
     Eocene has been discovered, and that here if anywhere a
     demonstrative historical proof has been obtained of the doctrine of
     organic evolution. Without desiring in the smallest degree to
     impugn that doctrine, it may be permitted us here to examine rather
     closely the view that the series of forms which recent
     palæontological research has undoubtedly brought to light
     constitute that historical proof which has been claimed for them."

[After an examination of the structural characters of these intermediate
forms, viz., _Pliohippus_, _Protohippus_, _Desmathippus_, _Miohippus_,
_Mesohippus_, _Orohippus_, and _Hyracotherium_, the author proceeds]:

     "So far as the characters mentioned are concerned, we have here a
     very remarkable series of forms which at first sight seem to
     constitute a linear series with no cross-connections. Whether,
     however, they really do this is a difficult point to decide. There
     are flaws in the chain of evidence, which require careful and
     detailed consideration. For instance, the genus _Equus_ appears in
     the Upper Siwalik beds, which have been ascribed to the Miocene
     age. It has, however, been maintained that these beds are in
     reality Lower Pliocene, or even Upper Pliocene. It is clear that
     the decision of this question is of the utmost importance. If
     _Equus_ really existed in the Upper Miocene, it was antecedent to
     some of its supposed ancestors. Again in the series of equine
     forms, _Mesohippus_, _Miohippus_, _Desmathippus_, _Protohippus_,
     which are generally regarded as coming into the direct line of
     equine descent, Scott[333] points out that each genus is, in some
     respect or other, less modified than its predecessor. In other
     words, it would appear that in this succession of North American
     forms the earlier genera show, in some points, closer resemblance
     to the modern _Equus_ than to their immediate successors. It is
     possible that these difficulties and others of the same kind will
     be overcome with the growth of knowledge, but it is necessary to
     take note of them, for in the search after truth nothing is gained
     by ignoring such apparent discrepancies between theory and fact."

Besides the structure of limbs and teeth, another argument for the
descent of the horse has been drawn from certain phenomena of
colouration. Stripings are found not unfrequently to occur in the legs
and withers, which Darwin took for a reversion to the character of a
very remote ancestor, the common parent, in fact, of horses and asses,
which he supposed to have been striped all over like a zebra. Like other
such common ancestors, this hypothetical animal had never been seen, but
was thought to be most nearly represented by the Kathiwar horse, with
stripes on a dun ground, a specimen of which is exhibited as
illustrating the hypothesis in the National Museum of Zoology.

Recently, however, Professor Ridgeway, who has devoted special attention
to the problem, has satisfied himself that there is no sufficient
foundation for these suppositions. He thus sums up the evidence which he
has been able to collect:[334]

     "Darwin's view that the original ancestor of the Equidæ was a
     dun-coloured animal, striped all over, was based, not merely on the
     occurrence of stripes in horses, but on his belief that such
     stripes were common in dun horses, and that there was a tendency in
     horses to revert to dun colour. But it must be confessed that the
     facts do not warrant his conclusion.... It is clear that stripes
     are at least as often a concomitant of dark as of dun colour.
     Moreover, if Darwin's hypothesis of a dun-coloured ancestor with
     stripes is sound, dark colours such as bay and brown must be of
     more recent origin, and accordingly there ought to be a great
     readiness on the part of a progeny of a light-coloured animal when
     mated with a dark to revert to the light. But Professor Ewart's
     zebra stallion has never been able to stamp his own peculiar
     pattern or his own colours on his hybrid offspring. The ground
     colour has been determined by the dams of the hybrids."


_Abiogenesis_, 49-51

_Ætiology_, 197

Agnosticism, Huxley's first principle of, 4
  Its fundamental principle unreasonable, 272

American Museum and the pedigree of the Horse, 248

Amphibians, embryology, 195

"Anthropomorphism," 274, 275

_Archæopteryx_, 171

_Archebiosis_, 53

Argus pheasant, ornamentation, 175

_Arsinoetherium_, 267

Atlantic cable, an illustration from, of chance and purpose, 115

Atoms, 37, 41, 88, 89, 90, 136

Augustine, St.--on creation _causaliter et seminaliter_, 141, 207

_Axolotl_, 195

Baden-Powell, Prof.--on the nature of the First Cause, 276

Bastian, Dr. H. C.--on spontaneous generation, 21, 50, 53

_Bathybius Haeckelii_, 21

Batrachians, appearance of, 225

Bats, an evolutionary puzzle, 229, 257

Bee, cell-making instinct, 156, 179

Bickerton, Prof.,--on dissipation of energy, 27 n.

_Biogenesis_, 49, 50

Blanchard, M.--on variation, 164;
  on Darwinian argumentation, 181;
  on fecundity as a factor in survival, 188;
  on the problem of creation, 268

Bolingbroke, Viscount,--on the nature of the first cause, 273

Bridgman, Laura, 77

Bunsen, Chevalier,--on animal sounds and language, 74

Butler, Bishop,--on intelligence as a factor in cosmogony, 100

Carruthers, Mr. W.--on specific stability of _Salix polaris_, 164;
  on classification of plants, 214;
  on the geological record, 216, 265;
  on past history of plant-life, 216 _seq._; on
  an assertion of Haeckel's, 221;
  on the evidence supplied by fossil plants, 223

Case,  Prof.--on the meaning of "fortuitous," 125

Causation, principle of, 2, 87, 94, 107

Cause, the First. See _First Cause_

Chance, 110 _seq._, 151, 174

Cicero--on the evidence for a Deity, 103

Clerk-Maxwell, Prof.--on force and energy, 23n;
  on Molecules, 90, 104;
  on evidence of design, _ibid._

Clifford, Prof. W. K.--on design in Nature, 101

Clodd, Mr. E.--on atoms, 41

Comte, Auguste--on materialism, 278

Consciousness, origin of, 67

_Cosmos_ and its Cause, 86 _seq._

Croll, Mr.--on force and its determination, 94-96

Crookes, Sir W.--on renovation of energy, 26;
  on radium and radio-activity, 42, 43

Cryptogamous plants, fossil history, 219

Crystallization, 63, 64

Darwin, Mr.--on the "law of continuity," 57;
  on spontaneous generation, 58;
  on the mental gulf between man and brute, 71;
  on the origin of language, 79, 178;
  on "creation," 91;
  on the structure of the eye, 91;
  on chance as a factor of the world, 116;
  on pain and suffering as an objection to design, 119;
  disclaims achievements attributed to him, 150;
  his system, 153 _seq._ (see _Darwinism_);
  his mode of arguing, 178;
  dogmatism, 179;
  pleads lack of knowledge as an argument, 182;
  on single origin of every species, 210, 254;
  on genealogy of the Horse, 259;
  on the imperfection of the geological record, 264

Darwinism, 149 _seq._;
  false representations of, 149-151;
  sketch of system, 151-157;
  facts favouring, 158-160;
  difficulties of, 160 _seq._;
  explains no origins, 161;
  ignores the prime factor, _ibid._;
  improbabilities, 166, 173;
  does not explain initial developments, 170 _seq._;
  nor artistic ornamentation, 175;
  specious arguments too easily forthcoming, 177;
  does not account for organic progression, 187;
  scientific opinions concerning, 198 _seq._, 281

Dawson, Sir J. W.--on the first origin of life, 208;
  on the history of animal life, 223; on genealogy of the _Equidæ_, 247;
  of the _Cetacea_, 257;
  of bats,
  on lack of palæontological evidence for evolution, 260

Design, evidence of, in Nature, 90, 97 _seq._;
  Kant on the necessity of, 150

Determination of force, its necessity, 94-96, 114

Determinism of the will, 81 _seq._

Development of organic types, 146

Dicotyledons, appearance of, 220

Diderot--on evidence of intelligence in Nature, 125

_Dinotherium_, classification of, 259 n

Dogs, their vocal expression of emotions, 73

Du Bois-Reymond, Herr,--on the "Seven Enigmas," 31-33;
  on the progress of human development, 68, 69;
  on Haeckel's genealogies, 264

_Dysteleology_, 190

Ear, structure of, 93

_Electrons_, 42

Elephant and Tortoise of Hindu astronomy, 107

Embryology and Evolution, 158-160, 192 _seq._

"Energy," 23; conservation of, _ibid._;
  dissipation of, 24 _seq._;
  renovation of, 26-28

"Enigmas, the Seven," 32

_Entropy_, 25

_Equidæ_. See _Horse_

Ether, a constituent of the universe, 36

Evil, Origin of, the darkest of mysteries, 120

"Evolution," different meanings of term, 8;
    as an operative law, 10-14;
    eternal, 11;
    as a philosophy, 22 _seq._;
    formula of, 145
  As a process, 45 _seq._
  Organic, 142 _seq._;
    essential characters of theory, 147, 206;
    nature of evidence required, 208 _seq._;
    history of in vegetable and animal kingdoms, 216 _seq._

Eye, origin of, 91, 154
  Helmholtz, on defects of, 91 n.;
    structure of, 155 n.;
    evolution of, 168

Fabre, M.--on Darwin's facts, 200 n.;
  on our ignorance of Nature, 203

Faraday, Prof.--on gravitation, 125

Final causality (Teleology), 98 _seq._

First Cause, the object of inference, 96, 97;
  nature of as shown by reason, 270 _seq._

Fish, appearance of, 225;
  problems presented by, 233

Flight, problem of, 93

Flower, Sir W.--on the extinct American horse, 254

Force, nature of, 23

Free-will, Prof. Haeckel on, 33, 81;
  Dr. Johnson on, 84

Fuegians, mental likeness to ourselves, 72

Garnett, Prof.--on force, 23

Gaudry, M.--on ancestry of whales, 257;
 of bats, 258;
 of proboscidians, 259

Genera and species, 244 n.

_Generatio aequivoca_, 65

Generation, mysteries of, 123 _seq._

Geological formations, succession of, 213

Geological record, 216, 264, _seq._

Giraffe, evolution of, 154

Glass, fortuitously discovered, 115

Goethe--on "iron law," 14

Gore, Dr. G.--on machinery as excluding idea of design, 118

"Grand Question," the, 96

Grimthorpe, Lord (Sir E. Beckett)--on matter, 37; on the problem of flight, 93;
  on evidences of purpose, 94;
  on generation, 124;
  on the structure of the eye, 155 n.

Gymnosperms, appearance of, 219

Haeckel, Prof. E.--on "rational view of the world," 10-14;
  on the "magic word evolution," 16;
  on scientific method, 18, 20;
  on the law of substance, 13, 23;
  on the conservation of energy, 23, 24, 26;
  on the "Seven Enigmas," 33;
  on the nature and properties of matter, 35, 39;
  on the artificial manufacture of protoplasm, 59;
  on free-will and determinism, 81;
  on design in Nature, 90, 150;
  on chance, 117;
  on Monism, 128;
  on annihilation as a desirable end, 130;
  on the ultimate reality, 135;
  unfounded claims on behalf of Darwin, 150;
  bases arguments on lack of knowledge, 183;
  on rudimentary organs and "Dysteleology," 190;
  on single origin of every species, 210;
  on the appearance of the _Apetalæ_, 221;
  invents geological "ante-periods," 236;
  and intermediate forms, 261;
  his pedigree of man, 261;
  his method of solving the riddles of Nature, 264

Heredity, 83, 99

Herschel, Sir J.--on molecules as manufactured articles, 89;
  on evidence of mind in Nature, 100;
  on gravitation, 125

_Hesperornis_, 171

Heurtin, Marie, 77

_Hippops_, 246, 252

Hird, Mr. D.--on the omnipotence of Evolution, 14;
  on transformations of force, 129

Holland, Sir H.--on structure of ear, 93

Homer, a "half-savage Greek," 69 n.

_Homo alalus_, and _sapiens_, 81

Horse, structure of, 94, 240
  Genealogy of, 236, 241 _seq._

Hudson, Dr.--on neglect of
  study of present life in favour of evolutionary speculations, 185

Humboldt, W. von--on human speech, 76

Hutton, F. W.--on finite duration of the world, 2;
  and of the universe, 28;
  on dissipation of energy, 27 n.

Huxley, Prof.--on finite duration of the world, 1;
  on the nature of science, 5;
  on "Laws of Nature," 16-18;
  on Evolution as a philosophy, 21, 22;
  on matter, 38;
  on the beginning of life, 46;
  on faith and verification, 47;
  on the fundamental principle of Evolution, 48;
  on spontaneous generation, 50-54;
  on protoplasm, 59, 60;
  on structure of the Horse, 93;
  on theism and creation, 100;
  on teleology, 102;
  on theism and chance, 103;
  on the non-existence of chance, 111;
  on seeming waste in nature, 121;
  on mind and matter, 133;
  on Saurian birds, 172;
  on _Dysteleology_, 191;
  on embryology and ætiology, 197;
  on the Darwinian theory, 200, 201;
  on facts as the only sound basis of theory, 204;
  on the fundamental doctrine of organic evolution, 206;
  on evolutionary evidence, 235;
  on Haeckel's "Ante-periods," 236;
  claims palæontological evidence as demonstrative of Evolution, 239, 261;
  his pedigree of the Horse, 236, 242 _seq._;
  discussed, 244 _seq._

_Hydra_, structure of, 146

_Icthyornis_, 171

_Inertia_, a property of matter, 39

Inference, 5 n.; 96, 272

Insects, insular, as an argument for Natural Selection, 154, 167

Invertebrate life, history of, 225

Johnson, Dr.--on free-will, 84

Julius Cæsar, his polydactyle charger, 241

Kant--on necessity of design, 150

Keller, Miss 77

Kelvin, Lord (Sir W. Thomson),--on the dissipation of energy, 25, 26;
  his Law of Parsimony, 98;
  on science and theism, 104, 278

Laing, Mr. S.--on matter and motion, 35

Lamarck--on Nature's witness to God, 279

Language, our "Rubicon," 73;
  distinctively human, 73-78;
  essential character, 74;
  theories as to origin, 79

Lankester, Prof. Ray--on evolution of _Proboscideae_, 259

Laws of Nature--what? 16,
  17, 86;
  expressions of creative intelligence, 123, 277

Lewes, Mr.--on Laws of Nature, 86

Liddon, Canon--on Laws of Nature, 16

Life had a beginning, 46;
  origin of, 46-66;
  laws of, 90

Link forms wanting in Nature, 208 _seq._, 228 _seq._

Lodge, Sir O.--on non-purposive Evolution, 202;
  on anthropomorphism and the First Cause, 276

Lydekker, Mr. R.--on pedigree of the Horse, 248

Lyell, Sir C.--on the need of creation, 269

Mallock, Mr. W.--on human conduct, 139

Mammals, appearance of, 226;
  problems suggested by, 255

Man, faculties, 71 _seq._;
  appearance of, 227

Marsh, Prof.--on Evolution, 47;
  on _Hippops_, 252

Marshall, Prof. Milnes--on the teachings of Evolution, 15;
  on embryology, 159;
  on Haeckel's treatment of the same, 195

