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WHY is it that a man of genius will not infrequently become the father or grandfather of perfect dunces? Why do a fair-haired husband and a fair-haired wife sometimes beget a dark-haired baby? Why are there such differences in size, appearance or intelligence between the children of the same, identical mates?
"If we observe the so-called 'vagaries of Nature' in the plant and the animal world, we observe that the dwarf pea, sprung from tall ancestors, breeds true to dwarfness; that the progeny of a black and a white rabbit are in one case all black and in another all the wild gray color; that two white peas being crossed may give a purple flower; that two hairless plants may revert to the hairy form.
"We used to call such phenomena 'curious reversions.' We believed first that through slow evolution certain characteristics of certain types had either become over-developed or obliterated, like the lizard's third eye, the bat's wings, the tadpole's tail.
"Now come the Mendelian experiments, proving apparently that heredity and evolution are mere dreams, that species are immutable and that Nature's vagaries are merely Nature's logical efforts to extricate the original type from the tangle of cross-breeds due to man's tampering.
"Even should the far-famed 'missing link' show up in the wilds of Oceania, where it is strongly suspected of keeping itself in the strictest incog., we would no longer have to deplore our descent from a simian ancestor.
"The man who gave a concrete form to such theories was an Austrian monk by the name of Mendel, born in 1822. The result of his biological experiments were embodied in a modest paper read before the natural history society of a little Austrian town, Brunn. He also wrote a few letters on the subject to the botanist Naegeli.
"Unfortunately, pamphlet and letters were written at a time when Darwin's theories, as to the origin of species, had become the scientific fad of the day. And what chance had the modest old monk of being even noticed? He died inglorious in 1884.
"Not until a few years ago did R. C. Punnett, an English scientist with an inquisitive turn of mind, look over Mendel's records of experiments. So appalled was he by their importance that he published a book, christening the new theory 'Mendelism.'
"The world lent an indifferent ear to the new leitmotive; but by and by the Englishman dinned Mendelism into the consciousness of the scientific world. At the present day there is a big English magazine devoted to the new science and called 'Mendelism.'
"Let us now turn to Mendel's own account of his experiments on plants and on animals. In one series of experiments he concentrated his attention on the height of certain plants. He first made crosses between giant peas and dwarf peas. It mattered not which was the pollen-producing and which the seed-bearing plant; in all cases tall peas resulted from the cross. For this reason Mendel called the tall pea 'dominant,' and the dwarf 'recessive.'
"The next step was to collect seeds of the new plant and to sow them in the following year. When this was done it was found that both tall and dwarf plants appeared in the offspring. Each individual was either frankly tall or frankly dwarf, and no intermediate appeared, the proportion of tall to dwarf being three to one. The following year seed from the dwarf peas gave only dwarfs; seed from the tall gave a large proportion of tall and a few dwarfs.
"In the following year tall seed brought forth tall plants only, dwarf seed dwarf plants only. The reversion to the prototype was complete. In the process, however, the tall plant, the dominant, appeared three times as frequently as the recessive.
"The experiment was tried with various animals, and it was found, first, that after several generations the individual reverted to the pure type of either the male or female ancestors, and, secondly, that one type was dominantthat is, produced many more individuals than the recessive type.
"Crossing colored and white mice produced in the long run pure colored and pure white, with a majority of colored; the Angora fur of some rabbits was found recessive to the normal short fur; the rose comb which occurs in certain breeds of poultry, such as Hamburgs or Wyandottes, behaves as a dominant to the high serrated single comb of the Leghorns.
"Freakish cases in which one of the parents was in a markedly abnormal condition were considered. Japanese waltzing mice were crossed with normal mice. The 'waltzers' are driven to circle round sometimes for hours [R4859 : page 228] by a painful malformation of the labyrinth of the ear. After a couple of generations the crosses bred true to either the normal mouse or to the 'waltzer,' the latter being recessive to the former.
"Some varieties of wheat are susceptible to the attacks of a fungus that causes 'rust,' some are immune. When 'susceptible' and 'immune' were crossed, every hybrid was susceptible to 'rust.' The following year the hybrid became differentiated, the 'rusty' and 'immune' plants being in the apparently universal ratio of three to one.
"We have, then, the explanation of facts which Darwin refused to consider as very important. He held that 'freakish variations' in the production of species would rapidly become swamped by intercrossing with the normal form. He considered that species had been and were being built up by the process of natural selection. As a matter of fact, no species is being built up, and deviations from the prototype are corrected in the course of three generations.
"Before experiments can be made on human beings the Mendelian discovery can be applied practically to the improvement of animal breeds. We know for sure that in most cases a cross means greatly increased vigor for the progeny. Breeders, however, are very shy in making crosses for fear of breaking up and losing the desirable combination of characters found in the original strains.
"Mendel's discovery may reassure them on this point. In three generations breeders can reproduce the parental types with all the increased vigor resulting from a cross. We must also revise our conception of a 'pure breed.' Until recently we said that the criterion by which we could judge the purity of breed was the pedigree of the individual. Today we know that a plant or an animal can be pure breed, not only owing to its ancestry, but in spite of its ancestry.
"Where the problem becomes fascinating, however, is where it touches the mooted question of heredity, and here again it upsets absolutely our previous notions. Man being the slowest breeding animal, observations are difficult, and only imperfect statistics can be relied upon at [R4860 : page 228] the present day to supply evidence.
"The study of certain diseases, however, in the course of several centuries fortunately enabled scientists to establish heredity tables. One of the most interesting cases observed is that of the transmission of 'brachydactily.' In people affected with this malformation the joints of the fingers and toes are two instead of three, and the whole body presents a stunted appearance.
"It has been shown that this condition is unfortunately dominant to the normal state, which means that 'brachydactily' in one of the parents will affect the progeny in the proportion of three abnormal to one normal descendant. The normal descendants will, however, breed true to normal, while the abnormal children will give birth to both abnormal and normal children in the proportion of three to one.
"Another interesting case is that of the eye color. All colored eyes have pigment at the back of the iris. In addition to this there is frequently some yellow-brownish pigment on the front of the iris. Where it is absent the color of the eyes is blue, gray or violet. Highly pigmented eyes are dominant to those in which pigment is absent. When one of the mates has dark eyes and the other blue eyes, the proportion of dark-eyed and blue-eyed descendants will be three to one, the dark-eyed hybrid begetting only dark-eyed, the blue-eyed hybrid begetting three 'dark-eyed' to one 'blue-eyed.'
"While Mendel's theories throw no light upon the origin of species, at least they seem to prove against Darwin the immutability and the lasting individuality of species. We may have to believe in a distinct act of creation for each and every species, but we can no longer assume that the difference between species arose from the accumulation of minute and almost imperceptible differences. Neither can we believe that a drop of tainted blood will taint the family blood for generations. We know who will bear the taint and who will not."N.Y. Times.
The heading to this article with the references are ours. The Monk Mendel and those who are now exploiting his findings and theories of course never thought of the Bible supporting their teaching. But let us put the matter the other way about and say that these scientific gentlemen are supporting the Bible and proving it true. Their experiments, they tell us, show that special peculiarities, virus in the blood, etc., will work itself out in the third generation; the Bible says the third or the fourth. We shall stick to the Bible.
Let those who prefer take Darwin and boast of their monkey parentage of gradual development. We prefer the Bible statement, that by nature we were children of God, created in His image and likeness, from which we fell through disobedience and to which the willing and obedient will be privileged to return "in due time" through the merit of the redemption-sacrifice finished at Calvary. Let us rejoice in the special invitation now ours of becoming members of the Body of the great Messiah, who provides both the redemption and the restitution of Adam and his race, and who will destroy in the Second Death all who shall wilfully and intelligently spurn Divine favor.
Alienists the country over are sounding a solemn note of warning to the American people over the alarming rush in which we live. According to Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, federal pure food and drugs expert, nearly every man and woman at some time in their lives border on insanity. That view is also indorsed by the famous Dr. William A. White, head of the United States government hospital for the insane, who backs up the stand taken recently by Dr. Owen Copp, new head of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane. They also commend Dr. Copp's view that extremely few families survive three or four generations without the outcropping of insanity.
Surprise was expressed by Dr. Wiley that more people do not become completely insane. Because of the terrible ravages of drink and drugs, particularly in the United States, thousands of people are rendered so extremely nervous that they are always on the verge of going crazy, he says. The rush and worry of modern life, the chase after money and pleasure, he gives as the causes for threatened insanity. "Yes, it is certainly true that there are very few people who have not been on the verge of going crazy," he stated. "Many have to be sent to asylums, but thousands of others save themselves in time. There are moments in practically every person's life when he feels that one more worry will snap the strings of his mental balance."Woman's National Daily.
Not only are we today living under a greater strain than anything known by our forefathers, but additionally [R4860 : page 229] the majority of mankind lack the necessary help in bearing the strain. At the very time when help Divine is a four-fold need, faith in God and in His Divine supervision of human affairs is being lost. In the smaller worries of a less busy time there usually was at least one in a family who had respect for religion and for God, and who would speak a word of comfort to the others. But now in humanity's time of greatest stress, verging on insanity, many families are without God and without hope. Faith has been broken down from two great causes:
(1) The so-called Higher Critics have destroyed the faith of the learned in the Bible as the Word of God and have substituted a theory of Evolution. The learned, in turn, although they have not ventured to give their unbelief unstintedly to the lower classes, have nevertheless left them without the consolation of the Scriptures and its guidance. They have taught Evolution and other things contrary to the Bible. As a consequence, few today think of going to the Word of God for the assistance which they can gain from no other quarter.
