3. The Sciences

The most learned men and profoundest thinkers of our age, as of every age, are no doubt believers, sincere and earnest Christians; but they are not the men who represent the age and give tone to its literature and science. They are not the popular men of their times, and their voice is drowned in the din of the multitude. There is nothing novel or sensational in what they have to tell us, and there is no evidence of originality or independence of thought or character in following them. In following them we have no opportunity of separating ourselves from the past, breaking with tradition, and boldly defying both heaven and earth. There is no chance for war against authority, of creating a revolution, or enjoying the excitement of a battle; so the multitude of little men go not with them. And they who would deem it gross intellectual weakness to rely on the authority of St. Paul, or even of our Lord himself, have followed blindly and with full confidence an Agassiz, a Huxley, a Lyell, or any other second or third rate physicist who is understood to defend theories that undermine the authority of the church and the Bible.

We are not, we frankly confess, learned in the sciences. They have changed so rapidly and so essentially since our younger days, when we did take some pains to master them, that we do not know what they are today any more than we do what they will be tomorrow. We have not, in our slowness, been able to keep pace with them, and we only know enough of them now to know that they are continually changing under the very eye of the spectator. But if we do not know all the achievements of the sciences, we claim to know something of the science of sciences, the science which gives the law to them, and to which they must conform or cease to pretend to have any scientific character. If we know not what they have done, we know something which they have not done. (Vol. 9, 269, 270.)

No philosopher, no theologian ever did or ever does object to scientific investigation in the proper field of observation and induction, nor to any science which really is science. Thus Cardinal Bellarmine, who may be regarded as speaking with authority for both philosophers and theologians, said to Galileo’s friend: "Tell your friend to pursue his mathematical studies without meddling with the interpretation of Scripture, and when he has proved his theory, it will then be time enough to consider what changes, if any, in the interpretation of the sacred text will be necessary." The trouble the Florentine experienced grew out of the fact that he insisted, while his heliocentric theory was still only a theory, an unproved hypothesis, on publishing it and having it received as science. In all the cases in which the scientists complain of having been or of being persecuted by philosophers and theologians, or in which they do really encounter opposition from them or the church, it is never for their science or their scientific discoveries; but for publishing as science theories and hypotheses opposed to the belief of mankind, and in demanding, while they are as yet unproved or unverified and are only conjectures more or less plausible, that they shall be received as certain, and philosophy, theology, religion, politics, social order, all that has hitherto been held as settled, as true and sacred, shall be altered or modified so as to conform to them. Let their authors pursue their investigations in quiet, and not disturb the public with their hypotheses till they have proved them, converted them into exact and certain science, and nobody will oppose them; and both the church and society, theologians and philosophers, will accept with gratitude and generously reward their patient labors and unwearied investigations. But this is precisely what the Huxleys, the Buchners, the Taines, the Darwins, the Spencers, the Tyndalls refuse to do; and hence they are opposed by all sensible men, not, as they would have the world believe, for their science, but for their lack of science and their attempt to impose on society as science what is not science, what has no scientific validity, and springs only from their own delusions or distempered brains. (Vol. 9, pp. 512, 513.)

The Method of Science


Between the sceicntists and philosophers, or those who cultivate not the special sciences, and determine the principles to which the several special sciences must be referred in order to have any scientific character or value, there is a long-standing quarrel, which grows fiercer and more embittered every day. We are far from pretending that the positivists or Comtists have mastered all the so-called special sciences; but they represent truly the aims and tendencies of the scientists, and of what by a strange misnomer is called philosophy; so called, it would seem, because philosophy it is not. Philosophy is the science of principles, as say the Greeks, or of first principles, as say the Latins, and after them the modern Latinized nations. But Herbert Spencer, Stuart Mill, and the late Sir William Hamilton, the ablest representatives of philosophy as generally received by the English-speaking world, agree with the Comtists or positivists in rejecting first principles from the domain of science and in relegating theology and metaphysics to the region of the unknown and the unknowable. Their labors consequently result, as Sir William Hamilton himself somewhere admits, in universal nescience, or, as we may say, absolute nihilism or nullism.

This result is not accidental, but follows necessarily from what is called the Baconian method, which the scientists follow, and which is, in scholastic language, concluding the universal from the particular. Now, in the logic we learned as a school-boy and adhere to in our old age, this is simply impossible. To every valid argument it is necessary that one of the premises, called the major premise, be a universal principle. Yet the scientists discard the universal from their premises and from two or more particulars, or particular facts, profess to draw a valid universal conclusion, as if any conclusion broader than the premises could be valid! The physico-theologians are so infatuated with eh Baconian method that they attempt, from certain facts which they discover in the physical world, to conclude, by way of induction, the being and attributes of God, as if anything concluded from particular facts could be anything but a particular fact. Hence the aforementioned authors, with Professror Huxley at their tail, as well as Kant in his "Critik der reinen Vernunft," have proved, that a causative force, or causality, cannot be concluded either by way of induction or of deduction from any empirical facts, or facts of which observation can take note. Yet the validity of every induction rests on the reality of the relation of cause and effect and the fact that the cause actually produces the effect.

Yet our scientists pretend that they can, from the observation and analysis of facts, induce a law, and a law that will hold good beyond the particulars observed and analyzed. But they do not obtain any law at all; and the laws of nature, about which they talk so learnedly, are not laws, but simply facts. Bring a piece of wax to the fire and it melts; hence it is said to be a law that wax so brought in proximate relation with fire will melt; but this law is only the particular fact observed, and the facts to which you apply it are the identical facts from which you have obtained it. The investigation in all cases where the scientists profess to seek the law is simply an investigation to find out and establish the identity of the facts, and what they call the law is only the assertion of that identity, and never extends to facts not identical, or to dissimilar facts.

Take mathematics: as far as the scientist can admit mathematics, they are simply identical propositions piled on identical propositions, and the only difference between Newton and a plough-boy is that Newton detects identity where the plough-boy does not. Take what is called the law of gravitation: it is nothing but the statement of a fact or a class of facts observed, and the most that it tells us is that if the facts are identical they are identical – that is, they bear such and such relations to one another. But let your positivist attempt to explain transcendental mathematics, and he is all at sea if he does not borrow from the ideal science or philosophy which he professes to discard. How will the geometrician explain his infinitely extended lines, or lines that may be infinitely extended? A line is made up of a succession of points, and therefore of parts, and nothing which is made up of parts is infinite. The line may be increased or diminished by the addition or subtraction of points, but the infinite cannot be either increased or diminished. Whence does the mind get this idea of infinity? The geometrician tells us the line may be infinitely extended – that is, it is infinitely possible; but it cannot be so unless there is an infinite ground on which it can be projected. An infinitely possible line can be asserted only by asserting the infinitely real, and therefore the mind, unless it had the intuition of the infinitely real, could not conceive of a line as capable of infinite extension. Hence the ancients never assert either the infinitely possible or the infinitely real. There is in all gentile science, or gentile philosophy, no conception of the infinite; there is only the conception of the indefinite.

This same reasoning disposed of the infinite divisibility of matter still taught in our text-books. The infinite divisibility of matter is an infinite absurdity; for it implies an infinity of parts or numbers, which is really a contradiction in terms. We know nothing that better illustrates the unsoundness of the method of the scientists. Here is a piece of matter. Can you not divide it into two equal parts? Certainly. Can you do the same by either of the halves? Yes. And by the quarters? Yes. And thus on ad infinitum. Where, then, is the absurdity? None as long as you will deal with only finite quantities. The absurdity is in the fact that the infinite divisibility of matter implies an infinity of parts; and an infinity of parts an infinity of numbers; and numbers and every series of numbers may be increased by addition and diminished by subtraction. An infinite series is impossible.

The moment the scientists leave the domain of particulars or positive facts and attempt to induce from them a law, their induction is of no value. Take geology: the geologist finds in that small portion of the globe which he has examined certain facts, from which he concludes that the globe is millions and millions of ages old. Is his conclusion scientific? Not at all. If the globe was in the beginning in a certain state, and if the structural and other changes which are now going on have been going on at the same rate from the beginning – neither of which suppositions is provable – then the conclusion is valid; not otherwise. Sir Cahrles Lyell, if we recollect aright, calculated that at the present rate it must have taken at least a hundred and fifty thousand years to form the delta of the Mississippi. Officers of the United States army have calculated that a little over four thousand years would suffice.

So of the antiquity of man on the globe. The scientist finds what he takes to be human bones in an eave along with the bones of certain long since extinct species of animals, and concludes that man was contemporary with the said extinct species of animals; therefore man existed on the globe many – nobody can say how many – thousand years ago. But two things render the conclusion uncertain. It is not certain from the fact that their bones are found together that man and these animals were contemporary; and the date when these animals became extinct, if extinct they are, is not ascertained nor ascertainable. They have discovered traces in Switzerland of lacustrian habitations; but these prove nothing, because history itself mentions "the dwellers on the lakes," and the oldest history accepted by the scientists is not many thousand years old. Sir Charles Lyell finds, or supposes he finds, stone knives and axes, or what he takes to be stone knives and axes, deeply embedded in the earth in the valley of a river, though at some distance from its present bed, and thence concludes the presence of man on the earth for a period wholly irreconcilable with the received biblical chronology. But supposing the facts to be as alleged, they do not prove anything, because we cannot say what changes by floods or other causes have taken place in the soil of the locality, even during the period of authentic history. Others conclude from the same facts that men were primitive savages, or ignorant of the use of iron. But the most they prove is that at some unknown period certain parts of Europe were inhabited by a people who used stone knives and axes; but whether because ignorant of iron or because unable from their poverty or their distance from places where they were manufactured to procure similar iron utensils, they give us no information. Instances enough are recorded in history of the use of stone knives by a people who possessed knives made of iron. Because in our day some Indian tribes use bows and arrows, are we to conclude that firearms are unknown in our age of the world?

What the scientists offer as proof is seldom any proof at all. If an hypothesis they invent explains the known facts of a case, they assert it as proved and therefore true. What fun would they not make of theologians and philosophers if they reasoned as loosely as they do themselves! Before we can conclude a hypothesis is true because it explains the known facts in the case, we must prove, 1st, that there are and can be no facts in the case not known; and, 2nd, that there is no other possible hypothesis on which they can be explained. We do not say the theories of the scientists with regard to the antiquity of the globe and of man on its surface, nor that any of the geological and astronomical hypotheses they set forth are absolutely false; we only say that their alleged facts and reasonings do not prove them. The few facts known might be placed in a very different light by the possibly unknown facts; and there are conceivable any other number of other hypotheses which would equally well explain the facts that are known. (Vol. 9, pp. 401-405.)