Marsupials, first appearance, 226

_Materia Prima_, 42 n

Matter, 35;
  indestructibility, 13, 23;
  properties, 36 _seq._;
  constitution, 37, 41 _seq._, 135;
  and motion, 39;
  dissolution of, 43;
  and mind, 131 _seq._

Max Müller, Prof.--on language, 73, 75

Mendeléeff's Periodic Law, 88

Mind and matter, connexion of, 131 _seq._

Mivart, Mr. St. G.--on the gulf between man and brute, 72;
  on the essence of language, 74;
  on theories as to its origin, 79;
  on the ease with which Darwinian arguments can be found, 177;
  on embryology of Salamander, 193;
  on incompatibility of geological evidence with theory of Evolution by minute and gradual modification, 228, 230;
  on evolution of the Horse, 255;
  on the failure of apparent links, 267

Mole, evolution of, 181

Molecules, 88;
  "manufactured articles," 89;
  Clerk-Maxwell on, 90, 104

Monism, 126 _seq._, 278;
  and morality, 137;
  and Truth, 138

Monocotyledons, appearance of, 219

Motion, as a property of matter, 39

_Myriadism_, a better term for _Monism_, 136

"Natural Selection," what it is, 152 _seq._;
  its powers discussed, 165 _seq._;
  can produce nothing, 168;
  a misnomer, 174. See _Darwinism_.

"Nature," 6

Nebular hypothesis, 11, 45, 48

Newman, Cardinal--on the nature of laws, 17;
  on law and causality, 99

Newton, Sir I., his laws of motion, 39;
  on evidence for theism, 103

_North British_ Reviewer--on the limits of variation, 162;
  on the facility with which Darwinian arguments can be found, 177;
  on Darwinism and geographical distribution, 184;
  on the "maybe's" of Darwinism, _ibid._;
  on incompatibility of geological evidence with evolutionary theory, 228

Obrecht, Martha, 77

_Ontogeny,_ 83 n.

Organic progression--and Darwinism, 186;
  not evidenced by palæontology, 234

Organs, vestigial or rudimentary as an argument for evolution, 158, 189

_Origin of Species_, appearance of, 151

Owen, Sir R.--on the _Archæopteryx_, 172

Pain and suffering, as an objection to Design, 119, 121

Palæontology--the only sound basis for evolutionary theory, 204;
  its evidence adverse to progressive developments, 234

Paley--his "watch argument" disproved by machine-made watches, 118

Pasteur, M.--on spontaneous generation, 50;
  on initial temperature of life, 57 n.

Peacock's feathers and Natural Selection, 155 n., 175

Perrier, M. E.--on the evidence for Evolution, 237

Pettigrew, Mr.--on wings of birds, 93

_Phylogeny_, 83 n.

_Prothyle_, 42

Protoplasm, 59-63

Purpose and natural laws, 122

Quatrefages, M. de--on life and non-life, 63;
  on crystallization, 64;
  on variation in Nature, 162;
  on Darwinian argumentation, 180, 182, 183;
  on embryology, 194;
  on absence of intermediate forms in Nature, 212, 229

Quinton, M.--new doctrine of life development, 57 n.

_Rana opisthodon_--embryology, 195

Rayleigh, Lord--on atheistic science, 105;
  on scientific authority, 109

Reason generates speech, not _vice versa_, 76

Reptiles, age of, 226

Reptilian birds, 171

Rivarol--on God and the world, 279

Robin, M. Ch.--on Darwinism, 198

Romanes, Prof.--on continuity and universality of natural causation, 29, 30;
  on origin of language, 79;
  on Monism, 129;
  on the inadequacy of Natural Selection, 201;
  on jealousy of admitting the Creator into creation, 277

Roscoe, Sir H.--on artificial production of protoplasm, 62

Salamander, embryological features, 193

_Salix polaris_, its specific stability, 164, 222

Saporta, Comte de--on parallel development of animal and vegetable life, 228;
  on the problem of Creation, 268

Schoolmen, the--on relation of soul and body, 132

Scorpion, maternal and unfilial instincts, 122

Selous, Mr. E.--exemplifies Monistic doctrines, 139 n.

Sensation and consciousness,--origin of, 67

Snakes, embryological features, 194

Species, on evolutionary principles must each derive from a single origin, 210;
  isolation of, 211;
  and genera, 244 n.

Specific stability in Nature, 164

Spencer, Mr. Herbert--on the beginning of life, 56;
  his "Formula of Evolution," 145;
  on the process of organic evolution, 147

Spontaneous Generation. See _Life, origin of_

Stephen, Sir L.--on materialism, 78

Stewart, Prof. Balfour--on finite duration of the world, 1;
  on dissipation of energy, 25.
  See also _Stewart and Tait_

Stewart and Tait--on self-evidence of theism, 104, 273

Stirling, Mr.--on protoplasm, 59, 61

Stokes, Sir G. G.--on evidence for design, 104

Suarez--on creative power and natural law, 207

Substance, law of, 13, 14, 22, 23, 33, 41, 118

Survival of the fittest, and organic progression, 186

Tait, Prof. P.--On the scope of science, 18, 20;
  on force and energy, 23 n.;
  on the properties of matter, 39;
  on "pseudoscience," 40;
  on scientific methods, 47;
  on mechanical theories of life, 65.
  See also _Stewart and Tait_.

Teleology--98 _seq._

Theism, 97 _seq._, 277

Thiselton-Dyer, Sir W.--on protoplasm, 60-62

_Thyroid_ gland--its lesson, 191 n.

Time, as a factor in Evolution, 80, 169

Transformism, 142, etc.
  See _Evolution, organic_

_Triton alpestris_, 195

Tyndall, Prof.--on the material origin of life, 38;
  on the beginning of life, 46;
  on scientific method, 47;
  on spontaneous generation, 54-56;
  on the potentialities of matter, 54;
  on mind and matter, 133

Ungulates, structure of limbs, 241

Variation, the basis of Darwin's calculations, 162;
  its limitations, _ibid._;
  minute at each stage, 165

_Verbum mentale_, 76

Vines, Prof. S. H.--on speculations and facts, 185;
  on the present status of the Darwinian theory, 202;
  on our present knowledge, 237

Virchow, Prof.--on the beginning of life, 46;
  on spontaneous generation, 65

Vogt, Carl--on embryology, 194;
  on Haeckel's genealogies, 264

Wallace, Mr. A. R.--on breaches of natural causation, 64;
  on the origin of life, _ibid._;
  on the origin of animal life, 69, 70

Weismann, Prof.--on our intellectual need for causality, 101

Weldon, Prof.--on Huxley's scientific method, 21, 197

Whales, appearance of, 257

Whitney, Prof.--on origin of language, 79

Will, the only cause known to us, 99, 100.
  See also _Free-will_

Williamson, Prof. W. C.--on missing links, 231;
  on an unrecognized factor in life-developments, 232;
  on the geological history of fishes, 233;
  on genealogy of the _equidæ_, 251;
  on lack of palæontological support for the Evolution theory, 260

Wings, as machines, 93

Wollaston, Mr.--on "Nature" as an agent, 108

World, beginning of, 1

_Zeuglodon_, 257







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[1] _Collected Essays_, i. 35.

[2] _Lectures on Evolution_, Cheap Edition, p. 16.

[3] _Conservation of Energy_, § 210, p. 153.

[4] F. W. Hutton, F.R.S., _The Lesson of Evolution_ (1902), pp. 9-11.

[5] _Nineteenth Century_, February, 1889. p. 173.

[6] This term is now applied almost exclusively to _physical science_,
or that whose province is the observation of phenomena and inferences
directly deducible from them. To avoid confusion, this sense of the word
"Science" will be here adopted: it is nevertheless objectionable
inasmuch as it implies that--as Professor Huxley following Hume would
have it--sound knowledge is restricted, outside the field of
mathematics, to "experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and
existence." But although all premisses or data of inference come to us
first through the gates of sense, there is much, beyond the limits
within which sensible experience is confined, to a knowledge of which
inference can lead us, and of which we become certain before experience
can verify what we have thus learnt. Thus a chipped flint or a fragment
of pottery is universally recognized as evidencing the work of man: a
single page of Virgil would suffice--apart from all other
information--to prove its author to have been both a poet and a scholar:
the shipwrecked mariner cast on an unknown shore argued soundly from the
sight of a gibbet that he had reached a civilized land ruled by law. But
more than this, Science herself proceeds on this principle to the
recognition not only of forces, the character of which is known by
previous experience, but of others concerning which she knows nothing at
all, except through the very effects from which she argues. Thus, as all
bodies left free are found to draw towards one another in a certain
mode, it is concluded with absolute confidence that there is a force
making them do so, although this is in itself utterly imperceptible, and
is known only by the way in which bodies behave under what must be its
influence. Yet, who questions the existence of Gravitation? In like
manner, the phenomena of light force us to admit the existence of the
Ether, as the medium through which its waves are transmitted. Yet, we
are compelled to attribute to this medium qualities apparently so
incompatible that, as the late Lord Salisbury said, Ether remains, "a
half discovered entity." But little as we can realize its nature, we
have no doubt that such a medium exists.

[7] "Value of the Natural History Sciences" (_Lay Sermons_), p. 75.

[8] Italics his.

[9] _Confession of Faith of a Man of Science_, English translation,
1903, Preface, p. vii.

[10] _Riddle of the Universe_, Cheap English Edition, p. 2.

[11] _ibid._, p. 85.

[12] And also, it should be added, travelling bodily through space with
a movement of "translation."

[13] _Ibid._

[14] _Ibid._, p. 2.

[15] The 15th Chapter of Haeckel's _Natural History of Creation_ is
devoted to this point.

[16] _Confession of Faith of a Man of Science_, p. 32.

[17] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 5.

[18] _Ibid._, p. 78.

[19] _Ibid._, p. 86.

[20] _Ibid._, 134.

[21] _An Easy Outline of Evolution_, by Dennis Hird, M.A., Principal of
Ruskin Hall, Oxford, p. 230.

[22] _Presidential Address_, _Section D_, _Zoology_, Leeds, 1890.

[23] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 2.

[24] _Ibid._, p. 83.

[25] "Pseudo-Scientific Realism," _Collected Essays_, i, 68, 74-78.

[26] Newman, _Grammar of Assent_, p. 72. A "Law of Nature," as has
already been said, is simply a statement of what _de facto_ has always
been found to occur under certain conditions, and may consequently be
expected again. It is obvious however that such expectation is
implicitly based on the existence of some cause capable of ensuring the

[27] "The Teaching of Natural Philosophy," _Contemporary Review_, Jan.,

[28] _Lay Sermons_, p. 83.

[29] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 6.

[30] See Wasmann "Gedanken zur Entwicklungslehre," _Stimmen aus
Maria-Laach_, vol. 63, p. 298.

[31] _Contemporary Review_, ut sup., p. 301.

[32] Professor Weldon, F.R.S., in the _Dictionary of National

[33] _Collected Essays_, v. 41.

[34] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 75.

[35] Professor Garnett in the _Encyclopaedia Britannica_. By "Force" is
understood "any cause which tends to alter a body's natural state of
rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line." Of the nature of such
causes science professes to know very little, and as Clerk-Maxwell, who
knew as much as most men, sang apropos of a lecture of Professor Tait's:

    ... Tait writes in lucid symbols clear one small equation;
    And Force becomes of Energy a mere space-variation.

[36] Balfour Stewart, _Conservation of Energy_, § 115; by Clerk-Maxwell,
_apud_ Garnett, _ut sup._

[37] Tyndall, _Fragments of Science_, 5th Edition, p. 23.

[38] _Conservation of Energy_, § 209.

[39] Sir William Thomson, now Lord Kelvin.

[40] March 29, 1888.

[41] So of another effort in the same direction Capt. Hutton tells us:
"The last champion in the field is Professor A. W. Bickerton, who thinks
he has found a way in which this dismal conclusion, as he considers it,
may be averted. But he is not very sure about it, and has to assume:
first, that space contains now and always will contain, a large quantity
of cosmic dust scattered through it with some approach to uniformity;
and secondly, that the Universe consists of an infinite number of what
he calls 'cosmic systems,' travelling through space, constantly throwing
off dust in all directions and occasionally colliding. As all this is
pure assumption and highly improbable, I cannot think that Professor
Bickerton has brought forward any serious objection to the theory of the
dissipation of energy, and his hypothesis must be added to the list of
failures." (_Lesson of Evolution_, p. 14, _n._)

[42] _Lesson of Evolution_, p. 14.

[43] _Darwin and after Darwin_, p. 17.

[44] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 64.

[45] _Über die Grenzen der Naturerkennens: Die Sieben Welträthsel_,
Leipzic, 1882.

[46] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 64.

[47] Du Bois-Reymond does not say that they are soluble, but only that
he cannot pronounce them "transcendental."

[48] Samuel Laing, _Modern Science and Modern Thought_, Cheap Edition,
p. 19.

[49] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 86.

[50] _Ibid._

[51] P. 78.

[52] P. 64.

[53] _Origin of the Laws of Nature_, p. 23.

[54] _Belfast Address_, 1874.

[55] _Lay Sermons._ "On the Physical Basis of Life," p. 143.

[56] Professor Tait, _Properties of Matter_, § 108.

[57] _Contemporary Review_, January, 1878, p. 301.

[58] _Story of Creation_, p. 11.

[59] _Edinburgh Review_, October, 1903, p. 399.

[60] Or "primal stuff." This looks remarkably like the old _Materia
Prima_ of the Schoolmen translated into Greek.

[61] _Ibid._ _The Revelations of Radium._

[62] _Ibid._, p. 398.

{_Note._--It is often assumed that the composite character of the
atom--if fully established--must upset the Atomic Theory. This is not
so; all that the new hypothesis does is to go further back in accounting
for the Atomic Theory, and for all practical purposes things remain
exactly as they were; except, indeed, that the dissolution of matter
does away with what was held as one of the most assured conclusions of

[63] The Nebular Hypothesis itself is, of course, far from being an
established certainty, and is not devoid of grave difficulties. Into
these, however, it is not necessary now to enter.

[64] _Apud_ Gaynor, _The New Materialism_, p. 83.

[65] _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, "Biology."

[66] _Apud_ Gaynor, p. 84.

[67] Professor Marsh.

[68] Professor Dewar at Belfast, 1902.

[69] _Recent Advances in Physical Science_, 3rd Edition, p. 6.

[70] Gaynor, p. 102.

[71] _Lay Sermons_, p. 18.

[72] _Critiques and Addresses_, p. 305.

[73] Being the year in which this passage was written.

[74] Viz. that of the derivation of life from life alone, as opposed to
_Abiogenesis_, or its production from lifeless matter.

[75] See _Fragments of Science_, "Spontaneous Generation," for a full

[76] March 18, 1863. _Life and Letters_, i. 352.

[77] April 30, 1870. _Ibid._ ii. 17.

[78] _Critiques and Addresses_, p. 238.

[79] _Lay Sermons_, p. 18.

[80] _Evolution and the Origin of Life_, 1874, p. 23.

[81] _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, "Biology."

[82] _Fragments of Science._ "Rev. James Martineau and Belfast Address."

[83] _Ibid._ "Scientific use of the imagination."

[84] _Fragments of Science_, "Spontaneous Generation."

[85] _Ibid._ "Rev. James Martineau and Belfast Address."

[86] _Ibid._ "Vitality."

[87] _Nineteenth Century_, May, 1886, p. 769.

[88] Italics mine.

[89] It has been established by Pasteur and others that the highest
temperature at which organic life is possible is 45° _Centigrade_ (113°
_Fahrenheit_). When the globe had cooled to this point from its
primitive molten condition, the epoch of terrestrial life commenced.

According to what is perhaps the latest theory, that of M. Quinton, the
temperature immediately below this, 44° _Centigrade_, remains always the
best for living things, and those creatures are highest in the scale of
life, and consequently the most developed, which have contrived means of
keeping their internal heat at, or about, this level, despite the
refrigeration of their surroundings. In their blood-heat M. Quinton
therefore finds an absolute rule for fixing the relative rank of organic
forms, and the date of their appearance; those whose blood is warmest
being the most recently evolved. The results of this new system are
sufficiently startling. Birds are to be classed as the highest and
newest of all; while man, with the other _Primates_, has to take a much
lower place, the ungulates, including the horse and donkey, and the
carnivora, as dogs and cats, being his superiors. (_La Revue des Idées_,
January 15, 1904, pp. 29 seq.)

[90] To D. Mackintosh, February 28, 1882.

[91] To Sir J. D. Hooker, March 29, 1863.

[92] To V. Carus, November 21, 1866.

[93] To D. Mackintosh, February 28, 1882.

[94] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 6.

[95] _As regards Protoplasm_, p. 21.

[96] _Encyclopaedia Britannica_, "Biology."

[97] Printed in _Lay Sermons_.

[98] _Nature_, June 5, 1902, p. 121.

[99] _Id. ibid._

[100] _Op. cit._ p. 27.

[101] _Presidential Address_, British Association, 1887.

[102] _Les Emules de Darwin_, ii. 66.

[103] _Op. cit._ ii. 63.

[104] _Darwinism_, p. 474.

[105] The other stages presenting similar difficulties are the 5th and
6th of Du Bois-Reymond's Enigmas, viz. the introduction of sensation or
consciousness (animal life), and of rational thought and speech.

[106] _Contemporary Review_, January, 1878, p. 298.

[107] _Die sieben Welträthsel_, D. 82.

[108] Professor Huxley, it must be remarked, speaks of Homer as a "half
savage Greek" (_Lay Sermons_, p. 12), and intimates a mild wonder that
such a being could share our feelings in presence of nature to so large
an extent as his poems testify. This is undoubtedly a fine example of
the good conceit of ourselves which the pursuit of science is rather apt
to produce.

[109] _Darwinism_, p. 475.

[110] _Descent of Man_, c. ii.

[111] _Ibid._ 54.

[112] In his paper read before the British Association at Oxford in

[113] _Lessons from Nature_, p. 89.

[114] See Mivart, _Origin of Human Reason_, p. 166.

[115] See Louis Arnould, _Une âme en prison_, and article "An imprisoned
Soul," by the Ctesse. de Courson, _The Month_, January, 1902, p. 82.

[116] _Descent of Man_, i. 57.

[117] i.e. ape-like.

[118] Quoted by Romanes, _Mental Evolution in Man_.

[119] _Ibid._, p. 371.

[120] _Origin of Human Reason_, p. 385.

[121] _Op. cit._ p. 379.

[122] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 46.

[123] "Ontogeny" signifies the genesis of the individual, "Phylogeny"
that of the race. Accordingly, when rendered into ordinary language,
declarations such as these, unsupported as they are by any evidence, are
found to mean that the development of the individual, tells us all about
the development of the individual, and the development of the race all
about that of the race. Is it really supposed, as it would seem to be,
that such points are scientifically settled by translating terms into

[124] _Lavengro_, passim.

[125] _Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy_, p. 38.

[126] _British Association Lecture_, 1873.

[127] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 93.

[128] _Origin of Species_ (5th Edition), p. 226.

[129] Afterwards (April 17, 1863) Mr. Darwin wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker,
"I have long regretted that I truckled to public opinion, and used the
Pentateuchal term of creation, by which I really meant 'appeared' by
some wholly unknown process."

[130] At a later period Mr. Darwin modified his views as to what he
still termed "that wondrous organ the human eye," writing thus (_Descent
of Man_, ii. 166): "We know what Helmholtz, the highest authority in
Europe on the subject, has said about the human eye: that if an optician
had sold him an instrument so carelessly made, he would have thought
himself fully justified in returning it."

It is perfectly true that Helmholtz so expressed himself (_Vorträge und
Reden_, i. 253, etc., English Edition, "_Popular Scientific Lectures_,"
pp. 219, etc.), adding that "the eye has every possible defect that can
be found in an optical instrument, and some which are peculiar to
itself." These utterances are frequently quoted, but Helmholtz says a
good deal more of which we do not usually hear. He observes, in the
first place, that in speaking as above he did so "from the narrow but
legitimate point of view of an optician." Having then enumerated all the
defects in question, he continues--"In an artificial camera, all these
irregularities would be exceedingly troublesome. In the eye they are not
so, so little troublesome, indeed, that it was occasionally a matter of
extreme difficulty to detect them." He adds that men in general not only
are unaware of the existence of such defects, but can hardly be induced
to credit it. Also that they "almost always affect those portions of the
field of vision to which at the moment we are not directing our
attention." What is still more to the point, he observes, that the
defects noted are all theoretical, while the purpose of the eye is
practical, and that if theoretically more perfect as an optical
instrument, it would be practically less serviceable. To complain that
the eye is not adapted for the special purposes of a microscope or
telescope is like condemning the boats of a sea-going ship because they
lack some of the qualities found in racing outriggers or Rob Roy canoes.
"As concerns the adaptation of the eye to its functions, [adds
Helmholtz,] this is most thorough, and is manifest in the very
limitations set to its defects.... A man of any sense would not chop
firewood with a razor, and we may assume that any elaboration of the
optical structure of the eye would have rendered it more liable to
injury and slower in its development." Helmholtz therefore concludes
that the eye is a product which "the wisest Wisdom may have

It thus comes very much to Pope's solution:

    Why has not man a microscopic eye?
    For this plain reason: man is not a fly,--

and in view of his subsequent admissions, Helmholtz's flourish about
returning the eye to its maker looks very like theatrical clap-trap,
unworthy of such a man.

[131] _Life of C. Darwin_, ii. 234. Erasmus Darwin to C. Darwin,
November 23, 1859.

[132] _Animal Locomotion_ (International Scientific Series), p. 180.

[133] _Origin of Laws of Nature_, p. 69.

[134] _Lectures on Evolution_ (Cheap Edition), p. 37.

[135] _Philosophical Basis of Evolution_, passim.

