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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/384

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

nation than a soap-bubble can bear handling, and that therefore these must, at all costs, be protected from every breath of criticism? If this is not what is meant, if, on the contrary, it is maintained that the being of God is a luminous truth, proclaiming itself in the very heart of man, why not challenge all the philosophies of the world to assail it at their peril? Why not say to Darwinians and all others: "Push your researches as far as you like; make your most comprehensive inductions, your widest generalizations; construct your most daring theories: not only will nothing impair this great central truth of Deity, but all the truths you gather will lack significance till illuminated by it"? But, strictly speaking, the Darwinian theory has nothing to do with the question as to the existence of God. It is no more atheistic in its nature than the Newtonian theory of gravitation. The latter substituted for the angeli rectores of Kepler an all-pervading law of matter; and Darwinism substitutes for certain supposed acts of spasmodic creation an orderly sequence of development; but neither one nor the other professes to say how the origin of the universe should be conceived. If Darwinism has weakened the argument for theism in certain minds, it has strengthened it in others—witness the recent address of Mr. Balfour on "Positivism," before the Church Congress at Manchester.

We are threatened with the destruction of an "immutable type of truth and justice"; but what is the exact meaning of these words? If truth is the conformity of statement to fact, how can the idea of truth ever vanish from the world? Certainly, if such a result should ever come about, it would not be due to the influence of any honest form of scientific thought. We do not think any one will say that Mr. Darwin did anything in his long lifetime to weaken respect for truth, or to make truth less a reality in the world. We know some people whose efforts do tend strongly in that direction; but, for the most part, they are not Darwinians; they are people who can not bring themselves to define the terms they use, and who try to make authority do the work of demonstration. So successful, unfortunately, are teachers of this class, that throughout a large portion of society—the portion in which Darwinism is very generally flouted and scouted—a sense for truth in intellectual matters is most conspicuously lacking. As to an "immutable type of justice," does any one know what that means? Can any one conceive what an immutable type of justice would be like? How would it be expressed? In an act? We can either now conceive an act that would serve as an immutable type of justice, or we can not: if we can, then the type is safe; if we can not—which we imagine is the truth—then we must forego the hope of an immutable type, and content ourselves with what perhaps is good enough