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THE ORIGIN OF HUMAN REASON.
The question of evolution by the agency of natural selection has now been debated for one whole generation. The result of the battle, so far, has been to concentrate almost the entire interest of the struggle upon the question whether or not the mind of man can have been evolved from the psychical faculties of the lower animals. We have not hesitated to declare, again and again,* that such an evolution is necessarily impossible; but our critics and opponents, from Professor Huxley † downwards, have evaded, rather than com
* See “The Genesis of Species ” (Macmillan, 1870); “ Lessons from Nature” (John Murray, 1876); “On the Development of the Individual and the Species,” Proceedings of the Zoological Society, June 17, 1884 ; “A Limit to Evolution," Nineteenth Century, August, 1884; and “ Nature and Thought" (Burns and Oates, 1885: 2nd edit.).
† See his article entitled “Mr. Darwin's Critics," in the Contemporary Review, 1871, and reprinted in 1873 in Professor Huxley's “Critiques and Addresses ” (Macmillan and Co.), p. 251. bated, the arguments whereby we supported our position.
We hail, then, with much pleasure and very sincere satisfaction, the publication by Mr. Romanes of his recent work on human mental evolution. * In him we have at last a Darwinian who, with great patience and thoroughness, applies himself to meet directly and point-blank the most formidable arguments of the anti-Darwinian school, as well as to put forward persuasively the most recent hypotheses on his side. Mr. Romanes is exceptionally well qualified—amongst the disciples of Mr. Darwin—to assume the task he has assumed. For a long time past he has made this question his own, and has devoted his energies to the task of showing that there is (as Mr. Darwin declared) no difference of kind, but only one of degree, between the highest human intellect and the psychical faculties of the lowest animals. Mr. Romanes has become the representative of Mr. Darwin on this special and most important field of inquiry, and he has accumulated, in defence of the position he has taken up, an enormous mass of facts and anecdotes, which he regards as offering decisive evidence in his favour. His new book on this subject is written with great clearness and ability, and though it is, of course, possible that other advocates might have avoided this or that erroneous inference and mistaken assertion (as we deem them) of Mr. Romanes, we are convinced that no one could, on the whole, have
* “Mental Evolution in Man: Origin of Human Faculty," by G. J. Romanes, M.A., LL.D., F.R.S. (Kegan Paul, Trench and Co., 1888).