Clear thinkers recognized its untenableness long ago, and surely Grottewitz and the whole band of Darwinian devotees as well, could have known that as early as twenty-five years ago this doctrine had been subjected to a reductio ad absurdum with classic clearness in Wigand's great work.
Grottewitz very frankly continues: "The difficulty with the Darwinian doctrines consists in the fact that they are incapable of being strictly and irrefutably demonstrated. The origin of one species from another, the conservation of useful forms, the existence of countless intermediary links, are all assumptions, which could never be supported by concrete cases found in actual experience."
Some are said to be well established indirectly by proofs drawn from probabilities, while others are proved to be absolutely untenable. Among the latter Grottewitz includes "sexual selection," which is indeed a monstrous figment of the imagination. There was moreover really no reason for adhering to it so long.
Sic transit gloria mundi! This has been the history of Darwinism, and especially of Darwin's theory of sexual selection. What Grottewitz urges against it, was advanced decades ago by other and more eminent men; then people would not listen, to-day they are inclined to listen.
But what will Brother Bebel with his Haeckelism say to the present article? All in all, instead of calling his article "Darwinian Myths" Grottewitz might just as well have entitled it "At the Deathbed of Darwinism." May he bring out a series of "deathbed articles" to disclose the truth regarding Darwinism to his associates.
Of very special interest is the further admission, that "the principle of gradual development" has been "considerably shaken" and is "certainly untenable." Grottewitz points out that it has been demonstrated that the progeny of the same parents are often entirely dissimilar, and that new organs very suddenly spring up in individuals even when they had had no previous existence.
If one accepts saltatory evolution, as for instance, Heer, Koelliker, and Wigand did long ago, then, as Grottewitz now discovers, the difficulty arising for Darwinism from the absence of the numerous intermediary forms which it postulates, naturally disappears. Grottewitz attributes sudden variation to the influence of environment, just as Geoffroy St. Hilaire had already done before Darwin.
It is eminently untrue, that the biological research of the last few years proved for the first time the untenableness of this doctrine, as Grottewitz seems to think.
But however much men may struggle against the teleologico-theistic principle and secure themselves against it, it is all of no avail, the principle stands at the gate and clamors loudly for admission; and if Grottewitz could but bring himself to undertake a study of Wigand's masterful work, perhaps his heresy would increase and we might perhaps then find another article in the "Sozialistische Monatshefte" tending still more strongly toward the truth.
To place this whole wonderful, and so minutely regulated world of organisms at the mercy of chance is utterly monstrous, and for this very reason Darwinism, which is throughout a doctrine of chance, must be rejected; it is indeed a myth. We are grateful to Grottewitz for undertaking to tear the assumed mask of science from this myth and expose it before his associates.