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able application of the maxim so often quoted by him, “Natura non facit saltum.”
2d. As all animals are apt to vary, and have a tendency to increase beyond the means of subsistence, he assumes that some advantageous chance variation in an individual, transmitted to its posterity, has enabled them to root out their fellows, in the struggle for food, and has led," as a consequence, to Natural Selection,” thus giving birth to new species, and causing “the extinction of less improved forms.” His argument for this assumption is based on a perverse interpretation of the well-known fact, that all animals are capable of developing varieties,—and he supports it mainly by citing the great diversity of form produced in pigeons, and other animals, by a careful and judicious selection.
3d. His greatest assumption and a monstrous one it is— consists in making this “ Natural Selection,” which is the consequence of physical causes, the law-giving cause and controlling agent of creation, endowed with an all-wise and allprovident intelligence. He asserts that this “ Power” has accumulated the slight accidental variations of individuals, from the beginning of time, preserving the good and rejecting the bad ; that it has, with consummate wisdom, directed these chance variations into many distinct lines of development, thereby creating new animals with new organs ; that it has adapted them to their proper localities and proper functions ; endowed them with their necessary instincts; and distributed them into those distinct classes, orders, genera and species, which we now behold. The monstrous assumption that such an imaginary power exists in nature, being, at the same time, both the creature and the creator of physical law, is the pivot on which Mr. Darwin makes his hypothesis revolve, in order to meet any objection or to solve any difficulty.
On these three assumptions, Mr. Darwin founds what he calls his “theory," and against it we advance three objections.
1st. His “Natural Selection," considered as an intelligent Agent, is not a vera causa.
2d. His natural selection, considered as the consequence of physical law, is incompetent to produce the changes which he attributes to it.
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3d. There is another cause, and a far more rational one, which accounts for the phenomena he seeks to explain. · These objections, which embrace the tests of a sound theory, will underlie all our remarks ; but the loose and desultory manner in which this book is written, abounding in repetitions and devoid of all sustained argument, forbids strict method in its review, and forces us, in some degree, to the necessity of like repetition.
We will now proceed to give some quotations, which will justify the accuracy of the above analysis, and will prove our author's theory to be, according to his own showing, merely a fanciful hypothesis.
He accounts for the origin of creation as follows :“I believe that animals have descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants, from an equal or less number.— Therefore I should infer, from analogy, that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on the earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.” p. 420.
This creed demands from us more Faith than the cosmogony of Moses.
In his introductory remarks, he says :
“As many more individuals are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it varies, however slightly, in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form.” p. 12.
From this it is manifest that natural selection is made dependent upon “ chance."
At the conclusion of his work, while contemplating the present aspect of nature as having “ been produced by laws acting around us,” he says :
“These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Re-production; Inheritance, which is almost implied by re-production ; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use or disuse ;*—a Ratio of Increase so high as to
* As an example of the modifying influence of use and disuse," we give our author's method of accounting for the fact that cows have no upper incisors. lead to a Struggle for Life, and, as a consequence, to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production (creation ?) of the higher animals, directly follows.” p. 425.
(The capitals are the author's, but the italics here and elsewhere are generally our own.)
From this it would appear that our author makes growth, variability, and a high ratio of increase,—all of which are results of external causes,—to be creative laws ; and that “Natural Selection” is a consequence of one of these laws, viz., a high “Ratio of Increase.”
The term, "Natural Selection,” upon which his whole scheme turns, is used very loosely by our author. At one time it expresses the beneficial effects of cross-breeding; at another time it signifies the adaptability of animals or plants to certain conditions and localities; and then again, it refers to sexual preference. In regard to this sexual natural selection, we will cite a single passage, more as a specimen of the kind of analogical reasoning with which the book is filled, than as a sample of the author's peculiar views of the production of new forms, by the “charms of the males."
“ The rock-thrush of Guiana, birds of Paradise, and some others, congregate; and successive males display their gorgeous plumage, and perform strange antics before the females, which, standing by as spectators, at last choose the most attractive partner.- If man can, in a short time, give elegant carriage and beauty to his bantams, according to his standard of beauty, I can see no good reason to doubt that female birds, by selecting, during thousands of generations, the most melodious or beautiful males, according to their standard of beauty, might produce a marked effect.”
But the idea of “ Natural Selection," which characterizes our author's hypothesis, is, that of an omnipotent, beneficial,
“The calf, for instance, has inherited teeth, which never cut through the gums of the upper jaw, from an early progenitor, having well developed teeth; and, we may believe, (credat Judæus,) that the teeth in the mature animal were reduced, during successive generations, by disuse, (!) or by the tongue and palate having been fitted, by natural selection, (II) to browse without their aid.” He adds, that Nature has thus taken pains to reveal "her scheme of modification, which, it seems we wilfully will not understand.” We imagine that very few will wish to excuse themselves from the charge of wilful disbelief in such visionary schemes.
discriminating “ Power," which accomplishes all the changes, and explains all the mysteries of Creation. We will proceed to give some quotations, to prove how distinctly our author invests this power with the attributes of a controlling, intelligent Creator, constantly at work.
“ It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good.”
* If then we have, under nature, variability, and a powerful agent, always ready.to act and select, why should we doubt that variations in any way useful to beings under their excessively complex relations of life, would be preserved, accumulated, and inherited ? What limit can be put to this power, acting during long ages, and rigidly scrutinizing the whole constitution, structure, and habits of each creature, favoring the good and rejecting the bad? I can see no limit to this power,” &c.—p. 407.
“If it profit a plant to have its seeds more and more widely disseminated by the wind, I can see no greater difficulty in this being effected through natural selection, than in the cotton planter increasing and improving by selection the down in the pods on his cotton trees.”—p. 82.
“Natural Selection acts, as we have seen, exclusively by the preservation and accumulation of variations which are beneficial,”' &c.-p. 117.
“ If it were no advantage (to an earth worm to be highly organized) these forms would be left by natural selection unimproved, or but little improved ; and might remain for indefinite ages in their little advanced condition.”—p. 119.
“If, under changed conditions of life, a structure before useful becomes less useful, any diminution, however slight, will be seized on by natural selection; for it will profit the individual not to have its nutriment wasted in building up an useless structure."-p. 134. . “And as long as the same part has to perform diversified work, we can see why it should remain variable; that is, why natural selection should have preserved or rejected each little deviation of form less carefully, than when the part has to serve for one special purpose alone.”—p. 135.
These few quotations aptly illustrate the sophistical as well as illogical reasoning which our author employs throughout his book. He first assumes the existence of a purely imaginary cause, to which he arbitrarily ascribes, as occasion requires, the attributes of omniscience and omnipotence, and then he “can see no great difficulty” in imputing to its sole agency all the diverse phenomena of Nature. This sophistry the more grievously offends, by being constantly palmed off on us as a logical
argument, in proof of his visionary and oft-times absurd speculations.
But we have selected these passages to prove that the author clearly asserts Natural Selection to be, not only an all-powerful, intelligent, and discriminating Agent, but that its power and intelligence is exerted exclusively for the benefit of the individual. In fact, our author says, plainly :
“ Natural Selection will never produce in a being anything injurious to itself, for Natural Selection acts solely by and for the good of each.”—p. 179.
Yet, on the same page he says," But Natural Selection can and does often produce structures for the direct injury of other species.” This last remark is made to explain the existence of poison fangs in the adder and the rattlesnake. But here our author finds himself in a hobble. The sting of the wasp and bee, owing to the backward serratures, cannot be withdrawn, and therefore cannot be used by the insect without causing its inevitable death. He attempts to obviate this objection, by the remark, that “Natural Selection will not produce absolute perfection.” But still, aware that the above fact gives the lie to his oft-repeated fundamental principle, that Natural Selection never produces an organ for the injury of its possessor,—he tries to reconcile it by concluding that this sacrifice of the individual is made pro bono publico! “For," he says, “if, on the whole, the power of stinging be useful to the community, it will fulfil all the requirements of Natural Selection, though it may cause the death of some few members.” This easy requirement, however, does not comport with what he says on the next page, in regard to the "inexorable principle of Natural Selection.”
We now proceed to give a crowning instance of this imaginative author's fanciful scheme of creation, by the agency of Natural Selection.
On page 169, he says:
“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 absolutely break down.”
But he can find no such case, and therefore gives us his