[136] By a _Final Cause_ is meant the predetermined result or end,
towards which a work of intelligence is directed, the end being the
ultimate cause of the whole act. Thus the obtaining a light is the
_Final Cause_ of striking a match: while the striking of the match is
the _Efficient Cause_ producing the light.

[137] _Grammar of Assent_, p. 69.

[138] _Familiar Lectures_, p. 458.

[139] "On the Reception of the 'Origin of Species,':" _Life of C.
Darwin_, ii. p. 187.

[140] _Nineteenth Century_, No. 2. Reprinted in _Lectures and Essays_,
p. 388 (2nd Edition).

[141] _Studies in the Theory of Descent_, vol. ii. p. 710; _vid.
Edinburgh Review_, October, 1902, _The Rise and Influence of Darwinism_.

[142] _Ut sup._ p. 201.

[143] _Sic._ The sense evidently requires either that the "not" should
be deleted, or "prove" be substituted for "disprove" in the preceding
line. This erroneous reading occurs not only in the text from which I
quote, but likewise in the _Critiques and Addresses_, p. 307, where this
passage forms part of the Professor's review of Haeckel's _Natural
History of Creation_, under the title of _The Genealogy of Animals_.

[144] _Life and Letters_, ii. 195.

[145] _Ibid._, p. 467.

[146] _De Natura Deorum_, ii. 4.

[147] _Principia, Schol. Gen._

[148] _Unseen Universe_, p. 47.

[149] _Burnett Lectures_, p. 327.

[150] See report of his words emended by himself, _Nineteenth Century
and After_, June, 1903.

[151] Bradford, 1873.

[152] Montreal, 1884.

[153] _Annals and Magazine of Natural History_, 3rd Series, vol. v. p.

[154] "Reception of 'Origin of Species,'" _ubi sup._ p. 199.

[155] November 26, 1860.

[156] May 22, 1860.

[157] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 92.

[158] _The Scientific Basis of Morality_, by George Gore, LL.D., F.R.S.,
p. 31.

[159] May 22, 1860.

[160] Bain, _De vi physica_, p. 76.

[161] _Origin of Laws of Nature_, p. 61.

[162] Lord Grimthorpe, _op. cit._ 85.

[163] Letter to the _Times_, June 2, 1903

[164] The term _Monism_, invented by Wolf, originally bore a different
meaning from that in which Haeckel employs it. It was used to signify
equally the materialistic denial of the substantiality of mind, and the
idealistic denial of the substantiality of matter. Professor Haeckel, as
will be seen, maintains that mind and matter are but two names for one

[165] _Confession of Faith of a Man of Science_ (English translation),
p. 60.

[166] _Ibid._, p. 10.

[167] _Ibid._, p. 3.

[168] _Mind and Motion._

[169] _An Easy Outline of Evolution_, by Dennis Hird, M.A., Principal of
Ruskin Hall, Oxford, p. 184.

[170] _Ibid._, p. 74.

[171] _Confession of Faith of a Man of Science_, p. 51.

[172] _Presidential Address_, _Section A_, _British Association_,
Norwich, 1868.

[173] "Mr. Darwin's Critics." (_Critiques and Addresses_, p. 283.)

[174] _Confession of Faith of a Man of Science_, p. 19.

[175] To what extremes such doctrines must logically lead is illustrated
by Mr. Edmund Selous in his very interesting _Bird Watching_, where he
casually observes, as a matter of course, that the "life-part" of a
tom-tit is as important in the sum of things as Napoleon's (p. 248), and
declares elsewhere, more formally (p. 335)--"Surely, a beautiful
butterfly, that, for all time, charms--and raises by charming--some
number of those who see it, does more good on this earth than any single
man or woman, who, 'departing,' leaves no 'foot-prints on the sands of
time.' Homer, for instance, has left his _Iliad_ and _Odyssey_, and
these have been, and still are, mighty in their effects. But let them
once perish, and Homer will be caught up and overtaken by almost any
bird or butterfly--even a brown one."

[176] _First Principles._

[177] _Riddle of the Universe_, p. 92.

[178] As to the term "Chance" which he frequently used, Mr. Darwin wrote
in one place (_Origin of Species_, Opening passage of c. v.): "I have
hitherto sometimes spoken as if the variations--so common and multiform
with organic beings under domestication, and in a lesser degree with
those in a state of nature--had been due to chance. This, of course, is
a wholly incorrect expression, but it serves to acknowledge plainly our
ignorance of the cause of each particular variation." It is obvious,
however, that this explanation only serves to show that, as we have
heard him confess, Mr. Darwin was anything but a clear thinker, for it
is absolutely meaningless if applied to his mention of "Chance" quoted
in the text above. He could not possibly mean that the mind refuses to
regard the world as the outcome of a cause whereof we know nothing, for
that is just what he thinks it is. Mr. Darwin, in fact, instinctively
recognized, as every man of common-sense must do, that if not due to
purpose, the order of Nature is due to chance, according to the true and
legitimate use of the word, and thus he commonly employed it.
Occasionally however he endeavoured, following Huxley and others, to
defend himself against the reproach of relying upon such a
factor.--_Vid. sup._, c. xii.

[179] Although at first Mr. Darwin appeared to restrict his system to
_species_, very soon, as was but natural, it was extended to the
production of new _genera_, and even of divisions of the organic
kingdoms yet wider asunder. Thus--apart from the most famous instance of
all, treated by Darwin himself in his _Descent of Man_--it is now a
cardinal point with Evolutionists generally that all the higher forms of
life are descended from the lowest, and that even far up the line of
development, creatures apparently the most diverse have sprung from one
identical ancestor. Thus amongst vertebrates it is considered certain
that Birds and Reptiles are branches of the same stock,--and, still
farther on, that at least all placental mammals--bats and whales,
elephants and mice--trace their pedigree to some common progenitor.

[180] _Origin of Species_, v.

[181] _Ibid._, c. vii.

[182] _Ibid._, c. vi.

[183] "I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold
all over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, and now some
small trifling particulars of structure often make me feel very
uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a peacock's tail, whenever I
gaze at it, makes me sick." (_C. Darwin to Asa Gray, April 3, 1860._)

[184] It will help to understand the nature of the task thus imposed
upon Natural Selection, to consider what Lord Grimthorpe writes on this
subject (_Origin of the Laws of Nature_, p. 103):

"We take pieces of glass of different kinds and grind them to particular
shapes and set them in a frame and make a telescope, which refracts rays
of light so as to produce an 'image' of a very distant object near our
eye, and that appears much larger when seen through another glass of
proper shape. But we have never yet been able to make one that can bring
all the rays from a single distant point exactly to another point
without confusion. Yet there are many millions of apparently self-made
machines in the world that do it perfectly; and when we cut up one of
them and examine it we find that instead of our large lumps of glass
melted together into a coarse kind of uniformity, this machine has been
built up of an innumerable quantity of particles arranged in peculiar
and complicated ways, some of which have objects that we can understand,
though we cannot imitate them, and others that we do not. Moreover they
are persistently alike in every machine of the same class, and again
some of them persistently unlike those belonging to any other class of
animals. For a long time the retina of the eye used to be called a
membrane, or a kind of thin sheet. Then it was found to be a kind of
brush of which the hairs vibrate under the vibration of the rays of
light; and now these hairs are found by further magnification to be
divided into so many parts lengthwise that a picture of them has to be
as long as the picture of a striped or spotted animal to distinguish
them; and instead of being simply set fast by one end like hairs in a
brush, they pass through several frames or membranes; and of the use of
all these pieces we know nothing. Such is the 'simplicity of nature' in
that organ which next to a stomach is the commonest in all living
creatures; and such is our ignorance of nature yet."

