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November 15, 1959 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1959-11-15
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, "


Secular Ideas Change
Theological Thinking

From dam to AmaL
Darwin's Theory of The Origin of The Species Gradually Gain

(Continued from Page 10)
Albert Schweitzer in his book, The
Quest For The Historical Christ.
The liberals have an awkward time
explaining what the Bible means
by sin and why sin murdered
Christ. But like its predecessor,
Romanticism, theological liberalism
practically expended its influence.
Liberalism resulted from . the
curious union of Romanticism and
Science. From Romanticism it
gained a gentle and too-optimistic
view of man. Science gave it the
courageous discipline of historical
and literary criticism of the Scrip-
'But liberalism, immaturely en-
thusiastic about details, neglected
the basis of its accomplishment:
In the early part of this century
occurred the first symptoms of
improvement in the theological
crisis. Once again a great pro-
phetic voice was heard. Crying an-
grily in the midst of incredible
turmoil and confusion was the
reaffirmation of the Biblical, tran-
scendent God and his estranged
creatures .This was the modern
religious revolution.
LIKE OTHER prophetic cries it
was unconsciously demanded by

the intolerable spiritual condition
of the times. The Rationalistic,
Idealistic, and Romantic images
of life had been destroyed by
bombs and revolutions, leaving a
void, misnomered Realism.
Through this realistic chasm
man looked and saw himself very
far away. He saw his pretended
self-sufficiency and he saw finite-
ness and meaninglessness. He saw
man silhouetted against a giant,
flaming image, an image at once
unfamiliar and nostalgic. It was
the fiery image of Christ.
Against this burning image men
and history came into sharp focus.
Thus was initiated the reaffirma-
tion of the ancient knowledge.
Christ, as the transcendent God,
contrasted with his creatures, men.'
The men did not glow like Christ.
They were silhouetted against
Again men could see Christ as
God's message. The Redemption,
heard about in the creeds and
litanies, became meaningful and
real. We are estranged from God
by living a death called "sin." Be-
cause we are estranged from God
we do not know him and our
philosophies and isms are power-
less to reconstruct Him.-


DARWIN published The Origin
of Species a hundred years ago
next Tuesday. It sold out on the
first day. Since then, biologists
have refined his theory and come
to use it constantly-and religion
has in the main accepted it into
its doctrine.'
Darwin. took several current
Ideas about life, added one ofthis
own, thought the mover, and came
up with a coherent theory, sup-
ported with a vast amount of evi-
dence. From others he took the
ideas of variation within living
species, and of similarities among
secies. From his friend Sir

Theology's creative encounter with science.

We cannot search Him out,



not approach Him. He must come
to us; that is, he must be the
Christ to us. He performs the
sacrificial act whereby men can
dare to come to God and be re-
united with Him. -
THESE IDEAS are still as in-
credible as they ever were. In
fact, probably more so, since the
mythological context in which
they once understood is not always
meaningful to our ever-so-realistic
contemporary minds.
The reality of Christ is in oppo-
sition to all secularist realities.
It is for this reason that the
Church, whenever it has been seri-
ous about delivering the Message
entrusted to it, has been highly
Yet this, at I see it, is one of
the duties of contemporary Chris-
tianity: to oppose and challenge
all forms of secularist Philosophy.
The Church has a timeless idea:
it carries the Word. All secularist
philosophies look upon themselves
as the limiting and ultimate 'phi-
losophies. The falsehood of the
belief in a secularist philosophy
which is ultimate, or even which
tends toward an ultimate goal, is
evident from the history of philos-
ophy. In the Person and Action
of Christ we do see the ends of all
The Christian religion in its
Protestant aspect has received its
mandate. 'Against the finiteness
and shallowness of the present
unreality, the Church must thrust
its image of ultimateness. Protest-
antism, by its very nature, has
many world-views. But a Protest-
ant world-view is capable of en-
compassing all incomplete human
It can look on man as the barely
discernible speck in the universe
of the physicists, as the Gestalt
woven into the fibre of organic
life, as the Personality of the
Freudians, as Tillich's mixture of
being and non-being.
MOST OF these views are fIag-
mentary and definitely non-
objective. For whatever science
teaches, it most definitely does not
teach an, objective view of man.
It cannot, because it is utterly
incapable of presenting to me the

tools for treating me objectively.
When a supposedly objective view
of man fails to enable me to treat
myself, it inspires my great sus-
And . not only, can Protestant
theological thinking tolerate co-
existence with science and its in-
sights. It can and must enter into
creative encounter with science.
When scientific inquiry began to
accelerate significantly both in
insight and in scope, it forced reli-
gion to purge itself. But converse-
ly, religion must force science to
purge itself of its blind self-suffi-

Science must recognize the In-
completeness of its description and
interpretation of man. It must
realize its significant part in the
dynamic tension of faith and non-
faith. And it must purge itself of
its remarkable illusions about the
things it can study.
It must realize that it can (and
frequently does) ask unaskable
questions: it must face the infinite
music, so to speak. It must face
the religionists' denial of the ulti-
mate significance of its image of
reality. For science, too, is silhou-
etted against the Christ. Deo Gra-

Religions Adapt Evolution

(Continued from Page 6) 1
God must have infused a human
soul into a body which was the1
product of evolutionary develop-f
ment," the pamphlet continues.a
Father Bradley explained that
man is not complete until the soul
and the body are joined, for thej
soul is "the principle of life." All
the functions of the soul-spirit-
ual, intellectual, volitional - are
carried out by the body.
"MlAN IS of an essentially dif-
ferent, that is, of a higher
order of being than the animal, by
reason of the essentially different
and intrinsically superior activ-
ities of which he is capable.
"The activities that completely
separate men from brute animals
are those of the human intelli-
gence and of the human will."
Pope -Pius XII made four rele-
vant points about Genesis in an
address in 1941. He said:
"1) Man is not the son of a
brute animal; 2) the body of the
first woman was made from the
body of the first man; 3) 'man is
endowed with a spiritual rational
soul which could only come into
existence by an act of direct crea-
tion by God; 4) Man's origins have
not yet been demonstrated clearly
and certainly by any positive evi-
dence of the sciences."
D R. HERMAN Jacobs, director of
Hillel, stated the Jewish posi-

tion. "Judaism recognizes-the va-
lidity of science," he said. "Evolu-
tion -is an integral aspect and
and "the significance of its philos-
principle of science and history.
Therefore the concept of evolution
ophy are comprehended within the
framework of Judaism."
Genesis, the story of Creation,
Jacobs said, embraces symbolically
the whole process of evolutionary
growth, but "ascribes it to the
Power of Force which we know as
God." Judaism holds that evolu-
tion, "a fundamental aspect of
Creation," proceeded in an orderly
way. That orderliness reflects di-
vine purpose and design.
Judaism finds no conflict be=.
tween the account in Gen*,is and
evolution because it considers the
first few chapters of Genesis to
be "folklore, but precious folklore
-- a narrative recounted by a
peo;1e of its early days, which
bears anid conveys its cosmic and
eternal truth, though couched in
allegorical form."
Extending the discussion a bit
further, Jacobs stressed that there
is nothing un-Jewish in the evolu-
tionary concept of the origin and,.
growth of the -forms of existence.
"THE BIBLICAL account itself
expresses the same general
truth of orderly 'development and
gradual ascent. It avers, however,
that each stage--from the simple
ot the complex, from the lowest
to the highest-is not a product of
chance but an act of divine will,
the effect of a Cause which con-
trols and permeates the process.
"In this spirit," he said, "Juda-
ism beholds a creative Mind .at
work in the sheer process of evolu-
tion, responsible for its culmina-
tion in the human being, capable
of reasoning -and of preferring
good to evil.
"Darwin's descent of man, from,
the anthropoid ape, is not denied.
But man's ascent to a God-like
being, a being created out of dust
to be 'sure, yet in the image of
God, stands as the crowning object
of Creation.

the thoughtful scientist

Charles Lyell he took the ideas
that geologic time is vast, and
that the same causes operate in'
geology now as did in the past.
Darwin -= and Alfred Wallace,
working separately - added the
idea of natural selection. It was
sip-gested to Darwin by Malthus's
idea of populations outgrowing
their food supply. Given a food
shortage, Darwin thought, some
animals will be selected to survive,
and others won't.
Starting from here, he built up
his theory of evolution-that or-
ganisms become different from
each other, that the ones better
adapted to their environment sur-
vive, and that this process, oper-
ating over millions of years, has
produced the living things of to-
OST biologists accepted the
ideas quickly, though religious
authorities balked at it. Since
then,. it has become one of. the
great explanatory principles of bi-
ology. And after all, why not? It
tells how things got the way they
are--That is historical explana-
tions, and historical explanation
is used in many other fields..
The greatest weakness in Dar-
win's theory, as he himself rec-
ognized, was that it did not say
how variation in organisms is
evolved. He admitted he did not
He did propose a working hypo-
thesis- that ofapangenesis. He
suggested that all organs of the
body produce minute particles
called gemmules, which are car-
ried to the germ cells by the
blood. The germ cells each get a
gemmule from each organ, and in
the developing embryo the gem-
mules somehow bring about the
formation of the organ that gave
them off.
Peter Dawson is Daily con-
tributing editor and a senior
in the literary college. He col-
laborated with Sharon Wood,
a senior majoring in English,
on this article.

