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410 Greek Contribution to Spiritual Progress.
that, granted the possibility of an intuition of the Good as conceived by Plato, this intuition must be identical with the consciousness of God. Whatever the ladders up which thought has had to climb as a preliminary, the apprehension ultimately reached, with all its dazzling effects made endurable by previous discipline, with its power to illuminate and irradiate all that was previously dark, and 'there plant eyes,' its result in perfecting the moral character, cannot be less than that of the Divine Being in the mind of the philosopher who conceives it.
The line of thought which has been indicated might to some extent be applied to Plato's treatment of the other greatest question of religious thought. Mr. Archer Hind, who conceives of Plato as a metaphysician first and foremost, holds that, although Plato himself, at the period of the composition of the Phaedo, believed in the continued individual existence of the soul, the arguments in the Phaedo only prove the eternity of soul as such, not of the individual soul. According to the view which has been put forward here, Plato's metaphysical standpoint cannot be fully understood if we forget for a moment what must be called his religious spirit. On this account he seems to be first among philosophers, not excepting Spinoza, in his interest for the student of religions. What we should venture to add to Mr. Archer Hind's interpretation of the Phaedo is, that considerations of the different conception of the Universal in ancient philosophy, conditioning the real meaning of Plato's ideal theory, make it possible for us to think that for Plato at least individual immortality is metaphysically proved in the Phaedo. The scope of this article does not, however, permit of further development of this point. But it may be added that amongst the examples set by ancient thinkers the effort to follow which might be salutary at the present time is courage in metaphysical inquiry, absence of doubt as to its value for the highest interests.
HILDA D. OAKELEY.
ART. VII.—DARWIN AND MODERN THOUGHT.
1. The Foundations of the Origin of Species. A sketch
A written in 1842. By CHARLES DARWIN. Edited by his son, FRANCIS DARWIN, F.R.S. (Cambridge: at
the University Press. 1909.) 2. The Psychological Review. Darwin Number.' (Balti
· more : Review Publishing Co. 1909.) 3. Development and Evolution. By JAMES MARK BALDWIN.
(London: Macmillan & Co. 1902.) 4. Religion and Science. By P. N. WAGGETT, M.A., of the
Society of St. John the Evangelist. (London : Long
mans, Green, & Co. 1904.) And many other Works.
On July 1, 1908, the Linnean Society of London celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the meeting at which the doctrine of natural selection was first laid before the scientific world by the two epoch-making papers of Wallace and Darwin. In February last the centenary of Darwin's birth was commemorated at Oxford by a gathering at which many members of his family were present; and finally, in June of the present year, Darwin's own University of Cambridge has signalized the hundredth anniversary of the birth of her great alumnus, and the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of his most famous work, by a series of academic and social functions which will long live in the memory of those who were privileged to take part in them. From all regions of the civilized world, from the United Kingdom, its Colonies and Dependencies, from every European country, from the United States and from Japan, men of science assembled to do honour to the memory of Charles Darwin, and to acknowledge the debt owed to his inspiration and example by every department of intellectual activity. The spectacle was a striking one; not the less so that of all the representatives of science present, each distinguished in his own line, there was probably not one whose attitude with regard to the question of evolution would be precisely the same as Darwin's. Nevertheless, all were agreed that to Darwin is due the great revolution which, beginning in the sphere of biology, has carried its influence into almost every region of thought, and has introduced such changes into our conceptions of natural phenomena that the science of the present day seems to be divided by a well-nigh impassable gap from the science of half a century ago.
In view of the great interest which these anniversaries have been the means of awakening, it may be not unprofitable to inquire into the reasons for this outburst of enthusiasm in favour of a man whose work is admitted to be shewing already some signs of age and imperfection. Justified we fully believe the feeling to be, and in the following pages we shall endeavour to shew that there is sufficient cause for the honour with which the name of Darwin has lately been received by the representatives of science from all parts of the world.
