Review: Essays on the Work Entitled "Supernatural Religion;" Reprinted from the "Contemporary Review" [review-book]

1889 The Old and New Testament Student  
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more » ... out Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate--jstor/individuals/early-journal--content. JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not--for--profit organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. 1889] Book Notices. 315 said of Weismann's works-" A remarkable series of papers the effects of which have been to create a new literature of such large and rapidly increasing proportions that, with the single exception of Mr. Darwin's own works, it does not appear that any publications in modern times have given so great a stimulus to speculative science or succeeded in gaining so influential a following." The work before us is a series of essays presented at various times and in various forms but all bearing upon one central thought-that acquired character can not be transmitted by heredity. The idea is a startling one and is wide reaching in its consequences. If demonstrated it demolishes Lamarckism at one blow. With it it destroys the whole theory, a favorite one with American workers, that a species may be directly modified by its environment. It does away with the theory of the disappearance of parts from disuse. It establishes the idea that nothing can be transmitted to posterity but what is congenital in the ancestor. In other words it reduces the working force in development or evolution of species, to natural selection operating upon variations in the germ cell. The importance of these essays is thus clear. The essays are eight in number,-The duration of Life, on Heredity, Life and Death, on the Continuity of the Germ Plasm as a foundation of Heredity, Significance of Sexual Reproduction in the theory of Natural Selection. The Number of Polar Bodies and their Significance in Heredity, on the Supposed Botanical Proofs of Transmission of Acquired Characters. The Supposed Transmission of Mutilations-are devoted to stating the theory and meeting in detail objections that have been urged against it. Some of the essays are too technical for the general reader but the first three and the last two are simple and clearly place the theory, its bearing, and the two factors that must appear in the discussion, before the reader. Supernatural Religion. Essays on the Work entitled " Supernatural Religion;" reprinted from the Con. temporaty Review.
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