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Lecture 2: Man’s Place in the Universe

WHAT is man? A century ago our pious forefathers would have replied: The lord and king of creation. The latest science confirms the answer. The evolutionary theory as to the genesis of things places man at the head of creation as we know it. It not only admits that this is his position, it proves that it is, sets the fact on a foundation of scientific certainty, making man appear as the consummation and crown of the evolutionary process in that part of the universe with which it is in our power to become thoroughly acquainted.

As stated in last lecture, it is not yet a settled matter that man is out and out the child of evolution. That he is the product of evolution on the animal side of his nature is now generally acknowledged. Any dispute still outstanding relates to the psychical aspect of his being—to his intellect and his moral nature. The evidence here is less convincing, and moreover our interest or bias is divided. We are naturally and justly zealous for man's prerogative as a rational and moral being. It is in that direction, admittedly, that man's distinction chiefly lies, and that he is furthest removed from the lower animal creation. An eminent American advocate and expositor of the evolutionary theory writes: ‘No fact in nature is fraught with deeper meaning than this two-sided fact of the extreme physical similarity and enormous psychical divergence between man and the group of animals to which he traces his pedigree.’1 There is a very legitimate fear lest this divergence be lessened, and the concomitant dignity compromised, by bringing man's higher nature within the scope of evolutionary law. Does evolution, it is asked, give us in unabated fulness and value that which constitutes man's peculiar glory—his intellect, and still more his conscience? More than suspicious that it does not, many are inclined to abide by the position of Russel Wallace, that the application of the idea of evolution in the case of roan must be restricted to his bodily organism.2

Yet, on the other hand, for one who is mainly concerned for the religious significance of man's position in the universe, the interest by no means lies exclusively on the more conservative and cautious side of the question. Making man in his entire nature subject to evolutionary law (if this can be done without sacrifice of essential truth), presents certain advantages for the cause of Theism. On this view evolution becomes an absolutely universal method of creation whereof man in his whole being is the highest and final product. And what we gain from this conception is the right to interpret the whole process by its end. If we place man, in his higher nature, outside the process, we lose this right. If human reason and conscience have no part in the great movement, then their possessor is neither explained by the movement, nor does he in turn explain it. But bring him, soul as well as body, within the movement, and we are entitled to point to all in him that is highest and say: This is what was aimed at all along, this is the goal towards which the age-long process of creation was marching, even towards the evolution of mind and spirit under the guidance of an eternal Reason.

At the very least it may safely be affirmed that so long as the relation of the universe to God is properly conceived and duly kept in mind, the question as to the evolution of man's psychical nature can hardly be a vital one. It is vital that we conceive of God as immanent in the world, and unceasingly active throughout the whole history of its genesis, the ultimate cause of all that happens. That done, it is not necessary in a theistic interest to resist to the death the idea that the human mind is a product of the great continuous movement by which the world, as it now exists, has arisen out of the primitive homogeneous ocean of undifferentiated atoms. The decision come to will affect, not the being of God, nor the reality of His creative agency in connection with the origin of man, but only the method of His working. The alternatives are: Creation of man by laws similar to those according to which other living species have been evolved, or special creation of man, as an exceptional being. The issue may, possibly, have a serious aspect for a believer in the authority of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures; that depends on whether these sacred writings teach or imply any particular theory as to the origin of man. But the issue is not serious for the general interests of Theism. Faith in God may remain intact, though we concede that man in all his characteristics, physical and psychical, is no exception to the universal law of growth, no breach in the continuity of the evolutionary process.

The average Theist, nevertheless, even while accepting this position in the abstract, is conscious of a secret bias in favour of making man the great exception. A reason for this it is not difficult to find. If man be a special creation, an immediate, miraculous product of Divine creative energy, his prerogative is safe beyond dispute; if, on the other hand, he fall under the universal rule, it may readily appear questionable. Even in that case it may be capable of vindication; but it will need it, and believers in man's unique nature and high destiny would naturally prefer a view of his origin that rendered such a vindication superfluous. There is a tendency to insist on such a view, even with reference to man's animal nature, in fear lest concession at this point might weaken the defence in connection with the higher nature. But the better informed, feeling the proof to be too strong in that region, hand man's body over to the evolutionist and draw the line there, saying in effect: Intrude not within the sacred territory of the soul; let it be reserved for the direct activity of God.

