Science or Romance?


THAT the doctrine of evolution should not be as sweet savour in the nostrils of the writer of this little book is in no way surprising, but that he should attack evolutionists and their ways with the weapons of flippancy and ridicule is an encouraging indication that the said doctrine has penetrated into quarters from which the author evidently thinks it high time to eject this modern heresy. Having seized the scourge, Father Gerard accordingly proceeds to lay out all round, delivering his blows with vigour, if not with discrimination, and occasionally throwing such force into his strokes that the lash recoils and strikes the striker. In happy unconsciousness that he hits himself quite as often as he does his adversaries, the author goes on with his flagellation through six essays occupying 136 pages of somewhat close print. Although, as we have said, the attitude taken by the author will cause no astonishment, it is very much to be regretted that he has so far put himself out of harmony with the spirit of modern biological thought as to confuse the opinions, speculations, and working hypotheses of individual exponents of evolution with the broad principles of that doctrine. For, however distasteful it may be to Father Gerard, it is an indisputable fact that the acceptance of that doctrine is well-nigh universal, and the question whether evolution is or is not a modus operandi in nature, has passed beyond the phase of discussion among scientific thinkers and workers. So far as the author's attacks are directed against evolution as a principle, his weapon is as a bladder of air against the hide of a hippopotamus. It is satisfactory to find, however, that amidst the whizzing of his flagellum the author discerns the still small voice of reason:—

Science or Romance?

By the Rev. John Gerard (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1891.)

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MELDOLA, R. Science or Romance?. Nature 44, 441–443 (1891).

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