Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, , at sacred-texts.com
We must now be prepared to admit that God can plant an Eden even in Spitzbergen; that the present state of the world is by no means the best possible in relation to climate and vegetation; that there have been and might be again conditions which could convert the ice-clad Arctic regions into blooming Paradises.Principal J. W. Dawson.
We are at the end of the first series of tests, and with what results?
1. Scientific Cosmology, searching for the place where the physical conditions of Eden-life first appeared on our globe, is brought to the very spot where we have located the cradle of our race.
2. Contrary to all ordinary impressions, we have found this same spot the most favored on the globe, not only as respects the glories of night, but also in respect to prevalence of daylight.
3. In its geology we have found scientific evidence of the vast cataclysm which destroyed the antediluvian world and permanently transferred to lower latitudes the habitat of humanity.
4. We have found scientifically accepted evidence that at the time of the advent of man the climate at the Arctic Pole was all that the most poetic legends of Eden could demand.
5. From Paleontological Botany we have learned that this locality was the cradle of the floral life-forms of the whole known earth.
6. By Paleontological Zoölogy we have been assured
that here too originated, and from this centre eradiated, the fauna of the prehistoric world.
7. And lastly, we have found the latest ethnographers and anthropologists slowly but surely gravitating toward the same Arctic Eden as the only centre from which the migrations of the human race can be intelligibly interpreted.
We asked of these sciences simply, "Is our hypothesis admissible?" Their answer is more than an affirmative; it is an unanticipated and pronounced confirmation.
Some months after the foregoing chapters had been written and delivered in lectures before classes of students in the University, a very interesting reinforcement of the views therein advanced appeared in a little work by Mr. G. Hilton Scribner, of New York, entitled "Where did Life Begin?" 1 As Mr. Scribner was conducted to a belief in the north polar origin of all races of living creatures by considerations quite independent of those mythological and historical ones which first led the present writer to the same opinion, the reader of these pages will find in the following extracts a special incentive to procure and read the entire treatise from which they are taken. That two minds starting with such entirely different data should have reached so nearly simultaneously one and the same conclusion touching so difficult and many-sided a problem is surely not without significance.
Our first extract is from pp. 21-23, where the following summary of previous reasonings and conclusions is given: We may therefore safely conclude, if the code of natural laws has been uniformly in force,
First,That life commenced on those parts of the earth which were first prepared to maintain it; at any rate, that it never could have commenced elsewhere.
Second,As the whole earth was at one time too hot to maintain life, so those parts were probably first prepared to maintain it which cooled first.
Third,That those parts which received the least heat from the sun, and which radiated heat most rapidly into space, in proportion to mass, and had the thinnest mass to cool, cooled first.
Fourth,That those parts of the earth's surface, and those only, answering to these conditions are the Arctic and Antarctic zones.
Fifth,That as these zones were at one time too hot, and certain parts thereof are now too cold, for such life as inhabits the warmer parts of the earth, these now colder parts, in passing from the extreme of heat to the extreme of cold, must have passed slowly through temperatures exactly suited to all plants and all animals in severalty which now live or ever lived on the earth.
Sixth,If the concurrent conditions which have usually followed lowering temperature followed the climatic changes in this case, life did commence on the earth within one or both of certain zones surrounding the poles, and sufficiently removed therefrom to receive the least amount of sunlight necessary for vegetal and animal life.
It seems almost superfluous to say that those parts of the earth which first became cool enough to maintain life had a climate warmer at that time than that which we now call torrid. It was for an epoch, and probably a very long one, as hot as it could be and maintain life.
It is also quite obvious, in the light of the foregoing considerations, that as the temperate zones have always received more heat from the sun, and have had more mass per square foot to cool, in proportion to radiating surface, than the polar zones, so, on the other hand, they have always received less heat from the sun and have had less mass to cool, in proportion to radiating surface, than the torrid zone; and so when the arctic zones cooled from a tropical to what we now call a temperate climate, the temperate zones had cooled down to that temperature which we now call a torrid climate, while the equatorial belt was still too hot for any form of life. Thus the lowering of temperature, climatic change, and that life which made its advent in these zones surrounding the poles have crept thence slowly along, pari passu, from these polar regions to the equator.
Farther on (pp. 26, 27) he claims that the progressive cooling of the region at the Pole is all-sufficient, as a natural cause, to account for that dispersion of life, vegetable and animal, which proceeded from the Arctic centre southward: As might be readily supposed, these Arctic regions which first became cool enough to maintain life would from the same causes be the first to become too cold for the same purpose. And this cold would occur first as a temperate climate near and around the pole; at any rate,
in the centre of a zone just sufficiently removed from the pole to combine the influence of the sun with its own cooling temperature, so as to become the first fit habitation of life.
