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Darwiniana by Thomas Henry Huxley

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their fullest extent, those adaptations to purpose which are so striking in
the organic world, and which Teleology has done good service in keeping
before our minds, without being false to the fundamental principles of a
scientific conception of the universe. The apparently diverging teachings
of the Teleologist and of the Morphologist are reconciled by the Darwinian

But leaving our own impressions of the "Origin of Species," and turning to
those passages especially cited by Professor Klliker, we cannot admit that
they bear the interpretation he puts upon them. Darwin, if we read him
rightly, does _not_ affirm that every detail in the structure of an
animal has been created for its benefit. His words are (p. 199):--

"The foregoing remarks lead me to say a few words on the protest lately
made by some naturalists against the utilitarian doctrine that every detail
of structure has been produced for the good of its possessor. They believe
that very many structures have been created for beauty in the eyes of man,
or for mere variety. This doctrine, if true, would be absolutely fatal to
my theory--yet I fully admit that many structures are of no direct use to
their possessor."

And after sundry illustrations and qualifications, he concludes (p. 200):--

"Hence every detail of structure in every living creature (making some
little allowance for the direct action of physical conditions) may be
viewed either as having been of special use to some ancestral form, or as
being now of special use to the descendants of this form--either directly,
or indirectly, through the complex laws of growth."

But it is one thing to say, Darwinically, that every detail observed in an
animal's structure is of use to it, or has been of use to its ancestors;
and quite another to affirm, teleologically, that every detail of an
animal's structure has been created for its benefit. On the former
hypothesis, for example, the teeth of the foetal _Baltna_ have a
meaning; on the latter, none. So far as we are aware, there is not a phrase
in the "Origin of Species" inconsistent with Professor Klliker's position,
that "varieties arise irrespectively of the notion of purpose, or of
utility, according to general laws of Nature, and may be either useful, or
hurtful, or indifferent."

On the contrary, Mr. Darwin writes (Summary of Chap. V.):--

"Our ignorance of the laws of variation is profound. Not in one case out of
a hundred can we pretend to assign any reason why this or that part varies
more or less from the same part in the parents... The external conditions
of life, as climate and food, &c., seem to have induced some slight
modifications. Habit, in producing constitutional differences, and use, in
strengthening, and disuse, in weakening and diminishing organs, seem to
have been more potent in their effects."

And finally, as if to prevent all possible misconception, Mr. Darwin
concludes his Chapter on Variation with these pregnant words:--

"Whatever the cause may be of each slight difference in the offspring from
their parents--and a cause for each must exist--it is the steady
accumulation, through natural selection of such differences, when
beneficial to the individual, that gives rise to all the more important
modifications of structure, by which the innumerable beings on the face of
the earth are enabled to struggle with each other, and the best adapted to

We have dwelt at length upon, this subject, because of its great general
importance, and because we believe that Professor Klliker's criticisms on
this head are based upon a misapprehension of Mr. Darwin's
views--substantially they appear to us to coincide with his own. The other
objections which Professor Klliker enumerates and discusses are the
following: [Footnote: Space will not allow us to give Professor Klliker's
arguments in detail; our readers will find a full and accurate version of
them in the _Reader_ for August 13th and 20th, 1864.]--

"1. No transitional forms between existing species are known; and known
varieties, whether selected or spontaneous, never go so far as to establish
new species."

To this Professor Klliker appears to attach some weight. He makes the
suggestion that the short-faced tumbler pigeon may be a pathological

"2. No transitional forms of animals are met with among the organic remains
of earlier epochs."

Upon this, Professor Klliker remarks that the absence of transitional
forms in the fossil world, though not necessarily fatal to Darwin's views,
weakens his case.

"3. The struggle for existence does not take place."

To this objection, urged by Pelzeln, Klliker, very justly, attaches no

"4. A tendency of organisms to give rise to useful varieties, and a natural
selection, do not exist.

"The varieties which are found arise in consequence of manifold external
influences, and it is not obvious why they all, or partially, should be
particularly useful. Each animal suffices for its own ends, is perfect of
its kind, and needs no further development. Should, however, a variety be
useful and even maintain itself, there is no obvious reason why it should
change any further. The whole conception of the imperfection of organisms
and the necessity of their becoming perfected is plainly the weakest side
of Darwin's Theory, and a _pis aller_ (Nothbehelf) because Darwin
could think of no other principle by which to explain the metamorphoses
which, as I also believe, have occurred."

Here again we must venture to dissent completely from Professor Klliker's
conception of Mr. Darwin's hypothesis. It appears to us to be one of the
many peculiar merits of that hypothesis that it involves no belief in a
necessary and continual progress of organisms.

Again, Mr. Darwin, if we read him aright, assumes no special tendency of
organisms to give rise to useful varieties, and knows nothing of needs of
development, or necessity of perfection. What he says is, in substance: All
organisms vary. It is in the highest degree improbable that any given
variety should have exactly the same relations to surrounding conditions as
the parent stock. In that case it is either better fitted (when the
variation may be called useful), or worse fitted, to cope with them. If
better, it will tend to supplant the parent stock; if worse, it will tend
to be extinguished by the parent stock.

If (as is hardly conceivable) the new variety is so perfectly adapted to
the conditions that no improvement upon it is possible,--it will persist,
because, though it does not cease to vary, the varieties will be inferior
to itself.

If, as is more probable, the new variety is by no means perfectly adapted
to its conditions, but only fairly well adapted to them, it will persist,
so long as none of the varieties which it throws off are better adapted
than itself.

On the other hand, as soon as it varies in a useful way, _i.e._ when
the variation is such as to adapt it more perfectly to its conditions, the
fresh variety will tend to supplant the former.

So far from a gradual progress towards perfection forming any necessary
part of the Darwinian creed, it appears to us that it is perfectly
consistent with indefinite persistence in one state, or with a gradual
retrogression. Suppose, for example, a return of the glacial epoch and a
spread of polar climatal conditions over the whole globe. The operation of
natural selection under these circumstances would tend, on the whole, to
the weeding out of the higher organisms and the cherishing of the lower
forms of life. Cryptogamic vegetation would have the advantage over
Phanerogamic; _Hydrozoa_ over Corals; _Crustacea_ over
_Insecta_, and _Amphipoda_ and _Isopoda_ over the higher
_Crustacea;_ Cetaceans and Seals over the _Primates_; the
civilisation of the Esquimaux over that of the European.

"5. Pelzeln has also objected that if the later organisms have proceeded
from the earlier, the whole developmental series, from the simplest to the
highest, could not now exist; in such a case the simpler organisms must
have disappeared."

To this Professor Klliker replies, with perfect justice, that the
conclusion drawn by Pelzeln does not really follow from Darwin's premises,
and that, if we take the facts of Paleontology as they stand, they rather
support than oppose Darwin's theory.

"6. Great weight must be attached to the objection brought forward by
Huxley, otherwise a warm supporter of Darwin's hypothesis, that we know of
no varieties which are sterile with one another, as is the rule among
sharply distinguished animal forms.

"If Darwin is right, it must be demonstrated that forms may be produced by
selection, which, like the present sharply distinguished animal forms, are
infertile, when coupled with one another, and this has not been done."

The weight of this objection is obvious; but our ignorance of the
conditions of fertility and sterility, the want of carefully conducted
experiments extending over long series of years, and the strange anomalies
presented by the results of the cross-fertilisation of many plants, should
all, as Mr. Darwin has urged, be taken into account in considering it.

The seventh objection is that we have already discussed (_supra_ p.

The eighth and last stands as follows:--

"8. The developmental theory of Darwin is not needed to enable us to
understand the regular harmonious progress of the complete series of
organic forms from the simpler to the more perfect.

"The existence of general laws of Nature explains this harmony, even if we
assume that all beings have arisen separately and independent of one
another. Darwin forgets that inorganic nature, in which there can be no
thought of genetic connexion of forms, exhibits the same regular plan, the
same harmony, as the organic world; and that, to cite only one example,
there is as much a natural system of minerals as of plants and animals."

We do not feel quite sure that we seize Professor Klliker's meaning here,
but he appears to suggest that the observation of the general order and
harmony which pervade inorganic nature, would lead us to anticipate a
similar order and harmony in the organic world. And this is no doubt true,
but it by no means follows that the particular order and harmony observed
among them should be that which we see. Surely the stripes of dun horses,
and the teeth of the _foetal_ _Balna_, are not explained by the
"existence of General laws of Nature." Mr. Darwin endeavours to explain the
exact order of organic nature which exists; not the mere fact that there is
some order.

And with regard to the existence of a natural system of minerals; the
obvious reply is that there may be a natural classification of any
objects--of stones on a sea-beach, or of works of art; a natural
classification being simply an assemblage of objects in groups, so as to
express their most important and fundamental resemblances and differences.
No doubt Mr. Darwin believes that those resemblances and differences upon
which our natural systems or classifications of animals and plants are
based, are resemblances and differences which have been produced
genetically, but we can discover no reason for supposing that he denies the
existence of natural classifications of other kinds.

And, after all, is it quite so certain that a genetic relation may not
underlie the classification of minerals? The inorganic world has not always
been what we see it. It has certainly had its metamorphoses, and, very
probably, a long "Entwickelungsgeschichte" out of a nebular blastema. Who
knows how far that amount of likeness among sets of minerals, in virtue of
which they are now grouped into families and orders, may not be the
expression of the common conditions to which that particular patch of
nebulous fog, which may have been constituted by their atoms, and of which
they may be, in the strictest sense, the descendants, was subjected?

It will be obvious from what has preceded, that we do not agree with
Professor Klliker in thinking the objections which he brings forward so
weighty as to be fatal to Darwin's view. But even if the case were
otherwise, we should be unable to accept the "Theory of Heterogeneous
Generation" which is offered as a substitute. That theory is thus stated:--

"The fundamental conception of this hypothesis is, that, under the
influence of a general law of development, the germs of organisms produce
others different from themselves. This might happen (1) by the fecundated
ova passing, in the course of their development, under particular
circumstances, into higher forms; (2) by the primitive and later organisms
producing other organisms without fecundation, out of germs or eggs

In favour of this hypothesis, Professor Klliker adduces the well-known
facts of Agamogenesis, or "alternate generation"; the extreme dissimilarity
of the males and females of many animals; and of the males, females, and
neuters of those insects which live in colonies: and he defines its
relations to the Darwinian theory as follows:--

"It is obvious that my hypothesis is apparently very similar to Darwin's,
inasmuch as I also consider that the various forms of animals have
proceeded directly from one another. My hypothesis of the creation of
organisms by heterogeneous generation, however, is distinguished very
essentially from Darwin's by the entire absence of the principle of useful
variations and their natural selection: and my fundamental conception is
this, that a great plan of development lies at the foundation of the origin
of the whole organic world, impelling the simpler forms to more and more
complex developments. How this law operates, what influences determine the
development of the eggs and germs, and impel them to assume constantly new
forms, I naturally cannot pretend to say; but I can at least adduce the
great analogy of the alternation of generations. If a _Bipinnaria_, a
_Brachiolaria_, a _Pluteus_, is competent to produce the
Echinoderm, which is so widely different from it; if a hydroid polype can
produce the higher Medusa; if the vermiform Trematode 'nurse' can develop
within itself the very unlike _Cercaria_, it will not appear
impossible that the egg, or ciliated embryo, of a sponge, for once, under
special conditions, might become a hydroid polype, or the embryo of a
Medusa, an Echinoderm."

It is obvious, from, these extracts, that Professor Klliker's hypothesis
is based upon the supposed existence of a close analogy between the
phnomena of Agamogenesis and the production of new species from
pre-existing ones. But is the analogy a real one? We think that it is not,
and, by the hypothesis cannot be.

For what are the phnomena of Agamogenesis, stated generally? An
impregnated egg develops into a sexless form, A; this gives rise,
non-sexually, to a second form or forms, B, more or less different from A.
B may multiply non-sexually again; in the simpler cases, however, it does
not, but, acquiring sexual characters, produces impregnated eggs from
whence A, once more, arises.

No case of Agamogenesis is known in which _when A differs widely from
B_, it is itself capable of sexual propagation. No case whatever is
known in which the progeny of B, by sexual generation, is other than a
reproduction of A.

