Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/599

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NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

the minds of great Protestants like John Wesley, the statement in our sacred books that "death entered the world by sin" was taken as a historic fact, necessitating the conclusion that, before the serpent persuaded Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, death on our planet was unknown. Naturally, when geology revealed in the strata of a period long before the coming of man on earth, a vast multitude of carnivorous tribes fitted to destroy their fellow-creatures on land and sea, and within the fossilized skeletons of many of these the partially digested remains of animals, this doctrine was too heavy to be carried, and it was quietly dropped.

But about the middle of the nineteenth century the doctrine of the rise of man as opposed to the doctrine of his "fall" received a great accession of strength from a source most unexpected. As we saw in the last chapter, the facts proving the great antiquity of man foreshadowed a new and even more remarkable idea regarding him. We saw, it is true, that the opponents of Boucher de Perthes, while they could not deny his discovery of human implements in the drift, were successful in securing a verdict of "not proven" as regarded his discovery of human bones; but their triumph was short-lived. Many previous discoveries; little thought of up to that time, began to be studied, and others were added which resulted, not merely in confirming the truth regarding the antiquity of man, but in establishing another doctrine which the opponents of science regarded with vastly greater dislike—the doctrine that man has not fallen from an original high estate in which he was created about six thousand years ago; but that, from a period vastly earlier than any warranted by the sacred chronologists, he has been—in spite of lapses and deteriorations here and there—rising.

A brief review of this new growth of truth may be useful. As early as 1835 Prof. Jaeger had brought out from a quantity Quaternary remains, dug up long before at Cannstadt, near Stuttgart, a portion of a human skull, apparently of very low type. A battle raged about it for a time, but this finally subsided, owing to uncertainties arising from the circumstances of the discovery.

In 1856, in the Neanderthal, near Düsseldorf, among Quaternary remains gathered on the floor of a grotto, another skull was found bearing the same evidence of a low human type. As in the case of the Cannstadt skull, this again was fiercely debated, and finally the questions regarding it were allowed to remain in suspense. But new discoveries were made: at Eguisheim, at Brux, at Spy, and elsewhere human skulls were found of a similarly low type; and while each of the earlier discoveries was open to debate, and either, had no other been discovered, might have been considerd an abnormal specimen, the combination of all these showed conclusively that not only had a race of men existed at that remote