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Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

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Contributions to Evolution

To me it seems that my contributions to the theory of evolu-
tion have been mainly these :

1.  The identification of heredity and  memory and the
corollaries relating to sports, the reversion to remote ancestors,
the phenomena of old age, the causes of the sterility of
hybrids and the principles underlying longevity—all of which
follow as a matter of course.   This was Life and Habit. [1877.]

2.  The re-introduction of teleology into organic life which,
to me, seems hardly (if at all) less important than the Life
end, Habit theory.   This was Evolution Old and New. [1879.]

3.  An attempt to suggest an explanation of the physics
of memory.   I was alarmed by the suggestion and fathered
it upon Professor Hering who never, that I can see, meant
to say anything of the kind, but I forced my view on him,
as it were, by taking hold of a sentence or two in his lecture,
on Memory as a Universal Function of Organised Matter, and
thus connected memory with vibrations.     This  was  Un-
conscious Memory. [1880.]

What I want to do now [1885] is to connect vibrations
not only with memory but with the physical constitution of
that body in which the memory resides, thus adopting New-
land's law (sometimes called MendelejefFs law) that there is
only one substance, and that the characteristics of the
vibrations going on within it at any given time will determine
whether it will appear to us as (say) hydrogen, or sodium, or
chicken doing this, or chicken doing the other. [This is
touched upon in the concluding chapter of Luck or Cunning ?