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on the theory of immediate creation, but to be perfectly comprehensible on that of natural selection. It may be worth while to enumerate a few of these mysterious facts, to show us what a Creator cannot do, and what a blind accidental agency can, in the opinion of progressionists.

Organic life admits of classification; varieties group around species, species around genera, genera around classes, and so on. The result is a natural system of alliances and affinities, acknowledged by ordinary mortals, as well as by the supporters of "development," to be one of great beauty and order. Upon this our author remarks, "This grand fact of the grouping of all organic beings seems to me utterly inexplicable, on the theory of creation."* It would be difficult to say why; unless it be by confessing that intelligence cannot devise, though an interminable series of accidents may accomplish, a scheme calculated to excite the admiration of all who study it.

Mr. Darwin" cannot see" on the theory of creation, why one shell should be bright coloured and another dim,† though natural selection makes all clear. He cannot see why animals that live in caves should have affinities to those that live in their neighbourhood; why stripes should occasionally appear on young horses; nor why certain animals and plants should be on islands and not on continents, or vice versa||-all these things creation is powerless to explain; but natural selection relieves us of the difficulty.

Unity of type in the vertebrate skeleton, and the formation, and juxtaposition of the bones of the skull, are equally mysterious, until understood by the light of this omnipotent natural selection. But the most remark-worthy instance of the superiority of natural selection over creation is found on p. 480. Here Mr. Darwin enumerates certain formations in animals, which "bear the plain stamp of inutility." "On the view of each organic being, and each separate organ having been specially created," these are all "utterly inexplicable;" but natural selection reveals therein Nature's "scheme of modification, which it seems that we wilfully will not understand." In other words, by the terms of one hypothesis, boundless wisdom and power, working intelligently, though sometimes mysteriously to us, fail to explain an apparently

† p. 133.

p 471. p. 139. "How inexplicable on the theory of creation is the occasional appearance of stripes on the shoulder and legs of the several species of the horse-genus, and in their hybrids." p. 473.

|| p. 478.

¶ “Why should the brain be enclosed in a box composed of such numerous and such extraordinary-shaped pieces of bone? How inexplicable are these facts on the ordinary view of creation!" p. 436.

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useless structure; which, however, is fully and satisfactorily cleared up by another hypothesis, the very essence of which is that its subject selects and preserves only "useful variations."*

On all these instances, we may remark generally, that if Mr. Darwin cannot see how creation can account for them, there must be some judicial blindness involved. For by the very conditions of each theory, any one given fact must necessarily be equally explicable on either. The theory of natural selection can only provide for each animal having attained its present structure, appearance, and geographical distribution, because these were most appropriate to it and to each other; by the hypothesis, any individual or species having an organisation unfitting it to struggle with the climate, &c., is exterminated ruthlessly; and so those that are mutually adapted alone remain together. All which amounts to this, that each species is located in the best place for it, the very first and essential condition of all our ideas connected with intelligent creation.

But it is time for us to inquire whether there are any indications, either in the present state of matters, or in the past history of our earth, so far as we can read it, that would lead us to infer that "development" had been the law according to which our present system of organic existence has been produced. What would be these indications? Clearly in the present we ought to find innumerable transitional forms connecting each species with its neighbours, admitting of no lines of demarcation. In the past, we ought to read of a constant improvement, and transition from the simplest to the most complex forms of organisation. We ought to find records of a time when the lowest forms of life alone inhabited our earth; and from this up to Man, we should read of a constant succession of forms each higher than the preceding one. Owing to the imperfection of the record, we might expect not to find all this; but we ought certainly never to meet with anything clearly opposed to such a succession. What are the facts?

We need not go far into the discussion as to whether species at the present time are connected by innumerable transitional forms. Mr. Darwin himself everywhere confesses that they are not; and that this clear and enduring separation of species "is probably the gravest and most obvious of all the many objections which may be urged against his views." This objection, however, is summarily got rid of by the theory of "extinction," another assumption as gratuitous, and as unsupported by any direct evidence, as that of selection; "the parent and all the transitional varieties will

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generally have been exterminated by the very process of formation and perfection of the new form.”* But where are they? Shall we not find some of them at least in the geological formations? No, or very rarely, is the answer; for most probably the conditions of the earth were not favourable to their preservation.†

The next objection is clearly enough seen by our author; "but it may be urged that when several closely-allied species inhabit the same territory, we surely ought to find at the present time many transitional forms."+ Doubtless we ought, and we cannot see that Mr. Darwin's mode of disposing of the difficulty is at all satisfactory. To do this he contends that these continuous areas have not been always continuous, but in the condition of islands, on which the separate species have originated; and therefore the transition forms are wanting! As this does not quite meet all the conditions, it is further suggested that the intermediate forms did exist in certain intermediate zones; but being subjected to oppression from both sides, their existence was but brief, and they vanished without leaving any trace. The entire theory of extinction is to us non-coherent and incomprehensible; it was, however, essential to the other views. §

