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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/182

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pense of some other part. The evolution or development of the whole cosmos—of the whole universe of matter—as a unit, according to the doctrine of conservation of force, is inconceivable. It could only take place by a constant increase of the whole sum of energy, i. e., by a constant influx of divine energy.

e. Finally, as organic matter is so much matter taken from the common fund of matter of earth and air, embodied for a brief space, to be again by death and decomposition returned to that common fund, so also it would seem that the organic forces of the living bodies of plants and animals may be regarded as so much force drawn from the common fund of physical and chemical forces, to be again all refunded by death and decomposition. Yes, by decomposition; we can understand this. But death! can we detect any thing returned by simple death? What is the nature of the difference between the living organism and a dead organism? We can detect none, physical or chemical. All the physical and chemical forces withdrawn from the common fund of Nature, and embodied in the living organism, seem to be still embodied in the dead until little by little it is returned by decomposition. Yet the difference is immense, is inconceivably great. What is the nature of this difference expressed in the formula of material science? What is it that is gone, and whither is it gone? There is something here which science cannot yet understand. Yet it is just this loss which takes place in death, and before decomposition, which is in the highest sense vital force.

Let no one from the above views, or from similar views expressed by others, draw hasty conclusions in favor of a pure materialism. Force and matter, or spirit and matter, or God and Nature, these are the opposite poles of philosophy they are the opposite poles of thought. There is no clear thinking without them. Not only religion and virtue, but science and philosophy, cannot even exist without them. The belief in spirit, like the belief in matter, rests on its own basis of phenomena. The true domain of philosophy is to reconcile these with each other.





SO far we have been giving the historical refutation. A more direct and scientific refutation will prove still more decisive and instructive. Having shown that heredity does not exert an exclusive and continuous influence, we must now indicate the causes which act simultaneously with it and in a contrary direction. We have to de-