(2) The other difficulty contributing to this unbelief is the horrible nightmare of error handed down to us from the "Dark Ages" through all of our Church creeds. Those monstrosities are too horrible for sensible people to believe and have caused a revulsion of feelingthey have driven thinking people away from the Bible, as well as away from the creeds. They have prepared them for the inoculation of unbelief, as expressed by the Higher Critics, Evolution theories, etc. The people have discarded the Bible also, believing that its teachings were fairly reflected in the creeds which they can no longer accept.
The remedy for all this is to get the only proper view of the Bible consistent with itself. This necessitates a study of the Bible along new and independent lines, wholly free from the bias and coloring of the creeds of the past. The Bible must be allowed to interpret itself. It must be recognized as being partly literal and partly symbolical in its statements. Above all we must recognize that the understanding of it and interpretation of it to others is not committed to any special cult nor by any peculiar laying on of hands. It can be understood only by those who are in full harmony with God and guided by His Spirit"The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence Him, and He will show them His Covenant."
The restless, moving life we lead will drive us all to neuresthenia. Leading the pace that kills, not so much as regards vice, but the desire to be always on the move, has ruined our schools and colleges and has attacked the mental and moral fiber of the American brain.
These are some of the signals of danger set up in the roadway of American life by the Rev. John Cavanaugh, president of Notre Dame University, in an attack on modern living as compared with ancient customs and development, in which the latter in no way suffer. Three passions, he says, amazingly developed in the American people, are tearing at the foundations of our characters and home lives. These are the passion for travel from place to place, the passion for public spectacles, whether they be good or bad, and the passion for gregariousness as against home life.
Father Cavanaugh said: "It is often disputed upon good grounds whether there has been any real progress of the human race within the time of recorded history. In my mind the old poems are the best poems; the old philosophy the best philosophy; the old sculpture, paintings and architecture are still the models. Demosthenes and Cicero still hold their prominence. In every important phase of expression modern life has made no development.
"Within my lifetime I have seen three passions developed in the American peoplethe passion for travel from place to place; the passion for public spectacles and entertainment, and the passion for gregariousness as against home life. In the poorest parts of the country, in the hardest times, among the people least favorably conditioned financially, I find the railroad trains and the street cars crowded with all sorts of people darting here and there on errands of pleasure. The theaters are crowded, the dance hall and the public garden are more frequented than ever, and a new and horrible form of popular entertainment has been found in the 5-cent theater.
"Steam heat and the modern methods of living have driven out the old family hearth in the literal sense; and the passion for living in crowds or among strangers has killed off the old family hearth in the poetic and social sense as well. An evening that a young woman spends with her family alone is dull, flat and unprofitable; a night [R4861 : page 229] that a young man spends with his mother and father at home is a lost night. In a cartoon a doting father is pictured as trying to catch a glimpse of his pet boy home from college for the Christmas holidays. The time the old man has darting in and out around the home is amusing in the picture, but not in life. That college boy is legion.
"Obviously, what the country needs is chloroform or locomotor ataxia. The effect of this restless, moving, unreposeful life will be national neurasthenia. Its effect on the mentality of the people is already seen in the thin, pale courses of our high schools, and in the fact that our colleges are deep in social things and shallow in intellectual things.
"I know an eminent neurologist who is treating a dipsomaniac at the present time, and one of the prescriptions he has laid down with most earnestness is that the patient shall abstain from reading popular fiction and from frequentation of the play. The old tragedies scourged the moral power into action; so did the old books. Modern fiction and modern drama are narcotics to the will. They are developing a tribe of maudlin weaklings.
"But in scoring the modern life for negative developments surely something may be said for science, however, and very much may be said for the things that make for comfort and convenience in life. To some of us the railroad train, the steamship and the automobile appeal as conveniences, but to the greater number of Americans such inventions and fruits of the few great brains are merely instruments of their desire to lead the pace that kills."St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Missionary Review reports that "the Zionist movement has suffered a setback through opposition recently expressed in the Turkish parliament. The Grand Vizier in particular has spoken with contempt of Zionism and its expectations."The Outlook.
A brother of the late Senator Stanford, of California, has given $50,000 to Stanford University to found a department for the investigation of occult phenomena, chiefly the manifestations of spiritualism, in which Mr. Stanford has for years been a believer.The Outlook.