in Christian Perspective
JASA Book Reviews for June 1971
THE RELEVANCE OF PHYSICS by Stanley L. Jaki, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1966. 604 pp. $12.50.
THE CRIME OF PUNISHMENT by Karl Menninger, Viking Press (1969).
POLLUTION AND THE DEATH OF MAN: THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF ECOLOGY by Francis A. Schaeffer, Tyndale, Wheaton, Illinois (1970). Paperback, 125 pp.
HEREDITY: A STUDY OF SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE by William J. Tinkle, St. Thomas Press, Houston. 1967. 180 pp.
CONFLICT AND HARMONY IN SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE by Jack Wood Sears, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1969. 97 pp. Paperback. $1.95.
THE RELEVANCE OF PHYSICS by Stanley
L. Jaki, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1966. 604 pp. $12.50.
A blurb on the book cover says: "Physics has become the most powerful instrument at man's disposal for seeking out and revealing the hidden facts of inanimate nature. Are its methods and its insight equally relevant to other areas of human concern?" By a careful historical analysis of the development of physics and its interaction with the whole culture, Jaki seeks to make clear the proper strengths and limitations of the discipline of physics. His table of contents indicates the thoroughness and scope of his approach:
1. The Chief World Models of Physics
a. The World as an Organism
b. The World as a Mechanism
c. The World as a Pattern of Numbers
2. The Central Themes of Physical Research
a. The Layers of Matter
b. Frontiers of the Cosmos
c. The Edge of Precision
3. Physics and Other Disciplines
a. Physics and Biology
b. Physics and Metaphysics
c. Physics and Ethics
d. Physics and Theology
4. Physics: Master or Servant
a. The Fate of Physics in Scientism
b. The Place of Physics in Human Culture
Let me indicate the clarity of his approach by looking closely at two chapters
of significance to those who value highly both religious and
Those chapters are Physics' and Metaphysics and Physics and Theology.
Many physicists of the last hundred years have taken a rather dim view of metaphysics. The following quotes are typical of this trend. "'A metaphysician' wrote Maxwell, 'is nothing but a physicist disarmed of all his weapons,-a disembodied spirit trying to measure distances in terms of his own cubit, to form a chronology in which intervals of time are measured by the number of thoughts which they include, and to evolve a standard pound out of his own self-consciousness."" Lord Rutherford's comment to a philosopher friend who was prompting him to look into the philosophical foundations of science: "Well, what have you been talking all your life, Alexander? Just hot air! Nothing but hot air."2 Or in a more serious vain K. Pearson's remarks in The Grammar of Science that "the difference between science and metaphysics consists in the fact 'the laws of logical thought' are valid in the former and do not obtain in the latter. Consequently, 'we must conclude,' advised Pearson, 'that metaphysics are built on either air or quicksands - either they start from no foundation in fact at all, or the superstructure has been raised before a basis has been found in the accurate classification of facts.3 " Jaki argues that the historical roots of this distrust are varied. Physicists reacted severely to philosophic systems that have stifled orderly, experimental investigation of nature, Aristotle's metaphysics and Hegelian idealism being typical examples. Also, both physicists and philosophers have allowed ignorance of the other's discipline to stand in the way of mutual understanding.
Jaki clearly pinpoints the central fallacy of the scientist's mistrust of metaphysics: "...a quarrel with metaphysics usually goes hand in hand with the erroneous belief that science consists only of observations and deductions ."4 The falsity of such belief is clearly seen in the recognition by creative physicists of faith as a major foundation of all scientific work. In an extremely comprehensive review of the thought of major physicists Jaki clearly establishes the role that faith plays in scientific work. Creative scientists have a firm trust or faith that nature is intelligible, that an underlying unique and necessary order exists, that significant physical relationships are simple in structure, that underlying symmetries exist in the physical world, that nature behaves in the same way whether observed or not, that his own senses and memory are trustworthy, and that his fellow workers do and report their work honestly. Faith coupled with observation and deduction, not merely observation and deduction, is required for progress in science. I should add that he provides substantial evidence for the thesis that faith is an integral component of all human understanding, not merely religion.5
Jaki further points out the foolishness of physicists attempting to disown metaphysics by looking at the concepts they, themselves, have developed. Two examples among many will suffice to illustrate his arguments.
He (the physicist) has to use terms such as I, you, it is, same, different, unity, diversity, and a host of others which by their very use raise questions that are pregnant with metaphysics-all this takes on an added metaphysical significance for the modern physicist, who must always he aware that the role of the observer plays an integral part of many of his experiments.6
Scientists today use the term "particle" not in the classical sense
but as "a conceptual entity whose probability distribution is specified by
a wave function." Because of such usage it was recently
suggested that ".