It is not to be supposed, however, that all who make the soul an exception, do so on purely religious grounds. Some take their stand on scientific considerations. Their plea is, that evidence sufficient to establish the thesis—man evolved in soul as in body—is not forthcoming. One occupying this position may be conceived as saying: ‘I have my own firm faith as to man's position in the universe, and his corresponding destiny, which I am ever ready on due occasion to avow and advocate. Meanwhile I put that on one side, and I maintain that simply as a matter of scientific evidence, evolution of intellect and conscience is not proved.’

This is a perfectly intelligible position. It is a position, moreover, which it is well to have stated and vigorously supported, if it were only as a counterweight against the tendency to be too easily satisfied with proof of the thesis. Such a tendency certainly exists. The prevailing inclination is to assume the absolutely universal sway of evolutionary law, as a matter of course. Proof for the evolution of man! what proof is needed? Is it not proof enough that evolution is the rule everywhere else? The presumption is that man is no exception, and even if it should be found impossible to muster conclusive evidence for this position, it would be reasonable and scientific to regard it as in a high degree probable. The plea is not destitute of force, yet it is not desirable that the matter should rest there. Believers in universal evolution ought to do their best to establish their thesis in all departments of nature, and especially in those in which it is contested; and one very effective stimulus to exertion is vigorous contradiction supported by argument on the part of those who deny universality. Nothing but good can come of earnest, sustained debate between combatants well-matched in ability and knowledge.

It must be admitted that the advocates of evolution in the mental sphere have not been content with indolent assumption, but have braced themselves up to careful inquiry. The result is an extensive and able literature devoted to the proof that man as an animal, as an intellectual being, and as a moral agent, is the child of evolution. Nor have capable representatives on the other side of the question been wanting. The contributions to the maintenance of the negative on purely scientific lines are perhaps less numerous, but they are such as deserve respectful consideration. It would be out of place here to go at great length into the details of the controversy, and I am as little qualified or inclined, as I am called on, to play the part of umpire between the combatants. It may, however, be well to try and get a general idea of the bearings of the question, in the hope that we may be helped to see more clearly how far we can afford to be dispassionate, and to treat the question at issue as one of fact only, and not of theistic faith.

1. As to the animal nature of man, there is now comparatively little controversy. It is generally admitted that the human body has been evolved. The sources of proof are comparative anatomy and embryology. Man is connected by broad analogies with the whole class of mammalia. His physical structure reveals close affinities with the ape. Even in the brain, where his superiority is conspicuous, the affinity is nevertheless quite remarkable. ‘So far as cerebral structure goes,’ says Mr. Huxley, ‘it is clear that the difference between the brains of the chimpanzee and of man is almost insignificant when compared with that between the chimpanzee brain and that of a lemur.’3 The testimony furnished by researches into embryonic development is still more impressive. It appears that the human embryo, in the different stages of its growth, presents resemblances to members of the lower animal world in an ascending scale: to the fish, then to the frog, then to the reptile, then to the generic type of the mammalia. These resemblances appear in a somewhat advanced stage in the development. The very early stage has not been investigated in the human subject. But the general result as expressed by Professor Henry Drummond is that ‘human embryology is a condensed zoology, a recapitulation and epitome of some of the main chapters in the natural history of the world.’4 In a few months the unborn child passes through forms of being which represent myriads of years in the evolution of the animal world. This is a fact of curious interest from whatever point of view it may be regarded. At present we are concerned with it as an index of man's subjection to evolutionary law. It is a link connecting him significantly with the lower animal creation. When at birth he sees the light he is man superior to all animals, unique in aspect and in possibilities. But before birth he belongs to the humbler world of animal life, and, by passing in rapid succession through many forms of being, shows how one species may pass into another, ever rising higher, from minute living creatures consisting of a single cell to highly evolved forms of animal life like those of the dog and the ape.

