Изображения страниц

vocates of his theory deny, is all design. The organs, even the most complicated and wonderful, were not intended. They are said to be due to the undirected and unintended operation of physical laws. This is Mr. Wallace's argument. He endeavors to show that it is unworthy of God that He should be supposed to have contrived the mechanism of the orchids, as a mechanist contrives a curious puzzle.

We recently heard Prof. Joseph Henry, in a brief address, say substantially: "If I take brass, glass, and other materials, and fuse them, the product is a slag. This is what physical laws do. If I take those same materials, and form them into a telescope, that is what mind does." This is the whole question in a nutshell. That design implies an intelligent designer, is a self evident truth. Every man believes it; and no man can practically disbelieve it. Even those naturalists who theoretically deny it, if they find in a cave so simple a thing as a flint arrow-head, are as sure that it was made by a man as they are of their own existence. And yet they want us to believe that an eagle's eye is the product of blind natural causes. No combination of physical forces ever made a ship or a locomotive.

[ocr errors]

It may, indeed, be said that they are dead matter, whereas plants and animals live. But what is life but one form of the organizing efficiency of God?

Mr. Wallace does not go as far as Mr. Darwin. He recoils from regarding man either as to body or soul as the product of mere natural causes. He insists that " He insists that "a superior intelligence is necessary to account for man." (p. 359) This of course implies that the agency of no such higher intelligence is admitted in the production of plants or of animals lower than man.

Professor Huxley.

The second witness as to the character of Mr. Darwin's theory is Professor Huxley. We have some hesitation in including the name of this distinguished naturalist among the advocates of Darwinism.1 On the one hand, in his

1 Mr. Huxley, if we may judge from what he says of himself, is somewhat liable to be misunderstood. He says he was fourteen years laboring to resist the charge of Positivism made against the class of scientific men to which he belongs. He also tells us in his letter to Professor Tyndall, prefixed to his volume of Lay Sermons and Addresses, that the "Essay on the Physical Basis of Life," included in that volume, was intended as a protest, from the philosophical side, against what is commonly called Materialism. It turned out, however, that the public re

[ocr errors]

Essay on the Origin of Species, printed in the "Westminster Review," in 1860, and re

garded it as an argument in favor of Materialism. This we think was a very natural, if not an unavoidable mistake, on the part of the public. For in that Essay, he says that Protoplasm, or the physical basis of life," is a kind of matter common to all living beings, that the powers or faculties of all kinds of living matter, diverse as they may be in degree, are substantially of the same kind." Protoplasm as far as examined contains the four elements, — carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. These are lifeless bodies, "but when brought together under certain conditions, they give rise to the still more complex body Protoplasm; and this protoplasm exhibits the phenomena of life.” There is no more reason, he teaches, for assuming the existence of a mysterious something called vitality to account for vital phenomena, than there is for the assumption of something called Aquasity to account for the phenomena of water. Life is said to be "the product of a certain disposition of material molecules." The matter of life is "composed of ordinary matter, differing from it only in the manner in which its atoms are aggregated. I take it,' he says, "to be demonstrable that it is utterly impossible to prove that anything whatever may not be the effect of a material and necessary cause, and that human logic is equally incompetent to prove that any act is really spontaneous. A really spontaneous act is one, which, by the assumption, has no cause; and the attempt to prove such a negative as this, is on the face of the matter absurd. And while it is thus a philosophical impossibility to demonstrate that any given phenomenon is not the effect of a material cause, any one who is acquainted with the history of science will admit that its progress has, in all ages, meant, and now more than ever means, the extension of what we call matter and causation, and the concomitant gradual banishment from all regions of human thought of what we call spirit and spontaneity."

printed in his "Lay Sermons," etc., in 1870, he says: "There is no fault to be found with Mr. Darwin's method, but it is another thing whether he has fulfilled all the conditions imposed by that method. Is it satisfactorily proved that species may1 be originated by selection? that none of the phenomena exhibited by species are inconsistent with the origin of species in this way? If these questions can be answered in the affirmative, Mr. Darwin's view steps out of the rank of hypotheses into that of theories; but so long as the evidence at present adduced falls short of enforcing that affirmative, so long, to our minds, the new doctrine must be content to remain among the former, -an extremely valuable, and in the highest degree probable, doctrine; indeed, the only extant hypothesis which is worth anything in a scientific point of view; but still a hypothesis, and not yet a theory of species. After much consideration," he adds,

1 It cannot escape the attention of any one that Mr. Darwin, Mr. Wallace, Professor Huxley, and all the other advocates or defenders of Darwinism, do not pretend to prove anything more than that species may be originated by selection, not that there is no other satisfactory account of their origin. Mr. Darwin admits that referring them to the intention and efficiency of God, accounts for everything, but, he says, that is not science.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

"and assuredly with no bias against Mr. Darwin's views, it is our clear conviction that, as the evidence now stands, it is not absolutely proven that a group of animals, having all the characters exhibited by species in Nature, has ever been originated by selection, whether artificial or natural.' "1

Again, in his work on " Man's Place in Nature," he expresses himself much to the same effect: "A true physical cause is admitted to be such only on one condition, that it shall account for all the phenomena which come within the range of its operation. If it is inconsistent with any one phenomenon it must be rejected; if it fails to explain any one phenomenon it is so far to be suspected, though it may have a perfect right to provisional acceptance. Our acceptance, therefore, of the Darwinian hypothesis must be provisional so long as one link in the chain of evidence is wanting; and so long as all the animals and plants certainly produced by selective breeding from a common stock are fertile, and their progeny are fertile one with another, that link will be wanting. For so long selective

1 Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews. By Thomas Henry Huxley, LL. D., F. R. S. London, 1870, p. 323.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »