Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/745

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or unknown, physical or hyperphysical, but accepts that which, by universal consent, is not only the cause of inorganic phenomena, but the invariable concomitant, if not the cause, of the phenomena of life. It does not multiply causes with or without necessity, and hence is philosophically clear and clean. Occam's razor may pass over and around it without meeting with a pilous stub.

And, lastly, inasmuch as the assigned cause is real, and as the final verification of the hypothesis must consist in deducing the phenomena from it, the hypothesis, when verified, will of necessity explain the phenomena not merely in their completeness, but to the exclusion of all other explanations. It is one of those fortunate cases, not too common in the history of science, wherein the explanation of the phenomena is the demonstration of the hypothesis.

In the judgment of science, therefore, the hypothesis as such is without spot or flaw. So far from being "contrary to reason," it is in perfect accord with it.

From all of which it appears that the converse of Dr. Beale's opinion of the two hypotheses is true. His terms of praise and dispraise were well chosen, but, as it turns out, he mixed them badly before applying them. So much for the opposing theories as theories.

Having seen that, from the scientific point of view, the hypothesis which Dr. Beale espouses is thoroughly illegitimate, and that the hypothesis which he opposes is thoroughly legitimate, we have now to look at the existing evidence in support of the latter; and here we shall strike Dr. Beale's criticisms, for here their incidence logically falls. With how much force they fall we shall presently see.

When two series of phenomena shade off into each other by insensible gradations, the philosophical presumption is that both series have been generated by one cause; and it behooves him who would overcome this presumption to draw the line of demarkation between the series, and prove that the phenomena on the opposite sides are so different that they could not have had a common origin. Organic and inorganic phenomena, I need not say, thus shade off into each other; but no one has been able, though many have made the attempt, to draw a line of absolute demarkation between them, much less to prove that the two series, as arbitrarily distinguished from each other, must have proceeded from different causes. Toward the proof of this the first step has not been taken, and it is safe to say that it never will be; it is barred by the indissoluble continuity of natural law. Meantime the presumption stands in more than its original strength.

A kindred presumption, throwing a kindred burden on the shoulders of whoever would rebut it, is the presumption that causes which increase an aggregate are competent to originate it. The forces which determine the growth of a crystal, to exemplify, are the forces which produce its embryo; and the like holds true of all other aggregates below the vital ones. Why not of these also? The forces which