Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/404

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ceive the application of the principle to the mode of development of the varied forms of life.

And now, to recur to my own position, I may be allowed to make a final remark, I have long since come to see that no one deserves either praise or blame for the ideas that come to him, but only for the actions resulting therefrom. Ideas and beliefs are certainly not voluntary acts. They come to us—we hardly know how or whence, and once they have got possession of us we can not reject or change them at will. It is for the common good that the promulgation of ideas should be free—uninfluenced by either praise or blame, reward or punishment.

But the actions which result from our ideas may properly be so treated, because it is only by patient thought and work, that new ideas, if good and true, become adopted and utilized; while, if untrue or if not adequately presented to the world, they are rejected or forgotten.

I therefore accept the crowning honor you have conferred on me today, not for the happy chance through which I became an independent originator of the doctrine of " survival of the fittest," but, as a too liberal recognition by you of the moderate amount of time and work I have given to explain and elucidate the theory, to point out some novel applications of it, and (I hope I may add) for my attempts to extend those applications, even in directions which somewhat diverged from those accepted by my honored friend and teacher—Charles Darwin.