Be it remarked at the outset that Darwin is not correctly described as the founder or originator of the doctrine of evolution. In a former number of this REVIEW the steps were traced by which the idea of organic evolution, not unfamiliar to the philosophers of Greece and accepted almost as a matter of course by Christian philosophers of the Middle Ages, became overshadowed by the conception of specific immutability under the influence of such naturalists as Ray and Willughby; this latter conception finally taking rank as a scientific dogma in the works of Linnaeus and Cuvier. Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck, with others, maintained, more or less consciously, an earlier tradition. In advocating, as they did, the mutability of species, they ran counter to the bulk of opinion then generally current; the theologians mostly, perhaps universally, ranging themselves on the side of the popular scientific doctrine of the day. But the views of the transformists, though temporarily obscured, never entirely died out, and when Charles Darwin, in the year 1837, opened his first note-book for facts in relation to the origin of species, he was not so much laying the foundations of a new structure
i C.Q.R. No. 109, October 1902.
as preparing to complete and crown an edifice the origin of which must be sought in a far distant antiquity.
Why, then, it may be asked, is Charles Darwin by universal consent accorded a place of honour which is denied to evolutionists like Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck-the one probably his equal in speculative ingenuity, the other in industry and devotion? The reason is not far to seek: it lies in the one word 'selection.' It was the flash of inspiration that came independently to both Darwin and Wallace (in each case as a consequence of the reading, under circumstances that may be called accidental, of Malthus' Essay on the Principle of Population), which made all the difference between the vague speculation and laborious trifling of the earlier transformists, and the splendid fabric of reasoned and unified theory which is the mainstay of all scientific workers to-day. The conception of natural selection, or the survival, from a superfluous production of varying offspring, of those best adapted to the conditions of their existence, rationalized for the first time the hypothesis of the transformation of species, and so ensured its ultimate acceptance by serious thinkers, and its application to regions of knowledge and practice far removed from its original birthplace. There have not been wanting, especially of late years, those who while thoroughly accepting the theory of evolution are not convinced that in Darwin's principle of natural selection we really possess the key of the problem. Huxley himself, while always ready to do battle in Darwin's behalf against misrepresentation, prejudice, or ignorance, was never a thorough believer in natural selection; though, strangely enough, it was natural selection as propounded by Darwin that converted him to a belief in evolution. But having once become a convert, he sought and found other grounds for his conviction. Our own opinion on this matter coincides with that of Fr. Waggett, that with all the weakness which may be pointed out in some of its applications, natural selection remains scientifically the most probable and philosophically the most welcome account of the adaptations of animal and vegetable life,' and so, we would add, of the derivation of species from one another by
descent. But even if it should hereafter be found that the part played by selection in the origin and differentiation of species has been overestimated by Darwin and his followers, the fact will still remain that under this illuminating principle the doctrine of organic evolution first took shape and coherence, and so became available as a framework on which could be built up and cemented together our constantly increasing stock of knowledge of natural phenomena. On this topic Fr. Waggett quotes appositely from The Ring and the Book. The artificer adds alloy to the gold, unfit without it
"To bear the file's tooth and the hammer's tap In this way he
Effects a manageable mass, then works.'
* But his work ended, once the thing a ring,
Prime nature with an added artistry.' A good deal of ‘ fiery acid' has already been spirted, but, so far as we can see, without as yet ‘unfastening the alloy.' In our opinion, the ‘alloy ' is destined to remain in the ring as a permanent constituent.
The name has been mentioned above of Alfred Russel Wallace. His lighting upon the theory of natural selection, though due to the same cause, was quite independent of Darwin's. The papers in which the two discoverers announced their solution of the evolutionary problem were, as is generally known, given to the world simultaneously ; but, while Wallace's essay was the immediate result of a single happy inspiration, Darwin had been at work on the same subject without intermission for fully twenty years. On these grounds Wallace, with rare generosity, has always endeavoured to minimize his own share in the discovery. Nothing, however, can alter the fact that he arrived inde