E-text prepared by Kurt A. T. Bodling, formerly Director of Library Services at Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, USA
An Investigation and a Criticism
TH. GRAEBNER, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
Milwaukee, Wis. Northwestern Publishing House, 1921.
Species tot sunt, quot diversas formas ab initio produxit Infinitum Ens. Linne.
To the Memory of my teacher (New Ulm, 1892) John Schaller Educator, Theologian, Student of Science these chapters are dedicated by The Author
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Chapter 1. An Outline of the Theory...11 Definition—Historical Review—The Darwinian Hypothesis—Lines of Evidence—The Descent of Man—The Nebular Hypothesis—The Origin of Life—The Bearing of Evolution on Christianity.
Chapter 2. Unexplained Origins...29 The Origin of the Universe—The Origin of Life—Biological Barriers— Man.
Chapter 3. The Testimony of the Rocks...47
Chapter 4. The Fixity of Species...62
Chapter 5. Rudimentary Organs...70
Chapter 6. Instinct...74
Chapter 7. Heredity...80
Chapter 8. A Scientific Creed Outworn...87
Chapter 9. Man...94
Chapter 10. The Verdict of History...113
Chapter 11. Evidences of Design...124
Chapter 12. The Fatal Bias...141
I first read Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" in the library of my sainted uncle, John Schaller, at New Ulm, Minnesota, in 1892. I did not comprehend all of it then, a cause, to me, of considerable chagrin, for which I later found some consolation in the opinion of Dr. Frederick Lynch, who pronounces Darwin's epochal work "one of the two most difficult books in the English language." But like many others, I understood enough of Darwin's book to catch glimpses of the grandeur of the conception which underlies its argumentation. It was then that my beloved uncle, out of that wide and accurate reading which so frequently astonished his friends, and with that penetrating dialectic of his, opened my eyes to certain fallacies in Darwin's argument, especially to the fatal weakness of the chapter on Instinct. The reading of St. George Mivart's book "The Genesis of Species" later convinced me of the accuracy of my uncle's judgment. But the fascination of the subject persisted, and for a time Herbert Spencer's "Synthetic Philosophy," by the comprehensiveness of its induction and its vast array of data, exercised its thrall. Alfred Russel Wallace's "Darwinism," Huxley's "Lectures on Evolution," Tyndall's "The Beginning of Things," Grant Allen's "The Evolutionist at Large," Eimer's "Orthogenesis," Clodd's "Story of Creation," occupied me in turn, until the apodictic presentation of John Fiske's Essays on Darwinism, no less than the open and haggard opposition to Christianity which prevails in Huxley's "Science and Hebrew Tradition" and in Spencer's chapters on "The Unknowable" (so the Synthetic Philosophy denominates God), caused a revulsion of sentiment,—the anti-religious bias of evolution standing forth the clearer to my mind, the longer I occupied myself with the subject.
I determined to investigate for myself the data on which the speculations whose mazes I had trod these years were built up. The leisure hours of three years were devoted to the study of first-hand sources of Comparative Religion. The result of this research was deposited in two articles contributed to the Theological Quarterly in 1906 and 1907. I fear that the forbidding character of the foot-notes served as an effective deterrent to the reading of these articles. I have now given, in several chapters of this little volume, in popular language the argument against evolution to be derived from the study of Religion. The reading of Le Conte's and Dana's text-books of geology and various other treatises supplied the data on palaeontology embodied in the first chapters of the book. The notable circulus in concludendo ("begging the question") of which evolutionists here are guilty was first pointed out to me by Prof. Tingelstad of Decorah, Iowa, who was in 1908 taking a course in Evolution at Chicago University, and who called on me for discussion of the doctrine as he received it from "head-quarters."
An an excursus in the subject of Pedagogy, I have treated in my Seminary lectures the past years, under the head of natural sciences, the argument against evolution, and the outlines of these lectures have furnished the framework for the present volume. It is hoped that especially our young men and women who take courses at our universities will examine the case against the fascinating and in some respects magnificent conception of evolution as this case is presented in the following chapters. I realize that they, as well as intelligent readers generally, may not meet with confidence the statements of a theologian on a scientific question, least of all when he essays to treat such a question from the standpoint of science. He is presumed to be at home in theology, but a stranger in the domain of geology, astronomy, and biology. It is for the purpose of obtaining a hearing at all that these introductory remarks are written. But the argument must stand on its own merits. The writer will now retire to the background. The facts shall speak.
CHAPTER ONE. An Outline of the Theory. Definition.
Evolution is a name comprehending certain theories which seek to account for all operations of nature as carried on according to fixed laws by means of forces resident in nature. Prof. J. LeConte of the University of California defines evolution as: "Continuous progressive change according to certain laws and by means of resident forces." Evolution is a theory, a philosophy, it is not a science. The theory is called organic evolution in its relation to living forms (plant and animal life), cosmic evolution, inasmuch as attempts have been made to account by certain laws and the working of resident forces for the development of the universe,—the earth, the sun, and the starry heavens. Also the development of society, of religion, morals, politics, art, and mechanical inventions is accounted for on the theory that there are forces which, acting according to certain laws, have through many changes made human life and institutions as we see them today.
The doctrine of Evolution briefly stated, is as follows: That in some infinitely remote period in the past, how or from whence science does not affirm, there appeared matter and force; that within matter and in association with force there also appeared a primordial cell, how or from whence no man knoweth, in which there was a spark of life; and that from this cell all things animate have emerged, being controlled by certain laws variously stated by various evolutionists; that these laws in connection with the modifying influences of environment (surroundings,—soil, climate, etc.) account for and explain the various species that have existed in the past and now exist upon earth, man included. That there are no gaps in the process but that there is demonstrable a steady ascent from lower to higher (simple to more complex) forms of life, until man is reached, the acknowledged highest product of evolution.
The extreme evolutionists hold that all the power and potency of the universe was stored up in that primordial cell, and that all things have been worked out without any superintending agency other than the forces resident in matter. Every operation of God is ruled out, or deemed unnecessary. This is sometimes called atheistic evolution.
The theistic evolutionist ("theistic" from "theism," the belief in a personal God) makes place for God in the beginning and all along the line of development, as overlooking the process, perhaps reinforcing and to a certain extent directing the energy, but not interfering with the fixed law or rule of evolution. According to theistic evolution, God did not create plants and animals as separate species (as related in Genesis 1) but created matter as a crude form and placed it under certain laws, by which this matter was, during untold ages, gradually evolved into worlds. That out of this matter, called inorganic, plants came into existence, from some germ or property existing in matter. The origin of animal life is explained in various ways by the so-called theistic evolutionists. Some hold that the primordial plant life contained potentially the lowest and simplest principles of animal life, and from it the simplest animal forms were evolved; that from these latter were evolved forms a little higher, until, after long ages, all the gradations were passed through until man, the highest form, was the result. Others believe that there is such an essential difference between plants and animals that the latter could not have come from the former, that there must be a new start on the animal side of life. Therefore they claim that when the evolutionary development of matter reached a certain stage, God appeared on the scene and endowed certain forms with the principle of animal life, in its lowest elements. These lowest forms of animal life then entered upon a series of evolutionary growth, each lower form evolving one a little more complex, each series gaining the use of and developing organs which existed essentially in the lower form but were small, imperfect, and useless, because not needed. Thus the hand and arm in man are structurally or essentially the same as the leg of the brute, the wing of the bird, the flipper of the whale, and the fin of the fish; and the endeavor to adapt itself to the water caused the bird to develop a fin, as by a similar process the fore-leg of brutes developed into the human arm and hand.
For our present consideration, we need not distinguish between atheistic and theistic evolution, as the latter is subject to the fundamental objections urged against evolution in general, and is, like atheistic evolution, without a single fact to support it and in direct contradiction of all that is known of the laws in operation now, and as far back as knowledge penetrates. Moreover, so-called "theistic" evolution is universally approved by infidels and skeptics and is used by them as a favorite means of assault on revealed Truth.
