Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/194

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be so far in advance of his time that he is largely unappreciated by his contemporaries. This has been to some extent the case with Darwin and with Galton. Happily both lived to receive some parts of the tributes they deserved from their fellows.

How great is the debt of humanity to the Line of Darwin!

On the basis of an immense collection of the facts of natural history, Charles Darwin gave the world a theory which soon swept beyond the boundary lines of biology and by its clarification and unification of knowledge has been one of the powerful factors in modern life. Francis Galton was a leader in giving science methods which bring within the grip of mathematical analysis a wide range of biological, social and other natural phenomena hitherto regarded as outside the pale of exact science. Fifty years has made cultured men of all disciplines evolutionists, and Darwin's name is carved higher than that of any other who worked towards this goal, but after these fifty years we are still in deep ignorance concerning the processes by which evolution has taken place. This problem which has been the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night in the onward march of biological research, awaits solution by the methods of Galton. Charles Darwin and the great men who came to his support sought to show that historically, in origin, man is not a separately favored being set in a garden of all living things to have dominion over them, but that his origin is a natural consequence of the struggle for existence, that step by step he has fought his way to the top of the evolutionary ladder, matching sinew with sinew and cunning with cunning.

Francis Galton and his school have proved that as applied to man this evolutionary process is not of class-room interest merely, but that its factors are of vital social importance to-day. A complex civilization may be likened to a cathedral of arches, every stone of which is under stress. The permanency of the civilization is limited by the physical and mental soundness of the component human stocks, just as the stability of the cathedral is limited by the texture of the stones which went into its building. Galton and his school have proved that in the determination of the character of the individual, nature is of greater significance than nurture—that the strength of the stone depends primarily upon the quarry from which it came, not upon the height to which it is polished nor upon the elegance of the colonade into which it is built. They have shown that in our strenuous modern life the statistician can point to some factors which tend to conserve and to others which tend to destroy the types of men which have made high civilization possible, and they have told us in ringing words that it is the duty of the man of science to apply the most rigorously exact methods to the investigation of all those factors which tend to improve or impair the racial qualities of generations yet unborn.