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Activity Of Consciousness
Aim And Method Of Naturalism
Autonomy Of Spirit
Consciousness Of The Ego
Constructive Criticism
Contrast Between Darwinian And Post-darwinian Views
Creative Power Of Consciousness
Criticisms Of The Mechanistic Theory Of Life
Crities Of Darwinism
Darwinish In General
Darwinism And Teleology
Darwinism In The Strict Sense
De Vries's Mutation-theory
Differences Of Opinion As To The Factors In Evolution
Eimer's Orthogenesis
Evolution And New Beginnings
Feeling Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Individual Development
Intuitions Of Reality
Is There Ageing Of The Mind?
Lamarckism And Neo-lamarckism
Machnical Theories Criticism
Mind And Spirit The Human And The Animal Soul
Mystery : Dependence : Purpose
Natural Selection
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
Spontaneous Generation
Teleological And Scientific Interpretations Are Alike Necessary
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Space
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Time
The Antimony Of The Conditioned And The Unconditioned
The Characteristic Features Of Darwinism
The Conservation Of Matter And Energy
The Constructive Work Of Driesch
The Contingency Of The World
The Dependence Of The Order Of Nature
The Development Of Darwinism
The Ego
The Fundamental Answer
The Law Of The Conservation Of Energy
The Mechanics Of Development
The Mystery Of Existence Remains Unexplained
The Organic And The Inorganic
The Position Of Bunge And Other Physiologists
The Problema Continui
The Real World
The Recognition Of Purpose
The Religious Interpretation Of The World
The Spontaneous Activity Of The Organism
The Supremacy Of Mind
The Theory Of Descent
The True Naturalism
The Two Kinds Of Naturalism
The Unconscious
The Unity Of Consciousness
The Views Of Albrecht And Schneider
The Views Of Botanists Illustrated
The World And God
Theory Of Definite Variation
Theory Of Life
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook

The Characteristic Features Of Darwinism

We do not propose to expound the Darwinian theory for the hundredth time;
a knowledge of it must be taken for granted. We need only briefly call to
mind the characteristic features and catchwords of the theory as Darwin
founded it, which have also been the starting points of subsequent
modifications and controversies.

All living creatures are bound together in genetic solidarity. Everything
has evolved through endless deviations, gradations, and differentiations,
but at the same time by a perfectly continuous process. Variation
continually produced a crop of heterogeneous novelties. The struggle for
existence sifted these out. Heredity fixed and established them. Without
method or plan variations continue to occur (indefinite variations). They
manifest themselves in all manner of minute changes ("fluctuating"
variations). Every part, every function of an organism may be subject
individually to variation and selection. The world is strictly governed by
what is useful. The whole organisation as well as the individual organs
and functions bear the stamp of utility, at least, they must bear it if
the theory is correct. In the general continuity the transitions are
always easy; there are no fundamentally distinct "types," architectural
plans, or groups of forms. Where gaps yawn the intermediate links have
gone amissing. There is no fundamental difference between genus,
species, and variety. Even the most complicated organ such as the eye,
the most puzzling function such as the instinct of the bee, may be
explained as the outcome of many more primitive stages.

The chief evidences of the theory of descent are to be found in
homologies, in the correspondences of organs and functions, as revealed by
comparative anatomy and physiology, in the recapitulation revealed by
embryology, in the structure of parasites, in rudimentary organs and
reversions to earlier stages, in the distribution of animals and plants,
and in the possibility of still transforming, at least to a slight extent,
one species into another, by experimental breeding.

Transformation and differentiation go on in nature as a vast, ceaseless,
but blind process of selection. In artificial selection evolution is
secured by choosing the most fit for breeding purposes; so it is secured
in natural selection by the favouring and survival of those forms which
are the most fit among the many unfit or less fit, which happened to be
exposed to the struggle for existence, that is, to the competition for the
means of subsistence, to the struggle with enemies, to hostile
environment, and to dangers of every kind. The adaptation thus brought
about is of a purely "passive" kind. The variations arise fortuitously out
of the organism, and present themselves for selection in the struggle for
existence; they are not actively acquired by means of the struggle. The
secondary factors of evolution recognised are: correlation in the growth
and in the development of parts, the origin of new characters through use,
their disappearance through disuse (Lamarck), the transmission of
characters thus acquired, the influence of environment and sexual

The Darwinian theory, the interpretation of the teleological in the
animate world by means of the theory of descent based upon natural
selection, entered like a ferment into the scientific thought-movement,
and in a space of forty years it has itself passed through a series of
stages, differentiations, and transformations which have in part resulted
in the present state of the theory, and have in part anticipated it. These
are represented by the names of workers belonging to a generation which
has for the most part already passed away: Darwin's collaborateurs, such
as Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently and simultaneously expounded
the theory of natural selection, Haeckel and Fritz Mueller, Naegeli and
Askenasy, von Koelliker, Mivart, Romanes and others. The differentiation
and elaboration of Darwin's theories has gone ever farther and farther;
the grades and shades of doctrine held by his disciples are now almost
beyond reckoning.

Next: Various Forms Of Darwinism

Previous: Darwinism And Teleology

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