Punch,  61 (1871), 196.

Darwinian Spiritualism

Pythagoras Pug


Letter, Spoof


Spiritualism, Darwinism, Descent, Evolution, Human Species, Animal Development, Proof

    Responds to criticisms levelled at the Report on Spiritualism by the Committee of the London Dialectical Society by supporters of Charles R Darwin's Descent of Man. Considering himself a 'Spiritualist and a Darwinist', the author considers that spiritualism and Darwinism 'illustrate and confirm each other'. Argues that, since Darwinists hold that man is descended from anthropoid apes, they should agree with the spiritualist claim that 'disembodied simious spirits' also exist. Believes the latter claim to be supported by the fact that spiritual communications are often absurd and purport to come from apes impersonating a 'poet, philosopher or man of science'. 'The Ape-spirit imitates human speech, being in a state of Darwinian development, which is as possible for a monkey in the spheres as in this world'. Ascribes the 'ludicrous' incidents associated with the medium Daniel D Home to 'the monkey's tricks of tricksy spirits'. Deflects the need to prove his theory by arguing that 'proof is an anachronism in science' and by noting that his theory, like Darwin's, 'is the best we have to account for the facts'. Believes his theory shows that 'the Descent of Man is no reason against his Destiny' and denies that 'Darwinism and Spiritualism, respectively, are but opposite poles of scientific and superstitious credulity'.

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