"is no mere question of speculative interest, but is one of the highest practical importance." I join him, too, in the belief that "calamitous social and political changes" may be the outcome of a mistaken philosophy. Moreover, writing as he does under the conviction that there can be no standard of right and wrong save one derived from a Revelation interpreted by an Infallible Authority, I can conceive the alarm with which he regards so radically-opposed a system. Though I could have wished that the sense of justice he generally displays had prevented him from ignoring the evidence I have above given, I can understand how, from his point of view, the Doctrine of Evolution, as I understand it, "seems absolutely fatal to every germ of morality," and "entirely negatives every form of religion." But I am unable to understand that modified doctrine of Evolution which the reviewer proposes as an alternative. For, little as the reader would anticipate it after these expressions of profound dissent, the reviewer displays such an amount of agreement as to suggest that the system he is criticising might be converted, "rapidly and without violence, into an 'allotropic state,' in which its conspicuous characters would be startlingly diverse from those that it exhibits at present." May I, using a different figure, suggest a different transformation, having a subjective instead of an objective character? As, in a stereoscope, the two views, representing diverse aspects, often yield at first a jumble of conflicting impressions, but after a time suddenly combine into a single whole which stands out quite clearly, so, may it not be that the seemingly-inconsistent Idealism and Realism dwelt on by the reviewer, as well as the other seemingly-fundamental incongruities he is struck by, will, under more persistent contemplation, unite as complementary sides of the same thing?
My excuse, for devoting so much space to a criticism of so entirely different a kind as that contained in the British Quarterly Review for October, must be that, under the circumstances, I cannot let it pass unnoticed without seeming to admit its validity.
Saying that my books should be dealt with by specialists, and tacitly announcing himself as an expert in Physics, the reviewer takes me to task both for errors in the statement of physical principles and for erroneous reasoning in physics. That he discovers no mistakes I do not say. It would be marvelous if, in such a multitude of propositions, averaging a dozen per page, I had made all criticism-proof. Several are inadvertencies which I should have been obliged to the reviewer for pointing out as such, but which he prefers to instance as proving my ignorance. In other cases, taking advantage of an imperfection of statement, he proceeds to instruct me about matters which either the context, or passages in the same volume, show to be quite familiar to me. Here is a sample of his criticisms belonging to this class: