Popular Science Monthly/Volume 37/October 1890/New Chapters in the Warfare of Science: Anthropology II
|←Obituary Notes|| Popular Science Monthly Volume 37 October 1890 (1890)
New Chapters in the Warfare of Science: Anthropology II
By Andrew Dickson White
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X. THE FALL OF MAN AND ANTHROPOLOGY.
By ANDREW DICKSON WHITE, LL.D., L.H.D.,
EX-PRESIDENT OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY.
WE have seen that, closely connected with the main lines of investigation in Archæology and Anthropology, there were other researches throwing much light on the entire subject. In a previous chapter we saw especially how Lafitau and Jussieu were among the first to collect and compare facts bearing on the natural history of man, gathered by travelers in various parts of the earth, thus laying foundations for the science of Comparative Ethnology. It was soon seen that Ethnology had most important bearings upon the question of the material, intellectual, moral, and religious evolution of the human race; in every civilized nation, therefore, appeared eminent men who began to study the characteristics of various groups of men as ascertained from travelers, and to compare the results thus gained with each other and with those obtained by Archæology.
Thus, more and more clear became the evidences that the tendency of the race has been upward from low beginnings. It was found that groups of men still existed possessing characteristics of those in the early periods of development to whom the drift and caves and shell-heaps and pile-dwellings bear witness; groups of men using many of the same implements and weapons, building their houses in the same way, seeking their food by the same means, enjoying the same amusements, going through the same general stages of culture; some being in a condition corresponding to the earlier, some to the later periods.
From all sides thus came evidence that we have still upon 7 22 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
the earth examples of all the main stages in the development of human civilization ; that from the period when man appears little above the brutes, and with little if any religion in any accepted sense of the word, these examples can be arranged in an ascending series leading to the highest planes which humanity has reached ; that philosophic observers may among these examples study ex- isting beliefs, usages, and institutions back through earlier and earlier forms until, as a rule, the whole evolution can be easily divined if not fully seen. Moreover, the basis of the whole struct- ure became more and more clear ; the declaration that " the lines of intelligence have always been what they are, and have always operated as they do now — that man has progressed from the simple to the complex, from the particular to the general."
As this evidence from Ethnology became more and more strong, its significance to Theology aroused attention, and natu- rally most determined efforts were made to break its force. On the Continent the two great champions of the Church in this field were De Maist're and De Bonald ; but the two attempts which may be especially recalled as the most influential among English- speaking peoples were those of Whately, Archbishop of Dublin, and the Duke of Argyll.
First in the combat against these new deductions of science was Whately. He was a strong man, caring little for conven- tionalities, whose breadth of thought and liberality in practice deserved all honor ; but these very qualities drew upon him the distrust of his orthodox brethren, and while his writings were powerful in the first half of the present century to break down many bulwarks of unreason, he seems to have been constantly in fear of losing touch with the Church, and therefore to have promptly attacked some scientific reasonings, which, had he been a layman, not holding a brief for the Church, he would probably have studied with more care and less prejudice. He was not slow to see the deeper significance of Archaeology and Ethnology in their relations to the theological conception of " the fall," and he set the battle in array against them.
His contention was, to use his own words, that " no community ever did or ever can emerge unassisted by external helps from a state of utter barbarism into anything that can be called civiliza- tion " ; and that, in short, all imperfectly civilized, barbarous, and savage races are but fallen descendants of races more fully civ- ilized. This view was urged with his usual ingenuity and vigor ; but the facts proved too strong for him : they made it clear, first, that many races were without simple possessions, instruments, and arts which never, probably, could have been lost if once acquired — as, for example, pottery, the bow for shooting, various domesticated animals, spinning, the simplest principles of agriculture, house-
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hold economy, and the like ; and, secondly, it was shown as a simple matter of fact that various savage and barbarous tribes had raised themselves by a development of means which no one from outside could have taught them ; as in the cultivation and improvement of various indigenous plants, such as the potato and Indian corn among the Indians of North America ; in the domesti- cation of various animals peculiar to their own regions, such as the llama among the Indians of South America ; in the making of sundry fabrics out of materials and by processes not found among other nations, such as the bark cloth of the Polynesians, and in the development of weapons peculiar to sundry localities, but known in no others ; such as the boomerang in Australia.
Most effective in bringing out the truth were such works as those of Sir John Lubbock and Tylor ; and so conclusive were they, that the arguments of Whately were given up as untenable by the other of the two great champions above referred to, and an attempt was made by him to form the diminishing number of thinking men supporting the old theological view on a new line of defense.
This second champion, the Duke of Argyll, was a man of much knowledge and strong powers in debate, whose high moral sense was amply shown in his adhesion to the side of the Ameri- can Union in the struggle against disunion and slavery, despite the overwhelming majority against him in the high aristocracy to which he belongs. As an honest man and close thinker, the duke was obliged to give up completely the theological view of the an- tiquity of man. The whole biblical chronology as held by the universal Church, " always, everywhere, and by all," he sacrificed, and gave all his powers in this field to support the theory of " the fall." Noblesse oblige ; the duke and his ancestors had been for centuries the chief pillars of the Church of Scotland, and it was too much to expect that he could break away from a tenet which forms really its " chief corner-stone."
Acknowledging the weakness and insufficiency of Archbishop Whately's argument, the duke took the ground that the lower, barbarous, savage, brutal races were the remains of civilized races which, in the struggle for existence, had been pushed and driven off to remote and inclement parts of the earth where the condi- tions necessary to a continuance in their early civilization were absent; that, therefore, the descendants of primeval, civilized men degenerated and sank in the scale of culture. To use his own words, the weaker races were " driven by the stronger to the woods and rocks," so that they became "mere outcasts of the human race."
In answer to this, while it was conceded, first, that there have been examples of weaker tribes sinking in the scale of culture
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after escaping from the stronger into regions unfavorable to civ- ilization, and, secondly, that many powerful nations have declined and decayed, it was shown that the men in the most remote and unfavorable regions have not always been the lowest in the scale ; that men have been frequently found "among the woods and rocks " in a higher state of civilization than on the fertile plains, such examples being cited as Mexico, Peru, and even Scotland ; and that while there were many examples of special and local decline, overwhelming masses of facts point to progress as a rule.
The improbability, not to say impossibility, of many of the conclusions arrived at by the duke appeared more and more strongly as more became known of the lower tribes of mankind. It was necessary on his theory to suppose many things which our knowledge of the human race absolutely forbids us to believe : for example, it was necessary to suppose that the Australians or New Zealanders, having once possessed so simple and convenient an art as that of the potter, had ]ost every trace of it ; and that the same tribes, having once had so simple a means of saving labor as the spindle or small stick weighted at one end for spinning, had given it up and gone back to twisting threads with the hand. In fact, it was necessary to suppose that one of the main occupations of man from " the beginning " had been the forgetting of simple methods, processes, and implements, which all experience in the actual world teaches us are never entirely forgotten by peoples who have once acquired them.
Some leading arguments of the duke were overthrown by sim- ple statements of fact. Thus, his instance of the Eskimo as pushed to the verge of habitable America, and therefore living in the lowest depths of savagery, which even if it were true by no means proved a general rule, was deprived of its force by the simple fact that the Eskimo are by no means the lowest race on the American continent, and that various tribes far more cen- trally and advantageously placed, as, for instance, those in Brazil, are really inferior to them in the scale of culture. Again, his statement that "in Africa there appear to be no traces of any time when the natives were not acquainted with the use of iron " is met by the fact that from the Nile Valley to the Cape of Good Hope we find, wherever examination has been made, the same early stone implements which in all other parts of the world precede the use of iron, some of which at least would not have been made had their makers possessed iron. The duke also tried to show that there were no distinctive epochs of stone, bronze, and iron, by adducing the fact that some stone implements are found even in some high civilizations. This is indeed a fact. We find some few European peasants to-day using stone mallet-heads ; but this
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proves simply that the old stone mallet-heads have survived as implements cheap and fairly effective.
The argument from Comparative Ethnology in support of the view that the tendency of mankind is upward has received strength from many sources. Comparative Philology shows that in the less civilized, barbarous, and savage races childish forms of speech prevail ; — frequent reduplications and the like, of which we have survivals in the later and even in the most highly devel- oped languages. In various languages, too, we find relics of ancient modes of thought in the simplest words and expressions used for arithmetical calculations. Words and phrases for this purpose are frequently found to be derived from the words for hands, feet, fingers, and toes, just as clearly as in our own lan- guage some of our simplest measures of length are shown by their names to have been measures of parts of the human body, as the cubit, the foot, and the like, and therefore to date from a time when exactness was not required. To add another out of many examples, it is found to-day that various rude nations go through the simplest arithmetical processes by means of pebbles. Into our own language through the Latin has come a word showing that our distant progenitors reckoned in this way. The word calculate gives us an absolute proof of this. According to the theory of the Duke of Argyll, men ages ago used pebbles (calculi) in performing the simplest arithmetical calculations because we to-day "calculate " No reduction to absurdity could be more thorough. The simple fact must be that we " calculate " because our remote ancestry used pebbles in their arithmetic.
