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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

is inevitable; it is evolution or nothing. If the order of Nature is put aside and special creation appealed to, we have a right to ask on what evidence? It was long maintained that the universe was made in a week, by a quick succession of divine fiats. This view is now abandoned, and it is maintained, as a new theory, that the millions of species which science has proved to have appeared all along the course of geological time were also the products of miraculous agency. But, as logic has been appealed to, we again press the question, on what evidence? There is no evidence. There is not a scintilla of proof that can have a feather's weight with any scientific mind. We are told that each link in the chain of ancestry of Prof. Huxley's horse was a special creation. But who tells us this, and what do they know about it? Genetic derivation is in the field as a real and undeniable cause; but what possible ground is offered for the alternative supposition? Has anybody ever seen a special creation? Do those who believe in it represent to themselves any possibility of how it could have occurred? Milton attempted to form an image of the way the thing was done, and says that the animals burst up full-formed and perfect like plants out of the ground—"the grassy clods now calved." But clods can only calve miraculously. Nature does not bring them into the world now by this method, and science certainly can know nothing of it. So far from being possible, so far from being probable, so far from being proved, this hypothesis of the origin of animal forms is simply unthinkable; it is a violation not only of the order of Nature, but of the very conditions of thought. From this point of view, therefore, the theory of evolution differs from the Copernican theory by having no alternative possibility. The Copernican theory was but the revision and modification of a preceding theory which had evidence in its favor, and could be rationally held by scientific minds; the evolution theory has a force of demonstration derived from the fact that the only alternative view cannot for a moment be entertained by any mind that recognizes the logical force of scientific evidence; in this respect, therefore, the evidence for evolution is even stronger than that for the Copernican theory.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

The Theory of Sound in its Relation to Music. By Pietro Blaserna, of the Royal University of Rome. With numerous Illustrations. Pp. 187. Price, $1.50. International Scientific Series, No. XXII.

Nothing could be more appropriate than that the first Italian contribution to the "International Scientific Series" should take up one of the most interesting relations of science to art. Italy has been long preeminent as the land of artistic genius, although her distinction has been chiefly won by cultivating the arts that appeal to the eye—painting, sculpture, and architecture. Germany leads in the modern development of musical art, and her great physicist, Helmholtz, stands first as the elucidator of the laws of sound applied to musical science. But the great work of Helmholtz is a sealed book to the people. Prof. Blaserna has been first to take the brilliant results of recent acoustical progress and apply them to musical art and theory in so clear and familiar a manner that common readers will follow him with ease and pleasure.

The work is addressed both to scientific students and to musicians, but it is properly a contribution to the science of music. It does not at all cover the ground of Prof. Tyndall's volume on "Sound," which is strictly a text-book of acoustics, but, starting with so much of acoustical principles as is necessary for his purpose, Prof. Blaserna devotes the work to those scientific elucidations of musical art and practice which will have the greatest interest to those concerned in musical study. We cannot better give account of the volume than by quoting freely from the admira-