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where the common pheasant's eggs are hatched under the domestic hen. How then does Mr. Darwin dispose of this apparently impassable barrier of nature against the transmutation-theory? He urges that it depends not upon any great law of life, but mainly, first, on the early death of the embryo, or, secondly, upon " the common imperfection of the reproductive system" in the male offspring. How he considers this to be any answer to the difficulty it is beyond our power to conceive. We can hardly imagine any clearer way of stating the mode in which an universal law, if it existed, must ?.ct, than that in which he describes it, to disprove its existence. But, besides this, other and insuperable difficulties beset this whole speculation. To one of these Mr. Darwin alludes (pp. 192, 103), and dismisses it with a most suspicious brevity. "The electric organs of fishes," he says, " offer another case of special difficulty," and he places as "a parallel case of difficulty the presence of luminous organs in a few insects belonging to different families and orders.
We see no possible solution on the Darwinian theory for the presence at once so Inarked and so exceptional of these organs. And how are they dealt with? Surely in a mode most unsatisfactory by one promulging a new theory of creation; for scarcely admitting that their presence is little else than destructive of his theory, Mr. Darwin simply remarks " that we are too ignorant to argue that no transition of any kind is possible," a solution which could of course equally make the scheme it is intended to serve compatible with any other contradiction.
It is the more important to notice this, because there is another large class of cases in which the same difficulty is present, nnd as to which Mr. Darwin suggests no solution. We allude to those animals which, like many snakes, possess special organs for secreting venom and for discharging it at their own proper volition. The whole set of glands, ducts, and other vessels employed for this purpose are, as any instructed comparative anatomist would tell him, so entirely separate from the ordinary laws of animal life and peculiar to themselves, that the derivation of these by any natural modification from progenitors which did not possess them would be a marvellous contradiction of ull laws of descent with which we arc familiar. And this special and unnoticed difficulty leads us on to another of still wider extent. Most of our readers know that the stomachs and whole digestive system of the carnivori are constructed upon a wholly different type from those of the graminivorous animals. Yet whence this difference, if these diverse constructions can claim a common origin?
Can any permutationist pretend that experience gives us any reason for believing that any change of food, however unnatural or forced, ever has changed or ever could change the one type into the other? Yet that diversity prevades the whole being of the separated classes. It does not affect only their outward forms, as to which the merest accidents of color or of hair may veil real resemblance under seeming difference, but it pervades the nervous system, the organs of reproduction, the stomach, the alimentary canal; nay, in every blood-corpuscle which circulates through their arteries and veins it is universally present and perpetually active.
Where, then, in the most nllied forms, was the earliest commencement of diversity? or what advantage of life could alter the shape of the corpuscles into which the blood can be evaporated?
We come then to these conclusions. All the facts presented to us in the natural world tend to show that none of the variations produced in the fixed forms of animal life, when seen in its most plastic condition under domestication, give any promise of a true transmutation of species; first. from the difficulty of accumulating and fixing variations within the same species,; secondly, from the fact that these variations, though most serviceable for man, have no tendency to improve the individual beyond the standard of his own specific type, and so to afford matter, even if they were infinitely produced, for the supposed power of natural selection on which to work; whilst all variations from the mixture of species are barred by the inexorable law of hybrid sterility. Further, the embalmed records of three thousand years show that there has been no beginning of transmutation in the species of our most familiar domesticated animals; and beyond this, that in the countless tribes of animal life around us, down to its lowest and most variable species, no one has ever discovered a single instance of such transmutation being now in prospect; no new organ has ever been known to be developed—no new natural instinct to be formed—whilst, finally, in the vast museum of departed animal life which the strata of the earth imbed for our examination, whilst they contain far too complete a representation of the past to be set aside as a mere imperfect record, yet afford no one instance of any such change as having ever been in progress, or give us anywhere the missing links of the assumed chain, or the remains which would enable now existing variations, by gradual approximations, to shade off into unity.
On what then is the new theory based? Wo say it with unfeigned regret, in dealing with such a man as Mr. Darwin, on the
merest hypothesis, supported by the most unbounded assumptions. These are strong words, but we will give a few instances to prove their truth:—
"All physiologists admit that the swim-bladder is homologous or'ideally similar'in position and structure with the lungs of the higher vertebrate animals ; hence there seems to me to be no great difficulty in believing that natural selection has actually converted a swim-bladder into » lung, or organ used exclusively for respiration."—P. 191.
"1 can indeed hardly doubt that all vertebrate animals having true lungs have descended by ordinary generation from the ancient prototype, of which wo know nothing, furnished with a floating apparatus or swim-bladder."—P. 191.
We must be cautious
"In concluding that the most different habits of all could not graduate into each other; that a bat, for instance, could not have been formed by natural selection from an animal which at first could only glide through the air."—P. 204.
"1 see no difficulty in supposing that such links formerly existed, and that each liad been formed by the same steps as in the case of the less perfectly gliding squirrels, and that each grade of structure was useful to its possessor. Nor can I see any insuperable difficulty in further believing it possible that the membrane-connected fingers and forearm of the galcopithecus might be greatly lengthened by natural selection, and this, as fur as the organs of flight arc concerned, would convert it into a bat."—P. 181.
"For instance, a swim-bladder has apparently been converted into an air-breathing lung."—P. 804.
"The electric organs of fishes offer another case of special difficulty. It is impossible to conceive by what steps these wondrous organs have been produced; but, as Owen and others have remarked, their intimate structure closely resembles that of common muscles; and as it lias lately been shown that rays have an organ closely analogous to the electric apparatus, nnd yet dp not, as Mattencci asserts, discharge any electricity, wo must own that we are far too ignorant to argue that no transition of any kind is possible."—Pp. 192-3.
Sometimes Mr. Darwin seems for a moment to recoil himself from this extravagant liberty of speculation, as when he says, concerning the eye,—
"To suppose that the eye, with its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree."—P. 186.
But he soon returns to his new wantonness of conjecture, and without the shadow of a fact, contents himself with saying that—
"ho suspects that any sensitive nerve may be rendered sensitive to light, and likewise to those coarser vibrations of the air which produce sound."—P. 187.
And in the following passage he carries this extravagance to the highest pitch, requiring a license for advancing as true any theory which cannot be demonstrated to be actually impossible:—
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutclv break down. But I can find no such case."—P. 189.
Another of these assumptions is not a little remarkable. It suits the argument to deduce all our known varieties of pigeon from the rock-pigeon (the Columba livia), and this parentage is traced out, though not, we think, to demonstration, yet with great ingenuity and patience. But another branch of the argument would be greatly strengthened by establishing the descent of our various breeds of dogs with their perfect power of fertile interbreeding from different natural species. And accordingly, though every fact as to the canine race is parallel to the facts which have been used before to establish the common parentage of the pigeons in Columba livia, all these are thrown over in a moment, and Mr. Darwin, first assuming, without the shadow of proof, that our domestic breeds are descended from different species, proceeds calmly to argue from this, as though it were a demonstrated certainty.
"It seems to me unlikely in the case of the doggenos, which is distributed in a wild state throughout the world, that since man first appeared one species alone should have been domesticated."—P. 18.
"In some cases Ida not doubt that the intercrossing of species aboriginally distinct has played an important part in the origin of our domestic productions."—P. 43.
What new words are these for a loyal disciple of the true Baconian philosophy ?—" I can conceive "—" It is not incredible "—" I do not doubt"—" It is conceivable."
"For myself, 1 ventured confidently to look back thousands on thousands of generations, and I see an animal striped like n zebra, but perhaps otherwise very differently constructed, the common parent of our domestic horse, whether or not it bo descended from one or more wild stocks of tho ass, heminus, quaggo, or zebra."—P. 167.
In the name of all true philosophy we protest equally against such a mode of dealing with nature, as utterly dishonorable to all natural science, as reducing it from its present lofty level as one of the noblest trainers of man's intellect and instructors of his mind, to being a mere idle play of the fancy, without the basis of fact or the discipline of observation. In the " Arabian Nights" we are not offended as at an impossibility when Amina sprinkles her husband with water and transforms him into a dog, but we cannot open the august doors of the venerable temple of scientific truth to the genii and magicians of romance. We plead guilty to Mr. Darwin's imputation that
"the chief cause of our natural unwillingness to admit thnt one species lias given birth to other and distinct species is that wo are always slow in admitting any great change of which wo do not sco the intermediate steps."—P. 481.
In this tardiness to admit great changes suggested by the imagination, but the steps of which we cannot see, is the true spirit of philosophy.
"Analysis," says Professor Sedgwick, "consists in making experiments and observations, and in drawing general conclusions from them by induction, and admitting of no objections against the conclusions but such as arc taken from experiments or other certain truths; for hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental philosophy."*
The other solvent which Mr. Darwin most freely and, we think, unphilosophically employs to get rid of difficulties, is bis use of time. This he shortens or prolongs at will by the mere wave of his magician's rod. Thus the duration of whole epochs, during which certain forms of animal life prevailed, is gathered up into a point, whilst an unlimited expanse of years, impressing his mind with a sense of eternity, is suddenly interposed between that and the next series, though geology proclaims the transition to have been one of gentle and, it may be, swift accomplishment. All this too is made the more startling because it is used to meet the objections drawn from facts. "We see none of your works," says the observer of nature; "we see no beginnings of the portentous change; we see plainly beings of another order in creation, out we find amongst them no tendencies to these altered organisms." "True," says the great magician, with a calmness no difficulty derived from the obstinacy of facts can disturb j "true, but remember the effect of time. Throw in a few hundreds of millions of years more or less, and why should not all these changes be possible, and, if possible, why may I not assume them to be real?"
* " A Discourse on the Studies of the University," by A. Sedgwick, p 102.
Together with this large license of assumption we notice in this book several instances of receiving as facts whatever seems to bear out the theory upon the slightest evidence, and rejecting summarily others, merely because they are fatal to it. We grieve to charge upon Mr. Darwin this freedom in handling facts, but truth extorts it from us. That the loose statements and unfounded speculations of this book should come from the author of the monograms on Cirripedes, and the writer, in the natural history of the voyage of the " Beagle," of the paper on the coral reefs, is indeed a sad warning how far the love of a theory may seduce even a firstrate naturalist from the very articles of his creed.
This treatment of facts is followed up by another favorite line of argument, namely, that by this hypothesis difficulties otherwise inextricable are solved. Such passages abound. Take a few, selected almost at random, to illustrate what we mean :—
"How inexplicable nro these facts on the ordinary view of creation ^"—P. 436.
"Such facts as the presence of peculiar species of bats and the absence of other mammals on oceanic islands are utterly inexplicable on the theory of independent acts of creation."— Pp. 477-8.
"It must be admitted that these facts receive no explanation on the theory of creation."—P. 478.
"The inhabitants of the Cape de Verde Islands arc related to those of Africa, like those of the Galapagos to America. I believe this grand fiirt can receive no sort of explanation on the ordinary view of independent creation."—Pp. 398-9.
Now what can be more simply reconcilable with that theory than Mr. Darwin's own account of the mode in which the migration of animal life from one distant region to another is continually accomplished?
Take another of these suggestions :—;
"It is inexplicable, on the theory of creation, why a part developed in a very unusual manner in any one species of a genus, and therefore, as we may naturally infer, of great importance to the species, should bo eminently liable to variation/'—P. 474.
Why "inexplicable"? Such a liability to variation might most naturally be expected in the part "unusually developed," because unusual development is of the nature of a monstrosity, and monsters are always tending to relapse into likeness to the normal type. Yet this argument is one on which he mainly relies to establish his theory, for he sums all up in this triumphant inference:—
"I cannot believe that a false theory would explain, ns it seems to me that the theory of natural selection docs explain, tho several largo classes of facts above specified."—P. 480.
Now, as to all this, we deny, first, that many of these difficulties ore "inexplicable on any other supposition." Of the greatest of them (128, 194) wo shall have to speak before we conclude. Wo will here touch only on one of those which are continually reappearing in Mr. Darwin's pages, in order to illustrate his mode of dealing with them. He finds, then, one of these "inexplicable difficulties" iu the fact, that the young of the blackbird, instead of resembling the adult in the color of its plumage, is like the young of many other birds spotted, and triumphantly declaring that—
"No one will suppose that the stripes on the wlielp of a lion, or the spots on the young blackbird, arc of any uso to those animals, or arc related to the conditions to which they are exposed."—Pp. 439-40—
he draws from them one of his strongest arguments for this alleged community of descent. Yet what is more certain to every observant field naturalist than that this alleged uselessness of coloring is one of the greatest protections to the young bird, imperfect in its flight, perching on every spray, sitting unwarily on every hush through which the rays of sunshine dapple every bough to the color of its own plumage, and so give it a facility of escape which it would utterly want if it bore the marked and prominent colors, the beauty of which the adult bird needs to recommend him to his mate, and can safely bear with his increased habits of vigilance and power of wing?
But, secondly, as to many of these difficulties, the alleged solving of which is one great proof of the truth of Mr. Darwin's theory, we are compelled to join issue with him on another ground, and deny that he gives us any solution at all. Thus, for instance, Mr. Darwin builds a most ingenious argument on tho tendency of the young of the horse, ass, zebra, and quagga, to bear on their shoulder and on their legs certain barred stripes. Up these bars (bars sinister, as we think, as to any true descent of j existing animals from their fancied prototype) he mounts through his "thousands and thousands of generations," to the existence of his " common parent, otherwise perhaps very differently constructed, but striped like a zebra." (P. 67.) "How inexplicable," he exclaims, "on the theory of creation, is the occasional appearance of stripes on the shoulder and legs of several species of the horse genus and in their hybrids !" (P. 473.) He tells us that to suppose that each species was created with a tendency " like this, is to
THIKD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 037
make the works of God a mere mockery and deception^;" and he satisfies himself that all difficulty is gone when he refers tho stripes to his hypothetical thousands on thousands of years removed progenitor. But how is his difficulty really afl'ected? for why is the striping of one species a less real difficulty than the striping of many?
Another instance of this want of fairness, to which we must call the attention of our readers, because it too often recurs, is contained in the following question :—
"Were all the infinitely numerous kinds of animals nnd plants created as eggs, or seed, or as full grown 1 and, in tho case of mammals, were they created bearing the false marks of nourishment from the mother's womb t "—P. 483.
The difficulty here glanced at is extreme, but it is one for the solution of which the transmutation theory gives no clue. It is inherent in the idea of the creation of beings, which are to reproduce their like by natural succession; for, in such a world, place the first beginning where you will, that beginning must contain the apparent history of a past, which existed only in the mind of the Creator. If, with Mr. Darwin, to escape the difficulty of supposing the first man at his creation to possess in that framework of his body " false marks of nourishment from his mother's womb," with Mr. Darwin you consider him to have been an improved ape, you only carry the difficulty up from the first man to the first ape; if, with Mr. Darwin, in violation of all observation, you break the barrier between the classes of vegetable and animal life, and suppose every animal to be an " improved " vegetable, you do but carry your difficulty with you into the vegetable world; for, how could there be seeds if there had been no plants to seed them? and if you carry up your thoughts through tho vista of the Darwinian eternity up to tho primaeval fungus, still the primaeval fungus must have had humus, from which to draw into its venerable vessels the nourishment of its archetypal existence, and that humus must itself be a "false mark" of a pre-existing vegetation.
We have dwelt a little upon this, because it is by such seeming solutions of difficulties as that which this passage supplies that the transmutationist endeavors to prop up his utterly rotten fabric of guess and speculation.
