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wrote to me that although he had read the Origin of Species with care, he could see in it no evidence of natural selection which might not equally well be adduced in favour of intelligent design. But here we meet with a radical misconception of the whole logical attitude of science. For, be it observed, the exception in limine to the evidence which we are about to consider, does not question that natural selection may not be able to do all that Mr. Darwin ascribes to it: it merely objects to his interpretation of the facts, because it maintains that these facts might equally well be ascribed to intelligent design. And so undoubtedly they might, if we were all childish enough to rush into a supernatural explanation whenever a natural explanation is found sufficient to account for the facts. Once admit the glaringly illogical principle that we may assume the operation of higher causes where the operation of lower ones

is sufficient to explain the observed phenomena, and all our science and all our philosophy are scattered to the winds. For the law of logic which Sir William Hamilton called the law of parsimony-or the law which forbids us to assume the operation of higher causes when lower ones are found sufficient to explain the observed effects-this law constitutes the only logical barrier between science and superstition. For it is manifest that it is always possible to give a hypothetical explanation of any phenomenon whatever, by referring it immediately to the intelligence of some supernatural agent; so that the only difference between the logic of science and the logic of superstition consists in science recognising a validity in the law of parsimony which superstition disregards. Therefore I have no hesitation in saying that this way of looking at the evidence in favour of natural selection is not a scientific or a reasonable way

of looking at it, but a purely superstitious way. Let us take, for instance, as an illustration, a perfectly parallel case. When Kepler was unable to explain by any known causes the paths described by the planets, he resorted to a supernatural explanation, and supposed that every planet was guided in its movements by some presiding angel. But when Newton supplied a beautifully simple physical explanation, all persons with a scientific habit of mind at once abandoned the metaphysical explanation. Now, to be consistent, the above-mentioned professors, and all who think with them, ought still to adhere to Kepler's hypothesis in preference to Newton's explanation; for, excepting the law of parsimony, there is certainly no other logical objection to the statement that the movements of the planets afford as good evidence of the influence of guiding angels as they do of the influence of gravitation.

So much, then, for the absurdly illogical position that, granting the evidence in favour of natural selection and supernatural design to be equal and parallel, we should hesitate for one moment in our choice. But, of course, if the evidence is supposed not to be equal and parallel-i. e., if it is supposed that the theory of natural relation is not so competent a theory to explain the facts of adaptation as is that of intelligent design -then the objection is no longer the one that we are considering. It is quite another objection, and one which is not primâ facie absurd; it requires to be met by examining how far the theory of natural selection is able to explain the facts. Let us state the problem clearly.

Innumerable cases of adaptation of organisms to their environment are the observed facts for which an explanation is required. To supply this explanation two, and only two, hypotheses are in the field. Of these

two hypotheses one is, intelligent design manifested in creation; and the other is, natural selection manifested during the countless ages of the past. Now it would be proof positive of intelligent design if it could be shown that all species of plants and animals were created-that is suddenly introduced into the complex conditions of their life; for it is quite inconceivable that any cause other than intelligence could be competent to adapt an organism to its environment suddenly. On the other hand, it would be proof presumptive of natural selection if it could be shown that one species becomes slowly transmuted into another-i.e., that one set of adaptations may be gradually transformed into another set of adaptations according as changing circumstances require. This would be proof presumptive of natural selection, because it would then become amply probable that natural selection might have brought about many, or most, of the cases of

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