Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/111

This page has been validated.

for ceiling ornaments, cornices, frames, mill-board, bulkheads, cabin-partitions, piano-cases, chairs, tables, etc. One complete suit of papier-mâché furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl was made a few years ago for the Queen of Spain. Woolen rags are always salable for the purpose of being ground to powder, colored, and used for flock-papers and artificial flowers; while they may be remanufactured, no matter how old they may be, and, with a certain admixture of new wool, converted into a coarse kind of cloth largely exported to South America.

We might go on in this way almost ad infinitum, showing how one waste substance after another has been taken up and made into an important factor in the social economy; but enough has been said to prove that it is not so easy as it might seem at first sight to say with any certainty what is rubbish. Of this we may be sure—the wiser men grow and the more they learn of Nature's secrets, the less they will throw away as useless. After all, Nature is the great alchemist; and though necessity is sharpening our wits and making us very clever at turning to account many a thing which our forefathers contentedly threw away, still our best efforts look clumsy by the side of hers, and our dust-yards and lumber-rooms are but repulsive, untidy receptacles compared with her wonderful laboratory.—Chambers's Journal.



I PROPOSE to write a short reply to an essay entitled "The Fallacies of Evolution," which was published in the July number of the "Edinburgh Review." This essay aims at nothing less than stemming of the whole tide of modern philosophy by the material supplied in some thirty diffusely written pages. It aspires to show that the whole theory of evolution is a monster-birth of irrational minds, and, as may be anticipated from such an estimate of this theory, the essay is written by a man comically ignorant of the subject which he presumes to expound.

Lest it should be thought that I am overstating the aim and intended scope of the essay in question, I shall begin by presenting them in the writer's own words: "We must refer our readers, if they desire to master the anatomical details of the problem, to these works themselves. It is not our intention critically to review them. We desire rather to point out, on broader philosophical grounds, how very slight and insufficient the basis is on which so vast a superstructure has been reared, and by what a strange perversion and misuse of the reasoning faculties man is called upon to abdicate whatever most distinguishes him from the brutes."