Such being the testimony of the present, what of the past? The entire question is discussed in the chapter on the "Geological Record" at considerable length, and with much acumen. Formerly it was to geology that the supporters of the Lamarckian hypothesis appealed most triumphantly as corroborating their views. Later and fuller discoveries have much modified the tone of this appeal. Now that it is known that the lowest and earliest of our palæozoic formations indicate the presence of cephalopoda and fish of a very high order and large size in the Silurian seas; and that the traces of even mammalia have been found so low down in the secondary series, as to suggest the belief that animal life has been more dependent upon geographical conditions than chronological relations or succession; now that all this is known, with much more to the same effect, it is clear that progressionists can look for support to geology as it is no longer, but must appeal to it as it may or might be. The whole of the chapter referred to, though containing much interesting matter, may, as to its

p. 172. + See chap. ix., on the "Geological Record," passim. ‡ p. 173. § It is worthy of notice, that whilst developing his theory, the author speaks of species only changing through countless ages and generations; but when it becomes necessary to account for the broad lines of demarcation between species, and the intervening forms have to be extinguished, they are passed over more lightly, as being few in number, and of weak powers of resistance-as merely transitional from one well defined form to another; instead of being, as they really must be, on the theory, as numerous and powerful races as any of which the records are found previously, in their own day and generation.

bearing on the "development" or "selection" theory, be summed up in very few words. Geology is found to give no support to the doctrine; and its records are pronounced to be extremely imperfect. As to the intermediate or transition forms, Mr. Darwin says:


Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this perhaps is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record." p. 280.

"I do not pretend that I should ever have suspected how poor a record of the mutations of life the best preserved geological section revealed, had not the difficulty of our not discovering innumerable transitional links between the species which appeared at the commencement and close of each formation, pressed so hardly on my theory." p. 302. And

"He who rejects these views on the nature (i. e. the extreme imperfection) of the geological record, will rightly reject my whole theory. For he may ask in vain where are the numberless transitional links which must formerly have connected the closely allied or representative species found in the several stages of the same great formation." p. 342.

After these plain confessions of want of support from geology as it now is, the difficulty is cut at once. Where are the transition forms connecting the species in the same formations? The answer is ready; they are not preserved-the conditions were unfavourable. "Where are the remains of those infinitely numerous organisms which must have existed long before the first bed of the Silurian system was deposited ?" This question refers to the fact of finding creatures of high organisation in the earliest seas, whence the supporters of "development" were obliged to hypothecate countless ages of development before the age of trilobites. The answer to it is equally trenchant and conclusive, "They may now all be in a metamorphosed condition,‡ or

* It is worthy of notice that whilst Mr. Darwin appeals to the imperfection of the geological record in support of his views, Sir Chas. Lyell quotes it as bearing adversely upon the theory of development. He says:

"It has always appeared to me that the advocates of progressive development have too much overlooked the imperfection of these records; and that, conse quently, a large part of the generalizations in which they have indulged in regard to the first appearance of the different classes of animals, especially air-breathers, will have to be modified or abandoned.-" Address to the British Association, Sept. 14th, 1859."

† p. 343.

"The hypothesis that all the earliest sediments have been so altered as to have obliterated the traces of any relics of former life which may have been entombed in them, is opposed by examples of enormously thick, and often finely levigated deposits between the lowest fossiliferous rocks, and in which, if any animal remains had ever existed, more traces of them would be detected.

may lie buried in the ocean. Can Mr. Darwin fail to see that there cannot be imagined any theory of ontology in the wildest mind that would not be equally well supported by this style of argument? Proof! If it be there, well and good; if not, perhaps it is at the bottom of a fathomless ocean: you cannot possibly say that it is not, and meantime my theory holds good.

But geology has its tale to tell, and one which appears not only not to support, but clearly to controvert the development theory. It never was the small and feeble species or germ that first appeared either amongst molluscs, fish, reptiles, or mammals. Where are now the representatives of the gigantic fishes of the old red sandstone? Where are the mighty reptile tyrants of air, earth, and water of the oolite? Have they been "improved and "preserved" into the puny representatives of the modern reptile class? Where are the ponderous monsters that shook the eocene and miocene earth with their massive tread. Where is the megatherium, unless improved into the feeble sloth of the present day? These races appeared in the plenitude of their power; and as their dynasty grew old, it was not that the race was "improved" and preserved in consequence; but they dwindled, and were, so to speak, degraded, as if to make room in the of nature for their successors. economy But this is too large a subject to enter upon at this advanced part of our task; we can but indicate it, and appeal with confidence to all geologists for its


There remain two objections to this development theory, which we must find space to notice, of such weight as almost to stagger the author himself. These refer to the origin by natural selection of organs of such complexity as the perfect eye, and to the development by the same means of complicated instincts; such, for instance, as the cell-building instinct of the bee and wasp. On the former objection, Mr. Darwin writes :-" To suppose that the

"The fine aggregation and unaltered condition of these sediments have permitted the minutest impressions to be preserved. Thus, not only are the broad wave-marks distinct, but also those smaller ripples which may have been produced by wind, together with apparent rain prints as seen upon the muddy surface, and even cracks produced by the action of the sun on a half-dried surface. Again, as a further indication that these are littoral markings, and not the result of deep-sea currents, the minute holes left by the Annelides are most conspicuous on the sheltered sides in each slab.

"Surely, then, if animals of a higher organization had existed in this very ancient period, we should find their relics in this sediment, so admirably adapted for their conservation, as seen in the markings of the little arenicola, accompanied even by the traces of diurnal atmospheric action."

Such is Sir R. Murchison's opinion as to the probability of there being fossiliferous rocks far below the Silurian, in a metamorphic condition.

* p. 343.

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