So, too, Comparative Literature and Folk-Lore show childish modes of viewing nature and childish ways of expressing the relations of man to nature among peoples of a low culture to- day, such as clearly survive from a remote ancestry ; note- worthy among these are the beliefs in witches and fairies, and multitudes of popular and poetic expressions in the most civilized nations.
So, too, Comparative Ethnography, the basis of Ethnology, shows in contemporary barbarians and savages a childish love of playthings and games, of which we have many survivals.
All these facts, which were at first unobserved, or observed as a matter of no significance, have been brought into connection with a fact in Biology acknowledged alike by all important schools, by Agassiz on one hand and by Darwin on the other — namely, as stated by Agassiz, that " the young states of each species and group resemble older forms of the same group," or, as stated by Darwin, that " in two or more groups of animals, however much they may at first differ from each other in structure and habits, if they pass through closely similar embryonic stages, we may
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feel almost assured that they have descended froni the same parent form, and are therefore closely related." *
The history of Art, especially as shown by Architecture, in the noblest monuments of the most enlightened nations of antiquity, also gives abundant proofs of this same upward tendency from the rudest and simplest beginnings. Many columns of early Egyp- tian temples or tombs are but bundles of Nile reeds slightly con- ventionalized in stone : the temples of Greece, including not only the earliest forms, but the Parthenon itself, while in parts show- ing an evolution out of Egyptian architecture, exhibit frequent reminiscences and even imitations of earlier constructions in wood : the mediaeval cathedrals, while evolved out of Roman and Byzan- tine structures, constantly show unmistakable survivals of prehis- toric construction, f
So, too, History has come in, illustrating the unknown from
- For the stone forms given to early bronze axes, etc., see Nilsson, Primitive Inhab-
itants of Scandinavia, London, 1868, Lubbock's Introduction, p. xxxi ; and for Plates, see Lubbock's Prehistoric Man, chapter ii ; also Cartailhac, Les Ages Prehistoriques de l'Espagne et du Portugal, p. 227 ; also Keller, Lake Dwellings ; also Troycn, Habita- tions Lacustres; also Boyd Dawkins, Early Man in Great Britain, p. 292; also Lubbock, p. 6 ; also Lyell, Antiquity of MaD, chap. ii. For the cranogs, etc., in the north of Europe, see Munro, Ancient Scottish Lake Dwellings, Edinburgh, 1882. For mounds and greater stone constructions in the extreme south of Europe, see Cartailhac's work on Spain and Portugal above cited, Part III., chap. iii. For the source of Mr. Southall's contention, see Brugsch, Egypt of the Pharaohs. For the two sides of the question whether in the lowest grades of savagery there is really any recognition of a superior power, or anything which can be called, in any accepted sense, religion, compare Quatrefages with Lubbock, in works already cited. For a striking but rather ad captandum effort to show that there is a moral and religious sense in the very lowest Australian tribes, see one of the discourses of Archbishop Vaughan on Science and Religion. For one out of multitudes of striking and instructive resemblances in ancient stone implements and those now in use among sundry savage tribes, see comparison between old Scandinavian arrow-heads and those recently brought from Tierra del Fuego, in Nilsson as above, especially in Plate V. For a brief and admirable statement of the arguments on both sides, see Sir J. Lubbock's Dundee paper, given in the appendix to the American edition of his Origin of Civilization, etc. For the general argument referred to between Whately and the Duke of Argyll on one side and Lubbock on the other, see Lubbock's Dundee paper as above cited ; Tylor, Early History of Mankind, especially p. 193; and the Duke of Argyll, Primeval Man, Part IV. For difficulties of savages in Arithmetic, see Lubbock, Origin of Civilization, New York, 1889, pp. 459 et seg. For a very temperate and judicial view of the whole question, see Tylor, Early History of Mankind, chap, vii., especially pp. 188-191, also chap. xiii. For a brief summary of the scientific position regarding the stagnation and deterioration of races, resulting in the statement that such deterioration " in no way contradicts the theory that civilization itself is developed from low to high stages," see Tylor, Anthropology, chap. i.
f For striking examples of the testimony of language to upward progress, see Tylor, chap, xii ; as to evolution in Architecture, and especially of Greek forms and ornaments out of Egyptian and Assyrian, with survivals in stone architecture of forms obtained in Egypt when reeds were used, and in Greece when wood construction prevailed, see Fergusson's Hand-Book of Architecture, vol. i, pp. 100, 228, 233, and elsewhere ; also Ottfried Muller, Ancient Art and its Remains, English tranlation, London, 1852, pp. 21 9, passim.
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the known — the development of man in the prehistoric period from his development within historic times. Nothing is more evident from history than the fact that weaker bodies of men driven out by stronger do not necessarily relapse into barbarism, but frequently rise, even under the most unfavorable circum- stances, to a civilization equal or superior to that from which they have been banished. Out of very many examples showing this law of upward development, a few may be taken as typical. The Slavs, who sank so low under the pressure of stronger races that they apparently gave the modern world a new word to express the most hopeless servitude, have developed powerful civilizations peculiar to themselves ; the barbarian tribes who, ages ago, took refuge amid the sand-banks and morasses of Holland, have de- veloped one of the world's leading centers of civilization; the wretched peasants who about the fifth century took refuge from invading hordes among the lagoons and mud-banks of Venetia, developed a power in art, arms, and politics which is among the wonders of human history ; the Puritans, driven from the civili- zation of great Britain to the unfavorable climate*, soil, and circum- stances of early New England ; the Huguenots, driven from France, a country admirably fitted for the highest growth of civilization, to various countries far less fitted for such growth; the Irish peasantry driven in vast numbers from their own island to other parts of the world, on the whole less fitted to them — all are proofs that, as a rule, bodies of men once enlightened, when driven to unfavorable climates and brought under the most depressing cir- cumstances, not only retain what enlightenment they have, but go on increasing it. Besides these, we have such cases as those of criminals banished to various penal colonies from whose descend- ants has been developed a high civilization ; and of pirates, like those of the Bounty, whose descendants, in a remote Pacific island, became sober, steady citizens ; thousands of examples show the prevalence of this same rule — the rule that men in masses do not forget the main gains of their civilization, and that their tend- ency is upward.
Another class of historic facts also testifies in the most strik- ing manner to this same upward tendency — the decline and de- struction of various civilizations brilliant but hopelessly vitiated. These catastrophes are seen more and more to be but steps in this development. The crumbling away of the great ancient civiliza- tions based upon despotism, whether the despotism of monarch, priest, or mob — the decline and fall of Roman civilization, for ex- ample, which, in his most remarkable generalization, Guizot has shown to have been necessary in the development of the richer civilization of modern Europe ; the terrible struggle and loss of the Crusades, which once appeared to be a mere catastrophe, but
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are now seen to have brought on the downfall of feudalism, and the centralizing, civilizing monarchical period ; the French Revo- lution, once thought a mere outburst of diabolic passion, but now seen to be a transition from the monarchical to the constitutional epoch — all show that even wide-spread deterioration and decline, even indeed the greatest political and moral catastrophes, so far from leading to a fall of mankind, tend in the long run to raise humanity to higher planes.
Thus, then, Anthropology and its handmaids Ethnology, Phi- lology, and History, have wrought out, beyond a doubt, proofs of the upward evolution of humanity since the appearance of man upon our planet.
And these researches have not been confined to progress in man's material condition. Far more important evidences have been found of upward evolution in his family, social, moral, in- tellectual, and religious relations. The light thrown on this sub- ject by such men as Lubbock, Tylor, Herbert Spencer, Buckle, Draper, Max Miiller, and a multitude of others, despite mistakes, haltings, stumblings, and occasional following of delusive paths, is among the greatest glories of the century now ending. From all these investigators in their various fields, holding no brief for any system sacred or secular, but seeking truth as truth, comes the same general testimony of the evolution of higher out of lower. The process has been indeed slow and painful, but this does not prove that it may not become more rapid and less fruit- ful in sorrow as humanity goes on.*
While, then, it is not denied that many instances of retrogres- sion can be found, the consenting voice of unbiased investigators in all lands has declared more and more that the beginnings of our race must have been low and brutal, and that the tendency has been upward. To combat this conclusion by examples of de- cline and deterioration here and there, has become impossible : as well try to prove that, because in the Mississippi there are eddies in which the currents flow northward, there is no main stream flowing southward ; or that, because trees decay and fall, there is no law of upward growth from germ to trunk, branches, foliage, and fruit.
A very striking evidence that the theological theory had be- come untenable was seen when its main supporter in the scien- tific field, Von Martins, in the full ripeness of his powers, publicly declared his conversion to the scientific view.
