The discoveries now being made in the great psychological laboratories of the world are of the highest possible interest. The leading psychologists now assert that the only difference between the minds of the lower animals and man is merely one of degree only. That is, the minds of men are of the same kind as those of all other animals, only many times stronger.
All organic beings are mere colonies of cells—i.e., cities of individual living entities. At present it is unknown what life is, but each cell is a center or source of life. Ganglia are nodes or collections of cells into smaller communities; and in the human brain different combinations of the same kinds of cells may produce different faculties of mind. For differing associations of the same kind of ultimate corpuscles—there is but one kind—give rise to all the phases revealed by ordinary chemistry, and by the spectroscope. The universe is made up of varying combines of life corpuscles into infinite diversity; and variations in thought, from late analysis of mind and brain, seem to be caused by varying clusters together of one kind of brain cells into ganglia.
Mind is now known to be a product of brain activity—that is, mind is a result. Mice, birds, insects have been shown to be possessed of reason. Animals learn by experience and store this experience in memory for long periods of time. Love, affection, veneration, love of the beautiful, gratitude, conscience, consideration, contrition, sorrow, trouble, care, mercy, pity and many other attributes for long deemed to be human only are now known to be possessed by animals, in many cases to a high degree.
Several books giving thousands of instances are published. The most rigid scrutiny made by careful and conservative scientific psychologists during the last twenty years has been totally unable to detect any trace in body or brain or find any analogy in nature concerning the existence of what is popularly called the soul. Blood cells build flesh, stomach cells digest and brain cells evolve mind. Psychologists are incapable of finding any difference between the three processes. In the present state of psychic science it is not known what mind is, but whatever it may be it is known that it is caused by the action of brain and nerve cells. When this activity ends all traces of mind come to an end. Cells that originate mind are far more complex than those that perform the office of secretion in glands. The secretion of mind is of greater complexity than the secretion of bile or gastric fluids. But all are developed by the work of cells.
Thus science is concluding with the Bible that man is "of the earth, earthly"—not a spirit being but "a little lower than the angels";—an animal soul in the image of God. As the head of all earthly creatures his faculties are on a far higher plane than theirs. Hence his joys and his sorrows, his pains and his pleasures are more intense.
"The Episcopal Church sees in higher criticism a way to meet this demand. In brief, this criticism is to harmonize the contradictions in the Bible, to expunge miracles which have dubious claim to the supernatural and to retain those which are supported by reason and the strongest proofs.
"Presbyterianism is gradually dismissing doctrines [R3766 : page 132] long held sacred, the most repugnant of which is predestination, which is abhorrent to the rising generation of the communion, and is otherwise setting itself abreast of modern thought.
"Methodism is relaxing its devotion to beliefs long dear to its heart. The latest evidence of this is that its oldest and most conservative university, Depauw, at Greencastle, Ind., has ordered the study of the Bible to be optional where heretofore it has been obligatory. No denomination has exceeded the Methodist in devotion to the good book or been more insistent upon its reading wherever possible. This departure has awakened widespread attention and proves that in the most orthodox of denominations unrest is at work upsetting long-cherished doctrines.
"The Baptists find their adherence to close communion prevents the Church from allying with itself a large following who are not members and who believe the sacraments should be open to them by virtue of attendance upon and belief in the Church, and, further, in aiding in its maintenance.
"Even intellectual churchmen look upon evangelical adherence to revelation as being the great and primary cause of backsliding and of swelling the millions outside of pulpit influence. They believe its most repellant doctrine, that of endless punishment after death, is the largest contributory cause in driving people toward infidelity and in fortifying the position of those who have long defied the invitation to come into the Church.
"Higher criticism has a large clerical following, strange as it may seem. The men who have studied the subject more than any other class, who are actuated by the highest motives, believe that the time is at hand when something must be done to check the growth of unbelief, to present doctrines which can be conscientiously accepted by the enlightened and which in turn will prevent thousands from lapsing into indifferentism or worse—the complete rejection of the message from on high."—"Utica Press."