25th' Life and Letters of Francis Gadton
" We simply look to the main issue-Do sick persons who pray or are prayed for, recover on the average more rapidly than others?'
`I have discovered hardly any instance in which a medical man of repute has attributed recovery to the influence of prayer.' `The universal habit of the scientific world to ignore the power of prayer is a very important fact.'
Is this a fact at all? What evidence has Mr Galton to bring forward in support of this outrageous assertion concerning the scientific worlds?"
"A nation, he informs us, ought not to hold together by purely gregarious instincts, `a mob of slaves clinging to one another through fear,' it should consist of `vigorous self-reliant men, knit to one another by innumerable ties,' and as he ought to have added, well versed in the new doctrines of evolution and determined to destroy their weaker brethren in obedience to the great law of the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence. Instead of wasting his time upon the records of the past and preparing for a future state, the new animal man is to `awake to a fuller knowledge of his relatively great position, and begin to assume a deliberate part in furthering the great work of evolution.' It is his `religious duty,' says Mr Galton, to do this `deliberately and systematically.' This is the practical outcome of the new philosophy for the new animal-the only religious duty he has to perform in the new Cosmos2."
I have cited these passages-very characteristic of the ecclesiastical heeling of that day-to show how the anti-Darwinian odium theologicum was within a year of Darwin's death transferred to his cousin, because, going farther than. Darwin, he: had seen that if the doctrine of evolution through heredity and natural selection be true, then man ought to use this principle as any other natural. law to raise his kind. The thoughts and purposes of the Deity, Florence Nightingale held, are only to be discovered by the statistical study of natural phenomena, and both Francis Galton and Florence Nightingale. believed that application of the results of such study was the religious duty of man. Are we any nearer to-day than the theological, world was in 1883 to a true. appreciation of that position ? Are Dean Inge and Canon Barnes average representatives of the modern Church, or is their grade, as Galton would have put it, somewhere about the "suboctile" ? We sadly fear that Father Wasmann, Mr G. K. Chesterton, and Herr Bumiiller would more nearly reproduce the median theological mind of to-day. In 1883 it was probably Romans alone who recognised the fact that Galton was virtually marking out the lines of what may be appropriately called a new religion.
"We have of late had so many manufactures of this kind that the market is somewhat glutted, and therefore it is very doubtful how far this new supply will meet with an appropriate demand; but we can safely recommend Mr Galton's wares to all who deal in such commodities as the best which have hitherto been turned out. They are the best because the materials of their composition are honesty and commonsense without admixture with folly or metaphors."
After this slight indication of the reception the publication of Galton's work met with, I turn to its contents. The earlier pages discuss material
1 Yet surely Galton was merely stating a universal experience! What chance of publication by a recognised scientific society would a memoir have if the author, describing the sequence of any physical or vital phenomena, added : "but according to my experience the sequence is modified in x 'l. of cases by the power of prayer"? We must go back to Cuvier practically to find' breaks in the sequences of natural phenomena directly attributed in a "scientific" memoir to theocratic intervention.
2 The Guardian, July 4, 1883, p. 1001. s Nature, Vol. xxviri, p. 98, Mar. 31, 1883.