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ness is a transformed nerve-current.
Now note the
Without a nervous system there can be nerve-currents; without nerve-currents there can be no states of consciousness; and without states of consciousness there can be no mind. The mind comes into existence with the organism, and both perish together. During its existence, it is absolutely determined by external conditions; for Mr. Spencer denies volitional freedom in the most explicit terms, and on the admitted ground that if freedom. be a fact it is fatal to his system. Now, it is rather instructive, after such teaching, to be told that "the explanations here given are no more materialistic than they are spiritualistic." It is evident, however, from the frequency and earnestness with which. Mr. Spencer makes this claim, that he really thinks his petty word-distinctions save his system from materialism. Yet, if the system which makes the soul a product of organization that must, of course, perish with the organism is not materialistic, it would be hard to say what materialism is. Indeed, this is the doctrine which most of the leaders of the New Philosophy now openly avow, whether from keener logical perception or from greater causes I cannot decide.
One more general criticism must be offered before proceeding to a specific examination of this philosophy. Every system of evolution which is not guided by intelligence is merely a new edition
of the time-honored theory of chance. mechanical system, all the results depend upon the first impulse, and between that primal motion and its effects there is room for nothing but necessity. However wide-spreading its effects may be, they were all necessarily contained in that first motion. Now, since to-day is determined by yesterday, it follows that all days were determined by the first day; and before this philosophy can assume to be an explanation at all, it must account for that first day. The implicit assumption of its disciples is, that by the time we have reached the nebula, we have come to a simple and unorganized form of matter which needs no explanation. But here it must be borne in mind that complexity and organization do not cease where we fail to trace them. Upon this point Prof. Tyndall speaks as follows:
"It cannot be too distinctly borne in mind that between the microscopic limit and the molecular limit there is room for infinite permutations and combinations. It is in this region that the poles of the atoms are arranged, that tendency is given to their powers, so that when these poles and powers have free action and proper stimulus in a suitable environment, they determine first the germ and afterward the complete organism. The first marshaling of the atoms, upon which all subsequent action depends, baffles a keener power than that of the microscope. Through pure excess of complexity, and long
before observation can have any voice in the matter the most highly-trained intellect, the most refined and disciplined imagination, retires in bewilderment from the contemplation of the problem. We are struck dumb by an astonishment which no microscope can relieve, doubting not only the power of our instrument, but even whether we ourselves possess the intellectual elements which will enable us to grapple with the ultimate structural energies of nature." * Prof. Tyndall here calls attention to a fact which biologists and physiologists constantly overlook-the almost infinite complexity of what the microscope sees as simple. Nothing is more common than to hear physiologists, Mr. Spencer among the rest, speak of germs as perfectly homogeneous, because the microscope detects no trace of organization; and, indeed, atheistic reasoning derives much of its plausibility from this false assumption. If the complex animal can be derived from the homogeneous germ, it is not incredible that the complexity of creation should be derived from the homogeneous nebula. But Prof. Tyndall has taught us that homogeneity is only in seeming; that under the most homogeneous surface there are structural energies of such complexity, that we must question whether we have the mental elements which will enable us to grapple with them. It was in that realm, inaccessible to every thing but mind, that the wonders of creation *"Fragments of Science," p. 153.
were wrought out. The atheist's attempt to escape into simplicity is fruitless. His very assumptions forbid it. Because of the necessity which connects cause and effect in every mechanical scheme, we must conclude that all which exists now, existed in its causes at any given time in the past. The nebulous period really manifested no less intelligence and purpose than the present does; the only difference is, that what is explicit now was implicit then. Going back to that nebulous time, we find tendencies and laws and powers so balanced that time alone is needed to give birth to the present order. No matter how far back we go; if we assume that that nebula was the ruins of an earlier system, which had in turn been born from an antecedent nebula, still, at the earliest time, we find the exact and complex adjustment of tendencies and powers which must in time give birth to to-day. Looking around upon that earliest nebula, we find that the present was there; and again we ask, What determined that first day? what procured that primal balance of poles and powers, which made it impossible that any thing but the existing order should be born? Here lies the mystery of creation; nothing is explained until this question is answered. must be either the work of wisdom or of chance; and if the work of chance, then all that has sprung from it is the work of chance also. Mr. Spencer denies that intelligence has any thing to do with
evolution; it follows, then, that chance is the architect of the universe. The vaporings about law and order do indeed serve to give an aspect of freshness to the threadbare arguments; but they in no wise alter the underlying philosophy. When we get to the naked form of Mr. Spencer's teaching, it is that a cloud of atoms only need to be shaken together long enough to hit upon the present order and harmony of the universe. The New Philosophy is not so new after all; for, except in terminology, this is precisely the doctrine which Democritus and Lucretius taught two thousand years ago. The only thing which gives the new heresy greater plausibility than the old, is the greater extension of the universe in time. Who knows what might happen in eternity? To be sure, we do not find the atoms playing any such tricks now; but who knows what might not have happened back yonder in the dark? Time works wonders; and so the evolutionist becomes confused and giddy from the long cycles with which he deals, and talks of "untold ages," as if time could certainly correlate with intelligence. Because the work of intelligence is not stolen outright, but by piecemeal, the theft is allowed to escape notice. It is the error of the old mythology over again. The evolutionist gets the world upon the turtle's back; and then either he forgets to supply any footing for the turtle, or else his faith becomes robust enough to venture to stand alone.