Review of Reviews,  9 (1894), 4–12.

The Progress of the World



Regular Feature, Editorial, News-Commentary


Engineering, Progress, Scientific Practitioners, Scientific Naturalism, Evolution, Ethics, Morality

    Applauds the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal as 'a monument of engineering ability' and 'an impressive token of man's growing mastery over the world in which he lives'. The 'strip of water which brings the ocean to the doors of the great inland city is an inscription twelve leagues long carved on the surface of the globe, recording the indomitable power of will which alone makes progress possible'. (4) Remarks that the death of John Tyndall 'may be taken to represent something of the nature of an epoch in the thought of our time'. Having been 'the fighting apostle of the doctrine of evolution', Tyndall 'lived to see the doctrine generally victorious'. Indeed, in 'the very year in which he died, his friend and master, Mr. Herbert Spencer, brought to a completion, amid general congratulation, the system of Synthetic Philosophy which is one colossal endeavour to interpret the known universe in terms of evolution'. With the 'hour of their triumph', however, 'begins the disclosure of their limitations', particularly in providing an 'adequate guidance for the moral life', an inadequacy acknowledged openly by both Spencer and Thomas H Huxley in his recent Romanes Lecture at Oxford. Concludes that the 'utterances of the chief philosopher and of the chief popular expositor of the evolutionary school combine with the death of its brilliant rhetorical fighting man to make 1893 a memorable year in the history of Evolution'. (12)

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