The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 53
V. — The Uniformity of Creation
The Uniformity of Creation.
The evil consequences of starting with a theory and then hunting for evidence to support it, are not confined to those strained deductions from isolated facts, which as we have seen, comprise the stock-in-trade of the Darwinian, but the mind becomes blinded to the true and natural inferences from phenomena which are not exceptional but universal in Nature. Nothing could more forcibly demonstrate this proposition than the confidence with which evolutionists advance, as arguments in their favour, the uniform characteristics of certain structures in widely different animals. In the very oldest fossiliferous strata, said Mr. Denton in his lecture on the" Origin of Man," we see the limbs of the starfish assuming the five-fingered form, or if not five, fifteen, or some multiple of five; so this number five crops out all through the ages—we have it now in the foot and wing of the bird, in the wing of the bat, in the flipper of the whale, and in the hand of man, As the rounds of applause followed this startling evidence of identity, we were irresistibly reminded of that other mystic number, six hundred and sixty-six—the mark of the beast—which an ingenious writer in recent years manipulated with so much dexterity that thousands of worthy simple-minded people were induced to identify Napoleon III. as the veritable beast of the Apocalypse, and the" Destined Monarch of the World." But Napoleon is dead, and with him died the hopes and fears of the believers in his glory and infamy; so, too, many of us will live to see this doctrine of descent banished from the earth by the concentrated force of human intelligence, and by the return of scientific men from the region of idle speculation to the safe paths of exact observation and utilitarian research.
The five-fingered argument was advanced by Darwin in his "Origin of Species" in these words: "How inexplicable is the similar pattern of the hand of a man, the foot of a dog, the wing of a bat, the flipper of a seal, on the doctrine of independent acts of creation! How simply explained on the principle of the natural selection of successive slight variations in the diverging page 30 descendants from a single progenitor." A Creator, it will be observed, should, in Mr. Darwin's opinion, have adopted, in every creature of his handiwork, an entirely new design for organs discharging the same functions. But, not to dwell upon this point, let us read on to learn the "simple explanation" of the evolutionist. Here it is: "We may further venture to believe that the bones in the limbs of the monkey, horse, and bat, were originally developed on the principle of utility, probably through the reduction of more numerous bones in the fin of some ancient fish-like progenitor of the whole class." How very simple! Then, the five-fingered crinoids of the old Laurentian times lost the mystic number by natural selection in "the more numerous bones in the fin of some ancient fish," and then the "more numerous hones" were reduced down again on the "principle of utility" to the original five which were found to answer equally well in the wing of a bat or the hand of a man. Would anyone not arguing from a foregone conclusion, have advanced an explanation so preposterous? On what "principle of utility" are five ribs in the bat's wing of more value than ten; or five fingers more useful than any other number in the flipper of the seal! Is there, indeed, a single physiological fact to prove that a man could not have got through life with as much ease and comfort with four or six toes as with five? We state, unhesitatingly, that there is no such fact. Could there, then, be anything more fatal to the doctrine of Evolution than this very uniformity of structure in individuals whose several characteristics are so widely differentiated. Is it conceivable that if the law of variation had been exercised upon the offspring of any single progenitor for the production of a man, a bat, a seal, and a dog, this non-essential framework could have been preserved in each without variation? How beautifully, however, is this evidence of uniform design—so fatal to any theory of development through countless variations—interpreted by Agassiz: "It exhibits everywhere the working of the same creative mind, through all times, and upon the whole surface of the globe." In his "Essay of Classification," Agassiz supports this position with many convincing observations upon the relations of species to their surrounding conditions, and to each other. The same idea is ably argued by the Duke of Argyle in "The Reign of Law."
But Mr. Darwin in his later years, and Mr. Huxley, his chief disciple, soon perceived the dilemma in which a uniformity without essential utility inevitably landed the doctrine of Natural Selection. It was this discovery that led Mr. Huxley to speak of the argument from unused structures as "two-edged," and compelled Mr. Darwin to modify the claims he had originally advanced on behalf of Natural Selection as the all-potent factor in the evolution of species. One simple example more striking even than that just mentioned will explain the difficulty. It cannot be page 31 supposed—nor will any Darwinian dare to contend—that the present relations of the sexes in the propagation of species have not dated back to a period prior to the dawn of mammalian life on the earth. Why then are mammary organs, witch are not, and never can have been of use to t he male, preserved in his structure? Darwin, as we showed in our last paper, confesses there is no answer from the ethics of evolution to questions like this, which are explained with so much ease simplicity, and overwhelming force by the theory of design in the mind of the great Architect of the Universe.
Impossible as it is for Mr. Darwin to repair these breaks in the chain of his argument, even granting him all his premises, how much wilder would be the attempt if the Spontaneous Generation contented for by Professor Hæckel were conceded. That countless germs of life, springing spontaneously out of matter, should have evolved a uniformity in animal structure coming within the possibility of any sort of classification, is utterly incredible But we see the plan of One Creative Mind indelibly stamped upon all animated nature, and no variation can ever remove it. The fish of the Mammoth Cave, dwelling in everlasting darkness, may become sightless, but the eye remains to testify to its unity with the whole species; and thousands of organs - useless in an evolutionary sense, unaccountable as the productions of Natural Selection, violating in its first principles the cardinal theory of the Darwinists—are propagated with unfailing uniformity, age after age, producing perfect order amid the infinite variety of exquisite forms and colours, and the perfection of an inexhaustible loveliness. Can anyone consider these things rationally without agreeing with Oscar Peschel that "It is just the new pith of the Darwinian doctrine—namely, Natural Selection—which still remains unaccredited,"*
* "The Races of Man," by Oscar Peschel (1876).