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We shall find our conclusion inductively confirmed, on observing that the development theory explains the differences between the races of mankind, as well as those between the animal tribes. Premising the fact, well known to every anatomist, that change in structure is invariably accompanied by change in function, we notice that the lower races, such as the alfourous, resemble the quadrumana in having very small legs, protruding jaws, receding foreheads, thick lips, eyes wide apart and curved upwards; that as we proceed in turn to the red Indians, the Turanians, and the Semites, this resemblance becomes much less marked, and at last scarcely perceptible; and that, on reaching the Europeans, it can no longer be traced, except in infants. The legs have become much longer and more massive than the arms, which have diminished in length; the jaws have retired; the forehead has advanced ; the lips have become comparatively thin; the eyes have approached each other, and lost their upward curvature. These facts, so familiar to every one, that it is almost needless to cite them, show that, in respect to structure, we find a marked progress in the human species, no less than in the animal tribes. Even though the European is born with the structural peculiarities of the savage, he loses them almost immediately after birth ; and his possessing them at birth no more proves that his matured faculties are on the same level with those of the savage, than his possessing the characteristics of a fish some months before birth proves
that his matured faculties are on the same level with those of a fish. Unless, therefore, Mr. Buckle is prepared to deny that development in structure is necessarily attended by development in function, he cannot logically avoid the conclusion that the human species is in a course of evolution from the less perfect to the more perfect, or, to use his own expressions, that the progress of mankind is one of “internal power,” as well as of “external advantage.”
We have seen that Mr. Buckle accepts the law of development; that it is illogical to assert that man forms an exception to such a universal law; that this law, moreover, explains the facts of human variation, as well as those of animal variation ; and that, consequently, Mr. Buckle's assertion, that human faculties do not develop, is totally inconsistent with the very theory held by himself respecting organic development in general. We have now to show that his assertion is in itself unfounded. But, preliminary to this, we must call attention to another point.
How it is that Mr. Buckle, who holds fast to the law of development, can reject the law of hereditary transmission, we are unable to imagine. Nevertheless, reject it he does, in the following passage, which, as Mr. Lewes remarks, must excite the astonishment of the physiologist :
“We often hear of hereditary talents, hereditary vices, and hereditary virtues; but whoever will critically examine the evidence, will find that we have no proof of their existence. The way in which they are commonly proved is in the highest degree illogical; the usual course being for writers to collect instances of some mental peculiarity found in a parent and in his child, and then to infer that the peculiarity was bequeathed. By this mode of reasoning, we might demonstrate any proposition ; since, in all large fields of inquiry, there are a sufficient number of empirical coincidences to inake a plausible case in favor of whatever view a man chooses to advocate. But this is not the way in which truth is discovered; and we ought to inquire, not only how many instances there are of hereditary talents, &c., but how many instances there are of such qualities not being hereditary. Until something of this sort is attempted, we can know nothing about the matter inductively; while, until physiology and chemistry are much more advanced, we can know nothing about it deductively. These considerations ought to prevent us from receiving statements which positively affirm the existence of hereditary madness and hereditary suicide; and the same remark applies to hereditary disease; and with still greater force does it apply to hereditary vices and hereditary virtues ; inasmuch as ethical phenomena have not been registered as carefully as physiological ones, and therefore our conclusions respecting them are even inore precarious."*
All this sounds very fine ; but we do not think that our ignorance of this subject is so hopeless as Mr. Buckle supposes. Although we are at present unable to explain all the phenomena of the case, and account for all the apparent exceptions that arise, we do, nevertheless, all of us know that oaks always produce oaks, oysters oysters, sharks sharks, dogs dogs, and men men. We should probably deem it somewhat out of the usual course of things, if a cow were to give birth to a leopard. We are not accustomed to think of a greyhound as having had for his sire an Arabian steed. We do not expect, on planting a nursery of acorns, to come back and find an orchard of apple-trees. And even the most unexcitable of us would open his eyes at the sight of a barndoor hen strutting about as the mother of a brood of eaglets.
• Vol. I., p. 161, note 12.
And yet, if there is no such thing as the transmission of qualities from parent to offspring, we see no reason * why these hypothetical cases should not exist as realities.
66 Unless parents transmitted to offspring their organizations, their peculiarities, and excellences, there would be no such thing as a breed or a race. The cur would run the same chance as the best bred dog, of turning out valuable. The greyhound might point, and the cart-horse win the Derby. Daily experience tells us that this is impossible. Science tells us that there is no such thing as chance. Physiology tells us that the offspring always, and necessarily, inherits its organization from the parents; and if the organization is inherited, then with it must be inherited its tendencies and aptitudes.”+ This, from one profoundly versed in physiology, expresses what any one, not laboring to establish some preconceived theory, will at once recognize as the real state of the case. And, indeed, since structure and function are inseparably connected, since diversity of structure necessarily supposes diversity of function, and similarity of structure similarity of function; it follows, that, as like produces like, in the case of structural forms, so also must like produce like in the case of functional peculiarities : and as the nervous system is but a part of the organism, and must come under the same generalization as the whole, so also does the same hold true of the functions of the nervous system, that is, of thought, feeling, and the like. In other words, there must be cases not only of hereditary madness and hereditary disease, but also of hereditary vices and hereditary virtues, so long as disease and madness, virtue and vice, coexist with peculiar structural states. And, as before, unless Mr. Buckle is prepared to deny the inseparable connection of structure and function, he cannot escape this conclusion.