This central cold creating a temperate climate would thus have become the first and all-sufficient cause of a dispersion and distribution of both the tropical plants and animals over another zone next south, next further removed from the pole, and next sufficiently cool to maintain such life. Moreover, this cooler climate occurring in the centre would have driven out and dispersed such life equally, in all possible directions. So, if the first habitable zone included the northernmost land of all the great continents which converge around the North Pole, this dispersion from an increasing cold to the north of each of them would have sent southward plants and animals from a common origin and ancestry, to people and to plant all the continents of the earth, with the possible exception of Australia, whose flora and fauna are certainly anomalous and possibly indigenous.
In section fourth (pp. 28-34) the author briefly touches upon some of the surface features of the globe peculiarly favorable to the southward migration of plants and animals: Let us now see how admirably the earth is adapted, by its surface formation and topography, for a southern migration from a zone surrounding the North Pole. In the first place, nearly the whole of the earth's surface (and all the northern hemisphere) is corrugated north and south with alternate continents and deep sea channels almost from pole to pole. Both the eastern and western continents extend with unbroken land connections
from the Arctic zone through the northern temperate, the torrid, and through the southern temperate, almost to the Antarctic zone. Between these great continents lie the deep oceans, whose channels run north and south through as many degrees of latitude. The great air and ocean currents run north or south; all the mountain ranges of the western continent and many of the eastern continents run mainly north and south. Nearly all the great rivers of the northern hemisphere run north or south. To a southern migrationin other words, a migration from the Arctic region toward the equatorthese peculiarities of topography, these great corrugations and mountain ranges, these channels and currents, are roads and vehicles, guides and helps; while to an east and west migration the same features are not only obstacles and hindrances, but in the main barriers insuperable.
The impassability of mountain ranges for most plants is shown by the fact that strongly marked varieties in great numbers and many distinct species occur upon the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevadas, the Alleghanies, and even lower ranges, which are not found at all upon their western sides, and vice versa. Such a condition of things, incompatible as it is with an eastern and western migration, is quite consistent, however, with a north and south movement. For all the climatic conditions, especially that of rainfall, are so different on the opposite sides of all long mountain ranges that the same variety, split and separated by the northern extremities of these ranges, would, in moving southward along their eastern and western sides, and encountering such diverse conditions,
have become in the course of time, under the laws of adaptation, distinct varieties, and probably different species.
It may be well now to examine some of the conditions assisting this movement. Hot air being lighter than cold, the heated air of the northern equatorial belt has always risen and passed mainly toward the North Pole in an upper current, while the cooler and heavier currents from the north have swept southward, hugging the surface of the continents, laded with pollen, minute germs and spores, and all the winged seeds of plants, bending grass and shrubs and trees constantly to the southward, and so, by small yearly increments, moving the whole vegetal kingdom through valleys and along the sides of mountain ranges, down the great continents, always moving with, and never across, these great surface corrugations. It is unnecessary to add that all insects and herbivorous animals would follow the plants, or that the birds and carnivorous animals would follow the herbivorous animals and the insects. So, too, the currents of the ocean have been established in obedience to similar laws: as hot water is lighter than cold, great surface currents have been formed in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, flowing from the equator to the Arctic regions; while the cooler and heavier currents from the Arctic have swept the floor of both oceans from shore to shore to the southward, carrying all kinds of marine life from the pole toward the equator with them.
It may be well in this connection to allude to another fact seriously affecting the bottom currents from the pole toward the equator of both air and
ocean. By reason of the revolution of the earth upon its axis, a given point upon its surface 1,000 miles south of the North Pole moves to the eastward at the rate of about 260 miles an hour, while another point in the same meridian at the equator would be moving to the eastward a little more than I,000 miles an hour; so every cubic yard of air and water which starts in a bottom current from the polar regions for the equator must, before reaching the equator, acquire an eastward motion of about 750 miles an hour. The tendency, therefore, of all bottom currents of air and ocean moving to the south is to press to the westward every obstacle met with in its course, and the result, both as to the currents and all movable things they come in contact with, would be to give them a southwestern course and movement.
Now it is a strange coincidence, if nothing more, that the eastern coasts of all the continents have a southwestern trend, are full of bays, inlets, and shoal water, as though the floor of the ocean was being constantly swept up against them; while the western coasts are more abrupt, straight, and touch deeper water, as though the sweepings from the land were being constantly rolled into the sea along their entire lines.
