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us to adopt the phonetic spelling with all our words. What do we say to them? We tell them it might be very well if we were seeking to make a perfect language de novo; but that, as a matter of fact, the English language has grown into its present shape, and cannot be easily altered.
Monstrosities and Malformations." One of the most important facts which speaks against the theory that nature acts with conscious design, is the production of monstrosities. The unsophisticated human mind could so little reconcile these phenomena with the belief in a Creator acting with design, that they were formerly considered as indicative of the wrath of the gods; and they are, even at present, not unfrequently looked upon as punishments from heaven. The author saw, in a veterinary cabinet, a goat fully developed in every part, but born without a head. Can we imagine anything more absurd than the development of an animal, the existence of which is impossible from the beginning? Professor Lotze of Göttingen surpasses himself in the following remarks on monstrosities:-'If the foetus is without a brain it would be but judicious, in a force having a free choice, to suspend its action, as this deficiency cannot be compensated. But, inasmuch as the formative forces continue their action, that such a miserable and purposeless creature may exist for a time appears to us strikingly to prove that the final result always depends upon the disposition of purely mechanical definite forces, which, once set in motion, proceed straight on according to the law of inertia, until they meet with an obstruction.' "1
1 L. Büchner: Force and Matter, p. 98.
MONSTROSITIES AND MALFORMATIONS.
To have all the strength of the objection before us, let us quote two or three more instances. Is it by design, we are asked, that a foetus should fix itself and become developed in any other but its natural place, the uterus? -a case which frequently occurs, and conduces to the death of the mother. Or even that in such extra-uterine pregnancies, after the lapse of the normal time, pains are felt in the uterus, though nothing is to be expelled?1 One of Mr Lewes's tritons bit off the leg of his female, and the leg which replaced it was much malformed and curled over the back so as to be useless; whereupon Mr Lewes asks, Was this according to the Idea? He cut off the leg and examined it, finding all the bones present, but the humerus twisted and of small size. In a few weeks a new leg was developed, and this leg was normal. Mr Lewes asks, If the Idea as a ruling power determined the growth of this third leg, what determined the second which was malformed ?2 Valentin, says Darwin, injured the caudal extremity of an embryo, and three days afterwards it produced rudiments of a double pelvis and of double hind limbs. Hunter and others have observed lizards with their tails reproduced and doubled. When Bonnet divided longitudinally the foot of the salamander several additional digits were occasionally formed. Where, we are asked, is the evidence of the Idea in these cases?
It may be admitted that monstrosities and malformations are a difficulty on the hypothesis of Plan or that of Special Creation; but with the view of creation set forth in this essay they are perfectly consistent, and do
1 L. Büchner: Force and Matter, p. 98.
Fortnightly Review, June 1868.
not reflect in the least on the Divine wisdom. Geoffrey St Hilaire's experiments show that unnatural treatment of the embryo causes monstrosities; and Büchner asks, Can the idea of a conscious power acting with design be reconciled with such a result? Is it possible that the hand of the Creator should thus be bound by the arbitrary act of man ?1 On our view it is quite possible. There is a nature of things; the ultimate properties and relations of matter spring out of its very existence and its location in space; and these facts are not hindrances in the way of design and work, but are the conditions of all work. Nevertheless they imply the possibility of concomitants which may not be desired; the possibility of occasional mishap and deviation from the right line, if interfering forces are not guarded against; and especially they leave room for other intelligences of the same essential nature as the Great Intelligence, and having the same essential relations to the world of matter, to use their power diabolically, and give the natural forces a wrong impulse.
Imperfect Adaptations. We have been accustomed to believe that the organization of every creature is exactly fitted for its mode of life, and we have thought we saw in this a display of the wisdom and beneficence of the Almighty. The general fitness of things is indeed undoubted, and the writers of the Bridgewater Treatises have not entirely wasted their time in following out its details. Even some apparent instances of want of adaptation have been explained and turned to the discomfiture of the objectors; as, e.g., when Buffon bestowed his pity on the sloth as an animal whose existence must be a burden to it, and even Cuvier regarded it as imper1 Force and Matter.
fect and grotesque; but Dr Buckland showed it to have habits perfectly adapted to its organization. It is formed to live and die in trees, and not on the branches, like the squirrel or monkey, but under them; whereas the naturalists had only seen it on the ground. Notwithstanding this, however, there appear to be many undoubted cases of imperfect adaptation, which can no more be shown to be perfect than all nebulæ can be resolved into stars; and we must look at a few instances, to see how they are reconcilable with the wisdom of the Creator. We can hardly believe that the webbed feet of the upland goose, or of the frigate-bird, are of special use to these birds; but to their progenitors they were no doubt as useful as they now are to the most aquatic of existing birds. How strange it seems that a thrush should have been created to dive and feed on sub-aquatic insects; and that a petrel should have been created with habits and structure fitting it for the life of an auk. But on the view of each species constantly trying to increase in number, with Natural Selection always ready to adapt the slowly varying descendants of each to any unoccupied or ill occupied place in nature, these facts cease to be strange, or perhaps might even have been anticipated.1 The seal is an animal which habitually swims like a fish, and cannot use his hind limbs, except as a rudder to propel him through the water; but instead of having a fish-like tail, he has two legs flattened together and nails on the toes-toes and nails being obvious superfluities. To say that the limbs, in spite of their non-adaptation, were directly created in their present form or in rigid adherence to a Plan, would seem to reflect upon the wisdom of the Almighty; 1 Darwin Origin of Species, p. 505.
but if they have been inherited from an ancestor who used them as legs, and have become gradually modified by the fish-like habits of the seal, we may believe that the legs were an end in the progenitors, and may admire the wisdom which, through the agency of changing conditions, converts them into an instrument more useful to the descendant. Many remarkable little facts could be given with respect to the inhabitants of remote islands. For instance, in certain islands not tenanted by mammals, some of the endemic plants possess beautifully hooked seeds; yet few relations are more striking than the adaptation of hooked seeds for transportal, by the wool and fur of quadrupeds. This case presents no difficulty on Mr Darwin's view, for a hooked seed might be transported to an island by some other means; and the plant then becoming slightly modified, but still retaining its hooked seeds, would form an endemic species, having as useless an appendage as any rudimentary organ-for instance, as the shrivelled wings under the soldered elytra of many insular beetles.1 The reason for the creation of the hooks was their utility to the seed; the reason for their continuance when no longer useful is that laws of inheritance are not easily altered.
§ 3. Direct Marks of Wisdom.
In the action of Conditions.-We have seen that Evolution ascribes the origin of species to the natural selection of variations, and the ultimate origin of the variations to changes in the external conditions. Outward changes therefore were necessary if there was to be the grand procession of life which the records of the 1 Darwin: Origin of Species, p. 423.