and Book design image,
Copyright, Kellscraft Studio
(Return to Web Text-ures)
Click here to return to
Philosophic Bearings of Darwinism
Return to the Previous Chapter
THE THREE METHODS OF EVOLUTION
JOHN WESLEY POWELL
PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON
DECEMBER 8 1883
FROM THE BULLETIN OF THE SOCIETY VOL. VI
ANNUAL ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT,
J. W. POWELL,
Delivered December 8, 1883.
THE THREE METHODS OF EVOLUTION.
In the early history of research attention was chiefly given to phenomena of co-existence. In late years the phenomena of sequence have received the larger share of attention. The investigation of the phenomena of sequence has led to the invention of a number of hypotheses. Is the past history of scientific research three of these have each led to a long series of important discoveries. These are the nebular hypothesis, the atomic hypothesis, and the hypothesis of the development of life. The nebular theory is an hypothesis of astronomic evolution; the atomic theory has gradually assumed the shape of an hypothesis of chemical evolution; and the development theory bas beets elaborated and re-stated as the hypothesis of biologic evolution. The time has come when in all fruitful research evolution in some form is postulated by each investigator in his own field. Yet many scientific men, though admitting the doctrines of evolution in their own special fields, ofttimes reject them elsewhere; and there is some disagreement even among the greatest thinkers as to the extent to which the hypotheses of evolution can be carried, but all postulate evolution in some form and to some degree.
attempt will be made in this address to point out what is believed
to be the fact — that there are three grand classes of phenomena,
constituting three kingdoms of matter and representing three stages
of evolution; or, stated in another way, that there has been an
evolution of the methods of evolution, so that the methods discovered
in the first stage have been superseded by tissue discovered in the
second, and these superseded by the methods of the third stage. It is
proposed to indicate and, as clearly as possible within the limits of
an address, to define, in terms of matter and motion, the three
kingdoms of matter and the three methods of evolution. As precedent
to the general statement it will be well, therefore, briefly to
consider the kinematic hypothesis.
THE KINEMATIC HYPOTHESIS.
That motion is persistent is the kinematic hypothesis. In the early history of research many modes or varieties of motion were directly observed. To account for these motions they were said to be caused by forces, and Force was sometimes defined as that which produces motion. Something, therefore, was conceived to exist — not matter, not motion — an existence that would produce motion. Then arose the question, What is Force — this antecedent of Motion? The researches inaugurated from this standpoint led again and again to the discovery that the antecedent of motion is some other motion, and one after another of the so-called "forces" were thus resolved into motions, until at last only gravity and affinity, and perhaps magnetism, remain as unexplained antecedents of motion. But gravity, affinity, and magnetism are included under one term, "attraction," by those who hold that there is yet a force — something other than motion which produces motion. Attraction, then, is left. Sometimes these same philosophers speak of "attraction and repulsion." If, then, all forces the actions of which are thoroughly known are resolved into antecedent motions, it is indeed an inductive hypothesis worthy of consideration that the antecedents of the phenomena of attraction and repulsion may aim be regarded as modes of motion.
But this hypothesis is reached by another method. It is known that motions may be transmuted from one kind or mode into another. Affinity can be transmuted into motion, and motion into affinity. If we wish to obtain the mode of motion called electricity, we may derive it from mechanical motion through friction, or we may derive it through affinity in the voltaic cell. If we combine a gramme of hydrogen with oxygen, 34,000 units of heat — a mode of motion — are developed. If a gramme of hydrogen be combined with iodine, 3,600 units of heat — a mode of motion — are absorbed. But why introduce single illustrations? A large part of all the powers used by man in the industries of the world are derived from affinity. Affinity, therefore, is the equivalent of motion. By a similar process it is shown that gravity can be transmuted into motion and motion into gravity, and the trasmutation of magnetism into motion and of motion into magnetism is well known.
It is thus seen that while motion may be derived from the so-called forces, gravity, affinity, and magnetism, these so-called force may also be derived from motion. In all other cases where a mode of motion is transmuted, it is but changed into another mode. It is therefore an inductive hypothesis that gravity, affinity, and magnetism are also modes of motion.
This hypothesis is reached by yet another inductive process. There is a vast multiplicity of properties which bodies present to the mind through touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight — properties at first explained as occult. During the progress of scientific research, one after another of these properties has been resolved into motion, until at last two remain unexplained — rigidity and elasticity. By those who hold with most tenacity to older explanations of such phenomena, these two remaining properties are attributed to attraction and repulsion; but those who have fallen into the current of modern thought believe that they can be explained as the results of the composed motion of the constituent parts of the bodies which exhibit them, together with molecular impact. That some such explanation will eventually be fully established is highly probable as an inductive hypothesis.
When these various methods of induction are combined they lead to an hypothesis of the highest character, and we may reasonably expect that all forces will ultimately be resolved into motions. The term force will still be of value in science, to be used in each case as denoting the antecedent motion.
Intimately related to the kinematic hypothesis is the hypothesis of an ether, which has also been reached by a variety of inductive methods, i. e. from converging lines of research. In fact, the kinematic hypothesis and the ethereal hypothesis are identical, the first being stated in terms of motion, the second in terms of matter.
Intimately related to the ethereal hypothesis is the nebular hypothesis, also reached through a series of converging lines of induction.
Every fact that lends probability to one lends probability to all. Thus each strengthens the other. It must be understood that however probable they may be, they are yet hypotheses, and for their complete demonstration the mode of action must he specifically pointed out in each case.
The ethereal hypothesis furnishes the original homogeneous matter in motion from which the various aggregates have been segregated. The nebular hypothesis takes up this matter while it is yet in a molecular condition and derives front it the more compounded aggregates and their motions, in obedience to the law of the persistence of motion, which is the kinematic hypothesis. Thus there are bodies of men engaged in researches relating to molecular physics, other bodies of men in researches relating to molecular physics and astronomy, and others in molecular physics and chemistry, all of whose researches converge in the kinematic hypothesis. It is therefore reached by a consilience of many inductive methods.
