THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 3, January, 1931
(Pages 105-110; Size: 20K)
(Number 26 of a 103-part series)
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
(Part I)The mistaken theories of mono-genesis, and the descent of man from the mammals instead of the reverse, are fatal to the completeness of evolution as taught in modern schools on Darwinian lines, and they will have to be abandoned in view of the insuperable difficulties which they encounter. (Secret Doctrine, 1888, II, 118).THE "captious critic," caught in the cleft stick of Madame Blavatsky's very definite predictions of the scientific events consequent upon the discoveries of Curie, Becquerel, and Roentgen, her hints about the coming World War and the rest, is welcome to what comfort he has hitherto found in the apparent non-emergence of the proof above predicted. For it has been left to the year 1930 to demonstrate a nineteen-year scientific denial of the undeniable rather than a fallacy in Theosophic prophecy.
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. (S.D. II, 155).
Let us briefly glance at the divergences between orthodox and esoteric science ... the reader will be enabled to see at a glance the importance of these divergences; and to perceive, at the same time, that it is not impossible -- nay, it is most likely -- that further discoveries in geology and the finding of fossil remains of man will force science to confess that it is esoteric philosophy which is right after all, or, at any rate, nearer to the truth. (S.D. II, 711) .... if the skeletons of man should, at any time, be discovered in the Eocene strata, but no fossil ape, thereby proving the existence of man prior to the anthropoid -- then Darwinians will have to exercise their ingenuity in another direction. And it is said in well-informed quarters that the XXth century will be yet in its earliest teens, when such undeniable proof of Man's priority will be forthcoming. (S.D. II, 690).
The student will recall the controversy which arose over the real nature of the Piltdown skull, the Eoanthropos Dawsoni, found in 1911, and how radically and acrimoniously scientific "reconstructions" thereof differed. But at all events it was set down as Quaternary, not Tertiary, and its real significance wholly missed.
Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn, explaining to his scientific public his rejection of the "ape-man" theory -- and well had he need to explain -- at last lets the nineteen-year-old cat out of the bag.(1) Dr. Osborn calls the Piltdown man "the most startling discovery of the twentieth century, the full significance of which we have only recently learned to estimate." Thus:One of the most striking coincidences in the history of human paleontology is that indubitable flint implements of Tertiary men were discovered by J. Reid Moir on the east coast of Anglia in the year 1909 and that in 1911, only two years later, an indubitable human skull and jaw of what proves to be Tertiary man were found in Piltdown, Sussex, by Charles Dawson. It has required eighteen years of research by Moir and Smith Woodward, aided by the most able archeologists and anatomists of the world, to establish the full significance of these epoch-making discoveries of 1909-11. By adding year by year implement after implement from two strata of Upper Pliocene time, J. Reid Moir, originally an amateur collector of Ipswich, has finally overcome all incredulity and even hostility and has thoroughly established the Red Crag and sub-Red Crag strata of the Upper Pliocene coast of Anglia as the site of a widespread and highly varied flint and bone industry.All these artifacts have been confirmed and recently embodied in the Stone Age chronology of Abbé Henri Breuil (December, 1929). Breuil not only accepts the Tertiary age, but in his latest paper (December, 1929) shifts the entire pre-Chellean and Chellean flint industries from mid-Quaternary down into the base of Quaternary time, namely, into the first Interglacial or Mindel-Riss stage; this obviously shifts the pre-Chellean and Chellean flint-making design and intelligence down close to Tertiary time -- in fact, some of Reid Moir's flints are identical with the Chellean artifacts.
Meanwhile Osborn, by world-wide study of fossil elephants and mastodons, has firmly established these Reid Moir flint beds as Upper Pliocene or close of Tertiary time, against the contention of the late Ray Lankester that these flints were early Pleistocene. Hardly less positive is Osborn's determination, with the aid of Reid Moir, Freudenberg, of Heidelberg, Matsumoto, and Bather and Hopwood, of the British Museum, that the Piltdown race -- Eoanthropus dawsoni of Smith Woodward -- is of Upper Pliocene Tertiary age rather than of Quaternary age as formerly supposed. The Piltdown man has not yet been assigned to the Eocene -- but who knows? Or who knows what other finds besides this skull may lead to?
Let us then turn to other skeins of the web of Dr. Osborn's new views, which against opposition are making fast headway indeed. The size of the Eoanthropus brain suggests to him a review of the whole history of the Quaternary Period brain; noting incidentally that the new place of Eoanthropus has "unexpectedly been confirmed by recent paleontological evidence":These surprises arise from the profound researches and independent discoveries of Dubois, Smith Woodward, Boule, Keith, McGregor, Black, Economo and Leboucq, to which honor roll we should add Frederick Tilney's "The Brain from Ape to Man" (1928). The six outstanding points as to the brain are as follows: (1) that certain races of fossil man of the last 1,250,000 years had a brain cube equal to or greater than that of modern man; (2) that the much-despised cave man (Palaeanthropus) was inferior to ourselves neither in brain cube nor in hand ability, although far inferior to ourselves in civilization; (3) that certain of the cave men (Homo sapiens, Cro-Magnon) were our superiors both in average brain capacity and in average artistic ability; (4) that at the close of Tertiary time there lived a race (Eoanthropus dawsoni) with a brain cube equal to the minimum of that of the living Veddahs, Papuans and native Australians; (5) that the ratio of human brain weight to body weight in Quaternary time was apparently the same as it is to-day, namely, 1:50 (Weber, 1896), in contrast to the anthropoid apes, in which it is as follows:
Brain to Body
Super-arboreal Gibbon of southeast Asia (130 gr.) .... 1:66 or 1:73 Arboreal Chimpanzee of west Africa (412 gr.) .... 1:51 or 1:61 Super-arboreal Orang of Borneo (400 gr.) .... 1:183 or 1:194 Terrestrial-arboreal Gorilla of central and west Africa (565 gr.) .... 1:150 or 1:200
(6) as Dietrich has, Pithecanthropus, the Trinil race of Java, is not an ancestral Pliocene type, as was formerly supposed, but a surviving mid-Pleistocene branch, the companion of a stegodont elephant; the Trinil brain is a case of arrested development.And why in the name of common sense, did this new vision await the year 1930 when all the intervening time the following lay at hand in the Secret Doctrine?
The conclusion is inevitable that the main cubic evolution of the human brain took place during antecedent Tertiary time and not, as we formerly thought, during the Quaternary Age of Man or Glacial period....if there are Bushmen existing now, in our age of the highest civilization, who are no higher intellectually than the race of men which inhabited Devonshire and Southern France during the Palaeolithic age, why could not the latter have lived simultaneously with ... other races as highly civilized for their day as we are for ours? That the sum of knowledge increases daily in mankind, "but that intellectual capacity does not increase with it," is shown when the intellect, if not the physical knowledge, of the Euclids, Pythagorases, Pâninis, Kapilas, Platos, and Socrates, is compared with that of the Newtons, Kants, and the modern Huxleys and Haeckels. On comparing the results obtained by Dr. J. Barnard Davis ... with regard to the internal capacity of the skull -- its volume being taken as the standard and test for judging of the intellectual capacities -- Dr. Pfaff finds that this capacity among the French (certainly in the highest rank of mankind) is 88.4 cubic inches, being thus "perceptibly smaller than that of the Polynesians generally, which, even among many Papuans and Alfuras of the lowest grade, amounts to 89 and 89.7 cubic inches"; which shows that it is the quality and not the quantity of the brain that is the cause of intellectual capacity. (Trans. of the Royal Soc. of London, 1868).... The same comparison between the oldest skulls known and the European, brings to light the startling fact "that most of these old skulls, belonging to the stone period, are above rather than below the average of the brain of the now living man in volume." Calculating the measures for the height, breadth, and length in inches from the average measurements of several skulls, the following sums are obtained:--Dr. Osborn gives the following comparison:
1. Old Northern skulls of the stone age .... 18.877 in. 2. Average of 48 skulls of the same period from England .... 18.858 " 3. Average of 7 skulls of the same period from Wales .... 18.649 " 4. Average of 36 skulls of the stone age, from France .... 18.220 "
The average of the now living Europeans is 18.579 inches; of Hottentots, 17.795 inches!
Which figures show plainly "that the size of the brain of the oldest populations known to us is not such as to place them on a lower level than that of the now living inhabitants of the Earth" (The Age and Origin of Man). Besides which, they show the "missing link" vanishing into thin air. (S.D. II, 522-23).He then calls attention to the recently recognized fact that the brain-cube is not an index of intellectuality.
