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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/411

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THE CHINESE THEORY OF EVOLUTION.

This intimate dependence on the physical conditions of life is so plainly shown in these animals, that we can well understand how potent have been the factors (i. e., change from light to total darkness and an even cave temperature) which have operated on out-of-door forms to induce variation. Given great changes in the physical surroundings, inducing loss of eyes from disuse, the abolition in some cases of the optic ganglia and optic nerves, the elongation of the appendages, isolation from out-of-door allies, and the transmission by heredity owing to close in-and-in breeding within the narrow fixed limits of the cave, and are not these collectively veræ causæ; do they not fully account for the original variations and their fixation; in short, can we not clearly understand the mode of origin of cave species and genera? What room is there in a case like this or in that of parasitic animals for the operation of natural selection? The latter principle only plays, it has seemed to us, a very subordinate and final part in the set of causes inducing the origin of these forms.

 

THE CHINESE THEORY OF EVOLUTION.
By ADELE M. FIELDE.

NOT long ago I engaged a new Chinese teacher, Mr. Khu, and as I was his first foreign acquaintance, as he had never tampered with books of Western origin, and as he was said to have made a special study of the occult sciences and to be devoutly religious, I considered him a treasure-trove. That which I here set down as the Chinese theory of evolution has been translated largely from Mr. Khu's expositions of cosmogony. It agrees with what I have gathered, through conversations in the vernacular, from other native scholars.

Neither Lau-Tse, Confucius, nor Buddha, the founders of the three great religions whose tenets harmoniously dwell together in the Chinese mind, has set forth an account of the making of the universe. But the human intellect seems to trend inevitably toward attempts to explain the existence of things seen, and so there is a Chinese theory of evolution, whose exact origin it is difficult to trace through the four millenniums and the myriads of volumes that hold the written history of the empire.

In the beginning all matter was transparent, diffused, and without differentiation. In it dwelt the dual powers; both subtle, ethereal, and eternal; but the one was virile, warm, radiant, and active; the other, feminine, cold, somber, and quiescent. These dual powers are symbolized by two similar, conjoined figures, whose outlines may be made by drawing upon the diameter of a