Theosophical University Press Online Edition
“The knowledge of this nether world —
Say, friend, what is it, false or true?
The false, what mortal cares to know?
The true, what mortal ever knew?”
I. Archaic or Modern Anthropology? ... 645
II. The Ancestors Mankind is Offered by Science ... 656
Plastidular Souls, and Conscious Nerve-Cells ... 670
III. The Fossil Relics of Man and the Anthropoid Ape ... 675
Western Evolutionism: the comparative Anatomy of Man and Ape ... 680
Darwinism and the Antiquity of Man: the Anthropoids and their Ancestry ... 685
IV. On the Duration of Geological Periods, Race Cycles, and the Antiquity of Man ... 690
Modern Scientific Speculations thereon ... 694
On Chains of Planets and their Plurality ... 699
Esoteric Geological Chronology ... 709
V. Organic Evolution — Creative Centres ... 731
The Origin and Evolution of the Mammalia ... 734
The European Palaeolithic Races ... 738
VI. Giants, Civilizations, and Submerged Continents traced in History ... 742
VII. Scientific and Geological Proofs of the Existence of several Submerged Continents ... 778
Whenever the question of the origin of man is offered seriously to an unbiassed, honest, and earnest man of science, the answer comes invariably: — “We do not know.” De Quatrefages, in his agnostic attitude, is one of such anthropologists.
This does not imply that the rest of the men of science are neither fair-minded nor honest, as in such case our remark would be questionably discreet. But, it is estimated that 75 per cent. of European Scientists are Evolutionists. Are these representatives of modern thought all guilty of flagrant misrepresentation of the facts? No one says this — but there are a few very exceptional cases. However, the Scientists in their anti-clerical enthusiasm and despair of any alternative theory to Darwinism, except that of “special creation,” are unconsciously insincere in “forcing” a hypothesis the elasticity of which is inadequate, and which resents the severe strain to which it is now subjected. Insincerity on the same subject is, however, patent in ecclesiastical circles. Bishop Temple has come forward as a thorough-going supporter of Darwinism in his “Religion and Science.” This clerical writer goes so far as to regard Matter — after receiving its “primal impress” — as the unaided evolver of all cosmic phenomena. This view only differs from that of Haeckel, in postulating a hypothetical deity at “the back of beyont,” a deity which stands entirely aloof from the interplay of forces. Such a metaphysical entity is no more the Theological God than that of Kant. Bishop Temple’s truce with Materialistic Science is, in our opinion, impolitic — apart from the fact that it involves a total rejection of the Biblical cosmogony. In the presence of this display of flunkeyism before the materialism of our “learned” age, we Occultists can but smile. But how about loyalty to the Masters such theological truants profess to serve, Christ, and Christendom at large?
However, we have no desire, for the present, to throw down the gauntlet to the clergy, our business being now with materialistic Science alone. The latter answers to our question, in the person of its best representatives “We do not know;” — yet the majority of these act as though Omniscience was their heirloom, and they knew all things.
For, indeed, this negative reply has not prevented the majority of Scientists from speculating on that question, each seeking to have his
own special theory accepted to the exclusion of all others. Thus, from Maillet in 1748 down to Haeckel in 1870, theories on the origin of the human Race have differed as much as the personalities of their inventors themselves. Buffon, Bory de St. Vincent, Lamarck, E. G. St. Hilaire, Gaudry, Naudin, Wallace, Darwin, Owen, Haeckel, Filippi, Vogt, Huxley, Agassiz, etc., etc., each evolved a more or less scientific hypothesis of genesis. De Quatrefages arranges them in two principal groups — one holding to a rapid, and the other to a very gradual transmutation; the former, favouring a new type (man) produced by a being entirely different; the latter teaching the evolution of man by progressive differentiation.
