Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/323

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311
EVOLUTION AND RELIGIOUS THOUGHT.

declined 35·8 per cent in quantity; of beef products 17·7 per cent, and of pork products 35 per cent. The exports of butter and cheese have also participated in the general decrease of exports.

The Economic Disturbances since 1873 contingent on War Expenditures are not different in kind from those of former periods, but much greater in degree. This subject has been so thoroughly investigated and is so well understood, that nothing more need be said in this discussion, than to point out that the men in actual service at the present time in the armies and navies of Europe is in excess of 4,000,000, and that it undoubtedly requires the product of one operative or peasant labor, to sustain one soldier. The present aggregate annual direct war expenditure of the world is probably in excess of a thousand million dollars. We express this expenditure in terms of money, but it really means work performed; not that abundance of useful and desirable things may be increased, but decreased; not that human toil and suffering may be lightened, but augmented.


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EVOLUTION AND RELIGIOUS THOUGHT.[1]

By Professor JOSEPH LE CONTE.

FROM what has preceded, the reader will perceive that we regard the law of evolution as thoroughly established. In its most general sense, i. e., as a law of continuity, it is a necessary condition of rational thought. In this sense it is naught else than the universal law of necessary causation applied to forms instead of phenomena. It is not only as certain as — it is far more certain than — the law of gravitation, for it is not a contingent, but a necessary truth like the axioms of geometry. It is only necessary to conceive it clearly, to accept it unhesitatingly. The consensus of scientific and philosophical opinion is already well-nigh if not wholly complete. If there are still lingering cases for dissent among thinking men, it is only because such do not yet conceive it already — they confound it with some special form of explanation of evolution which they, perhaps justly, think not yet fully established. We have sometimes in the preceding pages used the words evolutionist or derivationist; they ought not to be used any longer. The day is past when evolution might be regarded as a school of thought. We might as well talk of gravitationist as of evolutionist.

If, then, evolution as a law be certain; if, moreover, it is a law affecting not only one part of Nature — the organic kingdom — and one department of science — biology — but the whole realm of Nature and every department of science, yea, every department of thought, chang-

  1. From advance sheets of Professor Le Conte's work on "Evolution and its Relation to Religious Thought," in preparation by D. Appleton & Co.