[185] _Ibid._, c. vii.

[186] Although, as bee-keepers soon discover, Mr. Darwin supposed the
workmanship of bees' cells to be considerably more exact and accurate
than usually is the case,--there remains quite enough of architectural
merit to justify his remarks. It may even be said to increase the
mystery that the insects should thus appear to strive towards an ideal,
which they frequently fail to satisfy.

[187] _Ranunculus ficaria._ It is remarkable that in the season of 1904
this plant has ripened fruit profusely in various districts in which
such fruit had for many years been practically undiscoverable.

[188] _Origin of Species_, c. xiv.

[189] _Descent of Man_, Part I, c. i.

[190] _Biological Lectures and Addresses_, p. 202.

[191] _Charles Darwin et ses précurseurs Français_ (1870), p. 120.

[192] _North British Review_, June, 1867. Professor Huxley likewise
declared this criticism to be of "real and permanent value." (_Critiques
and Addresses_, 252.)

[193] _La vie des êtres animés_, p. 102.

[194] Presidential Address Geologists' Association (_Proceedings_, vol.
v. 1875-6). Partly reprinted in _Contemporary Review_, February, 1877,
under the title "Evolution and the Vegetable Kingdom."

[195] See APPENDIX A. p. 280a.

[196] _Variation in Animals and Plants_, p. 343. By H. M. Verney
(International Scientific Series, 88).

[197] J. W. Barclay, _New Theory of Organic Evolution_, p. 90.

[198] Huxley, _Lectures and Essays_ (Popular Edition), pp. 28, seq.

[199] Since Professor Huxley wrote the idea has been completely
discarded that these birds occupy such a place as he assigned them. The
wing of _Hesperornis_, for example, is now declared to be an instance of
_degeneration_ from one capable of flight. None of these fowls can be
considered as the progenitors of any now existing, but all as the
descendants of flying ancestors of arboreal habits, whereof no trace has
yet been discovered. (See Pycraft's _Story of Bird Life_, p. 190.)

[200] _Philosophical Transactions Royal Society_, 1863, p. 36.

[201] This point is well handled by M. Paul Janet, _Final Causes_, 2nd
English Edition, p. 245.

[202] _Descent of Man_, ii. 156.

[203] _Tablet_, May 26, 1888, p. 837.

[204] _Lessons from Nature_, p. 297.

[205] _Descent of Man_, _i._ p. 57.

[206] In later editions (e.g. that of 1888, i. 133) the suggestion is
put in form of a question: "May not some unusually wise ape-like animal

[207] _Origin of Species_, c. vi.

[208] _Ibid._, c. viii.

[209] It is a grave aggravation of the problem, which need only be
mentioned here, that the bees which make cells are neuters and have no
descendants, while the queens and drones which are the progenitors of
the whole race never do a stroke of work in the course of their

[210] _Descent of Man_ (1st Edition), ii. 385.

[211] _Ibid._, i. 107.

[212] _Ibid._, ii. 386.

[213] _Charles Darwin et ses précurseurs Français_, p. 151

[214] _Ibid._, p. 167.

[215] _La vie des êtres animés_, p. 161.

[216] Saint-Hilaire.

[217] _Les Emules de Darwin_, ii. p. 82.

[218] _North British Review_, July, 1867, p. 316.

[219] P. 313.

[220] November 5, 1903, _Journal of Botany_, January, 1904, p. 32.

[221] Dr. Hudson, see _Nature_, February 20, 1890, p. 375.

[222] _Origin of Species_, c. xi.

[223] _Op. cit._ p. 59.

[224] _History of Creation_, English Edition, ii. 353.

[225] _The Genealogy of Animals: a Review of Haeckel's "Natürliche
Schöpfungs-Geschichte."_ The _Academy_, 1869. Reprinted in _Critiques
and Addresses_, and _Darwiniana_ (Collected Works).

[226] The Thyroid gland in the throat, the function of which is unknown,
was supposed to be absolutely without use. It is found, however, that
its removal entails _myxoedema_, a condition closely allied to

[227] "Geological Contemporaneity." (_Lay Sermons_, p. 206.)

[228] Mr. Mivart, _Types of Animal Life_, p. 113.

[229] _Les Emules de Darwin_, ii. 13.

[230] Mr. Mivart, _Tablet_, April 21, 1888.

[231] The Mexican _Axolotl_, the _Triton Alpestris_, and probably

[232] _Nature_, March 24, 1892.

[233] i.e. the Science of Causes.

[234] _Dictionnaire encyclopédique des sciences médicales._

[235] Thus having described in detail a series of experiments as to the
effects of an alteration of diet supplied to the larvæ of various
_hymenoptera_, M. Fabre writes:

"Tout cela est bien autrement grave que les petits riens invoqués par
Darwin." (_Souvenirs entomologiques_, 3rd Series, p. 330.)

[236] _Journal of Linnean Society_, vol. xix.

[237] _Hibbert Journal_, January, 1903, p. 218.

[238] _Revue de Philosophie_, April 1, 1904.

[239] _Souvenirs entomologiques_, 3rd Series, p. 317.

[240] For some further testimonies on this head see Appendix.

[241] _Nature_, September 10, 1891.

[242] _Coming of Age of the Origin of Species._

[243] _De opere sex dierum_, ii. 10, n. 12.

[244] _Modern Idea of Evolution_, p. 97.

[245] Darwin (_Origin of Species_, p. 274, 6th Edition) considers it
"incredible" that the same identical species should originate twice even
under the very same conditions. In the following passage, Haeckel
affirms such unity of origin in respect of a most remarkable species of
wide-reaching affinities.

"All morphologists arrive at the firm conviction that all vertebrata,
from the _Amphioxus_ upwards to man himself, all fishes, amphibia,
reptiles, birds, and mammals, descend originally from a single
vertebrate ancestor, for we cannot imagine that all the different and
highly complicated conditions of life which, through a long series of
processes or stages of development, led to the typical formation of a
vertebrate, have accidentally happened together more than once in the
course of the earth's history." (Address to Munich meeting of German
Association, vid. _Nature_, October 4, 1877.)

[246] _Origin of Species_ (6th Edition), p. 265.

[247] _Les Emules de Darwin_, ii., 76.

[248] _History of Plant Life and its bearings on Theory of Evolution_

[249] Harebell.

[250] According to the most recent system of classification, the
Monopetalæ, now re-christened _Sympetalae_, are ranked above the
Polypetalæ, the family of the _Compositae_ being highest of all.

[251] _Proceedings_, vol. v., p. 17, etc. (1875-6). The substance of
this address appeared as an article in the _Contemporary Review_,
February, 1877, entitled, "Evolution and the Vegetable Kingdom."

[252] See Appendix B. p. 284.

[253] _Modern Ideas of Evolution_ (6th Edition), pp. 107, seq.