The Bible Chronology


But suppose you have proved the antiquity of the earth and of man on it to be as you pretend: what then? In the first place, you have not proved that the earth and man on it were not created, that God did not in the beginning create the heavens and the earth and all things therein. You leave, then, intact both the formula and the dogma which presupposes and reasserts it as a truth of revelation as well as of science. But we have disproved the chronology of the Bible. Is it the chronology of the Bible or chronology as arranged by learned men that you have disproved? Say the chronology as it actually is in the Bible, though all learned men know that that chronology is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to make out, and we for ourselves have never been able to settle it at all to our entire satisfaction, is it certain that the scriptures themselves even pretend that the date assigned to the creation of the world is given by divine revelation and is to be received as an article of faith? There is an important difference between the chronology given in the Hebrew Bible and that given in the Septuagint used by the apostles and Greek fathers, and still used by the united as well as by the non-united Greeks, and we are not aware that there has ever been an authoritative decision as to which or that either of the two chronologies must be followed. The commonly received chronology certainly ought not to be departed from without strong and urgent reasons; but if such reasons are adduced, we do not understand that it cannot be departed from without impairing the authority of either the Scriptures or the church. We know no Christian doctrine or dogma that could be affected by carrying the date of the creation of the world a few or even many centuries farther back, if we recognize the fact of creation itself. Our faith does not depend on a question of arithmetic, as seems to have been assumed by the Anglican bishop Colenso. Numbers are easily changed in transcription, and no commentator has yet been able to reconcile all the numbers as we now have them in our Hebrew Bibles, or even in the Greek translation of the Seventy.

Supposing, then, that geologists and historians of civilization have found facts, not to be denied, which seem to require for the existence of the globe and man on its face a longer period than is allowed by the commonly received chronology, we do not see that this warrants any induction against any point of Christian faith or doctrine. We could, we confess, more easily explain some of the facts which we meet in the study of history, the political and social changes which have evidently taken place, if more time were allowed us between Noah and Moses than is admitted by Usher’s chronology; it would enable us to account for many things which now embarrass our historical science; yet whether we are allowed more time or not, or whether we can account for the historical facts or not, our faith remains the same; for we have long since learned that in the subjects with which science proposes to deal, as well as in revelation itself, there are many things which will be inexplicable even to the greatest, wisest, and holiest of men, and that the greatest folly which any man can entertain is that of expecting to explain everything, unless concluding a thing must needs be false because we know not its explanation is a still greater folly. True science as well as true virtue is modest, humble indeed, and always more depressed by what it sees that it cannot do than elated by what it may have done. (Vol. 9, pp. 277-279.)

The Unity of the Human Species


The naturalists have undoubtedly proved the existence of races or varieties of men, like the Caucasian, the Mongolian, the Malayan, the American, and the African, more or less distinctly marked, and separated from one another by greater or less distances; but have they proved that these several races or varieties are distinct peoples, or that they could not all have sprung from the same original pair? Physiologists, we are told, detect some structural differences between the negro and the white man. The black differs from the white in the greater length of the spine, in the shape of the head, leg, and foot and heel, in the facial angles, the size and convolutions of the brain. Be it so; but do these differences prove the diversity of the species, or, at most, only a distinct variety in the same species? May they not all be owing to accidental causes? The type of the physical structure of the African is undeniably the same with that of the Caucasian, and all that can be said is that in the negro it is less perfectly realized, constituting a difference in degree, indeed, but not in kind.

But before settling the question whether the several races of men belong to one and the same species or not and have or have not had the same origin, it is necessary to determine the characteristic or differentia of man. Naturalists treat man as simply an animal standing at the head of the class or order of mammalia, and are therefore obliged to seek his differentia or characteristic in his physical structure; but if it be true, as some naturalists tell us, that the same type runs through the physical structure of all animals, unless insects, reptiles, and crustacean form an exception, it is difficult to find in man’s physical structure his differentia. The schoolmen generally define man, a rational animal, animal rationale, and make the genus animal and the differentia reason. The characteristic of the species, that which constitutes it, is reason or the rational mind, and certainly science can prove nothing to the contrary. Some animals may have a degree of intelligence, but none of them have reason, free will, moral perceptions, or are capable of acting from considerations of right and wrong. We assume, then, that the differentia of the species homo, or man, is reason, or the rational soul. If our naturalists had understood this, they might have spared the pains they have taken to assimilate man to the brute and to prove that he is a monkey developed.

This point settled, the question of unity of the species is settled. There may be differences among individuals and races as to the degree of reason, but all have reason in some degree. Reason may be weaker in the African than in the European, whether owing to the lack of education or to other accidental causes, but it is essentially the same in the one as in the other, and there is no difference except in degree; and even as to degree, it is not rare to find negroes that are, in point of reason, far superior to many white men. Negroes, supposed to stand lowest in the scale, have the same moral perception and the same capacity of distinguishing between right and wrong and of acting from free will that white men have; and if there is any difference, it is simply a difference of degree, not a difference of kind of species.

But conceding the unity of the species, science has, at least, proved that the several races or varieties in the same species could not have all sprung from one and the same original pair. Where has science done this? It can do it only by way of induction from facts scientifically observed and analyzed. What facts has it observed and analyzed that warrant this conclusion against the Adamic origin of all men? There are, as we have just said, no anatomical, physiological, intellectual, or moral facts that warrant such conclusion, and no other facts are possible. Wherever men are found, they all have the essential characteristic of men as distinguished from the mere animal; they all have substantially the same physical structure; all have thought, speech, and reason, and though some may be inferior to others, nothing proves that all may not have sprung from the same Adam and Eve. Do you say ethnology cannot trace all the kindreds and nations of men back to a common origin? That is nothing to the purpose; can it say they cannot have had a common origin? But men are found everywhere, and could they have reached from the plains of Shinar continents separated from Asia by a wide expanse of water, and been distributed over America, New Holland, and the remotest islands of the ocean, when they had no ships or were ignorant of navigation? Do you know that they had, in what are to us ante-historical times, no ships and no knowledge of navigation, as we know they have had them both ever since the first dawn of history? No? Then you allege not your science against the Christian dogma, but your ignorance, which we submit is not sufficient to override faith. You must prove that men could not have been distributed from a common centre as we now find them before you can assert that they could not have had a common origin. Besides, are you able to say what changes of land and water have taken place since men first appeared on the face of the earth? Many changes, geologists assure us, have taken place, and more than they know may have occurred and have left men where they may have gone without crossing large bodies of water. So long as any other hypothesis is possible you cannot assert your own as certain. …

We do not pretend to be able to account for the differences of the several races, any more than we pretend to be able to account for the well-known fact that children born of the same parents have different facial angles, different-sized brains, different-shaped mouths and noses, different temperaments, different intellectual powers, and different moral tendencies. We may have conjectures on the subject, but conjectures are not science. If necessary to the argument, we might, perhaps, suggest a not improbable hypothesis for explaining the difference of complexion between the white and the colored races. The colored races- the yellow, the olive, the red, the copper-colored, and the black- are inferior to the Caucasian, have departed farther from the norma of the species and approached nearer to the animal, and therefore, like animals, have become more or less subject to the action of the elements. External nature, acting for ages on a race enfeebled by over-civilization and refinement, and therefore having in a great measure lost the moral and intellectual power of resisting the elemental action of nature, may, perhaps, sufficiently explain the differences we note in the complexion of the several races. If the Europeans and their American descendants were to lose all tradition of the Christian religion, as they are rapidly doing, and to take up with spiritism or some other degrading superstition, as them seem disposed to do, and to devote themselves solely to the luxuries and refinements of the material civilization of which they are now so proud and boast so much, it is by no means improbable that in time they would become as dark, as deformed, as imbecile as the despised African or the native New Hollander. We might give very plausible reasons for regarding the negro as the degraded remnant of a once overcivilized and corrupted race; and perhaps, if recovered, Christianized, civilized, and restored to communication with the great central current of human life, he may in time lose his negro hue and features and become once more a white man, a Caucasian. But be this as it may, we rest, as is our right, on the fact that the unity of the human species and its Adamic origin are in possession, and it is for those who deny either point to make good their denial. (Vol. 9, pp. 279-282.)


Original Unity of Speech


But the Scriptures say mankind were originally of one speech, and we find that every species of animals has its peculiar song or cry, which is the same in every individual of the same species; yet this is not the case with the different kindred and nations of men; they speak different tongues, which the philologist is utterly unable to refer to a common original. Therefore there cannot be in men unity of species, and the assertion of Scriptures of all being of one speech is untrue. If the song of the same species of birds or the cry of the same species of animals is the same in all the individuals of that species, it still requires no very nice ear to distinguish the song or the cry of one individual from that of another; and therefore the analogy relied on, even if admissible, which it is not, would not sustain the conclusion. Conceding, if you insist on it, that unity of species demands unity of speech, the facts adduced warrant no conclusion against the scriptural assertion; for the language of all men is even now one and the same, and all really have one and the same speech. Take the elements of language as the sensible sign by which men communicate with one another, and there is even now, at least as far as known or conceivable, only one language. The essential elements of all dialects are the same. You have in all the subject, the predicate, and the copula or the noun, adjective, and verb, to which all the other parts of speech are reducible. Hence the philologist speaks of universal grammar and constructs a grammar applicable alike to all dialects. Some philologists also contend that the signs adopted by all dialects are radically the same, and that the differences encountered are only accidental. This has actually been proved in the case of what are called the Aryan or Indo-European dialects. That the Sanskrit, the Pehlvi or old Persic, the Keltic, the Teutonic, the Slavonic, the Greek, and the Latin, from which are derived the modern dialects of Europe, as Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, German, Scanian, Turk, Polish, Russian, Welsh, Gaelic, and Irish, all except the Basque and Lettish or Finnish, have had a common origin, no philologist doubts. That the group of dialects called Semitic, including the Hebrew, Chaldaic, Syriac, Coptic, and Ethiopic, have an origin identical with that of the Aryan group is, we believe, now hardly denied. All that can be said is that philologists have not proved it, nor the same fact with regard to the so-called Turanian group, as the Chinese, the Turkish, the Basque, the Lettish or Finnish, the Tartaric or Mongolian, etc., the dialects of the aboriginal tribes or nations of America and of Africa. But what conclusion is to be drawn from the fact that philology, a science confessedly in its infancy and hardly a science at all, has not as yet established an identity of origin with these for the most part barbarous dialects? From the fact that philology has not ascertained it, we cannot conclude that the identity does not exist, or even that philology may not one day discover and establish it.

