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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/292

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ter's views, particularly those bearing upon the relations of theological and scientific thought, underwent in the course of his transition from strict teleologism to the full acceptance of the theory of evolution. He received his early education under the superintendence of his father, a Unitarian minister, who was accustomed to insist in his teaching on the importance of bringing the reasoning powers to bear upon observed facts—a principle which the philosopher applied well in his after-studies. In his sixteenth year he became interested in Mr. Exley's "New Theory of Matter," a book devoted to showing that "all the attractions of gravitation, cohesion, electricity, chemical, magnetic, etc.," can be explained upon the same principles. It was a first attempt to demonstrate the correlation of forces. While Dr. Carpenter was active in prosecuting his physiological investigations, and had already touched upon the similarity in the character of the laws regulating vital and physical phenomena, the affairs of his religious society obtained a nearly equal share of his interest. He cultivated music, particularly organ music, with great assiduity. With this taste, and partly directing it, perhaps, was associated the preparation of a collection of psalm-tunes for his little chapel at Edinburgh. His adherence to the Unitarian faith barred him from a professorship in the university, for which he desired to be a candidate. When he had removed from Edinburgh, he felt the loss of public worship more than any other inconvenience of his situation, and wished he could be back at his old post, where he could take his part in leading the "devotional feelings of the congregation." When the "Vestiges of Creation" appeared, a few of its conceptions were found to be so similar to thoughts that he had expressed, that some readers attributed it to him; but he was not prepared to accept the main doctrine of that book, and answered it by saying that, as we had scriptural authority for believing that the Creator formed man out of the dust of the earth, he must confess his predilection for believing that the Creator had at some period "endowed certain forms of organic matter with the properties requisite to enable them to combine at the fitting season into the human organism"—rather that that we are descended from a chimpanzee. He taught that a common designed plan reigned in the evolution of the solar system, of human forms, and of the entire organic world; believed thoroughly in the reality of miracles; and held that man is accountable to the Creator for all his acts, even those that are really God's own. While this was going on, his views concerning the correlation of forces were taking more definite shape, his studies of the nervous system were becoming expanded and leading him to modified opinions concerning the will and moral responsibility. When Darwin's "Origin of Species" appeared, "he was well fitted to appreciate the general argument," for he had long thought on the subject of modification by descent, and while he had rejected the theory of the "Vestiges," "it had been on the grounds of insufficient evidence and physiological error, not from theological prepossession." He had written to his brother Russell in 1884, that one of his great desires was "to be of some use as a mediator in the conflict which has now distinctly begun between science and theology. I see quite clearly that it is of no use to try to grapple with the subject unless one thoroughly masters the question on both sides." His views on the questions raised by Darwin's theory are specifically expressed in a semi-autobiographical article on "Darwinism in England," which he published in Malta in 1881, and which is given in Mr. Estlin Carpenter's "Memorial." His theological views were disturbed by this course of thinking, but he wrote in a letter: "I believe that these difficulties are a necessary result of the habits of thought which have been growing up with me; and, as they never obscure my view of duty, I find it better not to trouble myself too much about them, but to apply myself to the business of the time." Through these difficulties. Dr. Carpenter, we are told, "after no long interval, worked his way. The strong religious needs of his nature found their satisfaction in the view of the world depicted in the later essays in this volume." Of the essays in the present collection, five relate to physiology, the brain, muscular movement, and force; three, to man as the interpreter of nature, the psychology of belief, and the "Fallacies of Testimony in Relation to the Supernatural"; two, to human automatism; one, to "The