Darwiniana; Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 317 pages of information about Darwiniana; Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism.

(We might interpose the remark that the witness on the stand, if subjected to cross-examination by a biologist, might be made to give a good deal of testimony in favor of transmutation rather than substitution.) After referring to different ideas as to the cause or mode of evolution, he concludes that it can make no difference, so far as the argument of design in Nature is concerned, whether there be evolution or not, or whether, in the case of evolution, the change be paroxysmal or uniform.  We may infer even that he accepts the idea that “physical and chemical forces are changed into vital force, and vice versa.”  Physicists incline more readily to this than physiologists; and if what is called vital force be a force in the physicists’ sense, then it is almost certainly so.  But the illustration on page 275 touches this point only seemingly.  It really concerns only the storing and the using of physical force in a living organism.  If, for want of a special expression, we continue to use the term vital force to designate that intangible something which directs and governs the accumulation and expenditure of physical force in organisms, then there is as yet no proof and little likelihood that this is correlate with physical force.

“A few words upon the first chapter of Genesis and the Mosaic cosmogony, and I am done,” says Prof.  Le Conte, and so are we: 

“It might be expected by many that, after speaking of schemes of reconciliation, I should give mine also.  My Christian friends, these schemes of reconciliation become daily more and more distasteful to me.  I have used them in times past; but now the deliberate construction of such schemes seems to me almost like trifling with the words of Scripture and the teachings of Nature.  They seem to me almost irreverent, and quite foreign to the true, humble, liberal spirit of Christianity; they are so evidently artificial, so evidently mere ingenious human devices.  It seems to me that if we will only regard the two books in the philosophical spirit which I have endeavored to describe, and then simply wait and possess our souls in patience, the questions in dispute will soon adjust themselves as other similar questions have already done.”

VIII

What is Darwinism? [VIII-1]

The Nation, May 28, 1874)

The question which Dr. Hodge asks he promptly and decisively answers:  “What is Darwinism? it is atheism.”

Leaving aside all subsidiary and incidental matters, let us consider—­1.  What the Darwinian doctrine is, and 2.  How it is proved to be atheistic.  Dr. Hodge’s own statement of it cannot be very much bettered: 

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