Solving the Problem of Being

Weekly Herald

I read an article a few days ago written by Thomas Huxley, who was one of the kindest-hearted men that ever lived, and whose unbelief furnished the basis for a deep and continual sorrow. Though naturally a cheerful man and an earnest, tireless searcher after truth in his own way, yet the inspiring hope seemed ever to elude him, and he was often overcome by the contemplation of what was to him a ceaseless agony made necessary by the terms of the upward march of the law of evolution, according to which the strong must ever devour the weak in order that higher species may continually be evolved, and thus the work of creation through this work of natural selection might move ceaselessly onward toward still higher and better types.

So much of the sweet and bitter fruits of life are grown upon the branches of our early education. Habits of study and methods of reasoning are established containing errors which may not soon come to the light, and praise and blame follow each other as the shafts of criticism are aimed at the final solution. Now I do not pretend to be wise on general principles, but this theory of evolution which involves the necessity of evil that good may be born, or that is born of evil, or that evil is an equal partner with good in producing good results, is wholly false. My conviction is that so long as evil is admitted into the premise in any degree the result will be evil and not good. This method indulged in by so many of trying to solve the problem of the science of being, reminds me of the old Grecian problem, that if you give me fifty yards the start of you, you may run twice as fast as I do, and you will never overtake me; for while you run the fifty yards, I will run twenty-five, and while you run the twenty-five I will run twelve and one half, and while you run this I will run six and one fourth, and while you run this I will run three and one eighth, and so on ad infinitum, I shall always be one half the last named distance ahead of you. The reasoning seems good, but the conclusion is false; where is the trouble? Moreover, the people are a unit in believing the fallacy of the conclusion thus reached, however much they may be befogged through the false reasoning employed, and so long as they hold to this conclusion, regardless of the testimony of false witnesses, they will be right.

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The Question of Remuneration
August 31, 1899

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