In the statement thus made concerning the kinematic theory there is no attempt to assemble the data on which it rests. Such task could not be performed in an address, as volumes would be needed for their presentation. An attempt has been made simply to characterize the processes of inductive reasoning by which the hypothesis is reached.
If the kinematic hypothesis should be demonstrated, it would be a veritable explanation. The dynamic hypothesis is no explanation. To exhibit this fact it must be briefly analyzed.
Philosophy is the science of opinion, and the philosopher has for the subject-matter of his science the origin and nature of opinions, and he discovers that they may be broadly grouped in three classes — mythic, metaphysic, and scientific. Mythic opinion arises from the attempt to explain the simple in terms of the compound — that is, to explain biotic and physical phenomena by their crude analogies to human activities. Early man, discovering that his own activities arose from design and will, supposed that there was design and will in all function and motion. Through this method of explanation have arisen the mythologies of the world.
But in the early civilization of the Aryan race a multitude of mythic systems were thrown together and studied by the same body of men, originally for the purpose of deriving therefrom the common truth. The resulting comparison and investigation led to the conclusion that they were all false, and in lieu thereof a new system of explanation was invented. These earlier philosophers of the cities of the Mediterranean, while engaged in the comparison of mythologies, were also engaged in the comparison of languages, and they discovered many profoundly interesting facts of linguistic structure, and the intimate relations between language and thought by which the form of thought itself is moulded. These great facts appearing at the same time that mythic philosophy was dissolving into idle tales, led to the origin of a new philosophic method. The men of that day supposed that the truth is in the word, and that a verbal explanation could be constructed; that the philosophy of the universe could be based on language; and to them verbal statement was explanation, final and absolute, and being was but ideal.
But metaphysic philosophy was displaced by the increase of knowledge — the development of scientific philosophy. In this system the phenomena of co-existence and sequence are objectively discerned and classified.
This bare statement of the three methods can be made more lucid by an illustration. Unsupported bodies above the earth fall, and such phenomena are seen so often as to challenge every man's attention. Early man, whose mind was controlled by mythic opinions, subjectively knew that if he wished to move a body he must push or pull it, and to him there was no other method of originating motion.
Some years ago I was with a small body of Wintun Indians on Pitt River, the chief tributary of the Sacramento, engaged in the study of mythology. I had gone among the rocks for the purpose of awakening echoes, that I might elicit from my dusky philosophers an explanation thereof. Unexpectedly I fell upon an explanation of gravity. We had climbed a high crag, and I sat at the summit of the cliff with my feet overhanging the brink. An Indian near me, who could speak but imperfect English, seemed solicitous for my safety, and said: "You better get out; hollow pull you down." I had previously been intent on watching the operations of his mind for the purpose above mentioned, and this expression seemed to me strange; and it started a line of investigation which I eagerly pursued. I soon discovered that he interpreted the fall of bodies by purely subjective analogies. He who stands on a rock but slightly elevated above the earth feels no fear, but if standing a thousand feet above the base of the cliff, he attempts to look over, fear curdles his blood, and he seems to be pulled over. As he climbs a lofty pine, at every increase of altitude there is an increase of fear, and he seems to be pulled down by a stronger force. When he rests upon the solid earth he feels no "pull," but when elevated above it he interprets his subjective feelings as an objective pull. Vacuity is personified and believed to be au actor.
In the early winter of 1882 I was with a party of Indians in the Grand Canon of the Colorado. Some of the young men were amusing themselves by trying to throw stones across a lateral gorge. No one could accomplish the feat, though they could throw stones even farther, as they believed, along the level land. Chuar, the chief, explained this to me by informing me that the cañon pulled the stones down. The apparent proximity of the opposite wall was believed to be actual, and vacuity was personified and believed to exert a force.
Metaphysic explanations of gravity are found. By that method an absolute up and down is predicated, and bodies have a tendency to fall down. This is an explanation in words, the words expressing no meaning but believed to be themselves thoughts. It is perhaps the earliest form of the metaphysic explanation of gravity. But with the progress of knowledge the absolute disappears, and positions are found to be but relative; there is no absolute up and down; and other facts with regard to gravity are discovered. And finally the metaphysician says bodies attract. Now the term fall, as used by the early metaphysicians, was the name of a motion observed, and it was held to be a complete explanation as long as up and down was supposed to be absolute, not relative; and the explanation was abandoned as insufficient when the ideas of absolute up and down were abandoned. But the word attraction does not involve this error. It is simply a name for the phenomenon, without the manifestly fallacious implication of "up and down." And it is a good name for the specific phenomenon to which it is applied. But it must not connotate any other idea; in so far as it does, it is vitiated. Yet the metaphysician will suppose that by using the term "attraction" he explains gravity. The scientific philosopher uses the term purely as the name of the phenomenon, and does not suppose that thereby the phenomenon is explained; and having named it, he still seeks for its explanation — that is, he still seeks to resolve that which is manifestly a complex phenomenon, exhibited in the relations of positions of bodies, into its most simple elements. Whenever this is done he will say that attraction, or gravity — they being synonyms for the same phenomenon — is explained.
The kinematist uses "attraction" as a synonym for "gravitation." The dynamist uses "attraction" as a verbal explanation of Gravitation. The mythic philosopher uses the term to connotate the still further idea that bodies exert a "pull" on one another; and this latter concept is no less mythic than that of the Indian who believes that the vacuity between them exerts the pull.
