Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/98

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then adopt provisionally the hypothesis of a multiplicity of germs of life; and if we do this, there is nothing wild or strange in the supposition that the germ of man was different from other germs. It would be beyond all that scientific caution would justify to assume that, given a number of original germs of life, it is matter of chance into what each will develop. It is contrary, I think, to the whole analogy of Nature to suppose that a living germ, which is to all intents and purposes an ovum or egg, may ultimately develop into an oak, or a fish, or a man, according to its surroundings or according to mere chance. At all events, it is much more probable, much more according to analogy, that each germ should have its specific character, and that so man should have been man in intention and preparation from the very beginning of things. It may have been—in fact, according to the supposition of evolution it must have been—that in the early condition of life upon the globe there was no man (in the full and proper sense of the word) in existence, but his progenitors would be there; and what is submitted is this, that those progenitors were undeveloped men, and not "lower animals." What they visibly were scientific discovery has not yet put in evidence; it is admitted that there is a "missing link" between the present and the past. Some scientific men hope that the link may be found, some think that it is hidden under the sea; but, whatever the truth may be with regard to this point, what is maintained is this, that, on the hypothesis of a multiplicity of original germs of life, it is more probable than otherwise that certain germs contained the promise of men, others of "lower animals"; and that, if so, it is incorrect to speak of the lower animals as the progenitors of men.

This view of the case, though founded upon a criticism of Mr. Wallace's language, would seem nevertheless to be consistent with his real views concerning the origin of man. In the last chapter of his work, entitled Darwinism applied to Man, to which reference has been already made, it is contended, as we have seen, that the principle of natural selection will not account for the development of the human faculties. I recur to that chapter chiefly for the purpose of making two extracts, which will, I think, tend to strengthen the arguments which have been already advanced. After rehearsing three stages of progress in creation—the change from the inorganic to the organic; the introduction of sensation or consciousness, constituting the fundamental distinction between the animal and vegetable kingdoms; and the existence in man of a number of his most characteristic and noblest faculties, those which raise him above the brutes and open up possibilities of almost indefinite advancement—Mr. Wallace writes thus: