THEOSOPHY, Vol. 13, No. 2, December, 1924
(Pages 79-81; Size: 11K)
(Number 2 of an 8-part series)
ANTIQUITY OF MAN
THE ORIGIN OF THE APEIt is evident, especially after the most fundamental principles of Darwinism, that an organized being cannot be a descendant of another whose development is in an inverse order to his own.... Consequently, in accordance with these principles, Man cannot be considered as the descendant of any simian type whatever. (de Quatrefages: The Human Species.)THUS, thirty-seven and forty-eight years ago, spoke H. P. Blavatsky, reinforced by her few unconscious scientific allies -- men half a century in advance of their generation.
The respective developments of the human and Simian brains are referred to. "In the ape the temporo-spheroidal convolutions, which form the middle lobe, make their appearance and are completed before the anterior convolutions which form the frontal lobe. In man, the frontal convolutions are, on the contrary, the first to appear, and those of the middle lobe are formed later."
Lucae's argument versus the Ape-theory, based on the different flexures of the bones constituting the axis of the skull in the cases of Man and the Anthropoids, is fairly discussed by Schmidt. ("Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism," p. 290). He admits that "the ape as he grows becomes more bestial; man ... more human," .... The writer evidently is not a little disquieted at the argument. He assures us that it upsets any possibility of the present apes having been the progenitors of mankind. But does it not also negative the bare possibility of the man and anthropoid having had a common -- though, so far, an absolutely theoretical -- ancestor? (The Secret Doctrine, 1888, Vol. II, 646.)
Such anthropoids form an exception because they were not intended by Nature, but are the direct product and creation of "senseless" man. ... the transformation of species most directly connected with that of the human family, a bastard branch engrafted on their own stock before the final perfection of the latter. (The Secret Doctrine, I, 185.)
That man was not the last member in the mammalian family, but the first in this Round, is something that science will be forced to acknowledge one day....
That man can be shown to have lived in the mid-Tertiary period, and in a geological age when there did not yet exist one single specimen of the now known species of mammals, is a statement that science cannot deny and which has now been proven by de Quatrefages. (The Secret Doctrine, II, 155.)
These biological facts are unchangeable; the developments of the human and simian skulls are the same today as then. Why then have we not heard more on this point? Because it is one of those buried facts, every one of which, entombed in the limbos of science, takes with it into obscurity some fragment of vital truth.
But the dead, human or factual, are so in seeming only. Therefore we now find this old but indestructible obstacle rising like Banquo's ghost beside the festive board of scientific complacency; for Professors Hill-Tout and Coutière have pointed it out anew. And this is testimony not to be waved aside: Professor Hill-Tout, F.R.C.S., is not a nonentity in science, and Professor Coutière is of the Paris Academy of Medicine.
Professor Coutière accepts our own doctrine of the priority of man, if not his ancestorship of the ape; Professor Hill-Tout, more cautious or conservative, merely claims that the ape has diverged further than man from the original type. However, since this is equivalent to holding the ape a degenerate type, "'tis enough; 'twill serve."
Biologically, but one point remains to be disposed of; the existence of vestigial remains in the human body, now useless to him, but useful to the ape -- so it is claimed. It is a question whether some of this is not a post hoc, ergo, propter hoc, argument and whether biology would ever have found the appendix, for instance, of use to the ape had it not so conveniently fitted the theory. Nevertheless, Theosophy teaches that man was "ape-like" in the Third Race, though not an ape. For the ape is a complete being of low development, while man at that period was an incomplete being of a high order, the conscious indwelling Principle upon which material cognizance and rationality depends, not yet having been able to force the material into a condition permitting manifestation. Of course, the crux of this argument lies in the possibility of consciousness being able to exist independently of matter as we know it; but it is not the modern chemist, physicist, psychic researcher or embryologist who will dare deny that possibility in the face of the present-day trend of discovery; a trend signified by Professor McDougall's unchallenged address to a portion of the British Association in behalf of the theory of a conscious purposiveness behind evolution.
Geology, as we have shown, can no longer deny man a pre-mammalian habitation on earth; no biological fact opposes the descent of ape from man, and one incontrovertible fact does oppose the contrary theory.
With archeology and paleontology the battle seems more uncertain; here is a footing of quicksand, a maze of theory and speculation obscuring and distorting the underlying facts beyond all reason. Why should this be the case? Surely the records of the stones, which have disclosed in unmistakable manner the evolution of such animals as the horse, should be as clear in their testimony regarding man? Quite so; but the root difficulty is this: that two totally different orders of evolution are held to be one and the same; more, the one is judged solely and à priori by the evidence of the other. Undoubtedly the human record is definite and readable. But to this hour the attempts to decipher it have been made (officially) solely by those whose minds were governed from the first by the "animal ancestor" theory.
Thus it has happened that discovery after discovery attesting the vast antiquity of "modern" man has been set down as untrue or doubtful because it did not fit the theory. Discovery after discovery, debatable, unable to stand a moment in court of law, has been accepted with cursory investigation or none at all, because it did fit the theory.
Time after time the relative ages of strata have been distorted, unconsciously "fudged," to fit the prevailing theory; time after time have honest and earnest discoverers found themselves classified as fakers or lunatics, without investigation, without regard to bona fides, because -- their facts did not fit the theory. Science recognizes, and must recognize, this to have been the case in previous decades in all branches. Do we exaggerate? Then let us cite concrete examples -- meanwhile challenging science to reopen the cases.
Of the first named category are the Galley Hill, Ipswich, Olmo, Castenedolo, Foxhall, Savona, Moulin Quignon, Dartford, and Bury St. Edmunds discoveries, the types.
The second includes the famous "missing link," Pithecanthropus Erectus, accepted without hesitation or investigation; unseen by any but its discoverer for decades, and then found to be something quite different than had been supposed. To this class also belongs the Piltdown skull; the attempts to distort the significance of which are classic in the annals of scientific prejudice.
The third is the habit of dating such ruins as those of Mexico, Crete, the Gobi, the Pacific Isles, and countless others, by archeological theories of culture instead of the geological evidence, and thus arriving at "B.C." and "A.D." dates. For instance, had primitive remains been found in Cuicuilco, can any scientist deny that they would have been considered hundreds of thousands of years old?
Typical of the fourth was Professor Hrdlicka's attitude toward the Vero find -- though in that case unreasoning scientific prejudice met its Waterloo at the hands of scientists themselves; typical, Professor Hrdlicka's ideas about the Patagonian skull; typical, the pigeon-holing of Mr. Reid's discovery; typical, the treatment of the Carson footprints; typical, the Calaveras skull; typical indeed, the reception of Mr. Hubbard's discovery -- which nevertheless bides its time in the depths of the Grand Canyon to bring confusion to theory.
Useless to multiply examples; let the unprejudiced student delve for himself in the files of scientific records of other days, the journals dating back to 1800 and beyond. Let him unearth the moldering records of extraordinary discoveries thrown out of court without investigation, or discreetly buried without comment. He will then learn for himself how science has crippled and stultified itself; above all how easily the present upset of theory as to the age of humanity in America could have been forestalled.
ANTIQUITY OF MAN
CENTERS OF CIVILIZATION
(Part 3 of an 8-part series)
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