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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/782

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

says that even among his own countrymen are to be found many doubters. It is scarcely worth mentioning that this book was written twenty-one years ago, only nine years after the appearance of the "Origin of Species," for it is one of Prof. Shedd's first principles that a proof-text is a proof-text, no matter where you find it. Besides, it is exposition, not comment, that we are at just now.

"If the doctrine be true, it should be supported like that of gravitation by a multitude of undisputed facts and phenomena." The implication is that it is not so supported, and that is pretty tough on the libraries full of books like Müller's "Facts for Darwin." Prof. Shedd takes it very unkindly of Darwin that he never exactly defined a species. Considering that that is one of the things that Darwin said he was perfectly unable to do, and that this very fact led him to believe that there was something mighty queer about species anyhow, it does seem rather hard to bring it up against him now. "Evolution," adds the professor, "conflicts with the certainty of natural science." If it is true, it is the introduction of chance into nature. Anything may happen from anything. This is clear, for the evolutionists themselves say that "variations are accidental." Poor Darwin! after all his pains and endless iteration, there it goes—"accidental." One of the most tiresome things in his books is his constant crying out, "Now, mind you, when I say accidental, I mean according to laws that are not yet discovered." But, after all, here is an order of mind for which he ought to have said it twice as many times.

The embryological argument for evolution attains the high honor of being admitted to be "plausible"; but it is immediately and severely added that this is just the place to apply the maxim, "Judge not by the outward appearance." Naturally, Prof. Shedd is strong on design: "The abundant proof of design in nature overthrows the theory of evolution. This design is executed even in an extreme manner. The mammæ on man's breast and the web-feet of the upland goose show that the plan of structure is carried out with persistence even when in particular circumstances there is no use for the organ itself." If that is hyperborean science, it is dangerously near Hibernian logic, and ought to be called the argument from the usefulness of useless things.

But it is really impossible to keep up the pretense of taking Prof. Shedd's arguments against evolution seriously. Even one who has read in the subject as little as the writer has can not but see that this theologian, in attempting to refute the arguments of the evolutionists, does not know what those arguments are. Take one sentence of his: "If evolution be true, man may evolve into ape as well as ape into man." It would not be possible to construct a single sentence containing a more complete misapprehen-