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
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.