Bertram Coghill Alan Windle.

The church and science online

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Thus the brain differs only in degree and not in kind from
that of other mammals, and as regards the higher apes
differs but little even in kind.

Now if " the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes
bile," how is it that there is such a wide difference, such an
impassable gulf between the brain-secretions of man and
the apes and so very trivial a difference between — say, their
liver secretions ? We may develop this point a little further.

The elephant has a larger brain absolutely than a man.
Yet, though no doubt the elephant is a wise beast, he is
certainly not the mental superior of man. Hence it cannot
be absolute size of brain which is correlated with thought,
nor can it be relative size, for the relative size of man's
brain is less than of some of the smaller birds. If size has
nothing to do with it, can it be the thickness and com-
plexity of the convolutions, the ridges, separated from one
another by furrows, into which the surface of the brain is
thrown ? Can it be the amount of grey matter which it
possesses or the percentage of phosphorus which it con-
tains ? It may at once be said that there is no evidence in
support of the materialistic theory to be obtained in any of
these directions ; indeed we may rest assured that facts in
no way fit in with the theory.

Take the brain of the anthropoid ape. It may at once
be admitted that its anatomy most closely resembles that
of the human brain. What then ? Does that advance in
any kind of way the materialistic argument ? Quite the
contrary. One remembers the time — it is almost incredible to
think of it — when it was really thought that the reverse was
the case, and when people seemed to imagine that supreme
importance was attachable in this connection to the ques-
tion as to whether an ape had or had not in his brain that
anatomical object known as the " hippocampus major."
Kingsley in his " Water Babies " satirised this absurd state
of mind so well that the passage will bear quotation. Speak-


ing of one of his characters, he says : " He had even got
up once at the British Association, and declared that apes
had hippopotamus majors in their brains just as men have.
Which was a shocking thing to say ; for, if that were so,
what would become of the faith, hope and charity of im-
mortal millions ? You may think there are more important
differences between you and an ape, such as being able
to speak, and make machines, and know right from wrong,
and say your prayers, and other little matters of that kind ;
but that is a child's fancy, my dear. Nothing is to be
depended upon but the great hippopotamus test. If you
have a hippopotamus major in your brain, you are no ape,
though you had four hands, no feet and were more apish
than the apes of all aperies."

Here you have two brains — two musical instruments, let
us say — not very markedly dissimilar from one another so
far as even a minute examination can show — which, in a
word, differ and that only slightly ; in degree and not in
kind. Yet one of these can produce heavenly music, whilst
the other can never rise above jangling discords. Surely
there must be a difference somewhere : if it is not in the
instruments, it must be referred to the performers thereon.
With a quite reasonably good brain, from the morphological
point of view, with a brain not so very inferior anatomically
to that which Aristotle and Shakespeare possessed, the ape
remains still the aimless ape of " The Jungle-Book," far
less intelligent even than animals not so well provided,
from the cerebral point of view, as he is. Size of brain in a
comparison between man and mammals, then, has nothing
to say to the question of intelligence. Nor has it in a
comparison between man and man. Since there is no
reason to doubt that his cerebral cavity was occupied by
brains and not by water, and since we know that palaeolithic
man had as large a brain mass and in some cases larger,
than we have, we must, if brain-mass be everything, admit
that he was a man of higher intellect than his degenerate
descendants of to-day. Of course he may have been so
and only repressed by lack of opportunity, but, if so, what
an anti-evolutionary argument is that ! It has already been
pointed out that Gambetta — no fool, whatever else he may
2 n


have been — had a singularly small brain : a dwarf with a
brain about the size of that of a large dog may have com-
plete intelligence and be able to speak several languages.

All these things show that the theory which teaches that it
is the brain which thinks and nothing higher than the brain
does not fit in with the facts of anatomy as now very fully
known to us. If the anatomical facts seem to negative the
materialistic conclusions so popular in the Victorian era,
what is to be offered in their place ?

Writers, as we have seen, who are unaffected by the
teachings of revelation, are now returning to the temporarily
discarded theory of the soul which the Catholic Church has
ever held. We began by stating that for the Catholic the
question of the existence or non-existence of the soul was
closed. The object of this and the preceding chapter has
been to show that, supposing it were not a closed question,
this theory still would have to be accepted as the only
rational explanation of the facts which have to be taken
into consideration.

This may be emphasised and the matter brought to a
conclusion by briefly summarising the conclusions recently
arrived at in the most important book of its kind which
has appeared in late years, viz. that of Dr. McDougall,
already mentioned. 1 After showing that the decision lies
between Parallelism (a form of Materialism) and Animism
(the doctrine of the Soul) he proceeds to show that " the
mechanical principles are not adequate to the explanation
of biological phenomena, neither the phenomena of racial
evolution nor those of the development of individual
organisms, nor the behaviour of men and animals." Further,
from the psychological point of view, " evidence was ad-
duced which conclusively proves that a strict parallelism
between our psychical processes and the physical processes
of our brains does not as a matter of empirical fact obtain ;
and it was shown that facts of our conscious life, especially
the fact of psychical individuality, the fact of the unity
of the consciousness correlated with the physical manifold
of brain-processes, cannot be rendered intelligible (as ad-
mitted by leading Parallelists) without the postulation of

1 " Body and Mind," pp. 355 seq., Methuen, 191 1.


some ground of unity other than the brain or material
organism." " The empirical evidence," he concludes,
" seems to weigh very strongly against Parallelism and in
favour of Animism."

Dr. McDougall further points out that though, whichever
horn of the dilemma we accept, we find ourselves with un-
solved difficulties before us and with strange consequences
forced upon us, yet " Animism has this great advantage
over its rival, namely, that it remains on the plane of em-
pirical science, and, while leaving the metaphysical ques-
tions open for independent treatment, can look forward to
obtaining further light on its problems through further
scientific research. It is thus a doctrine that stimulates
our curiosity and stirs us up to further efforts ; whereas
Parallelism necessarily involves the acceptance of meta-
physical doctrines which claim to embody ultimate truth and
which set rigid limits to the possibilities of further insight
into the nature of the world, and it finds itself forced to
regard certain of its problems as ultimately inexplicable.

" Finally, we have seen that Parallelism rules out all
religious conceptions and hopes and aspirations, save those
(if such there be) which are compatible with a strictly
mechanistic Pantheism — a Pantheism which in no way
differs from rigid Materialism in respect to practical con-
sequences for the life of mankind ; whereas Animism in
this sphere leaves open the whole field for further specula-
tion and inquiry, and permits us to hope and even to
believe that the world is better than it seems — that the
bitter injustices men suffer are not irreparable ; that their
moral efforts are not wholly futile ; that the life of the human
race may have a wider significance than we can demonstrate ;
and that the advent of a ' kindly comet,' or the getting out
of hand of some unusually virulent tribe of microbes, would
not necessarily mean the final nullity of human endeavour.
These," he concludes, " seem to me to be overwhelmingly
strong reasons for accepting, as the best working hypothesis
of the psycho-physical relation, the animistic horn of the
dilemma." With this summary of the conclusions of this
remarkable book we may end this section.


THE topics with which this book is concerned having
now passed under consideration, and such attention as
was possible having been bestowed upon them, it only
remains to emphasise some of the points to which atten-
tion can hardly be too much directed, since it is owing
to a neglect of these considerations that people form false
and dangerous ideas as to science and, it may be added, as
to religion also.

In the first place, then, let us get firm hold of the fact
that with the legitimate field of science religion has nothing
whatever to do, and should not, and we believe does not,
wish to interfere. By the field of science we mean the field
of observed facts, a thing apart from religion. It is when
scientific men begin to philosophise that conflict may arise.
It is well to emphasise the word may, for here again it may
safely be said that ninety-nine per cent of the philoso-
phisings of science do not in any way come in contact with
theological considerations : when they do so it is well to
remember what these philosophisings amount to.

It is of the first importance not to be led away by the
hot-gospellers of the daily and weekly press, or by the
enthusiasms of ardent and sometimes ignorant disciples.
It is equally of the first importance to remember that these
philosophisings are working hypotheses and nothing more —
perfectly legitimate as working hypotheses, often useful
to the progress of science, but not to be held up to us as
facts which we are compelled to accept. For example :
anatomists tell us that the bodily construction of men
and apes is almost identical : that is a positive fact which
can be proved to demonstration and theologians have no



reason to dispute it, nor the slightest desire to do so. But
when an anatomist comes along and says : " This similarity
and certain other facts known to us show that men and
apes have had a common ancestor," it is fair to reply that
while the matter may be as suggested, it is equally true that
it may not, since it is perfectly clear that what is alleged
as proof in no way amounts to what is required for purposes
of demonstration. Hence the theologian is acting well
within his limits when he says : " You have by no means
proved that point : until you do, you cannot expect me to
believe it nor, what is more, can you expect me to teach it
nor to approve of its being taught as fact." Further, he
might reasonably add, that all history teaches us that
things have been constantly put forward as true which were
afterwards withdrawn as having no sufficient foundation.
This is the second point which we have to bear in mind :
scientific theories are always coming and often going. Nor
is this only the case to-day : it has been so ever since men
began to work at science and to form scientific hypotheses.
Horace Walpole, whose letters have been the delight of
so many readers besides those for whom they were originally
designed, was no doubt an airy trifler, but no one will deny
that he was a shrewd observer of men and things. In a
letter to the Earl of Strafford 1 he writes, after alluding to
some rumour of an earthquake in London : " In my youth
philosophers were eager to ascribe every uncommon dis-
covery to the deluge ; now it is the fashion to solve every
appearance by conflagrations. If there was such an inun-
dation upon the earth and such a furnace under it, I am
amazed that Noah and company were not boiled to death.
Indeed, I am a great sceptic about human reasonings ; they
predominate only for a time, like other mortal fashions, and
are so often exploded after the mode is passed, that I hold
them little more serious, though they called themselves
wisdom. How many have I lived to see established and
confuted ! For instance, the necessity of a southern con-
tinent, as a balance, was supposed to be unanswerable —
and so it was, till Captain Cook found that there was no
such thing. We are poor silly animals : we live for an

1 Dated August 6, 1784.


instant upon a particle of a boundless universe, and are
much like a butterfly that should argue about the nature
of the seasons, and what creates their vicissitudes, and
does not exist itself to see one annual revolution of them."
It is a hundred and thirty years since this was written ;
yet that lapse of time has only intensified its truth. If
everybody had only remembered that working hypotheses
are a necessity of scientific progress but are only hypotheses
and nothing else and are just as likely as not to be dis-
carded, almost all the trouble which has arisen in the past
would have been avoided. Of course the trouble is mainly
caused by the ignorant on both sides — by the scientific man
ignorant of theology, its claims and its limits, and by the
theologian too often in the past ignorant of what is meant
by a working hypothesis. Misled by the outcries of popular
writers, he is told that God and the Bible and religion are
once and for all cast into outer darkness by the epoch-
making theories of Professor X who, good, honest man, is
in all probability not bothering his head in the least about
theology but is trying to make one group of physical facts
fit in with another.

These constant changes of opinion — and in our own time
we have seen several of extraordinary significance — ought
to teach us another lesson, the greatest that science can
teach, and that is humility. If a hundred times things have
been put forward as the last revelation of science and if on
ninety-nine subsequent occasions it has been found that the
supposed revelation was only a dream, let us on the one
hundred and first occasion have the humility to say — as
indeed most of the real learned framers of hypotheses have
said : " This is a possible explanation of the facts to hand ;
let us see how it will fit in with later discoveries." It is
abundantly clear that we are not familiar with anything
but the fringe of science. Facts of all kinds are yet awaiting
discovery, and when discovered it may be found that they
upset some of our most cherished beliefs, as radium did.
Moreover, of the most fundamental things, how little we
really know ! Take the nature of the ether and the electrical
theory of matter — two, I suppose, of the most fundamental
problems underlying the physical sciences. How much do


we really know about them — know, that is, as incontro-
vertible truth ? I leave it to any physicist to reply. Or
turn to the biological side : what about heredity and
variation which underlie all the biological problems : how
much do we really know about them ? Honesty compels
us to reply — Very little.

It must not be supposed that an attempt is here being
made to belittle science, or the progress of science, or the
work of scientific men. The present writer, whose life has
been largely devoted to scientific work, is not going thus to
stultify himself or his labours, such as they are. No : the
progress of science during the last fifty years especially,
has been something extraordinary. The briefest and most
cursory survey of what has been done during that time
would occupy a volume as large as this is, and even then
would leave part of the story untold. But this advance has
only opened the doors of new chambers of knowledge, and
has shown us that, whether we consider the problems of the
universe— of this little fragment of dust which we know as
the Earth or of the most minute fragments of which it is
composed, the atoms — we are confronted with problems
which if they are ever solved, which seems doubtful, will
never approach a solution during the lifetime of the infant
of to-day, even if he lives to become a centenarian. Whilst,
therefore, we learn humility let us also learn patience,
especially those of us who are interested in the progress of
religion. If we wait patiently we shall find that what has
appeared to be threatening was not really so : it was either
a cloud to be dispelled by the rising sun of knowledge or a
familiar friend half seen in the darkness. Science is not a
monster, as some ignorant people imagine, neither is religion
a monster as other ignoramuses suppose. Let us be humble
and let us be patient.

And above all, let us exhibit humility when we come to
regard God as well as His creation. Catholics, of course,
exhibit such humility in face of the mysteries of their Faith ;
but there is a kind of shallow mind, which thinks — and even
sometimes says — that one should not believe anything one
cannot understand — an attitude of mind which would cer-
tainly limit one's beliefs. It is only common sense to say


that if we could understand God and all His ways, either
He would not be God or we should all be gods. Tennyson's
philosophy on that point was accurate and sound : —

" Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies ; —
Hold you here, root and all in my hand,
Little flower — but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."

The quotation may be hackneyed but it is none the less

Let us learn humility and patience from Science if we
learn nothing else : but we shall miss its greatest lesson if
it fails to teach us the greatness of the Creator, from whose
Idea all these wonders took their origin.


Abbeville, 193
A biogenesis, 319
Accompanying gifts, 198
Acheulian civilization, 232, 249
Adam, creation of, 55, 386
Adams, 9

^neolithic age, 206, 230
' iEterni Patris," Encyclical, 34
Age of man, 256 ; of the earth, 256 ;
of the moon, 258 ; of the ocean,

Agency of water, 161
Agnosticism, 118, 135
Akikuyu, 195
Alchemy, 67, 362
Alpha Centauri, 99
Amoeba, the, 282
Amphioxus, the, 293
Anabolic processes, 284
Anatomy, Popes and, 23
Ancient races, 238
Animal life, creation of, 181 ;

traces of ,164
Animal soul, 95
Animism, 275, 391, 402
Anthropomorphism, 172, 328
Ants, 371
Ape, man and, 380, 383, 404 ;

brain of, 400
Aquinas, St. Thomas, 16, 34, 35, 37,

4 1 . 53. 88, 93, 119, 142, 274, 283,

318, 327, 335, 377
Archaean rocks, 163
Archaeological time, 203
Archaeology, prehistoric, 193
Aristotle, 25, 34, 39, 42, 67, 90, 119,

274. 379
Aristotelomania, 26, 39
Armstrong, H. E., 296
Arrowheads, stone, 194
Arrows, wooden, 27
Art, prehistoric, 234
Artefacts, 193
Artificial protoplasm, 323
Ascidians, 301

Assyrian account of creation, 176
Astronomical distances, 101
Asylian Period, 254

Atoms and atomic theory, 68, 70,

73, 120, 407
Augustine, St., 29, 52, 187, 191, 335,

Aurignacian epoch, 233
Australian Stone Age, 207
Authority, 37
Autonomy of life, 304
Avicenna, 16, 318
Axe, stone, 195

Bacon, Francis, 27

Bacterial infection, 346

Balfour, A. J., 8

Balfour, Stewart, 308, 311

Barysphere, 109

Bateson, Prof., 344, 358, 361, 363,

366. 368, 373, 382
Bathybius, 19, 47
" Batons de commandement," 235
Belloc, Hilaire, 149
Bergson, 119, 139, 332
Berkeley, Bishop, 8, 396
Bernard, Claude, 275
Bible, the, 37, 53, 84 ; account of

Creation, 172-191 ; and geology,

54 ; miracles, 152
Bichat's definition of life, 272
Bicycle, evolution of, 196
Biogenesis, 319
Birds, first appearance of, 167
Blastula, 291
Bonney, Canon, 23
Boucher des Perthes, 193
Bourgeois, Abbi, 211
Boyle, Richard, 67, 80, 92, 362
Brachiopods, 164
Bradley, and aberration of light,

Brain, the, 221, 384, 399 ; of ape,

400 ; of dwarfs, 222 ; of elephant,

400 ; of Gambetta, 222, 401 ; of

man, 384 ; of palaeolithic man,

Brain " secretions," 398 ; physics,

399 ; weight of, 222
Branco, 381




Brenil, Abbe", and eoliths, 212 ;
period of man, 269

Bronze Age, 205, 230

Brown, Robert, and plant classifica-
tion, 49

Brown-Siquard's guinea-pigs, 345

Bunge, Von, 2,'j'j

Burdon-Sanderson, 277

Burke, J. B., " radiobes," 16

Butler, Samuel, 343

Buttercup, the, 48

By-products of body, 284

Cainozoic rocks, 168

Cajetan, Cardinal, on Genesis, 187

Calaveras skull, 238

Calvin and Servetus, 28

Cambrian rocks, 163

Carboniferous epoch, 165

Catabolic processes, 284

Cave drawings, 234

Caves, prehistoric, 226, 230, 248,

250, 254, 259
Celestial photography, 99
Cell, the, 50, 280 ; development of,

291 ; and machine, 291
Centrosomes, 280
Chalk, 167

Chambers, " Vestiges," 334, 350
Chance, 140
Chapelle-aux-Saints, 198, 208, 217,

228, 231, 263
Chellean civilization, 224, 231, 249
Chemical elements, 67, 83, 94
Chesterton, G. K., 153
Chosen race, the, 171, 185
Chromatin, 281
Chromosomes, 281, 341
Chronology, 200 ; the Church and,

Church, authority of the, 37 ; and

chronology, 269 ; and learning,

Cissbury, 254
Clavellina, 301
Clays, laminated, 264
Clerk Maxwell, 74, 189
Coal Measures, 165
Coffey, Prof., 34, 36
Colloids, 295
Commission, Pontifical, for Biblical

Studies, 172
Consciousness, universal, 397
Conservation of energy, 80, 123,

131, 276, 305
Convergence, 375
Copernicus and Copernican Theory,

28, 30, 40, 96, 380

Copper period, 206

Corkscrew nebulae, 112

Cornelius a Lapide, 335

Cortie, Rev. A. J., S.J., 99, 102

Cranial capacity, 221

Creation hypothesis, 324, 326, 330,

377 ; of man, 379 ; days of, 171,

187, 190
Creator, postulate of a, 133, 136,

326,377; anthropomorphic view

of, 328
Cretaceous rocks, 167
Crinoids, 164

Croll's theory of glaciation, 242
Crusaders and burial, 24
Crustacea, 164
Cryptogams, 166
Crystals, 287
Cunningham, 347, 348
Cures, miraculous : Marie Lebran-

chu, 146 ; M. Gargam, 149 ;

Marie Lemarchand, 150; Pierre

de Rudder, 150
Cycads, 167

Daltvn, 68

Darwin, Charles, and Darwinism,

275. 3 22 . 326, 333. 34°. 35°. 3 6 5.

374. 386
Darwin, Sir George, 258
Dawson, and Piltdown skull, 223
Days of Creation, 173
De Jussieu, 49
De Rudder, case of, 150
Degradation of Energy, 123
Delage, 342
Deluge, the, 54

Denudation, 160 ; solvent, 259
Descartes, 40, 393
Design, Argument from, 354
Determinism, 139
Devonian rocks, 165
De Vries, 353, 363, 385
Diffusion of heat, 306
Disintegration theory, 75
Dissection, Popes and, 23
Distances, astronomical, 98
Dog-burial with the dead, 198
Dog-star, the, 99
Dominant and recessive characters,

Driesch, 275, 301, 353, 372, 382

" Drift " implements, 214

Dual creation of man, 379

Dubois, E., 219

Du Bois-Reymond, 118, 121, 372

Dwight, Prof., 384

Dynamical Geology, t 56



Early Iron Age, 206

Early man, 192

Earth, the, 109, 124 ; creation of,
176; age of, 256. See" Matter"

Egg of frog, 294

Egyptian chronology, 202

Electrical theory of matter, 69

Electrons, 69

Elements, chemical, 67, 83, 94

Elephant's brain, 400

Eliminating agents, 351

Embryology, 291

Energy, 79, 305 ; conservation of,
80, 123, 131, 276, 305 ; degrada-
tion of, 123; from sun, 112;
transformation of, 307

Enigmas, the seven, 118

Entelechy, 274, 279

Environment, 346

Eocene rocks, 168

Eolithic period, 204

Eoliths, 193, 212

Erosion, 257

Eternity, 328, 331

Ether of space, 58, 63, 85, 398, 406 ;
and electrons, 70

Eugenics, 358

Eustachius, 24

Evidence, objective, 37

Evolution, 326, 339, 371, 374 ; and
the Fathers, 377 ; by saltation,

Experiment and prayer, 137
Extermination of unfit, 359

Fabri, P., S.J., 31

Fact, the central, 48 ; and theory,

Faith, loss of, 17
Fallopius, 18, 24, 173
" First Cause," a, 127
Fleischmann, 370, 374
Flying fish, 375
Forms, accidental, 94 ; substantial,

Fossils, 18, 162, 174
Fourth Dimension, the, 39
Francis, St., Stigmata of, 144
Free Cause, a, 127
Free will, 138

Fresnel's laws of reflection, 81

Online LibraryBertram Coghill Alan WindleThe church and science → online text (page 37 of 38)