Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 18, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
Hook Reviews --Saturday, March 18, 1972 THE IFTHBRIDG! HJKAID 5 Dong Walker Implications of evolution explored Focus on the University By MICHAEL SUTHERLAND "IS'ol From Tho Apes" by H j o i n Kurtcn (Panllicoki. 183 pages. tlistrilmled by Haiulom House of Canada TTOMO SAPIENS, at. least in an early guise, has been present in this vrorld lor about years. His hominid an- cestors have a history going back for millions of years prior to that emergence of true man. At no point in this long history is Uicre evidence that man descended from the apes. This k tha conviction of Bjorn Kurten, a distinguished Finnish paleontologist, based on a ptudy of the fossil record. .Tho extensive findings of fos- sils is briefly reviewed. Along with tliis is some speculation on the way of life of our early ancestors as they made their way out of tiie trees for an existence on the ground. Ifaen, in conclusion, the author considers man's present and future. In the final section the argu- ment Uiat natural selection has been largely put out of action is examined. A vast reduction in infant mortality now permits individuals to live with genetic defects: which are passed on to their offspring, seeming to promise a gradual degenera- tion of humanity in the future. But Professor Kurten thinks se- lection is at in a differ- ent fashion. Violent deatli through traffic accidents is one way: it is fashioning fu- ture generations with more in- Date prudence than the present one. Professor Kurten near Iho end of his book says, "Through i n t e n sive selection, perhaps some thousand years henco wo will breed a kind 'of superman who will be able to take it or leave it: wine, aspirin, hashish perhaps even sex. He will eat fire and chew glass. Do we think he is One wonders, in the face of mich development, if the con- cern to establish that man did not descend from the apes is something that matters, This is a rather disappoint- ing book. It is choppy and es- sentially dull despite its catchy title and the speculative depar- ture of the final section. "Evolution In Commentaries in Honor of Pierre Lecomte du Nouj ed- ited by George N. Shnster and E. Thorson (University ol Notre Dame Press, KZ pIERRE Lecomte du Nouy was the author, in 1JH7, of enormously popular book called Human Destiny. He was scientist who had come to the essentially religious view that tlte evolutionary process pointed beyond the physical to the realms of the mind and epirit. In October, 1967, conferences were held at Notre Dame Uni- versity and in Paris in honor of the life and work of Pierre Lecomte du Nouy, at which tho 25 papers in this book wera given. Scientists, philosophers and theologians participated, 85 well ES Lecomte du Ntauy's widow. Unfortunately the authors of these essays were speaking to one another and not with lha general public in mind. The go- ing is very tough through, most of the book. There are several biographical pieces at the end of the book but even they tend to be dull. Only specialists could have an interest in a de- scription of the laboratory ap- paratus devised by Lecomte du Nouy the tensiometcr, tho viscosimeter. and others. And only specialists can cope with some of the complicated for- mulas decorating the essays of a few of the contributors. From the essays of the phi- losophers and theologians it is possible to detect that Lecomts du Nouy's thesis in Human Destiny is still very much alive. An essay by Morris Goldman, for instance, is es- sentially an attack on the fun- damental secularist assertions that "physical man emerged eccidentally from some pool of mbnkeylike ancestors, and that his human qualities resulted from accidental favoritism by a never clearly defined process of so-called natural selection." Other essayists also take a po- sitive stance of favoring pur- pose, rather than chance, as the essential force in evolu- tion. Although there are still a few people in scattered places in lite world Mho oppose tho (caching of evolution, il has no opponents among the conlhbu- lors of these essays. Pierre P. Crassc says flatly that "today v.e can think only in evolu- tionary terms without this concept we could no longer un- derstand anything." His few paragraphs on this subject arc insufficient to turn aside lira objections of tho antagonists. Involution in Perspective is a book that u'ill appeal lo Lecomte du Nouy's admirers in academic circles not to the multitude of readers of his iwp- iilar Human Destiny. ''Christianity and Bvolu- tion" by Pierre Tc-ilhard Dfi Clmnlin (Collins, 255 'PHERE is still considerable appeal in the name of Pierre Teilhard De Chardin but I suspect it is on the wane. Part of tho phenomenal inter- est in the writings of this man has sprung from curiosity alxnit the muzzle that was imposed on him by the Roman Catholic church white he was alive. Now that friends have published a sizeable corpus of his writings since his deaJh in the cu- riosity having been largely sa- tisfied may not lead to large readership of the latest offering. This most recent book of 