Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/723

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

wholly a wild, inhospitable tract, inhabited by wandering savages, but that the northern part, at least, is a grazing country, with settlements and white inhabitants, much like the adjoining districts of the Argentine Republic. He will learn also something about the natural products of the land, its climate, life among the settlers, the Indians, the wild animals, and most of all, for the author is an ornithologist, about the birds. In the cultivated valley of the Rio Negro there are birds in plenty—mocking-birds, several varieties of finches, wood-hewers, swallows, and among larger fowls the upland geese, owls, vultures, condors, ostriches, swans, and flamingoes. Mr. Hudson does not write like a teacher nor like a restless searcher after discoveries, but rather like one telling of a pleasant vacation; hence it is safe to predict for him many delighted readers. The book has been fully and pleasingly illustrated by Alfred Hartley and J. Smit.

Evolution and Man's Place in Nature. By Henry Calderwood, LL. D., F. R. S. E., Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Edinburgh. New York and London: Macmillan & Co., 1893. Pp. 349. Price, $2.

In the opening chapter of this work Prof. Calderwood says that "the general acceptance of Darwin's theory of evolution gives force to the demand for discussion of this problem." The author uses the sentence just quoted as a reason for writing the book. He accentuates that sentence by stating, on page 2, that "whatever limitations are to be assigned to the theory, we must at least grant that a law of evolution has had continual application in the world's history"; and he adds that in the matter of elucidating the phenomena "the researches of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace have led the way."

It is not easy to understand how such a man as Prof. Calderwood could have fallen into the too common error of attributing priority to Darwin in connection with the doctrine of evolution. Herbert Spencer published his essay on the Development Hypothesis in 1852; in 1855 the Principles of Psychology, an application of the doctrine of evolution to mental phenomena, followed from the same pen; and, finally, in 1837, or two years before the appearance of Darwin's Origin of Species, Mr. Spencer published Progress: its Law and Causes, which was devoted to the discussion of universal evolution.

Nevertheless, Prof. Calderwood's work is an ably argued treatise on the subject, and oddly enough, in the chapters on Sensory and Rational Discrimination and Rational Life, he quotes from the earlier works of Mr. Spencer to substantiate his own attempted refutation of the Darwinian theory. At the outset he asks, "How has he (man) found his place on the summit of existence, and what has he done since coming to his heritage?" Then follows a chapter on the characteristics of human life, in which the contrasts between organic and rational life are treated; the author asserting that intelligence alone makes man the master in Nature; that in human activity "dualism of function is complete"—i. e., both rational and organic life—whereas "evidence fails when we look for independent action of intelligence in animals." And he continues: "We do not find that any of them" (animals) "in their natural state rise above interpretation of signs."

The chapter on Sensory and Rational Discrimination presents forcible argument demonstrative of this duality of function culminating in man's possession of rational power, by virtue of which "every member of the race goes forth on his way as a free man, taking possession of his inheritance in the earth. For every man who does not lose his way in darkness or through blinding passion. . . a rich possession is waiting, quite above supply of the common requirements of organic life. Science is his servant, literature is his property, philosophy is his guide in higher thought, revelation becomes his inspiration. Under warrant of abundant evidence, we distinguish two worlds in Nature—the world of matter and the world of mind; a world visible to the eye, a world invisible to organism—visible only to rational insight. . . . Thinkers of quite opposite schools are agreed that there is no possible science of Nature which does not distinguish between the material and the spiritual, between that which is known by sense and that which is known in consciousness. Nature's testimony admits of no doubt as to the reality of these separate spheres."