Page images
PDF
EPUB

links Mr Darwin has to run the gauntlet of all the rocks from the Cretacean down to the Cambrian, thence to the basal rocks of the Silurian, and thence to “Chaos and old Night.

So then in all this immense series, in all these “millions of ages' required for forming the rocks, between the Tertiary and the Silurian, there is not a particle of evidence to be adduced for the help of Natural Selection. Why then appeal to a pre-Silurian imaginary formation ? here is space enough to find what is wanted, how comes it that nothing which is wanted can be found?

Mr Darwin has told us that 'species very rarely endured for more than a geological period' (171), an admission which, though true, is startling from this quarter, as it is a clear acknowledgment of the negative evidence in palæontology, which Mr Darwin has declared to be worthless. It is obvious that this his rule can only stand on negative evidence; a species that has existed in one formation, is not found in the next. Therefore, argues Mr Darwin, it has ceased to exist, convinced of the fact simply because he cannot find the species. In this case the negative evidence in palæontology satisfies Mr Darwin, as it does us also.

But now we ask why, if the negative evidence is ad. mitted as a proof in one instance, is it rejected in another ? We say that the elephant, &c., did not exist, or that its antecedent link did not exist, in the Secondary, because there is no trace of them to be found in that formation; and this we urge against the existence of an animal which has only a theoretical standing, and whose real existence is the thing to be proved. Negative evidence against a creature that cannot be produced, is inevitable.

It is your cretacean mastodon, or your giraffe, in

Jos Tire Susione, and we will believe that they then zizi

vir cannot do, and therefore we do not tico.. mal aime it will be observed that negative

ind in the theory when wanted, and rev an drin e fund to be inconvenient.

Siva SELOSI. he is ihis :-
vä r itararens, of which we have been speak-

ism arrurance in the first Tertiary form

D ERI I ide antecedent or Secondary Jednoducho x I T Cological epoch, though the * cis zcaiiossils of the organic beings

irmation, and which are con.

L

i te Secondary formation are C

A T,So whence it is concluded with

TaTaT.

L i te Tertiary formation are Duch Social i ta whence it is also con

recebe Sexondary.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

f inir zaman pe

r tried onir a limited 4 .jean !

i vo Bre v e r esmines prof of an important sat PL **L

W Y D D ar cir; on the Tertiary In . Severibdiens in estatuty Mas, Sir C. Lyell protests 24 ust

ve evidence, estis M: lain does; and thus dues he pasket: S. 12 rucks e tos master's vice. "It would be a waste of time to spece ate on the bus.ber of orirical muna is or germs fruin wiich I pass ard abituals were suisyently evolved; moreover as the oldest for herves strata koowo to us the Scarian), hry be the last of a long series of antecedent formations, which once contained organic beings' (p. 470).

The Tertiary formation then is the era of the first ap. pearance of the animals in question ; they began to exist in that epoch, and not sooner.

This is sufficient; all the rest must follow as an inevitable corollary.

The evidence of geology entirely confutes Mr Darwin's Theory of the Transmutation of Species.

CHAPTER XII.

LYELL'S CONFUTATION OF TRANSMUTATION.

The reader will already have perceived that Sir Charles Lyell entered the lists as an opponent of Transmutation many years ago. This appears in all the earlier editions of the Principles of Geology; ours is the third, of the year 1834. It is from this edition that extracts will be given of his confutation of Lamarck, and it will soon be perceived that every point in that confutation is direct against Mr Darwin, and we may add against Sir C. Lyell himself also. Subsequent to the publication of Mr Darwin's Origin of Species, Sir C. Lyell went over to the opinions which he had so ably confuted; and in his publication on • The Antiquity of Man' has advocated the dogma of Transmutation, even in its most extravagant form. That volume was published in the year 1861.

In the third edition of the Principles of Geology, the learned author has no scruple in expressing himself as a believer in a Creator, he speaks of the Divine Author of all things, and considers the phenomena of Nature as his work. Thirty years ago this was not unusual in the language of scientific writers, but now the fashion is changed, and in the School of Transmutation it would be inappropriate and misplaced. Mr Darwin has candidly told us that ‘Natural Selection, if it be a true principle, will banish the belief of the continued creation of new organic beings, or of any great and sudden modification of their structure’ (101). Transmutation is in fact the antitheos of their system ; they that believe in Natural Selection, logically cease to believe in a Creator.

In the third edition, already referred to, Sir C. Lyell says: We must suppose that when the author of Nature creates* an animal or plant, all the possible circumstances in which its descendants are destined to live are foreseen, and that an organization is conferred upon it which will enable the species to perpetuate itself, and survive under all the varying circumstances to which it must be inevitably exposed' (ii. 351). Sentiments such as these were in harmony with the opinions which the learned writer entertained at that time,—we proceed now to lay some of those opinions before the reader.

Lamarck's statements are first given : ‘Every considerable alteration in the local circumstances in which each race of animals exists, causes a change in their wants, and these new wants excite them to new actions and habits. These actions require the more frequent employment of some parts before but slightly exercised, and then greater development follows as a consequence of their more frequent use. Other organs no longer in use are impoverished and diminished in size, nay, are sometimes annihilated, while in their place new parts are insensibly produced for the discharge of new functions. This is Lamarck's doctrine, and on this Lyell thus comments : 'I must observe

* In other passages similar language is used, as for instance: “From the above considerations, it appears that species have a real existence in nature, and that cach was endowed, at the time of its creation, with the attributes and organization by which it is now distinguished' (ii. 403).

« PreviousContinue »