But if this be a true statement of the nature of the process of
Agamogenesis, how can it enable us to comprehend the production of new
species from already existing ones? Let us suppose Hynas to have preceded
Dogs, and to have produced the latter in this way. Then the Hyna will
represent A, and the Dog, B. The first difficulty that presents itself is
that the Hyna must be non-sexual, or the process will be wholly without
analogy in the world of Agamogenesis. But passing over this difficulty, and
supposing a male and female Dog to be produced at the same time from the
Hyna stock, the progeny of the pair, if the analogy of the simpler kinds
of Agamogenesis [Footnote: If, on the contrary, we follow the analogy of
the more complex forms of Agamogenesis, such as that exhibited by some
_Trematoda_ and by the _Aphides_, the Hyna must produce,
non-sexually, a brood of sexless Dogs, from which other sexless Dogs must
proceed. At the end of a certain number of terms of the series, the Dogs
would acquire sexes and generate young; but these young would be, not Dogs,
but Hynas. In fact, we have demonstrated, in Agamogenetic phnomena, that
inevitable recurrence to the original type, which is asserted to be true of
variations in general, by Mr. Darwin's opponents; and which, if the
assertion could be changed into a demonstration, would, in fact, be fatal
to his hypothesis.] is to be followed, should be a litter, not of puppies,
but of young Hynas. For the Agamogenetic series is always, as we have
seen, A:B:A:B, &c.; whereas, for the production of a new species, the
series must be A:B:B:B, &c. The production of new species, or genera, is
the extreme permanent divergence from the primitive stock. All known
Agamogenetic processes, on the other hand, end in a complete return to the
primitive stock. How then is the production of new species to be rendered
intelligible by the analogy of Agamogenesis?

The other alternative put by Professor Klliker--the passage of fecundated
ova in the course of their development into higher forms--would, if it
occurred, be merely an extreme case of variation in the Darwinian sense,
greater in degree than, but perfectly similar in kind to, that which
occurred when the well-known Ancon Ram was developed from an ordinary Ewe's
ovum. Indeed we have always thought that Mr. Darwin has unnecessarily
hampered himself by adhering so strictly to his favourite "Natura non facit
saltum." We greatly suspect that she does make considerable jumps in the
way of variation now and then, and that these saltations give rise to some
of the gaps which appear to exist in the series of known forms.

Strongly and freely as we have ventured to disagree with Professor
Klliker, we have always done so with regret, and we trust without
violating that respect which is due, not only to his scientific eminence
and to the careful study which he has devoted to the subject, but to the
perfect fairness of his argumentation, and the generous appreciation of the
worth of Mr. Darwin's labours which he always displays. It would be
satisfactory to be able to say as much for M. Flourens.

But the Perpetual Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences deals with
Mr. Darwin as the first Napoleon would have treated an "idologue;" and
while displaying a painful weakness of logic and shallowness of
information, assumes a tone of authority, which always touches upon the
ludicrous, and sometimes passes the limits of good breeding.

For example (p. 56):--

"M. Darwin continue: 'Aucune distinction absolue n'a t et ne peut tre
tablie entre les espces et les varits.' Je vous ai dj dit que vous
vous trompiez; une distinction absolue spare les varits d'avec les

"_Je vous ai dj dit_; moi, M. le Secrtaire perptuel de l'Acadmie
des Sciences: et vous

"'Qui n'tes rien,
Pas mme Acadmicien;'

what do you mean by asserting the contrary?" Being devoid of the blessings
of an Academy in England, we are unaccustomed to see our ablest men treated
in this fashion, even by a "Perpetual Secretary."

Or again, considering that if there is any one quality of Mr. Darwin's work
to which friends and foes have alike borne witness, it is his candour and
fairness in admitting and discussing objections, what is to be thought of
M. Flourens' assertion, that

"M. Darwin ne cite que les auteurs qui partagent ses opinions." (P. 40.)

Once more (p. 65):--

"Enfin l'ouvrage de M. Darwin a paru. On ne peut qu'tre frapp du talent
de l'auteur. Mais quo d'ides obscures, que d'ides fausses! Quel jargon
mtaphysique jet mal propos dans l'histoire naturelle, qui tombe dans le
galimatias ds qu'elle sort des ides claires, des ides justes! Quel
langage prtentieux et vide! Quelles personnifications puriles et
surannes! O lucidit! 0 solidit de l'esprit Franais, que devenez-vous?"

"Obscure ideas," "metaphysical jargon," "pretentious and empty language,"
"puerile and superannuated personifications." Mr. Darwin has many and hot
opponents on this side of the Channel and in Germany, but we do not
recollect to have found precisely these sins in the long catalogue of those
hitherto laid to his charge. It is worth while, therefore, to examine into
these discoveries effected solely by the aid of the "lucidity and solidity"
of the mind of M. Flourens.

According to M. Flourens, Mr. Darwin's great error is that he has
personified Nature (p. 10), and further that he has

"imagined a natural selection: he imagines afterwards that this power of
selecting (_pouvoir d'lire_) which he gives to Nature is similar to
the power of man. These two suppositions admitted, nothing stops him: he
plays with Nature as he likes, and makes her do all he pleases." (P. 6.)

And this is the way M. Flourens extinguishes natural selection:

"Voyons donc encore une fois, ce qu'il peut y avoir de fond dans ce qu'on
nomme _lection naturelle_.

"_L'lection naturelle_ n'est sous un autre nom que la nature. Pour un
tre organis, la nature n'est que l'organisation, ni plus ni moins.

"Il faudra donc aussi personnifier _l'organisation,_ et dire que
_l'organisation_ choisit _l'organisation. L'lection naturelle_
est cette _forme substantielle_ dont on jouait autrefois avec tant de
facilit. Aristote disait que 'Si l'art de btir tait dans le bois, cet
art agirait comme la nature.' A la place de _l'art de btir_ M. Darwin
met _l'lection naturelle,_ et c'est tout un: l'un n'est pas plus
chimrique que l'autre." (P. 31.)

And this is really all that M. Flourens can make of Natural Selection. We
have given the original, in fear lest a translation should be regarded as a
travesty; but with the original before the reader, we may try to analyse
the passage. "For an organised being, Nature is only organisation, neither
more nor less."

Organised beings then have absolutely no relation to inorganic nature: a
plant does not depend on soil or sunshine, climate, depth in the ocean,
height above it; the quantity of saline matters in water have no influence
upon animal life; the substitution of carbonic acid for oxygen in our
atmosphere would hurt nobody! That these are absurdities no one should know
better than M. Flourens; but they are logical deductions from the assertion
just quoted, and from the further statement that natural selection means
only that "organisation chooses and selects organisation."

For if it be once admitted (what no sane man denies) that the chances of
life of any given organism are increased by certain conditions (A) and
diminished by their opposites (B), then it is mathematically certain that
any change of conditions in the direction of (A) will exercise a selective
influence in favour of that organism, tending to its increase and
multiplication, while any change in the direction of (B) will exercise a
selective influence against that organism, tending to its decrease and

Or, on the other hand, conditions remaining the same, let a given organism
vary (and no one doubts that they do vary) in two directions: into one form
(_a_) better fitted to cope with these conditions than the original
stock, and a second (_b_) less well adapted to them. Then it is no
less certain that the conditions in question must exercise a selective
influence in favour of (_a_) and against (_b_), so that
(_a_) will tend to predominance, and (_b_) to extirpation.

That M. Flourens should be unable to perceive the logical necessity of
these simple arguments, which lie at the foundation of all Mr. Darwin's
reasoning; that he should confound an irrefragable deduction from the
observed relations of organisms to the conditions which lie around them,
with a metaphysical "forme substantielle," or a chimerical personification
of the powers of Nature, would be incredible, were it not that other
passages of his work leave no room for doubt upon the subject.

"On imagine une _lection naturelle_ que, pour plus de mnagement, on
me dit tre _inconsciente_, sans s'apercevoir que le contresens
littral est prcisment l: _lection inconsciente_." (P. 52.)

"J'ai dj dit ce qu'il faut penser de _l'lection naturelle_. Ou
_l'lection naturelle_ n'est rien, ou c'est la nature: mais la nature
doue _d'lection_, mais la nature personnifie: dernire erreur du
dernier sicle: Le XIXe ne fait plus de personnifications." (P. 53.)

M. Flourens cannot imagine an unconscious selection--it is for him a
contradiction in terms. Did M. Flourens ever visit one of the prettiest
watering-places of "la belle France," the Baie d'Arcachon? If so, he will
probably have passed through the district of the Landes, and will have had
an opportunity of observing the formation of "dunes" on a grand scale. What
are these "dunes"? The winds and waves of the Bay of Biscay have not much
consciousness, and yet they have with great care "selected," from among an
infinity of masses of silex of all shapes and sizes, which have been
submitted to their action, all the grains of sand below a certain size, and
have heaped them by themselves over a great area. This sand has been
"unconsciously selected" from amidst the gravel in which it first lay with
as much precision as if man had "consciously selected" it by the aid of a
sieve. Physical Geology is full of such selections--of the picking out of
the soft from the hard, of the soluble from the insoluble, of the fusible
from the infusible, by natural agencies to which we are certainly not in
the habit of ascribing consciousness.

But that which wind and sea are to a sandy beach, the sum of influences,
which we term the "conditions of existence," is to living organisms. The
weak are sifted out from the strong. A frosty night "selects" the hardy
plants in a plantation from among the tender ones as effectually as if it
were the wind, and they, the sand and pebbles, of our illustration; or, on
the other hand, as if the intelligence of a gardener had been operative in
cutting the weaker organisms down. The thistle, which has spread over the
Pampas, to the destruction of native plants, has been more effectually
"selected" by the unconscious operation of natural conditions than if a
thousand agriculturists had spent their time in sowing it.

It is one of Mr. Darwin's many great services to Biological science that he
has demonstrated the significance of these facts. He has shown that given
variation and given change of conditions the inevitable result is the
exercise of such an influence upon organisms that one is helped and another
is impeded; one tends to predominate, another to disappear; and thus the
living world bears within itself, and is surrounded by, impulses towards
incessant change.

But the truths just stated are as certain as any other physical laws, quite
independently of the truth, or falsehood, of the hypothesis which Mr.
Darwin has based upon them; and that Mr. Flourens, missing the substance
and grasping at a shadow, should be blind to the admirable exposition of
them, which Mr. Darwin has given, and see nothing there but a "dernire
erreur du dernier sicle"--a personification of Nature--leads us indeed to
cry with him: "O lucidit! O solidit de l'esprit Franais, que

M. Flourens has, in fact, utterly failed to comprehend the first principles
of the doctrine which he assails so rudely. His objections to details are
of the old sort, so battered and hackneyed on this side of the Channel,
that not even a Quarterly Reviewer could be induced to pick them up for the
purpose of pelting Mr. Darwin over again. We have Cuvier and the mummies;
M. Roulin and the domesticated animals of America; the difficulties
presented by hybridism and by Palontology; Darwinism a
_rifacciamento_ of De Maillet and Lamarck; Darwinism a system without
a commencement, and its author bound to believe in M. Pouchet, &c. &c. How
one knows it all by heart, and with what relief one reads at p. 65--

"Je laisse M. Darwin!"

But we cannot leave M. Flourens without calling our readers' attention to
his wonderful tenth chapter, "De la Prexistence des Germes et de
l'Epignse," which opens thus:--

"Spontaneous generation is only a chimaera. This point established, two
hypotheses remain: that of _pre-existence_ and that of
_epigenesis_. The one of these hypotheses has as little foundation as
the other." (p. 163.)

"The doctrine of _epigenesis_ is derived from Harvey: following by
ocular inspection the development of the new being in the Windsor does, he
saw each part appear successively, and taking the moment of
_appearance_ for the moment of _formation_ he imagined
_epigenesis_." (p. 165.)

On the contrary, says M. Flourens (p. 167),

"The new being is formed at a stroke (_tout d'un coup_), as a whole,
instantaneously; it is not formed part by part, and at different times. It
is formed at once at the single _individual_ moment at which the
conjunction of the male and female elements takes place."

