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Evolution and Dogma 


Professor of Physics in the University of Notre Dame. 

Author of "Sound and Music,'.' "Bible, Science and Faith," "Catholic 

Science and Catholic Scientists." etc. 

fldvTa dt£x6ff/xr/(7£ voost, 

— Anaxagoras. 

ThB rose-seed holds the glory of the rose ; 

Within its heart sweet summer fragrance bides. 
And there each petal's tender blush-tint hides. 

Till June bids nature all her charms disclose. 

The sleeping infant's heart and brain may hold 
The glorious power that in future years 
Shall move the listening world to smiles and tears — 

'Tis life potential that the days unfold. 

One act of Will Divine, and lo I the seed 

Of growth was sown in young creation's heart. 
From Life Eternal hath all life its start 

And endless change as changeless law we read. 



Copyright, 1896, 


J. A. ZAHM. 

tbtt)eMemoiYof ^ 



PART Second of this work covers substantially 
the same ground as my lectures on Evolution, 
delivered before the Madison and Plattsburgh Sum- 
mer Schools and before the Winter School of New 
Orleans. Indeed, the chief difference between the 
subject-matter of Part Second, and that of the lec- 
tures as given at the Summer and Winter Schools, 
consists in the foot-notes which have been added to 
the text, and in a more exhaustive treatment of cer- 
tain topics herein discussed than was possible in the 
time allotted to them in the lecture hall. 

J. A. Zahm, C. S. C. 
Notre Dame University, December i8, 1895. ^ 



Introduction xiii-xxx 




Early Speculations Regarding Nature and Man — Com- 
prehensiveness of Evolution — Evolution Defined — 
Literature of Evolution — Freedom from Bias in the 
Discussion of Evolution 13-22 



First Studies of Nature — Evolution Among the Greeks — 

Aristotle's Observations — Mediaeval Writers. . . . 23-30 



Early Notions Regarding Fossils — Italian Geologists on 
Fossils — Legends About Giants — True Significance of 
Fossils — Controversy in the French Academy. . . 31-40 





Early Views Regarding Abiogenesis — Fathers and School- 
men on Abiogenesis — Redi's Experiments — Later 
Researches — General Advance in Science — Chemistry 
and Astronomy — Testimony of Biology 41-54 



First Materials for the Controversy — Bacon and Kant — 
Linnaeus and BafTon — Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck — 
Species and Varieties 55-^4 



Darwin's " Origin of Species " — Herbert Spencer and Com- 
peers — Science and Philosophy — Anticipations of 
Discoveries — Species and Creation — Evolutionists 
and Anti-Evolutionists — No Via Media Possible — 
The Miltonic Hypothesis — Views of Agassiz — Evolu- 
tion ^S~^2> 



Systems of Classification — Cuvier and His Successors — 
Points of View — Taxonomic Divisions — Plato's "Grand 
Ideas " — Cuvier on Species — Definition of Species — 
Difficulties Regarding Species — Agassiz' V^iews — 
Species in the Making — De CandoUe and Baird — 
Evidences of Organic Evolution — A Philological Illus- 
tration — Tree-like System of Classification — The Ar- 
gument from Structure and Morphology — Rudimentary 
Organs — Argument from Embryology — Amphioxus 



and Loligo — Meaning of Recapitulation — Geograph- 
ical Distribution of Organisms — Facts of Geological 
Succession — The Demonstrative Evidence of Evolu- 
tion — Generalized Types — Probability of Evolution — 
Special Creation and Evolution 84-139 



Declarations of Anti- Evolutionists — Historical and Ar- 
chaeological Objections — Egyptian Mummies — Testi- 
mony of the Monuments — Evidence from Plants — 
Views of Agassiz, Barrande and Others — Misappre- 
hension of the Nature of Evolution, and Answer to 
Objections — Existence and Cause of Variations — 
Paucity of Transitional Forms — Variations and the 
Formation of Fossiliferous Deposits — Romanes on 
Difficulties Attending Preservation of Fossils — Small 
Percentage of Fossil Forms — Extraordinary Interca- 
lary Forms — Imperfection of the Geological Record — 
Time, Change and Equilibrium — Paleontology Com- 
pared With Egyptology and Assyriology — Sterility of 
Species When Crossed — Morphological and Physiolog- 
ical Species — True Significance of the Term "Spe- 
cies " — Factors of Evolution — Evolutionary Theories 
and Their Difficulties — The Ideal Theory. . . . 140-202 




Evolution of the Evolution Theory — Evolution and Dar-^ 
winism — Evolution, Atheism and Nihilism — Evolu- 


■/><? fi^oa M^f 




tion and Faith — Evolution and Science — Ignorance of 
Terms — Materialism and Dualism — Pantheism — 
Dogma of Creation — The V" atican Council on Crea- 
tion — Meaning of the Word "Nature" — Nature and 
God. 205-229 



HitCKEL and Monism — Hseckel as a Scientist — Haeckel's 
Nature-Philosophy — Five Propositions of Haeckel — 
God and the Soul — Organic and Inorganic Matter — 
The Religion of the Future — Haeckel's Limitations — 
Verbal Jugglery — False Analogy — Type of a Class. 230-253 



Nature and Scope of Agnosticism — Late Developments of 
Agnosticism — Mansel, Huxley and Romanes — Doc- 
ta Ignorantia — Agnosticism as a Via Media — Origin 
of the Universe — Spencer's Unknowable — Max Miil- 
ler on Agnosticism — Sources of Agnosticism — Infinite 
Time — Infinite Space — Mysteries of Nature — Chris- 
tian Agnosticism — Gods of the Positivist and the Ag- 
nostic 254-278 


Evolution and Faith t- Teachings of St. Augustine — Views 
of the Angelic Doctor — Seminales Rationes — Creation 
According to Scripture — The Divine Administration — 
Efficient Causality of Creatures — Occasionalism — An- 
thropomorphism — Divine Interference — Science and 
Creation — Darwin's Objection — Limitations of Spe- 
cialists — Evolution and Catholic Teaching — The Scho- 
lastic Doctrine of Species — Milton and Ray. . . 279-319 





Spontaneous Generation — The Nature of Life — The Germ 
of Life — Abiogenesis — Artificial Production of Life — 
Protoplasm 320-339 


The Missing Link — The Human Soul — Creation of Man's 
Body — Mivart's Theory — Angelic Doctor on Creation 
of Adam — Views of Cardinal Gonzales — Opinions of 
Other Writers — Interpretation Not Revelation. . 340-368 


The Doctrine of Final Causes — A Newer Teleology — Evo- 
lution and Teleology — Design and Purpose in Na- 
ture 369-377 


Evolution Not a New Theory — Teachings of Greek Phi- 
losophers — Teleological Ideas of Anaxagoras and 
Aristotle — Influence of Aristotle —t Darwinism Not 
EvolutiQ:^^^ Evolution in the Future— (^olution NoT 
Antagonistic to Religion^ Objections Against New 
Theories — Galileo and the Copernican Theory — Con- 
servatism in Science — Conflict of Opinions Beneficial — 
Evolution and Creationism — Errors in the Infancy of 
Science — Science Not Omnipotent — Bankruptcy of 
Science — Conquests of Science — Evidences of De- 
sign and Purpose — Rudimentary Organs — Evolutjon, 
ScriptuTe^aifd'THeology r> Evolution and Special Crea- 
tion — GenesiacJDays, Fioo4i_Z°^^*'^ *°^ Antiquity of 
Man —(Eminent Catholics on Evolution ■9—jFaithHar~ 
Nothing to Apprehend froffi^^volutiqo — Misappre- 
hg]isians.RegMdihg Evolution — JlYQlBtion,]^ j}nDoE^ 
CUng Conception.~| 378-438 



" II faut savoir douter ou il faut, assurer oii il faut, et se 
soumettre ou il faut. Qui ne fait ainsi n'entend pas la force de 
la raison. II y en a qui faillent contre ces trois principes ; ou 
en assurant tout comme d^monstratif, manque de se connaitre 
en demonstration ; ou en doutant de tout, manque de savoir ou 
il faut se soumettre ; ou en se soumettant en tout, manque de 
savoir ou il faut juger." Pascal, "Pensees." 

" We must know when to doubt, when fo feel certain, when 
to submit. Who fails in this understands not the force of reason. 
There are those who offend against these three rules, either by 
accepting everything as evidence, for want of knowing what 
evidence is ; or by doubting everything, for want of knowing when 
to submit ; or by yielding in everything, for want of knowing 
when to use their judgment." 


T^ luv yap ohfiEl navra awaSei ra vnapxovra, 
TO Si ^evSei raxv iiaiJHJvel Ta7jfits. — Aristotle. 

"For with the truth all things that exist are 
in harmony, but with the false the true at 
once disagrees." 

THE present work is devoted chiefly to the dis- 
cussion of three topics which, although in a 
measure independent one of the other, are, never- 
theless, so closely allied that they may be viewed as 
parts of one and the same subject. The first of these 
topics embraces a brief sketch of the evolutionary 
theory from its earliest beginnings to the present 
time ; the second takes up the pros and the cons of the 
theory as it now stands ; while the third deals with 
the reciprocal and little-understood relations be- 
tween Evolution and Christian faith. 

It is often supposed by those who should know 
better, that the Evolution theory is something which 
is of very recent origin ; something about which little 
or nothing was known before the publication of 
Charles Darwin's celebrated work, "The Origin of 
Species." Frequently, too, it is confounded with 
Darwinism, or some other modern attempt to ex- 
plain the action of Evolution, or determine the fac- 
tors which have been operative in the development 
of the higher from the lower forms of life. The 



purpose of the first six chapters of this book is to 
show that such views are unwarranted ; that Evolu- 
tion, far from being of recent date, is a theory whose 
germs are discernible in the earliest dawn of philo- 
sophic thought. In the two following chapters are 
given, in brief compass, some of the principal argu- 
ments which are usually adduced in favor of, or 
against. Evolution. These chapters, together with 
those which precede them, constitute Part First of 
the present volume ; Part Second being wholly 
devoted to the consideration of the third topic, 
namely. Evolution in its relation to Catholic 
Dogma. For avowed Christians, to whatever creed 
they may belong, the subject relates to matters of 
grave import and abiding interest, and this import 
and interest, great as they are from the nature of the 
theme itself, have been enhanced a hundred fold 
by the protracted and violent controversies to which 
Evolution has given rise, no less than by the many 
misconceptions which yet prevail, and the many 
doubts which still remain to be dissipated. 

Can a Catholic, can a Christian of any denomi- 
nation, consistently with the faith he holds dear, be 
an evolutionist ; or is there something in the theory 
that is so antagonistic to faith and Scripture as to 
render its acceptance tantamount to the denial of 
the fundamental tenets of religious belief? The 
-question, as we shall learn, has been answered both 
affirmatively and negatively. But, as is evident, the 
response cannot be both yea and nay. It must be 
one or the other, and the query now is, which an- 
swer is to be given, the negative or the affirmative ? 


Whatever may be the outcome of the controver- 
sy, whatever may be the results of future research 
and discovery, there is absolutely no room for ap- 
prehension respecting the claims and authority of 
Scripture and Catholic Dogma. Science will never 
be able to contradict aught that God has revealed ; 
for it is not possible that the Divine works and 
the Divine words should ever be in any relation to 
each Qther but one of the most perfect harmony. 
Doubts and difficulties may obtain for a time; the 
forces of error may for a while appear triumphant ; the 
testimonies of the Lord may be tried to the utter- 
most ; but in the long run it will always be found, 
as has so often been the case in the past, that 
the Bible and faith, like truth, will come forth un- 
harmed and intact from any ordeal, however severe, 
to which they may be subjected. For error is im- 
potent against truth ; the pride of man's intellect is of 
no avail against the wisdom of the Almighty. False 
teaching and false views of nature are but the vain 
projections of the imaginations of men ; false theo- 
ries and false hypotheses are often no more than 
what St. Augustine aptly designates "the great ab- 
surdities of great teachers — magna magnorum deli- 
ramenta doctorum. How true, indeed, the words 
of the old distich: 

Nostra damus quum falsa damus, nam fallere 
nostrum est, 

Et quum falsa damus, nil nisi nostra damus. 

The fictions of opinions are ephemeral, but the 
testimonies of the Lord are everlasting. Opinionum 
commenta deUt dies, says Cicero. This utterance of 


the old Roman philosopher applies with singular 
point to all those conjectures of scientists, philoso- 
phers and exegetists, who fail to make their views 
a true reflex of the teachings of nature, natures 
indicicBy or who promulgate theories manifestly an- 
tagonistic to the declarations of faith or of the In- 
spired Record. 

A striking illustration of the unwisdom of com- 
mitting one's self to premature notions, or unproved 
hypotheses, especially before all the evidence in the 
case is properly weighed, is afforded in the long and 
animated controversy respecting the authorship of 
the Pentateuch. Many reasons have been assigned 
by the higher critics why it could not have been the 
production of Moses, to whom it has so long been 
ascribed by a venerable tradition, and one of the 
objections urged against the Mosaic authorship was, 
that written language was unknown in the age dur- 
ing which the Jewish legislator is reputed to have 
lived. Now, however, the distinguished philologist 
and archaeologist. Prof. Sayce, comes forward and 
proves, beyond doubt or quibble, that the conten- 
tion of the higher critics respecting the authorship 
of the Bible is ill-founded. So sure, indeed, is he, 
whereof he speaks, that he does not hesitate to 
assert " not only that Moses could have written the 
Pentateuch, but that it would have been something 
like a miracle if he had not done so." 

Even in Germany, the great stronghold of the 
Higher Criticism, we meet with the expression of 
similar views, and that, too, on the part of such 
noted Biblical scholars as Rupprecht, and Dr. 


Adolph Zahn of Stuttgart. The former, as a re- 
sult of his investigations, declares positively " that 
the Pentateuch dates back to the Mosaic period 
of Divine revelation, and that its author is Moses 
himself, the greatest prophet in Israel." And as to 
the groundless assertion that writing was unknown 
at the time of the Hebrew law-giver, we have the 
deliberate statement of Sayce that "Canaan, in the 
Mosaic age, like the countries which surrounded it, 
was fully as literary as was Europe in the time of 
the Renaissance." ' 

Such and similar instances of premature claims 
for unwarranted hypotheses, should teach us the 
wisdom of practicing a proper reserve in respect of 
them, and of suspending judgment until we can yield 
assent which is based on unimpeachable evidence. 
But this does not imply that we should go to the 
extreme of conservatism, or display a fanatical obsti- 
nacy in the assertion of traditional views which are 
demonstrably untenable. There is a broad reach 
between ultra-conservatism and reprehensible liber- 
alism or arrogant temerity. In this golden mean 

' See The Contemporary Review, pp. 480-481, for Octo- 
ber, 1895. Cf., also, bj the same author. The Higher Criti- 
cism and the Verdict of the Monuments, chapter 11, and 
Literature of the Old Testament in "The People's Bible 
History," mentioned later. In the last-named contribution to 
Biblical lore, the erudite Oxford divine affirms, and without 
fear of contradiction, " that one of the first and most important 
results of the discoveries which have been pouring in upon us 
during the last few years, is the proof that Canaan was a land 
of readers and writers long before the Israelites entered it, and 
that the Mosaic age was one of high literary activity. So far 
as the use of writing is concerned, there is now no longer any 
reason for doubting that the earlier books of the Bible might have 
been contemporaneous with the events they profess to record." 


there is ample field for research and speculation, 
without any danger on the one side of trenching 
on faith, or of putting a bar to intellectual progress 
on the other. The Fathers of the early Church and 
the Schoolmen of mediaeval times, show us what 
liberty of thought the Catholic may enjoy in the 
discussion of all questions outside the domain of 
revealed truth. 

I am not unaware of the fact that Evolution has 
had suspicion directed against it, and odium cast 
upon it, because of its materialistic implications and 
its long anti-Christian associations. I know it has 
been banned and tabooed because it has received the 
cordial imprimatur of the advocates of Agnosticism, 
and the special commendation of the defenders of 
Atheism ; that it has long been identified with false 
systems of philosophy, and made to render yeoman 
service in countless onslaughts against religion and 
the Church, against morality and free-will, against 
God and His providential government of the uni- 
verse. But this does not prove that Evolution is 
ill-founded or that it is destitute of all elements of 
truth. Far from it. It is because Evolution con- 
tains so large an element of truth, because it ex- 
plains countless facts and phenomena which are 
explicable on no other theory, that it has met with 
such universal favor, and that it has proved such a 
powerful agency in the dissemination of error and 
in giving verisimilitude to the most damnable of 
doctrines. Such being the case, ours is the duty to 
withdraw the truth from its enforced and unnatural 
alliance, and to show that there is a sense in which 


Evolution can be understood — in which it must be 
understood, if it repose on a rational basis — in 
which, far from contributing to the propagation of 
false views of nature and God, it is calculated to 
render invaluable aid in the cause of both science 
and religion. From being an agency for the pro- 
mulgation of Monism, Materialism and Pantheism, 
it should be converted into a power which makes 
for righteousness and the exaltation of holy faith 
and undying truth. 

It were puerile to imagine that religion has any- 
thing to fear from the advance of science, or from 
Evolution receiving all the prominence which the 
facts in its favor will justify. Science and religion, 
revelation and nature, mutually supplement one an- 
other, and it would be against the best interests of 
both religion and science to do aught that would 
divorce them, or prevent their remaining the close 
allies which Infinite Wisdom designed them to be. 
" Logically regarded, the advance of science, far 
from having weakened religion has immeasurably 
strengthened it." So wrote shortly before his death 
one who, during the best years of his life, was an 
ardent Darwinian and an avowed agnostic. And 
the same gifted votary of science declared, that " The 
teleology of revelation supplements that of nature, 
and so, to the spiritually minded man, they logically 
and mutually corroborate one another." ' 

It behooves us to realize that in our age of doubt 
and intellectual confusion, when so many seek in the 
gloaming what is visible only in the effulgence of the 

' " Thoughts on Religion,'' p. 179, by George Romanes. 

E. — la 



midday sun, when the skeptic sees an interrogation 
point at the end of every proposition, and when un- 
certainty and mystery hover over so much we should 
like to know — it behooves us, I say, to realize, that 
we must have recourse to everything that is calcu- 
lated to dispel the darkness with which we are sur- 
rounded, and to relieve the harrowing doubts with 
which so many of our fellow men are oppressed. 
But more than this. Important as it is for us to 
bear in mind that we live in an age of doubt and 
disquietude, it is none the less important for us not 
to lose sight of the fact that our lot is cast in an age 
of dissent and conflict. 

Religion is assailed on all sides ; principles we 
hold most dear are treated with contumely and 
scorn, and the very foundations of belief in a 
personal Creator, and in the immortality of the soul, 
are systematically attacked by the enemies of God 
and His Church. If, then, we would accomplish 
anything in the conflict which is now raging so 
fiercely all around us, it is imperative that we should 
provide ourselves with the most approved means of 
attack and defense, and that we should be able not 
only to guard the stronghold of the faith, but that 
we should likewise be equipped and ready to meet 
our enemies out in the open. In these days of 
Maxim guns, old worn-out blunderbusses are worse 
than useless. To attempt to cope with the modern 
spirit of error by means of antiquated and discarded 
weapons of offense and defense, were as foolish as 
to pit a Roman trireme or a mediaeval galley against a 
modern steel cruiser or the latest type of battleship. 


To pass from the language of metaphor to lan- 
guage simple and unadorned, our great, or more 
truthfully our greatest enemy, in the intellectual 
world to-day, is Naturalism — variously known as Ag- 
nosticism, Positivism, Empiricism — which, as Mr. 
Balfour well observes, " is in reality the only system 
which ultimately profits by any defeats which the- 
ology may sustain, or which may be counted on to 
flood the spaces from which the tide of religion has 
receded." ' 

It is Naturalism that, allying itself with Evolution, 
or some of the many theories of Evolution which 
have attracted such widespread attention during the 
last half century, has counted such a formidable fol- 
lowing that the friends of religion and Scripture 
might well despair of final victory, did they not know 
the invincibility of truth, and that, however it may be 
obscured for a time, or however much it may appar- 
ently be weakened, it is sure to prevail and in the 
end issue from the contest triumphant. 

In writing the present work I have ever had be- 
fore my mind the words of wisdom of our Holy 
Father, Leo XIII, concerning the duty incumbent 
on all Catholics, to turn the discoveries of science into 
so many means of illuminating and corroborating the 
teachings of faith and the declarations of the Sacred 
Text. In public and in private, in season and out of 
season, in briefs, allocutions and encyclicals, he has 
constantly and strenuously urged a thorough study 
of science in all its branches. But nowhere does 
he insist more strongly on the profound study of 

' "The Foundations of Belief," p. 6. 


science, than in his two masterly encyclicals 
" yEterni Patris " and " Providentissimus Deus." In 
these noble utterances both the clergy and the laity 
are stimulated to take an active part in the contest 
which is everywhere so furious ; " to repulse hostile 
assaults," and that, too, by " modern methods of 
attack," and by " turning the arms of a perverted 
science into weapons of defense." ' He tells us 
that " a knowledge of natural science will be of 
very great assistance in detecting attacks on the 
Sacred Books and in refuting them." For " attacks 
of this kind," the venerable Pontiff remarks, " bear- 
ing as they do on matters of sensible experience, 
are peculiarly dangerous both to the masses and 
also to the young who are beginning their literary 

In reading these precious documents one would 
almost think that the Holy Father had in mind the 
manifold materialistic hypotheses, so dangerous to 
the faith of the uninstructed, which have grouped 
themselves around the much-abused theory of con- 
temporary Evolution. For, is it not a matter of 
daily observation and experience, that there is an in- 
creasing number of pious but timid souls who are 
sorely distressed by doubts which have been occa- 
sioned by the current theories of Transformism ? 
They imagine, because it is continually dinned into 

' "Quoniam igitur tantum ii possunt religioni importare 
commodi, quibus cum catholicas professionis gratia felicem indol- 
em ingenii benignum numen impertiit ; ideo in hac acerrima agi- 
tatione studiorum, quse Scripturas quoquo modoattingunt, aptum 
sibi quisque eligant studii genus, in quo aliquando excellentes 
obiecta in illas improbse scientise tela, non sine gloria, repellant." 
From the encyclical " Providentissimus Deus." 


their ears, that there is a mortal antagonism between 
the principles of faith and the teachings of Evolu- 
tion, They are assured, moreover, not only that 
such an antagonism actually exists, but also that it 
is based on undeniable facts, on absolute demonstra- 
tion. They are told that if they wish to be consis- 
tent, if they wish to obey the certain behests of 
reason, they must choose between Evolution and 
faith, between science and superstition. The re- 
sult is, too often, alas ! that they make shipwreck of 
their faith, and plunge headlong into the dark and 
hopeless errors of Naturalism. 

But not only have I been ever mindful of the 
teachings of the venerable Pontiff, Leo XIII ; I have 
also, to the best of my ability, striven to follow the 
path marked out by those great masters of Catholic 
philosophy and theology, St. Augustine and St. 
Thomas of Aquin. I have always had before me 
their declarations respecting creation, and the man- 
ner in which we may conceive the world to have been 
evolved from its pristine chaotic condition to its 
present state of order and loveliness. And to make 
my task easier, I have had frequent recourse to those 
two modern luminaries of science and faith, the 
profound Jesuit, Father Harper, and the eminent 
Dominican, Cardinal Gonzales. To the " Metaphys- 
ics of the School," by the former, and to " La 
Biblia y la Ciencia," by the latter, I am specially in- 
debted for information and points of view that it 
would be difficult to find elsewhere. Both of these 
distinguished scholars evince a rare mastery of the 
subjects which they discuss with such lucidity, and 


one may safely follow them with the utmost confi- 
dence, and with the full assurance that ample justice 
will always be done to the claims of both science 
and Dogma. 

In the present work I have studiously avoided 
everything that could justly be construed as an ex- 
aggeration of the results achieved by science, or as a 
minimizing of the dogmatic teachings of the Church 
of God. I have endeavored to present Catholic 
doctrines and scientific tenets in their true light, and 
to exhibit the mutual relations of one to the other 
in the fairest possible manner. Purely ex parte 
statements and special pleadings are alien from a pro- 
fessedly didactic work, and hence my constant effort 
has been to avoid all bias, to present impartially and 
dispassionately both sides of controverted questions, 
and to favor only such conclusions as seemed to be 
warranted by indisputable evidence. 

The Church is committed to no theory as to the 
origin of the world or its inhabitants. Hence, as a 
Catholic, I am bound to no theory of Evolution or 
of special creation, except in so far as there may be 
positive evidence in behalf of such theory. As a 
man of science I must estimate, as everyone else 
must estimate, the merits or demerits of any hy- 
pothesis respecting the genesis and development of 
the divers forms of life, simply and solely by the 
arguments which can be advanced in its support. I 
have no prepossessions for Evolution ; nor have I 
any prejudice against special creation. If it can be 
demonstrated that Evolution is the modus creandi 
which the Almighty has been pleased to adopt, I 


shall rejoice that one of the greatest of the world- 
problems has at length received a solution. If, on 
the other hand, it can be shown that the traditional 
view of special creation is the one to which we must 
give our adhesion, I shall rejoice equally, for the 
sole desire of every student of nature, as well as the 
sole desire of every son of the Church, should be 
the truth, and the truth whole and undefiled. 

I have, then, no pet theory to exploit, nothing 
sensational to defend, nothing to uphold that is in- 
consistent with the strictest orthodoxy or the most 
rigid Ultramontanism. My sole aim and purpose in 
writing this work has been, I repeat it, to remove 
misconceptions, to dispel confusion, to explain diffi- 
culties, to expose error, to eliminate false interpre- 
tation, to allay doubt, to quiet conscience, to benefit 
souls. How far I have succeeded remains for others 
to judge. That in the discussion of so many difficult 
and delicate questions, I may have made statements 
that could be improved, or should be somewhat 
modified, is quite possible. But if, in anything, I 
have been wanting in accuracy of expression ; if I 
have misstated a fact of science, or misapprehended 
a Dogma of faith ; I shall consider it a special favor 
to have my attention directed to what, on my part, 
is wholly an unintentional error. 

It will not do to say, as has been said, that the 
discussion, whether from the platform or elsewhere, 
of such topics as constitute the main feature of this 
work, is inopportune or inexpedient. If the rea- 
sons already assigned did not sufifice to justify the 
expediency and opportuneness of such discussions. 


the example given by the International Catholic 
Scientific Congress ought to dispel all doubts that 
might be still entertained on the subject. For on 
every occasion the Congress has yet assembled, the 
discussion of evolutionary topics has been given 
special prominence. And the interest exhibited in 
such discussions was not confined to laymen and 
specialists, but it was shared in by distinguished 
prelates and scholars of international reputation. 
They recognized the necessity of having all possi- 
ble light on a question of such widespread inter- 
est ; of seeking by all possible means to attain the 
truth respecting a subject which has been so prolific 
of error and has proved such an agency for evil. 
What these learned and zealous men deemed it wise 
to do, in the cultured capitals of the Old World, we 
certainly can and ought to do in this land of ours, 
where ignorance of the subject in question is more 
dense and where knowledge is more needed. The 
fact that certain propositions in this work have 
given rise to such misunderstandings, and have led to 
such misdirected controversy and such useless logo- 
machy as have prevailed during some months past, 
is the best evidence that there is yet much to be 
learned regarding what is so often incontinently 
condemned without a hearing. 

The great trouble now, as it has always been, is 
the very general ignorance of the elench on the part 
of those who pose as critics of Evolution and of evo- 
lutionary theories. Without a suflficient knowledge of 
the facts they venture to discuss, they are often led 
to make statements which a wider acquaintance with 

IN TR OD UC TION. xx vii 

nature compels them to retract. Evolution, how- 
ever, has not fared differently from the other grand 
generalizations that now constitute the foundations 
and pillars which support the noble and imposing 
edifice of science. The Copernican theory, it will 
be remembered, was denounced as anti-Scriptural ; 
Newton's discovery of universal gravitation was con- 
demned as atheistic ; while the researches of geolo- 
gists were decried as leading to infidelity, and as 
being " an awful evasion of the testimony of Reve- 
lation." That the theory of Evolution should be 
obliged to pass through the same ordeal as awaited 
other attempts at scientific progress, is not surprising 
to those who are familiar with the history of science; 
but it is not a little strange that there are yet among 
us those who derive such little profit from the 
lessons of the past, and who still persist in the futile 
attempt to solve by metaphysics problems which, 
by their very nature, can be worked out only by the 
methods of induction. 

Dr. Whewell, the erudite author of the " History 
of the Inductive Sciences," was wont to declare that 
every great discovery in science had to pass through 
three stages. " First people said, ' It is absurd ! ' 
then they said, * It is contrary to the Bible ! ' and 
finally they said, ' We always knew it was so ! ' " 
The truth of this observation of the famous Master 
of Trinity is well exemplified in the case of Evolu- 
tion. There are some who still denounce it as con- 
trary to reason ; there are others who honestly believe 
that it contradicts Scripture ; while there are not a 
few, and the number is rapidly augmenting, who are 


convinced that the germs of the Evolution theory 
are to be found in Genesis, and that its fundamental 
principles were recognized by Aristotle, St. Augus- 
tine and St. Thomas of Aquin. The final result of 
the controversy belongs to the future. If the the- 
ory which has excited such animosity, and provoked 
such unbridled disputes, be founded on the facts of 
nature, it will ultimately prevail, as truth itself will 
prevail in the end ; if, however, it repose only on 
assumption and unsupported hypotheses, if it have 
no better foundation than a shifting reef, it is 
doomed, sooner or later, to the fate which awaits 
everything that is unwarranted by nature or is at 
variance with truth. 

Strange as it may appear, there are still some 
well-meaning people who foolishly imagine, that 
science, when too profoundly studied, is a source of 
danger to faith. Such a notion is so silly as scarcely 
to deserve mention. Pope's well-known verse : " A 
little learning is a dangerous thing," has its appli- 
cation here, as in so many other instances. The 
familiar quotation from Bacon : "A little philosophy 
inclineth a man's mind to Atheism, but depth in phi- 
losophy bringeth men's minds about to religion," ex- 
presses a truth which holds good for science as well 
as for philosophy. Illustrations of the truth of the 
second part of this statement are found in the lives 
of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Linnaeus, Newton, 
Cuvier, Cauchy, Agassiz, Barrande, Leverrier and 
numberless others of the world's most illustrious 
discoverers and most profound thinkers. The great 
Linnaeus, than whom no one ever studied nature 


more carefully or deeply, saw in all created things, 
even in what was apparently the most insignificant, 
evidences of the power and wisdom and goodness of 
God, which to him were simply overwhelming.' And 
the immortal Pasteur, whose recent death a whole 
world mourns, whose exhaustive study of nature has 
been a subject of universal comment and admiration, 
did not hesitate towards the end of his glorious ca- 
reer to declare, that careful and profound study in- 
spires in one the deepest and the most childlike faith, 
a faith like unto that of a people who are proverbial 
for the earnestness and simplicity of their religious 
spirit, the faith of the pious and unspoiled inhabi- 
tants of Catholic Brittany. " 

In one of his sublime pens^es, Pascal, applying 
the method of Descartes to the demonstration of 
faith, and causing this instrument of science to con- 
found all false science, declares that " we must be- 
gin by showing that religion is not contrary to rea- 
son ; then that it is venerable, to give respect for it ; 
then to make it lovable, and to make good men hope 
that it is true ; then to show that it is true." ' Some- 

' In the introduction to his " Systema Naturae," the Swedish 
botanist writes: " Deum sempiternum, inimensum,omniscientem, 
omnipotentem, expergefactus a tergo transeuntem vidi et ob- 
stupui. Legi aliquot ejus vestigia per creata rerum, in quibus 
omnibus, etiam in minimis ut fere nullis, quae vis ! quanta sap- 
ientia ! quam inextricabilis perfectio ! " 

"^ " Quand on a bien ^tudid," the renowned savant avers, 
" on revient a la foi du paysan breton. Si j'avais etudie plus en- 
core, j'aurais la foi de la paysanne bretonne." 

' " II faut commencer par montrer, que la religion n'est 
point contraire a la raison; ensuite qu'elle est venerable, en 
donner respect; la rendre ensuite aimable, faire souhaiter aux 
bons qu'elle f6t vraie ; et puis, montrer qu'elle est vraie." 


thing akin to the idea contained in this beautiful 
passage, has been uppermost in my mind in the pen- 
ning of the following pages. A kindred thought 
has been dominant in every topic discussed. It has 
given me courage to undertake, and strength to com- 
plete, a work which otherwise would never have been 
attempted, and which, during the whole course of 
its preparation, I would fain have seen intrusted to 
more competent hands. My sole, my ardent desire, 
has been to show that there is nothing in true sci- 
ence, nothing in any of the theories duly accredited 
by science and warranted by the facts of nature, 
nothing in Evolution, when properly understood, 
which is contrary to Scripture or Catholic teaching ; 
that, on the contrary, when viewed in the light of 
Christian philosophy and theology, there is much in 
Evolution to admire, much that is ennobling and 
inspiring, much that illustrates and corroborates the 
truths of faith, much that may be made ancillary to 
revelation and religion, much that throws new light 
on the mysteries of creation, much that unifies and 
coordinates what were otherwise disconnected and 
disparate, much that exalts our ideas of creative 
power and wisdom and love, much, in fine, that 
makes the whole circle of the sciences tend, as never 
before, ad major em Dei gloriam. 




Early Speculation Regarding Nature and Man. 

FROM time immemorial philosophers and stu- 
dents of nature have exhibited a special interest 
in all questions pertaining to the origin of man, of 
the earth on which he lives and of the universe to 
which he belongs. The earliest speculations of our 
Aryan forefathers were about the beginnings of 
things. Questions of cosmology, as we learn from 
the tablets preserved in the great library of Assur- 
banipal in Nineveh, received their meed of attention 
from the sages of ancient Assyria and Babylonia. 
And long before Assyria, Babylonia and Chaldea had 
reached the zenith of their power, and before they 
had attained that intellectual eminence which so 
distinguished them among the nations of the ancient 
world, the peoples of Accad and Sumer had raised 
and discussed questions of geogony and cosmogony. 
They were a philosophical race, these old Accadians 
and Sumerians, and, as we learn from the records 
which are constantly being exhumed in Mesopotamia, 



they had a breadth of view and an acuteness of intel- 
lect, which, considering their environment and the 
age in which they lived, were simply astonishing. 
Well have they been called " the teachers of Greece," 
for all the subtlety of thought and keenness of per- 
ception, all the love of science, art and letters, which 
were so characteristic of the Greek mind, were pos- 
sessed in an eminent degree by those old pre-Baby- 
lonian masters who thought and taught and wrote 
many long generations before Abraham left Ur of 
the Chaldees, untold centuries before Thales taught 
and Homer sang. And the musings of the mystic 
Hindu along the banks of the Indus and the Ganges ; 
the meditations of the Egyptian priest in the tem- 
ples of Memphis and Heliopolis ; the speculations 
of the wise men of Attica and Ionia, all turned more 
or less on the same topics which possessed such a 
fascination for the sages of old Chaldea, and which 
were discussed with such zest in the schools of 
Nineveh and Babylon. 

Whence are we? Whither are we going? 
Whence this earth of ours and the plants and animals 
which make it their home ? Whence the sun, and 
moon, and stars — those distant and brilliant, yet mys- 
terious representatives of our visible universe? Did 
they have a beginning, or have they existed from all 
eternity ? And if they had a beginning, are they 
the same now as they were when they first came 
into existence, or have they undergone changes, and, 
if so, what are the nature and the factors of such 
changes? Are the development and mutations of 
things to be referred to the direct and immediate 


action of an all-powerful Creator, or are they rather 
to be attributed to the operation of certain laws of 
nature — laws which admit of determination by 
human reason, and which, when known, serve as a 
norm in our investigations and experiments in the 
organic and inorganic worlds? Are there special in- 
terventions on the part of a Supreme Being in 
the government of the universe, and are we to look 
for frequent, if not constant, exhibitions of the mirac- 
ulous in the natural world ? Has God's first creation 
of the universe and all it contains, of the earth and 
all that inhabits it, been followed by other creations 
at divers periods, and if so, when and where has such 
creative power been manifested ? 

These are a few of the many questions about the 
genesis and development of things which men asked 
themselves in the infancy of our race. And these 
are questions which philosophers are still putting to 
themselves, and which, notwithstanding the many 
thousands of years during which they have been 
under discussion, have to-day a greater and more 
absorbing interest than in any former period of 
human history. 

It is beside my present purpose to enumerate 
the various theories in science to which the discus- 
sion of the questions just propounded have given rise, 
or to dwell on the divers systems of philosophy and 
religion which have been the natural outgrowth of 
such or similar discussions. Materialism, Pantheism, 
Emanationism, Hylozoism, Traducianism, Atheism 
and other isms innumerable have always been, as they 
are to-day, more or less closely identified with many 


of the speculations regarding the origin and consti- 
tution of the visible universe. And despite the 
great advances which have been made in our knowl- 
edge of nature and of the laws which govern the 
organic and inorganic worlds, many of the questions 
which so agitated the minds of the philosophers of 
the olden time, are still as far from solution as they 
were when first proposed. New facts and new dis- 
coveries have placed the old problems in a new light, 
but have diminished none of their difficulties. On 
the contrary, the brilliant search-light of modern sci- 
ence has disclosed new difficulties which were before 
invisible, and proved that those which were consid- 
ered before are in many respedts far graver than was 
formerly imagined. With the advance of science, 
and the progress of discovery, many problems, it is 
true, find their solution, but others, hydra-like, arise 
in their place and obtrude themselves on the scien- 
tist and philosopher, and will not down until they 
have received due recognition. 

Comprehensiveness of Evolution. 

To answer some, if not all, of the questions just 
alluded to ; to explain the phenomena of the cosmos ; 
to solve the problems of life and mind, and throw 
light on the beginning and development of things, 
recourse is now had to a system of philosophy and 
science which, within the last few decades, has at- 
tained a special vogue under the name of Evolution- 
ism, or, as its adepts prefer to call it. Evolution. 
Evolution, we are assured, is the magic word which 
explains all difficulties ; the " open sesame " which ad- 


mits us into the innermost arcana of nature. We are 
told of the Evolution of the earth, of the Evolution 
of the solar system, of the Evolution of the sidereal 
universe. Men discourse on the Evolution of life, 
the Evolution of the organic and inorganic worlds, 
the Evolution of the human race. We have simi- 
larly the Evolution of society, government, religion, 
language, art, science, architecture, music, literature, 
chemistry, physics, mathematics, and the various 
other branches of knowledge as well. We now talk 
of the Evolution of the steamboat, the locomotive, 
the dynamo, the machine-gun, the telescope, the 
yacht and the bicycle. All that ministers to com- 
fort, luxury and fashion are objects of Evolution. 
Hence it is that we hear people speak of the Evolu- 
tion of the modern house-furnace and the cooking- 
stove ; the Evolution of the coach and the dog-cart ; 
the Evolution of seal-skin sacques, high-heeled shoes 
and of that periodically recurrent bete noire of fond 
husbands and indulgent papas — the latest pat- 
tern of a lady's hat. Anything which has developed 
or improved — and what has not ? — is spoken of as 
having come under the great law of Evolution, and, 
presto ! all is explained, and any little enigmas 
which before may have existed instantly vanish. 

As is evident from the foregoing. Evolution may 
mean a great deal, or it may mean little or nothing. 
It is manifestly a term of very general application 
and may often be very misleading. Properly under- 
stood it may be of signal service to the searcher after 
truth, while, on the contrary, if it is constituted an 
ever-ready deus ex machina, capable of solving all 


difficulties, it may lead to inextricable confusion and 
tend to obscure what it was designed to illumine. 
It is obvious, too, that we must restrict the meaning 
of the word Evolution, for it does not come within 
the scope of our work to speak of Evolution in gen- 
eral. We have to consider only a particular phase of 
it, and for this purpose it is important to have a 
definition of what is meant by Evolution. 

Evolution Defined. 

Herbert Spencer, who is regarded by his admirers 
as the great philosopher of Evolution, defines it to be 
a "change from an indefinite, incoherent homogene- 
ity, to a definite, coherent heterogeneity; through 
continuous differentiations and integrations.' And 
the operation of Evolution," continues the same au- 
thority, "is absolutely universal. Whether it be in 
the development of the earth, in the development of 
life upon its surface, in the development of society, 
of government, of manufactures, of commerce, of lan- 
guage, of literature, science, art, this same advance 
from the simple to the complex, through successive 
differentiations, holds uniformly. From the earliest 
traceable cosmical changes down to the latest re- 
sults of civilization, we shall find that the transfor- 
mation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous, 
is that in which Evolution essentially consists,'" 

Spencer's definition, however, exact as it may be 
deemed, embraces far more than we shall have 
occasion to consider, for my task shall be confined 

*" First Principles," p, 216. 
» Id.— p. 148. 


to the Evolution of the earth and its inhabitants, and 
only incidentally shall I refer to cosmic Evolution. 
Indeed, properly speaking, the Evolution of which I 
shall treat shall be limited almost entirely to organic 
Evolution, or the Evolution of the plants and ani- 
mals which live or have lived on this earth of ours. 
All references, therefore, to the Evolution of the 
earth itself from its primeval nebulous state, and to 
the Evolution of organic from inorganic matter, will 
be mostly by way of illustration, and in order to 
show that there is no breach of continuity between 
organic Evolution, which is my theme, and inorganic 
or cosmic Evolution. 

Literature of Evolution. 

The subject is a vast one, and to treat it ade- 
quately would require far more space than I have at 
my disposal. It has indeed a literature and a bibli- 
ography of its own — a literature whose proportions 
are already stupendous, and are daily, and with 
amazing rapidity, becoming more collossal. For 
the past third of a century, since the publication of 
Darwin's " Origin of Species," it has been uppermost 
in the minds of everyone given to thinking on seri- 
ous subjects. Everybody talks about Evolution, and 
more write about it than about any other one subject. 

More than five thousand distinct works, relating 
to Goethe, who died in 1832, have, it is estimated, 
already been printed, and additions are continually 
being made to this enormous number. Peignot, who 
wrote in 1822, declared that up to his day more than 
eighty thousand distinct works had appeared on the 


history of France. The number of volumes that 
have been written on our Civil War can soon be 
enumerated by myriads, and still other works on the 
same subject are being published in rapid succession. 
Startling, however, as these figures may appear, they 
are insignificant in comparison with those relating 
to the subject of Evolution. In every language of 
the civilized world, books, brochures, and maga- 
zine articles innumerable, have been written on Evo- 
lution, and the number of publications of various 
kinds specially treating of this topic is now almost 
beyond computation. 

Such being the case, it will evidently be impos- 
sible for me to do more than give a brief sketch of 
the history of Evolution, and of its status to-day in 
the world of thought, religious, scientific and philo- 
sophic. It is something that one cannot develop 
dans un mot, as a certain French lady expected of a 
noted savant, when asking him to explain his system 
of philosophy. For a similar reason, also, I can dis- 
cuss but briefly the bearings of Evolution on religion 
and Catholic dogma. I shall, therefore, have to limit 
myself to a few general propositions, and refer those 
who desire a more exhaustive treatment of the sub- 
jects discussed, to the many elaborate and learned 
works that have been given to the world during the 
past few decades. 

Freedom Prom Bias in the Discussion of Evolution. 

I may here be permitted, before going further, to 
remind the reader that it is of prime importance, in 
the discussion of the subject of Evolution, especially 


in its relation to religion and dogma, for one to 
weigh fairly and dispassionately the arguments and 
objections of evolutionists, and to divest one's self 
of all bias that may proceed from prejudice or early 
education, to consider the question on its merits, and 
not to let one's mind be swayed by preconceived, or 
it may be, by erroneous notions. Let the value of 
the evidence adduced be estimated by the rules of 
logic and in the light of reason. This is essential. 
In the discussion of the subject during the past 
thirty and odd years much has been said in the heat 
of controversy, and on both sides, that had no 
foundation in fact. There have been much exagger- 
ation and misrepresentation, which have given rise to 
difficulties and complications that might easily have 
been avoided if the disputants on both sides had 
always been governed by a love of truth, and the 
strict rules of dialectics, rather than by passion and 
the spirit of party. Misguided zeal and ignorance 
of the true teachings of the Church, always betray 
one into making statements which have no founda- 
tion in fact, but, in the discussions to which the sub- 
ject of Evolution has given rise, there has often been 
exhibited, by both the defendants and the opponents 
of the theory, a lack of fairness and a bitterness of 
feeling that are certainly not characteristic of those 
whose sole desire is the attainment of truth. Such 
polemics have injured both parties, and have delayed 
a mutual understanding that should have, and would 
have, been reached years ago if the ordinary rules of 
honest controversy had always been inviolably 


Now that the smoke of battle is beginning to 
vanish, and that the participants in the contest have 
time to reckon results and to look back to the causes 
which precipitated the struggle, it is found, and I 
think generally conceded, that certain of the repre- 
sentatives of science were the ones who brought on 
an imbroglio for which there was not the slightest 
justification. But it is the old story over again — 
hatred of religion concealed behind some new dis- 
covery of science or enveloped in some theory that, 
for the nonce, was raised to the dignity of an indis- 
putable dogma. It was not, it is true, so much the 
chief representatives of science who were to blame 
as some of their ill-advised asseclce, who saw in the 
new teachings an opportunity of achieving notoriety, 
and, at the same time, of venting their spleen against 
the Church and casting obloquy on religion and 


First Studies of Nature. 

EVOLUTION, as we now know it, is a product 
of the latter half of the present century. It 
would; however, be a mistake to imagine that Min- 
erva-like it came forth from the brain of Darwin or 
Spencer, or that of anyone else, as the fully-developed 
theory which has caused so great a stir in the intel- 
lectual world. No ; Evolution, as a theory, is not the 
work of one man, nor the result of the work of any 
body of men that could be designated by name. 
Neither is it the product of any one generation or 
epoch. On the contrary, it has been the joint achieve- 
ment, if such it can be called, of countless think- 
ers and observers and experimenters of many climes 
and of many centuries. It is the focus towards which 
many and divers lines of thought have converged 
from the earliest periods of speculation and scientific 
research down to our own. The sages of India and 
Babylonia; the priests of Egypt and Assyria; the 
philosophers of Greece and Rome ; the Fathers of 
the early Church and the Schoolmen of the Middle 
Ages, as well as the scholars and discoverers of sub- 
sequent ages, contributed toward the estabHshment 
of the theory on the basis on which it now reposes. 



This being the case, it will help us to a more 
intelligent appreciation of the theory to take a brief 
retrospect of the work accomplished by the earlier 
workers in the field, and to review some of the more 
important observations and discoveries which led up 
to the promulgation of Evolution as a theory of the 
universal application which is now claimed for it. 
Such a review will likewise serve another purpose. 
We are often disposed to imagine that all the great 
discoveries and generalizations in science are entirely 
the result of modern thought and investigation. We 
forget that the way has been prepared for us by 
those who questioned nature thousands of years ago, 
but who, not having the advantages or appliances 
of modern research, were unable to possess them- 
selves of her secrets. We underrate and disparage 
the work of the earlier students and speculators, be- 
cause we are oblivious of the fact that they planted 
the germ which we see developed into the full-grown 
tree, because we do not realize that we are reaping 
what others have sown. All great movements in 
the world of thought are, we should remember, 
simply the integration of infinitesimals; the sum- 
mation of an almost infinite series of factors which 
are ordinarily ignored or disregarded. The success- 
ful generalizer and the framer of legitimate scientific 
theories are, as a rule, those who avail themselves 
of the data and patient indications of others, who 
accumulate and correlate disjointed and independent 
observations which, separately considered, have little 
or no value, and which tell us little or nothing of 
the operations of nature and nature's laws. Thus 


Kepler's laws were based on the observations of 
Tycho Brahe ; Newton's great discovery of the law 
of universal gravitation was founded on Abb^ Pic- 
ard's measurenaent of the earth's meridian; and 
Leverrier's discovery of the planet Neptune was 
suggested by the perturbations which various astron- 
omers had observed in the motion of Uranus. So, 
too, is it, but to a greater extent, in respect of 
the theory of Evolution. It is the result not only 
of the observations of the immediate predecessors 
of those who are now regarded as the founders of 
the theory, but of data which have been amassed 
and of reflections which philosophers have been 
making since our Aryan forefathers first began to in- 
terrogate nature and seek a rational explanation of 
the various mutations which were observed to char- 
acterize the earth's surface and its inhabitants. 

Evolution Among the Greeks. 

Thales, who was one of the first philosophers 
that attempted a natural explanation of the uni- 
verse, in lieu of the myths which had so long ob- 
tained, taught that all life had its origin in water. 
Anaximander, who flourished six centuwes B.C., 
seems to forestall certain evolutionary theories 
which were taught twenty-five hundred years later. 
" The first animals," ra -rpwra Cwa, he tells us, " were 
begotten in moisture and earth." Man, according 
to the same philosopher, " must have been born from 
animals of a difTerent form, i^ aXXoktdwv ^mmv, for, 
whereas other animals easily get their food by them- 
selves, man alone requires long rearing. Hence, had 


man been originally such as he is now, he could never 
have survived." He first propounded the theory of 
" fish-men," which, in a modified form, was adopted 
by Oken. Anaximenes, a pupil of Anaximander, 
made air the cause of all things, while Diogenes 
of Appolonia held that all forms of animal and 
plant life originated from primordial slime — the 
prototype of Oken's famous Urschleim. Anaxagoras 
sought the beginnings of animated nature in germs 
which preexisted in nature, and were distributed 
throughout the air and ether. In Empedocles, who 
is sometimes spoken of as the father of the Evolu- 
tion idea, we find the germ of what Darwin calls 
" natural selection," * and what Spencer denominates 
"the survival of the fittest." With the representa- 
tives of the Ionian schools, he was a believer in 
spontaneous generation, or abiogenesis, but he ap- 
proximated more closely to the teachings of modern 
Evolution than did any of his predecessors or con- 
temporaries. He recognized the gradual develop- 
ment of the higher from the lower forms of life, and 
taught that plants made their appearance before 

Aristotle's Observations. 

But the greatest of the Greek naturalists, as he 
was also the greatest of Greek philosophers,- was 

^ In his "Physics," II, cap. viii, Aristotle refers to natural 
selection and the survival of the fittest, as taught by Empedocles 
and others, as follows : " For when the very same combinations 
happened to be produced which the law of final causes would have 
called into being, those combinations which proved to be advan- 
tageous to the organism were preserved ; while those which 
were not advantageous perished, and still perish, like the mino- 
taurs and sphinxes of Empedocles," 


Aristotle. Unlike Plato, who laid special stress on 
a priori reasoning as the source of true knowledge, 
even in the natural and physical sciences, he insisted 
on observation and experiment. " We must not," 
he tells us in his " History of Animals," "accept a 
general principle from logic only, but must prove its 
application to each fact. For it is in facts that we 
must seek general principles, and these must always 
accord with facts. Experience furnishes the partic- 
ular facts from which deduction is the pathway to 
general laws." 

When we consider how happy the Stagirite was 
in his generalizations from the meager facts at his 
command, how remarkable was his prevision of 
some of the most important results of modern 
investigation, how he had not only a true concep- 
tion of the modern ideas of Evolution, but had 
likewise a clear perception of the principle of adap- 
tation, when we remember that he was cognizant 
of the analogies, and probably also of the homol- 
ogies between the different parts of an organism, 
that he was aware of the phenomena of atavism and 
reversion and heredity, and that he foreshadowed 
the theory of epigenesis in embryonic development, 
as taught by Harvey long ages afterwards, when v/e 
call to mind all these things, we are forced, I re- 
peat, to conclude that the immortal Greek not only 
fully understood the value of induction as an instru- 
ment of research, but also that he was quite as suc- 
cessful in its use, considering his limited appliances 
for work, as was any one of his successors who lived 
and labored in more favored times. 


He, then, and not Empedocles, should be re- 
garded as the father of the Evolution theory. The 
poet-naturalist of Agrigentum made, indeed, some 
observations in embryology, the first recorded, 
and may thus have been led to some of his fortu- 
nate guesses at the truth of Evolution ; but there is 
reason to believe that most, if not all of his theories, 
were based on a priori speculation rather than on 
experiment. He had by no means the wide ac- 
quaintance with nature which so distinguished Aris- 
totle ; neither did he possess the logical acumen, 
nor the skill in inductive reasoning we so much 
admire in the Samian philosopher. So far as was 
possible in his time, the Stagirite based his evo- 
lutionary views on observation and experiment, 
rather than on metaphysical ratiocination, and 
this is more than can be said of any of his prede- 
cessors, whether of the Ionian, Pythagorean or 
Eleatic schools, or of those immediately subse- 

Mediaeval Writers. 

The foregoing views of the Greek philosophers 
found acceptance at a later date with the philoso- 
phers of Rome, and prevailed, with but slight modi- 
fications, during the entire period of the Middle 
Ages. They were commented on by a number of 
Arabian writers, notably Avicenna, Avempace, Abu- 

' For an exhaustive exposition of the views of the Greeks, on 
the subjects discussed in the foregoing paragraphs, consult Zel- 
ler's " Philosophy of the Greeks." See also Ueberweg's "His- 
tory of Philosophy." 


bacer,' and Omar " the learned," as well as by many 
of the Schoolmen, especially Albertus Magnus. The 
last-named scholar was remarkable for his extended 
knowledge of nature. Besides discussing the theo- 
ries which had been framed by his predecessors, he 
was a keen observer and skillful experimenter, and 
it is not too much to say that he contributed more 
towards the advance of science than anyone who 
had lived since the time of Aristotle. 

The illustrious pupil of Albertus Magnus, St. 
Thomas Aquinas, deserves a special mention here 
for his teachings respecting organic Evolution. Ac- 
cepting the views of Aristotle, St. Gregory of Nyssa 
and St. Augustine, regarding the origin and develop- 
ment of animal and plant life, he laid down principles 
concerning derivative or secondary creations, which 

'In a curious philosophical romance Abubacer writes as 
follows on the birth of what he designates the " nature-man : " 
"There happens to be," he says, " under the equator an island, 
where man comes into the world without father or mother. By 
spontaneous generation he arises directly, in the form of a boy, 
from the earth, while the spirit, which, like sunshine, emanates 
from God. unites with the body, growing out of a soft, unformed 
mass. Without any intelligent surroundings, and without educa- 
tion, this ' nature-man,' through simple observation of the outer 
world, and through the combination of various appearances, rises 
to the knowledge of the world and of the Godhead. First, he 
perceives the individual, and then he recognizes the various 
species as independent forms, but as he compares the varieties 
and species with each other, he comes to the conclusion that 
they are all sprung from a single animal spirit, and, at the same 
time that the entire animal race forms a single whole. He 
makes the same discovery among the plants, and finally he sees 
the animal and plant forms in their unity, and discovers that 
among all their differences they have sensitiveness and feeling 
in common ; from which he concludes that animals and plants 
are only one and the same thing." How like unto many mod- 
ern speculations this fancy of the old Arab philosopher ! 


scientists and theologians now recognize to be of ines- 
timable value. As we shall have occasion , in the sequel, 
to examine at length the teachings of the Angelic Doc- 
tor on this topic, it will suffice for the present sim- 
ply to advert to them, and to signalize in advance 
their transcendent importance. 


Early Notions Regarding Fossils. 

IN the beginning of the sixteenth century geolog- 
ical phenomena began to attract more attention 
than they had hitherto received. Special interest 
was centered in fossils, which were so universally 
distributed over the earth's surface, and their study 
contributed materially towards placing the theory 
of Evolution on a firmer basis than it ever before 
possessed. Aristotle and other Greek writers had, 
indeed, made mention of them, but did not, as it 
appears, devote to them any particular study. 

Theophrastus, a pupil of Aristotle, supposed 
them to be due to "a certain plastic virtue" of the 
earth, which possessed the power of fashioning 
inorganic matter into organic forms. 

The distinguished painter, Leonardo da Vinci, 
one of the most gifted men that ever lived, was 
among the first to dispute the absurd theories which 
were currently accepted regarding the nature and 
origin of fossils. " They tell us," he says, " that these 
shells were formed in the hills by the influence- 
of the stars ; but I ask, where in the hills are the stars 
now forming shells of distinct ages and species ? 
And how can the stars explain the origin of gravel, 



occurring at different heights and composed of peb- 
bles rounded as by the motion of running water ; or 
in what manner can such a cause account for the 
petrification in the same places of various leaves, 
sea-weeds and marine crabs?" 

Fracostoro, a contemporary of Da Vinci, followed 
in the footsteps of the illustrious artist, and taught 
that fossils were the exuviae of animals that former- 
ly lived where their remains are now found. He 
showed the futility of the opinion then prevalent 
which attributed fossils to the action of the Noa- 
chian Deluge, which, according to the ideas then en- 
tertained, not only strewed the earth's surface with 
the remains of the animals which were destroyed, 
but also buried them at great depths on the highest 

Clear and cogent arguments like those adduced 
by Da Vinci and Fracostoro should have sufficed to 
end all controversy regarding the true nature of 
fossils, but unfortunately for the cause of science 
the dispute was destined to last nearly three cen- 
turies longer. All sorts of imaginary causes were 
feigned to account for the petrified organic forms 
everywhere abundant, and no theory was too fantas- 
tical to attract supporters, provided only it was not 
antagonistic to the notions of geogony and cos- 
mogony then popularly received. 

Thus, according to Agricola, fossils were the prod- 
uct of a certain materia pinguis, or fatty matter, 
set in fermentation by heat ; porous bodies, like 
bones and shells, according to Mattioli, were petri- 
fied by what he designated a "lapidifying juice," 


while according to Fallopio, of Padua, petrified 
shells were produced by the " tumultuous move- 
ments of the terrestrial exhalations." Olivi, of 
Cremona, considered fossils as mere lusus naiurce, 
or " sports of nature," while others regarded 
them as mere stones which " had assumed their 
peculiar configuration by the action of some oc- 
cult ' internal principle ' from the influence of 
the heavenly bodies;" and others still maintained 
that they were bodies formed by nature " for no 
other end than to play the mimic in the mineral 

That such fanciful notions regarding the nature 
of fossils could ever have been seriously entertained 
by men of sound judgment now seems almost inex- 
plicable. But if we reflect a moment we shall see 
that almost equally ridiculous views of nature are 
held by even eminent men of science at the present 
day. As for the students of nature who lived some 
centuries ago, it may be pleaded in extenuation of 
the errors into which they lapsed, that some of the 
theories which they deemed to be beyond question 
appeared to give color to their beliefs. 

Among these was the theory of spontaneous gen- 
eration, or the theory that certain living plants and 
animals are produced spontaneously from inorganic 
matter, or spring from organic matter in a state of 
decomposition. And then, too, they were confirmed 
in their views by observing the peculiar forms as- 
sumed by stalactites and stalagmites which grew 
under their very eyes ; by the strange figures found 
in agates, notably the moss agate, and the still 



Stranger figures which often characterize what is 
known as landscape marble, in which trees, castles, 
mountains and other objects are frequently depicted 
with striking fidelity. 

But in spite of the yoke of authority, especially 
of Aristotle, which bore heavily upon the students of 
science, and notwithstanding the generally received 
teaching, often based on the Bible, to oppose which 
required considerable courage, new views were slowly 
but surely supplanting the old. And strange as it 
may seem, it was not some philosopher who was the 
first to proclaim the truth, but the celebrated pot- 
ter, Bernard Palissy. " He was the first," says Fon- 
tenelle, " who dared assert in Paris that fossil re- 
mains of testacea and fish had belonged to marine 

Italian Geologists on Fossils. 

A century after Palissy's time, in 1669, Nicholas 
Steno, a Danish Catholic priest, showed the identity 
of the teeth and bones of sharks then living in the 
Mediterranean with those of fossil remains found in 
Tuscany. " He also compared the shells discovered 
in the Italian strata with living species ; pointed out 
their resemblance and traced the various grada- 
tions from shells which had only lost their animal 
gluten, to those petrifactions in which there was a 
perfect substitution of stony matter." 

And yet, notwithstanding the observations of 
such men as Steno, Palissy, and others, the old no- 
tions, according to which fossils were the products 
of a certain plastic virtue latent in nature, or were 


deposited in situ by Noah's flood, still found favor 
with the majority of geologists. This was especially 
the case with the physico-theological writers of Eng- 
land, who, in spite of the discoveries of the Italian ge- 
ologists, still persisted in accommodating all geolog- 
ical phenomena to their fanciful interpretations of the 
Scriptural accounts of the Creation and the Deluge. 
Thus Woodward taught that " the whole terrestrial 
globe was taken to pieces and dissolved by the 
Flood," and that subsequently the strata " settled 
down from this promiscuous mass as any earthy 
sediment from a flood." 

Such views were in marked contrast with those 
held by the learned Carmelite friar, Generelli, who 
strongly argued against the unreasonableness of 
calling " the Deity capriciously upon the stage, to 
make Him work miracles for the sake of confirming 
our preconceived hypotheses." He insisted on it 
that natural causes were competent to explain geo- 
logical phenomena, and to account for the occurrence 
of fossil remains on hills and mountains. In refer- 
ring to the formation of mountains and their denu- 
dation by the action of the elerrients, he forestalls the 
teachings of modern geologists when he declares 
" that the same cause which, in the beginning of 
time, raised mountains from the abyss, has down to 
the present day continued to produce others, in 
order to restore from time to time the losses of all 
such as sink down in different places, or are rent 
asunder, or in other ways suffer disintegration." ' 

See Lyell's " Principles of Geology," vol. I, p. 54. 


Legends About Giants. 

As illustrating the difficulties which students of 
science had to contend with, I may here refer to 
another curious but deeply-rooted notion that long 
prevailed regarding certain fossils. Accepting as 
certain the ordinary interpretation of the Hebrew 
word nephilim, 'D''^''Q?^ in Genesis, vi, 4, as mean- 
ing giants, or persons of extraordinary stature, and 
taking as literal the mythical or exaggerated ac- 
counts of giants who were reputed tQ have lived 
in the early ages of the world, the discoverers of 
large fossil bones had no hesitation in pronouncing 
them the remains of some one or other great giant 
of legendary lore. 

Greek and Roman authors, no less than German, 
French and English writers at a much later period, 
give us very detailed descriptions of the remains of 
giants discovered in various quarters of the earth. 
The bones found in one place, were, it was asserted, 
those of Antaeus or Orestes, those in another, of 
the giant Og, King of Bashan, while those of still 
another locality were identified as the skeleton of 
the famous Teutobocchus, king of the Teutons and 
Cimbri, who was defeated by the Roman general, 
Marius. According to the accounts which have 
come down to us, the teeth of these giants each 
weighed several pounds and were in some instances 
as much as a foot long, while the estimated stature 
of others of the giants whose remains are described 
was no less than sixty cubits. Later investigators, 
however, had no difficulty in showing that the sup- 
posed teeth of giants were nothing other than the 


molars of some extinct elephant or mammoth ; that 
what were regarded as the vertebrae and femurs of 
Titans and giants belonged in reality to certain 
monstrous pachyderms long since extinct, and that 
what was exhibited as the hand of one of the huge 
representatives of the human family proved, on ex- 
amination, to be the bones of the fore-fin of a whale. 
And, as science advanced, it was finally discovered 
that there had never been any material difference in 
the stature of men, that the races of antiquity were 
no taller than those now existing, and that there is 
no evidence whatever that there were ever, at any 
period of the world's history, men of greater stature 
than those occasionally seen in our own day.' 

But notwithstanding the progress of discovery, 
people were loath to give up their belief in giants, as 
they were unwilling to change their opinions respect- 
ing the plastic power of the earth and the universally 
exterminating effects of the Flood. Men who be- 
lieved in the existence of griffons and flying dragons, 
and who regarded the horns of fossil rhinoceroses, so 
numerous in parts of Europe and Asia, as the claws 
of griffons and as certain proofs of the existence of 
these fabled creatures, could not be blamed if they 
gave more or less credence to the countless tradi- 
tionary tales respecting Titans and giants. 

True Significance of Fossils. 

The true significance of fossils, however, was not 
understood until the time of Cuvier, the illustrious 

* See Howorth's " Mammoth and the Flood," chaps, i and ii, 
and Wood's " Giants and Dwarfs." 


founder of paleontology. Many had asserted, as we 
have seen, that fossil remains were the exuviae of 
what were once living animals, but no one before 
Cuvier had a true conception of their relation to the 
existing fauna of the globe. At the close of the 
last century this profound naturalist commenced an 
exhaustive study of the rich fossiliferous rocks of 
the Paris basin, and was soon able to announce to 
an astonished world that the fossils there discovered 
were not only the remains of animals long since ex- 
tinct, but that they belonged to species and genera 
entirely different from any now existing. To the 
amazement of men of science he proved the exist- 
ence of a tropical fauna in the latitude of Paris, and 
exhibited animal forms totally unlike anything now 
living. His discoveries carried men's minds back to 
times far anterior to the Deluge of Noah ; back to 
epochs whose remoteness from our own is to be 
estimated by hundreds of thousands and millions of 
years. The theory that the fossiliferous strata of the 
earth were deposited by Noah's Flood was proven 
to be untenable and absurd, and it was therefore 
relegated definitively to the limbo of fanciful spec- 
ulations and exploded hypotheses. Thinking men 
were compelled to recognize the fact that the 
world is much older than had been imagined ; that 
far from having been created only a few thou- 
sand years ago, it had been in existence for many 
millions of years ; and that many strange forms of life 
had inhabited the earth long before the advent of 
man on our planet. Further investigations carried 
on by Brongniart, Cuvier's collaborator, by D'Or- 


bigny, Sedgwick, Murchison, Smith, Lyell and 
others, showed that there was a gradual develop- 
ment from the forms of life which characterize the 
earlier geological ages to those which appeared at 
later epochs. From the simple, primitive forms of 
the lower Silurian Age there was a steady progres- 
sion towards the higher and more specialized types 
of the Quaternary. 

Did this succession betoken genetic connection? 
Were the higher and later forms genealogically de- 
scended from the simpler antecedent types? Was 
there here, in a word, evidence of organic Evolution? 

Controversy in the French Academy. 

Such questions had been suggested before but 
they were now asked in all seriousness, and by those 
most competent to interpret the facts of paleontol- 
ogy. A storm was brewing in the scientific world, 
and when, in 1830, it burst in the French Acad- 
emy, in the celebrated contest between Cuvier and 
Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, it created an unpre- 
cedented sensation in the whole of Europe, notwith- 
standing the great political excitement of the time. 

An anecdote, told of Goethe, shows in what light 
the great poet-philosopher viewed the dispute which 
was to have such an important bearing on the ques- 
tion of the origin of species. The news of the out- 
break of the French Revolution of July had just 
reached Weimar, and the whole town was in a state 
of excitement. " In the course of the afternoon," 
says Soret, " I went around to Goethe's. ' Now,' 
exclaimed he to me, as I entered, 'what do you 


think of this great event ? The volcano has come 
to an eruption ; everything is in flames, and we have 
no longer a transaction with closed doors! ' ' Terri- 
ble affairs,' said I, ' but what could be expected un- 
der such outrageous circumstances, and with such a 
ministry, otherwise than that the whole would end 
with the expulsion of the royal family ? ' ' My good 
friend,' gravely returned Goethe, 'we seem not to un- 
derstand each other. I am not speaking of those crea- 
tures there, but of something quite different. I am 
speaking of the contest, so important for science, be- 
tween Cuvier and Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, which has 
just come to an open rupture in the French Acad- 
emy! ' " This individual contest between two giants 
was the signal for a general outbreak. The first gun 
was fired and a war ensued, which has continued with 
almost unabated vigor until the present time. The 
scientific world was divided into two camps, those who 
sympathized with the views of Geoffroy regarding 
Evolution, and those who sided with Cuvier, the ad- 
vocate of the traditional doctrine of special creations. 
Much, however, remained to be accomplished be- 
fore the views of Saint-Hilaire could be considered 
as anything more than a provisional hypothesis. 
The evidence of all the sciences had to be weighed, 
a thorough survey of the vast field of animate nature 
had to be made, before the new school could reason- 
ably expect its views to meet with general accept- 
ance. Special and systematic investigations were 
accordingly inaugurated, in all parts of the world, in 
which representatives of every department of science 
took an active and interested part. 



Early Views Regarding Abiogenesis. 

BEFORE recounting the results of these investi- 
gations, it may not, perhaps, be out of place, 
briefly to summarize a chapter in the history of biol- 
ogy which has always had a peculiar interest for 
students of nature, and which, even to-day, notwith- 
standing many long and animated controversies on 
the subject, has probably a greater interest for a 
certain school of evolutionists than almost any other 
one topic. I refer to the subject of spontaneous 
generation, or abiogenesis,' to which reference has 
already been made en passant. 

The discussion of this question has played such 
an important part in the history of science, that any 
treatment of the theory of Evolution which should 
contain no reference to the subject of spontaneous 
generation, would ignore one of the most essential 
factors in a great and long-continued controversy. 
In good sooth, some knowledge of the more salient 
facts of abiogenesis are absolutely irtdispensable to a 
proper appreciation of certain of the most interest- 
ing problems connected with the theory of Evolution 

* Generatio aequivoca, heterogenesis, and autogenesis, are 
sometimes employed as synonyms of spontaneous generation. 



as now understood. In many respects, indeed, Evo- 
lution and abiogenesis go hand in hand and what 
throws light on the one at the same time illuminates 
the other, diminishing, part passu, the difficulties of 
both, or bringing, it may be, such difficulties into 
bolder relief. 

The doctrine that certain animals and plants 
arise from the fortuitous concourse of atoms of inor- 
ganic matter, or originate from decaying animal or 
vegetable matter, that nature is capable of bringing 
forth living bodies, 

" Qui rupto robore nati, 
Compositive luto, nullos habuere parentes." 

is one of those errors in science that can be traced 
back to the earliest period of scientific speculation. 
It received the imprimatur of Aristotle, who was a 
firm believer in spontaneous generation, and, like 
many other errors indorsed by the famous Stagirite, it 
was almost universally accepted as incontestable truth 
until a few decades ago. How much this belief, by 
engendering false notions regarding the unity and 
relationship of the animal world, may have retarded 
the progress of science, it is unnecessary here to in- 
quire. Suffice it to say that the discussions to 
which the subject gave rise from time to time had 
no slight influence in predisposing many minds in 
favor of the theory of Evolution, and of throwing a 
certain light on the subject of organic development 
that could come from no other source. 

According to Aristotle many of the lower forms 
of animal life originate spontaneously, sometimes 


from decomposing animal or vegetable matter, some- 
times from the slime of the earth. Many insects, he 
tells us, spring from putrid matter ; certain fish have 
their origin in mud and sand, while eels, we are as- 
sured, are spontaneously produced in marshy 
ponds.* Aristotle's views were shared by his coun- 
trymen as well as by the Romans — by poets and 
philosophers as well as by naturalists. Pliny and 
Varro speak of spontaneous generation as do also 
Virgil and Lucretius and Ovid. All readers of Ovid 
are familiar with the interesting account given in 
the '* Metamorphoses" of the origin of bees, hornets 
and scorpions from putrid flesh, of frogs from slime, 
and of serpents from human marrow. * 

Entertaining such notions regarding the origin 
of living things, we can understand why Rome's 
poet-philosopher declares " It remains, therefore, to 
believe that the earth must justly have obtained 
the name of mother, since from the earth all living 

' See his " History of Animals," book V, chap, i, and book 
VI, chaps. XIV and xv. 

' '' Si qua fides rebus tamen est addenda probatis, 
Nonne vides, quaecumque mora fluidove calore 
Corpora tabuerint, in parva animalia verti? 
I quoque, delectos mactatos obrue tauros; 
Cognita res usu, de putri viscere passim 
Florrilegie nascuntur apes . . . 
Pressus humo bellator equus crabronis origo est. 
Concava littoreo si demas brachia cancro ; 
Cetera supponas terrae ; de parte sepulta 
Scorpius exibit 

Semina limus habetviridea generantia ranas. 

Sunt qui, cum clauso putrefacta est spina sepulchre, 
Mutari credant humanas angue medullas." 

Ovid, " Metamorphoses," Lib. XV., vv. 361, et seq. 


creatures were born. And even now many animals 
spring forth from the earth, which are generated by 
means of moisture and the quickening heat of the 
sun." ' 

Fathers and Schoolmen on Abiogenesis. 

The views of Aristotle and his successors were 
accepted and taught by the Fathers and the School- 
men of the Middle Ages. St. Augustine, in discuss- 
ing the question whether certain small animals were 
created on the fifth or sixth day, or whether they 
arose from putrid matter, says : " Many small ani- 
mals originate from unhealthy vapors, from evapora- 
tions from the earth, or from corpses ; some also 
from decayed woods, herbs and fruits. But God is 
the creator of all things. It may, therefore, be said 
that those animals which sprang from the bodies, 
and especially the corpses, of other living beings, 
were only created with them potentialiter and mater- 
ialiter. But of those which spring from the earth, 
or water, we may unhesitatingly say that they were 
created on the fifth and sixth days." St. Thomas 
Aquinas acquiesces in this opinion of the great 
bishop of Hippo, although he declined to accept 
Avicenna's theory that all animals could originate 

I direct special attention to the teachings of the 
Fathers and Schoolmen regarding abiogenesis, as 

^ " Linquitur, ut merito maternum nomen adepta 
Terra sit, e terra quoniam sunt cuncta creata, 
Multaque nunc etiam existant animalia terris 
Imbribus, at calido solis concreta vapore." 

Lucretius, " De Rerum Natura,'" Lib. V. 793-796. 


they have a profound significance in the discussion 
of certain questions which shall be referred to in the 
sequel. The principles which they admitted have 
an importance that is far-reaching, and should be 
more generally known than they are. For the appli- 
cation of these principles — broad and deep they 
are — will enable us to refute many objections that 
would otherwise be unanswerable, and enable us to es- 
cape from many difficulties which frequently give both 
scientists and theologians no inconsiderable trouble. 

For centuries after the time of St. Thomas, the 
theory of spontaneous generation was universally 
held and taught in all the schools of Europe. 

And more than this. Learned men of science 
and grave theologians did not hesitate to give in- 
structions as to how certain animals might be 
brought into existence by the mysterious power of 
abiogenesis. As late as the seventeenth century, the 
famous Jesuit scholar, Athanasius Kircher, confi- 
dently indicated the following method of produc- 
ing serpents by spontaneous generation : " Take as 
many serpents as you like, dry them, cut them into 
small pieces, bury these in damp earth, water them 
freely with rain water, and leave the rest to the 
spring sun. After eight days the whole will turn 
into little worms, which, fed with milk and earth, 
will at length become perfect serpents, and by pro- 
creation will multiply ad infinitum y Van Helmont 
gave a recipe for making fleas, while there were 
others who gave equally explicit directions for the 
production of mice from cheese, or fish by the fer- 
mentation of suitable material. 


Even so late as the last century, there were 
learned men who did not hesitate to declare that 
mussels and shell-fish are generated from mud and 
sand, and that eels are produced from dew. 

Redi's Experiments. 

The first one effectively to controvert the doc- 
trine of abiogenesis was Francesco Redi, of the cele- 
brated Academia del Cimento, of Florence. In his 
remarkable work entitled " Esperienze intorno alia 
Generazione degl' Insetti," published in 1668, he dis- 
tinctly enunciates the doctrine that there is no life 
without antecedent life — ontne vivum ex vivo — that all 
living organisms have sprung originally from preexist- 
ing germs, and that the apparent production of or- 
ganized beings from putrefied animal matter, or vege- 
table infusions, is due to the existence or introduc- 
tion of germs into the matter from which such beings 
seem to originate. 

The experiments by which Redi proved his as- 
sertion were as simple as they at the time were con- 

He placed some meat in a jar and then tied 
fine gauze over the top of the jar. The meat 
underwent putrefaction but no maggots appeared. 
Redi hence inferred that maggots are not generated 
by decomposing meat, but by something which is 
excluded from the jar by the gauze. He soon dis- 
covered that this something which had eluded all 
previous observers, was the eggs of a blow-fly, which, 
when deposited on meat, or dead animals, invariably 
gave rise to the maggots that had hitherto been 


regarded as spontaneously generated. By a series of 
similar experiments he showed that in all cases the 
apparent production of living from dead matter was 
due to the introduction, from without, of living 
germs into the matter from which life seemed to 

So deeply rooted, however, was the doctrine of 
spontaneous generation in the minds of men, that 
Redi's conclusions were far from meeting with ready 
acceptance. All kinds of objections were urged 
against his experiments and the inferences which he 
drew from them. Some of his opponents even went 
so far as to assert that his conclusions were con- 
trary to the teachings of Scripture, which, they con- 
tended, manifestly implied, if it did not expressly 
affirm, the doctrine of abiogenesis. In proof of 
their view they referred to the generation of bees 
from the Hon which had been slain by Samson, 
and which suggested the riddle that so puzzled the 
Philistines : — " Out of the eater came forth meat, 
and out of the strong came forth sweetness." ' 

From our present way of viewing the question 
such an objection seems very strange, to say the 
least, but stranger still does it appear when we re- 
flect that it was urged in the name of theology and 
Scripture. The spell of antiquity and authority was 
still hanging over the students of nature, and it re- 

'Judges, chap, xiv, 5-14. — Redi refers to the objections 
of his adversaries in the following passage from his " Esper- 
ienze: " " Molti e moltialtri ancora vi potrei annoverare, se non 
fossi chiamato a rispondere alle rampogne di alcuni che 
brusquamente mi rammentano cio che si legge nel capitolo 
quattordicesimo del sacrosanto Libro de' Giudici." p. 45. 


quired an intrepid investigator like Redi, strong in 
his sense of right and certain in his interpretations 
of the teachings of experiment, to assert his intellec- 
tual freedom, and to cope with those who imagined 
that Aristotle could not err, and that certain meta- 
physical dicta, which were universally quoted, were, 
in natural science, to be accounted as so many 
canons of truth. 

But, notwithstanding the opposition which he 
excited, Redi was triumphant, and for a long time 
the theory of spontaneous generation was very gen- 
erally looked upon as something that had fallen into 

Later Researches. 

But the victory was but temporary. The inven- 
tion of the microscope, and the discovery of the 
world of infusorial animalculae, which before had 
been invisible, resurrected the old theory of abio- 
genesis, and many eminent naturalists now defended 
it as strenuously as had any one of its supporters 
before the experiments of Redi had called it in 

Arrong the most eminent champions of the 
theory of the spontaneous generation of infusory 
animalcules, were the English naturalist, Needham, 
and the distinguished French savant, Buffon. As 
the result of numerous experiments both these 
observers came to the conclusion that, whatever 
views might be entertained regarding the origin of 
the higher forms of animal life, there could be no 
doubt about the spontaneous production of certain 


of the lower animalculse, from suitably prepared in- 
fusions of animal or vegetable matter. 

This apparent victory was, however, but ephem- 
eral. The experiments in question were taken up 
by a distinguished Italian ecclesiastic, the Abbate 
Spallanzani, who subjected them to a rigid and ex- 
haustive examination. The result of his labors 
issued in proving incontestably that the experiments 
of Needham were defective, and that his conclusions, 
therefore, were unwarranted. Spallanzani demon- 
strated that when the necessary precautions are 
taken against the admission of germs into the infu- 
sions employed, no animalcules whatever are devel- 
oped, and that the theories and conclusions of 
Buffon and Needham were not sustained by the 
facts in the case. 

But, notwithstanding the investigations of Redi 
and his successors, Leeuwenhoek, Swammerdam, 
Reaumur and Vallisneri, and despite the researches 
of Spallanzani, Schultze and Schwann, Van Siebold, 
Leuckart, and Van Beneden, there were not wanting 
men who still pinned their faith to the theory of 
abiogenesis. Foremost among these were the cele- 
brated chemists Berzelius and Liebig. " Was it 
certain," they asked, "that in the experiments 
which had hitherto been conducted, that the proper- 
ties of the air, or oxygen of the air, or of the men- 
strua themselves, had not been essentially changed, 
and thus had rendered them incompetent to give 
rise to the phenomena which they would exhibit 
in their natural and chemically unchanged condi- 
tion ?" 



These questions were taken up and answered in 
the epoch-making researches of that prince of inves- 
tigators, the universally revered and world-renowned 
Pasteur. He demonstrated that in every instance 
life originates from antecedent life — omne vivum ex 
vivo — that the various forms of fermentation, putre- 
faction and disease are not only caused by the pres- 
ence and action of certain microbes, but that these 
microbes, as well as organisms of a superior organ- 
ization, are invariably produced by beings like them- 
selves ; that, in all cases, like proceeds from like, 
and that, consequently, spontaneous generation 
is, to use his own characterization of it, a " chi- 

Is the discussion finally closed? Has the theory 
of abiogenesis received its coup dc grdce? At the 
present moment Pasteur and his school are un- 
doubtedly lords of the ascendant. Will they always 
remain so? Time alone can answer this question. 
In the opinion of such men as Pouchet and Bastian, 
two of Pasteur's ablest antagonists, the question, so 
far as experiment goes, is at best settled only pro- 
visionally, and the same old controversy may break 
out any day, as it has so often broken out since the 
time of Redi, when it was declared to be definitively 

But, whatever be the last word of science respect- 
ing abiogenesis, the discussion of the subject has led 
to the discovery of many new facts of inestimable 
importance, and has vastly extended our view of 
the domain of animated nature. It has disclosed 
to our vision a world before unknown, the world 


of microbian life — a world which has been aptly 
described as " the world of the infinitely little." 

General Advance in Science. 

The general progress of science, however, points 
towards some process of Evolution far more unmis- 
takably than does anything disclosed during the 
long controversy regarding spontaneous generation. 

Geology and physical geography have taught us 
that our earth is subject to mutations and fluctua- 
tions innumerable; paleontology has revealed a world 
whose existence was not only not suspected, a few 
generations ago, but a world whose existence would 
have been unhesitatingly denied as contrary to both 
science and Scripture, if anyone had been bold 
enough to proclaim its reality. Far from being only 
six thousand years old, as was so long imagined, our 
globe, as the abode of life, must now, as is shown by 
the study of the multifold extinct forms entombed 
in its crust, reckon its age by millions, if not by tens 
of millions of years. 

By the naturalists of the last century the num- 
ber of known species of plants and animals was esti- 
mated at a few thousands, or a few tens of thousands 
at most. But now, owing to the impetus which has 
been given to the study of zoology and botany, 
especially during the past few decades, the latest 
census of organic beings places the number of spe- 
cies at a million or more. Yet formidable as this 
number is, the list is far from being complete. Fresh 
additions are being made to it every day. The re- 
searches of naturalists in the many unexplored 


fields of the earth ; the investigations of micro- 
scopists in the boundless domain of microbian life; 
the dredging of the ocean depths in various parts of 
the globe by a constantly increasing corps of trained 
votaries of science, show that we are yet very far 
from having anything approaching a complete cen- 
sus of the rich and varied fauna and flora which 
adorn our planet. 

But great as is the number of species actually 
existing, it is but a small fraction of those which are 
known to have lived and died since the dawn of life 
on the globe. A hundred million species or more, 
it has been computed, have appeared and died out 
since the time the Eozobn Canadense began its hum- 
ble existence. And as our knowledge of the past 
history of the earth becomes more thorough, there 
is every reason to believe that we shall find this esti- 
mate, extravagant as it may appear to some, below, 
rather than above, the reality. 