Philology may have also proceeded on false assumptions which have retarded its progress and led it to false conclusions. It has proceeded on the assumption that the savage is the primitive man, and that his agglutinated dialect represents a primitive state of language instead of a degenerate state. A broader view of history and a more just induction from its facts would, perhaps, upset this assumption. The savage is the degenerate, not the primeval man; man in his second childhood, not in his first; and hence the reason why he has no growth, no inherent progressive power, and why, as Niebuhr asserts, there is no instance on record of a savage people having its own indigenous efforts passed from the savage to the civilized nation. The thing is as impossible as for the old man, decrepit by age, to renew the vigor and elasticity of his youth or early manhood. Instead of studying the dialects of savage tribes to obtain specimens of the primitive forms of speech, philologists should study them only to obtain specimens of worn-out or used-up forms or of language in its dotage. In all the savage dialects that we have any knowledge of, we detect or seem to detect traces of a culture, a civilization, of which they who now speak them have lost all memory and are no longer capable. This seems to us to bear witness to a fall, a loss. Perhaps when the American and African dialects are better known and are studied with reference to this view of the savage state, and we have better ascertained the influence of climate and habits of life on the organs of speech and therefore on pronunciation, especially of the consonants, we shall be able to discover indications of an identity of origin where now we can detect only traces of diversity. As long as philology has only partially explored the field of observation, it is idle to pretend that science has established anything against the scriptural doctrine of the unity of speech. The fact that philologists have not traced all the various dialects now spoken or extinct to a common original amounts to nothing against faith, unless it can be proved that no such original ever existed. It may have been lost and only the distinctions retained.

Naturalists point to the various species of plants and animals distributed over the whole surface of the globe, and ask us if we mean to say that each of these has also sprung from one original pair, or male and female, and if we maintain that the primogenitors of each species of animal were in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve or in the ark with Noah. If so, how have they become distributed over the several continents of the earth and the islands of the ocean? Argumentum a specie ad speciem non valet, as say the books of logic. And even if it were proved that in case of plants and animals God duplicates, triplicates, or quadruplicates the parents by direct creation, or that he creates anew the pair in each remote locality where the same species is found, as prominent naturalists maintain or are inclined to maintain, it would prove nothing in the case of man. For we cannot reason from animals to man or from flora to fauna. Nearly all the arguments adduced from so-called science against the faith are drawn from supposed analogies of men and animals, and rest for their validity on the assumption that man is not only generically, but specifically, an animal, which is simply a begging the question. (Vol. 9, pp. 282-285.)

Physiological Science


The continual changes that take place from time to time in physiology show – we say it with all deference to physiologists- that it has not risen as yet to the dignity of a science. It is of no use to speak of progress, for changes which transform the whole body of a pretended science are not progress. We may not have mastered all the facts of a science; we may be discovering new facts every day; but if we have, for instance, the true physiological science, the discovery of new facts may throw new light on the science – may enable us to see clearer its reach and understand better its application, but cannot change or modify its principles. As long as your pretended science is liable to be changed in its principles, it is a theory, an hypothesis, not a science. Physiologists have accumulated a large stock of physiological facts, to which they are daily adding new facts. We willingly admit these facts are not useless, and the time spent in collecting them is not wasted; on the contrary, we hold them to be valuable, and appreciate very highly the labor, the patient research, and the nice observation that has collected, classified, and described them; but we dare assert, notwithstanding, that the science of physiology is yet to be created; and created it will not be till physiologists have learned and are able to set forth the dialectic relations of spirit and matter, soul and body, God and nature, free will and necessity. Till then there may be known facts, but there will be no physiological science. As far as what is called the science of human life, or human physiology, goes, Professor Draper’s work is an able and commendable work; but he must permit us to say that the real science of physiology he has not touched, has not dreamed of; nor have any of his brethren who see in the human soul only a useless appendage to the body. The soul is the forma corporis, its informing, its vital principle, and pervades, so to speak, and determines, or modifies, the whole life and action of the human body, form the first instant of conception to the very moment of death. The human body does not exist, even in its embryonic state, first as a vegetable, then as an animal, and afterwards as united to an immaterial soul. It is body united to soul from the first instant of conception, and man lives, in any stage of his existence, but one and the same human life. There is no moment after conception when the willful destruction of the foetus is not the murder of a human life.

Man, though the ancients called him a microcosm, the universe in little, and he contains in himself all the elements of nature, is neither a mineral nor a vegetable, nor simply an animal, and the analogies which the physiologist detects between him and the kingdoms below him form no scientific basis of human physiology, for like is not same. There may be no difference that the microscope or the crucible can detect between the blood of an ox and the blood of a man; for the microscope and chemical tests are in both cases applied to the dead subject, not the living, and the human blood tested is withdrawn from the living action of the soul, an action that escapes the most powerful microscope and the most subtle chemical agent. Comparative physiology may gratify the curiosity, and when not pressed beyond its legitimate bounds it may even be useful and help us to a better understanding of our own bodies; but it can never be the basis of a scientific induction, because between man and all animals there is the difference of species. Comparative physiology is, therefore, unlike comparative philology; for however diverse may be the dialects compared, there is no difference of species among them, and nothing hinders philological inductions from possessing, in the secondary order, a true scientific character. Physiological inductions resting on the comparative study of different individuals or different races or families of men may also be truly scientific; for all these individuals and all these races or families belong to one and the same species. But the comparative physiology that compares man and animal gives only analogies, not science. (Vol. 9, pp. 293-295.)


Effect of Physical Conditions on Human Development


Let us come to the doctrine for which the professor[Draper] writes his book, namely, individuals, communities, nations, universal humanity, are under the control of physical conditions, therefore of physical law, or law in the sense of physiologists or the physicists. If this means anything, it means that the religion, the morality, the intellectual development, the growth and decay, the littleness and the grandeur of men and nations depend solely on physical causes, not at all on moral causes – a doctrine not true throughout even in human physiology, and supported by no facts, except in a very restricted degree, when applied to nations and communities. In the corporeal phenomena of the individual the soul counts for much, and in morbid physiology the moral often counts for more than the physical; perhaps it always does, for we know from revelation that the morbidity of nature is the penalty or effect of man’s transgression. It is proved to be false as applied to nations and communities by the fact that the Christian religion, which is substantially that of the ancient patriarchs, is, at least as far as science can go, older than any of the false religions, has maintained itself the same in all essential respects, unvaried and invariable, in every variety of physical change and in every diversity of physical condition, and absolutely unaffected by any natural causes whatever.

The chief physical conditions on which the professor relies are climate and geological position. Yet what we hold to be the true religion, the primitive religion of mankind, has prevailed in all climates and been found the same in all geographical positions. Nay, even the false pagan religions have varied only in their accidents with climatic and geographical positions. We find them in substance the same in India, Central Asia, on the banks of the Danube, in the heart of Europe, in the ancient Scania, the Northern Isles, in Mexico and Peru. The substance of Greek and Roman or Etrurian mythology is the same with that of India and Egypt. M. Renan tells us that the monotheism so firmly held by the Arabic branch of the Semitic family is due to the vast deserts over which the Arab tribes wander, which suggest the idea of unity and universality; and yet for centuries before Mohammed, these same Arabs, wandering over the same deserts, were polytheists and idolaters; and not from contemplating those deserts, but by recalling the primitive tradition of mankind, preserved by Jews and Christians, did the founder of Islam attain to the monotheism of the Koran. The professor is misled by taking, in the heathen mythology he has studied, the poetic imagery and embellishments, which indeed vary according to the natural aspects, objects, and productions of the locality, for their substance, thought, or doctrine. The poetic illustrations, imagery, and embellishments of Judaism are all oriental; but the Jew in all climates and in all geographical positions holds one and the same religious faith even to this day; and his only real difference from us is that he is still looking for a Christ to come, while we believe the Christ he is looking for has come, and is the same Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified at Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate. (Vol. 9, pp. 307-309.)

The theory that the rise, growth, decay, and death of nations depend on physical conditions alone, chiefly on climate and geographical position, seems to us attended with some grave difficulties. Have the climate and geographical positions of India, Persia, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, and Rome essentially changed from what they were at the epoch of their greatness? Did not all the great and renowned nations of antiquity rise, grow, prosper, decline, and die in substantially the same physical conditions, under the same climate, and in the same geographical position? Like causes produce like effects. How could the same physical causes cause alike the rise and growth and the decay and death of one and the same people in one and the same climate and in one and the same geographical position? Do you say climate and even physical geography change with the lapse of time? Be it so. Be it as the author maintains, that formerly there was no variation of climate on this continent, from the equator to either pole; but was there for Rome any appreciable change in the climate and geography from the time of the third Punic war to that of Honorius, or even of Augustulus, the last of the emperors? Or what change in the physical conditions of the nation was there when it was falling from what there was when it was rising?

Nations, like individuals, have, according to the professor, their infancy, youth, manhood, old age, and death. But why do nations grow old and die? The individual grows old and dies because his interior physical machinery wears out, and because he must die in order to attain to the end for which he lives. But why should this be the case with nations? They have no future life to which death is the passage. The nation does not rise or fall with the individuals that found it. One generation of individuals passes away and another comes, but the nation survives; and why, if not destroyed by external violence, should it not continue to survive and thrive to the end of time? There are no physical causes, no known physiological laws, that prevent it. Why was not Rome as able to withstand the barbarians or to drive them back from her frontiers in the fourth century as she was in the first? Why was England so much weaker under the Stuarts than she had been under the Tudors or was again under the Protector? Or why have we seen her so grand under Pitt and Wellington and so little and feeble under Palmerston and Russell? Can you explain this by a change of climate and geographical position or any change in the physical conditions of the nation, that is, any physical changes not due to moral causes?

We see in several states of the Union a decrease, a relative, if not a positive decrease, of the native population, and the physical man actually degenerating, and to an extent that should alarm the statesman and the patriot. Do you explain this fact by the change in the climate and the geographical position? The geographical position remains unchanged, and if the climate has changed at all, it has been by way of amelioration. Do you attribute to it a change in the physical condition of the country? Not at all. There is no mystery as to the matter, and though the effects may be physical or physiological, the causes are well known to be moral, and chief among them is the immoral influence of the doctrine the professor and his brother physiologists are doing their best to diffuse among the people. The cause is in the loss of religious faith, in the lack of moral and religious instruction, in the spread of naturalism, and the rejection of supernatural grace- without which the natural cannot be sustained in its integrity- in the growth of luxury, and the assertion of material goods or sensible pleasure as the end and aim of life. There is always something morally wrong where prizes need to be offered to induce the young to marry and to induce the married to suffer their children to be born and reared. (Vol. 9, pp. 312, 313.)

The common sense of mankind, in all ages of the world, has uniformly attributed the downfall of nations, states, and empires to moral causes, not to physiological laws, climatic influences, or geographical position. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Righteousness exalteth a nation, and sin is a reproach to any people. This is alike the voice of inspiration and of universal experience. The traveler who visits the sites of nations renowned in story, now buried in ruins, of cities once thronged with a teeming population, the marts of the world, in which were heard from morning till night- till far into the night- the din of industry, and marks the solitude that now reigns there, the barren waste that has succeeded to once fruitful fields and vineyards, and observes the poor shepherd that feeds a petty flock on the scanty pasturage, or the armed robber that watches for a victim to plunder, receives a far less vivid impression of the dependence of nations on physical causes and conditions than of the influence of the moral world on the natural, and reads in legible characters the meaning of that fearful penalty which God pronounced when he said to the man: "And the earth for thy sake shall be cursed." The physical changes that have come over Assyria, Syria, Lybia, Egypt, and Palestine are the effects of the moral deterioration of man, not the cause of that deterioration. (Vol. 9, pp. 314, 315.)