It will be observed that M. Flourens uses language which cannot be
mistaken. For him, the labours of Von Baer, of Rathke, of Coste, and their
contemporaries and successors in Germany, France, and England, are
non-existent: and, as Darwin "_imagina_" natural selection, so Harvey
"_imagina_" that doctrine which gives him an even greater claim to the
veneration of posterity than his better known discovery of the circulation
of the blood.

Language such as that we have quoted is, in fact, so preposterous, so
utterly incompatible with anything but absolute ignorance of some of the
best established facts, that we should have passed it over in silence had
it not appeared to afford some clue to M. Flourens' unhesitating, _
priori_, repudiation of all forms of the doctrine of progressive
modification of living beings. He whose mind remains uninfluenced by an
acquaintance with the phnomena of development, must indeed lack one of the
chief motives towards the endeavour to trace a genetic relation between the
different existing forms of life. Those who are ignorant of Geology, find
no difficulty in believing that the world was made as it is; and the
shepherd, untutored in history, sees no reason to regard the green mounds
which indicate the site of a Roman camp as aught but part and parcel of the
primval hillside. So M. Flourens, who believes that embryos are formed
"tout d'un coup," naturally finds no difficulty in conceiving that species
came into existence in the same way.


THE GENEALOGY OF ANIMALS [Footnote: _The Natural History of Creation_.
By Dr. Ernst Haeckel. [_Natrliche Schpfungs-Geschichte_.--Von Dr.
Ernst Haeckel, Professor an der Universitt Jena.] Berlin, 1868.]


Considering that Germany now takes the lead of the world in scientific
investigation, and particularly in biology, Mr. Darwin must be well pleased
at the rapid spread of his views among some of the ablest and most
laborious of German naturalists.

Among these, Professor Haeckel, of Jena, is the Coryphus. I know of no
more solid and important contributions to biology in the past seven years
than Haeckel's work on the "Radiolaria," and the researches of his
distinguished colleague Gegenbaur, in vertebrate anatomy; while in
Haeckel's "Generelle Morphologie" there is all the force, suggestiveness,
and, what I may term the systematising power, of Oken, without his
extravagance. The "Generelle Morphologie" is, in fact, an attempt to put
the Doctrine of Evolution, so far as it applies to the living world, into a
logical form; and to work out its practical applications to their final
results. The work before, us, again, may be said to be an exposition of the
"Generelle Morphologie" for an educated public, consisting, as it does, of
the substance of a series of lectures delivered before a mixed audience at
Jena, in the session 1867-8.

"The Natural History of Creation,"--or, as Professor Haeckel admits it
would have been better to call his work, "The History of the Development or
Evolution of Nature,"--deals, in the first six lectures, with the general
and historical aspects of the question and contains a very interesting and
lucid account of the views of Linnus, Cuvier, Agassiz, Goethe, Oken, Kant,
Lamarck, Lyell, and Darwin, and of the historical filiation of these

The next six lectures are occupied by a well-digested statement of Mr.
Darwin's views. The thirteenth lecture discusses two topics which are not
touched by Mr. Darwin, namely, the origin of the present form of the solar
system, and that of living matter. Full justice is done to Kant, as the
originator of that "cosmic gas theory," as the Germans somewhat quaintly
call it, which is commonly ascribed to Laplace. With respect to spontaneous
generation, while admitting that there is no experimental evidence in its
favour, Professor Haeckel denies the possibility of disproving it, and
points out that the assumption that it has occurred is a necessary part of
the doctrine of Evolution. The fourteenth lecture, on "Schpfungs-Perioden
und Schpfungs-Urkunden," answers pretty much to the famous disquisition on
the "Imperfection of the Geological Record" in the "Origin of Species."

The following five lectures contain the most original matter of any, being
devoted to "Phylogeny," or the working out of the details of the process of
Evolution in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, so as to prove the line of
descent of each group of living beings, and to furnish it with its proper
genealogical tree, or "phylum."

The last lecture considers objections and sums up the evidence in favour of
biological Evolution.

I shall best testify to my sense of the value of the work thus briefly
analysed if I now proceed to note down some of the more important
criticisms which have been suggested to me by its perusal.

I. In more than one place, Professor Haeckel enlarges upon the service
which the "Origin of Species" has done, in favouring 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 that the
doctrine of Evolution is the most formidable opponent of all the commoner
and coarser forms of Teleology. But 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 views offer.

The Teleology which supposes that the eye, such as we see it in man or one
of the higher _Vertebrata_, was made with the precise structure which
it exhibits, for the purpose of enabling the animal which possesses it to
see, has undoubtedly received its death-blow. Nevertheless it is necessary
to remember that there is a wider Teleology, which is not touched by the
doctrine of Evolution, but is actually based upon the fundamental
proposition of Evolution. That proposition is, that the whole world, living
and not living, in the result of the mutual interaction, according to
definite laws, of the 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
vapour; and that a sufficient intelligence could, from a knowledge of the
properties of the molecules of that vapour, have predicted, say the state
of the Fauna of Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what
will happen to the vapour of the breath in a cold winter's day.

Consider a kitchen clock, which ticks loudly, shows the hours, minutes, and
seconds, strikes, cries "cuckoo!" and perhaps shows the phases of the moon.
When the clock is wound up, all the phenomena which it exhibits are
potentially contained in its mechanism, and a clever clockmaker could
predict all it will do after an examination of its structure.

If the evolution theory is correct, the molecular structure of the cosmic
gas stands in the same relation to the phenomena of the world as the
structure of the clock to its phenomena.

Now let us suppose a death-watch, living in the clock-case, to be a learned
and intelligent student of its works. He might say, "I find here nothing
but matter and force and pure mechanism from beginning to end," and he
would be quite right. But if he drew the conclusion that the clock was not
contrived for a purpose, he would be quite wrong. On the other hand,
imagine another death-watch of a different turn of mind. He, listening to
the monotonous "tick! tick!" so exactly like his own, might arrive at the
conclusion that the clock was itself a monstrous sort of death-watch, and
that its final cause and purpose was to tick. How easy to point to the
clear relation of the whole mechanism to the pendulum, to the fact that the
one thing the clock did always and without intermission was to tick, and
that all the rest of its phenomena were intermittent and subordinate to
ticking! For all this, it is certain that kitchen clocks are not contrived
for the purpose of making a ticking noise.

Thus the teleological theorist would be as wrong as the mechanical
theorist, among our death-watches; and, probably, the only death-watch who
would be right would be the one who should maintain that the sole thing
death-watches could be sure about was the nature of the clock-works and the
way they move; and that the purpose of the clock lay wholly beyond the
purview of beetle faculties.

Substitute "cosmic vapour" for "clock," and "molecules" for "works," and
the application of the argument is obvious. The teleological and the
mechanical views of nature are not, necessarily, mutually exclusive. On the
contrary, the more purely a mechanist the speculator is, the more firmly
does he assume a primordial molecular arrangement, of which all the
phenomena of the universe are the consequences; and the more completely is
he thereby at the mercy of the teleologist, who can always defy him to
disprove that this primordial molecular arrangement was not intended to
evolve the phenomena of the universe. On the other hand, if the teleologist
assert that this, that, or the other result of the working of any part of
the mechanism of the universe is its purpose and final cause, the mechanist
can always inquire how he knows that it is more than an unessential
incident--the mere ticking of the clock, which he mistakes for its
function. And there seems to be no reply to this inquiry, any more than to
the further, not irrational, question, why trouble one's self about matters
which are out of reach, when the working of the mechanism itself, which is
of infinite practical importance, affords scope for all our energies?

Professor Haeckel has invented a new and convenient name "Dysteleology,"
for the study of the "purposelessnesses" which are observable in living
organisms--such as the multitudinous cases of rudimentary and apparently
useless structures. I confess, however, that it has often appeared to me
that the facts of Dysteleology cut two ways. If we are to assume, as
evolutionists in general do, that useless organs atrophy, such cases as the
existence of lateral rudiments of toes, in the foot of a horse, place us in
a dilemma. For, either these rudiments are of no use to the animal, in
which case, considering that the horse has existed in its present form
since the Pliocene epoch, they surely ought to have disappeared; or they
are of some use to the animal, in which case they are of no use as
arguments against Teleology. A similar, but still stronger, argument may be
based upon the existence of teats, and even functional mammary glands, in
male mammals. Numerous cases of "Gyncomasty," or functionally active
breasts in men, are on record, though there is no mammalian species
whatever in which the male normally suckles the young. Thus, there can be
little doubt that the mammary gland was as apparently useless in the
remotest male mammalian ancestor of man as in living men, and yet it has
not disappeared. Is it then still profitable to the male organism to retain
it? Possibly; but in that case its dysteleological value is gone.
[Footnote: The recent discovery of the important part played by the Thyroid
gland should be a warning to all speculators about useless organs. 1893.]

II. Professor Haeckel looks upon the causes which have led to the present
diversity of living nature as twofold. Living matter, he tells us, is urged
by two impulses: a centripetal, which tends to preserve and transmit the
specific form, and which he identifies with heredity; and a centrifugal,
which results from the tendency of external conditions to modify the
organism and effect its adaptation to themselves. The internal impulse is
conservative, and tends to the preservation of specific, or individual,
form; the external impulse is metamorphic, and tends to the modification of
specific, or individual, form.

In developing his views upon this subject, Professor Haeckel introduces
qualifications which disarm some of the criticisms I should have been
disposed to offer; but I think that his method of stating the case has the
inconvenience of tending to leave out of sight the important fact--which is
a cardinal point in the Darwinian hypothesis--that the tendency to vary, in
a given organism, may have nothing to do with the external conditions to
which that individual organism is exposed, but may depend wholly upon
internal conditions. No one, I imagine, would dream of seeking for the
cause of the development of the sixth finger and toe in the famous Maltese,
in the direct influence of the external conditions of his life.

I conceive that both hereditary transmission and adaptation need to be
analysed into their constituent conditions by the further application of
the doctrine of the Struggle for Existence. It is a probable hypothesis,
that what the world is to organisms in general, each organism is to the
molecules of which it is composed. Multitudes of these, having diverse
tendencies, are competing with one another for opportunity to exist and
multiply; and the organism, as a whole, is as much the product of the
molecules which are victorious as the Fauna, or Flora, of a country is the
product of the victorious organic beings in it.

On this hypothesis, hereditary transmission is the result of the victory of
particular molecules contained in the impregnated germ. Adaptation to
conditions is the result of the favouring of the multiplication of those
molecules whose organising tendencies are most in harmony with such
conditions. In this view of the matter, conditions are not actively
productive, but are passively permissive; they do not cause variation in
any given direction, but they permit and favour a tendency in that
direction which already exists.

It is true that, in the long run, the origin of the organic molecules
themselves, and of their tendencies, is to be sought in the external world;
but if we carry our inquiries as far back as this, the distinction between
internal and external impulses vanishes. On the other hand, if we confine
ourselves to the consideration of a single organism, I think it must be
admitted that the existence of an internal metamorphic tendency must be as
distinctly recognised as that of an internal conservative tendency; and
that the influence of conditions is mainly, if not wholly, the result of
the extent to which they favour the one, or the other, of these tendencies.

III. There is only one point upon which I fundamentally and entirely
disagree with Professor Haeckel, but that is the very important one of his
conception of geological time, and of the meaning of the stratified rocks
as records and indications of that time. Conceiving that the stratified
rocks of an epoch indicate a period of depression, and that the intervals
between the epochs correspond with periods of elevation of which we have no
record, he intercalates between the different epochs, or periods, intervals
which he terms "Ante-periods." Thus, instead of considering the Triassic,
Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Eocene periods, as continuously successive, he
interposes a period before each, as an "Antetrias-zeit," "Antejura-zeit,"
"Antecreta-zeit," "Anteo-cenzeit," &c. And he conceives that the abrupt
changes between the Faun of the different formations are due to the lapse
of time, of which we have no organic record, during their "Ante-periods."

The frequent occurrence of strata containing assemblages of organic forms
which are intermediate between those of adjacent formations, is, to my
mind, fatal to this view. In the well-known St. Cassian beds, for example,
Palaeozoic and Mesozoic forms are commingled, and, between the Cretaceous
and the Eocene formations, there are similar transitional beds. On the
other hand, in the middle of the Silurian series, extensive unconformity of
the strata indicates the lapse of vast intervals of time between the
deposit of successive beds, without any corresponding change in the Fauna.

