Darwinish In General

Darwinism, which was originally a technical theory of the biological

schools, has long since become a veritable tangle of the most diverse

problems and opinions, and seems to press hardly upon the religious

conception of the world from many different sides. In its theory of blind

"natural selection" and the fortuitous play of the factors in the struggle

for existence, it appears to surrender the whole of this wonderful world
br /> of life to the rough and ready grip of a process without method or plan.

In the general theory of evolution and the doctrine of the descent of even

the highest from the lowest, it seems to take away all special dignity

from the human mind and spirit, all the freedom and all the nobility of

pure reason and free will; it seems to reduce the higher products of

religion, morality, poetry, and the aesthetic sense to the level of an

ignoble tumult of animal impulses, desires and sensations. Purely

speculative questions relative to the evolution theory, psychological and

metaphysical, logical and epistemological, ethical, aesthetic, and finally

even historical and politico-economical questions have been drawn into the

coil, and usually receive from the Darwinians an answer at once robust and

self-assured. A zoological theory seems suddenly to have thrown light and

intelligibility into the most diverse provinces of knowledge.

But in point of fact it can be shown that Darwinism has not really done

this and cannot do it. It leaves unaffected the problem of the mind with

its peculiar and underivable laws, from the logical to the ethical.

Whether it be right or wrong in its physiological theories, its

genealogical trees and fortuitous factors, preoccupation with this theory

is a task of the second order. Nevertheless it is necessary to study it,

because the chief objections to the religious interpretation of the world

have come from it.