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The DARWINIAN THEORY OF THE TRANSMUTATION OF SPECIES, EXAMINED A GRADUATE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE. (Nisbet and Co.-Cambridge has not been successful with her “Graduate” who wrote this silly and impudent book. He has learnt nothing of the art of thinking, though he has made some progress in the trick of logic chopping, and in no part of his volume do we trace any symptom of his understanding the theory he undertakes to confute, and if, as we believe, he deserves to escape from the charge of wilful misrepresentation, his acquittal will be founded upon the evidence that he does not know enough of scientific facts and arguments to be competent to give an intelligible and accurate account of any important scientific work. His book begins with a statement purely and obviously erroneous, that "in Mr. Darwin's theory the idea of design in every form of organic life is steadfastly denied, and it is asserted that all existing plants and animals have been produced by slow changes, without any plan or intention, from some antecedent forms." This wrongheaded passage may perhaps be considered as tantamount to the assertion that there can be no plan or design in the creation of plants and animals subject to modification under fixed laws, for that is all that Darwinism implies. The “ Graduate" is not original in this illogical notion, he has simply followed the practice of a class of persons who continue to find heresy in all science they do not understand, and who appeal-as the Graduate does—to what they term common sense, convenient substitute for the accurate knowledge they have not the inclination or the capacity to acquire. Darwin's view on this subject is plain from the concluding remarks of his well-known work, in which, alluding to his theory, he says “there is a grandenr in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or one, aud that while this planet has gone cycling on, according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning, endless forms, most beautiful, and most wonderful, have been, and are being evolved." The theory of Darwin rests upon probabilities, which may be strengthened or overthrown, but whatever its ultimate fate in the belief of mankind, it does not touch the question of design or no design, in the manner supposed by the “Graduate,” because no amount of action through secondary causation can render less probable the existence of a primary cause. On the contrary, if the operation of those forces, which are called secondary causes, can be shown to have led to harmonious and admirable results through long cycles of ages, the quantity of evidence in favour of plan and design is largely increased. An atheistic philosophy, no doubt, requires some physical theory of the production of organized beings, and it may, though not necessarily, adopt a scheme of development and hereditary succession with variation. If an animal sprang suddenly out of the earth, or were formed by a rapid concourse of atoms before our eyes, the spectacle, though contrary to experience, would not, in reality, be more won
derful than the methods of production we are accustomed to by the development of a minute germ, nor could its appearance be a greater proof of design.
A good deal of the “Graduate's” logic chopping is devoted to an attempt at showing that Mr. Darwin admits the existence of species as permanent entities, while he is arguing against them. Quoting a plain passage, in which Mr. Darwin speaks of the more permanent varieties leading to sub-species, and species, he exclaims, * Well, then, permanency is, by Mr. Darwin's own showing, the attribute of species," although the passage in question contains no word to that effect, and the whole tenor of Mr. Darwin's book is to show that what are called species are subject to change. This shallow, flippant mode of treating a grave subject would have justified our taking no notice whatever of the “Graduate’s” book, but although thoughtful arguments against Darwinism would be valuable contributions to a very difficult discussion, and would be welcomed by thinkers on both sides, it is time to put a stop to mere impertinence on such important themes.
In page 57 the “ Graduate” gives a conspicuous instance of his habitual, though we have no doubt unintentional misrepresentation. Speaking of a well-developed tail-an organ he might possess with advantage, if it were prehensile enough to grasp an argument, or an idea-he exclaims “How formed ? By natural selection, of course, for the theory allows no other formative power.” Had he looked at, and been capable of understanding, a sentence in the "Origin of Species,” 8th edit., p. 91, he would not have made this blunder, and probably would not have written his book.
At the place cited, Darwin says :-“ Several writers have misapprehended, or objected to the term natural selection. Some have even imagined that natural selection induces variability, whereas it implies only the preservation of such variations as occur and are beneficial to the being under its condition of life.” In page 115 the “Graduate” exclaims with that amusing self-confidence which crass ignorance permits to grow in egotistical minds, “Let, then, Mr. Darwin say what he likes, when animals cannot anywhere be discovered before a certain point in the geological series, it will be believed that their non-appearance is owing to their non-existence, and it will also be believed that when we first find them in a certain geological formation, that they then first began to exist. This is the opinion of a crowd of other geologists, and is the deduction of common sense”! These things will no doubt be “ believed” by those who have been erroneously led to suppose that geologists have been able to examine a complete series of strata, corresponding with the successive groups of organized beings which have existed upon the earth. Students, however, who have had any opportunity of acquiring scientific knowledge on this subject, will be aware that the geological record, as at present known, consists only of imperfect fragments of a gigantic work, of which the missing chapters appear to have been much longer than those which have been recovered, and they will, instead of falling into the errors of the “ Graduate,”
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perceive that his “ common sense” differs little from common ignorance, puffed up by uncommon conceit.
We could adduce many similar instances of the way in which the “Graduate" has attempted to fulfil bis self-appointed task, but these will suffice, and if it should be our fortune to meet him again in print, we hope we shall find him in possession of a subject more adapted to his powers. Great workers in science, like Mr. Darwin, whether right or wrong in any particular hypothesis, are entitled to respectful treatment, and it is the duty of the press to protect them against unmannerly assault.
THE CABINET OF THE EARTH UNLOCKED. By Edward Steane Jackson, M.A., F.G.S., Second Master in the Tattenhall Preparatory School. (Jackson, Walford, and Co.)—This is a remarkably elegant little book; the very thing to coax young readers into a knowledge of elementary geology. The illustrations are unusually good; the landscape vignettes especially possessing great merit. We recommend this work to those who wish to make a pretty and useful present at a small cost; but in another edition we should advise Mr. Jackson not to dip his young folks in that sea of troubled waters, the reconcilement of Genesis and geology, and not to call the coral polyp an insect.
PHOTOGRAPHS OF EMINENT MEDICAL MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, with brief Analytical Notices of their Works. Edited by Wm. Tindal Robertson, M.D., M.R.C.P., Physician to the General Hospital, Nottingham. The photographic portraits from life by Ernest Edwards, B.A., Cantab. No. 6, Vol. II. (Churchill).—The present number of this interesting series contains portraits and notices of the late Dr. Hodgkin, Dr. Cobbold, and Mr. Holmes Coote. This work merits the support of the scientific world.
HANDBOOK OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. By Dr. Albert Schwegler. Translated and Annotated by James Hutchinson Stirling, LL.D., author of the “Secret of Hegel,” etc. (Edmonston and Douglas.)-Schwegler's work has been very popnlar in Germany. Its plan is to give brief notices of the various schools of philosopby, from the early Greeks down to Hegel. Dr. Stirling is anxious to counteract the positive school— Comte, Mill, Buckle, etc. In this he is not very happy, but his book will be very useful to students, and would have been more so if it had been printed in larger type. It is a mistake to put abstruse matter into very small print. Dr. Stirling coincides with Schwegler in making the history of philosophy terminate with Hegel, in which many will not agree.
The merit of the book consists in the general clearness of its descriptions of various methods of thought.
RELIQUIÆ AQUITANICE. Being Contributions to the Archæology and Palæontology of Périgord and the adjoining provinces of Southern France. By Edmund Lartet and Henry Christy. Edited by Thomas Rupert Jones, Professor of Geology, etc., Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Part IV. (Baillière.)—The fourth part of this splendid work contains very interesting matter, both in the text and in the elaborate illustrations. Two specimens of what are supposed, with probability, to have been stone mortars are figured. Objects of this kind are found of various sizes; some large enough to grind small quantities of grain, while others of less dimensions may have been used for triturating articles on a smaller scale. They seem to have been made by hollowing out a depression in water-worn stones or pebbles. They are mostly of granite, but three or four of quartzite have been discovered, and one or two of sandstone. They are from two to eight inches in breadth, and are not polished. Numerous illustrations are also given of prehistoric art, in the shape of carved and sculptured bone, chiefly reindeer horn. The attempts to execute floral patterns are very roughly carried out, but much greater success attended the endeavours of the old Aquitainians to depict animals, as, even when the outlines are clumsy and incorrect, there is often a striking appreciation of the true character of the object, Thus in Plate VII. and VII. two awkwardly delineated horses are remarkable for a rude power of expressing motion, and the same may be observed in the two adjacent reindeer. Two fragments of dart heads are ornamented with very badly executed human arms and hands. Angular marks are sculptured on the arms, but it is impossible to say whether they represented tattooing or dress, or were merely fanciful lines of ornament. In another dart head we notice what the text calls a “bar-like ornament."
It looks something like a leather strap or belt, with four holes at one end and three at the other. Most of the attempts at art are imitations of natural objects, but the slightly curved implement in B Plate X., with its row of oval figures touching each other, each oval having three furrows cut at one end, looks like an effort to make a conventional design, and cannot be complimented for its success. None of the ornamentation possesses a trace of humour, the grotesque probably being of much later date. In one case the stretched-out skin of some long-tailed animal has furnished the design.
ORGANIC PHILOSOPHY. VOL. II. Outlines of Ontology, Eternal Forces, Laws and Principles. By Hugh Doherty, M.D. (Trübner and Co.)—When thoughtful works are written by men of considerable ability and attainments, they deserve a respectful treatment, and if a reviewer does not take the trouble to follow the author's lines of argument, and understand his results, he should abstain from hostile criticism. Now with regard to Dr. Doherty's ontology, we are in the condition supposed. We do not feel disposed to make a study of the work, because, from a cursory view of it, we do not think it would repay us for the labour. We cannot, therefore, pretend to do more than just glance at his philosophy. He classifies the sciences as methodological, cosmological, and ontological, and subdivides these into lesser groups. At the top of his methodological group stands biologics, comprehending physical biology, instinctual biology, mental biology, and spiritual biology; and at the bottom of this group we find physics, subdivided into photological physics and chemics, electrological physics and chemics, thermological physics and chemics, and barological physics and chemics. Below biologics he places sociologics, and between sociologics and mechanics stands “dialegmaties," comprehending musical sciences, linguistic sciences, dramatic sciences, and methodic sciences, the
three first being called "impartative” and the last “investigative" We may not be able to apprehend the ideas which are intended to be conveyed by these arrangements, but they do not seem founded on positive knowledge or fact, but rather to represent an arbitrary scheme in the author's mind. Perhaps our readers will derive some information from the following illustration of " transcendental philosophy.” “An individual being is a miniature human world within a family, the family is a tiny world within a city, the city is a complex world within a nation, and a nation is a larger world within the limits of terrestrial humanity. Beyond the natural world of humanity we have the lymbic, beyond the lymbic the supernatural, and beyond all human worlds the superhuman."
GERMINAL MATTER AND THE Contact Theory. An Essay on the Morbid Poisons, their Nature, Sources, Effects, Migrations, and the means of Limiting their Noxious Agency. By James Morris, M.D., Lond. Second Edition. (Churchill.) — A well-written and interesting little book, applying Lionel Beale's theory of germinal matter to the explanation of contagious disease. It is certainly exceedingly probable that such matter, in a minute state of division, brought into contact with appropriate materials in living bodies, is a common cause of disease; but the author throws little light on the question, as to the extent and circumstances under which physical or other conditions may occasion disease, without the actual importation into the system of an extraneous and living morbid particle. Nor does hé afford fresh information as to the circumstances which enable some persons to resist contagious or infectious influences while others succumb to them. In spite of the best sanitary arrangements, particles of germinal matter, capable of inducing disease, are probably so widely diffused in large towns and their vicinity, that no one could expect to escape, unless the conditions under which they can operate mischievously were happily comparatively rare. The cattle plague doctors and the Privy Council recommended killing and burying every patient afflicted with the disease. Dr. Morris does not advise such treatment of bipeds, and does not enter into the question of its propriety with respect to quadrupeds. We cannot do wrong in following his advice to destroy germs of disease as far as possible; and the promulgation of the theory he espouses will be beneficial in suggesting useful action, and also in stimulating further research. With regard to the philosophy of the book, we may remark that a portion of "germinal matter” capable of independent existence, does not seem distinguishable from a “germ," and the diffusion of germs has long been recognized as a cause of disease.
THE MICROSCOPE, ITS HISTORY, CONSTRUCTION, AND APPLICATION ; being a familiar introduction to the use of the Instrument and the study of Microscopic Science. By Jabez Hogg, F.L.S., F.R.M.S., Secretary Royal Microscopical Society, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, author of “Elements of Natural Philosophy,”a “Manual of Ophthalmic Surgery,” etc. With upwards of five hundred engravings and coloured illustrations, by Taffen West. Sixth Edition. (Routledge).-Without disparaging the