It is fortunate for science that every discovery and every inductive hypothesis is rigidly criticised, as this leads to the careful examination of the verity of filets discerned and of the legitimacy of hypotheses derived therefrom. Against the kinematic theory of force much good rhetoric has been hurled, which may be somewhat imitated in the following manner
Here is a quotation from Bagehot, with an interpolation of my own: “This easy hypothesis of special creation [occult force] has been tried so often, and has broken down so very often, that in no case probably do any great number of careful inquirers very firmly believe it. They may accept it provisionally, as the best hypothesis at present, but they feel about it as they cannot help feeling as to an army which has always been beaten; however strong it seems they think it will be beaten again."
The venerable gentlemen who constitute the elder school tell us that motion is not persistent; that energy constitutes a class of things including two groups, the forces on the one hand and the motions on the other; that the total amount of energy is persistent, but that the total amount of motion is changeable. And by their definition force is that which produces motion, i. e. force can create or destroy motion. But manifestly where there is more motion there must be less force, therefore force can destroy itself; and when there is more force and less motion, force can create itself.
The moon that passes through the sky of the gentlemen of the old school is moon from the eastern to the western horizon. Then the dragon, which exists not, destroys the moon and thus creates itself, and passing through the cave from west to east it mounts to their horizon, and in the twinkling of an eye commits suicide by creating a moon. It is not strange that the thaumaturgies of such philosophy should lend signal aid to its rhetoric.
The use of hypothesis in science is not only legitimate but an absolute necessity. The science of psychology, as distinguished from metaphysic speculation, points out this fact: that all increase of knowledge is dependent upon hypothesis. Objective impressions made by the phenomena of the universe upon the organ of the mind are discerned only by the aid of comparison, and are added to knowledge only by being combined with previously discerned phenomena. Phenomena imperfectly discerned are such as are combined by superficial analogies; phenomena clearly discerned are such as are combined by essential homologies. With all discernment, therefore, there is comparison, and comparison is reflection and reflection is reason. Now, scientific research is not random observation and comparison, but designed discernment and classification; it is research for a purpose, and the purpose is the explanation of imperfectly discerned phenomena. Phenomena not understood, because imperfectly discerned and classified, are made the subject of examination by first inventing a hypothetic explanation of the same. With this, the investigator proceeds to more careful observation and comparison, devising new methods of discrimination and of testing conclusions. Under the impetus of this hypothetic explanation, discernment and comparison proceed, and additions to knowledge are made thereby, and it matters not whether the hypothesis be confirmed or overthrown.
On this rock much research is wrecked. When an hypothesis gains such control over the mind that phenomena are subjectively discerned, that they are seen only in the light of the preconceived idea, then research but adds to vain speculation. A mind controlled by an hypothesis is to that extent insane; the rational mind is controlled only by the facts, and contradicted hypotheses vanish in their light.
There is another rock on which research is wrecked — the belief which ofttimes takes possession of the mind that the unknown is unknowable, that human research can penetrate into the secrets of the universe no farther. It is the despondency. of unrewarded mental toil.
Yet another rock on which research is wrecked is the definition of the unknown. Phenomena appear, but whence is not discovered, and resort is had to verbal statement, and the verbal statement oft
repeated comes to be held as a fact itself. This is the vice of all metaphysics, by which words are held to be things — spectral imaginings that haunt the minds of introverted thinkers as devils possess the imaginations of the depraved.
the midst of the sea of the unknown stand the three rocks: the
controlling hypothesis, the unknowable unknown, and the verbal
definition, and in the waters about them are buried many wrecks.
COMBINATION OF MATTER.
the various bodies known to mind are resolved into their constituent
parts to the utmost of art and knowledge, such parts are found to be
so minute as almost to disappear in the perspective toward the
infinitesimal. The molecular bodies thus dimly discerned are combined
and recombined, until substances are produced that come distinctly
within the cognizance of our senses, so that we are able to observe
their forms and motions. These molar bodies are again combined, until
at last bodies of such magnitude are produced that they are but
dimly discerned in the perspective toward the infinite — stellar
systems that appear not to the eye, but only to the mind's eye.
Matter is primarily combined by chemical affinity. The substances thus produced appear in three states : gaseous, fluid, and solid, but are not clearly demarcated. That chemically combined matter which is found in the solid state is further combined by crystallization and lithifaction. It may be that these methods are parts of the same process, and further, that they are one with chemical affinity; at any rate it is impossible clearly to demarcate them. They are also influenced by gravity, and to a large extent act under its control. Thus it is that gravity, and affinity with its concomitants, unite in molecularly combining matter into inorganic substances. Again, these bodies are mechanically combined into geologic formations, bodies of water, and bodies of air, and such combinations result. from gravity. Finally they are all combined into an aggregate, the earth itself, solid, fluid, and gaseous. This also results from gravity.
In the succession of combinations thus briefly reviewed, the first natural aggregate reached is the earth. Below that we have chemical and mechanical substances, which do not constitute integers, but only integral parts. The earth itself is a whole — an aggregation, as the term is here used.
the earth is one of the bodies of the solar system, which is a
combination of worlds. This aggregation, also, is controlled by
gravity. Other higher astronomic aggregates may exist.
of the matter combined by affinity and gravity are segregated to be
combined by vitality, giving organic bodies or aggregates, as plants
and animals. These bodies do not permanently remain such, as the
matter of which they are composed sooner or later returns to the
condition of combination due solely to affinity and gravity. They
live and die.
There are certain biotic bodies whose activities are combined. The first step in combination is the biologic differentiation of the sexes, giving a group of co-operative individuals for the activities of reproduction — male and female, parent and child. This initial combination is crudely developed into still larger combinations of co-operative individuals among the lower animals. With mankind it is developed to a much higher degree, resulting in a great variety of co-operative activities.
There is found, then, a variety of methods of combination, included under three classes: physical, due to affinity and gravity; biotic, due to vital organization; and anthropic, due to related activities. Physical combinations result in the production of substances and aggregates, and the existence of a physical body is preserved by preserving identity of form and identity of constituent matter. Biotic combination also produces substances and aggregates, and the existence of a biotic body is continued by the preservation of identity of form, but not of identity of constituent matter. In anthropic combination, substances and aggregates, as the terms are here used, are not produced, but biotic aggregates are interrelated in their activities through the agency of mind.
