Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/335

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321
POPE AND ANTI-POPE.

the title given above may stand. True, it fares with their oracular allocutions and their anathema maranathas as with like utterances at Rome: though many bow their heads and blindly believe, still there are not a few doubters and unbelievers, and it is almost to be feared that the latter will form the majority.

The pith of the matter in dispute between these two men it is not difficult to get at: in short, it is Darwinism. Haeckel carries this theory to extremes; Virchow not only questions its legitimacy, but also insists that it may have applications that would imperil the state. The one wants to introduce the theory of evolution even into the schools, though, indeed, without knowing exactly how; the other would not only reject it absolutely, but he even anticipates Prince Bismarck by holding that Darwinism is in sympathy-with democratic socialism; Haeckel tries to prove that the tendency of Darwinism is aristocratic rather; and, while Virchow sneers at the "souls of cells" and of "plastidules," Haeckel counters by affirming that these views are direct logical conclusions from the principle on which Virchow has staked his whole scientific existence, viz., that every cell originates from a cell (omnis cellula ex cellula).

I have already elsewhere expressed my views touching the quarrel fomented by Virchow, and have become only more satisfied of their correctness after reading Haeckel's pamphlet "Free Science and Free Teaching." While Haeckel has laid himself open to attacks by his exaggerations and by the brusqueness with which he has striven and still strives to impose his exceedingly poetical fancies upon others—a course of conduct which he will as surely regret later, as he now rues, according to his own confession, the "youthful extravagances" contained in his "Generelle Morphologie" and in his "Natural History of Creation;" while he makes inconsiderate and yet practical demands, without being clear about the possibility of their realization; nevertheless on the whole he represents truly the correct basis of freedom of science and of scientific teaching, so that one can without hesitation agree with his conclusions in that respect. Virchow, on the other hand, is the representative of the pedagogues' Philistia, which not only is proud of its ignorance, where ignorance is excusable, but which coolly denies everything that it does not understand, just as if it did not exist at all; and meanwhile appeals to the Church and to the police for aid against the practical application of scientific doctrines in the field of political action. Thus scientific research is to be free in the quiet of the study so long as there is no special statute to extinguish its lamp; but when it comes to the question of teaching science the situation is altered, and such a thing is not to be permitted save under restrictions.

Now, let us follow for a while the train of thought of Haeckel's counter pamphlet. In the first chapter, entitled "Evolution and Creation," he compares the two theories, which, according to him, may be held concerning the origin of organisms, and, as I believe, of universal Nature: