Darwinism -- By: Frederic Gardiner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 029:114 (Apr 1872)
Article: Darwinism
Author: Frederic Gardiner


Darwinism

Frederic Gardiner

Mr. Darwin had been long known to the scientific world before he propounded the theories which have now made his name familiar in every household. He was distinguished as a naturalist as well by the extent, variety, and accuracy of his observations as by the singular fairness of his statement of them. The most widely known among his many scientific works are probably his “Journal of Researches: Voyage of the Beagle,” his investigations of the Orchids, and of the facts concerning climbing plants; the last accomplished during the author’s confinement in a sick room. The first of these works has a more than technical interest, because the author compares the fauna and flora of many and diverse lands evidently with a mind already under the influence of those speculations which afterwards took form in the theory of “Natural Selection,” and also because he recounts his experiences with the Fuegians and others of the lowest types of the human race. Of these experiences he makes large use in his “Descent of Man,” and they have also afforded strong points to the assailants of his theory. His researches upon the Orchids have also served as the basis for opposite arguments. In both cases the faithfulness of his observations has been unquestioned; the controversy is on the inferences to be deduced from them.

The series of works, however, by which Mr. Darwin is most generally known are those in which he propounds, supports, and expands those theories which bear his name. The first of this series is entitled “The Origin of Species”

(in one volume) and has had a wide circulation. Its fifth carefully revised edition, published in this country, contains the most exact presentation of the author’s views. This book promised a successor in which the facts on which the theory rested should be more fully presented. After a considerable delay this appeared, under the title of “Animals and Plants under Domestication,” in two volumes. In this, besides presenting such facts as he had proposed to bring forward, the author also broached a new and remarkable theory called “Pangenesis,” designed to be supplementary of his main hypothesis, of which more hereafter. These works, but especially the earlier one, excited a wide and profound interest. One point, however, was still left in some uncertainty: whether the author would extend his theory to include the origin of man, and if he did this in regard to man as an animal, whether he would also include under the operations of the same theory his higher intellectual and moral nature. Mr. Darwin’s disciples were somewhat divided about the matter. All possibility of doubt has been finally removed by the publication of his two volumes on...

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