The voice of science in nineteenth-century literature; representative prose and verse

The voice of science in nineteenth-century literature; representative prose and verse

by Robert Emmons Rogers
     
 

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This is an OCR edition with typos.
Excerpt from book:
THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY THREE HYPOTHESES RESPECTING THE HISTORY OP NATURE So far as I know, there are only three hypotheses which ever have been entertained, or which well can be

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free.
This is an OCR edition with typos.
Excerpt from book:
THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY THREE HYPOTHESES RESPECTING THE HISTORY OP NATURE So far as I know, there are only three hypotheses which ever have been entertained, or which well can be entertained, respecting the past history of nature. I will, in the first place, state the hypotheses, and then I will consider what evidence bearing upon them is in our possession, and by what light of criticism that evidence is to be interpreted. Upon the first hypothesis, the assumption is, that phenomena of nature similar to those exhibited by the present world have always existed; in other words, that the universe has existed from all eternity in what may be broadly termed its present condition. The second hypothesis is, that the present state of things has had only a limited duration, and that, at some period in the past, a condition of the world, essentially similar to that which we now know, came into existence, without any precedent condition from which it could have naturally proceeded. The assumption that successive states of nature have arisen, each without any relation of natural causation to an antecedent state, is a mere modification of this second hypothesis. The third hypothesis also assumes that the present state of things has had but a limited duration; but it supposes that this state has been evolved by a natural process from an antecedent state, and that from another, and so on; and, on this hypothesis, the attempt to assign any limit to the series of past changes is, usually, given up. It is so needful to form clear and distinct notions of whatis really meant by each of these hypotheses, that I will ask you to imagine what, according to each, would have been visible to a spectator of the events which constitute the history of the earth. On the first hypothesis, however ...

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ISBN-13:
2940022346855
Publisher:
Boston, The Atlantic monthly press
Format:
NOOK Book
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553 KB

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THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY THREE HYPOTHESES RESPECTING THE HISTORY OP NATURE So far as I know, there are only three hypotheses which ever have been entertained, or which well can be entertained, respecting the past history of nature. I will, in the first place, state the hypotheses, and then I will consider what evidence bearing upon them is in our possession, and by what light of criticism that evidence is to be interpreted. Upon the first hypothesis, the assumption is, that phenomena of nature similar to those exhibited by the present world have always existed; in other words, that the universe has existed from all eternity in what may be broadly termed its present condition. The second hypothesis is, that the present state of things has had only a limited duration, and that, at some period in the past, a condition of the world, essentially similar to that which we now know, came into existence, without any precedent condition from which it could have naturally proceeded. The assumption that successive states of nature have arisen, each without any relation of natural causation to an antecedent state, is a mere modification of this second hypothesis. The third hypothesis also assumes that the present state of things has had but a limited duration; but it supposes that this state has been evolved by a natural process from an antecedent state, and that from another, and so on; and, on this hypothesis, the attempt to assign any limit to the series of past changes is, usually, given up. It is so needful to form clear and distinct notions of whatis really meant by each of these hypotheses, that I will ask you to imagine what, according to each, would have been visible to a spectator of theevents which constitute the history of the earth. On the first hypothesis, however ...

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