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the great ones, he is greatly embarrassed, and can only give reasons more or less contradictory. The same situation presents itself when he endeavours to explain why the ani. mals of Egypt which have not changed their soil por other conditions of life for three or four thousand years, have not also changed their character, for nothing prevented the animals of that region to continue Selection, as all of them are not exactly alike.
If this combination of Natural Selection and struggle for life were the cause of the perfecting of beings, it would act as well on bad soil as on good, which is not the case. Mr Darwin recognizes this indirectly when he tells us “that which I have said, I repeat, I do not believe in any necessary law of development ... the variety of each species is an independent faculty, and very variable in degree.” In fact, in his system he is obliged to recognize that variability is independent, but independent of this system only, since it is overruled by the soil and by crossings. He is obliged also to recognize that it is very variable considering that it often acts in a sense contrary to his theory.
Nevertheless he makes this Theory the cause of the distinction of Species. In speaking of the absence of intermediate varieties which results so distinctly from the limit to which fecundity extends, he says: “If we cannot always and everywhere meet with the innumerable forms of Transition, that depends chiefly on the action of Natural Selection, by virtue of which new varieties constantly tend to supplant and exterminate their original stock.” That explains continued extinctions, but not the degrees. Be. sides this we suppose that geological documents have only kept imperfect register of these transformations. That could not explain those general and regular gaps in the evidence, and the apparent phase of stability which characterizes the Species. Moreover, these two explanations of the same phenomenon do not agree; is it the one, or is it the other, that is really the agent ?
“The struggle for life brings about a general destruction of the inferior beings by the superiors. But as this action operates from one end to the other of the scale of beings, there would be no means of distinguishing the Species. This would be the result, that only the advanced being, less influenced by that condition, would have more advantages to injure the being which would be immediately beneath it.
Notwithstanding all these contradictions which Mr Darwin's Theory receives from the facts which we have placed under the eyes of the reader, his book contains a number of interesting remarks. His ideas of conformation and appropriation of beings, with regard to the functions which they have to fulfil, and the circumstances in which they live, had already been indicated by Lamarck, who himself only gave an explanation of more ancient ideas. The merit * of Mr Darwin is that he has given them more de. velopment and more consistence.
'In another passage Mr Darwin himself recognizes, if not the error of his Theory, at least the limits of its effects, which amounts almost to the same thing. These are his
* "Le mérite de M. Darwin est de leur avoir donné plus de développement, plus de consistence' (236).
It is by no means certain that Mr Darwin will relish this compliment. M. Pouchet also says : M. Darwin est le continuateur direct de Lamarck.' -(Pluralité des Races, 173.)
M. Flourens confirms all this : Le fait est que Lainarck est le père de M. Darwin. Il a commencé son système. Toutes les idées de Lamarck sont, au fond, celles de M. Darwin. M. Darwin ne le dit pas d'abord; il a trop d'art pour cela’ (15).
words: “Vatural Selection can render each organized being only as perfect as or a little more perfect than the other inhabitants of the same country; and against which they must continually struggle for existence. Now such is in effect the degree of perfection attained by Nature. The aboriginal productions of New Zealand, for example, are perfect if we compare them among one another, but they are on the way to disappear before the continually increasing number of plants and animals introduced by the Europeans. Natural Selection cannot produce absolute perfection-it can only produce a relative superiority; that is, a degree of perfection measured by the local resources.”
- This quotation establishes very clearly, and in a double way, the limit of the effects as we have laid it down. It points out even the true cause of perfection, in affirming that it is measured by the local resources' (237).
Thus does M. Trémaux censure Mr Darwin, and in his remarks on the struggle for life, with convincing arguments. Even when he confronts his own Theory with that of Mr Darwin, it is with some degree of success, for M. Trémaux has something substantial to present to the reader, as every one acknowledges that soil can improve, though scarcely any one but M. Trémaux would affirm that it can form or transform organized beings. The soil can do something, Natural Selection nothing; and it is amusing to find that Mr Darwin occasionally invokes the assistance of the soil to eke out the deficiencies of Natural Selection.
STRICTURES ON MR DARWIN'S THEORY.
We have now to return to Mr Darwin's Theory, and still further to examine its claims to our acknowledgment of its authority as an interpreter of Nature.
M. Flourens has well said, * Natural Selection is only Nature under another name' (31); and again, “Either Natural Selection is nothing, or it is Nature, but Nature endowed with the attribute of Selection—NATURE PERSONIFIED, which is the last error of the last century; the nineteenth century has done with personifications' (53).
This is indeed an exact analysis of Mr Darwin's metaphor. Natural Selection is organization, and selects itself.
Now that Natural Selection is indeed Nature, in this Theory, and nothing more, is evident not only from the general course of the argument, and the statements with which it is supported, but from some passages of the author which leave no doubt on the subject. Having spoken of Nature in the previous sentence, he goes on to say, 'she can act on every internal organ, on every shade of constitutional difference, on the whole machinery of life. Man selects only for his own good, Nature only for that of the being which she tends. Every selected character is fully examined by her, and the being is placed under well-suited conditions of life.'
* L'élection naturelle n'est sous un autre nom que la nature. Pour un être organisé, la nature n'est que l'organisation, ni plus, ni moins. Il faudra donc aussi personnifier l'organisation, et dire que l'organisation choisit l'organisation. L'élection naturelle est cette forme substantielle dont ou jouait autrefois avec tant de facilité. Aristote disait que “si l'art de batir était dans le bois, cet art agirait comme la nature." A la place de l'art de batir M. Darwin met l'élection naturelle, et c'est tout un : l'un n'est pas plus chimérique que l'autre' (p. 31).
Could studied language, seeking to express the personality of Nature, and to endow her with discrimination and accurate judgment, go further than this ? Take again this statement :
*Slow though the process of selection may be, if feeble man can do much by his powers of artificial selection, I can see no limit to the amount of change, to the beauty and infinite complexity of the co-adaptations between all organic beings, one with another, and with their physical conditions of life, which may be effected in the long course of time by Nature's power of Selection’ (115).
Ilere the personification rises in intensity: if 'feeble man’ can do much in improving domestic animals and plants, how much more can powerful Nature do in the way of mutation, having so great a measure of time for her operations. Observe, that powerful' is implied in the contrast to feeble man ;' and observe, also, that the argument also urges that if man selects, and by selection produces improved and beautiful varieties, much more can Nature do in this way; implying that she is much more intelligent, and wise, and has a more refined eye for beauty, than the artificer man. But whence conies this 'beauty?' We have already seen that Natural Selection spurns beauty, that beauty is no part of the design of Nature, and that if it were so, it would be fatal to the Author's Thcory, by his own confession. Ilow then