Professor Haeckel will, I fear, think me unreasonable, if I say that he
seems to be still overshadowed by geological superstitions; and that he
will have to believe in the completeness of the geological record far less
than he does at present. He assumes, for example, that there was no dry
land, nor any terrestrial life, before the end of the Silurian epoch,
simply because, up to the present time, no indications of fresh water, or
terrestrial organisms, have been found in rocks of older date. And, in
speculating upon the origin of a given group, he rarely goes further back
than the "Ante-period," which precedes that in which the remains of animals
belonging to that group are found. Thus, as fossil remains of the majority
of the groups of _Reptilia_ are first found in the Trias, they are
assumed to have originated in the "Antetriassic" period, or between the
Permian and Triassic epochs.

I confess this is wholly incredible to me. The Permian and the Triassic
deposits pass completely into one another; there is no sort of
discontinuity answering to an unrecorded "Antetrias"; and, what is more, we
have evidence of immensely extensive dry land during the formation of these
deposits. We know that the dry land of the Trias absolutely teemed with
reptiles of all groups except Pterodactyles, Snakes, and perhaps Tortoises;
there is every probability that true Birds existed, and _Mammalia_
certainly did. Of the inhabitants of the Permian dry land, on the contrary,
all that have left a record are a few lizards. Is it conceivable that these
last should really represent the whole terrestrial population of that time,
and that the development of Mammals, of Birds, and of the highest forms of
Reptiles, should have been crowded into the time during which the Permian
conditions quietly passed away, and the Triassic conditions began? Does not
any such supposition become in the highest degree improbable, when, in the
terrestrial or fresh-water Labyrinthodonts, which lived on the land of the
Carboniferous epoch, as well as on that of the Trias, we have evidence that
one form of terrestrial life persisted, throughout all these ages, with no
important modification? For my part, having regard to the small amount of
modification (except in the way of extinction) which the Crocodilian,
Lacertilian, and Chelonian _Reptilia_ have undergone, from the older
Mesozoic times to the present day, I cannot but put the existence of the
common stock from which they sprang far back in the Palozoic epoch; and I
should apply a similar argumentation to all other groups of animals.

[The remainder of this essay contains a discussion of questions of taxonomy
and phylogeny, which is now antiquated. I have reprinted the considerations
about the reconciliation of Teleology with Morphology, about
"Dysteleology," and about the struggle for existence within the organism,
because it has happened to me to be charged with overlooking them.

In discussing Teleology, I ought to have pointed out, as I have done
elsewhere (_Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_, vol. ii. p. 202),
that Paley "proleptically accepted the modern doctrine of Evolution,"
(_Natural Theology_, chap. xxiii.). 1893.]


MR. DARWIN'S CRITICS [Footnote: _Contributions to the Theory of Natural
Selection_. By A. R. Wallace. 1870.--2. _The Genesis of Species_.
By St. George Mivart, F.R.S. Second Edition. 1871.--3. _Darwin's Descent
of Man_. Quarterly Review, July 1871.]


The gradual lapse of time has now separated us by more than a decade from
the date of the publication of the "Origin of Species"--and whatever may be
thought or said about Mr. Darwin's doctrines, or the manner in which he has
propounded them, this much is certain, that, in a dozen years, the "Origin
of Species" has worked as complete a revolution in biological science as
the "Principia" did in astronomy--and it has done so, because, in the words
of Helmholtz, it contains "an essentially new creative thought." [Footnote:
Helmholtz: _Ueber das Ziel und die Fortschritte der
Naturwissenschaft_. Erffnungsrede fr die Naturforscherversammlung zu
Innsbruck. 1869.] And as time has slipped by, a happy change has come over
Mr. Darwin's critics. The mixture of ignorance and insolence which, at
first, characterised a large proportion of the attacks with which he was
assailed, is no longer the sad distinction of anti-Darwinian criticism.
Instead of abusive nonsense, which merely discredited its writers, we read
essays, which are, at worst, more or less intelligent and appreciative;
while, sometimes, like that which appeared in the "North British Review"
for 1867, they have a real and permanent value.

The several publications of Mr. Wallace and Mr. Mivart contain discussions
of some of Mr. Darwin's views, which are worthy of particular attention,
not only on account of the acknowledged scientific competence of these
writers, but because they exhibit an attention to those philosophical
questions which underlie all physical science, which is as rare as it is
needful. And the same may be said of an article in the "Quarterly Review"
for July 1871, the comparison of which with an article in the same Review
for July 1860, is perhaps the best evidence which can be brought forward of
the change which has taken place in public opinion on "Darwinism."

The Quarterly Reviewer admits "the certainty of the action of natural
selection" (p. 49); and further allows that there is an _ priori_
probability in favour of the evolution of man from some lower animal form,
if these lower animal forms themselves have arisen by evolution.

Mr. Wallace and Mr. Mivart go much further than this. They are as stout
believers in evolution as Mr. Darwin himself; but Mr. Wallace denies that
man can have been evolved from a lower animal by that process of natural
selection which he, with Mr. Darwin, holds to have been sufficient for the
evolution of all animals below man; while Mr. Mivart, admitting that
natural selection has been one of the conditions of the evolution of the
animals below man, maintains that natural selection must, even in their
case, have been supplemented by "some other cause"--of the nature of which,
unfortunately, he does not give us any idea. Thus Mr. Mivart is less of a
Darwinian than Mr. Wallace, for he has less faith in the power of natural
selection. But he is more of an evolutionist than Mr. Wallace, because Mr.
Wallace thinks it necessary to call in an intelligent agent--a sort of
supernatural Sir John Sebright--to produce even the animal frame of man;
while Mr. Mivart requires no Divine assistance till he comes to man's soul.

Thus there is a considerable divergence between Mr. Wallace and Mr. Mivart.
On the other hand, there are some curious similarities between Mr. Mivart
and the Quarterly Reviewer, and these are sometimes so close, that, if Mr.
Mivart thought it worth while, I think he might make out a good case of
plagiarism against the Reviewer, who studiously abstains from quoting him.

Both the Reviewer and Mr. Mivart reproach Mr. Darwin with being, "like so
many other physicists," entangled in a radically false metaphysical system,
and with setting at nought the first principles of both philosophy and
religion. Both enlarge upon the necessity of a sound philosophical basis,
and both, I venture to add, make a conspicuous exhibition of its absence.
The Quarterly Reviewer believes that man "differs more from an elephant or
a gorilla than do these from the dust of the earth on which they tread,"
and Mr. Mivart has expressed the opinion that there is more difference
between man and an ape than there is between an ape and a piece of granite.
[Footnote: See the _Tablet_ for March 11, 1871.]

And even when Mr. Mivart (p. 86) trips in a matter of anatomy, and creates
a difficulty for Mr. Darwin out of a supposed close similarity between the
eyes of fishes and cephalopods, which (as Gegenbaur and others have clearly
shown) does not exist, the Quarterly Reviewer adopts the argument without
hesitation (p. 66).

There is another important point, however, in which it is hard to say
whether Mr. Mivart diverges from the Quarterly Reviewer or not.

The Reviewer declares that Mr. Darwin has, "with needless opposition, set
at nought the first principles of both philosophy and religion" (p. 90).

It looks, at first, as if this meant, that Mr. Darwin's views being false,
the opposition to "religion" which flows from them must be needless. But I
suspect this is not the right view of the meaning of the passage, as Mr.
Mivart, from whom the Quarterly Reviewer plainly draws so much inspiration,
tells us that "the consequences which have been drawn from evolution,
whether exclusively Darwinian or not, to the prejudice of religion, by no
means follow from it, and are in fact illegitimate" (p. 5).

I may assume, then, that the Quarterly Reviewer and Mr. Mivart admit that
there is no necessary opposition between "evolution whether exclusively
Darwinian or not," and religion. But then, what do they mean by this last
much-abused term? On this point the Quarterly Reviewer is silent. Mr.
Mivart, on the contrary, is perfectly explicit, and the whole tenor of his
remarks leaves no doubt that by "religion" he means theology; and by
theology, that particular variety of the great Proteus, which is expounded
by the doctors of the Roman Catholic Church, and held by the members of
that religious community to be the sole form of absolute truth and of
saving faith.

According to Mr. Mivart, the greatest and most orthodox authorities upon
matters of Catholic doctrine agree in distinctly asserting "derivative
creation" or evolution; "and thus their teachings harmonise with all that
modern science can possibly require" (p. 305).

I confess that this bold assertion interested me more than anything else in
Mr. Mivart's book. What little knowledge I possessed of Catholic doctrine,
and of the influence exerted by Catholic authority in former times, had not
led me to expect that modern science was likely to find a warm welcome
within the pale of the greatest and most consistent of theological

And my astonishment reached its climax when I found Mr. Mivart citing
Father Suarez as his chief witness in favour of the scientific freedom
enjoyed by Catholics--the popular repute of that learned theologian and
subtle casuist not being such as to make his works a likely place of refuge
for liberality of thought. But in these days, when Judas Iscariot and
Robespierre, Henry VIII. and Catiline, have all been shown to be men of
admirable virtue, far in advance of their age, and consequently the victims
of vulgar prejudice, it was obviously possible that Jesuit Suarez might be
in like case. And, spurred by Mr. Mivart's unhesitating declaration, I
hastened to acquaint myself with such of the works of the great Catholic
divine as bore upon the question, hoping, not merely to acquaint myself
with the true teachings of the infallible Church, and free myself of an
unjust prejudice; but, haply, to enable myself, at a pinch, to put some
Protestant bibliolater to shame, by the bright example of Catholic freedom
from the trammels of verbal inspiration.

I regret to say that my anticipations have been cruelly disappointed. But
the extent to which my hopes have been crushed can only be fully
appreciated by citing, in the first place, those passages of Mr. Mivart's
work by which they were excited. In his introductory chapter I find the
following passages:--

"The prevalence of this theory [of evolution] need alarm no one, for it is,
without any doubt, perfectly consistent with the strictest and most
orthodox Christian [Footnote: It should be observed that Mr. Mivart employs
the term 'Christian' as if it were the equivalent of 'Catholic.'] theology"
(p. 5).

"Mr. Darwin and others may perhaps be excused if they have not devoted much
time to the study of Christian philosophy; but they have no right to assume
or accept without careful examination, as an unquestioned fact, that in
that philosophy there is a necessary antagonism between the two ideas
'creation' and 'evolution,' as applied to organic forms.

"It is notorious and patent to all who choose to seek, that many
distinguished Christian thinkers have accepted, and do accept, both ideas,
_i.e._ both 'creation' and 'evolution.'

"As much as ten years ago an eminently Christian writer observed: 'The
creationist theory does not necessitate the perpetual search after
manifestations of miraculous power and perpetual "catastrophes." Creation
is not a miraculous interference with the laws of Nature, but the very
institution of those laws. Law and regularity, not arbitrary intervention,
was the patristic ideal of creation. With this notion they admitted,
without difficulty, the most surprising origin of living creatures,
provided it took place by _law_. They held that when God said, "Let
the waters produce," "Let the earth produce," He conferred forces on the
elements of earth and water which enabled them naturally to produce the
various species of organic beings. This power, they thought, remains
attached to the elements throughout all time.' The same writer quotes St.
Augustin and St. Thomas Aquinas, to the effect that, 'in the institution of
Nature, we do not look for miracles, but for the laws of Nature.' And,
again, St. Basil speaks of the continued operation of natural laws in the
production of all organisms.

"So much for the writers of early and medival times. As to the present
day, the author can confidently affirm that there are many as well versed
in theology as Mr. Darwin is in his own department of natural knowledge,
who would not be disturbed by the thorough demonstration of his theory.
Nay, they would not even be in the least painfully affected at witnessing
the generation of animals of complex organisation by the skilful artificial
arrangement of natural forces, and the production, in the future, of a fish
by means analogous to those by which we now produce urea.

"And this because they know that the possibility of such phenomena, though
by no means actually foreseen, has yet been fully provided for in the old
philosophy centuries before Darwin, or even centuries before Bacon, and
that their place in the system can be at once assigned them without even
disturbing its order or marring its harmony.

"Moreover, the old tradition in this respect has never been abandoned,
however much it may have been ignored or neglected by some modern writers.
In proof of this, it may be observed that perhaps no post-medival
theologian has a wider reception amongst Christians throughout the world
than Suarez, who has a separate section [Footnote: Suarez,
_Metaphysica_. Edition Vivs. Paris, 1868, vol. i Disput. xv. 2.] in
opposition to those who maintain the distinct creation of the various
kinds--or substantial forms--of organic life" (pp. 19-21).

Still more distinctly does Mr. Mivart express himself in the same sense, in
his last chapter, entitled "Theology and Evolution" (pp. 302-5).

"It appears, then, that Christian thinkers are perfectly free to accept the
general evolution theory. But are there any theological authorities to
justify this view of the matter?

"Now, considering how extremely recent are these biological speculations,
it might hardly be expected _ priori_ that writers of earlier ages
should have given expression to doctrines harmonising in any degree with
such very modern views; nevertheless, this is certainly the case, and it
would be easy to give numerous examples. It will be better, however, to
cite one or two authorities of weight. Perhaps no writer of the earlier
Christian ages could be quoted whose authority is more generally recognised
than that of St. Augustin. The same may be said of the medival period for
St. Thomas Aquinas: and since the movement of Luther, Suarez may be taken
as an authority, widely venerated, and one whose orthodoxy has never been

"It must be borne in mind that for a considerable time even after the last
of these writers no one had disputed the generally received belief as to
the small age of the world, or at least of the kinds of animals and plants
inhabiting it. It becomes, therefore, much more striking if views formed
under such a condition of opinion are found to harmonise with modern ideas
concerning 'Creation' and organic Life.

"Now St. Augustin insists in a very remarkable manner on the merely
derivative sense in which God's creation of organic forms is to be
understood; that is, that God created them by conferring on the material
world the power to evolve them under suitable conditions."

Mr. Mivart then cites certain passages from St. Augustin, St. Thomas
Aquinas, and Cornelius Lapide, and finally adds:--

"As to Suarez, it will be enough to refer to Disp. xv. sec. 2, No. 9, p.
508, t. i. edition Vivs, Paris; also Nos. 13-15. Many other references to
the same effect could easily be given, but these may suffice.

"It is then evident that ancient and most venerable theological authorities
distinctly assert derivative creation, and thus their teachings harmonise
with all that modern science can possibly require."

It will be observed that Mr. Mivart refers solely to Suarez's fifteenth
Disputation, though he adds, "Many other references to the same effect
could easily be given." I shall look anxiously for these references in the
third edition of the "Genesis of Species." For the present, all I can say
is, that I have sought in vain, either in the fifteenth Disputation, or
elsewhere, for any passage in Suarez's writings which, in the slightest
degree, bears out Mr. Mivart's views as to his opinions. [Footnote: The
edition of Suarez's _Disputationes_ from which the following citations
are given, is Birckmann's, in two volumes folio, and is dated 1680.]

The title of this fifteenth Disputation is "De causa formali substantiali,"
and the second section of that Disputation (to which Mr. Mivart refers) is
headed, "Quomodo possit forma substantialis fieri in materia et ex

The problem which Suarez discusses in this place may be popularly stated
thus: According to the scholastic philosophy every natural body has two
components--the one its "matter" (_materia prima_), the other its
"substantial form" (_forma substantialis_). Of these the matter is
everywhere the same, the matter of one body being indistinguishable from
the matter of any other body. That which differentiates any one natural
body from all others is its substantial form, which inheres in the matter
of that body, as the human soul inheres in the matter of the frame of man,
and is the source of all the activities and other properties of the body.

Thus, says Suarez, if water is heated, and the source of heat is then
removed, it cools again. The reason of this is that there is a certain
"_intimius principium_" in the water, which brings it back to the cool
condition when the external impediment to the existence of that condition
is removed. This _intimius principium_ is the "substantial form" of
the water. And the substantial form of the water is not only the cause
(_radix_) of the coolness of the water, but also of its moisture, of
its density, and of all its other properties.

It will thus be seen that "substantial forms" play nearly the same part in
the scholastic philosophy as "forces" do in modern science; the general
tendency of modern thought being to conceive all bodies as resolvable into
material particles and forces, in virtue of which last these particles
assume those dispositions and exercise those powers which are
characteristic of each particular kind of matter.

But the Schoolmen distinguished two kinds of substantial forms, the one
spiritual and the other material. The former division is represented by the
human soul, the _anima rationalis_; and they affirm as a matter, not
merely of reason, but of faith, that every human soul is created out of
nothing, and by this act of creation is endowed with the power of existing
for all eternity, apart from the _materia prima_ of which the
corporeal frame of man is composed. And the _anima rationalis_, once
united with the _materia prima_ of the body, becomes its substantial
form, and is the source of all the powers and faculties of man--of all the
vital and sensitive phenomena which he exhibits--just as the substantial
form of water is the source of all its qualities.

The "material substantial forms" are those which inform all other natural
bodies except that of man; and the object of Suarez in the present
Disputation, is to show that the axiom "_ex nihilo nihil fit_," though
not true of the substantial form of man, is true of the substantial forms
of all other bodies, the endless mutations of which constitute the ordinary
course of nature. The origin of the difficulty which he discusses is easily
comprehensible. Suppose a piece of bright iron to be exposed to the air.
The existence of the iron depends on the presence within it of a
substantial form, which is the cause of its properties, _e.g._
brightness, hardness, weight. But, by degrees, the iron becomes converted
into a mass of rust, which is dull, and soft, and light, and, in all other
respects, is quite different from the iron. As, in the scholastic view,
this difference is due to the rust being informed by a new substantial
form, the grave problem arises, how did this new substantial form come into
being? Has it been created? or has it arisen by the power of natural
causation? If the former hypothesis is correct, then the axiom, "_ex
nihilo nihil fit_," is false, even in relation to the ordinary course of
nature, seeing that such mutations of matter as imply the continual origin
of new substantial forms are occurring every moment. But the harmonisation
of Aristotle with theology was as dear to the Schoolmen, as the smoothing
down the differences between Moses and science is to our Broad Churchmen,
and they were proportionably unwilling to contradict one of Aristotle's
fundamental propositions. Nor was their objection to flying in the face of
the Stagirite likely to be lessened by the fact that such flight landed
them in flat Pantheism.

So Father Suarez fights stoutly for the second hypothesis; and I quote the
principal part of his argumentation as an exquisite specimen of that speech
which is a "darkening of counsel."

"13. Secundo de omnibus aliis formis substantialibus [sc. materialibus]
dicendum est non fieri proprie ex nihilo, sed ex potentia prjacentis
materi educi: ideoque in effectione harum formarum nil fieri contra illud
axioma, _Ex nihilo nihil fit_, si recte intelligatur. Hc assertio
sumitur ex Aristotele 1. Physicorum per totum et libro 7. Metaphyss. et ex
aliis auctoribus, quos statim referam. Et declaratur breviter, nam fieri ex
nihilo duo dicit, unum est fieri absolute et simpliciter, aliud est quod
talis effectio fit ex nihilo. Primum propri dicitur de re subsistente,
quia ejus est fieri, cujus est esse: id autem proprie quod subsistit et
habet esse; nam quod alteri adjacet, potius est quo aliud est. Ex hac ergo
parte, form substantiales materiales non fiunt ex nihilo, quia proprie non
fiunt. Atque hanc rationem reddit Divus Thomas 1 parte, qustione 45,
articulo 8, et qustione 90, articulo 2, et ex dicendis magis explicabitur.
Sumendo ergo ipsum _fieri_ in hac proprietate et rigore, sic fieri ex
nihilo est fieri secundum se totum, id est nulla sui parte prsupposita, ex
quo fiat. Et hac ratione res naturales dum de novo fiunt, non fiunt ex
nihilo, quia fiunt ex prsupposita materia, ex qua componuntur, et ita non
fiunt, secundum se tot, sed secundum aliquid sui. Form autem harum rerum,
quamvis revera totam suam entitatem de novo accipiant, quam antea non
habebant, quia vero ips non fiunt, ut dictum est, ideo neque ex nihilo
fiunt. Attamen, quia latiori modo sumendo verbum illud _fieri_ negari
non potest: quin forma facta sit, eo modo quo nunc est, et antea non erat,
ut etiam probat ratio dubitandi posita in principio sectionis, ideo
addendum est, sumpto _fieri_ in hac amplitudine, fieri ex nihilo non
tamen negare habitudinem materialis caus intrinsec componentis id quod
fit, sed etiam habitudinem caus materialis per se causantis et
sustentantis formam qu fit, seu confit. Diximus enim in superioribus
materiam et esse causam compositi et form dependentis ab illa: ut res ergo
dicatur ex nihilo fieri uterque modus causalitatis negari debet; et eodem
sensu accipiendum est illud axioma, ut sit verum: _Ex nihilo nihil
fit_, scilicet virtute agentis naturalis et finiti nihil fieri, nisi ex
prsupposito subjecto per se concurrente, et ad compositum et ad formam, si
utrumque suo modo ab eodem agente fiat. Ex his ergo rect concluditur,
formas substantiales materiales non fieri ex nihilo, quia fiunt ex materia,
qu in suo genere per se concurrit, et influit ad esse, et fieri talium
formarum; quia, sicut esse non possunt nisi affixae materi, a qua
sustententur in esse: ita nec fieri possunt, nisi earum effectio et
penetratio in eadem materia sustentetur. Et hc est propria et per se
differentia inter effectionem ex nihilo, et ex aliquo, propter quam, ut
infra ostendemus, prior modus efficiendi superat vim finitam naturaliam
agentium, non vero posterior.

"14. Ex his etiam constat, proprie de his formis dici non creari, sed educi
de potentia materi." [Footnote: Suarez, _loc. cit._ Disput. xv.

If I may venture to interpret these hard sayings, Suarez conceives that the
evolution of substantial forms in the ordinary course of nature, is
conditioned not only by the existence of the _materia prima_, but also
by a certain "concurrence and influence" which that _materia_ exerts;
and every new substantial form being thus conditioned, and in part, at any
rate, caused, by a pre-existing something, cannot be said to be created out
of nothing.

But as the whole tenor of the context shows, Suarez applies this
argumentation merely to the evolution of material substantial forms in the
ordinary course of nature. How the substantial forms of animals and plants
primarily originated, is a question to which, so far as I am able to
discover, he does not so much as allude in his "Metaphysical Disputations."
Nor was there any necessity that he should do so, inasmuch as he has
devoted a separate treatise of considerable bulk to the discussion of all
the problems which arise out of the account of the Creation which is given
in the Book of Genesis. And it is a matter of wonderment to me that Mr.
Mivart, who somewhat sharply reproves "Mr. Darwin and others" for not
acquainting themselves with the true teachings of his Church, should allow
himself to be indebted to a heretic like myself for a knowledge of the
existence of that "Tractatus de opere sex Dierum," [Footnote: _Tractatus
de opere sex Dierum, seu de Universi Creatione, quatenus sex diebus
perfecta esse, in libro Genesis cap. i. refertur, et praesertim de
productione hominis in statu innocentiae._ Ed. Birckmann, 1622.] in
which the learned Father, of whom he justly speaks, as "an authority widely
venerated, and whose orthodoxy has never been questioned," directly opposes
all those opinions for which Mr. Mivart claims the shelter of his

In the tenth and eleventh chapters of the first book of this treatise,
Suarez inquires in what sense the word "day," as employed in the first
chapter of Genesis, is to be taken. He discusses the views of Philo and of
Augustin on this question, and rejects them. He suggests that the approval
of their allegorising interpretations by St. Thomas Aquinas, merely arose
out of St. Thomas's modesty, and his desire not to seem openly to
controvert St. Augustin--"voluisse Divus Thomas pro sua modestia
subterfugere vim argumenti potius quam aperte Augustinum inconstanti

Finally, Suarez decides that the writer of Genesis meant that the term
"day" should be taken in its natural sense; and he winds up the discussion
with the very just and natural remark that "it is not probable that God, in
inspiring Moses to write a history of the Creation which was to be believed
by ordinary people, would have made him use language, the true meaning of
which it is hard to discover, and still harder to believe." [Footnote:
"Propter hc ergo sententia illa Augustini et propter nimiam obscuritatem
et subtilitatem ejus difficilis creditu est: quia verisimile non est Deum
inspirasse Moysi, ut historiam de creatione mundi ad fidem totius populi
adeo necessariam per nomina dierum explicaret, quorum significatio vix
inveniri et difficillime ab aliquo credi posset." (_Loc. cit._ Lib. I.
cap. xi. 42.)]

