The Student's Darwin


SEVERAL months ago we reviewed the first volume of this series, and now in reviewing the second we are still of opinion that the promoters of the series are mistaken, so far as they may have the interests of science at heart, in associating their endeavours to render science popular with their systematic onslaught against theistic belief. In itself science has no necessary relation to any such belief; it is neither theistic nor atheistic; it is simply extra-theistic. It is but an extension of common experience, and as such has to deal only with the facts of ordinary knowledge without at any point being able to escape from the sphere of the phenomenal; in so far as any inferences are extended from this domain they are not scientific but metaphysical. Therefore, although it may be of use in the interests of “Freethought” to represent science as not merely neutral but negative in its bearings upon religion, the attempt to do so is detrimental to the interests of science; so far as it may be successful it can only tend to increase the suspicious dislike of scientific knowledge which large masses of the general public are already too apt to harbour. Still, as the leading object of the “International Library” is no doubt that of advancing anti-theistic dogma, its promoters are probably careless whether in so doing they are either loyal or just to the cause of science, under whose banner and in whose name they profess to march.

The Student's Darwin.

By Edward B. Aveling, Fellow of University College, London. International Library of Science and Freethought. Vol. II. (London: Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh, 1881.)

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ROMANES, G. The Student's Darwin . Nature 24, 429–430 (1881).

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