Strangely enough, it is from the most scientific of these authorities that the most unscientific of all the theories upon the subject of the origin of man has hitherto emanated. This is so evident, that the hour is rapidly approaching when the current teaching about the descent of man from an Ape-like mammal will be regarded with less respect than the formation of Adam out of clay, and of Eve out of Adam’s rib. For —
“It is evident, especially after the most fundamental principles of Darwinism, that an organized being cannot be a descendant of another whose development is in an inverse order to his own. . . . Consequently, in accordance with these principles man cannot be considered as the descendant of any simian type whatever.”*
Lucae’s argument versus the Ape-theory, based on the different flexures of the bones constituting the axis of the skull in the cases of Man and the Anthropoids, is fairly discussed by Schmidt (“Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism,” p. 290). He admits that “the ape as he grows becomes more bestial; man . . . more human,” and seems, indeed, to hesitate a moment before he passes on: e.g., “This flexure of the cranial axis may, therefore, still be emphasized as a human character, in contradistinction to the apes; the peculiar characteristic of an order can scarcely be elicited from it; and especially as to the doctrine of descent, this circumstance seems in no way decisive.” The writer evidently is not a little disquieted at the argument. He assures us that it upsets any possibility of the present apes having been the progenitors of mankind. But does it not also negative the bare possibility of the man and anthropoid having had a common — though, so far, an absolutely theoretical — ancestor.
* “The Human Species,” p. 111, by de Quatrefages. The respective developments of the human and Simian brains are referred to. “In the ape the temporo-spheroidal convolutions, which form the middle lobe, make their appearance and are completed before the anterior convolutions which form the frontal lobe. In man, the frontal convolutions are, on the contrary, the first to appear, and those of the middle lobe are formed later.” (Ibid.)
Even “Natural Selection” itself is with every day more threatened. The deserters from the Darwinian camp are many, and those who were at one time its most ardent disciples are, owing to new discoveries, slowly but steadily preparing to turn over a new leaf. In the “Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society” for October, 1886, one can read as follows: —
“Physiological Selection. — Mr. G. J. Romanes finds certain difficulties in regarding natural selection as a theory for the origin of adaptive structures. He proposes to replace it by what he calls physiological selection, or the segregation of the fit. His view is based on the extreme sensitiveness of the reproductive system to small changes in the conditions of life, and he thinks that variations in the direction of greater or less sterility must frequently occur in wild species. If the variation be such that the reproductive system, while showing some degree of sterility with the parent form, continues to be fertile within the limits of the varietal form, the variation would neither be swamped by intercrossing nor die out on account of sterility. When a variation of this kind occurs, the physiological barrier must divide the species into two parts. . . . . The author, in fine, regards mutual sterility, not as one of the effects of specific differentiation, but as the cause of it.”*
An attempt is made to show the above to be a complement of, and sequence to, the Darwinian theory. This is a clumsy attempt at best. The public will soon be made to believe that Mr. C. Dixon’s “Evolution without Natural Selection” is also Darwinism — expanded, as the author certainly claims it to be!
But it is like splitting the body of a man into three pieces or various portions of man, and then maintaining that each portion is the identical man as he was before; only — expanded. Yet the author states on p. 79: — “Let it be clearly understood that not one single syllable in the foregoing pages has been written antagonistic to Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection. All I have done is to explain certain phenomena . . . . the more one studies Darwin’s works, the more one is convinced of the truth of his hypothesis.” (!!)
And before this, on p. 48, he alludes to: — “the overwhelming array of facts which Darwin gave in support of his hypothesis, and which triumphantly carried the theory of Natural Selection over all obstacles and objections.”
This does not prevent the learned author, however, from upsetting this theory as “triumphantly,” and from even openly calling his work
* To this an editorial remark adds that an “F.J.B.,” in the Athenaeum — (No. 3069, Aug. 21, 1886, pp. 242-3) points out that naturalists have long recognised that there are “morphological” and “physiological” species. The former have their origin in men’s minds, the latter in a series of changes sufficient to affect the internal as well as the external organs of a group of allied individuals. The “physiological selection” of morphological species is a confusion of ideas; that of physiological species “a redundancy of terms.”
“Evolution without a Natural Selection,” or, in so many words, with Darwin’s fundamental idea knocked to atoms in it.
As to Natural Selection itself, the utmost misconception prevails among many present-day thinkers who tacitly accept the conclusions of Darwinism. It is, for instance, a mere device of rhetoric to credit “Natural Selection” with the power of originating species. “Natural Selection” is no Entity; but a convenient phrase for describing the mode in which the survival of the fit and the elimination of the unfit among organisms is brought about in the struggle for existence. Every group of organisms tends to multiply beyond the means of subsistence; the constant battle for life — the “struggle to obtain enough to eat and to escape being eaten” added to the environmental conditions — necessitating a perpetual weeding out of the unfit. The elite of any stock thus sorted out, propagate the species and transmit their organic characteristics to their descendants. All useful variations are thus perpetuated, and a progressive improvement is effected. But Natural Selection, in the writer’s humble opinion, “Selection, as a Power,” is in reality a pure myth; especially when resorted to as an explanation of the origin of species. It is merely a representative term expressive of the manner in which “useful variations” are stereotyped when produced. Of itself, “it” can produce nothing, and only operates on the rough material presented to “it.” The real question at issue is: what Cause — combined with other secondary causes — produces the “variations” in the organisms themselves. Many of these secondary causes are purely physical, climatic, dietary, etc., etc. Very well. But beyond the secondary aspects of organic evolution, a deeper principle has to be sought for. The materialist’s “spontaneous variations,” and “accidental divergencies” are self-contradictory terms in a universe of “Matter, Force and Necessity.” Mere variability of type, apart from the supervisory presence of a quasi-intelligent impulse, is powerless to account for the stupendous complexities and marvels of the human body for instance. The insufficiency of the Darwinists’ mechanical theory has been exposed at length by Dr. Von Hartmann among other purely negative thinkers. It is an abuse of the reader’s intelligence to write, as does Haeckel, of blind indifferent cells, “arranging themselves into organs.” The esoteric solution of the origin of animal species is given elsewhere.
Those purely secondary causes of differentiation, grouped under the head of sexual selection, natural selection, climate, isolation, etc., etc., mislead the Western Evolutionist and offer no real explanation whatever of the “whence” of the “ancestral types” which served as the starting point for physical development. The truth is that the
differentiating “causes” known to modern science only come into operation after the physicalization of the primeval animal root-types out of the astral. Darwinism only meets Evolution at its midway point — that is to say when astral evolution has given place to the play of the ordinary physical forces with which our present senses acquaint us. But even here the Darwinian Theory, even with the “expansions” recently attempted, is inadequate to meet the facts of the case. The underlying physiological variation in species — one to which all other laws are subordinate and secondary — is a sub-conscious intelligence pervading matter, ultimately traceable to a reflection of the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic wisdom.* A not altogether dissimilar conclusion has been arrived at by so well known a thinker as Ed. von Hartmann, who, despairing of the efficacy of unaided Natural Selection, regards evolution as intelligently guided by the Unconscious (the Cosmic Logos of Occultism). But the latter acts only mediately through Fohat, or Dhyan-Chohanic energy, and not quite in the direct manner which the great pessimist describes.
It is this divergence among men of Science, their mutual, and often their self-contradictions, that gave the writer of the present volumes the courage to bring to light other and older teachings — if only as hypotheses for future scientific appreciation. Though not in any way very learned in modern sciences, so evident, even to the humble recorder of this archaic clearing, are the said scientific fallacies and gaps, that she determined to touch upon all these, in order to place the two teachings on parallel lines. For Occultism, it is a question of self-defence, and nothing more.
So far, the “Secret Doctrine” has concerned itself with metaphysics, pure and simple. It has now landed on Earth, and finds itself within the domain of physical science and practical anthropology, or those branches of study which materialistic Naturalists claim as their rightful domain, coolly asserting, furthermore, that the higher and more perfect the working of the Soul, the more amenable it is to the analysis and explanations of the zoologist and the physiologist alone. (Haeckel on “Cell-Souls and Soul-Cells.”) This stupendous pretension comes from one, who, to prove his pithecoid descent, has not hesitated to include among the ancestors of man the Lemuridae; which have been promoted by him to the rank of Prosimiae, indeciduate mammals, to which he very incorrectly attributes a decidua
* The “principle of perfectibility” of Nageli; von de Baer’s “striving towards the purpose”; Braun’s “Divine breath as the inward impulse in the evolutionary history of Nature”; Professor Owen’s “tendency to perfectibility, etc.,” are all veiled manifestations of the universal guiding Fohat, rich with the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic thought.
and a discoidal placenta.* For this Haeckel was taken severely to task by de Quatrefages, and criticised by his own brother materialists and agnostics, as great, if not greater, authorities than himself, namely, by Virchow and du Bois-Reymond.†
Such opposition notwithstanding, Haeckel’s wild theories are, to this day, called scientific and logical by some. The mysterious nature of Consciousness, of Soul, Spirit in Man being now explained as a mere advance on the functions of the protoplasmic molecules of the lively Protista, and the gradual evolution and growth of human mind and “social instincts” toward civilization having to be traced back to their origin in the civilization of ants, bees, and other creatures, the chances left for an impartial hearing of the doctrines of archaic Wisdom, are few indeed. The educated profane is told that “the social instincts of the lower animals have, of late, been regarded as being clearly the origin of morals, even of those of man” (!) and that our divine consciousness, our soul, intellect, and aspirations have “worked their way up from the lower stages of the simple cell-soul” of the gelatinous Bathybius — (See Haeckel’s “Present Position of Evolution” Notes), — and he seems to believe it. For such men, the metaphysics of Occultism must produce the effect that our grandest orchestral and vocal oratorios produce on the Chinaman: a sound that jars upon their nerves.
Yet, are our esoteric teachings about “angels,” the first three pre-animal human Races, and the downfall of the Fourth, on a lower level of fiction and self-delusion than the Haeckelian “plastidular,” or the inorganic “molecular Souls of the Protista”? Between the evolution of the spiritual nature of man from the above Amoebian Souls, and the alleged development of his physical frame from the protoplastic dweller in the Ocean slime, there is an abyss which will not be easily crossed by any man in the full possession of his intellectual faculties. Physical evolution, as modern Science teaches it, is a subject for open controversy; spiritual and moral development on the same lines is the insane dream of a crass materialism.
Furthermore, past as well as present daily experience teaches that no truth has ever been accepted by the learned bodies unless it dovetailed
* Vide infra, M. de Quatrefages’ expose of Haeckel, in § ii., “The Ancestors Mankind is offered by Science.”
† Strictly speaking du Bois-Reymond is an agnostic, and not a materialist. He has protested most vehemently against the materialistic doctrine, which affirms mental phenomena to be merely the product of molecular motion. The most accurate physiological knowledge of the structure of the brain leaves us “nothing but matter in motion,” he asserts; “we must go further, and admit the utterly incomprehensible nature of the psychical principle which it is impossible to regard as a mere outcome of material causes.”
with the habitual preconceived ideas of their professors. “The crown of the innovator is a crown of thorns”: — said G. St. Hilaire. It is only that which fits in with popular hobbies and accepted notions that as a general rule gains ground. Hence the triumph of the Haeckelian ideas, notwithstanding their being proclaimed by Virchow, du Bois-Reymond, and others as the “testimonium paupertatis of natural Science.”
Diametrically opposed as may be the materialism of the German Evolutionists to the spiritual conceptions of Esoteric philosophy, radically inconsistent as is their accepted anthropological system with the real facts of nature, — the pseudo-idealistic bias now colouring English thought is almost more pernicious. The pure materialistic doctrine admits of a direct refutation and appeal to the logic of facts. The idealism of the present day, not only contrives to absorb, on the one hand, the basic negations of Atheism, but lands its votaries in a tangle of unreality, which culminates in a practical Nihilism. Argument with such writers is almost out of the question. Idealists, therefore, will be still more antagonistic to the Occult teachings now given than even the Materialists. But as no worse fate can befall the exponents of Esoteric Anthropo-Genesis than being openly called by their foes by their old and time-honoured names of “lunatics” and “ignoramuses,” the present archaic theories may be safely added to the many modern speculations, and bide their time for their full or even partial recognition. Only, as the existence itself of these “archaic theories” will probably be denied, we have to give our best proofs and stand by them to the bitter end.
In our race and generation the one “temple in the Universe” is in rare cases — within us; but our body and mind have been too defiled by both Sin and Science to be outwardly now anything better than a fane of iniquity and error. And here our mutual position — that of Occultism and Modern Science — ought to be once for all defined.
We, Theosophists, would willingly bow before such men of learning as the late Prof. Balfour Stewart, Messrs. Crookes, Quatrefages, Wallace, Agassiz, Butlerof, and several others, though we may not agree, from the stand-point of esoteric philosophy, with all they say. But nothing could make us consent to even a show of respect for the opinions of other men of science, such as Haeckel, Carl Vogt, or Ludwig Buchner, in Germany; or even of Mr. Huxley and his co-thinkers in materialism in England — the colossal erudition of the first named, notwithstanding. Such men are simply the intellectual and moral murderers of future generations; especially Haeckel, whose crass materialism often rises to the height of idiotic naivetes in his reasonings. One has but to read his “Pedigree of Man, and Other Essays” (Aveling’s transl.) to feel a desire, in the words of Job, that his
remembrance should perish from the earth, and that he “shall have no name in the streets.” Hear him deriding the idea of the origin of the human race “as a supernatural (?) phenomenon,” as one “that could not result from simple mechanical causes, from physical and chemical forces, but requires the direct intervention of a creative personality. . . ”
. . . . “Now the central point of Darwin’s teaching,” . . goes on the creator of the mythical Sozura, “lies in this, that it demonstrates the simplest mechanical causes, purely physico-chemical phenomena of nature, as wholly sufficient to explain the highest and most difficult problems. Darwin puts in the place of a conscious creative force, building and arranging the organic bodies of animals and plants on a designed plan, a series of natural forces working blindly (or we say) without aim, without design. In place of an arbitrary act of operation, we have a necessary law of Evolution . . . . ” (So had Manu and Kapila, and, at the same time, guiding, conscious and intelligent Powers). . . “Darwin had very wisely . . . put on one side the question as to the first appearance of life. But very soon that consequence, so full of meaning, so wide reaching, was openly discussed by able and brave scientific men, such as Huxley, Carl Vogt, Ludwig Buchner. A mechanical origin of the earliest living form, was held as the necessary sequence to Darwin’s teaching . . and we are at present concerned with a single consequence of the theory, the natural origin of the human race through almighty evolution” (pp. 34, 37).
To which, unabashed by this scientific farrago, Occultism replies: In the course of Evolution, when the physical triumphed over, and nearly crushed under its weight, spiritual and mental evolutions, the great gift of Kriyasakti* remained the heirloom of only a few elect men in every age . . . . Spirit strove vainly to manifest itself in its fulness in purely organic forms (as has been explained in Part I. of this Volume), and the faculty, which had been a natural attribute in the early humanity of the Third Race, became one of the class regarded as simply phenomenal by the Spiritualists and Occultists, and as scientifically impossible by the materialists.
In our modern day the mere assertion that there exists a power which can create human forms — ready-made sheaths for the “conscious monads” or Nirmanakayas of past Manvantaras to incarnate within — is, of course, absurd, ridiculous! That which is regarded as quite natural, on the other hand, is the production of a Frankenstein’s monster, plus moral consciousness, religious aspirations, genius, and a feeling of one’s own immortal nature within one’s self — by “physico-chemical forces, guided by blind Almighty Evolution” (“Pedigree of Man”).
* For explanation of the term Kriyasakti, see Com. 2 in Stanza 26.
As to the origin of that man, not ex-nihilo, cemented by a little red clay, but from a living divine Entity consolidating the astral body with surrounding materials — this conception is too absurd even to be mentioned in the opinion of the materialists. Nevertheless, Occultists and Theosophists are ready to have their claims and theories — however unscientific and superstitious at first glance — compared as to their intrinsic value and probability, with those of the modern evolutionists. Hence the esoteric teaching is absolutely opposed to the Darwinian evolution, as applied to man, and partially so with regard to other species.
It would be interesting to obtain a glimpse of the mental representation of Evolution in the Scientific brain of a materialist. What is Evolution? If asked to define the full and complete meaning of the term, neither Huxley nor Haeckel will be able to do it any better than Webster does: “the act of unfolding; the process of growth, development; as the evolution of a flower from a bud, or an animal from the egg.” Yet the bud must be traced through its parent-plant to the seed, and the egg to the animal or bird that laid it; or at any rate to the speck of protoplasm from which it expanded and grew. And both the seed and the speck must have the latent potentialities in them for the reproduction and gradual development, the unfolding of the thousand and one forms or phases of evolution, through which they must pass before the flower or the animal are fully developed? Hence, the future plan, if not a design, must be there. Moreover, that seed has to be traced, and its nature ascertained. Have the Darwinists been successful in this? Or will the Moneron be cast in our teeth? But this atom of the Watery Abysses is not homogeneous matter; and there must be something or somebody that had moulded and cast it into being.