And in chapter xii. 3, Suarez further observes:--

"Ratio enim retinendi veram significationem diei naturalis est illa
communis, quod verba Scriptur non sunt ad metaphoras transferenda, nisi
vel necessitas cogit, vel ex ipsa scriptura constet, et maxim in historica
narratione et ad instructionem fidei pertinente: sed hc ratio non minus
cogit ad intelligendum propri dierum numerum, quam diei qualitatem, QUIA
HISTORI. Secundo hoc valde confirmant alia Scriptur loca, in quibus hi
sex dies tanquam veri, et inter se distincti commemorantur, ut Exod. 20
dicitur, _Sex diebus operabis et facies omnia opera tua, septimo autem
die Sabbatum Domini Dei tui est_. Et infra: _Sex enim diebus fecit
Dominus clum et terram et mare et omnia qu in eis sunt_, et idem
repetitur in cap. 31. In quibus locis sermonis proprietas colligi potest
tum ex quiparatione, nam cum dicitur: _sex diebus operabis_,
propriissim intelligitur: tum quia non est verisimile, potuisse populum
intelligere verba illa in alio sensu, et contrario incredibile est, Deum
in suis prceptis tradendis illis verbis ad populum fuisse loquutum, quibus
deciperetur, falsum sensum concipiendo, si Deus non per sex veros dies
opera sua fecisset."

These passages leave no doubt that this great doctor of the Catholic
Church, of unchallenged authority and unspotted orthodoxy, not only
declares it to be Catholic doctrine that the work of creation took place in
the space of six natural days; but that he warmly repudiates, as
inconsistent with our knowledge of the Divine attributes, the supposition
that the language which Catholic faith requires the believer to hold that
God inspired, was used in any other sense than that which He knew it would
convey to the minds of those to whom it was addressed.

And I think that in this repudiation Father Suarez will have the sympathy
of every man of common uprightness, to whom it is certainly "incredible"
that the Almighty should have acted in a manner which He would esteem
dishonest and base in a man.

But the belief that the universe was created in six natural days is
hopelessly inconsistent with the doctrine of evolution, in so far as it
applies to the stars and planetary bodies; and it can be made to agree with
a belief in the evolution of living beings only by the supposition that the
plants and animals, which are said to have been created on the third,
fifth, and sixth days, were merely the primordial forms, or rudiments, out
of which existing plants and animals have been evolved; so that, on these
days, plants and animals were not created actually, but only potentially.

The latter view is that held by Mr. Mivart, who follows St. Augustin, and
implies that he has the sanction of Suarez. But, in point of fact, the
latter great light of orthodoxy takes no small pains to give the most
explicit and direct contradiction to all such imaginations, as the
following passages prove. In the first place, as regards plants, Suarez
discusses the problem:--

"_Quomodo herba virens et ctera vegetabilia hoc_
[_tertio_] _die fuerint producta_.
[Footnote: _Loc. cit._ Lib. II. cap. vii. et viii. 1, 32, 35.]

"Prcipua enim difficultas hc est, quam attingit Div. Thomas 1, par. qu.
69, art. 2, an hc productio plantarum hoc die facta intelligenda sit de
productione ipsarum in proprio esse actuali et formali (ut sic rem
explicerem) vel de productione tantum in semine et in potentia. Nam Divus
Augustinus libro quinto Genes, ad liter. cap. 4 et 5 et libro 8, cap. 3,
posteriorem partem tradit, dicens, terram in hoc die accepisse virtutem
germinandi omnia vegetabilia quasi concepto omnium illorum semine, non
tamen statim vegetabilia omnia produxisse. Quod primo suadet verbis illis
capitis secundi. _In die quo fecit Deus clum et terram et omne virgultum
agri priusquam germinaret_. Quomodo enim potuerunt virgulta fieri
antequam terra germinaret nisi quia causaliter prius et quasi in radice,
seu in semine facta sunt, et postea in actu producta? Secundo confirmari
potest, quia verbum illud _germinet terra_ optim exponitur
potestativ ut sic dicam, id est accipiat terra vim germinandi. Sicut in
eodem capite dicitur _crescite et multiplicamini_. Tertio potest
confirmari, quia actualis productio vegetabilium non tam ad opus
creationis, quam ad opus propagationis pertinet, quod postea factum est. Et
hanc sententiam sequitur Eucherius lib. 1, in Gen. cap. 11, et illi faveat
Glossa, interli. Hugo. et Lyran. dum verbum _germinet_ dicto modo
NATURA. Hc est communis sententia Patrum.--Basil. homil. 5; Exmer.
Ambros. lib. 3; Exmer. cap. 8, 11, et 16; Chrysost. homil. 5 in Gen.
Damascene. lib. 2 de Fid. cap. 10; Theodor. Cyrilli. Bed, Gloss ordinari
et aliorum in Gen. Et idem sentit Divus Thomas, _supra_, solvens
argumenta Augustini, quamvis propter reverentiam ejus quasi problematic
semper procedat. Denique idem sentiunt omnes qui in his operibus veram
successionem et temporalem distinctionem agnoscant."

Secondly, with respect to animals, Suarez is no less decided:--

"_De animalium ratione carentium productione quinto et sexto die
facta_. [Footnote: _Loc. cit_. Lib. II. cap. vii. et viii. 1, 32,

"32. Primo ergo nobis certum sit hc animantia non in virtute tantum aut in
semine, sed actu, et in seipsis, facta fuisse his diebus in quibus facta
narrantur. Quanquam Augustinus lib. 3, Gen. ad liter, cap. 5 in sua
persistens sententia contrarium sentire videatur."

But Suarez proceeds to refute Augustin's opinions at great length, and his
final judgment may be gathered from the following passage:--

"35. Tertio dicendum est, hc animalia omnia his diebus producta esse, IN

As regards the creation of animals and plants, therefore, it is clear that
Suarez, so far from "distinctly asserting derivative creating," denies it
as distinctly and positively as he can; that he is at much pains to refute
St. Augustin's opinions; that he does not hesitate to regard the faint
acquiescence of St. Thomas Aquinas in the views of his brother saint as a
kindly subterfuge on the part of Divus Thomas; and that he affirms his own
view to be that which is supported by the authority of the Fathers of the
Church. So that, when Mr. Mivart tells us that Catholic theology is in
harmony with all that modern science can possibly require; that "to the
general theory of evolution, and to the special Darwinian form of it, no
exception ... need be taken on the ground of orthodoxy;" and that "law and
regularity, not arbitrary intervention, was the Patristic ideal of
creation," we have to choose between his dictum, as a theologian, and that
of a great light of his Church, whom he himself declares to be "widely
venerated as an authority, and whose orthodoxy has never been questioned."

But Mr. Mivart does not hesitate to push his attempt to harmonise science
with Catholic orthodoxy to its utmost limit; and, while assuming that the
soul of man "arises from immediate and direct creation," he supposes that
his body was "formed at first (as now in each separate individual) by
derivative, or secondary creation, through natural laws" (p. 331).

This means, I presume, that an animal, having the corporeal form and bodily
powers of man, may have been developed out of some lower form of life by a
process of evolution; and that, after this anthropoid animal had existed
for a longer or shorter time, God made a soul by direct creation, and put
it into the manlike body, which, heretofore, had been devoid of that
_anima rationalis_, which is supposed to be man's distinctive

This hypothesis is incapable of either proof or disproof, and therefore may
be true; but if Suarez is any authority, it is not Catholic doctrine.
"Nulla est in homine forma educta de potentia materi," [Footnote: Disput.
xv. x. No. 27.] is a dictum which is absolutely inconsistent with the
doctrine of the natural evolution of any vital manifestation of the human

Moreover, if man existed as an animal before he was provided with a
rational soul, he must, in accordance with the elementary requirements of
the philosophy in which Mr. Mivart delights, have possessed a distinct
sensitive and vegetative soul, or souls. Hence, when the "breath of life"
was breathed into the manlike animal's nostrils, he must have already been
a living and feeling creature. But Suarez particularly discusses this
point, and not only rejects Mr. Mivart's view, but adopts language of very
theological strength regarding it.

"Possent prterea his adjungi argumenta theologica, ut est illud quod
sumitur ex illis verbis Genes. 2. _Formavit Deus hominem ex limo terr et
inspiravit in faciem ejus spiraculum vit et factus est homo in animam
viventem_: ille enim spiritus, quam Deus spiravit, anima rationalis

"Aliud est ex VIII. Synodo Generali qu est Constantinopolitana IV. can.
11, qui sic habet. _Apparet quosdam in tantum impietatis venisse ut
homines duas animas habere dogmatizent: talis igitur impietatis inventores
et similes sapientes, cum Vetus et Novum Testamentum omnesque Ecclesi
patres unam animam rationalem hominem habere asseverent, Sancta et
universalis Synodus anathematizat_." [FOOTNOTE: Disput. xv. "De causa
formali substantiali," x. No. 24.]

Moreover, if the animal nature of man was the result of evolution, so must
that of woman have been. But the Catholic doctrine, according to Suarez, is
that woman was, in the strictest and most literal sense of the words, made
out of the rib of man.

"Nihilominus sententia Catholica est, verba illa Scriptur esse ad literam
EX ILLA, CORPUS EV FORMASSE." [Footnote: _Tractatus de Opere_, Lib.
III. "De hominis creatione," cap. ii. No. 3.]

Nor is there any escape in the supposition that some woman existed before
Eve, after the fashion of the Lilith of the rabbis; since Suarez qualifies
that notion, along with some other Judaic imaginations, as simply
"damnabilis." [Footnote: _Ibid_. Lib. III. cap. iv. Nos. 8 and 9]

After the perusal of the "Tractatus de Opere" it is, in fact, impossible to
admit that Suarez held any opinion respecting the origin of species, except
such as is consistent with the strictest and most literal interpretation of
the words of Genesis. For Suarez, it is Catholic doctrine, that the world
was made in six natural days. On the first of these days the _materia
prima_ was made out of nothing, to receive afterwards those "substantial
forms" which moulded it into the universe of things; on the third day, the
ancestors of all living plants suddenly came into being, full-grown,
perfect, and possessed of all the properties which now distinguish them;
while, on the fifth and sixth days, the ancestors of all existing animals
were similarly caused to exist in their complete and perfect state, by the
infusion of their appropriate material substantial forms into the matter
which had already been created. Finally, on the sixth day, the _anima
rationalis_--that rational and immortal substantial form which is
peculiar to man--was created out of nothing, and "breathed into" a mass of
matter which, till then, was mere dust of the earth, and so man arose. But
the species man was represented by a solitary male individual, until the
Creator took out one of his ribs and fashioned it into a female.

This is the view of the "Genesis of Species" held by Suarez to be the only
one consistent with Catholic faith: it is because he holds this view to be
Catholic that he does not hesitate to declare St. Augustin unsound, and St.
Thomas Aquinas guilty of weakness, when the one swerved from this view and
the other tolerated the deviation. And, until responsible Catholic
authority--say, for example, the Archbishop of Westminster--formally
declares that Suarez was wrong, and that Catholic priests are free to teach
their flocks that the world was _not_ made in six natural days, and
that plants and animals were _not_ created in their perfect and
complete state, but have been evolved by natural processes through long
ages from certain germs in which they were potentially contained, I, for
one, shall feel bound to believe that the doctrines of Suarez are the only
ones which are sanctioned by Infallible Authority, as represented by the
Holy Father and the Catholic Church.

I need hardly add that they are as absolutely denied and repudiated by
Scientific Authority, as represented by Reason and Fact. The question
whether the earth and the immediate progenitors of its present living
population were made in six natural days or not is no longer one upon which
two opinions can be held.

