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Evolution, old and new


Evolution, old and new

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    Available in PDF Format | Evolution, old and new.pdf | Unknown
    Samuel Butler
Excerpt from book: CHAPTER IV. FAILURE OF THE FIRST EVOLUTIONISTS TO SEE THEIR POSITION AS TELEOLOGICAL. It follows necessarily from the doctrine of Dr. Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck, if not of Buffon himself, that the majority of organs are as purposive to the evolutionist as to the theologian, and far more intelligibly so. Circumstances, however, prevented these writers from acknowledging this fact to the world, and perhaps even to themselves. Their crux was, as it still is to so many evolutionists, the presence of rudimentary organs, and the processes of embryological development. They would not admit that rudimentary and therefore useless organs were designed by a Creator to take their place once and for ever as part of a scheme whose main idea was, that every animal structure was to serve some useful end in connection with its possessor. This was the doctrine of final causes as then commonly held: in the face of rudimentary organs it was absurd. Buffon was above all things else a plain matter of fact thinker, who refused to go far beyond the obvious. Like all other profound writers, he was, if I may say so, profoundly superficial. He felt that the aim of research does not consist in the knowing this or that, but in the easing of the desire to know or understandmore completely—in the peace of mind which passeth all understanding. His was the perfection of a healthy mental organism by which over effort is felt instinctively to be as vicious and contemptible as indolence. He knew this too well to know the grounds of his knowledge, but we smaller people who know it less completely, can see that such felicitous instinctive tempering together of the two great contradictory principles, love of effort and love of ease, has underlain every healthy step of all healthy growth, whether of vegetable o...  
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  • PDF | 204 pages
  • Samuel Butler
  • General Books LLC
  • Unknown
  • 5
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