THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 2, December, 1930
(Pages 60-64; Size: 17K)
(Number 25 of a 103-part series)

SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE

XXV

...the Occultists themselves are ready to concede partial correctness to the Darwinian hypothesis, in later details, bye-laws of Evolution, and after the midway point of the Fourth Race... But what the Occultists have never admitted, nor will they ever admit it, is that man was an ape in this or any other Round; or that he ever could be one, however much he may have been "ape-like." (Secret Doctrine, 1888, I, 187).
THE Theosophist repels the appellation "ape-scion" with quite as much vigor as, if with less acerbity than the religious "fundamentalist," but the basis of his attitude is wholly different. The "fundamentalist" is reared to believe in a sort of degradation and uncleanness as applied to the "lower orders;" and feels his sensitive skin tarred at the hint of descent from them. But, convinced that every particle of life within him -- yea, to the most spiritual principles -- has pursued its slow winding path upward through all forms; and knowing moreover that the world is full of men exhibiting traits more despicable than those of any animal, the Theosophist would be the last to feel resentment at the imputation of kinship. The more so, as the unclean facts lying behind the likeness of ape to man, and involving the descent of the former from himself, are more bitter to human pride than any Darwinist theory.
These "Men" of the Third Race -- the ancestors of the Atlanteans -- were just such ape-like, intellectually senseless giants as were those beings, who, during the Third Round, represented Humanity. Morally irresponsible, it was these third Race "men" who, through promiscuous connection with animal species lower than themselves, created that missing link which became ages later (in the tertiary period only) the remote ancestor of the real ape as we find it now in the pithecoid family. And if this is found clashing with that other statement which shows the animal later than man, then the reader is asked to bear in mind that the placental mammal only is meant. In those days there were animals of which zoology does not even dream in our own; and the modes of reproduction were not identical with the notions which modern physiology has upon the subject. (S.D. I, 190).
Orthodox evolutionism involves the conception of man as a chance-born being, the helpless prey and play of cosmic forces, and whose only true rôle in the universe is the snatching of such joys of the moment as may come to hand. The degradation lies in this misconception which truly is an insult to the Real. But any spiritual truth necessarily colors the material aspect of things in a manner which must sooner or later be seen. Science, outgrowing anticlerical reaction, which more than anything else gave life to the crasser evolutionary ideas, has begun to see within the last three or four years, driven to vision by the implacability of its own discoveries, manifested both in the inner realm of embryology and genetics, and in the outer of paleontology, geology, and anatomy.

Dr. E. C. Jeffrey(1) believes that speculation should be stopped on the problems of evolution and the origin of species; the real problem being that of the origin of mutability in modern types. Upon this Mendelian laws throw no light. To which we add that mutability can only arise as an exception to, or contradiction of Mendelism.

Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, an evolutionist orthodox to the point of fanaticism,(2) remarks that organic evolution is admitted but not explained. No one knows what has caused the development of organic forms from the inorganic, and the causes and meaning of the whole systematic building up are elusive. The word "evolution" meaning with him, as in Theosophy, an unfolding, he considers that all potentialities of organic evolution are fixed in the most ancestral cell-units; nay, in the predecessors of the earliest cells. The cell itself is an accomplishment of organic evolution, not the beginning of it. Dr. Hrdlicka thus unconsciously wrecks the scientific barrier between the organic and inorganic, and pauses before the silent fane of the temple of "Dhyan-Chohanic wisdom diffused through all matter."

Dr. Knight Dunlap of Johns Hopkins,(3) definitely sets a foot therein. The effort to demonstrate the "transmission of acquired characters" based upon the analogy of cause and effect, and looking to the control of heredity, he regards as "sympathetic magic drawn upon to fill an embarrassing logical gap in biological theory." If, he says, "transmission" is not through channels which can be accounted for in terms of chemistry and physical chemistry, then there are forces or entities at work which do not operate in the physical realm. (Italics ours).

In some ways, Dr. Geo. J. Dudycha of Ripon College,(4) goes even further than his confreres. All theories of organic evolution, he says, have assumed a common origin, hence a common descent, and a genetic relationship between the species which have descended, and attempt to make the facts fit the theories. Actually, while the fact of evolution is accepted, neither the cause, manner, nor meaning of it is known, the causes of evolution being as mysterious as the law is certain. Science, he thinks, is at the end of biological philosophies; the problem is metaphysical and must be approached anew.

Writing in the Scientific Monthly(5) Dr. Austin H. Clark calls attention to the basic fallacy of neglecting psychological characteristics in favor of the purely anatomical. A mental mechanism, different in each species, controls the bodily mechanism. Man is mentally more similar to the insects, birds, and rodents, than to the apes. Apes are born with a "sub-adult" mentality, contrary to man. Paleontologically, a specialized creature either becomes more highly specialized or dies out. Thus if man were an ape-descendent he would be arboreal. He was never a monkey, but derived from the same general stock: "What that was, we do not know."