The fact that it did not so come into being stands upon as sound a basis as
any fact of history whatever. It is not true that existing plants and
animals came into being within three days of the creation of the earth out
of nothing, for it is certain that innumerable generations of other plants
and animals lived upon the earth before its present population. And when,
Sunday after Sunday, men who profess to be our instructors in righteousness
read out the statement, "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the
sea, and all that in them is," in innumerable churches, they are either
propagating what they may easily know, and, therefore, are bound to know,
to be falsities; or, if they use the words in some non-natural sense, they
fall below the moral standard of the much-abused Jesuit.

Thus far the contradiction between Catholic verity and Scientific verity is
complete and absolute, quite independently of the truth or falsehood of the
doctrine of evolution. But, for those who hold the doctrine of evolution,
all the Catholic verities about the creation of living beings must be no
less false. For them, the assertion that the progenitors of all existing
plants were made on the third day, of animals on the fifth and sixth days,
in the forms they now present, is simply false. Nor can they admit that man
was made suddenly out of the dust of the earth; while it would be an insult
to ask an evolutionist whether he credits the preposterous fable respecting
the fabrication of woman to which Suarez pins his faith. If Suarez has
rightly stated Catholic doctrine, then is evolution utter heresy. And such
I believe it to be. In addition to the truth of the doctrine of evolution,
indeed, one of its greatest merits in my eyes, is the fact that it occupies
a position of complete and irreconcilable antagonism to that vigorous and
consistent enemy of the highest intellectual, moral, and social life of
mankind--the Catholic Church. No doubt, Mr. Mivart, like other putters of
new wine into old bottles, is actuated by motives which are worthy of
respect, and even of sympathy; but his attempt has met with the fate which
the Scripture prophesies for all such.

Catholic theology, like all theologies which are based upon the assumption
of the truth of the account of the origin of things given in the Book of
Genesis, being utterly irreconcilable with the doctrine of evolution, the
student of science, who is satisfied that the evidence upon which the
doctrine of evolution rests, is incomparably stronger and better than that
upon which the supposed authority of the Book of Genesis rests, will not
trouble himself further with these theologies, but will confine his
attention to such arguments against the view he holds as are based upon
purely scientific data--and by scientific data I do not merely mean the
truths of physical, mathematical, or logical science, but those of moral
and metaphysical science. For by science I understand all knowledge which
rests upon evidence and reasoning of a like character to that which claims
our assent to ordinary scientific propositions. And if any one is able to
make good the assertion that his theology rests upon valid evidence and
sound reasoning, then it appears to me that such theology will take its
place as a part of science.

The present antagonism between theology and science does not arise from any
assumption by the men of science that all theology must necessarily be
excluded from science, but simply because they are unable to allow that
reason and morality have two weights and two measures; and that the belief
in a proposition, because authority tells you it is true, or because you
wish to believe it, which is a high crime and misdemeanour when the subject
matter of reasoning is of one kind, becomes under the _alias_ of
"faith" the greatest of all virtues when the subject matter of reasoning is
of another kind.

The Bishop of Brechin said well the other day:--"Liberality in religion--I
do not mean tender and generous allowances for the mistakes of others--is
only unfaithfulness to truth." [Footnote: Charge at the Diocesan Synod of
Brechin. _Scotsman_, Sept. 14, 1871.] And, with the same
qualification, I venture to paraphrase the Bishop's dictum:
"Ecclesiasticism in science is only unfaithfulness to truth."

Elijah's great question, "Will you 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 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 appears to him
in its true colours, as mere private judgment _in excelsis_, and if he
have the 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.

Mr. Mivart asserts that "without a 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 language
studiously calculated to deceive His creatures and worshippers, is "no
religion worthy of the name." "Incredible est, Deum illis verbis ad populum
fuisse locutum quibus deciperetur," is a verdict in which, for once, Jesuit
casuistry concurs with the healthy moral sense of all mankind.

Having happily got quit of the theological aspect of evolution, the
supporter of that great truth who turns to the scientific objections which
are brought against it by recent criticism, finds, to his relief, that the
work before him is greatly lightened by the spontaneous retreat of the
enemy from nine-tenths of the territory which he occupied ten years ago.
Even the Quarterly Reviewer not only abstains from venturing to deny that
evolution has taken place, but he openly admits that Mr. Darwin has forced
on men's minds "a recognition of the probability, if not more, of
evolution, and of the certainty of the action of natural selection" (p.

I do not quite see, myself, how, if the action of natural selection is
_certain_, the occurrence of evolution is only _probable_;
inasmuch as the development of a new species by natural selection is, so
far as it goes, evolution. However, it is not worth while to quarrel with
the precise terms of a sentence which shows that the high water mark of
intelligence among those most respectable of Britons, the readers of the
_Quarterly Review_, has now reached such a level that the next tide
may lift them easily and pleasantly on the once-dreaded shore of evolution.
Nor, having got there, do they seem likely to stop, until they have reached
the inmost heart of that great region, and accepted the ape ancestry of, at
any rate, the body of man. For the Reviewer admits that Mr. Darwin can be
said to have established:

"That if the various kinds of lower animals have been evolved one from the
other by a process of natural generation or evolution, then it becomes
highly probable, _a priori_, that man's body has been similarly
evolved; but this, in such a case, becomes equally probable from the
admitted fact that he is an animal at all" (p. 65).

From the principles laid down in the last sentence it would follow that if
man were constructed upon a plan as different from that of any other animal
as that of a sea-urchin is from that of a whale, it would be "equally
probable" that he had been developed from some other animal as it is now,
when we know that for every bone, muscle, tooth, and even pattern of tooth,
in man, there is a corresponding bone, muscle, tooth, and pattern of tooth,
in an ape. And this shows one of two things--either that the Quarterly
Reviewer's notions of probability are peculiar to himself, or that he has
such an overpowering faith in the truth of evolution that no extent of
structural break between one animal and another is sufficient to destroy
his conviction that evolution has taken place.

But this by the way. The importance of the admission that there is nothing
in man's physical structure to interfere with his having been evolved from
an ape is not lessened because it is grudgingly made and inconsistently
qualified. And instead of jubilating over the extent of the enemy's
retreat, it will be more worth while to lay siege to his last
stronghold--the position that there is a distinction in kind between the
mental faculties of man and those of brutes, and that in consequence of
this distinction in kind no gradual progress from the mental faculties of
the one to those of the other can have taken place.

The Quarterly Reviewer entrenches himself within formidable-looking
psychological outworks, and there is no getting at him without attacking
them one by one.

He begins by laying down the following proposition. "'Sensation' is not
'thought,' and no amount of the former would constitute the most
rudimentary condition of the latter, though sensations supply the
conditions for the existence of 'thought' or 'knowledge'" (p. 67).

This proposition is true, or not, according to the sense in which the word
"thought" is employed. Thought is not uncommonly used in a sense
co-extensive with consciousness, and, especially, with those states of
consciousness we call memory. If I recall the impression made by a colour
or an odour, and distinctly remember blueness or muskiness, I may say with
perfect propriety that I "think of" blue or musk; and, so long as the
thought lasts, it is simply a faint reproduction of the state of
consciousness to which I gave the name in question, when it first became
known to me as a sensation.

Now, if that faint reproduction of a sensation, which we call the memory of
it, is properly termed a thought, it seems to me to be a somewhat forced
proceeding to draw a hard and fast line of demarcation between thoughts and
sensations. If sensations are not rudimentary thoughts, it may be said that
some thoughts are rudimentary sensations. No amount of sound constitutes an
echo, but for all that no one would pretend that an echo is something of
totally different nature from a sound. Again, nothing can be looser, or
more inaccurate, than the assertion that "sensations supply the conditions
for the existence of thought or knowledge." If this implies that sensations
supply the conditions for the existence of our memory of sensations or of
our thoughts about sensations, it is a truism which it is hardly worth
while to state so solemnly. If it implies that sensations supply anything
else, it is obviously erroneous. And if it means, as the context would seem
to show it does, that sensations are the subject-matter of all thought or
knowledge, then it is no less contrary to fact, inasmuch as our emotions,
which constitute a large part of the subject-matter of thought or of
knowledge, are not sensations.

More eccentric still is the Quarterly Reviewer's next piece of psychology.

"Altogether, we may clearly distinguish at least six kinds of action to
which the nervous system ministers:--

"I. That in which impressions received result in appropriate movements
without the intervention of sensation or thought, as in the cases of injury
above given.--This is the reflex action of the nervous system.

"II. That in which stimuli from without result in sensations through the
agency of which their due effects are wrought out.--Sensation.

"III. That in which impressions received result in sensations which give
rise to the observation of sensible objects.--Sensible perception.

"IV. That in which sensations and perceptions continue to coalesce,
agglutinate, and combine in more or less complex aggregations, according to
the laws of the association of sensible perceptions.--Association.

"The above four groups contain only indeliberate operations, consisting, as
they do at the best, but of mere _presentative_ sensible ideas in no
way implying any reflective or _representative_ faculty. Such actions
minister to and form _Instinct_. Besides these, we may distinguish two
other kinds of mental action, namely:--

"V. That in which sensations and sensible perceptions are reflected on by
thought, and recognised as our own, and we ourselves recognised by
ourselves as affected and perceiving.--Self-consciousness.

"VI. That in which we reflect upon our sensations or perceptions, and ask
what they are, and why they are.--Reason.

"These two latter kinds of action are deliberate operations, performed, as
they are, by means of representative ideas implying the use of a
_reflective representative_ faculty. Such actions distinguish the
_intellect_ or rational faculty. Now, we assert that possession in
perfection of all the first four (_presentative_) kinds of action by
no means implies the possession of the last two (_representative_)
kinds. All persons, we think, must admit the truth of the following

"Two faculties are distinct, not in degree but _in kind_, if we may
possess the one in perfection without that fact implying that we possess
the other also. Still more will this be the case if the two faculties tend
to increase in an inverse ratio. Yet this is the distinction between the
_instinctive_ and the _intellectual_ parts of man's nature.

"As to animals, we fully admit that they may possess all the first four
groups of actions--that they may have, so to speak, mental images of
sensible objects combined in all degrees of complexity, as governed by the
laws of association. We deny to them, on the other hand, the possession of
the last two kinds of mental action. We deny them, that is, the power of
reflecting on their own existences, or of inquiring into the nature of
objects and their causes. We deny that they know that they know or know
themselves in knowing. In other words, we deny them _reason_. The
possession of the presentative faculty, as above explained, in no way
implies that of the reflective faculty; nor does any amount of direct
operation imply the power of asking the reflective question before
mentioned, as to 'what' and 'why.'" (_Loc. cit_. pp. 67, 68.)

Sundry points are worthy of notice in this remarkable account of the
intellectual powers. In the first place the Reviewer ignores emotion and
volition, though they are no inconsiderable "kinds of action to which the
nervous system ministers," and memory has a place in his classification
only by implication. Secondly, we are told that the second "kind of action
to which the nervous system ministers" is "that in which stimuli from
without result in sensations through the agency of which their due effects
are wrought out.--Sensation." Does this really mean that, in the writer's
opinion, "sensation" is the "agent" by which the "due effect" of the
stimulus, which gives rise to sensation, is "wrought out"? Suppose somebody
runs a pin into me. The "due effect" of that particular stimulus will
probably be threefold; namely, a sensation of pain, a start, and an
interjectional expletive. Does the Quarterly Reviewer really think that the
"sensation" is the "agent" by which the other two phenomena are wrought

But these matters are of little moment to anyone but the Reviewer and those
persons who may incautiously take their physiology, or psychology, from
him. The really interesting point is this, that when he fully admits that
animals "may possess all the first four groups of actions," he grants all
that is necessary for the purposes of the evolutionist. For he hereby
admits that in animals "impressions received result in sensations which
give rise to the observation of sensible objects," and that they have what
he calls "sensible perception." Nor was it possible to help the admission;
for we have as much reason to ascribe to animals, as we have to attribute
to our fellow-men, the power, not only of perceiving external objects as
external, and thus practically recognizing the difference between the self
and the not-self; but that of distinguishing between like and unlike, and
between simultaneous and successive things. When a gamekeeper goes out
coursing with a greyhound in leash, and a hare crosses the field of vision,
he becomes the subject of those states of consciousness we call visual
sensation, and that is all he receives from without. Sensation, as such,
tells him nothing whatever about the cause of these states of
consciousness; but the thinking faculty instantly goes to work upon the raw
material of sensation furnished to it through the eye, and gives rise to a
train of thoughts. First comes the thought that there is an object at a
certain distance; then arises another thought--the perception of the
likeness between the states of consciousness awakened by this object to
those presented by memory, as, on some former occasion, called up by a
hare; this is succeeded by another thought of the nature of an
emotion--namely, the desire to possess the hare; then follows a longer or
shorter train of other thoughts, which end in a volition and an act--the
loosing of the greyhound from the leash. These several thoughts are the
concomitants of a process which goes on in the nervous system of the man.
Unless the nerve-elements of the retina, of the optic nerve, of the brain,
of the spinal cord, and of the nerves of the arms, went through certain
physical changes in due order and correlation, the various states of
consciousness which have been enumerated would not make their appearance.
So that in this, as in all other intellectual operations, we have to
distinguish two sets of successive changes--one in the physical basis of
consciousness, and the other in consciousness itself; one set which may,
and doubtless will, in course of time, be followed through all their
complexities by the anatomist and the physicist, and one of which only the
man himself can have immediate knowledge.