[254] These first mammals, which were exceedingly small, are supposed by
most naturalists to have been Marsupials. They would appear presently to
have become extinct, no traces of them having been found in the chalk, a
formation so rich in other organic remains. As Professor Marsh tells us
on this subject (_Nature_, September 27, 1877, p. 471):

"Of the existence of Mammals before the Trias we have no evidence,
either in the New or the Old World, and it is a significant fact that at
essentially the same horizon in each hemisphere similar low forms of
Mammals make their appearance. Although only a few incomplete specimens
have been discovered, they are characteristic and well preserved, and
all are apparently marsupials; the lowest mammalian group known in
America, living or fossil. The American Triassic mammals are known at
present only from two small lower jaws, on which has been founded the
genus _Dromotherium_, supposed to be related to the insect-eating
_Myrmecobius_, now living in Australia. Although the fauna of Europe
have yielded other similar mammals for the Oolite, America has as yet
none of this class from that formation, while from the rocks of
cretaceous age, no mammals are known in any part of the world."

[255] P. 118.

[256] P. 105.

[257] _Le monde des plantes avant l'apparition de l'homme_, p. 34.

[258] _Genesis of Species_, p. 129.

[259] _Charles Darwin_, p. 185.

[260] _Genesis of Species_, p. 130.

[261] _Types of Animal Life_, 149.

[262] _Genesis of Species_, p. 132.

[263] "Primeval Vegetation in its relation to the Doctrine of Natural
Selection and Evolution" (_Essays and Addresses_, Owen's College,
Manchester, p. 251).

[264] "Succession of Life on Earth." (_Half-hour Recreations_, 2nd
Series, p. 329.)

[265] _Essays and Addresses_, Owen's College, Manchester, p. 220, note.

[266] See note, p. 238.

[267] "Geological Contemporaneity," 1862. (_Lay Sermons_, p. 222.)

[268] "Palæontology and Evolution," 1876. (_Critiques and Addresses_, p.

[269] P. 187.

[270] P. 192.

[271] _Genealogy of Animals._

[272] _Natural History of Creation._

[273] _Le Transformisme_, pp. 337-340.

[274] _Lectures on Evolution_, New York, 1876. Cheap Edition, p. 43.

[275] _Coming of Age of the Origin of Species_, etc.

[276] _Essays on Controverted Questions_, p. 450.

[277] "Utebatur autem equo insigni, pedibus prope humanis, et in modum
digitorum ungulis fissis; quem natum apud se, cum haruspices imperium
orbis terrae significare domino pronuntiassent, magna cura aluit."
(Suetonius, _Julius_, 61.)

[278] The _radius_ and _ulna_ are the two bones of the forearm above the
wrist; the _tibia_ and _fibula_ the corresponding bones of the leg above
the ankle. In the horse, the _ulna_ and _fibula_ are almost, but not
quite, lost.

[279] Animals and plants are placed in different _species_ when the
differences between them are only _relative_; in different _genera_,
when such differences are _absolute_. Thus, for example, the size of
teeth is considered relative; the number of teeth absolute.

[280] _American Journal of Science and Arts_, 3rd Series, vol. 43
(1892), p. 351.

[281] _Modern Ideas of Evolution_, p. 119.

[282] _Types of Animal Life_, 205.

[283] Nicholson and Lydekker's _Manual of Palæontology_, ii. 1362.

[284] _Origin of Species_, c. xi.

[285] _Lydekker_, p. 1361.

[286] _Evolution of the Horse_, 12.

[287] "Succession of Life on Earth" (_Recreations in Popular Science_,
2nd Series, p. 339).

[288] British Museum (_Nat. Hist._) _Guide to fossil mammals and birds_,
p. 38.

[289] _American Journal of Science and Art_, 3rd Series, vol. 43 (1892),
p. 351.

[290] _The Evolution of the Horse_, p. 16.

[291] _Lydekker_, _ut sup._ p. 1363.

[292] Sir W. Flower, _The Horse_, p. 74.

[293] "It is a consequence of the theory of Natural Selection that
identity of structure involves community of descent; a given result can
only be arrived at through a given sequence of events; the same
morphological goal cannot be reached by two independent paths." Milnes
Marshall, _Biological Lectures_, 247.

[294] _Origin of Species_, c. xi. "Geological Succession of Organic

[295] _Tablet_, April 21, 1888, p. 637.

[296] _Catalogue of Mammals_, etc., _ut sup._ p. 38.

[297] _Chain of Life_, p. 222.

[298] _Les Enchainements du Monde Animal_ ... Mammifères Tertiaires.

[299] _Chain of Life_, 227.

[300] It is the "fingers" of the bat's "hand" which support the wing
membrane. Hence the scientific name _Cheiroptera_.

[301] E.g. Dinotherium giganteum and Elephas meridionalis. (Vid. Gaudry,
_op. cit._ 169.)

[302] Lecture at Royal Institution, January 2, 1904.

[303] A remarkable instance of the need of caution is furnished by the
history of the Dinotherium itself. From the teeth, first found, Cuvier
set down the animal as a monster Tapir. Then, a whole skull being
discovered, Herr Kaup of Darmstadt, commenting upon the danger of such a
proceeding, himself classed the beast among the Edentata (Sloths, etc.),
and afterwards among the Hippopotami. Buckland and Strauss thought it
must have been an aquatic creature; Blainville and Pictet labelled it a
Manatee, or sea-cow. (Vid. Gaudry, _op. cit._ 187-9.)

[304] _Op. cit._ p. 191.

[305] Milnes Marshall, _Lectures on Darwinian Theory_, p. 66.

[306] See Appendix C. p. 285.

[307] _Modern Ideas of Evolution_, c. iv.

[308] "Primeval Vegetation in its relation to the Doctrine of Natural
Selection and Evolution." (_Essays and Addresses_, Owen's College,
Manchester, p. 200.)

[309] _History of Creation_, ii. 92, English Edition.

[310] _Ibid._, p. 295.

[311] _Les Emules de Darwin_, ii. 76.

[312] As an instance M. de Quatrefages cites Haeckel's own words, from
his _Anthropogenie_. "The Vertebrate Ancestor No. 15, akin to the
Salamanders, must have been a species of Saurian (Lizard). There remains
to us no fossil relic of this animal; in no respect did he resemble any
form actually existing. Nevertheless, comparative anatomy and ontogeny
authorize us in affirming that he once existed. We will call this animal

[313] _Ibid._, p. 122.

[314] _Revue Scientifique_ (1886), p. 486.

[315] _Ibid._ (1877), I. 1101.

[316] _Origin of Species_, c. x.

[317] _Genesis of Species_, p. 134.

[318] _Le monde des plantes avant l'apparition de l'homme_, p. vi.

[319] _Op. cit._, p. 288.

[320] _Life of Darwin_, ii. 193.

[321] _Epistle_ I--to Pope.

[322] _Hibbert Journal_, January, 1903.

[323] _Order of Nature_, p. 239.

[324] _Thoughts on Religion_, p. 123.

[325] _Presidential Address_, British Association, 1871.

[326] _Système Analytique des Connaissances positives de l'homme_
(1830), pp. 8, 43.

[327] _North American Slime Moulds_, Introduction, p. II.

[328] Bloud's _Science et Religion_, No. 431, pp. 50, seq.

[329] _Traité de Microbiologie_, I., p. 253. Also the Magazine
_Broteria_ (Lisbon), Vol. vi., 1907, Botany, p. 23.

[330] See _Nature_, June 4, 1903, p. 113, in notice of a paper on the
subject by Professor F. W. Oliver and Dr. D. H. Scott, F.R.S.

[331] _Linnean Society's Proceedings_, May 3, 1906.

[332] See the _Congress Report_, vol. iv.

[333] _Transactions American Philosophical Society_ (N.S.), 18, 1896,
pp. 119, 120.

[334] _The Origin and Influence of the Thorough-bred Horse._ Cambridge,

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