Summit of Quaternary and Modern time: Homo sapiens, Cro-Magnon of Mentone ....... 1550 Palaeanthropus, Neanderthal Caveman, La Chapelle-aux-Saints ....... 1530 Homo sapiens, average modern Swiss ....... 1467 Homo sapiens, average modern European ....... 1450 Homo sapiens, Alpine race of Czecho-Slovakia ....... 1415 Homo sapiens, fossil Alpine race of Ofnet ....... 1400 Homo sapiens, native Australian race ....... 1310 Homo sapiens, native Indian Veddahs ....... 1250 Mid-Quaternary: Pithecanthropus erectus (Trinil man of Java) ....... 940 Summit of Tertiary: Eoanthropus dawsoni (Piltdown Dawn Man) ....... 1240 Living Papuans of New Guinea ....... 1236It is well known that the brain cube is not a reliable test of brain power or capacity, as Leboucq has recently pointed out in striking examples from recent times:In upholding the early intellectuality of man, Dr. Osborn shows that this is to be rested, not upon interpretations of brain-size, but upon indubitable accomplishments as revealed by paleontology; the Eoanthropos "made highly intelligent use" of his 1,240-1,300 cubic brain measurement. Thus the famous Pithecanthropos Erectus, the Trinil man, which more than any other thing, has in its "ape-man" capacity supported the crasser view of evolution, now turns out to have been a jest of man and of nature indeed. Unseen by any other eye than that of its discoverer for decades; found to be something different when finally examined; and now set down by Osborn and exposed by the comparative table as a lusus naturae, a case of arrested development!
Tourgenieff, Russian novelist .................. 2,012 Cuvier, founder of paleontology .................. 1,829 Byron, poet .................. 1,807 Gambetta, statesman .................. 1,246 Anatole France, littérateur .................. 1,017
Dr. Gerrit S. Miller of the Smithsonian,(2) remarks that there are fifteen points of disagreement regarding the Trinil man, and twenty upon the Piltdown or Eoanthropos. And these two Dr. Miller refers to as "exactly two finds made by tireless workers after 10 years of effort which might be regarded as furnishing evidence of man's relationship with creatures resembling in some general manner the present-day gorilla and chimpanzee." The only point of agreement on the Trinil skull is that it is strangely different from that of any other known mammal, he says. As to the fate of the Piltdown skull, he says:Deliberate malice could hardly have been more successful than the hazards of deposition and recovery in so breaking down the Piltdown fossils and losing the most essential parts of the original skull as to allow free scope to individual judgment in fitting the pieces together. The four pieces of the original cranium lack some of the most important areas of contact with each other. Hence it has been possible for each student to widen or narrow the intervening areas according to his personal interpretation of the probabilities, and so to produce brain cases of narrower or broader form and of greater or less capacity.Thus Dr. Osborn has resolved the meaning of these two very debatable discoveries into something quite new and startling to science. Truly, with these reconsiderations, the materialist must find himself in a ticklish state of mind -- where not protected by the density of his own ignorance!
(To be concluded)
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:
You would have wealth and tell of the good you would do with it. Truly will you lose your way under these conditions. It is quite probable that you are as rich as you ever will be, therefore, desire to do good with what you have -- and do it. If you have nothing, know that it is best and wisest for you. Just so surely as you murmur and complain just so surely will you find that "from him that hath not, shall be taken even that which he hath." This sounds contradictory, but in reality is in most harmonious agreement. Work in life and the Occult are similar; all is the result of your own effort and will. You are not rash enough to believe that you will be lifted up into Heaven like the Prophet of old -- but you really hope some one will come along and give you a good shove toward it.
Know then, Disciples, that you only can lift yourselves by your own efforts. When this is done, you may have the knowledge that you will find many to accompany you on your heretofore lonely journey; but neither they or your Teacher will be permitted to push or pull you one step onward. --W.Q.J.
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
XXVI (Part II of II)
(Part 27 of a 103-part series)
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TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(1) Science, Jan. 3, 1930.
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(2) N.Y. Sun, Nov. 20, 1929; Evening Star, Nov. 19, 1929.
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