The Origin Of New Species And Of Man -- By: George Macloskie
BSac 60:238 (April 1903) p. 261
The Origin Of New Species And Of Man
Charles Darwin taught that new species have come, and are still coming, by the same route that all babies arrive; namely, by being born of older species. The only difference is, according to him, that the new species are not exact facsimiles of their fathers and mothers, but have adopted some features of their own. To this beginning he appended a series of interesting speculations, naming them collectively as natural selection, which in effect made the fate of the new arrivals dependent on a chapter of accidents. Chance under his system seemed to take the place of Providence, as he was not theologian enough to know that chance is one of the methods by which Providence secures its behests. By the aid of chance he explained many phenomena which had been previously ascribed by nature-philosophers to an ever-interfering deus-ex-machina. It was this last feature which gladdened the foes of religion, and dismayed its friends. Many worthy people seemed to regard the theory of evolution as an invention of Satan, one of his masterpieces, specially elaborated for the purpose of eclipsing Moses and of choking the gospel.
I began my biology under the pre-Darwinian star, and well remember the puzzles of the old method,—the types and archetypes, the mystery of homologies which nobody could account for, except on the deus-ex-machina fancy of the old nature-philosophy, the rudiments, the extraordinary transitory structures that seemed of no use in the
BSac 60:238 (April 1903) p. 262
world except to puzzle people. Then the old principles of classification were wonderful; as, the exposition in the Introduction to Lindley’s “Vegetable Kingdom,” which Sachs has shown to have immensely helped Lindley, because he did not follow it; and the grotesque quincuncial system, which I often admire as I look at it in the old cyclopædia in my library. I have also sat by the cradle of Darwinism. I did not like it very much in its infancy; it was very irreverent, and noisy, and disrespectful to names that I had revered. It proved to be an enfant terrible, and for a time seemed to be a confirmed atheist. But I have seen its “evolution,” where it toned down, and has become quite modest and painstaking; and, as it got out of its baby-clothes, and attained its majority, and now is moving out into the world, it is even becoming as conservative as its critics used to be. Its first triumph was the explanation of homologies and rudiments and all these old riddles, and its rectification of classification; so that, in our time, classification often proves an instrument of research. It immediately explained Hofmeister’s discoveries of the parallelism and differences between the Mosse...
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