Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/110

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tremes. Now, while there is a kind of truth in this adage, yet, as usually understood, I believe it contains a most pernicious error. It is the favorite adage of the timid man—the trimmer, the time-server, the politician, the fence-man. Suppose there had been present on this occasion one of these fence-philosophers. He would have reasoned thus: "These gentlemen are of equal intelligence, equal veracity, and equal strength (a most important element in making up an opinion for these fence-men); the one says the shield is white and the other says it is black; now, truth lies in the middle: therefore I conclude that it must be a kind of gray or neutral tint, or perhaps a sort of pepper-and-salt." Do you not observe that of all the crowd he is the only one who has absolutely no truth in him? No, gentlemen; truth and rational philosophy is not a mere mixture of opposing views—truth is not what our English friends might call a philosophic "'alf-n'alf." It is rather to be sought in a more comprehensive view, which combines and reconciles opposing partial views—it is a stereoscopic combination of two partial surface views into one objective reality.

So is it, gentlemen, with many vexed questions; so is it with the question of origin of species. There are three possible views in regard to the origin of species. The first asserts Divine agency by miraculous creation, and therefore denies any process the second asserts evolution-process, but denies Divine agency; the third asserts Divine agency by evolution-process. So, also, are there three corresponding views in regard to the origin of the individual—of you, of me, of each of us. The first is that of the little innocent, who thinks that God made him as he (the little innocent) makes dirt-pies; the second is that of the little hoodlum, who says, "I wasn't made at all, I growed;" the third is the usual adult belief—that we are made by a process of evolution. Do you not observe, then, that in the matter of the origin of species many good theologians and pietists are in the position of the little innocent? They think that species were made without natural process. On the other hand, most evolutionists are in the position of the little hoodlum; for they think that species,because they "growed" wern't made at all. But there is a higher and more rational philosophy than either, which holds that the ideas of making and of growing are not inconsistent with each other—that evolution does not and cannot destroy the conception of, or the belief in, an intelligent Creator and Author of the cosmos. This view combines and reconciles the two preceding antagonistic views, and is therefore more comprehensive, more rational, and more true. But let us not fail to do justice—let us not overlook the fact that the most important and noblest truths are overlooked only by the hoodlum and materialist. Of the two sides of the shield, the little innocent and the pietest sees, at least, the whiter and more beautiful.

The end and mission of science, gentlemen, is not only to discover new truth, but also, and even more distinctively, to give new and more rational form to old truth—to transfigure the old into the more glorious