Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/126

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these works, which passed through many editions, he accepted the old traditional view of the origin of life. But, as his studies enlarged, that view broke down so completely that he has formally abandoned it. In the tenth edition of his "Principles of Geology," published in 1867, and in the eleventh edition of the same work now just issued, he has adopted the theory of evolution in its application to the phenomena of terrestrial life. The presidents of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Grove, Hooker, Huxley, and Carpenter, in their inaugural addresses, and Prof. Gray in his late address as president of the American Scientific Association, have proclaimed their adherence to the doctrine of evolution. Prof. Cope, one of the most able and accomplished of American zoologists, affirms that the truth of the development hypothesis is held "to be infinitely probable by a majority of the exponents of the natural sciences, and is held as absolutely demonstrated by another portion." It has been widely accepted by the younger naturalists of this country, more generally by those of England, and still more extensively by those of Germany, as a guiding principle in the work of investigation. An intelligent German naturalist said to Prof. Giekie, of the Edinburgh University: "You are still discussing in England whether or not the theory of Darwin can be true. We have got a long way beyond that here. His theory is now our common starting-point."

Facts like these will have weight with thoughtful persons, but the editor of Scribner's sees through the illusion. All these masters of science and working-students of Nature have been lured from the path of true induction by the ignis fatuus of a high-flown a priori speculation.

We have shown the separate establishment of a principle of evolution by independent workers in different branches of science. On the broad basis of the facts and inductions that have been reached by three centuries of investigation in the several domains of natural phenomena, rests the hypothesis of universal evolution. The coordination of these diverse and alien orders of facts, and the synthesis of inductions, by which the grand generalization was arrived at, we owe to the genius of Herbert Spencer. With a knowledge of modern science that John Stuart Mill has pronounced "encyclopedic," with a grasp of method and a capacity of organization which, on the authority of the Saturday Review, has not been equalled in England since Newton, and with the power of a "giant mind," as Dr. McCosh declares, to wield and shape his extensive scientific materials, Mr. Spencer has worked out the principle of universal evolution by the rigid logic of inductive science. In each division of his exposition the first step has been to marshal the facts; to sift and methodize the data. The next step has been to generalize the facts, or to establish the inductions warranted by the data. Finally he verifies these inductions by showing that they follow from previously established principles, and harmonize with them. The conditions by which all science has been created are thus strictly complied with. The conception of all nature, as in a slow process of movement to a higher state—of an ever-advancing and ever-perfecting order—of a universe in evolution, is no fantastic speculation brought down to us by tradition from the dreaming childhood of the race, but it is a definite verifiable principle educed from a more comprehensive range of facts than any other generalization ever attempted—the outgrowth of the ripest knowledge, and which is coercing the assent of the most disciplined intellects of the world. The principle in question is no barren formula to be classed with the