Synchronously with this advance in the knowl- 
edge of nature, the impression — which had all along 
been entertained by a greater or lesser number of 
philosophers and students of nature — has become 
stronger that all the changes and developments 
which the earth has witnessed ; all the prodigality 
of form and size and color, which a bounteous 
nature has lavished upon a fauna and flora whose 
species are past numbering, is the result not of so 
many separate creative acts, but rather of a single 
creation and of a subsequent uniform process of 
Evolution, according to certain definite and immu- 
table laws. 


Chemistiy and Astronomy. 

The indications of paleontology and biology 
respecting Evolution have been corroborated by 
the revelations of chemistry, astronomy and stellar 
physics. Everything seems to point conclusively to 
a development from the simple to the complex, and 
to disclose "a change from the homogenous to the 
heterogenous through continuous differentiations and 

It is simple elements that go toward building up 
organic and inorganic compounds. And while it is 
now generally believed that there are some three 
score and odd substances which are to be classed as 
elementary, there are, nevertheless, not wanting rea- 
sons for thinking that all the so-called elements are 
but so many modifications, so many allotropic forms, 
of one and the same primal kind of matter. The 
telescope discloses to us in the nebulae which fleck 
the heavens, the primitive matter, the Urstoff, from 
which the sidereal universe was formed : " the gas- 
eous raw material of future stars and solar systems." 
The spectroscope, in spite of Comte's dogmatic dec- 
laration, that we should never know anything about 
the chemical constitution of the stars, has not only 
given us positive knowledge regarding the composi- 
tion of the heavenly bodies, but, thanks to the la- 
bors of Secchi, Huggins, Lockyer and others, has 
also furnished information concerning their relative 
ages, their directions of motion, and their velocities 
in space. 

As the astronomer, the chemist, and the physicist 
view the material universe, it is constituted throughout 


of the same material, a kind of cosmic dust, 
similar to, if not identical with, that which com- 
poses the existing nebulae. No form of matter has 
yet been discovered in any of the heavenly bod- 
ies which is not found on the earth, and there is 
every reason to believe that in chemical constitution 
the visible universe is everywhere identical. And 
should it eventually be demonstrated that all the 
known chemical elements are only modifications of 
one primal form of matter, and this is far from im- 
possible, or even improbable, then will be vindi- 
cated the old Greek theory of a primordial matter, 
TzpiuTri ukr/, a theory ardently championed by St. 
Gregory of Nyssa and his school, and defended in 
some form or other by many of the Schoolmen. And 
then, too, will the theory of Evolution be furnished 
with a stronger argument than any other single one 
that has yet been advanced in its support. 

Testimony of Biology. 

But great as was the influence of discoveries in 
geology, paleontology, microscopy, chemistry, astron- 
omy and stellar physics, in preparing the minds of 
scientific men for the acceptance of the theory of or- 
ganic Evolution, the arguments which had the great- 
est weight, which finally enlisted in favor of Evolu- 
tion those who, like Lyell, still hesitated about 
giving in their adhesion to the doctrine of derivation, 
were those which were based on data furnished by 
the sciences of botany, zoology, physiology, and by 
those newer sciences, embryology and comparative 


First Materials for the Controversy. 

I HAVE spoken of the celebrated dispute between 
Cuvier and Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, in which 
Goethe was so much interested. Materials for this 
controversy had been rapidly accumulating during 
the half century preceding the date when it finally 
broke out in the French Academy. Indeed, it would 
be truer to say that materials had been accumulating 
during two centuries prior to the historic debate 
between Cuvier and Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. From 
the time of Bacon, Descartes and Leibnitz, more, 
far more, had been done towards the development 
of the Evolution idea than had been effected during 
all the centuries which had elapsed between the 
earliest speculations of the Ionian school and the 
publication of the " Novum Organum." 

We have already learned what geology and pale- 
ontology contributed towards the establishment of 
the theory of Evolution. We have seen how the study 
of fossils and the careful and long-continued examina- 
tion of the much-vexed question of spontaneous gen- 
eration shed a flood of light on numerous problems 
which were before obscure and mysterious in the ex- 
treme. But while Da Vinci, Fracostoro, Palissy, Steno, 
Generelli, Redi, Malpighi, Leeuwenhoek, Schwam- 
merdam and their compeers, were carrying on their 



investigations regarding fossils and infusoria, students 
in other departments of science were not idle. Ges- 
ner, Vesalius, Fallopius, Fabricius and Harvey were 
then conducting their famous researches in zoology, 
anatomy, and embryology, while Cesalpinus, Ray, 
Tournefort and Linnaeus were laying the secure 
foundations of systematic botany and vegetable anat- 
omy. It was to this period, indeed, that, as has 
been truthfully observed : " We owe the foundation of 
microscopic anatomy, enriched and joined to physic 
ology ; comparative anatomy studied with care ; class- 
ification placed on a rational and systematic basis." 

Bacon and Kant. 

Lord Bacon was not only a firm believer in 
organic Evolution but was one of the first to sug- 
gest that the transmutation of species might be the 
result of an accumulation of variations. Descartes, 
too, inclined to Evolution rather than to special crea- 
tion, and was the first philosopher, after St. Augus- 
tine, who specially insisted that the sum of all 
things is governed by natural laws, and that the 
physical universe is not the scene of constant mira- 
cles and Divine interventions. Leibnitz, like Bacon 
and Descartes, accepted the doctrine of the muta- 
bility of species, and showed in many passages in 
his works, that no system of cosmic philosophy 
could be considered complete which was not based 
on the demonstrated truths of organic Evolution. 
"All advances by degrees in nature," he tells us, 
" and nothing by leaps, and this law, as applied to 
each, is part of my doctrine of continuity." 


Immanuel Kant, in common with his illustrious 
contemporary, Buffon, accepted the ideas that spe- 
cific mutability results from selection, environment, 
adaptation and inheritance. Like the great French 
naturalist, too, he derived all the higher forms of 
life from lower and simpler forms. He recognized 
also the law of degeneration from original types, 
and the principle of the survival of the fittest, which 
were subsequently to play such important roles in 
all theories of organic Evolution. Indeed, I do not 
think Kant has received due recognition for his con- 
tributions towards the philosophy of the cosmos. 
Like Aristotle, he had a faculty for correct gener- 
alization which sometimes gave his views almost 
the semblance of prophecy. Taking up the nebular 
hypothesis, as it was left by St. Gregory of Nyssa, 
he adapted it to the science of his time, and in many 
respects forestalled the conclusions of Laplace and 
Herschel. Similarly he took up the principles of 
Evolution as they had been laid down by St. Augus- 
tine and the Angel of the Schools, and, by giving 
them a new dress, he anticipated much of the evolu- 
tionary teaching of subsequent investigators. Con- 
sidering the time in which he wrote, nothing is more 
remarkable than the following comprehensive r^sum^ 
of his views on Evolution : — 

" It is desirable to examine the great domain 
of organized beings by means of a methodical, com- 
parative anatomy, in order to discover whether we 
may not find in them something resembling a sys- 
tem, and that, too, in connection with their mode of 
generation, so that we may not be compelled to stop 


short with a mere consideration of forms that are, 
which gives us no insight into their generation, and 
need not despair of gaining a full insight into 
this department of nature. The agreement of so 
many kinds of animals in a certain common plan of 
structure, which seems to be visible not only in 
their skeletons, but also in the arrangement of the 
other parts — so that a wonderfully simple typical 
form, by the shortening and lengthening of some 
parts, and by the suppression and development of 
others, might be able to produce an immense va- 
riety of species — gives us a ray of hope, though 
feeble, that here, perhaps, some results may be ob- 
tained by the application of the principle of the 
mechanism of nature, without which, in fact, no 
science can exist. This analogy of forms — in so far 
as they seem to have been produced in accordance 
with a common prototype, notwithstanding their 
great variety — strengthens the supposition that they 
have an actual blood relationship, due to derivation 
from a common parent ; a supposition which is ar- 
rived at by observation of the graduated approxima- 
tion of one class of animals to another, beginning 
with the one in which the principle of purposiveness 
seems to be most conspicuous, namely man, and ex-, 
tending down to polyps, and from these even down 
to mosses and lichens, and arriving finally at raw 
matter, the lowest stage of nature observable by us. 
From this raw matter and its forces, the whole ap- 
paratus of nature seems to have been derived ac- 
cording to mechanical laws, such as those which 
resulted in the production of crystals, yet, this ap- 


paratus, as seen in organic beings, is so incomprehen- 
sible to us, that we conceive for it a different prin- 
ciple. But it would seem that the archaeologist of 
nature, that is, the paleontologist, is at liberty to 
regard the great family of creatures — for a family we 
must conceive it, if the above-mentioned continuous 
and connected relationship has a real foundation — 
as having sprung from the immediate results of her 
earliest revolutions, judging from all the laws of 
their mechanisms known to, or conjectured by him." ' 
Passing over such speculative evolutionists as 
De Maillet, Maupertuis, Bonnet, Robinet and Oken, 
who did little more than revamp the crude notions 
of the old Ionian speculators, we may scan in hasty 
review the principal contributions made to the evo- 
lutionary movement by the great naturalists who 
flourished between the time of Linnaeus and Cuvier. 

Linnaeus and Buffon. 

Linnaeus, who adopted the well-known aphorism 
of Leibnitz, natura non facit saltum, was as much of 
a special creationist and, consequently, as much op- 
posed to Evolution as was the illustrious Cuvier. 
But although in the earlier part of his career he con- 
tended that there were no such things as new 
species — nulla species novce — still, at a later period, 
he was willing to admit that " all species of one 
genus constituted at first, that is, at creation, one 
species" — ab initio unam constituerint speciem — but 
maintained that " they were subsequently multiplied 

^ Quoted in Osborne's useful little work " From the Greeks to 
Darwin," pp. loi, 102, 


by hybrid generation, that is, by intercrossing with 
other species.'" 

The first one to formulate a working hypothesis 
respecting the mutation of species was the eminent 
French naturalist, Buffon. According to Lanessan, 
he "anticipated not only Lamarck in his conception 
of the action of environment, but Darwin in the strug- 
gle for existence and the survival of the fittest." The 
questions of heredity, geographical distribution, the 
extinction of old and the apparition of new species 
he discussed with rare perspicacity and suggestive- 
ness. He was undoubtedly a believer in the unity 
of type, and the community of origin of all animal 
forms, although the diverse views he entertained on 
these subjects at different periods of his life have 
led some to minimize the importance of his contribu- 
tions to the theory of Evolution." 

^ •' Suspicio est," he saj'S, " quam diu fovi neque jam pro 
veritate indubia venditare audeo, sed per modum hjpotheseos 
propono ; quod scilicet omnes species ejusdem generis ab initio 
unam constituerint speciem, sed postea per generationes hybridas 
propagatse sint. . . . Num vero h^e species per manum Om- 
nipotentis Creatoris immediate sint exortse in primordio, an vero 
pernaturam, Creatoris executricem, propagatse in tempore, non 
adeo facile demonstrabitur." " Amcenitates Academicae." Vol. 
VI., p. 296. 

It is interesting to observe that this view found favor with 
the celebrated Scriptural commentator, Dom Calmet. Only on 
the supposition that all the species of each genus originally 
formed but one species, was he able to explain how all the ani- 
mals could find a place in the ark of Noah. 

" Speaking of the factors of evolutionary- changes he writes : 
" What cannot nature effect with such means at her disposal ? 
She can do all except either create matter or destroj- it. These 
two extremes of power, the Deity has reserved for Himself alone; 
creation and destruction are the attributes of His Omnipotence. 
To alter and undo, to develop and renew — these are powers 
which He has handed over to the charge of nature." 


Buffon, also, was the first to formulate the law of 
uniformitarianism which was subsequently devel- 
oped with such care by Lyell and his school. In 
his " Theorie da la Terre" he tells us that " in order to 
understand what had taken place in the past, or 
what will happen in the future, we have but to ob- 
serve what is going on at present.' 

Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck. 

Erasmus Darwin, a contemporary of BufTon's and 
the grandfather of the famous naturalist, did much 
to popularize the idea of Evolution. In his " Zoono- 
mia," " Botanic Garden," and above all in his post- 
humous ** Temple of Nature," he embodies not 
only the leading evolutionary views of the old Greek 
philosophers, as well as those of Leibnitz and Buf- 
fon, but he likewise introduces and developes new 
ideas of his own. He is truly a poet of Evolution 
and in his " Temple of Nature "we find selections of 
verse that for beauty and force of expression compare 
favorably with the finest lines of the " De Rerum 
Natura" of the old Roman evolutionist, Lucretius. 

As the founder of the complete modern theory 
of descent, " Lamarck," justly observes Osgood, " is 
the most prominent figure between Aristotle and 
Darwin." He was an accomplished biologist, and a 
prolific writer on botanical and zoological subjects. 
He laid special stress on the effects of environment, 
and of use and disuse in the modification of species. 
He assumed that acquired characters are inherited, 

* " Pour juger de ce qui est arrive et m^me dp ce qui arrivera, 
nous n'avons qu'a examiner ce qui arrive." 


but never attempted to demonstrate a postulate 
which since his time has provoked such widespread 

Among the contemporaries of Lamarck, who did 
much to develop and corroborate the theory of 
Evolution, must be mentioned Goethe, who has just- 
ly been called the greatest poet of Evolution, and 
Treviranus. As a morphologist and osteologist, 
Goethe exhibited talent of the highest order, and, 
had he devoted his life to science instead of litera- 
ture, he would have ranked with the most eminent 
naturalists of modern times. In referring to his 
essays on comparative anatomy, Cuvier declares that 
" One finds in them, with astonishment, nearly all 
the propositions which have been separately ad- 
vanced in recent times." As to Treviranus, Huxley 
places him alongside Lamarck as one of the chief 
founders of the theory of Evolution, although there 
are many who dissent from this opinion of the great 
English biologist. The truth is he was rather an 

^ The nature and chief factors of Evohition according to 
Lamarck, are expressed in the following four laws : — 

Premiere Lot. — La vie, par ses propres forces, tend con- 
tinuellement 4 accroitre le volume de tout corps qui la possede, 
et a etendre les dimensions de ses parties, jusqu' a un terme qu' 
elle amene elle-mSme. 

Deuxieme Loi. — La production d'un nouvel organe dans un 
corps animal resulte d' un nouveau besoin survenu qui continue 
de se faire sentir, et d' un nouveau mouvement que ce besoin 
fait naitre et entretient. 

Troisieme Loi. — Ledeveloppement des organes et leur force 
d'action sont constamment en raison de I'emploi de ces organes. 

^uatrieme Loi. — Tout ce qui a ete acquis, trace ou change 
dans rorganisation des individus pendant le cours de leur vie, 
est conserve par la generation et transmis aux noaveaux individus 
qui proviennent .de ceux qui ont eprouve ces changements. Cf. 
" Histoire Naturelle," and " Philosophic Zoologique." 


exponent of the views of others than an originator 
of any theory of his own. 

Species and Varieties. 

The diflficulty of distinguishing species from 
varieties — a difficulty with which all botanists and 
zoologists are familiar, and one which augments with 
the progress of knowledge of the fauna and flora of 
the world — and the almost perfect gradations charac- 
terizing the forms of certain groups of animals and 
plants, contributed more than anything else towards 
impelling naturalists from the time of Lamarck to 
accept the doctrine that species are derived from 
one another by a process of development. 

Observations similar to those made by Lamarck 
and other naturalists, led the Rev. W. Herbert, of 
England, to declare, in 1837, that " Horticultural ex- 
periments have established, beyond the possibility 
of refutation, that botanical species are only a higher 
and more permanent class of varieties." He enter- 
tained the same view regarding animals, and believed 
" that single species of each genus were created in 
an originally highly plastic condition, and that these 
by intercrossing and by variation have produced all 
our existing species." 

In 1844 appeared the famous " Vestiges of Crea- 
tion," an anonymous work by Robert Chambers. 
This work created a profound sensation at the time, 
and although lacking in scientific accuracy in many 
points, and advocating theories that have long since 
been demolished, it passed through many editions 
and commanded a wide circle of readers. In Great 


Britain the opposition to the views expressed in the 
work was violent in the extreme, although it seems 
that most of the adverse criticism was ill-founded. 
The main proposition of the author, determined on 
as he himself declares " after much consideration," 
is, " that the several series of animated beings, from 
the simplest and oldest up to the highest and most 
recent, are, under the providence of God, the results, 
first, of an impulse which has been imparted to the 
forms of life, advancing them in definite times, by 
generation, through grades of organization termi- 
nating in the highest dicotyledons and vertebrata, 
these grades being few in number, and generally 
marked by intervals of organic character which we 
find to be a practical difficulty in ascertaining affini- 
ties ; second, of another impulse connected with the 
vital forces, tending in the course of generations to 
modify organic structures in accordance with exter- 
nal circumstances, as food, the nature of the habitat 
and the meteoric agencies, these being the adapta- 
tions of the natural theologian." 

Prior to this time the distinguished Belgian geol- 
ogist, D* Omalius d' Halloy, had expressed the opin- 
ion that new species are but modified forms of other 
species from which they are descended. And a 
short time subsequently the eminent French bota- 
nist, M. Charles Naudin, promulgated similar views, 
and taught that species as well as varieties are but 
the result of natural and artificial selection. He did 
not, it is true, employ these words — words which 
were given such vogue a short time afterwards by 
Darwin — but his theory implied all they express. 


Darwin's " Origin of Species." 

THE culmination of all the tentative efforts 
which had hitherto been made, towards giving 
a rational explanation of the mode of production 
of the divers species of our existing fauna and flora, 
was in the publication of Darwin's now famous work, 
" The Origin of Species," which was given to the 
world in 1859. Simultaneously and "independently 
another naturalist, Mr. Alfred Wallace, who was then 
far away in the Malay Archipelago, had come to the 
same conclusions as Darwin. For this reason he is 
justly called the co-discoverer of the theory which 
has made Darwin so famous. 

The publication of " The Origin of Species " was 
the signal for a revolution in science such as the 
world had never before witnessed. The work was 
violently denounced or ridiculed by the majority of 
its readers, although it counted from the beginning 
such staunch defenders as Huxley, Sp-^ncer, Lyell, 
Hooker, Wallace, and Asa Gray. Professor Louis 
Agassiz, probably the ablest naturalist then living, 
in his criticism of the book declared : " The argu- 
ments presented by Darwin, in favor of a universal 
derivation from one primary form of all the pecul- 
iarities existing now among living beings, have 

E.-5 (65) 


not made the slightest impression on my mind. 
Until the facts of nature are shown to have 
been mistaken by those who have collected them, 
and that they have a different meaning from that 
now generally assigned to them, I shall therefore 
consider the transmutation theory as a scientific mis- 
take, untrue in its facts, unscientific in its method, 
and mischievous in its tendency.'" 

But in spite of the storm of criticism which the 
work provoked, it was not long until the great ma- 
jority of naturalists had executed a complete volte- 
face in their attitude towards Darwinism. If they 
were not willing to go to the same lengths as the 
author of " The Origin of Species," or hesitated about 
conceding the importance which he attached to nat- 
ural selection as an explanation of organic Evolution, 
they were, at least, willing to admit that he had 
supplied them with the working hypothesis which 
they were seeking. 

Upon these, says Huxley, it had the effect " of 
the flash of light, which to a man who has lost him- 
self in a dark night, suddenly reveals a road, which, 
whether it take him straight home or not, certainly 
goes his way." What naturalists were then looking 
for " was a hypothesis respecting the origin of 
known organic forms which assumed the operation 
of no causes but such as could be proved to be act- 
ually at work." " The facts of variability," contin- 
ues Huxley, "of the struggle for existence, of adap- 
tation to conditions, were notorious enough ; but 

^ Quoted by Huxley in the " Life and Letters of Charles 
Darwin," by his son, vol. I., p. 538. 


none of us had suspected that the road to the heart 
of the species problem lay through them, until Dar- 
win and Wallace dispelled the darkness, and the 
beacon-fire of the ' Origin' guided the benighted.'" 

Herbert Spencer and Compeers. 

With Darwin came Herbert Spencer, " the phi- 
losopher of Evolution," according to whom the en- 
tire cosmos, the universe of mind as well as the 
universe of matter, is governed by Evolution,' Evo- 
lution being a " cosmical process," which, as Grant 

'Op. cit., p. 551. 

"^ It is but just to remark that an essay published by Spencer 
in the Leader, in 1852, constitutes what has been called '' the 
high-water mark of Evolution" prior to Darwin. In this essay 
he writes as follows : " Even could the supporters of the devel- 
opment hypothesis merely show that the production of species 
by the process of modification is conceivable, they would be in 
a better position than their opponents. But they can do much 
more than this; they can show that the process of modification 
has effected, and is effecting, great changes in all organisms 
subject to modifying influences. . . . They can show that 
any existing species, animal or vegetable, when placed under 
conditions different from its previous ones, immediately begins 
to undergo certain changes of structure fitting it for the new 
conditions. They can show that in successive generations these 
changes continue until ultimately the new conditions become 
the natural ones. They can show that in cultivated plants and 
domesticated animals, and in the several races of men, these 
changes have uniformly taken place. They can show that the 
degrees of difference so produced are often, as in dogs, greater 
than those on which distinction of species are, in other cases, 
founded. They can show that it is a matter of dispute whether 
some of these modified forms are varieties or modified species. 
And thus they can show that throughout all organic nature 
there is at work a modifying influence of the kind they assign 
as the cause of these specific differences; an influence which, 
though slow in its action, does in time, if the circumstances de- 
mand it, produce marked changes ; an influence which, to all 
appearance, would produce in the millions of years, and under 
the great varieties of condition which geological records im- 
ply, any amount of change." 


Allen phrases it, is one and continuous " from neb- 
ula to man, from star to soul, from atom to so- 

Since its publication, the theory advocated by 
Darwin has undergone many modifications. Much 
has been added to it, and much has been eliminated 
from it. Among those who have discussed it most 
critically, and suggested amendments and improve- 
ments are Moritz Wagner, Nageli, Huxley, Mivart, 
Wallace, Spencer, Weismann, Cope, Hyatt and 
Brooks, not to mention scores of others who have 
distinguished themselves by their contributions to 
Darwinian literature. But whatever may now be 
the views entertained regarding natural selection as 
a factor of organic Evolution, the theory of Evolu- 
tion itself, far from being impaired, has been gaining 
strength from day to day, and is, we are assured by 
its advocates, finding new arguments in its favor in 
every new discovery in biology and physical science. 
Such being the case, it is, we are told, only a ques- 
tion of time, and a very short time at that, until 
every man who is competent to weigh evidence, 
shall be compelled to announce his formal accept- 
ance of the doctrine of Evolution, however much he 
may now be opposed to it, and however much it 
may seem counter to his preconceived notions, or to 
traditions which he has long regarded as sacred and 


Science and Philosophy. 

Evolution, it is pertinent here to observe, may 
be considered from two points of view, a fact which 
it is of prime importance always to bear in mind. It 


may be regarded as a scientific theory, devised to 
explain the origination of the higher from the lower, 
the more complex and differentiated from the simple 
and undifferentiated, in inorganic and organic bod- 
ies, or it may be viewed as d. philosophical system, de- 
signed to explain the manifold phenomena of mat- 
ter and life by the operation of secondary causes 
alone, to the exclusion of a personal Creator. In 
the restricted sense in which we are considering it, it 
is a scientific hypothesis intended to explain the ori- 
gin and transmutation of species in the animal and 
vegetable worlds, by laws and processes disclosed by 
the study of nature. 

Important as it is, however, it is not always an 
easy matter to keep the scientific theory separated 
from the philosophical system. Hence, naturalists 
and philosophers are continually intruding on each 
other's territory. The naturalist philosophizes, 
and the philosopher, if I may give a new meaning 
to an old word, naturalizes. For naturalists and 
physicists, as all are aware, are very much given to 
making excursions into the domain of metaphysics 
and to substituting speculations for rigid inductions 
from observed facts. 

And metaphysicians sin in a similar manner by 
attempting to explain, by methods of their own, the 
various phenomena of the material world, and in 
seeking by simple a priori reasons to evolve from 
their inner consciousness a logical system of the 
physical universe. The result is inextricable con- 
fusion and errors without number. It is neither 
science nor philosophy, but a mixtum compositum, 


which not only gives false views of nature but still 
falser views of the Author of nature, if indeed it 
does not positively ignore Him and relegate Him to 
the region of the unknowable. 

Such a philosophy, if philosophy it can be 
called, is that of Herbert Spencer, which is now so 
much the vogue; a philosophy which attempts to 
explain the origin and constitution of the cosmos by 
the sole operation of natural causes, and which 
recognizes only force and matter as the efficient 
cause of the countless manifestations of nature and 
mind which constitute the province of science and 

I would not, however, have it inferred that I 
regard science — and by this I mean natural and 
physical science — and metaphysics as opposed to 
each other. Far from it. They mutually assist and 
supplement one another, and a true philosophy of 
the cosmos is possible only when there is a perfect 
synthesis between the inductions of science on the 
one hand and the deductions of metaphysics on the 

Anticipations of Discoveries. 
It is indeed remarkable, even in the subject 
under discussion, how frequently philosophers, like 
poets, seem to have proleptic views of nature that 
are not disclosed to men of science until long after- 
wards. All who are familiar with the history of 
science and philosophy will be able, without diffi- 
culty, to call to mind some of the marvelous scien- 
tific intuitions of Pythagoras, Aristotle, St. Gregory 
of Nyssa, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. 


The teachings of St. Gregory of Nyssa and of St. 
Augustine were in this respect specially remarkable. 
I have elsewhere' shown that the views of St. Greg- 
ory respecting the origin of the visible universe, 
were far more precise and comprehensive than were 
those of the Ionian schools, and that he it was who 
in very truth first laid the foundations of the nebu- 
lar hypothesis, elaborated and rounded out long 
centuries afterwards by Laplace, Herschel, and 
Faye. It was the great bishop of Hippo who first 
laid down the principles of theistic Evolution essen- 
tially as they are held to-day.' He taught that God 
created the various forms of animal and vegetable 
life, not actually but potentially ; that He created 
them derivatively and by the operation of natural 
causes. And the teaching of St. Augustine respect- 
ing potential creation was that which was approved 
and followed by that great light of the Middle Ages, 
St. Thomas Aquinas. 

In modern times Hobbes spoke of the principle 
of struggle — bellum omnium contra omnes — sug- 
gested by Heraclitus and insisted on so strongly by 
contemporary evolutionists. In discussing the scho- 
lastic doctrine of real specific essences, Locke devel- 
opes the idea of the continuity of species, the central 
idea of Darwinism and of the theory of organic Evo- 
lution. He also speaks of the adaptation of organic 
arrangements to " the neighborhood of the bodies 
that surround us," and thus indicates a factor on 
which modern evolutionists lay much stress when 

' " Bible, Science and Faith," part I, chaps, iii and iv. 


they discourse on " the circumstances of the en- 
vironment," the conditions of life, or the monde 
ambiant, of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. Leibnitz in his 
" Protogaea " expresses similar views on the continuity 
of species, that is, of a graduated series of living 
forms " that in each remove differ very little from 
one another." Distinct evolutionary views had like- 
wise been propounded by Spinoza, Herder and 
Schelling, but it is unnecessary to dwell on them here. 
In its growth, then, the modern theory of Evolu- 
tion may aptly be compared with that of the cen- 
tury plant. For long generations it had been gath- 
ering material and strength, but at last, suddenly 
and almost unexpectedly, it blossomed forth into a 
working hypothesis of colossal proportions and uni- 
versal application. Philosophy anticipated many, if 
not all its leading tenets, but it was inductive science 
which placed it on the foundation on which it now 
rests and which gave it the popularity that it now 

Species and Creation. 

The pervading idea of Evolution, as we have 
seen, is one of change, the idea of integration and 
differentiation. As applied to plants and animals it 
is the development, by the action of natural causes, 
of the higher from the lower forms. 

The various forms of animal and plant life ac- 
cording to this view are genetically related to one 
another. Species are therefore not immutable as 
is generally imagined, but mutable. What we call 
species are the results of descent with modification, 


and instead of there having been as many species of 
Hving beings in the beginning as there are now, as 
Linnaeus believed, there was at first, as Darwin 
taught, only one primordial form, and from this one 
form, all that infinitude of forms of vegetable and 
animal life, which we now behold, is descended. 

The question raised, therefore, is manifestly one 
that appeals to us .for a solution. I again ask, are 
all the species of animals and plants, which have ex- 
isted on the earth since the dawn of life, the results 
of separate and successive creations by an almighty 
Power, as has so long been believed, or are they 
rather the product of Evolution, acting through long 
ages and in accordance with certain fixed natural 
laws and processes? 

Until the celebrated controversy, already men- 
tioned, between Cuvier and Geoffroy, there were, as 
we have seen, comparatively few who were not firm 
believers in the doctrine of special creations, at least 
of all the higher forms of life. Subsequent to this 
event, the number, especially among naturalists, 
of those who favored the development hypothesis 
began gradually to increase. After the publication of 
Darwin's famous " Origin of Species," the advocates 
of Evolution rallied their forces in a remarkable man- 
ner, and before many years had elapsed a large 
majority of the working naturalists of the world 
were professed evolutionists. 

Evolutionists and Anti- Evolutionists. 

Of course there were many, even among the 
ablest scientists of the age, who still withheld their 


assent. The most distinguished of these, as we 
have already learned, was Professor Louis Agassiz, 
who remained a strenuous opponent of the new 
doctrine until the day of his death. Indeed, in the 
last course of lectures he ever gave, we find a strong 
arraignment of the development hypothesis, a hy- 
pothesis which was fascinating indeed, but one, 
so Agassiz declared, that was negatived by the facts 
of nature and misleading and mischievous in its 
tendencies. Even to-day the illustrious naturalist 
has sympathizers and followers and that, too, among 
the ablest and most conspicuous representatives of 
modern science. Among anti-evolutionists, Hving 
or recently deceased, I need instance only such 
recognized savants as the noted geologists, Sir J, W. 
Dawson, Barrande, Davidson, Grand Eury, Car- 
ruthers, and that veteran biologist — the rival of 
Pasteur on the importance and brilliance of his re- 
searches on the lower forms of life — the late Profes- 
sor P. J. van Beneden, of the great Catholic univer- 
sity of Louvain.' In referring to the subject the 
distinguished Belgian professor asserts : " It is evi- 

^ The distinguished French savant, the Marquis de Nadail- 
lac, is often spoken of as an anti-evolutionist, but this is an 
error. So far he is neither an evolutionist nor an anti-evolu- 
tionist ; he mereh' suspends judgment. Before the anthro- 
pological section of the International Catholic Scientific Con- 
gress, assembled last year at Brussels, he expressed himself on 
the subject as follows : " Pour ma part, si je ne suis guere dis- 
pose a admettre les conclusions de I'ecole evolutioniste, je ne 
puis non plus les rejeter absolument. Le jury en Ecosse, outre 
la reponse habituelle, a le droit, sans se prononcer sur le fait en 
lui-m^me, de repondre not froven — cela n'est pas prouve. 
Telle est la disposition de mon esprit; telle est aujourd'hui ma 
conclusion ; et je crois qu'elle sera celle de tous ceux qui abord- 
eront cette etude sans parti pris et avec I'unique desir d'arriver 


dent to all those who place facts above hypotheses 
and prejudices, that spontaneous generation, as well 
as the transformation of species, does not exist, at 
least if we only consider the present epoch. We 
are leaving the domain of science if we take our 
arms from anterior epochs. We cannot accept any- 
thing as a fact which is not capable of proof." ' 

At the present day, among men of science, evolu- 
tionists outnumber creationists fully as much as the 
latter outnumbered the former a half century ago. 
It is only rarely that we meet a scientist who does 
not profess Evolution of some form or other, or who 
does not at least think that the older views regard- 
ing creation and the origin of species must be materi- 
ally modified in order to harmonize with the latest 
conclusions of science. 

No Via Media Possible. 

All the lines of thought which we have been 
following converge, then, as has already been ob- 
served, towards one point — the origin, or rather the 
genesis, of species, and their succession and distribu- 
tion in space and time. Between the two theories, 
that of creation and that of Evolution, the lines 
are drawn tautly, and one or the other theory must 
be accepted by all who make any pretensions intelli- 
gently to discuss the subject. No compromise, no 
via media, is possible. We must needs be either 
creationists or evolutionists. We cannot be both. 

a la verite." " Compte Rendu," Section d' Anthropologic, p. 305. 
Cf. also "Probleme de la Vie," pp. 175-178, by the Marquis de 

^ Van Beneden's "Animal Parasites and Messmates," p. 106. 


The theory of emanation is not here considered, it 
being contrary to the principles of sound philosophy 
as well as to the teachings of true science. How 
shall we, then, regard the problem of the origin of 
species, and what views, expressed not in general 
terms but carefully formulated, have been enter- 
tained by the great thinkers of the world on this 
all-important, and, at present, all-absorbing topic? 

Dr. Whewell, the learned historian of the " Induct- 
ive Sciences," in referring to the forms of life of 
geological times says: " Either we must accept the 
doctrine of the transmutation of species, and must 
suppose that the organized species of one geological 
epoch were transmuted into those of another, by 
some long-continued agency of natural causes, or 
else we must believe in many successive acts of 
creation and extinction of species, out of the com- 
mon course of nature ; acts which therefore we may 
properly call miraculous." ' 

Whewell, in common with the majority of his 
contemporaries — he wrote his masterly work over 
fifty years ago — and in common with the large body 
of non-scientific people still living, unhesitatingly 
accepted the doctrine of " many successive acts of 
creation," as against the theory of the transmutation 
of species, which he regards as negatived by " an in- 
disputable preponderance" of evidence against it. 
The Miltonic Hypothesis. 

But even accepting the creational hypothesis, 
how are we to picture to ourselves the appearance 

^" History of the Inductive Sciences," vol. II, p. 564. 


of new species? "Are these new species," asks the 
erudite Master of Trinity, "gradually evolved from 
some embryo substance ? Or do they suddenly 
start from the ground, as in the creation of the poet ? " 

" Perfect forms 
Limbed and full grown : out of the ground up rose, 
As from his lair, the wild beast where he wons 
In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den ; . . . 
The grassy clods now calved ; now half appear'd 
The tawny lion, pawing to get free 
His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds, 
And rampant shakes his brinded mane ; the ounce. 
The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole 
Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw 
In hillocks; the swift stag from underground 
Bore up his branching head ; scarce from his mould 
Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved 
His vastness: fleeced the flocks and bleating rose. 
As plants ; ambiguous between sea and land 
The river-horse and scaly crocodile. 
At once come forth whatever creeps the ground, 
Insect or worm." ' 

We have here what Huxley calls the " Miltonic 
hypothesis" fully developed even in its minutest de- 
tails. But this view of special creation, it is but 
just to state, may be offset by another passage, less 
frequently quoted it is true, from the great bard, 
which as clearly tells of creation by Evolution. In 
both instances the archangel Raphael appears as the 

»" Paradise Lobt," Book VII. 


speaker. And if, in the verses just quoted, the poet 
^s in accord with the Hteral interpreters of the Gene- 
siac account of creation, in the following lines he re- 
flects the ideas of creation entertained by St. Augus- 
tine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Having spoken of 
"one first matter," and its subsequent progressive 
development, the poet continues : — 

" So from the root 
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves 
More airy, last the bright consummate flower 
Spirit odorous breathes: flowers and their fruit, 
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, 
To vital spirits aspire, to animal, 
To intellectual; give both life and sense, 
Fancy and understanding; whence the soul 
Reason receives, and reason is her being, 
Discursive or intuitive; discourse 
Is oftest yours, the latter most is ours, 
Differing but in degree, of kind the same." 

Book V. 

Again, were these new species created by single 
or multiple pairs ; and, if by multiple pairs, was 
there one, or were there many centers of distribu- 
tion for the individual species ? 

Views of Agassiz. 

According to Linnaeus, the great Swedish nat- 
uralist, who voiced not only the opinion of his time, 
but of nearly all creationists since his time, species 
were created by single pairs, and the present num- 
ber is equal to that which was created in the begin- 


ning.' According to Schouw, whose views were 
shared by the eminent botanist, Alphonse de Can- 
dolle, in the earUer portion of his career, there was 
*' a double or multiple origin of species, at least of 
some species." Professor L. Agassiz, however, went 
much farther. He asserted not only the multiplic- 
ity of species, but also denied that there was " any 
necessary genetic connection among individuals of 
the same species, or of any original localization more 
restricted than the area now occupied by the spe- 
cies." According to this eminent student of nature, 
all animals and plants have occupied, from the be- 
ginning, those natural boundaries within which they 
stand to one another in such harmonious relations. 
Pines originate in forests, heaths in heaths, grasses in 
prairies, bees in hives, herrings in shoals, and men in 
nations. He asserts that " all animals originated in 
vast numbers — indeed, in the average number charac- 
teristic of their species — over the whole of their 
geographical area, whether its surface be continuous, 
or disconnected by sea, lakes, rivers, or by differ- 
ences of level above the sea, etc.'" Elsewhere he 
declares: "There are in animals peculiar adaptations 
which are characteristic of their species, and which 
cannot be supposed to have arisen from subordinate 
influences. Those which live in shoals cannot be 
supposed to have been created in single pairs. 
Those which are made to be the food of others can- 
not have been created in the same proportions as 

^"Species tot numeramus quot diversae formse in principio 
sunt creatse." " Philosophia Botanica," No. 157. 

*" An Essay on Classification," p. 59. 


those which live upon them. Those which are 
everywhere found in innumerable specimens, must 
have been introduced in numbers capable of main- 
taining their normal proportions to those which live 
isolated, and are comparatively and constantly fewer. 
For we know that this harmony in the numerical 
proportions between animals is one of the great 
laws of nature. The circumstance that species occur 
within definite limits, where no obstacles prevent 
their wider distribution, leads to the further infer- 
ence that these limits were assigned to them from 
the beginning ; and so we should come to the final 
conclusion that the order which prevails throughout 
nature is intentional, and that it is regulated by the 
limits marked out the first day of creation, and that 
it has been maintained unchanged through ages, 
with no other modifications than those which the 
higher intellectual powers of man enable him to im- 
pose on some few animals more closely connected 
with him."' 

According to Agassiz, therefore, not only is the 
origin of species supernatural, but their general 
geographical distribution is also supernatural. And 
more than this. Not only are all the phenomena of 
origin, distribution and extinction of animal and 
vegetable life, to be directly referred to the Divine 
will, but also, he will have it, " Every adaptation of 
species to climate, and of species to species, is as ab- 
original, and, therefore, as inexplicable, as are the 
organic forms themselves." " The facts of geology," 

'• Lake Superior," p. 337. 


he tells us, " exhibit the simultaneous creation, and 
the simultaneous destruction of entire fauna, and a 
coincidence between these changes in the organic 
world and the great physical changes our earth has 
undergone." " The origin of the great variety of 
types of animals and plants, can never," he declares, 
" be attributed to the limited influence of monoto- 
nous physical causes which always act in the same 
way." On the contrary, it necessarily displays " the 
intervention of a Creator " in the most striking man- 
ner, in every stage of the history of the world. 

Agassiz returns to these points time and again, 
and illustrates his argument in ways that are always 
interesting, if not always conclusive. As a r6sum^ 
of his teaching respecting the origin, distribution 
and extinction of animals and plants, and as an indi- 
cation of his spirit of reverence and piety, nothing 
can be more explicit or edifying than the following 
paragraphs taken from his profound " Essay on 
Classification," so frequently quoted : 

" The products of what are commonly called 
physical agents are everywhere the same, that is, 
upon the whole surface of the globe ; and have al- 
ways been the same, that is, during all geological 
periods ; while organized beings are everywhere 
different, and have differed in all ages. Between 
two such series of phenomena there can be no causal 
or genetic connection. 

" The combination in time and space of all these 
thoughtful conceptions, exhibits not only thought ; 
it shows also premeditation, power, wisdom, great- 
ness, prescience, omniscience, providence. In one 


word, all these facts, in their natural connection, pro- 
claim aloud the one God, whom we may know, adore 
and love ; and natural history must, in good time, 
become the analysis of the thoughts of the Creator 
of the universe, as manifested in the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms, as well as in the inorganic 


As against the doctrine of separate and successive 
creations, we have, as already stated, the theory of 
the origin of species by derivation. But as in the 
creational doctrine there are different views respect- 
ing the manner in which species appeared, so, like- 
wise are there, according to Evolution, different 
hypotheses regarding the origin and devolopment of 
the divers forms of organized beings. 

In the first edition of his " Origin of Species " 
Darwin expresses the belief that all " animals have 
descended from at most only four or five progeni- 
tors, and plants from an equal or lesser number." 
In the second edition of his work he arrives at quite 
a different conclusion and infers that " probably all 
organic beings which have ever lived on the earth 
have descended from some one primordial form, 
into which life was first breathed by the Creator." 

The majority of evolutionists, who admit the 
existence of a personal God, accept the Darwinian 
view that all the forms of life at present existing in 
the world are derived, by the agency of natural 
forces and the influence of environment, from 

' P. 205 ; cf., also, chaps, x and xvi, of Agassiz' " Methods 
of Studjr in Natural Historj." 


one primordial created form. Evolutionists of the 
atheistic school, however, of which Ernst Haeckel is 
the chief representative, contend not only that all 
species of animals and plants are descended from a 
speck of protoplasm, a simple, structureless primitive 
moneron, but also that this primordial speck of pro- 
toplasm was not the work of the Deity, but was the 
result solely of the operation of some one of the 
physical forces on brute matter. 

But excluding the philosophical theories which 
have been built on Evolution, and the religious dis- 
cussions to which it has given rise, let us proceed to 
examine the evidences for and against it as a scien- 
tific theory. Let us inquire what are the grounds 
for the almost universal acceptance of this theory by 
contemporary scientists, and see whether the argu- 
ments advanced in its support are in accord with the 
canons of sound logic and the principles of true 
philosophy. The question is entirely one of natural 
science, not of metaphysics, and hence one of evi- 
dence which is more or less tangible. What, then, 
are the evidences of organic Evolution to which 
modern scientists usually appeal ? This is the ques- 
tion to which all that precedes is but little more 
than a preamble, and a question, too, that well de- 
serves our closest and most serious consideration. 
I shall endeavor to give the answer succinctly, but 
fairly, in the following chapter. 



Systems of Classification. 

EFORE discussing the evidences of Evolution, 
or examining the arguments advanced in its 
support, it is advisable to have some idea of the 
different systems of classification which have ob- 
tained in various periods of the history of science, 
and to learn on what such systems were based. 
Have naturalists in all ages employed essentially the 
same systems of classification, or have their systems 
been widely different, if not contradictory? Are 
scientific classifications expressions of natural ar- 
rangements existing in animated nature, or are they 
but artificial devices for coordinating our knowledge 
of nature and facilitating our investigations ? Have 
species, genera, families, orders, classes and branches, 
a real or an ideal existence? Are they manifestly 
disclosed in the plan of creation or are they but 
arbitrary categories hit upon by naturalists as con- 
venient aids in arrangement and research ? These 
are a few of the many questions which present 
themselves for an answer as we approach the subject 
of organic Evolution. Others there are also which 
might be discussed but we have not space for them 


The system of classification of Aristotle, and of 
the naturalists of antiquity generally, was of the most 
primitive character. It recognized but two groups, 
Yi\>o<i and eI5o9, genus and species. These terms, as 
a rule, had only a very vague meaning, and were 
frequently made to embrace groups of animals that 
we should now refer to orders and classes. ' 

This system, however, incomplete and mislead- 
ing as it was, prevailed for upwards of two thousand 
years, and no serious attempt was made to improve 
on it until the time of the great naturalist, Linnaeus. 
He introduced new divisions and distinctions, gave 
to the study of zoology an impetus which it had 
never received before, and stimulated research in a 
manner that was simply marvelous. He was the 
first to introduce classes and orders into the system of 
zoology, in addition to the vague genera and species 
of the ancient philosophers." Until the appearance 
of the *' Regne Animal" of Cuvier, in the beginning 
of the present century, the "Systema Naturae" 
of Linnaeus, first published in 1735, was the only 
system of classification which received any recogni- 
tion. All other attempts at classification were only 

'In the sixth chapter of the first book of his " History of 
Animals" Aristotle distinguishes between ym; //f7«Tra, yevrj fieyaJM. 
and ytvoc simply. This chapter will well repay perusal as 
illustrating the diversity of meanings given to a word which in 
modern zoology has such a definite and restricted signification. 
Although ddoq had sometimes a wider meaning than we now 
give to this term, it must, nevertheless, in justice to the illustri- 
ous Stagirite, be said that he usually employed it in the same 
sense as naturalists now use the word species. 

'Linnaeus called the class, ^«»«j sumtMttm ; the order , genus 
tntermediurn ; the genus, genus proximum. 


modifications of the system introduced by the Swed- 
ish naturalist. But when Cuvier — "the greatest 
zoologist of all time," as Agassiz denominates him — 
began his epoch-making investigations, all was 
changed. The divisions of Linnaeus were based on 
external resemblances. Cuvier, as the result of an 
extensive survey of the whole animal kingdom, and 
more especially in consequence of his marvelous in- 
vestigations in the domain of comparative anatomy, 
a science of which he was the founder, demon- 
strated that classification should be based, not on 
external resemblance, but on internal structure. He 
was indeed the first to introduce order into chaos, 
and to place the science of zoology on something 
Hke a firm foundation. 

Cuvier and His Successors. 

Before Cuvier's time no attempt had been made 
to bring the various groups of animals under a more 
comprehensive division than that which exhibited 
the whole animal kingdom as composed of verte- 
brates and invertebrates ; a division which was not 
materially different from that of Aristotle, who 
classed all animals as sanguineous, ^wa svatrm, and 
asanguineous, ^wa avat/ia. But, in his memorable com- 
munication to the French Academy in 1812, Cuvier 
declared that his researches had led him to believe 
" that all animals are constructed upon four different 
plans, or as it were, cast in four different moulds." ' 

*The words of the French naturalist on this subject are: 
" Si Ton considdre le regne animal d' apres les principes que 
nous venons de poser, en se debarassant des prejuges 4tablis sur 
les divisions anciennement admises, en n'ayant egard qu'a Tor- 


The names given to the groups — embranchemens, 
or branches, Cuvier calls them — constructed on these 
four plans are vertebrates, mollusks, articulates and 
radiates. It will thus be seen that Cuvier introduces 
divisions above the classes of Linnaeus. In addition 
to this he also interpolates families between orders 
and genera. And then, again, the various divisions 
of Cuvier admit of numerous secondary divisions, 
such as sections, tribes, sub-genera and others besides. 

Important as was the "Systema Naturae" in stimu- 
lating research, its influence was almost insignificant 
in comparison with Cuvier's masterly " Lemons sur 
I'Anatomie Compar^e," and his no less remarkable 
" R^gne Animal," and " Ossemens Fossiles." The 
publication of these chefs-d'oeuvre not only gave to 
the study of natural history a stimulus it had never 
felt before, but it was likewise the occasion of 
numerous new systems of zoological classification of 
various degrees of merit. 

Naturalists now vied with one another in estab- 
lishing new divisions, in introducing new classes, 
orders, genera and species into their systems, and in 
claiming, each for his own system, some special value 
or point of superiority not possessed by the others. 
First came the system of Lamarck, then those of 

ganisation et a la nature des animaux, et non pas a leur gran- 
deur, a leur utilite, au plus ou moins de connaissance que nous 
en avons, ou a toutes les autres circonstances accessoires, on 
trouvera qu'il existe quatre formes principales, quatre plans 
g^neraux, si I'on peut s'exprimer ainsi, d'apres lesquels tous les 
animaux semblent avoir ete modeles et dont les divisions ulteri- 
eures, de quelque titre que les naturalistes les aient decores, ne 
sont que des modifications assez leg^res, fondees sur le developpe- 
ment ou 1' addition de quelques parties qui ne changent rien a 
I'essence du plan." 


De Blainville, Ehrenberg, Burmeister, Von Siebold 
and Stannius, Leuckart, Milne-Edwards, Kolliker, 
Vogt, Van Beneden, Owen, Von Baer, Agassiz, 
Huxley, Haeckel and Ray Lankester, not to men- 
tion scores of others of lesser importance. 

Points of View. 

But what is more striking than the number of 
zoological systems which our century has produced, 
are the diverse points of view which systematists 
have chosen in elaborating their systems. The pre- 
Cuvierian taxonomists, as we have seen, based their 
schemes of classification on external characteristics. 
Cuvier insisted that taxonomy should be based on 
internal structure, and that the structure of the en- 
tire animal should be considered. Certain later sys- 
tematists deemed this unnecessary, and attempted 
to build systems of classification on the variations of 
a single organ, or on the structure of the egg alone. 
Again, according to Cuvier's classification, the 
four branches of the animal kingdom are distin- 
guished by four distinct plans of structure. Accord- 
ing to Ehrenberg " the type of development of ani- 
mals is one and the same from man to the monad." 
According to Cuvier and his school, the four types 
of structure proceed along four parallel lines. Ac- 
cording to the evolutionary school, however, the 
entire animal kingdom is to be conceived as a gen- 
ealogical tree, Stamnibaum, the various branches 
and twigs, twiglets and leaves of which, are to be 
regarded as the classes, orders, genera and species of 
which zoologists speak. 


At first classification was based on only superfi- 
cial characteristics. Now we must take into account, 
not only external form and internal structure, not 
only anatomical and histological characteristics, but 
we must also incorporate in our classifications the 
teachings of embryology and cytology. We must 
study not only bone and muscle, but investigate the 
nature and structure of the cell, and study the 
embryo from its earliest to its latest state of devel- 
opment. We can now call no one master, for the 
days of magisier dixit have passed. Neither Aris- 
totle, nor Linnaeus, nor Cuvier nor any other one 
person is to be our sole guide, but we must per- 
force elaborate a system from the combined ob- 
servations and generalizations of not only the 
great masters above-mentioned, but also from those 
of Schwann and Von Baer, Johann and Fritz 
Miiller, Kowalewsky and Darwin. We must dis- 
card much, once accepted as true, which more ex- 
act research has disproved, and combine into one 
systematic whole the gleanings of truth which 
are afforded by the investigations of so many stu- 
dents in the various departments of natural knowl- 

Taxonomic Divisions. 

Our brief reference to some of the chief systems 
of classification conducts us naturally to a more im- 
portant topic, the nature of the various categories 
which we have been considering. 

Have branches, classes, orders, families, genera 
and species a real existence in nature, or are they 


merely more or less successful devices of scientific 
men to arrange and correlate the facts and phe- 
nomena of nature? Are the divisions which natural- 
ists have introduced into their systems artificial and 
arbitrary, or have they rather been instituted by the 
Divine Intelligence as the categories of His mode of 
thinking? Are they but the inventions of the hu- 
man mind or have " the relations and proportions 
which exist throughout the animal and vegetable 
worlds an intellectual and ideal connection in the 
mind of the Creator?" " Have we, perhaps," asks 
the eloquent Agassiz, " thus far been only the un- 
conscious interpreters of a Divine conception, in our 
attempts to expound nature ? And when in the 
pride of our philosophy we thought that we were in- 
venting systems of science, and classifying creation 
by the force of our own reason, have we followed 
only and reproduced in our imperfect expressions, 
the plan whose foundations were laid in the dawn of 
creation, and the development of which we are labo- 
riously studying, thinking, as we put together and 
arrange our fragmentary knowledge, that we are in- 
troducing order into chaos anew ? Is this order the 
result of the exertions of human skill and ingenuity ; 
or is it inherent in the objects themselves, so that 
the intelligent student of natural history is led un- 
consciously, by the study of the animal kingdom 
itself, to these conclusions, the great divisions under 
which he arranges animals being indeed but the 
headings to the chapter of the great book which he 
is reading." ' 

* " Essa^ on Classification," pp. 8, 9. 


On a correct answer to this last all-import- 
ant question depends, in great measure, the truth 
or falsity of the theory of organic Evolution. It 
is a shibboleth which cannot be evaded, a crux 
which must be explained before an intelligent dis- 
cussion of the evidences of Evolution is even pos- 

Plato's " Grand Ideas." 

According to Plato, " the world of particular 
things is somehow determined by preexisting uni- 
versal ideas." Species and genera, therefore, are but 
expressions of the ideas of the Creator ; and classifi- 
cations of animals and plants, according to types, 
are but translations of the thoughts of God ; expres- 
sions of grand ideas which from all eternity have 
been before the Divine mind. Types, then, are but 
the copy ; the Divine ideas, the pattern or arche- 
type. Species, as Plato conceived them, were im- 
mutable, and organic Evolution, as now understood, 
was, accordingly, impossible. 

During the Middle Ages, Plato's doctrine of 
types was accepted without question, and species 
were looked upon as being as immutable as the 
rules of dialectics, as unchangeable as truth itself. 
Thus the great Scotus Erigena, probably the 
profoundest philosopher of his time, declares that 
" that art which divides genera into species, and re- 
solves species into genera, which is called dialectics, 
is not the product of human ingenuity, but has its 
origin in the nature of things and is due to the 
Author of all arts which are true arts, and has been 


simply discovered by the wise." ' But this classifi- 
cation, this division into species and genera, which, 
according to Erigena, is something not artificial and 
conventional, but something that is real and Divine, 
applied, in the estimation of most philosophers 
prior to the time of Darwin, not only to logic and 
metaphysics but also to the natural sciences as 

Linnaeus held similar views. He tells us ex- 
plicitly that " the number of species is equal to the 
number of divers forms which the Infinite Being 
created in the beginning ; which forms, according to 
the prescribed laws of generation, produced others, 
but always like unto themselves." ' 

Cuvier on Species. 

But the strongest and most eminent advocate of 
the creation and fixity of species was Cuvier. In the 
introduction to his " Regne Animal " he asserts that 
" there is no proof that all the differences which now 
distinguish organized beings are such as may have 
been produced by circumstances. All that has been 
advanced upon this subject is hypothetical; experi- 
ence seems to show, on the contrary', that, in the 
actual state of things, varieties are confined within 

' "Intelligitur quod ars ilia, quae dividet genera in species et 
species in genera resolvit, quae 6ia7.eK-iKTj dicitur, non ab humanis 
machinationibus sit facta, sed in natura rerum ab Auctore 
omnium artium, quse verae artes sunt, condita et a sapientibus 
inventa." *' De Divisione Naturae," iv, 4. 

*" Species tot sunt, quot diversas formas ab initio produxit 
Infinitum Ens; quae formae, secundum generationis inditas leges, 
produxere plures, at sibi semper similes." " Philosophia Bo- 
tanies," 99, 157. 


rather narrow limits, and, so far as we can retrace 
antiquity, we perceive that these limits were the 
same as at the present. We are thus obliged to ad- 
mit of certain forms which, since the origin of things, 
have been perpetuated, without exceeding these 
limits; and all the beings appertaining to one of these 
forms constitute what is termed a species. Genera- 
tion being the only means of ascertaining the limits 
to which varieties may extend, species should be 
defined as the reunion of individuals descended from 
one another, or from common parents, or from such 
as resemble them as closely as they resemble each 
other; but although this definition is rigorous, it will 
be seen that its application to particular individuals 
may be very different when the necessary experi- 
ments have been made." 

But not only, according to Cuvier, are existing 
species fixed and the result of special creative ac- 
tion ; the same views must also be held regarding 
the countless geological species which have so long 
disappeared from the face of the earth. The great 
naturalist was a firm believer in the doctrine of suc- 
cessive creations and destructions, of a series of de- 
populatings and repeoplings of the world. As is 
well known, he was the author of the celebrated 
Period or Concordistic theory, which attempts 
to reconcile the statements of the Mosaic narra- 
tive of creation with the declarations of geology 
and paleontology — a theory which has had a 
great vogue, and which, after the lapse of three- 
quarters of a century, has even now not a few advo- 


Definition of Species. 

We come now to the definition of the term spe- 
cies, the critical point in the controversy between 
creationists and evolutionists. Aristotle's concep- 
tion of species was, as we have seen, far from being 
precise. With his followers, for more than two thou- 
sand years, the idea of a physiological species was 
vague and nebulous in the extreme. It was usually 
nothing more than a metaphysical concept, and was 
of little or no value to the working naturalist. In- 
deed, strange as it may seem, no definition of the 
term species, as it is now used, was given until the 
latter part of the seventeenth century. One of the 
first definitions found is in the " Historia Plantarum " 
of the noted English botanist Ray, although Yung, of 
Hamburg, and Tournefort, the distinguished French 
botanist, contemporaries of Ray, appear to have an- 
ticipated the English naturalist in arriving at a true 
conception of physiological species. According to 
Ray, " specific characters rested not only on close 
and constant resemblance in outward form, but also 
on the likeness of offspring to parent, a considerable 
measure of variability being, however, recognized." 
Ray's definition of species and Linnaeus' binomial 
system of nomenclature, which so greatly facilitated 
classification, contributed immensely towards estab- 
lishing order where chaos had so long reigned su- 

It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that, 
after the labors of Ray, Linnaeus, Cuvier, and their 
collaborators, there was perfect unanimity respect- 


ing the nature and signification of species. On 
the contrary, the divergence of views was rendered 
greater in proportion to the progress of research and 
discovery, so that it soon became difficult to find 
any two persons who could agree on a definition of 
the term " species." 

Everyone who wrote on zoology, as we have 
learned, had his own system of classification. In 
like manner, everyone who had occasion to treat of 
questions of natural history found himself compelled 
to define the little word " species," and the defini- 
tion given usually differed in important respects 
from those of previous investigators. Indeed, if 
we compare the definitions of species which have 
been given since the time of Ray, we shall find that 
there has been as great a change of opinion respecting 
its nature, as there has been displayed in the various 
systems of classification that have been elaborated 
since the period of Linnaeus. Everywhere there is 
uncertainty, doubt, nebulosity. 

The learned anthropologist, De Quatrefages, in 
his interesting work, " Darwin et ses Precurseurs 
Franqais," gives, besides his own definition of the 
term, no fewer than twenty definitions of species — 
he might have given many more — as proposed by as 
many eminent naturalists.' Some, like Ray and Flou- 
rens, base their definition on genealogical connection ; 
others like Tournefort and De CandoUe regard like- 
ness among individuals as the essential thing in a true 
definition of species, while others still, and these for 

'Pp. i86, 187. 


the nonce are in the majority, aver that both filia- 
tion and resemblance must be taken into account in 
any true definition of the term. 

Thus, the illustrious botanist Antoine Laurent de 
Jussieu, the founder of the "natural system" of 
botany, which superseded the artificial or sexual 
system of Linnaeus, defines species as " a succession 
of individuals entirely alike, which are perpetuated 
by generation." * Similar definitions have been 
given by Lamarck, Cuvier, Johann Miiller, Isidore 
Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and others. According to De 
Quatrefages a " species is a collection of individuals, 
more or less resembling each other, which may be 
regarded as having descended from a single primi- 
tive pair by an uninterrupted and natural succession 
of families."" Agassiz, however, who, as we have 
seen, contended that individuals of the same species 
existing in disconnected geographical areas had in- 
dependent origins, insisted that we are forced "to 
remove from the philosophic definition of species 
the idea of a community of origin, and consequently, 
also, the idea of a necessary genealogical connec- 

To the foregoing I may add the declarations of 
our eminent American botanist. Professor Asa Gray, 
who declares : " We still hold that genealogical con- 
nection, rather than mutual resemblance, is the fun- 

' In his great work, '' Genera Plantarum," Jussieu savs of 
species: " Nunc rectius definitur perennis individuorum similium 
successio continuata generatione renascentium." 

'"The Human Species," p. 36. 

* " Essay on Classification," p. 256. 


damental thing — first on the ground of fact, and 
then from the philosophy of the case. Practically, 
no botanist can say what amount of dissimilarity is 
compatible with the unity of species ; in wild plants 
it is sometimes very great, in cultivated races often 
enormous."' What the learned professor here af- 
firms of plants, may likewise, with equal truth, be 
predicated of animals both wild and domestic. 

Difficulties Regarding Species. 

What, then, is species? Is it something real, as 
some have averred, or is it, as others maintain, some- 
thing which is only ideal? And if it have an exist- 
ence, real or ideal, how may it be recognized? The 
definitions given do not, as we have seen, throw 
much light on the subject. On the contrary, they 
are all more or less defective, and often quite con- 

It is only, however, when we come to consider 
the practical applications of these or similar defini- 
tions, that we find how illusory and unsatisfactory 
they are. We have but to compare the classifica- 
tions of different botanists and zoologists when 
treating of the same florse and faunae, to realize how 
utterly inadequate are even the best definitions of 
species as guides in the classificatory work of prac- 
tical naturalists. No two naturalists, it may safely 
be asserted, have ever yet agreed on the same clas- 
sification as to species, even for the animals and 
plants of restricted geographical areas. Some aug- 

^ " Darwiniana," p. 203. 



ment the number of species; others diminish it. 
Some make species out of what others regard as 
only races or varieties ; whilst others again combine 
in one what still others contend are demonstrably 
two or more distinct species. 

Thus, we have it on the authority of Gray that 
*' In a flora so small as the British, one hundred and 
eighty-two plants, generally reckoned as varieties, 
have been ranked by some botanists as species. 
Selecting the British genera which include the most 
polymorphous forms, it appears that Babbington's 
flora gives them two hundred and fifty-one species, 
Bentham's only one hundred and twelve ; a differ- 
ence of one hundred and thirty-nine doubtful forms. 
These are nearly the extreme views, but they are 
the views of two most capable and most experienced 
judges in respect to one of the best-known floras of 
the world. The fact is suggestive, that the best- 
known countries furnish the greatest known number 
of such doubtful cases." ' 

The relativity and variability of species are still 
more strikingly illustrated in the case of the hawk- 
weed, hieracium, of Germany. One author de- 
scribes no fewer than three hundred species of this 
plant, another makes the number one hundred and 
six, a third reduces it to fifty-two, while a fourth is 
equally positive that there are but twenty species 
all told!" 

* "Darwiniana," p. 35. Cf . "The Origin of Species," chap, 11. 

* It was such difficulties of classification that led the natu- 
ralist, Deslonchamps, to declare : " Plus on voit d'echantillons, 
moins on fait d'especes." For a similar reason Darwin ex- 
claims: "How painfully true it is that no one has a right to 


Haeckel's well-known monograph on the calca- 
reous sponges shows, even in a more remarkable 
manner, to what an extent classification depends on 
the personal equation of the systematist, or *' on his 
predilection for lumping and splitting." In this 
monograph the Jena professor, considering the same 
set of forms from different points of view, offers no 
fewer than twelve different arrangements, " among 
which the two most nearly conventional propose 
respectively twenty-one genera and one hundred 
and eleven species, and thirty-nine genera and two 
hundred and eighty-nine species." 

Similar, although less marked instances of spe- 
cific indefiniteness are exhibited regarding the oak, 
willow, beech, birch, chestnut, and other well-known 
trees. It is, however, in the lowest forms of life 
that it is most difficult to draw the line of demarca- 
tion between one species and another, and where, 
as all admit, the grouping of species into genera is at 
best a matter of conjecture. The countless and com- 
plete series of transitional forms brought up from the 
ocean depths by the dredge and trawl are cases in 

But more puzzling still to the systematist, are 
those extraordinary microbian forms of life called 
schisoniycetes, which embrace the numerous micro- 
scopic organisms known as microbes, bacteria. 

examine the question of species who has not minutelj described 
many. . . . After determining a set of forms as a distinct 
species, tearing them up and making them separate, and then 
making them one again (which has happened to me), I have 
gnashed my teeth, cursed species, and asked what sin I had 
committed to be so treated." 


microphytes, and their congeners. Here classifica- 
tion is at best provisional and arbitrary, and depends 
entirely on the point of view from which they are 
studied. In such lowly forms of life, not only is the 
certain discrimination of species impossible, but it is 
impossible even to draw a hard and fast line between 
what is incontestably animal life on the one hand, 
and vegetable life on the other. 

Such being the case, what, it may be asked, be- 
comes of species ? What of classification ? What of 
the various systems which have been proposed ? 
Have species any real existence, the question is 
again asked, or are they but mere figments of the 
imagination, ignes fatui, which have ever eluded the 
grasp of the investigator, and which are now even 
farther away from it than they ever were before? 
Are they but varying, metaphysical entities, airy 
nothings, convenient only for purposes of specula- 
tion and for a classification which, from the very 
nature of the case, must at best be but provisional 
and arbitrary ? 

In reply to these questions it may be stated that 
there are still those, and their number is far from 
being small, who yet cling to the old idea of species 
as something real, immutable, and always recogniza- 
ble. The instances I have just alluded to may not 
indeed, it is conceded, exhibit all the specific definite- 
ness of the Venus' flytrap, or the pearly nautilus, 
but nevertheless, it is contended, the species exist, 
despite the difficulties which obscure their definition, 
or which, for the time being, make their recognition 


Agassiz' Views. 

Yet even in the face of the difficulties which have 
been referred to, Agassiz persisted, as others still 
persist, in maintaining that species are entities, real 
or ideal, which continue to exist from generation to 
generation. But he went further than this, further 
even than most of his predecessors had been willing 
to go. For not only, according to his views, are 
species unchangeable units, but genera, orders, 
classes, and the other groups as well, "are founded 
in nature, and ought not to be considered as arti- 
ficial devices, invented by man to facilitate his 
studies." "To me," says Agassiz, "it appears in- 
disputable, that the order and arrangement of our 
studies are based on the natural, primitive relations 
of animal life — those systems to which we have 
given the names of the great leaders of our science 
who first proposed them, being, in truth, but trans- 
lations into human language of the thoughts of the 
Creator." In the opinion of the illustrious Swiss 
savant, " man has not invented, but only traced, the 
systematic arrangement of nature." " The relations 
and proportions which exist throughout the animal 
and vegetable world, have an intellectual, an ideal 
connection in the mind of the Creator. The plan of 
creation, which so commends itself to our highest 
wisdom, has not grown out of the necessary action 
of physical laws, but was the free conception of the 
Almighty intellect, matured in His thought before 
it was manifested in tangible, external forms." " In 


a word, species, genera, families, etc., exist as 
thoughts ; individuals as facts." * 

Species in the Making. 

But while some of the old school who are not 
naturalists, still subscribe to these or similar views, 
and while a few, possibly even among naturalists, 
may yet be found who entertain like notions, the 
great majority of working naturalists have entirely 
discarded the traditional idea of species, as some- 
thing fixed and unchangeable, and substituted in 
its stead the idea of a species which is variable and 
transmutable. For evolutionists, all such variable 
and doubtful forms as those I have indicated are but 
" species in the making," which become definite in 
proportion as certain varieties become especially 
adapted to their environment, and become isolated 
by the dying out of the intermediate forms. From 
the evolutionary standpoint both species and classi- 
fication have a significance which is not only ex- 
cluded from the creationist's view, but which is 
absolutely incompatible with it. By the aid of the 
Evolution hypothesis, too, mysteries are solved which 

^ Cf. " Essay on Classification," chap, i , sec. i , and "Amer- 
ican Journal of Science," July, i860, p. 143. Very few naturalists, 
even among Agassiz' predecessors, among those, namely, who 
like himself, were from conviction special creationists, would, I 
think, subscribe to this statement. The majority of them, I am 
disposed to believe, regarded all divisions above species as purely 
conventional. For, even in pre-Darwinian days, as Romanes 
well observes, "the scientifically orthodox doctrine was, that 
although species were to be regarded as fixed units, bearing the 
stamp of a special creation, all the higher taxonomic divisions 
•were to be considered as what may be termed the artificial cre- 
ation of naturalists themselves." — " Darwin and After Darwin," 
vol. I, p. 20. 


had long baffled the efforts of the keenest investi- 
gators of the old school, and a simple explanation 
is afforded of difficulties and apparent anomalies 
which, without this hypothesis, are simply inexpli- 
cable. A few simple examples will illustrate my 
meaning, and at the same time indicate the nature of 
one of the arguments adduced in favor of organic 

De Candolle and Baird. 

The eminent Swiss botanist, M. Alphonse de 
Candolle, as the result of an exhaustive study under 
particularly favorable circumstances, of the oak, es- 
pecially the oak of the Old World, comes to the con- 
clusion that current notions regarding this important 
genus must be materially modified ; that far from 
having the large number of species usually attrib- 
uted to it, the number is in reality very small; that 
what are so frequently considered as species, are at 
best but varieties and races ; that there is every rea- 
son to believe, if indeed there is not positive proof, 
that all the multitudinous gradations observed among 
oaks are originally derived from but a few forms, or 
that all of them may be traced back to the same pri- 
meval ancestor. His investigations regarding the oak, 
demonstrate beyond question what other naturalists 
had observed and suspected, viz : that what appears 
to be a distinct species, when only a few specimens 
from a limited area are examined, proves on the ex- 
amination of a larger number of specimens, from a 
wider geographical area, to be, at most, but a race 
or a variety. 


Considering the relations to each other of only 
existing species, De Candolle felt obliged to curtail 
greatly the number of species of the genus quercus, 
but when the genealogy of the oak is studied in the 
light of geology and paleontology, it is found that it 
originated far back in the Cretaceous Period, and 
that this ancient geologic form is undoubtedly the 
common ancestor of all the species and varieties now 
existing. For we have it on the testimony of such 
a competent witness as Lesquereux, that not only 
the oak but all " the essential types of our actual 
flora are marked in the Cretaceous Period, and have 
come to us, after passing without notable changes 
through the Tertiary formations of our conti- 

Baird's researches upon the birds of North Amer- 
ica, admirably corroborate De Candolle's induction, 
to wit: "That when a large number of specimens 
from a sufficiently extensive territory are examined 
and compared, it is found that what are ordinarily 
regarded as quite distinct species are often no more 
than races and varieties, or what evolutionists would 
denominate incipient species. For along the border- 
ing lines of the habitats of such species, it is observed 
that the specific characters of the divers forms are so 
blended that it is often difficult, if not impossible, to 
distinguish one species from another. Indeed, 
whether the birds observed in such cases belong to 
the same or to different species will depend, mainly 
or entirely, either on the naturalist's point of view, 
or on the number of intermediate forms which he 
may be able to collect and compare." 


Evidence of Organic Evolution. 

After this long preamble respecting classification 
and species — a preamble which the nature and scope 
of the topic now under discussion have rendered 
necessary — we are at length prepared for an intelli- 
gent appreciation of the arguments commonly ad- 
duced in support of the theory of organic Evolution. 
If species are not the immutable units they have so 
long been considered ; if, far from being easy of rec- 
ognition, as is so often fancied, they are with diffi- 
culty recognizable, if at all ; if, far from being perma- 
nent and unchangeable, they are, on the contrary, 
variable and mutable ; we have legitimate a priori 
reasons for believing in the possibility of Evolution, 
if not in its probability. The actuality, however, 
of Evolution, is a question of evidence ; not indeed of 
evidence based on metaphysical assumptions, but of 
evidence derived from observation and a trustworthy 
interpretation of the facts of nature. To the discus- 
sion of this evidence, which I shall make as brief as 
is consistent with clearness and the nature of the 
argument involved, I shall now direct the reader's 

The evidence usually advanced in support of 
organic Evolution is fourfold, and is based: First, 
on the classification of animals and plants ; second, 
on their morphology ; third, on their embryology ; 
and fourth, on their distribution in space and 
time. This, especially the evidence derived from 
paleontology, is what Huxley designates as "the 


demonstrative evidence of Evolution," and is well 
worthy of our most serious consideration. 

Of course it will be understood that I can give 
only the baldest outline of the arguments ad- 
vanced in favor of the theory of Evolution as applied 
to plants and animals. Space precludes my doing 
more than this ; besides it is unnecessary, as count- 
less treatises by specialists have been written, in 
which the various arguments in favor of Evolution 
are given in extenso, and to these is referred the 
reader who is desirous of more detailed information. 

The argument from classification has been inci- 
dentally touched upon in what precedes. We have 
noted the differences of views entertained by divers 
naturalists respecting the classification of certain 
plants and animals, and how difficulties of classifica- 
tion increase as we descend from higher to lower 
types of animated nature. On the theory that all 
the manifold forms of animal and vegetable life are 
descended from one primitive form, these difficul- 
ties, which on the special creation theory are simply 
inexplicable, find a ready and simple explanation. 
Assuming that all forms of life are originally de- 
rived from simple monera or undifferentiated parti- 
cles of protoplasm, and that all are but more or less 
modified descendants of the same humble ancestor, 
we can understand why there are such striking re- 
semblances in some instances, and such wide diver- 
gencies in others. 

A Philological Illustration. 

An illustration taken from philology will make 
this statement clearer. In the Romance languages, 


for instance, we observe many marked similarities of 
form and structure, but no one would think of assert- 
ing that all these different tongues are directly due 
to Divine intervention, or that Spanish is derived 
from Italian, or Italian from French. And yet, they 
are genetically related to one another, because we 
know that they are all derived from an older speech 
— the Latin. In like manner we are able to trace 
relationships between the numerous members of the 
great Aryan family of languages — between, for ex- 
ample, such widely dissimilar tongues as Sanscrit, 
Latin, Greek, Slavic, Zend, Gothic, German, Irish. 
We cannot, of course, arrange them in a linear 
series, but it can be shown that all of them are de- 
scended from the same mother-tongue and that they 
all, therefore, belong to the same family tree. 

Tree- Like System of Classification. 

As in philology, so also in botany and zoology, 
we must look upon the whole of animated nature as 
constituting but a single genealogical tree. The 
trunk of this tree represents those lower forms of life 
which cannot be said with certainty to be either 
animal or vegetable. It first bifurcates into two 
minor trunks, or large branches, which are known as 
the vegetable and animal kingdoms. Each of these 
trunks or branches bears other branches which de- 
note classes, and these, in turn, ramify in such wise as 
to produce boughs, twigs, twiglets, and leaves, repre- 
senting families, orders, genera, and species. 

This tree-like system of classification of animals 
and plants obtained long before the time of Darwin, 


but he gave it a significance it never before pos- 
sessed. He showed that it was in reality the only 
natural system, and the only one which was compe- 
tent to explain the varied and complicated facts of 
the organic world. He demonstrated more clearly 
than had any of his predecessors the impossibility of 
attempting, as had Lamarck and others, to arrange 
animals and plants in a series of linear groups. By 
classifying animals in lineally ascending groups, 
Lamarck had placed snails and oysters above such 
marvelously organized creatures as bees and butter- 
flies. The same system of classification would place 
the humble duck-bill, because it is a mammal, above 
the eagle and the condor, the lowly amphioxus 
above the crab, and the degraded lepidosiren above 
the salmon. 

Again, the tree-like system of classification eludes 
such blunders and shows that differences of structure, 
and not complexity of organization, are to be con- 
sidered in every rational attempt to ascertain the 
true position of any organism in the animal king- 
dom. Unlike all popular classifications, it is not 
based on mere external resemblances, but on resem- 
blances which are deeper and more fundamental. 
Thus, for instance, a whale is often regarded as a 
fish, because, forsooth, it bears some likeness to a 
fish in form and habits. A closer examination, how- 
ever, reveals the fact that it is more like a dog or an 
ox than a fish. The same may be said of other 
cases that might be cited, wherein the true position 
of an organism in the scale of life can be determined, 
not by superficial resemblances, but by likenesses 


which are revealed only by dissection — likenesses 
which can be fully appreciated only by the trained 

The more closely, then, one examines the divers 
forms of life, the stronger grows the conviction that 
they are genetically related in the manner indicated 
by a Stammbaum, or genealogical tree. No other 
system is competent to explain the facts observed ; 
neither is there any other system which can explain 
the " progressive shading off of characters common 
to larger groups into more and more specialized 
characters distinctive only of smaller and smaller 
groups." It is just such a system as we should ex- 
pect to find if the theory of descent be true ; just 
such a system as would obtain if the law of parsi- 
mony be admitted, the law, to-wit, that " forbids us 
to assume the operation of higher causes when lower 
ones are found sufficient to explain the observed 
effects." Indeed, so powerful does the argument from 
classification appear to some minds, that it alone is 
regarded as decisive in favor of Evolution. Referring 
to this matter Mr. Fiske declares: " In my own case 
the facts presented in Agassiz* ' Essay on Classifica- 
tion ' went far toward producing conviction before 
the publication of Mr. Darwin's work on the ' Origin 
of Species,' where the significance of such facts is 
clearly pointed out and strongly insisted upon." ' 

The Argument from Structure and Morphology. 

We now pass to the argument from structure 
and morphology. To confine ourselves to the ver- 

1" Cosmic Philosophy," vol. I, p. 454. 


tebrates, which are more famih'ar to the general 
reader, we observe that all the members of this ex- 
tensive group are constructed on the same general 
type. They belong, as it were, to the same style of 
architecture, and we can trace the variations of 
structure of similar parts with ease and precision. 
They are all descendants of but one archetypal 
form, of one primal vertebrate, from which all 
others are derived by adaptive modification. This 
is beautifully illustrated in the homologies of the 
vertebrate skeleton. 

And here it is necessary to remark that analo- 
gous organs are by no means homologous organs. 
Analogous organs are those wHIcTi are sTiiinar in 
form and function, but of different origin. Homol- 
ogous organs, on the contrary, are those which, 
however different their form and functions, can be 
shown to have community of origin. Thus, the 
wings of birds and butterflies are analogous, but 
not homologous. They have the same general 
form and function, but they have not the same 
origin ; that is, they have not been produced by 
modification from the same organ or part. On the 
other hand, the arms of men and apes, the fore-legs 
and fore-paws of mammals and reptiles, the wings of 
bats and birds, and the paddles of cetacea and the 
breast-fins of fishes are homologous, because, how- 
ever diverse their forms and functions, they can all 
be demonstrated to have a common origin. They 
have essentially the same structure and are com- 
posed of the same pieces, although in view of their 
diverse functions they are so modified that the 


superficial resemblance has entirely disappeared. 
But although the modifications are so great, they 
are, nevertheless, just such modifications as would 
have originated from the fore-limb of some arche- 
typal form, if this limb had been called upon to 
perform entirely different functions from those for 
which it was first adapted, or if the archetypal an- 
cestor had been introduced to an entirely different 
environment from the one in which it was originally 
placed. Analogy, then, is but a superficial resem- 
blance, whereas, homology is an essential and fun- 
damental one which, in many cases, can be detected 
only by experts in comparative anatomy. 

Now, it is precisely the fact of homology of 
structure, which finds its sole explanation in com- 
munity of origin, that constitutes one of the strong- 
est proofs of the theory of Evolution. 

According to the evolutionary theory of natural 
selection, it is inferred that hereditary characters 
undergo a change whenever a change will better 
adapt an organism to changed conditions of life. 
The whale is again a case in point. From the best 
evidence obtainable, it is concluded that the ances- 
tors of whales were land quadrupeds, which became 
aquatic in their habits. But such a change in their 
mode of life would necessitate a corresponding 
change in the functions of various parts and organs. 
The hind-legs would not be required for purposes 
of locomotion, and hence they would disappear. 
The fore-legs would be adapted for swimming, and 
would, therefore, be transformed into fins or pad- 
dles. There would also be important changes in 


the skin, teeth, muscles and form of the organism, 
rendering it more fish-like in shape, and better 
adapted for moving in the water. 

But even with all these modifications, necessi- 
tated by changes of environment and consequent 
mode of life, the anatomist would experience no 
difficulty in demonstrating that the whale is not a 
fish, but a mammal, and in exhibiting the various 
homologies existing between the divers parts of this 
monster of the deep, as we now know it, and parts 
of its hypothetical terrestrial progenitor. Thus, the 
paddles, as we have seen, correspond to the arms 
of man, the fore-legs of quadrupeds, the flippers of 
turtles, and the wings of birds. The hind-legs are 
not visible, externally, it is true, but they exist in- 
ternally in a rudimentary state. The same may be 
said of the teeth. The fully-developed baleen whale, 
for instance, has no teeth, for it has no need of 
them, but in its embryotic condition it possesses a 
complete rudimentary set of teeth, which are never 
cut, but are absorbed during the embryonic life of 
the organism. Similarly, the bones of the head of 
the whale are exactly homologous with those of the 
mammal, although the better to adapt it for aquatic 
locomotion, the shape of the head more closely re- 
sembles the head of a fish. But great and numer- 
ous as are the modifications observed, they have all 
been effected with the least possible divergence from 
the ancestral type which is compatible with the 
changed conditions of life. In form and in the 
functions of certain of its parts, the whale is a fish; 
in type and structure it is a mammal — a lineal de- 



scendant, according to the Evolution theory, of some 
mammoth terrestrial quadruped of which no trace 
has as yet been discovered. 

Rudimentary Organs. 

It were easy to multiply indefinitely examples 
of such rudimentary organs as those exhibited by 
the cetacea. We see them in the tails of birds, in 
the gill-arches of reptiles, in the dew-claws of a dog's 
foot, in the splint-bones of the horse, and in the 
wings of the ostrich and apteryx. Indeed, there is 
not a single representative of the higher forms of 
animal life, which does not exhibit one or more 
parts in an atrophied or rudimentary condition. 

But what is the significance of such aborted and 
useless organs? What is their origin, and can any 
reason be assigned for the existence of such func- 
tionless parts? The only natural explanation which 
can be offered, the only rational solution of the 
difficulty which science can give, is that suggested by 
the theory of Evolution. According to the theory 
of descent with adaptive modification, rudimentary 
organs are remnants of " some generalized primal 
form," in which they were useful, and had a definite 
function to perform. By reason of changed condi- 
tions of life of the individual, and corresponding dis- 
use of certain parts, great modifications in size and 
form and function ensued, and thus what was useful 
and necessary in the ancestral form ceased to be of 
value in its successor. 

" Rudimentary organs," then, to quote from Dar- 
win, " by whatever steps they may have been 


degraded into their present useless condition, 
are the record of a former state of things and have 
been retained solely through the power of inherit- 
ance. They may be compared with the letters in a 
word still retained in the spelling, but become use- 
less in pronunciation, but which serve as a clue for 
its derivation. On the view of descent with modifi- 
cation, we may conclude that the existence of 
organs in a rudimentary, imperfect and useless con- 
dition, or quite aborted, far from presenting a 
strange diflficulty, as they assuredly do on the old 
doctrine of creation, might even have been antici- 
pated in accordance with the views here ex- 
plained." ' 

Considering, then, these wonderful homologies, 
of which but brief mention has been made, and pon- 
dering over the problems raised by the existence of 
rudimentary or vestigial organs, in such a large por- 
tion of the animal kingdom, what inference are we 
to draw from the point of view of science ? " What 
now," demands Spencer, " can be the meaning of 
this community of structure among these hundreds 
of thousands of species filling the air, burrowing in 
the earth, swimming in the water, creeping among 
the sea-weed, and having such enormous differences 
of size, outline and substance, that no community 
would be suspected between them ? Why, under 
the down-covered body of the moth, and under the 
hard wing-cases of the beetle, should there be discov- 
ered the same number of divisions as in the calcare- 

The Origin of Species," vol. II, p. 263. 


ous framework of the lobster ?" ' But two answers 
have been given or can be given — the answer of the 
special creationist," that all forms of life were cre- 
ated as we find them, and the answer of the 
evolutionist, who contends that community of struc- 
ture betokens community of origin. 

