Recognized HTML document

EUGENICS AS A FACTOR IN RELIGION. 6g

flux and change, though its general form alters but slowly. In this respect it resembles the curious stream of cloud that sometimes seems attached to a mountain top during the continuance of a strong breeze ; its constituents are always changing, though its shape as a whole hardly varies. Evolution is in any case a grand phantasmagoria, but it assumes an infinitely more interesting aspect under the knowledge that the intelligent action of the human will is, in some small measure, capable of guiding its course. Man has the power of doing this largely so far as the evolution of humanity is concerned ; he has already affected the quality and distribution of organic life so widely that the changes on the surface of the earth, merely through his disforestings and agriculture, would be recognisable from a distance as great as that of the moon.

As regards the practical side of eugenics, we need not linger to re-open the unending argument whether man possesses any creative power of will at all, or whether his will is not also predetermined by blind forces or by intelligent agencies behind the veil, and whether the belief that man can act independently is more than a mere illusion. This matters little in practice, because men, whether fatalists or not, work with equal vigour whenever they perceive they have the power to act effectively.