Notwithstanding all these indications of a southern or southwestern movement, ever since the migration of plants and animals first attracted attention, students of natural science, careful and conscientious observers, able and discriminating investigators, have, almost with one accord, been looking east and west across these great north and south corrugations and natural barriers for the paths of
their journeyings; searching along every parallel of latitude, across lofty mountain ranges, broad continents, deep and wide oceans, and ocean currents, to and fro; and if perchance they looked north or south it was only in search of some ferry or ford south of the ice-fields by which to pass the flora and fauna from one continent to another, and thus account for what is very evident, namely, that many widely distributed species and varieties have come from the same locality and had a common ancestry and origin. Is it not evident that the very plants and animals (in a tribal sense) whose migrations they have been engaged in unraveling were as much older than ice and snow on the earth as it would require in time to lower the average temperature over a vast area from a tropical to a frigid climate?
The portion of the little treatise least satisfactory, even to its author, is the part which relates to man (pp. 52-54). By making the human race the descendants (or, as on Darwinist principles we ought rather to say, the ascendants) of one or more pairs of lower animals, and assuming that our animal ancestry had already been driven from the polar region before they were blessed with this unanticipated progeny, the author suggests a possible manner in which "the absence on the earth of our immediate predecessor," the missing link, might be accounted for. He says, "If it is true that, in common with many existing plants and animals, the ancestry of mansome animal with a thumb, and so having the possibility of all thingsshared this northern home, this common and immensely remote origin, earlier by long epochs than the glacial period, it
would afford a possible ground for the claim of the unity of the origin of man, and also a reason for the absence on earth of his immediate predecessor. His arboreal progenitor in the pioneer ranks of this great southern movement, ages before the Quaternary (during all of which period man has probably inhabited the earth), was possibly driven naked by the ever-following, merciless cold, thus keeping him within the southward-moving tropical climate, down the eastern and western continents alike, until it and he, arriving in the lapse of ages at the equatorial belt, and being always at the head and still rising in the scale of being by this movement, discipline, and process, became sufficiently advanced by slow degrees to build fires, clothe himself, make implements, and, possibly, domesticate animals,at least the first and most useful to primitive man, the dog,and so prepared for conflict and for all climates, turned backward to the verge of everlasting ice, subduing, slaying, and exterminating, first his own ancestry, his nearest but now weak rival, which by lingering behind and struggling for life in a climate of increasing cold, would have become extremely degenerated and so easily disposed of, if not actually exterminated by the climate itself; thus leaving as the nearest in resemblance to man, and yet the remotest in actual relationship both to him and to his ancestry, the later tribes of anthropoid apes since developed, nearer to the equator, from the next lower animals which accompanied him in his southward march."
In this speculation, it will be observed, the place of the origin of the human race is entirely indeterminate. When its far-off arboreal ancestor left the
[paragraph continues] Pole his only prophetic endowment was "a thumb." But possessing this, he "had the possibility of all things." In his successors, ages afterward, the real transition from the plane of animal to that of human life seems to be represented as having taken place "at the equatorial belt." Unfortunately, however, for the theory, the claim of the new men to the virtue and name of humanity was now poorer than before the change, for their first act was to turn fiercely upon those who brought them into being, "subduing, slaying, and exterminating their own ancestry" in a frenzy worse than brutal. The shock to the feelings of the near but younger relatives of the massacred victimsthe mild-mannered apesmust have been violent in the extreme. In fact, among all the tens of thousands of their descendants not one, from that day to this, has ever been seen to smile.
But in justice to our author it should be stated that he attaches little, if any, weight to this Darwinistic episode. He frankly says, "This last proposition, however, is but a vague and very deductive supposition, for which nothing is claimed beyond a possibility or bare probability." It is possible that he is only slyly indulging in a bit of quiet pleasantry at the expense of the new-school anthropogonists. Whether so or not, he hastens without further words to return from it to the impregnable positions of his main argument, and to reinforce them by a fresh study of the power and function of heat in the cosmic unfoldment and distribution of life.
The next two divisions of the present work will show us that the birth-memories of mankind conduct us, not to "the equatorial belt," but to the
polar world, and that in Mr. Scribner's answer to the question, "Where did Life begin?" human as well as floral and faunal life should be included. After examining these fresh lines of evidence it is believed that the reader will find more impressive than ever the words with which our author concludes his charming tractate:
"Thus the Arctic zone, which was earliest in cooling down to the first and highest heat degree in the great life-gamut, was also first to become fertile, first to bear life, and first to send forth her progeny over the earth. So, too, in obedience to the universal order of things, she was first to reach maturity, first to pass all the subdivisions of life-bearing climate and finally the lowest heat degree in the great life-range, and so the first to reach sterility, old age, degeneration, and death. And now, cold and lifeless, wrapped in her snowy winding sheet, the once fair mother of us all rests in the frozen embrace of an ice-bound and everlasting sepulchre."
103:1 Published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 12mo, pp. 64. Ex-Chancellor Winchell (anonymously) reviews the work with much respect in Science, March 7, 1884, p. 292. For courteous permission to quote from the treatise without restriction I publicly return the author my thanks.