There are no parts of Mr. Darwin's ingenious book in which he gives the reins more completely to his fancy than where he deals with the improvement of instinct by bis principle of natural selection. We need but instance his assumption, without a fact on which to build it, that the marvellous skill of the honey-bee in constructing its cells is thus obtained, and the slave-making habits of the Formica Polycrges thus formed. There seems to be no limit here to the exuberance of his fancy, and we cannot but think that we detect one of those hints by which Mr. Darwin indicates the application of his system from the lower animals to man himself, when he dwells so pointedly upon the fact that it is always the black ant which is enslaved by his other colored and more fortunate brethren. "The slaves are black!" We believe that, if we had Mr. Darwin in the witness-box, and could subject him to a moderate cross-examination, we should find that he believed that the tendency of the lighter colored races of mankind to prosecute the negro slave-trade was really a remains, in their more favored condition, of the " extraordinary and odious instinct" which had possessed them before they had been " improved by natural selection " from Formica Polyerges into Homo. This at least is very much the way in which (p. 479) he slips in quite incidentally the true identity of man with the horse, the bat, and the porpoise:—
"The framework of bones being the same in the hand of a man, wing of a bat, fin of n porpoise, and leg of n horse, tho saino number of vertebra; forming tho neck of tho giraffe and of the elephant, and innumerable other such facts, at once explain themselves on the theory of descent with clow and slight successive modifications."—P. 479.
Such assumptions as these, we once more repeat, are most dishonorable and injurious to science; and though, out of respect to Mr. Darwin's high character and to the tone of his work, we have felt it right to weigh the " argument" again set by him before us in the simple scales of logical examination, yet we must remind him that the view is not a new one, and that it has already been treated with admirable humor when propounded by another of his name and of his lineage. We do not think that, with all his matchless ingenuity, Mr. Darwin has found any instance which so well illustrates his own theory of the improved descendant under the elevating influences of natural selection exterminating the progenitor whose specialities he has exaggerated as he himself affords us in this work. For if we go back two generations we find the ingenious grandsire of the author of the "Origin of Species" speculating on the same subject, and almost in the same manner with his more daring descendant. Speaking of the delicate organs of his favorite plants, Dr. Darwin tells
by tho nir; obtain the passion and power of reproduction; arc sensible to heat, and cold, and moisture; and become in reality insects fed with honey. . . . lam acquainted with a philosopher, who, contemplating this subject, thinks it not impossible" [wo beg our readers to notice tho exact phrase on which wo have had so often to remark in the younger Darwin] " that the first insects were the anthers or stigmas of flowers, which had by some means loosed themselves from their parent-plant; and that many other insects have gradually, in long process of time" [again wo beg special attention to the remarkable foreshadowing of the gradual Ions-time development of tho younger Darwin], "been formed from these; some acquiring wings, others fins, and others claws " [like Mr. Danvin's bats, and fly-catching bears, and crabs], "from their ceaseless efforts to procure their food, or to secure themselves from injury. . . . The anthers and stigmas are therefore separate beings." *
Many of our readers will remember the humor with which Frere and Canning, in the "Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin," exposed these philosophical arguments of the last generation. But their illustrations of the system apply so admirably to some of the speculations of our present volume, that we cannot forbear from quoting a few of them :—
"Quere, whether a practical application of this theory would not enable us to account for tho genesis or original formation of space itself, in the samo manner in which Dr. Darwin has traced tho whole of organized creation to his six filaments? Wo may conceive the whole of our present universe to have been originally concentered in a single point; we may conceive this primeval point, or punctnm saliens of the universe, evolving itself by its own energies, to havo moved forward in a right line, adinjinitum, till it grew tired; after which the right lino which it had generated would begin to put itself in motion in a lateral direction, describing nn area of infinite extent. This area, as soon as it became conscious of its own existence, woulil begin to ascend or descend according as its specific gravity would determine it, forming an immense solid space filled with vacuum, and capable of containing tho present universe. Spaco being thus obtained, and presenting a suitable nidus or receptacle for the accumulation of chaotic matter, an immense deposit of it would bo gradually accumulated ; after which tho filament of firo being produced in tho chaotic mass by an idiosyncracy or self-formed habit analogous to fermentation, explosion would tako place, suns would bo shot from the central chaos,
flnncts from suns, and satellites from planets, n this state of things the filament of organization would begin to exert itself in those independent masses which in proportion to their bulk exposed the greatest surface to light and heat. This filament, after an infinite serifs of ages [the Dawinian eternity], would begin to ramify, nnd its oviparous offspring would divcr
* Additional note xxxix. to Darwin's "Botanic Garden."