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from the presidential chair of Amherst, seventeen years ago. “ Although I fear that theologians are not aware of the fact, yet probably the doctrines of Materialism are more widely embraced at this day than almost any other religious error." “ The arguments by which Materialism is defended are among the most subtle in the whole range of theology and natural science; and without a knowledge of the latter they can neither be appreciated nor refuted."* If still there are any who think
-as it is certain there are many who (without much thought) do not hesitate to say—that Materialism is an absurdity too ridiculous for serious consideration; such persons would do well to remember that whatever may be the force or feebleness of those subtleties by which the system is defended, the metaphysical abstractions by which they have usually been opposed have served merely to excite the contempt of the Materialistic physiologist. Those who doubt this have failed to learn the lesson which forbids us to underrate an opponent, especially an observer and reasoner after the manner of Professor Huxley.
Dr. Hooker, the successor of the Duke of Buccleuch in the presidential chair of the British Association, although a staunch defender of Darwinism, stops very far short of Materialism of any kind. Yet he is at no pains to disguise his contempt for arguments derived from metaphysical abstractions. Referring to those opponents of the Darwinian doctrines who rely on metaphysical grounds, he says,t “Their arguments are usually strangely imbued with prejudice, and even odium, and as such, are beyond the pale of scientific criticism. Having myself been a student of moral philosophy in a northern University, I entered on my scientific career full of hope that metaphysics would prove a useful Mentor, if not quite a Science. I soon, however, found that it availed me nothing, and I long ago arrived at the conclusion so well put by Agassiz, where he says,
We trust that the time is not distant when it will be universally understood that the battle of the evidences will have to be fought on the field of physical science, and not on that of the metaphysical.'P” Now, since Agassiz is “for us” rather than “for our adversaries," it would be superfluous to express our full concurrence with the dictum thus quoted—a dictum which simply re-echoes the words of th eveteran American geologist:“ This might have answered well enough when the battle-field with scepticism lay in the region of metaphysics, or history, or Biblical interpretation. But the enemy have, within a few
* “ The Religion of Geology," p. 11.
+ Report of the Norwich Meeting of the British Association, President's opening Address.
I "Agassiz on the Contemplation of God, in the Kosmos." (Christian Exa. miner, 4th Series, vol. xv. p. 2.)
years past, entrenched themselves within the dominions of natural science, and there, for a long time to come, must be the tug of war. And since they have substituted skeletons and trees and stones as weapons, in the place of abstractions, so must Christians do, if they would not be defeated."*
It is a matter of much importance that we should distinctly understand the internecine character of the conflict thus commenced. In the exordium of his Address to an influential body of the Clergy at Sion College, a year ago, Professor Huxley said, “Your President has done me the honour of thinking that I, for the present at least, may be regarded as the representative of science and scientific research on this occasion, and I on this occasion accept that responsibility.” Yet, at the same time, and while accepting this representative character, he also said, “I beg it may be distinctly understood that for what I may say I alone am responsible.” Speaking then in his individual as well as in his representative character, be proceeded to deplore the divergence between Philosophy and Theology, and to attribute that divergence to the attitude and conduct of the clergy:-“ You clergy, from a sort of conventional dishonesty of society, tend to widen that divergence." The animus of this last sentence is even more offensively apparent in the very first words with which the Professor, having finished his exordium, came, as he expressed it, “direct to the point.” To preclude the possibility of misrepresentation, we quote the paragraph entire :
“You tell your congregations that the world was made six thousand years ago, in the period of six days—and further, that all living animals were made within that period, and on sundry of those days, and as made so have continued to the present time, making whatever deductions may be necessary for extinction of species and other changes since their original creation. Thus you hold and teach that men of science like myself are liable to pains and penalties, as men who are guilty of breaking or disputing great moral laws. I am bound to say I do not believe these statements yon make and teach; and I am further bound to say that I do not, and I cannot, call up to mind, amongst men who are men of science and research, truthful men, one who believes those things ; but, on the other hand, who do not believe the exact contrary.”+
On the imputation conveyed in this paragraph we say not a word. But what are we to think of a “philosopher" who could utter such a statement, and expect it to be accepted—not as a caricature, but-as a representation of the actual fact? Could he suppose the clergy to be so ignorant of patristic theology as not to know that even among the Fathers there were not want
* Religion of Geology, p. 10. + Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol. ii. pp. 377, 378.
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ing those who expressly disavowed the foremost of the opinions which he still insisted on attributing to the clergy ?—that some of the early Fathers spoke of creation as having been almost “eternities” ago ?--that Augustin, Theodoret, and others, separated the creation narrated in the first verse of Genesis, from that of the six days ? Or is it just possible that Professor Huxley himself is unaware of the fact, that Justin Martyr and Gregory Nazianzen believed in an indefinite period between the creation of matter and the subsequent arrangement of all things; while Basil, Cæsarius, and Origen are even still more explicit ? We will not complain that he has overlooked the rendering of the original Hebrew, as given by men like Rosenmüller and Dathe; nor that he has never read the commentary of Bishop Patrick on the English text; nor that he has forgotten the explicit asseveration of Dr. Chalmers in the University Lectures at St. Andrew's, —“The Mosaic narrative does not fix the antiquity of the globe.” But how is it that in thus aspersing the clergy he is compelled to ignore the concurrent and reiterated repudiation of the charge by the clergy themselves ? Take, for instance, the representative men among the clergy who spoke on this very subject at the Norwich Congress: Dr. Pusey and Mr. Birks, Archdeacon Sandford and Dean Howson, Dr. Kay and Dr. Baylee, Mr. Garbett and the Bishop of Oxford. And take, as a proof of the concurrent unanimity amid so great variety, that single sentence,—" These things are absolutely certain : that the Bible does not say that the earth was created at any definite past time; and secondly, that between its original creation, mentioned in Gen. i. 1, and man's creation, there is room, if need be, for time countless by man.”* This, then, is the teaching of the clergy, as enunciated by themselves. Does it bear any resemnblance to Professor Huxley's caricature ? And yet the caricaturist-the representative at once of accuracy and researchstands forth in the name of philosophy to accuse the clergy of “conventional dishonesty”
Not all our opponents, however, are thus uncandid. And if -all extravagance apart—we seek a lucid, and at the same time authoritative, exposition of the claims of modern materialism, we cannot do better than accept that of Professor Tyndall, in the opening address which, in his capacity of President of the Section of Mathematical and Physical Scieuce, he delivered before the British Association last August.
