Abraham Kuyper

Free University of Amsterdam

[From Calvin Theological Journal 31:11-50 (April, 1996)]
©1996 by Calvin Theological Seminary
Reprinted in electronic form by permission.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Abraham Kuyper's "Evolution" address was delivered as a rectoral oration at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1899. This translation is a collaborative effort coordinated by Clarence Menninga, emeritus Professor of Geology at Calvin College. The inital translation was prepared by George Kamps, reviewed and refined by Walter Lagerway, and typed from Kamps' handwritten manuscript by Jan Woudenberg-Bruinooge. Assistance was also received from Wallace Bratt on the German passages and George Harris on the Latin and Greek expressions. The numbered footnotes are Kuyper's original with additional English bibliographic references added by Clarence Menninga; footnotes designated by letter are also Clarence Menninga's.


Our nineteenth century is dying away under the hypnosis of the dogma of evolution.

To be sure, both in our country and elsewhere, Christian thought and action developed greater resiliency than it appeared to be capable of since the time of the Reformation, but while this action has been rapidly gaining ground, it has until now been almost exclusively of a practical and mystical nature. At the center of the conscious life of mankind, i.e., in science, in literature, and in the press, leadership remained largely in the hands of intellectuals with a Christless perspective. Although there are indications that a change in this respect is taking place, and our university has also attempted to hasten this change, it cannot be denied that, in the sphere of higher thinking, Christian presuppositions only sporadically function as the lodestar. What is more, the continuing influence of Christian philosophical thought has diminished rapidly in the intellectual thought of this century, and it is especially the hypnosis of the dogma of evolution that must be blamed. Although until now the sciences that rejected Christ preferred to deal with the empirically observable and left the mystically incomprehensible to religion and mysticism, in this regard there has been a decided change during the last quarter of this century. The dogma of evolution appeared with the pretension that it could explain the entire cosmos by means of its monistic mechanics, including all life processes within that cosmos, to the very earliest origins. The principle that the adherents of evolution profess is absolute. Not only is all study in the natural sciences forced to follow that principle, but Herbert Spencer in his Data derived ethics, and Haeckel of Jena in his Monismus als Band zwischen Religion und Wissenscha, 1 derived religion from that same principle. And without exaggeration we may say that it is precisely the absolute character of evolution that explains the audacious calling into question of the received truths of Christianity increasingly evident in modernist circles. Until now in our Christian circles the inspiration of our faith, which bound all things into a unity, gave us an advantage over our opponents. They languished spiritually, in the diaspora of the vast realm of the Unknowable [Ignorabimus]. But thanks to the dogma of evolution, they also have now come into possession of an all encompassing system, a world-and-life view derived from one single principle. They, in turn, now have a basic dogma, and they cling to that dogma with unshakeable faith. The spirit of man cannot get along in the long run without an answer to the questions concerning the origin, the essence, and the future of things. Until now the possession of such an answer was our strength over against the unproven claims [non-liquet] of those intellectual leaders. But precisely this advantage is now lost to us. For, illumined by the brightness of the dogma of evolution, our opponents are no longer embarrassed by any of these questions, and, enamored of their new discovery, most of them look down pityingly if not arrogantly, upon anyone who still holds to the old basic dogma of Christianity and, like the fathers, swears by the faith in Him who created heaven and earth.

It's just a pity that the exultant joy in this newly discovered monism increasingly comes into such painful conflict with bitter reality.

Until now the emergence of a new faith usually went hand in hand with a certain exaltation, a certain ennobling of our human life. It was thus when Christianity appeared, and it also was so in the days of the Reformation. This time, however, the "new faith" is closely followed by the shadow of the Decadence.

The cherished expectation of "liberty, equality, and fraternity" during the past century has proven increasingly to be an ideal, of which Schiller sang: "The ideals which once swelled our ecstatic hearts have dissipated" ["Die Ideale sind zerronnen die einst das trunkne Herz geschwellt".] With the passing of this century, humanity gloomily stares at the increasing supremacy of materialistic tendencies, of eagerness for sensual pleasures, of passion for the power of money, of a violent passion for material expansion. The Peace Conference in The Hague accomplished little more than to bring into sharp relief the distance between the high ideals of many people and the hard, brutal reality. Bismarck's name remains linked with the slogan "might above right." Rudyard Kipling prodigally sowed the evil seed of Caesarism in the hearts of the English people. And, unless God forbids, proud Transvaal threatens to become its prey. "To fight everybody and to take everything" is the evil disposition that increasingly charms the English nation that was once the champion of right. Three hundred thousand Armenian Christians have been slaughtered by Islam's fanaticism, and even our government had the audacity to reject the Armenian exiles. America, once a noble land, is now itself playing the crude, cruel game in the Phillippines for which it attacked Spain in Cuba. Entire nations are garbed in military uniforms, and the fruit of their labors is consumed in formidable batteries of maxims and even more formidable armored castles. Small nations, like the Netherlands, perceive how the guarantee of their independent existence as a nation is visibly shrinking. In Africa, men have control over "spheres of influence," a "hinterland" extending to wide horizons, whose boundaries are not given on the best maps. In China, entire provinces are being leased out as only house and field were until now.

Many a purist refuses to acknowledge as right anything but that which is defined by law. In France, a court case, not unlike that of Jean Calas, has amazed the world because of its violation of justice. In Serbia, there was an even more brazen abuse of right. Nearly everywhere people sense and are saying that parliamentary glory is on the wane, to clear the way for a new autocracy if not a new despotism. Increasingly, bullfights enchant the highly cultured French people. The call for feasting and games [panem et Circenses], the dissolution of the marriage bond, and many other things create in us the perception that the decline and fall of the Roman empire is being repeated on an even more terrible scale in our highly touted age. And withal, one encounters a dwindling of enthusiasm and a coolness toward higher concerns, over against which neither the rise of asceticism in small circles, nor the passion for sports, is much consolation.


Now if it could only be stated that the theory of evolution, at least in principle, took a stand against this effrontery by physical violence and usurpation of power; but the opposite is true. Rather, the evolution theory, by virtue of its struggle for life, encourages this usurpation of power. Its basic law is that, from diversification among individuals, and by adaptation, the stronger evolves alongside the weaker; that the weaker and the stronger are involved in a life-and-death struggle; that, in this struggle, the stronger must triumph; and only in the triumph of the stronger is the way to higher development. One of its adherents in England profanely dared to call this "through suffering to glory." Nietzsche therefore was entirely consistent when, as a matter of principle, he branded Christ's holy intent to have mercy an the weak as bad ethics, and called upon all "strong spirits" to unite in the common struggle against the miasma of the weak. His "super-race" ["Uebermensch"] is nothing more than the logical consequence of an ascent from the Monera to the Protista, from the Protista to the completed nucleus, and phylogenetically from there to plant, beast, and man; but which also, for that very reason, cannot remain at a standstill with that low level man, but continuing the process, thanks to the new struggle for life, must rise from that low level man to the "super-race," and presently to an even higher form of life.

It is that same struggle that, when transmitted from social to national life, incites the stronger nations to make an end of the lower level existence of nations that are smaller and therefore weaker. And since, according to the theory of evolution, no higher goal may direct this process, nor may any organic law have a voice in it, but since the impulse for all life development arises exclusively from chemical action, it cannot be otherwise than that the possession of material power must in the end be decisive, and in the minds of people, of groups of people, and of nations, makes all higher life subordinate to the securing of whatever increases the chances of victory in this material struggle.

Wallace and Darwin were the precursors of Kipling, as narrator, and Chamberlain, as statesman. "The individual is nothing, the species everything," is the harsh, false idea that finally must kill all respect for the right. And the antithesis between the Christian religion and the theory of evolution is by no means to be found only in the alleged development of man from the chimpanzee, but rather, fundamentally in the two questions that govern all of life: First, whether the stronger must have mercy on the weaker, or whether it may or indeed must crush the weaker. And the other question concerning the species or the individual, which finds it sharpest expression in the concise contrast between the Selection of Evolution and the Election of Scripture. Selection aims at the preservation of species; Election is the Selection of persons.

We can hardly be sufficiently serious in warning all who worship Christ as their realized Ideal to be on guard against every wanton relation with evolution. It is impossible to bridge the gap between the dogma of the Trinity and the pseudo-dogma of evolution. The Christian religion and the theory of evolution are two mutually exclusive systems. They are antipodes that can neither be reconciled nor compared. In broad circles the negative Higher Criticism of the Bible [Schriftcritiek] had already undermined belief in confessional certitudes, but the modernistic theologians at least remained idealists who respected the authority of Jesus' Word. Pantheism, which soon crept into their thought, did indeed break down the transcendent battlements of the temple, but nevertheless it still continued to try to link up with the mystical immanence of the Christian faith. But the theory of evolution is no respecter of anything sacred. Even as the Israelite had to search for every crumb of leaven and discard it before the Passover, even so the theory of evolution examines every Christian atom, in order to replace it with the very opposite. The dogma of evolution not only penetrates to the deepest core of things but even delves beneath the deepest principles of life, to spy out with an Argus eye whether or not there might have remained some imprint of that deepest principle at the bottom of things, so that even this slightest impression may be rendered unrecognizable. If the theory of evolution is true, then all that mankind has thus far imagined, thought and pondered, and believed, is a lie. Then the Tree of Knowledge, on whose fruits we have lived thus far, must be eradicated root and branch. Then the most absolute nihilism must be applied to the world-and-life view current till now.

Until now mankind has then been dreaming; not until now is it beginning to awaken. Also, if the theory of evolution, however untrue in its monistic and mechanistic zeal, should triumph, then the days of freedom of conscience, of tolerance and forbearance are numbered, and there will be a return, as in Nero's days, to a unsparing, violent persecution of all that is called Christian. After all, the dogma of evolution not only excuses the violent eradication of the weak, but makes it, as a matter of principle, a duty of the strong. From our viewpoint, therefore, both the ignoring of evolution and the wanton acceptance of it are naive and shortsighted. And preachers, as well as authors, who wrongly imagine themselves as gaining scientific approval by mixing a dose of evolution with their Christian profession both in preaching and writing, indict themselves most stronglv, in the view of the expert, of unpardonable naivete or characterless cowardice.

Even the delusion of some who, misled by the false sound of the word into thinking that the theory of evolution is to be viewed as nothing more than a new form of Pantheism, is to be rejected. Evolution, that is, unfolding from the Latin, evolvere, is indeed a genuinely pantheistic notion, but the dogma of evolution knows nothing of evolving, in the real sense of the word. It is parading under a false banner. Rather, this dogma in principle denies all pre-formation, that is, the governance of a plan over the budding of life. Unfolding is an organic idea, but the dogma of evolution tolerates nothing but mechanistic action, from beginning to end. The ancient distinction between Epicurus and the Stoics also separates Pantheism from the theory of evolution. Like Epicurus, the theory of evolution would explain the origin, being, and existence of all life in an atomistic and consequently in a purely mechanistic manner. When Haeckel, in his Religion und Wissenschaft, nevertheless claimed to be a pantheist, he merely exposed the lack of clarity in his own philosophical conception, and even when he posed as professing a God who was to be honored as "the spirit of the good, the true, and the beautiful" he engaged in a deceptive play on words, or else deceived himself with obscurities. After all, the dogma of evolution knows of no spirit that forms, drives, or dominates. In this dogma the natural event is the only conceivable motive, and all that we honor as spirit is never anything other than a chance product or an arbitrary result. Asceticism and social action, with origins in part in Pantheism and in part in the Christian tradition, are again in vogue; these phenomena owe absolutely nothing to evolution. And if, again and again, one encounters people who desire to be evolutionists in the broad field of nature but Stoics in the field of ethics, then one is merely dealing with spiritual amphibians, who are not even aware of their inner contradictions.

Jurists who similarly are zealous for a pantheistic evolving of justice, and who also have an evolutionistic conception of the structure of the universe, are likewise afflicted with a dangerous antinomy. And to mention only one other group, historians who conceive of history as a process unfolding before our very eyes in a pantheistic manner, and who still make no secret of their enthusiasm for Darwin and Haeckel, betray an equally shocking lack of a unified conception. The idea of a guiding purpose [Zweck-theorie], an unconscious striving of all things toward the realization of a mystically determined goal, is out-and-out pantheistic, but is diametrically opposed to the dogma of evolution. Anyone who still imagines that there can be any thought of purpose [Zweck] or of a compelling and guiding principle at any point along the phylogenetic way, simply does not know the dogma of evolution. Indeed, "Die Mechanik des Weltalls" ("The Mechanics of the Universe"), the title of the discerning study by Dr. Zehnder, is indeed the only correct formula for the theory of evolution, and Dr. Haeckel did not hesitate to say in plain terms: "The history of the world must be a physical-chemical process."2

If you now ask whether we must therefore write off as worthless the studies of the Darwinistic school, most broadly conceived, from the balance sheet of our scientific gains, permit me to reply by asking whether well-established facts can ever be amortized. Nay, rather, all who love the light exult in the wealth of facts revealed by these studies and in the impetus to even deeper, more methodical research that they produced. And who of us who can still be aroused to enthusiasm would conceal the ecstasy that often moved him by the much deeper insight afforded into the essential structure of the world as a result of these studies? Only, the knowledge of these unveiled facts may not be equated with the dogma of evolution that was falsely distilled from them. The empiricism, and the theory built upon it, must also be sharply differentiated here. In this case also, the facts and the conception of the facts are two different things. For that dogma, that theory, that system, which in France is usually introduced as transformation [Transformisme], in Germany as theory of descent [Descendenz-theorie], and in this country, following England's example, as the theory of evolution, purports to be nothing less than a strictly monistic understanding of the cosmos, by seeking the explanation of all organic life in the inorganic. Its adherents, even in Germany, constantly emphasize the fact that "a philosophical understanding" of the discovered facts" is a necessary precondition for the complete worldview of the theory of evolution."3 Also, as we read elsewhere, that "the unshakeable edifice of true monistic science" comes into existence cnly when "empiricism and philosophy intimately permeate one another." 4 A frank acknowledgement, this, but one that accordingly gives us the right and charges us with the duty of making a sharp distinction between those facts and the philosophical theory linked to them. Indeed, every sincere man immediately pledges his agreement with that which is logically deduced from established facts, but before one may accept these intertwined deductions as a well-rounded system, one must test the philosophical principles underlying these operations against the basic axioms [axiomata] of one's own thinking. Otherwise those ideas cannot be incorporated into a coherent view for one personally.

This watchfulness is required all the more urgently, since our adversaries are inclined not only to establish the facts but also to construe them philosophically. Thus, to limit my remarks to this one, surely weighty, so-called fact, which no one less than Haeckel formulated as follows: "Therefore it is indubitably certain: man comes from the ape." 5 Has this alleged fact really been established? Not so‹Haeckel himself acknowledges: "The enormous gaps in our paleontological knowledge" make definite proof impossible; 6 and also, the skeleton of the Pithecanthropus erectus that was excavated in Java in 1894 by our own Eugen Dubois, and upon which the well known Congress in Leiden in 1895 dulled its acumen, in nowise fills the gap. Therefore the experts are careful to add that neither gorilla nor chimpanzee qualify as our patriarch, but that the likely progenitor among the apes that could also be a progenitor of Homo sapiens is the tailless, narrow-nosed species of apes, Catarrhina lipocerca. Proof for this supposition is sought especially in the morphological resemblance between these two; however, this search has been so fruitless that a scholar like Rudolph Virchow denies the consequences derived from the foregoing and by contrast emphasizes the fact that the oldest excavated human skeletons display "heads of such a large size that many a living person would consider himself fortunate to possess a head like that." 7

And Haeckel himself acknowledges that the proof in this case can never be produced "merely through individual empirical observations" but must be derived from the "philosophical evaluation" of the incomplete data. 8 And when we ask what he means, he replies: "It lies herein, that the theory of evolution follows as a general law of induction from the comparative synthesis of all natural phenomena of living organisms." The "Pithecoid theory," therefore, is nothing more than "a special deductive conclusion which must follow from the general laws of induction of the evolution theory with the same logical necessity." 9 No sober thinker, he continues, can escape the conclusion: "If the theory of development is at all true," and the individual animal species are not "created miraculously, then man, too, cannot be an exception." And that is called logic! Begging the question by circular reasoning! [Een petitio principii die haar wedergade zoekt!] You induce from animal data. Your deduction would therefore hold good only if it were established that man and animal were of one species. Precisely that which you must prove you have thus smuggled in (there is no milder word for it) by means of your induction, contrary to all good logic. And yet all of Spencer's ethics rests on such a proposition, and with such argumentation they popularize, by means of secondhand science, ideas that are calculated to undermine all Christian faith.


What then does the evolution theory desire, what does it have in view, what does it seek after? Naegeli, usually a much more levelheaded thinker than Haeckel hinted at it rather clearly when he wrote of "spontaneous generation" ["Urzeugung"], which most scholars concede to be "purely a hypothesis" ["eine reine Hypothese"]: To deny spontaneous generation is equivalent to proclaiming the miracle" ["Die Urzeugung leugren heisst das Wunder verkunden."]. Yet we must not interpret this abhorrence of the miracle in a general-atheistic sense. The motivation for science cannot rest in the knowledge of the singular phenomenon. All of science is consumed with passion for the general. The unity of life, and therefore also the general law that governs the particular case, is the food that nourishes scientific endeavor; and it must be acknowledged that the focus on empirical detail by the so-called exact sciences is a starvation diet. The zoologist, the botanist, every natural scientist had his private hunting terrain. Each of them proceeded from the available data as existing independently, and there was no interest in seeking a deeper unity that binds together all phenomena. Lamarzk may have theorized, and Goethe may have prophesied concerning a unity in nature, but our natural scientists paid no attention to it, and the current view of the public was satisfied with a mystical, magical idea of the origin of things, which lacked any basis in a general view of nature. And this has avenged itself. The knowledge of a few bricks and beams did not, in the end, suffice. As with Empedocles in Greek philosophy, the question again had to arise concerning the architectonic structure by means of which such a magnificant building was erected from those few individual bricks and beams. Add to this the increasing aversion in scientific circles to the superficial misconception of rootless supernaturalism, as well as the irreligious predisposition that experienced an emancipatory kind of joy in escaping the restraints of divine action, then both the impulses that gave rise to evolution and the goal that it aimed at become transparent.

In these matters the theory of evolution proceeded from the somewhat too-readily-accepted hypothesis that the inorganic world, with the data present there, and with the laws that govern those data, no longer presented any insurmountable difficulties for scientific understanding. The mystery that it sought to unveil, in its opinion, in fact lay hidden only in the living organisms [organic realms] of nature; and it considered the problem confronting it as solved when and if it succeeded in explaining those living organisms by the data of the inorganic.a That accounts for its sworn enmity against every presupposition of a previously established goal toward which the development of living organisms would be impelled, either by means of an indwelling principle, or through divine power working from without. Darwin himself, and every well-informed evolutionist after him, stated honestly: If such a previously planned working principle should turn up at only one point along the phylogenetic way, the entire dogma of evolution will collapse.

George John Romanes of Christ Church, Oxford, said it plainly: "Our theory seeks to bring all phenomena in organic nature within the same theoretical structure as the facts of inorganic nature, and if it does not perfectly attain that aim, it has served no purpose except to create a great stir in the world of thought.''l0 Until now the nonliving and the living world were considered to be two sharply distinguished spheres of existence, the first of a lower and the second of a higher order, but without a unity that would link them together in principle, at least in so far as one did not find this unity in God as the Creator. And now the design was to eliminate this duality, to explain both spheres from the viewpoint of unity of operation, in the sense that the sphere of the higher order was to be explained by the sphere of the lower order. Now if the mark of the lower order were the mechanistic, and that of the higher order the organical, the evolution theory could be described briefly as the theory that permits the organical to be swallowed up by the mechanistic.11

Mechanistic is a magic word. Whatever has not been explained mechanistically, according to this theory, is still hidden in the uncomprehended darkness. And insofar as the dogma of evolution might have pressed for new research also in the physical and chemical area, this was not so much a desire to gain a more thorough understanding of inorganic nature as such, as a desire to elicit from it more exact and richer information that could serve to establish the absolute dominance of the mechanistic over the organic sphere of life. Had not Du Bois-Reymond already stated crassly: "What cannot be grasped in mechanistic terms has not been understood scientifically." 12

Darwin was not the first to devote his energy to the solution of this problem. Lamarck and Goethe preceded him, l3 and Wallace was his contemporary. But Darwin is superior in this respect, that he was the first who attached more importance to empiricism than to speculation, and who gathered a wealth of botanical and especially zoological data that were in every way suitable to show, in an original manner, the extent of the field where that metamorphosis is undeniably prevalent. In so doing, he initially avoided drawing man within the circle of transformation, and, like all English writers before him, he also has this going for him, that he was far from being chauvinistic in matters of religion, but, rather, he never desisted from paying his respects to the mystery of religion. The idea of evolution arose in his mind through careful observation of what can be accomplished by artificial breeding in the case of plants and animals. He was impressed especially by the far-reaching transformation to which the dove is susceptible.

Now this artificial breeding proceeds according to a definite law. It rests upon the principle, to remain with the dove, that there will be variations among the young of one pair, and that, if pairs drawn from these variations are set apart which, for example, have a more brilliant plumage, and this selective breeding of similarly endowed birds is continued for several generations, a specific pattern of that more brilliant plumage eventually becomes the property of the resulting variety. This is a fact that anyone can duplicate, and none will gainsay. But this does not mean that Darwin had the final answer. Even though one still might presume that in the same manner, by the perpetuation of certain variations, new species had arisen, it still remained an open question by what power the knowledge and selection of the nurseryman and animal breeder are replaced in untamed nature. To say that this was an organic principle that impelled organisms toward perfection, or to acknowledge that God regulated this selection, was not possible. That would have meant the reintroducion of the notion of purpose, and the entire theory would collapse, along with Mechanistics. A mechanistic power had to be enlisted. And this was Darwin's greatest discovery, that he did indeed point out such a purely mechanistic agency that made the perpetuation of a more richly endowed variation self-explanatory, or as it has also been expressed, that he succeeded in having the highest functionality [Zweckmässigkeit] emanate automatically from complete aimlessness [Zwecklosigkeit]. In so doing, he proceeded from Malthus' theory that the means of subsistence for living organisms are totally disproportionate to the prolific propagation of those organisms. That which is procreated geometrically will find only arithmetical multiplication of food. l4

Now if a gnawing hunger in a besieged city more than once brought a mother to act against nature by preparing the flesh of her own child for food, or a shipwrecked sailor who was perishing with thirst to kill his companion so that he might drink his blood, then we can understand how this struggle for life embodies an agency so general and so overpowering that Darwin indeed laid his finger on a law that governs all living organisms. Well now, from that law he obtained his selection, his nature choices. Every kind of breeding exhibited variations. Among those variations, some are weaker and some stronger. The stronger eat, and the weaker perish with hunger. That stronger element was embodied in a membrane, or in a developing claw; in something morphological or histological. This was bequeathed to the offspring and was increased in each new generation by the same law and was strengthened by adaptation.l5 Thus, there occurred, automatically, entirely by chance, a constant strengthening of the formation of organs. And thus, it seemed to be explained how richer and stronger forms continued to appears both in the plant and the animal kingdom, assuming an un-limited span of time, thanks to this selection that was the result of the struggle for life. For not only did the improved structure of the privileged variations already appear stronger at birth [ex ovo], but during the individual's lifetime it also underwent effective alterations by means of adaptation to its environment, and the advantages thus obtained were transmitted by heredity, it was said, to the offspring, and thus propagated themselves. The seal of straightforward truth [simplex sigillum veri] indeed seemed to be engraved on this discovery. Transformation by artificial breeding is a fact. Another fact is the distorted balance between the almost boundless multiplication of the eaters and the scantiness of available food. A fact also is the struggle for life and the many-sided adaptations to life. And finally, an equally undeniable fact is the inheritance of the distinguishing characteristics [notae characteristicae] by the following generations.

Now, combine all these facts and arrange them as common sense dictates, even as Darwin did in his inimitably placid manner, and indeed, the riddle seems to be solved. Then one need no longer be concerned with God's influence, with direction by a guiding principle, or with the imposition of control by any plan or purpose. The richest organism automatically develops itself from the most insignificant organism. In the individuals of each generation we constantly find something new, and that something strengthens itself by adaptation. That something is advantageous. It maintains itself through the utility of that advantage while others perish, and enriches itself while others are impoverished. And that enrichment goes on from generation to generation. There is an additive effect and an accumulation, and through that accumulation of profitable attributes, which promise victory in the struggle for life, the entire marvelous structure of the realm of living organisms is erected. It is a structure that is as thrilling as it is transparent. And nothing is more easily understood than the unbelievably rapid acceptance of that structure as with a triumphant "I came, I saw, I conquered!" ["Veni, vidi, vici"]. For a scientific world that, through its lack of faith, had witnessed the collapse of the grandeur of unity in the diversity of details and yet retained in its heart the nostalgia for unity, the discovery of Darwin was indeed, if not the "Eureka!" that brought deliverance, then at least the mirage [Fata Morgana], which enchanted.

Moreover, it cannot be denied that an entire sequence of phenomena, which until then had not received attention or could not be accounted for, were found to fit quite naturally into the structure of this system. Especially in France, the so-called appendicitis [Appendicite], a pathological infection in the extension of the appendix, is the subject of the day and receives universal attention. After all, it is said that this appendix is of no use to man, while it performs a necessary role in the case of many non-flesh-eating animals. It only threatens us with an unwelcome surgical operation. If only we did not have it! But the theory of evolution thrives on it. It is, so they say, a "new welcome" carry-over from our speechless ancestors. Organs that were no longer of use remained present in a rudimentary state, and, even apart from the appendix, it is possible to point to other parts of the body, both in man and animal, which have ceased to serve any clearly demonstrable purpose. Moreover, morphology with its studies of comparative anatomy is in agreement with that idea. Indeed, the similarity of the structure of the human skeleton to that of different beings with totally different external form is so obvious that one can hardly explain the striking difference in external appearance except by the hereditary unity of the inner structure modified by the different adaptation to life.

The same tendency appears in the embryological, or, if you will, ontogenetic studies, which have disclosed a more and more detailed account of development from a single nucleus and have demonstrated how, either through dividing or through formation of buds, new cells developed, and how these cells, grouping themselves ectodermically and endodermically, gradually produce by mechanistic action, all histological and morphological phenomena that are required for the formation of the structure of the organism. It seemed that what is visible to the eye phylogenetically in all of the systematic grouping of plant and animal organisms is repeated individually in the embryological phenomena. The so-called geographic distribution of plants and animals throughout the various parts of the world, the importance of which Darwin perceived on the coastal islands of South America, and especially the paucity of both flora and fauna in Australia's gigantic island, all of these seemed to point to one identical process.

Comparative physiology, by paying more heed than before to the important factor of physical and chemical action, also discovered a uniformity of the law for preservation of life, growth, and functions of the several organs, which indeed could be reduced to the double process of feeding and propagating. And to mention no more, paleontology has revealed the parallel ordered sequences of plants and animals arising in successive strata on the earth and likewise has acquainted us with various species of extinct organisms, and with still surviving species that had different morphological characteristics in a bygone age. Even psychology applied itself to establishing that there is a close connection between the functions of human will and thought and those of the animal world, to relating these to the physical functions of the lower organisms, and these in turn to chemical behaviar, and even to the undulations and vibrations of the ether.b Finally, authoritative writers already made mention of a "primordial soul ["Protistenseele"], created in their way a cellular psychology, and even ascribed the function of memory to the plastidule.


Thus the field upon which the theory of evolution caused its brilliant light to shine became constantly more all-embracing. Time and again, new provinces of our cosmic life were brought under its scepter, and in each territory that it annexed, it quickened a spirit of more profound investigation, elicited research that had not been previously considered, and brought about a unity in studies that earlier dealt only with details. Such splendid results increasingly strengthened the belief that in its inspired thought the true explanation of the universe had indeed been found. To explain all that exists in its origin, being, transformation, and functions from a single principle was the richest and most absolute monism, in which our thinking spirit could finally find the so passionately-desired rest. And this rest would be granted to our spirit, not as formerly through the thought-gymnastics of speculation, which lifted itself up from the earth to enjoy a bird's eye view of the panorama, but by proceeding from the most accurate research study of nature itself, and through digging ever deeper into the mine of real life.

Something that Darwin, in his sober and down-to-earth naiveté, had not remotely anticipated, soon followed the theory of evolution in its triumphal procession. Monistic psychology had scarcely expressed its opinion that it could establish genetic connections between the radiation, undulation, and vibration in the plastidule and the creative genius with which a Plato or Thomas, a Calvin or Kant had astonished the scholarly world, before the audacious attempt was made to explain the entire development of man's intellectual, aesthetic, ethical, religious, and thus of his social and political life, not only according to the analogy of nature but also in association with the phenomenon of its very existence, and the origin of that existence in the inorganic world. That which in earlier years had been honored by thinkers and poets as the symbolic parallel of the visible and the invisible was now being converted into a genetic coherence. Symbolics rest upon a dualism; the mechanistic theory did not rest until, in its monism, it had also surmounted this symbolic duality and had caused the highest expression of consciousness of the human spirit to ascend from the lowest chemical action, along an uninterrupted scale of progression.

It is, as I cited from Haeckel a moment ago, the entire world history [Weltgeschichte] that must dissolve itself into one mighty physical and chemical process. Thus there came into existence, especially in England, that total change in the study of the spiritual sciences also, which, guided by the psychological and ethical research of Herbert Spencer, Bain, and Georges Lewes, also attempted to apply the mechanics of evolution to spiritual life.

In a much more general sense than Darwin had done, evolution is thus recommended to us by this formula, that it is an integration of matter coupled with an infusion of energy, in the sense that matter that formerly was indefinite, homogeneous, and incoherent is changed to a condition of heterogeneity that is definite and coherent, while the excess energy undergoes a similar transformation.l6 A formula which, no matter how intricate, cannot offend us, under one condition, namely that these naturalistic scholars, who so readily cast the reproach of haziness upon the formulation of the Christian dogma, do not claim the glory of lucidity for the formulation of their own dogma. Accordingly, armed with that formula, they proceeded to the evolutionistic reformation of psychology, ethics, and sociology, with the further goal to found all jurisprudence upon a changed basis, to change history into an action of mechanistic factors, to fit the economy together like a mechanistic jigsaw puzzle, and finally, not only to slip in entirely new principles to undergird political concepts but also to construe religion as a sublimate that, provided it is dissociated entirely from the existence of a living, personal God, rises of its own accord from the undulation and ferment of inorganic phenomena and is conducted into the retort that is called man.

Yet, in spite of the power with which the point of this hypothesis entered all branches of science, piercing and transposing all traditional presentations, it really has a much more fragile basis than would appear at first blush. I will not enter into the question whether Dr. Gustav Wolff, lecturer in Wurzburg, an expert in this matter, and the famous discoverer of the regeneration of the lens of the eye in the salamander [Triton taeniatus] does not go too far when he writes: "Doubtless, the realization that Darwinism was a chimera is slowly dawning," and then adds: "the end of Darwinistic domination" is not far away.l7 But without hesitation it must be stated that discord has already entered the ranks of the evolutionists, that sound criticism is constantly driving them farther into a corner, and that at least their assertion that "the highest purposiveness has arisen through absolutely purposeless mechanics," and the mystery of life completely revealed, has proved to be increasingly untenable.

In this case, the Achilles' heel was concealed in the factor of heredity, which makes or breaks the entire system. According to the theory, the innate privilege of the better-equipped varieties, as well as the preference gained by these stronger individuals by virtue of adaptation to life, becomes permanent working capital. The fortunate possessor bequeathes it to his posterity. And when the fortunate heir, in his turn, accumulates new gains, the amazing power that causes the most ingeniously constituted organisms to arise from the Monera is to be found in the cooperation of these three factors: richer diversity among individuals, gains obtained by adaptation to life, and the transmission of both by breeding. But of course, if the system is to remain valid, not only the adaptation but also the diversity and transmission will have to be explained to us mechanistically, for if that diversification or that transmission were left unexplained, or were governed by an indwelling organic principle, then, as the experts admit unconditionally, the entire presentation of the cosmos as arising mechanistically from atoms would prove to have been a cruel illusion. Of course, we would not think of denying that changeableness does occur by diversification or by adaptation among individuals, nor that such characteristics are transmitted to succeeding generations. Even a mole on the arm will sometimes reveal the mother in the child. Both facts are undeniable. Whether changes obtained through adaptation cannot again be lost may be a dubious matter. Weismann denies it, and surely it cannot be maintained in the case of domestication. But, apart from this, it is certain that what is begotten is not identical with the begetter, nor are the progeny identical among themselves, and that, nevertheless, they have primitive forms in common with both their begetter and among themselves. The dispute, therefore, does not involve those facts, but the explanation of those facts and the decisive question in the case of the dogma of evolution is whether it can explain both of these facts and explain them mechanistically. If so, they have attained their goal. If not, the spell of this theory is broken once for all.


Because of lack of time, I will not pursue further the first fact, the diversification of individuals, especially because during the past years the conflict has been concentrated on the other fact, the problem of transmission. In that conflict, hypothesis after hypothesis has been presented, but to date there has been no progress at all.c Darwin himself was careful to call his idea, which was later discarded, a "provisional hypothesis,"l8 and Haeckel frankly admits that these and other hypotheses "rest on pure conjecture," and are nothing more than "metaphysical speculations."l9

The Pangenesis theory of Darwin, first disclosed in 1868, and more broadly in 1875,20 would have it that all cells in an organism, aside from the ability to multiply by dividing, also possess the wholly other ability to separate and pass along gemmules or pangenes that are not observable in the external form or structure, in such a way that every peculiarity of the organic structure is equipped with the means of propagation in one of the gemmules‹thus it is suggested that separate gemmules for every detail of our body and every feature of our spirit are wandering about in our being, and at every turn a complete set of such gemmules would find its way to the sperm or ovum, in order that the combined attributes of the procreators may in this way be transmitted to the newly begotten individual. According to Darwin, some superfluous gemmules in latent condition would even travel with the complete set only to appear two or three generations later, and thus to exhibit the symptoms of atavism.

However, in spite of Darwin's high authority, and despite the attempt by Brooks to perfect this pangenesis theory, such an invention was a bit too much for most people. Immediately following publication it was rejected by most experts as untenable, and it is said that Galton gave it the death blow by his transfusion experiments with the rabbit. Even with the most powerful microscope, no one has ever observed any trace of these imagined pangenes, and even if these gemmules were finally discovered by a more powerful eye, their grouping into a complete organic system could never be explained rnechanistically, and therefore nothing at all would be gained by this hypothesis that would count in favor of the monistic-mechanistic theory of evolution.

Haeckel therefore immediately attacked Darwin's invention, and in 1876 he substituted the theory of Perigenesis for it. In so doing, the proceeds from the plastidule-hypothesis, that is, the presupposition that the plasma, which is transmitted from the begetter to the begotten, is composed of numerous plasmatic molecules, that these plastidules are surrounded by a water bubble, that each plastidule has its own distinct undulation, and that in these peculiar undulations or movements that are transmitted with the plasma the mechanistic cause may be found of the similarity between the procreator and the offspring. And Haeckel is not merely referring somatically to the bodily similarity but also spiritually to the similarity in character and mental powers. Indeed, he does not hesitate to ascribe intellect, will, and memory to these molecules in the plasma, functions that he understands purely in the physical and chemical, and therefore mechanistic, sense,2l as I stated previously. It will not surprise you that Haeckel's invention did not fare any better than Darwin's. Rudolf Virchow ridiculed it in his famous talk on Die Freiheit der Wissenschaft. He writes: "To say this, is to play with words. He who conceives of attraction and repulsion as psychic forms simply throws the entire psyche out of the window, for then the psyche ceases to be psyche."22 Dr. Otto Zacharias made this statement: "A theory such as the perigenesis of the plastidules is a derailment of sound human intellect. It is logically untenable, and scientifically without value." 23

A third theory to explain heredity is that of the late botanist Carl Naegeli, of Munich. It is called the Idioplasma theory, and was published in 1884. Idioplasma, according to Naegeli, is the portion of the plasma that does not serve as food but bears the design for the being within itself, and in his opinion the idioplasma is divided into groups of micelles. A few of those groups control the movements of the others, and within this directing group of micelles there is to be found an inner urge for greater perfection that simultaneously maintains that which existed and guides the existing organism in its further development. However, this invention also failed to win acceptance. Dr. Eimer of Jena judged Naegeli's extensive work in these words: "that in it there was an unusual amount of speculation and unusually little was proven by facts."24 Haeckel commented: "No exact physicist recognizes in it anything but metaphysical speculation."25 Naegeli's presentation is incompatible with the latest studies concerning the nature of the cell. And, to conclude, the directing and perfecting principle with which he endows his idioplasma is an organic, not a mechanistic, factor and will result in the total shipwreck of the monism of evolution. Dr. Eimer and Dr. Haeckel immediately spotted it: Naegeli's Idioplasma theory is teleological.

A year after Naegeli's Idioplasma theory, Dr. August Weismann, of Straatsburg, entered the arena with a fourth theory, that of germ-plasma,26 which certainly exceeds the preceding three in simplicity. He distinguishes between two kinds of plasma, an active form that is the germ-plasma, and a somatic form that is assimilated. Now this germ-plasma not only accounts for the origin of the new individual but also a substantial supply of this germ-plasma is generated in the new individual along life's pathway, which in its turn will be given to new individuals, and it is on this continuity of germ-plasma, which is transmitted from generation to generation, that the fact of heredity is alleged to be based. Newly acquired properties therefore, according to Weismann, cannot be transmitted by heredity.

But although this fourth theory, comparatively speaking, is somewhat attractive, it has also been rejected without mercy, by Eimer, Haeckel, Virchow, Hertwig, and others. This is the more easily understood when I add that Dr. Weismann, like Naegeli, not only secretly introduced a teleological principle but boldly declared that a purely mechanistic explanation of the cosmos is impossible. He writes: "It is undeniable that a teleological principle must be recognized along with the purely mechanistic one."27 "The linking of all forces into the great world-mechanism presumes a worldmechanic."28 Professor Max Kassowitz of Vienna this year did indeed attempt to set up a new hypothesis in opposition to Weismann, but with an equally disappointing result. Indeed, he proceeds from a "hereditary substance" that is said to swallow up the "products of the disintegration of the surrounding protoplasms" and in the process to produce "characteristic orderings of atoms" that would then be further differentiated by "external influences." In this hypothesis it is immediately apparent that the supposition of a "hereditary substance" is nothing more than proposing another mystical name for the mystery to be unveiled. 29 This is a course that is even more sharply formulated by Professor Reinke of Kiehl, who, in his most recent writing, Die Welt als That, openly takes sides against Darwinism, assumes intelligent "Dominants" along with "Energies," and has these Dominants controlled by a living God, both imminent and transcendent. Reinke also states, with Linnaeus: "I saw the eternal, omniscient, omnipotent God passing in the background, and I was struck with amazement." 30

I trust that your kind indulgence will pardon this somewhat detailed presentation. The subject under discussion is of such great importance for the future of the theory of evolution that I reproach myself with having been too brief rather than too lengthy. For although these studies of heredity bore much splendid fruit insofar as they made us aware of a much more complex existence in the most deeply hidden life of the cell than we had suspected until now, they have at the same time shed such a revealing light on the absolute inability of evolution to give a mechanistic explanation of the fact of heredity that it is no exaggeration to say that the monistic mechanism of the entire theory of evolution has been fatally wounded in its Achilles' heel. It cannot get along without the all-controlling fact of heredity in the erection of its cosmos, and its monistic mechanism is shattered like a soapbubble upon that fact of heredity. If at this point,the governance of a nonmaterial principle, of a World-Mechanic, of formation in accordance with an Idea has proven to be an undeniable necessity, then an organic factor is introduced alongside mechanism, and absolute Mechanism as well as strict Monism prove to be a figment of the imagination.


There are other, no-less-serious criticisms. In connection with heredity I have already made reference to the problem of the origin of variations in the matter of diversity among individuals. Whence are these variations that, in the selection system, are thought to bring new gains to the privileged individuals? But there is more. As Dr. Gustav Wolff remarks, and he is indisputably correct, not only is the origin of these variations a riddle, but the system demands that these variations appear without previous provisions or definition. Complete lack of regulation must characterize them.31 Without "totally undirected variation," mechanistic explanation falls. The idea of differentiation, aided by additive accumulation, must provide the architectural style for the universe, but then the building bricks supplied by this idea may not have been previously adapted for insertion, for then the mechanistic idea will fall, and the organizing idea will regain the supremacy.

It is exactly at this point that the theory of evolution runs against the facts. Or were not the vertebrata symmetrically constructed? And if the pigment spot on the left is always accompanied by a pigment spot on the right, and by an identical process, out of the two pigments spots a nearly analogous eye develops, how is it to be explained then that two entirely independent "incremental variations," in the right proportion and clearly symmetrical, produced similar results? Here the undirected action of mechanism cannot give the answer. Here we find no free variation, but a variation that in both cases is subject to the same determinant, or law, or rule, and of course mechanistic variation by Selection does not allow a pre-forrning rule.

We must say the same thing of utility as the exclusive motive for selection. Surely it is clear that an individual armed with two wings, born of wingless parents and alongside of wingless brothers and sisters, would by that token possess an uncommon preference, and that this winged individual had a chance of getting the best of his wingless competitors in the struggle for life. But this is not the way in which it is presented by the theory of evolution. Originally there are not two wings, but nothing more than two almost invisible stumps from which the wings eventually must emerge, right and left. Now, of what utility to the candidate for wings is this pair of little stumps? And how can this pair of stumps give him an advantage in the struggle for life over the stumpless? We should say, rather, that these two unsightly stumps on his back have pushed him backward in the course of sexual selection.

The answer of Darwin and his adherents to these questions is far from satisfactory. But granted that their assertion holds good in the case of the wing stumps, and that in the case of other variations, in which no utility can be established, Darwin's Correlation hypothesis permits a way out, even then not everything has by any means been explained. Dr. Romanes, although an ardent Darwinist, acknowledges, e.g., that the electrical apparatus of the ray (not the torpedo or electric ray, but the common variety or raja) delivers a thrust that is much too weak to have been of utility to the fish in defending itself against its enemies, and therefore we are here faced with a very complex phenomenon, that cannot be accounted for by selection.32

The evolutionists themselves are also embarrassed by the fossil record. The harvest that has been gathered thus far is extremely scanty, when compared with expectations. Before the first complete eagle's wing had developed from the first stump, thousands and thousands of years must have elapsed, while eagle candidates lived first with wing stumps, then with small rudiments of quills, then with expanding wings, until finally the royal wing was completed. It might be expected, therefore, that in the catacombs of the fossil world one might find a host of examples of quarter- and half-grown eagle's wings as well as a multitude of transition forms in the world of plants and animals. Do bear in mind that these transition forms did not pass by rapidly, but, according to the hypothesis, endured thousands, if not ten thousands of years, and millions of examples must have existed. But the outcome is bitterly disappointing. The Darwinists themselves are lacking in words to mourn the "incompleteness" of the buried world of life. Not one sort of anything that even faintly resembles a genealogy has come to light. And the painfulness of this sore spot is nowhere more clearly revealed than in the fuss they make with their repeated appeal to the discovered genealogical transition forms of the horse, at least as it refers to the development of the hoof from the middle toe.

Even worse is the case of the appeal to selective breeding. For this interesting practice is indeed successful in breeding variations within the limits of the same species, but it has never succeeded in transforming an animal from its own species into a higher species, or in calling a new sort of animal into being. It has long been known that every species, within certain limits, possesses the faculty of developing a multitude of variations, and this has been more amply confirmed by artificial breeding. Therefore nothing prevents us from accepting the fact that nature, in the same manner, by utility selection, has converted its original uniformity of species into pluriformity. Even in the world of bacteria, the most knowledgeable bacteriologists maintain that the evolving of all the species from one basic type is unthinkable. But precisely for that reason the theory of evolution cannot gather any support at all from artificial breeding, for evolution does not say that the species within its own limits is variegated, but that one species changes into another. And it is precisely for this kind of variation that artificial breeding does not offer proof.

I could continue to let the long procession of objections pass by in review for you. Although our time does not allow this, inasmuch as the critique from an esthetical, ethical, and religious viewpoint could not then be heard, we cannot fail to speak briefly about two other matters: first, about Darwin's suggestion of coordinated factors [in the processes of evolution], and then about the mystery of creation [creatio aequivoca.] Darwin's discovery shone in the brightness of clarity and simplicity when originally he recommended natural selection as the only driving force of evolution. But it was precisely that claim that Darwin found it necessary to reconsider, and to abandon it with an acknowledgment of his error. The data on physiologically indifferent structure cannot be explained by natural selection. Since that time, Darwin himself introduced, along with the mechanistic action, the correlation, the sexual selection, and the isolation as coordinated factors, of which at least the first two defy all attempts at a mechanistic explanation and loudly call for an organic explanation, and by that token also give the lie to the original claim and attack the entire theory at its roots.

Now, finally, a few words about the formation of all life from the beginning [omne vivum ex ovo ]. It is self-evident that the theory of evolution cannot proceed from a created group of Monera, from which, by selection, cytodes and nuclei gradually evolved as protists and whatever has gradually been constructed from them. For then the starting point would remain a mystery and the gap between the inorganic and the organic world would be absolute. Evolution, therefore, must take the position that the most primitive living organisms came into existence by chemical processes from eggwhite-like carbon combinations, or, if you will, that life came forth from the lifeless by chemical means. Countless attempts have been made to bring that discovery of all discoveries to light, but without exception they terminated in a wretched fiasco, so that the entire structure continues to lack a foundation. And the bitterness of this bankruptcy for our evolutionists is nowhere discerned more plainly than when we hear the boast of Dr. Haeckel, when in his agitation he states that chemical synthesis succeeded in 1828 in producing "from ammonium cyanate"‹please don't laugh!‹"organic urea."33 So much for "spontaneous generation."


After the foregoing argumentation, we have this result: First, that evolution is to be greeted with thanks as a bold reaction against the clumsy detail-empiricism and the despondent rule of the vast realm of the Unknowable [Ignorabimus], which too long exerted a depressing influence upon natural philosophy. Over against this, the theory of evolution has again boldly raised the question concerning the origin of the living organisms of the world, and pressed for unity in our world- view. In the second place, the theory of evolution, by this attempt to substitute nature study for speculation, has stimulated such a careful observation of nature in its most deeply hidden workshops that the half-magical speculation of former years has been replaced by the riches of microscopic observation. While previously there was at most a marking of the movement of the second hand on the clock dial, the mechanism of the clock has now been opened to view, and this movement of gears and springs may be observed. In the third place, the theory of evolution, by giving an impetus to the ontogenetic, morphological studies, has discovered a unity of design in all living organisms, and even an analogy and correspondence of the organic with the inorganic that had previously been hidden from view. Finally, in the fourth place, by applying the law of Malthus to the variations, it has pointed to a factor in the development of particular variations in the species, which cast a startling light upon otherwise inexplicable phenomena.

However, it was in error when, intoxicated with joy because of this discovery, it fancies that it had found the solution to the riddle of the universe, and in popular writings suggested that the architectonics of a "cosmos without building plans" had been disclosed to us. Every satisfactory proof that the cosmos thus mechanistically formed itself is lacking, and the proof cannot be supplied, even experimentally, in step-by-step detail. The catacombs of the fossil world refused to furnish what they were required to give in order to support the system. Not one egg, nor one cytode has been produced from non-egg [ex non-ova], and the attempt to breed the individual of one species with another species has failed thus far. To express it more forcefully, not only do we lack the proof that it occurred thus, but even as a hypothesis, that it could be so, the attempts of the theory of evolution were a fiasco. Its own adherents have acknowledged that selection explains only a portion of the phenomena, and that other, not merely mechanistic, forces must be enlisted for assistance.

For while it was fancifully imagined at first that the dual law of change and heredity would be the answer, further research soon disclosed that neither of these laws could be deduced from purely mechanistic principles, and its most skillful researchers arrived again at organic principles and returned to teleological motives. As a result, the once-beautiful harmony among the evolutionists has given place to bitter argurnentation, and accusations of betrayal of the system are being hurled about. One hears such charges as: "No exact physicist recognizes in your assertions anything other than fanciful metaphysical speculations." 34 Mark you well, metaphysiscal speculations, the most cutting stigma for an evolutionist.

Since matters now stand thus, and we nevertheless hear the adherents of evolution in all strains assure and declare "that every unbiased and unprejudiced scientist who possesses sound judgment and the sufficient biological understanding" must agree with them; 35 that they can and must "assert their general theory with complete certainty;" 36 that it is impossible to conceive "how stronger and more valid proof for the theory of evolution" could be furnished; that "if their power of proof is not sufficient, we must do without a reasonable answer to the question of all questions;" 37 that "no natural scientist doubts that the causes here are grounded purely mechanistically in the nature of living matter itself;" 38 that, when even men like Carl Vogt and Johannes Reinke differ from them in principle, this must be attributed only to their antiquated viewpoint and the limited field of their studies, to their "lack of sound logic" and their imperfect philosophical development; 39 and that one who opposes them on religious grounds has forfeited every right to a hearing of his objections, because all "blind belief in revelation and confession is no different from superstition;" 40 we are now confronted not with a theory nor a hypothesis but with a real dogma of evolution‹a dogma that I stigmatized as a pseudo-dogma, because the authority that can establish the dogma is totally lacking within the scientific premises.


The truth of this will become increasingly clear when I now finally proceed with the critique that must attack the theory of evolution from the spiritual viewpoint. There is a hierarchy [scala] of phenomena in the cosmos, the lowest rung of which is to be found in the naturally forming crystal, and the highest in the Cross of Golgotha. In order to arrive at the monism, a twofold path is indispensable, first an ascent along this ladder, and then a descent along this cosmic ladder, and only when the results of this ascent and descent agree will a holy monistic joy thrill our hearts. What is the cosmos? Is it a precipitation of the spirit, or is it a sublimation of the material atoms? Must all higher organized life be pulled down to the spheres of the lower inorganic life, or must all lower existence be subsumed under the higher? Now the foregoing argument is proof that I challenge those who, in their spiritual bird's -eye view, have no eyes for "the lilies of the field" and "the sand on the seashore." Instead of the common saying, "I count no human to be an alien to me" [nil humanum a me alienum puto], I would substitute "I count nothing in nature to be alien to us" [nil naturale a nobis alienum]. But I would reserve for the spiritual sphere an independence of character, its own distinct principle, and consequently the right, not only to raise objections to every absolutely mechanistic, i.e., atomistic theory, but to criticize them on the basis of one's own spiritual viewpoint. I shall proceed to do so with respect to the theory of evolution, and respectively treat the esthetic, ethical, and religious concerns.

The esthetically beautiful is a dangerous reef in the breakers for the theory of evolution, because it cannot abandon utility as the exclusive selection-motive without also abandoning its mechanistic explanation of the universe. It has been attempted, therefore, to explain the beautiful as emanating from the utilitarian, in spite of the fact that the entire esthetical development since Kant with his "that which pleases us, though without usefulness" opposes this in principle. The matter would then stand thus, that in the animal world the female is attracted by beautiful male forms, so that the gracefully formed may therefore present a better chance for the propagation of its species. This is a hypothesis that says something, but not much. For in the first place, it neglects to note that, according to the theory of evolution, the graceful form was not complete until thousands of years had passed, and that, as beautiful as the full-grown wing may be, so ugly were the stumps from which it gradually developed. Second, this selection of the beautiful in the lower animal world through the agency of sexual preference does not hold true. And, in the third place, it assumes esthetic sense in the female, without being able to give a mechanistic explanation of the maturing of this feminine sense. Yet it has been thought that this sexual esthetic sense can be detected even in the plant kingdom. Beautiful and fragrant flowers attracted the insects upon which their fertilization depended more than the unsightly and scentless, and the strawberry, rather than the medlar, attracted the bird that swallowed the seed along with the fruit, let it pass through its intestines, and entrusted it to the earth elsewhere. Now if a beech or cedar seems beautiful to our eyes, it could hardly be explained on the basis of insect or bird attraction, but would simply be what we are accustomed to, because we had never known anything but the ordinary tree with the forms of its trunk, branches, and leaves. But the evolutionists themselves realized that, although there was an element of truth hidden in all of this, it could not come close to explaining the luxuriant beauty of the world, and in their embarrassment they then sought a way out in subjectivism.

One may go into raptures while gazing at the Pleiades or the beautiful lines of the mountains, or enjoy the view of a stream or cataract, yet all of this is only a subjective perception, and nothing guarantees a corresponding objective beauty. And what about the world of sound, which comes to the ear from without, and through the ear enters the soul? But why should we continue? The theory of evolution has even cut itself off from flight into the tent of subjectivism. It must explain not only our outward but also our inner life mechanistically, or its monism will be dead. Therefore, all that is left is to follow the esthetical line to the Monera, and to delude us into the belief that a plastidule not only embodied intellect, will, and memory but also an esthetic sense, an esthetic sense produced chemically by the undulation, radiation, or vibration of molecules or of the water bubble that surrounds them. And even then it has not arrived, for it must still demonstrate how the sensation thus produced is connected with the objective world in its ability to appreciate beauty. Since the mechanics of the universe is incapable of either one or the other, it naturally follows that, for the sake of the theory of evolution, either the realm of the esthetic must be referred to the realm of fancy, or, if it be true that esthetic beauty possesses undeniable existence both subjectively and objectively, esthetics most emphatically gives the lie to the evolution hypothesis.

The same holds true of ethics. Undoubtedly Spencer and the Scottish school are correct, in contrast with the adherents of Kant, by demanding that in the ethical realm we must deal not only with adult man but also with budding manhood, even to pre-cradle days. But this admonition was unnecessary for us Reformed [Gereformeerde] people. Rather, we may say that plagiarism was committed upon us. For the supposition of an ability to believe, which is conceivable as potentially present already in the mother's womb [in utero matris], was taught by our earliest theologians. But the problem that confronts the evolutionists in their study of ethics is totally different. For also in that study they must prove that ethical consciousness is not governed by a teleological tendency, nor by a teleological norm, but that it is bound up with the stirrings of life in the plant and animal kingdoms and, arising from the physical and chemical action of the inorganic elements, comes into existence and continues to exist purely mechanistically. and it is only accidentally that it ascends to become a higher organizing principle. An established good [bonum perfectum] that would stand by itself, and to which man would be conformed, is a self-contradiction [contresens] from that viewpoint. For then the teleological idea would again have been introduced. Therefore the only valid perfect moral good, in Spencer's view, is an act that at the same time produces maximum integration of life for the individual and his fellow-individuals.

In this system, as Spencer frankly acknowledges, the idea of duty can rest only upon well-timed and fortunate error, for one who acts from a sense of duty acknowledges a higher determinant and thereby denies the automatic properties of mechanics. Therefore Spencer and his school break with all earlier psychology and boldly demand that the mechanistic evolution, which is claimed to have been proved inductively in astronomy, ontogeny, biology, and so on, and which leads to a unified concept of all cosmic life, shall also automatically prescribe the study methods [methodus vitae] that govern in the area of psychology and ethics. And, in their opinion, ethics will obtain the right to announce itself as a science only at the moment when it establishes itself as an analogous subdivision of the unified science of mechanistic evolution. Thus there can be no such thing as a soul that is a separate entity. There is nothing but the human "living organism," which develops in two directions, physiological and psychological, and which in the course of that development cannot undergo any changes except those that result from the tendencies inherited from plant, animal, and man, from association with other similar beings, and from the resistance of material nature. No ruling principle, nor organic motive, nor a pursued ideal give guidance in this respect. At any given moment, man is nothing more than the product of internal and external circumstance. There can be no thought of sin or guilt except in his erring notion, and the only good that spurs him on spontaneously and persistently is desire. Initially there will be a clashing of the desire of one individual with the desire of the other, but gradually the cause of such clashes wears off. For the more man begins to live as a being in association with other beings, so much more the desire of egoism cannot assume its rightful place without also seeking happiness in the associated fellow beings. This altruism, or rather, this companionable egoism, will then continue for a while its struggle with isolated egoism, because of faulty associations.

But finally, if the association is to be perfect, sympathy will cause egoism and altruism to flow together into a higher unity, and, in a natural way, all that to which we are urged by our desire will be perfectly good. The idea of moral freedom is then shown the door in derision. Also in the ethical sphere nothing is to be acknowledged but one continuing, albeit accidental, dynamic process, and just as in nature the train of evolution rumbles on relentlessly, thanks to the tension between the one-cell and multi-cell existence, thus also in the field of ethics all development is nothing but a blind process, the fruit of the clash of man-by-himself [homo solus] with man-in society [homo associatus], and of both with brute nature. There is no ethical ideal that would draw us as with a magnet. It is and remains, always in the noble sense, the atomistic pleasure principle of a renewed Epicureanism [Epicurus redivivus].

Does it not seem that we could apply literally to this quasi-ethical cobweb what Carl Vogt wrote concerning Haeckel's plastidule hypothesis: "Thus do you simply throw psyche out the door, and does psyche cease to be psyche?'' 41 Here, also, the names of psychology and ethics continue to appear as labels on the signboard, but all the drawers and closets in the shop in which the ethical ingredients ought to be laid out ready for use are hopelessly empty. There is no longer a soul, for "that which one usually calls 'soul' is only the sum of the activities of a great number of ganglion cells."42 A soul in distinction from the body would attack monism in its vitals. Spirit without matter does not exist. Thus there can never be any thought of a continued existence of the soul, since it lacks any independent existence. Experimental physiology and psychiatry, and no less ontogeny, have once and for all demolished the dogma of immortality. The species remains, the individual perishes. There is no connection with a life beyond death, "and it must be complete nonsense to continue to talk about the immortality of the human person."43 Even Hallier states that "a continuation of our spirit after death is an impossible thing."44

Accordingly, the moral ideal, the moral world order, the moral law that governs us, the sense of duty that binds us to that law, and the Holy One who gives us the law, fall away, and with these basic ideas we lose the correlated ideas of sin, guilt, and repentence, and the corresponding ideas of redemption and atonement. Thus evolution robs ethics of its entire subject, and in the place of this lost subject and its requisites it substitutes a sociological apparatus, whereby the psychological phenomena appearing in the individual throw very little weight in the scale. Even the idea of "righteousness," to which Spencer gives nominal deference, is then based on a play of words. For right and righteousness necessarily presuppose an authoritively imposed order to which life must be conformed, and it is precisely this idea of such a pre-formative authority which, being branded teleological, is in irreconcilable conflict with the basic idea of the theory of evolution.

An ethical development, other than as an accidental result of uncontrolled adaptations, can never be deduced from the theory of evolution. Therefore, although true ethics does not refuse to pay its toll of gratitude for so many latent powers revealed by the theory of evolution, yet it will resist, tooth and nail, a system that robs it of its most sacred treasures, its ideal motives, and even its life; it is firmly determined to give no quarter in this most bitter struggle for life. All advances that have been made thus far in the field of ethics are to be credited, not to the ethics of the theory of evolution but precisely to those ethical powers that the theory of evolution excludes. That which it holds out to us as ultimate perfection is so distant that, in the absence of all teleology, none can guarantee it. And although, in a limited circle of intellectuals, its theory may partially support ethical respectability [honestum], as soon as its ideas penetrate to the broad masses of the people, hurnanity as such will sink back into horrible sensualism and unbridled barbarisrn.


I now come to my last point, the critique of religion.

In England the adherents of evolution have never passed by the altar without a semi-genuflection. Most of them are still faithful attendants at worship in the polychromatic Church of England. They are moved thereto partly by the traditions of the religious past, arnd partly by the desire to have their theory accepted by means of their respect for the national religion. In Germany, on the other hand, the evolutionist, insolent and condescending, delights in wounding pious feelings. Or perhaps "insolent" is too weak, when Dr. Haeckel objects that our "personal God" is nothing more than a "gaseous vertebrate," and when he is asked what we mean by God, replies: "the sum of all atomic powers and oscillations of the ether."45 Yet undoubtedly the German evolutionists, rather than the English, derived the correct consequences from their principle. For monism, as understood by this school, fully assents to Goethe's thesis that "matter can never exist or be effective without spirit, and vice versa." The theory of evolution considers a spirit that exists independent of matter to be a piece of nonsense. Thus, in principle, it must deny and combat the existence of angels, must deny and combat the existence of the soul, but then also the existence of a God. A spiritual Being that exists independently of the material world is death to the theory of evolution. And if it countinues to speak of "religion," it is playing with words and declares that true religion, after deletion of the totality of its "mystical doctrines and supernatural revelations" meets its own invaluable nucleus only in a purified "ethical doctrine which is based on rational anthropology," an ethics that is then formulated as being the "equilibrium between egoisrn and alt:ruism." The feeling thus created is then labeled as piety, and this "equilibrium," tied in46 with the "sum of all atomic powers and oscillations of the ether," is then conjured up before the multitude as the real "Trinitarian-monistic religion" of what is true and good and beautiful.47

Gentlemen, I do not hesitate one moment to brand such reckless play with the most sacred things as the most cowardly quasi-religious invention ever put into words. Why not be honest, have the courage of one's conviction, and frankly admit that evolution is not only atheistic but antitheistic, and would ban all religion as human self-deceit? Then one would know that he is dealing with men, and both sides can prepare for the newly defined condition. But to declare boldly on the one hand, that the soul does not exist, that life after death is nonsense, and therefore nothing remains of Christ after Golgotha, that spirit without matter is unthinkable, and that the highest unity is to be thought of only as a sum of ether waves, and yet to speak of a Trinitarian God and religion is to deceive oneself or others, and dishonors the man of science. He who would assign a distinct sphere to religion alongside and distinguished from ethics, must also maintain that distinction in its working out, and, in accordance with the normal meaning of the word [verba valent usu], let religion be what it is logically and historically.

Religion presents a duality, man who worships and a God who is worshiped by him, and he who negates the latter of the two indispensable elements for an understanding of all religion and destroys the former, forfeits the right, both morally and logically, to take the word religion upon his lips. It no longer exists for him. Even the right to speak of a "spirit of the true, the good, and the beautiful," when used by an evolutionist, makes him unfaithful to his own theory. A spirit of the true, the good, and the beautiful means a transcendent or immanent power, which reveals the true, the good, and the beautiful to the spirit of man and irresistibly draws him to them. But such a spiritual constraint, which adopts a goal toward which it is driven, presupposes purpose and plan and influence, and therefore pertains entirely to the teleological area that is forbidden ground for evolution. In a universe that is constructed purely mechanistically, not only physiologically but also psychologically, there is no room for such a guiding, inspiring, and purposeful spirit.


Of course, as is so often discusssed, especially in England, the question whether religion, as such, perrnits a spontaneous unfolding of the species in organic life from the cytode or the nuclear cell, is an entirely different question. This question must be answered affirmatively, without reservation. We will not force our style upon the Chief Architect of the universe. If He is to be the Architect, not in name only but in reality, He will also be supreme in the choice of style. Therefore if it had pleased God not to create the species but to have one species emerge from another, through the medium of enabling a preceding species to produce a higher following species, creation would still be no less miraculous. However, this would never have been the evolution of Darwinism, for the preestablished purpose [Zweck] would then not have been banished but would have been all controlling, and then the world would not have constructed itself mechanistically, but God would have constructed it by the use of elements that He himself had prepared.48

The contrast is most clearly shown in an example chosen by Haeckel. To eliminate the difficulty encountered in a mechanistic explanation of a constructed organism, he asks whether a Zulu, who sees an English armored wessel put žn to the port of Lorenzo Marquez, would not automatically look upon it as an organic monster, while we know very well that it is mechanically constructed. This is something that everyone will concede, but Haeckel overlooked the fact that, at the shipyards, the iron plates did not automatically come together, but that they were fitted into place by an able architect, after a previously prepared plan. And that same difference would also distinguish such a divine evolutionistic creation from the Darwinian theory. Evolutionistic creation presupposes a God who first prepares the plan and then omnipotently executes it; Darwinism teaches a mechanistic origin of things, which excludes all plan or specifications or purpose. Not pre-formation, but epigenesis is the slogan of this system.49

I proceed. The claim of this system that the puzzle of the world's existence is solved by the mechanistic production of the living from the nonliving rests upon delusion and misunderstanding. Without the ether molecules and their waves, and the atoms with their action, and the cells with their capacity to divide, and the variability with the heredity, and thus also without the disproportion between the number of eaters and the available food, the monistic mechanics of this system cannot advance one step. And no matter whether Naegeli exclaims: "To deny spontaneous generation means to acknowledge the miracle," it will not get him anywhere. To be rid of the miracle, he must also first explain mechanistically the existence of the ether molecules and atoms, for the omnipotence that can create one atom may be a lesser miracle in degree but not in essence, than that which is required to call man into being. The presumptuous notion of having arrived and having explained everything apart from God, can therefore be maintained only so long as one halts at the borderline between the living and nonliving world, and shuts his eyes to what lies behind. Thus, also, the explanation of world mechanics on the basis of variability and heredity, of the disproportion between procreation and food, and of the consequent struggle for life, is not an explanation so long as the mechanistic explanation for those three mighty factors themselves has not been formed.

From the nature of the case, my address must refrain from comparing one theory with another. This cannot be done in a few sentences. A superficial treatment in this case would lead to misunderstanding. However, it should be noted that the adherents of the new studies declare for monotheism over against polytheism; place the unity of the entire creation in the brightest light; affirm the origin of every species from one specimen; commend the origin of the entire human race from one blood; explain the representative status of Adam [in lumbis Adami] according to Weismann's theory; elevate "through suffering to glory" to a principle; make the regeneration of the dead body more comprehensible; find Pelagianism to be in error; maintain capital punishment; and, in agreement with Romans 9, reject the idea that the construction of the universe was directed entirely to the happiness of man. I may add to this that the scriptural document of Creation eliminates, rather than commending, the dramatic entry of new beings. Scripture states that "the earth brought forth herb yielding seed after its kind," and also that "the earth brought forth the cattle and everything that creepeth upon the earth"; not that they were set down upon the earth by God, like pieces upon a chessboard.

But, although there are points of contact that we may not neglect, the principal contrast between theory and theory remains unimpaired and irreconcilable. Man is and remains created after God's image, and it is not the nature of the beast that has determined our human being, but contrarily, the entire lower cosmos is paradigmatically determined by the central position of man. Not as Ranke asserted; "the animal kingdom is dissected man, and man is the paradigm of the whole animal kingdom."50 He who would make that statement needlessly exposes himself [to refutation]. And yet it is the case that conceptually all that is on a lower plane culminates in man, and in that respect is the imagebearer of man, even as man bears the image of his God. And since the theory of evolution thus destroys the object and kills the subject of the two indispenable terms for all real religion‹God and man‹religion can do nothing other than what was done by esthetics and ethics, and religion must, by virtue of the law governing its own life, irrevocably condemn the system of evolution.

To hesitate at this point would mean a betrayal of one's own convictions. Evolution is a newly conceived system, a newly established theory, a newly formed dogma, a newly emerged faith, which, embracing and dominating all of life, is diametrically opposed to the Christian faith, and can erect its temple only upon the ruins of our Christian Confessions. No satisfaction with, nor appreciation of the beauty and riches that were cast into our laps by the studies that stimulated it, may permit us to be at peace for even a moment with this system as system. That system remains evil, even though in many respects good has come out of evil. And therefore our combined resistance to that system of the aimlessly and mechanistically constructed cosmos must be expressed. We must not merely defend ourselves against it, but attack it. The textbooks into which it found its way must be laid aside, and we may not entrust our children to any instructor who teaches it. Like a deadly bacteria that would destroy all spiritual life, it must be microscopically investigated, and all traces must be removed from the tissue of our life. Over against Nietzsche's evolution-law that the stronger must tread upon the weaker, we cling to the Christ of God, who seeks the lost and has mercy on the weak. Over against the undirected mechanisms of evolution we present faith in that Eternal Being who "has worked and continues to work all things after the counsel of His will." Over against the natural selection that seeks the species and neglects the individual, we cling to the election, which speaks of the "white stone and on the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." Over against the annihilation of the individual person in the grave we continue to testify of a coming judgment, and of an eternal glory. And over against an altruism that is nothing more than a "transformed" and therefore disguised egoism, we hold high the fire of the eternal love that burns in God's Fatherheart, and of which a holy spark has leaped to our own hearts.

Gentlemen, the first time I retired from the rectorate, I warned against the "Higher Criticism" of Scripture [Schriftcritiek],which threatened to rob us of the Revelation of our God. When I spoke of our "Vanishing Boundaries," I cautioned against the destructive influence of Pantheism. Today I felt myself called to raise my voice against the even more deadly danger of evolution. Not narrowly pleading for a specifically Reformed view but for the sacred inherited treasure of our Christian religion, most broadly conceived, I have spoken on the two previous occasions and again today. Now I conclude by returning to the starting point for the entire Christian church on earth in its Confession, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, by maintaining over against evolution the first of all articles of faith:






1. Ernst Haeckel, Der Monismus als Band zwischen Religion und Wissenschaft, 8e ausgabe (Bonn: E. Strauss, 1899), available in English as Monism as Connecting Religion and Science, trans. J. Gilchrist (London: A. & C. Black, 1894).

2. "Die Weltgeschichte muss ein physikalisches chemisches Process, sein." Ernst Haeckel, Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte (Berlin: G. Reimer, 1898), I, 153, available in English as The History of Creation, 2 vols., trans. E. Ray Lankester (New York: D. Appleton, 1876).

3. "ein philosophisches Verstandniss" . . . "nothwendige Vorbedingung ist fur die volle Weltanschauung der Descendenz-theorie." Haeckel, Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte II, 780.

4. "das unerschutterliche Gebaude der wahren monistischen Wissenschaft" [comes into existence only when] "Empirie und Philosophie sich aufs innigste durchdringen." Haeckel, Naifirliche Schopfungsgeschichte, II, 782.

5. "So steht es heute unzweifelhaft fest: Der Mensch stammt vom Affen ab." Haeckel, Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte, II, 800.

6. "die ungeheure Luckenhaftigkeit unserer palaontologischen Kenntnisse." Haeckel, Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte, 11, 798.

7. "Kopfe von solcher Grosze" . . . "dass wohl mancher Lebende sich glucklich preisen wurde einen ahnlichen zu besitzen." Rudolf Virchow, Die Freiheit der Wissenschaft im modernen Staat (Berlin: Wiegandt, Hempel & Parey, 1877), 30, available in English as The Freedom of Science in the Modern State (London: J. Murray, 1879).

8. "niemals blosz durch einzelne empirische Erfahrungen" [but must be derived froml "philosophische Verwerthung." . . . Haeckel, Naturliche SchUpfungsgeschichte, II, 799.

9. "Sie liegt darin dass die Descendenztheorie als ein allgemeines Inductionsgesetz aus der vergleichenden Synthese aller organischen Naturerscheinungen erfolgt." "Die Pithecoiden-theorie" [therefore, is nothing more than] "ein specieller Deductionsschlusz welcher aus dem generellen Inductionsgesetze der Descendenz-theorie mit derselben logischen Nothwendigkeit gefolgert werden muss." HaeckeL Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte, II, 799.

a. Until well into the nineteenth century there was a sharp distinction made between nonliving matter (inorganic) and living matter (organic). Living matter was thought to contain a "vital force" that distinguished it from nonliving matter. Kuyper frequently refers to that distinction with the words organic and inorganic. In many places in this translation, the terms that are more familiar to us, i.e., living and nonliving have been used. Further, Kuyper often contrasts "mechanistic principles" with "organic principles," no doubt referring to the notion of a vital force or life principle that cannot be reduced to the principles of inorganic chemistry and physics. That notion of vital force had been largely abandoned by the scientific community before 1899, but Kuyper nevertheless invokes that idea frequently in his address. By today, of course, we have progressed a long way toward understanding life processes in terms of chemical and physical factors; no one would claim that our understanding of such processes is complete, but we certainly may expect further progress in that direction.

10. George John Romanes, Darwin und nach Darwin (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1892-97), I, 65. Originally published in English as Darwin and after Darwin (Chicago: Open Court, 1892). Before his death, Romanes returned from his error. See his Thoughts on Religion, ed. Charles Gore (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1896).

11. See Ludwig Zehnder, Die Entstehung des Lebens (Freiburg im Breisgau: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeckl, 1899), 2, 204.

12. "Was nicht mechanisch gefasst ist, ist nicht wissenschafflich verstanden?" Joseph Epping, Der Kreislauf im Kosmos (Freiburg i B.: Herder, 1882), 102, and Tilmann Pesch, Die grossen Welträthsel (Freiburg i B.: Herder, 1892), I, 505; Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (Frankfurt am Main: Insel, 1819), II, 357, available in English translation as The World as Will and Idea, trans. R. B. Haldane and J. Kemp (Boston: J. R. Osgood & Co., 1883); Jacob Henle, Anthropologische Vorträge (Braunschweig: E Vieweg, 1880) II, 128; and J. Diebolder, Darwins Grundpnncip der Abstammungslehre (Freiburg: Herder, 1891).

13. See Ernst Haeckel, Die Naturanschauung von Darwin, Goethe und Lamarsk (Jena: G. Fischer, 1882). Conceming Goethe, see especially Eduard Oscar Schmidt, Descendenzlehre und Darwinismus (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1884), 95-109, available in English translation as The Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism (London: H. S. King, 1876).

14. The geometric progression is: a, a·q, a·q2, a·q3, etc.; the arithmetic progression is: a, a+d, a+2d, a+3d, and so forth.

15. That the "adaptation" here is not the cause but the effect and also that it is not the main issue, was pointed out very correctly by Johann W. Spengel, Zweckmässigkeit und Anpassung (Jena: 1898), p. vf., especially 18.

b. Throughout most of the nineteenth century, it was supposed that light waves and other wave like phenomena were transmitted from distant objects by means of the ''luminiferous ether." The ether was weightless and transparent and therefore was not detectable directly, but everyone supposed that some sort of material substance was required for light rays to be transmitted through the vacuum of space, as well as through man-made vacuums. Doubt was cast on the existence of the ether by the "Michelson and Morley experiment" published in 1887. It was not until the very late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that the concept of waves traveling through empty space became acceptable to the scientific community, and then became commonly accepted by the general public through the teaching in the universities and schools.

16. See Theodule Ribot, La psychologie anglaise conternporaine (Paris: F. Alcan,1896), 76. Originally published in English as English Psychology (New York: D. Appleton, 1874).

17. "Es bricht sich zweifellos allmählig die Erkenntniss Bahn, dass es mit dem Darwinismus eine Täuschung gewesen ist" [and then adds:] "Das Ende der Darwinistischen Herrschaft" [is not far away]. Gustav Wolff, Beiträge zur Kritik der Darwin'schen Lehre (Leipzig: A. Georgi 1898), Foreword, 1.

c. The experiments of Gregor Mendel, which provide the basis for our modern understanding of genetic inheritance, were reported in a paper that Mendel presented to a meeting of the Brunn Natural Science Society in 1865, and were published in the Proceedings of that meeting in 1866, but those ideas did not come to the attention of the rest of the scientific community until the early years of the twentieth century. Mendel had sent a copy of the paper to Karl Naegeli, the leading authority on heredity at that time, but Naegeli did not consider those experiments to be of any special importance. It was only in 1900, after similar experiments had been done independently by Erich von Tschermak in Austria, Carl Correns in Germany. and Hugo de Vries in the Netherlands, that a search of the literature rediscovered what Mendel had done thirty-five years earlier. Clearly, Kuyper did not know about Mendel's work. Knowledge of Mendelian inheritance and the understanding of genetics that we possess today greatly modify the force of Kuyper's comments about heredity and evolution.

18. Romanes, Darwin und nach Darwin, I, 199.

19. "auf reiner Muthmaassung beruhen," [and are nothing more than] "metaphysische Speculationen sind." Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte. I, 205.

20. Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication," in The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin (New York: D. Appleton, 1887) II, 369ff. cf., Life and Lettres of Darwin, III, 83ff.

21. Haeckel had a forerunner in Louis Elsberg; see his On the Plastidule-hypothesis. Buffalo meeting, August 1876.

22. "Zoo spreken, schreef hij, is spelen met woorden. Wie aantrekking en afstooting als psychische vormen opvat werpt kort en goed geheel de Psyche het venster uit want dan houdt de Psyche op Psyche te zijn." Virchow, Die Freiheit der Wissenschaft, 27.

23. "Een theorie als die van de Perigenesis der Plastidulen is een ontsporing van het gezonde menschenverstand. Logisch onhoudbaar, is ze wetenschappelijk zonder waardij." Otto Zacharias, Ueber gelöste und ungelöste Problemen der Naturforschung (Leipzig: Denicke~Zs Verlag, 1887), 60.

24. "dass in demselben ausserordentlich viel speculirt und ausserordentlich wenig aus Thatsachen bewiesen wurde." Gustav Eimer, Die Entstehung der Arten : Jena: G. Fischer, 1888), 21.

25. "Kein exacter Physiker erkennt in demselben etwas anderes als phantasiereiche metaphysische Speculationen." Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, I, 203.

26. August Weismann, Mechanisch-psychologische Theorie der Abstammungslehre (Munich: 1884); Das Keimplasma, Eine Theorie der Vererbung (Jena: Fischer, 1892), available in English translation as The Germ-Plasm: A Theory of Heredity (London: W. Scott, 1912); and Aufsätz über Vererbung und verwandte Biologische Fragen : Jena: G. Fischer, 1892), available in English translation as Essays upon Heredity and Kindred Biological Problems (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892), especially 208, Das Keimplasma.

27. "Es ist unabweislich ein teleologisches Princip neben dem blossen mechanischen an zu erkennen." Weismann, Mechanisch-psychologische Theorie, 86; II, 316, 295.

28. "Die Verbindung aller Kräfte zu dem groszen Weltmechanismus stellt ein Weltmechaniker voraus." Weismann, Mechanisch-psychologische Theorie, II, 316, 295.

The theory of intracellular pangenesis, proposed in 1889 by Professor Hugo de Vries in Intracelluläre Pangenesis : (Jena: G. Fischer, 1889), available in English translation as Intracellular Pangenesis (Chicago: Open Court, 1910), returned in principle to the pangenesis of Darwin, but with this important difference, that it did not allow the pangenes to wander through the entire body, but the protoplasm itself was viewed as consisting of a complete set of pangenes, whereby each individual hereditary property, whether somatic or psychological, was borne by a separate pangene. "I take intracellular pangenesis to be the hypothesis that all living protoplasm is constructed out of pangenes." ("lntracellulaire Pangenesis nenne ich die Hypothese, dass das ganze lebendige Protoplasma aus Pangenen aufgebaut ist",) 211. And further, "Every hereditary characteristic has its own particular kind of pangenes" ("Jede erbliche Eigenschaft hat ihre besondere Art von Pangenen"), 211. Undoubtedly a much more natural representation, but one that as one arranges these pangenes in their interactive relationship to each other, and does not get his thoughts confused, brings us partway back to the ancient theory of preformation, as was correctly observed by Dr. Haeckel.

29. Max Kassowitz, Allgemeine Biologie (Vienna: Perles, 1899), II, 359, 361. Others are presently seeking an escape in empirical teleology, see Paul Nic. Cossman, Elemente der Emp. Teleologie (Stuttgart: 1899),121. He calls this a "scientific teleology," which amounts to this, that the great Unknown always remains standing behind all empirical data. See also Eduard Strasburger, Ueber die Bedeutung phylogenetischer Methoden fur die Erforschung lebender Wesen Jena: Mauke's Verlag [H. Dufft], 1874), who also acknowledged on page 25 that "the Unknown" person or principle cannot be left out of account.

30. "Deum sempiternum, omnisium, omnipotentem a tergo transeuntem vidi et obstupui." Johannes Reinke, Die Welt als That [Tat] (Berlin: Gebruder Paetel, 1899), 482.

31. "Völlige Regellosigkeit" Wolff, Beiträge zur Kritik, 4.

32. Romanes, Darwin und nach Darwin. I, 432.

d. The reference here is to the work of Friedrich Wohler, who had succeeded in synthesizing the organic chemical compound urea from the inorganic compound ammonium cyanate in 1828. Until that time it was commonly thought that chemical compounds found in living organisms (organic compounds) were very different from compounds that came fram nonliving sources (inorganic compounds). It was thought that organic compounds could be formed only in the bodies of living organisms and could not be made by chemical synthesis from inorganic starting materials. Today the synthesis of organic compounds from inorganic starting materials is done routinely, with successful synthesis of some very complex biochemical compounds.

In 1899 Kuyper was apparently still skeptical of the possibility of forming complex organic compounds from inorganic starting materials. He inserted the comment "Please don't laugh!" into the quotation from Haeckel, apparently using a bit of barnyard humor to ridicule the significance of Wöhler's synthesis of urea.

33. "uit cyaan- en ammoniakverbindingen," [risum teneatis], -"organischen Harnstoff" Haeckel, Naturliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, I, 364.

34. "Kein exacter Physiker erkennt in deinen Behauptungen etwas andres als phantasiereiche metaphysische Speculationen." Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgesckichte, I, 203.

35. "dass jede unbefangene und vorurtheilsfreie Naturforscher, welcher gesundes Urtheil und die genügende biologische Vorkenntnisse besitzt'' Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, II, 799.

36 "allgemeine Theorie mit voller Sicherkeit behaupten können und müssen" Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, II, 798.

37. "wie stärkerer und vollgültigerer Beweis für die Abstammungslehre," [that] "wir, wenn ihre Beweiskraft nicht genügt, überhaupt auf eine vernunftgemässe Beantwortung der Frage aller Fragen verzichten müssen;" Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, 801.

38. "kein Naturforscher zweifelt dass die Ursachen hier überall rein mechanisch in der Natur der organischen Materie selbst gegründet sind;" Haeckel, Nutürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, I, 196.

39. "Mangel gesunder Logik," Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, II, 783.

40. "blinder Offenbarungsglauben und Confession, von Aberglauben nicht verschieden ist;" Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, II, 767.

41. "So wirfst du einfach die Psyche die Thüre aus, und hört Psyche auf Psyche zu sein?" In Germany the same ethic is gaining ground. See Gustav Ratzenhofer, Die Sociologische Erkenntniss (Leipzig: E A. Brockhaus, 1898). Over against the point of departure of theology and metaphysics, he bases his system on positivistic understanding, 368-69. And Georg Johannes Unbehaun, Versuch einer philosophischen Selectionstheorie (Jena: B Vopelius, 1896), 137. Also Oscar Hertwig, Die Lehre vom Organismus und ihre Beziehung auf Socialwissenschaft (Jena: G. Fischer, 1899), 20ff. There is an interesting critique of this system by Victor Cathtrein, Die Sittenlehre des Darwinismus (Freiburg i B.: Herder, 1885).

42. "was man gewöhnlich Seele nennt is nur die Summe von Thätigkeiten einer groszen Anzahl von Gangliencellen." Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, II, 808.

43. "und es muss vollkommen Widersinnigkeit sein noch von einer Unsterblichkeit der menschlichen Person zu reden." Haeckel, Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, I, 297.

44. "Eine Fortdauer unseres Geistes nach dem Tode ist ein Ding der Unmöglichkeit." Ernst Hallier, Naturwissenschaft, Religion und Erziehung (Jena: G. Fischer, 1875), 41.

45 "gasförmiges Wirbelthier" . . . "die Summe aller Atomkräfte und Aethlerschwingungen." Haeckel, Monismus lts Band, 33.

46. "Religion" . . . "sämmtliche mystischen Dogmen und übersinnlichen Offenbarungen," . . . "auf vernünftige Anthropologie gegründete Sittenlehre," . . . "Gleichgewicht zwischen Egoismus und Altruismus." . . "Gleichgewic," Haeckel, Monismus als Band, 28.

47. "Summe der Atomkrüfte und Aetherschwingungen," . . . "trinitarisch-monistische Religie." Haeckel, Monismus als Band, 36.

48. Emil Heinrich Du Bois-Reymond in his most recent publication: Uber Neo-vitalismus, 1894 (initially published in a collection of speeches, 1890; published later as a separate book, Ueber Neo-vitalismus [Brackwede i.W.: W. Breitenbach, 1913]) actually accepts this position. He posits that God "before conceivable time created by a creative act all matter in such a way that the simplest living beings came into existence according to the concomitant laws of matter, out of which, without further assistance, the natural world of today arose out of an original micrococcus all the way up to Suleima's sweet gestures and Newton's brain." ("Vor undenklicher Zeit durch einen Schöpfungsakt die ganze Materie so geschaffen habe, dass nach den der Materie mitgegebenen Gesetzen einfachste Lebewesen entstanden, aus denen ohne weitere Nachhülfe die heutige Natur vom einem Urmikrokokkus bis zu Suleima's holden Gebärden, und bis zu Newton's Gehirn ward.") This, however, is completely in conflict with the theory of evolution, and Dr. Haeckel also hastens to censure it in his most recent work: Die Welträthsel (Bonn: Emil Strauss, 1899), 274, available in English translation as The Riddle of the Universe at the Close of the Nineteenth Century, tran. Joseph McCabe (New York: Harper & Bros., 1900), 236. By suggesting such a notion, he says, exposes "in a striking way the shallowness and illogic of his monistic thought" ("in auf fallender Weise die geringe Tiefe und Folgerichtigkeit seines monistischen Denkens"). Also Gerardus Johannes Mulder, in Das streben der Materie nach Harmonie (Braunschweig: 1844), 24, takes the same position as Du Bois-Reymond.

49. Cf., Oscar Hertwig, Zeit- und Streitfragen der Biologie, vol. I, Präformation oder Epigenese? (Jena: G. Fischer, 1894), available in English translation as The Biological Problem of Today: Preformation or Epigenesis? (New York: Macmillan, 1900).