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Evolution: An Investigation and a Critique

Evolution: An Investigation and a Critique

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Evolution, by Theodore Graebner

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Title: Evolution An Investigation and a Critique

Author: Theodore Graebner

Release Date: September 18, 2006 [eBook #19321]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


E-text prepared by Kurt A. T. Bodling, formerly Director of Library Services at Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, USA


An Investigation and a Criticism


Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.

Milwaukee, Wis. Northwestern Publishing House, 1921.

Species tot sunt, quot diversas formas ab initio produxit Infinitum Ens. Linne.

To the Memory of my teacher (New Ulm, 1892) John Schaller Educator,
Theologian, Student of Science these chapters are dedicated by The


Chapter 1. An Outline of the Theory…11 Definition—Historical Review—The Darwinian Hypothesis—Lines of Evidence—The Descent of Man—The Nebular Hypothesis—The Origin of Life—The Bearing of Evolution on Christianity.
Chapter 2. Unexplained Origins…29 The Origin of the Universe—The Origin of Life—Biological Barriers— Man.
Chapter 3. The Testimony of the Rocks…47
Chapter 4. The Fixity of Species…62
Chapter 5. Rudimentary Organs…70
Chapter 6. Instinct…74
Chapter 7. Heredity…80
Chapter 8. A Scientific Creed Outworn…87
Chapter 9. Man…94
Chapter 10. The Verdict of History…113
Chapter 11. Evidences of Design…124
Chapter 12. The Fatal Bias…141


I first read Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" in the library of my sainted uncle, John Schaller, at New Ulm, Minnesota, in 1892. I did not comprehend all of it then, a cause, to me, of considerable chagrin, for which I later found some consolation in the opinion of Dr. Frederick Lynch, who pronounces Darwin's epochal work "one of the two most difficult books in the English language." But like many others, I understood enough of Darwin's book to catch glimpses of the grandeur of the conception which underlies its argumentation. It was then that my beloved uncle, out of that wide and accurate reading which so frequently astonished his friends, and with that penetrating dialectic of his, opened my eyes to certain fallacies in Darwin's argument, especially to the fatal weakness of the chapter on Instinct. The reading of St. George Mivart's book "The Genesis of Species" later convinced me of the accuracy of my uncle's judgment. But the fascination of the subject persisted, and for a time Herbert Spencer's "Synthetic Philosophy," by the comprehensiveness of its induction and its vast array of data, exercised its thrall. Alfred Russel Wallace's "Darwinism," Huxley's "Lectures on Evolution," Tyndall's "The Beginning of Things," Grant Allen's "The Evolutionist at Large," Eimer's "Orthogenesis," Clodd's "Story of Creation," occupied me in turn, until the apodictic presentation of John Fiske's Essays on Darwinism, no less than the open and haggard opposition to Christianity which prevails in Huxley's "Science and Hebrew Tradition" and in Spencer's chapters on "The Unknowable" (so the Synthetic Philosophy denominates God), caused a revulsion of sentiment,—the anti-religious bias of evolution standing forth the clearer to my mind, the longer I occupied myself with the subject.

I determined to investigate for myself the data on which the speculations whose mazes I had trod these years were built up. The leisure hours of three years were devoted to the study of first-hand sources of Comparative Religion. The result of this research was deposited in two articles contributed to the Theological Quarterly in 1906 and 1907. I fear that the forbidding character of the foot-notes served as an effective deterrent to the reading of these articles. I have now given, in several chapters of this little volume, in popular language the argument against evolution to be derived from the study of Religion. The reading of Le Conte's and Dana's text-books of geology and various other treatises supplied the data on palaeontology embodied in the first chapters of the book. The notable circulus in concludendo ("begging the question") of which evolutionists here are guilty was first pointed out to me by Prof. Tingelstad of Decorah, Iowa, who was in 1908 taking a course in Evolution at Chicago University, and who called on me for discussion of the doctrine as he received it from "head-quarters."

An an excursus in the subject of Pedagogy, I have treated in my Seminary lectures the past years, under the head of natural sciences, the argument against evolution, and the outlines of these lectures have furnished the framework for the present volume. It is hoped that especially our young men and women who take courses at our universities will examine the case against the fascinating and in some respects magnificent conception of evolution as this case is presented in the following chapters. I realize that they, as well as intelligent readers generally, may not meet with confidence the statements of a theologian on a scientific question, least of all when he essays to treat such a question from the standpoint of science. He is presumed to be at home in theology, but a stranger in the domain of geology, astronomy, and biology. It is for the purpose of obtaining a hearing at all that these introductory remarks are written. But the argument must stand on its own merits. The writer will now retire to the background. The facts shall speak.

TH. G.


CHAPTER ONE. An Outline of the Theory. Definition.

Evolution is a name comprehending certain theories which seek to account for all operations of nature as carried on according to fixed laws by means of forces resident in nature. Prof. J. LeConte of the University of California defines evolution as: "Continuous progressive change according to certain laws and by means of resident forces." Evolution is a theory, a philosophy, it is not a science. The theory is called organic evolution in its relation to living forms (plant and animal life), cosmic evolution, inasmuch as attempts have been made to account by certain laws and the working of resident forces for the development of the universe,—the earth, the sun, and the starry heavens. Also the development of society, of religion, morals, politics, art, and mechanical inventions is accounted for on the theory that there are forces which, acting according to certain laws, have through many changes made human life and institutions as we see them today.

The doctrine of Evolution briefly stated, is as follows: That in some infinitely remote period in the past, how or from whence science does not affirm, there appeared matter and force; that within matter and in