While in our own day the names of certain English and German scientists (Darwin, Spencer, Huxley, Tyndall, Romanes, Buechner, Vogt, Haeckel) are inseparably connected with a history of this hypothesis, its roots are found far back in the early ages of Greek philosophy. A theory of evolutionary development was first propounded by Greek thinkers living about 600 years B. C. The human mind is ever on the search for unifying principles, principles which account for entire groups of natural phenomena, and not for isolated phenomena only. The Greek mind sought a principle by which to account for the manifold and diverse forms of life in nature. Whence do all things come? How have they come to be what they are? Questions about the nature of the universe in which we live have been asked from the very beginning. The moment the human mind began to reflect the notion that the vegetation which covers the earth, the animals which inhabit it, the rocks and hills, the mountains and valleys which constitute its physical features, may have undergone changes in past time, and that all the phenomena which constitute the animal, vegetable and mineral worlds as they now exist, are but modifications of other forms which have had their day and their philosophy, the idea of development became prominent. The early Greek philosophers were the first to attempt answers to these problems. Many of them held that all things natural sprang from what they called the original elements—fire, air, earth, water. Anaximander held that animals were begotten from the earth by means of heat and moisture; and that man was developed from other beings different in form. Empedocles had a fantastic theory, viz., that the various parts of man and animals at first existed independently, and that these—for instance, arms, legs, feet, eyes, etc., gradually combined—perhaps after the manner in which automobiles are assembled; and that these combinations became capable of existing and even of propagating and reproducing themselves. Anaxagoras was of opinion that animals and plants sprang from the earth by means of germs carried in the atmosphere which gave fecundity to the earth. Aristotle held opinions not very unlike those of our own day. All of which goes to show that speculation about the origin of the universe and the why and wherefore of living things did not come into existence with the Darwinian hypothesis and that the doctrine of descent with modification as an explanation of all biological phenomena antedates by over two thousand years the publication of the "Origin of Species."
In modern times a theory of development was first suggested by Goethe in his "Italienische Reise." Acting under the same mental urge for seeing diverse forms under a unifying principle, Goethe looked for the original form of plant life, the Urpflanze, the plant which would be at once simple enough to stand for a type of all plants and yet susceptible to variation in so many directions that all plants might derive from it their origin. Goethe has also clothed this conception in poetic form.
The first philosophic statement of the hypothesis is found in Immanuel Kant's "Kritik der Urteilskraft," 1790. In paragraph 80 we find a discussion of the similarity between so many species of animals, not only in their bony structure, but also in the arrangement of their other parts, a similarity which, says Kant, "casts a ray of hope," that all forms may be traced back to original simple forms, to "a generation from a common ancestor," rising from the lowest forms to man, "according to mechanical laws." Kant assumes that, for instance, certain aquatic animals by and by formed into amphibia, and from these after some generations were produced land animals. A treatise of the same philosopher entitled "Presumable Origin of Humanity" suggests that man in the early age of the world was developed from "mere animal creatures." Even a universal law of world-formation (cosmic evolution) was set forth by Kant in a work which he published anonymously in 1775.
In its relations to animal life a development theory was first clearly set forth by Karl Ernst von Baer (died 1876). In his "Entwickelungsgeschichte der Tiere" (1828), the author explains "Entwickelung" as a progress from simple to complex forms. He believes that in evolution there is a fundamental idea that "goes through all the forms of cosmic and animal development." A predecessor of von Baer had been the Frenchman, Lamarck. From von Baer, Herbert Spencer, about 1850, adopted the definition of evolution.
The hypothesis entered a new phase through Charles Darwin's epochmaking work: "The Origin of Species." The keynote of Darwin's theory is Natural Selection, by which term the development of all living forms is referred to the working of certain laws which in the reproduction of plants and animals preserved those individuals which were best fitted to survive the struggle for existence. The Darwinian theory may be summarized thus:
The Darwinian Hypothesis.
1. Every kind of animal and plant tends to increase in numbers in a geometrical progression.
2. Every kind of animal and plant transmits a general likeness, with individual differences, to its offspring.
3. Past time has been practically infinite.
4. Every individual has to endure a very severe struggle for existence, owing to the tendency to geometrical increase of all kinds of animals and plants, while the total animal and vegetable population (man and his agency excepted) remains almost stationary.
5. Thus, every variation of a kind tending to save the life of the individual possessing it, or to enable it more surely to propagate its kind, will in the long run be preserved and will transmit its favorable peculiarity to some of its offspring, which peculiarity will thus become intensified till it reaches the maximum degree of utility. On the other hand, individuals presenting unfavorable peculiarities will be ruthlessly destroyed (Survival of the Fittest), [tr. note: sic punctuation]
The basis of the theory then is that animals and plants multiply very rapidly and, second, that the offspring always vary slightly from the parents, though generally very closely resembling them. Mr. Alfred Russel Wallace says: "From the first fact or law there follows, necessarily, a constant struggle for existence; because while the offspring always exceeds the parents in number, generally to an enormous extent, yet the total number of living organisms in the world docs not, and can not, increase year by year. Consequently every year, on the average, as many die as are born, plants as well as animals; and the majority die premature deaths. They kill each other in a thousand different ways; they starve each other by some consuming the food that others want; they are destroyed largely by the powers of Nature—by cold and heat, by rain and storm, by flood and fire. There is thus a perpetual struggle among them which shall live and which shall die; and this struggle is tremendously severe, because so few can possibly remain alive—one in five, one in ten, often only one in a hundred or even in a thousand.
"Then comes the question, Why do some live rather than others? If all the individuals of each species were exactly alike in every respect, we could only say it is a matter of chance. But they are not alike. We find that they vary in many different ways. Some are stronger, some swifter, some hardier in constitution, some more cunning. An obscure color may render concealment more easy for some, keener sight may enable others to discover prey or escape from an enemy better than their fellows. Among plants the smallest differences may be useful or the reverse. The earliest and strongest shoots may escape the slug; their greater vigor may enable them to flower and seed earlier in a wet autumn; plants best armed with spines or hairs may escape being devoured; those whose flowers are most conspicuous may be soonest fertilized by insects. We can not doubt that, on the whole, any beneficial variations will give the possessors of it a greater probability of living through the tremendous ordeal they have to undergo. There may be something left to chance, but on the whole the fittest will survive." ("Darwinism" p. 7).
The same writer gives a probable instance of the working of Natural Selection in the origin of certain aquatic birds called dippers. He says: "An excellent example of how a limited group of species has been able to maintain itself by adaptation to one of these 'vacant places' in Nature, is afforded by the curious little birds called dippers or water-ouzels, forming the genus Cinclus and the family Cindidae of naturalists. These birds are something like small thrushes, with very short wings and tail, and very dense plumage. They frequent, exclusively, mountain torrents in the northern hemisphere, and obtain their food entirely in the water, consisting, as it does, of water-beetles, caddis-worms, and other insect-larvae, as well as numerous small fresh-water shells. These birds, although not far removed in structure from thrushes and wrens, have the extraordinary power of flying under water; for such, according to the best observers, is their process of diving in search of their prey; their dense and somewhat fibrous plumage retaining so much air that the water is prevented from touching their bodies or even from wetting their feathers to any great extent. Their powerful feet and long curved claws enable them to hold on to stones at the bottom, and thus to retain their position while picking up insects, shells, etc. As they frequent chiefly the most rapid and boisterous torrents, among rocks, waterfalls, and huge boulders, the water is never frozen over, and they are thus able to live during the severest winters. Only a very few species of dipper are known, all those of the old world being so closely allied to our British bird that some ornithologists consider them to be merely local races of one species; while in North America and the northern Andes there are two other species.