20 essays, written between 1920 and 1953. casts a good deal of illumination on why Teilhard. the devout Jesuit priest and dedicated scientist (biologist and was banish- ed from France to China for most of liis arlult life. The es- says reveal Teilhard seeking an accommodation of evolution with Christian teaching in a way that was not acceptable Until recently if it is accept- able even yet to church au- thorities. Clearly, Toilhard was ahead o[ his time in recognizing that traditional Christian teaching would be widely rejected as the result of the advancement of scientific knowledge. He plead- ed for a restatement of Chris- tian doctrine, vaguely remini- scent of the so-called Mod- ernists among Protestants. In one of his essays he argued that just as first-century Chris- tian thinkers identified the Christ of the gospel with the Alexandrian Logos, so today the meaning of Christ should be found in the evolutive principle of a universe in movement. Interestingly enough, it was his contention in 1922 that the traditional teaching of original sin had been rendered intellec- tually intolerable by science that led to his banishment. A footnote to the filth essay in- dicates that it was that particu- lar essay that brought about his switch from France to China. He stated in the essay that neither Adam nor an e-ii'thl> paradise could he accommo- dated in a scientific view of life. Man, he said, made a gra- dual not a sudden ap- pearance; and there is no trace of a golden age. In several of the essays he returned lo (he theme, of Ihe need to restate the doctrine of original sin. At no lime did he slalo that tho (fencsis story, on which tradi- tinal teaching is based, is my- thological. But in a 1917 essay he said, "The most recent ad- vances in exegesis insist that what we should look for in the first chapters of Genesis is not 'visual' information about man's HISTORY hut teaching about bis NATURE." Like his friend Pierre Lecom- te Du Nouy, Teilhard thought of evolution as advancing to- wards an ever higher degree of freedom and personality. In a 1SW1 essay he said, "The saint is the man who seeks to make, all his powers co- operate in the consummation of Christ, and wlw so realizes for us the ideal of the faithful ser- vant of evolution." What provided the motivation for Teilhard's insistence that men have a responsibHty to point themselves in an upward intellectual and spiritual direc- tion was the conviction he tield that life is grounded in an in- creasing and indestructible pro- gross of spiritualization. In 1950 lie said, "all around us, through all the avenues of experience and thought, the universe is ir- resistibly knitting itself togeth- er organically and genetically." Teiliiard believed that insofar as Christianity was adjusted to the evolutionary view it would prove superior to other religions and would survive in a world cooling off religously. There is something grand about his thinking but his optimism would be hard pressed if he were living today. He might be forced to see that the present malaise goes deeper than the failure of the church to reclothe its teaching in evolutionary terms. At least he would likely be dismayed to find Chris- tianity as vulnerable as other religions to the withering in- fluence of secularization. The essays in this book are not easy to read. Teilhard is noied for the difficulty of his language. But it is not impos- sible to get the drift of what he has to say in all the essays. Lord of the Absurd" liy llaymoml J. Nogar, 0. I1, (llenlei- .-mil Herder, 157 A DECADE after the death of Pierre Teilhard Do Chardin, another Roman Cath- olic priest with an understand- ing of the great significance of evolution was making Iho rounds of American universi- ties as a special lecturer en the subject. The fact that Ray- mond Nogar had published a book called The Wisdom of Evolution (Double day with the Imprimatur of the church showed the changed mood over the time when Teil- hard was muzzled. second book (pub- lished in IDfiC and reread by me in conjunction with Teilhard's r c c e n tly published Evolution and Christianity) consists o( ten reflections resulting from philosophical and theological issues raised on his lecture tour. I had the pleasure of hear- ing Fattier Nogar give a lec- ture in Berkeley in the summer of 1965 and remember him making a note of sometHng said in the discussion period for use in this book. What caused me lo return to Nogar's bcok was the recollec- tion of what he had writ- ten about Teilhard. He paid tri- bute to Teilhard who is largely responsible for the fact that it is possible for Christian philos- ophers and tlieologians "to breathe easily about evolution today." Speaking of the censor- ship of Teilhard as "blundering and incompetent" he said the church has been "catching on." In 1933, Pope Pius XI was urged to put an end to the "in- sidious" doctrines of physical and cultural evolution and re- plied, "One Galileo case in the Church is enough." The case of Teilhard has taught the church "to open doors and windows, and to take care not lo close them precipitously." But Nogar agrees with Teil- hard only on