2. The question as to the evolution of intellect lays under contribution a wide field of inquiry, including investigations into the ascertainable or conjectural mental history of the lower animals, of primitive and savage man, and of children; and, connected with these, the intricate subject of the evolution of language falls to be discussed. The study is not only extensive but abstruse, and it is no easy matter to master the contents of the treatises bearing on it. These contain, not only unfamiliar ideas, but new words to express them. Thus one of the most recent and best-known writers on the subject, the late Mr. Romanes, found it necessary to coin the word ‘recept’ to denote a mental act intermediate between the elementary act of perception common to men and animals, and the rational act of conception peculiar to man. Percept, Recept, Concept: these terms form a series representing three stages in the evolution or manifestation of mental faculty rising one above the other. A percept is the cognition of an individual object, such as a stone; a concept is an abstract idea of a whole class of objects in which certain common features are discernible, and to which we attach a common general name. A ‘recept’ is the result of recognition of things seen before, a mental impression remaining after seeing several things of the same sort, say half a dozen stones. Different objects have different ‘recepts’ answering to them; stones produce in the observer one ‘recept,’ loaves another, and the observer is aware of the difference. But why coin a new word, why not be content with the old familiar term, ‘concept,’ or the still more familiar phrase, ‘abstract ideas’? Because the purpose is to describe an attainment of animals which approximates, and in some respects resembles, the process of abstraction characteristic of the human mind, and yet falls short of it. Animals know that a stone differs from a loaf, and therefore do not attempt to eat a stone. Birds know the difference between the sea and the rock round which its waves roll, and they do not attempt to dive into the rock. From their behaviour one might infer that they had abstract ideas of stones, loaves, rocks, and seas, but in reality their mental states do not go beyond spontaneous associations formed unintentionally. They are at most implicit unperceived abstractions.5

This, we are to understand, is all the length that animals, even the most intelligent, can go. But man can go further. He can form not only ‘recepts,’ but ‘concepts.’ He can consciously and deliberately abstract the points of essential agreement in objects, leaving out of account unessential points of difference, such as size and colour, and so can form a general idea of a class, and distinguish it by a name, such as horse, dog, house. It was, in the view of the evolutionist, a great moment when man first acquired this faculty; the starting-point in a career of in definite intellectual progress. It was a great step upwards when, to the animal faculty for forming ‘recepts’ he added the power to form ‘concepts.’ And yet, great as the step was, it is held to have been only the next step in the onward march of the evolution of intellect. For this position one piece of evidence is found in the fact that children, before reaching the age of self-consciousness, do not rise above the receptual type of thought characteristic of the lower animals. When a child sees a dog he imitates its bark. The exclamation means ‘this is a dog,’ but the child has no abstract idea of a dog. His judgment is preconceptual, and such as a dog itself makes when it distinguishes between a stone and a bone.6

How then did man attain to this invaluable faculty of forming abstract ideas? The answer given to this important question by the advocates of intellectual evolution is: Through the use of language. When man acquired the power of speaking then he acquired the power of forming concepts as distinct from recepts. In the phraseology of another investigator in this region, Mr. Lloyd Morgan, the new departure was rendered possible through the naming of predominants. Mr. Morgan employs the term predominant to serve the same purpose as the term ‘recept’ preferred by Mr. Romanes. A predominant is an outstanding feature in an object of perception, such as may arrest the eye or ear of an animal. ‘Isolate,’ on the other hand, is the term Mr. Morgan employs to denote the product of the process by which human beings select certain qualities and consider them by themselves to the neglect of other qualities. Morgan's ‘isolate’ is Romanes’ concept. And he gives us to understand that man attained the power of forming isolates by naming predominants. ‘The named predominant became an isolate.’7 The naming process, as it were, floated off the predominant features from the objects of perception, and through isolation introduced them into the intellectual sphere.8

The concept-forming faculty, then, differentiates man from brute, and it is language that makes that important faculty possible. But whence came language? How did man learn to speak? Are we not in presence of as great a mystery as that which it is supposed to explain? Nay, have we not reason to suspect a hysteron proteron here: an inversion of the true order of cause and effect? Language, we are in effect told, made man rational; was it not rather because man had already become rational that he began to speak? Is not language, as Professor Calderwood contends, ‘an instrument of thought, an evidence of the presence of thought, a subsequent and consequent of the exercise of rational powers’?9 I merely throw out these queries by way of suggested criticism, and proceed with my exposition. To make the mystery more intelligible and credible, the development of the new talent is represented as taking place very slowly and gradually. It came, taking place very slowly and gradually. It cam, we are told, very late in the day of mankind's long history. Man existed on the earth for ages before he could speak in the sense of using articulate language for communication with his fellows. There was a non-speaking man (Homo alᾰlus) before there was speaking man (Homo loquens). The earlier non-speaking man could communicate with his fellows, but only through inarticulate, significant signs. Of this primitive stage Mr. Romanes finds a survival in the clicks of the Kaffir, of which it seems there are four, or even six kinds; child-life is pointed to as a pathetic memorial of the time when even grown-up men were infants

Another point insisted on, to facilitate acceptance of the theory that language was the mother rather than the daughter of reason, is that language was at first a very simple affair. Words did not at first express abstract ideas, but rather named predominants, or expressed preconceptual judgments after the manner in which a child says: That is a dog, by exclaiming ‘Bow wow.’ This touches on a question on which students of language differ. Professor Max Müller, reasoning from the data supplied by the Sanskrit language, advocates the theory that the roots of language express abstract ideas, e.g. ‘cur,’ the idea of running. This theory goes contrary to the evolutionary hypothesis, for it presupposes a high power of abstraction at the very beginning of the use of language. The evolutionist gets rid of the obstacle by bluntly denying that the first words were expressive of abstract ideas, and contending that they were more probably of the onomatopoetic type. To the objection: Why then do so many words expressive of abstract ideas survive, while of the onomatopoetic type only a few traces are found? the answer is given: The former survive because they have been prolific of other words, the latter have perished because they were not prolific.10 And more generally it is pleaded that the historical languages, including Sanskrit, do not show us by any means man's first attempts at speech. They are the final outcome of innumerable crude experiments which have perished, leaving hardly a trace behind. Of the existing languages, those that come nearest the primitive type are the polysynthetic, exemplified by the speech of the American Indians, in which a word represents a whole sentence. The sentence, not the single word, is held to be the original unit of language. Mr. Romanes sums up the result of philological research in these terms: ‘Spoken language began in the form of sentence-words, grammar is the child of gesture, predication is but the adult form of the same faculty of sign-making, which in its infancy we know as indication.’ According to this view the parts of speech belong to a late stage in the evolution of language. Pronouns came first, but even they were slowly differentiated. Not till ages had elapsed did man learn to say ‘I.’11

On such grounds as those thus slightly indicated it is maintained that ‘the human mind itself is but the topmost inflorescence of one mighty growth whose root and stem, and many branches are sunk in the abyss of planetary time.’12

It will be understood that the development of the human brain would have an important bearing on the evolution of intellect. As the brain grew in mass, quality, and convolution, the powers of thought and speech grew pari passu. And conversely the exercise of these powers would react on the brain and stimulate its growth.