Plants and Animals


The professor[Huxley] speaks of the difficulty of determining the line of demarcation between the animal and the plant; but it is difficult to draw the line between the mineral and the plant or between the plant and the inorganic matter from which it assimilates its food or nourishment?... We should like to have the professor explain how ordinary matter, even if quick, becomes protoplasm, and how the protoplasm becomes the origin and basis of the life of the plant. Every plant is an organism with its central life within. Virchow and Cl. Bernard by their late discoveries have proved that every organism proceeds from an organite, ovule, or central cell, which produces, directs, and controls or governs the whole organism, even in its abnormal developments. They have also proved that this ovule or central cell exists only as generated by a pre-existing organism, or parent, of the same kind. The later physiologists are agreed that there is no well-authenticated instance of spontaneous generation. Now, this organite must exist, live, before it can avail itself of the protoplasm formed of ordinary matter, which is exterior to it, not within it, and cannot be its life, for that moves from within outward, from the center to the circumference. Concede, then, all the facts the professor alleges, they only go to prove that the organism already living sustains its life by assimilating fitting elements form ordinary matter. But they do not show at all that it derives its life from them; or that the so-called protoplasm is the origin, source, basis, or matter of organic life; or that it generates, produces, or gives rise to the organite or central cell; not that it has anything to do with vitalizing it. Hence the professor fails to throw any light on the origin, matter, or basis of life itself. (Vol. 9, pp. 366, 367.)

The Physical Basis of Life


It may or may not be difficult in the lower organisms to draw the line between the plant and the animal, and we shall urge no objections to what the professor[Huxley] says on that point; we will only say here that the animal organism, like the vegetable, is produced, directed, and controlled by the central cell, and that this cell or ovule is generated by animal parents. There is no spontaneous generation and no well-authenticated instance of metagenesis. Like generates like, and even Darwin’s doctrine of natural selection confirms rather than denies it. It is certain that the vegetable organism has never, as far as science goes, generated an animal organism. Arguments based on our ignorance prove nothing. The protoplasm can no more produce or vitalize the central animal than it can the central vegetable cell, and, indeed, still less; for the animal cannot, as the professor himself asserts, sustain its life by the protoplasmic elements till they have been prepared by the vegetable organism. Whence, then, the animal germ, organite, or ovule? What vitalizes it and gives it the power of assimilating the protoplasm as its food, without which the organism dies and disappears?

Giving the professor the fullest credit for exact science in all his statements, he does not, as far as we can see, prove his protoplasm is the physical basis of life or that there is for life any physical basis at all. He only proves that matter is so far plastic as to afford sustenance to a generated organic life, which every farmer who has ever manured a field of corn or grass or reared a flock of sheep or a herd of cattle knows and always has known, as well as the illustrious professor.

We can find a clear statement of several of the conditions of life, both vegetable and animal, but no demonstration of the principle of life, in the professor’s very elaborate discourse. Indeed, if we examine it closely we shall find that he does not even pretend to demonstrate anything of the sort. He denies all means of science except sensible experience, and maintains with Hume that we have no sensible experience of causes or principles. All science, he asserts, is restricted to empirical facts with their law, which in his system is itself only a fact or a classification of facts. The conditions of life, as we observe them, are for him the essential principle of life in the only sense in which the word principle has or can have for him an intelligible meaning. He proves, then, the physical basis of life by denying that it has any intelligible basis at all. He proves, indeed, that the protoplasm, which he shows, or endeavors to show, is universal- one and the same, always and everywhere- is present in the already existing life of both the plant and the animal; but that whatever it be in the plant or animal which gives it the power to take up the protoplasm and assimilate it to its own organism, which is properly the life or vital power, he does not explain, account for, or even recognize. With him, power is an empty word. He nowhere proves that life is produced, furnished, or generated by the protoplasm or has a material origin. Hence the protoplasm, by his own showing, is simply no protoplasm at all. He proves, if anything, that in inorganic matter there are elements which the living plant or animal assimilates, and into which, when dead, it is resolved. This is all he does and, in fact, all he professes to do.

The professor makes light of the very grave objection that chemical analysis can throw no light on the principle or basis of life, because it is or can be made only on the dead subject. He of course concedes that chemical analysis is not made on the living subject; but this, he contends, amounts to nothing. We think it amounts to a great deal. The very thing sought, to wit, life, is wanting in the dead subject, and of course cannot by any possible analysis be detected in it. If all that constituted the living body is present in the dead body, why is the dead body dead, or why has it ceased to perform its vital functions? The protoplasm, or what you so call, is as present in the corpse as in the living organism. If it is the basis of life, why is the organism no longer living? The fact is that life, while it continues, resists chemical action and death by a higher and subtler chemistry of its own, and it is only the dead body that falls under the action of the ordinary chemical laws. There is, then, no concluding the principle or basis of life from any possible dissection of the dead body. (Vol. 9, pp. 367-369.)

Life from Death


We know that some physiologists regard the waste of the body, which in life is constantly going on and which is repaired by the food we take, as incipient death; but this in only because they confound the particles or molecules of matter of which the body is externally built up, and which change many times during an ordinary life, with the body itself, and suppose the life of the body is simply the resultant of the aggregation of these innumerable molecules or particles. But the life of the organism, we have seen, is within it, and its action from the centre, and it is only its life, not its death, that throws off or exudes as well as assimilates the material particles. The exudation as well as the assimilation is interrupted by death. Why the protoplasm could not live unless it died is what we do not understand.

…The waste of the living organism is not death nor dying, though death may result from it. And the supply of protoplasm in the shape of food does not originate new life nor replenish a life that is gone, but supplies what is needed to sustain and invigorate a life that is already life. In the second place, the vital force is not built up by protoplastic accretions, but operates from within the organism, from the organite or central cell, without which there could be no accretions or secretions. The food does not give life; it only ministers sustenance to an organism already living. No chemical analysis of the food can disclose or throw any light on the origin, nature, or constitution of the organic life itself.

It is this fact that prevents us from having much confidence in chemical physiology, which is still insisted on by our most eminent physiologists. In every organism there is something that transcends the reach of chemical analysis, and which no chemical synthesis can reproduce. Take the professor’s protoplasm itself. He resolves it into the minerals, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen: but no chemist can by any possible recombination of them reproduce protoplasm. How, then, can one say that these minerals are its sole constituents, or that there are not other elements entering it which escape all chemical tests and, indeed, are not subject to chemical laws? Chemistry is limited and cannot penetrate the essence of the material substance any more than the eye can. It never does and never can go beyond the sensible properties of matter. Life has its own laws, and every physiologist knows that he meets in the living organism phenomena or facts which it is impossible to reduce to any of the laws which are obtainable from the analysis of inorganic or lifeless matter. It is necessary, then, to conclude that there is in the living organism present and active some element which, though using lifeless matter, cannot be derived from it or explained by physical laws, be they mechanical, chemical, or electrical. The law of life is a law sui generis and not resolvable into any other. We must even go beyond the physical laws themselves if we would find their principle.

As far as human science goes, there is, where the nucleus of life is wanting, no conversion of lifeless matter into living matter. The attempt to prove that living organisms, plants, animals, or man, are developed from inorganic and lifeless matter, though made as long ago as Leucippus and Democritus, systematized by Epicurus, sung in rich Latin verse by Lucretius, and defended by the ablest of modern British physico-philosophers, Mr. Herbert Spencer, in his "Biology," has by the sane part of the human race in all times and everywhere been held to be foolish and absurd. It has no scientific basis, is supported by no known facts, and is simply an unfounded, at least an unsupported, hypothesis.

Life to the scientist is an insolvable mystery. We know no explanation of this mystery or of anything else in the universe, unless we accept the creative act of God; for the origin and cause of nature are not in nature herself. We have no other explanation of the origin of living organisms or of the matter of life. God created plants, animals, and man, created them living organisms, male and female created he them, and thus gave them the power to propagate and multiply each its own kind by natural generation. The scientist will of course smile superciliously at this old solution, insisted on by priests and accepted by the vulgar; but though not a scientist, we know enough of science to say from even a scientific point of view that there is no alternative: either this or no solution at all. The ablest men of ancient or modern times, when they reject it, only fall into endless sophisms and self-contradictions. (Vol. 9, pp. 374-376.)

Hereditary Genius


Even if it be true that the majority of eminent men spring from families more or less distinguished, it does not necessarily follow that they derive their eminent abilities by inheritance; for in those same families, born of the same parents, we find other members whose abilities are in no way remarkable and in no sense above the common level. In a family of half a dozen or a dozen members one will be distinguished and rise to eminence, while the others will remain very ordinary people. …Why these marked differences in the children of the same blood, the same breed, the same parents and ancestors? If Mr. Galton explains the inferiority of the five or the eleven by considerations external or independent of race or breed, why may not the superiority of the one be explained by causes alike independent of breed? Why are the natural abilities of one brother inferior to another’s, since they are both born of the same parents? If a man’s natural abilities are derived by inheritance from organization, why is one superior to the other? Every day we meet occasion to ask similar questions. This fact proves that there are causes at work on which man’s eminence or want of eminence depends of which Mr. Galton’s theory takes no note, which escape the greatest scientists, and at best can be only conjectured. But conjecture is not science. (Vol. 9, p. 407.)

This is not all. As far as known, very eminent men have sprung from parents of very ordinary natural abilities, as of social position. The founders of dynasties and noble families have seldom had distinguished progenitors, and are usually not only the first but the greatest of their line. …

Then, again, who can say how much of a great man’s greatness is due to his natural abilities with which he was born, and how much is due to the force of example, to family tradition, to education, to his own application, and the concurrence of circumstances? It is in no man’s power to tell nor in any scientist’s power to ascertain. It is a common remark that great men in general owe their greatness chiefly to their mothers, and that in the great majority of cases known eminent men have gifted mothers. This, if a fact, is against Mr. Galton’s theory; for the father, not the mother, transmits the hereditary character of the offspring, the hereditary qualities of the line, if the physiologists are to be believed. Hence nobility in all civilized nations follows the father, not the mother. The fact of great men owing their greatness more to the mother is explained by her great influence in forming the mind, in molding the character, in stimulating and directing the exercise of her son’s faculties, than that of the father. It is as educator in the largest sense that the mother forms her son’s character and influences his destiny. It is her womanly instincts, affection, and care and vigilance, her ready sympathy, her tenderness, and power to inspire a noble ambition, kindle high and generous aspirations in the breast of her son, that do the work. (Vol. 9, p. 408.)

