Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything

Bride.Ru

Books Menu

Home
Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog

 

- Darwiniana - 50/52 -


let it be understood, is not about the natural origination of organs. To the triumphant outcry, "How can an organ, such as an eye, be formed under Nature?" we would respond with a parallel question, How can a complex and elaborate organ, such as a nettle-sting, be formed under Nature? But it is so formed. In the same species some individuals have these exquisitely-constructed organs and some have not. And so of other glands, the structure and adaptation of which, when looked into, appear to be as wonderful as anything in Nature. The impossibility lies in conceiving how the obvious purpose was effectuated under natural selection alone. This, under our view, any amount of gradation in a series of forms goes a small way in explaining. The transit of a young flounder's eye across the head is a capital instance of a wonderful thing done under Nature, and done unaccountably.

But simpler correlations are involved in similar difficulty. The superabundance of the pollen of pine-trees above referred to, and in oak-trees, is correlated with chance fertilization under the winds. In the analogous instance of willows a diminished amount of pollen is correlated with direct transportation by insects. Even in so simple a case as this it is not easy to see how this difference in the conveyance would reduce the quantity of pollen produced. It is, we know, in the very alphabet of Darwinism that if a male willow-tree should produce a smaller amount of pollen, and if this pollen communicated to the offspring of the female flowers it fertilized a similar tendency (as it might), this male progeny would secure whatever advantage might come from the saving of a certain amount of work and material; but why should it begin to produce less pollen? But this is as nothing compared with the arrangements in orchid-flowers, where new and peculiar structures are introduced--structures which, once originated and then set into variation, may thereupon be selected, and thereby led on to improvement and diversification. But the origination, and even the variation, still remains unexplained either by the action of insects or by any of the processes which collectively are personified by the term natural selection. We really believe that these exquisite adaptations have come to pass in the course of Nature, and under natural selection, but not that natural selection alone explains or in a just sense originates them. Or rather, if this term is to stand for sufficient cause and rational explanation, it must denote or include that inscrutable something which produces--as well as that which results in the survival of--"the fittest."

We have been considering this class of questions only as a naturalist might who sought for the proper or reasonable interpretation of the problem before him, unmingled with considerations from any other source. Weightier arguments in the last resort, drawn from the intellectual and moral constitution of man, lie on a higher plane, to which it was unnecessary for our particular purpose to rise, however indispensable this be to a full presentation of the evidence of mind in Nature. To us the evidence, judged as impartially as we are capable of judging, appears convincing. But, whatever view one unconvinced may take, it cannot remain doubtful what position a theist ought to occupy. If he cannot recognize design in Nature because of evolution, he may be ranked with those of whom it was said, "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe." How strange that a convinced theist should be so prone to associate design only with miracle!

All turns, however, upon what is meant by this Nature, to which it appears more and more probable that the being and becoming--no less than the well-being and succession--of species and genera, as well as of individuals, are committed. To us it means "the world of force and movement in time and space," as Aristotle defined it--the system and totality of things in the visible universe. What is generally called Nature Prof. Tyndall names matter--a peculiar nomenclature, requiring new definitions (as he avers), inviting misunderstanding, and leaving the questions we are concerned with just where they were. For it is still to ask: whence this rich endowment of matter? Whence comes that of which all we see and know is the outcome? That to which potency may in the last resort be ascribed, Prof. Tyndall, suspending further judgment, calls mystery--using the word in one of its senses, namely, something hidden from us which we are not to seek to know. But there are also mysteries proper to be inquired into and to be reasoned about; and, although it may not be given unto us to know the mystery of causation, there can hardly be a more legitimate subject of philosophical inquiry. Most scientific men have thought themselves intellectually authorized to have an opinion about it. "For, by the primitive and very ancient men, it has been handed down in the form of myths, and thus left to later generations, that the Divine it is which holds together all Nature;" and this tradition, of which Aristotle, both naturalist and philosopher, thus nobly speaks[XIII-5]--continued through succeeding ages, and illuminated by the Light which has come into the world--may still express the worthiest thoughts of the modern scientific investigator and reasoner.

FOOTNOTES:

I-1. "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life," by Charles Darwin, M.A., Fellow of the Royal, Geological, Linnaean, etc., Societies, Author of "Journal of Researches during H. M. S. Beagle's Voyage round the World." London: John Murray. 1859. 502 pp., post 8vo.

I-2. Article in this Journal, vol. xxiv., p. 305.

I-3. "Species tot sunt, quot diversas formas ab initio produxit Infinitum Ens; quae formae secundum generationis inditas leges, produxere plures, at sibi semper similes."--Linn. Phil. Bot., 99, 157.

I-4. Agassiz, "Essay on Classification; Contributions to Natural History," p. 132, et seq.

I-5. As to this, Darwin remarks that he can only hope to see the law hereafter proved true (p. 449); and p. 338: "Agassiz insists that ancient animals resemble to a certain extent the embryos of recent animals of the same classes; or that the geological succession of extinct forms is in some degree parallel to the embryological development of recent forms. I must follow Pictet and Huxley in thinking that the truth of this doctrine is very far from proved. Yet I fully expect to see it hereafter confirmed, at least in regard to subordinate groups, which have branched off from each other within comparatively recent times. For this doctrine of Agassiz accords well with the theory of natural selection."

I-6. Op. cit., p. 131.--One or two Bridgewater Treatises, and most modern works upon natural theology, should have rendered the evidences of thought in inorganic Nature not "unexpected."

I-7. Volume xvii. (2), 1854, p. 13.

I-8. We suspect that this is not an ultimate fact, but a natural consequence of inheritance--the inheritance of disease or of tendency to disease, which close interbreeding perpetuates and accumulates, but wide breeding may neutralize or eliminate.

I-9. The rules and processes of breeders of animals, and their results, are so familiar that they need not be particularized. Less is popularly known about the production of vegetable races. We refer our readers back to this Journal, vol. xxvii., pp. 440--442 (May, 1859), for an abstract of the papers of M. Vilmorin upon this subject.

I-10. Quadrupeds of America," vol. ii., p. 239.

I-11. "Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences," vol. iv., p. 178.

I-12. Owen adds a third, viz., vegetative repetition; but this, in the vegetable kingdom, is simply unity of type.

I-13. "Contributions to Natural History of America," vol. i., pp. 127--131.

I-14. Op. cit., p. 130.

II-1. To parry an adversary's thrust at a vulnerable part, or to show that it need not be fatal, is an incomplete defense. If the discussion had gone on, it might, perhaps, have been made to appear that the Darwinian hypothesis, so far from involving the idea of necessity (except in the sense that everything is of necessity), was based upon the opposite idea, that of contingency.

III-1. Vide "Proceedings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science," 1859, and London Athenoeum, passim. It appears to be conceded that these "celts" or stone knives are artificial productions, and apparently of the age of the mammoth, the fossil rhinoceros, etc.

III-2. See "Correspondence of M. Nickles," in American Journal of Science and Arts, for March, 1860.

III-3. See Morlot, "Some General Views on Archaeology," in American Journal of Science and Arts, for January, 186o, translated from "Bulletin de la Societe Vaudoise," 1859.

III-4. Page 484, English edition. In the new American edition (vide Supplement, pp. 431, 432) the principal analogies which suggest the extreme view are referred to, and the remark is appended: "But this inference is chiefly grounded on analogy, and it is immaterial whether or not it be accepted. The case is different with the members of each great class, as the Vertebrata or Articulata; for here we have in the laws of homology, embryology, etc., some distinct evidence that all have descended from a single primordial parent."

III-5. In Bibliotheque Universelle de Geneve, March, 1860.

III-6. This we learn from his very interesting article, "De la Question de l'Homme Fossile," in the same (March) number of the Biblioteque Universelle. (See, also, the same author's "Note sur la Periode Quaternaire ou Diluvienne, consideree dans ses Rapports avec l'Epoque Actuelle," in the number for August, 1860, of the same periodical.)

III-7. In Comptes Rendus, Academie des Sciences, February 2, 1857.

III-8. Whatever it may be, it is not "the homoeopathic form of the transmutative hypothesis," as Darwin's is said to be (p. 252, American reprint), so happily that the prescription is repeated in the second (p. 259) and third (p. 271) dilutions, no doubt, on Hahnemann's famous principle, of an increase of potency at each dilution. Probably the supposed transmutation is per saltus. "Homoeopathic doses of transmutation," indeed! Well, if we really must swallow transmutation in some form or other, as this reviewer intimates, we might prefer the mild homoeopathic doses of Darwin's formula to the allopathic bolus which the Edinburgh general practitioner appears to be compounding.

III-9. Vide North American Review, for April, 1860, p. 475, and Christian Examiner, for May, p. 457.

III-10. Page 188, English edition.

III-11. In American Journal of Science, July, 1860, pp. 147--149.

III-12. In "Contributions to the Natural History of the United States," vol. i., p.128, 129.

III-13. Contributions to the Natural History of the United States," vol. 1, p. 130; and American Journal of Science, July, 1860, p. 143.


Darwiniana - 50/52

Previous Page     Next Page

  1   10   20   30   40   45   46   47   48   49   50   51   52 

Schulers Books Home



 Games Menu

Home
Balls
Battleship
Buzzy
Dice Poker
Memory
Mine
Peg
Poker
Tetris
Tic Tac Toe

Google
 
Web schulers.com
 

Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything