Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 5.djvu/624

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ment, reform, and intelligent reconstruction in obedience to the needs of a new political and social era; thirdly, the attainment of a clearly expressed, rational, and well-developed system of Public International Law; and, fourthly, the reduction of the irregular, and sometimes chaotic, or arbitrary, rules of so-called Private International Law, as adopted in different states, to a uniform system, the same for all states.

 

THE ALLEGED ANTAGONISM BETWEEN GROWTH AND REPRODUCTION.
By Rev. ANTOINETTE BROWN BLACKWELL.

THE supposed law of inverse relations between growth and reproduction was first announced, I think, by Dr. Carpenter; but adopted independently by Mr. Spencer, whose elaborate, forcible arguments have done much to convince many physiologists that a principle so well established may be accepted without further question. But the underlying facts are so various, complex, and unsolved, it is by no means impossible, or even improbable, that some new element yet to be introduced into the premises may partially modify or even reverse the necessary logical conclusion.

The following are Mr. Spencer's main points, gathered from his "Principles of Biology," and stated in his own condensed language: "Genesis, under every form, is a process of negative or positive disintegration, and is thus essentially opposed to that process of integration which is one element of individual evolution."[1]

"When the excess of assimilative power is diminishing in such a way as to indicate its approaching disappearance, it becomes needful, for the maintenance of the species, that this excess shall be turned to the production of new individuals; since, did growth continue until this excess disappeared through the complete balancing of assimilation and expenditure, the production of new individuals would be either impossible or fatal to the parent."[2]

"We cannot help admitting that the proportion between the aggregative and separative tendencies must in each case determine the relation between the increase in bulk of the individual and the increase of the race in numbers."[3]

Up to this point one may freely admit the antagonistic relations alleged; but, when, in his article on "The Psychology of the Sexes," Mr. Spencer asserts that "a somewhat earlier arrest of individual development in women than in men is necessitated by the reservation of vital force to meet the cost of reproduction," there are so many not yet discounted conditions to be considered that the position cannot

  1. Vol. i., p. 216.
  2. P. 237.
  3. Vol ii., p. 426.