As we have already observed, it is passing strange that Mr. Buckle, while embracing the law of development, should spurn that of hereditary transmission, to which it is so intimately related, and on which it, in some degree, depends for its proofs. But Mr. Buckle has a theory of his own to maintain. He wishes to show that the faculties of men do not improve. It is in order to do this that he rejects the law of transmission. But it has been shown that his rejection of it is illogical, and that the law of transmission is as universal as any other, since, were it not so, there could be no such thing as a species at all. With the help of this law, it is easy to demonstrate that, in the very nature of things, the faculties of men must improve.
Lest it should be thought that we do injustice to Mr. Buckle, in giving such a broad significance to his rejection of the law of hereditary transmission, we give a definition of that law, taken from one of the greatest thinkers of our time : “Understood in its entirety, the law is, that each plant or animal produces others of like kind with itself; the likeness of kind consisting not so much in the repetition of individual traits as in the assumption of the same generic structure.”—Spencer's Essays, p. 263.
| Lewes' Physiology of Common Life, vol. II., p. 377.
Among that “ highest class of biological truths,” which apply to all organisms whatever, is the law that, “other things equal, development varies as function"*—that is, the growth of any organ depends upon its activity. We are everywhere met by instances of this--not only in the gymnast, who surprises us by the great size and power of his muscles ; not only in the sailor, who sees a ship in the distant offing, where the passenger can descry but a speck ; not only in the musician, who recognizes as different two sounds which, to unpractised ears, are alike; but also in the man of science, who unravels with ease problems which, to common apprehension, are insoluble. 66 On this law are based all maxims and methods of right education, intellectual, moral, and physical.”+ Expressed in the form, “ Practice makes perfect,” it is an axiom in every one's mouth. By exercising an organ, we increase its size and power. By neglecting to exercise it, we cause it to become diminutive, weak, inefficient.
It is evident, then, that when an individual has grown to maturity in the constant exercise of any faculty, the organ answering to that faculty will be correspondingly developed; and that, in the natural course of things, he will transmit to his offspring that faculty in its state of increased power. Thus it is that a Philip becomes the father of an Alexander; that the son of a Bernardo Tasso gives to the world a deathless poem; and that a family of three hundred musical geniuses at last counts among its members a Jean Sebastian Bach. In individual cases, however, the operation of this law is obscured, and often hindered by a concurrence of unfavorable circumstances. It is in the case of large collections of individuals, where the disturbing causes are averaged, that we find it most strikingly exemplified. Thus we see red Indians so swift of foot; “ telescopic-eyed bushmen;" and Peruvians with sense of smell so acute that, according to Humboldt, they can distinguish by it, in the middle of the night, to what race a man belongs.* Extending our view from separate nations to the whole race, we perceive the law in still greater generality. While some nations have been developing in some faculties, others have been developing in others, and the total movement has been ever onward. Each generation has inherited the faculties of the preceding, still further improved by constant employment. Phænicians have thus spread commerce through unknown seas; Greeks have educated the world ; Romans have legislated for it; Hindoos, Jews, and Arabs, have religionized it; Germans have deluged it with systems of philosophy; Frenchmen and Englishmen have given it positive knowledge; Americans have, by inventive genius, furnished material comforts; Italians have added the glorious embodiments of beauty, grace, and charm; and the consensus of the whole is civilization. Retrogression nowhere meets.us; progress meets us everywhere. And, from the considerations above adduced, we are obliged to conclude that this advance has been one as well of “internal power” as of “external advantage.” Mr. Buckle's assertion is, therefore, seen to be not only inconsistent, but also unfounded.
Spencer's Essays, p. 262.
† Ibid., p. 263.
II. Having now proved, as he thinks, that we must look for progress in “external advantage” only, and not in “internal power,” our author goes on to show the “superiority of intellectual acquisitions over moral feelings ;' and first he asserts that all our acquisitions are either “moral truths" or “ intellectual truths,” and that the former are “ stationary," while the latter are continually advancing. It is noticeable that he here deplores the difficulties which arise • from the loose and careless manner in which ordinary language is employed on subjects that require the greatest nicety and precision.”+ After giving us this caution, one would naturally expect to find the author very clear and accurate in the choice of terms, and in the statement of propositions ; but, on the contrary, the loose and careless manner in which he himself employs ordinary language throughout the discussion is quite amusing. In the first place, he makes a verbally unintelligible distinction between “intel
• Dunglison's Human Physiology, vol. I., p. 729.
† Vol. I., p. 159.