We wished to say something about the way in which scientific men, worthy of the name, hold hypotheses and theories, using them for the purpose of investigation and the collocation of facts, yielding or withholding assent in degrees or provisionally, according to the amount of verification or likelihood, or holding it long in suspense; which is quite in contrast to that of amateurs and general speculators (not that we reckon Dr. Dawson in this class), whose assent or denial seldom waits, or endures qualification. With them it must on all occasions be yea or nay only, according to the letter of the Scriptural injunction, and whatsoever is less than this, or between the two, cometh of evil.
(The Nation, January 15, 1874)
The attitude of theologians toward doctrines of evolution, from the nebular hypothesis down to “Darwinism,” is no less worthy of consideration, and hardly less diverse, than that of naturalists. But the topic, if pursued far, leads to questions too wide and deep for our handling here, except incidentally, in the brief notice which it falls in our way to take of the Rev. George Henslow’s recent volume on “The Theory of Evolution of Living Things.” This treatise is on the side of evolution, “considered as illustrative of the wisdom and beneficence of the Almighty.” It was submitted for and received one of the Actonian prizes recently awarded by the Royal Institution of Great Britain. We gather that the staple of a part of it is worked up anew from some earlier discourses of the author upon “Genesis and Geology,” “Science and Scripture not antagonistic,” etc.