Is the case proven? It is a hard question for the jury. Some may be inclined to vote with Mr. Wallace, who admits continuity, gradual ascent from intellect in animals to intellect in man, but maintains the necessity of introducing some higher cause to account for the phenomena of human intelligence. Even the history of language gives us pause. What an amazing phenomenon is the Sanskrit language, so rich in inflexional forms, appearing so early in the history of civilisation! It raises the doubt whether languages, like Sanskrit and Greek, are to be regarded as the natural product of the gradually evolving human intellect; whether we ought not to see in them something almost supernatural. Even Hartmann becomes devout when he touches on this theme. ‘Language,’ he says, ‘is the Word of God, the holy scripture of philosophy, the revelation of the genius of humanity for all time.’13 He sees in such a language as Sanskrit not the work of individual minds, but the organic product of a collective mass-instinct, ultimately the work of the great unconscious spirit of the universe, exceeding in skill anything in the way of language-making to be found in later epochs of higher culture.14

3. In passing to the subject of the evolution of conscience, I remark that the question here is not as to the progressive development of morality within human history. That is now generally accepted. The question is: Has there been an upward movement towards morality as we know it in man, in its crudest form, from the sub-human animal world, and from rudiments of moral feeling and behaviour traceable there, bearing a proportion to the rudiments of reason whereof indications in the same world are not wanting?

It is quite intelligible that reluctance to accept the affirmative answer to this question should be even more decided than in connection with the corresponding question as to the evolution of intellect. And yet evolution in the moral sphere would seem to be a corollary to evolution in the intellectual. Given rationality, morality follows. But this consideration should not supersede inquiry into the kind of conduct to be expected from human beings on evolutionary principles, and how far it deserves to be characterised as ethical.

Some kind of conduct is, of course, to be looked for. Conduct consists of acts adapted to ends. On this view conduct is predicable of all living creatures from the worm up to man. All sentient creatures instinctively, or with conscious intent, act so as to promote self-preservation. All action guided consciously or instinctively by this aim will have a certain definiteness and regularity. It will be action subject to the law of what is conducive to well-being. But the action of the lower animal world, subject to this law, is not yet ethical in the human sense of the term. To speak of ‘animal ethics’ at all, as evolutionists do, may seem a very questionable use of language. But, not to dispute about words, it must be said that animal ethics are certainly of a very crude kind. Self-preservation in the animal world means, to a large extent, destruction of creatures of a different species, and even of many animals of the same species. Animal ethics have for their supreme motive, hunger, craving immediate satisfaction, causing conflicts which issue in the survival of the strongest.

But human ethics must rise above the animal plane in virtue of certain features recognised in the evolutionary theory, and legitimately used by it to explain man's moral superiority. Besides the sensitiveness to pleasure and pain common to all creatures that feel, there are, in man, to an extent altogether unparalleled in the lower animal world, reason and sympathy. In the exercise of his reason, man can look to remote advantage, and subordinate present pleasure to what is best in the long-run. He can form an idea of life as a whole, and regulate his conduct by the ideal. Hence arise such virtues as prudence, patience, and self-control. Sympathy lays the foundation of another group of virtues of a higher order to which the evolutionist can lay claim. For sympathy in man is an inheritance from his sub-human ancestry. Social instincts reveal themselves in various quarters of the lower animate world—in the ant, the bee, the beaver, in all gregarious animals—and under their influence acts are performed which look like self-sacrifice. What wonder, then, if man can rise above self, subordinating his own individual interest to that of the community, and show himself capable at times of public-spirited, generous, heroic conduct?

Yet another element in human nature, new in degree yet old in kind, is family affection. In the creatures that produce offspring by myriads there can be no real parental love. Such love begins with the mammalia, which have few young at one time and suckle their young. In man this love undergoes an immense development through the prolongation of infancy due to increase of cerebral surface. The helplessness of the human infant demands incessant maternal care, and its long duration tends to give depth and permanence to maternal affection, which in turn calls forth answering affection deep and stable in the child.15

Thus the evolutionist may claim that on his theory he can provide for the development of three sets of virtues, all good so far as they go: the personal, the family, and the social virtues. Whether he gives us all that is demanded by the peculiar sense of moral obligation denoted by the term ‘conscience’ is another question. There may be ground for suspecting here, as in the case of the relation between language and reason, an inversion of the true order of cause and effect. Through language, says the evolutionist, man has become rational. Is not rationality presupposed in the use of language? suggests the more cautious and conservative thinker. Just so may he deal with the Darwinian attempt to derive conscience from the social instinct. Man feels remorse, argues Darwin, because he is by inheritance a social animal, and cannot help condemning himself when he sacrifices social interests to transient personal indulgence. To this it has been not unreasonably replied that our hypothetical ancestor would have had no such feeling of self-condemnation unless he had had an intuitive perception of the superior excellence of social over selfish instincts. The explanation, that is to say, presupposes the thing to be explained.