Since gemmules might perhaps1
be given off throughout one's life,
they 'might carry information
about .one's organs. as they had
developed since he was born.
Therefore it might be possible for,
characteristics acquired during life
to be inherited.c
Darwin's hypothesis of pangen-
esis -has universally been discard-
ed, anid so has the idea that1
acquired characteristics are in-.
herited. This was the work of the'
science of genetics, which has con-
tributed the biggest refinement of
the theory of evolution since Dar.
win's time. Before producing
its refinements, though, genetics
made people lose interest in the?
idea of natural selection.
EVOLUTION caught on quickly,
and for forty years it burned
extremely bright. Biologists loved
it. They took very good evidence
from anatomy and embryology
andtried to build up the scheme
of evolution. They tried so hard
that they read adaptive signifi-
cance into almost everything they
came across, going sometimes
rather far in their interpretations.
In 1900, however, three biologists
working independently discovered
the work of Mendel, done thirty
years before, and the science of
genetics was born. Biologists lost
interest in natural selection says
Prof. Marston Bates of the zoology.
department, because they thought.
everything could be explained by
Also, they looked on the work
of the previous years as uncritical,
as sometimes it was, or as the
work of file clerks cataloging dif-
ferences and similarities between
species. From about 1903 to about,
1935, natural selection was out of
However, even during this period
were made studies that contributed
to a revival. Geneticists somewhat
helped to reverse the trend. Then
too, people began to use statistics
in studying variation, and it be-
came respectable again.
This work has since been ex-
tended. Biologists now tend to
study the chances that a certain
kind of population, rather than
the individual, will evolve in a
certain direction. They have for-
mulated complex, often mathe-
matical theories about the pres-
sure between animals within an
environment, and the way the
genes of a population as a whole
will vary.
vival of interest in natural
selection, geneticists continued do-
ing research. They crossed various
kinds of animals, and from their
findings they tried to construct a
theory of how genes operate. But
that was not enough to work with.
Then the complex molecular
structure of the gene was dis-
covered. It is made of a compound
called DNA, and is shaped like a
spiral staircase with four different
kinds of steps, according to Prof.
Roger Milkman of the zoology de-
partment.Working with the known
properties of such molecules, Milk-
man explained, geneticists could
deduce much about the workings
of the gene.
DNA works with a related com-
'Pound, RNA. Both compounds have'
just been made in the laboratory.
his feat won this year's Nobel
Prize in medicine. Much has been
done in the last 15 years, but the
present theory needs to be elabo-
rated - for instance, precisely
which changes in a gene produce
a given mutation?
evolution have been made in other
fields-including embryology, com-
parative anatomy and what is now
called biogeography. In the em-
bryos and adults of vertebrates,
for instance, one can trace the
evolution of the gill 'arches, the
brain, or the bones of the inner
ear, from class to class of animals

in an orderly sequence (with peca-
sional exceptions).
Or one can explain the fact that
alligators are- found only in the
southeastern United States and
along the Yangtse River in China.
The reason is that alligators lived
over most of North America and
eastern China, as fossil evidence
shows, but conditions changed, and
they died off everywhere except in
the Yangtse River and southeast-
ern United States.
Since Darwin's time plenty has
been learned in biogeography, but
the new results, like those of em-
bryology and comparative ana-
tomy, are not so different from
Darwin's evidence as are those of
genetics. Or, for that matter, those
of physiology.
Physiologists have compared the
serums of various animals' blood.
They have found that* the blood
proteins of closely-related animals
are usually more similar than those
of two animals not so closely re-
lated. For instance, cats, dogs and
bears have quite similar blood, and
so do cows, sheep and deer.
"It is rapidly becoming pos-
sible," says Prof. David Shappirio
of the zoology department, "to
build up a classification of animals
based on their physiological char-
acteristics," and "before long" it
will be possible to do so with their
proteins. "No doubt," he says, this
outline of evolution will be much
the same Fas that based on struc-
THE QUESTION of the origin of
life enters many an argument
about evolution. Here too scientists
have made progress, especially
since 1938 when the Russian bio-
chemist A. I. Oparin published The
Origin of Life.
By Oparin's theory, which has
been extended, one need not sup-
pose that the first cell was pro-
duced by a single magnificent col-
lision of thousands of atoms into
the right -positions. Instead one
can build up slowly.
The simplest compounds were
meade by accident, probably in the
sea where the necessary salts were
present. The sea became a soup of
simple organic compounds. These
reacted with- each other to make
more and more complex ones, some
of which did not break down.
Aggregations 'of different kinds

sary. Not all of them grew; na-
tural selection came into play
early. Finally they were able to
make copies of themselves, as
genes do now' when cells divide.
IN 1953 TWO scientists at Chi-
cago made amino acids, the
building blocks of proteins, in a
way similar to what may have


of compounds grew up, and the]
compounds started to catalyze
each other's reactions. These ag-
gregations were able to build from
very simple compounds if neces-


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"To the religious Jew, there-
fore, evolution does not contradict
or challenge Genesis. If anything,
it confirms it."


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