Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/163

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But Lyell, like the honest man he was, yielded, unreservedly to the mass of new proofs arrayed on the side of evolution as against that of creation.

At the same time came Huxley's Man's Place in Nature, giving new and most cogent arguments in favor of evolution by natural selection.

In 1871 was published Darwin's Descent of Man. Its doctrine had indeed been anticipated by critics of his previous books, but it none the less gave a great stir to the opposite side; again the opposing army trooped forth, though evidently with much less heart than before. A few were very violent. In the Dublin University Magazine Mr. Darwin was charged, after the legendary Hibernian fashion, with seeking "to displace God by the unerring action of vagary," and as being "resolved to hunt God out of the world." But most notable from this side of the older Church was the elaborate answer to Darwin's book by the eminent French Catholic physician. Dr. Constantin James. In his work. On Darwinism, or the Man-Ape, published at Paris in 1877, Dr. James not only refuted Darwin scientifically but poured contempt on his book, calling it "a fairy tale," and hesitating to take it seriously, since a work "so fantastic and so burlesque" was, doubtless, only a huge joke, like Erasmus's Praise of Folly, or Montesquieu's Persian Letters. The princes of the Church were delighted. The Cardinal Archbishop of Paris assured the author that the book had become his "spiritual reading," and begged him to send a copy to the Pope himself. His Holiness, Pope Pius IX, acknowledged the gift in a remarkable letter. He thanked his dear son, the writer, for the book in which he "refutes so well the aberrations of Darwinism. . . . A system," he adds, "which is repugnant at once to history, to the tradition of all peoples, to exact science, to observed facts, and even to Reason herself, would seem to need no refutation, did not alienation from God and the leaning toward materialism, due to depravity, eagerly seek a support in all this tissue of fables. . . . And, in fact, pride, after rejecting the Creator of all things and proclaiming man independent, wishing him to be his own king, his own priest, and his own God—pride goes so far as to degrade man himself to the level of the unreasoning brutes, perhaps even of lifeless matter, thus unconsciously confirming the Divine declaration, When pride cometh, then cometh shame. But the corruption of this age, the machinations of the perverse, the danger of the simple, demand that such fancies, altogether absurd though they are, should—since they borrow the mask of science—be refuted by true science." Wherefore the Pope thanks Dr. James for his book, "so opportune and so perfectly appropriate to the exigencies of our time," and bestows on him the apostolic benediction. Nor was