What is Darwinism?
by Charles Hodge
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In the "Academy" for October, 1869, there is a review by Professor Huxley of Dr. Haeckel's "Natuerlische Schoepfungsgeschichte," in which he says: "Professor Haeckel enlarges on the service which the 'Origin of Species' has done in favoring what he terms 'the causal or mechanical' view of living nature as opposed to the 'teleological or vitalistic' view. And no doubt it is quite true the doctrine of evolution is the most formidable of all the commoner and coarser forms of teleology. Perhaps the most remarkable service to the philosophy of Biology rendered by Mr. Darwin is the reconciliation of Teleology and Morphology, and the explanation of the facts of both which his view offers.

"The teleology which supposes that the eye, such as we see it in man or in the higher vertebrata, was made with the precise structure which it exhibits, to make the animal which possesses it to see, has undoubtedly received its death-blow. But it is necessary to remember that there is a higher teleology, which is not touched by the doctrine of evolution, but is actually based on the fundamental proposition of evolution. That proposition is, that the whole world, living and not living, is the result of the mutual interaction, according to definite laws, of forces possessed by the molecules of which the primitive nebulosity of the universe was composed. If this be true, it is no less certain that the existing world lay potentially in the cosmic vapor; and that a sufficient intelligence could, from a knowledge of the properties of that vapor, have predicted, say, the state of fauna of Great Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the vapor of the breath on a cold winter's day." This is the doctrine of the self-evolution of the universe. We know not what may lie behind this in Mr. Huxley's mind; but we are very sure that there is not an idea in the above paragraph which Epicurus of old, and Buechner, Vogt, Haeckel, and other "Materialisten von Profession," would not cheerfully adopt. His distinction between a higher and lower teleology is of no account in this discussion. What is the teleology to which, he says, Mr. Darwin has given the death-blow, the extracts given above clearly show. The eye, Huxley says, was not made for the purpose of seeing, or the ear for the purpose of hearing. "According to teleology," he says, "each organism is like a rifle bullet fired straight at a mark; according to Darwin, organisms are like grapeshot, of which one hits something and the rest fall wide."[26]


[19] 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 regarded 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."

[20] 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.

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

[22] Evidence of Man's Place in Nature. London, 1864, p. 107.

[23] Since writing the above paragraph our eye fell on the following note on the 89th page of the Duke of Argyle's Reign of Law, which it gives us pleasure to quote. It seems that a writer in the Spectator had charged Professor Huxley with Atheism. In the number of that paper for February 10, 1866, the Professor replies: "I do not know that I care very much about popular odium, so there is no great merit in saying that if I really saw fit to deny the existence of a God I should certainly do so, for the sake of my own intellectual freedom, and be the honest atheist you are pleased to say I am. As it happens, however, I cannot take this position with honesty, inasmuch as it is, and always has been, a favorite tenet, that Atheism is as absurd, logically speaking, as Polytheism." In the same paper he says, "The denying the possibility of miracles seems to me quite as unjustifiable as speculative Atheism." How this can be reconciled with the passages quoted above, we are unable to see.

[24] Lay Sermons, etc., p. 330.

[25] Contemporary Review, vol. xviii. 1871, p. 444. In this same article Mr. Huxley says: "Elijah's great question, Will ye serve God or Baal? Choose ye, is uttered audibly enough in the ears of every one of us as we come to manhood. Let every man who tries to answer it seriously ask himself whether he can be satisfied with the Baal of authority, and with all the good things his worshippers are promised in this world and the next. If he can, let him, if he be so inclined, amuse himself with such scientific implements as authority tells him are safe and will not cut his fingers; but let him not imagine that he is, or can be, both a true son of the Church and a loyal soldier of science." "And, on the other hand, if the blind acceptance of authority appear to him in its true colors, as mere private judgment in excelsis, and if he have courage to stand alone face to face with the abyss of the Eternal and Unknowable, let him be content, once for all, not only to renounce the good things promised by 'Infallibility,' but even to bear the bad things which it prophesies; content to follow reason and fact in singleness and honesty of purpose, wherever they may lead, in the sure faith that a hell of honest men will to him be more endurable than a paradise full of angelic shams." There can be no doubt that the Apostle Paul believed in the infallibility of the Scriptures. Imagine Professor Huxley calling St. Paul to his face, a sham! What are all the Huxleys who have ever lived or ever can live, to that one Paul in power for good over human thought, character, and destiny!

Professor Huxley goes on in the next paragraph to say: "Mr. Mivart asserts that 'without belief in a personal God there is no religion worthy of the name.' This is a matter of opinion. But it may be asserted, with less reason to fear contradiction, that the worship of a personal God, who, on Mr. Mivart's hypothesis, must have used words studiously calculated to deceive his creatures and worshippers, is 'no religion worthy of the name.' 'Incredibile est, Deum illis verbis ad populum fuisse locutum quibis deciperetur,' is a verdict in which for once Jesuit casuistry concurs with the healthy moral sense of all mankind." (p. 458). Mr. Huxley calls believers in the Scriptures, and (apparently) believers in a personal God, bigots, old ladies of both sexes, bibliolators, fools, etc., etc.

[26] Lay Sermons, etc. p. 331.


Dr. Louis Buechner, president of the medical association of Hessen-Darmstadt, etc., etc., is not only a man of science but a popular writer. Perhaps no book of its class, in our day, has been so widely circulated as his volume on "Kraft und Stoff," Matter and Force. It has been translated into all the languages of Europe. He holds that matter and force are inseparable; there cannot be the one without the other; both are eternal and imperishable; neither can be either increased or diminished; life originated spontaneously by the combination of molecules of matter under favorable conditions; all the phenomena of the universe, inorganic and organic, whether physical, vital, or mental, are due to matter and its forces. Consequently there is no God, no creation, no mind distinct from matter, no conscious existence of man after death. All this is asserted in the most explicit terms. Dr. Buechner has published a work on Darwinism in two volumes. Darwin's theory, he says, "is the most thoroughly naturalistic that can be imagined, and far more atheistic than that of his decried predecessor Lamarck, who admitted at least a general law of progress and development; whereas, according to Darwin, the whole development is due to the gradual summation of innumerable minute and accidental operations."[27]


[27] Sechs Vorlesungen ueber die Darwinische Theorie. Von Ludwig Buechner. Zweite Auflage, Leipzig, 1848, vol. i. p. 125.

Carl Vogt.

In his preface to his work on the "Descent of Man," Mr. Darwin quotes this author as a high authority. We see him elsewhere referred to as one of the first physiologists of Germany. Vogt devotes the concluding lecture of the second volume of his work on Man, to the consideration of Darwinism. He expresses his opinion of it, after high commendation, in the following terms. He says that it cannot be doubted that Darwin's "theory turns the Creator—and his occasional intervention in the revolutions of the earth and in the production of species—without any hesitation out of doors, inasmuch as it does not leave the smallest room for the agency of such a Being. The first living germ being granted, out of it the creation develops itself progressively by natural selection, through all the geological periods of our planets, by the simple law of descent—no new species arises by creation and none perishes by divine annihilation—the natural course of things, the process of evolution of all organisms and of the earth itself, is of itself sufficient for the production of all we see. Thus Man is not a special creation, produced in a different way, and distinct from other animals, endowed with an individual soul and animated by the breath of God; on the contrary, Man is only the highest product of the progressive evolution of animal life springing from the group of apes next below him."[28]

After this no one can be surprised to hear him say, that "the pulpits of the orthodox, the confessionals of the priests, the platforms of the interior missions, the presidential chairs of the consistories, resound with protestations against the assaults made by Materialism and Darwinism against the very foundations of society." (p. 286) This he calls "Das Wehgeschrei der Moralisten" (the Wail of the Moralists). The designation Moralists is a felicitous one, as applied to the opponents of Vogt and his associates. It distinguishes them as men who have not lost their moral sense; who refuse to limit their faith to what can be proved by the five senses; who bow to the authority of the law written by the finger of God, on the hearts of men, which neither sophistry nor wickedness can effectually erase. All Vogt thinks it necessary to reply to these Moralists is, "Lasst sie bellen, bis sie ausgebellt haben" (Let them bark till they are tired). "Ende."