the factuality of evolution and not on his sec- ing everything as part of an orderly, harmonious whole. The magnificent hypothesis of Tcil- Irard is a magnificent illusion so far as Kogar is concerned. It is not harmony that is ap- parent to Nogar; what is far more obvious to him is "the disorder, the waste, I he hectic disorganization of tho frag- ments of the universe." The trouble with Tcilhard's vi- Welcome sign of spring by Elwood Ferguson Manual for shelter builders "Tlomchock by Lloyd. Kahn TTamlom House nf Canada Mm fled, 61 2 is an instruc- tion manual for those who want to got away from it from (lie rectangular grid of modern static structure, from the norms of the established building industry and from fbo Inevitable mortgage enslave- ment. Domchook 2 offers advice hased on accumulated expe- rience in building shelters lhat have meaning and are easily erecfed and transportable. The ideas and experiments for this book have beon compiled from people throughout the U.S. anrl Canada. An interview with Fuller and how hn discovered geodesic? And I IIP great circle theory is indiidrd as woll. If you are micrr.sirrj in pcrimenting new shapes and new materials and you are searching for a new freedom yet you are not quite whether you can do without the a rl v a n t a g o s of modern civ- ilization, this is the book for you. GERTA PATSON, sion is lhat it is only futuristic in appearance; it Ls really tho jncdieva! system in modern dress. Ironically, Dr. George G. Simpson, one of the men who has been thought of by many anti-evolutionists in Uie past as a villaui for Ids part in pro- mot ing the understanding of evolution, chMed Father Nogar for thinking the universe is far more 'chancey' [nan it really is. In his turn, Kalher Nogar presents an ircnic 'defence1 oC tiie intellectual atheism asso- ciated with names of some evolutionists. He says it has been an instrument ot clarifi- cation pruning shears to be used, in getting rid of ideas and language that arc menily tho trappings of a particular time. While each of the 10 reflec- tions seems to stand alone they do form a whole, resulting in an affirmation of faith in Christ as the Lord of the Absurd. As part of I he ongoing debate on Teilhard's visicn, Nogar's stim- ulating and plccsing contribu- tion is indispensable. "Chance and Necessity: An Kssay on Ihe Natural Phi- losophy o[ Modera Biology'' by Jacques Monod (Alfred A, Knopf, 159 pages, 58.25, distributed by Random House of Canada NE dist in guished scientist who does not hold the pur- posive views of Lecomte du Nouy and Teilhard De Chardin followers is Jacques Mbnod, a French biochemist and genet- icist who shared a Nobel prize in 1965 for outstanding work in his field. Among ttie readers who have made bis book a best- seller in France there must bn others who agree Monod. It is hardly conceivable that many people would struggle through a difficult and depress- ing for the religiously orient- ed book unless its thesis struck a responsive chord. Although Mbnod recognizes (hat in appearance living or- ganisms have a teleonomic character, he is convinced that the latest research in molecu- lar biology demonstrates pure chance is "at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolu- tion." Tliis means that man's existence is due to chance, as are his unique characteristics of being able to reason and communicate. No concept rouses a deeper instinctive protest than this one, ft s trikes a sha ttcring blow at, anthropocentristn and brings into question the valid- ity of all religious interpreta- tions. Monod does not treat this re- sult lightly. He says l.be disor- der of the human spirit emerg- ing from the need to revise the concept of man and his rela- tion to the world threatens so- cieties m ore than the popula- tion explosion or the destruc- tion of the natural environ- ment. Man today is in the grip of agonizing contradictions. His whole way of life is rooted in science but he is still trying to live by systems of values al- ready blasted by science itself. "What aals the modern spirit is this lie gripping man's mora I and social nature at the very The fear which men are ex- periencing is that the withering of t h e religious outlook, as a consequence of srriencc, means the destruction of values, du- ties, rights, prohibitions. Mbnod says the fear is wholly just i- fied. But that does not make him sympathetic to (fie at- tempts of people such as Teil- bard DC Chardin Lo reinforce Uie religious view. His judg- ment on Teilhard is harsh and uncompromising. He says Teil- hard's philosophy is intellec- tually spuiclcss. "In he sayst I see more than a ny- thing else a systematic truck- ling, a willingness to conciliate fit any price, to come to any compromise." Tcilhard's inser- tion of purpose into nature in effect amounIs to abandbning the postulate of objectivity es- sential to science. The roles of tire priest and scientist are not compatible, according to Monod. I am not qualified to the evidence Monod presents for his conclusion that exis- tence is due lo chance. I was out of my depth much of ths Lime I was frying to read this book. But in the final chapter I felt 1 understood what he was talking about and experienced Oie chil! that Mtcnd.s his lopir, Nothing could calculated lr> rlevastale the religious man more, if (TUP, than these final words from Uic book, "The cient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in [lie universe's unfeel- ing inimensily, out of lie emerged only by chance. Mis destiny is nowhcro spelled mrt, nor bis 1HA OIL campus rPHIi university will host two major con- ferences next week both of which will involve ami be of interest to people in this area, and both of be interna- tional in their importance, On Friday, tho Rocky Mountain Reading Specialists In- vitational Conference will up the en- tire day and as indicated by the title, thcso 60 people have responded unanimously to invitations from local organizers. This af- fair will conclude with an evening banquet and feature address by Dr. William Beckel, president of the university. The main con- tributors io ihe program during the day will be Dr. Robert Jackson and Dr. Jean Robertson of the University of Alberta, Eleanor Robison, Berkeley, California and Dr. Dorothy Lampard of The University o[ Lelhbridge. Besides the fact Ibat participants for Hie two days will represent Prairie prov- inces, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, and so on, the scope of the two events becomes increasingly evident as one gets into Sat- urday's schedule. The IRA International Reading Association will hold its ses- sions before a ".sold out'1 registration of some 400 educationists. The above men- tioned specialists will again be Sending their skills to the program, complementing several other discussants and reactors in dealing with every conceivable aspect of the study of reading, a base to all learn- ing. Of the 24 topics lo be dealt with in three major sections on Saturday: Dr. C. Gilli- land of Eastern Montana College wiil pre- sent Fostering Reading with Native Stu- dents; Dr. IL Taschow of the University Saskatchewan will discuss The Thinking Vocess The Vehicle in Learning; Dr. Pagan of the University of Alberta will al with Evaluation of Student Reading; Harry Ray of the University of Mon- tana will discuss Reading and the Disin- terested Reader and Mrs. M. Albiston of the Lethbridge Public School System will present the topic Individualizing Reading Instruction, to name but a few. Many other educationists from the areas referred to will involve themselves in the program, including many faculty members from The University of Lethbridge and sev- eral graduates of this institution who are now teaching in southern Alberta. The Saturday program will be highlight- ed by a feature address by Dr. Mar- ion Jenkinson of the University of Alber- ta. She has had a distinguished career in education, and although her main inter- ests are in the fields of reading and chil- dren's language development, she is also very concerned with Uie practical problems involved in translating educational re- search and theory into classroom practice. Dr. Jenkinson has been a member of the IRA since its inception and is a former member of the board of directors of that association. She was a Fulbright scholar in (ho United States, having received an hon- ors degree in history and English from the University of Manchester (England) prior (o completing her PhD at tho Uni- versity of Chicago. A member of several professional societies Dr. Jenlinson rcccnl- ly chaired the committee which organized the first world congress held on reading, in P.iris. The st.-idirc of such people as Dr. .Icnkin- son, and indeed the entire conference, is evidenced by the fact (hat in August Dr. Jenkinson will be awarded tho Inter- national Citation of Merit by (he IRA at the third congress on reading LD Eucnos Aires. Sessions at the conference will deal with areas of interest in education and reading at all levels primary, secondary, upper elementary, junior college ami adult, as well as the use o[ media and (be library, modified programs, and English as a sec- ond language. Now that, the university occupies its per- manent quarters, regional, national and in- lernalional conferences relating to many aspects of education and the academic communily will come (o southern Alberta. It is indeed filling that one of the first of these should he an in-ctapth analysis of the reading process .......ccrlninly something basic lo all studies and academic research not only a group of interna- tional specialists but also people re- sponsible for a good deal of the educa- tional process in southern Albcrla. Two reminders The non-credit pub- lic service offering, The World and You: Canada and World Politics, begins this coming Monday (20) at 8 p.m. at the Leth- bridge Collegiate Institute (note change of The Jive successive lectures (Mon- day through Friday) cost only for adults and for-students and senior citizens and will provide a view of Ihe Canadian role in world affairs. Five external affairs and diplomatic representatives from that many world areas will be on campus to pro- vide their perspectives of Ihe Canadian po- sition. This course is open to regardless of educalional