Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/257

This page has been validated.

"In the preparation of this work, the author has formed his opinions, to a great extent, from the results of direct observation and experiment, as the true basis of what is positively known in physiology; and, while the earlier volumes might be modified by the addition of new facts, they contain comparatively little that has been disproved by recent investigations. Experimental observations have been studied and criticised from a practical point of view; and in this the author's training, as an experimentalist and a public teacher for more than fifteen years, has given him a certain degree of confidence. It is the practical physiologist who is best qualified to judge of the correctness of physiological experiments, and of the accuracy of methods of investigation; and the author has learned, from his own attempts at original observation, to estimate the difficulties of direct research, and to appreciate the inaccuracies into which careless, inexperienced, or over-enthusiastic workers are liable to fall."

Evolution and Progress: An Exposition and Defense. The Foundation of Evolution philosophically expounded, and its Arguments succinctly stated. By Rev. William I. Gill, A. M. New York: Authors' Publishing Company, 30 Bond Street. 295 pages. Price, $1.50.

This little volume has some striking characteristics which take us somewhat by surprise. It is a prize essay of the Authors' Publishing Company, and a thoroughgoing defense of the doctrine of Evolution by a working orthodox clergyman. Its dedication is significant of the progress of catholic views, such as we hardly expected to see in this generation: "To Herbert Spencer, Esquire, and the great brotherhood of evangelical divines, the author dedicates 'Evolution and Progress,' in token that the full complement of truth must ensphere all the antipodes of thought." The volume is mainly a discussion of the principle of Evolution in its highest philosophical aspects, and the argument is conducted in the most interesting manner, by taking up the objections of its leading opponents, as Dawson, Winchell, and Bowne, and its quasi opponents, as Dr. Carpenter and Prof. Le Conte. The author writes from his point of view as a clergyman, not in the narrow professional sense, but as an uncompromising devotee of truth in its unity and completeness. He has his own views, and, while accepting Evolution in its broadest sense, and shrinking from none of its consequences, he yet holds it to be but a part of a larger order of philosophy yet to be worked out. In his preface, he says:

"For himself, the writer cares very little for Evolution as an ultimate system of philosophy. We think its method, so far as it goes, is philosophical, its arguments sound and logical, and its conclusions invulnerable against any thing that has yet been brought to bear against them. But we want, however, to go farther and get something broader and more profound—something that leaves intact what Evolution has disclosed, but finds it a place in a larger scheme, and ennobles it by the new and higher relations into which it is thus brought. But incomprehensive and uncomprehending dogmatism, whether for or against Evolution (for it belongs to both sides), stands in the way, and demands that progress shall be in a circle. But it is orthodox dogmatism which, on this subject, is most obstructive of progress; and it therefore requires to be startled, if not stunned, into the perception of its philosophically defenseless and helpless condition, so as to make it see a new light, and accept the offer of more effective weapons. Kant confessed that the skepticism of Hume broke the dogmatic slumbers which he was indulging on the iron bed of the Leibnitzo-Wolfian philosophy, and thus quickened the world afresh into thought. Evolution is surely destined to perform the same office more healthfully for the complacent slumberers of this age, whether physical, metaphysical, or theological slumberers. To make a small contribution toward this result, is the object of this monograph.

"There are many who are crying, 'Peace, peace!' where there is no peace; and they are healing their theological hurt slightly—daubing with untempered mortar. They bless their superannuated philosophy with the wild belief that Evolution is becoming exhausted—going off into a decline, and that it will soon die of inanition. On the contrary, it is like the mountain-stream, making fresh acquisitions, and increasing in strength and volume as it rolls; and must continue so to do till it is lost in the ocean. Evolution is now made the foundation of religious rationalism in England and America; and the best foundation it has ever had—one which can easily be exhibited to the com-