This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
By George C. Swallow, Professor of Natural History in the University of Missouri.
Works of the character of this little pamphlet seem to crowd our table. This, coming from a distinguished Professor of Natural History, demands attention from the Natural History department of a work like ours. With the latter part of the title we have nothing to do. As was stated in the review of Mr. O'Neill's " Refutation of Darwinism," science commences at the very opposite end of the line from revelation, - one coming down, the other going up, - and have no relation with each other that we can see until it may be that they some day meet. At present science has not advanced far. What we do not know of nature probably far outweighs what we do know; and, instead of science being a certainty, it is no uncommon thing to find what was supposed to be " science " yesterday, is not science to day. With this fact before us it seems strange to find one of Prof. Swallow's eminence talking of the conflict between science and revelation, however excused may be those who, outside of science, choose to consider there is fair ground for argument-Revelation is understood to be a positive fact, admitting of no question; science admits that its work is still going on, and that it is far - very far - from having reached its end.
And we do not think Prof. Swallow states the question as the evolutionist would himself put it. " The real question at issue is * * whether all plants * * have been produced * without supernatural power? Whence came the first plant?"
So far as we know evolutionists ask no such question, or if they do it is simply as one which they may request their opponents to answer. They content themselves with looking at existing facts. They show that new forms are continually coming into existence, and that these new forms spring from parent forms as truly as that new substances proceed from old substances. They show for instance, that a great number of plants exist with all the distinctive characters of species, and which would be regarded as distinct species, only that it happens to be within human knowledge that they had other distinct forms for their parents. Whether the laws which produce these new forms are natural or supernatural may be a theological question, and one which each person may want to settle according to his own theological proclivities: but it seems scarcely fair to assume that this is "the real question at issue" with those who are trying to find a law in nature for the succession of forms, as well as for a succession of individuals.
As to the manner in which the succession of forms arise there may be ground for a difference of opinion. Mr. Darwin's idea of natural selection implies a slow modification, through long ages, and a dropping out of weak forms; and it is chiefly to this that Prof. Swallow pays his respects, but there are other evolutionists who believe in rhythmic waves of growth in individual plants, and rhythmic waves of growth in the evolution of form - periodic seasons of rest, and periodic activities, - but Prof. Swallow does not venture at all on this ground. In other words his work is not quite up to the times.