Famous Reviews eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 560 pages of information about Famous Reviews.
      the first period of the world’s development from nothing; how the
      elements and heavenly bodies originated; in what method by
      self-evolution into higher and manifold forms they separated into
      minerals, became finally organic, and in man attained
      self-consciousness.
      42.  The mathematical monad is eternal.
      43.  The eternal is one and the same with the zero of mathematics.

Sir C. Lyell devotes the 33rd to the 36th chapter of his “Principles of Geology” to an examination of this question.  He gives a clear account of the mode in which Lamarck supported his belief of the transmutation of species; he interrupts the author’s argument to observe that “no positive fact is cited to exemplify the substitution of some entirely new sense, faculty, or organ—­because no examples were to be found”; and remarks that when Lamarck talks of “the effects of internal sentiment,” etc., as causes whereby animals and plants may acquire new organs, he substitutes names for things, and with a disregard to the strict rules of induction, resorts to fictions.

He shows the fallacy of Lamarck’s reasoning, and by anticipation confutes the whole theory of Mr. Darwin, when gathering clearly up into a few heads the recapitulation of the whole argument in favour of the reality of species in nature.  He urges:—­[Transcriber’s note:  numbering in original]

1.  That there is a capacity in all species to accommodate themselves to a certain extent to a change of external circumstances.

4.  The entire variation from the original type ... may usually be effected in a brief period of time, after which no further deviation can be obtained.

5.  The intermixing distinct species is guarded against by the sterility of the mule offspring.

6.  It appears that species have a real existence in nature, and that each was endowed at the time of its creation with the attributes and organization by which it is now distinguished.[1]

[1] “Principles of Geology,” edit. 1853.

We trust that Sir C. Lyell abides still by these truly philosophical principles; and that with his help and with that of his brethren this flimsy speculation may be as completely put down as was what in spite of all denials we must venture to call its twin though less-instructed brother, the “Vestiges of Creation.”  In so doing they will assuredly provide for the strength and continually growing progress of British science.

Indeed, not only do all laws for the study of nature vanish when the great principle of order pervading and regulating all her processes is given up, but all that imparts the deepest interest in the investigation of her wonders will have departed too.  Under such influences a man soon goes back to the marvelling stare of childhood at the centaurs and hippogriffs of fancy, or if he is of a philosophic turn, he comes like Oken to write a scheme of creation under “a

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