Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/724

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The chapter on Animal and Rational Intelligence is a searching examination of the difference between the two kinds, or rather three kinds, for a distinction is made between the intelligence of the higher and that of lower animals. A weakness is found in the argument for evolution of mind; for to prove it "we must open a road from sensory impressions to ideas of objects, and from these to general abstract ideas, and this must be such a road as the higher mammals could find for themselves before man's appearance on the earth. Here is the essential test of an all-embracing scheme of evolution; to account for interpretation of sensory experience. . . this problem separates us from much that has been already assured in natural history, strongly favoring evolution." The argument, as to man, is continued in the chapter on Rational Life, where the science of mind is found to outstretch the science of biology, and man's life to be superior to all animal life, possessing powers which are not shared by the animals; having possibilities and a destiny peculiar to himself, impossible to organic life, even to the organism which is part of his own being. This conclusion as to the inability of biology to present a science of human life "is reached by all that biology has to offer by way of explanation." All that has been demonstrated as to the action of the nerve system and of the brain is accepted and turned to full use, but it "carries no explanation of the activities of the rational life."

The lines of investigation pursued do not include any examination of Christianity as a supernatural religion, but only as a spiritual force contributing to the advance of the race, certain of the characteristics of which "have wielded a mighty influence in the course of the ages."

Summing up his investigations of the theories of Darwin, Wallace, and their followers, the author claims that the origin of man is completely severed from the scheme of organic evolution. "Man has his place in a physical system within which all is subject to decay and death; he has his place in a spiritual system, within which is no trace of death, but promise of continuity beyond the present state. Evolution has turned attention on different phases of the origin of existence on the earth. It helps us bettor to see how varied these origins have been." But it is insufficient to account for life itself. It stands "before us an impressive reality in the history of Nature. But this evolution is only a limited cycle, within the greater cycle of Being and its history," and all leads to the conclusion that "there is a power operating continually in Nature, which does not come within range of the observation possible to scientific modes and appliances, yet to which science is ever indirectly bearing witness."

The Political Value of History. By W. E. H. Lecky, LL. D., D. C. L. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 67. Price, 75 cents.

This is a reprint of a lecture delivered before the Birmingham and Midland Institute, of which the author is president. The words of such a man as Mr. Lecky, on the value of history as a precedent for guiding political policy to-day, can not fail to be of value. The question is one which has by no means always been answered affirmatively, and one which in recent times has been much argued.

Mr. Lecky first shows how history arose and what was its original function, and then briefly traces its development as a science down to the present century. That he has taken a judicial attitude is shown by the following passage: "Nor will any wise man judge the merits of existing institutions solely on historic grounds. Do not persuade yourself that any institution, however great may be its antiquity, however transcendent may have been its uses in a remote past, can permanently justify its existence, unless it can be shown to exercise a really beneficial influence over our own society and our age. It is equally true that no institution which is exercising such a beneficial influence should be condemned because it can be shown from history that under other conditions and in other times its influence was rather for evil than for good." He dwells on the necessity for understanding the "dominant idea or characteristic of the period" which the student is investigating; "what forces chiefly ruled it, what forces were then rising into a dangerous ascendency, and what forces were on the decline." He speaks of the im-