Men Born with Unequal Abilities


We are prepared to go even further, and to recognize that the distinction between noble and ignoble, gentle and simple, recognized in all ages and by all nations, is not wholly unfounded. There is as great a variety and as great an inequality in families as in individuals. Aristocracy is not a pure prejudice; and though it has no political privileges in this country, yet it exists here no less than elsewhere, and it is well for us that it does….

There is no doubt that there are noble lines, and the descendants of noble ancestors do, as a rule, though not invariably, surpass the descendants of plebeian or undistinguished lines. …We expect more from the child of a good family than from the child of a family of no account, and hold that birth is never to be decried or treated as a matter of no importance. But we count it so chiefly because it secures better breeding and subjection to higher, nobler, and purer formative influences from the earliest moment. Example and family traditions are of immense reach in forming the character, and it is not a little to have constantly presented to the consideration of the child the distinguished ability, the eminent worth and noble deeds of a long line of illustrious ancestors, especially in an age or country where blood is highly esteemed and the honorable pride of family is cultivated. The honor and esteem in which a family has been held for its dignity and worth through several generations is a capital, an outfit for the son, secures him, in starting, the advantage of less well-born competitors and all the aid in advance of a high position and the good-will of the community. More is exacted of him than of them; he is early made to feel that noblesse oblige and that failure would in his case be dishonor. He is thereby stimulated to greater effort to succeed. (Vol. 9, pp. 412, 413.)

Influence of the soul on the body


Yet we deny not that there is something else than all this in blood. A man’s genius belongs to his soul and is no more inherited than the soul itself. But man is not all soul, any more than he is all body; body and soul are in close and mysterious relation, and in this life neither acts without the other. The man’s natural abilities are psychical, not physical, and are not inherited, because the soul is created, not generated; but their external manifestation may depend, in a measure, on organization, and organization is inherited. Mr. Galton’s facts may, then, be admitted without our being obliged to accept his theory. The brain is generally considered by physiologists as the organ of the mind, and it may be so without implying that the brain secretes thought, will, affection, as the liver secretes bile or the stomach secretes the gastric juice.

The soul is distinct from the body, and is its form, its life, or its vivifying and informing principle; yet it uses the body as the organ of its action. Hence De Bonald defines man, an intelligence that serves himself by organs, not an intelligence served by organs, as Plato said. The organ we call the eye does not see; the soul sees by means of the eye. So of the ear, the smell, the taste, the touch. We speak of the five senses; but we should speak more correctly if we spoke, not of the five senses, but of the five organs of sense; for the sense is psychical, and is one like the soul that senses through the organs. In like manner, the brain appears to be the organ of the mind, through which, together with the several nerves that centre in it, the mind performs its various operations of thinking, willing, reasoning, remembering, reflecting, etc. The nature of the relation of the soul, which is one, simple, and immaterial, with a material body with its various organs, nervous and ganglionic systems, is a mystery which we cannot explain. Yet we cannot doubt that there is a reciprocal action and reaction of the soul and body, or at least the bodily organs can and do offer, at times, an obstacle to the external action of the soul. We cannot by our will raise our arm if it be paralyzed, though our psychical power to will to raise it is not thereby effected. If the organs of seeing and hearing, the eye and the ear, are injured or originally defective, our external sight and hearing are thereby injured or rendered defective; but not in other psychical relations, as evinced by the fact that when the physical defect is removed or the physical injury is cured, the soul finds no difficulty in manifesting its ordinary power of seeing or hearing. So we may say of the other organs of sense, and of the body generally, in so far as it is the organ of the soul in its external display or manifestation of its powers.

No doubt the organization may be more or less favorable to this external display or manifestation, or that, under certain conditions and to a certain extent, the organization is hereditary, or transmitted by natural generation. There may be transmitted from parents or ancestors a healthy or diseased, a normal or a more or less abnormal organization; and so far, and in this sense, genius may be hereditary, and a man’s natural abilities may be derived by inheritance, as are the form and features; but only to this extent and in this sense – that is, as to their external display or exercise; for a man may be truly eloquent in his soul, and even in writing, whose stammering tongue prevents him from displaying any eloquence in his speech. The organization does not deprive the soul of its powers. A man’s power to will to raise his arm is not lessened by the fact that his arm is paralyzed. And in all ordinary cases the soul is able, at least by the help of grace, freely given to all, to overcome a vicious temperament, control, in the moral order, a defective organization, and maintain her moral freedom and integrity. It has been proved that the deaf-mute can be taught to speak, and that idiots or natural-born fools can be so educated as to be able to exhibit no inconsiderable degree of intelligence.

We do not believe a word in Darwin’s theory of natural selection, for all the facts on which he bases it admit of a different explanation; nor in its kindred theory of development or evolution of species. One of our own collaborators has amply refuted both theories by showing that what these theories assume to be the development or evolution of new species, whether by natural selection or otherwise, is but a reversion to the original type and condition, in like manner as we have proved, over and over again, that the savage is the degenerate, not the primeval man. It is not improbable that your African negro is the degenerate descendant of a once over-civilized race, and that he owes his physical peculiarities to the fact that he has become subject, like the animal world, to the laws of nature, which are resisted and modified in their action by the superior races. We do not assert this as scientifically demonstrated, but as a theory which is far better sustained by well-known facts and incontrovertible principles than either the theory of development or of natural selection.

Yet the soul as forma corporis has an influence, we say not how much, on organization; and high intellectual and moral culture may modify it and, other things being equal, render it in turn more favorable to the external manifestation of the inherent powers of the soul. This more favorable organization may be transmitted by natural generation from parents to children, and if continued through several consecutive generations it may give rise to noble families and to races superior to the average. Physical habits are transmissible by inheritance. This is not, as Darwin and Galton suppose, owing to natural selection, but to the original mental and moral culture become traditional in certain families and races, and to the voluntary efforts of the soul, as is evident from the fact that when the culture is neglected and the voluntary efforts cease to be made, the superiority is lost, the organization becomes depraved, and the family or race runs out or drops into the ranks of the ignoble. The blood, however blue, will not of itself suffice to keep up the superiority of the family or the race; nor will marriages, however judicious, through no matter how many consecutive generations, without the culture, keep up the nobility, as Mr. Galton would have us believe; for the superiority of the blood depends originally and continually on the soul, its original endowments, and its peculiar training or culture through several generations.

It is in this same way we explain the origin and continuance of national characteristics and differences. Climate and geographical position count, no doubt, for something; but more in the direction they give to the national aims and culture than in their direct effects on bodily organization. It is not probable that the original tribes of Greece had any finer organic adaptation to literature and the arts than had the Scythian hordes from which they sprang; but their climate and geographical position turned their attention to cultivation of the beautiful, and the continual cultivation of the beautiful through several generations gave the Greeks an organization highly favorable to artistic creations. Then, again, Rome cultivated and excelled in the genius of law and jurisprudence. But under Christian faith and culture the various nations of Europe became assimilated, and the peculiar national characteristics under gentilism were in a measure obliterated. They also revive as the nations under Protestantism recede from Christianity and return to gentilism, and are held in check only by the reminiscences of Catholicity and by the mutual intercourse of nations kept up by trade and commerce, literature and the arts. (Vol. 9, pp. 413-416.)


Civilization not Spontaneous


There is no record or instance of a savage tribe becoming by its own spontaneous and unassisted efforts a civilized people. All the historical authorities known to us agree in this; and we, who have been reading history all our life, have not been able to find an instance of the kind. Theorists who assert it do not pretend that they have any strictly historical authority for it. It is not, they will own, a strictly historical fact, but an induction. If the primeval man was a savage, how has he become civilized if the race is not progressive? The question reveals the true spirit of our modern scientists. They imagine a theory, then imagine another, equally baseless, to prove it. They prove that man began in the savage state by the theory of progress; and the theory of progress by the theory that man was originally a savage, and, consequently, could not become civilized if not progressive. (Vol. 9, pp. 468, 468.)

History presents us, or preserves for us, the memory of no savage ancestors of the oldest civilized nations, the Egyptians, Assyrians, Syrians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Abyssinians, Chaldeans, Persians, and Indians. Where, then, are the people or nations, civilized today, whose ancestors were savages, an ignoble herd roaming in the forest, living in dens and caves, on nuts or wild roots, which they disputed with the swine; naked, without arms either of offence or defense except their fists, ignorant of the use of fire and of the simplest agricultural or mechanical arts? The Greek and Latin poets describe their own ancestors in similar terms, it is true; but they never describe that condition as their primitive condition or as that of the human race. It had, according to them, been preceded by the Saturnian Age of Gold. Their traditions are worth as much for the one state as for the other. Not only is there no instance on record of a savage people having attained to a civilized state by its own unaided efforts, but it is even doubtful if any tribe sunk in the lowest barbarism has ever by any means become a civilized people at all. (Vol. 9, p. 470.)


The Savage is not Progressive


The most striking characteristic of the savage is precisely his stationariness or unprogressiveness. Ages on ages roll over him and bring no change in his habits or in his condition. Heeren remarks truly that the description given by the companions of Alexander the Great of the Fisheaters along the coast of Keramania, eastward of the Persian Gulf, answers equally for them today: a fact which affords a passable comment on the theory that fish-eating tends to increase the power and activity of the brain on account of the phosphorus so abundant in fish. The savage is the greatest routinist in the world. Generation after generation follows in the track of its predecessor, fishes, hunts, makes war in the same manner, as regularly as the bee constructs her cell or the beaver builds his dam today as did the bee or the beaver four thousand years ago. The savage has to perfection the nil admirari of English high life. He has no wonder, no curiosity, no aspirations, no "inward questionings." His senses are acute and he is a keen observer; but he never speculates or inquires into the meaning of facts beyond their direct bearing on his condition or pursuits in life – fishing, hunting, circumventing an enemy, or eating and sleeping. His life runs from generation to generation in the same unalterable groove, unless something external to him intervenes to lift him to a higher plane and divert his course. He is in some sort a man petrified. Nothing is so absurd as to suppose him capable, without assistance from abroad or from above, of changing his state for that of civilization, which repels rather than attracts him, as all who have studied his character well know. (Vol. 9, p. 471.)

Origin of Barbarism


Though we deny that the race began in the lowest barbarism, we hold that no small portion of the human family, after the confusion of tongues at Babel, the apostasy of the gentiles, and their dispersion in the days of Phaleg, lapsed into barbarism, into what the poets call the Iron Age. Those who wandered farthest from the original seats of the race when all "were of one tongue and the same speech" fell the lowest, and perhaps are still savages. Others who wandered less far and remained near the original seats of the race deteriorated indeed, but not to so great a degree, and having been recovered to civilization, though retaining traces of the barbarism or semi-barbarism into which after the apostasy and dispersion they had fallen. This explains both classes of facts noted by Sir John[Lubbock], and accords with Christian tradition, as well as with the gentile traditions preserved and transmitted in the heathen mythologies and by the heathen poets, as Lord Arundel [of Wardour], guided by the historical light of the Mosaic records, has amply proved, whether we accept the doctrine which his lordship holds in common with the most learned and generally approved mythologists, that the greater gods of the gentiles were Adam and Noah and their sons deified, or whether we reject it; for, as we have seen, these gods gather round them the scriptural traditions and appropriate to themselves the events and facts in the historical personages of that tradition celebrated or commemorated in their memorial festivals, sacrifices, and offerings. The devils cannot create; they can only use and corrupt what already exists.