The Secret Doctrine teaches that it was man himself; and Science begins to suspect it in more than one quarter. To demonstrate this requires primarily evidence of the antiquity of man extending beyond that of the ape, and of the true chain of descent. Both are in process of emergence. The old "missing link" theory stands in the way; but Gerrit S. Miller, Jr., of the Smithsonian, remarks that the "missing links" are still missing, and that the evidences are so fragmentary that they are capable of being interpreted either as links or as something else.(6)

...the "missing link," such as to prove the existing theory undeniably, will never be found by palæontologists. (S.D. II, 260).
Nor will the much-touted "Sinanthropos" or Peiping Man, which some hail as the long-sought, and which Roy Chapman Andrews believes will establish Central Asia as the origin of man, fare better.(7) For such abortive specimens of mankind -- akin to the "Pithecanthropus" and the Neanderthal man -- are degraded offshoots of the true man-stock. According to Dr. D. S. Davidson,(8) the Australian tribes have many physical traits similar to the Neanderthal. But, remarks Dr. Davidson, a puzzle which they present to anthropologists is the coexistence of a complex social system with primitive economic standards. This is no puzzle to Theosophists:
Of such semi-animal creatures, the sole remnants known to Ethnology were the Tasmanians, a portion of the Australians and a mountain tribe in China, the men and women of which are entirely covered with hair. They were the last descendants in a direct line of the semi-animal latter-day Lemurians referred to. There are, however, considerable numbers of the mixed Lemuro-Atlantean peoples produced by various crossings with such semi-human stocks -- e.g., the wild men of Borneo, the Veddhas of Ceylon, classed by Prof. Flower among Aryans (!), most of the remaining Australians, Bushmen, Negritos, Andaman Islanders, etc.

The Australians of the Gulf of St. Vincent and the neighbourhood of Adelaide are very hairy, and the brown down on the skin of boys of five or six years of age assumes a furry appearance. They are, however, degraded men -- not the closest approximation to the "pithecoid man," as Haeckel so sweepingly affirms. Only a portion of these men are a Lemurian relic. (S.D. II, 195-6).

But at any rate, the Sinanthropos establishes in Mr. Andrews' mind the origin of man's ancestry, in the Miocene, 19,000,000 years ago. (An overestimate of Miocene time).

Dr. Ernest Huber of Johns Hopkins(9) says that the relative facial development of apes and man helps to fix the date of separation, and "adds to man's potential dignity by widening the gulf between them."

Count Byron de Prorok(10) claims to have brought from Africa proof that man existed 25,000,000 years ago.

Harold J. Cook of the Colorado Museum has offered to present evidence, in the form of tools, that man was contemporary with the three-toed horse.(11)

The New York Botanical Gardens(12) awaken somewhat to the significance of the seedless nature of all bananas, unable to understand how such could have been developed by "savage people during the infancy of the human race."

Dr. Wm. Alanson Byron, director of the Los Angeles Museum, is of the opinion that man may have coexisted with the sloth and cave bear in America not less than 250,000 years ago, as the result of discoveries in a New Mexican cave.

Prof. Elliot Smith remarks(13) that the discovery of three contrasting types of man at the beginning of the Pleistocene Period suggests that their common human ancestor must have lived before then, and that a variety of human types must have been roaming about when Java, Sussex, and China were in process of formation.

An article by M. R. Harrington in Science, June 6, 1930, claims that evidence has collected undeniably establishing the association of man and the giant sloth; the latter usually attributed to the Pleistocene Age. Whereupon enters one of the obstacles sure to be encountered in the too-smooth-running path of Theosophico-scientific confirmation. The question arises, says Mr. Harrington, as to whether man is that old, or whether Pleistocene animals and conditions persisted down to rather recent times. As future discoveries eventuate we may look for a stubborn fight all along this last trench of evolutionary materialism.

Probably the most important of recent signs of the changing tide of evolutionary thought has been the volte-face of Dr. Henry Fairfield Osborn, one of the foremost American authorities, which has set into a boil the whole evolutionary world. But this, involving as it does the detailed history of the long-delayed vindication of one of the definitely dated prophecies of the Secret Doctrine, deserves special treatment.


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

THEN -- AND NOW

There was a time when the acquirement of Divine Wisdom (Sapientia) required the sacrifice and devotion of a man's whole life. It depended on such things as the purity of the candidate's motives, on his fearlessness and independence of spirit; but now, to receive a patent for wisdom and adeptship requires only unblushing impudence. A certificate of divine wisdom is now decreed, and delivered to a self-styled "Adeptus" by a regular majority of votes of profane and easily-caught gulls, while a host of magpies driven away from the roof of the Temple of Science will herald it to the world in every market-place and fair. Tell the public that now, even as of old, the genuine and sincere observer of life and its underlying phenomena, the intelligent co-worker with nature, may, by becoming an expert in her mysteries thereby become a "wise" man, in the terrestrial sense of the word, but that never will a materialist wrench from nature any secret on a higher plane -- and you will be laughed to scorn. --H.P.B.


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SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
XXVI (Part I of II)
(Part 26 of a 103-part series)

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THIRTEEN (13) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:

(1) Science, Mar. 21, 1930.
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(2) Science, Feb. 28, 1930.
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(3) Science, Dec. 13, 1929.
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(4) Scientific Monthly, October, 1929.
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(5) September, 1929.
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(6) Washington Evening Star, Nov. 19, 1929; N.Y. Sun, Nov. 20, 1929; N.Y. Evening Post, Nov. 20, 1929.
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(7) N.Y. Telegram, Jan. 29, 1930; Living Age, Oct. 15, 1929.
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(8) Science, Dec. 20, 1929.
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(9) Washington Star, May 22, 1930.
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(10) Universal Service, Dec. 28, 1929.
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(11) L.A. Times, Dec. 31, 1929.
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(12) Press of Feb. 16, 1929.
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(13) Manchester Guardian Weekly, Sept. 20, 1929.
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