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Correlation and Application of Statistics to Problems of Heredity 123


Sir Edward Fry replied in Nature, March 5, 1903 (Vol. LXVII, p. 414), and falls at once into the fallacy of supposing that because variation in group A is continuous, it can only approach group B by converting minute points of likeness in the midst of unlikeness into such a preponderance of likeness as to produce deception. He holds, as so many others have held, that the theory of the accumulation of minute variations fails to account for the facts of mimetism. The error lies in supposing that because the organ varies "continuously," therefore evolution by natural selection involves a gradual accumulation of minute variations in a given direction. Let us suppose the edible group A to enter a new environment, where the protected group B exists, and that a small percentage of A differing widely from type has a sufficient resemblance to B to escape destruction at any rate to some smaller degree than its brethren. The bulk of A will be rapidly destroyed, but the widely divergent section will be, as it were, isolated by the destruction of their fellows, they will inbreed, and the tendency will be, according to the heredity theory of progressive evolution (see our p. 58), for the protecting character to continually increase in intensity, until in a larger and larger percentage it succeeds in deceiving its foes. Sir Edward Fry's appeal to the interspace that separates '"the first minute change that deceives no one to the point of first deception," in which interspace he holds natural selection cannot operate, is clear evidence to my mind that he did not know how wide is the range of variation in nearly all organs of all organisms. Natural selection is not forced to 'choose an individual differing by a minute amount from the type. To hold this view is to think only in terms of the type, and not in terms of the whole population.

Some further communications very typical of Galton may be noted here.

He was far too human not to appreciate what the mass of men found of interest, and among other gatherings, he enjoyed great race meetings. Speaking of the Derby he writes in his Memories (p. 179)

"For my own part, I especially enjoy the start of the horses, for their coats shine so brightly in the sunshine, the jockeys are so sharp and ready, and the delays due to false starts give opportunities of seeing them well. I don't care much for its conclusion ; but I used often after

seeing the start to run to the top of the rising ground between the starting point and the stand, and sometimes got a good opera-glass view of much of the finish."

That Galton frequently went to the Derby is clear, and two instances deserve notice as characteristic of the man. On one of these occasions he persuaded Herbert Spencer and an Oxford clerical don to accompany him. We can imagine how Galton would enjoy this incongruous party who, however, he tells us, enjoyed each other's society. "All went off quite well, except that Spencer would not be roused to enthusiasm by the races. He said that the crowd of men on the grass looked disagreeable, like flies on a plate ; also that the whole event was just what he had imagined the Derby to be."

Nevertheless Spencer was sufficiently fascinated to join Galton's Derby party again. We have unfortunately not the don's impressions of the philosopher, the statistician or the races ! On another occasion Galton found

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