« 이전계속 »
anything but absolute ignorance of some of the best established facts, that we should have passed it over in silence had it not appeared to afford some clue to M. Flourens’ unhesitating, d, priori, repudiation of all forms of the doctrine of progressive modification of living beings. He whose mind remains uninfluenced by an acquaintance with the phaenomena of development, must indeed lack one of the chief motives towards the endeavour to trace a genetic relation between the different existing forms of life. Those who are ignorant of Geology, find no difficulty in believing that the world was made as it is ; and the shepherd, untutored in history, sees no reason to regard the green mounds which indicate the site of a Roman camp, as aught but part and parcel of the primaeval hill-side. So M. Flourens, who believes that embryos are formed “tout d'un coup," naturally finds no difficulty in conceiving that species came into existence in the same way.
CoNSIDERING that Germany now takes the lead of the world in scientific investigation, and particularly in biology, Mr. Darwin must be well pleased at the rapid spread of his views among some of the ablest and most laborious of German naturalists. Among these, Professor Haeckel, of Jena, is the Coryphaeus. I know of no more solid and important contributions to biology in the past seven years than Haeckel's work on the “Radiolaria,” and the researches of his distinguished colleague Gegenbaur, in vertebrate anatomy; while in Haeckel’s “Generelle Morphologie” there is all the force, suggestiveness, and, what I may term the systematising power, of Oken, without his extravagance. The “Generelle Morphologie” is, in fact, an attempt to put the Doctrine of Evolution, so far as it applies to the living world, into a logical form; and to work out its practical applications to their final results. The work before us, again, may be said to be an exposition of the “Generelle Morphologie” for an educated public, consisting, as it does, of the substance of a series of lectures delivered before a mixed audience at Jena, in the session 1867–8. “The Natural History of Creation,”—or, as Professor Haeckel admits it would have been better to call his work, “The History of the Development or Evolution of Nature,”—deals, in the first six lectures, with the general and historical aspects of the question and contains a very interesting and lucid account of the views of Linnaeus, Cuvier, Agassiz, Goethe, Oken, Kant, Lamarck, Lyell, and Darwin, and of the historical filiation of these philosophers. The next six lectures are occupied by a welldigested statement of Mr. Darwin's views. The thirteenth lecture discusses two topics which are not touched by Mr. Darwin, namely, the origin of the present form of the solar system, and that of living matter. Full justice is done to Kant, as the originator of that “cosmic gas theory,” as the Germans somewhat quaintly call it, which is commonly ascribed to Laplace. With respect to spontaneous generation, while admitting that there is no experimental evidence in its favour, Professor Haeckel denies the possibility of disproving it, and points out that the assumption that it has occurred is a necessary part of the doctrine of Evolution. The fourteenth lecture, on “Schöpfungs-Perioden und Schöpfungs-Urkunden,” answers pretty much to the famous disquisition on the “Imperfection of the Geological Record” in the “Origin of Species.” The following five lectures contain the most original matter of any, being devoted to “Phylogeny,” or the working out of the details of the process of Evolution in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, so as to prove the line of descent of each group of living beings, and to furnish it with its proper genealogical tree, or “phylum.” The last lecture considers objections and sums up the evidence in favour of biological Evolution. I shall best testify to my sense of the value of the work thus briefly analysed if I now proceed to note down some of the more important criticisms which have been suggested to me by its perusal. I. In more than one place, Professor Haeckel enlarges upon the service which the “Origin of Species” has done, in favouring what he terms the “causal or mechanical” view of living nature as opposed to the “teleological or vitalistic” view. And no doubt it is quite true that the doctrine of Evolution is the most formidable opponent of all the commoner and coarser forms of Teleology. But perhaps the most remarkable service to the philosophy of Biology rendered by Mr. Darwin is the reconciliation of Teleology and Morphology, and the explanation of the facts of both which his views offer. The Teleology which supposes that the eye, such as we see it in man or one of the higher Vertebrata, was made with the precise structure which it exhibits, for the purpose of enabling the animal which possesses it to see, has undoubtedly received its death-blow. Nevertheless it is necessary to remember that there is a wider Teleology, which is not touched by the doctrine of Evolution, but is actually based upon the fundamental proposition of Evolution. That proposition is, that the whole world, living and not living, in the result of the mutual interaction, according to definite laws, of the forces possessed by the molecules of which the primitive nebulosity of the universe was composed. If this be true, it is no less certain that the existing world lay, potentially, in the cosmic vapour; and that a sufficient intelligence could, from a knowledge of the properties of the molecules of that vapour, have predicted, say the state of the Fauna of Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the vapour of the breath in a cold winter's day. Consider a kitchen clock, which ticks loudly, shows the hours, minutes, and seconds, strikes,
* The Natural History of Creation. By Dr. Ernst Haeckel. [Naturliche Schöpfungs-Geschichte.-Won Dr. Ernst Haeckel, Professor an der Universität Jena.] Berlin, 1868.