Commencing with a common illustration, he observes that the motion of the hands of a watch follows of necessity from
* Authorized Report of the Church Congress held at Norwich, October, 1865. p. 183.
the inner mechanism, when acted upon by the force invested in the spring. As with this phenomenon of Art, so with the phenomena of Nature. These also have their inner mechanism, and their store of force to set that mechanism going. “The ultimate problem of physical science is to reveal this mechanism, to discover this store, and to show that from the combined action of both the phenomena of which they constitute the basis must of necessity flow.”
The huge blocks of stone in the pyramids of Egypt were moved by a power external to themselves, and by the final form of the pyramid expressed the thought of its human builder. This is art; but there exists in nature a building power of a very different kind.
“When a solution of common salt is slowly evaporated, the water which holds the salt in solution disappears, but the salt itself remains behind. At a certain stage of concentration, the salt can no longer retain the liquid form ; its particles or molecules, as they are called, begin to deposit themselves as minute solids, so minute indeed as to defy all microscopic power. As evaporation continues, solidification goes on, and we finally obtain, through the clustering together of innumerable molecules, a finite mass of salt of a definite form. What is this form? It sometimes seems a mimicry of the architecture of Egypt. ... How, then, are those salt pyramids built up? ... The scientific idea is that the molecules . . . attract each other and repel each other at certain definite points, and in certain definite directions; and that the pyramidal form is the result of this play of attraction and repulsion.” “In fact, throughout inorganic nature, we have this formative power, as Fichte would call it-this structural energy ready to come into play, and build the ultimate particles of matter into definite shapes. It is present everywhere. The ice of our winters and of our polar regions is its handiwork; and so, equally, are the quartz, felspar, and mica of our rocks. Our chalk-beds are for the most part composed of minute shells, which are also the product of structural energy; but behind the shells as a whole, lies the result of another and more subtle formative act. These shells are built up of little crystals of calc-spar, and to form these the structural force had to deal with the intangible molecules of carbonate of lime. This tendency on the part of matter to organize itself, to grow into shape, to assume definite forms in obedience to the definite action of force, is, as I have said, all pervading. It is in the ground on which you tread, in the water you drink, in the air you breathe. Incipient life, in fact, manifests itself throughout the whole of what we call inorganic nature.”
Having reached this conclusion, Professor Tyndall passes from “a dead mineral to a living grain of corn;" observing that “the architecture of the grain resembles in some degree the architecture of the crystal.” Resembles it indeed so closely, that in the grain, as in the crystal, every molecule is “placed
in its position by the specific attractions and repulsions exerted between it and other molecules.” “A similar necessity rules here to that which rules the planets in their circle round the sun.” “But I must go still further, and affirm that in the eye of science the animal body is just as much the product of molecular force as the stalk and ear of corn, or as the crystal or salt of sugar.” “ Animal heat, moreover, is the same in kind as the heat of a fire, being produced by the same chemical process.” Animal motion, too, is directly derived from the food of the animal. As regards matter, the animal body creates nothing; as regards force, it creates nothing. “All that has been said regarding the plant, may be restated with regard to the animal.” “You see I am not mincing matters, but avowing nakedly what many scientific thinkers more or less distinctly believe. The formation of a crystal, a plant, or an animal, is in their eyes a purely mechanical problem, which differs from the problems of ordinary mechanics in the smallness of the masses and the complexity of the processes involved.”
Here, however, we must pause, not now to criticize the assumptions incidental to the argument, but to observe the full significance of the fact that follows. Up to this point the two Professors have maintained the most perfect agreement; beyond it their separation is complete and final. In all that relates to the phenomena of matter they are at one ; but when they approach the phenomena of mind, their paths lie wide as the poles asunder. Professor Huxley's account of protoplasmic currents is in strict correspondence with Professor Tyndall's account of molecular attraction and repulsion. But where Professor Huxley infers that “ thoughts” are the result of "molecular changes,” Professor Tyndall replies, — " But how inferred ? It is at bottom not a case of logical inference at all, but of empirical association.”
To this reply, especially as coming from Professor Tyndall, there is absolutely no answer whatever. For in his case it is associated with a breadth of concession which leaves to the quasi-scientific materialist no room for further demands. To establish this assertion, we have only to transcribe the passage entire :
“A man, for example, can say, I feel, I think, I love; but how does consciousness infuse itself into the problem ? The human brain is said to be the organ of thought and feeling: when we are hurt, the brain feels it; when we ponder, it is the brain that thinks; when our passions or affections are excited, it is through the instrumentality of the brain. Let us endeavour to be a little more precise here. I hardly imagine that any profound scientific thinker, who has reflected upon the subject, exists who would not admit the extreme probability