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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/34

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of that time, to many, alas! even now, evolution is materialism. But materialism is atheism. Will some one say, the genuine Truth-seeker follows where she seems to lead, whatever be the consequences? Yes; whatever be the consequences to one's self, to one's opinions, prejudices, theories, philosophies, but not to still more certain truth. Now, to Agassiz, as to all genuine thinkers, the existence of God, like our own existence, is more certain than any scientific theory, than anything can possibly be made by proof. From his standpoint, therefore, he was right in rejecting evolution as conflicting with still more certain truth. The mistake which he made was in imagining that there was any such conflict at all. But this was the universal mistake of the age. A lesser man would have seen less clearly the higher truth and accepted the lower. A greater man would have risen above the age, and seen that there was no conflict, and so accepted both. All thinking men are coming to this conclusion now, but none had done so then.

Now, then, at last, the obstacle of supernaturalism in the realm of Nature having been removed by the establishment of the doctrine of correlation of natural forces, and the extension of this doctrine to embrace also life-force; and now also a broad and firm basis of carefully-observed facts and well-established laws of succession of organic forms having been laid by Agassiz, when again, for the third time, the doctrine of origin of species "by derivation with modifications" was brought forward by Darwin in a far more perfect form, with more abundant illustrative materials, and with a new and most potent factor of modification—viz., divergent variations and natural selection—it found the scientific world already fully prepared, and anxiously waiting. I say anxiously waiting—for the supposed supernatural origin of species had been the one exception to the otherwise universal law of cause and effect, or the law of continuity. It was therefore an open contradiction to the whole drift of scientific thought for five hundred years. Is it any wonder, then, that the derivative origin of species was welcomed with joy by the scientific world? For five hundred years, scientific thought, like a rising tide which knows no ebb, had tended thitherward with ever-increasing pressure, but kept back by the one supposed fact of the supernatural origin of species. Darwin lifted the gate, and the in-rushing tide flooded the whole domain of thought.

What, then, is the place of Agassiz in biological science? What is the relation of Agassiz to Darwin—of Agassizian development to Darwinian evolution? I answer, it is the relation of formal science to physical or causal science. Agassiz advanced biology to the formal stage; Darwin carried it forward, to some extent at least, to the physical stage. All true inductive sciences in their complete development pass through these two stages. Science in the one stage treats of the laws of phenomena; in the other, of the causes or explanation of these laws. The former must precede the latter, and form its founda-