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nevertheless a view which appears to us to be absurdly unwarranted and one not only without evidence but against it.
(6) As to infants too young to show intelligence, and as to savages so degraded (if any such there be) as not to appear unequivocally intellectual, we judge of their essential nature by the outcome of education in the first case, and by the analogy of their fellow-men in the second case. This outcome and this analogy lead us to credit such infants and such savages with the possession of a latent intellectual nature which physical conditions (their undeveloped frame or their unfavourable environment) do not allow them to make externally manifest. We judge the very opposite (also from outcome and analogy) in the case of brutes.
(7) Thus we deem that no human state of existence, however abnormal, can be really “brutal,” and that the psychical activity of no brute, however startling, can be really “intellectual.” We should expect, moreover, that an adult human being, who could give no evidence of rationality, would (being in an abnormal condition) be capable of even less than a mere animal—the nonintellectual condition of which is normal. Similarly, the possession of intellect, as well as passions and a power of will, would lead us to expect to find occasionally amongst mankind, more perverted and more profoundly irrational actions than in the case of brutes, which, we believe, have no voluntary power of applying their intellectual and physical activities in consciously perverted modes.
(8) We consider that it is congruous and according to analogy that our intellectual nature should require the exercise of merely animal faculties as a condition precedent to manifestations of intellect. We so consider because, in the first place, we find that the world of plants, in order that they should live, require to possess, as they do possess, the physical and chemical powers of inorganic nature; secondly, because we find that animals need and possess, not only the physical and chemical powers of inorganic nature, but also the vital activities of plants, as well as their own specially animal powers. We might then expect to find, as we do find, that we men possess at one and the same time the powers of the inorganic, vegetal, and animal worlds, as well as the special faculties of human nature.
Having thus made profession of the biological and psychological faith that is in us, we may proceed to address ourselves to our task — an examination of recent hypotheses, and especially a careful consideration of Mr. Romanes's arguments. He relies mainly on the phenomena said to be presented by infants and savages to justify his assertion that such a gradual series of transitions in psychical power exists between man and brute, as suffices to make plain the fact that the difference between them is not one of “kind”—not a fundamental, essential difference—but merely one of “degree.”
He starts by urging that there are four à priori reasons in favour of his contention. Putting aside for the moment the question as regards man, he tells us * that "the process of organic and of mental evolution has been continuous throughout the whole region of life.” “On grounds of analogy, therefore,” he adds, “we should deem it antecedently improbable that the process of evolution, elsewhere so uniform and ubiquitous, should
* p. 4.
have been interrupted at its terminal phase.” c. But this continuity we altogether deny as regards
the domain of irrational nature, and whatever force his argument has, tells (if we are right) directly against his contention, instead of in favour of it. That there is an absolute break between the living world and the world devoid of life, is what scientific men are now agreed about—thanks to the persevering labours of M. Pasteur. Those who affirm that though life does not arise from inorganic matter now, nevertheless it did so “a long time ago," affirm what is at the least contrary to all the evidence we possess, and they can bring forward nothing more in favour of it than the undoubted fact that it is a supposition which is necessary for the validity of their own speculative views.* There is, then, one plain evidence that there has been an interruption of continuity, if not within the range of organic life, yet at its commencement and origin. But we go further than this, and affirm, without a moment's hesitation, that there has, and must necessarily have been, discontinuity within the region of organic life also. We refer to the discontinuity between organisms which are capable of sensation and those which do not possess the power of feeling.† That all the
* Thus, e.g., Dr. A. Weismann says, “I admit that spontaneous generation, in spite of all vain efforts to demonstrate it, remains for me a logical necessity." See his “Essays upon Heredity, etc.” : Oxford, 1889.
† Mr. A. R. Wallace, in his recent work, “Darwinism," p. 475, does not hesitate also to affirm this ; declaring it to be altogether
higher animals “feel” will not be disputed. They give all the external signs of sensitivity, and they possess that special organic structure—a nervous system, which we know supplies all our organs of sensation. In the absence of any bodily mutilation, then, we have no reason to suspect that their nervous system and organs of sense do not act in a manner analogous to our own. On the other hand, to affirm that the familiar vegetables of our kitchen-gardens are all endowed with sensitivity, is not only to make a gratuitous affirmation, but one opposed to evidence, since no vegetable organisms possess a nervous system ; and it is a universally admitted biological law, that structure and function go together. If, then, there are any organisms whatever which do not feel, while certain other organisms do feel, then (as a door must be shut or open) there is, and must be, a break and distinction between the one set and the other.
Some persons may object: "The transition is so gradual, it is impossible to draw an exact line between sentient and insentient organisms.” Even if this assertion be true, such an objection would be of no avail, because an apparently continuous and uninterrupted course of action is often not really such, but only seems to be so on account of our organization-our very limited power of vision. Let us suppose an action to take place at precisely such a rate as to permit of our seeing preposterous to assume that at a certain stage of complexity of atomic constitution, and as a necessary result of that alone, sensitivity should arise. “Here," he tells us, “all idea of mere complication of structure producing the result is out of the question."
its steps separated from each other by just appreciable intervals; then we have but to suppose the period needed for our nervous activity to be slightly increased, and it would necessarily follow we could no longer perceive the intervals, and the supposed action would seem to be continuous—as does that of the hour-hand of a clock. Let us next assume that a really interrupted action is so slow that we cannot detect any separate intervals and acts in its course; we have but to suppose the rapidity of our nervous activity increased, and we should be abie to clearly perceive them. So much for continuity as to conditions of succession. As to the continuity of conditions of simultaneous existence, it is notorious that the microscope is continually showing us the existence of intervals and interruptions in what, to our unaided senses, appears continuous. It is also notorious that the universal presence of intervals and a perpetual absence of continuity, is set forth as the real condition of material existence by those thinkers who are most earnest in denying the existence of an interval between human and brute intelligence—namely, by all those who uphold the mechanical theory of the universe. For they believe that everything we know, even every gas, is made up of a cluster of more or less widely separated molecules and atoms.
But that absolute interruptions and really instantaneous actions do take place on all sides of us in nature, is indisputable. Such is the case in every act of impregnation, wherein there is, and must be, an instant before and an instant after the contact of the ultimate sexual elements. We have again, at a later reproductive stage,