The history of the human race on this globe is a history of deterioration rather than of progress. Progress there has been by the supernatural teaching and assistance of Christianity, and where the Christian tradition has been preserved and conformed to in its purity and integrity. There was a marvelous progress in Europe from the sixth century to the sixteenth of our era under the powerful influence of the church, the disinterested, self-denying, and persevering labors of her devoted pontiffs, clergy, missionaries, and religious. But I find deterioration rather than progress in the gentile world, both before and since the commencement of the Christian era. Great monarchies grew up, the Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Medo-Persian, the Macedonian, but by conquest, annexation, robbery, and violence, like modern Prussia or the present so-called kingdom of Italy; not by the internal growth of intelligence and virtue, by the strict observance of justice or the law of nations, nor by any elevation of the standard of civilization. They were all great tyrannies, a curse to the human race, and have all fallen through internal weakness and decay, and have either lapsed into barbarism or have been superceded by barbarous tribes which they once held in subjection without civilizing them, and which now roam over the desolate sites of their former power, pitch their tents, or rob the unwary traveler among the mouldering ruins of their greatness. So, too, mighty Rome rose, became the haughty mistress of the world, but, like her predecessors, fell to pieces from her own rottenness; and it is due to the church she persecuted and sought to destroy that her memory is not as completely lost as that of the great robber empires that once flourished in the East.

The history of these great empires that once grasped the world in their hands is not the history of a progress in civilization, of social amelioration, nor of an advance in the arts and sciences. We find always their earliest civil constitution the most favorable to liberty and social well-being, to intelligence and individual growth. The oldest works of art are the best, the earliest literature is the richest and the soundest. The oldest of the Hindoo sacred books are the freest from superstition and approach nearest to the biblical doctrines and traditions; the two great poets of Greece, Homer and Hesiod, are the earliest known; the soundest elements of Greek philosophy are confessedly derived from the wisdom of the ancients, and the oldest laws are the wisest, the most just, and the most salutary; and the changes introduced, which tend not to restore primitive legislation, are the effects and causes of deterioration in morals, manners, or social and political condition. The people who founded the city of Rome and gave it its renown were less superstitious, less immoral, and had higher civic virtues as well as domestic than the Romans under the Caesars, whose corruption, luxury, and effeminacy, as well as cruelty and superstition, made holy men look upon their conquest by the German barbarians as a blessing to mankind.

A history of the apostate nations before the Christian era is a history of deterioration, of political and social corruption, of the progress of tyranny and oppression, of moral and religious degradation. We witness the same tendency in the modern nations that have apostatized from Christianity and rejected the authority of the Christian tradition. True religion and real civilization are inseparable; or, rather, true religion is civilization, or, at least, includes it. No people who believes and practices true religion is or can be an uncivilized people. Adam received from his Maker the true religion, preserved by the patriarchs to Noah, and through him down to the building of the Tower of Babel; and so long as race remained of "one tongue and the same speech" (Genesis XI) they held and, externally at least, observed the true religion, the Christian religion (for there is and can be but one religion properly so called), and were civilized. With Nemrod, "the stout hunter before the Lord," probably commenced the great gentile apostasy, and simultaneously the great deterioration which resulted in the ignorance, superstition, devil-worship, and barbarism of the heathen. The conversion of a family, tribe, or nation to Christianity brings it within the pale of civilization. Before the opening of the sixteenth century the church had converted and, therefore, civilized the various families, tribes, and nations of Europe, with the exception of the Turks encamped on its southeastern margin, whom the schismatic Greeks, severed from the source of Christian life and power, were impotent either to convert or to expel; she had opened the route to the East by way of the Cape of Good Hope and had also discovered this Western Continent, and was preparing to convert and, therefore, to civilize the barbarians and savages of the other three-quarters of the globe, when came the so-called reformation, favored by the sovereign princes, to renew the great gentile apostasy, and caused that "falling away" predicted by St. Paul.

The history of these modern apostate nations is the exact counterpart of that of the ancient gentile nations. They reject the law of God and therefore the law of nations, recognize no law that comes from a source above the nation or which man himself does not make. They are every day losing sight of the moral order and of the divine government. They exclude God from the affairs of this world and make either Caesar or the people supreme and independent. They recognize no authority but that of the prince or that of the majority, and no measure of right, as we have seen, but might or physical force. They may recognize in some extra-mundane region a divinity that dozes all day and sleeps all night and takes no care how the world wags. They may even admit his supreme authority, but only in a vague and indeterminate sense, as an abstraction, without visible organization or organs, and therefore without any practical efficacy in the government of men or nations. They worship Fortune as the supreme goddess and hold Success to be the test of merit. Losing causes are always wrong, and God is always on the side of the strong, just now on the side of Prince von Bismarck and Victor Emmanuel; as in my boyhood, when the pope was held a prisoner at Savona or Fontainebleau, he was said by the preachers to be on the side of Napoleon I, who was identified with the Man-Child of the Apocalypse. These nations are laboring with might and main to make education purely secular, to exclude religion from the schools, and to train up the rising generation in atheism, which they call science, as they call religion superstition. They boast of their "enlightenment," but their enlightenment consists in forgetting or despising the wisdom and common sense of their ancestors; they boast of their progress, but in the moral and spiritual order, in religion and the basis of civilization, their progress, as we said years ago, is in losing, in unclothing and reducing themselves to utter nakedness. The only progress they can boast is in the purely material and mechanical order. Their moral, social, political, and educational reforms are all failures or rapid strides toward barbarism. But even in their mechanical and material progress, the good gained is more than counterbalanced by the evil that accompanies it. It enriches a few, but trebles the burdens of the poor. What gain is to the poor man that he can buy a coat for one-fourth of the price paid by his great-grandfather, when he must have six coats where his great-grandfather needed but one? They boast of the progress of liberty. When was there less liberty in Germany or Italy than now? They boast of democracy, but democracy only substitutes the mob for Caesar or the irresistible tyranny of soulless corporations for the prince, as we see in our own country, where the cost of living for poor people is greater than in any other country on earth and where corporations govern the government.

When the people have lost the sense of the moral order, when religion has lost its hold on them, or when it is at best only a disembodied idea, without organs through which to make known and apply the divine law, and is practically only what each one’s own fancy, prejudices, interests, passions, or caprice make it, or, if organized at all, subordinated to the prince, as the imperial government of Germany and the robber government of Italy contend that it should be; when the law of nations is reduced to a mere convention, pact, or agreement between nations, which in practice is only what the will of the stronger party dictates; and when the government has no authority from God to govern and has no powers but such as it holds from the governed – there is no civilization, and society is undeniably on the declivity to the lowest barbarism, whether we believe it or not. Such is the state toward which modern society is at least tending, and which it has well-nigh already reached. The modern apostate nations may not have, in all respects, as yet sunk to the lowest depths of the ancient world, but in some respects they have sunk lower than Greece or Rome. (Vol. 9, pp. 471-476.)


Progress the Creed of the Nineteenth Century


The modern doctrine of progress is not yet a century old, and yet we told the truth when, some thirty years ago, we pronounced it the "creed of the nineteenth century." It is held by almost everybody with unquestioning faith, or, rather, with the blind credulity of the fanatic. It pervades all popular literature, even most scientific treatises; it is iterated and reiterated ad nauseam by the press, from the stately quarterly, the infallible daily, down to the seven-by-nine weekly; it is in the air, it is truly the Welt-Geist, and who sings not its praises is outlawed, insulted, laughed at, denounced, is one of the oscurantisti, an old-fogy with his eyes on the back side of his head, a dweller among tombs, a spectre, a shadow, not a living, breathing man. It is one of the strangest delusions that has ever seized and carried away the human mind, and in it Satan would seem to have outdone himself. With not a particle of evidence to sustain it, treading on an earth covered all over with ruins we know not how many layers deep, with the unmistakable signs of deterioration, weakness, and decay everywhere starting us in the face, we yet are deluded enough to assert that man is naturally progressive, and that the nations would pursue a steady march towards the realization of an earthly paradise, much more desirable than the heaven hoped for by Christians, but for the priests, but for the Pope, just now but for the Jesuits! Well, it is rather characteristic of insane persons to be spiteful towards their best friends and to be the most enraged at those whom they, when sane, love best and esteem the most. (Vol. 9, p. 477.)

The Primitive was the True Religion


The modern theory that religion is a fact of the natural history of man, as carnivorousness is a fact of the natural history of the lion or tiger; or if understood to mean any thing else than that wherever and in whatever condition we find him, savage or civilized, he has some form of religion, is untenable. The human soul does not secrete religion as the liver secretes bile or the stomach the gastric juice, because even in the grossest superstition the human will intervenes. Man is no more capable of inventing religion than he is of inventing language, and it has been well said that to invent language language itself is necessary. To pretend, as it is the fashion at present to do, that man has by nature the faculty of speech and attains to language by its spontaneous exercise is equally unsatisfactory. The faculty of speech is simply the faculty of using language which one has learned from a teacher, not the faculty of creating or producing language; as is evident from the case of born deaf-mutes, who want neither the faculty nor the organs of speech, and who, if cured of their deafness, can learn to speak. Besides, language embodies ideas, the most profound philosophy, which comparatively few of those who use it are capable of grasping. Men could have language only by learning it, or by its being infused into Adam along with the knowledge it embodies or the ideas which it signifies or expresses.

Religion could not have originated as a function or a spontaneous operation of human nature, for it is objective as well as subjective. Schleiermacher, so long court-preacher at Berlin, and whose "Glaubenslehre" is yet, we believe, held in some repute, makes the essence of religion purely subjective and defines it to be "the sense of dependence." That man has the sense of dependence, or the consciousness that he does not suffice for himself, us unquestionably a fact; but this is not religion till it is bound to some object independent of one’s nature, on which one believes himself dependent and which he holds to be able to do him good or to do him harm. This implies the idea or conception of the objective, and therefore of something which is neither sense nor sentiment. In all religion there is an act of belief in the divine, in the relation of the soul to it, and in its obligation to adore it, as well as the act of adoration itself. Those two acts require the exercise of both intellect and will, and hence religion is not and cannot be a simple spontaneous or a blind and indeliberate product of human nature. The essential nature of religion is such that it could not have been a human invention nor a spontaneous expression of human nature. The object presented is not in man, and therefore could not be developed, as say the heterodox Germans, from his "inner consciousness." It depends on an object not only independent of man, but above him; and in no case does or can the human mind seek and find its object, for in no case can it act without it. To every thought both subject and object are necessary, and both cannot concur in the production of thought unless both are given. The object on which all religious thought depends is the divinity, and the divinity can be given only by its own act. All religion implies God, and God can be thought only through his own act affirming or revealing himself. Religion could, then, never have existed without God or have had any but a divine origin. False religions are therefore impossible without the true.

The primitive religion, since divinely given, must have been not a false, but the true religion, recognizing the true God in his true character and the true relation of man and nature to him. Men may corrupt or falsify religion or the divine tradition of religion, but could never originate it; for the inward sentiment, however you define it, can of itself attain to nothing even in conception or imagination beyond, above, or distinct from itself. The fetish-worshipper must have believed that God is and is to be worshipped before he could have identified him with his fetish, whether an animal, a block, or a stone. He who has no conception of God cannot identify him with the wind, the storm, the elemental forces of nature, or adore him in the sun, the moon and the stars, or in images made by men’s hands. Not one of the heathen mythologies, idolatries, terrible and abominable superstitions, could have existed if they had not been preceded by the true religion, of which they are human and satanic corruptions. The theory, then, that the race began in the lowest and grossest fetishism, and that in the various heathen mythologies, idolatries, and superstitions we can trace the upward progress of the human mind to the Christian church, is absolutely untenable, as un-philosophical as it is unhistorical. The very fact that it can find currency with the leaders, or would-be leaders, of the science and erudition of the nineteenth century is a striking proof of its falsity, of the deterioration instead of the progressiveness of the race. (Vol. 9, pp. 480-482.)


Progress and Evolution


We proved, in our review of Sir John Lubbock’s theory, that man did not begin and could not have begun in utter barbarism, and that the savage is the degenerate, not the primitive man; for man, when deprived both of foreign and supernatural assistance, either deteriorates or remains stationary. We will only add here that progress is motion forward, if taken literally, and is, taken figuratively, an advance from the imperfect towards the perfect, and necessarily demands a principle or a beginning, a medium and an end, none of which can be asserted without the supposition of the Creator, who in his creative act is at once all three. You must have a starting-point from which progress moves, an end towards which it moves, and a medium in and by which it moves. These three things are essential, and without them progress is inconceivable; and these three are all independent of the progressive subject. There can, then, be no progress without God as its first and last cause and the divine creative act as its medium, and even then progress only in the line of the specific nature of the progressive subject, whether man or animal. The transformation of one species into another, no matter be what means, would not be progress, but the destruction of one species and the production of another, a higher species if you will, but not the progressive development of a lower species.

Herbert Spencer’s doctrine of evolution is open to the same objection. In all evolution there must be motion, and then somewhere a starting-point, an evolving subject and a medium of evolution, for there can be no motion, unless we have forgot our mechanics, without a first mover at rest. Herbert Spencer denies creation or a creator distinct from the cosmos. He must, then, assume the cosmos is self-existent, eternal, then immovable, immutable, and consequently incapable of evolving any existences or forms of existence not eternal in itself. The cosmos, instead of being in a state of ceaseless flux and reflux, as old Heraclitus taught and as Mr. Spencer holds, would be at rest and immovable, both as a whole and in all its parts. There could then be no change of phenomena any more than of substance, no new combination of matter, motion, and force, no alterations of concentration and dispersion of forces. All the forms and phenomena of the cosmos must be absolutely unchangeable and eternal as the cosmos itself. Consequently there could be no evolution, for evolution necessarily implies change of some sort, and change of no sort is admissible. If the cosmos is not created by God, who is distinct from the cosmos, it is eternal, and if eternal no change of any sort is admissible in it. The theory of evolution, like the modern theory of progress, is untenable and must be dismissed.

Yet, without assuming one or the other of these theories, Mr. Darwin cannot assert his origin of species by means of natural selection or by any other means except that of creation, which it is his purpose to avoid; and what is worse, if he accepts either he is still able to assert his theory, for the evolution theory denies all change and the origination of any new forms; and progress is only predicable only of the specific subject in the line of its own specific nature. We have read Mr. Darwin’s books with some care, and though not an absolute stranger to the subject he treats or to the facts he narrates, we are a little surprised that even a professed scientist could put forth such a mass of unwarranted inductions and unfounded conjectures as science. Not one nor all of the facts he adduces prove that species originate in natural or artificial selection. In all his inductions he is obliged to assume the progress of the species as the principle of his induction, while he ought to know that the assumption of the progress of the species negates the origin of species in selection. But – and this is fatal to his theory – he nowhere adduces a single fact that proves the species is progressive, or a single instance in which a lower species by its struggle for life, as he pretends, approaches a higher species, or in which the individuals of a lower species lose any of the characteristics of their species and acquire those of a higher or a different species. (Vol. 9, pp. 486, 487.)


Progress of Species


The theory of natural selection assumes the Malthusian principle that population has a tendency to outrun the means of subsistence, and applies the principle to every species, vegetable, animal, and human. Hence follows with individuals of every species a struggle for life, in which the weaker go to the wall and only the stronger survive. Well, be it so; what then? Why, these the stronger individuals give rise, or the struggle for life, in which only the stronger survive, going on for a ling series of ages, gives birth, to a new and higher species. Is it so? What is the proof? We have found no proof of it, and Mr. Darwin offers no proof of it. Because only the stronger survive, it by no means follows that these in any series of ages give rise to a new and distinct species, that these stronger individuals acquire any new characteristics, or that they lose any of the characteristics of their original species.

The gardener knows that plants and flowers are affected by climate, soil, and cultivation; but he knows also that the changes or improvements produced in this way, if they give rise to new varieties in the same species, do not, so far as known, give rise to a new species. Mr. Darwin compares domestic animals with what he assumes to be wild animals of the same original species, to the species from which he assumes they have descended. But this proves nothing to his purpose; for it is impossible for him to say which is the primitive, which the derivative, whether the domestic races have sprung from the wild or the wild from the domestic, or whether the differences noted are the result of development of the primitive type or of reversion to it. The assumption that the domestic races have been tamed, or domesticated from the wild, is a mere assumption of which there is no historical or scientific evidence: at least Mr. Darwin adduces none. There is no authority for assuming that the domestic goose has sprung from the wild goose. Why not say the wild goose has sprung from the domestic goose? The wild duck from the tame duck? The wild boar from the domestic pig? Some naturalists contend that the several varieties of the dog family have descended from the wolf, the fox, and the jackal; but supposing them to be only varieties of the same species, of which we are not assured, why not make the dog primitive and the wolf, fox, and jackal derivative? There are no known facts in the case that render it necessary to suppose them, rather than the dog, the parent stock of the whole species. Indeed, scientists have no criterion by which they can determine whether the tame variety or the wild represents the primitive type, and their only reason is the assumption that all species begin at the lowest round of the ladder and reach their perfect state only by progressive development. But this is a perfectly gratuitous assumption. Mr. Darwin adduces no facts that prove it.

So far as there are any known facts or certain principles in the case, species are immutable, and their only development is in the explication of individuals. So far as our scientists have any knowledge on the subject, there is no progress of species. Individuals may find a more or less favorable medium and vary from one another, but the specific type remains always the same as long as it remains at all, and is reproduced essentially unaltered in each new generation. It is even doubtful if abnormal types are ever really transmitted by natural generation. Cardinal Wiseman inclines to believe they are, at least to some extent. We doubt it, and explain the facts which seem to favor it by the continued presence and activity of the causes which first originated them. There are monstrous births, but they are not perpetuated. The cardinal mentions a family with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, and we have ourselves known at least one six-fingered and six-toed individual, but if perpetuated through three generations, as the cardinal asserts, there did not arise from the family a distinct variety in the human species; and in the case that came under our own observation neither the parents of the man nor his children had more than the normal number of fingers and toes. In any case, after two or three generations, if reproductive, the abnormal individuals revert to the original type. The breed may be crossed, but not permanently improved by crossing. The crossing, as every herdsman or shepherd knows, must be kept up, or the hybrid, after a few generations, eliminates the weaker and reverts to the stronger of the original type.

There is no evidence, as we have already said, of the progress of the species. The sponge today does not differ from the sponge of four thousand years ago; and if the wild peach of Persia is poisonous, our cultivated peach, the fruit of which is so delicious, if neglected and suffered to become wild, would most likely, under the same conditions of climate and soil, become as poisonous as is the Persian wild peach: thereby proving that whatever the effects of cultivation or changes of its habitat, the species remains always unchanged. Even in the cultivated peach traces of its original poisonous qualities are found, if not in its pulp, at least in its meat, of which it is unsafe for any to partake largely unless proof against prussic acid. The florist produces, by culture and proper adjustment of soil, great and striking changes in the size, color, and beauty of many varieties and species of flowers, all of which, if neglected and suffered to run wild, revert, after a while, to their original type, which neither natural nor artificial selection alters or impairs.

Then the survival of the strongest in the struggle for life does not affect the species, far less originate a new species. There is no evidence that the rat is more intelligent today than was the rat any number of centuries ago, although, according to Mr. Darwin, we must suppose only the strongest have survived, and the process of natural selection has been constantly going on. The bee constructs her cell and the beaver his house and dam not otherwise nor more perfectly than did either at the remotest period in which man has observed the habits of either. Wheat grown from grains deposited in Egyptian mummies three thousand years ago is as perfect as that which is grown from the seed subject to three thousand years of additional culture and struggle for life. (Vol. 9, pp. 487-490.)


No New Species Produced by Selection


These observations, which might be indefinitely extended, prove that whatever effect natural or artificial selection may have on individuals of the species, it has none on the species itself, and in no case originates, so far as human observation goes, a new species. Consequently all the facts and arguments Mr. Darwin adduces in support of his theory of the descent of man from the ape, or to prove the species ape by natural selection has generated or developed the species man, count for nothing. If no instance can be adduced of the development of a new species by natural selection and no instance of the progress of a lower species towards a higher, there is and can be no proof that man has originated in a lower species. All the analogies between man and the lower animals, physical or intellectual, adduced by Mr. Darwin, prove simply nothing to the purpose. It was in by-gone days a favorite theory with us, as it perhaps still is with many others, that man, while he is something more, is also the resume of the whole lower creation, or of all orders of existences below him. When we were engrossed with the study of the comparative anatomy and physiology of the brain, we conjectured that there is a just gradation in its convolutions and relative size, from the lowest animal that has a brain distinct from mere ganglia up to man. We regarded man, in fact, as including in himself, in his physical and animal nature, the elements of the entire creation below him, and hence rightly named its lord. So that our Lord, in assuming human nature, a human soul and a human body, assumed the elements of the entire cosmos, and in redeeming man redeemed the whole lower creation and delivered the earth itself, which had been cursed for man’s sake, from bondage. In being made flesh and redeeming the body he redeemed all animal and material nature, which returns to God as its last end in man for whom this lower world was made and over which he received the dominion from his and its Maker. But we never saw in this any evidence that man had been developed from the world below him or that any animal race by transformation had become man. Supposing the gradation assumed, which we are rather inclined to accept even yet, it by no means follows that the higher grade is in any case the development of the next grade below. Indeed it cannot be, for development of any grade or species can only unfold or bring our what is already in it or what it contains wrapped up, enveloped, or unexplicated. Therefore its development cannot carry it out of itself or lift it to the grade next above it. The superior grade is a superior grade by virtue of something which it has that the highest inferior grade has not, and therefore is not and cannot be developed from it.

Say what you will, the ape is not a man; nor, as far as our observations or investigations can go, is the ape, the gorilla, or any other variety of the monkey tribe the animal that approaches nearest to man. The rat, the beaver, the horse, the pig, the raven, the elephant surpass the monkey in intelligence, if it be intelligence and not simply instinct; and the dog is certainly far ahead of the monkey in moral qualities, in affection for his master and fidelity to him, and so is the horse when kindly treated. But let this pass. There is that, call it what you will, in man which is not in the ape. Man is two-footed and two-handed; the ape is four-handed, or, if you choose to call the extremity of his limbs and feet, four-footed. In fact, he has neither a human hand nor a human foot, and, anatomically considered, differs hardly less from man than does the dog or the horse. I have never been able to discover in any of the simian tribe a single human quality. As to physical structure, there is some resemblance. Zoologists tell us traces of the same original type may be found running through the whole animal world; and therefore the near approach of the ape to the human form counts for nothing in this argument. But here is the point we make, namely, the differentia of man not being in the ape cannot be obtained from the ape by development.

This sufficiently refutes Darwin’s whole theory. He does not prove the origin of new species either by natural or artificial selection; and not having done that, he adduces nothing that does or can warrant the induction that the human species is developed from the quadrumanic or any other species. (Vol. 9, pp. 490, 491.)


What False Scientists Deserve


We utterly repudiate the doctrine that no one is morally or socially responsible for the opinions he forms and publishes. But where society has no infallible authority to determine what is true and what is not, what is and what is not the law of God, or the truth God has revealed and commanded us to believe, it has no right to punish any one for opinion’s sake; for it can act only on opinion, and therefore on no higher authority than that of the opinions it punishes. What is called freedom of opinion and of publication, or, briefly, the freedom of the press, although incompatible with the rights of truth and the safety of society, as our own experience proves, must be protected, because modern society, by rejecting the infallible authority of the church of God, has deprived itself of all right to discriminate in matters of opinion and therefore of the right even of self-protection. The fact is, society, uninstructed by an authority that cannot err, is incompetent to deal with opinions or to impose any restrictions on their publication; but we cannot so far stultify ourselves as to pretend that this is not an evil, or to maintain with Milton and our own Jefferson that "error is harmless where truth is free to combat it." "Error," says the Chinese proverb, "will make the circuit of the globe while Truth is pulling on her boots." The modern doctrine is based on the assumption that truth is not ascertainable – is only an opinion.

But from the point of view of morals, or tried by a rigidly ethical standard, such scientists as Darwin, Sir Charles Lyell, Sir John Lubbock, Taine, Buchner, Professor Huxley, Herbert Spencer, and others of the same genus who publish opinions, theories, hypotheses, which are at best only plausible conjectures under the imposing name of science, and which unsettle men’s minds, bewilder the half-hearted, mislead the ignorant, undermine the very bases of society, and assail the whole moral order of the universe, are fearfully guilty, and a thousand times more dangerous to society and greater criminals even than your most noted thieves, robbers, burglars, swindlers, murderers, or midnight assassins. Instead of being held in honor, feted, and lauded as the great men of their age and country, and held up as the benefactors of their race, they richly deserve that public opinion should brand them with infamy as the enemies of God and man, of religion and society, of truth and justice, of science and civilization. They are such men as, if we followed the injunction of St. John, the apostle of love, we should refuse to receive into our houses or even to bid Good day: Is quis venit ad vos, et hanc doctrinam nor affert, nolite recipere eum in domum, nec AVE dixeritis (2 John X.).

We are thus severe against these men, not because we are narrow-minded and bigoted, not because we have an over-weening confidence in our own opinions or hold them to be the measure of the true and the good, nor because we dislike science that is science or dread its light; but because they do not give us science, but their own opinions and speculations, which they can neither know nor prove to be true, and which we know cannot be true, unless the religion of Christ is false, God is not, and heaven and earth a lie. We condemn them because the truth condemns them; because, instead of shedding light on the glorious works of the Creator, they shed darkness over them and obscure their fair face with the thick smoke that ascends at their bidding from the bottomless pit of their ignorance and presumption. Their science is an illusion with which Satan mocks them, deludes and destroys souls for whom Christ has died, and it comes under the head of the endless "genealogies" and "vain philosophy," against which St. Paul so solemnly warns us. It is high time that they be stripped of their prestige and be treated with the contempt they deserve for their impudent pretension, and be held in the horror which all men should feel for the enemies of truth, and whose labors tend only to the extinction of civilization, the abasement of intelligence, to fix the affections on the earth, to blunt the sense of moral obligation, and to make society what we see it every day becoming. They are Satan’s most efficient ministers. (Vol. 9, pp. 495, 496.)




We wish our readers distinctly to understand that we make no war upon phrenology when restricted to its legitimate sphere. As a physiological account of the brain, a treatise on its functions, and as enabling us to explain the causes of the differences we meet with in individual character, we believe it and value it. Within these limits, within which Gall usually confined it, it is, as we have said, a useful and interesting branch of science. The mischief of it lies in attempting, as Spurzheim and Combe do, to make it a system of mental philosophy, which it is not and never can be. The fundamental principles of phrenology are easily reconcilable with a sound spiritual philosophy, and on some future occasion we may attempt to show this. The objections we have brought forward do not bear against those principles, but against the doctrines phrenologists profess to derive from them. We war, then, not against the science, but against what its friends have superinduced upon it or alleged it to be.

They who oppose phrenology by controverting its physiological facts do not seem to us to act very wisely. Mr. Combe’s "Lectures," we confess, tended to weaken our faith in the reality of those facts and to induce us to class phrenology with the other humbugs of the day; but our own observations have been somewhat extended, and we are satisfied that the phrenologists have really made some physiological discoveries not altogether worthless; and their assertion of a connection between the instinctive tendencies of our nature and cerebral organization has led to a kind of observation on the different traits of individual character which has enlarged our stock of materials for a natural history of man. They have also made many valuable observations on education and the means of preserving a sound mind in a sound body, and induced many to turn their attention to the study of mental science who but for them might never have done it. This is considerable; enough to give them an honorable rank among the benefactors of their race, and a rank they should be permitted peaceably to enjoy, unless they claim one altogether higher, and to which no man of any tolerable acquaintance with mental science can believe them entitled.

Admitting all the facts phrenologists allege, all that legitimately belongs to their science, we contend that it throws no light on the great problems of mental philosophy. In relation to all those problems, we stand unaffected by the discoveries of Gall and Spurzheim; and had phrenologists clearly perceived the nature of these problems, they would never have dared to put forth the claims they have, and which we have contested. Phrenology is a physical, not a metaphysical science, and all it can, with any propriety, pretend to do is to point and describe the physiological conditions to which, in this mode of being, the mental affections are subjected. This it has, to some extent, done; but this does not amount to so much as they imagine. In doing it they do not approach the boundaries of metaphysical science, and therefore we have felt it necessary to show them that they claim for it more than it is or can be.

We are grateful to all the laborers in the field of science and to every man who discovers a new law or a new fact. But we confess we are a little impatient with arrogant pretensions. Let the discoverer of the new law or the new fact describe it to us and claim the merit that is his due, but let him not fancy his merit must needs be so great as to sink out of sight the merit of everybody else. We could bear with our phrenological friends altogether better were they not perpetually addressing us as if all wisdom was born with Gall and Spurzheim. To believe them, before these two German empirics Plato and Aristotle, Bacon and Descartes, Leibnitz and Locke, Reid and Kant sink into significance. Now, this is more than we can bear. "Great men lived before Agamemnon," and wee believe there were philosophers before Gall and Spurzheim set out with a cabinet of skulls on their wanderings from Vienna. It is because phrenologists lose sight of this fact, and would fain make it believed that nothing can be known of the human mind but by means of their four principles, that we have deemed it necessary to rebuke them. We hope they will bear our reproof with the meekness of philosophers.

We honor the man who has the courage to proclaim a new doctrine, one which he honestly believes and which he knows is in opposition to the habitual faith of his age and country; but we always distrust both the capacity and the attainments of him who can see nothing to venerate in his forefathers and who bows not before the wisdom of antiquity. Progress there may be, and there is; but no man can advance far on his predecessors – never so far that they shall diminish in the distance. These arrogant reformers with the tithe of an idea who speak to us as if they had outgrown all the past and grasped and made present the whole future are generally persons who, having advanced on their own infancy, imagine, therefore, that they have advanced on the whole world. But the more we do really advance, the more shall we be struck with the greatness of those who went before us, and the more sincere and deep will be our reverence for antiquity. The darkness we ascribe to remote ages is often the darkness of our own minds, and the ignorance we complain of in others may be only the reflex of our own. Progress we should labor for, progress we should delight in, but we should beware of underrating those who have placed us in the world. "There were giants in those days."

Phrenologists must attribute the ridicule and opposition they have encountered to themselves. Their method of propagating their science, their character of itinerant lecturers, and their habit of manipulating heads, likening their science so much, in its usages and effects, to the science of palmistry, together with their uncouth terminology and the absurd statements which they are continually making, betraying at once their ignorance and simplicity, can hardly be expected not to excite a smile of pleasantry or of contempt in every man of ordinary discernment and information. But if they will betake themselves to their cabinets and study their science in the modest, unpretending manner physiologists in general do, instead of perambulating the country manipulating skulls at so much apiece or treating their science in a way that encourages the ignorant and designing to do it, they will find the public ceasing to oppose them and gratefully accepting the fruits of their labors. Let them lay aside their pretensions as system-makers, reformers, revolutionists, and throw into the common mass the facts or principles they discover and suffer them to go for what they are worth, and, in common with all studious men, they will contribute something to the well-being of the race and deserve well of humanity. (Vol. 9, pp. 251-254.)






We are far from pretending that all men are born with equal abilities and that all souls are created with equal possibilities, or that every child comes into the world a genius in germ. We believe that all men are born with equal natural rights and that all should be equal before the law, however various and unequal may be their acquired or adventitious rights; but that is all the equality we believe in. No special effort or training in the world, under the influence of the most favorable circumstances, can make every child a St. Augustine, a St. Thomas, a Bossuet, a Newton, a Leibnitz, a Julius Caesar, a Wellington, a Napoleon. As one star differeth from another in glory, so does one soul differ from another in its capacities on earth as in its blessedness in heaven. …We are by no means believers in the late Robert Owen’s doctrine that you can make all men equal if you will only surround them form birth with the same circumstances and enable them to live in parallelograms.