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.

The work is a scientific one, rigidly restricted to its direct object; and by its science it must stand or fall.  Its aim is, probably, not to deny creative intervention in Nature—­for the admission of the independent origination of certain types does away with all antecedent improbability of as much intervention as may be required—­but to maintain that Natural Selection, in explaining the facts, explains also many classes of facts which thousand-fold repeated independent acts of creation do not explain, but leave more mysterious than ever.  How far the author has succeeded, the scientific world will in due time be able to pronounce.

As these sheets are passing through the press, a copy of the second edition has reached us.  We notice with pleasure the insertion of an additional motto on the reverse of the title page, directly claiming the theistic view which we have vindicated for the doctrine.  Indeed, these pertinent words of the eminently wise Bishop Butler comprise, in their simplest expression, the whole substance of our later pages: 

“The only distinct meaning of the word ‘natural’ is stated, fixed, or settled; since what is natural as much requires and presupposes an intelligent mind to render it so, i.e., to effect it continually or at stated times, as what is supernatural or miraculous does to effect it for once.”

II

DESIGN VERSUS NECESSITY

Discussion between two readers
of Darwin’s treatise on the
origin of species, upon its
natural theology

(American Journal of Science and Arts, September, 1860)

D.T.—­Is Darwin’s theory atheistic or pantheistic? or, does it tend to atheism or pantheism?  Before attempting any solution of this question, permit me to say a few words tending to obtain a definite conception of necessity and design, as the sources from which events may originate, each independent of the other; and we shall, perhaps, best attain a clear understanding of each, by the illustration of an example in which simple human designers act upon the physical powers of common matter.

Suppose, then, a square billiard-table to be placed with its corners directed to the four cardinal points.  Suppose a player, standing at the north corner, to strike a red ball directly to the south, his design being to lodge the ball in the south pocket; which design, if not interfered with, must, of course be accomplished.  Then suppose another player, standing at the east corner, to direct a white ball to the west corner.  This design also, if not interfered with, must be accomplished.  Next suppose both players to strike their balls at the same instant, with like forces, in the directions before given.  In this case the balls would not pass as before, namely, the red ball to the south, and the white ball to the west,

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Darwiniana; Essays and Reviews Pertaining to Darwinism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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