"Here, then, we have a bird, which, in its whole structure, shows a close affinity to the smaller typical perching birds, but which has departed from all its allies in its habits and mode of life, and has secured for itself a place in Nature where it has few competitors and few enemies. We may well suppose,* [[*Note characteristic phrase "We may suppose that,—." G.]] that, at some remote period, a bird which was perhaps the common and more generalized ancestor of our thrushes, warblers, wrens, etc., had spread widely over the great northern continent, and had given rise to numerous varieties adapted to special conditions of life. Among these some took to feeding on the borders of clear streams, picking out such larvae and mollusks as they could reach in shallow water. When food becomes scarce they would attempt to pick them out of deeper and deeper water, and while doing this in cold weather many would become frozen and starved. But any which possessed denser and more hairy plumage than usual, which was able to keep out the water, would survive; and thus a race would be formed which would depend more and more on this kind of food. Then, following up the frozen streams into the mountains, they would be able to live there during the winter; and as such places afforded them much protection from enemies and ample shelter for their nests and young, further adaptations would occur, till the wonderful power of diving and flying under water was acquired by a true land-bird." ("Darwinism," p. 81-82.)
Lines of Evidence.
The evolutionary hypothesis (both in its atheistic and theistic or "Christian" form) is understood to rest on the following lines of proof:
i. Primary: The evidence of palaeontology (the study of fossil remains in the rocks). The surface of the earth underneath the top soil consists of layers of rock. Some of them are made up of lime deposits, others of the shells of shell-fish, others of sand-stone, others of dead trees of the forest (coal), all of them turned hard by the pressure of the weight lying on top of them. Besides these sedimentary rock there are formations like granite, showing the influence of heat. Digging among the sedimentary rock (limestone, sand-stone, principally) we come across preserved remains of all sorts of animals; some just like those which live to-day, some similar but somewhat different, others quite dissimilar from living animals of our day. These are the fossils. Now, evolutionists assert that the oldest and simplest animal and plant remains are found in the oldest layers of rock. This is said to prove that in the history of plants and animals on earth, the simplest forms are the oldest and that later the more complex forms were developed from these. LeConte states the matter thus: "The farther back in time we go, the simpler the forms of animal and plant life become, and these forms occur in the order of their origination, just as if they were developed one from another."
2. Corroborative: a) The Argument from Morphology (Structure). The resemblance of the structure of various animal types is asserted to imply a community of descent. "Large groups of species, whose habits are widely different, present certain fundamental likenesses of structure. The arms of men and apes, the fore-legs of quadrupeds, the paddles of whales, the wings of birds, the breast-fins of fishes, are constructed on the same pattern, but altered to suit their several functions. Nearly all mammals, from the long-necked giraffe to the short-necked elephant, have seven neck-bones; the eyes of the lamprey are moved by six muscles which correspond exactly to the six which work the human eye; all insects and Crustacea—moth and lobster, bettle [tr. note: sic] and cray-fish—-are alike composed of twenty segments; the sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils of a flower are all modified leaves arranged in a spire." (Clodd, "The Story of Creation," p. 102.) These resemblances are looked upon as evidence of a common origin.
b) The Argument from Embryology. The individual animal in embryonic development passes through temporary stages which are similar to permanent conditions in some of the lower forms in the same group. Evolutionists believe that these forms were actually possessed by the ancestors of these animals in the course of their evolution. They hold that the changes which take place in the embryos epitomize the series of changes through which the ancestral forms passed. Because the embryos of some four-footed animals have gill-slits, this is pointed out as evidence that land animals are evolved from fishes.
c) Geographical Distribution. In geological time, natural barriers have sprung up which separated the species which have since developed. In this way the existence of marsupials (pouched animals—kangaroo, oppossum) [tr. note: sic] on certain limited areas, the limitation of certain plants to certain islands, etc., are explained.
d) Classification. The so-called Tree of Life. All living forms can be arranged in a diagram called the Tree of Life. The Tree has a short trunk, indicating common origin of the living from the non-living, and is divided into two large trunks representing plants and animals respectively. "From each of these start large branches representing classes, the larger branches giving off smaller branches representing families, and so on with smaller and smaller branches representing orders and genera, until we come to leaves as representing species, the height of the branch from which they are hanging indicating their place in the growth of the great life-tree." (Clodd, "Story of Creation," p. 103.) There is an exact gradation from the lowest life forms to the highest. First such simple forms as the sponges and corals, then, through the worms, crabs, oysters, and snail to the fish, and thence through amphibia, reptiles, beasts of prey, ungulates (hoofed animals) and apes to man. Evolutionists say that in this gradation of life we see illustrated the evolution of complex from simple forms.
The Descent of Man.
According to the evolutionary hypothesis man is related to the animal kingdom by descent from a brute ancestor, who, apelike in appearance, is the common ancestor of ape and man. The evidence of such derivation is believed to be:
i. Rudiments of structure which were useful in some brute ancestor. There remain in man a few elementary muscles for twitching the skin, as in the forehead; and it is pointed out that many animals have such muscles at the present time, and it is argued that the ability of some men to move the whole scalp points to the existence of muscles with such function in our brute ancestors. The vermiform appendix in man is termed rudimentary, being but a remnant of the much longer and more complex appendix of the same nature in living animals today.
2. Embryonic Development. Because the young of all animals resemble one another while in the embryo stage, and since such resemblances are found in man, it is concluded that the evolution of man from some related animal form must be accepted as the most reasonable explanation.
3. Some diseases are common to animals and man (tuberculosis, cholera, hydrophobia, etc.).
4. The similarity in structure of man and the apes.
5. The fossil remains of man. Certain skulls and leg bones have been found which are said to represent forms higher than the ape and lower than man. On the strength of such finds it is said that the "missing link" has now been supplied.
The Nebular Hypothesis.
The Frenchman de La Place (1827) first promulgated in modern terminology the theory once held by Greek philosophers, that the earth and the system in which it is a member originated from a primitive cosmic-vapor or universal fire-mist filling all space with infinitely small atoms. In this homogeneous mass motion originated, resulting in a concentration at one point. This condensation resulted in heat and light. The planetary system at first consisted of a huge gas-ball which gradually cooled, contracting into a molten mass which under the influence of centrifugal force began to rotate. This rotation became more rapid as the mass condensed, throwing off the planets, in which the process was repeated (the moons being cast off), until the earth became sufficiently cool to sustain life.
The Origin of Life.
When asked about the origin of life on earth, the evolutionists generally reply that this is not a question for science but for philosophy to answer. However, the question comes with such insistent force that the biologist finds himself constrained to offer some explanation of the origin of the simplest plant and animal life after the globe had, according to the hypothesis, sufficiently cooled to present areas in which life might arise. Necessarily, the assumption must be that life was generated out of lifeless matter. Huxley says: "If the hypothesis of evolution be true, living matter must have arisen from not-living matter, for by the hypothesis, the condition of the globe was at one time such that living matter could not have existed on it, life being entirely incompatible with a gaseous state." (The earth having been a ball of gases at the time.) Tyndall is a little more specific; he says that the combination of electrical and chemical forces acting on the primal ooze caused germs of life to originate in small bubble-like forms, (vesicles). His words are: "The first step in the creation of life upon this planet was a chemico-electric operation by which simple germinal vesicles were produced." The vesicles consisted of protoplasm, the simple substance (white-of-egg) which exists in the cells of animal and vegetable tissues, and which is composed of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and traces of other elements. From this original protoplasm the great variety of living things has been developed.
The Bearing of Evolution on Christianity.
It is evident that the evolutionary theory not only contradicts the Bible story of creation but, if true, deprives Christianity of every claim of being the true religion. If all things have come into being through the action of forces residing in matter then the world did not come into being through a divine fiat or command. As Haeckel says: "Every supernatural creation is completely excluded." (Quoted by John Fiske in "A Century of Science," 1899, p. 51.) Thomas Huxley is quite as definite: "Not only do I hold it to be proven that the story of the Deluge is a pure fiction; but I have no hesitation in affirming the same thing of the story of the Creation." ("Science and Hebrew Tradition," 1896, p. 230.) Furthermore, the theory, by its implications, disposes summarily of the immortality of the soul. The belief in an immortal soul is termed by Haeckel as "quite excluded" by the bearing of evolution on the origin of man. The fall of man becomes a myth, since man has not fallen from a high estate but has through many ages of slow development arrived at the use of reason and the dominion over nature; not a perfect man, made in the image of God, but a cousin to the tail-less apes, newly accustomed to walking on two feet, is the ancestor of our race. Without a fall of man there is no possibility nor even a necessity of redemption; our entire Christian theology would be dealing with shadowy abstractions, unreasonable fears and hopes, and purposeless strivings. The belief of the Christian is to the evolutionist of some value as a phenomenon in the history of the mind, but not the slightest intrinsic value is recognized in any of the doctrines of Christian faith, not even in the belief in a personal God. God is, according to Spencer, the Unknowable. Naturally, there can not be miracles, since all processes in nature are conceived as governed by laws not directed by a Divine Intelligence but by forces resident in nature. Hence, too, there can be no inspired revelation of God, since that would presume not only the existence of a personal God but an intervention in natural processes of thought (miracle). John Fiske wrote: The hypothesis of inspiration "conveys most certainly a conception of Divine action as local, special, and transitory; and in so far as it does this, it bears the marks of that heathen mode of philosophy which was current when Christian monotheism arose." ("Darwinism and Other Essays," 1895.) Evolution says: If there is a God we have no means of knowing Him; and what we know of nature certainly precludes the idea that God, if He exists, will concern Himself about man or break down the laws of nature even for an instant in his behalf. The conclusion is, that there is no inspired Bible. Nor indeed an absolute religion. All religious truths are considered relative, with no such distinction as true religion and false religion, since there is no criterion revealed (according to the theory) by which we can test a religion whether it be true or false. Finally, there is no absolute standard of morals. Moral truths, like the religious, are relative only. In other words, the teaching that "Christ has atoned for sin," is as little to be accepted as an absolute truth, as the command: "Thou shalt not steal" must be accepted as embodying an absolute rule of conduct. Clodd says in "The Story of Creation": "Man by himself is not only unprogressive, he is also not so much immoral as unmoral. For where there is no society there is no sin! Therefore the bases of right and wrong lie in conduct towards one's fellow; the moral sense or conscience is the outcome of social relations, themselves the outcome of the need of living..... While the lower instincts, as hunger, passion, and thirst for vengeance, are strong, they are not so enduring or satisfying as the higher feelings which crave for society and sympathy. And the yielding to the lower, however gratifying for the moment, would be followed by the feeling of regret that he had thus given way, and by resolve to act differently for the future. Thus at last man comes to feel, through acquired and perhaps inherited habit, that it is best for him to obey his more persistent impulses..... Morals are relative, not absolute; there is no fixed standard of right and wrong by which the actions of all men throughout all time are measured..... That which man calls sin is shown to be more often due to his imperfect sense of the true proportion of things, and to his lack of imagination, than to his willfulness." Clodd adds that if conduct has been made to rest on "supposed divine commands (!) as to what man shall and shall not do," that is an assumption which at best serves to restrain the "brutal and ignorant."
J. B. Warren, of the University of California, has well stated the effects of the evolutionary theory on religion and morals:
"Its legitimate tendency is to degrade mankind from that mental and moral dignity that is always recognized as belonging to them, and to place them on an essential level with the brute creation—even with the lowest forms of vegetable and animal existence. According to that theory, man differs from the lower organisms not in kind so much as in the degree of development. Mr. Darwin himself was troubled about the value of his own convictions, on the ground that his mind was evolved from that of lower animals. That is to say, he reckoned his own mental actions as valueless and untrustworthy, because of the essential identity between his mind and that of the lowest creatures that live in the mud of our swamps. Thus we see the legitimate tendency of this theory to degrade the mental dignity of man. And it also degrades the moral nature and faculties of man, and undermines the very foundations of moral and religious principle, in that it teaches that man is only a better developed brute—the natural result being that man is no more under moral obligation than the brute, or has no different basis of moral obligation from the brute, but only a better idea of right and wrong, because on a higher plane in the process of evolution. It strikes at the root of the doctrine that men are, by their origin and nature, under peculiar and special obligations to God. In the words of the late Dr. Robert Patterson, such a theory tends to 'obliterate a belief in the divine origin and sanction of morality, and in the existence of a future life of rewards and punishments, and to promote the disorganization of society, and the degradation of man to the level of the brutes, living only under the laws of their brutal instincts.' Such a theory is dishonoring to man and offensive to God."
When these discrepancies between a world-view governed by the Christian's faith in Revelation and one governed by the theory of evolution are once clearly understood, there will be no need to inquire, why, on the one hand, enemies of the Bible in all ranks of life greeted with such joyous acclaim the principle announced by Darwin and, why, on the other hand, a chief purpose of Christian apologetics has become the demonstration that Christianity is justified even by reason in the world-view which it inculcates, and that, on the other hand, the evolutionary hypothesis is contradicted by the facts of religion, of history, and of natural science.
CHAPTER TWO. Unexplained Origins.
The evolutionary scheme of development is, by its originators and defenders, accepted as a working hypothesis by which it is believed that the origin of all forms which matter has taken, and of the activities of living things, including man and human society, can be accounted for. It is an attempt to answer the old question, suggested to the thinking mind by a contemplation of nature: Whence these things? It it a theory of origins.
Now, a hypothesis, being "a theory, or supposition, provisionally employed as an explanation of phenomena," must be verified before it can be accepted as truth. Moreover, it can stand even as a hypothesis only if it meets the test of observation and experiment. It it can demonstrate its adaption to explain all the facts, it may, until another and better theory is propounded, be accepted as a theory. When it does not explain the facts, it must be modified or abandoned.
Since the evolutionary hypothesis is employed as an explanation of certain origins, a legitimate test of the theory is its adaptation to explain these origins. This test we now shall apply. We shall try to answer the question: Is the evolutionary theory entitled to the name of a working hypothesis? Is it able to account for those things which it is set forth by its spokesmen to account for? Does it account for the origin of the universe, of life, and of the various forms of life?
Scientists as a rule disclaim any intention to account, on the basis of their hypothesis, for the origin of matter. When it is suggested to them that any theory of origins should also account for the FIRST ORIGIN, the beginning of things, they direct us to philosophy: "Evolution is not concerned with the origin of matter; it takes matter for granted; the origin of matter is properly a philosophical and not a scientific problem."
Let us note the fallacies of this position. In the first place it is not proper to introduce the word "science" into this plea. Science is, indeed, only concerned with things that can be demonstrated by observation and from experience; and since no one has seen the beginning of matter, science is very properly not concerned with it. But evolution is not a science. It is a hypothesis, a theory. It is an explanation proposed for certain phenomena. 'And we have a right to demand that, if it wants recognition even as a theory, it must explain those phenomena. Now the principle of evolution is: All things have developed through certain forces which inhere in matter. In other words, without being acted upon from the outside, (without a creative word of God, for instance,) the unvierse [tr. note: sic] has come to be what it is to-day. In matter there are from the beginning certain forces inseparable from matter. These acted in such a way that very simple plants and animals became very complex; and this without any directing Intelligence. This is the evolutionary theory. Now, we hold that a theory which claims to account for the beginning of all animal life (and every species of animal life), for the beginning of plant life (and of every species of plant life), for the beginning of life germs, of the globe, of the sun and stars, cannot stop short when we press our questions still farther and ask: Whence is matter? Whence is force?
Nor, indeed, do evolutionists hesitate to express an opinion concerning the origin of matter and force. The universe, as it exists to-day, is made up of matter disposed in various forms,—stars, rock, plants, animals,—and endowed with energy in various forms; and from the earliest age of speculation, as we have seen, the human mind conceived of a time in which there was unorganized matter, substance without form. Like the ancient Greek philosophers, evolutionists to-day try to formulate a working hypothesis to account for the origin of the universe. It is believed that, in a broad way, the Nebular Hypothesis put forth by La Place indicated the manner in which the earth and the system to which it belongs have been evolved. We have outlined, briefly, in our first chapter, the main features of this theory. We shall now indicate the difficulties which stand in the way of its acceptance even as a working hypothesis.