background and is offered by the university with the assis- tance of the South West Alberta Regional Social Studies Council And Dr. Chester Ronru'ng who last week accepted an invitation from the senate of tho uni- versity to receive (he honorary degree Doc- tor of Laws ol the Spring convocation (May 13th) will speak on campus early in April as part of the highly-successful "China Se- ries" presented by the university seminar committee 11372 Summer session calen- dars are now available from the office ol Ihe registrar and the divisions of continu- ing education at tho university, outlining Ihe 85 courses to be offered by tha uni- versity during the periods: (I) May R to June 8; (II) July .1 to July 25; (in) July 26 to August 14; in one of Canada's most unique and flexible summer operations, In- cluding day, late afternoon, evening credit and off-campus courses. The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORlfY The values of life TVOTHKG Is harder for the modem man to believe than the words of Jesus in the Gospel according to St. chapter 12, verse 15, "A man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.11 Luxuries have a way of becom- ing necessities and the complexity of West- ern civilization has made il most difficult to distinguish between the essenlial and superfluous. Some years ago it was esti- mated lhat half of all the families in North America owTied cars, three out of ten owned television sets, six out of fen had telephones, and nine out of ten owned refrigerators. Doubtless the percentage has gone up considerably since (hen. The psychologist Erich Frouim says that covctousness is a form of craziness and (he modern world is insane with greed. He contends that covctousness prevents into maturity. Modern man equates fun with the satisfaction of consuming something, whether it be commodities, sights, food, drinks, cigarettes, or even peo- ple, lectures and movies all are con- sumed or swallowed. The world according lo Fromm is seen as one great object to satisfy man's appetite and he has become Ihe eternal suckler whose birth stopped at his mother's breast and he was never weaned but remained an overgrown babe. The Italian Marquis Francesco Guasco a century' ago expressed the opinion of most men, "I think it is an impossibility to ob- tain philosophic tranquilily without riches; and I ridicule the opinions of those phi- losophers who boast of internal peace, in the midst of penury, and I listen to their assertions with incredulity." In a world where ntciiss to culture, books, and any kind of decent living is most cosily it is difficult not (o give weight lo the state.- mcnl of the marquis. Nevertheless (his is a rnti.4 neurotic, and tinhappy age whca great numbers of peo- ple whose houses are crowded willi fur- niture, their closets filled with clothes, and with more food than they should eal, suf- fer a dreadful spiritual emptiness and a bet of peace of mind. As Saroyan says in The Time of Yonr Life, nc all seem in this wonderful world filled with wonderful things and yet evcryorjs feeling "lousy and dissatisfied jiisl (he same." It is a world in which doctors tell us hyper- tension is more deadly than cancer and above all others the great health problem of middle age, killing one out of four men and women over the age of fifty. Tha streets are filled with rushing, scurrying, darting, tearing, hurrying, spurting, scam- pering, desperate individuals. In Great Britain alone two thousand children are killed on the highway and ninety thousand people killed or hurt annually. It is very significant lhat one of the men who flew successfully to the moon has now been forced lo lake treatment for a nervous breakdown caused not by (he flighl but by life in contemporary society. The happiest people have been those who learned to simplify life. When John Wesley was at Oxford he bad an income of a year, lie lived on and gave away. When his income increased to ?600 he still lived on and gave Ihe balance away. The accountant-general for House- hold Plate demanded a return from him and he replied, "I have two silver lea- spoons in London and two al Bristol. This is all the plate which 1 have at present; and I shall not buy any more, while so many around me want Wesley, however, did not support a family. Nor did Wesley and other saintly men in the past have to live in this kind of society. Never- theless (here is a great deal of truth in Aldous Huxley's philosophy of "Detach- ment" in which a man is not possessed by tilings or even people but has learned lo do without, and to place spiritual vital- ity higher in Ihe rank of values than bodily comfort. Ine covetous person Is doomed lo un- happiness and the only people who oblain peace of mind arc those whose dominant desire is (.hat of spiritual growth. The tur bulcnce of modern living, Irivialily of worldly interests, the pressures of business and social life, and the tensions of family or personal life have resulted in the dis- sipation of man's psychic energies and de- stroyed the serenity of his soul. Lent should be a time when men Inkc seriously the. statement of Jesus, kingdom nf heaven is wiiiin you."