[28] Vorlesungen ueber den Menschen, seine Stellung in der Schoepfung und in der Geschichte der Erde. Von Carl Vogt. Giessen, 1863, vol. ii. p. 260.


Dr. Ernst Haeckel, Professor in the University of Jena, is said to stand at the head of the living naturalists of Germany. His work on "Natural History of Creation" contains a course of lectures delivered to the professors, students, and citizens of Jena. It is, therefore, somewhat popular in its character. The ability of the writer is manifest on every page. The distinctness of his perceptions, precision of language, perspicuity of style, and the strength of his convictions, give the impression of a man fully master of his subject, who has thought himself through, and is perfectly satisfied with the conclusions at which he has arrived. At the same time it is the impression of a man who is developed only on one side; who never looks within; who takes no cognizance of the wonders revealed in consciousness; to whom the intuitions of reason and of the conscience, the sense of dependence on a will higher than our own—the sense of obligation and responsibility are of no account,—in short a man to whom the image of God enstamped on the soul of man is invisible. This being the case, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Haeckel admits that the title of his book, "Natural Creation," i. e. creation by natural laws, is a contradiction. He distinguishes, however, between the creation of substance and the creation of form. Of the former he says science knows nothing. To the scientist matter is eternal. If any one chooses to assume that it was created by an extramundane power, Haeckel says he will not object. But that is a matter of faith; and "where faith begins, science ends." The very reverse of this is true. Science must begin with faith. It cannot take a single step without it. How does Haeckel know that his senses do not deceive him? How does he know that he can trust to the operations of his intellect? How does he know that things are as they appear? How does he know that the universe is not a great phantasmagoria, as so many men have regarded it, and man the mere sport of chimeras? He must believe in the laws of belief impressed on his nature. Knowledge implies a mind that knows, and confidence in the act of knowing implies belief in the laws of mind. "An inductive science of nature," says President Porter, "presupposes a science of induction, and a science of induction presupposes a science of man."[29] Haeckel, however, says faith is the mere product of the poetic imagination; science, of the understanding; if its conclusions come into conflict with the creations of the imagination, the latter, of course, must give way.[30]

He says, there have ever been two conflicting theories of the universe: the one, monistic; the other, dualistic. The one admits of only one substance, matter; the other of two, matter and mind. He prefers to call the former monism rather than materialism, because the latter term often includes the idea of moral materialism, i. e. the doctrine that sensual pleasure is the end of life; a doctrine, he says, much more frequently held by princely church-men than by men of science. He maintains, however, that "all knowable nature is one; that the same eternal, immutable (ehernen, brazen) laws are active in the life of animals and plants, in the formation of crystals, and the power of steam; in the whole sphere of biology, zooelogy, and botany. We have, therefore, the right to hold fast the monistic and mechanical view, whether men choose to brand the system as Materialism or not. In this sense, all natural science, with the law of causation at its head, is thoroughly materialistic." (p. 32)

The monistic theory he calls "mechanical or causal," as distinguished from the dualistic theory, which he calls "teleological or vitalistic." According to the latter, "the vegetable and animal kingdoms are considered as the products of a creative agency, working with a definite design. In looking on an organism, the conviction seems unavoidable that so skilfully constructed a machine, such a complicated working apparatus, as an organism is, could be produced only by an agency analogous to, although far more perfect than the agency of man." "This," he says, "supposes the Creator to be an organism analogous to man, although infinitely more perfect; who contemplates his formative powers, lays the plan of the machine, and then, by the use of appropriate means, produces an effect answering to the preconceived plan.... However highly the Creator may be exalted, this view involves the ascription to Him of human attributes, in virtue of which he can form a plan, and construct organisms to correspond with it. That is the view to which Darwin's doctrine is directly opposed, and of which Agassiz is, among naturalists, the most important advocate. The famous work of Agassiz, 'Essay on Classification,' which is in direct opposition to Darwin's, and appeared about the same time, has carried out logically to the utmost the absurd anthropomorphic doctrine of a Creator." (p. 17)

The monistic theory is called "mechanical and causal," because it supposes that all the phenomena of the universe, organic and inorganic, vegetable and animal, vital and mental, are due to mechanical or necessarily operating causes (causae efficientes); just as the dualistic theory is called "teleological or vitalistic," because it refers natural organisms to causes working for the accomplishment of a given end (causae finales). (p. 67)

The grand difficulty in the way of the mechanical or monistic theory was the occurrence of innumerable organisms, apparently at least, indicative of design. To get over this difficulty, Haeckel says, some who could not believe in a creative and controlling mind adopted the idea of a metaphysical ghost called vitality. The grand service rendered by Darwin to science is, that his theory enables us to account for the appearances of design in nature without assuming final causes, or, a mind working for a foreseen and intended end. "All that had appeared before Darwin," he says, "failed to secure success, and to meet with general acceptance of the doctrine of the mechanical production of vegetable and animal organisms. This was accomplished by Darwin's theory." (p. 20)

The precise difficulty which Mr. Darwin's doctrine has, according to Haeckel, enabled men of science to surmount, is thus clearly stated on p. 633. It is, "that organs for a definite end should be produced by undesigning or mechanical causes." This difficulty is overcome by the doctrine of evolution. "Through the theory of descent, we are for the first time able to establish the monistic doctrine of the unity of nature, that a mechanic-causal explanation of the most complicated organisms, e. g. the formation and constitution of the organs of sense, have no more difficulty for the common understanding, than the mechanical explanation of any physical process, as, for example, earthquakes, the direction of the winds, or the currents of the sea. We thus arrive at the conviction of the last importance, that all natural bodies with which we are acquainted are equally endowed with life (gleichmaessig belebt sind); that the distinction between living and dead matter does not exist. When a stone is thrown into the air and falls by certain laws to the ground, or when a solution of salt forms a crystal, the result is neither more nor less a mechanical manifestation of life, than the flowering of a plant, the generation or sensibility of animals, or the feelings or the mental activity of man. In thus establishing the monistic theory of nature lies the highest and most comprehensive merit of the doctrine of descent, as reformed by Darwin." (p. 21) "As to the much vaunted design in nature, it is a reality only for those whose views of animal and vegetable life are to the last degree superficial. Any one who has gone deeper into the organization and vital activity of animals and plants, who has made himself familiar with the action and reaction of vital phenomena, and the so-called economy of nature, comes of necessity to the conclusion, that design does not exist, any more than the vaunted goodness of the Creator" (die vielgeruehmte Allguete des Schoepfers). (p. 17)

Professor Huxley, in his review of this work of Haeckel, already quoted, says: "I do not like to conclude without reminding the reader of my entire concurrence with the general tenor and spirit of the work, and of my high estimate of its value." If you take out of Haeckel's book its doctrine of Monism, which he himself says means Materialism, it has no "tenor or spirit" in it. It is not, however, for us to say how far Professor Huxley intended his indorsement to go.

Haeckel says that Darwin's theory of evolution leads inevitably to Atheism and Materialism. In this we think he is correct. But we have nothing to do with Haeckel's logic or with our own. We make no charge against Mr. Darwin. We cite Haeckel merely as a witness to the fact that Darwinism involves the denial of final causes; that it excludes all intelligent design in the production of the organs of plants and animals, and even in the production of the soul and body of man. This first of German naturalists would occupy a strange position in the sight of all Europe, if, after lauding a book to the skies because it teaches a certain doctrine, it should turn out that the book taught no such doctrine at all.


[29] The Science of Nature versus the Science of Man. By Noah Porter, President of Yale College. New York, 1871, p. 29.

[30] Natuerlische Schoepfungsgeschichte. Von Dr. Ernst Haeckel, Professor in der Universitaet Jena. Zweite Auflage, Berlin, 1873, pp. 8, and 9.

The Opponents of Darwinism.

The Duke of Argyll.

When cultivated men undertake to refute a certain system, it is to be presumed that they give themselves the trouble to ascertain what that system is. As the advocates of Mr. Darwin's theory defend and applaud it because it excludes design, and as its opponents make that the main ground of their objection to it, there can be no reasonable doubt as to its real character. The question is, How are the contrivances in nature to be accounted for? One answer is, They are due to the purpose of God. Mr. Darwin says, They are due to the gradual and undesigned accumulation of slight variations. The Duke's first objection to that doctrine is, that the evidence of design in the organs of plants and animals is so clear that Mr. Darwin himself cannot avoid using teleological language. "He exhausts," he says, "every form of words and of illustration by which intention or mental purpose can be described. 'Contrivance,' 'beautiful contrivance,' 'curious contrivance,' are expressions which occur over and over again. Here is one sentence describing a particular species (of orchids): 'The labellum is developed in order to attract the Lepidoptera; and we shall soon see reason for supposing that the nectar is purposely so lodged, that it can be sucked only slowly in order to give time for the curious chemical quality of the matter setting hard and dry.'"[31] We have already seen that Mr. Darwin's answer to this objection is, that it is hard to keep from personifying nature, and that these expressions as used by him mean no more than chemists mean when they speak of affinities, and one element preferring another.

A second objection is, that a variation would not be useful to the individual in which it happens to occur, unless other variations should occur at the right time and in the right order; and that the concurrence of so many accidents as are required to account for the infinite diversity of forms in plants and animals, is altogether inconceivable.

A third objection is, that the variations often have no reference to the organism of the animal itself but to other organisms. "Take one instance," he says, "out of millions. The poison of a deadly snake,—let us for a moment consider what that is. It is a secretion of definite chemical properties with reference not only—not even mainly—to the organism of the animal in which it is developed, but specially to another animal which it is intended to destroy." "How," he asks, "will the law of growth adjust a poison in one animal with such subtle knowledge of the organization of the other, that the deadly virus shall in a few minutes curdle the blood, benumb the nerves, and rush in upon the citadel of life? There is but one explanation: a Mind having minute and perfect knowledge of the structure of both has designed the one to be capable of inflicting death upon the other. This mental purpose and resolve is the one thing which our intelligence perceives with direct and intuitive recognition. The method of creation by which this purpose has been carried into effect is utterly unknown."[32]

A fourth objection has reference to beauty. According to Mr. Darwin, flowers are not intentionally made beautiful, but those which happen to be beautiful attract insects, and by their agency are fertilized and survive. Male birds are not intentionally arrayed in bright colors, but those which happen to be so arrayed are attractive, and thus become the progenitors of their race. Against this explanation the Duke earnestly protests. He refers to the gorgeous adorned class of Hummingbirds, of which naturalists enumerate no less than four hundred and thirty different species, distinguished one from the other, in general, only by their plumage. "Now," he asks, "what explanation does the law of natural selection give,—I will not say of the origin, but even of the continuance of such specific varieties as these? None whatever. A crest of topaz is no better in the struggle of existence than a crest of sapphire. A frill ending in spangles of the emerald is no better in the battle of life than a frill ending in spangles of the ruby. A tail is not affected for the purposes of flight, whether its marginal, or its central feathers are decorated with white. It is impossible to bring such varieties into any physical law known to us. It has relation however to a Purpose, which stands in close analogy with our knowledge of purpose in the works of men. Mere beauty and mere variety, for their own sake, are objects which we ourselves seek, when we can make the forces of nature subordinate to the attainment of them. There seems to be no conceivable reason why we should doubt or question that these are ends and aims also in the forms given to living organisms, when the facts correspond with this view and with no other."[33]

It will be observed that all these objections have reference to the denial of teleology on the part of Mr. Darwin. If his theory admitted that the organisms in nature were due to a divine purpose, the objections would be void of all meaning.

There is a fifth objection. According to Darwin's theory organs are formed by the slow accumulation of unintended variations, which happen to be favorable to the subject of them in the struggle for life. But in many cases these organs, instead of being favorable, are injurious or cumbersome until fully developed. Take the wing of a bird, for example. In its rudimental state, it is useful neither for swimming, walking, nor flying. Now, as Darwin says it took millions of years to bring the eye to perfection, how long did it take to render a rudimental wing useful? It is no sufficient answer to say that these rudimental organs might have been suited to the condition in which the animal existed, during the formative process. This is perfectly arbitrary. It has no basis of fact. There are but three kinds of locomotion that we know of: in the water, on the ground, and through the air; for all these purposes a half-formed wing would be an impediment.

The Duke devotes almost a whole chapter of his interesting book to the consideration of "contrivance in the machinery for flight." The conditions to secure regulated movement through the atmosphere are so numerous, so complicated, and so conflicting, that the problem never has been solved by human ingenuity. In the structure of the bird it is solved to perfection. As we are not writing a teleological argument, but only producing evidence that Darwinism excludes teleology, we cannot follow the details which prove that the wing of the gannet or swift is almost as wonderful and beautiful a specimen of contrivance as the eye of the eagle.


[31] Reign of Law. London, 1867, p. 40.

[32] Reign of Law. London, 1867, p. 37.

[33] Reign of Law, pp. 247, 248.


Every one knows that the illustrious Agassiz, over whose recent grave the world stands weeping, was from the beginning a pronounced and earnest opponent of Mr. Darwin's theory. He wrote as a naturalist, and therefore his objections are principally directed against the theory of evolution, which he regarded as not only destitute of any scientific basis, but as subversive of the best established facts in zooelogy. Nevertheless it is evident that his zeal was greatly intensified by his apprehension that a theory which obliterates all evidence of the being of God from the works of nature, endangered faith in that great doctrine itself. The Rev. Dr. Peabody, in the discourse delivered on the occasion of Professor Agassiz's funeral, said: "I cannot close this hasty and inadequate, yet fervent and hearty tribute, without recalling to your memory the reverent spirit in which he pursued his scientific labors. Nearly forty years ago, in his first great work on fossil fishes, in developing principles of classification, he wrote in quotations, 'An invisible thread in all ages runs through this immense diversity, exhibiting as a general result that there is a continual progress in development ending in man, the four classes of vertebrates presenting the intermediate steps, and the invertebrates the constant accessory accompaniment. Have we not here the manifestation of a mind as powerful as prolific? an act of intelligence as sublime as provident? the marks of goodness as infinite as wise? the most palpable demonstration of the existence of a personal God, author of all this; ruler of the universe, and the dispenser of all good? This at least is what I read in the works of creation.' And it was what he ever read, and with profound awe and adoration. To this exalted faith he was inflexibly loyal. The laws of nature were to him the eternal Word of God.

"His repugnance to Darwinism grew in great part from his apprehension of its atheistical tendency,—an apprehension which I confess I cannot share; for I forget not that these theories, now in the ascendent, are maintained by not a few devout Christian men, and while they appear to me unproved and incapable of demonstration, I could admit them without parting with one iota of my faith in God and Christ. Yet I cannot but sympathize most strongly with him in the spirit in which he resisted what seemed to him lese-majesty against the sovereign of the universe. Nor was his a theoretical faith. His whole life, in its broad philanthropy, in its pervading spirit of service, in its fidelity to arduous trusts and duties, and in its simplicity and truthfulness, bespoke one who was consciously fulfilling a mission from God to his fellow-men."

The words "evolution" and "Darwinism" are so often in this country, but not in Europe, used interchangeably, that it is conceivable that Dr. Peabody could retain his faith in God, and yet admit the doctrine of evolution. But it is not conceivable that any man should adopt the main element of Mr. Darwin's theory, viz., the denial of all final causes, and the assertion, that since the first creation of matter and life, God has left the universe to the control of unintelligent physical causes, so that all the phenomena of the plants and animals, all that is in man, and all that has ever happened on the earth, is due to physical force, and yet retain his faith in Christ. On that theory, there have been no supernatural revelation, no miracles; Christ is not risen, and we are yet in our sins. It is not thus that this matter is regarded abroad. The Christians of Germany say that the only alternative these theories leave us, is Heathenism or Christianity; "Heidenthum oder Christenthum, Die Frage der Zeit."


Janet, a professor of philosophy, is the author of a book on the Materialism of Buechner.[34] The greater part of the last chapter of his work is devoted to Darwinism. He says, "Dr. Buechner invoked (Darwin's book) as a striking confirmation of his doctrine." (p. 154) What Buechner's doctrine is has been shown on a previous page. The points of coincidence between Darwin's system and his are, that both regard mind as a mere function of living matter; and both refer all the organs and organisms of living things to the unconscious, unintelligent operation of physical causes. Buechner's way of accounting for complicated organs was, "that the energy of the elements and forces of matter, which in their fated and accidental occurrence must have produced innumerable forms, which must needs limit each other mutually, and correspond, apparently, the one with the other, as if they were made for that purpose. Out of all those forms, they only have survived which were adapted, in some manner, to the conditions of the medium in which they were placed." (p. 30) This is very clumsy. No wonder Buechner preferred Darwin's method. The two systems are, indeed, exactly the same, but Mr. Darwin has a much more winning way of presenting it.

Professor Janet does not seem to have much objection to the doctrine of evolution in itself; it is the denial of teleology that he regards as the fatal element of Mr. Darwin's theory. "According to us," he says, "the true stumbling-block of Mr. Darwin's theory, the perilous and slippery point, is the passage from artificial to natural selection; it is when he wants to establish that a blind and designless nature has been able to obtain, by the occurrence of circumstances, the same results which man obtains by thoughtful and well calculated industry." (p. 174)

Towards the end of his volume he says: "We shall conclude by a general observation. Notwithstanding the numerous objections we have raised against Mr. Darwin's theory, we do not declare ourselves hostile to a system of which zooelogists are the only competent judges. We are neither for nor against the transmutation of species, neither for nor against the principle of natural selection. The only positive conclusion of our debate is this: no principle hitherto known, neither the action of media, nor habit, nor natural selection, can account for organic adaptations without the intervention of the principle of finality. Natural selection, unguided, submitted to the laws of a pure mechanism, and exclusively determined by accidents, seems to me, under another name, the chance proclaimed by Epicurus, equally barren, equally incomprehensible; on the other hand, natural selection guided beforehand by a provident will, directed towards a precise end by intentional laws, might be the means which nature has selected to pass from one stage of being to another, from one form to another, to bring to perfection life throughout the universe, and to rise by a continuous process from the monad to man. Now, I ask Mr. Darwin himself, what interest has he in maintaining that natural selection is not guided—not directed? What interest has he in substituting accidental causes for every final cause? I cannot see. Let him admit that in natural, as well as in artificial selection, there may be a choice and direction; his principle immediately becomes much more fruitful than it was before. His hypothesis, then, whilst having the advantage of exempting science from the necessity of introducing the personal and miraculous intervention of God in the creation of each species, yet would be free from the banishing out of the universe an all-provident thought, and of submitting everything to blind and brute chance." (pp. 198, 199) Professor Janet asks far too much of Mr. Darwin. To ask him to give up his denial of final causes is like asking the Romanists to give up the Pope. That principle is the life and soul of his system.


[34] The Materialism of the Present Day: a Critique of Dr. Buechner's System. By Paul Janet, Member of the Institute of France, Professor of Philosophy at the Paris Faculte des Lettres. Translated from the French, by Gustave Masson, B. A. London and Paris, 1867.

M. Flourens.

M. Flourens, recently dead, was one of the earliest and most pronounced opponents of Darwinism. He published in 1864 his "Examen du Livre de M. Darwin sur l'Origine des Especes." His position as Member of the Academie Francaise, and Perpetual Secretary of the Academie des Sciences, or Institut de France, vouch for his high rank among the French naturalists. His connection with the Jardin des Plantes gave him enlarged opportunities for biological experiments. The result of his own experience, as well as the experience of other observers, was, as he expresses it, his solemn conviction that species are fixed and not transmutable. No ingenuity of device could render hybrids fertile. "They never establish an intermediate species." It is, therefore, to the doctrine of evolution his attention is principally directed. Nevertheless, he is no less struck by Darwin's way of excluding all intelligence and design in his manner of speaking of nature. On this point he quotes the language of Cuvier, who says: "Nature has been personified. Living beings have been called the works of nature. The general bearing of these creatures to each other has become the laws of nature. It is thus while considering Nature as a being endowed with intelligence and will, but in its power limited and secondary, that it may be said that she watches incessantly over the maintenance of her work; that she does nothing in vain, and always acts by the most simple means.... It is easy to see how puerile are those who give nature a species of individual existence distinct from the Creator, and from the law which He has impressed upon the movements and peculiarities of the forms given by Him to living things, and which He makes to act upon their bodies with a peculiar force and reason." Older writers, says Flourens, in speaking of Nature, "gave to her inclinations, intentions, and views, and horrors (of a vacuum), and sports," etc. He says that one of the principal objects of his book is to show how Mr. Darwin "has deluded himself, and perhaps others, by a constant abuse of figurative language." "He plays with Nature as he pleases, and makes her do whatsoever he wishes." When we remember that Mr. Darwin defines Nature to be the aggregate of physical forces, we see how, in attributing everything to Nature, he effectually excludes the supernatural.

In his volume of "Lay Sermons, Reviews," etc., Professor Huxley has a very severe critique on M. Flourens's book. He says little, however, in reference to teleology, except in one paragraph, in which we read: "M. Flourens cannot imagine an unconscious selection; it is for him a contradiction in terms." Huxley's answer is, "The winds and waves of the Bay of Biscay have not much consciousness, and yet they have with great care 'selected,' from an infinity of masses of silex, all grains of sand below a certain size and have heaped them by themselves over a great area.... A frosty night selects the hardy plants in a plantation from among the tender ones as effectually as if the intelligence of the gardener had been operative in cutting the weaker ones down."[35] If this means anything, it means that as the winds and waves of the Bay of Biscay can make heaps of sand, so similar unconscious agencies can, if you only give them time enough, make an elephant or a man; for this is what Mr. Darwin says natural selection has done.


[35] Lay Sermons, p. 347.

Rev. Walter Mitchell, M. A., Vice-President of the Victoria Institute.

The Victoria Institute, or Philosophical Society of Great Britain, under the presidency of the Earl of Shaftesbury, includes among its members many of the dignitaries of the Church of England, and a large number of distinguished men of different professions and denominations. Its principal object is, "To investigate fully and impartially the most important questions of philosophy and science, but more especially those that bear on the great truths revealed in Holy Scripture, with the view of defending these truths against the opposition of Science, falsely so called." The Institute holds bi-monthly meetings, at which papers are read on some important topic, and then submitted to criticism and discussion. These papers, many of which are very elaborate, are published in the Transactions of the Institute, together with a full report of the discussions to which they gave rise. Six volumes, replete with valuable and varied information, have already been published.

Very considerable latitude of opinion is allowed. Hence we find in the Transactions, papers for and against evolution,—for and against Darwinism. It would be easy to quote extracts, pertinent to our subject, more than enough to fill a volume much larger than the present. We must content ourselves with a few citations from the discussion on a paper in favor of the credibility of Darwinism,[36] and another in favor of the doctrine of evolution.[37] In summing up the debates on these two topics, the chairman, Rev. Walter Mitchell, presented with great clearness and force his reasons for regarding Darwinism as incredible and impossible. In his protracted remarks he contrasts the Scriptural doctrine, that of the Vestiges of Creation, and that of Darwin on the origin of species. He thus states the doctrine of the Bible on the subject: "If," he says, "science be another name for real knowledge; if science be the pursuit of sound wisdom; if science be the pursuit of truth itself; I say that man has no right to reject anything that is true because it savors of God. Well, what is this hypothesis—older than that of Darwin—which does, and does alone, account for all the observed facts, or all that which we can read, recorded in the book of Nature? It is, that God created all things very good; that He made every vegetable after its own kind; that He made every animal after its own kind; that He allowed certain laws of variation, but that He has ordained strict, though invisible and invincible barriers, which prevent that variation from running riot, and which includes it within strict and well defined limits. This is a hypothesis which will account for all that we have learnt from the works of Nature. It admits an intelligent Being as the Author of all the works of creation, animate as well as inanimate; it leaves no mysteries in the animate world unaccounted for. There is one thing which the animate, as well as the inanimate world declares to man, one thing everywhere plainly recorded, if we will only read it, and that is the impress of design, the design of infinite wisdom. Any theory which comes in with an attempt to ignore design as manifested in God's creation, is a theory, I say, which attempts to dethrone God. This the theory of Darwin does endeavor to do. If asked how our old theory accounts for such uniformity of design in the midst of such perplexing variety as we find in nature, we reply, that this can only be accounted for on one admission, that the whole is the work of one Author, built according, as it were, to one style; that it represents the unity of one mind with the infinite power of adapting all its works in the most perfect manner for the uses for which they were created." "Whewell has boldly maintained, and he has never been controverted, that all real advances in the sciences of physiology and comparative anatomy,—such as that made by Harvey in discovering the circulation of the blood,—have been made by those who not only believed in the existence of design everywhere manifested in the animate world, but were led by that belief to make their discoveries."

When discussing the paper of Mr. Henslow on evolution, he says: "In speaking of this paper I must commend the exceeding reverent tone in which the author has discussed the subject, and I should like to see all such subjects discussed in a similar tone. The view which Mr. Henslow brings forward, however, does not appear to be a very original one. It was the first view ever brought forward on the doctrine of evolution, and I was the first one to point out that the whole doctrine was one of retrograde character. The whole tone and character of this paper, except that which relates to the attributes and moral government of God,[38] is nothing more or less than the same view of the doctrine of evolution which created such a sensation in this country when that famous book came out, 'The Vestiges of Creation.' So far as I can understand the arguments of Mr. Darwin, they have simply been an endeavor to eject out of the idea of evolution the personal work of the Deity. His whole endeavor has been to push the Creator farther and farther back out of view. The most laborious part of Darwin's attempt at reasoning,—for it is not true reasoning,—the most laborious part of his logic and reasoning, is intended to eliminate, as perfectly as any of the atheistical authors have endeavored to do, the idea of design. Now, setting revelation aside, the manner in which the unknown author of the 'Vestiges of Creation' treated this subject, satisfactorily showed that the doctrine of evolution was not in itself an atheistical doctrine, nor did it deny the existence of design. So far as I could understand and make out, having carefully read the book at the time it came out and afterwards, and having carefully analyzed and compared it and Mr. Darwin's book with each other, so far as I could understand it, the doctrine of the author of the 'Vestiges of Creation' was simply, that God created all things, and that when He created matter He impressed on it certain laws; that matter, being evolved according to those laws, should produce beings and organs mutually adapted to one another and to the world; and that every successive development which should be produced was essentially foreseen, foreknown, and predetermined by the Deity. His idea, for instance, of the evolution of an eye from a more simple organ was that the ultimate eye—man's eye, for instance—was to be a perfect optical instrument, and that its perfection depended on the previous design by the Creator, that at a certain period it should appear in a body quite adapted for its purposes. There is one question,—and not the only one, but we must consider it as an important question,—whether you can maintain a doctrine of evolution which shall not be atheistical, and which shall admit the great argument of design? That is one thing; but the next thing is, does such a doctrine as that accord either with revelation or with the facts of science? I do not believe that it can be made to agree with what we believe to be the revealed Word of God, and I do not believe that it has in the least degree been proved that the doctrine is consistent with sound science."

As to Mr. Darwin's theory, it is obvious from the passages already quoted that he considers its characteristic feature is not evolution, nor even natural selection, but the denial of teleology, or of intelligent control. Mr. Darwin admits the original creation of one or a few forms of life; and Mr. Mitchell, in his comments on Mr. Warington's defence of his theory, asks, "Why am I to limit the work of the Creator to the simultaneous or successive creations of ten or twelve commencements of the animate creation? Why, simply for the purpose of evading the evidence of design as manifested in the adaptation of all the organs of every animate creature to its wants, which can only be done by so incredible an hypothesis as that of Mr. Darwin. I say fearlessly, that any hypothesis which requires us to admit that the formation of such complex organs as the eye, the ear, the heart, the brain, with all their marvellous structures and mechanical adaptations to the wants of the creatures possessing them, so perfectly in harmony, too, with the laws of inorganic matter, affords no evidence of design; that such structures could be built up by gradual chance improvements, perpetuated by the law of transmission, and perfected by the destruction of creatures less favorably endowed, is so incredible, that I marvel to find any thinking man capable of adopting it for a single moment." It is useless to multiply quotations. Darwinism is never brought up either formally or incidentally, that its exclusion of design in the formation of living organisms is not urged as the main objection against the whole theory.


[36] The Credibility of Darwinism. By George Warington, Esq., F. C. S., M. V. I.

[37] On certain Analogies between the Methods of Deity in Nature and Revelation. By Rev. G. E. Henslow, M. A., F. L. S., M. V. I.

[38] The second part of Mr. Henslow's paper concerns "the methods of the Deity as revealed to us in the Bible." The same is substantially true of his work, The Theory of Evolution.

Principal Dawson.

Dr. Dawson, as we are informed, is regarded as the first palaeontologist, and among the first geologists, in America. In his "Story of Earth and Man,"[39] he passes in review the several geological periods recognized by geologists; describes as far as knowable the distribution of land and water during each period, and the vegetable and animal productions by which they were distinguished. His book from beginning to end is anti-Darwinian. In common with other naturalists, his attention is directed principally to the doctrine of evolution, which he endeavors to prove is utterly untenable. That Mr. Darwin's theory excludes teleology is everywhere assumed as an uncontroverted and uncontrovertible fact. "The evolutionist doctrine," he says, "is itself one of the strangest phenomena of humanity. It existed, and most naturally, in the oldest philosophy and poetry, in connection with the crudest and most uncritical attempts of the human mind to grasp the system of nature; but that in our day a system destitute of any shadow of proof, and supported merely by vague analogies and figures of speech, and by the arbitrary and artificial coherence of its own parts, should be accepted as philosophy, and should find able adherents to string on its thread of hypotheses our vast and weighty stores of knowledge, is surpassingly strange.... In many respects these speculations are important, and worthy the attention of thinking men. They seek to revolutionize the religious belief of the world, and if accepted would destroy most of the existing theology and philosophy. They indicate tendencies among scientific thinkers, which, though probably temporary, must, before they disappear, descend to lower strata, and reproduce themselves in grosser forms, and with most serious effects on the whole structure of society. With one class of minds they constitute a sort of religion, which so far satisfies the craving for truth higher than those which relate to immediate wants and pleasures. With another and perhaps larger class, they are accepted as affording a welcome deliverance from all scruples of conscience and fears of a hereafter. In the domain of science evolutionism has like tendencies. It reduces the position of man, who becomes a descendant of inferior animals, and a mere term in a series whose end is unknown. It removes from the study of nature the ideas of final cause and purpose; and the evolutionist, instead of regarding the world as a work of consummate plan, skill, and adjustment, approaches nature as he would a chaos of fallen rocks, which may present forms of castles, and grotesque profiles of men and animals, but they are all fortuitous and without significance." (pp. 317, 318)