1. The Nebular Hypothesis assumes that during a past endless time there has existed an incalculable number of original atoms. Let us understand that according to the so-called atomic theory, matter is composed of indivisible particles, called atoms. Since the discovery of radium this theory has been considerably modified, each atom now being understood to consist of many thousands of smaller particles, called electrons. However, whether we call them atoms or electrons, the smallest, indivisible particles of matter are assumed to have existed during infinite past time. Now, the origin of these simplest component parts of matter remains an unsolved mystery. The mind is unable even to formulate a guess with reference to their organization.
2. A second postulate of the Nebular Hypothesis is the origin of force and motion in the huge gas ball which existed in the beginning. La Place says that "at some point concentration took place in the homogeneous mass, this contraction produced radiation of heat and light, and through the differences in temperature, motion and dynamic reaction were produced." The difficulty which inheres in this postulate is the unquestioned fact that all motion in nature follows certain immutable laws*, [*These laws, so far as known, form the basis of what we call physics and chemistry.] and the origin of these laws is not accounted for by the theory. Laws never make themselves, and their complexity,—immeasurably beyond our power of exploration—yet everywhere adjusted to a definite end, is so intricate that their origin can by no means be accounted for by chance.
3. According to the theory matter was first in "nebular" (gas) form, and that the gases existing diffused through space were, through the motion which originated, changed from a huge ball of fire-mist to a semi-solid sphere, which threw off smaller spheres (the planets) that gradually became solid. Now, this is contrary to our knowledge of gases. Gases may be produced from solids, but an incandescent gas will not, through simple motion, become a solid substance. Gases may be solidified, but only in two ways, by pressure or when greatly cooled,—when they become ice. But they do not retain this form when the pressure or the cooling agency is removed. Gases, as we know them, all have a tendency to expand indefinitely. They have no tendency to solidify, as the hypothesis presumes.
4. La Place assumed that the solar system when still in gaseous state, began to revolve upon its axis, and that, as the gas ball continued to revolve, it condensed. As condensation went on, the rotation became faster, and a ring of matter was thrown off from the hardening core. This ring again resolved itself into a rotating globe which, still in a fluid state, threw off other balls, which revolved around their mother, the first planet, even as the latter continued to follow an orbit around the central body, the sun. In this way the planets of the solar system, including the earth, (according to the theory), were evolved together with their satellites or moons. The difficulty attending this view of planetary evolution is found in the difference between the movements of a number of satellites around the planets. While the satellites of the earth, of Jupiter and of Saturn revolve from west to east, the moons of Uranus and Neptune have an orbital movement from east to west. This is regarded also by the friends of the Nebular Hypothesis as one of the gravest difficulties, since no mechanical law will explain the reverse movement of the satellites of the remotest planets when they, as well as Jupiter, Saturn, and the rest are supposed to have been cast off by the same central body.
5. According to the theory, the original atoms during the process of world-making united into molecules. The laws according to which atoms unite,—so that, for instance, the hydrogen atom each unites with two atoms of oxygen, and so down the list of all known existences,—these laws are among the assured results of scientific study. Now, the entire science of chemistry in all its branches is built upon the axiom that molecules are absolutely unalterable and that molecules of the same kind are always absolutely identical. A molecule of water is always and invariably composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen. A molecule of sulphuric acid invariably contains two atoms of hydrogen, one of sulphur, and four of oxygen. A molecule of potassium chlorate is always composed of just one atom of potassium chloride and three atoms of oxygen. Never is there any variation of these proportions in the same element, and a chemist will, without handling the elements, merely by mathematical calculation, unerringly produce new combinations, relying on the absolute constancy of the relations of atoms and molecules. Now, the theory that in the beginning of things, out of a mass of atoms diffused without form through space, molecules came into being, each kind or type composed of atoms according to a proportion peculiarly its own, cannot be accepted unless it is shown in what manner the laws came into existence according to which these combinations take place. Clerk Maxwell concludes a masterly statement of this aspect of the hypothesis by asking: "Who can restrain the ulterior question, Whence then these myriad types of the same letter imprinted on the earth, the sun, the stars, as if the very mould used here had been lent to Sirius, and passed on through the constellations? No theory of evolution can be formed to account for the similarity of the molecules throughout all time, and throughout the whole region of the stellar universe; for evolution necessarily implies continuous change, and the molecule (as known to science) is incapable of growth or decay, of generation or destruction."
The Origin of Life.
The origin of life on our globe is not accounted for on the basis of the evolutionary hypothesis. At some time in the remote past, there must, according to the theory, have been a development of living substance from a mineral base. But if scientific experiment has shown anything it has shown the unreality of what was called "spontaneous generation." This term was very popular with the scientists of a century or two ago. It was believed that certain animal and vegetable forms gave birth, in the process of decay, to insect life. Putrefying meat gives rise to maggots. The origin of these grubs was referred to the power of "spontaneous generation." When the Italian naturalist Redi discovered that an exclusion of flies from meat was all that was necessary to prevent the production of grubs, the doctrine of spontaneous generation was thoroughly upset, for his time at least. But the microscope revealed in "pure" water the presence of thousands of small creatures, the infusoria. Again spontaneous generation was appealed to in order to explain their presence. But the famous experiments of Pasteur (related by Huxley in his lectures on The Origin of Species, Lecture III), proved conclusively that sterilized water will not produce living forms when the germs floating everywhere about in the air are excluded. Since that time all men of science agree that there is no such thing demonstrable as spontaneous generation. It has become an axiom that "Life only comes from life." But how the first germs of life originated, is a question for which there is no answer. Huxley admits: "Of the causes which led to the origination of living matter it may be said that we know absolutely nothing." "The present state of knowledge furnishes us with no link between the living and the not living."
However, while spontaneous generation is "absolutely inconceivable" (Darwin), and while no experiments made on dead matter have ever produced living (plant and animal) matter, life must have originated at some time from non-life according to the evolutionary hypothesis. The theory assumes that at some time the globe was in an incandescent stage. At that time there could not have been any life on our earth. But as the earth cooled, it is held that by some chemico-electric action (electric force acting upon elements in favorable combinations), inert, lifeless matter became endowed with the property which we call life, and this original living substance is called protoplasm. From it, by successive modifications, slow in their operation, the teeming variety of living things is believed to have developed. Now it is a notable fact, that many evolutionists (among them Alfred Russell Wallace, the co-discoverer of the theory which goes under Darwin's name) frankly admit the inability to account for the origin of protoplasm. From mineral substances, protoplasm differs in that it possesses the power of growth, development, and reproduction. The very first vegetable cell "must have possessed altogether new powers," says Mr. Wallace, "that of extracting carbon from the air and that of indefinite reproduction. Here,"—note this admission,—"we have indications of a new power at work." In other words, forces resident in matter no longer suffice. The evolutionistic principle breaks down.
Some fifty years ago it was thought that experimental proof had been found for the presence on earth of the original, simple, unorganized protoplasm; that the basis of all life on earth had been discovered,—in the depths of the ocean. The story of this "discovery" is entertainingly told by the Duke of Argyle in the "Nineteenth Century" magazine. We quote from his article.
"Along with the earlier specimens of deep sea deposits sent home by naturalists during the first soundings in connection with the Atlantic telegraph cable, there was very often a sort of enveloping slimy mucus in the containing bottles which arrested the attention and excited the curiosity of the specialists to whom they were consigned. It was structureless to all miscroscopic examination. But so is all the protoplasmic matter of which the lowest animals are found. Could it be a widely diffused medium of this protoplasmic material, not yet specialized or individualized into organic forms, nor itself yet in a condition to build up inorganic skeletons for a habitation? Here was a grand idea. It would be well to find missing links; but it would be better to find the primordial substance out of which all living things had come. The ultra-Darwinian enthusiasts were enchanted. Haeckel clapped his hands and shouted Eureka! loudly. Even the cautious and discriminating mind of Professor Huxley was caught by this new and grand generalization of the 'physical basis of life;' It was announced by him to the British Association in 1868. Dr. Will Carpenter took up the chorus. He spoke of 'a living expanse of protoplasmic substance,' penetrating with its living substance the 'whole mass' of the oceanic mud. A fine new Greek name was devised for this mother slime, and it was christened 'Bathybius,'" (from two Greek words meaning "depth" and "life,"), "from the consecrated deeps in which it lay. The conception ran like wildfire through the popular literature of science. Expectant imagination soon played its part. Wonderful movements were soon seen in this mysterious slime. It became an 'irregular network,' and it could be seen gradually 'altering its form,' so that 'entangled granules changed their relative positions."
Such was Bathybius, which once raised such a commotion in the world of science, but which is never heard of or even alluded to in scientific circles today. And now for the issue of this discovery of such mighty promise. In the year 1872, the "Challenger," commanded by John Murray, set out on a voyage of deep-sea exploration. "The naturalists of the 'Challenger' began their voyage in full Bathybian faith. But the sturdy mind of Mr. John Murray kept its balance—all the more easily since he never could himself find or see any trace of this protoplasm when the dredges of the 'Challenger' came fresh from the ocean bottom. Again and again he looked for it, but never could he discover it. It always hailed from England. The bottles sent there were reported to yield it in abundance, but somehow it seemed to be hatched in them. The laboratory in London was its unfailing source. The ocean never yielded it until it had been bottled. At last, one day on board the 'Challenger,' an accident revealed the mystery. One of Mr. Murray's assistants poured a large quantity of spirits of wine into a bottle containing some pure sea-water, when lo! the wonderful protoplasm Bathybius appeared! It was the chemical precipitate of sulphate of lime produced by the mixture of alcohol and sea-water! Thereafter 'Bathybius' disappeared from science."
The term "protoplasm" has, indeed, been retained by writers on biology. The whole body of an animal, and the structure of plants, are understood to consist of cells. The cells consist of a colorless substance, and this is called "protoplasm." It is a substance of very complex chemical and physical make-up, in fact, no chemist has yet been able to analyze it and a famous biologist says that very probably it may never be analyzed (David Starr Jordan.) Protoplasm, like the white of egg, is the basic substance of life, yet in the variety of forms which it takes it is of "almost unlimited complexity" (Jordan). Now, a new difficulty develops when this complex character of protoplasm as it is now found in animals and plants is considered. Clear (unmodified) protoplasm, as found in white of egg and in the white cells of the blood, is the structureless substance called albumen. However, protoplasm varies almost infinitely in consistency, in shape, in structure, and in function. It is sometimes so fluid as to be capable of forming in drops, sometimes semifluid, sometimes almost solid. In shape the cells may be club shaped, globe shaped, threaded, flat, conical. Some protoplasm produces fat, others produce nerve substances, others brain substances, bone, muscle, etc., each producing only its own kind, uninterchangeable with the rest. Lastly, there is the overwhelming fact that there is an infinite difference of protoplasm in the infinitely different plants and animals, in each of which its own protoplasm but produces its own kind. "Here are several thousand pieces of protoplasm; analysis can detect no difference in them. They are to us, let us say, as they are to Mr. Huxley, identical in power, in form, and in substance; and yet on all these several thousand little bits of apparently indistinguishable matter an element of difference so pervading and so persistent has been impressed, that of them all, not one is interchangeable with another! Each seed feeds its own kind. The protoplasm of the gnat will no more grow into the fly than it will grow into an elephant. Protoplasm is protoplasm; yes, but man's protoplasm is man's protoplasm, and the mushroom's the mushroom's." (Dr. Sterling, "As Regards Protoplasm.") Hence we are compelled to acknowledge not an identity of protoplasm in all substances, but an infinite diversity. It follows that the derivation of all plant and animal forms from an original speck or germ of living matter is not only un-proven, but is contradicted by biological science.
Darwin himself, like his co-laborer Wallace, was constrained to admit that the origin of life constitutes an unsolved problem. Matter and force do not account for it. Darwin accepted a divine fiat somewhere in the beginning. He says. "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into the first forms or into one." In other words, the creation of the first living being was an exceptional kind of power. But if, as Mr. Darwin says, life was breathed by the Creator into the first forms, this constitutes a break in the sufficiency of natural causes alone to produce life. If a special fiat was necessary at this point, why may it not have been at others? If by divine omnipotence, life is believed to have been originated, why shall we not believe that by divine omnipotence the various species of plants and animals were brought forth as related in the first chapter of the Bible? "If the Creator could breathe life into a few forms or into one, as Darwin thinks he did, without violating the law of his own being, and in accordance with the laws which he has established, it seems evident that he might at other times breathe life into other forms in accordance with his laws. I see no necessity for a logic that would compel the Creator to confine the number of his creative fiats to a few, or to one, nor which would limit the fiats to one time." (Fairhurst, "Organic Evolution Considered.")
The atom, the molecule, the life-germ,—these are the barriers which stand against the evolutionistic conception of origins on the physical side. We proceed to investigate the points at which biology touches our problem, and again three barriers call for notice and investigation: The difference between plants and animals; the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates; and the difference between mammals and all other vertebrates.
1. Whence the animal kingdom? This stage in the scale of life, the advance from vegetable to the animal kingdom, is, to quote Mr. Wallace, again "completely beyond all possibility of explanation by matter, its laws and forces. It is the introduction of sensation or consciousness, constituting the fundamental distinction between the animal and vegetable kingdoms." Plants live, animals live and feel; and they have consciousness. At this point again, only a thorough-going materialist will deny the working of an outside power, a power not resident in matter, but altering and molding matter from without and endowing it with new abilities. Only an act of this Power Without could endow living substance with feeling and consciousness. No one can here any longer appeal to that undefined chemico-electric action by which some attempt to account for protoplasm. Mr. Wallace says: "Here all idea of mere complication of structure producing the result is out of the question. We feel it to be altogether preposterous to assume that at a certain stage of complexity of atomic constitution, and as a necessary result of that complexity alone, an ego should start into existence,—a thing that feels, that is conscious of its own existence. Here we have the certainty that something new has arisen,—a being whose nascent consciousness has gone on increasing in power and definiteness till it has culminated in the higher animals. No verbal explanation or attempt at explanation—such as the statement that life is 'the result of the molecular forces of the protoplasm,' or that the whole existing organic universe from the amoeba up to man was latent in the fire-mist from which the solar system was developed—can afford any mental satisfaction, or help us in any way to a solution of the mystery."
2. Whence the backbone? All animals are divided into vertebrates and invertebrates, the animals with a backbone and animals without. Between these two groups the barrier of backbone stands impassable till it is explained how a butterfly could become a bird, or a snail a serpent, or a star fish acquire the skeleton of the shark. These two groups, the vertebrate animals and the invertebrate, must be regarded as fundamentally distinct.
3. Whence the breast? Vertebrates are either mammals or submammals. The breastless tribes are brids, [tr. note: sic] reptiles, and fishes. These are far beneath in the scale, while the mammal, by its peculiar endowment in that it gives suck to its young, stands elect, aloft, and apart. Till it is shown how an animal that never got milk from its mother stumbled on the capacity of giving what was never given it, the breast will stand, against all dreams of development, companion-barrier to the backbone. Nor is there an animal that can be regarded as a connecting link between these two master groups.
The "theistic" evolutionist, who believes that God at various times "helped out" the forces residing in matter, by creating something new, is inclined to say that at each of these points,—the origin of the first sentient animal, the origin of the first vertebrate, and of the first mammal,—God by his omnipotence caused a new type to originate. Aside from the fact that "forces resident in matter," the basic idea of the evolutionistic theory, here begins to become somewhat faint as a background even for a "theistic" conception of development, it is evident that we have already reached a point far down the scale of organic evolution in which the admission must be made that no possible working of forces within matter can account for the change. Again we say, if we already admit that the various great types of animal life could not originate without a special creative act of God, then why should we not accept the record of Genesis which says that the various species of plants and the various species of animals were created, each a separate species, in the beginning? Once admit special creative acts, and there is no longer any need for a hypothesis of evolution.
The difficulty which stands in the way of accepting, on purely scientific grounds, the descent of man from a brute ancestor, is, first of all a biological (physiological) difficulty. Among all the mammalia (to accept the classification of man with that group), man alone has a perfect brain. By this we mean the physiologically and structurally perfect brain. It is present even in the lowest man—present in the negro or the Australian Bushman as in the civilized American; and absent in all living beings below man—absent in the ape or the elephant as truly as in the lowest mammals, the kangaroo or the duckbill. Its sign is language, capacity of progress, culture. All healthy human brains are structurally perfect; the highest brute brains are structurally imperfect. The least cultivated human being is susceptible of culture; a savage not only possesses the endowment of language but may be educated to appreciate the art of a Raphael or a Shakespeare. The brains of all other living beings are circumscribed by instinct, which never progresses. The perfect brain thus introduces another impassable biological barrier dividing the world of life.
However, the derivation of man from brute ancestry is attended by another and even greater difficulty. The brain, after all, is but an organ, it is the organ of Mind. Man possesses faculties of intellect (reason, imagination, the artistic faculties, etc.) and, above all, a moral nature, which raises him far above the brute. These faculties could not possibly have been developed by means of forces resident in matter or by means of the laws which are made to account for the physical universe.
The very term "evolution" implies the development of something that was at first involved, or essentially infolded, in that in which evolution began. In man there are attributes and faculties not shown by lower orders. Evolution, seeking to be consistent, answers: "It is true that faculties cannot be evolved out of a thing unless they exist in a crude and undeveloped state in that thing, but these higher faculties do exist in the lower orders, potentially, or in a germ form and are developed and become operative only in the higher forms of life."
Evolutionists do not shrink from this application of their theory to the human mind. The attributes of a Shakespeare and the moral nature of a Paul were, essentially or potentially (capable of development), in the star fish and the jelly fish. The difference is not one of kind but of development and degree. Man has these faculties developed, the animals have them undeveloped. In the "Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," published by his son, is a letter from Mr. Darwin to W. Graham, written in 1881, from which I quote the following: "I have no practice in abstract reasoning, and I may be all astray. Nevertheless, you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done. But then, with me, the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the lower animals, are of any value, or are at all trustworthy." Again he says (p. 528), in another letter written to Sir C. Lyell: "Grant a simple archetypal creature, like the mud-fish or lepidosiren (mud eel) with five senses and some vestige of mind, and I believe natural selection will account for the production of every vertebrate animal, including, of course, man."
Observe that this language is very definite. It says that the mind of man, with all its wonderful attributes and faculties, was evolved from the mind of the lower animals—and he goes as low as the mud-fish and the eel that live in the slime of the swamps. Now, whoever wishes to believe such a preposterous assumption can do so. He is able to believe almost anything, and to disbelieve everything. Mr. Darwin himself says he looks upon man's convictions as of no value, because they are the convictions of a mind derived from the mind of lower animals; nor can one blame him for being skeptical. Our point, however, is that there is such a tremendous difference between the intellectual and moral faculties of man and the barely instinctive impulses of the lower creatures, that no one can see any connection between the two, unless there is some serious defect in his own mental or moral perceptions. Every instinct and conviction of the human mind rises in indignant repudiation of the theory of man's descent.
There are even among thoroughgoing Darwinians some who draw the line at this (necessary) application of the development idea. Wallace says, at the conclusion of his defense of Darwinism: "The faculties of man could not possibly have been developed by means of the same laws which have determined the progressive development of the world in general, and also of man's physical organism"—the human body. He finds in the origin of Mind clear indications of "an unseen universe—a world of spirit, to which the world of matter is altogether subordinate." ("Darwinism," p. 320.) Yet the development of mind through merely physical forces is upheld to the present day by the majority of evolutionists. The doctrine is even found in public school texts. In Davis' "Physical Geography," a high-school text, we read page 341:
"The greater intelligence of many land animals than of sea animals should also be regarded as a result of the development of land animals amid a greater variety of geographical conditions than is found in the seas. . . . The wonderful intelligence of man has been developed on the lands, because only on the lands is to be found the great variety of form, climate and products which can stimulate the development of high intelligence. It would have been as impossible for man to develop as an inhabitant of the dark and monotonous ocean floor as it has been for civilization to arise out of the frozen and lonesome lands of the Antarctic regions."
Thus even the children of our generation are taught a doctrine which is not only unproven but so far falls short of explaining that which it was invented to explain that it cannot, by any correct definition, even be dignified with the name of a "working hypothesis." It is a theory of origins which fails to account for one thing precisely—Origins.
CHAPTER THREE. The Testimony of the Rocks.
We have seen that the principal argument for a development of the higher types of life from lower organisms is based upon a study of fossil remains (paleontology). The older the strata in the earth's surface, the simpler the animal forms imbedded therein; the more recent the strata, the more complex and highly developed the fossil remains. Popular scientific works, and books of refence [tr. note: sic] generally, quote it as an axiom: In the oldest rocks the simplest fossils are found, hence the higher animals are developed from the lower. Davis "Physical Geograhy" [tr. note: sic] says (page 17):
"Age of the Earth.—It is impossible to say what the age of the earth and the solar system is, but it certainly should be reckoned in millions and millions of years. There is every reason to believe that the sun and the planets existed for an indefinitely long period before the condition of the earth's surface was such as to allow the habitation of the planet by plants and animals. It is well proved by the prints or fossils of various plants and animals in ancient rock layers that these lower forms of life existed upon the earth for a vast length of time, millions and millions of years before man appeared."
Here, then, we are squarely confronted by the issue. Either the rocks testify to a slow evolution of plant and animal life, or they supply no such testimony. Professor Downing of Chicago University, says that this is indeed, the one primary argument for evolution, the rest being simply corroborative. On this rock evolutionists build their scientific Faith. Let us investigate.
We shall note, to begin with, that there are, indeed, a larger number of species, both of animals and plants, preserved in the rocks,—thousands, in fact. There are lowly organisms, of the crab and cuttle fish variety, and more highly organized forms, fishes and birds, and there are the prints and fossilized bones of great monsters, huge lizards and sloths and other mammalia. It is possible to establish a gradation in this great catalog of fossils, beginning with the largest or most perfectly developed, and ending with the animals lower in the scale of life; or vice versa. The evolutionists say, vice versa, the simplest first, the most complex last, and then they add: So they have developed.
At this point we shall first quote one of the earliest palaeontologists, and one of the most famous, Hugh Miller, whose "Old Red Sandstone," first published in 1841, has now been republished in the "Everyman Library." In this brilliant work, Miller pays his respects to the evolutionists of his age. He refers to Lamarck and says: "The ingenious foreigner, on the strength of a few striking facts which prove that to a certain extent the instincts of species may be improved and heightened, and their forms changed from a lower to a higher degree of adaptation to their circumstances, has concluded that there is a natural progress from the inferior order of being towards the superior, and that the off-spring of creatures low in the scale in the present time may hold a much higher place in it, and belong to different and nobler species, a few thousand years hence. . . . He has argued on this principle of improvement and adaptation,—which, carry it as far as we rationally may, still leaves the vegetable a vegetable, and the dog a dog,—that in the vast course of ages, inferior have risen into superior natures, and lower into higher races; that molluscs and zoophytes have passed into fish and reptiles, and fish and reptiles into birds and quadrupeds; that unformed gelatinous bodies, with an organisation scarcely traceable, have been metamorphosed into oaks and cedars; and that monkeys and apes have been transformed into human creatures, capable of understanding and admiring the theories of Lamarck.
"It is a law of nature," continues Mr. Miller, "that the chain of being, from the lowest to the highest form of life, should be, in some degree, a continuous chain; that the various classes of existence should shade into one another, so that it often proves a matter of no little difficulty to point out the exact line of demarcation where one class or family ends and another class or family begins. The naturalist passes from the vegetable to the animal tribes, scarcely aware, amid the perplexing forms of intermediate existence, at what point he quits the precincts of the one, to enter on those of the other. All the animal families have, in like manner, their connecting links; and it is chiefly out of these that writers such as Lamarck and Maillet construct their system. They confound gradation with progress. Geoffrey Hudson was a very short man, and Goliath of Gath a very tall one; and the gradations of the human stature lie between. But gradation is not progress; and though we find full-grown men of five feet, five feet six inches, and six feet and a half, the fact gives us no earnest whatever that the race is rising in stature, and that at some future period the average height of the human family will be somewhat between ten and eleven feet. And equally unsolid is the argument that from a principle of gradation in races would reduce a principle of progress in races. The tall man of six feet need entertain quite as little hope of rising into eleven feet as the short man of five; nor has the fish that occasionally flies any better chance of passing into a bird than the fish that only swims. Geology abounds with creatures of the intermediate class. But it furnishes no genealogical link to show that the existences of one race derive their lineage from the existences of another. The scene shifts as we pass from formation to formation; we are introduced in each to a new dramatis personae. Of all the vertebrata, fishes rank lowest, and in geological history appear first. Now, fishes differ very much among themselves: some rank nearly as low as worms,—some nearly as high as reptiles; and if fish could have risen into reptiles, and reptiles into mammalia, we would necessarily expect to find lower orders of fish passing into higher, and taking precedence of the higher in their appearance in point of time. If such be not the case,—if fish made their first appearance, not in their least perfect, but in their most perfect state,—not in their nearest approximation to the worm, but in their nearest approximation to the reptile,—there is no room for progression, and the argument falls. Now, it is a geological fact, that it is fish of the higher orders that appear first on the stage, and that they are found to occupy exactly the same level during the vast period represented by five succeeding formations. There is no progression. If fish rose into reptiles, it must have been by sudden transformation. There is no getting rid of miracle in the case,—there is no alternative between creation and metamorphosis. The infidel substitutes progression for Deiety;—Geology robs him of his God."
Mr. Miller then relates his discovery of the winged fish (Pterichtys): "Of all the organisms of the Old Red Sandstone, one of the most extraordinary, and the one in which Lamarck would have most delighted, is the Pterichtys, or winged fish. Had Lamarck been the discoverer, he would unquestionably have held that he had caught a fish almost in the act of wishing itself into a bird. Here are wings which lack only feathers, a body which seems to have been as well adapted for passing through the air as the water and a tail by which to steer. I fain wish I could communicate to the reader the feeling with which I contemplated my first-found specimen. It opened with a single blow of the hammer; and there on a ground of light-colored limestone, lay the effigy of a creature fashioned apparently out of jet, with a body covered with plates, two powerful-looking arms articulated at the shoulders, a head as entirely lost in the trunk as that of the ray or the sun-fish, and long angular tail." Miller says that he at first thought he had discovered a kind of turtle that partook of the characteristics of a fish. But he continues: "I had inferred somewhat too hurriedly, though perhaps naturally enough, that these wings or arms, with their strong sharp points and oar-like blades, had been at once paddles and spears, —instrument of motion and weapons of defence; and hence the mistake of connecting the creature with the Chelonia (turtles). I am informed by Agassiz, however, that they were weapons of defence only, which, like the spines of the river bull-head, were erected in moments of danger or alarm, and at other times lay close by the creature's side; and that the sole instrument of motion was in the tail. The river bull-head, when attacked by an enemy, or immediately as it feels the hook in its jaws, erects its two spines at nearly right angles with the plates of the head, as if to render itself as difficult of being swallowed as possible. The attitude is one of danger and alarm; and it is a curious fact, that in this attitude nine-tenth of the Pterichthyes of the Lower Old Red Sandstone are to be found."
A century has passed since Miller thought he had discovered a turtle which was so modified in structure as to be a link between the turtles and the fish. But to the present day geology has failed to furnish evidence that such a link at one time existed.
This absence, in the geological record, of transitional forms, is one of the greatest difficulties of the evolutionistic theory. According to the theory, the fossils found in the various layers of rock ought to show gradual modifications, linking the various species of animals and plants in a finely graduated system, with thousands of forms showing in rudimentary structure those organs which in the more advanced forms have become fully developed. However, no such progress from more to less generalized types has been demonstrated, although many trained investigators have searched the fossiliferous rocks for such evidence of evolution. Professor Huxley in his "Lay Sermons" admits that an impartial survey of the positively ascertained truths of paleontology "Either shows us no evidence of such modification, or demonstrates such modification as has occurred to have been very slight; and as to the nature of that modification, it yields no evidence whatsoever that the earlier members of any long-continued group were more generalized in structure than the later ones." LeConte says: "Although the species change greatly, and perhaps many times, in passing from the lowest to the highest strata, we do not usually, it must be acknowledged, find the gradual transitions we would naturally expect, if the change were effected by gradual transitions." He further speaks of the absence of connecting links as "the greatest of all objections" against the theory of evolution. ("Evolution," p. 234.) This absence of transitional forms between different species has always been recognized as a serious difficulty; and Mr. Darwin, in the attempt to obviate it, succeeds only in showing how very serious it is. These are his words: "Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory."
Alfred Fairhurst says, in his "Organic Evolution Considered" (p. 93):
"According to the theory of evolution, and especially of natural selection, if we start with any organism and trace its history backward, we would find that through an endless number of generations it had been very slightly changing, so that any individual is always a transitional form between its immediate ancestors and its own offspring. This being true, one would expect, if the theory of evolution is true, to find vast numbers of transitional forms connecting earlier and later species in the various periods where fossils are well preserved. This, however, is not true. Species, when they first appear, stand sharply defined. Darwin expresses his disappointment at the absence of transitional forms as follows: 'But I do not pretend that I should ever have suspected how poor was the record in the best preserved geological sections, had not the absence of innumerable transitional links between the species which lived at the commencement and close of each formation pressed so hardly on my theory.'"
Even a cursory study of such texts as Dana's "Manual of Geology" will reveal that the development of the plants and animals through the "ages" of speculative geology does not move forward like a steadily rising flood. There is rather a series of great waves, each rising abruptly, new forms often appearing suddenly and together. The very simplest known fossils, the trilobites, of which nearly a hundred species are known in America alone, and certain cephalopods (sea snails) are animals highly complex in structure and regarded by Le Conte as "hardly lower than the middle of the animal scale." The trilobites possess well developed compound eyes and the cephalopods have simple eyes, almost as complex as the eyes of man, possess a well defined stomach, a systemic heart, a liver, and a highly developed nervous system [tr. note: no period in original] Observe, that these two highly organized forms of animals, "hardly to be regarded as lower than the middle of the animal scale," are the very "oldest" animals found in fossil form! In other words, of at least one half of the total progress of the animal kingdom every vestige is lost. If we turn a few pages in Dana's "Manual" we find in the sandstone of the "Devonian Era" gigantic species of fish. The entire record of evolution from the mollusk to the fish is lost! There is not a single transitional form. These fishes have organs as complex and perfect as the fishes of to-day. Suddenly, in the "carbonic age" amphibia and reptiles appear, and then come, in the "Triassic" the huge reptiles known as dinosaurs. Insects and scorpions have been found in the "Silurian." [tr. note: sic on punctuation] They stand among the highest of even living articulates, and they are the "oldest" known airbreathing animals. "We seek in vain for the progenitors of these highly organized articulates or for some conceivable method by which their wings and special breathing apparatus could have evolved. We do not know that these first insects and scorpions have made any material progress through all the ages." (Fairhurst.)