By Arthur William Robinson
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Extra info for God and the World / A Survey of Thought
For fifty years or more the debate went on, with challenge and counter-challenge, and much noise and dust of controversy. They were great days, and in them great men fought with great courage in great issues. We shall seek to do justice to both sides, to those who dared to proclaim and suffer for the new, and to those who shewed an equal courage in their resolute determination to be loyal to what they held to be the truth of the old. Then, finally, it will be our difficult task to discriminate between the surging thoughts of that second period and those of the Third stage, through which we are advancing, and to shew what can already be made out of a common ground of agreement and co-operation, now much more likely to be reached than could at one time have been foreseen by the most optimistic imagination.
He had no difficulty in shewing that the wholesale destruction of living organisms was imperatively necessary. " The truth of this has been demonstrated again and again. A pair of rabbits, for example, would in the most favourable circumstances increase in four or five years to a million. The roe of a cod may contain eight or nine millions of eggs. More appalling still, the female of the common flesh fly will at one time deposit 20,000 eggs. At this rate of increase it has been calculated that, in less than a year, a single pair would produce enough flies, if these were not devoured by their natural foes, to cover the whole surface of the globe to the depth of a mile and a quarter!
By so doing he prepared the way for the subsequent researches of Faraday and Clerk-Maxwell into the properties of electricity and magnetism, and for the investigations by Helmholtz and others into the connexion between electric attraction and chemical affinities. The forerunner of the wonderful advances of modern biology was the French naturalist Lamarck (1809), who, in opposition to the accepted doctrine of separate creations, suggested that all the species of living creatures, not excepting the human, have arisen from older species in the course of long periods of time.
God and the World / A Survey of Thought by Arthur William Robinson