"Taking, then, this broad view of the subject, two great leading alternatives are presented to us. Either man is an independent product of the will of a Higher Intelligence, acting directly or through the laws and materials of his own institution and production, or he has been produced by an unconscious evolution from lower things. It is true that many evolutionists, either unwilling to offend, or not perceiving the logical consequences of their own hypothesis, endeavor to steer a middle course, and to maintain that the Creator has proceeded by way of evolution. But the bare, hard logic of Spencer, the greatest English authority on evolution, leaves no place for this compromise, and shows that the theory, carried out to its legitimate consequences, excludes the knowledge of a Creator and the possibility of his work. We have, therefore, to choose between evolution and creation, bearing in mind, however, that there may be a place in nature for evolution, properly limited, as well as for other things, and that the idea of creation by no means excludes law and second causes." (p. 321)

"It may be said, that evolution may be held as a scientific doctrine in connection with a modified belief in creation. The work of actual creation may have been limited to a few elementary types, and evolution may have done the rest. Evolutionists may still be theists. We have already seen that the doctrine, as carried out to its logical consequences, excludes creation and theism. It may, however, be shown that even in its more modified form, and when held by men who maintain that they are not atheists, it is practically atheistic, because excluding the idea of plan and design, and resolving all things into the action of unintelligent forces. It is necessary to observe this, because it is the half-way-evolutionism, which professes to have a creator somewhere behind it, that is most popular; though it is, if possible, more unphilosophical than that which professes to set out with absolute and determined nonentity, or from self-existing stardust containing all the possibilities of the universe."

In reference to the objection of evolutionists, that the origin of every new species, on the theistic doctrine, supposes "a miracle," an intervention of the divine efficiency without the agency of second causes, Principal Dawson asks, "What is the actual statement of the theory of creation as it may be held by a modern man of science? Simply this: that all things have been produced by the Supreme Creative will, acting either directly, or through the agency of the forces and material of his own production." (p. 340)

He thus sums up his argument against the doctrine of evolution, specially in its application to man: "Finally, the evolutionist picture wants some of the fairest lineaments of humanity, and cheats us with the semblance of man without the reality. Shave and paint your ape as you may, clothe him and set him up upon his feet, still he fails greatly of the 'human form divine;' and so it is with him morally and spiritually as well. We have seen that he wants the instinct of immortality, the love of God, the mental and spiritual power of exercising dominion over the earth. The very agency by which he is evolved is of itself subversive of all these higher properties; the struggle for existence is essentially selfish, and, therefore, degrading. Even in the lower animals, it is a false assumption that its tendency is to elevate; for animals, when driven to the utmost verge of the struggle for life, become depauperated and degraded. The dog which spends its life in snarling contention with its fellow curs for insufficient food, will not be a noble specimen of its race. God does not so treat his creatures. There is far more truth to nature in the doctrine which represents Him as listening to the young ravens when they cry for food. But as applied to man, the theory of the struggle for existence, and survival of the fittest, though the most popular phase of evolutionism at present, is nothing less than the basest and most horrible of superstitions. It makes man not merely carnal but devilish. It takes his lowest appetites and propensities, and makes them his God and Creator. His higher sentiments and aspirations, his self-denying philanthropy, his enthusiasm for the good and true, all the struggles and sufferings of heroes and martyrs, not to speak of that self-sacrifice which is the foundation of Christianity, are, in the view of the evolutionist, mere loss and waste, failure in the struggle of life. What does he give us in exchange? An endless pedigree of bestial ancestors, without one gleam of high and holy tradition to enliven the procession; and for the future, the prospect that the poor mass of protoplasm, which constitutes the sum of our being, and which is the sole gain of an indefinite struggle in the past, must soon be resolved again into inferior animals or dead matter. That men of thought and culture should advocate such a philosophy, argues either a strange mental hallucination, or that the higher spiritual nature has been wholly quenched within them. It is one of the saddest of many sad spectacles which our age presents." (p. 395)


[39] The Story of Earth and Man. By J. W. Dawson, LL. D., F. R. S., F. G. S., Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University, Montreal. Author of Archaia, Acadian Geology, etc. Second edition. London, 1873, pp. 397.

Relation of Darwinism to Religion.

The consideration of that subject would lead into the wide field of the relation between science and religion. Into that field we lack competency and time to enter; a few remarks, however, on the subject may not be out of place. Those remarks, we would fain make in a humble way irenical. There is need of an Irenicum, for the fact is painfully notorious that there is an antagonism between scientific men as a class, and religious men as a class. Of course this opposition is neither felt nor expressed by all on either side. Nevertheless, whatever may be the cause of this antagonism, or whoever are to be blamed for it, there can be no doubt that it exists and that it is an evil.

The first cause of the alienation in question is, that the two parties, so to speak, adopt different rules of evidence, and thus can hardly avoid arriving at different conclusions. To understand this we must determine what is meant by science, and by scientific evidence. Science, according to its etymology, is simply knowledge. But usage has limited its meaning, in the first place, not to the knowledge of facts or phenomena, merely, but to their causes and relations. It was said of old, "[Greek: hoti] scientiae fundamentum, [Greek: dioti] fastigium." No amount of materials would constitute a building. They must be duly arranged so as to make a symmetrical whole. No amount of disconnected data can constitute a science. Those data must be systematized in their relation to each other and to other things. In the second place, the word is becoming more and more restricted to the knowledge of a particular class of facts, and of their relations, namely, the facts of nature or of the external world. This usage is not universal, nor is it fixed. In Germany, especially, the word Wissenschaft is used of all kinds of ordered knowledge, whether transcendental or empirical. So we are accustomed to speak of mental, moral, social, as well as of natural science. Nevertheless, the more restricted use of the word is very common and very influential. It is important that this fact should be recognized. In common usage, a scientific man is distinguished specially from a metaphysician. The one investigates the phenomena of matter, the other studies the phenomena of mind, according to the old distinction between physics and metaphysics. Science, therefore, is the ordered knowledge of the phenomena which we recognize through the senses. A scientific fact is a fact perceived by the senses. Scientific evidence is evidence addressed to the senses. At one of the meetings of the Victoria Institute, a visitor avowed his disbelief in the existence of God. When asked, what kind of evidence would satisfy him? he answered, Just such evidence as I have of the existence of this tumbler which I now hold in my hand. The Rev. Mr. Henslow says, "By science is meant the investigation of facts and phenomena recognizable by the senses, and of the causes which have brought them into existence."[40] This is the main root of the trouble. If science be the knowledge of the facts perceived by the senses, and scientific evidence, evidence addressed to the senses, then the senses are the only sources of knowledge. Any conviction resting on any other ground than the testimony of the senses, must be faith. Darwin admits that the contrivances in nature may be accounted for by assuming that they are due to design on the part of God. But, he says, that would not be science. Haeckel says that to science matter is eternal. If any man chooses to say, it was created, well and good; but that is a matter of faith, and faith is imagination. Ulrici quotes a distinguished German physiologist who believes in vital, as distinguished from physical forces; but he holds to spontaneous generation, not, as he admits, because it has been proved, but because the admission of any higher power than nature is unscientific.[41]

It is inevitable that minds addicted to scientific investigation should receive a strong bias to undervalue any other kind of evidence except that of the senses, i. e., scientific evidence. We have seen that those who give themselves up to this tendency come to deny God, to deny mind, to deny even self. It is true that the great majority of men, scientific as well as others, are so much under the control of the laws of their nature, that they cannot go to this extreme. The tendency, however, of a mind addicted to the consideration of one kind of evidence, to become more or less insensible to other kinds of proof, is undeniable. Thus even Agassiz, as a zooelogist and simply on zooelogical grounds, assumed that there were several zones between the Ganges and the Atlantic Ocean, each having its own flora and fauna, and inhabited by races of men, the same in kind, but of different origins. When told by the comparative philologists that this was impossible, because the languages spoken through that wide region, demonstrated that its inhabitants must have had a common descent, he could only answer that as ducks quack everywhere, he could not see why men should not everywhere speak the same language.

A still more striking illustration is furnished by Dr. Lionel Beale, the distinguished English physiologist. He has written a book of three hundred and eighty-eight pages for the express purpose of proving that the phenomena of life, instinct, and intellect cannot be referred to any known natural forces. He avows his belief that in nature "mind governs matter," and "in the existence of a never-changing, all-seeing, power-directing and matter-guiding Omnipotence." He avows his faith in miracles, and "those miracles on which Christianity is founded." Nevertheless, his faith in all these points is provisional. He says that a truly scientific man, "if the maintenance, continuity, and nature of life on our planet should at some future time be fully explained without supposing the existence of any such supernatural omnipotent influence, would be bound to receive the new explanation, and might abandon the old conviction."[42] That is, all evidence of the truths of religion not founded on nature and perceived by the senses, amounts to nothing.

Now as religion does not rest on the testimony of the senses, that is on scientific evidence, the tendency of scientific men is to ignore its claims. We speak only of tendency. We rejoice to know or believe that in hundreds or thousands of scientific men, this tendency is counteracted by their consciousness of manhood—the conviction that the body is not the man,—by the intuitions of the reason and the conscience, and by the grace of God. No class of men stands deservedly higher in public estimation than men of science, who, while remaining faithful to their higher nature, have enlarged our knowledge of the wonderful works of God.

A second cause of the alienation between science and religion, is the failure to make the due distinction between facts and the explanation of those facts, or the theories deduced from them. No sound minded man disputes any scientific fact. Religious men believe with Agassiz that facts are sacred. They are revelations from God. Christians sacrifice to them, when duly authenticated, their most cherished convictions. That the earth moves, no religious man doubts. When Galileo made that great discovery, the Church was right in not yielding at once to the evidence of an experiment which it did not understand. But when the fact was clearly established, no man sets up his interpretation of the Bible in opposition to it. Religious men admit all the facts connected with our solar system; all the facts of geology, and of comparative anatomy, and of biology. Ought not this to satisfy scientific men? Must we also admit their explanations and inferences? If we admit that the human embryo passes through various phases, must we admit that man was once a fish, then a bird, then a dog, then an ape, and finally what he now is? If we admit the similarity of structure in all vertebrates, must we admit the evolution of one from another, and all from a primordial germ? It is to be remembered that the facts are from God, the explanation from men; and the two are often as far apart as Heaven and its antipode.

These human explanations are not only without authority, but they are very mutable. They change not only from generation to generation, but almost as often as the phases of the moon. It is a fact that the planets move. Once it was said that they were moved by spirits, then by vortexes, now by self-evolved forces. It is hard that we should be called upon to change our faith with every new moon. The same man sometimes propounds theories almost as rapidly as the changes of the kaleidoscope. The amiable Sir Charles Lyell, England's most distinguished geologist, has published ten editions of his "Principles of Geology," which so differ as to make it hard to believe that it is the work of the same mind. "In all the editions up to the tenth, he looked upon geological facts and geological phenomena as proving the fixity of species and their special creation in time. In the tenth edition, just published, he announces his change of opinion on this subject and his conversion to the doctrine of development by law."[43] "In the eighth edition of his work," says Dr. Bree, "Sir Charles Lyell, the Nestor of geologists, to whom the present generation is more indebted than to any other for all that is known of geology in its advanced stage, teaches that species have a real existence in nature, and that each was endowed at the time of its creation with the attributes and organization by which it is now distinguished." The change on the part of this eminent geologist, it is to be observed, is a mere change of opinion. There was no change of the facts of geology between the publication of the eighth and of the tenth edition of his work, neither was there any change in his knowledge of those facts. All the facts relied upon by evolutionists, have long been familiar to scientific men. The whole change is a subjective one. One year the veteran geologist thinks the facts teach one thing, another year he thinks they teach another. It is now the fact, and it is feared it will continue to be a fact, that scientific men give the name of science to their explanations as well as to the facts. Nay, they are often, and naturally, more zealous for their explanations than they are for the facts. The facts are God's, the explanations are their own.

The third cause of the alienation between religion and science, is the bearing of scientific men towards the men of culture who do not belong to their own class. When we, in such connections, speak of scientific men, we do not mean men of science as such, but those only who avow or manifest their hostility to religion. There is an assumption of superiority, and often a manifestation of contempt. Those who call their logic or their conjectures into question, are stigmatized as narrow-minded, bigots, old women, Bible worshippers, etc.

Professor Huxley's advice to metaphysicians and theologians is, to let science alone. This is his Irenicum. But do he and his associates let metaphysics and religion alone? They tell the metaphysician that his vocation is gone; there is no such thing as mind, and of course no mental laws to be established. Metaphysics are merged into physics. Professor Huxley tells the religious world that there is over-whelming and crushing evidence (scientific evidence, of course) that no event has ever occurred on this earth which was not the effect of natural causes. Hence there have been no miracles, and Christ is not risen.[44] He says that the doctrine that belief in a personal God is necessary to any religion worthy of the name, is a mere matter of opinion. Tyndall, Carpenter, and Henry Thompson, teach that prayer is a superstitious absurdity; Herbert Spencer, whom they call their "great philosopher," i. e., the man who does their thinking, labors to prove that there cannot be a personal God, or human soul or self; that moral laws are mere "generalizations of utility," or, as Carl Vogt says, that self respect, and not the will of God, is the ground and rule of moral obligation. If any protest be made against such doctrines, we are told that scientific truth cannot be put down by denunciation (or as Vogt says, by barking). So doubtless the Pharisees, when our blessed Lord called them hypocrites and a generation of vipers, and said: "Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves," doubtless thought that that was a poor way to refute their theory, that holiness and salvation were to be secured by church-membership and church-rites. Nevertheless, as those words were the words of Christ, they were a thunderbolt which reverberates through all time and space, and still makes Pharisees of every name and nation tremble. Huxley's Irenicum will not do. Men who are assiduously poisoning the fountains of religion, morality, and social order, cannot be let alone.

Haeckel's Irenicum amounts to much the same as that of Professor Huxley. He forbids the right to speak on these vital subjects, to all who are not thoroughly versed in biology, and who are not entirely emancipated from the trammels of their long cherished traditional beliefs.[45] This, as the whole context shows, means that a man in order to be entitled to be heard on the evolution theory, must be willing to renounce his faith not only in the Bible, but in God, in the soul, in a future life, and become a monistic materialist.[46]

It is very reasonable that scientific men, in common with lawyers and physicians and other professional men, should feel themselves entitled to be heard with special deference on subjects belonging to their respective departments. This deference no one is disposed to deny to men of science. But it is to be remembered that no department of human knowledge is isolated. One runs into and overlaps another. We have abundant evidence that the devotees of natural science are not willing to confine themselves to the department of nature, in the common sense of that word. They not only speculate, but dogmatize, on the highest questions of philosophy, morality, and religion. And further, admitting the special claims to deference on the part of scientific men, other men have their rights. They have the right to judge of the consistency of the assertions of men of science and of the logic of their reasoning. They have the right to set off the testimony of one or more experts against the testimony of others; and especially, they have the right to reject all speculations, hypotheses, and theories, which come in conflict with well established truths. It is ground of profound gratitude to God that He has given to the human mind intuitions which are infallible, laws of belief which men cannot disregard any more than the laws of nature, and also convictions produced by the Spirit of God which no sophistry of man can weaken. These are barriers which no man can pass without plunging into the abyss of outer darkness.

If there be any truth in the preceding remarks, then it is obvious that there can be no harmony between science and religion until the evils referred to be removed. Scientific men must come to recognize practically, and not merely in words, that there are other kinds of evidence of truth than the testimony of the senses. They must come to give due weight to the testimony of consciousness, and to the intuitions of the reason and conscience. They must cease to require the deference due to established facts to be paid to their speculations and explanations. And they must treat their fellow-men with due respect. The Pharisees said to the man whose sight had been restored by Christ, "Thou wast altogether born in sin, and dost thou teach us!" Men of science must not speak thus. They must not say to every objector, Thou art not scientific, and therefore hast no right to speak. The true Irenicum is for all parties to give due heed to such words as these, "If any man would be wise, let him become a fool, that he may be wise;" or these, "Be converted, and become as little children;" or these, "The Spirit of Truth shall guide you in all truth." We are willing to hear this called cant. Nevertheless, these latter words fell from the lips of Him who spake as never man spake.

So much, and it is very little, on the general question of the relation of science to religion. But what is to be thought of the special relation of Mr. Darwin's theory to the truths of natural and revealed religion? We have already seen that Darwinism includes the three elements, evolution, natural selection, and the denial of design in nature. These points, however, cannot now be considered separately.

It is conceded that a man may be an evolutionist and yet not be an atheist and may admit of design in nature. But we cannot see how the theory of evolution can be reconciled with the declarations of the Scriptures. Others may see it, and be able to reconcile their allegiance to science with their allegiance to the Bible. Professor Huxley, as we have seen, pronounces the thing impossible. As all error is antagonistic to truth, if the evolution theory be false, it must be opposed to the truths of religion so far as the two come into contact. Mr. Henslow, indeed, says Science and Religion are not antagonistic because they are in different spheres of thought. This is often said by men who do not admit that there is any thought at all in religion; that it is merely a matter of feeling. The fact, however, is that religion is a system of knowledge, as well as a state of feeling. The truths on which all religion is founded are drawn within the domain of science, the nature of the first cause, its relation to the world, the nature of second causes, the origin of life, anthropology, including the origin, nature, and destiny of man. Religion has to fight for its life against a large class of scientific men. All attempts to prevent her exercising her right to be heard are unreasonable and vain.

It should be premised that this paper was written for the single purpose of answering the question, What is Darwinism? The discussion of the merits of the theory was not within the scope of the writer. What follows, therefore, is to be considered only in the light of a practical conclusion.

1. The first objection to the theory is its prima facie incredibility. That a single plant or animal should be developed from a mere cell, is such a wonder, that nothing but daily observation of the fact could induce any man to believe it. Let any one ask himself, suppose this fact was not thus familiar, what amount of speculation, of arguments from analogies, possibilities, and probabilities, could avail to produce conviction of its truth. But who can believe that all the plants and animals which have ever existed upon the face of the earth, have been evolved from one such germ? This is Darwin's doctrine. We are aware that this apparent impossibility is evaded by the believers in spontaneous generation, who hold that such germ cells may be produced anywhere and at all times. But this is not Darwinism. Darwin wants us to believe that all living things, from the lowly violet to the giant redwoods of California, from the microscopic animalcule to the Mastodon, the Dinotherium,—monsters the very description of which fill us with horror,—bats with wings twenty feet in breadth, flying dragons, tortoises ten feet high and eighteen feet long, etc., etc., came one and all from the same primordial germ. This demand is the more unreasonable when we remember that these living creatures are not only so different, but are, as to plants and animals, directly opposed in their functions. The function of the plant, as biologists express it, is to produce force, that of the animal to expend it. The plant, in virtue of a power peculiar to itself, which no art or skill of man can imitate, transmutes dead inorganic matter into organic matter, suited to the sustenance of animal life, and without which animals cannot live. The gulf, therefore, between the plant and animal would seem to be impassable.

Further, the variations by which the change of species is effected are so trifling as often to be imperceptible, and their accumulation of them so slow as to evade notice,—the time requisite to accomplish any marked change must be counted by millions, or milliards of years. Here is another demand on our credulity. The apex is reached when we are told that all these transmutations are effected by chance, that is, without purpose or intention. Taking all these things into consideration, we think it may, with moderation, be said, that a more absolutely incredible theory was never propounded for acceptance among men.

2. There is no pretence that the theory can be proved. Mr. Darwin does not pretend to prove it. He admits that all the facts in the case can be accounted for on the assumption of divine purpose and control. All that he claims for his theory is that it is possible. His mode of arguing is that if we suppose this and that, then it may have happened thus and so. Amiable and attractive as the man presents himself in his writings, it rouses indignation, in one class at least of his readers, to see him by such a mode of arguing reaching conclusions which are subversive of the fundamental truths of religion.

3. Another fact cannot fail to attract attention. When the theory of evolution was propounded in 1844 in the "Vestiges of Creation," it was universally rejected; when proposed by Mr. Darwin, less than twenty years afterward, it was received with acclamation. Why is this? The facts are now what they were then. They were as well known then as they are now. The theory, so far as evolution is concerned, was then just what it is now. How then is it, that what was scientifically false in 1844 is scientifically true in 1864? When a drama is introduced in a theatre and universally condemned, and a little while afterward, with a little change in the scenery, it is received with rapturous applause, the natural conclusion is, that the change is in the audience and not in the drama.

There is only one cause for the fact referred to, that we can think of. The "Vestiges of Creation" did not expressly or effectually exclude design. Darwin does. This is a reason assigned by the most zealous advocates of his theory for their adoption of it. This is the reason given by Buechner, by Haeckel, and by Vogt. It is assigned also in express terms by Strauss, the announcement of whose death has diffused a feeling of sadness over all who were acquainted with his antecedents. In his last work, "The Old Faith and the New," he admits "that Darwin's doctrine is a mere hypothesis; that it leaves the main points unexplained (Die Hupt und Cardinal-punkte noch unerklaert sind); nevertheless, as he has shown how miracles may be excluded, he is to be applauded as one of the greatest benefactors of the human race." (p. 177) By "Wunder," or miracle, Strauss means any event for which natural causes are insufficient to account. "We philosophers and critical theologians," he says, "have spoken well when we decreed the abolition of miracles; but our decree (macht-spruch) remained without effect, because we could not show them to be unnecessary, inasmuch as we were unable to indicate any natural force to take their place. Darwin has provided or indicated this natural force, this process of nature; he has opened the door through which a happier posterity may eject miracles forever." Then follows the sentence just quoted, "He who knows what hangs on miracle, will applaud Darwin as one of the greatest benefactors of the human race." With Strauss and others of his class, miracles and design are identical, because one as well as the other assumes supernatural agency. He quotes Helmholtz, who says, "Darwin's theory, that adaptation in the formation of organisms may arise without the intervention of intelligence, by the blind operation of natural law;" and then adds, "As Helmholtz distinguishes the English naturalist as the man who has banished design from nature, so we have praised him as the man who has done away with miracles. Both mean the same thing.[47] Design is the miracle-worker in nature, which has put the world upside down; or as Spinoza says, has placed the last first, the effect for the cause, and thus destroyed the very idea of nature. Design in nature, especially in the department of living organisms, has ever been appealed to by those who desire to prove that the world is not self-evolved, but the work of an intelligent Creator." (p. 211) On page 175, he refers to those who ridicule Darwin, and yet are so far under the influence of the spirit of the age as to deny miracles or the intervention of the Creator in the course of nature, and says: "Very well; how do they account for the origin of man, and in general the development of the organic out of the inorganic? Would they assume that the original man as such, no matter how rough and unformed, but still a man, sprang immediately out of the inorganic, out of the sea or the slime of the Nile? They would hardly venture to say that; then they must know that there is only the choice between miracle, the divine hand of the Creator, and Darwin." What an alternative; the Creator or Darwin! In this, however, Strauss is right. To banish design from nature, as is done by Darwin's theory, is, in the language of the Rev. Walter Mitchell, virtually "to dethrone the Creator."

Ludwig Weis, M. D., of Darmstadt, says it is at present "the mode" in Germany (and of course in a measure here), to glorify Buddhism. Strauss, he adds, says, "Nature knows itself in man, and in that he expresses the thought which all Idealism and all Materialism make the grand end. To the same effect it is said, 'In Man the All comprehends itself as conscious being (comes to self-consciousness); or, in Man the absolute knowledge (Wissen, the act of knowing) appears in the limits of personality.' This was the doctrine of the Buddhist and of the ancient Chinese." Thus, as Dr. Weis says, "in the nineteenth century of the Christian era, philosophers and scientists have reached the point where the Chinese were two thousand years ago."

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