Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/97

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WALLACE ON "DARWINISM."

When we speak of the lower animals, do we not in fact postulate the existence of man? Lower than what? Surely lower than man: therefore inferiority can not be predicated until man's existence has been assumed, or has become a fact; and therefore to speak of man being derived from the lower animals in the remote past, when, if you only go far enough, there is no higher or lower, would seem to be a confusing use of language.

If it be urged that the objection now made to the phraseology used by Mr. Wallace is merely a verbal quibble, I venture to argue, on the other hand, that there is not a little importance in the objection. I quite admit that if the creation of man be a merely fortuitous fact, a lucky hit, so to speak, in the infinite variety of living forms developed from a single original living germ—if, in fact, creation be without the high purpose which human life, as distinguished from all other forms of life, seems to make manifest—it is scarcely worth while to argue the question whether man was derived from the inferior animals or not. But if man be the intended crown of creation existing in the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God from the beginning, then it does seem to be worth while to argue that the derivation of man and beast from the same living germ is not the same thing as the derivation of one from the other. A sane man may have the misfortune to have an idiot brother; the sane man and the idiot are derived from the same parents, but it would be incorrect to say that one was derived from the other. May there not be some analogy between a case of this kind and the case of man and beast?

B. So much, then, for the hypothesis of one original germ of life; the argument becomes perhaps more simple if we adopt the second hypothesis, namely, that of several or many germs.

For in this case it is not unreasonable to suppose that specific differences existed among the original germs. I confess that the notion of the development of all forms of life from one original germ offers to my own mind an almost insuperable difficulty. The arguments drawn from the experimental facts of variation and natural selection, from the observed progression of animal forms in successive geological strata, and the like, seem to me quite inadequate to explain the development of insects, fishes, birds, mammals, from one stock. Consequently, to my own mind it is a relief to be able to think of several, and if of several then possibly of any number, of original germs. The hypothesis is not opposed to, but quite in accordance with, Mr. Darwin's own views; in fact, he was far too cautious a man to dogmatize concerning the unity of the origin of living forms, when all attempt at the examination of the question of origin would necessarily carry him far beyond the limits of possible experiment. Let us