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to reach the domain that has to be brought into reconciliation with external nature. The biologist dealing with life from the scientific standpoint has the more central position. The ultimate problems of matter and energy, on the one hand, and consciousness and spirit, on the other, lie equally outside his true domain, and are apt to appear, perhaps, equally inaccessible and mysterious. The physicist from his more extreme standpoint, completely outside of the realm of life, may not be able to see very far, but what he can see is seen with all the certainty and definiteness that distinguish and characterise the explanation of the phenomena with which he deals. Do not draw the hasty conclusion that, because the clarity and unanimity reached in the study of inanimate nature have not been approached in the study of life, they have therefore no application whatever to the higher aspects of life. On the contrary, I hope to show that, as regards what it is impossible to believe at least, they effect a not inconsiderable simplification, and so pave the way at least for a more definite and truer human philosophy to replace the old.
IMMORTALITY OR THE CONSERVATION OF
Life, so far as our direct experience is concerned, is lived in an intimate relation with the external physical universe, and the breaking of that connection is death. Almost before men could count or reason correctly about the simplest phenomena, they have contended that life transcends the breaking of the bond between it and the external world and persists after it has departed from this world. The attitude of mind is very familiar in science, as in other fields. Amid a world of appearance and
change, science seeks the fundamental and abiding realities, and the test it applies is the test of "conservation." Whatever is conserved unchanged during all possible changes is regarded as real. We speak of the conservation of matter, because though, to casual observation, matter is anything but conserved,-for example, fuel is consumed " by fire, and the acorn grows into the oak,-yet the appearances are false, and the total amount of matter remains constant in these as in all other changes.
Nor is it necessary that what is conserved should be material and tangible. We speak of the conservation of energy, meaning that in the variegated interplay of matter, motion and force, whatever happens, however complicated the mechanism or however violent and catastrophic the events, something is unchanged and remains the same before and after, and that something is termed energy. It is a complex conception capable of being illustrated in simple cases by reference to actual phenomena, but to be accurately defined needs to be expressed as a mathematical relation between the matter, forces and motions involved. But nothing, not even money, has a more real existence.
In modern science, matter and energy are the unchangeable realities that can neither be created nor destroyed. If they appear they must come from somewhere, and if they disappear they must go somewhere. So whatever extraordinary events may occur, behind the changing appearances there is a definite basis of unalterable reality in the physical world.
The doctrine of the immortality of the spirit or conservation of personality may be regarded as the inverse form of the scientific argument above. The real part of a man is not his bodily organism, which is continually wasting away and being as continually
renewed, nor the physical energy at its command, which is derived entirely from the inanimate world, but is the personality resident in the body and in control of it. There is no other interpretation of the difference between a man alive one moment and dead the next, which, in spite of the great advances in the interpretation of the mechanism of life made by biology, altogether eludes apprehension in terms of the other fundamental conceptions to which our inquiries into ourselves and our environment have led.
In science we regard that which is indestructible as having real existence. In philosophy and religion that which has a real existence has been from time immemorial regarded as immortal, and it seems to be truly in accordance with the laws of thought, which in science has led to some of the grandest and most fruitful generalisations, to find the idea of personal immortality running like a thread through religious beliefs, even down to the most primitive. I make no pretence to using, in their correct technical philosophical meaning, such terms as consciousness, personality and spirit. All I am concerned, for my argument, to state is that in passing from the phenomena of the inanimate world to those of life in general we have to admit at least one fundamental conception which cannot be connected with the conceptions of the inanimate world, and which it now seems most unlikely ever will be.
I have already warned you that from physical premises it is not possible or easy to proceed very far, and I make no pretence of discussing whether the personality, conscience and soul of a man is or is not, without any entirely new fundamental conception, capable of being regarded as the further development of the simple consciousness, or awareness, of its existence as a separate creature, possessed by the
lowly organism. I accept the, to my mind, complete break of continuity between the animate and inanimate worlds, as being all that is really demanded by our present knowledge. If I am told that unless I make another such break between man and the animals, I weaken the argument I have suggested in accounting for the origin of the belief in the immortality of the soul, by including therein all living creatures, however humble, it is only necessary to say that the general doctrine of evolution of man from the lower animals seems to point unmistakably in this direction.
SCIENCE AND RELIGION.
It is a nice question whether it is easier for the religious man to connect his system of thought with that of science, or for a scientific man to find the due relationship between his conclusions and the common current outlook upon ethical and spiritual, if not specifically theological, beliefs. I would have thought that just as it is easier for a coachman to learn to drive a motor-car than for a chauffeur to learn to handle horses, so it ought to be easier for those whose concern has always been with human personality rather than its mechanism to master the essential principles that have led to the mechanistic philosophy of science. But that is probably mere personal bias. The two studies belong to different worlds, as the poles apart, so far as they concern humanity, but men can afford to neglect neither. It is the priests, not religion, it is difficult for scientific men to live with, and science cannot coexist with priest-craft. The scientific man seeks truth as a continually developing revelation, and he changes his outlook on the world according as it unfolds itself before his eyes. The priest teaches
SCIENCE AND RELIGION
that in some remote period of the world God Himself revealed Truth once and for all time, and his profession is to guard it against all comers. I do not believe that the soul any more than the mind can stagnate. It must grow or decay. Christianity cannot be crystallised into a creed binding for all time and, least of all, into a creed dating back to the century that preceded the relapse of Europe into intellectual barbarism. The world changes and has changed in the last hundred years out of all recognition, not on account of anything contained in the Mosaic or Christian revelations, but on account of the new revelations of science. Though these have come about by a process the reverse of supernatural, by laborious experiment and measurement, by slow accumulation of knowledge and honest and unbiassed weighing of the evidence, they constitute an essential part of the whole truth, be our religious convictions what they may.
There is another important difference between what is understood by truth in the realms of science and religion respectively. A truth that claims to be a divine revelation must necessarily be supposed to be the absolute or ultimate truth, which, by common consent, is unattainable by any of the methods of human inquiry. What a scientific man conceives to be the truth is, in reality, something quite distinct. He is not concerned, and, indeed, it is hardly too much to say that he is not even greatly interested, in ultimate, absolute and unattainable truth. He frames a hypothesis and tests it in every possible way. So long as every known or to be discovered fact is in accord with the hypothesis, and no other hypothesis is in accord with them, it is all he seeks to know. If, in the external universe, every event and phenomenon occurs in the precise and often predicable way it would occur if the hypothesis