The explorations in Australia and neighboring islands made matters still worse, for there was found in those regions a whole realm of animals differing widely from those of other parts of the earth.
The problem before the strict theologians became, for example, how to explain the fact that the kangaroo can have been in the ark and be now only found in Australia; his saltatory powers are indeed great, but how could he by any series of leaps have sprung across the intervening mountains, plains, and oceans to that remote continent; and, if the theory were adopted that at some period a causeway extended across the vast chasm separating Australia from the nearest mainland, why did not lions, tigers, camels, and camelopards force or find their way across it?
The theological theory, therefore, had by the end of the last century gone to pieces. The wiser theologians waited; the unwise indulged in exhortations to "root out the wicked heart of unbelief," in denunciation of "science falsely so called," and in frantic declarations that "the Bible is true"—by which they meant that the limited understanding of it which they had happened to inherit is true.
By the middle of the nineteenth century the whole theological theory of creation—though still preached everywhere as a matter of form—was clearly seen by all thinking men to be hopelessly lost; such strong men as Cardinal Wiseman in the Roman Church, Dean Buckland in the Anglican, and Hugh Miller in the Scottish Church, made heroic efforts to save something from it, but all to no purpose. That sturdy Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon honesty, which is the best legacy of the middle ages to Christendom, asserted itself in the old strongholds of theological thought—the universities. Neither the powerful logic of Bishop Butler nor the nimble reasoning of Archdeacon Paley availed. Just as the line of astronomical thinkers from Copernicus to Newton had destroyed the old astronomy, in which the earth was the center, and the Almighty sitting above the firmament the agent in moving the heavenly bodies about it with his own hands, so now a race of biological thinkers had destroyed the old idea of a Creator minutely contriving and fashioning all animals to suit the needs and purposes of man. They had developed a system of a very different sort, and of this we shall speak in the next chapter.
- For Abraham Milius, see his De Ongine Animalium et Migratione Populorum, Geneva, 1667; also Kosmos, 1877, H. 1, S. 36; for Linnæus's declaration regarding species, see the Phil. Bot., 99, 157; for Calmet and Linnæus, see Zoeckler, vol. ii, p. 237. As to the enormously increasing numbers of species in zoölogy and botany, see President. D. S. Jordan, Science Sketches, pp. 176, 177; also, for pithy statement, Laing's Problems of the Future, chap. vi.