One thing must be said in favour of evolutional ethics. They do rise above the level of utilitarianism by the recognition of an altruistic or social disposition as an indisputable part of man's moral inheritance. This further may be claimed for them, that they supply a class of motives which cannot justly be characterised as ignoble, trivial, or impotent. By the doctrine of heredity, the evolutionist admonishes men to be careful what they do, seeing immoral actions leave ineffaceable stains, and bear lasting consequences. By the doctrine of the progressiveness of society in goodness taught by most upholders of the theory, he encourages the spirit of hope, and makes it worth while for the lover of mankind to devote himself to beneficent endeavour. On the other hand, by representing progress as very slow, however sure, he instils the lesson of patience, very needful to be learnt by all good men as an antidote to the disappointment which inevitably overtakes those who cherish unfounded expectations of speedy success.

In devout minds a prejudice is naturally created against the ethics of evolution by the fact of their being frequently associated with religious agnosticism. It is unhappily the fact that the advocates of evolution in the moral sphere too often assume an attitude of indifference or hostility to faith in God, the soul, freedom, immortality, the possibility and worth of individual regeneration, the reality and morality of pardon, redemption, etc. Polemics against these and kindred beliefs, occurring in their pages, tempt Christian readers to throw away their works in disgust. It is not wise, however, to assume that this association is other than accidental. Such an assumption must have for its inevitable consequence that we shall feel ourselves compelled to renounce the theory of evolution in its application to man's rational and moral nature, in order to save our faith. So we shall have one instance more of a situation too frequently exemplified in the history of religion: faith interdicting inquiry on scientific methods, in dread of actual or possible results.

Now in this case, as in all cases, it is most desirable, if possible, to make faith independent of the truth or falsehood of scientific theories and hypotheses. And it does seem possible. Man is now a rational and moral subject in a sense predicable of no other living creature in this world. This is a fact beyond dispute. The question may legitimately be asked, How has this distinction been gained? Two answers are conceivable: By evolution, or by special act and favour of God. If evolution, after due inquiry, be found inadequate to the production of so great a result, then we know where we are. If, on the other hand, evolution be found adequate to its production, are we where some evolutionists and not a few Christians think we are—in a universe without God? I say no. Why should evolution of intellect and conscience exclude God, any more than evolution of physical organisation? If God be immanent in the universe, then He is in this part of the evolutionary process not less than in all others. Evolution is simply His method of communicating to man the light of reason and the sense of duty. Some weighty words of the late Mr. Romanes from the posthumous publication, Mind and Motion and Monism, may here be cited ‘Take again the case of morality and religion. Because science, by its theory of evolution, appears to be in a fair way of explaining the genesis of these things by natural causes, Theists are taking alarm; it is felt by them that if morality can be fully explained by utility, and religion by superstition, the reality of both is destroyed. But Monism teaches that such a view is entirely erroneous. For, according to Monism, the natural causation of morality and religion has nothing whatever to do with the ultimate truth of either. The natural causation is merely a record of physical processes, serving to manifest the psychical processes. Nor can it make any difference, as regards the ultimate veracity of the moral and religious feelings that they have been developed slowly by natural causes; that they were at first grossly selfish on the one hand, and hideously superstitious on the other; that they afterwards went through a long series of changes, none of which, therefore, can have fully corresponded with external truth; or that even now they may be both extremely far from any such correspondence. All that such considerations go to prove is, that it belongs to the natural method of mental evolution in man that with advancing culture his interpretations of nature should more and more nearly approximate the truth.’16

Men deeply concerned for the sacred interests of morality and religion may be shy to receive aid from one who writes as an advocate of Monism. What does that word mean? ‘Why, of course,’ the Theist may reply, ‘the evolution of the universe psychical and physical from one ultimate substance—matter; in other words, the theory of Materialism.’ Now, curiously enough, the author quoted thinks that by his Monism he can refute Materialism, assert the reality of a Divine Mind in the universe, vindicate for the human mind causal power, defend the freedom of the human will, and generally guard all moral and religious interests. The Monism of Mr. Romanes is a synthesis of Materialism and Spiritualism. It implies that mental phenomena and physical phenomena, though superficially diverse, are really identical, that wherever there is matter there is mind, and wherever there is mind there is matter, and that both matter and mind simultaneously produce both motion and thought. It is an abstruse theme on which one is naturally not in haste to dogmatise. But it may be said that in some form Monism seems to be the natural accompaniment of a thoroughgoing doctrine of evolution. And that a monistic conception of the universe is not incompatible with theistic and Christian belief may be inferred from the fact that it finds an advocate in Le Conte, who is as pronounced in his faith as in his devotion to modern science. This American scientist thus states his view: ‘I believe that the spirit of man was developed out of the anima, or conscious principle of animals, and that this again was developed out of the lower forms of life-force, and this in its turn out of the chemical and physical forces of nature, and that at a certain stage in this gradual development, viz., with man, it acquired the property of immortality, precisely as it now, in the individual history of each man, at a certain stage, acquires the capacity of abstract thought.’17

So we return to the position: Evolution simply God's method of communicating to man the light of reason and the sense of duty. Surely a worthy ending of the long process of world-genesis! The process, however rude or even brutal, does not disgrace the result. The result rather invests the whole process with dignity and moral significance, and helps us to understand how Deity could have to do with it. The lower stages of evolution seem unworthy of the Creator, but when we think of man with his reason and conscience as latent therein, it becomes conceivable how the Divine Spirit might brood yearningly over chaos, starting the mighty movement by which it was to be slowly turned into a cosmos with man for its crown of glory. Evolution does not degrade man, man confers honour on evolution. Man, considered as in his whole being the child of evolution, instead of being a stumbling-block to faith, is rather the key to all mysteries, revealing at once the meaning of the universe, the nature of God, and his own destiny. To expound this thesis will be our task in the next lecture.

  • 1.

    Fiske, Man's Destiny, p. 29.

  • 2.

    Mr. Wallace does not deny the continuity and progressive development of the intellectual and moral faculties from animals. His position is that these faculties have not been developed by natural selection, but by some other cause. That cause, he thinks, must be sought ‘in the unseen universe of Spirit,’ vide his Darwinism, chap. xv., and his Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection, chap. x., for a statement of his view and the argument in support of it.

  • 3.

    Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature, p. 102 (1863).

  • 4.

    The Ascent of Man, p. 85.

  • 5.

    Mental Evolution in Man, p. 37 (1888).

  • 6.

    Romanes, Mental Evolution in Man, p. 203.

  • 7.

    C. Lloyd Morgan. Animal Life and Intelligence, p. 374.

  • 8.


  • 9.

    Evolution and Man's Place in Nature, p. 246 (1st Ed.).

  • 10.

    Romanes, Mental Evolution in man, p. 277.

  • 11.

    Mental Evolution in Man, p. 297.

  • 12.

    Ibid. p. 2.

  • 13.

    Philosophie des Unbewussten, p. 256.

  • 14.

    Ibid. p. 258.

  • 15.

    Vide on this, J. Fiske, Cosmic Philosophy, ii. 344 ff; also Drummond, Ascent of Man, p. 367 f. Herder anticipated this thought. ‘To tame the wildness of men and fit them for domestic life, the childhood of our race had to last long years. Nature constrained them by tender bands, so that they could not scatter and forget, like beasts which soon arrive at maturity.’—Ideen zur Geschichte der Menschheit, i. 224.

  • 16.

    Page 114.

  • 17.

    Evolution and its Relation to Religious Thought, p. 313 (2nd Ed.).