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162 FRAGMEN TS OF SCIENCE.

sis does nothing more than “transport the cenception of
life’s origin to an indefinitely distant past.”

Those who hold the doctrine of Evolution are by no
means ignorant of the uncertainty of their data, and they
yield no more to it than a provisional assent. They regard
the nebular hypothesis as probable, and in the utter absence
of any evidence to prove the act illegal, they extend the
method of Nature from the present into the past. Here the
observed uniformity of Nature is their only guide. Writhin
the long range of physical inquiry, they have never dis-
cerned in Nature the insertion of caprice. Throughout
this range the laws of physical and intellectual continuity
have run side by side. Having thus determined the ele-
ments of their curve in a world of observation and experi-
ment, they prolong that curve into an antecedent world,
and accept as probable the unbroken sequence of develop-
ment from the nebula to the present time. You never hear
the really philosophical defenders of the doctrine of Uni-
formity speaking of impossibilities in Nature. They never
say, what they are constantly charged with saying, that it
is impossible for the Builder of the universe to alter His
work. Their business is not with the possible, but the
actual—not with a world which might be, but with a world
that is. This they explore with a courage not unmixed
with reverence, and according to methods which, like the
quality of a tree, are tested by their fruits. They have but
one desire—to know the truth. They have but one fear—
to believe a lie. And if they know the strength of science,
and rely upon it with unswerving trust, they also know the
limits beyond which science ceases to be strong. They best
know that questions ofi‘er themselves to thought which
science, as now prosecuted, has not even the tendency to
solve. They keep such questions open, and will not toler-
ate any unnecessary limitation of the horizon of their souls.
They have as little fellowship with the atheist who says

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