Professor Paul Janet Edit
The Materialism of the Present Day, a Critique of Dr. Büchner's System [Paperback]
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19192/19192-h/19192-h.htm Paul Janet, a professor of philosophy, is the author of a book on the Materialism of Büchner. The greater part of the last chapter of his work is devoted to Darwinism. He says, "Dr. Büchner invoked (Darwin's book) as a striking confirmation of his doctrine." (p. 154) What Büchner's doctrine is has been shown on a previous page.
The points of coincidence between Darwin's system and his are, that both regard mind as a mere function of living matter; and both refer all the organs and organisms of living things to the unconscious, unintelligent operation of physical causes.
Büchner's way of accounting for complicated organs was, "that the energy of the elements and forces of matter, which in their fated and accidental occurrence must have produced innumerable forms, which must needs limit each other mutually, and correspond, apparently, the one with the other, as if they were made for that purpose. Out of all those forms, they[Pg 106] only have survived which were adapted, in some manner, to the conditions of the medium in which they were placed." (p. 30) This is very clumsy. No wonder Büchner preferred Darwin's method. The two systems are, indeed, exactly the same, but Mr. Darwin has a much more winning way of presenting it.
Professor Janet does not seem to have much objection to the doctrine of evolution in itself; it is the denial of teleology that he regards as the fatal element of Mr. Darwin's theory. "According to us," he says, "the true stumbling-block of Mr. Darwin's theory, the perilous and slippery point, is the passage from artificial to natural selection; it is when he wants to establish that a blind and designless nature has been able to obtain, by the occurrence of circumstances, the same results which man obtains by thoughtful and well calculated industry." (p. 174)
- (NOTES: Compare Paul Janet's interpretation of Darwin with that of CharlesKingsley, HenryFairfieldOsborn, JohnTyndall and Prof. Owen etc. All these authors and many more viewed Darwin's NS1 concepts as absolute empire of accident. Darwin lifted the same tautological ideas from previous theistic authors and turned it into a blind chance devoid of all theism concept. )
Towards the end of his volume he says: "We shall conclude by a general observation. Notwithstanding the numerous objections we have raised against Mr. Darwin's theory, we do not declare ourselves hostile to a system of which zoölogists are the only competent judges. We are neither for nor against the transmu[Pg 107]tation of species, neither for nor against the principle of natural selection. The only positive conclusion of our debate is this: no principle hitherto known, neither the action of media, nor habit, nor natural selection, can account for organic adaptations without the intervention of the principle of finality.
- Natural selection, unguided, submitted to the laws of a pure mechanism, and exclusively determined by accidents, seems to me, under another name, the chance proclaimed by Epicurus, equally barren, equally incomprehensible; on the other hand, natural selection guided beforehand by a provident will, directed towards a precise end by intentional laws, might be the means which nature has selected to pass from one stage of being to another, from one form to another, to bring to perfection life throughout the universe, and to rise by a continuous process from the monad to man.
Now, I ask Mr. Darwin himself, what interest has he in maintaining that natural selection is not guided—not directed? What interest has he in substituting accidental causes for every final cause? I cannot see. Let him admit that in natural, as well as in artificial selection, there may be a choice and direction; his principle immediately becomes[Pg 108] much more fruitful than it was before.
His hypothesis, then, whilst having the advantage of exempting science from the necessity of introducing the personal and miraculous intervention of God in the creation of each species, yet would be free from the banishing out of the universe an all-provident thought, and of submitting everything to blind and brute chance." (pp. 198, 199)
Professor Janet asks far too much of Mr. Darwin. To ask him to give up his denial of final causes is like asking the Romanists to give up the Pope. That principle is the life and soul of his system.
Janet fails to note tautology Edit
http://www.archive.org/stream/thematerialismof00janeuoft/thematerialismof00janeuoft_djvu.txt Why should we not admit a kind of natural selection which has taken place in the series of ages P Why should we not admit that certain individual characteristics, which have been originally the result of certain accidents, have been afterwards transmitted and accumulated by way of inheritance, and that by this means very different varieties have been brought about in the same species as we produce them ourselves ? Let us now admit, with M. Darwin, a second principle, without which the first one could not produce all that it contains that principle is the principle of competi tion for life. It may be explained as follows : All created beings contend for their food ; they all struggle in order to live, to subsist.
Now, for a certain given number of animals there is only a certain sum of food ; it is impossible, therefore, that they should all equally maintain themselves. In the struggle which takes place, the weak neces sarily give way, and the victory belongs to the strongest. Only the strong survive, and establish a level between the population and the food destined for it. We recognise here the great law of Malthus, which has excited such discussion in the sphere of political economy, and which M. Darwin extends from man to the whole animal kingdom.
... This law being given, and it is so beyond doubt....
Laws which are beyond doubt aren't theories but Popper unfalsifiable logical fallacies. As Darwin wrote ...the truth of the propositions cannot be disputed....
Prof. Paul Janet was a theist but like Dembski, Behe, Ken Ham , Hovind and Dawkins his views suffers from an inability to recognize the rhetorical tautological flaws in the origins debate.
Because he quoted Professor Paul Janet
34] The Materialism of the Present Day: a Critique of Dr. Büchner's System. By Paul Janet, Member of the Institute of France, Professor of Philosophy at the Paris Faculté des Lettres. Translated from the French, by Gustave Masson, B. A. London and Paris, 1867
Natural selection, unguided, submitted to the laws of a pure mechanism, and exclusively determined by accidents, seems to me, under another name, the chance proclaimed by Epicurus, equally barren, equally incomprehensible; on the other hand, natural selection guided beforehand by a provident will, directed towards a precise end by intentional laws, might be the means which nature has selected to pass from one stage of being to another, from one form to another, to bring to perfection life throughout the universe, and to rise by a continuous process from the monad to man. Now, I ask Mr. Darwin himself, what interest has he in maintaining that natural selection is not guided—not directed?
Epicurus assumed the existence of matter, force and motion,—Stoff und Kraft. He held that all space was filled with molecules of matter in a state of rapid motion in every direction. These molecules were subject to gravity and endowed with properties or forces. One combination of molecules gave rise to unorganized matter, another to life, another to mind; and from the various combinations, guided by unintelligent physical laws, all the wonderful organisms of plants and animals have arisen. To these combinations also all the phenomena of life, instinct, and intelligence in the world are to be referred. This theory has been adopted in our day by a large class of scientific men, especially in Germany. The modern advocates of the theory are immeasurably superior to the ancient Epicureans in their knowledge of astronomy, botany, zoölogy, and biology; but in their theory of the universe, and in their mode of accounting for all the phenomena of life and intelligence, they are precisely on the same level. They have not added an idea to the system, which has ever been regarded as the opprobrium of human[Pg 11] thought. Büchner, Moleschott, Vogt, hold that matter is eternal and indestructible; that matter and force are inseparable: the one cannot exist without the other. What, it is asked, is motion without something moving? What is electricity without an electrified body? What is attraction without molecules attracting each other? What is contractibility without muscular fibre, or secretion without a secreting gland? One combination of molecules exhibits the phenomena of life, another combination exhibits the phenomena of mind. All this was taught by the old heathen philosopher more than two thousand years ago. That this system denies the existence of God, of mind as a thinking substance distinct from matter, and of the possibility of the conscious existence of man after death, are not inferences drawn by opponents, but conclusions openly avowed by its advocates.