PART II.—SYDNEY AT Melbourne I spoke of the new knowledge of the properties of living things which Mendelian analysis has brought us. I indicated how these discoveries are affecting our outlook on that old problem of natural history, the origin and nature of species, and the chief conclusion I drew was the negative one, that, though we must hold to our faith in the evolution of species, there is little evidence as to how it has come about, and no clear proof that the process is continuing in any considerable degree at the presenttime. The thought uppermost in our minds is that knowledge of the nature of life is altogether too slender to warrant speculation on these fundamental subjects. Did we presume to offer such speculations they would have no more value than those which alchemists might have made as to the nature of the elements. But though in regard to these theoretical aspects we must confess to such deep ignorance, enough has been learnt of the general course of heredity within a single species to justify many practical conclusions which cannot in the main be shaken. I propose now to develop some of these conclusions in regard to our own species, Man.
Trans. Chem. Soc., 1909, 95, 1275.
Trans. Chem. Soc., 1910, 97, 1578; Proc. Roy. Soc., A, 1912, 87, 204; 19 13, 89, 292; 1914, 90, 111.