Yet, while the tendency of enlightened human thought in re- cent times is unmistakable, the struggle against the older view is
- As to. the good effects of migration, see Waitz, Introduction to Anthropology, Lon-
don, 1863, p. 345.
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not yet ended. The bitterness of the Abbe* Hamard in France has been carried to similar and even greater extremes among sun- dry Protestant bodies in Europe and America. The simple truth of history makes it a necessity, unpleasant though it be, to chroni- cle two typical examples in our own land and time.
In the year 1875 a leader in American industrial enterprise created at the capital of a Southern State a university which bore his name. It was given into the hands of one of the religious sects most powerful in that region, and a Bishop of that sect be- came its President. To its chair of Geology was called Alexan- der Winchell, a scholar who had already won eminence as a teacher and writer in that field, a professor greatly beloved and respected in the two universities with which he had been con- nected, and a member of the sect which the institution of learning above referred to represented.
But his relations to this Southern institution were destined to be brief. That his lectures at the Vanderbilt University were learned, attractive, and stimulating even his enemies were forced to admit ; but he was soon found to believe that there had been men earlier than the period assigned to Adam, and even that all the human race are not descended from Adam. His effort in this was to reconcile science and Scripture, and he was now treated by a Methodist Episcopal Bishop in Tennessee just as, two centuries be- fore, La Peyrere had been treated for a similar effort by a Roman Catholic Vicar-General in Belgium. The publication of a series of articles on the subject, contributed by the professor to a North- ern religious newspaper at its own request, brought matters to a climax, for, the articles having fallen under the notice of the lead- ing Southwestern organ of the denomination controlling the Van- derbilt University, the result was a most bitter denunciation of Prof. Winchell and of his views. Shortly afterward the professor was told by Bishop McTyeire that " our people are of the opinion that such views are contrary to the plan of redemption," and was requested by the bishop to quietly resign his chair. To this the professor made the fitting reply : " If the board of trustees have the manliness to dismiss me for cause, and declare the cause, I prefer that they should do it ; no power on earth could persuade me to decline."
" We do not propose," said the bishop, with quite gratuitous suggestiveness, " to treat you as the Inquisition treated Galileo."
" But what you propose is the same thing," rejoined Dr. Win- chell. " It is ecclesiastical proscription for an opinion which must be settled by scientific evidence."
Twenty-four hours later Dr. Winchell was informed that his chair had been abolished, and its duties, with its salary, added to those of a colleague ; the public were given to understand that
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the reasons were purely economic ; the banished scholar was heaped with official compliments, evidently in hope that he would keep silence.
Such was not Dr. Wincheirs view. In a frank letter to the leading journal of the university town he stated the whole mat- ter. The intolerance-hating press of the country, religious and secular, did not hold its peace. In vain the authorities of the university waited for the storm to blow over. It was evident, at last, that a defense must be made, and a local organ of the sect, which, under the editorship of a fellow-professor, had always treated Dr. Wincheirs views with the luminous inaccuracy which usually characterizes a professor's ideas of a rival's teachings, assumed the task. In the articles which followed, the usual sci- entific hypotheses as to the creation were declared to be " absurd," " vague and unintelligible," " preposterous and gratuitous." This new champion stated that " the objections drawn from fossilifer- ous strata and the like are met by reference to the analogy of Adam and Eve, who presented the phenomena of adults when they were but a day old, and by the flood of Noah and other cata- clysms, which, with the constant change of nature, are sufficient to account for the phenomena in question " !
Under inspiration of this sort, the Tennessee Conference of the religious body in control of the university had already in October, 1878, given utterance to its opinion of unsanctified science as fol- lows : " This is an age in which scientific atheism, having divested itself of the habiliments that most adorn and dignify humanity, walks abroad in shameless denudation. The arrogant and im- pertinent claims of this science, ' falsely so called/ have been so boisterous and persistent, that the unthinking mass have been sadly deluded ; but our university alone has had the courage to lay its young but vigorous hand upon the mane of untamed Speculation and say, ' We will have no more of this/ "
It is a consolation to know how the result, thus devoutly sought, has been achieved, for in the " ode " sung at the laying of the corner-stone of a new theological building of the same uni- versity, in May, 1880, we read :
" Science and Eevelation here In perfect harmony appear, Guiding young feet along the road Through grace and nature up to God.
