Theory Of Evolution Essay

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On the other hand, it would be absurd to regard him as totally severed from them.

It is the great degree of difference I would insist upon, bodily, mental, and spiritual, which precludes the idea of his having been evolved by exactly the same processes, and with the same limitations, as, for example, the horse from the palaeotherium.

As the two fairly enough represent the extremes of Christian thought upon the subject, it is convenient to review them in connection.

Theologians have a short and easy, if not wholly satisfactory, way of refuting scientific doctrines which they object to, by pitting the authority or opinion of one may enjoy the same advantage at the expense of the divines– we mean, of course, on the scientific arena; for the mutual refutation of conflicting theologians on their own ground is no novelty.

We do not use the terms ‘adaptation,’ ‘arrangement of means to ends,’ and the like, because they beg the question in stating it.

Finally, ought not theologians to consider whether they have not already, in principle, conceded to the geologists and physicists all that they are asked to concede to the evolutionists; whether, indeed, the main natural theological difficulties which attend the doctrine of evolution–serious as they may be–are not virtually contained in the admission that there is a system of Nature with fixed laws.The attitude of theologians toward doctrines of evolution, from the nebular hypothesis down to ‘Darwinism,’ is no less worthy of consideration, and hardly less diverse, than that of naturalists.But the topic, if pursued far, leads to questions too wide and deep for our handling here, except incidentally, in the brief notice which it falls in our way to take of the Rev.In coupling with it a chapter of the second volume of Dr.Hodge’s ‘Systematic Theology (Part II, Anthropology),’ we call attention to a recent essay, by an able and veteran writer, on the other side of the question.Although he admits ‘that there is a theistic and an atheistic form of the nebular hypothesis as to the origin of the universe, so there may be a theistic interpretation of the Darwinian theory,’ yet he contends that ‘the system is thoroughly atheistic,’ notwithstanding that the author ‘expressly acknowledges the existence of God.’ Curiously enough, the atheistic form of evolutionary hypotheses, or what he takes for such, is the only one which Dr. Even the ‘Reign of Law’ theory, Owen’s ‘purposive route of development and chance . The gist of the matter lies in the answer that should be rendered to the questions–1.Do order and useful-working collocation, pervading a system throughout all its parts, prove design? Is such evidence negatived or invalidated by the probability that these particular collocations belong to lineal series of such in time, and diversified in the course of Nature–grown up, so to say, step by step?How these questions of derivation came naturally and inevitably to be revived, how the cumulative probability that the existing are derived from preexisting forms impressed itself upon the minds of many naturalists and thinkers, Mr.Henslow has briefly explained in the introduction and illustrated in the succeeding chapters of the first part of his book.By this doctrine of evolution he does not mean the Darwinian hypothesis, although he accepts and includes this, looking upon natural selection as playing an important though not an unlimited part.He would be an evolutionist with Mivart and Owen and Argyll, even if he had not the I would wish to state distinctly that I do not at present see any evidence for believing in a gradual development of man from the lower animals by ordinary natural laws; that is, without some special interference, or, if it be preferred, some exceptional conditions which have thereby separated him from all other creatures, and placed him decidedly in advance of them all.


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