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Spine of Galago Allenii (from. Proc. Zool. Soc.)
186 Annelid undergoing spontaneous fission
190, 241 Aard-Vark (Orycteropus capensis)
ii., 196 Pangolin (Manis)
197 Skeleton of Manus and Pes of a Tailed Batrachian (from Professor Gegenbaur's “ Tarsus und Carpus")
200 Flexor Muscles of Hand of Nycticebus (from Proc. Zool. Soc.) 203 The Fibres of Corti
THE GENESIS OF SPECIES.
The problem of the genesis of species stated. — Nature of its probable
solution.— Importance of the question.—Position here defended. — Statement of the DARWINIAN THEORY.—Its applicability to details of geographical distribution ; to rudimentary structures ; to homology ; to mimicry, &c.—Consequent utility of the theory.—Its wide acceptance. -Reasons for this, other than, and in addition to, its scientific value. — Its simplicity.—Its bearing on religious questions.--Odium theologicuin and odium antitheologicum.—The antagonism supposed by many to exist between it and theology neither necessary nor universal. – Christian authorities in favour of evolution. - Mr. Darwin's “ Animals and Plants under Domestication.”-Difficulties of the Darwinian theory enumerated.
The great problem which has so long exercised the minds of naturalists, namely, that concerning the origin of different kinds of animals and plants, seems at last to be fairly on the road to receive—perhaps at no very distant future—as satisfactory a solution as it can well have.
But the problem presents peculiar difficulties. The birth of a “species” has often been compared with that of an “individual.” The origin, however, of even an individual animal or plant (that which determines an embryo to
evolve itself,—as, e.g., a spider rather than a beetle, a rose-plant rather than a pear) is shrouded in obscurity. A fortiori must this be the case with the origin of a “species.”
Moreover, the analogy between a “species” and an “individual" is a very incomplete one. The word “individual” denotes a concrete whole with a real, separate, and distinct existence. The word “species,” on the other hand, denotes a peculiar congeries of characters, innate powers and qualities, and a certain nature realized indeed in individuals, but having no separate existence, except ideally as a thought in some mind.
Thus the birth of a “species” can only be compared metaphorically, and very imperfectly, with that of an “individual."
Individuals as individuals, actually and directly produce and bring forth other individuals; but no “congeries of characters," no "common nature” as such, can directly bring forth another “common nature,” because, per se, it has no existence (other than ideal) apart from the individuals in which it is manifested.
The problem then is, “ by what combination of natural laws does a new common nature' appear upon the scene of realized existence ?" i.e. how is an individual embodying such new characters produced ?
For the approximation we have of late made towards the solution of this problem, we are mainly indebted to the invaluable labours and active brains of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.
Nevertheless, important as have been the impulse anıl direction given by those writers to both our observations and speculations, the solution will not (if the views here
advocated are correct) ultimately present that aspect and character with which it has issued from the hands of those writers.
Neither, most certainly, will that solution agree in appearance or substance with the more or less crude conceptions which have been put forth by most of the opponents of Messrs. Darwin and Wallace.
Rather, judging from the more recent manifestations of thought on opposite sides, we may expect the development of some tertium quid—the resultant of forces coming from different quarters, and not coinciding in direction with any one of them.
As error is almost always partial truth, and so consists in the exaggeration or distortion of one verity by the suppression of another which qualifies and modifies the former, we may hope, by the synthesis of the truths contended for by various advocates, to arrive at the one conciliating reality.
Signs of this conciliation are not wanting : opposite scientific views, opposite philosophical conceptions and opposite religious beliefs, are rapidly tending by their vigorous conflict to evolve such a systematic and comprehensive view of the genesis of species as will completely harınonize with the teachings of science, philosophy and religion.
To endeavour to add one stone to this temple of concord, to try and remove a few of the misconceptions and mutual misunderstandings which oppose harmonious action, is the aim and endeavour of the present work. This aim it is hoped to attain, not by shirking difficulties, but analysing them, and by endeavouring to dig down to the common root which supports and unites diverging stems of truth.