THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 4, February, 1931
(Pages 160-162; Size: 11K)
(Number 27 of a 103-part series)

SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE

XXVI

(Part II)(2)

DR. OSBORN then turns to embryology, but to find the same story unfold.

Fifty-eight years of incessant zoological and comparative anatomical research have been focused upon the anatomy and embryology of the apes and man to find out the bearing of the recapitulation or biogenetic principle of Haeckel on the ancestral Tertiary hands and feet of men. Recently Morton (1927), Schultze (1925-29), Straus (1927), Gregory (1925-29), Hrdlicka (1928), have devoted special memoirs to this problem, Straus summing up in the paraphrased words: The foot of embryonic man is of a structure unfitted for an upright terrestrial existence. It is in most characters not unlike that of an adult gorilla, although in some respects even more primitive than that of the largest anthropoid apes. The chief point of embryonic resemblance is in what Darwin termed "the prehensile big toe," but the paleontologist Matthew (1928) has pointed out that all primitive Eocene mammals, both arboreal and terrestrial, had the big toe well set apart from the others. This stronghold of "prehensile big toe" evidence, therefore, carries man far back of the specialized anthropoid ape big-toe stage and tends to sustain the "dawn man" contention that even the embryonic foot of man may date back to the more remote Upper Eocene time.

This contention is even more strongly borne out by the embryonic human hand, in which there is no evidence whatever of having passed through an anthropoid ape limb-grasping stage. While the newest analysis of the embryonic hind limbs may leave us in doubt as to a possible case of reversed evolution from the Miocene ape leg to the human stage, the human hand and the human brain, especially in the light of Eoanthropus discoveries, seem to dissipate some of the doubts raised by the feet and strengthen the new "dawn man" hypothesis of a very remote separation of our running and tool-making ancestors of the plateaus and savannas from the same great stock (Anthropoidea) which independently gave rise to the tree-loving anthropoids of the tropics.

Dr. Arthur Rendle Short,(1) former Hunterian Profesor of the Royal College of Surgeons, remarks that:
Ape's blood is so dissimilar to man's that transfusion would be madness;

The Law of Recapitulation is incompatible with man's descent from an ape;

Deformities commonly found in man do not indicate "throwbacks" to simian ancestry; and

The theory of the gradual evolution of the human brain must lead to the dubious conclusion that the improver is always more intelligent than the originator.

On which subject the Secret Doctrine says:
Strangely enough, it is from the most scientific of these authorities that the most unscientific of all the theories upon the subject of the origin of man has hitherto emanated. This is so evident, that the hour is rapidly approaching when the current teaching about the descent of man from an Ape-like mammal will be regarded with less respect than the formation of Adam out of clay ... For--

"It is evident, especially after the most fundamental principles of Darwinism, that an organized being cannot be a descendant of another whose development is in 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."). (Footnote). 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. (S.D. II, 646).

Dr. Osborn thus summarizes the present state of things.
... So great has been the force of nearly unanimous adherence to the Lamarck-Darwin hypothesis that it has gained world-wide acceptance even among the most intelligent scientists, as may be seen in passages in two outstanding works of the present decade, Eddington's "The Nature of the Physical World" (1928) and Jeans's "The Universe Around us" (1929). A parallel instance of the world-wide assumption of a working hypothesis is that of Lamarck's hypothesis of the inheritance of acquired characters as the prime cause of evolution. Although never demonstrated, the Lamarckian hypothesis was universally accepted until Weismann gave it a death blow in 1880. Such may be the fate of the "ape-man" hypothesis....

Does not this unbiased survey of recent discoveries in archeology, human and comparative paleontology and human and comparative anatomy, compel us to reconsider the classic Darwin-Lamarck hypothesis and to substitute a new hypothesis? The new hypothesis carries us into a geologic antiquity hitherto undreamt of. Anthropology is forced to share with chemistry and physics entirely new notions of space and time. To my mind the human brain is the most marvelous and mysterious object in the whole universe and no geologic period seems too long to allow for its natural evolution. (Italics ours).

Is it then, far for science to go to see that man, as taught by the Secret Doctrine, was the first and not the latest mammal; and that the apes are his descendants, and not the reverse? We think not; and we think moreover that the process of vision may be fortuitously aided. Confesses Osborn:
I was myself rather suddenly converted to the opposite "dawn-man" hypothesis in a roundabout manner. When in 1919 after years of search the American Museum discovered in Middle Pliocene time the complete skeleton of a horse, named Pliohippus leidyanus, a perfect horse in all except name and perhaps color, the bearing of this case of precocious adaption on human descent flashed across my mind, and before a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences I predicted that the greatest surprise in store for twentieth-century science would be in the discovery of a large-brained Tertiary man! This anatomical prophecy has unexpectedly been confirmed by recent paleontologic evidence that Eoanthropus, the "dawn-man" of Sussex, is of Upper Pliocene or Tertiary age.
And what said H. P. Blavatsky now nearly 50 years ago?
The exact extent, depth, breadth, and length of the mysteries of Nature are to be found only in Eastern esoteric sciences. So vast and so profound are these that hardly a few, a very few of the highest Initiates -- those whose very existence is known but to a small number of Adepts -- are capable of assimilating the knowledge. Yet it is all there, and one by one facts and processes in Nature's workshops are permitted to find their way into the exact Sciences, while mysterious help is given to rare individuals in unravelling its arcana. It is at the close of great Cycles, in connection with racial development, that such events generally take place. We are at the very close of the cycle of 5,000 years of the present Aryan Kaliyuga; and between this time and 1897 there will be a large rent made in the Veil of Nature, and materialistic science will receive a death-blow (S.D. I, 611-12).
This process of unseen aid to the deserving, we think, did not end with 1898, nor yet with 1929-30.

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SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
XXVII
(Part 28 of a 103-part series)

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TWO (2) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:

(2) Concluded from January issue.--Editors.
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(1) Manchester Guardian Weekly.
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