Here Science is once more silent. But since there is no self-consciousness as yet in either speck, seed, or germ, according to both Materialists and Psychologists of the modern school — Occultists agreeing in this for once with their natural enemies — what is it that guides the force or forces so unerringly in this process of evolution? Blind force? As well call blind the brain which evolved in Haeckel his “Pedigree of Man” and other lucubrations. We can easily conceive that the said brain lacks an important centre or two. For, whoever knows anything of the anatomy of the human, or even of any animal, body, and is still an atheist and a materialist, must be “hopelessly insane,” according to Lord Herbert, who rightly sees in the frame of man’s body and the coherence of its parts, something so strange and paradoxical that he holds it “to be the greatest miracle of nature.” Blind forces, “and no design” in anything under the Sun; when no sane man of Science would hesitate to say that, even from the little he knows and has hitherto discovered of the forces at work in Kosmos, he sees very plainly
that every part, every speck and atom are in harmony with their fellow atoms, and these with the whole, each having its distinct mission throughout the life-cycle. But, fortunately, the greatest, the most eminent thinkers and Scientists of the day are now beginning to rise against this “Pedigree,” and even Darwin’s natural selection theory, though its author had never, probably, contemplated such widely stretched conclusions. The remarkable work of the Russian Scientist N. T. Danilevsky — “Darwinism, a Critical Investigation of the Theory” — upsets it completely and without appeal, and so does de Quatrefages in his last work. Our readers are recommended to examine the learned paper by Dr. Bourges — read by its author, a member of the Paris Anthropological Society at a recent official meeting of the latter — called “Evolutionary Psychology; the Evolution of Spirit, etc.” in which he reconciles entirely the two teachings — namely, those of the physical and spiritual evolutions. He explains the origin of the variety of organic forms, made to fit their environments with such evident intelligent design, by the existence and the mutual help and interaction of two principles in (manifest) nature, the inner Conscious Principle adapting itself to physical nature and the innate potentialities in the latter. Thus the French Scientist has to return to our old friend — Archaeus, or the life-Principle — without naming it, as Dr. Richardson has done in England in his “Nerve-Force,” etc. The same idea was recently developed in Germany by Baron Hellenbach, in his remarkable work, “Individuality in the light of Biology and modern Philosophy.”
We find the same conclusions arrived at in still another excellent volume of another Russian deep thinker, N. N. Strachof — who says in his “Fundamental Conceptions of Psychology and Physiology”: — “The most clear, as the most familiar, type of development may be found in our own mental or physical evolution, which has served others as a model to follow . . . . If organisms are entities . . . then it is only just to conclude and assert that the organic life strives to beget psychic life; but it would be still more correct and in accordance with the spirit of these two categories of evolution to say, that the true cause of organic life is the tendency of spirit to manifest in substantial forms, to clothe itself in substantial reality. It is the highest form which contains the complete explanation of the lowest, never the reverse.” This is admitting, as Bourges does in the Memoire above quoted, the identity of this mysterious, integrally acting and organizing Principle with the Self-Conscious and Inner Subject, which we call the Ego and the world at large — the Soul. Thus, gradually, all the best Scientists and Thinkers are approaching the Occultists in their general conclusions.
But such metaphysically inclined men of Science are out of court and will hardly be listened to. Schiller, in his magnificent poem on
the Veil of Isis, makes the mortal youth who dared to lift the impenetrable covering fall down dead after beholding naked Truth in the face of the stern goddess. Have some of our Darwinians, so tenderly united in natural selection and affinity, also gazed at the Saitic Mother bereft of her veils? One might almost suspect it after reading their theories. Their great intellects must have collapsed while gauging too closely the uncovered face of Nature, leaving only the grey matter and ganglia in their brain, to respond to blind physico-chemical forces. At any rate Shakespeare’s lines apply admirably to our modem Evolutionist who symbolizes that “proud man,” who —
“Dress’d in a little brief authority;
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence — like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the Angels weep! . . . . ”
These have nought to do with the “angels.” Their only concern is the human ancestor, the pithecoid Noah who gave birth to three sons — the tailed Cynocephalus, the tailless Ape, and the “arboreal” Palaeolithic man. On this point, they will not be contradicted. Every doubt expressed is immediately set down as an attempt to cripple scientific inquiry. The insuperable difficulty at the very foundation of the evolution theory, namely, that no Darwinian is able to give even an approximate definition of the period at which, and the form in which, the first man appeared, is smoothed down to a trifling impediment, which is “really of no account.” Every branch of knowledge is in the same predicament, we are informed. The chemist bases his most abstruse calculations simply “upon a hypothesis of atoms and molecules, of which not one has ever been seen isolated, weighed, or defined. The electrician speaks of magnetic fluids which have never tangibly revealed themselves. No definite origin can be assigned either to molecules or magnetism. Science cannot and does not pretend to any knowledge of the beginnings of law, matter or life, . . .” etc., etc. (Knowledge, January, 1882.)
And, withal, to reject a scientific hypothesis, however absurd, is to commit the one unpardonable sin! We risk it.