Argument from Embryology. 

The argument from embryology is next in order, 
but it is of such a character that its full import can 
be appreciated only by experts in the science on 
which it is based. The most remarkable character- 
istic of the argument is that we find in the life- 
history of the individual, ontogeny, an epitome of 
its ancestral history, phylogeny. And this charac- 
teristic is not only in complete accordance with the 
theory of organic Evolution, but is, moreover, just 
what we should expect if the theory be true. 

The great embryologist, Von Baer, was the 
first to call attention to the remarkable agreement 

* " Principles of Biology," vol. I, p. 381. 

* Replying to the argument that rudimentary organs were 
specially created by God in order to complete the symmetry 
and harmony of the organism, Dr. Maisonneuve observes: "II 
me semble etrange que I'on soit oblige d'en venir a preter a 
Dieu I'idee de faire des trompe-l'ceil — passez-moi I'expres- 
sion — et de supposer que I'Auteur de toutes choses a si mal pris 
ses mesures, qu'il a ete oblige d'en venir a proceder comme un 
architecte, dont les plans mal con5us ne lui permettent plus de 
ne placer des fenetres ou des lucarnes que seulment la ou 
leur existence se trouve justifiee a tous points de vue. Car, vous 
reconnaitrez sans peine, j'imagine, que I'ideal pour I'architecte, 
c'est d'arriver a ce que chaque detail du palais qu'il construit 
presente a la fois toutes les qualites,utilite, agrement et beaute." 
" Compte Rendu du Congres Scientifique International des 
Catholiques," tenu a Paris, 1891, Section d' Anthropologic, p. 59. 


between the development of the individual and the 
development of the ancestral line to which the indi- 
vidual belongs. He showed that in every organism, 
as well as in its component parts, there is a gradual 
progress from the simple to the complex, from the 
general to the special. As Haeckel puts it, " ontog- 
eny is a recapitulation of phylogeny, or, somewhat 
more explicitly, the series of forms through which 
the individual organism passes during its progress 
from the egg-cell to its fully developed state, is a 
brief compressed reproduction of the long series of 
forms through which the animal ancestors of that 
organism, or the ancestral forms of its species, have 
passed from the earliest period of so-called organic 
creation down to the present time." ' 

Thus, observation shows, as the theory of Evolu- 
tion demands, that the germs of all animals are, at 
the outset, exactly like each other; but in the 
process of development each germ acquires, first, 
the differential characteristics of the sub-kingdom to 
which it belongs ; then, successively, the characteris- 
tics of its class, order, family, genus, species and 
race. For example, the highest mammal, man, be- 
gins his corporeal existence as a simple germ-cell, in 
form and appearance like unto an adult amoeba, 
and utterly indistinguishable from the germ-cell of 
other vertebrates. As development progresses the 
embryo gradually becomes more and more differen- 
tiated. In its earlier stages it may be recognized as 
the embryo of a vertebrate, but it is impossible to 
tell to which class of vertebrates it belongs. So far 

» " The Evolution of Man," vol. I, pp. 7-S. 


as appearances go, it may be that of a fish, a rep- 
tile, a bird, or a mammal. Subsequently it exhibits 
the characteristics of a bird or a mammal, but the 
order to which it pertains is disclosed only at a yet 
later period. At a still later stage, after manifest- 
ing the characteristics of the family, genus, and 
species of which it is a member, it acquires the dis- 
tinguishing attributes of its race. 

Amphioxus and Loligo. 

A more striking instance of recapitulation is 
exhibited in the life-history of the amphioxus, or 
lancelet, interesting, among other things, for being 
the lowest known form of vertebrate. Here, as in 
the case of all other animals, the first stage of devel- 
opment is a simple germ-cell. This soon subdi- 
vides, but the subdivisions, instead of separating, as 
occurs in many of the lower forms of life, remain 
together and constitute what is known as the mor- 
ula stage, because of the resemblance in shape of 
the group of cells to a mulberry or blackberry. 
They subsequently assume a tubular form, in which 
condition the cells are disposed around a central 
tube-like cavity, open at each end. This is suc- 
ceeded by the blastula stage, in which the cells are 
grouped together in the form of a hollow ball, the 
outer cells being provided with cilia, thus enabling 
the embryonic amphioxus to move freely in the 
water. This condition is followed by a series of 
other changes, until, finally, the animal, after numer- 
ous and instructive transformations, acquires the 
adult form. 


Now, the interesting fact in connection with the 
development of this curious animal is, that the vari- 
ous stages through which it passes can be paralleled 
by organisms which remain permanently in the con- 
ditions in which the amphioxus rests but temporarily. 

The simple unicellular monad illustrates the in- 
cipient condition or first stage of the amphioxus. 
The second stage is paralleled by the pandorina, 
which is but a group of cells, each similar to the 
monad, living together in a common capsule. The 
third stage is represented by the remarkable salin- 
ella, which is a tubular structure composed of a 
single layer of simple, monad-like cells. The fourth 
condition is found in a common fresh-water volvox, 
which, like the blastula stage, is an organism con- 
sisting of a hollow sphere composed of a single 
layer of simple flagellate cells. 

The four organisms just mentioned do not, it is 
true, constitute a lineal series, a series, namely, in 
which the more complex is genetically derived from 
the simpler. But they prove, nevertheless, that all 
the earlier temporary stages of the amphioxus, the 
several curious embryonic conditions through which 
it passes, can be paralleled by organisms which 
have an actual permanent existence as adults, and 
which are classed as so many distinct species. This, 
to students of embryology, is a very remarkable 
fact, and to the evolutionist, who believes that the 
history of the individual is but a recapitulation of 
the history of the race, it is profoundly suggestive and 
significant and seems to indicate unmistakably the 
derivative origin of higher from lower forms of life. 


But this recapitulation may be observed, not 
only in the organisms themselves, but likewise in 
their constituent parts. A striking illustration is 
afforded in the development of the eye of the loligo, 
one of the higher cephalopoda, as compared with 
the rudimentary eyes of various species of mollusca. 
Thus, as the late Mr. Marshall tells us: '.' In solen we 
find the simplest condition of the molluscan eye, 
merely a slightly depressed and slightly modified 
patch of skin, which can only distinguish light from 
darkness, and in which the sensitive cells are pro- 
tected by being situated at the bottom of the fold 
of skin. In patella the next stage is found, where 
the eye forms a pit with a widely-open mouth. 
This is a distinct advance on the preceding form, 
for, owing to the increased depth of the pit, the 
sensory cells are less exposed to accidental injury. 
The next stage is found in haliotis, and consists of 
the narrowing of the mouth of the pit. This is a 
simple change but a very important step forward, 
for, in consequence of the smallness of the aperture, 
light from any one part of an object can only fall 
on one particular part of the pit or retina, and so an 
image, though a dim one, is formed. The next step 
consists in the formation of a lens at the mouth of 
the pit, by a deposit of cuticle-; this form of eye is 
found in fissurella. The gain here is two-fold, viz., 
increased protection and increased brightness of the 
image, for the lens will focus the rays of light more 
sharply on the retina, and will allow a greater quan- 
tity of light, a larger pencil of rays from each part 
of the object, to reach the corresponding part of 


the retina. Finally, the formation of the folds of 
the skin, known as the iris and eyelids, provides for 
the better protection of the eye, and is a distinct 
advance on the somewhat clumsy method of with- 
drawal seen in the snail. This is found in the 
cephalopoda, such as loligo. 

" If now we study the actual development of the 
eye of a cuttle-fish, we find that the eye, although 
a complicated one, yet passes in »ts own develop- 
ment through all the above series of stages from the 
slight depression in the skin, through the stages of 
the pit with large and small mouth, lens, and finally 
eyelids, being developed." * 

In the case of the cuttle-fish, as well as in that 
of the lancelet, we have transitory stages paralleled 
by permanent conditions In lower forms of life. 
The eye of the cuttle-fish, as just stated, not only 
gives an epitome, as it were, of the history of devel- 
opment of the visual organ in several distinct spe- 
cies of mollusca, but also traces out for us, according 
to evolutionists, the gradual development of the 
eyes of the ancestral forms from which the cuttle- 
fish itself is descended. Each stage indicated in 
the development of the cuttle-fish's eye, marks a 
distinct advance on the one preceding, as each 
stage in the development of the amphioxus exhibits 
progress from the simple to the more complex, from 
the less highly to the more highly organized. 

It is not, indeed, always possible to adduce such 
remarkable examples of recapitulation as those just 

^ " Lectures on the Darwinian Theor3'," by Arthur Milnes 
Marshall, pp. io6 et seq. 


instanced, but this is a consequence of the newness 
of the science of embryology, and of our ignorance 
of details which shall be disclosed by future re- 
search, rather than of the non-existence of such 
recapitulatory illustrations. Nor is it necessary that 
we should be able to trace such parallelisms in all 
cases. The countless numbers which embryologists 
have already pointed out are abundantly ample for 
the purpose of the argument in question. 

Meaning of Recapitulation. 

The marvelous coincidences and analogies we 
have just considered, and it were easy to add 
others, suggest questions that clamor for an an- 
swer. Why, then, is it, that every complex organ- 
ism thus epitomizes the history of its ancestors ; 
that in its embryonic life it exhibits a series of 
forms characteristic of organisms lower in the series 
of which it is a member? Many of the stages 
through which it passes in the course of its develop- 
ment have no adaptation either to its embryonic or 
to its adult condition. Wherefore, then, the reason 
of the existence of these curious stages? 

On the special creation hypothesis they admit of 
no rational explanation whatever. " What," queries 
Mr. Lewes, " should we say to an architect who was 
unable, or being able, was obstinately unwilling to 
erect a palace, except by first using his materials in 
the shape of a hut, then pulling it down, and re- 
building them as a cottage, then adding story to 
story and room to room, not with any reference to 
the ultimate purposes of the palace, but wholly with 


reference to the way in which houses were con- 
structed in ancient times? What should we say to 
the architect who could not directly form a museum 
out of bricks and mortar, but was forced to begin 
as if going to build a mansion ; and after proceeding 
some way in this direction, altered his plan into a 
palace, and that again into a museum ? Yet this is 
the sort of succession on which organisms are con- 
structed." On the theory of Evolution all this 
recapitulation of ancestral forms, so characteristic of 
higher organisms, admits of an explanation which is 
as beautiful as it is consonant with fact and reason. 
And, from the theistic point of view, it exhibits the 
Deity creating matter and force, and putting them 
under the dominion of law. It tells of a God who 
inaugurates the era of terrestrial life by the creation 
of one or more simple organisms, unicellular mon- 
ads, it may be, and causing them, under the 
action of His Providence, to evolve in the course of 
time into all the myriad, complicated, specialized 
and perfect forms which now people the earth. 
Surely this is a nobler conception of the Creator 
than that which represents Him as experimenting, 
as it were, with crude materials, and succeeding, 
only after numerous attempts, in producing the or- 
ganism which He is supposed to have had in view 
from the beginning. To picture the Deity thus 
working tentatively, is an anthropomorphic view of 
the Creator, which is as little warranted by Catholic 
dogma as it is by genuine science. It is rather on 
a par with the view of those theologians and scien- 
tists who fancied fossils to be "rejected models" of 


creatures subsequently perfected, or tentative and 
unfinished efforts toward the creation of organisms 
which were never endowed with vitality because the 
Creator was not satisfied with His work. This is, 
certainly, as we shall see in the sequel, not the Au- 
gustinian view of creation, and, to those who are 
familiar with even the elementary facts of embry- 
ology, it cannot be the scientific view. From the 
point of view of embryology the great body of 
facts make for the theory of Evolution, as against 
the theory of special creation, and it is not surpris- 
ing, therefore, to find that those who are most com- 
petent to interpret the facts of the case, are disposed 
to regard the argument from embryology as of itself 
sufificient to demonstrate the derivation theory of all 
forms of animal life. 

Geographical Distribution of Organisms. 

There yet remains another testimony to be con- 
sidered, and that is the argument based on the dis- 
tribution of organisms in space and time, or in other 
words, the argument based on the facts of geograph- 
ical distribution and geological succession. 

One of the most striking facts of natural history 
is that which regards the marked diversity of the 
fauna and flora of regions widely separated, or of 
adjacent regions separated by impassable natural 
barriers. Thus, the animals and plants of Europe 
are to a great extent unlike those of America, while 
those of Africa and Australia are entirely different. 
Even in passing from one portion of the continent 
to another, the observant traveler cannot help being 


impressed with the divers new and strange organ- 
isms which are continually presented to his view. 
The fauna on the opposite sides of mountain chains 
are often quite unlike, although the conditions of 
existence may be essentially the same. The animals 
on the contiguous islands of an archipelago are specif- 
ically distinct from one another, and generically dif- 
ferent from the animals on the nearest mainland. 
The marine fauna on the opposite sides of the 
Isthmus of Panama, although the conditions of ex- 
istence on the eastern and western shores are appre- 
ciably the same, are almost wholly distinct, when, if 
we considered only their environment, we should 
expect them to be exactly alike. 

Whithersoever we go, we observe that " barriers 
of any kind, or obstacles to free migration, are related 
in a close and important manner to the differences 
between the productions of various regions. We 
see this in the great difference in nearly all the ter- 
restrial productions of the New and Old Worlds, 
excepting in the northern parts where the land 
almost joins, and where, under a slightly different 
climate, there might have been free migration for 
the northern temperate forms, as there is now for 
the strictly Arctic productions. We see the same 
fact in the great difference between the inhabitants of 
Australia, Africa and South America under the same 
latitude; for these countries are almost as much 
isolated from each other as is possible. On each 
continent, also, we find the same fact ; for on the 
opposite side of lofty and continuous mountain 
ranges, of great deserts and even of large rivers, we 


find different productions; though as mountain 
chains, deserts, etc., are not as impassable, or likely 
to have endured so long as the oceans separating 
continents, the differences are very inferior in degree 
to those characteristic of distinct continents.'" 

An instructive illustration of the matter under 
discussion is afforded by Darwin, in his observations 
on the flora and fauna of the Galapagos Archipel- 
ago. This is a group of islands situated between 
five and six hundred miles west of South America, the 
constituent islands being separated from one another 
by straits from twenty to thirty miles in width. 
'* Each separate island of the Galapagos Archipel- 
ago," says the great naturalist, " is tenanted, and the 
fact is a marvelous one, by many distinct species ; 
but these are related to each other in a very much 
closer manner than to the inhabitants of the Ameri- 
can continent, or of any other quarter of the world." ' 

From observations made by naturalists all over 
the world, it is learned that the foregoing is but one 
of countless similar instances that might be adduced. 
Hence the general conclusion reached by the dis- 
tinguished German savant, Moritz Wagner, that "the 
limits, within which allied species are found, are de- 
termined by impassable natural barriers." 

Pacts of Geological Succession. 

It is only, however, when we come to compare 
the facts of geographical distribution with those of 
geological succession, that we are able to appreciate 

' Darwin's '• Origin of Species," vol. II, pp. 130-131. 
' Op. cit., vol. II, p. 190. 


the full significance of the observations of Darwin, 
Wagner and their compeers. It is then found that 
the distribution of species in space is intimately con- 
nected with their succession in time ; that the ani- 
mals which occur in a determinate locality at pres- 
ent, closely resemble extinct animals which inhabited 
the same locality in ages long past, and hence the 
inference the naturalist draws, that existing types in 
a given area are genetically related to antecedent 
types of the same area. Thus, the marsupials which 
now inhabit Australia are allied to their fossil prede- 
cessors in the same part of the world. Similarly, the 
sloths, ant-eaters and armadillos now found in South 
America, are intimately related to numerous fossil 
forms which have been brought to light in this part 
of the Western continent. 

Indeed, it is just such facts as these which im- 
pelled Darwin and others to conclude, that existing 
species must have originated by derivation from an- 
tecedent species, and that the divers species of any 
given area are but modified descendants of species 
long extinct. 

" I was so much impressed with these facts," 
declares Darwin, "that I strongly insisted, in 1839 
and 1845, on this 'law of succession of types,' on 
this wonderful relationship in the same continent, 
between the dead and the living ! Prof. Owen sub- 
sequently extended the same generalization to the 
mammals of the Old World. We have the same 
law exhibited in his restoration of the extinct and 
gigantic birds of New Zealand. We see it also in 
the birds of the caves of Brazil. Mr. Woodward 

M VIDMJ^CES of E vol UTtON. l2t 

has shown that the same law holds good with sea- 
shells, but from the wide distribution of most mol- 
lusca it is not well displayed by them. Other cases 
could be added, as the relation between the extinct 
and living brackish-water shells of the Aralo-Caspian 

It is no explanation of the facts of geographical 
distribution to say that species are specially adapted 
to the habitats in which they are found ; that South 
America, for instance, is especially fitted for eden- 
tates, and Australia for marsupials. " That it is not 
the suitability of organisms to the areas which they 
inhabit that has determined their creation upon 
these areas, is," says Romanes, "conclusively proved 
by the effects of the artificial transportation of 
species by man. For in such cases it frequently 
happens, that the imported species thrives quite as 
well in its new as in its old home, and indeed often 
supplants the native species. As the Maoris say : 
'As the white man's rat has driven away the native 
rat, so the European fly has driven away our fly, so 
the clover kills our fern, and so will the Maori him- 
self disappear before the white man.* "' 

The Demonstrative Evidence of Evolution. 

We come now to what Huxley designates spe- 
cifically "the demonstrative evidence of Evolution," 
the evidence based on the lineal succession of 
several carefully-studied types, and above all, the 

'•'The Origin of Species," vol, II, p. 121. 

' " Scientific Evidence of Organic Evolution," chap. iv. 


evidence based on the ancestors of the horse dis- 
covered by Marsh and others. So strong, indeed, is 
this evidence considered, that it has been said that 
if the theory of Evolution had not existed before, 
"paleontology would have been compelled to invent 
it, so clearly are the traces of it to be seen in the 
study of Tertiary mammalia discovered since 1859." 

According to Prof. Huxley, "the primary and 
direct evidence in favor of Evolution can be fur- 
nished only by paleontology." Again he avers that: 
" The only perfectly safe foundation for the doctrine 
of Evolution lies in the historical, or rather archaeo- 
logical evidence, which is furnished by fossil remains, 
that particular organisms have arisen by the gradual 
modification of their predecessors." He tells, too, 
that " On the evidence of paleontology, the Evolution 
of many existing forms of life from their predeces- 
sors is no longer a hypothesis, but a historical fact ; 
it is only the nature of the physiological factor to 
which that Evolution is due which is still open to 

But what about the pedigree of the horse ? What 
about those ancestral equine forms about which so 
much has been said and written? 

The ancestors of the horse, as revealed by the 
discoveries of Marsh and others, are " Protohippus or 
kipparion, which is found in the Pliocene ; miohip- 
pus and mesohippus, found in the Miocene ; orohippus 
in the Eocene ; and eohippus, at the base of the Eo- 
cene. In the protohippus each foot has three well- 
formed digits ; miohippus, in addition to this, has a 

^"Encyclopaedia Britannica," vol. VIII, p. 751. 


rudimentary metacarpal bone of a fourth digit in 
the fore-foot ; in tnesohippus this rudimentary meta- 
carpal bone is more fully developed ; in orohippus 
there are four well-developed digits in the fore-foot, 
three in the hind-foot ; while in eohippus five digits 
are present. Thus, this series of fossil forms fur- 
nishes a complete gradation, from the older Tertiarj' 
forms with four toes, up to the horse with one toe. 
These forms differ not only as regards the number 
of toes, but also in other respects, chiefly in the 
gradual diminution and loss of independence of the 
ulna and fibula, and in the gradual elongation of the 
teeth and increasing complexity of the grinding 
surfaces." * 

Another interesting example frequently cited, of 
transitionary forms, is the fossil, planorbis, found in 
the bed of an old lake near the small village of 
Steinheim, in Wurtemberg. In the successive strata 
of this lake bottom occur an immense number of 
shells of divers forms, and all from a few varieties 
of one and the same species. In passing from the 
lowest to the highest layers a great modification of 
forms is observed, so much so, indeed, that were it 
not for the countless intermediate forms one should 
unhesitatingly say that the extreme forms belong, 
not only to different species, but even to different 
genera. As it is, however, the gradations are so in- 
sensible that the conclusion is almost irresistible 

^ " Lectures on the Darwinian Theory," by Dr. A. M. Mar- 
shall, p. 67. For an interesting discussion with diagrams, of 
this remarkable series of ancestral equine forms, see the third of 
Huxley's " Lectures on Evolution," entitled The Demonstra- 
tive Evidence of Evolution. 



that the various species observed are, at least in 
this case, originated by derivation with modifica- 

The case just adduced is frequently appealed to 
by evolutionists, not only because it has been exhaus- 
tively studied, but also because it tells so strongly in 
favor of the theory of derivation. 

An equally striking instance, perhaps, is found 
in the case of another group of mollusca belong- 
ing to the paludina. At first, the six or eight 
known gradational forms of this mollusc were reck- 
oned as entirely distinct species. Subsequently, 
however, numerous connecting forms were discov- 
ered, so that now over two hundred varieties are 
counted. But so gradual are the transitions of 
one form into another, that shells which other- 
wise would be considered as belonging to dif- 
ferent genera are, by reason of the known con- 
necting links, regarded as constituting but one and 
the same species. " 

Similar gradations have been shown by Cope to 
exist among certain extinct mammalian forms, not- 
ably among the species of the generalized family, 
oreontitcB, but it is unnecessary to give further illus- 
trations of this character, as those just instanced are 
quite sufficient to exhibit the nature and force of 
the argument which is based on the existence of 
such gradational forms. 

' Cf. A. Hjatt's "Anniversarj Memoir of the Boston Societj 
of Natural History, 1880, on Genesis of Tertiary Species of 
Planorbis at Steinheim." 

' Cf. Romanes' •' Darwin after Darwin," vol. I, p. 19. 


Generalized Types. 

Confirmatory of the argument founded on the re- 
markable series of transitional forms we have just been 
considering, are those curious extinct animals called 
by Huxley generalized, and by Dana, comprehen- 
sive types ; types which by Agassiz were variously 
designated as combining, connecting, synthetic and 
prophetic types, and which embrace those strange 
creatures that embodied the characters of two or 
more groups at present widely separated from each 
other. Among these were certain early verte- 
brates which possessed both fish-like and reptilian 
characters. At a later geologic epoch there existed 
other animals, which possessed the characters of rep- 
tiles and birds in such a curious combination, that we 
are yet unable to decide whether they should be 
called reptilian birds or bird-like reptiles. Among 
these generalized types there were, in the words of 
Grant Allen : " Lizards that were almost crows, mar- 
supials that were almost ostriches, insectivores that 
were almost bats, rodents that were almost mon- 
keys." "Just on the stroke, when they were most 
needed," declares the same writer, "connecting links 
turned up in abundance between fish and amphibians, 
amphibians and reptiles, reptiles and birds, birds and 
mammals, and all of these together in a perfect net- 
work of curious cross-relationships." 

Among these generalized forms may be men- 
tioned the archcBopteryx, the pterodactyl and the 
compsognathus. "In the archceopteryx,'' sdiys Hux- 
ley, " we have an animal which, to a certain extent, 
occupies a midway place between a bird and a 


reptile." The pterodactyl was a reptile which was 
avi-form and capable of flying. The compsognathus, 
like the archceopteryx, was intermediate in form be- 
tween a reptile and a bird, but was probably rather 
an avian reptile than a reptilian bird. 

Again we have such fossil vertebrates as Cuvier's 
anoplotherium, which was intermediate in charac- 
ter between pigs and ruminants ; the palcBotherium 
which connected together such dissimilar animals 
as the horse, the tapir, and the rhinoceros. More 
remarkable still are the generalized types known as 
the condylarthra, the primitive form of which Cope 
considers the common ancestor of all true mam- 

And so we might mention other synthetic types 
brought to light by Gaudry, Riitimeyer, and other 
paleontologists. It was, indeed, M. Gaudry 's re- 
searches in Attica, where he discovered an extraor- 
dinary number of gradational forms among the 
higher vertebrates, which convinced him that Evolu- 
tion is the only theory that is competent to ex- 
plain the existence of those remarkable connecting 
types which are every day, thanks to the investiga- 
tions now conducted throughout the world, becom- 
ing more numerous and marvelous. "A few strokes 
of the pick-axe at the foot of Mount Pentelicus," 
says the eminent French savant, " have revealed to 
us the closest connecting links between forms which 
before seemed very widely separated." 

How much closer and more remarkable these 
links will become with the progress of research, when 

* Cf. " Origin of the Fittest,'' pp. 343, et seq. 


the as yet vast and unexplored regions of the earth 
shall have yielded up a portion of their fossil treas- 
ures, can easily be divined. Already the general- 
ized fossil types which have been discovered, have 
completely revolutionized all systems of classifica- 
tion which were based on existing specialized forms. 
For, by tracing the widely separated groups of the 
present back to past geologic time, we find that 
the specialized types of our day gradually converge 
towards, and merge into, the generalized types long 
since extinct. Species the most diverse gradually 
approach each other, and eventually unite to form 
common branches, and these again coalesce in a 
common trunk.' 

And this is just what the theory of Evolution 
demands. For, " If the theory of Evolution be 
true," says Huxley," it follows that however diverse 
the different groups of plants and of animals may 
be, they must all, at one time or other, have been 
connected by gradational forms ; so that, from the 
highest animals, whatever they may be, down to 
the lowest speck of protoplasmic matter in which 
life may be manifested, a series of gradations, lead- 
ing from one end of the series to the other, either 
exists or has existed." " 

^" Hence," declares Huxley, in his article on Classification 
in the Encyclopsedia Britannica, " it follows that a perfect and 
final zoological classification cannot be made until we know all 
that is important concerning: i, the adult structure; 2, the per- 
sonal development; 3, the ancestral development of animals. 
It is hardly necessary to observe that our present knowledge, 
as regards even the first and second heads, is very imperfect ; 
while as respects the third it is utterly fragmentary. 

* " Lectures on Evolution." Lecture H. 


Probability of Evolution. 

Such, then, in brief, is the argument in favor of 
Evolution from classification, morphology, embry- 
ology, geographical distribution and geological suc- 
cession. The argument, as based on any one of 
these four classes of facts, is strong, and to many, 
if not most contemporary naturalists, conclusive. 
But when we consider the joint effect of the argu- 
ment built on the four classes of facts, and note in 
detail the perfect harmony, the argument becomes 
still stronger and, to all appearances, irrefragable. 
The evidence furnished by one class of facts corrob- 
orates and explains those offered by the others, and 
thus the cumulative force of the testimony, given by 
all the four classes, renders the theory, to say the 
least, in the highest degree probable. We may not 
be prepared to admit that the theory has the force of a 
demonstration. If it had, organic Evolution would 
cease to be any longer a matter of scientific inquiry 
and would at once become a matter of scientific fact. 

But although Evolution is but a theory, and not 
a demonstration, a probability and not a certainty, 
it nevertheless possesses for the working naturalist a 
value that can be fully appreciated only by those 
who have labored in the museum and in the labora- 
tory. " Probability," Bishop Butler tells us, " is the 
guide of life." It is no less truly the guide of sci- 
ence, and a highly probable theory often contributes 
as effectually towards the advancement of science 
and the acquisition of truth as would a demon- 
strated fact. 


From what precedes it is evinced, that Evolu- 
tion as a theory, to claim no more for it, is in the 
highest degree probable. It is, in fact, the sole natu- 
ral explanation of the facts discussed ; the sole theory 
that is in accordance with what Sir William Hamil- 
ton calls the law of parsimony ; a law which was 
fully recognized by Fathers and Scholastics when 
they taught that we should not invoke the action of 
supernatural causes, when natural agencies are ade- 
quate to account for the facts and phenomena ob- 

special Creation and Evolution. 

Special creation, as an explanation of the multi- 
tudinous fornis of life with which the earth teems, 
and has teemed during long aeons past, is but an 
assumption, and an assumption, too, that has no 
warrant outside of the individual opinions of certain 
commentators of Scripture; opinions which, by the 
very nature of the case, can carry with them no 
greater weight than would attach to the views of 
their authors on any other question of natural sci- 
ence. As to Scripture itself, and the teaching of the 
Fathers and Doctors of the Church, we shall see in 
the sequel that their testimony is as strongly in favor 
of derivative creation. Evolution under the Provi- 
dential guidance of natural causes, as it possibly can 
be in favor of the old and now almost universally 
discarded theory of special creations.' 

1' En paleontolog-ie,'' declared the Abbe Guillemet before 
the International Catholic Scientific Congress at Brussels last 
year, " les inductions evolutionistes expHquent sans peine par la 
descendance d'ancStres communs ces enchaincments si bien mis 


As a theory, Evolution certainly reposes on as 
firm a foundation as do the atomic theory of matter 
and undulatory theory of light, or as does Newton's 
theory of universal gravitation. And as these theo- 
ries have been of priceless service to the chemist, the 
physicist and the astronomer, in the study of their 
respective sciences, so also has Evolution been of 
untold value to the naturalist, in enabling him to 
coordinate a vast body of facts, that else were naught 
but a stupendous chaotic mass. It has proved to 
him to be an "open sesame" to many of nature's 
secrets, and Hke the clue of Ariadne, it has enabled 
him to find his way out of the bewildering labyrinth 
in which every true student of nature must pass at 
least a portion of his existence. 

It is said that " a striking corroboration of a scien- 
tific theory is furnished when it enables us correctly 
to predict discoveries." Judged by this standard 
Evolution can compare favorably with the best ac- 
credited theories of modern science. It will suffice 
to refer to but two cases in point, although it were 
easy to adduce numerous others. 

en evidence par des savants spiritualistes et Chretiens, tels que 
D'Omalius d'Halloy et Albert Gaudry, et dont M. de Nadaillac 
nous a concede la realite. Le fixisme, au contraire, en est 
r^duit a invoquer une filiation intellectuelle dans la pensde du 
Createur, une sorte d'evolutionisme ideal. On comprend cela 
pour un architecte humain, qui ne pent pas tirer une cath^drale 
d'une cathedrale sinon par imitation. Mais celui dont ' les 
dons sont sans repentance' detruira-t-il sans cesse ce qu'il a 
cree pour recreer a nouveau ? Ne preferera-t-il pas conserver 
a ses creatures une vie renouvelee et raieunie dans une descend- 
ance qu'il perfectionnera de generation en generation, recom- 
pensant par I'ascension de fils la fidelite des prog^niteurs a leur 
lois naturelles." " Compte Rendu," Section d'Anthropologie, 
p. 27. 


In the first edition of his " Origin of Species " Dar- 
win wrote : " We may thus account even for the 
distinctness of whole classes from each other — for 
instance, of birds from all other vertebrated animals, 
by the belief that many animal forms of life have 
been utterly lost, through which the early progeni- 
tors of birds were formerly connected with the 
early progenitors of other vertebrate classes." 

At the time this prophecy was made there was 
no positive evidence of the existence of such inter- 
calated forms as Darwin required. Three years 
later the archceoptcryx was discovered, meeting 
completely all the requirements of theory. Subse- 
quent discoveries, notably by Marsh, disclosed other 
transitional forms which "bridge over the gap be- 
tween reptiles and birds, in this sense, that they en- 
able us to picture to ourselves forms from which 
both birds and reptiles as we know them could have 

In his lecture on the Evolution of the horse, in 
1876, Prof. Huxley spoke as follows: "Thus, thanks 
to these important researches [those of Marsh and 
other paleontologists], it has become evident that 
so far as our present knowledge extends, the history 
of the horse type is exactly and precisely that which 
could have been predicted from a knowledge of the 
principles of Evolution. And the knowledge we now 
possess justifies us completely in the anticipation 
that, when the still lower Eocene deposits, and 
those which belong to the Cretaceous epoch, have 
yielded up their remains of ancestral equine animals, 
we shall find first, a form with four complete toes, 


and a rudiment of the innermost or first digit in 
front, with probably a rudiment of the fifth digit in 
the hind foot ; while in still older forms the series of 
the digits will be more and more complete, until we 
come to the five-toed animals, in which, if the doc- 
trine of Evolution is well founded, the whole series 
must have taken its origin." 

Only a few months after this declaration, Prof. 
Marsh unearthed in the Eocene deposits of the West 
an equine animal, eohippus, having four complete 
toes and a rudimentary one in the front foot, thus 
making good the first part of the prophecy. As to 
the remaining part, it is, for men of science, only a 
question of time until it, too, sees its fulfillment. 

But the theory of Evolution enables not only pal- 
eontologists, but also morphologists and embryolo- 
gists, to predict the unseen and unknown. And this, 
to say no more, is certainly a strong substantiation 
of its truth. For we can ask no more of a theory 
than that it accord with the facts it is designed to 
explain. And the more perfectly the theory har- 
monizes with the facts observed, the more nearly is 
it demonstrated, so far as any purely inductive con- 
clusion can be demonstrated. 

The theory of organic Evolution may not, as yet, 
be susceptible of an experimental demonstration — 
although there are not wanting those who think such 
a demonstration is forthcoming, if, indeed, it has not 
already been furnished — but it unquestionably occu- 
pies a high rank among the best accredited theories 
of contemporary science. It seems, even now, to re- 
pose on as firm a basis as did the Copernican theory 


in the days of Galileo and Tycho Brahe. For Evo- 
lution, like the heliocentric theory, is in perfect har- 
mony with all the manifold facts which it is designed 
to integrate and interpret. How long will it be 
before it passes from a theory to a demonstration ? 
Or, will it ever be demonstrated in such wise as to 
command the assent of all who are capable of weigh- 
ing evidence, and discriminating between a scientific 
fallacy and a legitimate scientific induction ? " These 
are questions which only the future can answer. 
Judging, however, by the progress which has been 
made during the past half century towards the solu- 
tion of many of the problems which have been dis- 
cussed in this chapter, it does not seem unreasonable 
to express the belief that it is only a question of time, 
and probably not a very long time, until the theory 
of organic Evolution shall be as firmly established as 
is now the Copernican one of the solar system. 


Declarations of Anti- Evolutionists. 

HAVING considered some of the arguments 
which are usually adduced in support of Evo- 
lution, we may now proceed to examine certain of 
the objections which are urged against it. But as it 
would require a large volume for anything approach- 
ing a detailed presentation of the reasons advanced 
for the acceptance of Evolution, so, likewise, would 
it demand far more space than can here be afforded 
for even a cursory discussion of the difficulties 
which anti-evolutionists have raised against a theory 
which, they contend, is discredited both by sound 
philosophy and the incontestable facts of science. 
" The theory is easy," declared De Quatrefages, " but 
the application is difficult ; hence it is that those 
transformists who have attempted this application 
have invariably found that their hypotheses have led 
to conditions which are inadmissible." ' 

' 'Journal des Savants, May, 1891. 

It was in view of the hypothetical character of current 
evolutionary teachings, especially of natural selection, that 
Mgr. d'Hulst in referring to them expressed himself in the 
following forcible and epigrammatic manner: " Le besoin de 
vivre creant la vie, le besoin d'organes creant les organes, le 
besoin d'ordre creant I'harmonie." Le Correspondani, Dec. 
25, 1889. 



The distinguished French savant, Dr. Charles 
Robin, is even more pronounced in his views. Evo- 
lution, he asserts, is at best but "a poetical accumu- 
lation of probabilities without proofs, of seductive 
explanations without demonstration." 

As to the defenders of the theory of Evolution, 
they are accused of drawing universal conclusions 
from particular premises ; of mistaking resemblance 
for blood relationship ; of confounding variability 
with transmutability, and of falsely proclaiming the 
existence of a genealogical succession where there is 
nothing more than a hierarchy of organic forms. 
Anti-evolutionists may not, indeed, deny the possi- 
bility of the derivation of higher from lower forms 
of life ; they impugn the reality of such derivation. 
They love to descant on the dictum of the Scholas- 
tics, a possibili ad actum non valet consecutio — possi- 
bility is far from implying existence. They charge 
their opponents with making species of what are 
only races, and confidently challenge them to indi- 
cate a single instance in which one species has been 
changed into another species, either in historic or in 
geologic time." Species, they insist on it, are Divine 

^ A few years ago, in 1888, M. Emile Blanchard, a distin- 
guished naturalist and a member of the French Institute, wrote 
as follows in the preface to his interesting work, " La Vie des 
Etres Animes : " " J'ai souvent declare autour de moi que si un 
investigateur par%enait a faire la demonstration scientifique 
d'une certaine transformation chez quelques representanls d'un 
groupe du regne animal, je me tenais a sa disposition pour pre- 
senter ce resultat a I'Academie des Sciences, pour affirmer, pour 
proclamer le triomphe de I'auteur." So far, it seems, no one 
has accepted his challenge; a challenge made not in the spirit 
of animosity or party, but solely in the interests of truth. For 
as yet, the eminent savant contends, the theory of transformism 
is not supported by a single serious and logical argument. And 


and immutable. With Linnaeus, they declare species 
and genera to be the work of nature/ and contend 
that the ingenuity of man is incompetent to produce 
anything beyond races and varieties. 

The spider, they will have it, still spins its weh 
as it did in the time of Aristotle, and the ant col- 
lects its store of provisions in precisely the same 
manner as was its wont in the days of Solomon. 

For the sake of brevity, I shall limit myself to 
the consideration of three of the chief objections 
urged by anti-evolutionists against the theory of 
derivation. The first refers to the alleged ab- 
sence of all evidence regarding the transmutation of 

hence, he continues, " Plus que jamais je renouvelle mon appel, 
je declare ma bonne volont^, assurant que je ne soufFrirais en 
aucune fajon de me trouver vaincu. Ayant pour me consoler 
la perspective d'un progres scientifique dont Timportance serait 
immense, c'est de toutes les forces de mon ame que je jette cette 
parole a tous les amis des sciences naturelles: Montrcz-nous 
une fois Vexemfle de la transformation d'une es/ece.'' 

'" Natura opus semper est species et genus ; culturje s^epius 
varietas; artis et naturae classis et ordo." Elsewhere he writes 
" Classes and orders are the inventions of science, species the 
work of nature — Classis et ordo est sapientiae, species naturae 
opus." In his " Philosophia Botanica," ^ 59, he declares that 
genera, like species, are primordial creations. "Genus omne est 
naturale, in primordio tale creatum." 

In contradistinction, however, to the above dogmatic state- 
ments, Linnaeus, as we have already learned, was not averse 
from the idea that certain closely allied species had a common 
origin and were the products of extended variation or hybridiza- 
tion. Such species he called " the daughters of time " — tem- 
poris filije. He seemed also to have a presentiment that the 
day would come when botanists would regard all the species of 
the same genera as descended from a common parent " Tot 
species dici congeneres quot eadem matre sint progenitae," he 
writes in vol. VI, p. 12, of the "Amoenitates Academicse." Nay, 
more, in this same work, vol. I, p. 70, he suggests that not only 
species but even genera, may have arisen from hybrids. " Novas 
species immo et genera, ex copula diversarum specierum in 
regno vegetabili oriri." 


species in times past, whether historic or geologic ; 
the second to the imperfection of the geological rec- 
ord; while the third is based on the infecundity 
among individuals of different species. All three 
objections are obvious and popular ones, and they 
are, it must be admitted, not without their difficul- 
ties. Men of science, however, are satisfied that 
they have met these difficulties, and flatter them- 
selves that they have long since given adequate, if 
not complete, answers to the three objections men- 
tioned. But the objectors themselves, are not so 
minded. They still persist in asserting that their 
difficulties remain unexplained, and that their ob- 
jections have lost little, if any, of their original 

Historical and Archaeological Objections. 

The first objection, then, is based on certain well- 
known facts of history, prehistoric archaeology, and 

As to history and archaeology we are informed, 
that all their indications positively negative the con- 
tention of evolutionists that there is not the slight- 
est evidence, from the earliest dawn of civilization 
until the present time, that there has ever been a sin- 
gle instance of the transmutation of any one species, 
whether plant or animal, into another species. On 
the contrary, it is averred, all the well-attested facts 
of history bearing on the subject, make unmistak- 
ably for the absolute stability and immutability of 
species in both the great kingdoms of nature, animal 
and vegetable. 


Regarding animals, the testimony elicited is as 
interesting as it is apparently conclusive. Thus, a 
collection of shells has been unearthed in the house 
of a painter in Pompeii, and all of them, even in their 
minutest details, are identical with shells of the same 
species now existing. As Pompeii was buried in 
ashes A. D. 79, we have, therefore, certain proof that 
the shells of the species in question have undergone 
no change during the last eighteen hundred years. 
The anatomical descriptions given by Galen of the 
monkeys which he dissected in Alexandria, in the 
second century of our era, enabled Camper not only 
to recognize the species to which they belonged, but 
to affirm that the species had, during the long period 
elapsed, remained perfectly immutable. Aristotle, 
who lived in the fourth century B. C, has left us ac- 
counts of many marine and terrestrial animals, and 
so accurate is he in his statements that naturalists 
are able to assert positively, that the species described 
have undergone no change during the long centuries 
which have intervened between the days of the Stag- 
irite and our own. 

But the monuments of the Nile valley permit 
us to extend our observations far beyond the times 
of Galen and Aristotle. In the numerous paintings, 
sculptures and bas-reliefs of this marvelous land, we 
have to hand an astonishing mass of evidence and 
apparently of such a character as to satisfy the ob- 
jections of even the most critical and skeptical. 

Egyptian Mummies. 
The attention of the scientific world was first 
directed to the value of these monuments in the 


beginning of the present century. During the 
French occupation of Egypt, from 1797 to 1801, the 
men of science who accompanied the army made a 
large collection of the embalmed bodies of conse- 
crated animals and sent them home to swell the 
treasures of the museums of Paris. Some idea of the 
enthusiasm excited by the reception of these precious 
remains of an age long past, may be formed from 
the following passage of an official report regard- 
ing them drawn up by Cuvier, Lamarck and Lac6- 
p^de, professors in the Museum of Natural History. 
" It seems," they write, "as if the superstition of 
the ancient Egyptians had been inspired by nature 
with a view of transmitting to after ages a monu- 
ment of her history. That extraordinary and eccen- 
tric people, by embalming with so much care brutes 
which were the objects of their stupid adoration, 
have left us, in their sacred grottoes, cabinets of 
zoology almost complete. The climate has con- 
spired with the art of embalming to preserve the 
bodies from corruption, and we can now assure 
ourselves by our own eyes what was the state of a 
great number of species three thousand years ago. 
We can scarcely restrain the transports of our imag- 
ination on beholding thus preserved, with their 
minutest bones, with the smallest portions of their 
skin, and in every particular most perfectly distin- 
guishable, many an animal, which at Thebes or 
Memphis, two thousand or three thousand years 
ago, had its own priests and altars." ' 

^ "Annales du Museum d'Histolre Naturelle," Tom. I, p. 234. 

E.— 10 


Among the mummies thus collected were those 
of wild as well as those of domestic animals. " My 
learned colleague, M. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire," writes 
Cuvier in his great work, " Discours sur les Revolu- 
tions de la Surface du Globe," ' " has collected in 
the temples of upper and of lower Egypt all the 
mummies of animals he was able to procure. He 
has brought back ibises, birds of prey, dogs, mon- 
keys, crocodiles, the head of a bull, all embalmed ; 
and one does not discern any greater difference 
between them and those we now see, than ■ is ob- 
served between human mummies and the skeletons 
of men of the present day." 

Interesting, however, as are the mummified 
remains of wild animals, those of domestic animals 
have a greater value in all discussions bearing on 
the question of transmutation of species. Among 
the animals frequently embalmed were the dog, the 
cat and the bull. But since the times when these 
animals were worshipped on the banks of the Nile, 
representatives of their species have been trans- 
ported by man to almost every portion of the Old 
and New Worlds, and have been exposed to every ex- 
treme of climate and to the most diverse conditions 
of life. And yet, notwithstanding all these great 
changes of environment, the cat and the dog have 
undergone little or no mutations, and the bull Apis 
which was such a special object of worship among 
the Egyptians, was in no wise different from repre- 
sentatives of the same species now living. 

^ P. 132, edition of 1830. 


Testimony of the Monuments. 

The testimony afforded by mummies is corrob- 
orated by that of the monuments; by the paintings, 
sculptures and bas-reUefs which adorned the temples 
and tombs of the Pharaohs. Thanks to the re- 
searches of Nott, Broca and others, we are now able 
to assert positively that the greyhound and the 
terrier of the days of Rameses II., and even of an 
earlier date, were the same in form and appearance 
as they are at present, and that, consequently, they 
have suffered no perceptible change during the last 
four thousand or more years.' 

And what holds good for the dog holds good also 
for other animals which are represented on the 
monuments of the Nile valley. " I have," says 
Cuvier, " examined with care the figures of animals 
and of birds engraved on the numerous obelisks 
brought from Egypt to ancient Rome. In their 
ensemble, which alone was the object of special atten- 
tion on the part of the artists, these figures bear a 
perfect resemblance to species now in existence. 
Anyone may examine the copies of them given by 
Kircher and Zoega. Without preserving the defini- 

* There is in Egypt an indigenous type of dog, the parias, 
formerl3' in a domestic, now in a semi-wild state, which can 
claim a much greater antiquity than the greyhound or the 
terrier. It is the image of this dog that constitutes the sole and 
invariable sign for the word " dog " in all hieroglyphical inscrip- 
tions, even the most ancient. This dog, there is reason to 
believe, existed in a domestic state as early as the time of Mena, 
of the first dynasty, a date which, according to Brugsch, would 
carry us back over an interval of more than six thousand years. 
And yet, despite all the vicissitudes through which they have 
passed, the parias of to-day, so far as observation can discern, 
are exactly what they were in the days of Egypt's first ruler. 


tion of the original engravings, they nevertheless 
offer figures which are readily recognizable. Among 
them one may distinguish the ibis, the vulture, the 
screech-owl, the falcon, the Egyptian goose, the lap- 
wing, the rail, the asp, the horned viper, the long- 
eared Egyptian hare and the hippopotamus.' 

The monuments of Chaldea and Babylonia tell 
the same story as those of Egypt, On a magnifi- 
cent bas-relief found among the ruins of Babylon, 
dating, it is said, from the time of Nabuchodonosor, 
is depicted the figure of a noble mastiff, which in 
form, proportions and physiognomy is so like unto 
that of the finest type of a modern mastiff, that one 
would say the engraving was made from a photograph 
of one of our prize exhibition dogs. Similarly, Layard 
gives us, in his " Nineveh and Babylon," a drawing of 
a type of dog of which the characteristics are so 
marked that naturalists have had no difficulty in 
identifying it with a race still occurring in Thibet. 

Evidence From Plants. 

What has been said of animals may also be 
iterated, and with equal truth, of plants both wild 
and cultivated. There is no certain evidence that 
even one of them has undergone any specific change 
since the earliest dawn of history. More than this. 
as far back even as paleobotany will serve as a 
guide, we are unable to point to a single well-at- 
tested instance of transmutation in a single species 
of plant. 

' Op. cit. 


Thus, the woods used in mediaeval buildings, as 
well as those found in the buried ruins of British 
and Roman villages, differ in no appreciable feature 
from existing woods. Again, chestnuts, almonds and 
other fruits found in the shop of a fruit-dealer in 
Herculaneum, under the lava deposits made eight- 
een centuries ago, are identical with those still 
grown in the vicinity of Vesuvius. 

But it is Egypt which supplies us with the best 
preserved vegetable, as it has furnished the best ani- 
mal specimens of an ancient date. Recent explora- 
tions, particularly in the Nileland, have put us in 
possession of materials which are far better for pur- 
poses of comparison than anything which had been 
previously known. "And happily," says Mr. Car- 
ruthers, '* the examination of these materials has been 
made by a botanist who is thoroughly acquainted 
with the existing flora of Egypt, for Dr. Schwein- 
furth has been a quarter of a century exploring the 
plants of the Nile valley. The plant remains were 
included within the mummy-wrappings, and being 
thus hermetically sealed, have been preserved with 
scarcely any change. By placing the plants in warm 
water, Dr. Schweinfurth has succeeded in preparing a 
series of specimens, gathered four thousand years ago, 
which are as satisfactory for the purposes of science as 
any collected at the present day. These specimens, 
consequently, supply means for the closest examina- 
tion and comparison with their living representatives. 
The colors of the flowers are still present, even the 
most evanescent, such as the violet of the larkspur 
and the knapweed, and the scarlet of the poppy ; the 


chlorophyll remains in the leaves, and the sugar in 
the pulp of the raisins. Dr. Schweinfurth has deter- 
mined no less than fifty-nine species, some of which 
are represented by the fruits employed as offerings 
to the dead, others by flowers and leaves made into 
garlands, and the remainder by branches on which 
the body was placed and which were inclosed within 
the wrappings." * 

Among the fruits used as votive ofTerings. dates, 
figs and palm fruits are common, and are identical 
with those which are still seen in the markets of 
Egypt. Branches of the sycamore, one of the sacred 
trees of Egypt, which had been used for the bier of 
a mummy belonging to the twelfth dynasty, a thou- 
sand years B.C., "were moistened and laid out by 
Dr. Schweinfurth, equaling," he says, " the best sp>eci- 
mens of this plant in our herbaria, and consequently 
permitting the most exact comparison with living 
sycamores, from which they dififer in no respect." 

Very large quantities of linseed, found in tombs 
three thousand and four thousand years old, differ 
in nowise from the linseed still cultivated in the 
Nile valley. And from the seeds examined it has 
also been evinced, that the weeds which infest the 
cultivated fields of today were not absent from the 

* See opening address before the Biological Section of the 
British Association for the Advancement of Science, as reported 
in Nature^ Sept. 9. 1886. Mr. Carruthers is recognized as one 
of the most eminent of contemporarj English botanists, and 
hence, his words in the matter under discussion have special 

I hare mjself examined Dr. Schweinfurth 's wonderful col- 
lections in Curo, and can testify that Mr. Carruthers" account of 
them is in no waj exaggerated. 


gardens and plantations of the Pharaohs. The spiny 
medick and the charlock, for instance, were as much 
of a pest to the growers of barley and flax during 
the age of the pyrann id-builders, as they are to the 
fellahin of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. 

" It is difficult," continues Mr. Carruthers, " with- 
out the actual inspection of the specimens of plants 
employed as garlands, which have been prepared by 
Dr. Schweinfurth, to realize the wonderful condition 
of preservation in which they are. The color of the 
petals of papaver rheas, and the occasional presence 
of the dark patch at their bases, present the same 
peculiarities as are still to be found in this species 
growing in Egyptian fields. The petals of the lark- 
spur not only retain their reddish violet color, but 
present the peculiar markings which are still found 
in the living plant. A garland composed of wild 
celery and small flowers of the blue lotus, fastened 
together by fibers of papyrus, was found on a 
mummy of the twelfth dynasty, about three thou- 
sand years old. The leaves, flowers and fruits of the 
wild celery have been examined with the greatest 
care by Dr. Schweinfurth, who has demonstrated in 
the clearest manner their absolute identity with the 
indigenous form of this species now abundant in 
most places in Egypt. The same may be said of 
the other plants used as garlands, including two 
species of lichens." 

Nor is this all. The evidence afforded by archae- 
ology and paleobotany is as direct and as unequivocal 
as that of history. The cereals cultivated in prehis- 
toric times, during the Roman occupation of Britain, 


during the times of the mound-builders in the 
Mississippi valley, and during the reign of the Incas 
in Peru, were specifically the same and of as good 
quality as those harvested by the scientific farmer 
of to-day. 

And yet more. We may even go so far back as 
the Glacial and pre-Glacial periods — periods so re- 
mote that, according to the calculations of Lyell, 
Ramsay and others, they antedate our own era by 
fully two hundred and fifty thousand years — and we 
fail to find from an examination of the vegetable re- 
mains of the time, that there has been any transi- 
tion from one species to another. Scores of trees 
and plants are known to have existed during pre- 
Glacial times, which were in every respect, even in 
the venation of the leaf, identical with their living 
representatives of the present day. And yet, it is 
urged by anti-transmutationists, this is not what one 
should expect if the teachings of Evolution be true. 
For as Mr. Carruthers pertinently observes : " The 
various physical conditions which necessarily af- 
fected these species, in their diffusion over such 
large areas of the earth's surface, in the course of, 
say, two hundred and fifty thousand years, should 
have led to the production of many varieties, but 
the uniform testimony of the remains of this con- 
siderable pre-Glacial flora, as far as the materials 
admit of a comparison, is that no appreciable change 
has taken place." 

Views of Agassiz, Barrande and Others. 

One of the favorite arguments of Professor 
Louis Agassiz against the transmutation of species. 


was, as is well known, based on the observed perma- 
nence of divers species of the marine forms which 
contributed towards the production of the coral reefs 
of Florida. In his charming work, "Methods of Study 
in Natural History," ' the illustrious Swiss savant 
declares that " upon the lowest calculation, based 
upon the facts thus far ascertained as to their growth, 
we cannot suppose that less than seventy thousand 
years have elapsed since the coral reefs already 
known to exist in Florida began to grow." And 
as there is reason to believe that the entire penin- 
sula of Florida is formed " of successive concentric 
reefs, we must," the same authority asserts, "believe 
that hundreds of thousands of years have elapsed 
since its formation began." 

Continuing, he writes : " So much for the dura- 
tion of the reefs themselves. What, now, do they 
tell us, of the permanence of the species of which 
they were formed ? In these seventy thousand 
years has there been any change in the corals living 
in the Gulf of Mexico ? I answer, most emphat- 
ically. No. Astraeans, pontes, maeandrinas, and 
madrepores were represented by exactly the same 
species seventy thousand years ago as they are 
now. Were we to classify the Florida corals from 
the reefs of the interior, the result would corre- 
spond exactly to a classification founded upon the 
living corals of the outer reefs to-day. Every spe- 
cies, in short, that lives upon the present reef is 
found in the more ancient one. They all belong to 
our own geological period, and we cannot, upon the 

' Chap. XII. 


evidence before us, estimate its duration at less than 
seventy thousand years, during which time we have 
no evidence of any change in species, but, on the 
contrary, the strongest proof of the absolute perma- 
nence of those species whose past history we have 
been able to trace." 

But strong as is the evidence just adduced, against 
the mutability of species, that based on the investi- 
gation of the eminent French paleontologist, Joachim 
Barrande, is, so we are told, even more conclusive, 
and that for the reason that it extends over a vastly 
longer period of time. Barrande was undoubtedly 
one of the most careful and most successful inquirers 
into the life-history of certain periods of the remote, 
geologic past, whom the world has yet known. In 
Bohemia he had an exceptionally favorable area for 
the study of the fossiliferous strata of the Silurian 
Age, and his masterly work, " Syst^me Silurien de 
la Boh^me," the most complete production of the 
kind in existence, will ever remain a noble monu- 
ment to his untiring industry and his incomparable 
genius for research in the domain of the earlier forms 
of terrestrial life. 

The conclusion which this eminent man of science 
arrives at, after long years of patient investigation, 
and after the most careful examination of many 
thousands of specimens, is, to quote his own words, 
as follows : "Among the three hundred and fifty 
species (of trilobites) of Bohemia, there is not a sin- 
gle one which can be considered as having produced 
by its variations a new specific form, distinct and 
permanent. Thus, the traces of transformation by 


way of filiation, are completely imperceptible among 
the trilobites of the Silurian Age in Bohemia." * 

Concerning cephalopods, of which more than a 
thousand distinct forms are described, M. Barrande 
declares, that there is not one among them, however 
long the species may have lasted, which, during the 
different stages of its existence, presents more marked 
differences than do those which coexist on the same 
horizon ; that not a single one of the countless ceph- 
alopods which were examined by him, can be consid- 
ered as even the first step towards transformation, 
for all these forms disappear simultaneously, with- 
out any recognizable posterity. 

* In view of the importance of M. Barrande-S testimony, I 
here present his conclusions in full, as found in his work entitled, 
"Defense des Colonies," p. 155. 

" I. Les Trilobites de Boheme qui offrent dans leurs formes 
la trace de quelques variations sont au nombre de 10. Comme 
nous connaissons aujourd'hui 350 especes de cette tribu, dans 
notre bassin, on voit qu'il en reste environ 340 qui paraissent 
conserver une forme invariable, pendant toute la duree de leur 

" 2. Les variations signalees dans les especes qui ont joui de 
la plus grande longevite, sont relatives seulement aux dimensions 
du corps, a la grosseur des yeux, au nombre correspondant des 
lentilles, au nombre des articulations visibles du pygidium, et au 
nombre des pointes ornementales. 

" 3. Ces variations ne sont pas permanentes, xnz.\%puretnent 
temporaires, et, dans la plupart des cas, nous avons constat^ le 
retour des derniers reprSsentants de Tespece a la forme typique 
ou primitive. Ainsi ces variations ne semblent etre que des 
oscillations transitoires. Elles se manifestent quelquefois parmi 
des individus contemporains, et, par consequent, sans I'influence 
des ages geologiques. 

"4. Parmi les 350 especes de Boheme, il n'en existe aucune 
qui puisse etre consideree comme ayant produit, par ses varia- 
tions, une nouvelle forme specifique, distincte et permanente. 
Ainsi, les traces de la transformation, par voie de filiation, sont 
conpletement imperceptibles parmi les trilobites du Silurien de 


Davidson's exhaustive researches on the brachio- 
pods of the English formations, lead him to the same 
conclusions as those arrived at by Barrande after his 
prolonged studies of the trilobites and cephalopods 
of Bohemia, viz., that there is not the slightest 
trace of any tendency towards development on the 
part of the species examined. 

Similar testimony is given by Mr. Williamson 
regarding fossil plants. After forty years of patient 
study of the vegetable remains of different geolog- 
ical ages, he does not hesitate to affirm that the ferns 
whose imprints are of such frequent occurrence in 
certain strata of the Carboniferous Age, have re- 
tained their essential characteristics until the present 
time. For, if we compare those which now abound 
in our forests with those which gave beauty to the 
landscape in Paleozoic time, we find that they have 
neither advanced nor retrograded. 

It were easy to add to the list of persistent types 
of animals and plants, of those, namely, which en- 
dured unchanged during long geologic periods. I 
might speak of the terebratulae and globigerinae 
which take us back to the Cretaceous Period ; of 
certain types of scorpions which flourished during 
the Carboniferous Age and which are scarcely dis- 
tinguishable from modern scorpions ; of the lingulae 
and lingulellae which, appearing in the lower Silu- 
rian rocks, have persisted practically unchanged 
through all the grand climacterics of the world.' 

* For able and dignified discussions of the questions here 
considered, see " Paleontologie et Darwinisme," by the eminent 
Belgian geologist, Charles de la Vallee Poussin, in the '' Revue 


In the preceding pages I have presented fully, 
and somewhat in detail, one of the stock arguments of 
anti-evolutionists against the transmutation of spe- 
cies. I have allowed the ablest and most noted oppo- 
nents of the Evolution theory to present their objec- 
tion in their own words, and have endeavored to select 
what have always been considered the most telling 
arguments against transpeciation. What, now, is the 
answer to the objection, or is any answer possible ? 
What explanation can be given of facts which seem 
so utterly irreconcilable with the cardinal principles 
of Evolution, and so antagonistic to the fundamen- 
tal tenets of the leading exponents of transformism. 

Misapprehension of the Nature of Evolution and Answer 
to Objections. 

The objection, as presented, rests on a total 
misapprehension of the nature of Evolution. It 
assumes that when an animal or a vegetable form 
once comes into existence, it must necessarily and 
continuously undergo progressive modifications. It 
assumes, too, that such modifications as may oc- 
cur, must take place at the same rate in one form of 
life as in another. Both these postulates are equally 
unwarranted, for they are both totally at variance 
with Evolution as understood by its founders and 
approved spokesmen. 

An answer, however, to the objection, was indi- 
cated nearly a century ago by Cuvier's great con- 

de Questions Scientifiques " for January, 1S77, and " Le Trans- 
formisme et la Discussion Libre," in the same review for Janu- 
ary and April, 1889, by De. Kirwan, who writes under the 
pseudonym of Jean d' Estienne. 


temporary, Lamarck. Replying to the argument 
based on the unchanged condition of the fauna 
and flora of Egypt, he observed that " the animals 
and plants referred to had not experienced any 
modification in their specific characters, because the 
climate, soil and other conditions of life had not 
varied in the interval. But if," he continued, " the 
physical geography, temperature and other natural 
conditions of Egypt, had altered as much as we 
know they have done in many countries in the 
course of geological periods, the same animals and 
plants would have deviated from their pristine types 
so widely as to rank as new and distinct species." * 

This answer of Lamarck's is, with some modifi- 
cations, the answer which is now given by men of 
science to the objection under consideration. When- 
ever the environment remains unchanged, where the 
conditions of life are always identical, the fauna and 
flora of a given area may persist without any spe- 
cific mutations for an indefinite period of time. Re- 
garding Egypt it is notorious, that its climate and 
soil are to-day precisely what they were during the 
reign of the first of the Pharaohs, and precisely what 
they were when the bull Apis was led in solemn pro- 
cession to the temples of Memphis and Heliopolis. 
As to other examples of animals and plants which 
.have resisted specific change, not only during thou- 
sands, but also millions of years, the same answer 
may be given. The environment may have been 
modified more or less, but not sufficiently to effect 

Philosophie Zoologique," pp. 70, et seq. 


transmutation of the species named. For it must 
be borne in mind, that all species are not equally 
susceptible of change in consequence of mutations 
of climate and physical geography. Some are more 
stable and more cosmopolitan than others, and 
hence are capable of accommodating themselves 
within certain limits to quite considerable changes 
in surrounding conditions, without exhibiting the 
slightest indications of specific transmutations. 

Then, too, we have " elastic types," those types, 
namely, which as M. Gaudry tells us, have the 
power of undergoing greater or less modifications 
and of returning sooner or later to their original 
condition. The rhynconella is a case in point. 
When the ocean bed is in anywise modified, rhyn- 
conella exhibits a corresponding change ; when the 
ocean returns to its original state, rhynconella re- 
verts to its pristine condition. Thus, in virtue of 
its elasticity, of its facility of accommodating itself 
to changes of environment, this marvelous brachio- 
pod has been able to pass unscathed through 
mutations and catastrophes innumerable. 

Again, it may be observed, that the changes of 
environment are not always so great as they are 
sometimes imagined to be. Thus, the conditions of 
life in a given area of the ocean may remain practi- 
cally unchanged for long geological periods. The 
temperature and depth of the water might easily 
remain constant for untold sons, and, in such an 
event, there is no reason why the ocean fauna should 
not endure without variation for an indefinite 


Even in the case of the vegetable organisms 
which Mr. Carruthers puts in evidence, there is 
reason to beHeve that the variations in cHmate to 
which they have been subject, have been far less 
than is usually thought. We can say of these what 
Darwin asserts of certain Arctic forms, that " they 
will not have been exposed to any great diversity of 
temperature and, as they all migrated in a body 
together, their mutual relations will not have been 
much disturbed." ' Where, however, Arctic species 
have been left stranded on Alpine areas by the 
retreat of glaciation, and where the species thus 
isolated have been subsequently exposed to differ- 
ences of climate, and to the influences of foreign 
plants and insects, we would expect to discover 
evidences of transmutation, to find the stranded 
species to differ, not only from their parent Arctic 
forms, but to differ also from those of the same 
origin occurring on neighboring mountain ranges. 
And this is what Darwin tells us is the fact, " for if," 
he says, " we compare the present Alpine plants and 
animals of the several great European mountain 
ranges, one with another, though many of the 
species remain identically the same, some exist as 
varieties, some as doubtful forms or sub-species, and 
some as distinct, yet closely allied species, repre- 
senting each other on the several ranges." * 

In the instance just quoted, as in countless 
others that might be adduced, we have an illustra- 
tion of a phenomenon with which all naturalists are 

^ " The Origin of Species," vol. II, p. 154. 
'Op. cit. vol. II, p. 155. 


familiar, to-wit, that some types, both of animals 
and plants, are more plastic than others. Those 
which are the most plastic most readily undergo 
specific transformation, whilst, on the contrary, 
those which are rigid experience little or no change, 
even when exposed to very considerable mutations 
of environment. 

Existence and Cause of Variations. 

Of the existence of variations, numerous and im- 
portant, there can then be no reasonable doubt. This 
fact, long known, is daily corroborated by evidence 
which cannot be gainsaid. But the existence of 
variations must not be confounded with the cause 
which originates them, for this, as yet, is shrouded 
in mystery. Huxley admits this without hesitation 
and refers to it as follows : " The cause of the pro- 
duction of variations is a matter not at all properly 
understood at present. Whether variation depends 
upon some intricate machinery, if I may use the 
phrase, of the living organism itself, or whether 
it arises through the influence of conditions upon 
that form, is not certain, and the question for the 
present may be left open. But the important point 
is that, granting the existence of the tendency to the 
production of variations, then, whether the varia- 
tions which are produced shall survive and supplant 
the parent, or whether the parent form shall survive 
and supplant the variations, is a matter which de- 
pends entirely on those conditions which give rise 
to the struggle for existence. If the surrounding 
conditions are such that the parent form is more 


competent to deal with them, and flourish in them, 
than the derived forms, then in the struggle for exis- 
tence the parent form will maintain itself and the 
derived forms will be exterminated. But if, on the 
contrary, the conditions are such as to be more fa- 
vorable to a derived than to a parent form, the parent 
form will be extirpated and the derived form will take 
its place. In the first place there will be no pro- 
gression, no change of structure, through any 
imaginable series of ages ; and in the second place 
there will be modification and change of form." ' 

Paucity of Transitional Forms. 

The second objection, like the preceding, is an 
obvious one, and at first sight equally plausible. It 
is based on the paucity of transitional forms, or 
" missing links," in the various sedimentary strata of 
the earth's crust. At first blush the objection 
seems to be fatal to the theory of Evolution, as it 
certainly would be fatal, if well founded, to the the- 
ory of natural selection, which supposes that species 
have advanced from lower to higher forms by infini- 
tesimal increments. So much importance, indeed, 
does Darwin attach to this objection, that he devotes 
a whole chapter in his " Origin of Species " to its so- 
lution. And although he frankly admits that the 
geological record, so far as at present known, still 
opposes insuperable difficulties to his theory of nat- 
ural selection, it does not follow, as we shall see far- 
ther on, that such difficulties can validly be urged 

*" Science and Hebrew Tradition," pp. 83 and 84. 


against the general theory of organic Evolution, as 
distinguished from Evolution through natural selec- 

In the first place it is to be observed, that transi- 
tional forms are the first to become extinct in the 
struggle for existence; for it is well known that 
competition is more marked and devastating among 
intermediate or intercalated forms, than among forms 
which are more widely divergent. Thus, in phi- 
lology it is remarked, that among a large number of 
dialects, certain closely allied ones die out, whilst 
others, more widely differentiated, become the domi- 
nant forms of speech. The means perish, while the 
extremes wax strong and end by attaining suprem- 
acy. Hence, of the countless dialects which in Italy, 
France and Spain had their origin in the Latin 
tongue, but three have attained to the dignity of a 
dominant language, and of being the vehicle of a 
national literature. These three are what are now 
known as the Italian, French and Spanish languages, 
the competing dialects having been worsted in the 
struggle for existence, and condemned to an earlier or 
later extinction. 

A process quite analogous to this goes on among 
the divers forms of animated nature, the means 
showing themselves the weaker, and the extremes 
exhibiting themselves the stronger in the contest 
for supremacy. Commenting on this fact, Darwin 
writes as follows: "As the species of the same genus 
usually have, though by no means invariably, much 
similarity in habits and constitution, and always in 
structure, the struggle will generally be more severe 


between them, if they come into competition with 
each other, than between the species of distinct 
genera. We see this in the recent extension over 
the United States, of one species of swallow, having 
caused the decrease of another species. The recent 
increase of the missel-thrush in parts of Scotland has 
caused the decrease of the song-thrush. How fre- 
quently we hear of one species of rat taking the place 
of another species under the most different climates ! 
In Russia, the small, Asiatic cockroach has every- 
where driven before it its great congener. In Aus- 
tralia, the imported hive-bee is rapidly exterminating 
the small, stingless, native bee. One species of char- 
lock has been known to supplant another species ; 
and so in other cases. We can dimly see why com- 
petition should be most severe between allied forms 
which fill nearly the same place in the economy of 
nature ; but probably in no one case could we pre- 
cisely say why one species had been victorious over 
another in the great battle of life." ' 

Variations and the Formation of Fossiliferous Deposits. 

Then again, it must be observed that it is not 
probable that variation has been going on at a uniform 
rate during the long course of the life-history of the 
earth. On the contrary, it is more likely that long 
periods of stability have alternated with brief periods 
of disturbance of greater or less extent. During the 
former periods specific forms would experience com- 
paratively little change, whereas, during the latter, 
variations would rapidly accumulate and be strongly 

* "The Origin of Species," vol. I, pp. 93 and 94. 


accentuated. Such being the case, the number of 
gradational forms will be far less numerous than the 
forms contained in the species which persist with 
little or no modifications during long cycles of time. 
Furthermore, it is now generally admitted that 
the strata which are richest in fossils were usually, if 
not always, deposited during eras which were least 
favorable for the development of transitional forms, 
that is, during eras when variation and extinction 
were least rapid. On the theory that natural selec- 
tion has been the dominant factor in Evolution ; on 
the theory, namely, that progress has resulted solely, 
or at least chiefly, in consequence of the accumula- 
tion of infinitesimal increments, a condition of things 
must have existed during the formation of fossilifer- 
ous strata, which it is certain could have obtained 
only at extremely rare intervals. For, as Darwin 
points out : " In order to get a perfect gradation be- 
tween two forms in the upper and lower parts of the 
same formation, the deposit must have gone on con- 
tinuously accumulating during a long period suffi- 
cient for the slow process of modification ; hence 
the deposit must be a very thick one, and the spe- 
cies undergoing change must have lived in the same 
districts throughout the whole time. But we have 
seen that a thick formation, fossiliferous throughout 
its entire thickness, can accumulate only during a 
period of subsidence ; and to keep the depth approxi- 
mately the same, which is necessary that the same 
marine species may live on the same space, the sup- 
ply of sediment must nearly counterbalance the 
amount of subsidence. But this same movement of 


subsidence will tend to submerge the area whence 
the sediment is derived, and thus diminish the sup- 
ply whilst the downward movement continues. In 
fact, this nearly exact balancing between the supply 
of sediment and the amount of subsidence is prob- 
ably a rare contingency ; for, it has been observed 
by more than one paleontologist, that very thick de- 
posits are generally barren of organic remains, except 
near their upper or lower limits." ' 

The foregoing are but a few of the reasons that 
might be assigned for the paucity of intermediate 
forms which characterizes the earth's fossil-bearing 
strata. When we come to reflect on the matter, 
however, the wonder is not that there is such a small 
number of gradational forms, but rather that there 
are any fossils at all. For everything has tended to 
render their formation impossible ; and in the com- 
paratively few instances in which circumstances have 
been favorable to the fossilization of animal or vege- 
table forms, a variety of circumstances has intervened 
to compass their destruction. Such being the case, 
therefore, we should be surprised, not at the exist- 
ence of such extensive tracts that are utterly devoid 
of any traces of organic life, but rather at the fact 
that there are so many formations in different parts 
of the world which contain such a wealth of fossil 

For let us consider for a moment under what ad- 
verse conditions the slight vestiges of the fauna and 
flora of the ancient world have been preserved ; 
what are a few of the agents of destruction, how 

* Op. cit., vol. II. pp. 68 and 69. 


continuous their action, and how inevitable their ef- 
fect. We shall then learn that evolutionists have 
reason for insisting so strongly on the imperfection 
of the geological record, and for appealing to the re- 
sults of future research and discovery for a confirma- 
tion of certain facts of their theory, and for an ex- 
planation of certain difficulties which, as matters now 
stand, are admittedly insoluble. 

As to the formation of fossils, it is, as is well 
known, only the hard portions of organisms which 
are ever fossilized. But even these, as well as the 
softer parts, soon suffer disintegration unless in some 
way screened from sub-aerial agencies competent to 
decompose them, and unless they are protected from 
the solvent action of salt water, or fresh water hold- 
ing carbonic acid in solution. 

Again, as Darwin remarks, '' we probably take a 
quite erroneous view, when we assume that the 
sediment is being deposited over nearly the whole 
bed of the sea at a rate sufficiently thick to embed 
and preserve fossil remains. Throughout an enor- 
mously large proportion of the ocean, the bright 
blue tint of the water bespeaks its purity. The 
many cases on record of a formation conformably 
covered, after an immense interval of time, by an- 
other and later formation, without the underlying 
bed having suffered in the interval any wear and 
tear, seem explicable only on the view of the bottom 
of the sea not rarely lying for ages* in an unaltered 
condition." ' " In regard to the mammiferous re- 
mains," the same authority continues, "a glance at 

*Op. cit., vol. II, p. 5S. 


the historical table published in Lyell's * Manual* 
will bring home the truth, how accidental and rare is 
their preservation, far better than .pages of detail. 
Nor is their rarity surprising when we consider how 
large a proportion of the bones of Tertiary mammals 
have been discovered either in caves or in lacustrine 
deposits ; and that not a cave or true lacustrine 
bed is known belonging to the age of our secondary 
or Palaeozoic formations."' 

But if the formation of fossils be rare and some- 
thing wholly exceptional, when we consider the 
myriad organisms which are never fossilized ; if 
shells and bones are always disintegrated unless 
adequately protected from the countless unfavorable 
and destructive agencies to which they are exposed, 
their preservation, after having been formed, is 
something which, when the facts of the case are 
known, must appear even more remarkable. 

Romanes on Difficulties Attending Preservation of Fossils. 

Mr. George Romanes, Darwin's favorite and most 
ardent disciple, has so accurately and picturesquely 
described the divers agencies which contribute to 
the annihilation of fossil forms, that I need make no 
apology for quoting him at length. 

" But of even more importance," he writes, "than 
this difficulty of making fossils in the first instance, is 
the difficulty of preserving them when they are 
made. The vast majority of fossils have been 
formed under water, and a large proportional num- 
ber of these, whether the animals were marine, ter- 

' Ibid, pp. 59 and 60. 


restrial, or inhabitants of fresh water, have been 
formed in sedimentary deposits either of sand, 
gravel or other porous material. Now, where such 
deposits have been afterwards raised into the air 
for any considerable time, and this has been more 
or less the case with all deposits which are avail- 
able for exploration, their fossiliferous contents will 
have been, as a general rule, dissolved by the per- 
colation of rain-water charged with carbonic acid. 
Similarly, sea-water has recently been found to be 
a surprisingly strong solvent of calcareous material ; 
hence, Saturn-like, the ocean destroys its own prog- 
eny as far as shells and bones of all kinds are con- 
cerned, and this to an extent of which we have 
probably no adequate conception. 

" Of still greater destructive influence, however, 
than these solvent agencies in earth and sea, are the 
erosive agencies of both. Anyone who watches 
the pounding of the waves upon the shore ; who 
then observes the effect of it upon the rocks broken 
into shingle, and on the shingle reduced to sand ; 
who, looking behind him at the clifTs, sees there evi- 
dence of the advance of this all-pulverizing power — an 
advance so gradual that no yard of it is accomplished 
until within that yard the * white teeth ' have eaten 
well into the ' bowels of the earth ; ' who then reflects 
that this process is going on simultaneously over 
hundreds of thousands of miles of coast-lines through- 
out the world ; and who finally extends his mental 
vision from space to time, by trying dimly to im- 
agine what this ever-roaring monster must have 
consumed during the hundreds of millions of years 


that slowly rising and slowly sinking continents have 
exposed their whole areas to her jaws ; whoever 
thus observes and thus reflects must be a dull man, if 
he does not begin to feel that in the presence of 
such a destroyer as this we have no reason to wonder 
at a frequent silence in the testimony of the rocks. 
" But although the erosive agency of the sea is 
thus so inconceivably great, it is positively small as 
compared with erosive agencies on land. The con- 
stant action of rain, wind and running water, in 
wearing down the surfaces of all lands into * the 
dust of continents to be ; ' the disintegrating effects 
on all but the hardest rocks of winter frosts alter- 
nating with summer heats ; the grinding power of 
ice in periods of glaciation, and last, but not least, 
the wholesale melting up of sedimentary forma- 
tions whenever these have sunk any considerable 
distance beneath the earth's surface — all these 
agencies taken together constitute so prodigious 
a sum of energies, combined through immeasurable 
ages in their common work of destruction, that 
when we try to realize what it must amount to, 
we can scarcely fail to wonder, not that the geolog- 
ical record is highly imperfect, but that so much of 
the record has survived as we find to have been the 
case. And, if we add to these erosive and solvent 
agencies on land the erosive and solvent agencies of 
the sea, we almost begin to wonder that anything 
deserving the name of geological record is in exist- 
ence at all."' 

' " Darwin and After Darwin," vol. I, pp. 423-425. For an 
exhaustive discussion of the disintegrating and destructive ef- 


That the effects of denudation are not exag- 
gerated in the preceding quotation, is manifest from 
a number of facts to which Darwin has directed at- 
tention, and of which he was the first to realize the 
true import in their bearings on Evolution. In 
Europe, but especially in North and in South Amer- 
ica, there are immense areas, embracing many thou- 
sands of square miles, in which the surface rocks are 
entirely granitic or metamorphic. This implies that 
denudation has here taken place on a tremendous 
scale. And the utter absence of fossils in such rocks 
shows conclusively how completely the work of de- 
struction was accomplished, so completely, indeed, 
that of the animal and vegetable remains which 
must have originally existed in these portions of the 
earth not a vestige now remains. In view of such 
facts Darwin considers it "quite probable, that in 
some parts of the world whole formations have 
been completely denuded, with not a wreck left be- 

Small Percentage of Fossil Forms. 

But this is not all. We have positive evidence 
that during certain periods many species existed in 
countless numbers, although, so far, not a fragment 
of bone has been found within the area in which 
they once flourished. The strange, bird-like forms 
that once inhabited the Connecticut valley are in- 
stances in point. Although more than a score of 

fects of aqueous, glacial and igneous agencies, the reader may 
consult with profit the pages of Lyell's admirable " Principles of 


species of this character had their habitat in the 
district, and in its vicinity, the only tangible evidences 
which we yet possess that they ever existed, are the 
tracks and foot-prints which they left in the shales 
and sandstones of Connecticut and New Jersey. 

In other cases, again, all that has so far been 
discovered of what, in their time, were manifestly 
important species, is a single tooth, or a single bone, 
or even only a small fragment of bone. That future 
research will disclose remains of these species, in 
larger quantities or in greater numbers, there is 
reason to believe, but however rich the finds may 
be, it will always be true that the fossils which have 
been preserved are but an insignificant portion of 
those which were actually formed, and that the re- 
mains of organisms which were fossilized were but an 
infinitesimal part of those which were completely 
destroyed before fossilization was possible. 

Darwin's observations on sessile cirripeds corrob- 
orate in the most striking manner what has been 
stated in the preceding paragraphs, and show how 
a large group of animals, represented by an extraor- 
dinary number of individuals all over the world, in 
every latitude and " inhabiting various zones of 
depths from the upper tidal limit to fifty fathoms," 
may fail to leave even a trace of their existence during 
long geological periods. " Not long ago, paleontolo- 
gists maintained that the whole class of birds came 
suddenly into existence during the Eocene Period ; 
but now we know, on the authority of Prof. Owen, 
that a bird certainly lived during the Upper Green- 
sand ; and still more recently that strange bird, the 


archaeopteryx, with a long lizard-like tail bearing a 
pair of feathers on each joint, and with its wings 
furnished with two free claws, has been discovered 
in the Oolitic slates of Solenhofen. Hardly any 
recent discovery shows more forcibly than this how 
little we as yet know of the former inhabitants of 
the world."' 

Another important fact we should not lose sight 
of is, that as yet but a comparatively small portion 
of the earth has been explored by geologists. The 
formations of the earth in North America are fairly 
well known, but even in these portions of the world 
there is still much to be learned. As to South 
America, Asia, Africa, Australia, they are for the 
most part terr(e incognitcB to the paleontologist. 
Such being the case it were foolish in the extreme to 
dogmatize on the sequence of organic forms in past 
geologic time, or to attempt to base an argument 
against Evolution on the absence of certain transi- 
tional types and on the consequent imperfection of 
the record so far at our disposal. 

It has been estimated that not so much as one 
per cent., of the countless species of animals which 
have flourished since the first dawn of life, has left 
the slightest trace of its past existence. Marine 
forms, as might be expected, are better represented 
than land forms. Indeed there are not wanting 
those who assert, that of terrestrial types not more 
than one species in a thousand is represented by 
known fossils. 

" The Origin of Species," vol. II, pp. 79 and 80. 


Extraordinary Intercalary Forms. 

But in spite of the rarity of fossils in comparison 
with the almost infinite number of individuals repre- 
sented ; in spite of the paucity of fossil species as 
compared with the total number which must have 
existed since the advent of life ; in spite of the lim- 
ited area of the earth which has so far been ex- 
plored by the paleontologist, there are, as indicated 
in the preceding chapter, many examples of inter- 
calary forms of the most extraordinary character. 
And all the instances adduced, be it remembered, 
constitute so much positive evidence in behalf of 
the theory of organic Evolution. The absence of 
transitional varieties in certain formations is, at best, 
but negative evidence, and such evidence is of but 
little value, or rather it is of no value, in face of all 
the positive evidence which recent research has 
brought to light. Thanks to the discoveries of 
Gaudry, Marsh, Cope and others, the number of 
intermediate forms has, within the past few years, 
been wonderfully augmented, and there is every 
reason to believe that future exploration will, in like 
manner, contribute towards filling up many of the 
lacunae which at present are pointed to as difficulties 
in the way of yielding rational assent to the current 
theory of transformism. 

** Indeed, it may be asserted," Prof. Fiske truth- 
fully observes, " cis one of the most significant truths 
of paleontology, that extinct forms are almost al- 
ways intercalary between forms now existing. Not 
only species, genera and families, but even orders of 


contemporary animals, apparently quite distinct, are 
now and then fused together by the discovery of 
extinct intermediary forms. In Cuvier's time, horse, 
tapir, pig and rhinoceros were ranked as a distinct 
order from cow, sheep, deer, buffalo and camel. 
But so many transitional forms have been found 
in Tertiary strata, that pachyderms and ruminants 
are now united in a single order. By numerous 
connecting links the pig is now seen to be closely 
united with the camel and the antelope. Similar 
results relating to the proboscidians, the hyena 
family of carnivora, the apes, the horse and the rhi- 
noceros, have been obtained from the exploration 
of a single locality near Mount Pentelicus in Greece. 
Among more than seventy species there discov- 
ered, the gradational arrangement of forms was so 
strongly marked, that the great paleontologist, M. 
Gaudry, became a convert to Mr. Darwin's theory 
in the course of the search." * Indeed, so much was 
M. Gaudry, who renews in our own day the tri- 
umphs of Cuvier in paleontology, impressed by 
the fossil remains of Greece and the transitional 
forms of other lands, that he did not hesitate thirty 
years ago to declare, that " the more we advance and 
fill up the gaps, the more we feel persuaded that 
the remaining voids exist more in our knowledge 
than in nature. A few blows of the pick-axe at the 
foot of the Pyrenees, of the Himalayas, of Mount 
Pentelicus ; a few diggings in the sand-pits of Ep- 
pelsheim or in the Mauvaises Terres of Nebraska, 
have revealed to us the closest connecting links 

^ " Cosmic Philosophj'," vol. II, pp. 40 and 41. 


between forms which seemed before so widely sepa- 
rated. How much closer will these links be drawn 
when paleontology shall have escaped from its 
cradle." ' 

Imperfection of the Geological Record. 

What precedes supplies us with an answer re- 
garding two great difficulties on which anti-evolu- 
tionists have always laid special stress. These 
difficulties, briefly stated, are the sudden apparition 
of whole groups of allied species in certain forma- 
tions, even in the lowest fossiliferous strata, with- 
out any previous transitional forms leading up to 
such groups, and the occurrence in geological time 
of numerous animal forms of a much higher 
grade than an evolutionist should antecedently ex- 

From what has already been said not only respect- 
ing the absence of countless species, but also of the de- 
nudation of immense areas which must at one time 
have been rich in important fossiliferous deposits, it is 
manifest that the objection is at best but a neutral 
one, and as such may be dismissed as in nowise se- 
riously affecting the contention of evolutionists. Re- 
garding the appearance in the earlier strata of ani- 
mals which are zoologically of a higher grade than 
the principles of Evolution would lead one to look 
for, it may be said in reply that the objection urged 
proves, at most, that the imperfection of the geolog- 
ical record is even more extensive than it has usually 
been thought to be, and, likewise, that the advent of 

" Les Animaux Fossiles de Pikermi," p. 34. 


life on the earth must date back much farther than is 
commonly thought. Not long since, it was the gen- 
eral opinion, that the first living organisms had their 
origin in the lower strata of the Silurian Age, but 
since then the Cambrian, the Huronian, and the 
Laurentian formations have been discovered, the 
united thickness of which, according to the eminent 
geologist. Sir W. Logan, " may possibly far surpass 
that of all the succeeding rocks from the base of the 
Palaeozoic series to the present time," and may, 
therefore, carry us back to a period so remote, that 
the oldest Silurian fauna may in comparison be re- 
garded as comparatively modern. So far as the in- 
formation of paleontologists now extends, Eozoon 
Canadense, found even in the lowest deposits of the 
Laurentian, was the earliest form of life, but it is not 
impossible that in yet lower strata, beneath the 
ocean's floor perhaps, there are still more primitive 
types which as much antedate the time of Eozoon 
Canadense, as it antedates the advent of the last 
highest vertebrate. 

Time, Change and Equilibrium. 

But, it will be objected that the existence of such 
formations implies far more time than geologists can 
reasonably claim, far more than can be allowed by 
the almost certain conclusions of thermodynamics 
and astronomical physics. In reply it will suf- 
fice to observe, that much, very much, yet remains to 
be learned, concerning the time which has elapsed 
since the earth became a fit abode for the lower 
forms of life, and that until physicists, astronomers 


and mathematicians can agree among themselves, as 
to the data on which they base their calculations, and 
until they can furnish more satisfactory results than 
they have hitherto offered, geologists will be quite 
within their right in regarding the objections urged 
as negative or indifferent. 

In all discussions relating to the ascent of life and 
the paucity of transitional forms, we should not lose 
sight of the fact that ours is a period of tranquility, 
and that, therefore, in accordance with the principles 
of Evolution, there should now be fewer changes in 
the fauna and flora of the earth than during periods 
of change and widely-extended disturbance. But 
the earth has not always been so stable and tranquil. 
During the inconceivably long interval which has 
elapsed since the first beginnings of life on our globe, 
there have been countless periods of equilibrium 
alternating with changes which were more or less 
paroxysmal. The last of these critical epochs was 
during that long stretch of time, known as the Gla- 
cial Period, when ice and snow reigned supreme over 
a great portion of Europe and North America. And 
during these long geologic rhythms, these alterna- 
tions of upheaval and subsidence, of denudation and 
sedimentation, during these periods of comparative 
tranquility and almost cataclysmal mutation, there 
were alternately periods which in the one case fa- 
vored the permanence of species, and in the other 
were conducive to their rapid metamorphosis, and to 
the speedy production of intercalary forms which 
connected all the links of living organisms in one 
grand unbroken chain. 


Paleontology Compared with Egyptology and Assyriology. 

The work of the paleontologist resembles in great 
measure the work of those who, from fragmentary 
and unpromising materials, have revived for us the 
histories, so long buried in oblivion, of those great 
nations of the Orient which erstwhile flourished 
amid such splendor on the banks of the Nile, the 
Tigris and the Euphrates. In the beginning of the 
present century the history of Egypt was almost a 
sealed book, and as to Chaldea, Assyria and Baby- 
lonia, it could be affirmed, and with truth, scarcely 
yet a generation ago, that many of the most impor- 
tant features of their respective histories had little 
more for a basis than myth and conjecture. But 
thanks to the labors and discoveries of Champollion, 
Lassen, Burnouf, Rawlinson, Layard, George Smith, 
Mariette, Maspero, and their compeers, the myste- 
rious hieroglyphics and curious cuneiform characters 
have been deciphered, and the treasures of knowledge 
so long concealed by them have been opened up to 
the world. In Egypt, temples and tombs have been 
searched for records bearing on the past. Pyramids 
and obelisks, sphinxes and cartouches, have been 
carefully scrutinized and compelled to give up their 
secrets to the persistent and determined votaries of 
history and science. And so, too, it has been in 
Mesopotamia and in the territory adjacent. From 
the Persian Gulf to the site of ancient Nineveh, 
from Tyre and Sidon to glorious Palmyra, the pick 
and the spade of the archaeologist have been busy, 
especially during the past four decades, and the 
result has been that we now have more complete and 


more accurate information respecting peoples who 
lived four and five thousand years ago, than we have 
in regard to the inhabitants of many of the most 
powerful nations of Europe during periods which 
carry us back but a few hundred years. Rolls of 
papyrus and mummy cases, tablets and cylinders, 
which were once but so many meaningless objects for 
the curious, have been converted into trustworthy 
records regarding an almost forgotten past. Seti and 
Rameses, Sennacherib and Assurbanipal live again, 
and in all their salient features they come before us 
with fully as much distinctness as do the historic 
and romantic figures of Charlemagne and Coeur de 

Thus, likewise, is it in respect of paleontology. 
Thanks to the discoveries and labors of Cuvier, Smith, 
Sedgwick, Hugh Miller, Murchison, Hall, Barrande, 
Gaudry, Marsh, and a host of other successful students 
of nature, who have consecrated their lives to the 
work of collecting and coordinating the testimony of 
the rocks, we have now light where before all was 
darkness ; we have knowledge where all was mystery. 
And though paleontology, like Egyptology and As- 
syriology, is still in its infancy, it has, nevertheless, 
already achieved marvels. From a few scattered 
fragments, the disjecta membra of organisms long 
since extinct, it has constructed for us a history which 
embraces periods of such duration, that in compari- 
son with them the long dynasties of the Pharaohs 
sink into positive insignificance. It tells us the story 
of life from its humblest beginnings till the advent 
of man, the paragon of God's visible universe. It 


shows us the grand unity of plan which has character- 
ized the fauna and flora of the world, and exhibits to 
our view the direction Evolution must have taken in 
its progress from the simple to the complex, from 
the general to the special, from the primitive monad 
to the highest vertebrate. Like the records of the 
Egyptologist and the Assyriologist, those of the 
student of the past history of the earth have been 
imperfect and fragmentary in the extreme, but, not- 
withstanding this, and notwithstanding the enormous 
gaps which are everywhere discernible, the paleontol- 
ogist has been able to give us an account which, 
considering the difificulties under which it has been 
written, all thoughtful minds must recognize as 
singularly complete and satisfactory, even in many 
of its details. 

Darwin, in closing \\% interesting chapter on the 
imperfection of the geological record, makes a com- 
parison which so beautifully illustrates the character 
of the materials from which the paleontologist must 
weave his story of the earth and its former inhabi- 
tants, that I reproduce it here in his own words: 
" For my part, following Lyell's metaphor, I look at 
the geological record as the history of the world, im- 
perfectly kept and written in a changing dialect. Of 
this history we possess the last volume alone, relating 
only to two or three countries. Of this volume, only 
here and there a short chapter has been preserved ; 
and of each page, only here and there a few lines. 
Each word of the slowly-changing language, more or 
less different in the successive chapters, may repre- 
sent the forms of life, which are entombed in our 


consecutive formations, and which falsely appear to 
have been abruptly introduced. On this view the 
difficulties above discussed are greatly diminished, or 
even disappear." ' 

Sterility of Species when Crossed. 

The third objection against Evolution, the last one 
we shall consider, is based on the sterility of species 
when crossed and on the infertility of hybrids. The 
argument as usually advanced appears well-founded, 
and is, it must be confessed, not without its difficulties. 

According to anti-evolutionists species have been 
rendered barren by a special provision of nature, in 
order thereby to prevent confusion which would 
result from intercrossing. So convinced, indeed, 
was Frederick Cuvier, the brother of the illustrious 
paleontologist, of this view, that he did not hesitate 
to declare: "Without the employment of artificial 
means or without derogation to the laws of Provi- 
dence, the existence of hybrids would never have 
been known." And Dufr^noy affirmed that "animals 
instinctively mate with individuals of their own 
species only, and avoid those of others, as they 
instinctively select food and eschew poison." 

"In fact," writes De Quatrefages, who to the day 
of his death was opposed to the transmutation 
theory, " if in the organized world there exists any- 
thing which ought to strike the superficial observer, 
it is the order and constancy which we see there 
reigning during the past ages; it is the distinction 
which is maintained among those groups of beings 

» "The Origin of Species," vol. II, p. 88. 


which Darwin and Lamarck, like ourselves, call 
species, even when in general form, function, instinct 
and habit, they resemble one another so closely 
that their discrimination is a matter of difficulty. 
Certainly the cause which maintains this order, this 
constancy over the entire surface of the globe, is of 
far greater importance than any mere particularity 
affecting individual life, or the simple local existence 
of a domestic race. 

" Now, this cause is simple and unique. Suppress 
infecundity among different species; suppose that 
the unions among wild species were to become in 
every way fertile, and indefinitely so, as they are in 
our dove-cotes, cow-houses and dog-kennels among 
domestic races. And instantly what comes to pass? 
Barriers separating species and genera are taken 
away ; crosses are effected in all directions ; every, 
where intermediate types make their appearance, 
and everywhere existing distinctions are gradually 
effaced. As for myself, I cannot see where the con- 
fusion would end. Entire orders and probably even 
classes would, after a few generations, present noth- 
ing but a group of bastard forms of doubtful charac- 
ters, irregularly allied and intercrossed, among which 
disorder would go on increasing, thanks to the mix- 
ture rendered more and more complete, and thanks 
to atavism which would doubtless struggle for a long 
time with direct heredity. This is not an imaginary 
picture. Every reader, when asked what will be 
produced by promiscuous unions among the one- 
hundred-and-fifty races of pigeons recognized by 
Darwin, and the one-hundred-and-eighty races of 


dogs shown at our expositions, will certainly give 
the same answer as I do. 

" Infertility among species, therefore, has, in the 
organic world, a role which is almost analogous to 
gravitation in the sidereal world. It preserves the 
zoological or botanical distance among species, as 
attraction maintains the physical distances among 
the stars. Both have their perturbations, their un- 
explained phenomena. But, has anyone called in 
question the great fact which fixes in their respective 
places both satellites and suns? No. And can one, 
on this account, deny the fact which assures the sep- 
aration of species the most closely allied, as well as 
of groups the most widely separated? By no means. 
In astronomy we should reject incontinently every 
hypothesis in opposition to the first. And, although 
the complication of phenomena is much greater in 
botany and zoology, serious study will always lead 
us to discard all doctrines that are at variance with 
the second." ' 

Infertility among distinct species, as De Quatre- 
fages here views the matter, is thus seen to be de- 
manded by the fitness of things. It is required for 
the harmony of animated nature, and is rendered 
necessary by the hopeless confusion which would re- 
sult if such infertility did not exist. 

But the argument from infertility, as urged 
against evolutionists, has even greater force when 
regarded from another point of view — I mean from 
the standpoint of fact. Evolution, it is alleged, is 
disproved, not because it seems fit and necessary 

^"Darwin et ses Precurseurs Franjais," pp. 259 and 260. 


that species should be reciprocally sterile, but be- 
cause of the fact of in fecundity ; because, so it is 
said, not a single instance can be cited of continued 
fertility among the hybrid offspring of any two spe- 
cies, however closely related. Here is the core of 
the difficulty, '' le fait,'' as the Marquis de Nadaillac 
phrases it, ^' qui domine toute la qiiestionr^ Evolu- 
tionists, say their opponents, confound species 
with race, assert of one what is true only of the 
other, pile hypothesis upon hypothesis, and ulti- 
mately deny the reality of species, or see in this 
fundamental group only an artificial combina- 

Morphological and Physiological Species. 

As is evident, we are here again confronted with 
the old question of the reality and permanence of 
species. And, unfortunately, most of the reasoning 
one is asked to follow on the subject is carried on in 
a vicious circle, or is based on assumptions which 
are wholly unwarranted. What is species ? This is a 
question which again comes to the fore. Morpho- 
logically, many of the domesticated pigeons, of 
which Darwin makes mention, notably the pouter, the 
tumbler, the fantail, and the carrier, are so unlike 

* For a masterly presentation of the Marquis de Nadaillac's 
objections against Evolution, see his " Problemede la Vie," and 
•' Le Progres de 1 'Anthropologie," in the Compte Rendu of 
the International Catholic Scientific Congress at Paris, in 1891. 
For a critical examination of his views, see a paper on " Crea- 
tion et fivolution," by Dr. Maisonneuve, in the same Compte 
Rendu, Section of Anthropology, as also a paper entitled, " Pour 
la Theorie des Ancdtres Communs," by the Abbe Guillemet, 
in the Compte Rendu of the same Congress, held at Brussels 
in 1894. 


each other that they would be regarded as belong- 
ing not only to different species, but even to differ- 
ent genera, did we not know that they are all de- 
scended from the ordinary rock pigeon, Columbia 
livia. For these birds, Huxley tells us, " not only 
differ most singularly in size, color, and habit, but in 
the form of the beak and the skull ; in the number 
of tail feathers ; the absolute and relative size of the 
feet ; in the presence or absence of the uropygial 
gland ; in the number of the vertebrae in the back ; 
in short, in precisely those characters in which the 
genera and species of birds differ from one another." 
And so it is with the different races of dogs. Whether 
they are all originally descended from one or more 
species is yet a moot question, although there is 
reason to believe that most, if not all of them, are 
descended from the wolf and the jackal. But be 
this as it may, when we compare the divers races of 
the domestic dog, when we observe how they differ 
in the number of their teeth, toes and vertebrae, and 
note the divergencies in the form and disposition of 
other portions of the body, we see that they are so 
unlike that if found in a state of nature they would 
unhesitatingly be pronounced distinct species. Even 
Cuvier was forced to admit, that the differences in 
the forms of the skulls of certain canine races are so 
great, as to justify one in assigning them to distinct 

What has been said of pigeons and dogs may 
also, in great measure, be iterated in respect of sun- 
dry races of fowls, rabbits, sheep and horses. Mor- 
phologically their differences are so marked, that 


they should be reckoned not only as distinct species, 
but also as distinct genera, but because they are fer- 
tile when crossed inter se, they must be regarded, anti- 
evolutionists insist, as all belonging to one and the 
same species. And for this reason, too, we are told 
that the species of any given organism is to be de- 
termined, not by its form, but by its filiation. Ac- 
cording to this view, therefore, the determining 
characteristic of species is not something morpholog- 
ical, as Tournefort opined, but rather something, as 
Ray and Flourens taught, which is physiological. 

But even physiological species is not the con- 
stant quantity it is represented to be by anti-trans- 
formists. Infertility of species and of their hybrid 
progeny does not constitute the positive line of 
demarcation, so often claimed by the advocates of 
the immutability of specific forms. On the con- 
trary, as Darwin and others have shown, " neither 
sterility nor fertility affords any certain distinction 
between species and varieties." Long-continued 
experiments, of the most ingenious character, have 
demonstrated beyond question that sterility in ani- 
mals is not to be regarded as an indelible charac- 
teristic, but as one capable of being removed by 
domestication. And, observations on numberless 
groups of plants and animals have disclosed the 
remarkable fact, that " the degree of fertility, both 
of first crosses and of hybrids, graduates from zero 
to perfect fertility." 

From the foregoing, then, it is evinced that physi- 
ological species present as many and as grave diffi- 
culties as do morphological species. If it be true, 


as is so often contended, that species have been 
endowed with sterility in order thereby to prevent 
their becoming confounded in nature, why is it that 
we find so many exceptions to what is said to be an 
invariable law? "Why," asks Darwin, "should the 
sterility be so extremely different in degree when 
various species are crossed, all of which we must 
suppose it would be equally important to keep from 
blending together? Why should the degree of 
sterility be innately variable in the individuals of 
the same species ? Why should some species cross 
with facility, and yet produce very sterile hybrids ; 
and other species cross with extreme difficulty, yet 
produce fairly fertile hybrids? Why should there 
often be so great a difference in the result of a re- 
ciprocal cross between the same two species? Why, 
it may even be asked, has the production of hybrids 
been permitted ? To grant to species the special 
power of producing hybrids, and then to stop their 
further propagation by different degrees of sterility, 
not strictly related to the facility of the first union 
between their parents, seems a strange arrange- 
ment." ' 

To show to how great absurdities a too strong 
insistence on physiological species, as an absolute 
criterion as to what is a true species and what is 
but a simple variety, may sometimes lead, I need 
only refer to a large number of groups of flowers, in 
which individuals of a given species can be more 
easily fertilized by pollen from a different plant, or 
even by the pollen of a different species, than by 

' " The Origin of Species," vol. II, p. 17. 


their own pollen. The corydalis cava is a striking 
illustration of this strange phenomenon. Accord- 
ing to Hildebrand, the flowers of this species are 
absolutely incapable of being fecundated by their 
own pollen, and are rendered but imperfectly fertile 
by pollen from other flowers of the same stem. 
They are, however, always perfectly fecundated 
when the pollen is brought from a flower of a differ- 
ent stalk, or from the flower of a closely allied 
species. In this case we are absolutely certain that 
the stamens and carpels of any given flower, came 
from the same seed ; that they have, consequently, 
a common parentage. Wherefore, then, their ste- 
rility ; and why is it that the carpel of the given 
flower can be perfectly fecundated only by pollen 
from the flower of an independent stem, or of a dif- 
ferent species? The only answer which can con- 
sistently be given by anti-evolutionists, who pin 
their faith to the usually-accepted definition of 
physiological species, is that the stamens and car- 
pels, not only of the different flowers of the same 
stem, but also those of the same flower of the given 
stalk, belong to distinct species, and that only the 
stamens and carpels of flowers of independent plants, 
or of different species, belong to the same species. 
It is scarcely necessary to observe that a more 
perfect reductio ad absurdum can hardly be im- 

Strictly speaking, the infertility of hybrids is 
rather an objection against the theory of natural 
selection than against that of Evolution. From 
what is known of the extreme sensitiveness of the 


reproductive system of most forms of life, and of the 
intimate dependence of this system on the organism 
to which it belongs, it appears a priori quite natural 
that species or races, which in the beginning were 
reciprocally fertile, should, in the course of time, 
owing to some change in the conditions of existence, 
or to protracted subjection to different sets of cir- 
cumstances, become completely infertile. Many 
causes have been assigned for this infecundity, but 
the answers given are, it must be confessed, far 
from satisfactory. "He who is able," says Darwin, 
" to explain why the elephant, and a multitude of 
other animals, are incapable of breeding when kept 
under only partial confinement in their native coun- 
try, will be able to explain the primary cause of 
hybrids being so generally sterile. He will, at the 
same time, be able to explain how it is that the races 
of some of our domesticated animals, which have 
often been subjected to new, and not uniform, con- 
ditions, are quite fertile together, although they are 
descended from distinct species which would prob- 
ably have been sterile if originally crossed."* 

True Significance of the Term " Species." 

From what precedes, then, it is manifest that 
whether viewed from the standpoint of morphology, 
or from that of physiology, species is something 
which is extremely vague, and pregnant with diffi- 
culties of all kinds. But it is also equally manifest 
that the sterility of species, and of their hybrid prog- 
eny, is something which establishes different groups 

' Op. cit., p. 28. 


of organisms that require to be designated by a 
special term. Evolutionists are willing to accept the 
term " species," provided, however, it be understood 
that this term does not imply specific immutability 
during all time. That species may be immutable 
during a relatively brief period, or during the time 
it may have been possible to study them, evolution- 
ists are ready to concede, but they decline to admit, 
that because certain forms are known to have been 
permanent for a limited period, they must, therefore, 
have been immutable during an indefinite past time. 
This indefinite immutability is what De Quatrefages 
and his school demand, but it is, as is obvious, a 
simple begging of the question. 

Even more than a third of a century back, the 
eminent comparative anatomist, Richard Owen, al- 
though never in sympathy with the dominant school 
of contemporary Evolution, felt himself constrained 
to write regarding species as follows : " I apprehend 
that few naturalists, nowadays, in describing and 
proposing a name for what they call a new species, 
use that term to signify what was meant by it thirty 
years ago ; that is, an originally distinct creation, 
maintaining its primitive distinction by obstructive 
generative peculiarities. The proposer of the new 
species now intends to state no more than he actu- 
ally knows, as, for example, that the differences on 
which he founds the specific characters are constant 
in individuals of both sexes, so far as observation 
has reached ; and that they are not due to domesti- 
cation, or to artificially superinduced circumstances, 
or to any outward influence within his cognizance ; 


that the species is wild, or is such as it appears in 

Nothing could better illustrate the uncertain 
character of species and the impossibility of distin- 
guishing species from varieties, or one species from 
another species, even when they are widely diverg- 
ent, than certain experiments made some years ago 
by a Russian naturalist, Schmankewitsch, upon a 
species of crustacean known as artemia Muhlhaus- 
enii. Normally, this organism lives in water which 
is slightly saline. By increasing the salinity of the 
water, this experimenter was enabled to transform 
the species in question into an entirely different 
one, artemia salina. Reversing the process, the 
original species was obtained. But this was not all. 
By continuing to diminish the amount of salt in the 
water, a species was finally obtained that was so 
entirely different from the original one, that it had 
previously been regarded as belonging to a distinct 
genus, branchippus. The changes mentioned took 
place slowly, the complete transformation being 
effected only after several generations. And all the 
types here referred to as having been artificially pro- 
duced, were known before, and had always been 
considered as distinct species and genera. Now, 
however, that their genetic relationship has been 
demonstrated, anti-transformists assert that all the 
three forms spoken of are but varieties of one and 
the same species. And so they must assert, for 

' Cf. contribution " On the Osteology of the Chimpanzees 
and Orangs," in the Transactions of the Zoological Societies 
^or 1858. 


otherwise they would be confronted with what 
they have always challenged their opponents to pro- 
duce — a tangible instance of the transmutation of 
species. Here, then, we have another illustration 
of the impossibility of satisfying those who, in 
spite of all evidence to the contrary, persist in af- 
firming specific immutability. They group organ- 
isms into species and genera, in accordance with 
their preconceived notions of species and genus, but 
when it is shown that these organisms are genetic- 
ally related to one another, they hasten to proclaim 
that such forms of life are all only varieties of the 
same species. Such being the case, it is obviously 
impossible to give an experimental proof of Evolu- 
tion, for just the moment that organisms, however 
widely divergent they may appear, are proved to 
be connected by filiation, they are forthwith pro- 
nounced to be but simple varieties, no matter what 
views taxonomists may have previously held regard- 
ing them. Phantom-like, the proof desired vanishes, 
just at the moment it is thought to be established. 
And such, doubtless, will continue to be the case, 
until naturalists shall discover some infallible 
method of distinguishing species, a highly improba- 
ble event, or until they shall be willing to agree that 
species, as ordinarily understood — that is, something 
permanently immutable — has, in nature, no real 

Factors of Evolution. 

In this and the preceding chapters I have con- 
sidered the arguments for and against Evolution in 



general, aside from any of the numerous theories 
which have been advanced to account for the com- 
monly accepted fact of Evolution. But, before 
closing this protracted discussion, it is important, for 
a proper understanding of our subject, to make a 
few brief observations respecting the factors which 
have been operative in the origination and develop- 
ment of species, and to say a few words regarding 
some of the most popular theories concerning the 
modus operandi of Evolution. 

As has incidentally been observed in the forego- 
ing pages, the principal factors of Evolution are: i, 
the ph)7sical environment ; 2, the use or disuse of 
organs ; 3, natural selection. The first two of these 
were recognized by Lamarck ; ' while the third owes 
its prominence to the labors and speculations of 
Charles Darwin. In addition to these three factors, 
two others have attracted some attention, namely, 
sexual selection, suggested by Darwin, and physio- 
logical selection, which was especially insisted on by 
the late Professor Romanes. 

By physical environment are understood, among 
other things, the external conditions of life, such as 
temperature, nature of the soil, humidity, dryness 
and rarity of the atmosphere. That organisms, 
whether animal or vegetable, are markedly affected 
by changes of environment has long been admitted, 
and it suffices here to refer to the well-known results 

* The action of the environment was not unknown to 
Buffon, and hence some of his admirers are wont to speak of 
this factor as " BufFon's factor." It was, however, reserved for 
Lamarck to demonstrate the important role which environment 
plays in causing variation of organic forms. 


of adaptation due to changes of climate. Thus, to 
go no further, '^ pigs with fleece are to be found on 
the cold plateaus of the Cordilleras, sheep with hair 
in the warm valleys of the Madeleine, and hairless 
cattle in the burning plains of Mariquita." That use 
and disuse are factors in Evolution is evinced by 
facts within the experience of everybody, such, for in- 
stance, as the general development of the body of the 
athlete, the highly delicate senses of touch and hear- 
ing of the blind, or the atrophied limb of the paralytic. 

The Lamarckian factors were deemed of little 
importance by Darwin, but recently they have, with 
some modifications, come into special prominence 
in America, and constitute the basis of the new the- 
ory of Neo-Lamarckism. According to Cope and 
Hyatt, two of the most prominent exponents of this 
theory, the Lamarckian factors, especially the activi- 
ties of animals in their constant endeavor to accommo- 
date themselves to their environment, have been the 
chief agencies in producing varieties and species, and 
consequently, the chief agencies also in the Evolu- 
tion of higher from lower forms of life. 

Natural selection, or the "survival of the fittest," 
as Spencer loves to call it, is an abbreviated expres- 
sion for several well-recognized causes of evolution- 
ary change. Among the more prominent of these 
are heredity, variation and struggle for existence. 
Darwin, however, did not teach, as is sometimes 
imagined, that natural selection is the sole factor of 
Evolution, although he did, indeed, contend that it 
is the chief factor. He frankly admitted, especially 
in his later works, that it left much unexplained, and 


that he had at first over-estimated its importance. 
Sexual selection, and the two Lamarckian factors 
just referred to, he always considered as quite sec- 
ondary and subordinate to natural selection. But 
some of Darwin's disciples, notably Wallace, Haeckel, 
and Ray Lankester, attribute a far greater potency 
to natural selection than did Darwin himself, and are 
disposed to regard it as the sole and sufficient cause 
of all organic development. So different, indeed, 
are their views from those of their master, that they 
have given rise to a new school of thought known as 

Evolutionary Theories and Their Difficulties. 

But all the theories of Evolution connected with 
the above-named factors, Lamarckism and Darwin- 
ism, Neo-Lamarckism and Neo-Darwinism, involve 
numerous and grave difficulties, which, so far, have 
not been satisfactorily answered. Thus, it is not 
yet positively demonstrated that the effects of use 
and disuse are inherited. To obtain direct evidence 
of the inheritance of acquired variations of this kind 
has hitherto been attended with insuperable diffi- 
culties. As to natural selection, it labors under dif- 
ficulties which are apparently even more serious, 
and to such an extent is this true, that it may well 
be questioned if there is a single pure Darwinian 
now living. * 

' Many years ago, it -will be remembered, Mivart charac- 
terized natural selection as "a puerile hypothesis." Time seems 
to have confirmed him in his opinion, for in a recent magazine 
article he refers to natural selection as an "absurd and childish 


Why do animals tend to vary? Why do they 
transmit their characteristics to their offspring? 
How can chance, irregular, infinitesimal variations, 
give rise to all the countless species which are known 
to have existed since the dawn of life, and that 
within the interval of time which astronomers and 
physicists are willing to allow? Why, if species 
have originated by minute, indefinite and irregular 
variations, are there not more transitional forms 
than the geological record actually discloses? And 
how can variations be of any avail in the production 
of a new species, if these variations, as seems to be 
the case, are always eliminated by crossing, and if ac- 
quired characters are not transmitted by inheritance? 
Why is it that certain features, which are demon- 
strably useless to the individual, are preserved, and 
how is it that organs which are useful only when 
highly developed, could ever have had a beginning? 
These are but a few of the many questions which 
might be asked, to which the advocates of natural 
selection have not as yet given satisfactory an- 

Many attempts, it is true, have been made to 
overcome the objections against natural selection, 
but the success of all such attempts is still open to 
question. Thus, Moritz Wagner, observing that 
isolation is favorable to the development of varieties, 
formulated his theory of isolation by migration. To 
overcome the difficulty embodied in the slow and 
irregular variations which Darwin postulated, Mivart 
and others have formulated their theory of extraor- 
dinary births. They deny the truth of Leibnitz' 


aphorism, natura non facit saltum, and contend that 
species are always formed by what has been desig- 
nated as saltatory Evolution, that is, Evolution 
which effects such notable change in an organism 
that it is constituted a distinct species from the be- 
ginning. Among the extraordinary births which 
are appealed to as evidence of the existence of sal- 
tatory Evolution, are the Ancon and Mauchamp 
breeds of sheep, Niata cattle, pug dogs, tumbler 
pigeons, hook-bill ducks, and a large number of vege- 
table forms that have suddenly appeared with 
essentially the same characteristic features which 
they now exhibit. ' 

To the objection that we have no evidence that 
wild species ever originate in this way, it is- replied 
that " we have never witnessed the origin of a wild 
species by any process whatever; and if a species 
were to come suddenly into being in a wild state, as 
the Ancon sheep did under domestication, how could 
you ascertain the fact? If the first of a newly- be- 
gotten species were found, the fact of its discovery 
would tell nothing about its origin. Naturalists 
would register it as a very rare species, having been 
only once met with, but they would have no means 

^ The real author of the theory of saltatory Evolution was 
Geoffroy Saint- Hilaire. It has, however, been specially devel- 
oped and supported by such eminent authorities as Mivart, 
Owen, KoUiker, and the Duke of Argyll. Even Huxley is in- 
clined to take a favorable view of it. " We greatly suspect," he 
says, " that she (nature) 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." Mr. Bateson's recent theory of " discontinuous 
variations," is essentially only a modification of the theory of 
saltatory Evolution as held by Mivart and others. 


of knowing whether it were the first or the last of 
its race." 

Regarding the laws governing such extraordinary 
births, Mivart is unable to vouchsafe any informa- 
tion. He is, however, of the opinion, that sufficiently 
numerous instances of such births are known to jus- 
tify one in accepting the theory. If it could be 
demonstrated to be true, it would at once remove 
all the difficulties presented by the lack of geolog- 
ical time, the absence or paucity of transitional forms, 
the origin of rudimentary organs, and the elimina- 
tion of variations by crossing ; difficulties which 
natural selection has been thus far impotent to re- 
move. As is manifest, Mivart's theory does not 
explain the facts it deals with ; it simply refers the 
sudden changes demanded to the action of unknown 
internal forces. This, at bottom, is not unlike the 
theory of the German botanist, Nageli, who would 
account for development by assuming that there ex- 
ists in all organisms an internal tendency towards 
progression. But this is obviously only another way 
of expressing the action of the " perfecting principle " 
of Aristotle, as Darwin's theory of chance variations 
is but a modification of the conjecture of " fortuity 
in nature," of old Empedocles. 

Concerning Weismann's theory of heredity, 
Haeckel's speculations on perigenesis, Jager's notions 
regarding soul-stufif, and Brooks' hypothesis respect- 
ing both heredity and variation, we need say noth- 
ing except that Weismann's theory has many points 
of weakness, that the views of Hseckel and Jager are 
based mostly on fancy, and that the hypothesis of 


Brooks is an attempt to combine the theories of some 
of his predecessors, especially those of Darwin and 

From the preceding paragraphs, therefore, it is 
clear that, as yet, we have no theory of Evolution 
which is competent to coordinate all the facts that 
Evolution is supposed to embrace. Neither singly 
nor collectively do the theories just discussed meet 
the many objections urged against them. All of 
them, doubtless, contain an element of truth, but 
how far they can be relied upon as guides in re- 
search it is still impossible to say. The same may 
be said concerning the so-called factors of Evolution. 
All of them, there is reason to believe, are more or 
less potent in organic development, but it is gener- 
ally admitted that other factors, factors probably 
more important than any of those yet mentioned, 
remain to be discovered before we can properly un- 
derstand the working of Evolution, and account for 
numberless phenomena of the organic world which 
are still involved in mystery. 

The Ideal Theory. 

The discovery of a true, comprehensive, irrefraga- 
ble theory of Evolution ; of a theory of the " or- 
dained becoming " of new species by the operation 
of secondary causes ; of a theory which will admit 
a preconceived progress "towards a foreseen goal;"' 
of a theory which in its " broad features " will disclose 
the unmistakable evidence and the certain impress of 
a Divine intelligence and purpose — this is something 

' Cf. Owen's '• Anatomy of Vertebi-ates," vol. III, ch. xl, 


which still remains to be accomplished, but some- 
thing which can scarcely be realized before many 
years shall have elapsed, and until much serious 
labor shall have been expended on the vast, and as 
yet but partially explored, domain of animated na- 
ture.' Such a theory, when fully worked out, will 
do for biology what the heliocentric theory has 
achieved for astronomy. It will place in the clear 
light of day what is now veiled in darkness, and 
render certain what at present can but vaguely be 
surmised. The lack of this perfected theory, how- 
ever, does not imply that we have not already an 
adequate basis for a rational assent to the theory of 
organic Evolution. By no means. The arguments 
adduced in behalf of Evolution in the preceding 
chapter, are of sufficient weight to give the theory 
a degree of probability which permits of little doubt 
as to its truth. 

Whatever, then, may be said of Lamarckism, 
Darwinism and other theories of Evolution, the 
fact of Evolution, as the evidence now stands, is 
scarcely any longer a matter for controversy. Hence, 
it is the factors which have been operative during 
the long course of organic development, and a 
theory that can be brought into harmony with these 
factors, and which is at the same time in consonance 
with the phenomena observed, that men of science 

* In the American Naturalist for May, 1895, Professor 
Osborn, in concluding an interesting article on the " Search for 
the Unknown Factors of Evolution," pertinently observes : "Mj' 
last word is that we are entering the threshold of the Evolution 
problem instead of standing within its portals. The hardest 
tasks lie before us, not behind us, and their solution will carry 
US well into the twentieth century." 


are now seeking. Whether the divers conjectures 
which at present obtain, regarding the method ac- 
cording to which Evolution has acted in past time, 
and according to which it must still act, be true or 
false, matters little so far as Evolution itself is con- 
cerned. The true, the all-embracing theory, which 
is now the object of the earnest quest of so many 
ardent investigators the world over, and which, as 
Professor Owen believed, should constitute the chief 
end and aim of biological research, is something 
which we must look to the future to supply. And 
when such a theory shall have been elaborated, as 
every advance in science leads us to believe it will 
be, then will it be found to be as superior in sim- 
plicity, beauty and comprehensiveness, to all current 
theories of Evolution, as the grand and far-reaching 
conceptions of Copernicus and Newton are superior 
to the almost forgotten speculations of Ptolemy and 



£lvai yap naa?}s n7.avi]s koi ilievSoSo^ias alriov, to fi^ Svvaadat 
6iaKpiveiVf nij re oXkiffMis ra ovra Koivuvei, kol nfj diEvfyvoxsv. £1 6s fitj 
Kara Siupiafitva tis tov ?.6yov i:(j>o6e{joi, Ayaerai cvyx^as rd re mcva koi 
TO. idia rovTov de yivofihov, els avoSiav koi nAavr/v ifiir'nTTeiv avayKoiov. 

" For the cause of all error and false opinion, is inability to 
distinguish in what respect things are common, and in what re- 
spect they differ. For unless, in things that are distinct, one 
closely watch speech, he will inadvertently confound what is 
common and what is peculiar. And where this takes place, he 
must of necessity fall into pathless tracts and error." 

Clement of Alexandria. — " Stromata." Book VI, chap. x. 






Evolution of the Evolution Theory. 

IN the preceding pages we have considered what 
might be termed the evolution of the theory of 
Evolution. We traced its development from its 
earliest germs, as disclosed in the speculations of 
Hindu and Greek philosophy, and reviewed some of 
the evidence ordinarily adduced in its support, as well 
as the objections which are commonly urged against 
its acceptance. We also adverted to some of the 
many attempted explanations of Evolution, which 
have been proposed since the publication of Darwin's 
" Origin of Species," and noted the wide divergence 
of views which obtains respecting some of the most 
fundamental elements of the theory. We learned 
that the great majority of contemporary scientists_ 
are believers in some theory of organic Evolution ; 
that the controversy is no longer about the fact o7 
Evolution — that being assumed, if not demonstrated — 
but rather regarding the factors which have been 

— (206) _ 


operative in the onward march of animal and vege- 
table life, and the processes which have characterized 
organic development in its divers phases and epochs. 
We may not be prepared to go the same lengths as 
do Spencer, Huxley and Fiske, in the demands which 
they make for Evolution as the one controlling agency 
in the world of phenomena ; we may refuse assent to 
the theories of Darwin, Mivart, Cope, Brooks, Weis- 
mann, Nageli and others ; but it seems difficult, if 
not impossible, to ignore the fact that some kind of 
Evolution has obtained in the formation of the 
material universe, and in the development of the 
divers forms of life with which our earth is peopled. 
The question now is : How are we to envisage 
this process of Evolution, and what limits are we to 
assign to it? Is it as universal in its action as it is 
usually claimed to be, or, is the sphere of its activity 
restricted and confined within certain definite, fixed 
limits, beyond which it may not extend ? And then, 
a far more important question comes to the fore, a 
question to which all that has hitherto been said is 
but a preamble — a long one, it is true, but still only 
a preamble — and that is, how is faith affected by 
Evolution, or, in other words, what is the attitude 
of Dogma towards Evolution ? 

Evolution and Darwinism. ^f\DT 'fkt ^^M/€ 

To this last question various answers have been , 

given, many of them contradictory, more of them f'"^'^ 

absurd, few of them satisfactory or philosophical. -//^y 
All remember the storm that was raised against ^^ 
Darwinism on its first appearance, a few decades 


ago. Darwinism, however, is not Evolution, as is so 
often imagined, but only one of the numerous at- 
tempts which have been made to explain the modus 
operandi of Evolution. Nevertheless, for a long time 
Darwinism and Evolution were regarded as synony- 
mous — as in the popular mind they are still synony- 
mous — even by those who should have been better 
informed. The objections which were advanced 
against Darwinism were urged against Evolution, 
and vice versa. And in most of the controversies 
relating to these topics there was a lamentable, often 
a ridiculous, ignorance of the teachings of the 
Church, and this, more than anything else, accounts 
for the odium theologicum, and the odium scientifi- 
cum, which have been so conspicuous in religious 
and scientific literature during the past third of a 

During the first few years after the publication 
of " The Origin of Species," there were but few, even 
among professed men of science, who did not con- 
demn Darwinism as irreligious in tendency, if not 
distinctly atheistic in principle. "Materialistic" and 
** pantheistic," were, however, the epithets usually 
applied both to Evolution and the theory so pa- 
tiently elaborated by Darwin. Prof. Louis Aga&^ 
siz, as we have already seen, did not hesitate to 
denounce " the transmutation theory as a scientific 
mistake, untrue in its facts, unscientific in its method, 
and mischievous in its tendency." Certain others of 
Darwin's critics characterized his theory as " an acer- 
vation of endless conjectures," as an " utterly rotten 
fabric of guess and speculation," and reprobated his 


"mode of dealing with nature" as "utterly dis- 
honorable to natural science," and as contradict- 
ing "the revealed relation of the creation to its 
Creator." ' 

Darwinism was spoken of as " an attempt to de- 
throne God j" as " the only form of infidelity from 
which Christianity has anything to fear;" as doing 
" open violence to everything which the Creator 
Himself has told us in the Scriptures of the methods 
and results of His work." It was declared to be " a 
dishonoring view of nature;" "a jungle of fanciful 
assumption ;" and those who accepted it were said 
to be "under the frenzied inspiration of the inhaler 
of mephitic gas." " If the Darwinian theory is true," 
averred another, " Genesis is a lie, the whole frame- 
work of the Book of Life falls to pieces, and the 
revelation of God to man, as we Christians know it, 
is a delusion and a snare." 

Evolution naturally shared in the denunciations 
hurled against Darwinism. It was designated as "a 
philosophy of mud;" as "the boldest of all the 
philosophies which have sprung up in our world ; " 
as "a flimsy framework of hypothesis, constructed 
upon imaginary or irrelevant facts, with a complete 

' M.Flourens, perpetual secretary of the French Academy 
of Sciences, thus wrote of Darwin's " Origin of Species,"shortly 
after its appearance : 

" Enfin I'ouvrage de M. Darwin a paru. On ne peut 
qu'6tre frapp6 du talent de I'auteur ; mais que d'idees obscures, 
qued'idees fausses! Quel jargon metaphysique jete mal-a-propos 
dans I'histoire naturelle, qui tombe dans le galimatias des 
qu'elle sort des id^es claires, des idees justes. Quel langage 
pretentieux et vide ! Quelles personifications pueriles et 
surannees! O lucidite ! O solidite de I'esprit franjais, que 


departure from every established canon of scientific 
investigation." It was stigmatized as "flatly op- 
posed to the fundamental doctrine of creation," and as 
discharging God " from the governing of the world." 
The distinguished Canadian geologist, Sir J. W. 
Dawson, in speaking of the subject, affirms that 
" the doctrine [of Evolution] as carried out to its 
logical consequences excludes creation and Theism. 
It may, however, be shown, that even in its more 
modified forms, and when held by men who main- 
tain that they are not atheists, it is practically 
atheistic, because excluding the idea of plan and 
design, and resolving all things into the action of 
unintelligent forces."' 

^^/..^/^^ ^^ 
Evolution, Atheism and Nihilism. ,j ,>^/P y"> 

To judge from the declarations of some of the 
most ardent champions of Evolution, it musX_be ad- 
mitted that orthodoxy had reason to be _at least 
suspicious, of the theory that was heralded forth 
with such pomp and circumstance. For it was 
announced with the loudest flourish of trumpets, 
not only that Evolution is a firmly established doc- 
trine, about whose truth there can no longer be 
any doubt, butjt^was alsq_boldly de clared^ by som e 
o f its most noted exp onents, to be s ubversive of all 
religioji jnd^f all belief_in a Deity . Materialists, 
/atheists, and anarchists the world over, loudly pro- 
y claimed that there is no God, because, they would 
^ have it, science had demonstrated that there is no 

* " Story of the Earth and Man," p. 348. 


longer any raison d'Hre for such a Being. Evolu- 
tion, they claimed, takes the place of creation, and 
eternal, self-existent matter and force exclude an 
omnipotent personal Creator. " God," we are told, 
" is the world, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in 
its being and in its laws, but ever-varying in its cor- 
relations." A glance at the works of Haeckel, Vogt, 
Biichner, and others of this school, is sufficient to 
prove how radical and rabid are the views of these 
*' advanced thinkers." 

It is in accordance with the spirit of such teach- 
ing that " science," as Caro observes, "conducts God 
with honor to its frontiers, thanking Him for His 
provisional services." It is such science that de- 
clares that " faith in a personal and living God is 
the origin and fundamental cause of our miserable 
social condition ; " and that advances such views as 
these ; " The true road to liberty, to equality, and to 
happiness, is Atheism. No safety on earth, so long 
as man holds on by a thread to heaven. Let noth- 
ing henceforth shackle the spontaneity of the hu- 
man mind. Let us teach man that there is no other 
God than himself; that he is the Alpha and Omega 
of all things, the superior being, and the most real 

It was in consequence of the circulation of such 
views among the masses, that Virchow and others 
declared Evolution responsible, not only for the at- 
tempts made by Hodel and Nobeling on the life of 
the emperor of Germany, but also for all the miser- 
ies and horrors of the Paris Commune. For the 
theory of Evolution, in its atheistic form, is one of 


the cardinal tenets of nihilists, and their device is : 
"Neither God, nor master," Ni Dieu, ni maitre. 
It is at the bottom of the philosophy of the Krapot- 
kins and R^clus, who " see in the hive and the 
ant-hill the only fundamental rule of right and 
wrong, although bees destroy one class of their 
number and ants are as warlike as Zulus," And we 
all remember how Vaillant, the bomb-thrower in the 
Chamber of Deputies, boastfully posed as the logical 
executant of the ideas of the Darwins and the 
Spencers, whose teachings, he contended, he was but 
carrying out to their legitimate conclusions.* 

Evolution and Faith. ^ ^ 1 1 " r ' / 

But all evolutionists have not entertained, and 
do not entertain, the same opinions as those just 
mentioned. America's great botanist. Prof. Asa 
Gray, was not so minded. One of the earliest and 
most valiant defenders of Darwinism, as well as a 
professed Christian believer, he maintained that 
there is nothing in Evolution, or Darwinism, which 
is incompatible with Theism. In an interesting 
chapter on Evolution and Theology, in his " Dar- 
winiana,"' he gives it as his opinion, arrived at after 
long consideration, that " Mr. Darwin has no atheis- 
tical intent, and that, as respects the test question 
of design in nature, his view may be made clear to 
the theological mind by likening it to that of the 

* Ravachol, another dynamitard, of the same school as 
Vaillant, confessed on his way to the guillotine : *^Si favais cru 
en Dicti, je n' aurais fait ce que fai faitT 


'believer in general, but not in particular, Provi- 
dence.'" So far, indeed, was Darwin from having 
any " atheistical intent," that when interrogated re- 
garding certain of his religious views he replied: "In 
my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an 
atheist in the sense of denying the existence of 
God." ' And the late Dr. McCosh declared, that he 
had " never been able to see that religion, and in 
particular that Scripture, in which our religion is 
embodied, is concerned with the absolute immuta- 
bility of species." * 

The Rev. Doctor Pohle thus expresses himself 
in an able and interesting article on Darwinism and 
Theism : " I feel bound to confess that I never 
could prevail upon myself to believe, that Darwinism 
contains nothing short of a hot-bed of infidelity and 
iniquity, brought into a system, and is, therefore, 
irreconcilable on principle with a sincere and pious 
belief in a First Cause and Designer of the world." * 

The illustrious Dominican confer encier. Father 
Monsabr^, records it as his opinion that the theory 
of Evolution, " far from compromising the orthodox 
belief in the creative action of God, reduces this 
action to a small number of transcendent acts, more 
.in conformity with the unity of the Divine plan and 
the infinite wisdom of the Almighty, who knows 
how to employ secondary causes to attain his 
ends." * This is in keeping with the view of the dis- 

^" Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," vol. I, p. 274. 
*"The Religious Aspect of Evolution," p. 27. 
^American Ecclesiastical Reviev.\ Sept. 1892; p. 163. 
* " L'fivolution des Especes Organiques, par le Pere M. D. 
Leroy, O. P.," p. 4. 


tinguished German Catholic writer, Doctor C. Giitt- 
ler, who asserts that " Darwin has eliminated neither 
the concept of creation, nor that of design ; that, on 
the contrary, he has ennobled both the one and the 
other. He does not remove teleology, but merely 
puts it farther back." ' 

Evolution and Science. — 

But there are yet others to be heard from. Ac- 
cording to Huxley, who is an avowed agnostic, the 
*' doctrine of Evolution is neither anti-theistic nor 
theistic. It simply has no more to do with Theism 
than the first book of Euclid has." " It will be ob- 
served that with Huxley, Evolution is neither a hy- 
pothesis nor a theory, but a doctrine. So is it with 
many others of its advocates. It is no longer some- 
thing whose truth may be questioned, but something 
which has been established permanently on the solid 
foundation of facts. It has, we are assured, success- 
fully withstood all the ordeals of observation and 
experiment, and is now to be counted among those 
acquisitions of science which admit of positive dem- 
onstration. Thus, a few years ago, in an address be- 
fore the American Association for the Advancement 

' " Lorenz Oken und sein Verhaltniss zur modernen Ent- 
wickelungslehre," p. 129. 

" Transformismus Darwinianus," declares the Rev. J. Cor- 
luy, S. J., "dicendus est sensui Scripturse obvio contradicere, 
non tamen aperte textui sacro adversari ; tacet enim Scriptura 
tnodum quo terra varietatetn illam specierum produxerit, an 
statim an decursu temporum, an cum specierum firmitate an 
cum relativa duntaxat. Sed et de sensu disputari posset quern 
Scriptura hie assignet nomini 7 ''tp," Min., " Specilegium Dog- 
matico-Biblicum," torn. I, p. 198. 

* " Life and Letters of Darwin," vol. I, p. 556. 


of Science, Prof. Marsh said : " I need offer no argu- 
ment for Evolution, since to doubt Evolution is to 
doubt science, and science is only another name for 
truth." " The theory of Evolution," writes M. Ch. 
Martins, in the Revue de Deux Mondes, " links to- 
gether all the questions of natural history, as the 
laws of Newton have connected all the movements 
of the heavenly bodies. This theory has all the 
characters of Newtonian laws." Prof. Joseph Le 
Conte, however, goes much further : '* We are con- 
fident," he declares, "that Evolution is absolutely 
certain, not indeed Evolution as a special theory — 
Lamarckian, Darwinian, Spencerian — but Evolution 
as a law of derivation of forms from previous forms ; 
Evolution as a law of continuity, as a universal law 
of becoming. In this sense it is not only certain, it 
is axiomatic." ' 

Ignorance of Terms. 

But, wherefore, it may be asked, have we such 
diverse and conflicting opinions regarding the nature 
and tendency of Evolution ? Why is it that some 
still persist in considering it a *' flimsy hypothesis," 
while others as stoutly maintain that it is a firmly 
established doctrine? Why is it that some believe 
it to be neutral and indifferent, so far as faith is con- 
cerned, and others find in its tenets illustrations and 
corroborations of many of the truths of Dogma ; that 
there are so many who see, or fancy they see in it, 
the negation of God, the destruction of religion, and 
the subversion of all order, social and political? 

' "Evolution, and Its Relation to Religious Thought," p, 65. 


These are questions which are frequently asked, 
and that press themselves upon even the most su- 
perficial reader. Are they insoluble? Must they 
be relegated forever to the domain of paradox and 
mystery, or is there even a partial explanation to be 
offered for such clashing opinions and such glaring 
contradictions ? With all due deference to the judg- 
ment of those who see nothing good in Evolution, 
nothing which must not incontinently be con- 
demned as false and iniquitous, I think that the 
enigma may be solved, and that it may be shown 
that the contradictions, as is usually the case in such 
matters, are due mostly, if not wholly, to an ignoratio 
elenchi^ a misapprehension of terms, or to a delibe- 
rate intention of exploiting a pet theory at the ex- 
pense of religion and Dogma, which are ostenta- 
tiously repudiated as based on superstition and 

The two words most frequently misunderstood 
and misemployed are " creation " and " nature." 
They are of constant occurrence in all scientific 
treatises, but no one who is not familiar with the 
writings of modern evolutionists has any conception 
of the extent to which these terms are misapplied. 
For this reason, therefore, it is well, before proceed- 
ing further, briefly to indicate the meaning which 
Catholic theology attaches to these much-abused 

Materialism and Dualism. 

From the earliest times, the dogma of creation 
has been a stumbling-block to certain students of 


science and philosophy. The doctrines, however, 
which have met with most general acceptance re- 
garding the origin and constitution of the universe, 
can be reduced to a few typical and comprehensive 

First of all, comes the Materialism of Leucippus 
and Democritus, of Heraclitus and of Empedocles, 
of Epicurus and the philosophers of the Ionian 
school. The only reality they recogniz ed was matter. 
Simple atoms, infinite in number, eternal and uncre- 
ated, moving eternally ij) a ym4mfiniteln^xteiit,_are, 
of themselves, the only postulate demanded byjnate^^ 
rialists to explain thejiniverse and all thephenom- 
ena whic h it exhibits. It excludes the intervention 
ofan intelligent cause, and attributes all life and 
thought to the mere interaction of the ultimate 
atoms of brute matter. Morality, according to this 
teaching, is but " a form of the morality of pleasure," 
religion is the outcome of fear and superstition, and 
God the name of a being who has no existence out- 
side of the imaginations of the ignorant and the self- 

Materialism, as is obvious, is but another name 
for Atheism, and is a blank negation of creatjon^s 
well as of God. " Rigorously speaking," as M. 
Caro well observes, " Materialism has no history, 
or, at least, its history is so little varied that it can 
be given in a few lines. Under what form soever it 
presents itself, it is immediately recognized by the 
absolute simplicity of the solutions which it proposes. 
Contemporary Materialism has in nowise changed 
the framework of this philo.sophy of twenty centuries' 


standing. It has never deviated from its original 
program ; it has but been enriched with scientific 
notions ; it has been transformed in appearance only, 
by being surcharged with the data, the views, the 
hypotheses, infinite in number, which are the out- 
growth of the physical, chemical, and physiological 
sciences. Democritus would easily recognize his 
teaching, if he were to read the works of M. Buch- 
ner ; even the language used has undergone but a 
trifling change.'" Indeed, "the history of Material- 
ism," as has well been remarked, " may be reduced 
to indicating the influence which it has exercised at 
divers epochs, and to recording the names of its 
most famous representatives." 

The advocates of Dualism, like the defenders of 
Materialism, taught the eternity of matter, but in 
addition to eternal, uncreated matter, recognized the 
existence of a personal God. Many of the philoso- 
phers of antiquity, who escaped the errors of Mate- 
rialism and Pantheism, fell headlong into those of 
Dualism, which possessed as many forms as Proteus 
himself. Thus, the Manicheans asserted the exist- 
ence of two principles, one good, the other evil ; 
the former, the creator of souls, the latter, the crea- 
tor of bodies. According to the gnostics, the world 
is the work of the angels, and not the immediate re- 
sult of Divine creative action. Even according to 
J. Stuart Mill, matter is uncreated and eternal. God, 
he will have it, but fashioned the universe out of 
self-existent material, and far from being the Crea- 

* " Le Mat^rialisme et la Science," p. 136. 


tor of the world, in the strict acceptation of the 
term, is but its architect and builder. 

Both Materialism and Dualism are one in assert- 
ing the eternity of matter. Materialism, however, 
is atheistic, in that it excludes a Creator, while Dual- 
ism, although rejecting creation, properly so called, 
admits the existence of a Supreme Being. But 
God, according to dualists, is little more than a 
demiurge. He is powerful, but not omnipotent. 
The eternal, self-existent matter which is postulated, 
and which exists outside of God, rebels against His 
action, and becomes a cosmic power against which 
He is powerless. ' / 

Pantheism. - /^^^ d/Z'^^/^cfK J 

Pantheism is the opposite of Materialism. Ac- 
cording to the latter, as we have seen, everything 
is matter; according to the former, as the word 
indicates, everything is God. The finite and the 
infinite ; the contingent and the necessary ; beings, 
which appear in time, and God, who is from eternity, 
are, according to the teachings of pantheists, but dif- 
ferent aspects of the same existence. Whether we 
consider the emanation of the Brahmans, the Pan- 
theism of the Eleatics, or that of the neo-Platonists 
of Alexandria, or that of Spinoza, Fichte, Schelling 
and Hegel, the doctrines so taught issue in the nega- 
tion of creation as well as in the negation of the 
true nature of God. For to predicate, in what 
manner soever, an identity of God with the world, 
or to conceive God as the material principle, or the 
primal matter, from which everything emanates, as 
pantheists do, is to negative completely not only 



the Christian idea of God, a Being eternal, spiritual 
in substance, and distinct from the world in reality 
and essence, but also the Christian and the only true 
idea of creation. 

Having briefly adverted to some of the principal 
philosophical doctrines which exclude creation in 
the Christian and Scriptural sense, and having given 
a hasty glance at some of the more widely-spread 
errors respecting the nature of the Creator and His 
creatures, we are now prepared to consider the 
teachings of Catholic philosophy and theology as 
to creation, and as to the origin and nature of the 
material universe. 

' <^-^^'"^ Dogrma'; of Creation, "^/^ff ))if^ -f-k^ r^C'^i'<k>i 

Creation, in its strictest sense, is the production, /j-jj^/^m 
by God, of something from nothing. The universe 
and all it contains was called into existence ex nihilo, 
by an act of the Creator, which was not only super- 
natural, but also absolute and free. It was, there- 
fore, in no wise formed from preexisting material, 
for none existed, nor by any emanation from the 
Divine substance. God alone is necessary and 
eternal ; the world of matter and the world of spirit, 
outside of God, are contingent, and have their exist- 
ence in time. But, notwithstanding that the nature 
of the world of created things is finite, and entirely 
different from the Divine nature, which alone is in- 
finite and necessary, nevertheless, all the creatures 
of God have a real existence, although limited in 
its duration and dependent entirely on Divine 
Providence for its continuance. 


A secondary meaning of the word " creation," is 
the formation, by God, of something from preexist- 
ing material. This is the natural action of God in 
the ordaining or administering of the world, as dis- 
tinguished from the supernatural act of absolute 
creation from nothing. In this sense God is said to 
create derivatively, or by the agency of secondary 
causes. He creates potentially ; that is, He gives to 
matter the power of producing or evolving, under 
suitable conditions, all the manifold forms it may 
ever assume. In the beginning He created matter 
directly and absolutely, once for all ; but to the mat- 
ter thus created He added certain natural forces — 
what St. Augustine calls rationes seminales — and put 
it under the action of certain laws, which we call 
" the laws of nature." Through the operation of 
these laws, and in virtue of the powers conferred on 
matter in the beginning, God produces indirectly, 
derivatively, by the operation of secondary causes, 
all the various forms which matter may subsequently 
assume, and all the divers phenomena of the phys- 
ical universe. 

In another sense, also, the word " creation " may 
be employed, as when we speak of the creations of 
genius, or refer to creations of Raphael, Michael 
Angelo, or Brunelleschi. In these cases, the work 
of the artist or of the architect consists simply in 
making use of the laws, and powers and materials of 
nature, in such wise as to effect a change in form or 
condition. The action of the intelligent agents in 
this case being natural, but more than physical, may 
conveniently be designated as hyperphysical. 


With hyperphysical creation we shall have little 
to do. Our chief concern will be with absolute, or 
direct creation, and with secondary or derivative 
creation, both of which are so often misunder- 
stood and confounded, if not positively denied. It 
would, indeed, seem that the sole aim and purpose 
of a certain school of modern scientists, is to discover 
some means of evading the mystery of creation. For 
they not only deny creation, but also deny its possi- 
bility, and all this because they, with "the fool," per- 
sist in saying in their hearts " There is no God." So 
great, indeed, is their hatred of the words " Creator" 
and " creation," that they would, if possible, obliter- 
ate them from the dictionary, and consign all works 
containing them to eternal oblivion. * 

The Vatican Council on Creation. — ^^'^ Hyj)/i^ 

For a clear and succinct statement of Catholic 
doctrine, in respect of God as Creator of all things, 
as well for an expression of the Church regarding the 
errors of Materialism and Pantheism now so rife, we 
can have nothing better or more pertinent to our pres- 
ent subject than the constitution and canons of the 
Vatican Council: De Deo Rerum Omnium Creator e. 

The " Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic 
Faith," in reference to " God, the Creator of all 
things," reads as follows : " The Holy Catholic 
Apostolic Roman Church believes and confesses, that 

' " In properly scientific works," sajs Buchner, who de- 
clares that '' science must necessarily be atheistic," " the word 
[God] will seldom be met with ; for, in scientific matters the 
word 'God' is only another expression for our ignorance." 
" Man in the Past, Present, and Future," p. 329. 


. there is one true and living God, Creator and Lord 
of heaven and earth, Almighty, Eternal, Immense, 
Incomprehensible, Infinite, in intelligence, in will, 
and in all perfection, who, as being one, sole, abso- 
lutely simple and immutable spiritual substance, is 
to be declared as really and essentially distinct from 
the world, of supreme beatitude in and from Him- 
self, and ineffably exalted above all things which 
exist, or are conceivable, except Himself. 

" This one only true God, of His own goodness 
and Almighty power, not for the increase or acquire- 
ment of His own happiness, but to manifest His 
perfection by the blessings which He bestows on 
creatures, and with absolute freedom of counsel, 
created out of nothing, from the very beginning of 
time, both the spiritual and the corporeal creature, 
to wit, the angelical and the mundane, and afterward 
the human nature, as partaking in a sense of both, 
consisting of spirit and body." 

But the canons of the Council relating to God 
as Creator of all things, are, if anything, stronger 
and more explicit than what precedes. 

They are as follows : 

**i. If anyone shall deny one true God, Creator 
and Lord of things visible and invisible , let him be 
' -^ anathema. 

" 2. If anyone shall not be ashamed to affirm 
that, except matter, nothing exists; let him be 

" 3. If anyone shall say that the substance and 
essence of God and of all things is one and the same ; 
let him be anathema. 


" 4. If anyone shall say that infinite things, both 
corporeal and spiritual, or at least spiritual, have 
emanated from the Divine substance ; or that the 
Divine Essence by the manifestation and evolution 
of Itself becomes all things ; or lastly, that God is 
universal or indefinite being, which by determining 
itself constitutes the universality of things, distinct 
according to genera, species and individuals ; let him 
be anathema. 

" 5. If anyone confess not that the world and all 
things which are contained in it, both spiritual and 
material, have been, in their whole substance, pro- 
duced by God out of nothing ; or shall say that 
God created, not by His will free from all necessity, 
but by a necessity equal to the necessity whereby 
He loves Himself ; or shall deny that the world was 
made for the glory of God ; let him be anathema." 

We have here in a nutshell the Catholic doctrine 
of creation, as well as an authoritative pronounce- 
ment, which cannot be mistaken, respecting the 
attitude of the Church towards the Atheism, Mate- 
rialism and Pantheism which have infected so many 
minds in our time, and exerted such a blighting 
influence on contemporary science. 

Meaning of the Word " Nature." 

Knowing, now, in what sense we may interpret 
the word " creation," in what sense it must be under- 
stood according to Catholic teaching, we next pro- 
ceed to the discussion of the word " nature," about 
which so much crass ignorance prevails, even among 


those who employ it most frequently, and whom it 
behooves to have clear ideas as to its import. 

" Nature " is frequently employed to designate 
" the material and spiritual universe as distinguished 
from the Creator ; " to indicate the " world of sub- 
stance whose laws are cause and effect ; " or to 
signalize " the aggregate of the powers and proper- 
ties of all things." It is used to signify " the forces 
or processes of the material world, conceived as an 
agency intermediate between the Creator and the 
world, producing all organisms, and preserving the 
regular order of things." In this sense it is often 
personified and made to embody the old gnostic 
notion of a demiurge, or an archon ; a subordinate, 
creative deity who evolved from chaos the corporeal 
and animated world, but was inferior to the infinite 
God, the Creator of the world of spirits. It is made 
to refer to the " original, wild, undomesticated con- 
dition of an animal or a plant," or to " the primitive 
condition of man antecedent to institutions, espe- 
cially to political institutions," as when, for instance, 
we speak of animals and plants being found, or men 
living in a state of nature. It likewise distinguishes 
that which is conformed to truth and reality " from 
that which is forced, artificial, conventional, or re- 
mote from actual experience." 

These are only a few of the many meanings of 
the word " nature," and yet they are quite sufficient 
to show us how important it is that we should al- 
ways be on our guard lest the term, so often ambig- 
uous and so easily misapplied, lead us into grave 
mistakes, if not dangerous errors. In works on nat- 


ural and physical science, where the word " nature " 
is of such frequent occurrence, and where it pos- 
sesses such diverse meanings, having often different 
significations in a single paragraph, there is a special 
danger of misconception. Here, unless particular 
attention be given to the changed meanings of the 
term, it becomes a cloak for the most specious fal- 
lacies, and a prolific source of the most extravagant 

Any one of the diverse meanings of the word" na- 
ture," as just given, is liable to be misconstrued by 
the unwary. But the chief source of mischief with 
incautious readers arises from the habit scientific 
writers have, of indiscriminately personifying nature 
on all occasions ; of speaking of it as if it were a single 
and distinct entity, producing all the various phe- 
nomena of the visible universe, and of referring to 
it as one of the causes that " fabricate this corporeal 
and sensible world ; " as a kind of an independent 
deity " which, being full of reasons and powers, 
orders and presides over all mundane affairs." 

When poets personify nature there is no danger 
of misconception. In their case the figurative use 
of the term is allowed and expected. Thus, when 
Bryant tells us that nature speaks "a various lan- 
guage," or when he bids us — 

" Go forth under the open sky, and list 
To nature's teachings ; " 
or when Longfellow declares that — 

"No tears 
Dim the sweet look that nature wears," 
we understand at once that " nature " is but a 



poetical fiction ; and that the term is to be inter- 
preted in a metaphorical and not in a literal sense. 

With naturalists, however, and philosophers, who 
are supposed to employ a more exact terminology, 
such a figurative use of language cannot fail, with 
the generality of readers, to be both misleading and 

Darwin, and writers of his school, are continually 
telling us of the useful variety of animals and plants 
given to man " by the hand of ' nature,' " and recount- 
ing how " 'nature' selects only 'for the good of the 
being which she tends,' " how " every selected char- 
acter is fully exercised by her," and how " natural 
selection entails divergence of character and ex- 
tinction of less improved forms." Huxley loves to 
dilate on how " ' nature ' supplied the club-mosses 
which made coal," how she invests carbonic acid, 
water, and ammonia " in new forms of life, feeding 
with them the plants that now live." He assures 
us that ** thrifty * nature,' surely no prodigal ! but 
the most notable of housekeepers," is " never in a 
hurry, and seems to have had always before her 
eyes the adage, ' Keep a thing long enough, and you 
will find a use for it ; ' " that " it was only the other 
day, so to speak, that she turned a new creature 
out of her workshop, who, by degrees, acquired 
sufficient wits to make a fire." 

Nature and God. 

Now, there is no doubt but that all these quota- 
tions can be understood in an orthodox sense, but 
the fact, nevertheless, remains, that they are not 


always so construed, and for the simple reason that 
both the writers from whom these citations are 
made, are avowed agnostics. So far as Huxley and 
Darwin are concerned, there may be a personal God, 
the Creator of the universe ; but, they will have it, 
there is no evidence of the existence of such a Be- 
ing. On the contrary, according to their theory, 
there is nothing but matter and motion, and if they 
do not, like King Lear, say: "Thou, nature, art 
my goddess," their teachings tend to incline others 
to the belief that there does really exist an entity 
subordinate to God, if not independent of Him, 
that produces all existing phenomena, not only in 
the world of matter, but also in the world of spirit. 

It is, then, against this constant misuse of the 
word "nature," and especially against the many 
false theories which are based on the misapprehen- 
sion of its true significance, that it behooves us to 
be constantly on our guard. Errors of the most 
dangerous character creep in under the cover of am- 
biguous phraseology, and the poison of false doc- 
trine is unconsciously imbibed, even by the most 
cautious. We may, if we will, personify nature, but, 
if we do so, let it not be forgotten that nature, with 
all her powers and processes, is but a creature of 
Omnipotence ; that far from being merely an in- 
ward, self-organizing, plastic life in matter, inde- 
pendent of God, as was asserted by the hylozoist, 
Strato of Lampsacus, nature, as good old Chaucer 
phrases it, is but " the vicar of the Almightie Lord." 

" What else," asks Seneca, " is nature, but God, 
and a certain Divine purpose manifested in the world? 


You may, at pleasure, call this Author of the world 
by another name." ' Again, in referring to the Deity, 
under the name of Jupiter, he inquires, "Wilt thou 
call Him nature? Thou wilt not sin. For it is from 
Him that all things are born, and by whose Spirit 
we live."* All this, and more, is affirmed with equal 
beauty and terseness by the " Christian Cicero," Lac- 
tantius: "If nature," he asks, "does all that she 
is said to do ; if she everywhere displays evidences 
of power, intelligence, design, wisdom ; why call her 
nature, and not God?"° 

Having explained the meaning of the words 
"creation," and "nature," we are now prepared to 
consider the subject of Evolution in relation to the 
teachings of faith. Here, however, we must again 
distinguish, and explain. There are evolutionists, and 
evolutionists. There are evolutionists who give us 
in a new guise the old errors of Atheism, Materialism 
and Pantheism ; there are others who assert that our 
knowledge is confined to the phenomenal world, and 
that, consequently, we can know nothing about the 

* " Quid enim aliud est natura quam Deus et di\ ina ratio toti 
mundo et partibus ejus inserta ? Quoties voles, tibi licet aliter 
hunc auctorem rerum nostrarum compellare." Seneca, " De 
Beneficiis." Lib. IV, chap. i. 

*" Vis ilium naturam vocare ? non peccabis. Est enim ex 
quo nata sunt omnia, cujus Spiritu vivimus." " Natural. Qusest." 
Lib. n. 

'" Natura, quam veluti matrem esse reruni putant, si men- 
tem non habet, nihil efficiet umquam, nihil molietur. Ubi enim 
non est cogitatio, nee motus est ullus ; nee efficacia. Si autem 
concilio suo utitur ad incipiendum aliquid, ratione ad disponen- 
dum, arte ad efficiendum, virtute ad consummandum, potestate 
ad regendum, et eontinendum, cur natura potius quam Deus 
nominetur." " De Ira Dei," cap. x. 


absolute and the unconditioned ; and there are 
others still, who contend that Evolution is not incon- 
sistent with Theism, and maintain that we can hold 
all the cardinal principles of Evolution without sac- 
rificing a single jot or tittle of Dogma or revelation. 
For the sake of simplicity, we shall designate 
these three classes of evolutionists as: i, monists ; 2, 
agnostics ; and 3, theists. Their doctrines are clearly 
differentiated, and naturally distinguish three schools 
of contemporary thought, known respectively as: i, 
Monism ; 2, Agnosticism ; and 3, Theism. This is 
the most convenient and comprehensive grouping 
we can give, of the tenets of the leading representa- 
tives of modern science and philosophy, and, at the 
same time, the most logical and satisfactory. In 
order to secure as great exactness, and make my ex- 9^ 
position as concrete and tangible as possible, I shall, 
when feasible, allow the chief exponents of Monism, ' 
Agnosticism, and Theism, to speak for themselves^ 
and to present their views in their own words. This 
will insure not only greater accuracy, but will also be 
fairer, and more in keeping with the plan I have fol- 
fowed in the preceding pages. 



Hseckel and Monism. 

HISTORICALLY considered, Monism, as a sys- 
tem of philosophy, is as old as speculative 
thought. It has, however, had various and even 
contradictory meanings. Etymologically, it indi- 
cates a system of thought, which refers all phenom- 
ena of the spiritual and physical worlds to a single 
principle. We have, accordingly, idealistic Monism, 
which makes matter and all its phenomena but 
modifications of mind ; materialistic Monism, which 
resolves everything into matter ; and, finally, the 
system of those who conceive of a substance that 
is neither mind nor matter, but is the underlying 
principle or substantial ground of both. In each 
and all of its forms. Monism is opposed to the phil- 
osophical Dualism which recognizes two principles — 
matter and spirit. 

The Monism, however, with which we have to 
deal here, is not the idealism of Spinoza, Berkeley, 
Hume, Hegel or Schopenhauer, nor the atheistic 
Materialism of D'Holbach and La Mettrie, which 
was but a modified form of Epicureanism, but rather 
a later development of these errors. An outgrowth 
of recent speculations in the natural and physical 



sciences, its origin is to be traced to certain hypoth- 
eses connected with some of the manifold modern 
theories of Evolution. 

The universally-acknowledged protagonist of con- 
temporary Monism is Ernst Haeckel, professor of 
biology in the University of Jena. He is often 
called " the German Darwin," and is regarded, with 
Darwin and Wallace, as one of the founders of the 
theory of organic Evolution. From the first appear- 
ance of Darwin's " Origin of Species," he has been 
a strong and persistent advocate of the development 
theory, and did more than anyone else to popularize 
it in Germany and throughout the continent of 
Europe. He has, however, gone much further than 
the English naturalist, in his inductions from the 
premises supplied by the originator of the theory of 
natural selection. He draws conclusions from Dar- 
winism at which many of its advocates stand aghast, 
and which, if carried out in practice, would not only 
subvert, religion and morahty, but would sap the 
very foundations of civilized society. Anti-monists, 
of course, contend that Haeckel's conclusions are 
not valid, and that there is nothing either in Dar- 
winism, or Evolution, when properly understood, 
which warrants the dread inductions which have 
been drawn from them by the Jena naturalist. 

To understand the nature of Haeckel's doctrines, 
and to appreciate the secret of his influence, we 
must consider him in a three-fold capacity — as a 
scientist, as a philosopher, and as the hierophant 
of a new form of religion, " the religion of the 


Haeckel as a Scientist. 

As a scientist, especially as a biologist, he deserv- 
edly occupies a high place. Of unquestioned ability, 
of untiring industry, and of remarkable talent for 
original research, he is distinguished also for a cer- 
tain intrepidity and assertiveness in promulgating 
his views, which have given him, not only a reputa- 
tion, but a notoriety which is world-wide. His best 
work, probably, has been done in connection with his 
investigations of some of the lower forms of life, 
especially the protista, the radiolaria, and the calca- 
reous sponges. His researches in this direction would 
alone have been sufficient to make him famous in 
the world of science. But concerning these researches 
the general public knows little or nothing. The 
works of Haeckel which have made his name familiar 
the world over, are his popular expositions of evolu- 
tionary doctrines, viz., his '* Natiirliche Schopfungs- 
geschichte," or " Natural History of Creation," and 
"Anthropogenie,"or " Evolution of Man." In these 
works, his chief endeavor is to present the theory of 
Evolution in a popular form, and to give the evi- 
dences on which it is founded. 

Haeckel's Nature-Philosophy, 

But he does more than this. Not satisfied with 
being an expounder of the truths of science, he 
promulgates views on philosophy and religion which 
are as radical as they are irrational. He appears not 
only as a professor of biology, but poses as the 
founder of a new school of philosophy, and as the 
high-priest of a new system of religion. He commits 


the error into which so many have fallen, of con- 
founding the methods of metaphysics with those of 
experimental science, and of mistaking a priori rea- 
soning for strict inductive proof. 

The name which Haeckel gives his nature-philos- 
ophy, as he loves to call it, is, as already stated. Mon- 
ism. The word " Monism " is often attributed to the 
Jena professor, but erroneously, as it was coined by 
Wolf long before. Haeckel has, however, given it a 
new meaning, and the one which is now generally 
understood when Monism is in question. He has, 
as he tells us, chosen this term so as to eliminate the 
errors attaching to Theism, Spiritualism, and Mate- 
rialism, as well as to the Positivism of Comte, the 
Synthetism of Spencer, the Cosmism of Fiske, and 
other like evolutionary systems of philosophy. But 
here I shall let Haeckel speak for himself. 

In his " Evolution of Man," ' he declares that 
" this mechanical or monistic philosophy asserts that 
everywhere the phenomena of human life, as well as 
those of external nature, are under the control of 
fixed and unalterable laws ; that there is everywhere 
a necessary causal connection between phenomena, 
and that, accordingly, the whole knowable universe 
forms one undivided whole, a * monon.' It further 
asserts that all phenomena are produced by mechan- 
ical causes, causa efficientes, not by prearranged, pur- 
posive causes, causes ^na/es. Hence, there is no such 
thing as ' free-will ' in the usual sense. On the con- 
trary, in the light of this monistic conception of 
nature, even those phenomena which we have been 

1 Vol. II, p. 455. 


accustomed to regard as most free and independent, 
the expressions of the human will, appear as subject 
to fixed laws as any other natural phenomenon. In- 
deed, each unprejudiced and searching test applied 
to the action of our free will, shows that the latter is 
never really free, but is always determined by pre- 
vious causal conditions, which are eventually refera- 
ble either to heredity or to adaptation. Accordingly, 
we cannot assent to the popular distinction between 
nature and spirit. Spirit exists everywhere in nature, 
and we know of no spirit outside of nature." Else- 
where, he tells us that " unitary philosophy, or Mon- 
ism, is neither extremely materialistic, nor extremely 
spiritualistic, but resembles rather a union and com- 
bination of these opposed principles, in that it con- 
ceives all nature as one whole, and nowhere recog- 
nizes any but mechanical causes. Binary philosophy, 
on the other hand, or Dualism, regards nature and 
spirit, matter and force, inorganic and organic na- 
ture, as distinct and independent existences." * 

Again, he assures us that the theory of develop- 
ment of Darwin must, " if carried out logically, lead 
us to the monistic, or mechanical, causal, conception 
of the universe. In opposition to the dualistic, or 
teleological conception of nature, our theory con- 
siders organic, as well as inorganic bodies, to be the 
necessary products of natural forces. It does not 
see in every species of animal and plant the em- 
bodied thought of a personal Creator, but the ex- 
pression, for the time being, of a necessarily active 
cause, that is, of a mechanical cause, causa efficiens. 

^ Op. cit., vol. II, p 461. 


Where teleological Dualism seeks the thoughts of a 
capricious Creator in the miracles of creation, causal 
Monism finds in the process of development the 
necessary effects of eternal, immutable laws of 

Five Propositions of Hseckel. 

These quotations would seem to be sufficiently 
explicit, but Haeckel, not satisfied with such gen- 
eral statements, has been pleased to lay down five 
theses, respecting the theory of Evolution, which ad- 
mit neither doubt nor ambiguity. They are worded 
as follows : 

1. " The general doctrine [of Evolution] appears 
to be already unassailably founded. 

2. " Thereby every supernatural creation is com- 
pletely excluded. 

3. " Transformism and the theory of descent are 
inseparable constituent parts of the doctrine of Evo- 

4. "The necessary consequence of this last con- 
clusion is the descent of man from a series of verte- 

5. " The belief in an ' immortal soul,' and. in * a 
personal God * are therewith — i. e., with the four pre- 
ceding statements — completely ununitable \ydllig 
unvereinbar\y * 

Such, then, in brief compass, is Monism as ex- 
pounded by its latest and most applauded doctor 
and prophet. Such is Haeckelism, about which so 

* " History of Creation," vol. I, p. 34. 

'"Evolution in Science, Philosophy and Art," p. 454 


much is said, but concerning which there is so little 
accurate knowledge. As is manifest from the above 
five propositions, it is but a neologistic formulation 
of old errors ; a recrudescence, in modern scientific 
terminology, of the teachings of the Ionian and 
Greek materialistic schools ; a rechauffe of the well- 
known atomic theory of Leucippus and Democritus 
of Abdera ; a mixtum compositum of science, philoso- 
phy and theology ; an olla podrida compounded of 
the most glaring errors and absurdities of Atheism, 
Materialism and Pantheism, ancient and modern. 

God, and the Soul. 

God, according to Haeckel, is but a useless hy- 
pothesis. A personal *' Creator is only an idealized 
organism, endowed with human attributes ; a gross 
anthropomorphic conception, corresponding with a 
low animal stage of development of the human or- 
ganism." Haeckel's idea of God, an idea which, he 
assures us, " belongs to the future," is the idea which 
was expressed by Giordano Bruno when he asserted 
that : "A spirit exists in all things, and no body is so 
small but contains a part of the Divine substance 
within itself, by which it is animated." In the words 
of one of Haeckel's school, the true God is the 
totality of the correlated universe, the Divine reality, 
and there is, therefore, "no possible room for an 
extra-mundane God, a ghost, or a spook, anyway or 

The atom, eternal and uncreated, is the sole God 
of the monist. Haeckel's atom, however, is not the 
atom of the chemist — an infinitesimally small par- 


tide of inorganic matter, the smallest constituent 
part of a molecule. It is far more. It is a living 
thing, endowed not only with life but also possessed 
of a soul. And this is no mere hypothesis with 
him. It is, he will have it, a demonstrated doctrine, 
an established fact. "An atom soul," "a molecule 
soul," " a carbon soul," are among the first corollar- 
ies of Monism, which, one of its advocates tells us, 
is now " irrefragable, invincible, inexpugnable." 

Organic and Inorganic Matter. 

There is, in Haeckel's estimation, no essential dif- 
ference between inorganic and organic matter; no 
impassable chasm between brute and animated sub- 
stance. All vital phenomena, especially the funda- 
mental phenomena of nutrition and propagation, are 
but physico-chemical processes, identical in kind 
with, although differing in degree from, those which 
obtain in the formation of crystals and ordinary 
chemical compounds. Like D'Holbach, he identifies 
mental operations with physical movements; and, 
like Robinet, he attributes the moral sense to the 
action of special nerve-fibres. His Weltseele is not 
like that of Schelling, a spiritual principle or intelli- 
gence, but a blind unconscious force which always 
accompanies, and is inseparably connected with, 

According to his views, sensation is a product of 
matter in movement, and consciousness is but a 
summation of the rudimentary feeling of ultimate 
sentient atoms. The genesis of mind is thus en- 
tirely a mechanical process, and the conceptions of 


genius are but the result of the clash of atoms and 
the impact of molecules. Intellectual work is the 
correlative of certain brain-waves ; thrills of grati- 
tude, and love of friends and country, are mere 
oscillations of infinitesimal particles of brute matter. 
Pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, are the direct 
product of vibratory motion, and the difference in 
the nature of these emotions arises solely from the 
difference in the character of the generating shakes 
and quivers. Like Cabanis, Haeckel makes thought 
a secretion of the brain, and holds, with Vogt, that 
the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile. 
With Moleschott, he would assert that thought is 
dependent on phosphorus, and with Biichner he 
would declare it to be a product of nervous elec- 
tricity. In the words of Caro, he teaches that : " In 
matter, resides the principle of movement ; in move- 
ment, is the reason of life ; in life, is the reason of 
thought." Hence, in returning to the first term of 
the series, we observe that thought and life are only 
forms of movement, which is the original inherent 
property of eternal matter.' 

With Hugo, Haeckel would exclaim : 

'• Learn that everything knows its law, its end, 
its way ; . . . 

That everything in creation has consciousness. 

Winds, waves, flames, 

Trees, reeds, rocks, all are alive I All have 
souls ... 

Compassionate the prisoner, but compassionate 

the bolt ; 

* "Le Materialisme et la Science," p. ii6. 


Compassionate the chain, in dark, unhealthy prisons ; 
The axe and the block are two doleful beings, 
The axe suffers as much as the body, the block 
as much as the head." ' 

The Religion of the Future. 

Such, in brief outline, are the leading conclu- 
sions of Haeckel's teachings in science and philoso- 
phy. What, now, are his views on religion ? For his 
friends and disciples assert that he is not only a 
great scientist, and a great philosopher, but that he 
is also to be saluted as the prophet and high-priest 
of the religion of science, which means, we are 
assured, the religion of the future. According to a 
recent exponent of Haeckelism, " We find the reli- 
gious history of our race to consist of a gradual Evo- 
lution of its leading peoples from a broad base of 
general Animism and Fetichism, thence to astrology, 
thence to Polytheism, thence to Monotheism, and 
thence to Scientism, expressed chiefly to us in the 
Pantheism of Goethe, the Positivism of Comte, the 
Synthetism of Spencer, the Cosmism of Fiske, and 
finally by the Monism of Haeckel."" His new form 

■" Sache que tout connait sa loi, son but, sa route ; . . 
Que tout a conscience en la creation ... 

Vents, ondes, flamines, 

Arbres, roseaux, rochers, tout vit ! Tout est plein d'ames. 
Ayez pitie ! Voyez ames dans les choses . . . 
Plaignez le prisonnier, mais plaignez le verrou ; 
Plaignez la chaine au fond des bagnes insalubres ; 
La bache et le billot sont deux fitres lugubres ; 
La hache souflfre autant que le corps, le billot 
Souffre autant que la tfite." 

" Les Contemplations." Tom. II, p. 315. 
*" Evolution in Science, Philosophy and Art," p. 41. 


of religion, we are told, " rises above all religions as 
the culmination of all. If anything can be, it is, the 
universal faith," and this because " it is based upon 
verified science." 

Truth to tell, however, Haeckel's own views con- 
cerning religion are as crude and as extravagant as 
many of his expressed opinions respecting philoso- 
phy and science. The monistic religion of nature, 
he informs us, " which we should regard as the ver- 
itable religion of the future, is not, as are all the 
religions of the churches, in contradiction, but in 
harmony with a rational knowledge of nature. 
While the latter have no other source than illusions 
and superstitions, the former reposes on truth and 
science. Simple, natural religion, based on a per- 
fect knowledge of nature and its inexhaustible 
treasure of revelations, will, in the future, impress on 
Evolution a seal of nobility, which the religious 
dogmas of divers peoples have been incapable of 
giving it. For these dogmas rest on a blind faith in 
obscure mysteries, and in mythical revelations formu- 
lated by priestly castes. Our epoch, which shall 
have had the glory of achieving the most brilliant 
result of human research, the doctrine of Evolution, 
will be celebrated in coming ages as having inaugu- 
rated a new and fecund era for the progress of 
humanity; an era characterized by the triumph 
of freedom of investigation over the domination of 
authority, through the noble and puissant influence 
of monistic philosophy." ' 

"' Schopfungsgeschichte,'' 7th edition, p. 6S1. 


This brief extract from Haeckel's inept state- 
ments about religion, concerning which, it is mani- 
fest, he is crassly ignorant, will relieve us from the ne- 
cessity of following further this trumpeted reformer 
of religion and omniscient seer of Monism. It would 
be difficult to collect together, in the same space, a 
greater number of misstatements of fact, more glar- 
ing absurdities, or more preposterous propositions, 
than those contained in the foregoing quotation 
from one of his best-known and most popular works. 
I shall not attempt categorically to refute his errors 
of history and philosophy, of science and theology, 
as this is beyond the scope of the present work. 
Neither shall I waste time in indicating wherein he 
has put himself, especially in matters of theology 
and religion, against the unanimous teaching of the 
saints and sages of all time. A mere presentation 
of his errors, in a clear light and in bold relief, is a 
sufficient, if not the best refutation, for all reasona- 
ble men. Haeckel's vagaries but emphasize once 
more a fact which has often been signalized — the 
danger incurred by specialists, particularly by mere 
physicists and biologists, when they attempt to dis- 
cuss matters of which they are not only ignorant, 
but which are entirely foreign to their ordinary trend 
of thought, and when they pass the frontiers with 
which they may be familiar, and, entering upon a do- 
main of knowledge with which they are entirely unac- 
quainted, seek the discussion of topics for which both 
their temper and education totally disqualify them. 

Such a congeries of errors, scientific, philosophic 
and theologic, error personified, as it were, as that 


which we have just been contemplating, forcibly re- 
minds one of the words of the Mantuan bard when 
he describes the giant Polyphemus, whose solitary 
orb was burnt out by Hercules, 

•* Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui 
lumen ademptum.'" 

But if Haeckel is the accomplished biologist he is 
reputed to be, if he is one of the leading representa- 
tives of contemporary science, and even his enemies 
will not deny that he is all this, how comes it, it 
will be asked, that he has fallen into so many errors 
and that he has so many enthusiastic followers? 

• " A frightful, misshapen, huge monster deprived of 

In his latest work, " The Confession of Faith of a Man of 
Science," Hreckel gives expression to absurdities which are 
almost incredible. It would, indeed, seem impossible that any 
sane man, much less one who pretends to be a leader in science 
and philosophy, should be guilty of such utterances as the 
following : 

" The Monistic idea . . . can never recognize in 
God a 'personal being,' or, in other words, an individual of 
limited extension in space, or even of human form. . . . 
Every atom is . . . animated, and so is the ether ; we might, 
therefore, represent God as the infinite sum of all natural forces, 
the sum of all atomic forces, and all ether vibrations. . . . 
• Homotheism,' the anthropomorphic representation of God, de- 
grades this loftiest cosmic idea to that of a gaseous vertebrate." 
Pp. 78-79. 

Again, on p. 92 of the same work, he says : " As the simpler 
occurrences of inorganic nature, and the more complicated phe- 
nomena of organic life, are alike reducible to the same natural 
forces, and as, further, these in their turn have their foundation 
in a simple primal principle pervading infinite space, we can 
regard this last [the cosmic ether] as all-comprehending Divin- 
ity, and upon this found the thesis : ' Belief in God is recon- 
cilable with science.' " 

Similar unphilosophical language, to use no stronger terms, 
is found in " The Religion of Science," by Paul Carus, the 
chief trumpet and propagandist of Hseckelism in the United 


For those who are familiar with the life-work of 
the Jena professor, and know how blindly the multi- 
tude follow one who is looked upon as an authority 
in science, how prone they are to hero worship, ther? 
will be no diflficulty in answering those questions and 
in reconciling what are, at least, apparent contradic- 

Haeckers Limitations. 

Haeckel, no one questions it, has achieved de- 
served eminence in his chosen field of work. But 
Hjeckel is a specialist, an ardent specialist, and his 
limitations are very strongly marked. As a student 
of the lower forms of life, to which he has devoted 
the greater portion of his time, he has probably no 
superior, and but few peers. But the very ardor with 
which he has cultivated science, and forced every- 
thing to corroborate a pet theory, has made him one- 
sided and circumscribed in his views of the cosmos 
as a whole, so as practically to incapacitate him for 
the discussion of general questions of science and 
philosophy, and much more those of theology. 
Like all specialists, he suffers from intellectual my- 
opia, and it is almost inevitable that such should be 
the case. He examines everything as he would a 
microbe or a speck of protoplasm, under the ob- 
jective of his microscope. He applies the methods 
of induction to questions of metaphysics, and con- 
founds the principles of metaphysics with the data of 
experimental science. The result, as might be an- 
ticipated, is to " make confusion worse confounded." 
For such a one, the only cure is a broader knowledge 
and a rigid and systematic drill in the fundamental 


rules of dialectics. Verily, for a specialist afflicted 
as Haeckel is, and he is but a type of the majority 
of specialists, it behooves him to purge — 

" With euphrasy and rue 
The visual nerve, for he hath much to see." 

But is this the sole explanation of the manifold 
errors into which the German naturalist has lapsed, 
and will this account for his false declamation against 
religion, and his vehement denunciation of the Church, 
and of what she regards as most sacred ? It is to be 
feared not. There is more than simple antipathy in 
his case. There is downright hatred. Only on this 
assumption can we explain the use of the violent and 
blasphemous language which is of such frequent 
occurrence in his more popular works. 

As to the reading public, their position is not 
difficult to understand. They are, as it were, hyp- 
notized, by what a German writer, Wiegand, aptly 
designates, " the confused movement of the mind of 
our age," and are, so far as their ability to think and 
judge for themselves goes, in a state of chronic cata- 
lepsy. They mistake assertions for proof, theories 
for science, and regard a conglomeration of neolo- 
gisms, which explain nothing, as so much veritable 

Verbal Jugglery, 

The secret of Haeckel's prestige and influence 
with his readers, is not due simply to the extent of 
his information in his special line of study, nortothe 
astonishing mass and variety of facts which he dis- 
cusses and compares, but rather to his manner of 


presenting facts, and to his adroitness in drawing the 
conclusions which suit him,whether such conclusions 
are warranted by the facts or not. With Haeckel, 
especially when treating of his favorite topics, Evo- 
lution and Monism, the wish is always father to the 
thought, and he has a way of convincing his readers 
that he is right, even when they have reason to suspect, 
if they are not certain, that he is positively wrong. 

One of the chief reasons for Haeckel's success as 
a theorist, is to be found in the fact that he is an ex- 
pert in verbal jugglery, and a consummate master in 
the art of sophistry. Whether his use of sophism is in- 
tentional or not, is not for me to say. It does, how- 
ever, seem almost incredible, that anyone endowed 
with ordinary reasoning powers could unconsciously 
fall into so great, and so frequent, errors of logic, as 
may be seen on almost every page of Haeckel's evo- 
lutionary works. He possesses in an eminent de- 
gree, as has been well said of him, what a French 
prestidigitator declared to be the leading principle of 
legerdemain, viz., "the art of making things appear 
and disappear." This is true. What Robert Houdin 
is among conjurers, that is Haeckel among what the 
Germans call the " nature-philosophers " of the pres- 
ent generation. 

A striking illustration of adroitness in verbal 
jugglery is given in his genealogy of man. In his 
genealogical tree Haeckel recognizes twenty-two 
"form-stages," through which he traces human an- 
cestry from monad to man, from the beginning of the 
Laurentian to the Quaternary Period, when homo 
sapiens first appeared on this planet. 


In accordance with his theory of Monism, 
Haeckel, as might be supposed, is a strenuous advo- 
cate of spontaneous generation, to which he gives 
the new names, plasmogeny and autogeny. His 
chief reason for believing in autogeny is, that if we 
do not do so, we must beheve in creation and a Crea- 
tor, which, according to his notions, is both anti- 
scientific and anti-philosophical. 

The first product of spontaneous generation was 
the moneron, a simple unicellular, structureless bit 
of slime or protoplasm, or, as Haeckel himself de- 
scribes it, a form of life of such extreme simplicity as 
to deserve to be called an " organism without or- 
gans." It is due to the action of some natural force, 
heat, electricity, or what not, on brute matter, and is 
not only the simplest form of life that can exist, but 
also the simplest form conceivable. No one, it is 
true, has ever seen a moneron, not even Haeckel 
himself. But this matters not. The moneron, if it 
did not exist, should have existed — because theory 
demands it. 

To confirm his views regarding this first form- 
stage of the human ancestral line, Haeckel appeals to 
the famous bathybins, over which Huxley and him- 
self went into such ecstasies for awhile, but which 
eventually proved to be as imaginary as the moneron 

The immediate successor of the monera in the 
phylogeny of man were the amoebae. These differed 
from the former in having a nucleus in the cell-sub- 
stance or protoplasm. Both these stages existed as 
simple individuals. They were, however, succeeded 


by what are termed amoeboid communities, ** simple 
societies of homogeneous, undifferentiated cells." 
Under the action of a favorable environment, these 
amoebae developed into various larval or gastrula 
forms, and these, in turn, by the action of inherent 
forces, evolved into worms, and into animals similar 
to our modern sea-squirts, lancelets, lampreys, sharks 
and mud-fish. The mud-fish, or its prototype, a 
kind of salamander fish, was followed by animals 
nearly related to existing sirens, axolotls, and by a 
cross between tailed amphibians and beaked ani- 
mals, the precursor of the monotremata. The next 
in the order of succession were marsupials or pouched 
animals, semi-apes ; tailed, narrow-nosed apes ; tail- 
less, narrow-nosed apes, or men-like apes ; speechless 
men, or ape-like men ; and finally, as the culmination 
of all, the crown and glory of the genealogical tree, 
whose germ was but a simple speck of slime, or plas- 
son, we have homo sapietis — man, dowered with the 
power of reason and articulate speech.' 

The twenty-two parent forms of the human an- 
cestral line indicated by Haeckel are, we are assured, 
but a few of those which actually existed. They are 

' In marked contrast with the atheistic, mechanical theory 
of Haeckel are the views entertained by Darwin's great rival, 
Alfred Russel Wallace. Writing in his " Darwinism," chap. 
XV., of " the introduction of sensation or consciousness," as 
"constituting the fundamental distinction between the animal 
and vegetable kingdoms," he expresses himself as follows : 
" Here, all idea of mere complication of structure producing the 
result is out of the question. We feel it to be altogether prepos- 
terous to assume, that at a certain stage of complexity of atomic 
constitution, and as a necessary result of that complexity alone, 
an ego should start into existence — a thing that feels, that is 
conscious of its own ejfistence, Here we have the certainty that 


given only as typical stages, and are far from com- 
plete. In reality, instead of being only a score in 
number, there were thousands and tens of thousands 
of transitional forms, intermediate between the first 
moneron and primitive man. 

I have said that the existence of the first form of 
life indicated in this genealogical tree is purely imag- 
inary. So, likewise, are many others. So far as 
paleontology teaches, fully ten of the twenty-two 
groups mentioned by Haeckel are unknown as fossils, 
while a number of the others do not, so far as our 
present knowledge extends, belong to the periods to 
which he assigns them. But this matters not. Se 
non i vero e ben trovato. If the facts required for the 
support of the theory do not exist, they must be 
manufactured. And if facts are found which contra- 
vene the theory which has been elaborated with such 
care, tant pis pour les faits. The facts must be 
wrong, because, forsooth, the theory is right. 

something new has arisen — a being whose nascent consciousness 
has gone on increasing in power and definiteness till it has 
culminated in the higher animals. No verbal explanation or 
attempt at explanation — such as the statement that life is the re- 
sult of the molecular forces of the protoplasm, or that the whole 
existing organic universe from amoeba up to man was latent in 
the fire-mist from which the solar system was developed — can 
afford any mental satisfaction, or help in anj' way to a solution 
of the mj'stery." 

Referring to the origin of man he concludes : " We thus 
find that the Darwinian theory, even when carried out to its ex- 
treme logical conclusion, not only does not oppose, but lends a 
decided support to a belief in the spiritual nature of man. It 
shows us how a man's body may have been developed from that 
of a lower animal form under the law of natural selection ; but 
it also teaches us, that we possess intellectual and moral facul- 
ties which could not have been so developed, but must have had 
another origin ; and for this origin we only find an adequate 
cause in the unseen universe of spirit." 


False Analogy. 

Some of the most striking and characteristic of 
Haeckel's methods of ratiocination are specially dis- 
played in the foregoing attempt to outline the 
genealogy of our species. Among these may be 
noted the fallacy of regarding analogous processes as 
identical. Thus, to his mind the development of 
the individual animal — man, for instance — from a 
simple germ, is but a repetition within a short space 
of time of what has actually occurred in the develop- 
ment of the species. Embryological facts in the 
life-history of the individual animal, ontogenesis, are 
considered as corresponding exactly with those which 
must have characterized phylogenesis, or the devel- 
opment of any species in geological time. The 
former being open to observation and study, while 
the latter are not, the facts which must have ob- 
tained in phylogeny are inferred from the known 
facts of ontogeny. 

This fallacy of false analogy is one into which 
Haeckel is constantly lapsing, and one, therefore, 
against which the reader must always be on the 
alert. But it is by no means peculiar to Haeckel 
alone. It is a frequent occurrence in most of our 
current scientific literature, and has probably been 
more productive of error than any other one form of 
sophism. Instead of being employed in its strict 
sense, as it should always be used in science and 
philosophy, analogy is taken most loosely or given 
a meaning it will not bear. In lieu of being under- 
stood to imply a similarity of relations, which is its 


proper and specific meaning, it is used to signify 
essential resemblance, which is wholly inexact. 

In order that the argument of analogy should be 
valid, the data given should be identical, and should 
refer to two different classes of beings viewed under 
the same bearings. When this is the case, the iden- 
tical data given may be regarded as premises, from 
which conclusions may be drawn applicable to both 
classes of beings. Until, therefore, Haeckel and his 
school can demonstrate, that the causes which have 
operated and the conditions which have prevailed 
in phylogeny, are identical with those which exist 
in respect of ontogeny, his argument is inconclusive, 
if not worthless, and the theories based on his as- 
sumptions are at best but simple hypotheses and 
should be so considered. ' 

The suppositions which he continually makes, 
and the postulates which everywhere abound in 
his writings, show the looseness of his reasoning and 
the flimsiness of the structure which he has reared 
with such a flourish of trumpets, and to which he 
points with such evident feelings of arrogant exalta- 
tion. On almost every page of his " Evolution of 
Man," and his " History of Creation," we find such 
phrases as " there can be no doubt ;" " which may 

^ It is not my purpose to minimize the force or plausibilit}' 
of the argument in favor of Evolution which is based on the 
teachings of embryology. On the contrary, I am quite willing to 
accept the argument for what it is worth, and in the earlier part 
of this work I have endeavored to present it as fairly as possible 
within a brief compass. The facts of embryology may justify- 
the conclusions which evolutionists draw from them, but so far 
there is no positive evidence that such is the case. The argu- 
ment fropi analogy may, in this particular instance, be warrant- 


safely be regarded;" "as is now very generally 
acknowledged ;" " we can with more or less certainty 
recognize ;"" it might be argued;" "a conception 
which seems quite allowable ;" " we can, therefore, 
assume ;" " we may assert ;" " this justifies the con- 
clusion ;" and numberless others of similar import, 
which, like the paraphernalia of the magician, are 
designed to perplex and deceive. Attention, how- 
ever, to the matter under discussion, will always re- 
veal the imposture in Haeckel's case, and disclose the 
fact that his plausible statements are often nothing 
more than rhetorical artifices and tricks of dialectics ; 
the reasonings of a special pleader who has before 
his mind but one aim, to give vraisemblance to an 
assumption that cannot be substantiated by fact. 

Understanding his methods of reasoning, and the 
reckless manner in which he draws conclusions not 
contained in the premises, we need not be surprised 
to have Haeckel tell us, as he does in his fanciful 
pedigree of man, that we must " regard the am- 
phioxus with special veneration, as that animal which 
alone, of all extant animals, can enable us to form an 
approximate conception of our earliest Silurian verte- 
brate ancestors." Neither need we be surprised, 
because we know the man's flippancy and cynicism, 

ed, but this remains to be demonstrated. What I take excep- 
tion to in Hicckel's argumentation are, the exaggerated impor- 
tance he attaches to faint or imaginary resemblances, and his 
continual attribution to the argument from analogy of a value 
which it rarely, and which, as he ordinarily uses it, it never 
possesses and never can possess. As usually employed in 
biology, analogical reasoning can at best afford us nothing more 
than probability ; Haeckel would have his readers believe, in the 
instances referred to, that it gives physical certainty, which it is 
very far from doing. 


when he declares that " the amphioxus, skull-less, 
brainless and memberless as it is, deserves all re- 
spect as being of our own flesh and blood," and that 
this same brainless creature " has better right to be 
an object of profoundest admiration and devoutest 
reverence, than any of that worthless rabble of so- 
called 'saints,' in whose honor our 'civilized and en- 
lightened ' cultured nations erect temples and decree 


Type of a Class. 

But we need not follow further the Jena profes- 
sor in his extravagant speculations and his wild dia- 
tribes against religion and Christian philosophy. He 
has already been given more attention than his work 
deserves. He is, however, a type of a class, and of 
quite a large class of scientific men who hold sim- 
ilar views, and who reason in a similar manner. The 
saying, ab uno disce omnes, is specially applicable here, 
because to know one, and, especially, to know the 
leader, is to know all. The methods of all those be- 
longing to the school of which Haeckel is such an 
outspoken exponent are identical. They are all ex- 
perts in the " art of making things appear and dis- 
appear," and if not as adroit as their master in the use 
of sophism, they are, nevertheless, able to deceive 
the unwary and thus accomplish untold mischief. 

Considering the nature of the teachings of Mon- 
ism, it is not surprising that Haeckel and his school 
should have such a multitude of adherents and sym- 
pathizers as they are known to have. 

"In the troublous times in which we live," ob- 
serves the distinguished savant, the Marquis de 


Nadaillac, " and in the midst of the confusion of ideas 
of which we are the sorrowful witnesses, human pride 
has attained proportions hitherto unknown. Science 
has become more dogmatic and more imperious than 
was ever theology. It counts, by thousands, adepts 
who speak Avith emphasis of modern science, with- 
out very often knowing the first word about it. But 
I am mistaken — they have been taught that modern 
science is the negation of creation, the negation of 
the Creator. God belongs to the old regime; the 
idea of his justice weighs heavily on our enervated 
consciences. Accordingly, when a hypothesis, or a 
discovery, seems to contravene Christian beliefs, it is 
accepted without reflection and promulgated with 
inexplicable confidence. It is in this fact, rather 
than in its scientific value, that we must seek the 
raison d'etre of transformism." ' 

But probably no better explanation could be 
given of the confusion and perplexity which now 
reign supreme, especially among the masses, in mat- 
•ters of science, philosophy and theology, than is ex- 
pressed by the old Epicurean poet when he affirms : 

" Omnia enim stolidei magis admirantur amantque, 
Inversis quae sub verbis latitantia cernunt ; 
Veraque constituunt, quae belle tangere possunt 
Aureis, et lepido quae sunt fucata sonore." * 

* " Le Probleme de la Vie," p. 64, et seq. 

*" For fools rather admire and delight in all things which 
they see hid under inversions and intricacies of words, and con- 
sider those assertions to be truths which have power to touch 
the ear agreeably, and which are disguised with pleasantness of 
sound." Lucretius, " De Rerum Natura," Lib. I, 642-45. 


Nature and Scope of Agnosticism. 

A MORE popular form of error than Monism, or 
scientific Atheism, and one which is more 
wide-spread and devastating in its effects, is the new- 
fangled system, if system it can be called, known as 
Agnosticism. To the superficial student it is not 
without color of plausibility, and by concealing the 
objectionable and repulsive features of Monism, it 
now counts more adherents, probably, than any 
other form of scientific error. 

Like Monism, Agnosticism is a system of thought 
which has allied itself with the theory of Evolution, 
from which, as ordinarily understood, it is insepara- 
ble. Like Monism, it is a mixtum compositum of sci- 
ence, philosophy and theology, in which science 
and Evolution are predominant factors. And, like 
Monism, too, it is a new name for an old form of 
error. Unlike Monism, however, Agnosticism af- 
fects to suspend judgment, where Monism makes a 
positive assertion, or enters a point-blank denial. In 
many questions of fundamental importance, Agnos- 
ticism is ostensibly nothing more than simple doubt, 
or gentle skepticism, while Monism is always arro- 
gant, downright affirmation, or negation. In its 


A GNos Tic/sM Aisfb k Vol trtloN. 25b 

ultimate analysis, however, Agnosticism as well as 
Monism issues in a practical denial of a personal 
God, the Creator of the universe, and relegates 
Providence, the immortality of the soul, and the 
moral responsibility of man to a Divine Being, to 
the region of fiction. 

Again, Agnosticism, like Monism,, is peculiarly 
and essentially the product of a combination and a 
succession of causes and conditions. As no one 
individual can be pointed to as the: father of Mon- 
ism, so no one person can be singled out as the 
founder of Agnosticism. Both may have, and have 
had, their recognized exponents ; both, like a Greek 
drama, have their choragi and coryphei, but these 
exponents, these choragi and coryphei, are not spon- 
taneous growths. They do not, Minerva-like, leap 
suddenly into the intellectual arena, fully developed 
and armed cap-a-pie. On the contrary, they are 
the product of their environment, as affected by a 
series of antecedent factors and influences. They 
had their predecessors and prototypes; those who 
planted the seeds which lay dormant until new con- 
ditions favored germination and development. Then 
the fruit contained in the germ was made manifest, 
and the poison which had been so surreptitiously 
instilled, was discovered when it was too late to 
administer an antidote. 

The word "agnostic" was invented by the late 
Prof. Huxley in 1869. He took it from St. Paul's 
mention, in the Acts of the Apostles, of the altar 
erected by the Athenians " to the unknown God," 
dpxoffrat »9ec5, and, to the inventor's great satisfaction, 


the term took, and soon found a recognized position 
in the languages of all civilized nations.' 

Late Developments of Agnosticism. 

As a creed, or system of philosophy, Huxley 
derives Agnosticism from the teachings of Kant, 
Hume and Sir William Hamilton. At an early age 
his mind, he informs us, " steadily gravitated towards 
the conclusion " of Kant, who aflfirms, in his " Kritik 
der reinen Vernunft," that " the greatest and per- 
haps the sole use of all philosophy of pure reason is, 
after all, merely negative, since it serves not as an 
organon for the enlargement (of knowledge), but as 

' Father Clarke, S. J., in a note to an interesting series of 
articles on Agnosticism in The Month , for June, July and 
August, 1882, declares that the term Agnosticism is " an impos- 
tor from the Greek vocahulary," and further that " the analogy 
of other Greek formations is fatal to its claims of recognition." 
" The word Agnosticism," he tells us, " is founded on a false 
analogy to Gnosticism. Gnosticism is the doctrine of those 
who are yvu<mKot, men professing yvum^, or knowledge. In the 
same way Agnosticism would be the doctrine of ayvuariKol, or 
those who profess ayvuaia, or ignorance. But ayvoxniKos is an im- 
possible Greek word. The Greeks never prefix the privitive a, 
or av, to the adjective expressing the possession of a faculty 
to indicate its absence. If we are reminded of ansesthetic, 
avaiadrjTiKds, as formed on the analogy of agnostic, we answer (i) 
that it is not a classical Greek word at all ; (2) that it means not 
men who profess want of perception, but that which tends to 
destroy perception. By a parity of reasoning, agnostic would 
mean that which tends to destroy or banish knowledge. In this 
sense we admit the appropriateness of the name." 

"Greek philosophers," says Max Miiller, "called it [Agnos- 
ticism] with a technical name, Agnoia, or if they wished to 
express the proper attitude of mind towards transcendental ques- 
tions, they called it Epoche, i. e., suspense of judgment. Dur- 
ing the Middle Ages, exactly the same idea which now goes by 
the name of Agnosticism, was well known as Docta Ignorantia, 
i. e., the ignorance founded on the knowledge of our ignorance 
or impotence to grasp anything beyond what is phenomenal." 
See Nineteenth Century^ for Dec, 1894, pp. 892-95. 


a discipline for its delimitation ; and instead of 
discovering truth, has only the modest merit of 
preventing error." 

The writings of " that prince of agnostics," David 
Hume, and Sir William Hamilton's essay on The 
Philosophy of the Unconditioned, confirmed Hux- 
ley in this view, and stamped upon his mind " the 
strong conviction that, on even the most solemn 
and important questions, men are apt to take cun- 
ning phrases for answers; and that the limitations 
of our faculties, in a great number of cases, render 
real answers to such questions, not merely actually 
impossible, but theoretically inconceivable." ' 

Huxley, however, although the coiner of the 
word Agnosticism, and one of its most zealous and 
popular exponents, is not its coryphaeus. This posi- 
tion is held by the philosopher of " the unknowa- 
ble," Herbert Spencer, who has done far more than 
any other one person to establish what might be 
called a school of agnostic philosophy. When it is 
remembered that Spencer is likewise the philosopher 
of Evolution, "our great philosopher," as Darwin 
calls him, we can see what an intimate connection 
there must be between Evolution, as a scientific 
theory, and Agnosticism as a system of philosophy. 

But if Spencer is the coryphaeus of modern 
Agnosticism, who was his choragus, who was the 
teacher and the fautor-in-chief, of the system of 
thought which he has developed at such length in 
his numerous volumes on science and philosophy ? 

'Collected Essays," by T. H. Huxley, vol. V, p. 236. 



Strange as it may appear, Spencer's master was 
none other than an Anglican divine, whose ortho- 
doxy an-d loyalty to the established church of Eng- 
land were never suspected, and who, at the time of 
his death, held the honorable position of dean of St. 
Paul's, London. The name of this divine was Dean 
Mansel, one of the most distinguished theologians 
and metaphysicians of England in the latter half of 
the nineteenth century. 

The germs of modern Agnosticism, according to 
Spencer's showing, are unequivocally contained in 
Mansel's Bampton " Lectures on the Limits of Re- 
ligious Thought," delivered in the University of 
Oxford in 1859. ^" ^"^ sentence he stated by im- 
plication, if not directly, all that Spencer has devel- 
oped in his " First Principles," and supplied, as it 
were, the charter for all the extreme forms of Agnos- 
ticism which have had such a vogue during the past 
generation, and whose progress has been marked 
with such dire results to faith, not only in Great 
Britain, but also throughout the entire Christian 

" Of the nature and attributes of God in his infi- 
nite being, philosophy," asserts Mansel, " can tell us 
nothing ; of man's inability to apprehend that na- 
ture, and why he is thus unable, she tells us all that 
we can know, and all that we need to know." ' 

God being thus separated from His creatures by 
an impassable gulf, it is useless for us to attempt to 
investigate His nature and attributes. No knowledge 
that we can acquire of God will satisfy the demands 

1 Lecture VIII, p. 126. 


of philosophy, or be capable " of reduction to an 
ultimate and absolute truth." The only response 
that may be given to our inquiries, " the only voice 
which sounds back from the abyss where dwells the 
Being whom we designate as the Absolute and the 
Infinite, is a solemn warning that we possess no 
faculties which qualify us for the attainment of any 
knowledge of God." 

This, in brief, is Manselism, the elimination of 
God from the domain of human knowledge, and a 
substitution, in its place, of a dreary, hopeless, de- 
risive skepticism ; the abolition of theology as an 
aimless, bootless pursuit, and the virtual recognition 
of a dark, blighting, forbidding Atheism. 

Mansel, Huxley and Romanes. 

There is every reason to believe that Mansel 
never apprehended the full significance of the de- 
structive principles enunciated in his Bampton 
lectures. Not so, however, with the enemies of 
Christianity. They saw, at a glance, the real bear- 
ing of the Oxford professor's teachings, and were 
not slow to give them all the publicity possible. 

Spencer quotes from him, at length, in his " First 
Principles," and makes his declaration the basis of the 
agnostic philosophy. Huxley, Romanes and others 
followed in the wake of Spencer, and were not long 
in bringing the principles of Mansel, as expounded 
by Spencer, within the comprehension of the general 
reading public. 

Huxley, indeed, has done more, probably, than 
anyone else to popularize Agnosticism, and by the 


majority of readers he is regarded as its chief ex- 
ponent and defender. He, however, disclaims any- 
thing like a creed, and declares that agnostics are 
precluded from having one by the very nature of 
their mental status. He prefers to regard Agnos- 
ticism, not as a creed, but as "a method, the essence 
of which lies in the rigorous application of a single 
principle." " Positively," he informs us, " the prin- 
ciple may be expressed : In matters of the intellect, 
follow your reason as far as it will take you, with- 
out regard to any other consideration. And nega- 
tively : In matters of the intellect do not pretend 
that conclusions are certain which are not demon- 
strated or demonstrable. That I take to be the 
agnostic faith, which, if a man keep whole and un- 
defiled, he shall not be ashamed to look the universe 
in the face, whatever the future may have in store 
for him."' 

The profession of faith of G. J. Romanes is more 
explicit, at least in so far as it refers to God, and 
gives us in a few words the views entertained by the 
two leading classes of agnostics regarding the First 
Cause, or the Absolute or Unconditioned. 

"By Agnosticism," asserts Romanes, "I under- 
stand a theory of things which abstains from either 
affirming or denying the existence of God. It thus 
represents with regard to Theism a state of sus- 
pended judgment; and all it undertakes to affirm is, 
that upon existing evidence the being of God is un- 
known. But the term Agnosticism is frequently 
used in a widely different sense, as implying belief 

' " Science and Christian Tradition," p. 246. 


that the being of God is not merely now unknown, 
but must always remain unknown." 

Docta Ignorantia. 

The agnostic creed, then, is a creed based on ig- 
norance rather than on knowledge. We can know 
nothing that does not come within the range of 
sense; nothing which we cannot observe with our 
microscopes, spectroscopes and telescopes, or exam- 
ine with our scalpels, or test in our alembics and 
crucibles. Our knowledge is and must be, by the 
very nature of the case, limited to things material 
and phenomenal. Every attempt to fathom the 
mysteries of the super-sensible or spiritual world, if 

' Contemporary Review, vol. L, p. 59. In his posthumous 
" Thoughts on Religion," Romanes distinguishes two kinds 
of Agnosticism, pure and impure, the former held by Huxley, 
the latter by Spencer. "The modern and convenient term 
'Agnosticism,' " writes Romanes, "is used in two very different 
senses. Bj its originator. Professor Huxley, it was coined to 
signify an attitude of reasoned ignorance touching everything 
that lies beyond the sphere of sense-perception, a professed in- 
ability to found valid belief on any other basis. It is in this, its 
original sense, and also, in my opinion, its only philosophically 
justifiable sense, that I shall understand the term. But the 
other, and perhaps more particular sense, in which the word is 
now employed, is as a correlative of Mr. H. Spencer's doctrine 
of the unknowable. 

"This latter term is philosophically erroneous, implying 
important negative knowledge, that if there be a God, we know 
this much about him, that He cannot reveal Himself to man. 
Pure Agnosticism is as defined by Huxley." Pp. 107-108. 

It is a matter of regret that the lamented author of these 
"Thoughts on Religion," did not live to complete his work. 
Not long before his premature death, it is pleasing to record, he 
recognized the weakness and fallacies of Agnosticism, and re- 
turned to " a full and deliberate communion " with the Church 
of England, from which he had so long been separated. " In 
his case," writes Canon Gore, " the ' pure in heart ' was, after a 
long period of darkness, allowed in a measure, before his death, 
to ' see God.' " 


there be such a world, or to trace a connection be- 
tween noumenal cause or phenomenal effect, if there 
be such a connection, must, we are told, prove use- 
less and abortive. There may or there may not be, 
a God; we hope there is a God, but we have no 
warrant for asserting His existence. We cannot af- 
firm either that He is personal or impersonal, intel- 
ligent or unintelligent ; we cannot say whether He is 
mind or matter. We cannot, by searching, find 
Him out, and our every assertion regarding Him is 
but a contradiction in terms. If there be a Supreme 
Being, a First Cause, an Absolute Existence, an 
Ultimate Power; if, in a word, there be a God, He 
not only is now, but ever must be, unknown and 

"There may be absolute Truth, but if there is, it 
is out of our reach. It is possible that there may be 
a science of realities, of abstract being, of first prin- 
ciples and a priori truths, but it is up in the heav- 
ens, far above our heads, and- we must be content to 
grovel amid things of earth — to build up as best we 
can our fragments of empirical knowledge, leaving 
all else to that future world, in which, in a clear light, 
if there is ever to be a clearer light for us, we shall 
know, if there is such a thing as knowledge, the na- 
ture and attributes of God, if there is a God, and if 
His nature can be known, and if His attributes are 
anything more than a fiction of theologians." * 

The Duke of Argyll in his interesting work, " The 
Unity of Nature" well observes that "This funda* 
mental inconsistency in the agnostic philosophy, 

' The Month, vol. XLV, p. 156. 


becomes all the more remarkable when we find, that 
the very men who tell us that we are not one with 
anything above us, are the same who insist that we 
are one with everything beneath us. Whatever 
there is in us or about us which is purely animal, we 
may see everywhere ; but whatever there is in us 
purely intellectual, or moral, we delude ourselves if 
we think we see it anywhere. There are abundant 
homologies bet\yeen our bodies and the bodies of 
beasts ; but there are no homologies between our 
minds and any Mind which lives and manifests itself 
in nature. Our Hvers and our lungs, our vertebrae 
and our nervous systems, are identical in origin and 
in function with those of the living creatures around 
us; but there is nothing in nature, or above it, which 
corresponds to our forethought or design or purpose, 
to our love of the good, or our admiration of the 
beautiful, to our indignation with the wicked, or to 
our pity for the suffering or the fallen. I venture to 
think that no system of philosophy that has ever 
been taught on earth, lies under such a weight of an- 
tecedent improbability ; and this improbabiHty in- 
creases in direct proportion to the success of science 
in tracing the unity of nature, and in showing step 
by step, how its laws and their results can be 
brought into more direct relation with the mind and 
intellect of man." * 

Agnosticism as a Via Media. 

Agnosticism professes to be a kind of via media 
between Theism and Atheism. It does not deny 

> P. i66. 


the existence of God, but declares that a knowl- 
edge of Him is unattainable. Whether He has 
personality or not ; whether He has intelligence 
or not ; whether He is just, holy, omnipotent, om- 
niscient or not ; whether He has a care for man 
and watches over him or not ; whether He has 
created man and the earth he inhabits or not — 
all these are questions which are simply insoluble ; 
are matters which are, and must forever be, be- 
yond the ken and apprehension of the human in- 

A very slight examination will suffice to convince 
•anyone that such a via media cannot exist ; that, 
notwithstanding what its advocates may assert to 
the contrary, Agnosticism is but Atheism in dis- 
guise. More than this ; it is worse than Atheism. 
An atheist, although he may deny the existence of 
God, is nevertheless open to discuss the subject. 
An agnostic, however, takes away all matter for dis- 
cussion by insisting that God, if there be a God, is 
unknowable, and being so, is beyond and above the 
reach of reason and consciousness. Far from being 
the Creator of heaven and earth and all things, as 
faith teaches, God, according to the agnostic, is but 
a creature of the imagination, a figment of theolo- 
gians, and religion, even in its pure and noblest 
form, is but a development of fetichism or ghost- 

Our present concern, however, is not so much 
with Agnosticism as a system of belief or unbelief, 
as with Agnosticism in relation to the theory of the 
origin and Evolution of the visible universe. 


Origin of the Universe. 

The great and perpetual crux for agnostics, as 
well as for atheists, is the existence of the world. 
For the theist, the origin of the material universe 
offers no difficulty. He accepts as true the declara- 
tion of Genesis, that: "In the beginning God created 
heaven and earth," and with the acceptance of this 
truth, all difficulty, based on the fact of creation, 
vanishes forthwith. But to the agnostic, as well as 
to the atheist, the query: Whence the world and the 
myriad forms of life which it contains? — is constantly 
recurring, and with ever-increasing persistency and 
importance. It is, as all must acknowledge, a fun- 
damental question, and no system of thought is 
worthy of the name of philosophy, that is not able 
to give an answer which the intellect will recog- 
nize as rational and conclusive. 

According to Herbert Spencer, there are but 
"three verbally intelligent suppositions" resfJecting 
the origin of the universe. "We may," he says, 
"assert that it is self-existent ; or that it is self-cre- 
ated ; or that it is created by an external agency. 
That it should be self-existent is inconceivable, be- 
cause this" implies the conception, which is an im- 
possibility, of infinite past time. To this let us add, 
that even were self-existence conceivable, it would 
not in any sense be an explanation of the universe, 
nor make it in any degree more comprehensible. 
Thus the atheistic theory is not only absolutely un- 
thinkable, but even if it were thinkable would not 
be a solution. 


"The hypothesis of self-creation," the English 
philosopher continues, "which practically amounts 
to what is called Pantheism, is similarly incapable of 
being represented in thought. Really to conceive 
self-creation, is to conceive potential existence pass- 
ing into actual existence by some inherent necessity; 
which we cannot do. And even were it true that 
potential existence is conceivable, we should still be 
no forwarder. For whence the potential existence ? 
This would just as much require accounting for exist- 
ence, and just the same difficulties would meet us." 
According to Spencer, therefore, both the pantheis- 
tic and the atheistic hypotheses must be dismissed, as 
utterly inadequate to explain the fact of the world's 
actual existence. 

The third hypothesis, and the one generally re- 
ceived, is known as the theistic hypothesis; creation 
by an external agency. But "the idea," I am still 
quoting Spencer, " of a Great Artificer shaping the 
universe, somewhat after the manner in which a 
workman shapes a piece of furniture, does not help 
us to comprehend the real mystery ; viz., the origin 
of the materials of which the universe consists. 
. . . But even supposing that the genesis of the 
universe could really be represented in thought as 
the result of an external agency, the mystery 
would be as great as ever, for there would still 
arise the question : How came there to be an ex- 
ternal agent, for we have seen that self-existence 
is rigorously inconceivable? Thus, impossible as 
it is to think of the actual universe as self-exist- 
ing, we do but multiply impossibiHties of thought 


by every attempt we make to explain its exist- 

According to Spencer, then, the theistic hypothe- 
sis of creation is as unthinkable as the hypotheses of 
Atheism and Pantheism. The theistic, as well as the 
atheistic and the pantheistic views, he will have it, 
imply a contradiction in terms, and, such being the 
case, we must, perforce, resign ourselves to the ac- 
ceptance of the agnostic position, which is one of 
ignorance and darkness. 

Spencer's Unknowable. 

But, strive as he may, Spencer cannot think of 
the world around him without thinking of it as 
caused — and hence he is forced to think of a First 
Cause, infinite, absolute and unconditioned. And 
in spite of his assertion that God is and must be un- 
knowable, he is continually contradicting himself by 
assigning characteristics and attributes to that of 
which he avers we can know absolutely nothing. 
For He of whom nothing can be known, of whom 
nothing can be declared, is, Spencer affirms, the First 
Cause of all, the Ultimate Reality, the Inscrutable 
Power, that which underlies all phenomena, that 
which accounts for all phenomena, that which tran- 
scends all phenomena, the Supreme Being, the In- 
finite, the Absolute, the All-Being, the Creative 
Power, the Infinite and Eternal Energy, by which 
all things are created and sustained ; a mode of 
being as much transcending intelligence and will 
as these transcend mechanical motion. 

*'' First Principles," chap. ii. 


Max Mtiller on Agnosticism. 

The distinguished philologist and orientalist, 
Max Miiller, although not a philosopher by profes- 
sion, reasons far more philosophically than Herbert 
Spencer, when he writes: "I cannot help discover- 
ing, in the universe an all-pervading causality or 
reason for everything; for even when, in my phe- 
nomenal ignorance, I do not yet know a reason for 
this or that, I am forced to admit that there exists 
some such reason ; I feel bound to admit it, because, 
to a mind like ours, nothing can exist without a 
sufficient reason. But how do I know that? Here 
is the point where I cease to be an agnostic. I do 
not know it from experience, and yet I know it 
with a certainty greater than any which experience 
can give. This, also, is not a new discovery. The 
first step towards it was made at a very early time 
by the Greek philosophers, when they turned from 
the observation of outward nature to higher spheres 
of thought, and recognized in nature the working 
of a mind, or Nnu'i^ which pervades the universe. 
Anaxagoras, who was the first to postulate such a 
Nobq in nature, ascribed to it not much more than 
the first impulse to the inter-action of his homoiom- 
eries. But even his A'^y? was soon perceived to be 
more than a mere Primum Mobile \ more than the 
xivam ay.ivazuv. We, ourselves, after thousands of 
years of physical and metaphysical research, can say 
no more than that there is voD?, that there is mind 
and reason in nature. Sa Majesty le Hasard has 
long been dethroned in all scientific studies, and 


neither natural selection, nor struggle for life, nor 
the influence of environment, nor other aliases of 
it, will account for the logos within us. If any 
philosopher can persuade himself, that the true and 
well-ordered genera of nature are the results of me- 
chanical causes, whatever name we may give them, 
he moves in a world altogether different from my 
own. To Plato, these genera were ideas; to the 
peripatetics, they were words, or logoi; to both, 
they were manifestations of thought." ' 

Sources of Agnosticism. 

One of the chief sources of the Agnosticism 
now so rampant, is to be sought in the lamentable 
ignorance of the fundamental principles of true 
philosophy and theology everywhere manifest, and 
especially in the productions of our modern scien- 
tists and philosophers. And the only antidote for 
agnostic, as well as atheistic teaching, is that scho- 
lastic philosophy which contemporary thinkers ig- 
nore, if they do not positively contemn ; for it alone 
can clear up the fallacies which are constantly ad- 
mitted in the name of philosophy, and which have 
done so much to confuse thought and to make 
sound ratiocination impossible. 

Another not unfrequent cause of error arises from 
a false psychology, from confounding or identifying 
a faculty — imagination — which is material, with a 
faculty — reason — which is immaterial. Mind is made 
a function of matter, and that which cannot be pic- 
tured to the imagination is regarded as impossible of 

* The Nineteenth Century^ December, 1894. 


apprehension by the intellect. That, therefore, which 
the imagination cannot admit, cannot be accepted by 
reason ; that which is unimaginable is, ipso facto, un- 
thinkable. Such is the suicidal skepticism of those 
who confuse the immaterial thought, which is above 
and beyond sense, with the material imagination, 
which is always intimately connected with sense, and 
which, by its very nature, is incompetent to rise above 
the conditions and limitations of matter. 

Again, probably no two terms are more prolific 
of fallacy and confusion than the much-abused words 
time and space. 

Infinite Time. 

One of the gravest objections against the exist- 
ence of God, from Spencer's point of view, is that 
we cannot conceive of a self-existent being, because 
self-existence implies infinite past time, which is a 
contradiction in terms. We cannot conceive of 
God existing from all eternity, because eternity is 
but time multiplied to infinity, and we cannot con- 
ceive time multiplied to infinity. 

The diflficulty here indicated arises from a mis- 
apprehension of the nature of time, and from an an- 
thropomorphic view of God, which subjects Him to 
the conditions and limitations of His creatures. God 
has not existed through infinite time, as is supposed. 
He does not exist in time at all. He exists apart 
from time ; and before time was, God was. Time 
implies change and succession ; but in God there is 
neither change nor succession. As the measure of the 
existence of created things, it is something relative; 


but in God all is absolute. Eternity is not, as the 
agnostic has it, time raised to an infinite power, no 
more than the attributes of God are human attributes 
raised to an infinite power. God has existed from all 
eternity, but He is, by His very nature, above time, and 
before time, and beyond time, even infinite time. 
To make God exist through infinite past time, be- 
cause He has existed from all eternity, would be tanta- 
mount to imposing on Him the conditions of cre- 
ated things, and to degrading Him as much as do 
the most extravagant of anthropomorphists. 

Infinite Space. 

And as God does not exist in time, so He does 
not exist in space. Infinite space, like infinite time, 
is a contradiction in terms. If there were nothing 
to be measured, if material objects could be anni- 
hilated, space would disappear. For space is not 
an independent entity, as agnostics suppose, not a 
kind of a huge box, which was created for the re- 
ception of material things, but the necessary and 
concomitant result of the creation of matter, of 
what is limited and capable of measurement. And 
as God is above and before and beyond time, so is 
He likewise above and before and beyond space. 
As time began only when God uttered His creative 
fiat, so space had no existence until the creation of 
the material universe. Neither space nor time, 
therefore, can be used as a foundation on which to 
base an argument against creation, or the existence 
of a First Cause, for both space and time imply 
limitation, and God, the Absolute, is above and in- 


dependent of all limitation. Agnostics, who protest 
so strongly against Anthropomorphism, are, there- 
fore, themselves anthropomorphists, when they at- 
tempt, as they do by their irrational theory, to tie 
down the Creator to the conditions of His creatures. 

Mysteries of Nature. . 

I have said that one of the chief causes of Agnos- 
ticism is ignorance of Christian philosophy and the- 
ology. This is true. But there is also another 
reason. The mysteries of nature which everywhere 
confront us, and which baffle all attempts at their 
solution ; the impossibility of lifting the veil which 
separates the visible from the invisible world, are 
other sources of skepticism, and contribute not a 
little to make Agnosticism plausible, and to give it 
the vogue which it now enjoys. "Hardly," says the 
Wise Man, " do we guess aright at things that are 
upon earth ; and with labor do we find the things that 
are before us. But the things that are in Heaven, 
who shall search out ? " The mysteries of the natural 
order, those which confront us on the threshold of 
the unseen, are great and often insoluble; but how 
much greater, how much more unfathomable, are 
those that envelop the world beyond the realm of 
sense, the world of spirit and soul, the world of an- 
gelic and Divine intelHgence ! 

The difficulties indicated are grave indeed, but 
skeptics are not the only ones who have given them 
thought or fully appreciated their magnitude. There 
is a Christian as well as a skeptical Agnosticism, and 
all the difficulties suggested by the mysteries of the 


natural and supernatural orders, were long ago real- 
ized and taken into account by Christian philosophy 
and Christian theology. They were before the 
minds of Origen and Clement of Alexandria ; they 
occupied the brilliant intellects of St. Basil, St. John 
Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Augus- 
tine ; they entered into the disputations of the 
Schoolmen, and have found a prominent place in 
the writings of their successors up to the present 
day. No, these difBculties have not been ignored ; 
neither have they been underrated nor dismissed 
without receiving the consideration their importance 
demands. Far from being new, as certain writers 
would have us believe; far from being the product 
of the research of these latter days ; far from being 
the result of those deep and critical investigations 
which have been conducted in every department of 
knowledge, sacred and profane, they are as old as 
the Church, as old even as speculative thought. 

Christian Agnosticism. 

Unlike the Agnosticism of skepticism, however, 
Christian Agnosticism is on firm ground, and, 
guided by the principles of a sound philosophy, is 
able with unerring judgment to discriminate the 
true from the false, and to draw the line of demar- 
cation between the knowable and the unknowable. 
Christian Agnosticism confesses aloud that God is 
incomprehensible, that we can have no adequate 
idea of His perfections, but, unlike skeptical Agnos- 
ticism, it brushes aside the false and delusive hope, 
that in the distant future, when our faculties arc 



more nighly developed, when the work of Evolu- 
tion is farther advanced than it now is, we may per- 
haps be able to comprehend the Divine nature, and 
have an adequate notion of the Divine perfections. 
Christian Agnosticism tells us that not even the 
blessed in Heaven, who see the whole of the Divine 
nature, can ever have, even after millions and 
billions of ages, a knowledge which shall be com- 
mensurate in depth with the Divine Object of their 
adoration and love. They shall see God in the clear 
light of the Beatific Vision, facie ad faciem, and 
shall know as they are known. Nothing shall be 
hidden from them. Their intelligence will be illu- 
mined by the light of God's glory. The veil that 
now intervenes between the Creator and the crea- 
ture will be removed, and the created intellect will be 
in the veritable presence of the Divine Essence. But 
even then, it will be impossible to have an adequate 
or a comprehensive knowledge of God. He will, as 
the Scholastics phrase it, be known totus sed non 
totaliter. The soul will always have new beauties 
undiscovered, fresh glories to arrest its enraptured 
gaze, and unfathomable abysses of love and wisdom 
to contemplate, whose immensity will be as great 
after millions of aeons shall have elapsed, as when 
it was ushered into the Divine Presence, when it 
caught the first glimpse of the glory of the Beatific 
Vision, and experienced the first thrills of ecstasy in 
the contemplation of the fathomless, limitless ocean 
of God's infinite perfections. The soul will know 
God, but its knowledge will always be limited by 
the fact that it is created, that it is finite, that it is 


human, that its capacity is narrowed and restricted 
by its very nature, and is, therefore, incompetent to 
fathom the depths, or comprehend the immensity, 
of the ocean of Divine Wisdom and Divine Love, to 
comprehend, in a word, that which is immeasurable, 
and infinite, and eternal. 

If, then, the blessed may drink for all eternity at 
the fountain of the Godhead, without exhausting or 
diminishing the infinitude of joy and love and knowl- 
edge which is there found, we should not be sur- 
prised to encounter difficulties and mysteries, in the 
natural as well as in the supernatural order, which 
are above and beyond our weak and circumscribed 
intellects. We admit, and admit frankly, that there 
is much that we do not know, much that we can 
never comprehend. But our ignorance of many 
things does not make us skeptics in all things be- 
yond the range of sense and experiment. We may 
not know God adequately, but we do know much 
about Him, aside from what He has been pleased to 
reveal regarding Himself. With St. Paul, we believe 
that " the invisible things of God from the creation 
of the world are clearly seen, being understood by 
the things that are made: His eternal power also 
and divinity." ' 

^ Romans, chap, i, 20. I take pleasure in again quoting 
from Max Miiller, who, in speaking of the matter under dis- 
cussion truthfully observes : "In one sense I hope I am, and have 
always been, an agnostic, that is, in relying on nothing but his- 
torical facts, and in following reason as far as it will take us in 
matters of the intellect, and in never pretending that conclusions 
are certain which are not demonstrated or demonstrable. This 
attitude of the mind is the conditio sine qua non of all philoso- 
phy. If in future it is to be called Agnosticism, then I am a 
true agnostic ; but if Agnosticism excludes a recognition of an 


Of the essence of God we can know nothing. 
Even of matter we are ignorant as to its essence. 
From the existence of the world, we infer the exist- 
ence of God ; for our primary intuitions teach us 
that there can be no effect without a cause. The 
evidences of order and design in the universe, prove 
the existence of a Creator who is inteUigent, who 
has power and will, and who, therefore, is personal, 
and not the blind fate and impersonal energy and 
unknowable entity of the agnostic. 

Gods of the Positivist and the Agnostic. 

The gods of the heathen were manifold and 
grotesque, but what shall we say of the objects 
which the positivist and agnostic propose for our 
worship and love ? 

The Greeks and Romans gave Divine honors to 
demi-gods and heroes. Comte, one of the apostles 
of modern Agnosticism, affects to recoil before such 
gross idolatry ; but is he more of a philosopher, or 
less of an idolator, when he proclaims that it is not 
man taken individually, or any particular man, but 
man taken collectively, man considered in the ag- 
gregate, that is to be regarded as the object of our 
cult ? The Roman and the Athenian worshipped 
Apollo and Hercules, Jupiter and Venus; Comte 

eternal reason, pervading the natural and the moral world, if 
to postulate a rational cause for a rational universe is called 
Gnosticism, then I am a gnostic, and a humble follower of the 
greatest thinkers of our race, from Plato and the author of the 
Fourth Gospel to Kant and Hegel." The Nineteenth Century, 
Dec, 1894; see also, "The Christian Agnostic and the Chris- 
tian Gnostic," by the Very Rev. A. F. Hewit, D. D., C S. P., 
in the American Catholic Quarterly Revie-iV, January, 1S91. 


says we must worship humanity in its entirety. 
Huxley, however, dissents from this view, and tells 
us that it is not humanity, but the cosmos, the vis- 
ible material universe, which should constitute- the 
object of our highest veneration and religious emo- 
tion. Herbert Spencer is even more nebulous and 
mystical. His deity is an unknowable energy, "im- 
personal, unconscious, unthinking and unthinkable." 
God is " the great enigma which he [man] knows 
cannot be solved," and religion can at best be con- 
cerned only with "a consciousness of a mystery which 
can never be fathomed." According to Mr. Harri- 
son, however — the brilliant critic of the views pro- 
pounded by Huxley, the doughty combatant who 
has so frequently run full atilt against the champions 
of Agnosticism — Spencer's Unknowable is " an ever- 
present conundrum to be everlastingly given up ; " 
his Something, or All-Being, is a pure negation, "an 
All-Nothingness, an x^ and an Everlasting No." 
Verily it is of such, " vain in their thoughts and 
darkened in their foolish heart," that the Apos- 
tle of the Gentiles speaks when he declares that 
they " changed the truth of God into a lie ; and 
worshipped and served the creature rather than the 
Creator." ' 

But it is not my purpose to dilate on the teach- 
ings of Agnosticism. My sole object is to indicate 
briefly some of its more patent and fundamental 
errors. A detailed examination and refutation of 
them does not come within the purview of our sub- 
ject. ,For such examination and refutation, the 

* "Romans," chap, i, 25. 


reader is referred to works which treat of these 
topics ex professo. ' It suffices for our present pur- 
pose to know the relation of Agnosticism to Evolu- 
tion ; to know that a particular phase of Evolution 
is so intimately connected with Agnosticism, that it 
cannot be disassociated from it, to realize that 
Agnosticism, and agnostic Evolution, are practically 
as synonymous as are Atheistic Evolution and 
Monism. It is enough for us to appreciate the fact 
that Agnosticism and Monism are fundamentally 
erroneous, to understand that both monistic and 
agnostic Evolution are untenable and inconsistent 
with the teaching of Theism and with the doctrines 
of Christianity ; that they are illegitimate inductions 
from the known data of veritable science, and utterly 
at variance with the primary concepts of genuine 
philosophy. We need, consequently, consider them 
no further. Evolution, in the sense in which it is 
held by the Monist and Agnostic, is so obviously in 
positive contradiction to the leading tenets of 
Theism, that it may forthwith be dismissed as not 
only untenable, but as unwarranted by fact and 
experiment, and negatived by the incontestable 
principles of sound metaphysics and Catholic Dogma. 

' See especially : "Agnosticism and Religion," by the Rev. 
George J. Lucas, D.D.; chaps, in and iv of " The Great En- 
igma," by W. S. Lilly, and the succinct and philosophical 
" Agnosticism," by the Right Rev. J. L.Spalding, D.D. The 
reader will likewise find many valuable and suggestive pages in 
Balfour's " Foundations of Belief," and in a review of this work 
bv Mgr. Mercier, in the Revue Neo-Scolastiqne, for October, 


Evolution and Faith. 

HAVING eliminated from our discussion the 
forms of Evolution held by the divers schools 
of monists and agnostics, there now remains but 
the third form, known as theistic Evolution. Can 
we, then, consistently with the certain deductions of 
science and philosophy, and in acy:ordance with the 
positive dogmas of faith — can we as Christians, as 
Catholics, who accept without reserve all the teach- 
ings of the Church, give our assent to theistic Evolu- 
tion ? This is a question of paramount importance, 
one which is daily growing in interest, and one for 
an answer to which the reading public has long been 
clamoring. And with it must also be answered 
a certain number of cognate questions, of scarcely 
less interest and importance than the main question 
of Evolution itself. 

I have elsewhere' shown that the principles of 
theistic Evolution — the Evolution, namely, which 
admits the existence of a God, and the develop- 
ment, under the action of His Providence, of the 
universe and all it contains — were accepted and de- 
fended by some of the most eminent Doctors of the 
early Greek and Latin Churches. It was a brilliant 

'"Bible, Science and Faith," part I, chaps, in and iv. 



luminary of the Oriental Church, St. Gregory of 
Nyssa, who first clearly conceived and formulated 
the nebular hypothesis, which was long centuries 
subsequently elaborated by Laplace, Herschel and 
Faye. The learned prelate found no difficulty in 
admitting the action of secondary causes, in the for- 
mation of the universe from the primal matter which 
the Almighty had directly created. According to 
Gregory and his school, God created matter in a 
formless or nebulous condition, but impressed on 
this matter the power of developing into all the 
various forms which it afterwards assumed. The 
universe and all it contains, the earth and all that 
inhabits it — plants, animals, man — were created by 
God, but they were created in different ways. The 
primitive material, the nebulous matter, from which 
all things were fashioned, was created by God 
directly and immediately ; whereas, all the multi- 
tudinous creatures of the visible world, were produced 
by Him indirectly and mediately, that is, by the 
operation of secondary causes and what are com- 
monly called the laws of nature. 

Teachings of St. Augustine. 

St. Augustine not only accepted the conclusions 
of his illustrious Greek predecessor, but he went 
much further than the Bishop of Nyssa. He was, 
likewise, much more explicit, especially in what con- 
cerned the development of the various forms of ani- 
mal and vegetable life. According to the Doctor of 
Hippo, God did not create the world as it now appears, 
but only the primordial matter of which it is composed. 


Not only the diverse forms of inorganic matter, rocks, 
minerals, cr>'stals, were created by the operation of 
secondary causes, but plants and animals were also 
the products of such causes. For God, the saint in- 
sists, created the manifold forms of terrestrial life, 
not directly but in germ ; potentially and causally — 
potcntialiter atque causaliter. In commenting on 
the words of Genesis : " Let the earth bring forth the 
green herb," he declares that plants were created 
not directly and immediately, but causally and po- 
tentially, in fieri, in causa ; that the earth received 
from God the power of producing herb and tree, 
produccndi accepisse virtntem. 

In his great work on the Trinity, the illustrious 
Doctor tells us that : " The hidden seeds of all things 
that are born corporeally and visibly, are concealed 
in the corporeal elements of the world." We are un- 
able to see them with our eyes, " but we can con- 
jecture their existence from our reason." They are 
quite different from " those seeds that are visible at 
once to our eyes, from fruits and living things." It 
is indeed from such hidden and invisible seeds that 
" The waters, at the bidding of the Creator, produced 
the first swimming creatures and fowl, and that the 
earth brought forth the first buds after their kind, 
and the first living creatures after their kind." They 
lay dormant, as it were, until long aeons after the 
creation of matter, because " suitable combinations of 
circumstances were wanting, whereby they might be 
enabled to burst forth and complete their species." 

"The world," he avers, "is pregnant with the 
causes of things that are coming to the birth ; 


which are not created in it, except from the highest 
essence, where nothing either springs up or dies, 
either begins to be or ceases." But the Creator of 
these seeds, the Cause of these causes. Causa 
causarum, is at the same time the Creator of all 
things that exist. He carefully distinguishes " God 
creating and forming within, from the works of the 
creature which are applied from without." " In the 
creation of visible things it is God," he affirms, " that 
works from within, but the exterior operations," 
that is, the operations of creatures or those of 
divers physical forces, "are applied by Him to that 
nature of things wherein He creates all things." 
** For," the Saint continues, " it is one thing to make 
and administer the creature from the innermost and 
highest turning point of causation, which He alone 
does who is God, the Creator; but quite another 
thing to apply some operation from without, in pro- 
portion to the strength and faculties assigned to each 
by Him, that that which is created may come forth 
into being at this time or at that, or in this way or 
that way. For all things, in the way of origin and 
beginning, have already been created in a kind of 
texture of the elements, in quadam textura element- 
orum ; but they can come forth only when oppor- 
tunity offers, acceptis opportunitatibus!' ' 

^ "Aliud est enim ex intimo at summo causarum cardine con- 
dere atque administrare creaturam, quod qui facit, solus creator 
est Deus : aliud autem pro distributis ab illo viribus at iacultati- 
bus aliquam oparationem foris secus admovere, ut tunc vel tunc, 
sic vel sic, axaat quod creatur. Ista quippe originaliter ac pri- 
mordialiter in quadam textura elementorum cuncta jam creata 
sunt, sed acceptis opportunitatibus prodeunt." " De Trinitate," 
lib. Ill, cap. IX. In his great work, " De Genesi ad Litteram," 


God, then, according to St. Augustine, created 
matter directly and immediately. On this primor- 
dial or elementary matter He impressed certain 
causal reasons, causales rationes; that is, He gave it 
certain powers, and imposed on it certain laws, in 
virtue of which it evolved into all the myriad forms 
which we now behold. The saint does not tell us 
by what laws or processes the Creator acted. He 
makes no attempt to determine what are the factors 
of organic development. He limits himself to a 
general statement of the fact of Evolution, of prog- 
ress from the simple to the complex, from the 
homogeneous to the heterogeneous, from simple 
primordial elements to the countless, varied, com- 
plicated structures of animated nature. 

Has any modern philosopher stated more clearly 
the salient facts of organic Evolution ? Has anyone 

lib. IV, cap. XXIII, the saint beautifully develops the evolu- 
tionary idea, when he exhibits the analogy between the growth 
of a tree from the seed and the Evolution of the world from its 
primordial elements. Speaking of the gradual growth of the 
tree — trunk, branches, leaves, fruit — from the seed, he declares : 
" In semine ergo ilia omnia fuerunt primitus, non mole corporeae 
magnitudinis sed vi potentiaque causali." After asking the ques- 
tion : " Quid enim ex arbore ilia surgit aut pendet, quod non ex 
quodam occulto thesauro seminis illius extractum atque de- 
promptum est ? " he continues with rare philosophical acumen : 
" sicut autem in ipso grano invisibiliter erant omnia simul quae 
per tempora in arborem surgerent; ita ipse mundus cogitandus 
est, cum Deus simul omnia creavit, habuisse simul omnia quae in 
illo et cum illo facta sunt, quando factus est dies ; non solum 
coelum cum sole et luna et sideribus, quorum species manet motu 
rotabili, et terram et abyssos, quie velut inconstantes motus pa- 
tiantur atque inferius adjuncta partem alteram mundo conferunt; 
sed etiam ilia quae aqua et terra produxit potentialiter atque 
causaliter, priusquam per temporum moras ita exorirentur, quo 
modo nobis jam nota sunt in eis operibus, quae Deus usque nunc 
opera tur." 


insisted more strongly on the reign of law in na- 
ture, or discriminated more keenly between the 
operations of the Creator and those of the creature? 
Has anyone reahzed more fully the functions of a 
First Cause, as compared with those of causes which 
are but secondary or physical? If so, I am not 
aware of it. Modern scientists have, indeed, a far 
more detailed knowledge of the divers forms of 
terrestrial life than had the philosophical Bishop 
of Hippo; they have a more comprehensive view of 
nature than was possible in his day, but they have 
not, with all their knowledge and superior advan- 
tages, been able to formulate the general theory of 
Evolution a whit more clearly, than we find it ex- 
pressed in the writings of the Doctor of Grace, who 
wrote nearly fifteen centuries ago. 

Views of the Angelic Doctor. 

The Angelic Doctor takes up the teachings of 
St. Augustine and makes them his own. He dis- 
cusses them according to the scholastic method, and 
with a lucidity and a comprehensiveness that leave 
nothing to be desired. He carefully distinguishes 
between creation proper, and the production or gen- 
eration of things from preexisting material; be- 
tween the operations of absolute Creative Energy, 
and those which may be performed by secondary 
causes. Indeed, so exhaustive and so complete is 
his treatment of the origin and Evolution of the 
material universe and all it contains ; so clear and 
so conclusive his argumentation, that his successors 
have found but little to add to his brilliant proposi- 


tions respecting the genesis of the world and its 

The primordial Divine act of creation, according 
to St. Thomas, following St. Augustine, consisted in 
the creation, ex nihilo, of three classes of creatures ; 
spiritual intelligences, the heavenly bodies and sim- 
ple bodies, or elements. According to the physical 
theories of the time, the composition of the celes- 
tial bodies was supposed to be different from that 
of the earth. They were supposed to be incapable 
of generation or corruption ; ' to be constituted of 
elementary matter, indeed, but matter unlike that 
of sublunary bodies, in that it is incorruptible. We 
now know that mediaeval philosophers were in error 
on this point. Spectrum analysis has demonstrated 
that all the celestial bodies have the same compo- 
sition as our earth, and that the constitution of the 
material universe is identical throughout its vast 
expanse. Eliminating this error, which was one 
of physics, and not one of philosophy or theology, 
and one which in nowise impairs the teachings of 

* The scholastic use of the words '• generation " and " corrup- 
tion " must carefully- be distinguished from the ordinary meaning 
of these terms. " In its widest sense," as Father Harper tells us, 
"generation includes all new production even b_y the creative 
act. In a more restricted sense, it includes all transformations, 
accidental as well as substantial. In a still more restricted 
sense, substantial transformations only. Yet more specially, 
the natural production of living things ; most specially, the 
natural production of man." Corruption, as understood by the 
Schoolmen, means, not "retrograde transformation, such as 
occurs, for instance, in the death of a living entity," but " the 
dissolution of a body by the expulsion of that substantial form by 
which it had been previously actuated. In the order of nature, 
it is the invariable accompaniment of generation." Cf. " Meta- 
physics of the School," vol. II, glossary, and pp. 273-279. 


the Angelic Doctor regarding creation, we have, 
according to St. Thomas, the creative act termi- 
nating in elementary matter and spiritual sub- 

But here we must clearly distinguish between 
elementary matter, properly so called — the elements 
of which St. Thomas speaks — and primal matter, 
materia prima, which was given such prominence 
in the philosophical works of the Schoolmen. Ac- 
cording to Aristotle, who follows Empedocles, there 
are four primitive elements, earth, air, fire and 
water; and from these, by suitable combinations, all 
other material substances are derived. The Scho- 
lastics, in accepting the philosophy of the Stagirite, 
naturally adopted his theory of the four elements. 
Chemistry, however, has long since exploded this 
theory, as spectrum analysis has disproved the me- 
diaeval view regarding the composition of the heav- 
enly bodies. But whether there are four elements, 
as the Schoolmen imagined, or some sixty odd, as 
modern chemists maintain, or but one only, as some 
of the old Greek philosophers believed, and as cer- 
tain men of science still contend, it is quite immaterial 
so far as our present argument is concerned. What 
is necessary to bear in mind is, that the elementary 
matter of which the universe is composed, whether 
it be of one or of many kinds, was, in the beginning, 
created by God from nothing. For it is manifest 
that it was not the intention of the Angel of the 
Schools, to commit his followers to any mere phys- 
ical theory respecting the number and nature of 
the elements, especially when the ideas entertained 


regarding these subjects were as vague and diverse 
as they are known to have been in his day. Neither 
he nor his contemporaries had any means of throw- 
ing light on the questions involved. Even now, 
after all the splendid triumphs which chemistry 
has witnessed since the epoch-making achievements 
of Lavoisier, we are still in ignorance as to the 
exact number of elements existing, and are yet de- 
bating whether all the so-called elements may not 
be so many allotropic conditions of one and the 
same kind of matter. But what the Angelic Doctor 
did wish to insist on, what he wished specially to 
bring home to his hearers, was the great dogmatic 
truth according to which God is the Creator of all 
things, material and immaterial, visible and invisi- 

Materia prima, however, as understood by the 
Scholastics, is quite different from what we know as 
elementary matter. In all bodies subject to genera- 
tion and corruption, it is, they tell us, numerically 
one — una numero in omnibus. ' It is one and the same 
in all the components of the earth, and in all the con- 
stituent orbs of space. Of its very nature it is " un- 
generated, ungenerative, indivisible, incorruptible, 
indestructible." * But this materia prima, although 
an entity, is not a complete substance. It cannot 
exist by itself, but must be actuated by some form. 
For it is form which determines matter and gives 

* " Sciendum est etiam, quod materia prima dicitur una 
numero in omnibus." Opusc. XXXI, " De Principiis Nature," 
ante med. 

* " Sciendum est quod materia prima, et etiam forma, non 
generatur neque corrupitur." Op. cit. 


it being.' An element, accordingly, is a composite 
entity, a composttum, constituted of matter — which 
is the subject, potentiality or inferior part of the 
composite — and form, which is the act or superior 
part. And although there is but one matter, there 
are many forms." And it is because this one matter 
is actuated by diverse forms, that we have the mani- 
fold elements which constitute the material uni- 

Seminales Rationes. 

But these elements, composed of matter and 
form, required something more, in order to be com- 
petent to enter into combinations and to give rise to 
higher and more complex substances. 

1 " Simpliciter loquendo, forma dat esse materiae. . . . 
Sciendum etiam, quod licet materia prima non habeat in sua 
ratione aliquam formam, . . . materia tamen numquam 
denudatur a forma. . . . Per se autem numquam potest esse; 
quia cum in ratione sua non habeat aliquam formam, non potest 
esse in actu, cum esse actu non sit nisi a forma ; sed est solum 
in potentia." Ibidem. The whole of this masterly and inter- 
esting treatise should be carefully pondered by those who desire 
to know the mind of the saintly Doctor respecting the nature 
of matter. 

"The words " matter" and "form," it will be observed, are 
here employed in a strictly metaphysical or technical sense. 
Matter is that element in an entity which is indeterminate, pas- 
siv-e, potential, " of all real entities the nearest to nothingness." 
It is one of the two essential constituents of all bodies. The 
other element or constituent of bodies is form. It is that which 
differentiates and actuates matter ; which determines the spe- 
cific nature of any composite. " The matter in which form ad- 
heres," according to Aristotle, " is not absolutely non-existent ; 
it exists as possibility — 6vvaiiis, potentia. Form, on the con- 
trary, is the accomplishment, the realization — hTE?.exEta, htpyeia, 
actus — of this possibility. For an elaborate explanation of these 
terms, see chaps, ii and in, vol. II, of Harper's " Metaphysics 
of the School." Cf. also, § 48, vol. I, of Ueberweg's " History 
of Philosophy." 


This something more, the Angelic Doctor desig- 
nates seminal forces, or influences — seminales rationes. 
" The powers lodged in matter," he tells us, " by 
which natural effects result, are called seminales ra- 
tiones. The complete active powers in nature, with 
the corresponding passive powers — as heat and cold, 
the form of fire, the power of the sun, and the 
like — are called seminales rationes. They are called 
seminal, not by reason of any imperfection of en- 
tity that they may be supposed to have, like the form- 
ative virtue in seed ; but because on the individual 
things at first created, such powers were conferred by 
the operations of the six days, so that out of them, 
as though from certain seeds, natural entities might 
be produced and multiplied." The physical forces — 
heat, light, electricity and magnetism — would, doubt- 
less, in modern scientific terminology, correspond to 
the seminales rationes^ of the Angelic Doctor, as 
they are efficient in producing changes in matter 
and in disposing it for that gradual Evolution which 
has obtained in the material universe. 

In the beginning, then, God created primordial 
matter, which was actuated by various substantial 
forms. With the elements thus created were asso- 
ciated certain seminal infiuences — certain physical 
forces, we now should say — and the various com- 
pounds which subsequently resulted from the action 
of these forces, on the diverse elements created, were 

* For an elaborate explanation of the meaning of seminales 
rationes, according to the mind of the Angelic Doctor, see the 
"Metaphysics of the School," vol. II, appendix A, nn. iii and 
IV, and vol. Ill, part I, glossary, sub vocibus. 



the product of generation and not of creation. There 
was development, Evolution, under the action of 
second causes, from the simple elements to the high- 
est inorganic and organic compounds ; from the 
lowest kinds of brute matter to the highest bodily 
representatives of animated nature ; but there was 
nothing requiring anew creative action or extraor- 
dinary interventions, except, of course, the human 

After this primordial creation, God continued 
and sustained His work by His Providence. Matter 
was then under the action of secondary causes, under 
what science calls the reign of law, and under the 
action of these secondary causes, under the influence 
of forces and laws imposed on it by God in the be- 
ginning, it still remains, and shall remain, until time 
is no more 

Creation According to Scripture. 

This teaching is in perfect harmony with the dec- 
larations of the opening chapter of Genesis, which 
speaks first of the creation of matter, then of the 
production from matter of plants and animals. It is 
consistent, too, with the teachings of science, which 
affirm that the material universe was once but a 
nebulous mass, which in the course of time condensed 
into solid bodies, the stars and planets, and which, 
after countless ages and by a gradual Evolution un- 
der the action of natural laws, generated those myr- 
iad objects of passing beauty and marvelous com- 
plexity which we now so much admire. 


Matter alone, insists St. Thomas, in speaking of 
the visible universe, was created, in the strict sense 
of the term, and in this he but follows the indications 
of the Mosaic narrative of creation, and St. Augus- 
tine's interpretation of the work of the six days. 
Plants and animals were generated or produced from 
preexisting material — "were gradually developed, 
by natural operations, under the Divine administra- 

" In those first days," he tells us, " God created 
the creature in its origin and cause — originaliter, vel 
causaliter, and afterwards rested from this work. 
Nevertheless, He subsequently, until now, works ac- 
cording to the administration of created things by 
the work of propagation. Now, to produce plants 
from the earth belongs to the work of propagation ; 
therefore, on the third day plants were not produced 
in act, but only in their cause — Non ergo in tertia die 
product CB sunt plant CB in actu sed causaliter tantum." ' 

Elsewhere, in defending the opinion of St. Au- 
gustine, he writes : " When it is said, ' Let the earth 
bring forth the green herb,' Gen. i, ir, it is not 
meant that plants were then produced actually in 
their proper nature, but that there was given to the 
earth a germinative power to produce plants by the 
work of propagation ; so that the earth is then said 
to have brought forth the green herb and the tree 
yielding fruit in this wise, viz., that it received the 
power of producing them— producendi accepisse vir- 
tutem^ And this he confirms by the authority of 

* " Summa," Ise, Lxix : 2. 


Scripture, Gen. ii, 4 — where it is said : " These are 
the generations of the heaven and the earth, when 
they were created, in the day that the Lord God 
made the heaven and the earth, and every plant of 
the field, before it sprung up in the earth, and every 
herb of the ground before it grew.'' 

" From this passage," continues the Angelic 
Doctor, '* two things are elicited : First, that all the 
works of the six days were created in the day that 
God made the heaven and earth and every plant of 
the field; and, accordingly, that plants, which are 
said to have been created on the third day, were pro- 
duced at the same time that God created the heaven 
and the earth. Secondly, that plants were then pro- 
duced, not in act, but according to causal virtues 
only ; in that the power of producing them was given 
the earth — fuerunt productcB non in actu, sed secun- 
dum rationes causales tantuin, quia data fuit virtus 
terrcB producendi illas. This is meant, when it is said 
that it produced every plant of the field before it act- 
ually sprang up in the earth by the work of adminis- 
tration, and every herb of the earth before it actually 
grew. Prior, therefore, to their actually rising over 
the earth, they were made causally in the earth — 
Ante ergo quam actu orirentur super t err am, facta 
sunt causaliter in terra. This view is likewise con- 
firmed by reason. For in those first days God 
created the creature either in its cause or in its 
origin, or in act, in the work from which He after- 
wards rested. Nevertheless, He subsequently, until 
now, works according to the administration of cre- 
ated things by the work of propagation. But to 


produce plants in act out of the earth, belongs to 
the work of propagation ; because it suffices for their 
production that they have the power of the heav- 
enly bodies, as it were, for their father, and the ef- 
ficacy of the earth in place of a mother. Therefore, 
plants were not actually produced on the third day, 
but only causally.' After the six days, however, 
they were actually produced according to their 
proper species, and in their proper nature by the 
work of administration." " In like manner fishes, 
birds and animals were produced in those six days 
causally and not actually — Similiter pisces, aves et 
animalia in illis sex diebus causaliter, et non actu- 
aliter product a sunt.'' ' 

Such, then, is the teaching of the illustrious 
bishop of Hippo and of the Angel of the Schools, re- 
specting creation and the genesis of the material 
universe. To the striking passages just quoted, I 
can do nothing better than add Father Harper's 
beautiful and eloquent commentary as found in his 
splendid work, " The Metaphysics of the School." 

• ' In the creation," declares the learned Jesuit, 
"represented by Moses in the manner best suited to 
the intellectual calibre of the chosen people, under 
the figure of six days — as St. Thomas, quoting from 
St. Augustine, remarks — the elements alone, among 
earthly things, were actually produced by the crea- 
tive act ; but simultaneously, in the primordial mat- 

* It will be noted that a portion of this extract from "De 
Potentia," is verbally identical with a part of what is found in the 
preceding quotation from the " Summa." 

^ " Pot." q. iv, a 2, 28 m. 


ter thus actuated by the elemental forms, a virtue 
was implanted, dispositive towards all the material 
forms conditionally necessary to the perfection of 
the earthly universe. But it was an ordered poten- 
tiality ; so that in the after Evolution of the substan- 
tial forms, the lower should precede the higher ; and 
that these latter should presuppose and virtually ab- 
sorb the former. Thus were the figurative six days 
completed with the sowing of the seed of the future 
cosmos. There ensued thereupon a Sabbath of rest. 
The fresh, elemental world was sown with the germs 
of future beauty in diverse forms of life, in diversity 
of species, and possibly, varieties under the same 
species. But these, as yet, lay hidden in the womb 
of nature. No earthly substance existed in act save 
the simple bodies ; primordial matter under its first 
and lowest forms. Such was the earthly creation 
when the first Sabbath closed in upon it. After this 
Sabbath followed the order of Divine administra- 
tion, wherein, as it continues to the present hour, the 
Divine Wisdom and Omnipotence superintended the 
natural Evolution of visible things, according to a 
constant order of His own appointing, amid cease- 
less cycles of alternate corruptions and genera- 

"Compound inanimate substances were first 
evolved by means of the seminal forces bestowed on 
nature. Then, from the bosom of these compounds 
sprang into being the green life of herb, plant and 
tree, gradually unfolding into higher and more com- 
plex forms of loveliness as the ages rolled on, accord- 
ing to the virtual order imprinted at first upon the 


obedient matter. Thence onward marched the 
grand procession of Hfe, marking epochs as it went 
along, till it culminated in man, the paragon of 
God's visible universe." 

The Divine Administration. 

But what, it may be inquired, does St. Thomas 
mean by the work of Divine administration ? This 
phrase has been frequently employed, and it is of 
sufficient importance to demand an explanation. 

No creature, as theology teaches, is competent to 
elicit a single act, even the smallest and most insig- 
nificant, without the cooperation of God. We can- 
not raise a foot, or move a finger, without Divine 
assistance. This is included in Divine administra- 
tion, but it is far from being all that is so included. 
Over and above this the Divine administration em- 
braces the order, or laws, by which the world is 
governed. It embraces, too, the Evolution of living 

*"The Metaphysics of the School," vol. II, p. 741. 

For one who wishes to master the doctrines and methods of 
Scholasticism, there is no work in English — if, indeed, there is 
in any language — that can be studied with more profit than this 
thorough and exhaustive treatise of Father Harper's. No one 
should attempt to discuss the teachings of the Schoolmen re- 
specting derivative creation, who has not mastered Appendix 
A, in vol. II, on The Teaching of St. Thomas Touching the 
Genesis of the Material Universe, and the appendix in vol. Ill, 
part I, on The Teaching of the Angelic Doctor Touching the 
Efficient Causes of the Generation of Living Bodies in Its Bear- 
ings on Modern Physical Discoveries. Both these appendices 
are veritable magazines of fact and argumentation that cannot 
be duplicated elsewhere. I am indebted to the distinguished 
author, not only for the translation of many of the preceding 
quotations from the Angelic Doctor, but also for manj- valuable 
suggestions regarding the manner of treatment of theistic 
Evolution from the standpoint of patristic and scholastic 


things, without parentage, out of the potentiality of 
matter, or, what amounts to the same thing, it in- 
cludes the proximate disposition of matter for the 
Evolution of organic from inorganic matter, and the 
higher from the lower forms of life. God, conse- 
quently, " must have been the sole efificient Cause of 
the organization requisite, and, therefore, in the 
strictest sense. He is said to have formed such living 
things, and, in particular, the human body, out of pre- 
existent matter." 

In the teachings of St. Augustine and St. Thomas 
respecting the creation and Evolution of the sum of 
all things, there is nothing uncertain, equivocal or 
vacillating. True to the declaration of the Inspired 
Record, and true to the faith of the Church from 
the earliest ages of her history, they teach that in 
the beginning God created all things, visible and in- 
visible, and that He still continues to protect and 
govern by His Providence all things which He hath 
made, " reaching from end to end mightily, and or- 
dering all things sweetly." ' They tell us, not only 
that the Creator is " Lord of Heaven and earth, Al- 
mighty, Eternal, Immense, Incomprehensible, Infin- 
ite in intelligence, in will and in all perfections," not 
only that He is '* absolutely simple and immutable 
spiritual substance, really and essentially distinct 
from the world," but also that he is omnipresent, 
omniscient ; that for Him there is no past nor future ; 
that all is present, and that " all things are bare 
and open to His eyes."' 

