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that the theory of descent is true, even if we include
us generation, no more excludes the assumption of a Creator than does the assumption that the earth has been developed from a gaseous ball. “If science could make us really understand,” says Lotze, “ how the hard part of the earth's crust and the atmospheric air first separated themselves from the fiery ball; how at every step of this separation the elements, joined in elective affinities, found scope for new action ; how, then, under the favourable conditions which were produced by the blind necessity of nature's course the first germ of a plant and of an animal originated, still simple and unformed and little suited for wide development; how at last, under favourable conditions brought about in part by this simple individual life, the organic being gradually grew nobler, and in the course of countless centuries how species developed into higher species until at last man came forth, not in the image of God, but as the last link in the chain of necessary events ;-if science could make us understand all this, what would be gained ? The miracle of the immediate creation would only be pushed back to an earlier period, in which endless Wisdom had implanted in this unsightly chaos the wonderful capacity for this ordered development. By describing the whole series of stages and epochs of development through which the original formless matter has passed during its evolution, it would only increase the splendour and multiplicity of the scenes in whose outward pomp our fancy could wonderingly lose itself; but it would not explain the wonderful
1 See above, vol. i. p. 240. : Mikrokosmus, i. p. 420.
spectacle any better than does the acquiescent faith which traces back the origin of living creatures to the immediate creating will of God. We may fearlessly wait until science, with its impartial love of truth, has decided these questions in so far as science ever will decide them; whatever may have been the method of creation chosen by God, none will inake the world more independent of Him, or knit it more closely to Him." i
I now come to the point which has really attracted the attention of the public to the Darwinian theory of descent, and to the controversy which has arisen on it, that is, to the question whether this theory can also be applied to man, or to make use of the popular expression, whether man is descended from the ape.
To-day I will confine myself to one point only, which, according to Hæckel, is the most important, and that is the “ Pithecoid Theory," as he calls the theory that man is descended from the ape. Hæckel calls it the " philosophical confirmation of the human pedigree.” I think
I“From Aristotle down to Humboldt men of science thought that the primary causes of the phenomenal world, the beginning of existence, the creation, lie outside man and before any observation, and therefore are without the limits of exact natural science. We cannot lay too much stress on this irrefutable truth, for all the materialistic attacks of modern natural science are only possible because this truth is steadily ignored, and because the axioms of natural philosophy are made use of instead of the exact results of research. No one can find fault if the inquirer says, For me and for my scientific researches there exist only secondary causes; the primary causes lie outside and before all observation. But if in describing the secondary causes which are seen at work in the creation the man of science thinks that he has found the primary causes, and by this means has solved the problem of creation, he is encroaching on other territory, and only displays his folly.”—Fabri, Briefe gegen den Jaterialismus, Stuttgard 1861, p. 246.
that when I have discussed this “philosophical confirmation,” I may in future leave aside all that Hæckel calls philosophical, and spare you the criticism of any more of such philosophical confirmations. He says, “ As all the general series of appearances in the lives of animals and plants which are known to us, completely correspond to the theory that all organic beings are descended from a single form, or from a few quite simple common forms, and as no single appearance contradicts this assumption, we are quite justified in placing the theory of evolution or descent, as a great general law of induction, at the summit of all sciences of organic nature — at the summit of zoology and botany. But if the theory of evolution is in truth a necessary and general inductive law, its application to man is also a necessary particular deductive law, it is a theory which necessarily and inevitably follows from the first.”. Hæckel explains the philosophical expressions, induction and deduction, on whose meaning, as he says, everything here depends, by the following example. Comparative anatomy enabled Goethe to confirm the general inductive law, that all mammals possess a pair of median upper jawbones—lying between the two halves of the upper jaw and (the premaxillaries) holding the upper incisors,—and from this fact he drew the deductive conclusion that man, who in all other bodily conditions does not differ essentially from other mammals, must possess such a bone ; he asserted this without having seen a human premaxillary bone, and only proved its existence afterwards by observation. Parenthetically, I may say that I am not sure whether men of science would have been actually much impressed by Goethe's deductive conclusion that man must have a premaxillary bone, if it had not been possible actually to prove that he does possess one. “Deduction thereföre,” continues Häckel, “is an inference from the general to the particular ; induction, on the other hand, is an inference from the particular to the general. If from the resemblance of all vertebrata in form, structure, development, and phenomena of life, we infer that all vertebrata are descended from a single common form, this is an inductive inference. But if we go on to postulate a like descent for man, who resembles the other vertebrata in all essential points, this is a deductive inference. This deductive inference from the general to the particular is surer and more certain just in proportion as the inductive inference, which lies at its base, is sure and certain. But as the latter really rests on the broadest inductive basis, we may look upon the former as quite as certain. We must lay the greatest weight on the philosophical confirmation of the human pedigree,” and therefore Hæckel repeatedly comes back to this “philosophical confirmation.”
i Ueber die Entstehung, etc. p. 27. See Nat. Schöpfungsgeschichte, p. 616; Anthropogenie, pp. 83, 371 ; cf. Michelis, Hæckelogonie, p. 103.
I think that this might be much more simply expressed according to the old scholastic logic, per modum syllogismi.
“All vertebrate animals are descended from one common ancestral form ; man is a vertebrate animal, therefore man also is descended from this common ancestral form." There is nothing to be said against the conclusion, it is only the premisses which are in question. If the major and minor are right, the thing
is settled ; if either the major or minor are wrong, the argument comes to nothing. The correctness of the major stands and falls with the correctness of Hæckel's theory of development. I have spoken of this in sufficient detail. We will now more carefully examine the minor premise, namely, that man is a vertebrate animal, like all other vertebrate animals.