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“If it were given me to look beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time to the still more remote period when the earth was passing through physical and chemical conditions, which it can no more see again than a man can recall his infancy, I should expect to be a witness of the evolution of living protoplasm from non - living matter;" and Prof. Tyndall, also in an Address to the British Association, declares: “By an intellectual necessity I cross the boundary of the experimental evidence, and discern in that Matter which we in our ignorance of its latent powers, and notwithstanding our professed reverence for its Creator, have hitherto covered with opprobrium, the promise and potency of all terrestrial life.” The attitude of mind revealed by these words is not a reasonable one. We cannot be justified in believing a scientific hypothesis in favour of which we fail to find a single relevant fact, while every experiment undertaken to prove it ends in confirming the rule of which it would be the violation. Our belief in the continuity of nature must be conformed to our knowledge of the continuity of experience. The right of belief claimed by Professors Huxley and Tyndall is, in this instance, a right to believe without evidence and against evidence. It need scarcely be pointed out that if matter could produce life, the improbability of its having produced it only in a passing crisis of its history must be regarded as enormous. What physical and chemical forces did once, they would surely do often, if not continually. Matter now has not lost any known property or power which it possessed when in a cooling state, nor has it been shown that its molecular constitution is greatly changed, while it is certainly better fitted for the support of life. What reason is there for imag
ining that it was ever more fitted than at present for originating life?
The attempt to explain life by Protoplasm is generally acknowledged to have failed. The reader will find materials for forming a judgment on the controversy in Prof. Huxley's 'Physical Basis of Life,' in Dr Lionel Beale's ' Protoplasm,' and Dr Hutchison Stirling's 'Concerning Protoplasm.' The Rev. Joseph Cook, in several of his second series of Boston Monday Lectures, presents Dr Lionel Beale's results in a very popular and effective manner. I regret to perceive, however, that he and others should accept so readily Dr Lionel's view that the body is divisible into dead and living matter, the latter being a comparatively small portion, which becomes red under the application of carmine. I confess I fail to see that his division will hold, and believe that every kind of matter — Beale's so-called living matter included — will ultimately be analysed into inorganic elements.
The world-renowned Bathybius of Huxley, Haeckel, and Strauss, has turned out to be “a sea-mare's nest.” The explorations of the Challenger have shown that the supposed "vast sheet of living matter enveloping the whole earth beneath its seas” is little more than a deposit of gypsum. Huxley, with characteristic candour, hastened, as soon as the results of these explorations were communicated to him, to acknowledge his mistake. Even Haeckel no longer argues that the existence of Bathybius is proved, but ventures only to maintain that its non-existence is not proved.
Were this note not already too long, I should have submitted Haeckel's views concerning the origin of life to a special examination. It may be necessary to state, in order to prevent misconceptions as to my own position, that I do not regard the explanation of life by mechanical and chemical causes as absurd or impossible, or as involving any difficulties nearly so great as those which consciousness or mind presents to materialism.
To the references already given in this note add, Sir W. Turner's 'Cell Theory, Past and Present—Inaugural Address,' 1890, and Prof. Calderwood's ' Evolution and Man's Place in Nature,' 1893.
NOTE XVIII., page 173.
MATERIALISM AND MIND. My chief reason for passing so briefly over the materialistic attempts to account for mental phenomena is the manifest inadequacy of these attempts. When materialism comes to deal with mind it simply breaks down. It has not as yet been able to bring forward any fact which proves more than that the mind is intimately connected with, and largely dependent on, the body—a conclusion which affords no support to materialism.
It may be of use to note some of the more prominent respects in which materialism fails when it undertakes to account for mind.
I. It leaves unexplained the fact that physical and mental phenomena are distinguished by differences far greater than any of those which distinguish other phenomena. Materialists represent the contrasts between matter and mind as similar to the distinctions between different states of matter. This only shows that they do not realise what the facts of the case are. The unlikeness between any physical and any mental phenomenon is incomparably greater than the unlikeness between any two physical phenomena. It is an entirely peculiar un
likeness. What is called matter may pass through many stages, may assume many phases, and may perform many functions; but in all its transformations, even the most surprising, it never ceases to be an object of sense, a something external, extended, bounded, divisible, movable, &c. ; while no phenomenon of mind-no thought, volition, or feeling-ever has any of these properties, but has a number of other properties never found in matter. The perception of this truth early led men to believe that the phenomena called mental could not be resolved into, or accounted for by, those called material; and the most recent materialism has not succeeded in showing that any other belief can be reasonably entertained.
Prof. Bain, in his volume on 'Mind and Body,' while explicitly admitting that mental and bodily states are “utterly contrasted” and “cannot be compared,” maintains that the physical and the mental are “the two sides of a double-faced unity.” But he has not shown that utterly contrasted qualities can coinhere in a single substance, nor that what is unextended can either be a side of anything or have a side of its own. Further, as Prof. Tyndall remarks in his Birmingham lecture,
_“It is no explanation to say that the objective and subjective effects are two sides of one and the same phenomenon. Why should the phenomenon have two sides? This is the very core of the difficulty. There are plenty of molecular motions which do not exhibit this two-sidedness. Does water think or feel when it forms into frost-ferns upon a window-pane? If not, why should the molecular motion of the brain be yoked to this mysterious companion-consciousness ?”
II. Materialism fails to show that molecular changes in the nerves or brain ever pass into mental states. This is the argument employed by Tyndall in the quotation given in the lecture. Striking statements to the same effect will be found in Du Bois-Reymond's 'Ueber die Grenzen des Naturerkennens,' pp. 20, 21, and in Dr Ferrier's 'Functions of the Brain,' pp. 255, 256. Says the former : “I will now prove conclusively, as I believe, that not only is consciousness unexplained by material conditions in the present state of our science (which all will admit), but that, in the very nature of things, it never can be explained by these conditions. The most exalted mental activity is no more incomprehensible in its material conditions than is the first grade of consciousness-namely, sensation. With the first awakening of pleasure and pain experienced upon earth by some creature of the simplest structure appeared an impassable gulf, and the world became doubly incomprehensible.” Says the latter: “We may succeed in determining the exact nature of the molecular changes which occur in the brain when a sensation is experienced, but this will not bring us one whit nearer the explanation of the nature of that which constitutes the sensation. The one is objective and the other subjective, and neither can be expressed in terms of the other.”
III. Materialism fails to explain the unity of conscious. ness. This is an old because an obvious argument, but the ablest thinkers in Europe still regard it as valid and invincible. It has been presented with masterly skill by Lotze both in his ‘Medical Psychology’and in his ‘Mikrokosmos.' A careful statement of it, with reference to modern theories, will also be found in an article by Prof. Bowen in the ‘Princeton Review' for March 1878– “Dualism, Materialism, or Idealism ? "
IV. The consciousness of personal identity is also a