Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/188

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of area is of more importance in the production of species capable of spreading widely. (P. 105.)

Now, on such a question as the origin of species, and in an express, formal, scientific treatise on the subject, the expression of a belief, where one looks for a demonstration, is simply provoking. We are not concerned in the author's beliefs or inclinations to believe. Belief is a state of mind short of actual knowledge. It is a state which may govern action, when based upon a tacit admission of the mind's incompetency to prove a proposition, coupled with submissive acceptance of an authoritative dogma, or worship of a favorite idol of the mind. We readily concede, and it needs, indeed, no ghost to reveal the fact, that the wider the area in which a species may be produced, the more widely it will spread. But we fail to discern its import in respect of the great question at issue.

We have read and studied with care most of the monographs conveying the results of close investigations of particular groups of animals, but have not found, what Darwin asserts to be the fact, at least as regards all those investigators of particular groups of animals and plants whose treatises he has read, viz., that their authors 'are one and all firmly convinced that each of the well-marked forms or species was at the first independently created.' Our experience has been that the monographers referred to have rarely committed themselves to any conjectural hypothesis whatever, upon the origin of the species which they have closely studied.

Darwin appeals from the 'experienced naturalists whose minds are stocked with a multitude of facts' which he assumes to have been 'viewed from a point of view opposite to his own,' to the 'few naturalists endowed with much flexibility of mind,' for a favourable reception of his hypothesis. We must confess that the minds to whose conclusions we incline to bow belong to that truth-loving, truth-seeking, truth-imparting class, which Robert Brown, Bojanus, Rudolphi, Cuvier, Ehrenberg, Herold, K├Âlliker, and Siebold, worthily exemplify. The rightly and sagaciously generalizing intellect is associated with the power of endurance of continuous and laborious research, exemplarily manifested in such monographs as we have quoted below. Their authors are the men who trouble the intellectual world little with their beliefs, but enrich it greatly with their proofs. If close and long-continued research, sustained by the determination to get accurate results, blunted, as Mr. Darwin seems to imply, the far-seeing discovering faculty, then are we driven to this paradox, viz., that the elucidation of the higher problems, nay the highest, in Biology, is to be sought for or expected in the lucubrations of those naturalists whose minds are not weighted or troubled with more than a discursive and superficial knowledge of nature.