^ Wisdom, viii, i. 
"^ Heb. iv, 13. 


According to the Fathers and the Schoolmen, 
therefore, as well as according to Catholic Dogma, 
God is the First Cause ; finite beings are but second- 
ary causes. God is the Primary Cause — Causa Caus- 
arum; while all finite causes are merely instrumental. 
God is preeminently the integral and efficient Cause 
of all things, for He, preeminently, is the Cause 
" whence," to use the words of Aristotle, "is the first 
beginning of change or of rest." 

In the language of the Scholastics, He is the 
Form of forms ; Absolute Form because Absolute 
Act. He is the Principiant of principiants, the first 
Beginning — Apyjj, Principium — of all that exists or 
can exist. 

Efficient Causality of Creatures. 

But God, although the true, efficient Cause of 
all things, has willed, in order to manifest more 
clearly His wisdom and power and love, to re- 
ceive the cooperation of His creatures, and to con- 
fer on them, as St. Thomas puts it, *' the dignity of 
causality — dignitatem causandi conferre voluit." It 
is not, however, as the Angelic Doctor declares, 
** from any indigence in God that He wants other 
causes for the act of production." He does not re- 
quire the cooperation of secondary causes because 
He is unable to dispense with their aid. He is none 
the less omnipotent because He has chosen to act in 
conjunction with works of His own hand, for it is 
manifest that He who has created the causes, is able 
to produce the effects which proceed from such 


I have said that the efficient causality of crea- 
tures serves to disclose the wisdom and power and 
love of the Creator. It is true, but here again I 
shall quote from the eloquent and profound Father 
Harper, who so beautifully sums up all that may be 
said on the subject, that I need make no apology for 
quoting him in full. 

The efficient causality of the creature serves to 
manifest God's wisdom, " for there is greater elabora- 
tion of design. To plan out a universe of finite en- 
tities, differing in essence and in grades of perfection, 
is doubtless a work of superhuman wisdom ; but to 
include in the design the further idea, of conferring 
on these entities a complex variety of forces, quali- 
ties, active and passive, faculties by virtue of which 
nature should ever grow out of itself and develop 
from lower to higher forms of existence, and should 
multiply along definite lines of being ; to conceive a 
world whose constituents should ceaselessly energize 
on one another, yet without confusion and in an ad- 
mirable order; to allow to the creature its own proper 
causality, and yet, even spite of the manifold action 
of free will in a countless multiplicity of immortal in- 
telligences, to elaborate a perfect unity ; surely this 
is an incalculably higher manifestation of wisdom. 
It serves to manifest the power of the Creator ; for 
every cause is proportioned to the effect. But the 
completion of a design such as has been described, is 
a more noble effect than if every production of 
natural operation were the result of immediate crea- 
tion. The manufacture of a watch is a noble work 
of art; but if a watch should be made capable of 


constructing other watches in succession, and of wind- 
ing up, regulating, cleaning, repairing its offspring, 
there is no one who would not be free to admit, that 
the inventor would possess a virtue of operation in- 
comparably superior to his fellow-men. It serves to 
manifest the love and goodness of the Creator ; since 
the Divine communication is more complete. Love 
shows itself in the desire of communicating its own 
perfection to the object of love ; it is essentially self- 
diffusive. By bestowing on the creature existence 
which is a likeness to His own existence, the Crea- 
tor communicates of His own, so to say, to the ob- 
ject of His charity ; but by bestowing likewise an in- 
trinsic activity proportioned in each case to the 
exigencies of the particular nature, he completes the 
similitude. By this consummation of the creature 
He causes it to partake, in its own proper measure, 
of the diffusiveness of His goodness. There is 
nothing of solitariness in nature. By the very con- 
stitution of things, being is impelled to impart to 
being of its own perfection. Not only does the sub- 
stantial form bestow upon the matter a specific deter- 
mination, and the matter sustain the form in being; 
not only does accident give its complement of per- 
fection to substance, and substance give and preserve 
the being of accident ; not only does part conspire 
with part towards the completeness of the whole, 
and the whole delight in the welfare of each part ; 
but substance generates substance, accident, in its 
way, accident, and the whole visible universe is knit 
together in the solidarity of a common need and of 
mutual support. Passing upwards, the orders of 


spiritual being, both those that are included in 
the visible creation and those which are pure in- 
telligences, bear in the activity of their will, which 
acts upon all that is around it, a yet nearer resem- 
blance to the charity of the Creator. Assuredly, 
then, the causal activity of finite being is not 
superfluous ; even though God can, by His sole 
omnipotence, do all that is effected by His crea- 
ture." ' 

Such then, is the theistic conception of Evolu- 
tion ; such the Catholic idea as developed and taught 
by the Church's most eminent saints and Doctors. 
It were easy to add the testimony of other philoso- 
phers and theologians ; but this is not necessary. It 
is not my purpose to write a treatise on the subject, 
but merely to indicate by the declarations of a few 
accredited witnesses, to show from the teachings of 
those "whose praise is in all the churches," that 
there is nothing in Evolution, properly understood, 
which is antagonistic either to revelation or Dogma ; 
that, on the contrary, far from being opposed to 
faith. Evolution, as taught by St. Augustine and St. 
Thomas Aquinas, is the most reasonable view, and 
the one most in harmony with the explicit dec- 
larations of the Genesiac narrative of creation. 
This the Angelic Doctor admits in so many 
words. God could, indeed, have created all things 
directly ; He could have dispensed with the coopera- 
tion of secondary causes; He could have remained in 
all things the sole immediate efficient Cause, but in 
His infinite wisdom He chose to order otherwise. 

' "Metaphj'sics of the School," vol. Ill, part I, pp, 36 jind 28. 



The Evolution, however, of Augustine and 
Aquinas, I must here remark, excludes the Occasion- 
alism of Geulincx and Malebranche as much as it 
does the specific creation of the older philosophers. 
In the opinion of the Cartesians, just mentioned, 
there are no second causes ; God is the sole Cause in 
the universe. The operations of nature, far from 
being the result of second causes, as the Angelic 
Doctor teaches, are due " exclusively to the action 
of God, who takes occasion of the due presence of 
what we should call .secondary causes, with the sub- 
jects of operation, to produce. Himself, all natural 
effects ;" Who, for instance, " takes an act of the 
will as the occasion of producing a corresponding 
movement of the body, and a state of the body as 
the occasion of producing a corresponding mental 
state." According to the doctrine of occasional 
causes, ** body and mind are like two clocks which act 
together, because at each instant they are adjusted 
by God." Not only is God the cause of the con- 
comitance of bodily and mental facts; He is the 
cause of their existence, their sequence and their 
coexistence as well. The efficient causality is elim- 
inated entirely from the scheme of creation and de- 
velopment, and God acts directly and immediately, 
not indirectly and mediately, in all the phenomena, 
and in all the countless and inconceivable minutiae 
of the universe.' The refutation of this opinion 

* A view similar lo, if not identical with Occasionalism, is 
held by Mr. John Fiske. The doctrine of secondary causes, as 
above explained, he calls " the lower, or Augustinian Theism," 


has been anticipated in the presentation of the 
views of St. Thomas and St. Augustine, and their 
consideration, therefore, need make no further claim 
on our attention. 


But not only does the theistic Evolution of St. 
Augustine and the Angelic Doctor exclude special 
creations and Occasionalism, it dispels as completely 
all anthropomorphic views of the Deity, and is at 
the same time thoroughly opposed to the doctrine 
of constant Divine interference in the operations of 

St. Augustine shows how distasteful Anthropo- 
morphism is to him when, among other things, he 
declares : " To suppose that God formed man from 
the dust with bodily hands is very childish. . . . God 
neither formed man with bodily hands nor did He 
breathe upon him with throat and lips." 

We know, indeed, that God created all things 
from nothing, but we cannot imagine, nay, we 
cannot conceive, how He created. We know that 
the universe came into existence in virtue of a 

as contradistinguished from what he designates "the higher, or 
Athanasian Theism," which, he will have it, knows nothing of 
secondary causes in a world where every event flows directly 
from the eternal First Cause, in a world where God is ever 
immanent and eternally creative. If Mr. Fiske will take the 
trouble to study more carefully' the teachings of Sts. Athanasius 
and Augustine, anent the Divine administration of the world, he 
will find that, however much these two great Doctors may 
have differed in the expression of their views, they were, never- 
theless, at one as to the doctrine of derivative creation, or crea- 
tion through the agency of secondary causes. For Fiske's 
opinion on this topic, see his "Idea of God," chap, vii, and Cos- 
mic Theism, in part III of" Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy." 


simple Divine fiat, but no human intellect is 
able to conceive how matter and spirit were educed 
from nothingness into actuality. The very feeble- 
ness and limitations of human language and hu- 
man thought compel us, when speaking of God 
and His operations, to employ terms that often 
but faintly adumbrate the magnificent realities of 
which we can never form an adequate conception. 
We speak of God as Creator, as giving ear to the 
prayers of His creatures, as being holy, just, power- 
ful, omniscient, omnipresent, but we do not thereby 
think of Him as some sort of magnified man, as 
skeptics are often wont to assert. When we speak 
of the attributes and perfections of the Deity, we 
must needs use the same terms as when we speak 
of corresponding attributes and perfections in man. 
This, however, does not necessarily imply an anthro- 
pomorphic conception of God, and still less does 
it, as is so often assumed, imply the alternative of a 
blank and hopeless skepticism. 

" God," as a scholarly writer truthfully observes, 
" contains in Himself all human perfections, but not 
in the same manner as they exist in man. In man 
they are limited, dependent, conditioned, imperfect, 
finite nature. In God they are unlimited, independ- 
ent, absolute, perfect, infinite nature. In man 
they can be separated one from the other ; in God 
they are all one and the same, and we can distinguish 
the Divine attributes after our human fashion, only 
because their perfect and absolute unity contains 
virtually in itself an infinite multiplicity. In man 
they are essentially human ; in God they are all 


Divine. In man they belong to the lower and 
created order; in God, to a higher and uncreated 
order. In man any moral perfection may be present 
or absent without the essential nature of man being 
thereby affected ; in God, the absence of any perfec- 
tion would thereby rob Him ipso facto of His Deity. 
Whatever the human attribute can perform, the 
Divine attribute can do in a far more perfect way, 
and the most exalted exhibition of human perfection 
is but a faint shadow of the Divine perfection that 
gave it birth. The most unbounded charity, mercy, 
gentleness, compassion, in man, is feeble indeed, and 
miserable, compared with the charity, mercy, gentle- 
ness, compassion of God. The Divine perfection is 
the ideal of human perfection, its model, its pattern, 
its origin, its efficient Cause, the source from which it 
came, the end for which it was created." ' 

Divine Interference. 

Theistic Evolution, in the sense in which it is 
advocated by St. Augustine and St. Thomas, ex- 
cludes also Divine interference, or constant unneces- 
sary interventions on the part of the Deity, as effectu- 
ally as it does a low and narrow Anthropomorphism. 
Both these illustrious Doctors declare explicitly, 
that " in the institution of nature we do not look for 
miracles, but for the laws of nature." ' 

* The Month, Sept., 1882, p. 20. 

*Cf. "Gen. ad Lit.," lib. II, cap. i, of St. Augustine and 
"Sum." I, Lxvii, 4 ad 3'" of St. Thomas. The Angelic Doctor's 
words are: "In prima autem institutione naturse non qujeritur 
miraculum, sed quid natura rerum habeat." Suarez expresses 


Only the crudest conception of derivative creation 
would demand that the theist should necessarily, if 
consistent, have recourse to continued creative fiats 
to explain the multifold phenomena connected with 
inorganic or organic Evolution. For, as already ex- 
plained, derivation or secondary creation is not, prop- 
erly speaking, a supernatural act. It is merely the 
indirect action of Deity by and through natural 
causes. The action of God in the order of nature is 
concurrent and overruling, indeed, but is not 
miraculous in the sense in which the word "miracu- 
lous" is ordinarily understood. He operates by and 
through the laws which He instituted in the be- 
ginning, and which are still maintained by His Provi- 
dence. Neither the doctrine of the Angel of the 
Schools nor that of the Bishop of Hippo, requires the 
perpetual manifestation of miraculous powers, inter- 
ventions or catastrophes. They do not necessitate 
the interference with, or the dispensation from, the 
laws of nature, but admit and defend their existence 
and their continuous and regular and natural action. 
Only a misunderstanding of terms, only a gross mis- 
apprehension of the meaning of the word "creation," 
only, in fine, the " unconscious Anthropomorphisms" 
of the Agnostic and the Monist, would lead one to 
find anything irreconcilable between the legitimate 
inductions of science and the certain and explicit 
declarations of Dogma. 

himself to the same effect when he tells us, in his tractate, "De 
Angelis," lib. I, no. 8, that we must not have recourse to the 
First Cause when the effects observed can be explained by the 
operations of secondary causes. " Non est ad Primam Causam 
recurrendam cum possunt effectus ad causas secundas reduci." 

E, — 20 


Science and Creation. 

From what has already been learned, it is mani- 
fest that physical science is utterly incompetent to 
pronounce on primaiy or absolute creation. This, 
being by the very nature of the case, above and be- 
yond observation and experiment, it is, for the same 
reason, necessarily above and beyond the sphere 
of science or Evolution. The Rev. Baden Powell 
clearly expresses this idea in his " Philosophy of Cre- 
ation," when he affirms that " science demonstrates 
incessant past changes, and dimly points to yet earlier 
links in a more vast series of development of material 
existence ; but the idea of a beginning, or of creation, 
in the sense of the original operation of the Divine 
volition to constitute nature and matter, is beyond 
the province of physical philosophy." ' 

Again, belief in derivative creation is secure from 
attack, on the part of natural science, for the simple 
reason that it does not repose on physical phenom- 
ena at all, but on psychical reasons, or on our pri- 
mary intuitions. Modern scientists are continually 
confounding primary with secondary creation, and 
speaking of the latter as if it were absolute creation, 
or as if it implied special supernatural action. This 
confusion of terms is at the bottom of many of the 
utterances of Darwin and Huxley, and is the cause 
of numerous erroneous views which they ascribe 
to their opponents. Thus, Darwin asks those who 
are not prepared to assent to his evolutionary no- 
tions, if "they really believe that at innumerable 

^ Essay III, sec. iv. 


periods in the earth's history, certain elemental atoms 
have been commanded suddenly to flash into living 
tissues?" ' And Huxley ridicules the notion that ** a 
rhinoceros tichorhinus suddenly started from the 
ground like Milton's lion, 'pawing to get free its 
hinder parts,' " '^ and facetiously speaks of the im- 
probability of " the sudden concurrence of half-a-ton 
of inorganic molecules into a live rhinoceros." 

A grave objection, quotha ! As if a belief in 
creation necessarily connoted the grotesque assump- 
tions which he attributes to those who are not of his 
mind. Huxley and Darwin set up poor, impotent 
dummies, and forthwith proceed to knock them 
down, and then imagine they have proven the 
views of their adversaries to be untenable, if not 
absurd. A reference to what has already been said 
respecting absolute and derivative creation, and a 
recollection that creation by and through second- 
ary causes is not a supernatural, but a natural act, 
will show how much ignorance of the elench there 
is in the difficulty suggested by the two naturalists 
just named. 

Darwin's Objection. 

Once more, Darwin speaks of a man building a 
house of certain stones found at the base of a preci- 
pice, and selecting those which, from their shape, 
happened to be most suitable. And in referring 
to this matter he writes : "The shape of the frag- 
ments of stone at the base of our precipice may be 

' '* The Origin of Species," vol. II, p. 297. 
2 « Life of Darwin," vol. I, p. 548. 


called accidental, but this is not strictly correct, for 
the shape of each depends on a long sequence of 
events, all obeying natural laws, on the nature of the 
rock, on the lines of stratification or cleavage, on the 
form of the mountain, which depends upon its up- 
heaval and subsequent denudation, and lastly on the 
storm and earthquake which threw down the frag- 
ments. But in regard to the use to which the frag- 
ments may be put, their shape may strictly be said 
to be accidental. And here we are led to face a 
great difficulty, in alluding to which I am aware that 
I am traveling beyond my proper province. 

"An omniscient Creator must have foreseen every 
consequence which results from the laws imposed by 
Him ; but can it be reasonably maintained that the 
Creator intentionally ordered, if we use the words in 
any ordinary sense, that . certain fragments of rock 
should assume certain shapes so that the builder 
might erect his edifice?'" 

The difficulty here raised is one of frequent oc- 
currence in the writings of modern scientists. It re- 
poses entirely on the crude and erroneous notions 
which they entertain respecting the nature and attri- 
butes of the Deity, and has its origin in that low and 
restricted Anthropomorphism, against which they are 
wont to inveigh so strongly, but into which they are 
continually lapsing, notwithstanding all their assever- 
ations and protestations to the contrary. The objec- 
tion, although urged in the name of natural and 
physical science, is in reality metaphysical in char- 
acter and should be so treated. Those who urge 

^"Animals and Plants under Domestication," vol. II, p. 432. 



the objection seem to think, that in the boundless 
profusion and multitudinous forms of inorganic and 
organic nature, in the myriad worlds and systems 
of worlds which people the illimitable realms of 
space, there is more than God can provide for or 
superintend. They forget that He, by His very 
nature, is omniscient and omnipotent and omnipres- 
ent; that for Him there is neither past nor future, 
but that all is present and bare before His eyes ; 
that far from- being conditioned or limited in His 
actions, He is absolutely independent and free from 
all limitations ; that He is infinite in all His perfec- 
tions and can attend to a thousand million systems 
of worlds, and to each according to its proper needs, 
as well as to a single crystal or a solitary flower ; 
and that He can do this during countless aeons of 
time as easily as He can for a single moment. We 
have here, in a different guise, the old difficulty of 
time and space in their relations to God and His 
Divine operations. It is only necessary to form a 
proper, if not an adequate conception, of God and 
His attributes, to refer to the first principles of 
psychology, in order to realize how puerile is the 
objection, and what crass ignorance it betrays of 
the fundamental elements of metaphysics and the- 
ology on the part of the objector. 

Limitations of Specialists. 

In Darwm's case, one is not surprised that he 
should, in good faith, urge the objection included in 
the quotation just made from him, because he in- 
forms us himself that he was mentally disqualified 


for the discussion of abstract or metaphysical ques- 
tions. " My power," he writes in his autobiography, 
"to follow a long and purely abstract train of 
thought, is very limited ; and therefore I could never 
have succeeded with metaphysics or mathematics." 
But aside from his incompetence as a metaphysician, 
the very doctrine he championed so lustily seemed 
to render him nebulous and skeptical even about 
primary intuitions. Having occasion to give an 
opinion on the " Creed of Science," he wrote : " The 
horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions 
of man's mind, which has been developed from the 
mind of the lower animals, are of any value, or at all 
trustworthy. Would anyone trust in the convictions 
of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in 
such a mind ?" ' 

One is not surprised, I repeat, to find metaphys- 
ical and theological errors in Darwin's works, for, in 
addition to his acknowledged incapacity in abstract 
subjects, his mind was so preoccupied with biology 
in its bearings on Evolution, that he was practically 
indifferent to, if not oblivious of, everything outside 
his immediate sphere of research. He is, indeed, a 
striking illustration of the truth of Cardinal New- 
man's observations when he declares, that "Any one 
study, of whatever kind, exclusively pursued, dead- 
ens in the mind the interest, nay, the perception, of 
any other. Thus, Cicero says, Plato and Demos- 
thenes, Aristotle and Isocrates, might have respect- 
ively excelled in each other's province, but that each 
was absorbed in his own. Specimens of this pecul- 

* " Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," vol. I, p. 285. 


iarity occur every day. You can hardly persuade 
some men to talk about anything but their own pur- 
suits ; they refer the whole world to their own cen- 
ter, and measure all matters by their own rule, like 
the fisherman in the drama, whose eulogy on his 
deceased lord was, 'he was so fond of fish.' " ' 

But the observations of the learned cardinal are 
not more applicable to Darwin than to a host of 
contemporary scientists, who fancy there is an irrec- 
oncilable conflict between science on the one hand, 
and religion on the other. They fail to see that the 
conflict, so far as it exists, is due either to bias or 
ignorance, or to the fact that the very nature of 
their studies has imposed limitations on them, which 
utterly unfit them for pronouncing an opinion on 
the subjects which they are often in such haste to 

In one of his thoughtful essays,* the Rev. James 
Martineau alludes to the injury which is done to 
sound philosophy by the undue cultivation of any 
one branch of knowledge. " Nothing is more com- 
mon," he avers, " than to see maxims, which are 
unexceptionable as the assumptions of particular 

'"Lectures on University Subjects," p. 322. Nearh* forty 
years ago, in a lecture before the Royal Institution of Great 
Britain, the noted English writer, H. T. Buckle, adverting to this 
topic, declared that " an exclusive employment of the inductive 
philosophy was contracting the minds of physical inquirers, and 
gradually shutting out speculations respecting causes and en- 
tities ; limiting the student to questions of distribution, and for- 
bidding him questions of origin ; making everything hang oa 
two sets of laws, namely, those of coexistence and of sequence; 
and declaring beforehand how far future knowledge can lead 
us." See vol. I, of " Miscellaneous and Posthumous Works." 

'^"A Plea for Philosophical Studies." 


sciences, coerced into the service of a universal philos- 
ophy, and so turned into instruments of mischief and 
distortion. That ' we can know but phenomena ; ' that 
' causation is simply constant priority ; ' that ' men are 
governed invariably by their interests ; ' are examples 
of rules allowable as dominant hypotheses in physics 
or political economy, but exercising a desolating tyr- 
anny when thrust onto the throne of universal em- 
pire. He who seizes upon these and similar maxims 
and carries them in triumph on his banner, may 
boast of his escape from the uncertainties of meta- 
physics, but is himself, all the while, the unconscious 
victim of their very vulgarest deception." 

Evolution and Catholic Teaching. 

From the foregoing pages, then, it is clear that 
far from being opposed to faith, theistic Evolution is, 
on the contrary, supported both by the declarations 
of Genesis and by the most venerable philosophical 
and theological authorities of the Church. I have 
mentioned specially St. Augustine and St. Thomas, 
because of their exalted position as saints and Doc- 
tors, but it were an easy matter to adduce the testi- 
mony of others scarcely less renowned for their 
philosophical acumen and for their proved and un- 
questioned orthodoxy ; but this is unnecessary.' Of 
course no one would think of maintaining that any 
of the Fathers or Doctors of the Church taught 
Evolution in the sense in which it is now under- 

let., in this connection, chap, xii, of the "Genesis of 
Species;" and chap, xiv, of "Lessons from Nature," by St. 
George Mivart, where the subject. Theology and Evolution, is 
very cleverly treated. 


stood. They did not do this for the simple reason 
that the subject had not even been broached in its 
present form, and because its formulation as a theory, 
under its present aspect, was impossible before men 
of science had in their possession the accumulated 
results of the observation and research of these lat- 
ter times. But they did all that was necessary fully 
to justify my present contention ; they laid down 
principles which are perfectly compatible with the- 
istic Evolution. They asserted, in the most posi- 
tive and explicit manner, the doctrine of derivative 
creation as against the theory of a perpetual direct 
creation of organisms, and turned the weight of 
their great authority in favor of the doctrine, that 
God administers the material universe by natural 
laws, and not by constant miraculous interventions. 
As far as the present argument is concerned, this 
distinct enunciation of principles makes for my 
thesis quite as much as would the promulgation of 
a more detailed theory of Evolution. 

The Scholastic Doctrine of Species. 

It may, however, be objected, that the authorities 
so far quoted favor development only in a vague 
or general way ; that the Fathers and Scholastics 
distinctly maintained certain views which are abso- 
lutely incompatible with Evolution as now under- 
stood. It is said, for instance, that the scholastic 
doctrine of species, to which all the Schoolmen are 
irrevocably committed, completely negatives the 
view that their principles are compatible with 


organic development. We are told that one of the 
cardinal doctrines of the School is the immutability 
of species ; that species are but realizations of the 
archetypes, the " grand ideas," which have existed 
from all eternity in the mind of the Creator ; that 
to affirm the immutability of species would be tan- 
tamount to asserting a change in the Divine proto- 
types, or to predicating a mutation in the Divine 
Essence itself. 

In answer to this objection I shall confine myself 
to the teachings of the Angelic Doctor alone, as I 
am perfectly willing to rest my case for Evolution 
on his certain teachings respecting the nature of 

It is necessary to premise here, that in the induc- 
tive sciences, St. Thomas, like his illustrious master, 
St. Augustine, teaches that disputed points are not 
to be settled by a priori reasoning, but rather by 
observation and experiment. • No one, therefore, 
who is even slightly acquainted with the mind of 
the Angelic Doctor, and who duly appreciates his 
penetrating and comprehensive genius, would for a 
moment credit him with binding his disciples and 
successors to metaphysical formulae, in matters 
of experimental science, and thus obliging them to 
reject the results of experiment and observation 
when they might happen to contravene the dicta or 
assumptions of metaphysics. Such an imputation 
would not be borne out by his teaching and would 
be as unjust as it would be erroneous. 

To remove ambiguity and clear away difficulties, 
it may be observed that the word " species " may be 


envisaged under three different aspects, to wit : the 
metaphysical, the logical, and the physiological or 
real. As to the metaphysical and logical aspects, 
both the Angelic Doctor and the School gener- 
ally, are one in attributing to species an absolute 

With metaphysical and logical species, however, 
we are not at present concerned. I am quite willing 
to leave these to the metaphysician to treat them 
as he lists. The question now at issue regards only 
physiological species. Is the species of which the 
biologist speaks variable, or does it belong to the 
category of immutable metaphysical species ? This 
is a question of science and not of metaphysics. If 
it can be proven by the sciences of observation and 
experiment, that species are permanent and in- 
variable, then the real or physiological species of 
the naturalist, in so far as they are immutable, at 
once enter into the category of the metaphysical 
species of the School. If, on the contrary, science 
can demonstrate that species are variable, then 
the fancied identity of physiological and meta- 
physical species immediately disappears. The de- 
termination, however, whether living types, plant 
or animal, are variable or permanent ; whether 
physiological species shall be classed in the same 
category as immutable metaphysical species, is, I 

' In his " Summa," St. Thomas thus defines logical species : 
" Considerandum est quod illud secundum quod sortitur aliquid 
speciem oportet esse fixum et stans et quasi indivisibile. . . . 
Et ideo omnis forma quje substantialiter participatur in subjecto, 
caret intensione et remissione." " Summa," pars I, qusest. 52, 
art. I. 


repeat, a matter not of a priori reasoning, but 
wholly and solely one of observation and experi- 

In his " Summa," the Angelic Doctor admits 
without hesitation the possibility of a new species, 
for he tells us that : " New species, if they make their 
appearance, preexisted in certain active virtues, as 
animals are produced from carrion under the influ- 
ence communicated in the beginning to the stars 
and the elements." ' 

More than this, he distinctly admits the muta- 
bility of species. To the objection that species 
must be immutable because they correspond with 
archetypes in the Divine intelligence, that they 
must be immutable because their forms are essen- 
tially immutable, he replies, that " immutability is 
proper to God only," and that " forms are subject 
to the variations of the reality." * 

Again, it is erroneously supposed that St. Thomas 
always attaches to the terms genus and species, the 
same meaning as is given them by modern natural- 
ists. This is a grave misapprehension. It will suf- 
fice to adduce a single instance in disproof of this 
notion. For example, the Angelic Doctor places 
man and animal in the same genus. But if, in the 
mind of St. Thomas, the word genus were in this 

' " Species etiam novae, si quae apparent, praeextiterunt in 
quibusdam activis virtutibus ; sicut et animalia ex putrefactione 
generata producuntur ex virtutibus stellarum et elementorum, 
quas a principio acceperunt; etiamsi novse species talium ani- 
malium producuntur." " Summa," pars I, quaest. 73, art. i ad 3. 

'" Subjiciuntur tamen variation! in quantum subjectum 
secundum eas variatur." "Summa," pars I, quaest. 9, art. 2 et 3. 


instance to be understood in its modern sense, it 
would, as Pere Leroy puts it, be tantamount to ad- 
mitting the " principle of materialism."' Obviously, 
therefore, the term genus is to be understood in a 
much more comprehensive sense. For a similar 
reason, species, the immediate subdivision of genus, 
must likewise have a much wider signification than 
it has in a strict technical sense. If we desire to 
have a measure of the relative amplitude of species 
as compared with genus, in the passage just quoted, 
in which genus is made to embrace man and animal, 
we must, as Pere Leroy pertinently remarks, make 
species correspond to what naturalists now denomi- 
nate a kingdom. Thus understood, species, in the 
instance referred to, would be immutable, but not 

It is a mistake, then, to suppose that the mean- 
ing of the term species, in its physiological sense, 
was fixed by the Angelic Doctor. Neither did it 
receive the signification afterwards ascribed to it 
from any of the other Schoolmen or mediaeval the- 
ologians. Nor does such a meaning find any war- 
rant in the teachings of the Fathers or in Scripture. 
Whence, then, the origin of the word in the sense 
so long attributed to it by special creationists ? This 
is a question deserving of consideration, for an an- 
swer to it, if it does not remove wholly many diffi- 
culties, will at least clear the field for intelligent 

' For an interesting discussion of Thomastic teaching re- 
specting the nature of species, see chap, iii of Pere Leroy's 
" L'fivolution Restreinte aux Especes Organiques." 


Milton and Ray. 

Incredible as it may seem, it was a poet who fas- 
tened on science the signification which the word 
"species" has so long borne. Prior to Milton's time 
the meaning of the term, as employed by naturalists, 
was vague and changeable in the extreme. Not so, 
however, after the appearance of " Paradise Lost." 
At once the account of creation, as given in this im- 
mortal poem, began to be regarded as "a sort of 
inspired gloss on the early chapters of Genesis," and 
the botanist Ray, a younger contemporary of Milton, 
had, accordingly, no difficulty in giving to the word 
"species" a meaning which became as definite in 
natural history, as it had long before been in logic 
and metaphysics. The work of Milton and Ray was 
complete. What naturalists from the time of Aris- 
totle had been unable to do, was effected in less than 
a generation by a poet and a botanist. And so uni- 
versally was their meaning of the word accepted, 
that it persisted in natural history usage, and almost 
without any objections being raised against it, for 
full two hundred years. It was adopted by Linnaeus 
and given wide-spread currency in the numerous 
works of the illustrious Swede. It was accepted by 
the great Cuvierand his school, and thus a definition 
of a single word, the meaning of which hinged on a 
well-known episode in a celebrated poem, served for 
two centuries to give permanency to a doctrine which, 
notwithstanding the progress Evolution has made, 
still has its supporters in all parts of the world. 
Species were assumed to be fixed and invariable, 


because the definition of the term, not the facts 
of nature, demanded it. Logical and metaphysical 
species were confounded with physiological, or real 
species. For this reason, as is apparent, the founda- 
tion of the rival theory of Evolution, special crea- 
tion, rests on an assumption ; an assumption which, 
in turn, is based on a misconception of terms, on 
what, in the last resort, is a verbal fallacy pure 
and simple. Indeed, the history of the word " spe- 
cies " is but another of the countless illustrations of 
the sage observation of Coleridge, that " errors in 
nomenclature are apt to avenge themselves by gen- 
erating errors of idea; " errors which, in turn, gener- 
ate other errors and retard progress in a way that 
cannot be estimated. 

The scholastic teaching respecting species does 
not, then, as is so often erroneously imagined, com- 
mit us to the doctrine of the immutability of species. 
Far from it. The question of the mutability or per- 
manence of physiological species, the question of 
organic Evolution, therefore, is, as just stated, one to 
be settled by empirical science, by observation and 
experiment, and not by metaphysics. 


Spontaneous Generation. 

OUR next inquiry is concerning the teachings of 
the Fathers and the Schoolmen in respect of 
the origin and nature of life, and what views one 
may, consistently with revealed truth and Catholic 
Dogma, entertain regarding this all-important topic. 
These are questions, as is well known, in which evo- 
lutionists of all classes, monistic, agnostic, and 
theistic, are specially interested, and questions, con- 
sequently, which cannot be passed over in silence. 

The lower forms of life, as we learned in the 
beginning of this work, were supposed by Greek and 
mediaeval philosophers to have originated sponta- 
neously from the earth, or from putrefying organic 
matter. From the time of Aristotle to that of Redi, 
the doctrine of spontaneous generation was accepted 
without question, and it is scarcely yet a generation 
since the brilliant experiments of Pasteur drove abi- 
ogenesis from its last stronghold. 

For over two thousand years the most extrava- 
gant notions were prevalent regarding certain of the 
smaller animals. Virgil, in his famous episode of 
Aristaeus, tells us of the memorable discovery of the 
old Arcadian for the production of bees from the 
tainted gore of slain bullocks. But this is but an echo 



of what was universally believed and taught. Not 
only was it thought that putrefying flesh gave rise 
to insects, and other minute animals, but it was the 
current opinion that different kinds of carrion gen- 
erated diverse forms of life. Thus, as bees were 
produced from decomposing beef, so beetles were gen- 
erated from horseflesh, grass-hoppers from mules, 
scorpions from crabs, and toads from ducks. Diodo- 
rus Siculus speaks of multitudes of animals devel- 
oped from the sun-warmed slime of the Nile valley. 
Plutarch assures us that the soil of Egypt spontane- 
ously generates rats, and Pliny is ready to confirm the 
statement by an example of a rat, half metamorphosed, 
found in the Thebaid, of which the anterior half was 
that of a fully developed rodent, while the posterior 
half was entirely of stone ! The Fathers and the 
Schoolmen, as we have seen, made no hesitation in 
accepting the doctrine of spontaneous generation. 
But while ready to admit abiogenesis as a fact, they 
gave it a different interpretation from what it had re- 
ceived from the philosophers and naturalists of Greece 
and Rome. According to Epicurus : " The earth is 
the mother of all living things, and from this simple 
origin not even man is excepted." Brute matter, said 
the Epicureans — as Haeckel and his school now pro- 
claim — generates of its own power both vegetable and 
animal life ; that is, non-living gives rise to living mat- 
ter. But Christian philosophy, contrariwise, teaches 
that it is impossible for inorganic to produce organic 
matter motu propria, or by any natural inherent powers 
it may possess. "The waters, " declares St. Basil, 
in speaking of the work of creation, " were gifted 


with productive power, but this power was com- 
municated to them by God." " From slime and 
muddy places, frogs, flies and gnats came into being," 
he was willing to admit, "but this was in virtue of a 
certain germinative force conferred on matter by the 
Author of nature." "Certain very small animals 
may not have been created on the fifth and sixth 
days," opines St. Augustine, " but may have orig- 
inated later from putrefying matter," but still, even 
in this case, God it is who is their Creator. 

Spontaneous generation, therefore, was never a 
stumbling block either to the Fathers or Scholastics, 
because the Creative act was always acknowledged, 
and because God was ever recognized as the Author, 
at least through second agents, of the divers forms of 
life which were supposed to originate from inorganized 
matter. Whether He created all things absolutely 
and directly, or mediately and indirectly, it mattered 
not, so long as it was understood that nothing could 
exist without His will and cooperation. Whether, 
then, the germ of life was specially created for each 
individual creature, or whether matter was endowed 
with the power of evolving what we call life, by the 
proper collocation of the atoms and molecules of 
which matter is constituted, was, from their point of 
view, immaterial, so far as dogma was concerned. 
The doctrine of spontaneous generation might be an 
error, scientifically, but, even if so, there was nothing 
in it contrary to the truths of revelation. It was 
always and fully recognized that God was the sole 
and absolute Creator of matter, and that He, by the 
action of powers conferred on matter, by certain 


seminal forces, as the Scholastics taught, disposed 
matter for the assumption of all the multitudinous 
forms into which it subsequently developed. 

The Nature of Life. 

Respecting the real nature, not the origin, of 
life, there have, indeed, been many and diverse opin- 
ions. Even now it is almost as much of an enigma 
as it was in the days of Aristotle, and we are at pres- 
ent, apparently, no better qualified to give a true 
definition of life than was the great Stagirite, twenty- 
five centuries ago. Living beings can, indeed, be 
distinguished from non-living beings by their struc- 
ture, mode of genesis, and development, but this 
does not help us toward a clear and precise defini- 
tion of Hfe. 

According to the philosophers of antiquity there 
was a certain independent entity, or vital principle, 
which, uniting with the body, gives life, and, separat- 
ing from it, causes death. Plato and Aristotle, as is 
well known, admitted the existence of three souls, or 
animating spirits, the vegetative for plants, the vege- 
tative and sensitive for animals ; and for man, an in- 
telligent and reasoning spirit in addition to those 
possessed by plants and animals. 

Paracelsus and Van Helmont spoke of the prin- 
ciple of life under the name of archceus, and at- 
tempted to explain vital functions by chemical 
agencies. Others, still, " made the chyle effervesce in 
the heart, under the influence of salt and sulphur, 
which took fire together and produced the vital 


Bichat defines life as " the sum total of the func- 
tions which resist death;" Herbert Spencer makes 
it " the continuous adjustment of internal relations 
to external relations," while Oliver Wendell Holmes 
tells us, that " Life is the state of an organized being 
in which it maintains, or is capable of maintaining, 
its structural integrity, by the constant interchange 
of elements with the surrounding media."' 

Such definitions, however, are almost as vague 
and unsatisfactory as the notions implied in the 
" spirits " of Aristotle and Plato, and in the archseus 
of Van Helmont and Paracelsus. They afford us no 
clearer conception of what life really is in itself, of 
what it is that constitutes the essential difference 
between living and non-living matter, than we may 
derive from the idea of Hippocrates, who regarded 
" unintelligent nature as the mysterious agent in the 
vital processes." 

But whatever views we may entertain respecting 
the actual nature of life ; whether we regard it as a 
force entirely different in kind from the purely phys- 
ical forces, or look upon it as a special coordination 
and integration of physical forces, acting in some 
mysterious way on inanimate matter, and in such 
wise as to cause it to exhibit what we call the phe- 
nomena of life, the fact still remains, that at some 

* " La vie," writes a professor of physiology of the Faculty of 
Medicine, in Paris, " est une fonction chimique et la force dega- 
gde par les ^tres vivants est une force d'origine chimique." In 
contradistinction to this statement, Cardinal Zigliara declares : 
" Vita repeti non potest a materia," Again, life has been defined 
as " Une force qui tend a perfectionner et a reproduire, suivant 
une forme determinee, I'fitre qu'elle anime par une impulsion 


period in the past history of our planet, the first 
germ of organic life made its appearance, and that, 
too, independent of any antecedent terrestrial germ. 

The Germ of Life. 

Whence this primordial germ, this first electric 
spark, which effected the combination of inorganic 
elements and transmuted non-living into living mat- 
ter ? Is it an " intellectual necessity " that we should, 
with Tyndall, " cross the boundary of the experi- 
mental evidence and discover in matter the promise 
and potency of all terrestrial life?"' Must we be- 
lieve with Lucretius that nature "does all things 
spontaneously of herself, without the meddling of 
the gods ;" and are we forced to regard matter and 
life as indissolubly joined, as entities which cannot 
be divorced from one another even in imagination ? 
These are questions which are constantly recurring, 
and while in nowise sharing the materialistic views 
of Tyndall and Lucretius, we are, nevertheless, forced 
to admit that the problems involved are as difficult 
to solve as those concerning the nature of life itself. 
In 1 87 1, Sir William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), in 
an address at Edinburgh, discussed a theory which 
had been broached by a German speculator. Prof. 
Richter of Dresden, and involved the careering 
through space of " seed-bearing meteoric stones," and 
the possibility of " one such falling on the earth," and 
causing it, " by what we blindly call natural causes," 
to become "covered with vegetation." "The hy- 

Fragments of Science," p. 524. 


pothesis," the distinguished physicist tells us, " may 
seem wild and visionary ; all I maintain is, it is not 

But even if it were proved that the first germ of 
life had been brought by some seed-bearing meteor- 
ite from the depths of space, or from some far 
distant world, it would, as is obvious, afford no ex- 
planation either of the real nature or of the ultimate 
origin of life. It would be but removing the diflfi- 
culty farther away ; not giving it a solution. 

Still another question confronts us. Was there 
but one primordial germ, the origin and parent of 
all the multitudinous forms of life which now varie- 
gate and beautify the earth, or were there many 
germs independently implanted in the prepared soil 
of this globe of ours ? And if many, did they make 
their appearance simultaneously, or at different and 
widely separated periods and localities ? 

Darwin inclines to the belief that " all animals 
and plants are descended from some one prototype." 
From this prototype, or primordial germ, as from a 
common root, is developed " the great tree of organic 
life," a tree which is cdnceived as having " two main 
trunks, one representing the vegetable and one the 
animal world," while each trunk is pictured as " di- 
viding into a few main branches," the branches sub- 
dividing into a number of branchlets, and these, in 
turn, into " smaller groups of twigs." Prof. Weis- 
mann, on the other hand, is of the opinion that not 
one, but numerous organisms first arose " spontane- 
ously, simultaneously, and independently one of 
the other." 


Such considerations as the foregoing, and the 
diverse and contradictory opinions to which they 
have given rise, compel one, will-he nill-he, to recog- 
nize the fact that science, I mean experimental 
science, can tell us nothing more about the origin 
of life than it can regarding the origin of matter. 
These are questions which, by their very nature, are 
outside the sphere of inductive research, and their 
answers, so far as observation and experiment are 
concerned, must ever remain in inscrutable and in- 
soluble mystery. 


So far as science can pronounce on the matter, 
spontaneous generation, as we have already learned, 
is, in the language of Pasteur, but a chimera. Even 
those whose theories imply, if they do not demand, 
the spontaneous origination of living from non-living 
matter, are forced to admit that there is, as yet, no 
warranty whatever for believing that abiogenesis 
obtains now, or ever has obtained, at any time in the 
past history of our globe. 

" I should like," writes Darwin, " to see arche- 
biosis " — Bastian's term for spontaneous generation — 
" proved true, for it would be a discovery of trans- 
cendent importance." * So much, indeed, does the 
theory of Evolution, as commonly held, imply the 
existence, at some time or other, of spontaneous 
generation, that Fiske avers: "However the ques- 
tion may eventually be decided, as to the possibility 
of archebiosis occurring at the present day amid the 

>" Life and Letters," vol. II, p. 437. 


artificial circumstances of the laboratory, it cannot 
be denied that archebiosis, or the origination of liv- 
ing matter in accordance with natural laws, must 
have occurred at some epoch in the past." ' 

With Huxley, as with Fiske, a belief in spon- 
taneous generation is a necessary corollary to the 
theory of Evolution. " The fact is," he affirms, " that 
at the present moment there is not a shadow of 
trustworthy direct evidence that abiogenesis does 
take place, or has taken place, within the period dur- 
ing which the existence of life on the globe is 
recorded. But it need hardly be pointed out, that 
the fact does not in the slightest degree interfere 
with any conclusion that may be arrived at, deduc- 
tively from other considerations, that, at some time 
or other, abiogenesis must have taken place." " Else- 
where he declares: " If it were given me to look be- 
yond the abyss of geologically recorded time, to the 
still more remote period when the earth was passing 
through physical and chemical conditions, which it 
can no more see again than a man can recall his 
infancy, I should expect to be a witness of the Evo- 
lution of protoplasm from non-living matter. I 
should expect to see it appear under forms of great 
simplicity, endowed, like existing fungi, with the 
power of determining the formation of new pro- 
toplasm from such matter as ammonium carbonates, 
oxalates and tartrates, alkaline and earthy phos- 
phates and water, without the aid of light. That is 

* " Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy," vol. I, p. 430. 
* See his article on Biolog\', " Encyclopaedia Britannica," 
vol. III. 


the expectation to which analogical reasoning leads 
me, but," he adds, " I beg you once more to recol- 
lect that I have no right to call my opinion any- 
thing but an act of philosophical faith." * 

Haeckel, as we have seen, is far more positive in 
his assertions respecting spontaneous generation. 
His theory of Monism absolutely demands it as a 
sine qua non, and he is the first to announce that 
abiogenesis — he calls it autogeny — is a necessary and 
integral part of the hypothesis of universal Evolu- 
tion, *' a necessary event in the process of the develop- 
ment of the earth." *' He who does not assume a 
spontaneous generation of monera ... to ex- 
plain the first origin of life upon our earth, has no 
other resource but to believe in a supernatural 
miracle ; and this is the questionable standpoint still 
taken by many so-called exact naturalists, who thus 
renounce their own reason." ' 

But suppose that some time or other it should 
be proved, that spontaneous generation not only has 
taken place, but that it actually occurs, hie et nunc ? 
The fact that we have as yet no evidence that it 
ever has taken place, or that it does not occur now, 
does not prove that it is impossible. We may not 
be prepared to affirm, with Huxley and Fiske, that 
it must have taken place at some period in past 
history, but may we not admit the possibility of 
the occurrence? We certainly do not agree with 
Haeckel that we renounce our reason if we believe 
in a special Divine intervention for the production 

'"Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews," pp. 366 et seq. 
« " The Evolution of Man," vol. I, p. 32. 


of life. Nor do we admit that spontaneous genera- 
tion was "a necessary event in the process of the 
development of the earth," because we contend that 
so far as observation and experiment go, they cao 
tell us nothing more about the nature and origin of 
life than they tell us about the origin of matter. 
And yet, notwithstanding the last words of Van 
Beneden and Pasteur, regarding the origination of 
entozoa and microbes from antecedent life, it is quite 
conceivable that with the progress of research and 
the development of more delicate and powerful in- 
struments of observation, it may one day be demon- 
strated that spontaneous generation not only can 
occur, but actually does occur daily in millions of 
cases, in forms of life as far below microbes in size 
and structure as these are below the entozoa. 
Without hesitation, therefore, we can subscribe to 
the declaration of Huxley when he states: "With 
organic chemistry, molecular physics and physiology 
yet in their infancy, and every day making prodi- 
gious strides, I think it would be the height of pre- 
sumption for any man to say that the conditions 
under which matter assumes the properties we call 
'vital,' may not, some day, be artificially brought 
together." ' 

Artificial Production of Life. 

Should, then, such a discovery be made, as is 
possible and conceivable — I do not say probable — 
should some fortunate investigator some day detect, 

' Lay Sermons," p. 366. 


in the great laboratory of nature, the transition of 
inorganic into organic and animated matter, or 
should he, by some happy chance, be able to trans- 
mute non-living into living matter, would there be 
in such a discovery aught that would contravene 
revealed truth, or militate against any of the received 
dogmas of the Church? 

To this question we can at once, and without 
hesitation, return an emphatic negative. The reply 
has, indeed, been indicated in the preceding pages, 
when discussing the views of the Fathers and the 
Schoolmen respecting spontaneous generation. Not 
only were they all fully persuaded of the fact of abio- 
genesis, in the case of certain of the lower forms of 
life, but they also laid down principles which are 
quite compatible with the origination from brute 
matter not only of the lower, but also of the higher 
animals. Far from being opposed to the Evolution 
of living from non-living matter, they, in many in- 
stances, favored it as the more probable hypothesis. 
But their views as to the eflficient causes of such 
Evolution differed toto coelo from those entertained 
by modern monists and agnostics. The latter attrib- 
ute to brute matter, which, by its very nature, is 
passive and inert, the power of passing unaided 
from a lower to a higher plane. They completely 
ignore the true formal and eflficient causes of devel- 
opment, and base their theories exclusively upon a 
cause which is purely material. Not so the Fathers 
and Doctors of the Church. They tell us that : " The 
primordial elements alone were created in the strict 
sense of the term, and that the rest of nature was 


gradually developed out of these, according to a 
fixed order of natural operation, under the supreme 
guidance of Divine administration." They teach 
that if spontaneous generation be, indeed, a reality, 
the matter which undergoes change, " having been 
proximately disposed, by the action of heat and 
of other causes, of itself evolves into act by 
Divine intervention, rather than that the causal 
action of an inanimate body should be eflficacious 
towards the generation of life." 

It is not, then, in the case of spontaneous gener- 
ation, the principle of Evolution, but the misappli- 
cation of this principle, which has led to the grave 
philosophical errors into which so many modern 
evolutionists have fallen. None of the agnostic or 
monistic theories account for life. " They begin 
with organism, but organism connotes life. Whence 
then, this life? Take the first instance — and the 
first instance there must have been — of an inani- 
mate chemical compound showing signs of life ; say 
phenomena of cleavage and of subsequent gastraean 
inversion. How is it that this particular inanimate 
chemical compound has taken such a start ? If mat- 
ter evolved itself spontaneously into life, without aid 
of formal or efficient Cause, why have not the met- 
amorphic rocks through all these aeons of time 
shaken off the incubus of their primitive passivity, 
and wakened up into protoplasm, and thus secured 
to themselves the privilege of self-motion, internal 
growth, reproduction ? Again, is it possible to imag- 
ine that brute matter, inert and purely passive, could 
by its own unaided exertion pass straight from the 


laboratory into the kingdom of life? And if one 
mass could do it, why not all ? Why do those ven- 
erable metamorphic rocks remain at the root of the 
genealogical tree, unchanged ? Perhaps this may 
prove another instance of the survival of the fittest. 
Here, then, is the flaw. These recent theorists ac- 
cept life as a fact ; and they start with it. They are 
superstitiously contented to begin and end with the 
mystery, because they are either afraid or unwilling 
to acknowledge the operation of a formal and effi- 
cient Cause in the Evolution of material substances." ' 

As to the artificial production of living from non- 
living matter, of which sundry enthusiastic chemists 
have so fondly dreamed, it can be positively asserted 
that if ever effected it will be along lines quite dif- 
ferent from those which certain over-sanguine spec- 
ulators have indicated. 

The great feat achieved by Wohler, in 1828, in 
making urea — an organic compound, previously sup- 
posed to be the result of vital forces alone — from 
inorganic matter, was but the prelude of those bril- 
liant triumphs of synthetic chemistry which since 
have so frequently astonished the world. During 
the past few decades, especially, organic compounds 
of the most marvelous complexity have been manu- 
factured in the laboratory, until now there are not 
wanting chemists who affect to hope, that they will 
one day be able to rival nature herself in the num- 
ber and complexity of her products. Their powers 
of analysis, we are willing to concede, are practically 
unlimited. They can tell us not only the composi- 

' Harper's " Metaphysics of the School," vol. II, p. 747. 


tion of the divers compounds of the mineral world, 

but they are also able to give us the formulae of the 

most complex constituents of vegetable and animal 

tissue. And as time rolls on, the chemist's mastery 

over matter and the forces of nature grows apace, 

and often at a rate that is atonishing to the chemist 

himself. He now plays with atoms and molecules 

as a juggler manipulates spheres of brass, and so 

great is his knowledge of affinities and equivalences, 

so complete his command over the hidden forces of 

allotropism and isomerism, that he can, with the 

utmost ease, accomplish what a few years ago would 

have been regarded as thaumaturgy of the highest 



The compound which has received the greatest 
share of attention, from those who have been look- 
ing forward to the ultimate production of animate 
matter, is protoplasm. This is the substance to 
which Huxley has given so much notoriety under 
the designation of " The Physical Basis of Life." 

Chemically, protoplasm is composed of carbon, 
oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. At first it was re- 
garded as a kind of albumen, called protein, and 
was viewed as a single compound of homogeneous 
structure. It was spoken of as " a kind of matter 
which is common to all living beings," plants as 
well as animals ; " a single physical basis of life un- 
derlying all the diversities of vital existence." '* It 
is," says Huxley, " the potter's clay," out of which all 
the Protean forms of animal and plant hfe are fash- 


Now, however, all this is changed. Protoplasm, 
it has been discovered, is not a single chemical com- 
pound with a definite and constant molecular struc- 
ture, as was formerly taught. It is something vastly 
different. Microscopy and micro-chemistry have 
demonstrated that it is composed of a dozen or more 
substances, all of the greatest complexity. Far from 
being a single, homogeneous, transparent, structure- 
less jelly, as described some years ago, and as still 
conceived by many who glibly talk about it, proto- 
plasm, on the contrary, is a most highly organized 
structure, composed of complex liquid matter, gran- 
ules, fibres, tubules, nuclein, and exhibiting in the 
living organism the most marvelous properties and 
the most wonderful activity. Indeed, protoplasm 
is a word that has almost vanished from the nomencla- 
ture of the cytologist. And in its place we have a 
score or more of new terms, to designate the constit- 
uents of what was but a few years ago regarded, even 
by the ablest exponents of science, as a single chem- 
ical compound of uniform composition. Thus, in 
lieu of protoplasm, we now have nuclein, pyrenin, 
and nucleoplasm ; paranuclein, amphipyrenin, and 
karyoplasm, not to mention other com.pounds equally 
remarkable and complicated. 

Such being the case, there is obviously no more 
hope of the chemist eventually being able to manu- 
facture protoplasm, than there is of his being able to 
produce a polyp or a sea-urchin. He may build up 
from their simple elements complex compounds like 
urea, formic acid and indigo, because these have a 
definite molecular composition, but he can no more 


make even a microscopic speck of protoplasm than 
he can fashion a rose or a butterfly. 

Another consequence follows from the recent dis- 
coveries regarding protoplasm, and that is, the im- 
possibility of originating life. If protoplasm is the 
simplest form of matter in which life exists, and if it 
is impossible to manufacture even the smallest par- 
ticle of inanimate protoplasm, much less living pro- 
toplasm, it is a fortiori impossible to produce an 
entity exhibiting the phenomena characteristic of a 
living being. 

For a similar reason, all likelihood of discovering 
evidence in favor of spontaneous generation has van- 
ished. One may not, indeed, assert that it is entirely 
impossible. So far, it is true, protoplasm is the sim- 
plest substance which exhibits the phenomena of life, 
and we know of no kind of protoplasm which is sim- 
pler than that above mentioned. This, however, does 
not imply that there are not simpler forms of living 
matter. It is possible that there are living beings so 
simple that their composition may be represented 
exactly by a chemical formula ; that they have a 
fixed, definite, molecular arrangement, like some of 
our complex organic compounds. It is possible that 
ultimately the chemist may discover the proximate 
constituents of such a substance, and be able to in- 
dicate how it is produced by nature, or how it may 
be manufactured in an inanimate condition in the 
laboratory. All this is possible, all conceivable. The 
past triumphs of organic chemistry, as well as our 
increasing knowledge of the lower forms of life, per- 
mit such an assumption. Yet it is only an assump- 


tion. But so far as protoplasm is concerned, so far 
as there is question of the simplest unicellular moner 
which the microscopist has yet observed, we can un- 
hesitatingly say that spontaneous generation is im- 
possible. We may conceive how simple chemical 
forces can produce a chemical compound of even the 
greatest complexity. But we cannot picture to our- 
selves how such forces, unaided and alone, can pro- 
duce an intricate organism, such as is even the lowest 
representative of animate nature. It were as easy to 
imagine a watch evolving itself spontaneously from 
the raw material which composes it ; to picture a 
man-of-war arising spontaneously from the piles of 
wood and stores of iron and brass in a shipyard. 

If, then, spontaneous generation is not a chimera, 
it is something which has far humbler beginnings 
than has ordinarily been supposed. If it ever took 
place at all, it must have occurred in some homoge- 
neous chemical compound which was the product of 
known chemical forces. And if this be true, the 
time which elapsed from the formation of such a liv- 
ing compound, until its development into the highly 
organized protoplasm which we now know, must 
have embraced as many long aeons as intervened 
between the advent of protoplasm and the first ap- 
pearance of the higher orders of animal and plant 

The mechanical theory of life, it is thus seen, is 
far from being borne out by the known facts of 
science. It assumed the homogeneity of protoplasm ; 
and in this it was in error. It assumes the origin of 
life by the action on the elements of forces which 


are resident in matter, and teaches that living differs 
from brute matter only in the relative complexity of 
molecular structure, and of the higher integration of 
forces which is the natural result of. complexity of 
structure. When such assumption denies, as it usu- 
ally does deny, the existence of any force outside of 
matter ; when it makes matter, as such, the sole cause 
of the countless evolutions which have occurred in 
the past development of the universe ; when it at- 
tempts, as does Virchow, to resolve the production 
of the divers forms of life from inanimate matter 
into a question of mere mechanics ; when, finally, it 
not only ignores, but positively denies, the ever pres- 
ent, unceasing action of the Divine administration ; 
then we can as unhesitatingly pronounce it false, as 
it is demonstrably so in predicating homogeneity of 
protoplasm. Under such circumstances it is as dififi- 
cult for the theist, without assuming the interven- 
tion of a miracle, to conceive of the formation of a 
single chemical compound from its constituent ele- 
ments, not to speak of the spontaneous origination 
of living matter, as it was to Darwin to picture to 
his mind the production of an elephant by the sud- 
den flashing of certain elemental atoms into living 
tissues. Given matter, however, and forces compe- 
tent to transform matter — such forces, as well as the 
matter which they affect, being always under the 
guidance of the Divine administration — and there is 
nothing in the theory of the origination of living 
from not-living matter, that is contrary either to faith 
or philosophy. On the contrary, such a view is, as we 
have seen, quite in harmony with both the one and the 


Other. Under such conditions the spontaneous gen- 
eration, either in the laboratory of nature or in that 
of the chemist, presents no greater difficulties than 
does the conversion of a bar of steel into a magnet. 
In both cases it is God who is the author of the 
change, yet God acting not directly, but through the 
instrumentality of natural agencies ; through the 
"seminal reasons" and the laws of nature which He 
conferred on matter in the beginning. 



The Missing Link. 

NOTHER question in connection with Evolution 
which has attracted even greater attention than 
spontaneous generation, is that respecting the animal 
origin of man. If it be true that living has evolved 
from not-living matter ; if it be admitted that the 
higher are genetically related to the lower forms of 
life, then, we are told, the only logical inference is 
that man is descended from some form of animal. 
With the majority of contemporary non-Catholic 
evolutionists, the conviction of the truth of man's 
animal origin is so strong, that it is accepted as a fact 
which no longer admits of doubt. According to 
their view, all that remains is to trace man's relation- 
ship with his dumb predecessor, to discover the 
"missing link" which connects him with the beasts 
of the field, and the controversy is closed forever. 

Here again, as in the case of spontaneous gener- 
ation, we must carefully discriminate between fact 
and theory ; between positive evidence for man's 
simian genealogy, and the various assumptions which 
so many evolutionists are ever too ready to ask us to 

I can do no better than reproduce here the tes- 
timony of one who will not be accused of bias 


towards Theism ; who, far from being opposed to the 
theory of man's descent from the ape, most strongly 
favors it, but who insists on having evidence of such 
connection before giving his assent. I refer to the 
celebrated anatomist and anthropologist. Dr. Ru- 
dolph Virchow, than whom no one is more compe- 
tent to give an opinion on this much-vexed question. 
In an address delivered before the twentieth gen- 
eral meeting of the German Anthropological Associ- 
ation, at Vienna, August, 1889, he gave a review of the 
progress of anthropology during the preceding two 
decades. In the course of his discourse he asserted, 
what he has more recently afifirmed at Moscow and 
elsewhere, that there is as yet not a scintilla of evi- 
dence for the ape-origin of man, and that even the 
hope of discovering the missing link is something 
that does not find any warranty in the known facts 
of anthropology. 

"At the time of our coming together twenty years 
ago," he says, " Darwinism had just made its first 
triumphal march through the world. My friend, 
Carl Vogt, with his usual vigor entered the contest, 
and through his personal advocacy secured for this 
theory a great adherence. At that time it was hoped 
that the theory of descent would conquer, not in the 
form promulgated by Darwin, but in that advanced 
by his followers ; for we have to deal now not with 
Darwin but with Darwinians. No one doubted 
that the proof would be forthcoming, demonstrating 
that man descended from the monkey and that this 
descent from a monkey, or at least from some kind 
of an animal, would soon be established. This was 


a challenge which was made and successfully de- 
fended in the first battle. Everybody knew all about 
it and was interested in it. Some spoke for it ; 
others against it. It was considered the greatest 
question of anthropology. 

" Let me remind you, however, at this point, that 
natural science, so long as it remains such, works 
only with real, existing objects. A hypothesis may 
be discussed, but its significance can only be estab- 
lished by producing actual proofs in its favor, either 
by experiments or direct observations. This, Dar- 
winism has not succeeded in doing. In vain have its 
adherents sought for connecting links which should 
connect man with the monkey. Not a single one 
has been found. The so-called pro-anthropos, which 
is supposed to represent this connecting link, has 
not as yet appeared. No real scientist claims to have 
seen him. Hence the pro-ant hropos is not at present 
an object of discussion for an anthropologist. Some 
may be able to see him in their dreams, but when 
awake they will not be able to say they have met 
him. Even the hope of a future discovery of this 
pro-anthropos is highly improbable ; for we are not 
living in a dream, or in an ideal world, but in a real 

' See Smithsonian Report for i88g, pp. 563, et seq. In his 
address before the International Archaeological Congress at 
Moscow, in 1892, Prof. Virchow made the following declaration : 

" C'est en vain qu'on cherche le chainon, the missing link, 
qui aurait uni I'homme au singe ou a quelque autre espece ani- 

"II existe une Hmite trancheequi separe I'homme de I'ani- 
mal et qu'on n'a pu jusqu' icieffacer; c'est Vhir^dite qui trans- 
met aux enfants les facultes des parents. Nous n'avons jamais 


But although there is no tangible evidence of the 
existence of the missing link, connecting man with 
the monkey or with lower forms of life, some people 
have, nevertheless, to use Virchow's ironical words, 
" seen him in their dreams." They have seen him in 
the gorilla and in the orang-outang, in the lemur and 
in the kangaroo. They have observed him in the 
Neanderthal man, and in the men of Naulette, Denise, 
of Canstadt and of Eguisheim. De Mortillet has 
scrutinized him in the imaginary being that fashioned 
the flint-flakes of Thenay, Puy-Courny and Portugal. 
And so sure is he that he has discovered our im- 
mediate ancestor, that he has dubbed him with the 
name, anthropopithems, the man-ape, or the ape- 
man.' Darwin has described him as a hairy pithecoid 
animal, arboreal in habits and a denizen of " some 
warm forest-clad land." According to Cope, man is 

vu qu'un singe mette au nionde un homme, ou que rhomme pro- 
duise vm singe. Tons les hommes a I'aspect simiesque ne sont 
que de produits pathologiques. 

" A premiere vue, il est tres facile de supposer qu'un crane 
dolicocephale se transforme en un crane brachycephale, et 
cependant personne n'a encore observe la transformation d'une 
race dolicocephale en une race brachycephale, et vice versa, ou 
celle d'une race negre en une race aryenne. 

" Ainsi, dans la question de I'homme, nous sommes repousses 
sur toute la ligne. Toutes les recherches entreprises dans le 
but de trouver la continuite dans le developpement progressif, ont 
ete sans resultat; il n'existe pas de fro-anthropos: il n'existe pas 
d'homme-singe ; le chainon intermediaire demeure un fantome."' 
Revue Scientijique, Nov. 5, 1892. 

' In striking contrast with the fanciful theories of De Mortil- 
let, are the clearly expressed views of De Quatrefages, one of 
the most eminent of modern anthropologists. Referring to the 
subject under consideration he asserts " Dolichocephalic or 
brachycephalic, large or small, orthognathous or prognathous, 
Qiiaternary man is always man in the full acceptance of the 
word." "The Human Species," p. 294. 


but "a pentadactylic, plantigrade bunadont," and is 
genetically connected with the \emuroid, p/ienacodus 
and the anaptomorphus homunculus, both of which 
flourished in the early Tertiary Period. Haeckel 
goes further back and discerns in the skull-less, brain- 
less and memberless amphioxus, an animal which 
we should regard with special veneration "as being 
of our own flesh and blood," and as being the only 
one of all extant animals which " can enable us to 
form an approximate conception of our earliest 
vertebrate ancestors." 

All these imaginings, however, are, as Virchow 
truly observes, but dreams, hypotheses more or less 
extravagant, which have secured for their origina- 
tors a certain amount of temporary notoriety, but 
which have no foundation whatsoever in any fact or 
legitimate induction of science.* 

But if the fact of the animal origin of man has 
not been established, if there is no likelihood that it 
will be established, at least in the immediate future, 
even according to the testimony of those who are 
most desirous of seeing the pithecoid ancestry of 
man demonstrated, what is to be said of the opinions 
of those who, nevertheless, maintain the animal origin 
of man, if not as a fact, at least as a tenable opin- 
ion ? Is such an opinion compatible with Dogma, 
and can a consistent Catholic assent to any of the 

' In his admirable study, "Apes and Man," St. George Miv- 
art, a pronounced evolutionist, gives, in a few words, the verdict 
of comparative anatomy respecting the simian origin of man. 
He says, p. 172 : " It is manifest that man, the apes and half- 
apes, cannot be arranged in a single ascending series of which 
man is the term and culmination." 


theories now in vogue which claim that man is genet- 
ically related to the inferior animals? This is a 
question which is often put, and one which, far from 
being treated with derision, as is so often the case, 
should receive a serious and a deliberate answer. 

We have seen that a belief in spontaneous gen- 
eration, and in the development of the higher forms 
of animal and plant life from the lower forms, is 
quite compatible with both revelation and faith ; but 
can this likewise be said of the development of man 
from a monkey or from any other inferior animal ? 

The Human Soul. 

As to the soul of man we can at once emphatic- 
ally declare, that it is in nowise evolved from the 
souls of animals, but is, on the contrary, and in the 
case of each individual, directly and immediately 
created by God Himself. I do not say that this is a 
dogma of faith, because the question has never been 
formally defined by the Church. It is, however. 
Catholic doctrine, and has been taught almost uni- 
versally from the time of the apostles. 

I say " almost universally," because other opin< 
ions regarding the origin of the soul have been held 
and defended even by some of the most eminent of 
the Church's Doctors and Fathers. Origen, for in- 
stance, misled by a conception of Plato, imagined 
that God, in the beginning, created a large number 
of spirits, all equally endowed with natural and 
supernatural gifts. Many of these spirits having 
sinned, God, to punish them, created the corporeal 
world and imprisoned them in various kinds of 


bodies, according to the gravity of their transgres- 
sions. Those whose offences were slight were united 
with the heavenly bodies ; those who transgressed 
most gravely were condemned to a union with cold 
and obscure bodies ; whilst those whose sin was of 
medium gravity were compelled to seek an abode in 
human bodies. It is this third class of spirits that 
are known as human souls. This error found favor 
with the Manicheans and other heretics who taught 
the transmigration of souls, and is at bottom the 
same as the doctrine of modern spiritualists who 
teach the soul's reincarnation. 

Another error regarding the origin of the soul, 
which has had numerous defenders, is that commonly 
known as Traducianism. There are, however, two 
kinds of Traducianism, which must be distinguished 
one from the other. These are corporeal Traducian- 
ism and spiritual Traducianism. 

Corporeal Traducianism, St. Augustine tells us, 
was taught by Tertullian.' According to his view, 
the human soul is but a subtile, material substance, 
and the soul of the son, like the body, proceeds 
directly from the father by ordinary generation. 
Such teaching manifestly reduces the souls of men 
to the same level as the souls of brutes, and is tanta- 
mount to a denial of their spirituality and immortal- 
ity. This error was adopted by the Apollinarists 
and Luciferians, and is essentially the same as that 

' Cf. " De Anima," cap. xix, where he asserts "hominis 
anima, veUit surculus quidam ex matrice Adam in propaginem 
deducta, et genetalibus feminje foveis commendata cum omni sua 
paratura, pullulabit tarn intellectu quam et sensu." 


which is held by materialists generally regarding the 
origin of the human soul. 

Spiritual Traducianism, or Generationism, like 
corporeal Traducianism, teaches that the soul of the 
son proceeds from the soul of the father, not indeed 
through the agency of any corporeal action, but 
through a special superior and spiritual kind of pro- 

This form of Traducianism was favorably consid- 
ered by such a light of the Church as St. Augustine, 
and even in his " Retractationes" he hesitates be- 
tween this opinion and that which declares, that God 
creates directly and immediately each and every in- 
dividual soul. In his " De Libero Arbitrio," in his 
" De Anima et ejus Origine," and in a letter to St. 
Jerome, he speaks of no fewer than four theories 
regarding the soul, and declares himself unable to 
say which one should be accepted. ' 

Among the more prominent modern traducian- 
ists may be mentioned Leibnitz, Rosmini, and the 
Austrian priest, Froschammer. Their theories, it is 
true, varied considerably in detail, but fundamentally 
they were to all intents and purposes identical." 

' '* Incorporeum semen animae, sua quadam occulta et in- 
visibili via seorsum ex patrecurrat in matrem,"as St. Augustine 
writes to Optatus, chap. iv. 

^In his " De Libero Arbitrio" the saint writes: " Harum 
autem quatuor de anima sententiarum, utrumne de propagine 
veniant, an in singulis quibusque nascentibus novae fiant, an in 
corpora nascentium jam alicubi existentes vel mittantur divini- 
tus, vel sua sponte labantur, nuUam temere affirmare oportebit." 
Lib. Ill, cap. XXI. 

* A brief note will give the gist of the teachings of these three 
philosophers. In his " Essais de Theodic^e," part. I, num.91, 
the German philosopher thus expresses his belief, "Je croirais 


This is, not, however, the place to discuss in de- 
tail the divers theories above referred to respect- 
ing the origin of the human soul, nor to refute the 
errors which these theories contain. It will suffice 
for our present purpose to state, that corporeal Tra- 
ducianism, as well as the opinion of Origen, have been 
condemned as contrary to faith. As to spiritual 
Traducianism, as favored by Rosmini, Klee and 
Ubaghs, it will be sufficient to say that while it is 
not heresy, no one can now defend it without justly 
being regarded as temerarious. 

I have said that Creationism has never been form- 
ally defined as a dogma of faith, but it can most 
probably be regarded as implicitly defined, and pos- 
sessing all the conditions necessary to its being con- 
sidered as one of those truths which constitute a 
part of revealed doctrine, and a portion, therefore, 
of the original deposit of the Christian faith. Dur- 
ing the time of St. Augustine, owing to the Pelagian 

que les ames qui seront un jour atnes humaines, ont ^t^ dans 
les semences et dans les ancetres jusqu'a Adam, at ont exists 
par consequent, depuis le commencement des choses, toujours 
dans une maniere de corps organist." In his "Anthropo- 
logia," lib. IV, cap. v, Rosmini writes : " Unde in generatione 
individui speciei humanie concurrunt dure causae simul operantes, 
homo generatione et Deus manifestatione suae lucis ; homo ponit 
animal, Deus creat animam inteliigentem in eodem instanti 
quo animal humanum ponitur, creat animam eam illuminando 
splendore vultus sui, ipsi participando aliquid sui, ens ideale, quod 
est lumen creaturarum intelligentium." Froschammer, in his 
" Defensio Generationis Anime," attributes to parents the 
power of creating the souls of their children, for says he : " Gen- 
eratione parentum homo secundum corpus et animam oritur vi 
potestatis creandi secundariae, quae naturae humanie immanens 
et in prima rerum origine a Deo coUata est. . , . Itaque 
generatio est actus creationis naturae humanie, est creatio ex 
nihilo, per potentiam secundariam a Deo humanitati colla- 


heresy and the discussions which arose concerning 
the transmission of original sin, the dogmatic tradi- 
tion respecting the origin of the soul was not so 
strongly affirmed as it was subsequently, and hence 
the vacillations of the great Bishop of Hippo, and 
others, between Creationism and Traducianism.' 
Since the time, however, of St. Thomas Aquinas 
and St. Bonaventure, the doctrine of Creationism has 
been regarded as practically beyond controversy, 
among all well-accredited theologians, and we can 
now look upon Melchior Cano as accurately express- 
ing the mind of the Church, when he declares that it 
*' without doubt pertains to faith, that the soul ex- 
ists not through generation, but by creation." " 

Creation of Man's Body. 

So far, then, as the soul of man is concerned, it 
is manifest from the foregoing paragraphs that 
according to Catholic teaching, each individual soul 
is created directly and immediately by Almighty 
God. Man, however, is not a pure spirit, but a 
creature composed of a rational soul and a corrupti- 
ble body. The question now arises: Was the body 
of the first man, the progenitor of our race, created 
directly and immediately by God, or was it created 
indirectly and through the operation of secondary 

' " Tempore Aug^stini nondutn erat per Ecclesiam declara- 
tiim, quod anima non esset ex traduce," writes tlie Angelic 

" " Nunc autem, cum post ea tempora theologorum fideli- 
umque omnium firmatum sit, animam non per generationem, 
sed per creationem existere, sine dubio ad fidem ilia qu^stio per- 
tinet." "De Loc. Theol.," lib. XII, cap. xiv. 


causes? When the Bible tells us that "the Lord 
God formed man from the slime of the earth," are 
we to interpret these words in a rigorously literal 
sense, and to believe that the Creator actually fash- 
ioned Adam from the slime of the earth, as a potter 
would fashion an object from clay, or as an artist 
would produce the model of a statue from wax or 
plaster? Or, may we put a different interpretation 
on the text and regard man, quoad corpus, as indi- 
rectly created, as the last and highest term of a long 
series of evolutions which extend back to the first 
advent of life upon earth. In other words, is man, 
as to his body, the direct and special work of the 
Creator's hands, or is he the descendant of some 
animal, some anthropoid ape or some "missing 
link," of which naturalists as yet have discovered no 
trace ? 

This is one of the burning questions of science ; 
one which has given to Darwinism most of its noto- 
riety and importance, and one which is inseparably 
linked with every theory of organic Evolution by 
whomsoever advocated. We have seen that, as 
Catholics, we are at liberty to accept the theory of 
Evolution as to all the multifarious forms of animal 
and plant life, that it is, indeed, a probable, if not 
the most probable, theory, and that far from derogat- 
ing from the wisdom and omnipotence of God, it 
affords us, on the contrary, a nobler conception of 
the Deity than does the traditional view of special 
creation. May we now extend the Evolution the- 
ory so as to embrace the body of man, and allow 
that it is no exception to the law which, we may 


admit, has obtained in the Evolution of all other 
forms of terrestrial life ? Or, is there anything in 
Scripture and in the dogmatic teaching of the 
Church, that will preclude such a view of the animal 
part of our first ancestor? 

We have already learned that, as a matter of 
fact, no positive evidence has been adduced in sup- 
port of the simian origin of man, and that there is 
little, if any, reason to believe that such evidence will 
be forthcoming. Since the publication of Darwin's 
"Origin of Species," naturalists have been exploring 
every portion of the globe for some trace of the 
missing link between man and the highest known 
mammal, a link which they said must exist some- 
where, if the hypothesis of Evolution of man be 
true. Explorations have been conducted in the 
dark forests of equatorial Africa, in the dense jungles 
of southern Asia, in the slightly-frequented islands 
of every sea, in the caves and lake-dwellings of 
Europe, in the mounds and cliff-dwellings of Amer- 
ica, in the gravel beds and stalactitic deposits of the 
Tertiary and Quaternary Periods, in the tombs and 
burial places of prehistoric man ; but all to no pur- 
pose. Men have, indeed, fancied that they had dis- 
covered the missing link in the dryopithecus, in 
pygmies of Central Africa, in the Andaman Island- 
ers, in the Ainos of Japan, in the anthropopithecus 
erectus, recently discovered by Dubois in the Pleis- 
tocene strata of Java, but if we may judge by those 
who are most competent to pronounce an opinion 
in the premises, the long-looked for link connect- 
ing man with the ape is as far away now, and its 


existence as little probable, as it was thirty years 
ago, if indeed it is not less probable. 

But granting that the search for the link connect- 
ing man with the ape has so far been futile; admit- 
ting, with Virchow, that " the future discovery of this 
pro-anthropos is highly improbable ;" may we not, 
nevertheless, believe, as a matter of theory, that 
there has been such a link, and that, corporeally, man 
is genetically descended from some unknown species 
of ape or monkey ? Analogy and scientific consist- 
ency, we are told, require us to admit that man's 
bodily frame has been subject to the same law of 
Evolution, if an Evolution there has been, as has 
obtained for the inferior animals. There is nothing 
in biological science that would necessarily exempt 
man's corporeal structure from the action of this law. 
Is there, then, anything in Dogma or sound meta- 
physics, which would make it impossible for us, salva 
fide, to hold a view which has found such favor 
with the great majority of contemporary evolution- 

Mivart's Theory. 

It was the distinguished biologist and philoso- 
pher, St. George Mivart, who first gave a categorical 
answer to these questions in his interesting little 
work, " The Genesis of Species," published nearly a 
quarter of a century ago. He contended that it is 
not " absolutely necessary to suppose that any action 
different in kind took place in the production of 
man's body, from that which took place in the pro- 
duction of the bodies of other animals, and of the 


whole material universe." ' To judge from his sub- 
sequent writings, time has but confirmed him in this 
view and afforded him opportunities of developing 
and corroborating his argument. 

When Mivart's book first appeared it was se- 
verely criticised by the Catholic press, both of the 
Old and the New World, and its author was in 
many instances denounced as a downright heretic. 
Indeed, he was almost as roundly and as generally 
berated, by a certain class of theologians, as was 
Charles Darwin after the publication of his " Origin 
of Species." In England, France and Germany the 
denunciation of the daring biologist was particularly 
vehement, and strenuous efforts were made to have 
his work put on the Index. It was almost the uni- 
versal opinion among theologians, that the proposi- 
tion defended was heretical, and it was considered 
only a matter of a short time until it would be 
formally condemned. The book was forwarded to 
Rome, but, contrary to the expectations of all who 
were eagerly watching the course events would take, 
the book was not condemned. Neither was its 
author called upon to retract or modify the proposi- 
tion which had been such an occasion of scandal. 
Far from censuring the learned scientist, the pope, 
Pius IX, made him a doctor of philosophy, and the 
doctor's hat was conferred on him by no less a per- 
sonage than Cardinal Manning himself.' 

* Page 2S2. 

* " My ' Genesis of Species,' " writes Mivart, " was published 
in 1870, and therein I did not hesitate to promulgate the idea 
that Adam's body might have arisen from a non-human animal, 

E.— 93 


Since 1871, when Mivart's book was given to the 
world, a great change of sentiment has been effected 
among those who were at first so opposed to his opin- 
ions, and who imagined they discerned lurking in them 
not only rank heresy but also bald and unmitigated 
Materialism. Men have had time to examine dis- 
passionately the suspected propositions, and to com- 
pare them with both the formal definitions of the 
Church and the teachings of the Fathers. The result 
of unimpassioned investigation and mature reflection 
has been, not indeed a vindication of the truth of the 
position of the English scientist, but a feeling that 
his theory may be tolerated, and that because it deals 
rather with a question of science than with one of 
theology. It has been shown that his propositions 
do not positively contravene any of the formal defi- 
nitions of the Church, and that both St. Augustine 
and the Angelic Doctor, to mention no others, have 
laid down principles, which may be regarded as recon- 
cilable with the thesis defended with so much in- 
genuity by the brilliant author of " The Genesis of 

Angelic Doctor on Creation of Adam. 

The Angelic Doctor, in accord with the tradi- 
tional teaching of the Fathers, holds that the body of 
the first man was immediately and directly formed 
by God Himself, but he admits the possibility of 

the rational soul being subsequently infused. Great was the 
outcry against such a view, but I forwarded my little book to the 
Supreme Pontiff, and thereupon Pius IX benignantly granted 
me a doctor's hat, which the late Cardinal Archbishop of West- 
minster bestowed on me at a public function." The Nineteenth 
Century, Feb., 1893, p. 327. 


angelic intervention in its formation and preparation 
for the reception of its informing principle, the 
rational soul.' According to this view God created 
absolutely, ex nihilo, the human soul, but delegated 
to His creatures, the angels, the formation, or at 
least the formation in part, aliquod viinisteriiwi, of 
man's body. It is manifest, however, that if God 
could have formed the body of Adam through the 
agency of angels. He could have communicated the 
same power to other agencies, if He had so willed. 
Instead, for instance, of delegating angels to form 
the body of the common father of mankind, He 
could, we may believe, have given to matter the 
power of evolving itself, under the action of the 
Divine administration, into all the forms of life 
which we now behold, including the body of man. 
The product of such an Evolution would not be a 
rational animal, as man is, but an irrational one ; the 
highest and noblest representative of the brute crea- 
tion, but, nevertheless, only a brute. 

Such an irfational animal, the result of long years 
of development, and the product of the play, during 
untold aeons, of evolutionary forces on lower forms 
of life, such a substratum it was, according to Miv- 
art's theory, into which the Creator breathed the 
breath of life and man forthwith " became a living 
soul." According to this theory, then, God created 

^"Quia igitur corpus humanum numquam formatum fuerat, 
cujus virtu te per viam generationis aliud simile in specie formare- 
tur,necesse fuit, quodprimum corpus hominis immediate formare- 
tur a Deo. . . . Potuit tamen fieri ut aliquod ministerium in 
formatione corporis primi hominis angeli exhiberent, sicut exhi- 
bebunt in ultima resurrectione, pulveres coUigendo." "Sum. 
Theol.," pars i™*, quxst. 91, art. 2. 


the soul of man directly, and his body indirectly or 
by the operation of secondary causes. In both 
cases, however, He is really and truly the Creator, 
and there is nothing in the theory which is in any 
wise derogatory to His power or wisdom. We 
simply admit for the body of man what we have 
seen may readily be admitted for the rest of the ani- 
mate world — creation through the agency of second- 
ary causes, instead of direct and immediate creation 
without the concurrence of any of God's creatures. 

This view of the derivative origin of Adam's 
body, is also quite in harmony with other principles 
laid down both by the great Bishop of Hippo and 
the Angel of the Schools. For they both taught, 
that in the beginning God created, in the absolute 
and primary sense of creation, only corporeal ele- 
ments and spiritual substances. Plants, animals and 
even man, did not exist as we know them — in natura 
propria ; but only potentially, receiving their full de- 
velopment afterwards — per volumina sceculorum. 
They existed only in what the saint calls seminal 
reasons — in rationibus seminalibus ;^ and the produc- 
tion of the manifold forms of life, man included, 
which now adorn our planet, was the work of Evolu- 
tion, viz., secondary causes acting under the con- 

^ " Et ideo concedo." says St. Thomas ..." quod ra- 
tiones seminales dicuntur virtutes activae completje in natura 
cum propriis passivis, ut calor et frigus, et forma ignis, et virtus 
solis, et hujusmodi ; et dicuntur seminales non propter esse im- 
perfectum quod habeant, sicut virtus formativa in semine, sed 
quia rerum individuis primo creatis, hujusmodi virtutes collatae 
sunt per opera sex dierum, ut ex eis quasi ex quibusdam semini- 
bus producerentur et multiplicarentur res naturales." " Sentent.," 
lib. II, dist. i8, qusest. i"", art. 2. 


tinued and uninterrupted guidance of the Divine 

Again, this view of the origin of man's body may 
be regarded as conformable with the teachings of the 
Angelic Doctor from another standpoint. As all 
who are familiar with the scholastic philosophy are 
aware, St. Thomas, in common with the School 
generally, teaches that there is a true development 
in animated nature, a veritable ascent of life from 
lower to higher forms. There is, he tells us, a suc- 
cession of vital principles in the organic world, supe- 
rior principles superseding those which are inferior. 
In the development of man, as in that of the lower 
animals, there is an ascending succession of substan- 
tial forms, by means of which that which is destined 
to become a human body, acquires a proper struc- 
ture and receives the necessary disposition for be- 
coming the receptacle of a rational soul. First the 
embryo is animated by the vegetable soul ; subse- 
quently it is informed by a more perfect soul, which 
is both nutritive and sensitive. This is what is 
known as the animal soul. In man this is succeeded 
by the rational soul — ab extrinseco immissa, says the 
Angelic Doctor — a soul specially created and infused 
into the human body by God Himself." 

^ " Augustinus enim vult," writes the Angelic Doctor, " in ipso 
creationis principio.quasdam res per species suas distinctasfuisse 
in natura propria, ut elementa, corpora coelestia et substantias 
spirituales; alia vero in rationibus seminalibus tantum, ut ani- 
malia, plantas et homines, quje omnia postmodum in naturis 
propriis producta sunt." "Sentent," lib. II, dist. 12*, quaest. 
i""^, art. II, 

*The following passage is sufficient to exhibit the Angelic 
Doctor's teaching in this matter ; " Quanto igitur aliqua forma 


From what precedes, it is evinced that the 
Evolution of the body of man, according to 
Mivart's view, and the subsequent infusion into 
this body, by God, of a rational soul, is not neces- 
sarily antagonistic to the teachings of St. Thomas. 
The theory may, indeed, encounter certain grave 
difficulties in the domains of metaphysics and 
Biblical exegesis, but I do not think it can abso- 
lutely be asserted that such diflficulties are insup- 

At all events, whatever one may be disposed 
to think of the theory, it is well always to bear 
in mind that it has never been condemned by 
the Church, although it has been publicly dis- 
cussed and defended for full five-and-twenty years. 
If it were as dangerous as some have imagined, 
and, still more, if it were heretical, as others have 
thought, it is most probable that the " Genesis of 
Species " would have been put on the Index long 

est nobilior et magis distans a forma elementi, tanto oportet esse 
pluras formas intermedias, quibus gradatim ad formam ultitnam 
veniatur et, per consequens, plures generationes medias; et ideo 
in generatione animalis et hominis, in quibus est forma perfect- 
issima, sunt plurimae formie et generationes intermediae, et per 
consequens corruptiones, quia generatio unius est corruptio alte- 
rius. Anima igitur vegetabilis, quae primo inest, cum embryo 
vivit vita plant£e, corrumpitur, et succedit anima perfectior, quae 
est nutritiva et sensitiva simul, et tunc embryo vivit vita ani- 
malis ; haec autem corrupta, succedit anima rationalis ab extrin- 
seco immissa, licet precedentes fuerint virtute seminis." " Con- 
tra Gentiles," Lib. II, cap. lxxxix. 

^ For a consideration of some of the difficulties alluded to, 
consult PadreMir's"LaCreacion,"cap. XL, Dierck's"L'Homme- 
Singe," pp. 91 et seq., and Cardinal Gonzales' " La Biblia y la 
Ciencia," torn. I, cap. xi, art. iii, iv and v. 


Views of Cardinal Gonzales. 

The late Cardinal Gonzales, that profound Thom- 
ist and man of science, whose untimely death 
the Catholic world will mourn for a long time to 
come, who has treated so luminously the question of 
Evolution from the point of view of Scripture, 
patristic theology and scholastic philosophy, has 
suggested a modification of Mivart's theory, which, 
he thinks, would make it more acceptable to theolo- 
gians than it is as it now stands. If, he says, with- 
out however committing himself to the opinion 
expressed — if instead of affirming, as the English 
biologist does, that the body of Adam was nothing 
more than a fully-developed ape, into which God in- 
fused a rational soul, we admit that the body of the 
first man was partly the product of Evolution from 
some lower animal form, and partly the direct work 
of God Himself, we may thereby, he opines, elimi- 
nate many of the objections urged against the theory 
as formulated by its author. According to this modi- 
fied view, the body of man was developed from the 
inferior forms of life only until a certain point, but 
in this condition it was not prepared to be endowed 
by an intelligent soul. This imperfect body, how- 
ever, this unfinished product of evolutionary forces, 
is taken in hand by the Almighty, who perfects what 
was begun, gives it the .finishing touches, as it were, 
and renders it a fit habitation, which it was not pre- 
viously, for a soul which was to be made to His own 
image and likeness, a soul which was to be dowered 


with the noble attributes of reason, liberty and im- 

Speaking for myself, I must confess that such a 
modification appears unnecessary, and, in the light 
of the teachings of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, it 
seems that one may as readily accept the theory as 
proposed by Mivart, as the restricted form of it 
which the distinguished cardinal suggests. If we 
are to admit the action of Evolution at all, in the 
production of Adam's body, it appears more consist- 
ent to admit that it was competent to complete the 
work which it began, than to be forced to acknowledge 
that it was obliged to leave off its task when only 
partially completed. For, whether we assert that 
the body of the first man was entirely, or only par- 
tially, the result of evolutionary action, it was, in 
both cases, according to the principles we have 
adopted, the work, and ultimately the sole work, of 
Almighty God. According to Mivart's view, the 
body of Adam was formed by God solely through 
the agency of secondary causes ; according to Gon- 
zales it was formed by God partly through the con- 
currence of secondary causes, and partly by His 
direct and immediate action. If we are to ad- 
mit that Evolution had anything whatever to do 
with man's corporeal frame, it seems more logical to 
admit that it finished the work which it began, 
always, of course, under the guidance of the Divine 
administration, than to suppose that God gave to 
His secondary agents a work which they might com- 
mence, indeed, but which, by reason of limitations 
imposed on them, they were unable to complete. 


One cannot help thinking, when one seriously 
reflects on the matter, that the learned Cardinal — 
and what is said of him may be predicated of crea- 
tionists generally — unconsciously favors the very 
notion he wishes to oppose. He wishes, above all 
things, to safeguard the creative act and bring out 
in bold relief the Divine attributes of wisdom and 
omnipotence, but he unwittinglj', it would seem, 
makes greater demands than his case requires. In- 
deed, it strikes me that those who hold the special 
creation theory as to the body of the father of our 
race, and the same may be said of believers in the 
special creation of the forms of life below man, 
constitute themselves defenders of the very theory 
which the great St. Athanasius, full fifteen centuries 
ago, felt called upon to criticise adversely. Argu- 
ing against the anthropomorphic views which the 
heathen entertained of the Almighty, he contended 
that the God of the Christians is a Creator, not a 
carpenter — KTf'o-TijT oo rexvizTj':. In accord with the il- 
lustrious Alexandrian Doctor's view, it has been 
truthfully observed that : " The Great Architect 
theory in theology is the analogue of the emboite- 
ment theory in science. Both were invented when 
mechanism dominated thought, and we have out- 
grown both." 

In commenting on Mivart's theory, the erudite 
Cardinal Archbishop of Seville manifests his charac- 
teristic liberality and breadth of view, strikingly re- 
sembling in this respect his immortal master, the 
Angel of the School. "As the question stands at 
present," he says, " we have no right to reprobate or 


reject, as contrary to Christian faith, or as contrary 
to revealed truth, the hypothesis of Mivart ; the 
hypothesis, namely, which admits the possibility 
that the body of the first man, the organism which 
received the rational soul created by God and in- 
fused into Adam, was a body which received an 
organization suitable for the reception of the human 
soul, not directly and immediately from the hand of 
God, but in virtue of the action of other antecedent 
animated beings, more or less perfect and similar to 
man in bodily structure." ' Elsewhere he declares: 
" I should not permit myself to censure the opinion 
of the English theologian so long as it is respected, 
or at least tolerated, by the Church, the sole judge 
competent to fix and qualify theologico-dogmatic 
propositions, and decide regarding their compatibil- 
ity or incompatibility with Holy Scripture." " 

• " La Biblia y la Ciencia," torn, i, pp. 549-550. 

^ " No sere yo quien se permita calificar con nota alguna 
desfavorable la opinion del teologo Ingles, mientras que sea respet- 
ada, 6 tolerada al menos, por la Iglesia, unico juez competente 
para fijar y calificar las aserciones teologico-dogmaticas, y para 
decidir acerca de su compatibilidad e incompatibilidad con la 
Sagrada Escritura." Op. cit., torn, i, pp. 542-543. Cf., also, the 
interesting brochure of Fr. Dierck's, S. J., entitled " L'Homme- 
Singe et Les Precurseurs d'Adam en face de la Science et de la 
Theologie." The accomplished Jesuit discusses the question at 
issue in a most temperate and scholarly manner, and does 
ample justice to the claims of science as well as to those of 

Mgr. d'Hulst, the distinguished rector of the Catholic Uni- 
versity of Paris, is of opinion "que I'orthodoxie rigoureuse n'im- 
pose d'autre limite aux hypotheses transformistes, que le dogme 
de la creation immediate de chaque ame humaine par Dieu ; 
hors de la, s'ily a des temerites dans ces hypotheses, c'est par 
des arguments scientifiques qu'il faut les combattre." Compte 
Rendu du Congres Scientifique International des Catholiques, 
tenu a Parts, 1891, Section d'Anthropologie, p. 213. In a care- 
fully prepared paper, read before the International Catholic 


Opinions of Other Writers. 

Not to mention a number of other Catholic 
writers who might be named, Mivart's theory has an 
able defender in the learned French Dominican, 
P^re Leroy. His thesis in its simplest form may be 
expressed as follows : It is probable that God, in 
creating Adam, did not make use directly of the slime 
of the earth, but that, by the sole infusion of a 
rational soul, he transformed into man an anthro- 
pomorphic animal which had been brought by Evo- 
lution, under the guidance of Divine Providence, to 
a point approximating humanity as nearly as possible. 
The argument of the author is well sustained, and 
his work, entitled " L'Evolution Restreinte des Es- 
peces Organiques," besides having the imprimatur 
of the provincial and censor librorum of his order, 
has the cordial indorsement of such distinguished 
authorities as the eminent Catholic geologist, Prof. 
A. de Lapparent, and the well-known theologian, 
P^re Monsabr^. The latter, in a letter to P^re 
Leroy, printed in the beginning of the volume, 

Scientific Congress at Brussels, in 1894, Canon Duilhe de Saint- 
Projet, the noted French apologist, in referring to the theory of 
the animal origin of man, remarked, with enlightened breadth of 
view, " Ici, comme pour toutes les opinions libres ou tolerees au 
point de vue de I'orthodoxie, I'figlise est le seul juge." See 
Compte Rendu, Section d'Anthropologie, p. 10. 

As illustrative of the attitude of the anthropological section 
of the same congress, the following resolution, adopted by 
acclamation, is significant : " La section d'anthropologie du 
troisieme Congres Scientifique des Catholiques de Bruxelles, 
loue et encourage les etudes de ceux qui, sous le supreme magis- 
tere de I'Eglise enseignante, s'adonnenta rechercher le role que 
revolution pent avoir eu dans le concert des causes secondes 
qui ont amene le monde physique a I'^tat actuel." Compte 
Rendu, p. 298. 


writes : " One may not be of your opinion, because 
there is question of but an opinion only, but I do not 
see in what anyone can find fault with your ortho- 
doxy. Science progresses and its discoveries permit 
us to see better every day the grandiose unity of 
creation. Whatever be its progress, it will never 
efface from the first pages of the Bible these two 
truths: all creation is the work of God ; and there are 
in this creation acts of such transcendence that they 
can be attributed only to the immediate and effect- 
ive intervention of an Infinite Power." 

From the foregoing it is evident, that whatever 
may be the final proved verdict of science in respect 
of man's body, it cannot be at variance with Cath- 
olic Dogma. Granting that future researches in 
paleontology, anthropology and biology, shall dem- 
onstrate beyond doubt that man is genetically 
related to the inferior animals, and we have seen 
how far scientists are from such a demonstration, 
there will not be, even in such an improbable event, 
the slightest ground for imagining that then, at last, 
the conclusions of science are hopelessly at variance 
with the declarations of the sacred text, or the 
authorized teachings of the Church of Christ. All 
that would logically follow from the demonstration 
of the animal origin of man, would be a modification 
of the traditional view regarding the origin of the 
body of our first ancestor. We should be obliged 
to revise the interpretation that has usually been 
given to the words of Scripture which refer to the 
formation of Adam's body, and read these words in 
the sense which Evolution demands, a sense which, 


as we have seen, may be attributed to the words of 
the inspired record, without either distorting the 
meaning of terms or in any way doing violence to 
the text. ' 

* As illustrations of the extravagant notions, which even 
eminent men have entertained respecting the origin of our first 
ancestors, the following paragraphs are pertinent. 

Many of the medijeval rabbins, following the teachings of 
the cosmogonies of India, Persia, Chaldea, Phoenicia, and the 
account of primitive man as given by Plato in his " Symposium," 
were believers in the androgynous character of the common 
father of humanity. The philosopher, Maimonides, expressly 
declares : "Adam et Eva creati sunt sicut unus, et tergis vel 
dorso conjunct!. Postea vero a Deo divisi sunt, qui dimidiam 
partem accepit, et fuit Eva, et adducta est ad ipsum." 

The eminent French naturalist, Isidore Geoffroy Saint- 
Hilaire, was not unfavorable to this view. "On a cherch^," he 
writes, "a expliquer I'hermaphrodisme dans I'espece humaine, 
par la reunion de deux sexes chez notre premier pere ; reunion 
formellement enonce dans ce verset de la Genese, cap. i, ver. 27. 
' Et creavit Deus ad imaginem suam, ad imaginem Dei creavit 
ilium, masculum et feminam creavit eos.' On pourrait sans 
doute trouver dans ce verset, ^ plusieurs ^gards remarquable, un 
embleme de I'etat primitivement indecis, ou, si I'on veut, herma- 
phroditique, de I'appareil sexuel, comme on a trouv^ dans 
V^uvre des six jours ce\u\Au developpement progressifdela vie 
vegetale et animale, et de I'apparition tardive de I'homme a la 
surface du globe." " Histoire G^ndrale et Particuliere des Ano- 
malies de rOrganization chez I'Homme," vol. II, p. 53. 

Among modern scholars who have inclined to the primitive 
androgynous condition of Adam, and the subsequent formation 
of Eve by separation or division, is the distinguished orientalist, 
Francois Lenormant. In his "Origines de I'Histoire d'apres la 
Bible," pp. 54 and 55, he expresses himself as follows : " D'apr&s 
notre version vulgate, d' accord en ceci avec la version grecque 
des Septante, nous avons 1' habitude d' admettre que, selon la 
Bible, la premiere femme fut formee d' une cote arrachee au fianc 
d 'Adam. Cependant, on doit s^rieusement douter de I'exacti- 
tude de cette interpretation. Le mot employe ici, signifie 
dans tous les autres passages bibliques ou on le rencontre, 
'cote' et non cote. La traduction philologiquement la plus 
probable du texte de la Genese est done celle que nous avons 
adoptee plus haul. 'Yaveh Elohim lit tomber un profond 
sonimeil sur I'homme, et celui-ci s'endormit ; il prit un de ses 
cotes et il en ferma la place avec la chair. Et Yaveh Elohim 
forma le cote qu'il avail pris a I'homme en femme. Et I'homme 


Interpretation Not Revelation. 

In the consideration of questions like the present, 
we must never, be it remembered, lose sight of the 
fact that interpretation is not revelation ; neither is 
revelation interpretation. Superficial readers are but 
too frequently misled into believing, that the decla- 
rations of the Bible must necessarily bear the mean- 
ing which commentators have fancied they should 
have, when, as a matter of fact, the real sense is often 
entirely different, if not, indeed, quite the contrary. 
The opinions of men may change, and are, of a truth, 
perpetually changing, but the declarations of the 
Holy Spirit are ever infallible and immutable. We 
can never too carefully discriminate between the 
truth of God's revelation to His creatures, and the 
truth of our apprehension of His revelation. In 
the beginning we may have but occasional glimpses 
and faint adumbrations of the truth, and it often 
happens that we come into possession of the whole 
truth, in all its significance and beauty and gran- 
deur, only after the lapse of long ages of persistent 
effort and tireless investigation. Hence the anthro- 
pomorphic and anthropocentric views entertained by 
the early interpreters of Scripture respecting divers 
questions pertaining to the Deity, and the creatures 
which are the work of His omnipotence. Time and 
reflection and research show that such views are ill- 
founded, and substitute in their place a nobler con- 
ception of the Creator, and one that is, at the same 

dit: Cette fois celle-ci est I'os de mes os et la chair de ma 
chair; celle-ci sera appelee isschah (femnie), parce qu'elle a etd 
prise du isch (I'homme).'" 


time, more in accordance with the teachings of na- 
ture and the spirit of Divine revelation. 

It is possible, although highly improbable, that 
the evolutionary theory of the origin of Adam's cor- 
poreal frame is one of such cases. And it is possible, 
too, that our successors in the enjoyment of light 
that is not vouchsafed to ourselves, may be willing 
to admit as a scientific doctrine, what we, at present, 
are not justified in considering as more than a fanci- 
ful and unwarranted hypothesis. Nevertheless, be 
this as it may, we must not forget what has already 
been adverted to when discussing the derivative ori- 
gin of animals and plants, viz., that Evolution is 
not a theory of creation or cause, but one of order 
and method ; a modus creandi which the Deity was 
pleased to adopt. Of the origin of matter, of life, 
of spirit, science, as such, can give us no information. 
As to the origin of matter. Evolution, as a doc- 
trine, is confessedly mute. " Of the origin of life it 
does not profess to have the slightest knowledge ; of 
the character of the in-dwelling force, which out of 
the one original cell develops the marvelous diversity 
of architecture in the individual beings, of the 
variations which gave a start to the process of nat- 
ural selection in the differentiation of species, it can 
tell us nothing; of the marvelous adaptation of the 
external conditions of the inorganic world to the 
growth and differentiation of organic life, it gives no 
account ; the unity of all this infinite variety of de- 
velopment in one great order, having a continual 
progress towards a higher perfection, it sees clearly, 
but it cannot find a cause. No wonder that, as we 


have seen, those who study it most deeply and philo- 
sophically are driven to go behind it in the search 
after a true cause. . . . For clearly the develop- 
ment under fixed laws and gradual process of the 
organic world, no more prevents the original creative 
and directive Idea from being the true Cause of all, 
than the passing of the individual being through all 
stages of embryonic existence from the simple cell, 
makes it less the creature of the Supreme Hand. 
That the archetypal idea of the Creative Mind may 
fulfill itself equally, whether it act directly or 
through intermediate gradations, we can see clearly 
not only by abstract theory but by experience of our 
own ' creations.' " ' 

'" Some Lights of Science on the Faith," bj Alfred Barrj, 
D.D., D.C.L., pp. Ill and 112. 


The Doctrine of Final Causes. 

FROM what precedes it is evident, that the most 
that Evolution can do is to substitute deriva- 
tive for special creation, a substitution which, as 
we have learned, can be admitted without any dero- 
gation whatever to either faith or Dogma. But 
there is yet another objection against Evolution, 
which, by some minds, is regarded as more serious 
than any of the difficulties, heretofore considered, 
of either philosophy or theology. This objection, 
briefly stated, is that Evolution destroys entirely 
the argument from design in nature, and abolishes 
teleology, or the doctrine of final causes. In the 
case of Darwin, for instance, as we learn from his 
" Life and Letters," he had no difficulty in accept- 
ing derivative in lieu of special creation, but when 
it came to reconciling natural selection and Evolu- 
tion with teleology, as taught by Paley, he felt that 
his chief argument for believing in God had been 
wrested from him entirely. 

So persuaded, indeed, have many naturalists and 
philosophers been, if we are to believe their own 
words, that Darwinism and Evolution have given 
the deathblow to teleology, that they forthwith 

E.-a4 (369) 


dismiss all arguments based on design and final 
causes as utterly worthless. And, of those who are 
not in sympathy with Christianity, we find not a few 
who are unable to conceal their exultation over what 
they regard as the inglorious and complete discom- 
fiture of the theologians. Thus Haeckel, in his 
"History of Creation," writes: "I maintain with 
regard to the much-talked-of * purpose in nature,* 
that it really has no existence but for those persons 
who observe phenomena in animals and plants in 
the most superficial manner." ' Biichner boasts that 
" modern investigation and natural philosophy have 
shaken themselves tolerably free from these empty 
and superficial conceptions of design, and leave such 
childish views to those who are incapable of liberat- 
ing themselves from such anthropomorphic ideas, 
which unfortunately still obtain in school and church 
to the detriment of truth and science." * 

It were easy to multiply similar quotations, but 
the two just given are quite sufficient for our present 
purpose. Judging from their public utterances, as 
well as from their well-known private opinions, there 
is no mistaking the animus of these soi-disant expo- 
nents of modern thought. If we are to take them 
at their own words, they seem to be as eager, if not 
more eager, for the extirpation of Dogma and all 
forms of religious belief, as they are for the advance- 
ment of what they denominate " science." 

' Vol. I, p. 19, Eng. trans. In his " Generelle Morpholo- 
gic," vol. I, p. 160, he asserts: " Wir erblicken darin (in the 
Darwinian theory) den definitiven Tod aller teleologischen und 
vitalistischen Beurtheilung der Organismen." 

* "Force and Matter," p. 21S. 


A Newer Teleologfy. 

It would be a grave mistake, however, to think 
that Hasckel and Biichner truthfully reflect the opin- 
ions of scientists generally, or that the large body of 
naturalists are at one with them in proclaiming that 
the argument from design in nature is no longer ten- 
able, or that Evolution and teleology are wholly in- 
compatible. So far, indeed, is this from being the 
case, that the most philosophical of contemporary 
naturalists, those who are most competent to inter- 
pret the facts and phenomena of nature and to draw 
legitimate conclusions from the facts observed, are 
almost unanimous in declaring that the teleological 
argument, not only is not weakened, much less de- 
stroyed, but that it is, on the contrary, illustrated 
and corroborated in the most remarkable and unex- 
pected manner. And strange as it may appear, the 
very one who, according to Haeckel, Biichner, Vogt, 
G. H. Lewes and others whose anti-theological ani- 
mus is so marked as to require no comment, was 
supposed to have banished forever from science and 
theology, not only design and purpose but all final 
causes whatsoever, is the very one who, above all 
others, has put teleology on a firmer and a nobler 
basis than it ever occupied before. We have no 
longer, it is true, the argument as it was presented 
by Paley, and developed by Chalmers and the au- 
thors of the Bridgewater Treatises, but we have in its 
stead one that is grander, more comprehensive, more 
effective and more conclusive. 


Professor Asa Gray, admittedly one of the ablest 
botanists of the century, and to the day of his death 
a strenuous and consistent advocate of the theory of 
Evolution, thus expresses himself when speaking of 
the work of Charles Darwin : " Let us recognize 
Darwin's great service to natural science in bringing 
back to it teleology ; so that instead of morphology 
versus teleology, we shall have morphology wedded 
to teleology." ' In another place he speaks of " the 
great gain to science from his [Darwin's] having 
brought back teleology to natural history. In Dar- 
winism, usefulness and purpose come to the front 
again as working principles of the first order ; upon 
them, indeed, the whole system rests.'" "In this 
system," he continues, " the forms and species in all 
their variety are not mere ends in themselves, but the 
whole a series of means and ends, in the contempla- 
tion of which we may obtain higher and more com- 
prehensive, and perhaps worthier, as well as more 
consistent views, of design in nature, than heretofore." 
In it we have " a theory that accords with, if it does 
not explain, the principal facts, and a teleology that 
is free from the common objections," for, " the most 
puzzling things of all to the old school teleologists 
are \he principia of the Darwinian. "' 

Evolution and Teleology. 

In the " Life and Letters of Charles Darwin,"* 
edited by his son, we read : " One of the greatest 

1 " Darwiniana," p. 288. 

* Ibid., p. 357. 
» Ibid., p. 378. 

* Vol. II, p. 430. 


services rendered by my father to the study of nat- 
ural history is the revival of teleology. The evolu- 
tionist studies the purpose or meaning of organs 
with the zeal of the older teleology, but with far 
wider and more coherent purpose. He has the in- 
vigorating knowledge that he is gaining, not isolated 
conceptions of the economy of the present, but a 
coherent view of both past and present. And even 
where he fails to discover the use of any part, he 
may, by a knowledge of its structure, unravel the 
history of the past vicissitudes in the life of the 
species. In this way a vigor and unity is given to 
the study of the forms of organized beings, which 
before it lacked." ' 

' According to the Duke of Argyll : " The theory of develop- 
ment is not only consistent with teleological explanations, but 
it is founded on teleology and on nothing else. It sees in every- 
thing the results of a system which is ever acting for the best, 
always producing something more perfect or more beautiful than 
before, and incessantly eliminating whatever is less faulty or less 
perfectly adapted to every new condition. Prof. Tyndall him- 
self cannot describe this system without using the most in- 
tensely anthropopsychic language. ' The continued effort of 
animated nature,' he says in his Belfast address, ' is to improve 
its conditions and raise itself to a loftier level.'" " The Unity 
of Nature," p. 171. 

Mr. Alfred Wallace, who shares with Darwin the honor of 
having introduced to the world the theory of natural selection, 
asks, when speaking of the bearing of Evolution on the doctrine 
of design : " Why should we suppose the machine, too compli- 
cated to have been designed by the Creator, so complete that it 
would necessarily work out harmonious results .-' The theory 
of ' continual interference' is a limitation of the Creator's power. 
It assumes that He could not work by pure law in the organic 
as he has done in the inorganic world." " Natural Selection," 
p. 280. 

Similar language is employed by the late Prof Richard 
Owen, one of the greatest comparative anatomists of the age. 
He was a firm believer not only in the " ordained becoming" 
of new species, but was also a zealous and consistent teleolo- 


Prof. Huxley, who loves to pose as an agnostic, 
but who is endowed with a critical acumen that is pos- 
sessed by neither Biichner nor Haeckel, affirms that : 
" 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 tel- 
eology which supposes that the eye, such as we see 
it in man or one of the higher vertebrates, was 
made with the precise structure it exhibits, for the 
purpose of enabling the animal which possesses it to 
see, has undoubtedly received its death-blow. Never- 
theless, 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 funda- 
mental principle of Evolution." ' 

To the foregoing testimonies, and others of like 
import which could easily be adduced in any number 
desired, I will add the matured opinion of the dis- 
tinguished naturalist and keen metaphysician, whose 
name has already figured so frequently in these 
pages, St. George Mivart. A biologist of marked 
eminence, an evolutionist of pronounced convictions, 
a theologian of recognized ability, no one is better 
qualified to express a judgment regarding the bear- 
ings of the Evolution theory on the argument from 
design and the doctrine of final causes. " A careful 
study," he tells us, "of the inter-relation and inter- 
dependencies which exist between the various orders 
of creatures inhabiting this planet, shows us a yet 
more noteworthy teleology — the existence of whole 

' " Darwiniana," p. no. 


orders of such creatures being directed to the service 
of other orders, in various degrees of subordination 
and augmentation, respectively. This study reveals 
to us, as a fact, the enchainment of all the- various 
orders of creatures in a hierarchy of activities, in 
harmony with what we might expect to find in a 
world, the outcome of a First Cause possessed of in- 
telligence and will, since it exhibits, at the same 
time, both ' continuity ' and * purpose.' It shows 
us, indeed, that a successively increasing fulfillment 
of ' purpose ' runs through the irrational creation 
up to man. And thus the study of final causes re- 
veals to us how great is our dignity, and, conse- 
quently, our responsibility." ' 

Design and Purpose in Nature. 

The quotations just made from some of the most 
eminent and most philosophical of modern natural- 
ists, and they are in perfect accord with the senti- 
ments of the great majority of contemporary evolu- 
tionists, prove that true votaries of science, far from 
denying design and purpose in nature, affirm, on the 
contrary, their existence, and profess themselves un- 
able to account for the facts and phenomena of the 
visible universe without postulating a First Cause, 
the Creator and Ordainer of all the beauty and har- 
mony we so much admire, both in organic and in inor- 
ganic nature. From these quotations, too, we see how 
erroneously the teachings of true science are inter- 
preted by a blatant and anti-religious minority, and 

* " On Truth," pp. 483-484 ; cf., also, his " Lessons from Na- 
ture," pp. 358 et seq., and " Genesis of Species," pp. 273 et seq. 


what a grievous injustice is done to the real repre- 
sentatives of science, by those whose chief object 
seems to be to foment discord between science and 
religion, and to intensify an odium theologicum on one 
hand, and provoke an odium scientificum. on the 
other, which are both as silly as they are unwarranted. 
In spite of all that may be said to the contrary, the 
unbiased and reverent student must see in nature 
the evidence of a Power which is originative, direct- 
ive, immanent ; a Power which is intelligent, wise, 
supreme. And, notwithstanding the asseverations 
of the noisy and supercilious few, who are notorious 
rather for their fanciful theories than prominent for 
genuine contributions to science, no serious investi- 
gator can fail to discern, in the world of beauty and 
usefulness with which we are surrounded, the most 
conclusive evidence that what we denominate the 
laws of nature must have existed in idea before they 
existed in fact ; must have existed in the mind of a 
supreme, creative Intelligence, as the realities which 
we now observe and coordinate.* Evolution, there- 
fore, far from weakening the argument from design, 
strengthens and ennobles it ; and far from banishing 
teleology from science and theology, illustrates and 
corroborates it in the most admirable manner. And 
despite all attempts to connect teleology with Pan- 

^ Paley, in referring to those who speak of law as if it were 
a cause, very pertinently remarks : " It is a perversion of lan- 
guage to assign any law as the efficient, operative cause of any- 
thing. A law presupposes an agent, for it is only the mode 
according to which the agent proceeds ; it implies a power, for 
it is the order according to which that power acts. Without 
this agent, without this power, which are both distinct from it- 
self, the law does nothing, is nothing." " Natural Theology," 
p. 12. 


theism or Materialism, or to make Evolution sub- 
serve the cause of Atheism or Agnosticism, the result 
has been that we have now a higher, a subtler, a 
more comprehensive teleology than the world has 
ever before known. We have a teleology which is 
indissolubly linked with the teachings of revealed 
truth ; a teleology which, while receiving light from 
Evolution, illumines, in turn, this grand generaliza- 
tion, and shows us that Evolution, when properly 
understood, is a noble witness to a God who, unlike 
the God of the older Deism, that " simply sets the 
machine of the universe in motion, and leaves it to 
work by itself," is, on the contrary. One who, in the 
language of Holy Scripture, is not only " above all, 
but through all, and in all." 


Evolution Not a New Theory. 

WE may now, before concluding this protracted 
study, take a brief survey of the ground 
over which we have traveled and make a few reflec- 
tions which are naturally suggested by the discus- 
sions which precede. 

First of all, then, the evolutionary idea is not, as 
we have learned, the late development it is some- 
times imagined to be. On the contrary, it is an 
idea that had its origin in the speculations of the 
earliest philosophers, and an idea which has been 
slowly developed by the studies and observations of 
twenty-five centuries of earnest seekers after truth. 

In reading over the history of Greek philosophy, 
we are often surprised to see how the sages of old 
Hellas anticipated many of the views which are 
nowadays so frequently considered as the result of 
nineteenth century research. With limited means 
for penetrating the arcana of Nature, they frequently 
accomplished what we should deem impossible 
without the aid of microscope and telescope. They 
are often reproached with being simple, a priori 
reasoners, fanciful speculators and fortunate guessers 
at the truth ; but they were far more than this. They 
did not, it is true, have at hand the wonderful in- 


struments of precision which we now possess, but 
they had a keenness of perception and a faculty for 
getting at the heart of things, which probably have 
never been equaled and certainly never surpassed. 
At times, indeed, their intuition amounted almost to 
divination, and instead of being simple votaries of 
science, the philosophers of those days were rather 
its prophets. 

Teachings of Greek Philosophers. 

No one can read of the achievements of Aristotle, 
or recall his marvelous anticipations of modern dis- 
coveries, without feeling that it was he who sup- 
plied the germs of what subsequently became such 
large and beautiful growths. As one of the greatest, 
if not the greatest, of the world's intellects, he ac- 
complished not only actually, but proleptically, far 
more than is usually attributed to him, especially in 
all that concerns the now famous theory of Evolu- 
tion. He had, it is true, received aid and suggestions 
from his predecessors, the lonians, Eleatics and 
Pythagoreans ; he had found a stimulus in the specu- 
lations of Heraclitus, Empedocles, Democritus and 
Anaxagoras ; but his own researches and his remark- 
able powers of generalization, enabled him to elimi- 
nate what was erroneous in their views, and develop 
what was true, in such a way that his success in this 
respect has ever remained a matter of wonder. 

I have already alluded to the teachings of the 
old Ionian schools regarding the origin of the inor- 
ganic and organic w^orlds, and exhibited a few of 
the many striking analogies which exist between 


the teachings of Greek philosophy and modern sci- 
ence respecting the theory of Evolution. Accord- 
ing to Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, the 
world and all it contains were generated from simple 
primordial matter. From the simple proceeds the 
complex, from the indeterminate, ro ar.zipov, arise all 
the manifold differentiated forms of the cosmos. 
Living originates from non-living matter, because all 
life had its origin in pristine mud. Heraclitus antic- 
ipates Darwin's notion of " the struggle for exist- 
ence," in his view of conflict, Tz6Xe/io?, as the originator 
of all things, and also in his conception of the en- 
deavor made by individuals to insure their existence 
against the processes of destruction with which they 
are surrounded. Empedocles, like our modern sci- 
entists, taught not only that all terrestrial things arise 
from certain primitive elements, but also, like Dar- 
win, recognized a development in animal and vege- 
table forms. He likewise attempted to explain the 
origin of the various organic beings, species, genera, 
etc., by the existence of certain adaptations which 
tend to perpetuate themselves. 

Teleological Ideas of Anaxagoras and Aristotle. 

The first one of the Greek philosophers to take a 
teleological view of nature, to perceive in the won- 
derful adaptations everywhere manifested an evi- 
dence of intelligent design, was Anaxagoras. His 
predecessors and contemporaries were, for the most 
part, believers in the doctrine that all things were 
originated by chance, or the fortuitous concourse of 


atoms, and were, consequently, adherents of what is 
now known as the monistic or mechanical theory of 
the universe. This can be predicated especially of 
Democritus, the founder of Atomism and the fore- 
runner of Materialism. 

But it was reserved for " the wisest of wise 
Greeks, the Stagirite," to develop the teleological 
ideas of Anaxagoras, and to show that the succes- 
sion of the myriad forms of terrestrial life was due, 
not to simple fortuity but to the continued, or at 
least to the preordaining action, of an intelligent, 
efficient Cause or Prime Mover. Whether Aristo- 
tle believed that God is immanent in nature, and 
continually working through the agency of natural 
causes, or conceived Him as preordaining from the 
beginning all the harmony we now observe, is open 
to question, but it is quite clear that he was a firm 
believer in Evolution in its modern sense, as opposed 
to the theory of special creations. His theistic views 
are, indeed, in marked contrast with the agnostic and 
materialistic teachings of the lonians, and of the 
earlier and later materialistic schools, especially of 
those represented by Empedocles, Democritus, Epi- 
curus and Lucretius. 

In the Stagirite's doctrines, too, we find the 
germs of those views on creation which were devel- 
oped later on with such wonderful fullness, and in 
such marvelous perfection, by those great Doctors 
of the Church, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine and 
Thomas Aquinas. According to Aristotle it was 
necessary, that is, in compliance with natural law, 
that germs, and not animals, should have been first 


produced ; and that from these germs all forms of 
life, from polyps to man, should be evolved by the 
operation of natural causes. How like St. Augus- 
tine's teaching, that God in the beginning created all 
things potentially, in seminc, potentialiter, and that 
these were afterwards developed through the action 
of secondary causes, causales rationes, during the 
course of untold ages — per volumina scsculorum/ 

Influence of Aristotle. 

Having now before our minds the achievements 
of Aristotle in the domain of science, and understand- 
ing what were his contributions to the evolutionary 
view of nature, it is not difficult for us to account 
for the paramount influence which he wielded in 
the world of thought for full twenty centuries ; why 
he was so long regarded as the guide of naturalists 
and philosophers, as the " magister " of Fathers and 
Schoolmen, and why his views impregnated the 
teachings, not only of thinkers like Descartes, Bacon, 
Leibnitz, Kant and Schelling, but also tinctured the 
speculations of such naturalists as De Maillet, Oken, 
Robinet, Buffon, Linnaeus and Erasmus Darwin. 

Nor is this all. Although less than in the writ- 
ings of the authors just named, we can trace the in- 
fluence of the old Greek master in still more recent 
works ; in those of Goethe and Lamarck, Treviranus 
and GeofTroy Saint-Hilaire, Cuvier and Bory de St. 
Vincent. These, with even later investigators, Von 
Baer, Serres, Spencer, Richard Owen, Naudin, 
Wallace, Charles Darwin and St. George Mivart, 
have but developed the germs and elaborated the 


ideas which the immortal Stagirite left as a legacy to 
the world more than two thousand years ago. 

No ; it is a mistake to suppose that the theory of 
Evolution, whether cosmic or organic, is something 
new and the product solely of modern research. It 
is something old, as old as speculative thought, and 
stripped of all explanations and subsidiary adjuncts, 
it is now essentially what it was in the days of Aris- 
totle, St. Augustine, and the Angel of the Schools. 
Modern research has developed and illustrated the 
theory, has given it a more definite shape and 
rendered it more probable, if indeed it has not 
demonstrated its truth, but the central idea remains 
practically the same as it was when " the master of 
those that know — il maestro di color che sanno" as 
Dante calls Aristotle — indited his works on " Physics" 
and the " History of Animals," and when the great 
Bishop of Hippo penned his wondrous treatises on 
*' Genesis " and " The Trinity." Indeed, we can say of 
Evolution what Lord Bacon said of natural science 
in the beginning of the seventeenth century : " If," 
says he, " the natural history extant, though ap- 
parently of great bulk and variety, were to be care- 
fully weeded of its fables, antiquities, quotations, 
frivolous disputes, philosophy, ornaments, it would 
shrink to a slender bulk." Similarly might we affirm, 
and with equal truth, if Evolution were to be sepa- 
rated from all the theories and fantastical specula- 
tions which in the minds of many are an essential 
part of it, very little, at least as to its principles, 
would remain, which was unknown to Aristotle, 
Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. 


Darwinism Not Evolution. 

Darwinism, as has already been remarked, is not 
Evolution ; neither is Lamarckism nor Neo-Lamarck- 
ism. The theories which go by these names, as well 
as sundry others, are but tentative explanations of 
the methods by which Evolution has acted, and of the 
processes which have obtained in the growth and 
development of the organic world. They may be 
true or false, although all of them undoubtedly 
contain at least an element of truth, but whether 
true or false, the great central conception of Evolu- 
tion remains unaffected. Whether natural selection 
has been the chief agent in the Evolution of plants 
and animals, as Darwin and Wallace contend, or 
whether the influence of activity and environment 
has been a more potent factor, as Lamarck and Cope 
maintain, is as yet uncertain. But be this as it^ 
may, it matters not. It is still far from certain that 
we have discovered the leading factor or factors of 
Evolution. All theories so far advanced, to account 
for the phenomena of change and development, are 
at best but guesses and provisional hypotheses ; and 
no serious man of science claims that they are any- 
thing more. They have unquestionably contributed 
much towards the advancement of the science of 
biology, and have enabled naturalists to group to- 
gether facts which were formerly considered as 
disparate and irreconcilable. They have suggested 
explanations of phenomena that were shrouded in 
mystery, and enabled us to perceive in nature a 
unity of plan and purpose, which, without such 


theories, would either be obscured or entirely elude 
our view. 

Much, undoubtedly, remains yet to be done, but 
no one who is familiar with the history of science 
in the past half century, can deny that marvels 
have been accomplished during this time, and that a 
flood of light has been thrown on some of the most 
puzzling problems of natural science. Whatever 
value, then, we may attach to the theories of Lamarck 
and Saint-Hilaire, of Darwin and Wallace and Mivart, 
no one can deny that they are entitled to a lasting 
debt of gratitude for their brilliant researches, and 
for their untiring zeal and signal success in collect- 
ing and coordinating facts in a way that has never 
before been accomplished. Whether their theories 
be all that has been claimed for them or not, they 
have certainly popularized an idea which prior to 
their promulgation interested but a few, and given to 
the study of science an impetus which it had never 
before experienced. They have given to the evolu- 
tionary idea a relief, and endowed it with a fascina- 
tion, which have captivated the world. They have 
inspired among the masses a love of nature which did 
not previously exist, and have stimulated investiga- 
tion and spurred on progress in a manner to win the 
admiration and extort the plaudits of the most in- 
different and phlegmatic. As to the authors of these 
theories they have ushered in a new era, and are the 
kings and prophets of the most active and most 
prolific period of research that the world has yet 
witnessed. Others will come after them who will 
correct their errors and improve on their theories, 


but the triumphs of these pioneers of the renaissance 
of science will endure with undiminished lustre as 
long as there shall remain an annalist to record the 
achievements of human progress. 

Evolution in the Future. 

What shall ultimately be the fate of the argu- 
ments now so confidently advanced in favor of Evo- 
lution by its friends, and against it by its enemies, 
only the future can decide. The grounds of defense 
and attack will, no doubt, witness many and impor- 
tant changes. Future research and discovery will 
reveal the weakness of arguments that are now con- 
sidered unassailable, and expose the fallacies of 
others which, as at present viewed, are thoroughly 
logical. But new reasons in favor of Evolution will 
be forthcoming in proportion as the older ones shall 
be modified or shown to be untenable. And, as the 
evolutionary idea shall be more studied and devel- 
oped, the objections which are now urged against it 
will, I doubt not, disappear or lose much of their 
cogency. New theories will be promulgated, new 
explanations of present difficulties will be suggested, 
and a clearer knowledge will be vouchsafed of what 
are the real, if not the chief factors, of the vast evolu- 
tionary processes which are at the bottom of all forms 
of organic development. As in physics so also in bi- 
ology; continued investigation of facts and phenom- 
ena is sure to issue in a clearer and truer view of 
nature, and of the agencies which have been in- 
strumental in bringing animated nature from its 


primordial to its present condition. And every new 
discovery, every new fact brought to light and correl- 
ated with facts already known, will mean a step 
forward ; will betoken progress, knowledge and en- 

As the old emission theory of light, originated 
by Descartes and Newton, was followed by the un- 
dulatory theory formulated by Huygens, Young and 
Fresnel ; and as the latter has been succeeded by the 
electro-magnetic theory of Maxwell and Hertz, so 
likewise will the various theories which are now of- 
fered in explanation of the facts of Evolution, be re- 
placed by others which shall be a closer approxima- 
tion to the truth, or which shall eventually exhibit 
the truth in all its beauty and grandeur. The hy- 
potheses of Darwin, Wallace, Spencer, Mivart and 
VVeismann will, no doubt, give way in greater or less 
degree to other theories which, while being more in 
conformity with the facts observed, shall afford a 
truer view of nature and supply a more accurate 
knowledge of those of her operations that are now 
so mysterious and so ill-understood. The work to 
be accomplished will, of course, be slow and require 
time. For, unlike the theory of light, Evolution deals 
not merely with one form of energy, or forms of 
energy which are reducible to one. It is not con- 
fined to the discussion of only a narrow and limited 
range of phenomena, but is, on the contrary, a 
theory which is universal in its application, embrac- 
ing all forms of energy and dealing with all kinds of 
matter, from simple elementary atoms to that high- 
est and most complex of organisms, man. 


That the task will be accomplished sooner or later ; 
that we shall ultimately have a satisfactory explana- 
tion of evolutionary processes; and that the theory 
of Evolution will at length be established on a firm 
and logical basis, no reasonable man can doubt. 
Numerous and great difficulties have been removed 
during the past few decades, and one need not be a 
seer to foretell, that even more effective work will be 
accomplished during the same period of time in the 
years to come. The world has proceeded too far to 
admit of retrogression. Advance is the order of the 
hour, and final triumph is inevitable. 

Evolution Not Antagonistic to Religion. 

Yet more. In proportion as Evolution shall be 
placed on a solider foundation, and the objections 
which are now urged against it shall disappear, so 
also will it be evinced, that far from being an enemy 
of religion, it is, on the contrary, its strongest and 
most natural ally. Even those who have no sym- 
pathy with the traditional forms of belief, who are, 
in principle* if not personally, opposed to the Church 
and her dogmas, perceive that there is no necessary 
antagonism between Evolution and faith, between 
the conclusions of science and the declarations of 
revelation. Indeed, so avowed an opponent of 
Church and Dogma as Huxley informs us that: "The 
doctrine of Evolution does not even come into con- 
tact with Theism, considered as a philosophical doc- 
trine. That with which it does collide, and with 
which it is absolutely inconsistent, is the conception 
of creation which theological speculators have based 


upon the history narrated in the opening book of 
Genesis." ' 

In other words, Evolution is not opposed to revela- 
tion, but to certain interpretations of what some have 
imagined to be revealed truths. It is not opposed 
to the dogmas of the Church, but to the opinions of 
certain individual exponents of Dogma, who would 
have us believe that their views of the Inspired Rec- 
ord are the veritable expressions of Divine truth.' 

To say that Evolution is agnostic or atheistic in 
tendency, if not in fact, is to betray a lamentable 
ignorance of what it actually teaches, and to display 
a singular incapacity for comprehending the relation 
of a scientific induction to a philosophical — or, more 
truthfully, an anti-philosophical — system. The sim- 
ple assertion of Haeckel and his school, that Evolu- 
tion implies the monistic or mechanical theory of 
the universe, proves nothing, for assertion is not 
proof. Rather should it be affirmed that Evolution, 
in so far as it is true, makes for religion and Dogma ; 
because it must needs be that a true theory of the 
origin and development of things must, when prop- 
erly understood and applied, both strengthen and 
illustrate the teachings of faith. *' When from the 

^ " Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," vol. I, p. 556. 

"^ Lamarck, with keen philosophic insight, thus expresses 
himself in his " Philosophie Zoologique," tom. I, p. 56 : " Sans 
doute rien n'existe que par la volont^ du sublime Auteur de toutes 
choses, mais pouvons-nous lui assigner des regies dans 1 'execu- 
tion de sa volonte et fixer la mode qu'il a suivi a cet egard ? 
Assurement, quelle qu'ait ete sa volenti, I'immensite de sa 
puissance est toujours la mfime, et de quelque mani&re quese soit 
executee cette volont^ supreme, rien n'en peut diminuer la 


dawn of life," says Prof. Fiske, who is an ardent 
evolutionist, "we see all things working together 
towards the Evolution of the highest spiritual attri- 
butes or man, we know, however the words may 
stumble in which we try to say it, that God is 
in the deepest sense a moral being." ' Elsewhere 
the same writer truly observes : " The doctrine of 
Evolution destroys the conception of the world as a 
machine. It makes God our constant refuge and 
support, and nature His true revelation." And again 
he declares : " Thmigh science must destroy myth- 
ology, it can never destroy religion ; and to the 
astronomer of the future, as well as to the Psalmist 
of old, the heavens will declare the glory of God."' 
Evolution does, indeed, to employ the words of 
Carlyle, destroy the conception of " an absentee God, 
sitting idle, ever since the first Sabbath, at the out- 
side of His universe and seeing it go." ^ But it com- 
pels us to recognize that " this fair universe, were it 
in the meanest province thereof, is, in very deed, the 
star-domed city of God ; that through every star, 
through every grass-blade, and most, through every 
living soul, the glory of a present God still beams." * 

Objections Against New Theories. 

It is true, indeed, as we have already learned, 
that Evolution has been decried, even by men of 

»"The Idea of God," p. 167. 

2" Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy," vol. II, p. 416. 

'"Sartor Resartus," book II, chap. vn. 

*Ibid., book III, chap. viii. 


marked ability, as leading to Atheism or Materialism. 
But similar charges have also been made against 
other theories and generalizations which are now 
universally acknowledged as true. 

Anaxagoras, it will be remembered, was con- 
demned as a heretic for asserting that the sun, the 
great god Helios, was but a mass of molten matter. 
Spectroscopy has vindicated him, and shown that 
his accusers were in error. Aristarchus was accused 
of impiety for having taught that the earth revolves 
round the sun, and for having anticipated a theory 
independently discovered and developed eighteen 
centuries later by Copernicus. The Samian astrono- 
mer was charged with having "disturbed the repose 
of Vesta," and the worshippers of the offended god- 
dess accordingly suppressed or destroyed his sacrile- 
gious works. 

Newton's great laws of universal gravitation, 
when first promulgated, were looked upon with sus- 
picion, and, in some instances, denounced as atheis- 
tic. Even so great a mathematician and philosopher 
as Leibnitz, did not hesitate to condemn Newton's 
grand discovery, "not only as physically false, but 
as injurious to the interests of religion." 

All are familiar with the absurd objections urged 
against the heliocentric theory as advocated by Ga- 
lileo. Lord Bacon rejected it with contempt, and 
even the distinguished astronomer, Tycho Brahe, 
notwithstanding all the evidence offered in favor of 
the Copernican system, invented one of his own 
which was but a modification of Ptolemy's and no 
less complex and cumbersome. 


Galileo and the Copemican Theory. 

It is often said, even by those who should be 
better informed, that the greatest obstacle in the 
way of the general acceptance of the Copernican 
theory was the Church, and that the cause of all of 
Galileo's woes was the ignorant officials of the In- 
quisition. The fact is, however, that it was not 
churchmen, as such, who were opposed to the views 
which Galileo so ardently and so successfully cham- 
pioned. It was rather the old peripatetic system 
of philosophy, which, after dominating the world of 
thought for two thousand years, saw itself finally 
face to face with what, it was felt on all sides, was 
destined to prove the most formidable adversary it 
had yet encountered. For the. Ptolemaic system 
was so closely bound up with the philosophy of Aris- 
totle, and this in turn was so intimately connected 
with theology, especially since the time of St. 
Thomas Aquinas, that any attack on the geocentric 
system was at once regarded as an onslaught on 
both philosophy and theology. So great, indeed, 
was the authority of the *' Master," as Aristotle was 
called, and so long had his dicta been accepted with- 
out question, that in the minds of many it was 
almost as impious to assail his opinions as it was to 
attack the dogmas of faith. 

One of the fundamental teachings of the Stagir- 
ite was, for instance, that concerning the incorrupti- 
bility and immutability of the heavens. Galileo's 
telescopic discoveries showed that this opinion was 


not based on fact. He proved that "the heavens 
can change and lay aside their former aspects, and 
assume others entirely new ; " and in doing this, he 
gave a death blow to one of the leading tenets on 
which peripatetics generally had so long set such 
store. Learned professors at Pisa, Padua and Bo- 
logna, tried to silence the illustrious Florentine by 
the profuse use of syllogisms and to disprove the 
truth of his observations by a/rwr/ reasonings. He 
was declared by others to be the victim of strange 
optical illusions, and, accordingly, it was asserted 
that the spots on the sun, and the satellites of Jupi- 
ter and the variable stars had no existence outside 
of the observer's diseased imagination. Aristotel- 
ians indignantly denied the existence of sun-spots, 
because, said they : " It is impossible that the eye 
of the universe could suffer from ophthalmia." For 
an equally trivial reason they rejected Kepler's 
great discovery of the accelerated and retarded mo- 
tions of the planets in different parts of their orbits. 
" It is undignified," they declared, ** for heavenly 
bodies to hurry and slacken their pace in accordance 
with the law of the German astronomer." Aris- 
totelianism, it was almost universally agreed, was 
to be safeguarded at all hazards, and Galileo, Kep- 
ler and other innovators, who thus ruthlessly tram- 
pled under foot the philosophy of the master — " Si 
calpesta tutta la filosofia d" Aristotele'' — were to be 
vanquished at whatever cost, for if they were al- 
lowed to continue their sacrilegious work, they 
would eventually undermine, not only philosophy 
?^n4 theology, but also sacred Scripture as well. 


A quotation from one Sizzi, a learned astronom- 
ical authority of the time, will serve to exhibit the 
puerile character of some of the reasons adduced in 
favor of the old system and against the new. Ga- 
lileo having, by the aid of his telescope, discovered 
the satellites of Jupiter, Sizzi argued against the 
existence of such bodies as follows : " There are 
seven windows given to animals in the domicile of 
the head, through which the air is admitted to the 
tabernacle of the body, viz., two nostrils, two eyes, 
two ears and one mouth. So, in the heavens, as in 
a macrocosm, or great world, there are two favora- 
ble stars, Jupiter and Venus; two unpropitious. Mars 
and Saturn ; two luminaries, the sun and moon, and 
Mercury alone undecided and indifferent. From 
these and many other phenomena of nature, which 
it were tedious to enumerate, we gather that the 
number of planets is necessarily seven. Moreover, 
the satellites are invisible to the naked eye, and 
therefore, can exercise no influence over the earth, 
and would, of course, be useless; and therefore do 
not exist." 

Such things appear to us childish and absurd in 
the extreme ; but after all they are but a fair sample 
of the reasons which were offered by many of the 
astronomers and philosophers of the time, against 
the innovations and scientific heresies of Copernicus 
and Galileo. When one calls to mind what extrava- 
gant errors have been defended in the name of Aris- 
totelian philosophy, and what untold mischief a priori 
reasoning has effected in the domain of experimental 
science ; when we understand the temper of mind of 


those who taught and speculated three centuries 
ago, we need not be surprised at the many strange 
things they said and did. We see in their opinions 
and conduct but a reflex of what is always observed 
in the progress of knowledge and in the dissipation 
of ignorance. The much-talked-of warfare between 
science and religion is something that does not exist. 
The warfare is between truth and error, between sci- 
ence and theory. In Galileo's case, as we have seen, 
it was Copernicanism versus Aristotelianism ; a priori 
reasoning against observation and experiment ; the 
syllogism against the telescope. 

Conservatism in Science. 

And more than this. The same objections that 
were brought against Galileo and heliocentrism, were 
urged against Laplace and the nebular hypothesis ; 
against Joule, Mayer, Faraday, Liebig, Carpenter 
and Helmholtz, on account of their demonstrations 
of the grand doctrine of the conservation and corre- 
lation of the various physical forces. The truth is, 
men are loath to give up a pet theory, especially 
when they are once committed to it, and when the 
shadow of a great name gives to it an air of certainty, 
if not of infallibility. As a result of this tenacious- 
ness of opinion, and of a conservatism which was far 
more marked formerly than it is at present, truth 
advances slowly and science is obliged to contest 
every step forward. For this reason the enemy of 
science has not been religion, as is so often declared, 
but science itself, or what for the time was accepted 


as science. In like manner those who impeded the 
advance of science were not the representatives of 
the Church, as such, but the advocates of some 
theory or the adherents of some school or system of 
thought. For generally, if not always, those who 
are accused of opposing the advancement of science, 
and who may actually be in error in matters scien- 
tific, are as zealously laboring, so far as their lights 
go, in the interests of science, as those who have 
the truth on their side. The enemies of GaHleo, 
for instance, imagined that they were doing the 
greatest possible service to science in battling as 
they did for Peripateticism and Ptolemaism. But if 
they had had before them the same evidences of the 
truth which we at present possess, they would have 
made no hesitation in acknowledging their mistakes, 
or rather, they would never have fallen into the 
errors for which they are now condemned. 

Conflict of Opinions Beneficial. 

In the long run, however, the conflict of opinions 
in questions of science, far from having a pernicious, 
has a beneficial influence on the advancement of 
knowledge. It stimulates investigation and discov- 
ery, and serves to place the truth in such a light as 
no longer to admit of contradiction. 

The long-fought battle on the subject of sponta- 
neous generation is a case in point. Pasteur and 
Van Beneden have proven by their epoch-making 
researches, that so far as experiment can give any in- 
information on the subject, abiogenesis is a chimera. 


But while we cheerfully accord to these great savants 
all the encomiums to which they are entitled, we 
should not withhold from their great antagonists, 
Pouchet and Bastian, the meed of praise which their 
researches have earned for them. The latter were 
mistaken in their views, it is true ; they were van- 
quished in the controversy which they carried on so 
ably ; but, by the very force and originality of their 
objections, they contributed materially, though in- 
deed indirectly, towards putting the truth in a bolder 
relief than it would otherwise have received. Had 
not Pasteur met with the contradictions he did, had 
he not been obliged to confute objections of all kinds, 
objections presented in the name of chemistry, ob- 
jections urged in the name of biology, objections 
advanced in the name of metaphysics, he would 
undoubtedly have discontinued his investigations 
much sooner than he did, and would have rested 
satisfied with his earlier and simpler proofs of the 
untenableness of spontaneous generation. 

All glory, therefore, to Galileo and Pasteur for 
their brilliant achievements! But while sounding 
the praises of the victors, let us not forget the 
honors due to those who battled long and gallantly 
only to suffer defeat in the end. By the very per- 
sistence and stubbornness of their contest, they en- 
hanced not only the splendor of the results obtained 
by their conquerors, but they also labored effectu- 
ally, albeit indirectly, for the attainment of the same 
object which was had in view by their antagonists — 
the truth, the advancement of science, and the plac- 
ing of it on a surer and firmer foundation. 


Evolution and Creationism. 

Will it not be the same in the still greater and 
longer contest between creationism, in the sense of 
special creationism, and evolutionism? From what 
precedes it appears almost certain that our reply 
must be in the affirmative. And when the smoke of 
battle shall have cleared away ; when all animosity 
shall have been extinguished, and men shall have a 
concern only for the truth, and not for certain indi- 
vidual opinions ; when they shall be more disposed 
to conserve the interests of genuine science than 
those of mere hypothesis ; then will it be evident to 
the world that both victors and vanquished were 
making for the same objective point, all according to 
their lights, and that the very earnestness and perse- 
verance with which those in the wrong led a forlorn 
hope, but contributed in the end towards making the 
truth more conspicuous and towards rendering the 
stronghold of science more impregnable. Then, too, 
it will be manifest, that although truth was on the 
side championed by Aristotle, Sts. Athanasius, Greg- 
ory of Nyssa, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, by 
Buffon, Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Lamarck, Spencer, 
Darwin, Huxley, Mivart and their compeers, never- 
theless the opponents of the evolutionary idea, the 
Fathers and Schoolmen who favored the doctrine of 
special creation, the Linnseuses, the Cuviers and the 
Agassizs, who resolutely and consistently combated 
Evolution to the last, were all along but helping on 
and corroborating what they were intent on weaken- 
ing and destroying. In this case, as in so many 


Others, history but repeats itself and demonstrates 
again, that opposition may be a source of strength, 
and contradiction the most effective means of secur- 
ing certitude and light. For we must bear in mind 
that it is not mistaken theory that retards the prog- 
ress of science, but rather erroneous observations. 
All working scientists are aware, often to their cost, 
that it is inaccurate or mistaken observations which 
lead men astray, while erroneous theories have often 
a most stimulating effect. They suggest and pro- 
voke new and more exact observations, and thus lead 
up to true theories and ultimately to a true knowl- 
edge of nature. 

Errors in the Infancy of Science. 

It is indeed a difficult matter for those who live 
in the closing years of the nineteenth century, duly 
to appreciate the mental attitude of those who lived 
and taught a thousand or two thousand years ago. 
It is difficult even for us to account for the extrava- 
gant views held by distinguished scientists of com- 
paratively recent times, by such men, for example, 
as Kepler, Stahl, Kircher, Buckland and others of 
their contemporaries. We smile at the fantastic no- 
tions which they entertained respecting some of the 
most ordinary phenomena of astronomy, chemistry, 
biology and geology. But we forget that we are liv- 
ing in the full effulgence of inductive science, and 
that we have the benefit of the labors of thousands 
and tens of thousands of investigators in every de- 
partment of thought. We forget that Kepler and 


Kircher and their collaborators lived in the infancy 
of science ; that they had to blaze the way for their 
successors, and that, notwithstanding their best ef- 
forts to arrive at the truth, error was inevitable. 
Ignorant of countless facts now known to every 
schoolboy, and unacquainted with the theories and 
laws which are now the common possession of all 
who read and think, it was but natural that they 
should have had recourse to explanations and hy- 
potheses which we should at present regard as fanci- 
ful and absurd. 

Thus, Kepler taught that the heavenly bodies 
were guided in their orbits by angels. Water, it was 
universally believed, would not rise in a pump above 
a certain height because nature abhors a vacuum. 
Fossils, it was thought, were but outlines of future 
creations which the great Artificer had cast aside, or 
objects placed in the tilted and contorted strata of 
the earth "to bring to naught human curiosity." 

The statements regarding animals found in the 
" Physiologus " and in the " Bestiaries," allegorical 
works much esteemed during the Middle Ages, were 
accepted as veritable facts, and believed as firmly as 
were the ludicrous stories of Pliny, the naturalist. For 
a thousand years and more, even those who professed 
to teach natural history saw in the fables regarding 
the dragon and the unicorn, the phoenix and the 
basilisk, the hippogriff and the centaur, nothing to 
stagger their faith and nothing that was inconsistent 
with the science of the times. They believed with- 
out question that the phoenix rose from its ashes, 
that the pelican nourished its young with its blood, 


that the salamander could quench fire, that the 
basilisk killed serpents by its breath and men by 
its glance, and many similar things equally prepos- 
terous. ' 

The frame of mind, even of the most intelligent 
men, was such, that the extraordinary tales of Marco 
Polo and Sir John Mandeville were credited as 
readily as the most ordinary facts of history or 
biography. It was indeed difficult to exaggerate the 
powers or marvels of animated nature to such an ex- 
tent that they would be pronounced unworthy of 
credence. But the world has moved since the times 
of Polo and Mandeville. Science has made wondrous 
strides forward since the days of Kepler and Kircher. 
Men are now more familiar with the laws and proc- 
esses of the organic world, and have learned to rec- 
ognize the value and necessity of careful observation 
on the part of the votaries of science. 

And in proportion as our knowledge has widened, 
and become more precise, so likewise have our con- 
ceptions of nature and of the Deity's methods of 
work been modified and exalted. We no longer 
look upon God as an architect, a carpenter, an arti- 
ficer ; one who must plan and labor in a human 
fashion, as He was contemplated in the infancy of 

^ In the " Physiologus" we read the following about the ant- 
lion, or myrmekoleon : " His father hath the shape of a lion, his 
mother that of an ant; the father liveth upon flesh and the 
mother upon herbs. And these bring forth the ant-lion, a com- 
pound of both and in part like to either, for his forepart is that 
of a lion and his hind part like that of an ant. Being thus com- 
posed he is neither able to eat flesh like his father, nor herbs like 
his mother, therefore he perishes from inanition." See "En- 
cyclopiedia Britannica," art., Physiologus. 


our race, when the knowledge of the universe was 
much more circumscribed than it is at present. We 
now regard Him as a Creator in the highest and 
truest sense of the term ; as one who " protects and 
governs by His Providence all things which He 
hath made," and who " reacheth from end to end 
mightily and ordereth all things sweetly." ' 

Science Not Omnipotent. 

But although science has made marvelous ad- 
vances during recent times, especially during the 
present century, and although Evolution has con- 
tributed in a wonderful manner towards, unifying 
what was before a heterogeneous mass of almost un- 
intelligible facts, science is not omnipotent, nor is 
Evolution competent to furnish a key to all the 
mysteries of nature. To judge from the declarations 
of some of the best known representatives of modern 
thought, science was to replace religion and the 
Church, and to do far more for the welfare and eleva- 
tion of humanity than the Gospel and its ministers are 
capable of effecting. Renan declares, that it is " sci- 
ence which will ever furnish man with the sole means 
of bettering his condition." Again he assures us, that 
" to organize humanity scientifically is the last word 
of modern science, its daring but legitimate aim."* 

^"Wisdom," viii, i, and " Council of the Vatican," chap. i. 

' " La science restera toujours la satisfaction du plus haut 
desir de notre nature, la curiosite; elle fournira toujours a 
riiomme le seul moyen qu'il ait pour ameliorer son sort." 

"Organiser scientifiquement I'humanite, tel est done le 
dernier mot de la science moderne, telle est son audacieuse, 
mais legitime pretension." " L'Avenir de la Science," p. 37. 


Science, we were told but a few decades ago, would 
suppress the supernatural, remove mysteries and 
explain miracles. It would tell us all about the 
origin of things ; the world, life, sensation, rational 
thought. It would inform us about the origin of 
society, language, morality, religion. It would throw 
light not only on the origin of man's body and soul, 
but also on his ultimate destiny. It would, in a word, 
frame for us a complete cosmology, a complete code 
of ethics, and introduce a new religion, which would 
be as superior to Christianity as science is superior 
to superstition. It promised that we should one 
day be able to " express consciousness in foot- 
pounds ;" that we should be able to trace the con- 
nection between "the sentiment of love and the 
play of molecules ;" that we should be in a position 
to discern " human genius and moral aspiration in a 
ring of cosmical vapor." Thanks to science and to 
its grand generalization. Evolution, old systems of 
thought were to be wiped out of existence, and we 
were to be ushered into an era of general enlighten- 
ment and universal progress. 

But has science, as represented by Renan, Haeckel 
and others of their way of thinking, made good its 
promises? Has it been able to dispense with a per- 
sonal God, and to relegate the supernatural to the 
limbo "where entities and quiddities, the ghosts of un- 
known bodies lie"? Has it, in the words of Virchow, 
succeeded in referring the origin of life to " a 
special system of mechanics," or in proving Renan's 
view that "the harmony of nature is but a resultant," 
and that " the existence of things is but an affair of 


equilibrium"?* Has the religion which makes a 
God of humanity regarded in the abstract, or which 
evolves a Deity from the universe considered as a 
whole, rendered men better or happier? These are 
questions which press for an answer, but which, 
fortunately, can be answered as readily as they are 

The response to all these questions, collectively 
and severally, is a peremptory negative. It is the 
response which true philosophers and true men of 
science the world over have given all along. For it 
would be a mistake to imagine that the utterances 
of Renan, Haeckel, and their followers, have the in- 
dorsement of the worthier representatives of science, 
or that true science has ever made the pretensions 
claimed for it by some of its self-constituted expo- 
nents and protagonists. There are soi-disant scien- 
tists and true scientists, as well as there is a sham 
science and a science deserving the name. 

Bankruptcy of Science. 

It was in speaking of such soi-disant scientists and 
their unfulfilled promises, of such sham science and 
its boastful pretensions, that a brilliant member of 
the French Academy, M. Brunetiere, did not hesi- 
tate to declare recently that " science had become 
bankrupt." Science has promised to tell us whence 
we come, what we are, whither we are going ; but it 

' " Ceux qui s'obstinent a reconnaitre les traces d'une intelli- 
gence creatrice dans le developpement de I'univers, sont encore 
dans les liens des vieilles illusions, car I'harmonie de la nature 
n'est qu'une resultant, et I'existence des choses une affaire 
d'equilibre." Renan, " L'Avenir de la Science." 


has signally and totally failed to give an answer to 
any of these questions. 

Hellenists had engaged themselves to exhibit the 
whole of Christianity in the philosophy of Greece 
and Rome, and to pick out for us in the "Thoughts" 
of Marcus Aurelius, and the "Manual" of Epictetus, 
all the " scattered members " of the Sermon on the 
Mount. But they did not succeed in this, and still 
less did they succeed in explaining why the Sermon 
on the Mount has conquered the world, and why the 
"Manual," and the "Thoughts" of Epictetus and 
Marcus Aurelius have always remained completely 

Hebraists undertook to dissipate the "irrational " 
and "the marvelous," in the Bible; to exhibit it as a 
book like the " Iliad " or the " Mahabahrata," but the 
sum total of their researches has issued in the very 
opposite of what they anticipated, and their labors 
have had the effect of reintegrating what they had 
hoped to destroy. 

Orientalists, in their turn, promised to deduce 
Christianity from Buddhism, and to prove that the 
teachings of Christ were drawn wholly, or in great 
part, from the doctrines of Buddha. Like the Hel- 
lenists and Hebraists, however, these orientalists failed 
completely to establish their thesis, and, far from 
throwing light on the subjects which they set out to 
clear up, they but plunged them into greater obscur- 
ity and introduced new hypotheses instead of reach- 
ing positive and incontestable conclusions. 

All along the line, the science of which we 
are speaking — the phyiscal, natural, historical, and 


philological sciences — has shown itself incapable of 
giving an answer to the very questions which most 
interest us. And still more has it forfeited the claim, 
which it has made during the past hundred years, to 
frame laws for the government of mankind in lieu of 
those given by Christ and His Church. The conse- 
quence is that all thoughtful men are beginning to 
realize the fact, if they did not realize it before, that 
questions of free-will and moral responsibility are not 
to be settled by physiology, nor are rules of conduct 
to be sought for in Evolution. Hence, if we are to 
live anything more than an animal life, we must have 
something higher than science is able to afford ; we 
must be guided by the teachings of the Founder of 
Christianity, by the saving influence of that Church 
which, for well-nigh two thousand years, has shown 
herself the sole power capable of lifting man from a 
lower to a higher moral and spiritual plane. 

The net result, therefore, of a hundred years of 
aggressive warfare against the Church and religion, 
the outcome of all the flattering but misleading 
promises of science in the matters which we have 
been considering, have been the very opposite of 
those intended. M. Brunetiere resumes the result 
in two words — and no well-informed person will, I 
think, be disposed to contradict his conclusions — 
these are : " Science has lost its prestige, and religion 
has recovered a portion of hers." * 

'"La Science a perdu son prestige; et la Religion a recon- 
quis une partie du sien." See his interesting article, "Apres une 
Visite au Vatican," in the Revue des Deux Mondes, for Jan. i , 


M. Bruneti^re's study is pretty much in the same 
strain as Lord Salisbury's much-discussed address 
at Oxford, before the British Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Science. And has not Huxley, one of 
the most applauded representatives of science, and 
one of the staunchest defenders of Evolution, been 
forced to admit, in his celebrated Romanes Lecture, 
that science and Evolution have limitations which 
he would have been loath to acknowledge but a few 
years before he made the confession that so startled 
many of his scientific friends? The conclusion of 
this studied effort of the noted evolutionist is, briefly 
stated, that the cosmic process, or Evolution, is ut- 
terly incompatible with ethical progress, or rather, 
the two are ever and essentially antagonistic' 

And Herbert Spencer, too, the great philosopher 
of Evolution, who sees the working of Evolution in 
everything ; in the development of society, language, 
government, of worlds and systems of worlds, was 
obliged not long since to admit, not without reluc- 
tance we may be sure, that Evolution is not operat- 
ing so rapidly as he expected it would, and is not 
fulfilling all the fond hopes he entertained regard- 
ing it as a factor of human progress. " My faith in 
free institutions," says he, " originally strong, though 
always formed with the belief that the maintenance 
and success of them is a question of popular charac- 

*" Social progress," he tells us, "means a checking of the 
cosmic process at every step and the substitution for it of another, 
which may be called the ethical process; the end of which is not 
the survival of who may happen to be the fittest, in respect of 
the whole of the conditions which obtain, but of those who are 
ethically the best." 


ter, has, in these later years, been greatly decreased 
by the conviction that the fit character is not pos- 
sessed by any people, nor is likely to be possessed 
for ages to come." ' 

Conquests of Science. 

It would be a grave mistake, however, to imagine 
that, because science has become bankrupt in some 
things, she has lost her prestige entirely. Nothing 
could be farther from the truth. No one who is ac- 
quainted with the brilliant conquests of science dur- 
ing the present century, could entertain such an opin- 
ion for a moment. What M. Brunetiere means, and 
what all those who indorse his statements mean, is 
that she has failed by attempting what was beyond 
her competence ; by essaying to solve problems and 
effect reforms that lie entirely within the domain of 
religion and philosophy. She has erred by con- 
founding empiricism with metaphysics, and become 
insolvent only by assuming liabilities that were man- 
ifestly outside of her sphere of action. But so long 
as she was content with her own methods, and con- 
fined her investigations to her own province, she 
made good all her promises, if she did not accom- 
plish even more. A glance at the annals of science 
during the past few decades, to go back no further, 
should satisfy the most skeptical on this point. 
She has given to the arts of life an impetus they 
never felt before. The forces of steam and electric- 
ity have received a development and been given ap- 
plications that have been the marvel of the world. 

* See McClure's Magazine^ for March, 1894. 


Nor has theoretical science in anywise failed to keep 
pace with the practical. Chemistry, biology, astron- 
omy, physics, geology, aside from their practical 
applications, have wonderfully extended our views of 
the universe and given us far nobler conceptions 
both of nature and nature's God. 

And, paradoxical as it may appear, not the least 
noble of these conceptions comes to us from that 
very theory which, only a few years ago, was sup- 
posed to have banished forever the Creator from the 
world of reality ; a theory which was at once the 
scandal of the pious and the incubus of the ortho- 
dox. Evolution, it was asserted, had disproved the 
declarations of Scripture, and shown the inutility of 
a religion based on Dogma. It had dethroned the 
Almighty, had demonstrated that the universe is 
eternal, and that the order and beauty which we 
everywhere behold is the result of a fortuitous con- 
course of atoms. There is, therefore, we were told, 
neither design nor purpose in nature, and the doc- 
trine of final causes, on which theologians were wont 
to lay so much stress, is completely and forever dis- 

More mature reflection, however, shows that all 
these assertions are as rash as they are unwarranted. 
Never in the history of science have thoughtful 
students of nature felt more deeply the necessity of 
recognizing a personal Creator, a spiritual, intelli- 
gent First Cause, than at present. Never have men 
seen more clearly the necessity of religion, as the 
sole agency which is capable of elevating and saving 
human society from the countless dangers with 


which it is now beset. Never has the Divine char- 
acter of the Book of books, been so gloriously man- 
ifested as it is now, after the many and furious 
onslaughts made on it in the name of science and 
the Higher Criticism. For, strange to say, the very 
investigations and discoveries which it was fondly 
imagined would completely nullify all its claims to 
being a Divine revelation, far from destroying such 
claims have but strengthened them and rendered 
them more logical and consistent. 

Evidences of Design and Purpose. 

And as to the evidence of design and purpose in 
nature, it was never more strikingly conclusive. But 
believing in final causes does not imply, let it be 
borne in mind, that we can always discover what is 
the precise purpose which is to be subserved by any 
given creature or organ. God has not taken us into 
His counsels, and we can at best catch but glimpses 
of His Divine plans and purposes.' 

There are, undoubtedly, many ends and purposes 
to be answered in all created things, and those of 
which we can attain any knowledge may be the least 

' Descartes, in reference to this matter, truthfully observes : 
"Nous ne devons pas tant presumer de nous-m^mes, que de 
croire que Dieu nous ait voulu faire part de ses conseils." Lord 
Bacon speaks still more forcibly of the fallacy and folly of 
those who fancy they can read nature, or interpret the Divine 
plans and purposes in nature. " Neque enim credibile est quan- 
tum agmen idolorum philosophise immiserit naturalium opera- 
tionum ad similitudinem actionum humanarum reductio. Hoc 
ipsum, inquam, quod putetur talia natura facere, qualia homo 
facit. Neque multo meliora sunt ista quam hseresis anthropo- 
morphitarum . . . aut sententia Epicuri huic ipsi in pagan- 
ismo respondens, qui diis humanam figuram tribuebat." " De 
Aug. Scien. ; " V : iv. 


important. As Mivart puts it : " Out of many, say a 
thousand million, reasons for the institution of the 
laws of the physical universe, some few are to a cer- 
tain extent conceivable by us; and amongst these 
the benefits, material and moral, accruing from them 
to men — and to each individual man in every circum- 
stance of his life — play a certain, perhaps a very 
subordinate, part." ' The existence of an intelligent 
First Cause necessarily supposes that all forms of 
organization must be purposeful, once such forms 
exist, just as a world full of design manifestly pro- 
claims the existence of a Designer. 

Again, there are some who seem to think, if they 
can but find out how a law of nature operates, or 
what may be one of the many millions of purposes 
which an individual structure may serve, they have 
thereby eliminated the action of Providence, or shown 
it to be non-existent. They conclude that because, 
forsooth, they understand how a thing is done, that 
God did not do it. " No matter how wonderful, how 
beautiful, how intimately complex and delicate has 
been the machinery which has worked, perhaps for 
centuries, perhaps for millions of ages, to bring about 
some beneficent results, if they can but catch a 
glimpse of the wheels, its Divine character disap- 

In marked contrast with the opinions of sciolists 
and professed monists, respecting design and purpose 
in nature, is the view entertained by one of the ablest 
living masters of science. Lord Kelvin. " I feel pro- 
foundly convinced," he declares, " that the argument 

' " The Genesis of Species," p. 259. 


of design has been greatly too much lost sight of 
in recent zoological speculations. Overpoweringly 
strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie 
around us, and if ever perplexities, whether metaphys- 
ical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, 
they come back upon us with irresistible force, show- 
ing to us, through nature, the influence of a freewill, 
and teaching us that all living things depend on one 
everlasting Creator and Ruler." 

No, the argument from design has not been in- 
validated ; it has been modified. It has not been 
weakened ; it has been strengthened and expanded. 
Teleology to-day is not, indeed, the same as it was in 
Paley's time, nor as it was when the authors of the 
Bridgewater Treatises lived and labored. It is now 
a more comprehensive, a more beautiful, and a more 
stimulating science. To Paley, awatch found on the 
heath by a passing traveler, was evidence of design 
and of a designer. To the evolutionist, the evidence 
of design is not merely a watch, but a watch which is 
capable of producing other and better watches. To 
Paley, God was an Artificer who fashioned things di- 
rectly from the materials at hand ; to the evolutionist, 
as to St. Athanasius, St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. 
Augustine, God is a Creator who makes things make 
themselves. To Paley, as to the older school of natural 
theologians, God was the direct cause of all that exists ; 
to the evolutionist he is the Cause of causes — Causa 
causarum, of the world and all it contains. Accord- 
ing to the older view, God created everything directly 
and in the condition in which it now exists ; accord- 
ing to Evolution, creation, or development rather, 


has been a slow and gradual process, demanding un- 
told aeons for converting chaos into a cosmos, and 
for giving to the visible universe all the beauty and 
harmony which it now exhibits. It seems, indeed, 
more consonant with our ideas of God, to Whom a 
thousand years are as one day and one day as a 
thousand years, to conceive Him as creating all 
things in the beginning, and in ordering and admin- 
istering them afterwards through the agency of sec- 
ondary causes, rather than to represent Him as 
perpetually taking up a work which He had left 
unfinished, and bringing it to a state of perfection 
only by a long series of interferences and special 
creations. Understood in this, its true sense. Evo- 
lution teaches, as Temple phrases it, that the execu- 
tion of God's " purpose belongs more to the original 
act of creation, less to acts of government. There is 
more Divine foresight, there is less Divine interpo- 
sition ; and whatever has been taken from the latter 
has been added to the former." ' 

Rudimentary Organs. 

For a long time naturalists were sorely puzzled 
as to how to account for the existence of nascent 
and rudimentary organs, which are manifestly of no 
use to their possessors. On the theory of special 
creations, the only explanation that could be offered 
for their existence was, that the Creator added them 
for the sake of symmetry, or because they were a 
part of His plan. Evolution, however, which con- 
templates not only the history of the individual but 

'"The Relations Between Religion and Science," p. 123. 



also the history of the species, yea, even the history | 

of the class and of the kingdom to which the indi- 
vidual belongs, gives quite a different answer. If 
ontogeny, the history of the individual, affords no 
clue to the raison d'Hre of these nascent and rudi- 
mentary organs, we interrogate phylogeny, the his- 
tory of the species or the class. ** Organs, which on 
the old theory of special creation were useless and 
meaningless, are now seen to have their explanation 
in the past or in the future, according as they are 
rudimentary or nascent. There is nothing useless, 
nothing meaningless in nature, nothing due to ca- 
price or chance, nothing irrational or without a cause, 
nothing outside the reign of law. This belief in the 
universality of law and order is the scientific ana- 
logue of the Christian's belief in Providence." * 

Evolution, Scripture, and Theology. 

Evolution accentuates design, without which, as 
Von Hartmann observes, all were " only a dark chaos 
of obstinate and capricious forces." It gives a truer 
and more majestic account of causation, because it 
brings home to us the truth, that the facts of nature 
are the acts of God, and emphasizes the teaching of 
our faith, that the laws of nature are the expressions 
of "a supreme will and purpose belonging to an 
Eternal Mind." 

Evolution has been denounced as anti-Scriptural, 
and yet, the most remarkable feature about the Gene- 
siac account of creation, is the ease with which it 
lends itself to the theory of Evolution, that is, of 

* " Science and the Faith," by Aubrey L. Moore, p. 197. 


creation by the operation of secondary causes. We 
may not, indeed, be prepared to assert with Naudin, 
that " the cosmogony of the Bible from the begin- 
ning to the end is but an Evolution theory, and that 
Moses is the ancestor of Lamarck, Darwin and all 
modern evolutionists," but we can certainly affirm, 
as Canon Hamard points out, that the Sacred Text 
favors Transformism when understood in a theistic 
sense — " le texte sacrd favoriseh certains egardsla these 
transformiste entendue dans un sens spiritualiste} " 

Surprising as it may seem, two of the most 
pronounced advocates of the Evolution theory, are 
the very ones who are most impressed with the re- 
markable harmony between the Genesiac account of 
creation and the teachings of Evolution. Thus, 
Romanes admits that " t he order in which the flora ~^ / 
and fauna ar e said by the Mosaic acco unt to have C 
appeareH^jpon the earth, corresponds with that which n 
the theory of Evolution requires and the evidence of 
geology proves." ' Haeckel, however, is even more 
explicit in his explanations. " Two great funda- 
mental ideas," he says, " common also to the non- 
miraculous, meet us in the Mosaic hypothesis of 
creation, with surprising clearness and simplicity ; 

^ See " Dictionnaire Apologetique de la Foi Catholique," 
par M. I'Abbe J. B. Jaugey, col. 3093. Further on the distin- 
guished canon expresses himself as follows: — "Nous conclu- 
rons seulment, de quelques considerations que nous venons d '^b- 
aucher, que la Bible laisse une egale liberte aux transformistes et 
aux partisans des creations successives. Ainsi regrettons-nous 
de la voir mise en cause a ce sujet. Toutes les fois qu'elle n'est 
point absolument explicite — et il nous semble que c'est le cas — 
on s'expose, en invoquant son autorite, a la compromettre et a 
cotnpromettreavec elle la cause religieuse dont elleest lesoutien." 

"Cf. Nature, Aug., 1881. 


the idea of separation or differentiation, and the 
idea of progressive development or perfecting. Al- 
though Moses looks upon the results of the great 
laws of organic development, which we shall later 
point out as the necessary conclusions of the doc- 
trine of descent, as the direct action of a constructing 
Creator, yet in this theory there lies hidden the rul- 
ing idea of a progressive development and differ- 
entiation of the originally simple matter. We can, 
therefore, bestow our just and sincere admiration of 
the Jewish law-giver's grand insight into nature, and 
his simple and natural hypothesis of creation.'" 

Evolution has been condemned as anti-Patristic 
and anti-Scholastic, although Saints Gregory of 
Nyssa, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, are most 
explicit in their assertion of principles that are in 
perfect accord with all the legitimate demands of 
theistic Evolution. It suffices to recall the admir- 
able passage of the Bishop of Hippo, in his " De 
Genesi ad Litteram," in which he proleptically an- 
nounced all the fundamental principles of modern 
Evolution. He recognized Evolution not only in 
individuals, but he also discerned its workings in the 
sum of all things. God did not create the world, as 
it now exists, actually, actualiter, but potentially and 
causally, potentialiter et causaliter. Plants and ani- 
mals were created virtually, vi potentiaque causali, 
before they received their subsequent development, 
priusquam per temporum moras exorirentur^ 

' " History of Creation," vol. I, p. 38. 

' Vid. sup., part II, chap, iv, for St. Augustine's views on 

Evolution and Special Creation. 

In reference to the popular objections against 
Evolution that it reposes on no positive demonstra- 
tion ; that none of the arguments advanced in its be- 
half are conclusive ; that all of them, whether taken 
severally or collectively are vitiated by some flaw, 
and that, consequently, they are not of such a char- 
acter as to command the assent of reasonable men, 
it may be observed that all of them can be urged 
with equal, and even with greater force against the 
rival of the Evolution theory, to wit, the theory 
of special creation.' Contrary to what its support- 
ers would be disposed to admit, it has no founda- 
tion but assumption, and can claim no more sub- 
stantial basis than certain postulates which are 
entirely gratuitous, or certain views regarding the 
Genesiac account of creation, the truth of which 
views may as readily and with as much reason 
be denied as it can be affirmed. For as the 
learned Abb^ Guillemet declared before a sympa- 
thetic audience, composed of distinguished eccle- 
siastics and scholarly laymen, at the International 
Catholic Scientific Congress at Brussels, the theory 
of special creation, or fixism as he prefers to call 
it, explains nothing whatever in science. Not only 
this, "it closes the door to all explanations of na- 
ture, and notably so in the domain of paleontology, 

'According to the theory of special creation as formerly 
held, everything in the inorganic, as well as in the organic 
world, was created by God directly and essentially as it now 
appears. But as at present understood, special creation means 
rather that the Deity created immediately all the species and 
higher groups, of animals and plants, as they now exist. 



comparative anatomy, embryology and teratology. 
It affords no clue to the significance of rudimentary 
organs, and tends inevitably to force science into a 
veritable cul-de-sac."* 

Again, it may be observed that the objections 
referred to are based not only on a misapprehen- 
sion of the significance of the theory of Evolution, 
as well as of that of the theory of special creation, 
but also on a misconception of the character of the 
arguments which are urged in favor of both theo- 
ries. The misapprehension arises from the fact, 
that Evolution is regarded as being at best but a 
flimsy hypothesis, while special creation is repre- 
sented as a positive dogma, which admits neither 
of doubt nor of controversy. The truth is, how- 
ever, that both Evolution and special creation 
are theories, and no one who is exact in the use 
of language can truthfully assert that either of 
them is anything more. Evolution, I know, is 
oftentimes called a proved doctrine ; but no evolu- 
tionist who has any regard for accuracy of termi- 
nology would pretend that the theory has passed all 
the requirements of a rigid demonstration, because 
he knows better than anyone else, that anything 
approaching a mathematical demonstration of Evo- 
lution is an impossibility. The most that the evo- 
lutionist can hope for, or that he has hitherto 
attained, or is likely to attain, at least for a long 
time to come, is a certain degree of probability; 
but such a degree of probability as shall give his 

' See Compte Rendu du Troisieme Congres Scientifique 
des Catholiques, Section d'Anthropologie, p. 20. 


theory sufficient weight to command the assent of 
anyone who is competent to estimate the value 
of the evidence offered in its support. The degree 
of probability which already attaches to the theory 
of Evolution is very great, as all who have taken 
the trouble to investigate its claims must admit; 
and every new discovery in the realms of animate 
nature but contributes towards placing the theory 
on a firmer and more impregnable basis. '";::,: = 

Such being the case the question now is: Which 
of the two theories is the more probable, Evolution 
or special creation? Both of them, it must be ad- 
mitted, rest upon a certain number of postulates; 
both of them have much to be said in their fav- 
or, as both of them may be assailed with numer- 
ous and serious objections. For our present purposie 
it will here suffice to repeat the answer of the Abb6 
Guillemet, who tells us that Evolution, as against 
special creation, has this in its favor, that it ex- 
plains and coordinates the facts and phenomena 
of nature in a most beautiful and simple manner; 
whereas the theory of special creation not only 
explains nothing and is incapable of explaining 
anything, but, by its very nature, tends to impede 
research, to bar progress, or, as he phrases it, "it 
forces science into a blind alley — met la science 
dans une impasse" 

Genesiac Days, Flood, Fossils and Antiquity 
of Man. 

As matters now stand, the case of special cre- 
ation versus Evolution is analogous to several 


Other questions which have supplied materials for 
long and acrimonious controversy. Thus, until the 
last century it was the almost universally accepted 
belief that the days of Genesis were real solar days 
of twenty-four hours each. It was likewise the 
general opinion that the Noachian Deluge was uni- 
versal, not only as to the earth's surface but also 
as to the destruction "of all flesh, wherein is the 
breath of life, under heaven." And until a few 
decades ago it was the current belief, that the ad- 
vent of our race on earth did not date back much 
farther than four thousand years B. c, and that 
the only reliable evidence we had for the solution 
of the problem involved, was to be found in certain 
statements of the Sacred Text. So, too, from the 
time of Aristotle until that of Palissy, the potter, 
we might say even until the time of Cuvier, it was 
believed that fossils were but " sports of nature," "re- 
sults of seminal air acting upon rocks," or "rejected 
models" of the Creator's work. 

Now it would probably be difficult, if not im- 
possible, to give an absolute proof of the unsound- 
ness of these views, and that for the simple reason that 
anything like a mathematical demonstration is, by 
the very nature of the case, out of question. Rigor- 
ously speaking, the theories involved in the above 
beliefs, with the exception, perhaps, of that 
regarding the antiquity of man, are susceptible 
neither of proof nor of disproof. The most we 
can have, at least for the present, is a greater or 
less degree of probability, for it is manifest that the 
Almighty, had He so willed, could have created the 


world as it now is in six ordinary days. He could 
have created it just as it exists at present in a 
single instant, for He is above and independent 
of time. The teachings, however, of geology and 
paleontology are diametrically opposed to the sup- 
position that He did fashion this globe of ours, as 
we now see it, in six ordinary days, while it is found 
that there is nothing in Scripture which precludes 
the view that the days of Genesis were indefinite 
periods of time. God could have caused the flood 
to cover the entire earth to the height of the highest 
mountain, and He could thus have destroyed every 
living thing except what was preserved in the ark ; 
but did He? Ethnology, linguistics, prehistoric 
archaeology, and even Scripture, supply us with 
practically conclusive reasons for believing that He 
did not. It is within the range of possibility, that 
the four thousand and four years allowed by Usher 
for the interval which elapsed between the creation 
of Adam and the birth of Christ, are ample to meet 
the demands of the case, but it is in the highest 
degree improbable. If the evidence of history, 
archaeology, and cognate branches of science have 
any value at all, it is almost demonstrably certain 
that the time granted by Usher and his followers 
is entirely inadequate to meet the many difficulties 
which modern science has raised against the accept- 
ance of such a limited period since man's advent on 
earth. And so, too, regarding fossils. God could, 
undoubtedly, have created them just as they are 
found in the earth's crust, but there is no reason 
for believing that He did so, while there are many 


and grave reasons for thinking that He did not. 
In the first place all prima facie evidence is against 
it. It is contrary to the known analogy of the Cre- 
ator's methods of work in other instances ; contrary 
to what is a rational conception of the Divine econ- 
omy in the plan of creation. It is contrary also to 
our ideas of God's wisdom and goodness ; for to 
suppose that fossils are not the remains of forms 
of life now extinct, to suppose that they were cre- 
ated as we now find them, would be to suppose 
that the Creator would have done something which 
was specially designed to mislead and deceive us. 
Against such a view we can assert what Suarez 
affirms in another connection, that God would 
not have designedly led us into error — Incredibile 
est, Deum . . . illis verbis ad populum fuisse 
locutum quibus deciperetur. We see fossils now 
forming, and from what we know of the uniformity 
of nature's operations we conclude that in the past, 
and during the lapse of long geologic eras, fossils 
have been produced through the agency of natural 
causes as they are produced at present, and that, 
consequently, they were not created directly and 
immediately during any of the Genesiac days, days 
of twenty-four hours each, as was so long and so 
universally believed even by the wisest theolo- 
gians and philosophers. 

What has been said of the traditional views 
rfcspecting the six days of creation, the Noachian 
Deluge, the antiquity of the human race and the 
nature and age of the fossil remains entombed in the 
earth's crust, may, in a great measure, be iterated 


regarding the long-accepted view of special crea- 
tion. It is possible, for there is nothing in it 
intrinsically absurd ; but in the light afforded by 
the researches and discoveries of these latter 
days, it is the conviction of the great majority of 
those who have studied the question with the 
greatest care, and who are the most competent 
to interpret the facts involved, that as between 
the two rival theories, special creation and Evo- 
lution, the preponderance of probability is over- 
whelming in favor of Evolution of some kind, 
but of just what kind only the future can deter- 

Evolution, then, I repeat it, is contrary neither to 
reason nor to Scripture. And the same may be said of 
the divers theories of Evolution which, during these 
latter times, have had such a vogue. Whether, 
therefore, we accept the theory of extraordinary 
births, the saltatory Evolution of Saint-Hilaire and 
St. George Mivart ; or Darwin's theory of natural 
selection, which takes account of only infinitesimal 
increments; or Weismann's theory of heredity, which 
traces specific changes to the germ-plasm, we are 
forced to admit that the ultimate efficient Cause of 
all the changes produced, be they slow or sudden, 
small or great, is the Creator Himself, acting through 
the agency of second causes, through the forces and 
virtues which He, Himself, communicated to mat- 
ter in the beginning. Such being the case, it is 
obvious that Evolution does not exclude creation, 
and that creation is not incompatible with Evolu- 


Strictly speaking, Evolution, whether it progress 
by saltation or by minute and fortuitous increments, 
as we are wont to regard them, is, in the last resort, 
a kind of special creation, and, reason as we may, 
we can view it in no other light. The same may be 
said of spontaneous generation, or the Evolution of 
organic from inorganic matter. For secondary or 
derivative creation implies Evolution of some kind, 
as Evolution, whether rapid or operating through 
untold aeons, demands, in the last analysis, the action 
of intelligence and will, and presupposes what is 
termed creation in a restricted sense, that is, forma- 
tion from preexisting material. Our primary intu- 
itions, especially our ideas of causation, preclude us 
from taking any other view in the premises. As 
reason and revelation teach, it was God who created 
the materials and forces which made Evolution pos- 
sible. "It was Mind," as Anaxagoras saw, "that 
set all things in order " — izd^^ra duxoff/irjffs v6as ; that 
from chaos educed a cosmos and gave to the earth 
all that infinitude of variety and beauty and har- 
mony which we so much admire. 

But not only is Evolution a theory which is in 
perfect accordance with science and Scripture, with 
Patristic and Scholastic theology ; it is likewise a the- 
ory which promises soon to be the generally accepted 
view ; the view which will specially commend itself 
not only to Christian philosophy, but also to Chris- 
tian apologetics as well. We have seen some indi- 
cations of this in the already quoted opinions of such 
eminent Catholic authorities as Monsabr^, D'Hulst, 
Leroy, De Lapparent and St. George Mivart. 


Eminent Catholics on Evolution. 

Geoffrey Saint-Hilaire, Cuvier's great rival, and a 
man of profound religious sentiments, looked upon 
the succession of species, as disclosed by Evolution, 
as " one of the most glorious manifestations of crea- 
tive power, and a fresh motive for admiration and 
love." The noted Belgian geologist, D'Omalius 
d'Halloy, as distinguished for his loyalty to the 
Church as for his eminence in science, declares : ** It 
appears to me much more probable and more con- 
formable to the eminent wisdom of the Creator, to 
admit that, just as He has given to living beings the 
faculty of reproducing themselves, so, likewise, has 
He endowed them with the power of modifying 
themselves according to circumstances, a phenome- 
non of which nature affords us examples even at 
present." ' 

* " Sur Le Transform ism e," Bulletin de 1' Academic Royale 
de Belgique, 1873, tire a part, p. 5. 

The illustrious paleontologist, M. Albert Gaudry, a member 
of the French Institute and a devoted son of the Church, in 
speaking of the plan of creation, "ou I'Etre Infini a mis I'em- 
preinte de son unite," expresses himself as follows: "Les pale- 
ontologistes ne sont pas d'accord sur la maniere dont ce plan a 
dte realise ; plusieurs, considerant les nombreuses lacunes qui ex- 
istent encore dans la serie des 6tres, croient a I'independance des 
especes, et admettent que I'Auteurdu monde a fait apparaitre 
tour a tour les plantes et les animaux des temps geologtques de 
maniere a simuler la filiation qui est dans sa pensee ; d'autres 
savants, frapp^s, au contraire, de la rapid ite avec laquelle les 
lacunes diminuent, supposent que la filiation a ete realise mate- 
riellement, et que Dieu a produit les etres des diverses ^poques 
en les tirant de ceux qui les avaient precedes. Cette derniere 
hvpothese est celle que je priferc; mat's qu'on Vadofte, ou qu'on ne 
I'adofte pas, ce qui me parait bien certain c' est qu^il y a eu tin 
plan. Un jour viendra sans doute ou les paleontologistes pour- 
rontsaisir le plan qui a preside au d^veloppement de la vie. Ce 
sera la un beau jour pour eux, car, s'il y a tant de magnifi- 
cence dans les details de la nature, il ne doit pas y en avoir 


Commenting on this question, the learned Belgian 
Jesuit, Father Bellinck, asks : " What matters it if 
there have been creations prior to that which Moses 
describes : what matters it whether the periods re- 
quired for the genesis of the universe were days or 
epochs ; whether the apparition of man on the earth 
was at an earlier or later date ; whether animals have 
preserved their primitive forms, or whether they have 
undergone gradual transformations; whether even 
the body of man has experienced modifications, and, 
finally, what matters it whether, in virtue of the 
Creative Will, inorganic matter be able or not to 
produce plants and animals spontaneously? 

"All these questions are given over to the disputes 
of men, and it is for science to distinguish truth from 

These are pertinent questions. W^hat matters it, 
indeed, from the standpoint of Catholic Dogma, if 
they are all answered in the affirmative? If science 
should eventually demonstrate that spontaneous gen- 
eration is probable, or has actually occurred, or is 
occurring in our own day, what matters it ? The 
Fathers and Schoolmen found no difficulty in be- 
lieving in abiogenesis, and most of them, if not all 
of them, believed in it so far as it concerned the 
lower forms of life. More than this. As we learned 
in the beginning of our work, spontaneous generation 
was almost universally accepted until about a cen- 

moins dans leur agencement generale." " Les Enchainements 
du Monde Animal dans les Temps Geologiques," introduc- 
tion, p. 3. 

* Vid. " Revue des Etudes Historiques et Litteiaires,'" 1864. 


tury ago. Materialists then bethought themselves 
that abiogenesis might be urged as an argument in 
favor of Materialism. Theologians, in their eager- 
ness to answer the objection, denied the fact instead 
of denying the inference. Later on, men of science 
discovered that so far as evidence goes abiogenesis 
is not a fact, and, still later, it dawned upon a few 
theologians that whether a fact or not, it is quite 
immaterial so far as theology is concerned. Whether 
non-living matter may ever give rise to living mat- 
ter, science is unable to state with absolute certainty, 
but should it ultimately be shown that spontaneous 
generation is a fact, we should simply say with the 
Fathers and Doctors of the Church : The Creator 
gave to inorganic matter the power, under suitable 
conditions, of evolving itself into organic matter, and 
thus science and Dogma would be in harmony.* 

' The illustrious Gladstone referring to this subject in his 
admirable introduction to the " People's Bible History," writes 
as follows : "Suppose for a moment that it were found, or could 
be granted in the augmentation of science that the first and lowest 
forms of life had been evolved from lifeless matter as their im- 
mediate antecedent. What statement of Holy Scripture would 
be shaken by the discovery ? What would it prove to us, ex- 
cept that there had been given to certain inanimate substances 
the power, when they were brought into certain combinations, 
of reappearing in some of the low forms which live, but live 
without any of the worthier prerogatives of life ? No conclu- 
sion would follow for reasonable men, except the perfectly 
rational conclusion that the Almighty had seen fit to endow 
with certain powers in particular circumstances, and to with- 
hold from them in other circumstances, the material elements 
which He had created, and of which it was surely for Him to 
determine the conditions of existence and productive power, 
and the sphere and manner of their operation." 

In his " Psychology," Rosmini has a couple of chapters on 
spontaneous generation and the animation of the elements of 
matter, which the reader will find curious and interesting. Re- 
ferring to spontaneous generation as an argument in favor of 


Faith Has Nothing to Apprehend from Evolution. A\\ 

Suppose, then, that a demonstrative proof of the 
theory of Evolution should eventually be given, a 
proof such as would satisfy the most exacting and 
the most skeptical, it is evident, from what has al- 
ready been stated, that Catholic Dogma would re- 
main absolutely intact and unchanged. Individual 
theorists would be obliged to accommodate their 
views to the facts of nature, but the doctrines of 
the Church would not be affected in the slightest. 
The hypothesis of St. Augustine and St. Thomas ' 
Aquinas would then become a thesis, and all reason- 
able and consistent men would yield ready, uncon- 
ditional and unequivocal assent. 

And suppose, further, that in the course of time 
science shall demonstrate — a most highly improbable 
event — the animal origin of man as to his body. 
There need, even then, be no anxiety so far as the 

Materialism, he says : " If the fact of spontaneous generation 
does really occur in nature, it does not follow, as Cabanis main- 
tained, that pure matter of itself passes into life. On the con- 
trary, we must say that the matter itself was animate, and that 
the principle of life which was in it, operating in its matter, 
produced organism. In this way this great fact would be the 
most manifest proof of an immaterial principle." Again : " Spon- 
taneous generations would never prove that matter was dead ; 
on the contrary, they would prove that it was alive." Further 
on he declares that " if there should suddenly leap forth from 
the ground a full-grown mastodon, or a rhinoceros, all that 
would legitimately follow from the fact would be, that there was 
a vital principle in the ground, and that this was the secret or- 
ganizer of these huge bodies." Book IV, chap. xiv. 

As for Pantheism, he asserts in Book IV, chap, xv : " It is 
altogether indifferent whether we admit that the animate sub- 
stances in the universe are more or fewer, some or all, so long 
as we admit that they are created, and, therefore, altogether 
distinct from the Creator, Pantheisai is excluded." 


truths of faith are concerned. Proving that the body 
of the common ancestor of humanity is descended 
from some higher form of ape, or from some extinct 
anthropopithecus, would not necessarily contravene 
either the declarations of Genesis, or the principles 
regarding derivative creation which found acceptance 
with the greatest of the Church's Fathers and Doc- 

Mr. Gladstone, in the work just quoted from, 
expresses the same idea with characteristic force and 
lucidity. " If," he says, "while Genesis asserts a sepa- 
rate creation of man, science should eventually prove 
that man sprang, by a countless multitude of indefi- 
nitely small variations, from a lower, and even from 
the lowest ancestry, the statement of the great 
chapter would still remain undisturbed. For every 
one of those variations, however minute, is abso- 
lutely separate, in the points wherein it varies, from 
what followed and also from what preceded it; is 
in fact and in effect a distinct or separate creation. 
And the fact that the variation is so small that, 
taken singly, our use may not be to reckon it, is 
nothing whatever to the purpose. For it is the finite- 
ness of our faculties which shuts us off by a barrier 
downward, beyond a certain limit, from the small, 
as it shuts us off by a barrier upward from the 
great; whereas for Him whose faculties are infinite, 
the small and the great are, like the light and the 
darkness, 'both alike,' and if man came up by in- 
numerable stages from a low origin to the im- 
age of God, it is God only who can say, as He 
has said in other cases, which of those stages may 


be worthy to be noted with the distinctive name 
of creation, and at what point of the ascent man 
could first be justly said to exhibit the image of 

But the derivation of man from the ape, we are 
told, degrades man. Not at all. It would be truer 
to say that such derivation ennobles the ape. Sen- 
timent aside, it is quite unimportant to the Chris- 
tian "whether he is to trace back his pedigree 
directly or indirectly to the dust." St. Francis of 
Assisi, as we learn from his life, " called the birds 
his brothers." Whether he was correct, either theo- 
logically or zoologically, he was plainly free from 
that fear of being mistaken for an ape which haunts 
so many in these modern times. Perfectly sure 
that he, himself, was a spiritual being, he thought 
it at least possible that birds might be spiritual 
beings, likewise incarnate like himself in mortal 
flesh; and saw no degradation to the dignity of 
human nature in claiming kindred lovingly with 
creatures so beautiful, so wonderful, who, as he fan- 
cied, "praised God in the forest, even as angels did 
in heaven." ' 

' Kingsley, " Prose Idylls," pp. 24 et seq. Ruskin in refer- 
ring to the matter in his "Aratra Pentelici," expresses himself 
with characteristic force and originality. " Whether," he says, 
"your Creator shaped you with fingers or tools, as a sculptor 
would a lump of clay, or gradually raised you to manhood 
through a series of inferior forms, is only of moment to you in 
this respect, that, in the one case, you cannot expect your 
children to be nobler creatures than yourselves ; in the other, 
every act and thought of your present life may be hastening the 
advent of a race which will look back to you, their fathers — and 
you ought, at least, to have retained the dignity of desiring that 
it may be so — with incredulous disdain." 


Misapprehensions Regarding Evolution. 

Many, it may here be observed, look on the the- 
ory of Evolution with suspicion, because they fail 
to understand its true significance. They seem to 
think that it is an attempt to account for the origin 
of things when, in reality, it deals only with their 
historical development. It deals not with creation, 
with the origin of things, but with the modus creandi, 
or, rather, with the modus formandi, after the uni- 
verse was called into existence by Divine Omnipo- 
tence. Evolution, then, postulates creation as an 
intellectual necessity, for if there had not been a 
creation there would have been nothing to evolve, 
and Evolution would, therefore, have been an im- 

And for the same reason, Evolution postulates 
and must postulate, a Creator, the sovereign Lord 
of all things, the Cause of causes, the terminus a 
quo as well as the terminus ad quem of all that exists 
or can exist. But Evolution postulates still more. 
In order that Evolution might be at all possible it 
was necessary that there should have been not only 
an antecedent creation ex nihilo, but also that there 
should have been an antecedent involution, or a crea- 
tion in potentia. To suppose that simple brute 
matter could, by its own motion or by any power 
inherent in matter as such, have been the sole effi- 
cient cause of the Evolution of organic from inor- 
ganic matter, of the higher from the lower forms of 
life, of the rational from the irrational creature, is 


to suppose that a thing can give what it does not 
possess, that the greater is contained in the less, the 
superior in the inferior, the whole in a part. 

No mere mechanical theory, therefore, however 
ingenious, is competent to explain the simplest fact 
of development. Not only is such a theory unable to 
account for the origin of a speck of protoplasm, or 
the germination of a seed, but it is equally incom- 
petent to assign a reason for the formation of the 
smallest crystal or the simplest chemical compound. 
Hence, to be philosophically valid, Evolution must 
postulate a Creator not only for the material which 
is evolved, but it must also postulate a Creator, Causa 
causarum, for the power or agency which makes any 
development possible. God, then, not only created 
matter in the beginning, but He gave it the power 
of evolving into all forms it has since assumed or 
ever shall assume. 

But this is not all. In order to have an intelli- 
gible theory of Evolution, a theory that can meet 
the exacting demands of a sound philosophy as well 
as of a true theology, still another postulate is neces- 
sary. We must hold not only that there was an actual 
creation of matter in the beginning, that there was 
a potential creation which rendered matter capable 
of Evolution, in accordance with the laws impressed 
by God on matter, but we must also believe that 
creative action and influence still persist, that they 
always have persisted from the dawn of creation, 
that they, and they alone, have been eflficient in all 
the countless stages of evolutionary progress from 
atoms to monads, from monads to man. 


This ever-present action of the Deity, this im- 
manence of His in the work of His hands, this 
continuing in existence and developing of the crea- 
tures He has made, is what St. Thomas calls the " Di- 
vine administration," and what is ordinarily known 
as Providence. It connotes the active and constant 
cooperation of the Creator with the creature, and 
implies that if the multitudinous forms of terres- 
trial life have been evolved from the potentiality of 
matter, they have been so evolved because matter 
was in the first instance proximately disposed for 
Evolution by God Himself, and has ever remained 
so disposed. To say that God created the universe 
in the beginning, and that He gave matter the 
power of developing into all the myriad forms it 
subsequently exhibited, but that after doing this 
He had no further care for what He had brought 
into existence, would be equivalent to indorsing 
the Deism of Hume, or to affirming the old pagan 
notion according to which God, after creating the 
world, withdrew from it and left it to itself. 

Well, then, can we say of Evolution what Dr. 
Martineau says of science, that it "discloses the 
method of the world, not its cause ; religion, its cause 
and not its method." ' Evolution is the grand and 
stately march of creative energy, the sublime mani- 
festation of what Claude Bernard calls "the first, 
creative, legislative and directing Cause."' In it we 
have constantly before our eyes the daily miracles. 

^ See Essay on Science, Nescience, Faith. 

^ " En resumd, il y a dans un ph^nom^ne vital, comme dans 
tout autre phenom^ne naturel, deux ordres de causes : d'abord 

E.— a8 


quotidiana Dei niiracula, of which St. Augustine 
speaks, and through it we are vouchsafed a glimpse, 
as it were, of the operation of Providence in the gov- 
ernment of the world. 

Evolution, therefore, is neither a " philosophy of 
mud," nor " a gospel of dirt," as it has been denom- 
inated. So far, indeed, is this from being the case 
that, when properly understood, it is found to be a 
strong and useful ally of Catholic Dogma. For if Evo- 
lution be true, the existence of God and an original 
creation follow as necessary inferences. *'A true de- 
velopment," as has truthfully been asserted, " implies 
a terminus a quo as well as a terminus ad quern. If, 
then, Evolution is true, an absolute beginning, how- 
ever unthinkable, is probable ;" — I should say cer- 
tain — " the eternity of matter is inconsistent with 
scientific Evolution." ' 

'* Nature," Pascal somewhere says, " confounds 
the Pyrrhonist, and reason, the dogmatist." Evolu- 
tion, we can declare with equal truth, confounds the 
agnostic, and science, the atheist. For, as an Eng- 
lish positivist has observed : " You cannot make the 
slightest concession to metaphysics without ending in 
a theology," a statement which is tantamount to the 

une cause premiere, creatrice, legislative et directrice de la vie, 
et inaccessible a nos connaissances ; ensuite une cause prochaine, 
ou executive, du phenomene vital, qui est toujours de nature 
physico-chimique et tombe dans le domaine de I'experimenta- 
tion. La cause premiere de la vie donne devolution ou la crea- 
tion de la machine organisee; mais la machine, une fois creee, 
fonctionne en vertu des proprietes de ses elements constituants 
et sous Tinfluence des conditions physico-chimiques qui agissent 
sur eux." " La Science Experimentale," p. 53. 

* Vid. Moore's " Science and the Faith," p. 229. 


admission that " If once you allow yourself to think 
of the origin and end of things, you will have to 
believe in a God." And the God you will have to 
believe in is not an abstract God, an unknowable ^r", 
a mere metaphysical deity, " defecated to a pure 
transparency," but a personal God, a merciful and 
loving Father. 

As to man, Evolution, far from depriving him 
of his high estate, confirms him in it, and that, too, 
by the strongest and noblest of titles. It recog- 
nizes that although descended from humble lineage, 
he is " the beauty of the world, and the paragon 
of animals;" that although from dust — tracing his 
lineage back to its first beginnings — he is of 
the "quintessence of dust." It teaches, and in 
the most eloquent language, that he is the highest 
term of a long and majestic development, and re- 
places him " in his old position of headship in 
the universe, even as in the days of Dante and 

Evolution an Ennobling Conception. 

And as Evolution ennobles our conceptions of 
God and of man, so also does it permit us to detect 
new beauties, and discover new lessons, in a world 
that, according to the agnostic and monistic views, is 
so dark and hopeless. To the one who says there is 
no God, " the immeasurable universe," in the lan- 
guage of Jean Paul, "has become but a cold mass 
of iron, which hides an eternity without form and 


To the theistic evolutionist, however, all is in- 
stinct with invitations to a higher life and a hap- 
pier existence in the future ; all is vocal with hymns 
of praise and benediction. Everything is a part of 
a grand unity betokening an omnipotent Creator. All 
is foresight, purpose, wisdom. We have the entire 
history of the world and of all systems of worlds, 
" gathered, as it were, into one original, creative act, 
from which the infinite variety of the universe has 
come, and more is coming yet." ' And God's hand 
is seen in the least as in the greatest. His power 
and goodness are disclosed in the beauteous crystal- 
line form of the snow-flake, in the delicate texture, 
fragrance and color of the rose, in the marvelous 
pencilings of the butterfly's wing, in the gladsome 
and melodious notes of the lark and the thrush, in 
the tiniest morning dew-drop with all its gorgeous 
prismatic hues and wondrous hidden mysteries. 
All are pregnant with truths of the highest order, 
and calculated to inspire courage, and to strengthen 
our hope in faith's promise of a blissful immor- 

The Divine it is which holds all things together : 
Ttepie^st TO f^etuv ttjv oXtjv yuatv,* So taught the old 
Greek philosophy as reported by the most gifted of 
her votaries. And this teaching of the sages of days 
long past, is extended and illuminated by the far- 
reaching generalization of Evolution, in a manner 

W id. Bishop Temple's " The Relations Between Religion 
and Science," p. ii6. 

"^ Tlapadedorac de vn6 tuv apxo.i-(^v nai nafnzaJMiuv kv fiiOov ax'ifici'i- 
KaTaXE?ueifi/uEva rois varepov, b~i nepitxEL to ^elov ttiv b'/.ijv (piacv. Aris- 
totle, " Metaphysics," XI, viii. 


that is daily becoming more evident and remarkable. 
But what Greek philosophy faintly discerned, and 
what Evolution distinctly enunciates, is rendered 
gloriously manifest by the declaration of revealed 
truth, and by the doctrines of Him who is the Light 
of the World. 

Science and Evolution tell us of the transcend- 
ence and immanence of the First Cause, of the Cause 
of causes, the Author of all the order and beauty 
in the world, but it is revelation which furnishes us 
with the strongest evidence of the relations between 
the natural and supernatural orders, and brings out 
in the boldest relief the absolute dependence of the 
creature on its Maker. It is faith which teaches us 
how God "binds all together into Himself;" how 
He quickens and sustains "each thing separately, 
and all as collected in one." 

I can, indeed, no better express the ideas which 
Evolution so beautifully shadows forth, nor can I 
more happily conclude this long discussion than by 
appropriating the words used long ago by that noble 
champion of the faith, St. Athanasius. "As the 
musician," says the great Alexandrine Doctor, in his 
" Oratio Contra Gentiles," " having tuned his lyre, and 
harmonized together the high with the low notes, 
and the middle notes with the extremes, makes the 
resulting music one ; so the Wisdom of God, grasp- 
ing the universe like a lyre, blending the things of 
air with those of earth, and the things of heaven 
with those of air, binding together the whole and 
the parts, and ordering all by His counsel and His 
will, makes the world itself and its appointed order 


one in fair and harmonious perfection ; yet He, 
Himself, moving all things, remains unmoved with 
the Father." ' 

' Otov yap rl tls 2.vpav p.ov(!iK6s apfwaafisvos koi to, ^apea toIs o^lai, 
KOI TO. /liaa toIs OKpois, rrj rex^V owayayuv ev to (7T//iaiv6iuevov fdAos 
airoT£?Miri. ovtus Kai ij tov Qeov 2o^/'o, to o7mv us 7vpav iTrtx*^, koi to 
£V af-pi TOIS ettI yf/s ox<vayayuv, koi to. h ovpavu toIs If atpi, koc tu oTm. 
Tols KUTO. fiepos m>vd—Tuv, Koi ntpiayuv tu eavrov voi/fiaTi koi ■^e/.tjfw.Tt, 
eva TOV Kdafiov Koi /iiav t/ji' tovtov tu^iv anoTE^xi, Ka/.us koi ^pfwafievus, 
aiiTos fiev atav?/Tus fisvuv irapa tu HaTpi. Sec. XLII. 

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Abiogenesis, believed in by Anaxsigoras, 
26; as a theory of theancients, 33; import 
of its discussion, 41 ; early prevalence 
of the theory, 42 ; Roman philosophers 
believed in, 43 ; Fathers and Schoolmen 
accept, 44 ; Father Kircher's curious re- 
cipe in, 45; disproof of by Redi's ex- 
periments, 46 ; theory loses standing, 
48 ; fruits of the controversy on, 50 ; 
notions of affecting science, 320 ; some 
ancient ideas on, 321 ; Darwin's wish in 
regard to, 327 ; as a corollary to Evo- 
lution, 328 ; Hseckel positively believes 
in, 329 ; discovery of still possible, 330 ; 
if true not against Dogma, 331 ; scholas- 
tic and other views of, 332 ; proof un- 
likely to offer, 336 ; review of the long 
battle in, 396 ; Rosmini's speculations 
on, 427. 

Abubacer, curious philosophical romance 
by, 29. 

Accad, science questions studied in, 13. 

Administration, Divine, views of St. 
Thomas on, 395. 

Africa, pygmies of as the " missing link," 
3SJ- ^ 

Agassiz, Prof. Louis, critique on Darwin s 
theory by, 65 ; as an adversary of Evolu- 
tion, 74 ; on the origin of species, ^9 ; 
views on classification by, 90 : definition 
of species by, 96 ; on creation and 
species, loi ; argument from coral reefs, 
152; denunciation of Darwinism by, 

Agates, argument from the figures in, 33. 

Agnosticism, as an outcome of Evolution, 
329 ; scope and nature of, 254 ; term de- 
vised by Huxley, 255 ; late develop- 
ments of, 256 ; views of Romanes on, 
260 ; discussed by Duke of Argyll, 362 ; 
cannot be a via media, 264; Max 
Mailer's views on, 268; the Christian 
form of, 273. 

Agricola, strange theory on fossils by, 32. 

Albertus Mi^nus, the Evolution idea dis- 
cussed by, 29. 

Allen, Grant, survey of transitional types 
by, 131. 

Amoebae, theory of the, 2^7. 

Amphioxus, curious life history of, 117; 
Hzckel's exalted notion of, 344. 

Analogous, compared with homologous, 

Analogy, Hseckel's quibbling with, 249. 
Anarchists, Evolution kindly received by, 

Anatomy, period of development of, 56 ; 

Kant's brilliant suggestion on, 57. 
Anaxagoras, theory of life germs by, 26 ; 

teleological views of nature by, 380. 
Anaximander, views on origin of life by, 25. 
Anaximenes, on the Cause of all things, 26. 
Ancients, their part in the Evolution idea, 

23 ; abiogenesis a common belief with, 

43. Set also Antiquity. 
Anthropomorphism, excluded from Chris- 
tian Evolution, 302. 
Anthropopithecus, views of Darwin on the, 

. 3«- . . ,. 

Antiquity, species seen in the monuments 

of, 147 ; scientific errors and follies of, 


Ant- Lion, remarkable pedigree of, 401. 

Apes, Hxckel's genealogy of the, 347 ; 
question of man's descent from, 340: 
Mivart on their human relationship, 
344 ; possible human kinship with, 430. 

Apis, its identity with living species, 146. 

Archaeologry, objections to Evolution from, 
143 ; value of Asiatic research in, 179. 

Archxopteryx, as a transitional type, 131 ; 
its discovery predicted, 137. 

Archaeus, Paracelsus and the theory of, 

Archebiosis, as a term for abiogenesis, 327. 

Arctic Region, Darwin on species of, 160. 

Argyll, Duke of, saltatory Evolution fa- 
vored by, 198 ; views on Agnosticism, 
363 ; on the accord of teleology and 
Evolution, 373. 

Aristotle, conceptions of Evolution by, 37 ; 
comparison of Empedocles with, 28 : as 
a yoke on early science, 34 ; abiogene- 
sis one of his teachings, 42 ; describes 
continuity of species, 144 ; doctrine of 
the four elements by, 386 ; on classifi- 
cation of species, 323 ; scientific achieve- 
ments of, 379 ; his influence on scholas- 
ticism, 382. 

Artemia, valuable experiments with, 192. 

Assassination, Evolution held responsible 
for, 3IO. 




Assurbanipal, tablets from Nineveh library 
of, 13. 

Assyria, cosmology as a study in, 13. 

Assyriology, proofs of paleontology helpwd 
by, 179. 

Astronomy, questions of antiquity in, 14 ; 
new discoveries suggested in, 25 ; ad- 
vanced by Secchi and others, 53 ; some 
pioneer ideas on, 391. 

Atavism, facts of known to Aristotle, 27. 

Athanasius, St., view of the Creator by, 
361 ; on the order of creation, 437. 

Atheism, an outgrowth of science specula- 
tions, 15 ; Evolution receives welcome 
fix>m, 209 ; agnosticism only a disguise 
for, 264. 

Atomic Theory, its revival in monism, 

Atoms, chemically and philosophically 
viewed, 236 ; the chemist's jugglery 
with, 334. 

Augustine, St., Kant revises teachings of, 
57 ; on potential creation, 71 ; on the 
natural forces, 220 ; the theistic Evolu- 
tion of, 280 ; strictures on anthropo- 
morphism, 302 ; on the generation of 
life, 322 ; on the soul's origin, 347. 

Authorities, the author's gratitude to, 
xxiii ; list of books and, 439. 

Avempace, Arabian ideas on Evolution, 28. 

Babylonia, study of cosmology in, 13 ; 
species as shown in monuments of, 148. 

Bacon, Francis, a believer in organic Evo- 
lution, 56 ; satire on natural history by, 
383 ; on relations of science to the Deity, 

Bacteria, Pasteur's valuable studies in, 
50 ; evidence from further research in, 
52 : difficulty in noting species of, 100. 
See also Infusoria. 

Baer, Karl E. von, wonders found in em- 
bryology by, 115. 

Baird, Spencer F., on species in American 
birds, 104. 

Balfour, Arthur, J., on science and faith, 
XXI ; work on foundations of belief by, 

Barrande, Joachim, as an anti-evolution- 
ist, 74 ; studies in Silurian strata by, 

Barry, Dr. Alfred, views on creation by, 

Basil, St., views on generation by, 321. 
Basilisk, as creature of science-fable, 400. 
Bastian, H. C, opposition to Pasteur's 

views by, 52 ; term used for abiogenesis 

by, 3»7- 
Bateson, Prof., theory of discontinuous 

variations by, 198. 
Bathybius, Huxley and Haeckel on, 346. 
Bees, a native variety crowded out, 164 ; 

Virgil on the generation of, 320. 
Bellinck, Father, on faith and Evolution, 


Beneden, P. J. van, as student of the ani- 
malculae, 49 ; standmg against Evolu- 
tion, 74. 

Berzelius, conclusions on infusoria by, 49. 

Bible, The Holy, fanciful interpretations 
of> 35 '• quoted to sustain abiogenesis, 
47 ; Darwinism scored by friends of, 
207 ; Dr. McCosh on Evolution and, 
212 ; is not opposed by true Evolution, 
388 ; its cosmogony agrees with Evolu- 
tion. See also Genesis. 

Bichat, M. F. X., definition of life by, 

Biology, powerful help to Evolution by, 
54; the question of species in, 315. See 
also Life. 

Birds, differences and blendings of species 
in, 104. 

Births, the theory of extraordinary, 197. 

Blanchard, Emile, challenge to evolution- 
ists by, 141. 

Bohemia, valuable geological facts from, 

Botany, outcome of recent progress in, 51 ; 
difficulties regarding species in, ^7. 

Brazil, evidence from the cave-birds of, 

Brongniart, Adolphe, T., geological inves- 
tigations by, 38. 

Brunetiere, Ferdinand, on the " bank- 
ruptcy of science," 404 ; verdict on sci- 
ence and religion, 407. 

Bruno, Giordano, Hseckel as an imitator 
of, 236. 

Biichner, Ludwig, the doctrine of mate-' 
rialism by, 217 ; some atheistic notions 
of, 221 ; on design in nature, 370. 

Buckle, H. T. , on eflfects of exclusive stud- 
ies, 311. 

BuflTon, Georges L., wrong views on ani- 
malcules by, 48 ; notions on environ- 
ment held by, 194. 

Burnouf, E. H., value of oriental research 
by, 179. 

Cabanis, Pierre J., views on thought by, 

Cairo, plant specimens of at, 150. 

Calmet, Dom, discussion of Noah's ark 
by, 60. 

CandoUe, A, de, position on the species 
problem, 79 ; a definition of species by, 
95 ; study of the oak by, loj. 

Caro, Prof, on attitude of Evolution to 
faith, 210 ; views on materialism, 216 ; 
r6sum6 of Haeckelism by, 238. 

Carruthers, William, as an anti-evolution- 
ist, 74 ; lessons from Egyptian botany 
by, 149- 

Catholicity, its attitude to atheism and 
materialism, 223 ; question of the miss- 
ing link in, 344 ; Evolution among noted 
adherents of, 425. See also Church, 
Dogma, Religion. 



Catholic Congresses, scientific discussions 
of, 362. 

Causa Causarum, St. Augustine's state- 
ment of, 282. 

Cereals, as raised in prehistoric times, 

Chaldea, cosmology as a study in, 13 ; 
species identified by monuments, 148. 

Chambers, Robert, a famous science trea- 
tise by, 63. 

Champollion, value of researches by, 179. 

Chemistry, its phenomena sustain Evolu- 
tion, 53 

Church, The, its teachings on creation and 
Providence, 296 ; Evolution and the 
doctrines of, 312 ; never inimical to 
true science, 396. See also Dogma, 
Religion, etc 

Cicero, on the transitory value of opinion, 


Civil War, American, the myriad writings 

on, 20. 
Clarke, Father, S. J., analysis of term 

agnostic by, 256. 
Classification, various systems of, 84 ; 

Aristotle's ideas on, 85 ; elements of 

study in, 89; is it real or a myth, 90 ; 

ancient and mediaeval views on, 91 ; a 

leading evidence for Evolution, 105 ; 

the tree-like system of, 107 ; blunders 

in, 108. 
Clement of Alexandria, St. , cause of error 

stated by, 204. 
Climate, relations to permanence of 

species, 158. 
Cockroach, victory of Asiatic species, 164. 
Coleridge, Samuel T., on errors in nomen- 
clature, 319. 
Compsognathus, an intermediate fossil 

type, 132. 
Comte, an erroneous prediction by, 53 ; 

the philosophic creed of, 276. 
Concordistic theory, Cuvier as lather of, 

Contents, table of, 7. 
Cope, Edward D., as adherent of the 

Evolution idea, 68 ; researches in fossils 

by, 174 ; as champion of neo-Lam- 

Coral, Agassiz on the reefs of, 153. 
Corluy, Rev. J . , on eflFects of Darwinism, 

Corruption, as understood by scholastics, 

Cosmology, antiquity of speculations in, 

■3- . , . . 

Creation, questions of antiquity concern- 
ing, 14 ; fanciful views on, 35 ; the Mil- 
tonic view of, 76 ; Agassiz on the plan 
of, loi ; the more noble conception of, 
laa ; derivative as against special, 133; 
misunderstandings of the term, 215; 
definition in Catholic theology, 220 ; 
various meanings of, aai ; relation of 
agnosticism to, 255; St. Augustine on 

the order of, 281 ; the Genesiac narra- 
tive of, 290 : God as the first cause in, 
297 ; summing up of views. 302 ; science 
fails to explain, 306 ; various Catholic 
teachers on, 360. 

Creationism, choice between Evolution 
and, 75 ; the soul's relation to theory of, 
348 ; its attitude toward Evolution, 398. 

Creatures, as endowed with causaitty, 

Crustacea, curious experiments on species 
with, 192. 

Cuttle-fish, development of the eye in, 


Cuvier, Baron Georges, as founder of pa- 
leontology, 37 ; effect of his discoveries, 
38 ; discussion with Saint-Hilaire, 39 ; 
system of classification by, 85 ; Agassis' 
estimate of, 86 ; great scientific work of, 
87 ; views on species by, 92 ; on evi- 
dence from Egyptian mummies, 146 ; 
on animal figures of antiquity, 147. 

Cuvier, Frederick, views on hybrids by, 

Darwin, Charles, Evolution not founded 
by, 23 ; antiquity of pet theory of, a6 : 
forestalled by BufTon, 60; publishes 
"The Origin of Species," 66 ; his chief 
disciples, 68 ; difficulty of noting species 
by, 98 ; on rudimentary organs, 113 ; on 
distribution of species, 123 ; on succes- 
sion of types, 126 ; on predictions in Evo- 
lution, 137; on species of Arctic regions, 
160 : on paucity of transitional forms, 
162, 163 ; on gradation of fossil 
deposits 165 ; on fossil bird forms, 
172 ; views on geological research by, 
181 ; on the problem of hybrids, 190; 
natural selection defended by, 194 ; ad- 
mits a weak point, 195 ; the theory and 
critics of, 207 ; Asa Gray makes defense 
of, 311 : nature as personified by, 226; 
out-Heroded by Hseckel, 231 ; estimate 
of Herbert Spencer by, 357; his con- 
fused ideas on creation, 306 ; unfitness 
for abstract studies, 309 ; theory of pri- 
mordial germ by, 336 ; in conflict with 
teleology, 369 ; Prof. Gray's tribute to 
his work, 372. 

Darwin, Erasmus, services to the Evolu- 
tion idea, 384. 

Darwinism, as distinguished from Evolu- 
tion, 206 ; various opinions on, 207 ; a 
great problem evaded by, 343 ; man's 
origin viewed by, 350 ; not to be held as 
Evolution, 384. 

Davidson, Prof., as an anti-evolutionist, 
74 : researches in British fossils by, 

Dawson, Sir J. W., as an anti-evolution- 
ist, 74 ; pronounces Evolution atheistic, 

Deity, Haeckel's concept of, 236 : rela- 
tions of time and space to, 370 ; as the 



primary cause, 297 ; attributes of, 304 ; 
errors of scientists on, 308 ; science pro- 
motes just views of, 401 ; a necessary 
postulate of Evolution, 432. 

De Lapparent, Prof. A , attitude on crea- 
tionism, 363. 

Deluge, Noah's, supposed relation to fos- 
sils, 35 ; controversy on duration and 
extent of, 430. 

Denudation, fossil deposits affected by, 

Descartes, Ren^, tendencies toward Evo- 
lution, 56 ; on relations of science to 
God, 410. 

Deslonchamps, dictum on species by, 98. 

Diercks, S. J., Father, discussion of crea- 
tionism, 362. 

Diogenes of Appolonia, theory of animal 
life by, 26. 

Discussions, counsel of Leo XIII. regard- 
ing, xxii ; by the ancients on creation, 
15 ; those of antiquity still fresh, 16 ; 
between Cuvier and Saint-Hilaire, 39. 

Divine Administration, meaning of the 
term, 295. 

Doctors, Evolution and teachings of the, 

Dog, long identity of the species, 147 ; the 
numerous varieties of, 186. 

Dogma, science can never contradict, xv ; 
how affected by Evolution, 206 ; not an- 
tagonized by this science, 300 ; abiogen- 
esis not opposed to, 331 ; standing as to 
the missing link, 344 ; zeal of certain 
scientists against, 370 ; not contradicted 
by Evolution, 388, 426. 

Dragons, a myth of ancient science, 

Dredging, contributions to science from, 

Dryopithecus, as the supposed missing 
link, 351. 

Dualism, contrast of materialism with, 

Dufr^noy, Pierre A., on the mating of 
species, 182. 

Earth's age, review of controversy on, 

Egypt, testimony from monuments of, 144; 
the ancient vegetation of, 149. 

Egyptology, paleontology sustained by, 

Elements, Simple, argument from rela- 
tionship of, 53 ; scholastic and scientific 
views on, 286. 

Emanation, an unsound theory, 76. 

Emanationism, outgrowth of science spec- 
ulations, 15. 

Embryology, facts of noted by antiquity, 
28 ; Evolution theory sustained by, 54 ; a 
leading evidence for Evolution, 105 : its 
argument set forth, 115 ; status in Evo- 
lution, 250. 

Empedocles, as father of Evolution, 26 ; 

a guess at Evolution by, 28 : as prectir- 
sor of Darwin, 380. 

Environment, Buffon a teacher of, 60: 
noted adherents of theory, 72 ; perma- 
nence of species affected by, 158 ; as a 
factor of Evolution, 193 ; curious changes 
from, 195. 

Epicurus, on the generation of life, 321. 

Epigenesis, as foreshadowed by Aristotle, 

Evolution, can Christians accept theory, 
xiv ; the odium cast upon, xviii ; its dis- 
cussion opportune, xxv; a resource of 
baffled science, 16 ; wide-spread use of 
term, 17; Spencer's definition of, 18; 
discussion and vast literature of, 20; 
bitterness aroused by, 21 ; used by foes 
of religion, 22 ; not begun by Darwin, 
23 ; discerned among the Greeks, 25 ; 
Aristotle's conception of, 27 ; among 
mediaeval schoolmen, 29; Saint-Hilaire's 
championship of, 40 : relation of abio- 
genesis to, 41 ; sustained by advancing 
science, 51 ; astronomy and chemistry 
sustain, 53 ; biology a supreme aid. 54 ; 
its later champions, 55 ; Goethe as a 
herald of, 61 ; Robert Chambers' argu- 
ment for, 63 ; Darwin's first book on, 
65 ; the high-water mark of, 67 ; two 
ways of regarding, 69; the pervading 
idea of, 72 ; its noted antagonists, 73 ; 
no middle course in, 75 ; Darwin's 
changes on, 82 : atheistic disciples of, 
83 ; bearings of classification on, 91 ; 
solves the mystery of species, 102 ; 
leading evidences for, 105 ; the whale 
in support of, iii ; explains rudimen- 
tary organs, 114; solves embryological 
problems, 122 ; the demonstrative evi- 
dence of, 127 ; proof from gradation of 
fossils, 133 ; summing up of proofs, 134 ; 
special creation and, 135 ; prediction of 
discoveries in, 136 ; objections made 
against, 140; challenge from opponents 
of, 141 ; what history offers against, 140; 
nature of misapprehended, 157 ; La- 
marck to objectors against, 158 ; sterility 
of hybrids against, 182 ; standing of 
species in, 191 ; the array of factors in, 
193 ; some difficult theories of, 196; 
role of extraordinary births in, 197 ; 
friends of saltatory theorj', 198; as a 
fact beyond dispute, 203 ; distinction of 
Darwinism from, 206 ; adverse criti- 
cisms of, 208 ; atheism gives welcome 
to, 210 ; sundry judgments on, 213 ; 
ignorance of terms in, 214 ; relation of 
agnosticism to, 254 ; the agnostic form 
unsound, 278 ; analogy of tree growth 
to, 283 ; as revealed in creation, 293: 
the Catholic idea of, 300 ; occasional- 
ism excluded from, 301; anthropomorph- 
ism dispelled by, 302 ; no Divine inter- 
ference in, 304 : Dogma in relation to, 
312 : unaffected by notions on species, 



31 8; man's creation viewed by, 350; 
how far Catholics may accept, 351 ; 
Gonzales on the Scripture and, 359 ; a 
point of harmony with Dogma, 364 : 
story of creation viewed by. 367 ; as 
affected by teleology, 369 ; Asa Gray's 
summary of, 372 ; corroborated by tele- 
ology* 371 ; teleology ennobled by, 376; 
witnesses to the God of Scripture, 377 ; 
r^sum6 of the history of, 378 ; its future 
standing, 386 : not inimical to religion, 
388: attitude ot creationism toward, 398 ; 
insufficiency for moral man, 402 ; Scrip 
ture and theology reconcilable with, 
414; Doctors of the Church on, 416 : a 
theory not a doctrine, 417 ; viewed from 
many standpoints, 423 ; eminent Cath- 
olic adherents, 425 ; faith need fear 
nothing from, 428 : the Creator a nec- 
essary postulate of, 432 ; an ennobling 
conception, 435 ; is a witness for the 
Deity, 437. 

Evolutionists, several schools and classes 
of, 206 ; variety of theories among, 229. 

Eye, cases of evolutionarj- development, 

Falloppio, amusing theory of fossils by. 

Father of Evolution, two Greek claimants 
as, 28. 

Fathers of the Church, helped to build 
Evolution theory, 23 : common belief 
in abiogenesis, 44 ; Evolution and the 
teachings of, 312. 

Fish-Men, Anaximander's curious theory 
of, 26. 

Fislce, Prof. John, converted by classifica- 
tion, 109 ; views on intermediary fossils, 
174 ; theories resemble occasionalism, 
301 ; on the origin of life, 327 ; on crea- 
tion and Evolution, 390. 

Florida, study of coral reefs in, 153. 

Flourens, M.J., definition of species by, 
95 ; views on Darwin and his work, 208. 

Flowers, curious merging of species in, 

Fontenelle, eulogy of Bernard Palissy by, 


Fossils, early notions regarding, 31 ; Agric- 
ola and other ancients on, 32 ; Bernard 
Palissy's views on, 34 : the Deluge sup- 
posed to explain, 35 : fabled giants in 
relation to, 36 ; true significance appre- 
hended, 37 ; world's age measured by, 
38; Huidey on the evidence of, 128 ; 
generalized types among, 131 ; evidence 
on vegetable species in, 152 ; process of 
deposit, 165 ; Darwin on gradations of, 
167; Romanes on fewness of, 170; low 
percentage of forms in, 171 ; types miss- 
ing from, 172 ; intercalary forms in, 174 ; 
reviewing the arguments from, 420. 

Fracostorio, teachings on fossils by, 32. 

France, vast historic literature of, 19. 

Francis of Assisi, St , friendship for the 

birds, 430. 
French Academy, scientific controversy 

in, 39; Cuvier's classification announced 

to, 86. 
Froschammer, on the origin of the soul, 

Fruits, identity of ancient with modern, 

Galen, species described by, 144. 

Galileo, world's reception of discoveries 
by, 392. 

Gastrula, place in the scale of life, 347. 

Gaudry, Albert, studies in paleontology, 
132 ; views on elastic types, 159; stud- 
ies in fossil forms, 174 ; theory on miss- 
ing types by, 175 ; as a Catholic evolu- 
tionist, 425. 

Generation, the scholastic view of, 285. 

Generationism, as a doctrine on the soul's 
origin, 347. 

Generelli, right views on creation by, 35. 

Genesis, account of man's creation in, 350 ; 
scientists on creation narrative, 365 ; 
lends itself to Evolution, 414 ; contro- 
versy on six days of, 419. 

Genus, true relation of the term, 317. 

Geography, physical. Evolution sustained 
hy, 51 ', relation of to organic life, 123. 

Geology, first regular investigations in, 
39 ; Evolution theory aided by, 51 ; 
Agassiz' argument from, 80 ; relation of 
concordistic theory to, 93 ; distribution of 
species as witnessed by, 125 ; testimony 
as to permanence of species from, 154 ; 
comparative limit of researches in, 173 ; 
imperfection of record in, 176 ; Darwin 
on the value of research in, i8i. 

Germ theory, 326. 

Giants, supposed relation of fossils to, 36. 

Gladstone, W. E., on relations of science 
to Bible, 43 7, 429. 

Gnostics, views on creation by, 217. 

Goethe, Johann W., vast number of bookf 
written on, ig ; anecdote regarding, 39 ; 
scientific rank of, 62. 

Gonzales, Cardinal, on process of creation, 

Gore, Canon, on Romanes, 261. 

Grand Eury, as an anti-evolutionist, 74. 

Gray, Asa, views on defining species, 96 ; 
on species in British flora, 98 ; on 
triumph of teleology, 378 : on Evolu- 
tion and theism, 211. 

Greece, science in, 14. 379- 

Gregory of Nyssa, St., believer in one 
primordial element, 54 : prophet of 
nebular hypothesis, 71 ; theistic Evo- 
lution of, 280. 

Guillemet, Abb*', on theory of fixism, 
417, 419 : on common ancestral types, 

'35- „ 

Giittler, Dr. C, views on Darwin by, 



Haeckel, as spokesman of atheistic Evo- 
lution, 83 ; on variability of species, 
99 ; on perigenesis, 199 ; the five prop- 
ositions of, 235 ; on soul and mind, 
237 ; on abiogenesis, 329 ; on purpose in 
nature, 370 ; the monism of, 230 : on 
origin of life, 246 ; cynicism of, 251 ; a 
type, 252 ; on missing link, 344, tribute 
to Mosaic cosmogony, 415. 

Halloy, D'Omalius d', as Catholic and 
evolutionist, 425. 

Hamard, Canon, on the Bible and trans- 
formism, 415. 

Hamilton, Sir William, as precursor of 
Huxley, 256. 

Harper, Father, explains the term genera- 
tion, 285 ; on order of creation, 293 ; 
value of his work on scholasticism, 295. 

Harvey, William, teaching foreshadowed 
by Aristotle, 27. 

Hawkweed, the numerous species of, 98. 

Hebraists, literary fiasco of, 405. 

Heliopolis, a scientific priesthood at, 14. 

Hellenists, absurd pretensions of, 405. 

Helmont, J. B. van, amusing notions on 
abiogenesis, 45 ; a theory of life, 323. 

Heraclitus, as precursor of Darwin, 379. 

Herbert, Rev. W., on proofs from horti- 
culture, 63 

Herculaneum, testimony from the ruins, 

Heredity, phenomena known to Aristotle, 
27 ; principle discussed by BufTon, 60 ; 
as a factor of Evolution, 195. 

Herschel, Sir W,, theories forestalled by 
Kant, 57. 

Hewit, Rev. A. F., anthority on Christian 
Agnosticism, 276. 

Hieroglyphics, previous science disclosed 
by, 179. 

Hildebrand, J. M., on floral species, 189. 

Hindus, early science studies of, 14. 

Hippocrates, on the vital processes, 324. 

History, objections to Evolution from, 143. 

Hobbes, Thomas, urges the principle of 
struggle, 71. 

Holbach, P. H. d', Haeckel conforms 
with, 237. 

Holmes, Oliver W., definition of life by, 


Homology, examples of in nature, no, 

Horse, proofs of Evolution from the, 127. 

Houdin, Robert, the secret of legerde- 
main, 245. 

Hugo, Victor, agreement of Hseckel with, 

Huxley, Thomas H., review of Darwin's 
theory by, 66 ; on paleontology, 128 ; 
considers defects of classification, 133 ; 
on predictions in horse species, 137 ; on 
species variations, 161 ; on saltatory 
theory, 198 ; Evolution harmless to faith, 
213; nature personified by, 226; coin- 
age of term agnostic, 255 ; the Diety as 

conceived by, 277 ; confused ideas on 
creation, 307 ; on originating life artifi- 
cially, 330 ; Evolution and teleology in 
harmony, 374 ; admits inadequacy of 
science, 407. 

Hybrids, teachings from sterility of, 182. 

Hylozoism, outgrowth of science specula- 
tions, 15. 

Infusoria, believers in spontaneous origin 
of, 48 ; scientists begin special study of, 


Inscriptions great students and interpre- 
ters of, 179 

Introduction the author's, xni-xxx. 

lonians, science and teachings of, 14, 380 ; 
materialism of the, 216. 

Jager, notions on "soul stuff" by, 199. 
Jussieu, A. L. de, definition of species by, 

Kant, Immanuel, many Evolution princi- 
ples of, 57 ; a brilliant generalization by, 
58 ; on the use of reason, 256. 

Kelvin, Lord iSir W. Thomson), on the 
origin of life, 325 ; on design in nature, 

Kepler, Johann. true basis of laws by, 25 ; 
reception of discoveries by, 393. 

Kircher, Father A., curious recipe in ab- 
iogenesis, 45. 

KoUiker, Rudolf A , an adherent of salta- 
tory Evolution, 198. 

Lamarck, J. B. de, scientific achievements 
of, 61 ; blunders in classification, 108 ; 
reply to anti-evolutionists, 158 ; Evolu- 
tion factors held by, 193 ; reverent ideas 
of the Creator, 389. 

Lanessan, estimate of Buffon's work by, 

Languages, pedigree of the Romance, 
107 ; relations of certain groups, 108. 

Law, Paley on true nature of, 376. 

Layard, Sir Austin, evidence from Baby- 
lonian researches of, 148 ; value of 
Assyrian discoveries by, 179. 

Le Conte, Joseph, views on Evolution, 

Leeuwenhoek, A. von, as student of in- 
fusoria, 49. 

Legends, suggested by fossil remains, 36. 

Leibnitz, G. W. von. Evolution ideas held 
by, 56 ; on origin of the soul, 347. 

Lenormant, Charles, on the creation of 
man, 365. 

Leo XIII, on scientific discussion, xvii; 
author's stand on teachings of, xxi. 

Leroy, P^re M. D., work on Evolution by, 
212; his theory of creation. 363; on 
species and genus, 317. 

Leuckart, Karl G., as authority on in- 
fusoria, 49. 



Leverrier, U. J., suggesting discovery of 

Neptune, 25. 

Lewes, G. W., on special creation, m. 

Liebig, Baron, valuable studies of in- 
fusoria, 49. 

Life, Greek ideas on origin of, 35 ; the 
antiquity of, 177; discussion of nature 
and origin, 320 ; various attempts to de- 
fine, 324 ; on the germ of, 325 ; Dar- 
win's idea of primordial, 326 ; science 
fails as to origin, 327 ; possible artificial 
production of, J30 ; the most science can 
say on, 333 ; Huxley's ''physical basis" 
of, 334 ; a scientific origin found im- 
possible, 336 ; collapse of mechanical 
theory, 337 ; Evolution fails to explain, 

Lilly, W. S., work on agnosticism by, 278. 

Linnaeus, Karl von, as a believing scientist, 
xxviii ; views on special creation, 59 ; 
produced a reasonable classification, 86 ; 
ideas on species, 92 ; his binomial no- 
menclature, 94 ; on immutability of 
species, 142. 

Litterateurs, careless use of term nature, 

Locke, John, views on continuity of 
species, 71. 

Logan, Sir W., on the antiquity of life, 


Loligo, eye curiously developed of, 119. 

Lucas, Dr. G. J., work on agnosticism by, 

Lucretius, statement on abiogenesis from, 
43 ; on dabblers in science, 253. 

Lyell, Sir Charles, biology brings convic- 
tion to, 54. 

McCosh, Dr. James, on Evolution and 
Scripture, 212. 

Maimonides, on creation of man, 365. 

Maisonneuve, Dr., on rudimentary or- 
gans, 11$. 

Mammalia, type gradations in extinct, 


Man, embryonic development of, 116 ; 
Haeckel's genealogy of, 245 ; Wallace on 
origin of, 247 ; comparing attributes of, 
305 ; question of simian origin, 340 ; Vir- 
chow on descent of, 341 ; Dogma and 
the animal origin of, 344 ; relation to 
apes not proven, 351 ; Mivart's specula- 
tions on, 352 ; modified theory of crea- 
tion, 359 : extravagant notions on ori- 
gin, 365 ; question of pedigree reviewed, 
430 ; headship in created universe, 435. 

Mandeville, Sir John, as a tale-weaving 
traveler, 401. 

Manicheans, views on creation by, 217 ; 
ideas on creation of soul, 346. 

Mansel, Dean, an Anglican teacher of 
agnosticism. 258 ; a variety of atheism 
by, 259. 

Maoris, curious proverb of the, if ^, 

Mariette, A. E., value of oriental re- 
searches by, 179. 

Marsh, Prof. G. P. discovery of a missing 
type, 138 : intermediate fossils found 
by. 174 

Marshall, A. M., on organic development, 
119; on the ancestral equiue forms, 128. 

Marsupials, place of in Hxckel's hfe 
scale, 347. 

Martineau, Rev. James, judgment on 
specialists, 311 on science and reli- 
gion, 433. 

Martins, Charles, views on Evolution, 214. 

Maspero, G. C, value of oriental re- 
searches by, 179. 

Mastiff, as depicted in Babylonian ruins, 

Materialism, product ot science discus- 
sions, 15; Evolution hailed by its dis* 
ciples, 209 ; in contrast with dualism, 
215; as voiced by Hugo and others, 238 ; 
struggle of faith and science with, 427. 

Materia Prima, the scholastic view of, 287. 

Matter, the lonians' view of, 216 ; ideas of 
the Schoolmen on, 286 ; fails at the 
brink of life, 338. 

Mattioli, singular theory on fossils, 33. 

Memphis, science of Egyptian priests at, 

Mercier, Mgr., in review of Balfour's 
work, 278. 

Mesopotamia, exhumed records of, 13. 

Metaphysics, question solvable only by, 

Microbes, multiplicity of species in, 99. 

Microscopy, results of progress in, 52. 

Middle Ages, Evolution in the Schools of, 
23. 28. 

Mill, J. Stuart, on God and matter, 217. 

Milton, John, poetical record of species, 
76 ; influence of his views, 318. 

Mind, Darwin's bewilderment on, 310. 

Mir, Padre, on problem of creation, 358. 

Missing link, discussion of, 340; explora- 
tions in quest of, 351 ; a conceivable 
theory, 35a. 

Mivart, St. George, as disciple of Evolu- 
tion, 68; on saltatory theory, 198; on 
our simian ancestry, 344 ; on genesis of 
man, 352 ; is severely criticised, 353 ; 
views not opposed to theology, 358 ; 
modified creation theory of, 359 ; on de- 
sign in nature, 374 ; on the purpose in 
creation, 411. 

MoUusca, development of the eye in, 1 19 ; 
curious pedigree of planorbis, 129. 

Moneron, HacVel's theory of the, 246. 

Monism, as outcome of Evolution, 239, 
330; formulated by Haeckel, 231 ; coin- 
age of the term, 233 ; results of theory, 
253 ; Agnosticism compared with, 354; 
abiogenesis necessary to. 329 

Monkeys, long identity of species, 144. 

Monsabr^, Father, on creationism, 363. 

Monuments, evidence on species from,i47. 



Morphology, in evidence for Evolution, 

105 ; the argument set forth, no; proofs 

on species from, 186. 
Moses, account of creation by, 293 ; as 

ancestor of the evolutionists, 415; 

Hsckel's tribute to, 416. 
Mountains, as barriers to spread of species, 

Mjiller, Max, on legitimate agnosticism, 


Mummies, evidence on species from, 144. 

Nadaillac, Marquis de, attitude on Evolu- 
tion, 75 ; views on hybrid species, 185 ; 
on modern unbelief, 253. 

Niigeli, Karl von, as disciple of Evolu- 
tion, 68; on progression in species, 199. 

Natural selection, ancient germ of theory, 

Nature, ancient speculations on, 15 ; Im- 
manuel Kant on unity in, 58 ; miscon- 
ceptions of the term, 215 ; relations to 
the Deity, 227 ; its mysteries a source of 
skepticism, 272 : summing the argu- 
ment on design in, 375. 

Nature-Man, AbubacePs curious theory 
of, 29. 

Naudin, Charles, a theory on species by. 

Nebular hypothesis, Kant's relation to, 

Needham, Prof, wrong views on in- 
fusoria, 48. 
Neo-Lamarckism,the Evolution so termed, 

Newman, Cardinal, on narrowness of 

specialists, 310. 
Newton, Sir Isaac, foundation of great 

discovery by, 25. 
Nineveh, writings on cosmology at, 13. 
Nomenclature, Linnaeus great work on, 

94 ; protoplasm a vanished term in, 


Oak, study of species in the, X03 ; great 
antiquity of the type, 104. 

Occasionalism, excluded from Christian 
Evolution, 301. 

Oken, theory of primordial slime by, 26. 

Olivi of Cremona, curious theory on 
fossils by, 33. 

Omar the Learned, an Arabian evolu- 
tionist, 29. 

Ontogeny, its bearings on Evolution, 115 ; 
Haeckel's argument from, 249. 

Opinion, the transitory value of, XV. 

Organisms, geographical distribution of, 
123 ; what paleontology tells about, 
180 : a class without organs, 246. 

Organs, lesson from the rudimentary', 
113; instances of development of, 118. 

Orientalists, failure to degrade the Gospel, 

Origen, on the creation of soul, 346. 

Osborn, Prof., on the factors of Evolution, 

Osteology, its tribute to Evolution theorj', 


Ovid, abiogeneses as stated by, 43. 

Owen, Prof. Richard, on succession of 
types, 126; Darwin quotes researches 
of, 172 ; on the integrity of species, 
191 ; as adherent of saltatory Evolution, 
198 ; his devotion to teleology, 373. 

Paleobotany, evidence on species from, 

Paleontology, the science founded by 
Cuvier, 38 ; Evolution theory sustained 
by, 51 ; as a foremostproof of Evolution, 
105 ; demonstrative evidence furnished 
by, 128: discoveries at Mt. Pentelicus, 
132 ; the limited field of study in, 173 ; 
Egyptology compared with, 179; illus- 
trious workers in, 180. 

Paley, Dr., Evolution affected by teach- 
ings of. 369; defines true nature of law, 
376 ; a herald of Evolution, 41 2. 

Palissy, Bernard, correct judgment on 
fossils, 34. 

Paludina, succession of molluscan group 
of, 130. 

Pantheism, as outgrowth of science dis- 
cussions, 15; definition and doctrines 
of, 218. 

Pantheists, views of the more famous, 2i8. 

Paracelsus, on the principle of life, 323. 

Pariahs, evidence from dog family called, 

Paris Commune, Evolution held respon- 
sible for, 210. 

Pascal, Blaise, on the teaching of religion, 


Pasteur, Prof. Louis, on science confirm- 
ing faith, XXIX ; valuable studies on 
infusoria, 50 ; his great work and its 
opponents, 52, 397. 

Paul, St, allusion to unknown God, 255 ; 
on knowledge of things unseen, 273. 

Pentateuch, controversy on authorship of, 
XVI. See also Bible, Genesis. 

Pentelicus, Mount, discoveries in paleon- 
tology at, 132 ; significance of fossils 
found at, 175. 

Perigenesis, Hseckel's theory of, 199. 

Philology, an illustration taken from, 106 ; 
comparison on species from, 163. 

Phoenix, as myth of ancient science, 400. 

Phylogeny, what is proved for Evolution 
by, 115; its relation to Haeckel's sys- 
tem, 249. 

Physics, stellar, significance of recent 
progress in, 53 : mediaeval notions on, 

Physiologus, curious fables ol the, 401. 

Physiology, ranked among helps to Evo- 
lution, 54; evidence regarding species 
from, 187. 



Picard, Abb^, work related to Newton's 

law, 25. 
Pigeons, numerous varieties of, 185. 
Pius IX, treatment of an abused scientist 

by. 353- 
Planets, amusing theory on number of, 

Planorbis, evidence from shells of, 129. 
Plants, evidence derived from, 148 ; St. 

Augustine on creation of, 281. See 

Botany, Trees, etc. 
Plato, methods compared with Aristotle's, 

27 ; views on Divine ideas by, 91. 
Pliny, as believer in abiogenesis, 43. 
Pohle, Rev. Dr., on Darwinism and 

Theism, 212. 
Pompeii, evidence against transmutation 

from, 144. 
Positivism, analysis of the creed of, 276. 
Pouchet, Henri C. adverse to Pasteur's 

conclusions, 52. 
Predictions, as a test of accurate science, 

Protoplasm, the chemical aspects of, 334 : 

later studies in, 335. 
Psychology, some false ideas exposed, 

Pterodactyl, as a generalized type, 133. 

Quatrefages, J. L. de, species defined by, 
95 ; on the theory of Evolution, 140 ; 
on constancy of species, 182. 

Rawlinson, Sir Henry C., value of re- 
searches by, 179. 

Ray, John, definition and views of species 
by. 94. 318. 

Reaumur, Renu A. de, as student of in- 
fusoria, 49. 

Redi, Francesco, disproves abiogenesis 
experimentally, 46 ; accused of unscrip- 
tural views, 47. 

Religion, modem weapons for defense of, 
XX ; Evolution used by enemies of, 22 ; 
Darwinism in relation to, 207 ; Haeckel's 
idea of a future, 239 ; relation of imma- 
ture science to, 252 ; Romanes' later 
views on, 261 : wrong ideas of scientists 
on, 311 ; not antagonized by Evolution, 
388 : all science but serves to exalt. 409. 
See Ch'irch, Dogma, etc. 

Renan, Ernest., absurd estimate of sci- 
ence, 402. 

Reversion, its phenomena known to Aris- 
totle, 27. 

Rhynconella, as elastic type of species, 

Richter.Jean P., on the folly of unbelief, 

Richter, Prof., curious theory of life by, 

Robin, Dr. Charles, harsh estimate of 

Evolution, 141. 
Robinet.J. F., agreement of ffxckel with, 


Romanes, Prof. Geo. J., latest testimony 
of, XIX : note on species by, 102 ; on 
distribution of organisms, 127 ; on diffi- 
culties suggested by fossils, 168 ; main- 
tains physiological selection. 194 ; ag- 
nostics classed and defined by, 260: 
later views on religion, 261 : claims 
harmony of Bible and Evolution, 415. 

Rome, Evolution held by sages of, 28. 

Rosmini, Antonio, on the origin of soul, 
347 : views on materialism, 427. 

Rudimentary organs, summary of argu- 
ment on, 413. 

Rupprecht, on authorship of Pentateuch, 


Ruslcin, John, on pedigree of man, 430. 

Saint-Hilaire, E GeofFroy de, discussion 
with Baron Cuvier, 39 ; valuable collec- 
tions in Egypt, 146 ; proclaims the sal- 
tatory theory, 198 ; on the creation of 
man, 363 ; as Catholic and evolutionist, 

Salisbury, Lord, attitude on science and 
religion, 407. 

Saltation, as theory in Evolution, 198. 

Savages, races regarded as missing link, 

Sayce, Prof., on the credibility of Moses, 

Schiromycetes, multiplicity of species in. 

Scholasticism, abiogenesis as viewed by, 
321. See Schoolmen. 

Schoolmen, Evolution theory helped by, 
23; writers on Evolution among, 29; 
belief in abiogenesis among, 44 ; agnos- 
ticism of the Doctors and, 374. 

Schouw, Prof, on origin of species, 79. 

Schweinfurth, G A., studies in Egyptian 
flora, 149. 

Sciences, (aith not endangered by, xxvii ; 
growth of theories and discoveries in, 
24; unite on the trail of Evolution, 40; 
anticipated discoveries in, 70; value of 
Evolution theory to, 136 : incompetent 
to explain creation, 306 : failure on 
some vital points, 327 ; censure of lead- 
ers in, 353 ; stages and progress of, 387 ; 
treatment of pioneers in, 391 ; conserva- 
tism in the, 39s ; errors in infancy of, 
399; absurd claims of, 402; bankruptcy 
of, 404 ; review of conquests of, 408. 

Scotiis Rrigena, views on dialectics by, 91. 

Sea Shells, succession of types shown in, 

Selection, as a factor in Evolution, 193 ; 
Spencer's preferred term for, 195. 

Seminales Rationes, St. Thomas Aquinas' 
theory of, 289. 

Senses, effects of use and disuse, 195. 

Serpents, mediaeval recipe for generating, 

Siebold, Karl von, as student of infusoria, 



Sirens, position in life scale of, 247. 

Sizzi, curious theory of planets by, 394. 

Slime, theory of the primordial, 26. 

Smith, George, valuable oriental studies 
by, 179. 

Soul, as a corollary of monism, 237 ; the- 
ories on origin of, 345 ; various heretical 
views on, 346 ; St. Thomas on creation 
oft 356 ; Doctors and Schoolmen on 
same, 357. See Spirit. 

Space, mlse philosophical notions of, 

Spalding, Bishop J. L., as writer on ag- 
nosticism, 278. 

Spallanzani, Abbate, researches on the 
infusoria, 49. 

Specialists, mental short comings of, 309, 

Species, ascertained vast numbers of, 51 ; 
believers in mutability of, 56 ; BuSbn 
teaches mutation of, 60 ; difficulty of 
noting, 63 ; views ot Naudin and 
D'Halloy on, 64 ; Darwin's great work 
on, 65; believers in continuity of, 71; 
evolutionary ideas on, 72 , views of 
great thinkers on, 76, Miltonic hy- 
pothesis of, 77 ; Linnseus on, 78 ; Prof. 
Agassiz on, 79, loi ; distribution of, 80 ; 
attempts to give definition of, 94 ; diffi- 
culties regarding, 97 ; the old doctrin- 
aires of, 100 ; in the making, 102 ; cases 
showing mutation of, 103 ; geographical 
distribution of, 123 ; geological succes- 
sion of, 135 ; Romanes on distribution, 
127 ; revelations of the Tertiary on, 129; 
advocates of immutability in, 142 ; evi- 
dence from antiquity, 143 ; identity with 
antique forms, 145 ; what Egypt's vegeta- 
tion tells of, 149: evidence from fossil 
flora, 152; Agassiz' strong argument 
on, 153 ; evidence from Silurian strata, 
154; what the trilobite proves on, 155; 
conditions promoting permanence of, 
158; elastic types of, 159; fewness of 
transitional forms, 163; an illustration 
from philology on, 163; cases of crowd- 
ing out, 164 ; gradation of fossil forms of, 
167 ; sterility of hybrids in, 182 ; morph- 
ology as test of, 185 ; tne physiolog- 
ical test of, 187 ; relation of reproduction 
to, 190; Prof. Owen on integrity of, 191 ; 
curious experiments in Russia, 192 ; as 
a hopeless problem, 193 : heredity and 
variation in, 197 ; saltatory theory re- 
garding, 198; Nageli on progress in, 
199 ; Haeckel's chain of, 246 ; argument 
from analogy in, 249 ; scholastic doc- 
trine of, 313 ; three aspects of the term, 
315; term genus compared with, 317; 
Milton's doctrine of, 318 ; teleology as 
manifest in, 373. 

Spectroscope, value of revelations by, 53 

Spencer, Herbert, defines Evolution, 18; 
not original with him, 23 ; antiquity of 
his pet idea, 26; as "philosopher" of. 

Evolution, 67 ; Creator left out of crea* 
tion by, 70; on structural homologies, 
114 ; his term for natural selection, 195 ; 
as scientist of the " unknowable," 257 ; 
led by Anglican churchman, 258 ; on 
creation, 264 ; dicta on the unknowable. 
267 ; notions of the Deity, 277 ; defines 
life, 324 ; confesses weakness of Evolu- 
tion, 407. 

Spirit, as understood in Hseckelism, 234 ; 
the unfathomable mystery, 272 ; Plato's 
ideas on, 323 ; positive claims for, 345. 
See Soul. 

Sponges, Haeckel on the species of, 99 ; 
curious investigations in, 232. 

Stalactites, ideas from the growth of, 33. 

Stammbaum, classification on principle 
of, 88, 109. 

Steinheim, discoveries in lake-bed at, 129. 

Steno, Father Nicholas, true idea of fos- 
sils, 34. 

Succession of types, Darwin's advocacy 
of, 126. 

Sumer, sciences anciently studied in, 13. 

Survival of fittest, germ of the theory an- 
cient, 26 ; anticipated by Biiffon, 60. 

Swallow, extension of species in United 
States, 164. 

Swammerdam, Prof., studies of infusoria 
by, 49- 

Sycamore, specimens as old as Athens, 

Taxonomy, regarded as a science, 88. 

Teleology, the old and new sciences of, 
369 ; late developments of, 371 ; tributes 
of various scientists to, 373, 374 ; is en- 
nobled by Evolution, 376 ; as held by 
Greek sages, 380. 

Temple, Bishop F., on creation and Evo- 
lution, 436. 

Tertullian, on origin of the soul, 346. 

Thales, teachings on genesis of life, 25. 

Theism, Pohle's views on, 312; as related 
to Evolution, 229 ; Evolution blended 
with, 379 ; Prof. Fiske's attempt to class- 
ify, 301. 

Theology, Haeckel's defects as student of, 
243 ; Mivart's relation to, 353 ; the 
"Great Architect" theory in, 361; how 
affected by man's derivative creation, 
364 ; true and false science in relation 
to, 376 ; Evolution not in conflict with, 

Theophrastus, ideas on fossils by, 31. 

Thomas Aquinas, St., a teacher of evolu- 
tionary ideas, 39; accepts contemporary 
views on abiogenesis, 44 Kant adopts 
opinions of, 57 ; as teacher of potential 
creation, 71 ; evolutionary views of crea- 
tion, 284 ; on causality in creatures, 397 ; 
the doctrine of species, 314 ; species as 
defined by, 315 ; on the creation of 
Adam, 354. 

Time, philosophic conceptions of, 370. 



Toumefort, J. P. de, pioneer in defining 
species, ^4. 

Traducianism, as outgrowth of science 
speculations, 15; its belief as to soul's 
creation, 346 ; famous tnodern adherents 

of. 347- 
Trees, variability of species in, 99 ; studies 

of the oalc, 103 ; organic life compared 

to, 326. 
Treviranus, ranked among evolutionists, 

Trilobites, valuable facts on species from, 

Tycho Brabe, relation to Kepler's laws, 


Tyndall, Prof. John, views on design in 
nature, 373. 

Unbelief, Jean Paul on the folly of, 435. 
See Atheism, etc. 

Universe, questions of antiquity regard- 
ing the, 14. 

Unknowable, The, philosophy and philoso- 
pher of, 257. 

Urea, Wohler's artificial production of, 

Urschleim, Oken's theory of anticipated, 

Urstoff, the supposed primitive element, 


Vallisneri, as student of infusoria, 49. 
Variation, as a factor of Evolution, 196 ; 
Bateson's theory of discontinuous, 198. 
Vatican Council, creation defined by, 


Vertebrates, transitional fossil forms of, 

Vinci, Leonardo da, discussion on fossils, 


Virchow, Prof. R., makes charges against 
Evolution, 210 ; his theory of life fails, 
338 ; on the physical descent of man, 
341 ; on origin of life, 343. 

Virgil, instances of abiogenesis from, 330. 

Vision, Evolution of the organ of, X19. 

Vogt, Carl, of one mind with Hxckel, 
238 ; a theory of life by, 341. 

Wagner, Moritz, as adherent of Evolu- 
tion, 68 ; theory of isolation by, 197. 

Wallace, Dr. Alfred R., as co-discoverer 
with Darwin, 65 ; on the origin of man, 
247 ; on design in nature, 373. 

Watch, simile from the construction of, 

Weeds, studies of ancient Egyptian, 150. 

Weismann, as disciple of the Evolution 
idea, 68 ; theory of heredity by, 199. 

Whale, classification illustrated by the, 
108 ; evidence from anatomy of, 11 1. 

Whewell, Dr. William, on the fate of new 
discoveries, xxvii ; on species and cre- 
ation, 76. 

Wiegand, on the movement of the age, 

Williamson, researches in vegetable fos- 
sils, 156. 

Wohler, F., artificial making of urea, by, 

Wo^?,'f. a.. 

coinage of term monism by. 

Woods, identity of ancient and modem, 

Worms, order in the scale of life, 247. 

Yung, a pioneer in defining species, 94. 

Zoology, a result of recent progress in, 51 ; 
services of Linnseus to, 85. 



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