In physical aggregates the relation of parts is that of interdependence, so that the constitution and Them of each part are dependent on the constitution and form of every other part. This interdependence nosy be better comprehended by means of an illustration. In the aggregate the earth, the interdependence is exhibited in the relations existing between the incompletely aggregated bodies of minerals, known as geologic formations; the incompletely aggregated bodies of water, known as seas, lakes, streams, and clouds; and the incompletely aggregated bodies of air, known as winds. Air-currents gather the waters from the seas and pour them upon the lands. Rains and rivers disintegrate the rocks and carry them to the sea. Currents in the sea distribute the detritus over the bottom: By the loading of areas of sea-bottom they are depressed, and by the degradation of land-areas they are unloaded and rise. Change in the geography of the land effects a change in wind-currents and in bodies of water, and a change in the latter effects a change in sedimentation. In like manner, throughout all physical nature, an interdependence of parts is exhibited. Part acts on part.
In biotic aggregates the same interdependence of parts is shown. Any change affecting the digestive apparatus affects the circulatory apparatus, and these again are influenced by the respiratory apparatus. But in addition to this interdependence of parts, there is also an organization of parts — that is, special functions are performed by the several parts, and each is the organ of its function. And this organization is of such a nature that each works for the others. The digestive apparatus digests for itself and all the organs, the heart propels for all the body, the eye sees for all the body, the ear hears for all the body, the hand touches for all the body. Thus the organic parts act on and for one another.
In activital combination, aggregates, as the term is here used, do not appear, but the same interdependence is observed. By association the sanitary state of the husband affects that of the wife, and the condition of the mother affects the child; and on through the different combinations of animals and men this interdependence is observed. The relation of organization also exists by the differentiation of industries. The husband brings food to the wife and children, and the wife prepares the food. And this differentiation of industries, or "division of labor" as it is termed in political science, is carried on to an elaborate condition in civilized life. Then men are related to one another as constituent members of society; one commands and another obeys. Then men are related to one another through language; one speaks, another hears; one writes, another reads. Then men are related to one another through opinions; having common opinions, they form common designs and act for common purposes. It will thus be seen that superorganic or anthropic combination arises from the establishment of four classes of relations, corresponding to the four classes of activities represented by arts, institutions, languages, and opinions. The arts are human activities directed to the utilization of the materials of nature and the control of its powers, for the purpose of securing happiness. Institutions are human activities arranged for the purpose of securing peace and establishing justice, and thereby increasing happiness Languages are activities devised for the purpose of communicating thought, and thereby securing happiness. Opinions arise from psychic activities, the purpose of which is to learn the truth, that happiness may ensue.
physical, biotic, and anthropic combinations the parts control one
another. It will therefore be convenient to speak of three kingdoms
of matter the mineral or physical kingdom, the organic or biotic
kingdom, and the anthropic or activital kingdom.
MODES OF MOTION.
All bodies, however combined, are discovered to be in motion. Among the bodies of the mineral kingdom, a variety of modes of molecular motion are exhibited, having various distinguishing characteristics. These are heat and light, electricity and magnetism, then sound and that motion in gases by which through impact they retain their rarefied state. Again, a variety of molar motions are observed in gases, liquids, and solids; and finally stellar motions are observed in astronomic systems.
In the biotic kingdom plants and animals exhibit many varieties of organic motions, called functions. These are superadded to the physical motions, which appear alike in the physical and biotic kingdoms. Physical bodies exhibit motions; biotic bodies exhibit motions and functions, the latter being highly organized motions.
In the anthropic kingdom there is a complexity of motions arising from biotic functions, which are arranged and combined so as to produce activities. These activities are represented by arts, institutions, languages, and opinions.
there are three great classes of motions corresponding to the three
great classes of combinations, namely, physical motions; biotic
motions, or functions; and anthropic motions, or activities.
THE RELATION OF MOTION TO COMBINATION.
It will at once be seen that anthropic combination is such by virtue of human activities. Activital combination is manifestly composed motion.
Again, biotic aggregates are such by virtue of continuous combination and dissolution. Within proper limits a biotic body may be compared to a river; it is a form through which matter passes. In plants some of this passing matter becomes fixed for a time, but eventually returns from the biotic to the mineral kingdom. Among animals this passage of physical matter through the biotic form is more rapid. The organic functions, also, of these bodies are but arranged or organized motions. Life is motion — the specific motion called function.
Again, among the aggregations of the physical kingdom, stellar systems are aggregates by virtue of motion. The combination observed is due to composed motion. Of the mechanical combinations, that exhibited in the atmosphere is such by virtue of motion — that is, the gaseous state is preserved by the interference of molecular motions, and the bodies into which it is imperfectly differentiated, i. e., currents of air, are such by virtue of motion. Again, the imperfectly aggregated bodies of water are such by virtue of motion. This is seen to be true of the clouds floating in the air, and of rivers rolling to the seas. Lakes with outlets are bodies of water in motion, forever fed from the clouds, forever discharging into the sea; and mediterranean seas without outlet are perpetually receiving and discharging their waters; and so far as the sea is differentiated into currents, these are bodies imperfectly aggregated by motion.
There yet remain certain molecular combinations of inorganic substances, due to affinity and gravity, the nature of which is not so immediately perceived. Now, as all societies and other anthropic combinations are such by virtue of their motions, known as activities, and as all biotic bodies are such by virtue of their functions, and as all stellar combinations are such by virtue of stellar motion, and as finally all mechanical combinations are such by virtue of motion, it is at once suggested as an inductive hypothesis that those combinations the nature of which is yet unknown are also such by virtue of motion. It is an hypothesis worthy of consideration, that affinity and gravity are also due to motion. It has even been supposed by some that chemical and barologic methods of combination are but diverse modes of the same process; that affinity and gravity constitute but one method of combination, and that we call it affinity when the combination involves minute bodies, below our sense perceptions, and gravity when larger bodies are involved.
An attempt bas thus been made to define the three kingdoms of matter in terms of matter and motion, showing that there are three methods of combination, and that the parts combined are related by these corresponding methods, and that in each kingdom motions of a distinctive class are discovered. The constitution of physical bodies is due to composed motion; the constitution of biotic bodies is due to composed transmutations of motion; anthropic combinations are due to related activities.
order that there be evolution, there must be change in combination
of matter and in mode of motion. The sole property of matter is
motion, and motion itself is change of position. But this change of
position results in change of combination, and change of combination
results in change of mode of motion. These changes must now be set
CHANGE OF COMBINATION.
If the mind could discern and classify all the bodies of the universe at any one moment, only space conditions would enter therein; but bodies change from time to time, so that there are sequences of combination. Substances and aggregates of matter are such by reason of an arrangement is position of their constituent parts. Substances and bodies change in external relations and in internal relations. Change in external relations is change of position in relation to external things. Change in internal relations is the change in relative arrangement of constituent parts. And this change of position is always motion, the first and only property of matter.
Chemical, crystalline, and lithical combinations are decomposed and otherwise re-composed, mechanical combinations are broken up and otherwise re-arranged, and stellar aggregates are believed to have liven gradually formed. With physical bodies internal change is the direct result of external change. This is their distinctive characteristic, that all their changes of constitution result directly from agencies without themselves.
Biotic bodies exhibit the same changes as mineral bodies, and also is series peculiar to themselves. First, biotic substances are segregated from the mineral kingdom — i. e., mineral substances are changed into biotic substances. Second, biotic bodies begin, grow, decline, and die, This is a progressive change of structure. Third, the structure of biotic bodies is preserved by continuous change in their constituent matter. Form and structure are preserved while the matter is forever changing. Life is a determined, systematic sequence of transmutations of motion, transformations of matter, and transfigurations of body. Life is change. Fourth, as the individuals are not persistent, the method of aggregation continues by the processes of reproduction of like forms. But these like forms are made unlike — i. e., changed — by two processes. In the biotic reproduction of the higher forms the bisexual method prevails, so that each individual is the offspring of two parents, like both so far as they are alike, but differing from the one or the other so far as they' are unlike. Fifth, the individual has its constitution determined by its parents, but subject to changes which may be brought about by external relations differing from those to which the parents were subjected; and within limits these are transmitted to offspring. Thus it is seen that biotic changes are caused by external and internal agencies.
may be put in another form. In mineral bodies the same matter is
changed in structure. In biotic bodies the same or nearly the same
structure remains and the constituent matter changes; yet there is a
slow change in structure from birth to death, and a still further
change in structure from generation to generation; but there is more
rapid change of constituent matter. Anthropic aggregates arise, not
by a combination of matter, but by a combination of the
activities of biotic bodies. These biotic bodies themselves
change, as individuals disappear and new ones take their places. Thus
family group succeeds family group, and generations of people succeed
generations of people. In the same manner arts change. Old arts are
abandoned and new arts appear. Various societies cease to exist and
new societies are organized. The organization due to the
differentiation of operations steadily increases by the division of
labor; and the grouping of bodies of men into states, i. e.,
tribes and nations, is in constant flux. So, languages change —
they grow and die. And opinions change with each individual and from
generation to generation. All these changes are determined by the
will of the individual units who are actors — that is, activities
change because the actors so desire. Anthropic change is due to
CHANGE OF MOTION.
That motion is persistent is a fundamental axiom. But while it does not change in quantity it changes in quality in diverse ways. First, motion may be changed in direction. Simple motion is the motion of a body in a straight line, and change of such motion of the lowest order is change in direction, and this is accomplished by the combination of two or more motions having different directions. Then motion may be transmitted from one body to another. The molecular motions — heat, light, electricity, sound, etc. — are motions propagated by transmission from molecule to molecule. In the kinematic hypothesis of gravity it is held that atomic motion is transmitted from atoms to combined and aggregated bodies by impact; and here we reach another method of change — that by transmutation. One mode of motion may be transmuted into another, as molar motion into heat, and heat into electricity.
By the combination of matter motion is composed. Mineral substances and aggregates exhibit this composition of diverse modes of motion. Biotic bodies exhibit composition of modes of motion, and also composition of transmutations of motion, and it is this latter characteristic which distinguishes biotic from physical motion. Activital combinations exhibit a composition of modes of motion, and a composition of the transmutations of motion, and a composition by co-operative action. It is the last characteristic which distinguishes activital motion from biotic.
The changes of motion exhibited in the mineral kingdom are changes in direction by combination, changes in relative quantity by transmission, changes in mode of motion through transmutation, and changes in the combination of modes of motion.
In the biotic kingdom the same changes are found as in the mineral kingdom, but to them are added changes in the composition of transmutations of motion.
the anthropic kingdom all the changes in the other kingdoms appear,
together with changes in the composition of activities.
As matter is indestructible, when one combination or aggregation is dissolved some other must appear, and vice versa. Existing bodies must have antecedents. In tracing backward the history of bodies, lines of sequences are followed. Many such are known, and the first important characteristic to be noted of them is they are orderly. Like bodies have like antecedents. From this results one of the highest inductions of science, namely, that from consequents antecedents can be restored, and from antecedents consequents can be predicted. The second important characteristic of these sequences of change is that many are in a definite direction, which is gradually becoming known. This general course of change is denominated Evolution, and the term must be defined.
is progress in systemization. It must be noted that not all changes
are progressive; some are retrogressive. It is only progressive
change that is here called evolution; retrogressive change is
dissolution. As the term is here used, a System is an assemblage of
interdependent parts, each arranged in subordination to the whole so
as to constitute an integer. Evolution may therefore be defined in
another way. It is progress in differentiation by the establishment
of unlike parts, and in the integration of these parts by the
establishment of interdependence. Dissolution is retrogression by the
lapsing of integration through the destruction of interdependence,
and the lapsing of differentiation through the loss of heterogeneity
EVOLUTION IN THE PHYSICAL KINGDOM.
Under the kinematic hypothesis, which embraces the ethereal and nebular hypotheses, portions of discrete matter have been segregated to be combined and aggregated. The process precedent to evolution, then, is combination and aggregation, by which substances and integers are produced.
Whatever may be the fate of the explanation of the origin of substances and aggregates through the kinematic and concomitant hypotheses, the fact remains that such bodies exist, and the evolution of matter, as it is hereafter dealt with, starts from this point. Given substances and aggregates as they are known to exist in nature, and given changes which they are known to undergo, it is proposed to point out by what methods evolution is attained.
The terms substance and aggregate have been used as distinguishing two orders of combination. It should be noted that they cannot be clearly demarcated. Substances are composed of homogeneous, non-interdependent parts, but this homogeneity is never absolute, and some alight degree of interdependence may always be discovered. Aggregates, on the other hand, are composed of heterogeneous, interdependent parts, but degrees of heterogeneity and interdependence appear. Combination is the bringing together of dissociated matter; and it is in the combinations, separations, and re-combinations of matter that evolution appears.
In mineral bodies combinations proceed by molecular, molar, and stellar methods. It has been shown that the changes in these bodies are due to external conditions or forces. If a given body be in harmony with external conditions no change occurs in its constitution, but if it be out of harmony the impinging agencies effect such modifications as will produce harmony. This may be done by a change in the body as a substance or aggregate, or by its separation and re-combination in some more harmonious form. The evolution of mineral bodies is thus accomplished by direct adaptation to external conditions.
If it is permitted hypothetically to conceive of a universe of ethereal matter — i. e., matter composed of discrete atoms in motion, such atoms would remain in an attenuated condition by atomic impact. In matter thus constituted, motion could be transmitted from atom to atom, but no new mode of motion would result therefrom. The mass of matter thus constituted would be absolutely homogeneous. But if by some method several such atoms should be combined, so as to move together as a common body, and so that their interspaces could not be penetrated by other atoms, the motion of an impinging atom would not only be transmitted to the larger body, but it would also be transmuted into another mode or kind of motion. If other such molecules were formed by the segregation of atoms from the homogeneous mass, the new kind of motion would be set up in all the matter thus segregated, and the motions of these bodies would react one upon another. If, again, some of these molecules were segregated, to be combined in larger bodies, with or without such a diminution of interspaces as to prevent the interpenetration of atoms, a third mode of motion would be established; and if diverse methods of aggregation should occur, diverse modes of motion would be established thereby; and in all combining and re-combining, aggregating and re-aggregating, new modes and complexities would arise.
It is a well-known law that a moving body passes in the direction of the least resistance. Diverse modes of motion may exist in a body, due to the complexities of its organization. In the transmission of motion to such a body from another by impact, the motion transmitted is transmuted into that mode which gives it the least resistance. This is illustrated on every hand. When a smaller body impinges against a larger, the inequality between the two may be so great that molar motion is not set up in the larger body, but the whole of the imparted motion is transmuted into heat or some other molecular motion.
law, that motion passes in the direction of least resistance, is the
equivalent of the law of adaptation in the evolution of matter.
When evolution is considered from the standpoint of matter, it is
convenient to use the term Adaptation; when considered from
the standpoint of motion, it is more convenient to use the term Least
EVOLUTION IN THE BIOTIC KINGDOM.
In biotic bodies it has been seen that change is the result of internal as well as external conditions. As external conditions, or the environment, are changing, these bodies change to a limited extent, in the same manner as do mineral bodies; but there is also a change brought about indirectly by the environment, through certain internal changes in the constitution of biotic bodies. Through this internal constitution individuals are changed in time — one generation dies and another succeeds.
There is yet another method of change in biotic bodies, which steadily increases from the lowest to the highest — that is, the change in their constituent matter. While structure changes slowly from birth through growth and decadence to death, the constituent matter changes with much greater rapidity. In this change the minute elements of structure change much more rapidly than the larger into which they are compounded; so that every part of the organ must be supplied with new material to replace that which is steadily becoming effete and passing away. Now the rate of this change in any integral part of an organism is dependent upon the activity of the organ. Exercise increases the rate of change in the constituent matter of a biotic organ, and thus the slow change in its structure, which proceeds from life to death, is accelerated. This accelerated change results in increased differentiation of the organ, and it thereby becomes more and more efficient in the performance of its function. This change, therefore, results from exercise. Organs that are exercised increase in efficiency, by non-exercise they decrease in efficiency. This change in the organization of any one individual is but slight, but as the slight changes pass from one generation to another, continuous exercise of one set of organs greatly modifies them; continuous neglect of exercise in another set modifies them also, until at last they are atrophied. Thus by exercise and non-exercise important structural changes are produced when conjoined with the changes due to heredity.
All these changes result in progress, from the fact that those individuals whose change is in a direction out of harmony with the environment ultimately perish, while those whose change is in a direction in harmony with the environment survive. This method of adaptation or evolution in biology is called "the survival of the fittest."
The rate of evolution by survival is greatly accelerated by another condition. Each pair of biotic bodies reproduce a large number of new bodies, so that reproduction from generation to generation is in a high geometric ratio. The earth having become occupied with all the biotic beings that can derive sustentation therefrom, but a small fraction of the beings produced in a generation can live. Few survive, many succumb. Survival by adaptation is therefore made more efficient by competition.
There are other changes in the biotic kingdom brought about by adaptation. The multiplicity of biotic beings, causing over-population, has crowded them into every conceivable habitat — in the air on the land, and in the water; and living beings have become adapted thereto by the development of wings, legs, fins, and correlative organs. Thus by exercise organs have been developed, and by non-exercise other organs have been atrophied, until living beings have become specialized for a vast diversity of habitats — for life on the mountain and in the valley, in the light and in the dark, in the cold and in the heat, in humid regions and in arid regions. Living beings have also been adapted to various kinds of food and to various methods of acquisition — in fine, to a great variety of conditions.
This specialization by development, through exercise and non-exercise, must be clearly distinguished from the processes of evolution. The heterogeneous living beings thus produced are but multiplied and diverse forms, animals and plants alike being as often degraded as evolved in the processes of specialization. Degradation is especially to be noticed in parasitic animals and others adapted to extremely abnormal habitats; but it should be understood that a form thus produced may, in the process of its production and subsequent existence, make progressive change in the system of its structure by the methods of evolution already characterized.
is greatly accelerated by a peculiar method. As all the higher
animals are physically discrete, psychic relations must be
established, in order that they may meet for the act of
reproduction. These psychic relations gradually develop into
choice, or sexual selection, and by methods which have been clearly
pointed out by biologists the minute increments of change that result
therefrom eventually accumulate into strong variations, always
adapted to the conditions of the environment. Thus the survival of
the fittest is accelerated by sexual selection.
EVOLUTION IN THE ANTHROPIC KINGDOM.
If attention is directed exclusively to animal life, we notice that evolution has proceeded pari passu with specialization. Of the forms that have been specialized from time to time some have become extinct, some have been degraded, and some have been evolved in varying degree. One form, not the most specialized, made the greatest progress in evolution, until an organism was developed of so high a grade that this species became more independent of environment than any other, and, by reason of its superiority, spread widely throughout the land portion of the globe. This superior animal was early man, when he first inhabited all the continents and the great islands. The production of this superior, i. e. more highly systematized organism, was the antecedent to the inauguration of new methods of evolution.
It has been shown that the great efficiency of the biotic method of evolution by survival depends upon competition for existence in enormously overcrowded population. Man, having acquired superiority to other animals, passed beyond the stage when he had to compete with them for existence upon the earth and into the stage where he could utilize plants and animals alike for his own purposes. They could no longer crowd him out, and to that extent the law of the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence was annulled in its application to man. He artificially multiplies such of the lower animals as are most useful to him, and domesticates them, that they may be more thoroughly under his control, and modifies them, that they may be more useful, and uses such as be will for beasts of burden; and the wild beasts he destroys from the face of the earth. In like manner the creates useful plants, and destroys such as are worthless to him. He does not compete with other biotic species, but utilizes them for Isis welfare. Yet the law of the survival of the fittest applies in so far as it is not dependent upon competition, and slow evolution may still result therefrom. But at this stage new methods spring up of such great efficiency that the method by the survival of the fittest may be neglected because of its insignificance.
In anthropic combinations the units are men, and men at this stage are no longer passive objects, but active subjects; and instead of man being passively adapted to the environment, he adapts the environment to himself through his activities. This is the essential characteristic of anthropic evolution. Adaptation becomes active instead of passive. In this change certain parts of the human organism are increasingly exercised from generation to generation. This steadily increasing exercise results in steadily increasing development, and the progress of the unit — man — in this higher organization depends upon development through exercise. But the progress by exercise depends upon the evolution of activities.
Man is an animal, and may be studied as such; and this branch of science belongs to biology. But man is more than an animal. Though an animal in biotic function, he is man in his anthropic activities; for by them men are combined — i. e., interrelated — so that they are not discrete beings, but each acts on, for, and with, his fellow-man in the pursuit of happiness. Human activities, thus combined and organized, transcend the activities of the lower animals to such a degree as to produce a new kingdom of matter. The nature of these activities must here be set forth.
The first grand class is composed of those which affect the external world, and by them men are interrelated through their desires. These activities are the Arts. The arts have been evolved by human invention, and man has been impelled thereto by his endeavor to supply his wants. In the course of the evolution of the arts, man has progressively obtained control over the materials and powers of nature. All the arts of all the human period are the inventions of men. But invention has proceeded by minute increments of growth. A vast multiplicity of arts have been devised, of which comparatively few survive in the highest civilization. As the inventions have been made, the best in the average has been chosen. Man has therefore exercised choice. The evolution of the arts has thus been by the method of invention and choice, in the endeavor to gratify desire, and by them man has adapted the environment to himself.
Second. There is a grand class of activities through which men are interrelated in respect to their conduct. These activities result in Institutions. Through them men are associated for a variety of purposes. Every institution is an organization of a number of individuals, who work together for a common purpose, as, for example, to prosecute some industrial enterprise, to co-operate in the pursuit of pleasure, to promote some system of opinions, or to worship together under the forms of some religion. All such institutions constitute a class denominated Operative Institutions. A second class are the institutions which man has organized for the direct regulation of conduct. These are States and their subordinate units, with their special organs of government, and rules for the regulation of conduct, called Laws.
Institutions have been developed from extreme simplicity to extreme complexity. They are all the inventions of mankind, and their evolution has been by minute increments of growth. Their invention has been wrought out that men might live together in peace and render one another assistance; and gradually, by the consideration of particulars of conduct as they have arisen from time to time, men have sought to establish justice, that they might thereby secure peace. Of the vast multiplicity of institutions, forms of state, forms of government, and provisions of law — which have been invented, but few remain in the highest civilization, and these few have been selected by men. Men have thus exercised choice. Institutions, therefore, have been developed by invention and the choice of the just in the endeavor to secure peace.
Third: There is another fundamental group of activities through which men are interrelated in respect to their thoughts. These are the activities of mental intercommunication, and result in Languages. Languages, also, are inventions by minute increments of growth. Many languages have been invented, and in each language many words and many methods of combining linguistic devices have been invented. In the languages of the most civilized peoples, but few of these survive; and there are spoken by all the peoples of the earth but few languages in comparison to the many that existed in the early history of mankind; and the method of survival, when analyzed, is found also to be choice. Men have chosen the economic in the expression of thought. Languages, therefore, have developed by invention and choice in the struggle for expression.
Fourth. There is a grand class of activities by which men are interrelated in respect to their designs. Men arrive at Opinions, and these have always reacted upon languages, institutions, and arts, and largely led them in their courses of progress. Because of their opinions, men are willing to work together, and thus have common designs. There have been many opinions and many systems of philosophy. Of all that have existed, but few remain in the highest civilization. A careful analysis of the facts relating to the growth of opinions reveals this truth, that opinions also are invented, and that the final survival of the few has been due to the human act of choice in the selection of the truth. Opinions, therefore, have been developed by invention and choice in the struggle to know.
Fifth. Opinions are formed as the direct activities of the Mind. Languages, institutions, and arts have arisen through the action of the mind and the exercise of other corporeal functions. All these activities, therefore, are dependent upon the mind. On the other hand, these objective activities react upon the mind, so that mental operations are controlled thereby. Through the exercise of the mind in the prosecution of activities it is developed. These mental activities are perception and comparison, or reflection, as it is more usually called. The subjective evolution of the mind is therefore the product of the objective evolution of activities.
These five great classes of activities are interdependent in such a manner that one is not possible without the others; they arise together, and their history proceeds by a constant interchange of effects. All tine five classes of activities react upon man as an animal in such a manner that his biotic history subsequent to his differentiation from the lower animals is chiefly dependent thereon. The evolution of man as a being superior to the beast is therefore due to the organization of activities.
It has been shown that man does not compete with the lower animals for existence. In like manner, man does not compete with man for existence; for by the development of activities men are interdependent inn such a manner that the welfare of one depends upon the welfare of others; and as men discover that welfare must necessarily be mutual, egoism is transmutted into altruism, and moral sentiments are developed which become the guiding principles of mankind. So morality repeals the law of the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence, and man is thus immeasurably superior to the beast. In animal evolution many are sacrificed for the benefit of the few. Among mankind the welfare of one depends upon the welfare of all, because interdependence has been established.
It has thus been shown that there are three stages in the combination of matter and motion, and that each stage is characterized by a clearly distinct method of evolution. These may be defined as follows:
First, physical evolution is the result of direct adaptation to environment, under the law that motion is in the direction of least resistance.
Second, biotic evolution is the result of indirect adaptation to the environment by the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence.
Third, anthropic evolution is the result of the exercise of human faculties in activities designed to increase happiness, and through which the environment is adapted to man.
These may be briefly denominated: evolution by adaptation, evolution by survival of the fittest, and evolution by endeavor.
Civilized men have always recognized to some extent the laws of human evolution, — that activities are teleologically developed, and that happiness is increased thereby. In the early history of mankind the nature of teleologic endeavor was so strongly impressed upon the mind that the theory was carried far beyond the truth, so that all biotic function and physical motion were interpreted as teleologic activity. When this error was discovered, and the laws of physical and biotic evolution established, vast realms of phenomena were found to have been entirely misunderstood and falsely explained, and teleologic postulates have finally fallen into disrepute. Men say there is progress in the universe by reason of the very laws of nature, and we must let them alone. Thus, reaction from the ancient false philosophy of teleology has carried men beyond the truth, until they have lost faith in all human endeavor; and they teach the doctrine that man can do nothing for himself, that he owes what he is to physical and biotic agencies, and that his interests are committed to powers over which he has no control.
Such a philosophy is gradually gaining ground among thinkers and writers, and should it prevail to such an extent as to control the actions of mankind, modern civilization would lapse into a condition no whit superior to that of the millions of India, who for many centuries have been buried in the metaphysical speculations of the philosophy of ontology. When man loses faith in himself, and worships nature, and subjects himself to the government of the laws of physical nature, he lapses into stagnation, where mental and moral miasm is bred. All that makes man superior to the beast is the result of his own endeavor to secure happiness.
Man, so far as he is superior to the beast, is the master of his own destiny, and not the creature of the environment. He adapts the natural environment to his wants, and thus creates an environment for himself. Thus it is that we do not discover a biotically aquatic variety of man, yet he dwells upon the sea and derives sustentation from the animals thereof by means of his arts. A biotically arboreal variety of man is not discovered, but the forest are used in his arts and the fruits of the forests for his sustentation. An aërial variety of man is not discovered, but be uses the winds to propel his machinery and to drive his sails; and, indeed, he can ride upon the air with wings of his own invention. A boreal variety of man is not discovered, but he can dwell among the everlasting snows by providing architectural shelter, artificial warmth and bodily protection.
Under the influences of the desert a few plants secure a constitution by which the moisture imbibed during brief and intermittent rains is not evaporated; they become incrusted with a non-porous glaze, or contract themselves into the smallest space and exist without life until the rain comes again. Man lives in the desert by guiding a river thereon and fertilizing the sands with its waters, and the desert is covered with fields and gardens and homes. Everywhere he rises superior to physical nature. The angry sea may not lash him with its waves, for on the billows he builds a palace, and journeys from land to land. When the storm rises it is signaled from afar, and he gathers his loved ones under the shelter of his home, and they listen to the melody of the rain upon the roof. When the winds of winter blow he kindles fossil sunshine on his hearth, and sings the song of the Ingleside. When night covers the earth with darkness he illumines his path with lightning light. For disease he discovers antidote, for pain nepenthe, and he gains health and long life by sanitation; and ever is he utilizing the materials of nature, and ever controlling its powers. By his arts, institutions, languages, and philosophies he has organized a new kingdom of matter, over which he rules. The beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the denizens of the waters, the winds, the waves, the rivers, the seas, the mountains, the valleys, are his subjects; the powers of nature are his servants, and the granite earth his throne.