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Back to Methuselah by George Bernard Shaw

Back to Methuselah by George Bernard Shaw

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Back to Methuselah, by George Bernard ShawThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Back to MethuselahAuthor: George Bernard ShawRelease Date: August 2, 2004 [eBook #13084]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-8859-1***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BACK TO METHUSELAH***E-text prepared by Suzanne Shell and Project Gutenberg DistributedProofreadersEditorial note: The reader is likely to notice the absence ofapostrophes from contractions in the essay section ofthis work. The author disliked apostrophes andoften omitted them. Some of his publishers insertedthem, others honored his wishes. The policy of ProjectGutenberg is to treat apostrophes as they were in thesource text. In this case, apostrophes were omitted inthe essay section but used in the play.BACK TO METHUSELAHA Metabiological PentateuchbyBERNARD SHAW1921
 
ContentsThe Infidel Half CenturyThe Dawn of DarwinismThe Advent of the Neo-DarwiniansPolitical Inadequacy of the Human AnimalCowardice of the IrreligiousIs there any Hope in Education?Homeopathic EducationThe Diabolical Efficiency of Technical EducationFlimsiness of CivilizationCreative EvolutionVoluntary LongevityThe Early EvolutionistsThe Advent of the Neo-LamarckiansHow Acquirements are InheritedThe Miracle of Condensed RecapitulationHeredity an Old StoryDiscovery Anticipated by DivinationCorrected Dates for the Discovery of EvolutionDefying the Lightning: a Frustrated ExperimentIn Quest of the First CausePaley's WatchThe Irresistible Cry of Order, Order!The Moment and the ManThe Brink of the Bottomless PitWhy Darwin Converted the CrowdHow we Rushed Down a Steep PlaceDarwinism not Finally RefutableThree Blind MiceThe Greatest of These is Self-ControlA Sample of Lamarcko-Shavian InvectiveThe Humanitarians and the Problem of EvilHow One Touch of Darwin makes the Whole World KinWhy Darwin Pleased the SocialistsDarwin and Karl MarxWhy Darwin pleased the Profiteers alsoThe Poetry and Purity of MaterialismThe Viceroys of the King of KingsPolitical Opportunism in ExcelsisThe Betrayal of Western CivilizationCircumstantial Selection in FinanceThe Homeopathic Reaction against DarwinismReligion and RomanceThe Danger of ReactionA Touchstone for DogmaWhat to do with the LegendsA Lesson from Science to the ChurchesThe Religious Art of the Twentieth CenturyThe Artist-ProphetsEvolution in the TheatreMy Own Part in the MatterIn the Beginning: B.C. 4004 (In the Garden of Eden)The Gospel of the Brothers Barnabas: Present DayThe Thing Happens: A.D. 2170Tragedy of an Elderly Gentleman: A.D. 3000
 
As Far as Thought Can Reach: A.D. 31,920PREFACEThe Infidel Half CenturyTHE DAWN OF DARWINISMOne day early in the eighteen hundred and sixties, I, being then asmall boy, was with my nurse, buying something in the shop of a pettynewsagent, bookseller, and stationer in Camden Street, Dublin, whenthere entered an elderly man, weighty and solemn, who advanced to thecounter, and said pompously, 'Have you the works of the celebratedBuffoon?'My own works were at that time unwritten, or it is possible that theshop assistant might have misunderstood me so far as to produce a copyof Man and Superman. As it was, she knew quite well what he wanted; forthis was before the Education Act of 1870 had produced shop assistantswho know how to read and know nothing else. The celebrated Buffoon wasnot a humorist, but the famous naturalist Buffon. Every literate childat that time knew Buffon's Natural History as well as Esop's Fables. Andno living child had heard the name that has since obliterated Buffon'sin the popular consciousness: the name of Darwin.Ten years elapsed. The celebrated Buffoon was forgotten; I had doubledmy years and my length; and I had discarded the religion of myforefathers. One day the richest and consequently most dogmatic of myuncles came into a restaurant where I was dining, and found himself,much against his will, in conversation with the most questionable of hisnephews. By way of making myself agreeable, I spoke of modern thoughtand Darwin. He said, 'Oh, thats the fellow who wants to make out that weall have tails like monkeys.' I tried to explain that what Darwin hadinsisted on in this connection was that some monkeys have no tails.But my uncle was as impervious to what Darwin really said as anyNeo-Darwinian nowadays. He died impenitent, and did not mention me inhis will.Twenty years elapsed. If my uncle had been alive, he would have knownall about Darwin, and known it all wrong. In spite of the efforts ofGrant Allen to set him right, he would have accepted Darwin as thediscoverer of Evolution, of Heredity, and of modification of species bySelection. For the pre-Darwinian age had come to be regarded as a DarkAge in which men still believed that the book of Genesis was a standardscientific treatise, and that the only additions to it were Galileo'sdemonstration of Leonardo da Vinci's simple remark that the earth isa moon of the sun, Newton's theory of gravitation, Sir Humphry Davy'sinvention of the safety-lamp, the discovery of electricity, theapplication of steam to industrial purposes, and the penny post. It wasjust the same in other subjects. Thus Nietzsche, by the two or three whohad come across his writings, was supposed to have been the first manto whom it occurred that mere morality and legality and urbanity leadnowhere, as if Bunyan had never written Badman. Schopenhauer wascredited with inventing the distinction between the Covenant of Grace

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