As it is very necessary to keep up a clear distinction between these two
processes, let the one be called _neurosis_, and the other
_psychosis_. When the gamekeeper was first trained to his work every
step in the process of neurosis was accompanied by a corresponding step in
that of psychosis, or nearly so. He was conscious of seeing something,
conscious of making sure it was a hare, conscious of desiring to catch it,
and therefore to loose the greyhound at the right time, conscious of the
acts by which he let the dog out of the leash. But with practice, though
the various steps of the neurosis remain--for otherwise the impression on
the retina would not result in the loosing of the dog--the great majority
of the steps of the psychosis vanish, and the loosing of the dog follows
unconsciously, or as we say, without thinking about it, upon the sight of
the hare. No one will deny that the series of acts which originally
intervened between the sensation and the letting go of the dog were, in the
strictest sense, intellectual and rational operations. Do they cease to be
so when the man ceases to be conscious of them? That depends upon what is
the essence and what the accident of those operations, which, taken
together, constitute ratiocination.

Now ratiocination is resolvable into predication, and predication consists
in marking, in some way, the existence, the co-existence, the succession,
the likeness and unlikeness, of things or their ideas. Whatever does this,
reasons; and if a machine produces the effects of reason, I see no more
ground for denying to it the reasoning power, because it is unconscious,
than I see for refusing to Mr. Babbage's engine the title of a calculating
machine on the same grounds.

Thus it seems to me that a gamekeeper reasons, whether he is conscious or
unconscious, whether his reasoning is carried on by neurosis alone, or
whether it involves more or less psychosis. And if this is true of the
gamekeeper, it is also true of the greyhound. The essential resemblances in
all points of structure and function, so far as they can be studied,
between the nervous system of the man and that of the dog, leave no
reasonable doubt that the processes which go on in the one are just like
those which take place in the other. In the dog, there can be no doubt that
the nervous matter which lies between the retina and the muscles undergoes
a series of changes, precisely analogous to those which, in the man, give
rise to sensation, a train of thought, and volition.

Whether this neurosis is accompanied by such psychosis as ours it is
impossible to say; but those who deny that the nervous changes, which, in
the dog, correspond with those which underlie thought in a man, are
accompanied by consciousness, are equally bound to maintain that those
nervous changes in the dog, which correspond with those which underlie
sensation in a man, are also unaccompanied by consciousness. In other
words, if there is no ground for believing that a dog thinks, neither is
there any for believing that he feels.

As is well known, Descartes boldly faced this dilemma, and maintained that
all animals were mere machines and entirely devoid of consciousness. But he
did not deny, nor can anyone deny, that in this case they are reasoning
machines, capable of performing all those operations which are performed by
the nervous system of man when he reasons. For even supposing that in man,
and in man only, psychosis is superadded to neurosis--the neurosis which is
common to both man and animal gives their reasoning processes a fundamental
unity. But Descartes' position is open to very serious objections if the
evidence that animals feel is insufficient to prove that they really do so.
What is the value of the evidence which leads one to believe that one's
fellow-man feels? The only evidence in this argument of analogy is the
similarity of his structure and of his actions to one's own. And if that is
good enough to prove that one's fellow-man feels, surely it is good enough
to prove that an ape feels. For the differences of structure and function
between men and apes are utterly insufficient to warrant the assumption
that while men have those states of consciousness we call sensations apes
have nothing of the kind. Moreover, we have as good evidence that apes are
capable of emotion and volition as we have that men other than ourselves
are. But if apes possess three out of the four kinds of states of
consciousness which we discover in ourselves, what possible reason is there
for denying them the fourth? If they are capable of sensation, emotion, and
volition, why are they to be denied thought (in the sense of predication)?

No answer has ever been given to these questions. And as the law of
continuity is as much opposed, as is the common sense of mankind, to the
notion that all animals are unconscious machines, it may safely be assumed
that no sufficient answer ever will be given to them.

There is every reason to believe that consciousness is a function of
nervous matter, when that nervous matter has attained a certain degree of
organisation, just as we know the other "actions to which the nervous
system ministers," such as reflex action and the like, to be. As I have
ventured to state my view of the matter elsewhere, "our thoughts are the
expression of molecular changes in that matter of life which is the source
of our other vital phenomena."

Mr. Wallace objects to this statement in the following terms:--

"Not having been able to find any clue in Professor Huxley's writings to
the steps by which he passes from those vital phenomena, which consist
only, in their last analysis, of movements by particles of matter, to those
other phenomena which we term thought, sensation, or consciousness; but,
knowing that so positive an expression of opinion from him will have great
weight with many persons, I shall endeavour to show, with as much brevity
as is compatible with clearness, that this theory is not only incapable of
proof, but is also, as it appears to me, inconsistent with accurate
conceptions of molecular physics."

With all respect for Mr. Wallace, it appears to me that his remarks are
entirely beside the question. I really know nothing whatever, and never
hope to know anything, of the steps by which the passage from molecular
movement to states of consciousness is effected; and I entirely agree with
the sense of the passage which he quotes from Professor Tyndall, apparently
imagining that it is in opposition to the view I hold.

All that I have to say is, that, in my belief, consciousness and molecular
action are capable of being expressed by one another, just as heat and
mechanical action are capable of being expressed in terms of one another.
Whether we shall ever be able to express consciousness in foot-pounds, or
not, is more than I will venture to say; but that there is evidence of the
existence of some correlation between mechanical motion and consciousness,
is as plain as anything can be. Suppose the poles of an electric battery to
be connected by a platinum wire. A certain intensity of the current gives
rise in the mind of a bystander to that state of consciousness we call a
"dull red light"--a little greater intensity to another which we call a
"bright red light;" increase the intensity, and the light becomes white;
and, finally, it dazzles, and a new state of consciousness arises, which we
term pain. Given the same wire and the same nervous apparatus, and the
amount of electric force required to give rise to these several states of
consciousness will be the same, however often the experiment is repeated.
And as the electric force, the light waves, and the nerve-vibrations caused
by the impact of the light-waves on the retina, are all expressions of the
molecular changes which are taking place in the elements of the battery; so
consciousness is, in the same sense, an expression of the molecular changes
which take place in that nervous matter, which is the organ of

And, since this, and any number of similar examples that may be required,
prove that one form of consciousness, at any rate, is, in the strictest
sense, the expression of molecular change, it really is not worth while to
pursue the inquiry, whether a fact so easily established is consistent with
any particular system of molecular physics or not.

Mr. Wallace, in fact, appears to me to have mixed up two very distinct
propositions: the one, the indisputable truth that consciousness is
correlated with molecular changes in the organ of consciousness; the other,
that the nature of that correlation is known, or can be conceived, which is
quite another matter. Mr. Wallace, presumably, believes in that correlation
of phenomena which we call cause and effect as firmly as I do. But if he
has ever been able to form the faintest notion how a cause gives rise to
its effect, all I can say is that I envy him. Take the simplest case
imaginable--suppose a ball in motion to impinge upon another ball at rest.
I know very well, as a matter of fact, that the ball in motion will
communicate some of its motion to the ball at rest, and that the motion of
the two balls, after collision, is precisely correlated with the masses of
both balls and the amount of motion of the first. But how does this come
about? In what manner can we conceive that the _vis viva_ of the first
ball passes into the second? I confess I can no more form any conception of
what happens in this case, than I can of what takes place when the motion
of particles of my nervous matter, caused by the impact of a similar ball
gives rise to the state of consciousness I call pain. In ultimate analysis
everything is incomprehensible, and the whole object of science is simply
to reduce the fundamental incomprehensibilities to the smallest possible

But to return to the Quarterly Reviewer. He admits that animals have
"mental images of sensible objects, combined in all degrees of complexity,
as governed by the laws of association." Presumably, by this confused and
imperfect statement the Reviewer means to admit more than the words imply.
For mental images of sensible objects, even though "combined in all degrees
of complexity," are, and can be, nothing more than mental images of
sensible objects. But judgments, emotions, and volitions cannot by any
possibility be included under the head of "mental images of sensible
objects." If the greyhound had no better mental endowment than the Reviewer
allows him, he might have the "mental image" of the "sensible object"--the
hare--and that might be combined with the mental images of other sensible
objects, to any degree of complexity, but he would have no power of judging
it to be at a certain distance from him; no power of perceiving its
similarity to his memory of a hare; and no desire to get at it.
Consequently he would stand stock still, and the noble art of coursing
would have no existence. On the other hand, as that art is largely
practised, it follows that greyhounds alone possess a number of mental
powers, the existence of which, in any animal, is absolutely denied by the
Quarterly Reviewer.

Finally, what are the mental powers which he reserves as the especial
prerogative of man? They are two. First, the recognition of "ourselves by
ourselves as affected and perceiving.--Self-consciousness."

Secondly. "The reflection upon our sensations and perceptions, and asking
what they are and why they are.--Reason."

To the faculty defined in the last sentence, the Reviewer, without
assigning the least ground for thus departing from both common usage and
technical propriety, applies the name of reason. But if man is not to be
considered a reasoning being, unless he asks what his sensations and
perceptions are, and why they are, what is a Hottentot, or an Australian
"black-fellow"; or what the "swinked hedger" of an ordinary agricultural
district? Nay, what becomes of an average country squire or parson? How
many of these worthy persons who, as their wont is, read the _Quarterly
Review_, would do other than stand agape, if you asked them whether they
had ever reflected what their sensations and perceptions are and why they

So that if the Reviewer's new definition of reason be correct, the majority
of men, even among the most civilised nations, are devoid of that supreme
characteristic of manhood. And if it be as absurd as I believe it to be,
then, as reason is certainly not self-consciousness, and since it, as
certainly, is one of the "actions to which the nervous system ministers,"
we must, if the Reviewer's classification is to be adopted, seek it among
those four faculties which he allows animals to possess. And thus, for the
second time, he really surrenders, while seeming to defend, his position.

The Quarterly Reviewer, as we have seen, lectures the evolutionists upon
their want of knowledge of philosophy altogether. Mr. Mivart is not less
pained at Mr. Darwin's ignorance of moral science. It is grievous to him
that Mr. Darwin (and _nous autres_) should not have grasped the
elementary distinction between material and formal morality; and he lays
down as an axiom, of which no tyro ought to be ignorant, the position that
"acts, unaccompanied by mental acts of conscious will directed towards the
fulfilment of duty," are "absolutely destitute of the most incipient degree
of real or formal goodness."

Now this may be Mr. Mivart's opinion, but it is a proposition which really
does not stand on the footing of an undisputed axiom. Mr. Mill denies it in
his work on Utilitarianism. The most influential writer of a totally
opposed school, Mr. Carlyle, is never weary of denying it, and upholding
the merit of that virtue which is unconscious; nay, it is, to my
understanding, extremely hard to reconcile Mr. Mivart's dictum with that
noble summary of the whole duty of man--"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; and
thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." According to Mr. Mivart's
definition, the man who loves God and his neighbour, and, out of sheer love
and affection for both, does all he can to please them, is, nevertheless,
destitute of a particle of real goodness.

And it further happens that Mr. Darwin, who is charged by Mr. Mivart with
being ignorant of the distinction between material and formal goodness,

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