Darwiniana; Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 379 pages of information about Darwiniana; Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism.

Pronouncing it to be the duty of the naturalist to find out the how of things, and of the natural theologian to find out the why, Mr. Kingsley continues: 

“But if it be said, ’After all, there is no why; the doctrine of evolution, by doing away with the theory of creation, does away with that of final causes,’ let us answer boldly, ‘Not in the least.’  We might accept all that Mr. Darwin, all that Prof.  Huxley, all that other most able men have so learnedly and acutely written on physical science, and yet preserve our natural theology on the same basis as that on which Butler and Paley left it.  That we should have to develop it I do not deny.

“Let us rather look with calmness, and even with hope and good-will, on these new theories; they surely mark a tendency toward a more, not a less, Scriptural view of Nature.

“Of old it was said by Him, without whom nothing is made, ’My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.’  Shall we quarrel with Science if she should show how these words are true?  What, in one word, should we have to say but this:  ’We know of old that God was so wise that he could make all things; but, behold, he is so much wiser than even that, that he can make all things make themselves?’ "


(Nature, June 4, 1874, accompanying a portrait)

Two British naturalists, Robert Brown and Charles Darwin, have, more than any others, impressed their influence upon science in this nineteenth century.  Unlike as these men and their works were and are, we may most readily subserve the present purpose in what we are called upon to say of the latter by briefly comparing and contrasting the two.

Robert Brown died sixteen years ago, full of years and scientific honors, and he seems to have finished, several years earlier, all the scientific work that he had undertaken.  To the other, Charles Darwin, a fair number of productive years may yet remain, and are earnestly hoped for.  Both enjoyed the great advantage of being all their lives long free from exacting professional duties or cares, and so were able in the main to apply themselves to research without distraction and according to their bent.  Both, at the beginning of their career, were attached to expeditions of exploration in the southern hemisphere, where they amassed rich stores of observation and materials, and probably struck out, while in the field, some of the best ideas which they subsequently developed.  They worked in different fields and upon different methods; only in a single instance, so far as we know, have they handled the same topic; and in this the more penetrating insight of the younger naturalist into an interesting general problem may be appealed to in justification of a comparison which some will deem presumptuous.  Be this as it may, there will probably be little dissent from the opinion that the characteristic trait common to the two is an unrivaled scientific sagacity.  In this these two naturalists seem to us, each in his way, preeminent.  There is a characteristic likeness, too—­underlying much difference—­in their admirable manner of dealing with facts closely, and at first hand, without the interposition of the formal laws, vague ideal conceptions, or “glittering generalities” which some philosophical naturalists make large use of.

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