Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/389

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385
PREDARWINIAN AND POSTDARWINIAN BIOLOGY

the mental sciences to biology, has been revolutionized. Its students have abandoned the old facultative and associationist schematism and turn with renewed interest to the psychology of emotion, volition and instinct, to animal and child psychology and the normal and pathological psychology of the various human races. Mind is no longer looked upon as a thing, but as a living process, the study of which must be undertaken with far subtler methods than were ever dreamed of by the ancient and mediæval psychologists. Philosophy, ethics and religion, which are all so intimately bound up with psychology, are also at last breaking away from conceptualism and absolutism. This is clearly seen in the works of the pragmatists and humanists, and among theological writings in what has been called modernism. These tendencies of the mental sciences have also reached out into sociology, anthropology, archeology, philology, economics and education. Even the fine arts, though still necessarily addicted to the glorification of certain privileged or dramatic moments, have been seized with the modern scientific craving to multiply these moments indefinitely and thus to increase our delight and interest in the full efflorescence of life and its cosmic setting.

Some may doubt whether these marvelous changes in all modern intellectual endeavor have been brought about by the doctrine of evolution. Of course, even if Darwin had never lived and if the doctrine of evolution had never been revived, it is certain that the biological sciences would have developed considerably during the past fifty years merely by following in the footsteps and by adopting the methods of physics and chemistry, but that Darwin's thought quickened, exaggerated and dominated this development cannot be doubted. And even if we go so far as to say that natural selection may eventually prove to be an unimportant factor in evolution, to be consigned to the limbo of defunct hypotheses, together with Darwin's views on pangenesis, sexual selection and the origin of species from fluctuating variations, we must, I believe, still admit that the great English naturalist opened up before us a vast new world of thought and endeavor. But for the doctrine of evolution we should still be contemplating living organisms from afar and in a more or less scholastic and theologizing spirit, like the biologists of the first half of the nineteenth century, and not as now, at close range and with a deeper and freer insight into the significance of the minutest details of development, structure and function.