« PrécédentContinuer »
region. Both sides of the instinct argument are too complex even for a short survey here ; suffice it to mention a particular impression gained from the reading of it: the views of the biologist-theologian, Wasmann, on instinct seem to differ but in some slight particulars from those of Darwin. Instinct, if it must be regarded as a property with which the animal is specially endowed, need not be regarded as a primarily perfect or elaborate one--evolution does not imply the formation of something from nothing: The third objection has been met by such facts as that of the fertility of some hybrids, even where the parents belong to different genera. It is also held that domestication affects the development of reproductive powers in crossing. The dualistic conception of the universe implies that this failure to propagate is specific and designed to keep species puire. Where the progeny is fertile some
is fertile some observers, Kölreuter, for instance, contend that the parents are not pure species. The case of the goat and sheep is sufficient to refute this contention of Kölreuter's. The fourth and last-mentioned obstacle, that of dissimilar organs, gave Darwin little trouble : he took no interest in trying to establish or to maintain non-telic attributes for his theory. He would be doing so by attributing varying complexity according to purposive adaptation to the same mechanical basis.
Fleischmann's views on the theory of descent, referred to by Father Agius, are discussed at length by Morgan,' who holds that while the theory lacks absolute confirmation it is the one which best accounts for the facts. This is the view of many a discriminating student, even were his professor to try to teach him differently ; it best accounts for the facts. Morgan is a biologist of conciliatory and moderate type. He says that we can profitably reject much of the natural selection theory, and especially the idea of variation arising because of its utility. We have instances of the opposite, one of which just occurs to the writer : the hydra, already referred to in another connexion, will, if its head be split longitudinally, develop two perfect heads; if each of these be again split it develops four heads, and so on-eight, twelve heads. There is variation, but where is the call for it? Yet Morgan admits that adaptation is widespread. He considers the theory inadequate to account for the origin of the power to
1 Evolution and Adaptation (1903).
regenerate lost organs—the crab, for instance, grows a new leg where a leg has been cut off. Having given numerous instances of adaptation as it is to be understood, in which is included the development of variation, he says we know nothing of how it occurs. Morgan also refers to acquired immunity from disease and poisons.
There is a mingling of issues in that transmutation and descent have come to mean nearly the same thing as evolution ; there is a difference of course. Descent is based on the geological, comparative, and embryological evidence referred to by Father Agius. Descent by what Dall calls saltatory evolution would be so fast in comparison with the extreme slowness of variation, on which Darwin insisted, that the intermediate forms or links so much sought after would never really have existed; that is, to contend that a rapid change has occurred under the intensive action of environment, and the new form has been preserved. It is only in the final step in descent, where from one order in the mammalian kingdom is supposed to evolve another order, and where anatomical differences between the two are slight, that links are chiefly wanting. In the lower stages they are quite frequent : pterodactyl, for example, lies between reptiles and birds; while the monotremes, platypus, etc., lie between reptiles and mammals. It is but right to state that these are not considered as true intermediate forms by many biologists, but they possess numerous features in common to both kingdoms, laying eggs like reptilia they suckle their young like mammalia.
Morgan,' notwithstanding his strong criticism of certain phases of selection, sums up with the statement that the condition of the organic world requires for its explanation the application of the principle of selection in one form or another.' To repeat, there are Catholic men of science who feel, if they do not actually think, with Morgan that he is not far wrong ; would they be far wrong from the teleological point of view in thinking with him in this fully? Is the occurrence of mutations that are not adaptive an objection to the teleological fitting of natural selection. In illness, physical and mental, we have change which is not adaptive. Is the doctrine of pre-formation to exclude the possibility of trial and error as a property of living matter ? The combination of trial and error is one of the commonest features of mentation, and though the psychic realm is altogether a different sphere it is one ordered by the Creator. It is a difficult thing to examine these problems without seeming to want to fathom the inscrutable mind of the Creator ; the present effort, however, is merely directed towards ascertaining how far certain scientific probabilities, if not truths, explanatory of so-called natural selection, are to be regarded from the Catholic standpoint. The word 'natural' in the term cannot imply the exclusion of supernatural pre-ordination or direction. Father Agius thinks that St. Augustine's conception of the universe did not embrace evolution of species. Wasmann, however, thinks it reasonable to apply to living organisms St. Augustine's idea that God created matter and allowed the universe to develop automatically by His laws.
1 Evolution and Adaptation,
Numerous experiments have been performed on the developing ova of some of the lower species, with a view to observing the adaptive properties of living matter. Such interference with nature processes of course goes further than ordinary accidental change in environment, but in principle is allied to it. The results indicate that pre-formation is markedly evident. Especially in the earlier stages, disturbing agencies fail to alter the course to the pre-destined form. Some injuries, however short of fatal, can produce
. deformities and monstrosities. There is evidence of epigenesis or adventitious development in some of these results.
In conclusion, the suggestion is again put forth that Darwin applied his theory of natural selection to the subconscious as well as to the unconscious, the former lifting it from the domain of the passive in giving scope for the conditioning of the reaction from within. The attempt to apply it to the higher mental faculties, to demonstrate evolution of these, is an entirely different proposition.
While the writer has endeavoured to set out a few important points favouring the belief in continuity of structure and function in the vegetative life of organisms in general, including the human body, he has also put tentatively some suggestions bearing on what seems to him a plausible explanation of that continuity. He has put some questions concerning the relationship of the belief and its grounds to religion and hopes that an answer, or answers, will be forthcoming.
D. T. BARRY.
1 Loc. cit. p. 274,
NOTES AND QUERIES
I Rev. DEAR SIR,-1°. Speaking of dispensation in banns you say that ‘at present the etiquette of the matter requires that the dispensation be obtained from the Ordinary who has jurisdiction over the bride. Is that statement reconcilable with Canon 1028 ?
2°. Caius, aged 24, domiciled in a city parish, spent nine months, in 1916, with an uncle who lives in the next parish-also in the city. He is now about to be married. Must I lay the matter before the Bishop, and have the banns proclaimed in the uncle's parish? It seems a waste of energy
3o. John, a resident in diocese A, and Mary, a resident in diocese B, come to diocese C to be married. Can the Bishop of C dispense in banns? Canon 1028 gives power to the local Ordinary. 4°. If, in the last case, the Bishop of C cannot dispense, who can ?
II Rev. DEAR SIR,-1°. Who is the parochus proprius of Canon 1023, $ 1? Is it the parish priest of domicile or quasi-domicile ? Or the parish priest of month's residence as well ?
2. ... In this parish we shall soon have the trouble that confronts us every year. The neighbouring parish belongs to another diocese, and marriages between the members of the two parishes are very common. The bridegroom in such cases has to go a long journey to get a dispensation in banns from our own authorities. Then he must go a longer journey still for a dispensation from the representative of the other Bishop. Not only that, he must pay a fee in both cases. Is the double dispensation necessary ?
III REV. DEAR SIR, -As there are parties in this parish [in Scotland] intending to contract marriage in Ireland soon, I am anxious to know if it will be necessary to have banns proclaimed.
I understand that in the Irish diocese, where the marriage is to be contracted, banns are not published-by custom. Seeing that, as I understand, it is the Bishop of this Irish diocese who should dispense, may it be taken for granted that the banns need not be published here, or will it be necessary to apply to the Bishop of the Irish diocese for dispensation ?
These three queries—and several others that have reached use cover partially the same ground. To prevent useless repetition, we may sum up the general principles before replying individually. And we would ask the correspondents whose letters are not quoted to take this reply as if given to themselves.
Where are the banns to be proclaimed? There may be special laws on the matter—they usually deal with the cases of vagi and soldiers in any particular diocese, province, or nation. Into these we cannot enter: the discussion would be interminable and, for any individual inquirer, of very little use. It is enough to state that these special laws may be opposed to the Code, or may add to the Code without opposing it. In the first case, they are null and void, in the second they are strictly binding in the particular locality for which they were framed (6).
So far as the general law is concerned, Canon 1023 gives the rule, It prescribes that the banns must be published, 1°, by the proper parish priest (§ 1), 2° by the parish priest of the place in which either of the parties spent six months after reaching the age of puberty, if the Ordinary thinks that a less formal investigation will not meet the requirements of the case (§ 2), 3°, by the parish priest of the place in which either spent a period less than six months, if there be special reason for suspecting that an impediment has been incurred, and if the Ordinary on that account comes to the same conclusion as in the second instance (§ 3).
The second and third regulations give little trouble. They are definite, concrete statements—much better than the pre-Code teaching that banns should be proclaimed wherever the parties had ' recently spent a considerable time. No one could say what 'recently' meant --anything from six months to five years found defenders. Nor was the meaning of 'considerable' much better defined—six months or a year or thereabouts. That is all settled now; `recently' is extended to mean'at any time since the parties reached the age of 14 or 12'); and six months in abnormal cases even less-must be taken as con. siderable.' But not in the sense that, when these conditions are fulfilled, the banns must be proclaimed: only in the sense that the Ordinary may prescribe them. His discretion is the ultimate court of appeal. He may even dispense with regular proof' occasionally. When a troubled querist asked, “If a person after reaching the age of puberty has lived for more than six months in far-off, distant places, from which regular proof of freedom can only be secured after a rather lengthy period, and if the marriage has to be contracted soon, is "freedom” sufficiently established in the case by the oath of the individual himself along with the testimony of two witnesses-or, if two are not procurable, of one at least, who have lived with him in those distant places,' he was assured that the matter is left to the prudent judgment of the Ordinary ; who may, in accordance with Canon 1023, § 2, prescribe other proofs
1 Though the age for valid marriage has been raised to 16 and 14 (1067) the age of puberty remains as before (88, 52).