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seers dimly foretold, gazing with rapt wonder into the profound obscure of the future, whence to them the star of Bethlehem was beginning to gleam? What connection have these with a development theory? Dreams all-figments of a philosophic braininventions of priestcraft! What room is there for these in a theory of development? Immortality! How can we be immortal? Our fathers, where are they? From the monad to our immediate monkey-parent, were they immortal? And if not, what claim have we to such an endowment, save by a special interposition of Divine will and power? And it is the very essence of the development hypothesis to account for all phenomena without such special interposition; all must be due to secondary causes."* No, we shall live again it is true, but how different our life will be from that "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" to which we have been vainly and ignorantly aspiring. Our race shall be perfecting itself by its own powers and faculties, but we shall have no conscious part in it. Our course is run when the grim tyrant has visited us. Of mucus and infusoria we were made, and unto mucus and infusoria we shall return, to run again through the vast cycle of monad, worm, mollusc, &c., up to-where? Redemption! All honour to man rather, he requires no redemption, he has never fallen. He has ceased climbing trees, and has expelled his former brethren into the wilderness; he has dispensed with his tail; he has invented speech, and looms and railroads, and development hypotheses; he has had no time to fall; no leisure he to be redeemed. His own powers and the accidents of nature are all in all.

We are ready to grant that this is not argument; and that the hopes and faith of the Christian have no weight, no place even, in any development discussion. But we indicate the absolute incompatibility of this hypothesis with any faith in revelation, in order to guard the unwary against the specious fallacies of those who consider that "it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that He required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of His laws."t As noble a conception it may be; indeed, we can see that more skill and ingenuity (not to speak irreverently) might be imagined necessary to create a germ, which after thousands of transformations and millions of ages, should develop itself into so wondrous a mechanism as man, than to create man originally and independently. But this being, as we conceive, utterly at variance with His revealed word, and

* Chap. xiv., conclusion.

† See chap. xiv., p. 481.

excluding all possibility of that highest object of man's aspiration, immortality, it behoves us carefully to inquire into the evidences for such a view, before accepting it, and so virtually renouncing our most cherished hopes.

We have already intimated that Mr. Darwin is not always coherent in his reasoning, and accepts statements that are favourable to his views rather too hastily, and on unsatisfactory authority. One or two examples of this we must give, before proceeding systematically to state our objections to the theory. We have already pointed out the error of the argument founded on Mr. Horner's researches; a little further on we find him referring with approval to Lepsius, whose authority has been discredited for long. The statement at p. 36 as to the inhabitants of Terra del Fuego eating their old women is extremely doubtful, to say the least, and not supported by any ethnological authority to which we have been able to refer. All these, however, may be matters of opinion, and admit of contest; but what can we think of the following statement at p. 64 ? "Even slow-breeding man has doubled in twenty-five years, and at this rate, in a few thousand years, there would literally not be standing-room for his progeny." True, were the fact so; but what does it mean ? If it be intended to imply that one family has doubled its numbers in twenty-five years, it is simply an unmeaning fact;-if that a colony has done so,. it is equally unmeaning, and short of the truth. If it apply to a country, it is eminently inaccurate; England as an established country, increases probably faster than any other, and it required the fifty years from 1801 to 1851 to double its population. Again, if the statement be applied to man in general throughout the world, it is so utterly without foundation, as to require no refutation. Thus, in whatever aspect it be received, the statement is either unmeaning or grossly inaccurate.

As instances how facts and opinions may rapidly change their significance in accordance with the varying exigencies of the hypothesis, we select the following out of a great number of similar instances. At p. 109, we find it stated that "from the high geometrical ratio of increase of all organic beings, each area is already fully stocked with inhabitants, &c. ;" but on the next page it is said that "probably no region is as yet fully stocked.”* At p. 110 it is stated that "it is the most closely allied formsvarieties of the same species, and species of the same genus, or related genera-which, from having nearly the same structure,

Perhaps there may be a reference in one case to individuals, and in the other to species; but on this view the line of argument is obscure.

constitution, and habits, generally come into the severest competition with each other." Here we seem to have arrived at a general principle; but at p. 114, another view requires support incompatible with this, and we are told that "the advantages of diversification of structure, with the accompanying differences of habit and constitution, determine that the inhabitants which thus jostle each other most closely, shall, as a general rule, belong to what we call different genera and orders." And at p. 121 (all these occurring in the same chapter, and in different parts of the same argument) we find again that the struggle "will be most severe between those forms which are most nearly related to each other in habits, constitution, and structure."

Another series of discrepancies equally marked, though not so readily appreciable without much detail, occurs in the statements with regard to the comparative duration of fossil species and the strata in which they occur. According as it is requisite to prove one view or other, the formation is supposed to be of shorter, of identical, or of vastly longer duration than the species. At p. 293, it is said that "although each formation may mark a very long lapse of years, each, perhaps, is short, compared with the period requisite to change one species into another;" and yet, at p. 298, we find "parent species and modified descendants" existing in the "upper and lower beds of a formation;" and at p. 301, it is again doubted whether the period requisite for the deposit of one formation "would exceed the average duration of the same specific forms." These discrepancies may appear trifling to some; but they occur in, and seriously affect the stability of, the very heart and core of the geological argument.

There is no principle more frequently and distinctly enunciated in this work than that natural selection can only act by preserving variations of a minute character, which will enable their possessor to contend more vigorously in the struggle for life. At p. 205, natural selection is defined-" a power which acts solely by the preservation of profitable variations in the struggle for life;" and at p. 149, it is remarked that "it should never be forgotten that natural selection can act on each part of each being, solely through and for its advantage." By the terms of the hypothesis also natural selection is the sole means whereby species, genera, orders, &c., are formed. When we find, therefore, a species naturally selected because of the possession of a certain organ, we are perhaps justified in feeling some surprise that a closely allied species should have been selected, because of the absence of that organ. Yet such is the flexibility of this theory, that facts of this order only seem to strengthen it to the mind of its author. For instance, in Madeira there are various

kinds of beetles, some having wings largely developed, some having moderate ones, and some without. It is rather amusing to see the manner in which these differences are reconciled to the theory. The large wings are "quite compatible with the action of natural selection. For when a new insect first arrived on the island, the tendency of natural selection to enlarge or reduce the wings would depend upon whether a greater number of individuals were saved by successfully battling with the winds, or by giving up the attempt, and rarely or never flying."* Then in the same page the author adds that certain considerations have made him "believe that the wingless condition of so many Madeira beetles is mainly due to the action of natural selection, but combined probably with disuse. For during thousands of successive generations each individual beetle which flew least, either from its wings having been ever so little less perfectly developed, or from indolent habit, will have had the best chance of surviving from not being blown out to sea; and, on the other hand, those beetles which most readily took to flight would oftenest have been blown out to sea, and thus have been destroyed!!" It is rather difficult to imagine any reasoning much more puerile, occurring in a grave scientific work, the results of which upon natural history and philosophy generally are to be so striking.

Another instance of the pliability of the theory is found in the account of the action of natural selection upon certain blind rats in the caves of Styria and Kentucky. Natural selection has acted here by preserving blind animals, because those which had sight might be subject to "inflammation of the nictitating membrane!"+ But it seems that in one of the blind animals the eyes themselves are of "immense size;" and it would appear to be a most extraordinary mistake of "natural selection" to preserve this animal merely because blind, whilst its "immense eyes still remain liable to the objectionable inflammation. We might also reasonably ask what has "natural selection" been about not always to select blind animals to live in caves, but to limit its favours to a few instances, and those excessively doubtful ?‡

In many parts of the argument Mr. Darwin evinces a strong tendency to support himself upon possible, though non-existent or highly exceptional, rather than upon normal and generallyobserved phenomena. This is nowhere more remarkable than in the attempt, which is of course absolutely essential to the theory

See p. 136.

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† See p. 137.

↑ "Natural Selection" is frequently spoken of in this work, almost in terms of personality;-as being 'ever on the watch," and "ready to seize upon" anything to the advantage of an individual.



to prove, that there is only a difference of degree (not of kind) between species and varieties-that varieties, in short, are species in process of development; and, by parity of reasoning, that species are incipient genera-genera incipient orders, &c., &c. It does sometimes happen that varieties of a certain species present differences which are apparently more marked than those between certain other closely-allied species. But there is always (or nearly so) one decided test-varieties of a species will cross and produce fertile offspring; whilst species, however closely allied, will sometimes cross, but never produce fertile offspring. This is generally reckoned the great distinctive mark between species and varieties; and this, by the requirements of the theory, must be done away with. Now to do this, Mr. Darwin has sought out a few rare, exceptional, if not chiefly doubtful, instances. Some of the crosses between allied species have exhibited a partial and dubious fertility for one or two generations, when recrossed with one of the pure parent breeds, although he is himself compelled to " doubt whether any case of a perfectly fertile hybrid animal can be considered as thoroughly well authenticated."* In still rarer instances, well-ascertained varieties have appeared wanting in fertility to some extent. On such extremely slight grounds as these Mr. Darwin considers himself justified in viewing the overwhelming amount of evidence derived from fertility and non-fertility, as a matter of degree only.

Nothing has struck us more forcibly, on a general survey of this theory, than the total absence of direct evidence of any one of the steps. No one professes to have ever seen a variety (producing fertile offspring with other varieties) become a species (producing no, or unfertile, offspring with others). No one knows of any living or any extinct species having given origin to any other, at once or gradually. Not one instance is adduced of any variety having ever arisen which did actually give its possessor, individually, any advantage in the struggle for life. Not one instance of any given variety having been actually selected for preservation, whilst its allies became extinct. There There is an abundance of semi-acute reasoning upon what might possibly have occurred, under conditions which seem never to have been fulfilled; but not the least fragment of direct testimony, either derived from human experience, or from the geological record.

What then is the "final cause" of this theory? Simply, so far as we can gather, because Mr. Darwin observes certain phenomena in the order of nature, and the distribution of animal and vegetable life, which he conceives to admit of no explanation

* See p. 252.

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