Page images

tion, be possible, as we have explained, to separate the processes which are Exterior from those which are Interior, for they are mutually reciprocal and each overflows, and often by conscious pushing, goes into, the other. Yet we think it has been made clear and conclusive that the particular intellectual movements which have been briefly delineated, have for most part been quite independent of any theological status, and have been operated without regard to the possible effect upon modes of religious thinking and belief. The fact is palpable we rejoice in it for it is great progress — that, even without the intent of the leaders of these mental activities, and in some instances directly against their intentions, they have been a mighty leaven flowing in from the Exterior. By their assimilative power, they have, in great essentials, leavened and changed the entire mass of theological opinion, in every ecclesiastical community where thinking is permissi ble, or where in spite of edicts it has forced its way.

[ocr errors]

Rev. G. H. Emerson, D.D.


Paradise Found.1


THIS book the record of the latest Arctic Expedition in quest of the North Pole is a strange medley. It is made up of solid geological facts and loose unwarranted inferences. The author is evidently well read in geological literature but as evidently is not a geologist. On well established scientific facts he has built up a fantastical theory which stands as a house of cards on a foundation of granite. The book must be classed with the many that have appeared during the last half century, but which are now fortunately becoming few, in which the authors have undertaken to prove the agreement of

1 Paradise Found. By W. F. Warren. ST.D. LL.D. President of the Bosto■ University.

modern science with the Hebrew Scriptures, and have traced out imaginary coincidences from which they have inferred that these old writings contain, by implication at least, the germs of a cosmogony. Most of these works would be considered little better than solemn trifling if they related to any other book, and though they deal with the Bible sober judgment can give them no better description. The method rather than the topic determines the character of the treatise.

But Dr. Warren takes a much wider view than the average "reconciliationist." His is not simply the narrow purpose of bringing Genesis into apparent harmony with Geology but of showing that a geological basis underlies all the cosmogonies of the world, Pagan not less than Christian. This fact at once raises his work above the crowd and renders it deserving of attention. The title "Paradise Found" suggests the scope of the essay. It is an attempt to show that the only place on earth that can fulfil the conditions of the Garden of Eden is the North Pole, and that there was placed the cradle of humanity; not however in the present state of that region, where the land is snow-clad and the sea is ice-bound, but in a distant time when a mild and genial climate prevailed over all the North Frigid Zone.

To the support of this paradoxical proposition our author brings forward many ingenious arguments drawn from science, and more from tradition, while equal dialectic skill is shown in refuting or evading manifest and weighty objections which cannot fail to occur to nearly every thoughtful reader.

None the less, however, is the book wanting when weighed in the balances of the biologist and of the geologist. There is throughout it a lack of what we may call "scientific perspective" which destroys the value of its reasoning. The relations of his facts are not appreciated by the writer. His statements are for the most part accurate, but his inferences are often invalidated by this want of perception of their mutual relationship. We will return to this point a little later.

The plan of the essay may be thus briefly summed up. First an attempt is made to show that there is geological evi

dence proving that the centre of dispersion of the original types of our existing faunas and floras was in the arctic regions; secondly, that no other part of the globe is so suitable for the purpose, or so consonant with all traditions of the earliest condition of mankind; and, thirdly, that the cradle of the human family- the Garden of Eden - was situated at the North Pole.

[ocr errors]

Into all the various fields over which Dr. Warren has travelled in search of material, it is not our purpose here to follow him. The space at command will not allow so long an investigation. We limit ourselves (and the bounds are wide enough for the purpose) to a consideration of some of the scientific inconsistencies and difficulties involved in the theery and the errors thereby introduced into the argument.

The first fallacy to which we wish to call attention arises. from the want of perspective already alluded to in a biological direction. Dr. Warren is undoubtedly right in his assertion (no geologist will for a moment dispute it) that there was a time in the earth's history, (probably there were many), when the north polar regions were clothed with verdure, and when plants now known only in temperate and semi-tropical climates grew within the arctic circle. Details are needless. But the argument founded on this fact (Chapter V.) is fallaeious in the extreme. Reduced to logical form it runs thus: The Arctic Regions were the original home of the ancestral types of existing species of plants.

Man now lives among the existing species that have descended from these original types.

Therefore man's original home must have been in the north polar regions.

In this form the fallacy is obvious. There is no biological relationship between man and the plants around him; still less between him and the original types of those species. No inference drawn from them can logically be applied to him. They are on a different plane of existence.

The plants of the Miocene age, to which our author so fre

quently refers, are undoubtedly very nearly allied to existing species, but it is more than doubtful if any of them are perfectly identical. Mr. Carruthers in his recent address before the Biological Section of the British Association, says:

[ocr errors]

"I am unable to carry the history of any existing species of plant beyond the Cromer" (glacial) "deposit.' The sedimentary beds at the base of the glacial epoch contain, as far as we at present know, the earliest remains of any existing species of plant."

If, then, the Miocene species were all different from those now living, it is obviously idle to base on their supposed identity any argument for the existence of Miocene man.

The same fallacy crops out in another place where our author says, (p. 287), speaking of the great trees of California:

"If these last individuals of an expiring race can maintain, under unfavorable biological conditions, a vigorous life through two milleniums of time who shall declare it impossible that the men of the time and place of the origination of the Sequoia gigantea should have averaged more than six feet in stature or attained to an age surpassing our threescore years and ten."

It would be as fair to argue that because an oak or a chestnut is capable of enduring for a thousand years, therefore man may reasonably expect to grow taller than six feet, and to live to a greater age than threescore and ten.

A want of appreciation of biological perspective is yet more strikingly shown in Chapter VI. There the argument is as follows:

The Arctic Regions were the home of the original types of existing species of animals.

Man is an existing species of animals.

Therefore man must have originated in the Arctic Regions. To the logician and the biologist the fallacy in this syllogism is evident. It is beyond a doubt that the types of the existing fauna of the northern hemisphere once existed farther north than at present. We demur, however, to the

statement that they existed in the polar regions as a general assertion. But setting this demurrer aside we must object that not a single existing species of mammal is known to have come down from the Miocene Age. The great Miocene summer of which our author makes free use is so far distant from our own day, that every then living mammal has passed away, and has been succeeded by other and distinct species. It is, therefore, in the highest degree improbable that a being so strongly specialized as man should have survived through this enormous interval and apparently have not yet reached his specific zenith. No Biologist will, we think, admit the possibility of so long a survival. If any manlike form existed in the Miocene it must have been some low type, some pithecoid, waiting to be "judiciously iced "2 in order to be

come man.


Equally prominent is the want of geological perspective already alluded to. Dr. Warren seems unaware in some places of the immense length of the geologic periods which he is handling. Thus in a single page we find two extracts. The first is from Prof. Nicholson of S. Andrew's (p. 285):

"The life of the miocene period is exceedingly abundant and also extremely varied in its character."

The second is from L. Figuier:

"The lycopods of our age are humble plants scarcely a yard in height, and commonly creepers; but those of the ancient world were trees of eighty or ninety feet in height."

But this second extract has no relation to the first. The writer is evidently discussing the carboniferous flora, one vastly older than the miocene and of totally different character. The least that can be said is that the latter passage is totally irrelevant to the subject.3

2 p. 101.

3[We give here a condensed table of the fossiliferous rocks which will illustrate the geological points involved in the essay:

« PreviousContinue »