It is also pleasing to know that while an institution calling itself a university thus violated the fundamental principles on which any institution worthy of the name must be based, another institution which has the glory of being the first in the entire North to- begin something like a university organization — the State University of Michigan — recalled Dr. Winchell at once to
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his professorship, and has honored itself by maintaining him in that position, where, unhampered, he has ever since been able to utter his views in the midst of the largest body of students on the American continent.
Disgraceful as this history was to the men who drove out Dr. Winchell, they but succeeded, as various similar bodies of men making similar efforts have done, in advancing their supposed victim to higher position and more commanding influence.*
A few years after this suppression of earnest Christian thought at an institution of learning in the western part of our Southern States, there appeared a similar attempt in sundry Southeastern States.
As far back as the year 1857 the Presbyterian Synod of Missis- sippi passed the following resolution :
"WTiereas, We live in an age in which the most insidious at- tacks are made on revealed religion through the natural sciences, and as it behooves the Church at all times to have men capable of defending the faith once delivered to the saints ;
"Resolved, That this presbytery recommend the endowment of a professorship of Natural Science as connected with revealed re- ligion in one or more of our theological seminaries."
Pursuant to this resolution such a chair was established in the theological seminary at Columbia, S. C, and James Woodrow was appointed professor. Dr. Woodrow seems to have been ad- mirably fitted for the position — a devoted Christian man, accept- ing the Presbyterian standards of faith in which he had been brought up and at the same time giving every effort to acquaint himself with the methods and conclusions of science. To great natural endowments he added constant labors to arrive at the truth in this field. Visiting Europe, he made the acquaintance of many of the foremost scientific investigators, became a student in university lecture-rooms and laboratories, an interested hearer in scientific conventions, and a correspondent of leading men of sci- ence at home and abroad. As a result he came to the conclusion that the hypothesis of evolution is the only one which explains various leading facts in natural science. This he taught, and he
- For Dr. Winchell's original statements, see Adamites and Pre-Adamites, Syracuse,
N. Y., 1878. For the first important denunciation of his views, see the St. Louis Christian Advocate, May 22, 1878. For the conversation with Bishop McTyeire, see Dr. Winchell's own account in the Nashville American, June 16, 1878. For the curious reply from Dr. Winchell's colleague, see the Nashville Christian Advocate, July 12, 1878 ; and for the further development of the matter, see the Nashville American of July 19, 1878. For the further course of the attack in the denominational organ of Dr. Winchell's oppressors, see the Nashville Christian Advocate, April 26, 1879. For the oratorical declaration of the Tennessee Conference upon the matter, seethe Nashville American, October 15, 1878; and for the " ode " regarding the " harmony of science and revelation " as supported at the uni- versity, see the Nashville American, May 2, 1880.
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also taught that such a view is not incompatible with a true view of the sacred Scriptures.
In 1882 and 1883 the board of directors of the theological semi- nary, in fear that " skepticism in the world is using alleged dis- coveries in science to impugn the Word of God," requested Prof. Woodrow to state his views in regard to evolution. The professor complied with this request in a very powerful address, which was published and widely circulated, to such effect that the board of directors shortly afterward passed resolutions declaring the theory of evolution as defined by Prof. Woodrow not inconsistent with perfect soundness in the faith.
In the year 1884 alarm regarding Dr. Woodrow's teachings began to show itself in larger proportions, and a minority report was introduced into the Synod of South Carolina declaring that " the synod is called upon to decide not upon the question whether the said views of Dr. Woodrow contradict the Bible in its highest and absolute sense, but upon the question whether they contradict the interpretation of the Bible by the Presbyterian Church in the United States."
Perhaps a more self-condemnatory statement was never pre- sented, for it clearly recognized, as a basis for intolerance, at least a possible difference between " the interpretation of the Bible by the Presbyterian Church " and the teachings of " the Bible in its highest and absolute sense."
This hostile movement became so strong that, in spite of the favorable action of the directors of the seminary, and against the efforts of a broad-minded minority in the representative bodies having ultimate charge of the institution, the delegates from the various synods raised a storm of orthodoxy and drove Dr. Wood- row from his post. Happily, he was at the same time professor in the University of South Carolina in the same city of Columbia, and from his chair in that institution he continued to teach natu- ral science with the approval of the great majority of thinking men in that region ; hence, the only effect of the attempt to crush him was, that his position was made higher, respect for him deeper, and his reputation wider.
In spite of attempts by the more orthodox to prevent students of the theological seminary attending his lectures at the univer- sity, they persisted in hearing him; indeed, the reputation of heresy seemed to enhance his influence.
It should be borne in mind that the professor thus treated had been one of the most respected and beloved university instructors in the South during more than a quarter of a century, and that he was turned out of his position with no opportunity for careful defense, and indeed without even the formality of a trial; well did an eminent but thoughtful divine of the Southern Presbyte-
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rian Church declare that " the method of procedure to destroy evolution by the majority in the Church is vicious and suicidal," and that " logical dynamite has been used to put out a supposed fire in the upper stories of our house, and all the family in the house at that." Wisely, too, did he refer to the majority as " sow- ing in the fields of the Church the thorns of its errors, and cumber- ing its path with the debris and ruin of its own folly."
To these recent cases may be added the expulsion of Prof. Toy from teaching under ecclesiastical control at Louisville, and his election to a far more influential chair at Harvard University ; the driving out from the American College at Beyrout of the young professors who accepted evolution as probable, and the rise of one of them at least, Mr. Nimr, to a far more commanding posi- tion than that which he left — the control of three leading journals at Cairo ; the driving out of Eobertson Smith from his position at Edinburgh, and his reception into the far more important and in- fluential professorship at the English University of Cambridge ; and multitudes of similar cases. From the days when Cotton Mather drove out Henry Dunster, the first President of Harvard College, for "falling into the briers of Antipedobaptism " until now, the same spirit is shown in all such attempts. In each we have generally on one side a body of the older theologians who, since their youth, have learned nothing and forgotten nothing, sundry professors who do not wish to rewrite their lectures, and a mass of unthinking ecclesiastical persons of little or no impor- tance save in making up a retrograde majority in an ecclesiastical tribunal ; on the other side we have as generally the thinking, open-minded, devoted men who have listened to the revelation of their own time, as well as of times past, and who are evidently thinking the future thought of the world.
Here we have survivals of that same oppression of thought by theology which has cost the modern world so dear ; the system which forced great numbers of professors, under penalty of depri- vation, to teach that the sun and planets revolve about the earth ; that comets are fire-balls flung by an angry God at a wicked world ; that insanity is diabolic possession ; that anatomical in- vestigation of the human frame is sin against the Holy Ghost ; that chemistry leads to sorcery ; that taking interest for money is forbidden by Scripture ; that Geology must conform to ancient Hebrew poetry. From the same source came in Austria the rule of the " Immaculate Oath," under which university professors, long before the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was defined by the Church, were obliged to swear to their belief in that dogma before they were permitted to teach even Arithmetic or Geom- etry : in England, the denunciation of inoculation against small- pox ; in Scotland, the protests against using chloroform in child-
�� � 7 34 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
birth as " vitiating the primal curse against woman " ; in France, the nse in clerical schools of a historical text-book from which Napoleon was left out ; and, in America, the use of manuals in which the Inquisition is declared to be a purely civil tribunal, or the Puritans tolerant.
So, too, among multitudes of similar efforts, abroad we have during centuries the fettering of professors at English and Scotch universities by test oaths, subscriptions to articles and catechisms without number. In our own country we have had in a vast multitude of denominational colleges, as the first qualification for a professorship, not ability in the subject to be taught, but fidelity to the particular shibboleth of the denomination controlling the college or university.
Happily, in these days such attempts generally defeat them- selves. The supposed victim is generally made a man of mark by persecution, and advanced to a higher and wider sphere of usefulness. As regards withstanding the march of scientific truth, any opposing Conference, Synod, Board of Commissioners, Board of Trustees, or Faculty, is but as a nest of field-mice in the path of a steam plow.
The harm done to religion in these attempts is far greater than that done to science; for thereby suspicions are widely spread, especially among open-minded young men, that the ac- cepted Christian system demands a concealment of truth, with the persecution of honest investigators, and therefore must be false. Well was it said in substance by President McCosh, of Princeton, that no more sure way of making unbelievers in Christianity among young men could be devised than preaching that the doctrines arrived at by the great scientific thinkers of this period are opposed to religion.
Yet it is but justice here to say that more and more there is evolved out of this past history of oppression a better spirit which is making itself manifest with power in the leading religious bodies of the world. In the Church of Rome we have to-day such utterances as those of St. George Mivart, declaring that the Church must not attempt to interfere with science; that the Almighty in the Galileo case gave her a distinct warning that the priesthood of science must remain with the men of science. In the Anglican Church and its American daughter we have the acts and utterances of such men as Archbishop Tait, Dean Stanley, and many others, proving that the deepest religious thought is more and more tending to peace rather than warfare with sci- ence ; and in the other churches, especially in America, while there is yet much to be desired, the welcome extended in many of them to Alexander Winchell, and the freedom given to views like his, augur well for a better state of things in the future.
�� � From the science of Anthropology, when rightly viewed as a whole, has corne the greatest aid to* those who work to advance Religion rather than to promote any particular system of Theology ; for Anthropology and its subsidiary sciences show more and more that man, since coming upon the earth, has risen, from the period when he had little, if any, ideas of a great power above him, through successive stages of fetichism, shamanism, and idolatry toward better forms of belief, making him more and more ac- cessible to nobler forms of religion. The same sciences show, too, within the historic period the same tendency, and especially within the events covered by our sacred books, a progress from fetichism, of which so many evidences crop out in the early Jew- ish worship as shown in the Old Testament Scriptures, through polytheism, when Jehovah was but " a god above all gods," through the period when he was " a jealous God," capricious and cruel, until he is revealed in such inspired utterances as those of the nobler Psalms, the great passages in Isaiah, the sublime preaching of Micah, and, above all, through the ideal given to the world by Jesus of Nazareth.
Well indeed has an eminent divine of the Church of England in our own time called on Christians to rejoice over this evolution " between the God of Samuel, who ordered infants to be slaugh- tered, and the God of the Psalmist, whose tender mercies are over all his works ; between the God of the Patriarchs, who was always repenting, and the God of the Apostles, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning ; between the God of the Old Testament, who walked in the garden in the cool of the day, and the God of the New Tes- tament, whom no man hath seen nor can see ; between the God of Leviticus, who was so particular about the sacrificial furniture and utensils, and the God of the Acts, who dwelleth not in tem- ples made with hands ; between the God who hardened Pharaoh's heart, and the God who will have all men to be saved ; between the God of Exodus, who is merciful only to those who love him, and the God of Christ — the heavenly Father' — who is kind unto the unthankful and the evil."
However overwhelming, then, the facts may be which Anthro- pology and its kindred or subsidiary sciences may, in the interest of simple truth, establish against the theological doctrine of " the fall " ; however completely they may fossilize various dogmas, catechisms, creeds, confessions, " plans of salvation " and * schemes of redemption," which have been evolved from the great minds of the theological period; science, so far from making inroads on religion, or even upon our Christian development of it, will strengthen all that is essential in it, giving new and nobler paths to man's highest aspirations. For the one great legitimate, scientific conclusion of Anthropology is that more and more a better civilization of the world, despite all its survivals of savagery and barbarism, is developing men and women on whom the declarations of the nobler Psalms, of Isaiah, of Micah, the Sermon on the Mount, the first great commandment, and the second, which is like unto it, and St. James's definition of "pure religion and undefiled," can take stronger hold for the more effective and more rapid uplifting of our race.
- For the resolution of the Presbyterian Synod bf Mississippi in 1857, see Prof. Woodrow's speech before the Synod of South Carolina, October 27 and 28, 1884, p. 6. As to the action of the Board of Directors of the Theological Seminary of Columbia, see ibid. As to the minority report in the Synod of South Carolina, see ibid., p. 24. For the pithy sentences regarding the conduct of the majority in the synods toward Dr. Woodrow, see the Rev. Mr. Flinn's article in the Southern Presbyterian Review for April, 1885, p. 272 and elsewhere. For the restrictions regarding the teaching of the Copernican theory and the true doctrine of comets in the German University, see various histories of astronomy, especially Madler. For the immaculate oath (Immaculaten Eid) as enforced upon the Austrian professors, see Luftkandl, Die Josephineschen Ideen. For the effort of the Church in France, after the restoration of the Bourbons, to teach a history of that country from which the name of Napoleon should be left out, see Father Loriquet's famous Histoire de France a l'Usage de la Jeunesse, Lyon, 1820, vol. ii; see especially table of contents at the end. The book bears on its title-page the well-known initials of the Jesuit motto A. M. D. G. (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam). For examples in England and Scotland, see various English histories, and especially Buckle's chapters on Scotland. For a longer collection of examples showing the suppression of anything like unfettered thought upon scientific subjects in our American colleges, see Inaugural Address at the Opening of Cornell University by the author of these chapters. For the citation regarding the evolution of better and nobler ideas of God, see Church and Creed: Sermons preached in the Chapel of the Foundling Hospital, London, by A. W. Momerie, M.A., LL.D., Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in King's College, London, London, 1890.