. . instead of particles one should speak of manifestations."
This term immediately
brings to mind the metaphysically laden question: "The manifestations of
Jaki's chapter on physics and theology is a superlative historical study of the continual encounter between theology and science, an encounter which has produced both negative and positive effects upon the two disciplines. After reviewing early Greek science he wisely concludes: "When the deity was extended into the world, as in the system of Aristotle, physics was deprived of its proper method. When the deity was negated as in atomism, the realm of human values came to be undermined. When the deity was absolutely severed from the cosmos, as in Epicurius' teaching, the concept of a generally valid physical law had to fall."8 Theological perspectives had adversely effected science.
That Christian theology can make a positive contribution to the development of good science is seen from the work of the sixth century Christian philosopher, Philoponus.
Led by the Christian view of a sharp difference between Creator and creature, Philnpnnus asserted that for the purposes of science, too, the whole cosmos, created in all its parts by God, and therefore essentially different from Him, was rather to be viewed as composed of the same type of matter and governed by the same laws (as found an earth) . . . To support this general principle, Philnpnnos insisted on rigorous observations, thereby exemplifying for the first time the purifying effects of the theological tenets in physical meaning
Stressing the uniformity of the physical world was not the only contribution of monotheistic beliefs to scientific thought. Even more important was another consequence of belief in a Creator. It opened the way to an autonomous scientific world picture in which nature neither usurped the attributes of God nor was itself exposed to incessant intervention by other-world powers.9
Note that the Bible presents God as moment-to-moment upholder of all reality-not an intervener into the regularity of the physical phenomena, but the one responsible for such regularity.
Jaki carefully reviews the development of science through the Medieval period to the blooming of modern science and then on till today. He argues convincingly that the Medieval period hindered the growth of true science by its insistence on only final cause explanations of all phenomena and yet it provided a needed cultural setting for the development of true science in its Christian perspective that God is a personal Creator of extreme rationality. It is a natural inference from this perspective that God's handiwork had to he supremely rational, thereby possessing regularities that could be discovered by rational beings. The Christian view of men as stewards responsible for God's creation would further lead to interest in scientific understanding of the world as a consequence of such stewardship. He also points out that the ancient Creeks had the intellectual tools to start modern science but their theological framework of a world governed by the whims of many gods gave little motivation for systematic study of nature's regularities.
Theology has also been often helped by science in that their interaction can lead to theology re-examining itself as to what its proper perspective on reality should he. Often such interaction has led to theology purging itself of improper tenets such as superstition and astrology. Jaki's central thesis on the interaction of theology and science is that both perspectives should be fully aware of what their true purposes are and what are the limitations of each outlook. For theologians to see evidence for God in gaps in current scientific understanding or evidence for God in a current (and very tentative) scientific theory is not a sound Biblical perspective of reality. Such attempts have historically reduced rather than strengthened faith. If it is recognized that science is only one way of looking at reality, the atheism of its method should be welcomed by theologians and not considered a threat. Questions of ultimate purpose, of why we are here are not properly answerable from a scientific perspective but a Biblical, a theological perspective.
The scientist who sees his method as the only source of true understanding and reality capable of only a materialistic explanation is going beyond the limitations of scientific method; ". . . although science speaks only of bodies and is therefore 'materialistic', materialism if it is to be 'scientific' should say things that are perfectly evident. But, as Pascal remarks, 'it is not perfectly evident that the soul is material,' "10 Scientists should clearly recognize the Pascalian insight that their many discoveries represent: ". . .11 merely quantitative relations of matter, and whatever their numerical magnitude, they fall far short of the greatness of a thinking man, who belongs to a higher level of existence, where considerations, other than quantitative, master the solution of outstanding problems .
Man is composed of matter but he is aware of his own existence as well as that of the universe; such awareness points to the uniqueness of the human intellect as compared to the purely physical. Moral and charitable considerations further transcend both physical and intellectual levels of existence. In summary, Jaki argues that both science and theology would benefit if they would recognize what Blaise Pascal clearly recognized-theology and science possess definite limits in their outlook.
Jaki shows that many physicists have found the great regularity present in nature pointing to an intelligence beyond nature. He acknowledges the validity of this viewpoint as long as one does not attempt to justify certain laws of physics as literally the way God runs the universe. Ultimately, however, evidence for God from physics, classical or modern, is not acceptable to a person unless he has "already found Him on more unchangable grounds."12 It is interesting to note that Jaki sees the contingency present in nature, rather than regularity alone, as pointing to an intelligence behind the created world:
the paradoxical status of many basic principles and findings of modern physics illustrated vividly the view that order in nature is not simply the creation of the inquiring mind. More forcefully than ever, physics has had to recognize that its laws describing this order were not o priori constructions but had to be tailored meticulously to the stubborn, brute facts of nature. These facts are the actual setup, distribution, quantization of forces, and the sharply defined characteristics of the "fundamental" particles of matter, which simply state that not everything imaginable occurs in nature. Nature is a supreme paragon of drastic limitations of physical possibilities, and the order of the universe is just another aspect of this primordial fact . . . Yet, the fact of limitation remains inextrieally present in the order and correlation of things as we see and interpret them, and of this limitation which in principle can take on so many various forms, nature itself gives no explanation13.
Einstein phrased the same argument beautifully when "be said the world is
like a well-constructed crossword puzzle; you can suggest any number of words,
but only one will fit all the facts ."14 I agree with Francis A.
Schaeffer's observation15 that the fact that such contingency exists in nature and cannot
be explained by nature alone is a valid pointer to an intelligent
God in the manner of Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of him since
the creation are clearly seen being perceived by the things that are
I have partially reviewed two chapters in order to convey some feeling for the great insight and clarity present in Jaki's historical approach to the relevance of physics as part of human culture. For any person or course that is attempting to identify the proper role of physical science in all of human understanding, this hook is required reading. In the last chapter of Jaki's book, he argues that a historical study of the development of science will he of great help to scientist and humanist alike. His book is admirable proof of this supposition.
(Unless otherwise noted they are from the book.)
1 p. 330
2 p. 333
3 p. 332
4 p. 333
5W. Jim Niedhardt, "Faith and Human Understanding," Journal ASA, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 9-15(1969)
6 p. 359
7 p. 355
9 P. 417
10 p. 426
11 p. 425
12 p. 457
13 pp. 439-440
14Francis A. Schaeffer, Death in the City, Inter-Varsity Press, Chicago (1969), pp. 100-101.
Reviewed by W, Jim Neidhardt, Department of Physics, Newark College of Engineering, Newark, N.J.
THE CRIME OF PUNISHMENT by Karl Menninger, Viking Press (1969).
Reviewed by Robert Coles. Reprinted by permission; © 1970 by The New Yorker Magazine, Inc. Originally published in the January 3, 1970 issue of The New Yorker.
"The Crime of Punishment" is an enlargement of three lectures by Dr. Menninger after he received the Isaac Ray Award, which is presented annually to a physician or a jurist whose concerns are of interest to students and teachers of both medicine and law. Menninger has given years of his life to the study of criminals (and judges and prosecutors and defense attorneys), so making the award-a distinguished one-to him was a logical move. The book is not a shrill one, and its argument is not a reckless one. The author marshals reason against irrationality, compassion against the spirit of vengeance, and pragmatism against what I suppose can be called legalism and a sort of moralistic absolutism. He reminds us that there are crimes and crimes, criminals and criminals. In 1967, a billion dollars was embezzled by employees so deftly that no one could even be accused, and "one hotel in New York lost over seventy-five thousand finger bowls, demitasse spoons, and other objects in its first ten months of operation." Then, there are income-tax statements that don't include everything. And "the Claims Bureau of the American Insurance Association estimates that seventy-five per cent of all claims are dishonest in some respect, and the amount of overpayment [is] more than three hundred and fifty million dollars a year." Many of us go about our transgressions unnoticed, but most of those who are accused of crime are quickly convicted and punished. Ninety per cent of all defendants plead guilty without a trial; of the other ten per cent, more than half are convicted. People who worry about Goddling and about "law and order" simply do not know those percentages. Nor do many of us know what prisons are like. Dr. Menninger presents an unnerving description of prison life in this country, though he has no hope that yet another account will bring an end to the awful things a twentieth-century democracy still permits, because exposés and investigations have not substantially changed conditions. We still put young first offenders beside hardened criminals. We still fail to sort out the dangerous and brutal and bloodthirsty from the confused and mentally retarded. We still mix ignorant and thoughtless men with confidence men. The "recidivists" are soon back in court, to be sentenced by judges who have little more choice than the prisoners:
The judge undoubtedly hopes that the prisoner whom he is sentencing will undergo a change in his personality. But from what influences? No judge wants him changed in the direction of the features of prison life. How will the character structure of the offender, his particular strengths and weaknesses, be ascertained? And were this possible, let us say by some diagnostic setup, to what agencies will the judge refer the man for carrying out a program of induced change? Some judges do strive to accomplish these things in spite of the lack of facilities, the lack of time available to them, the lack of precedent in many jurisdictions.
The director of the federal Bureau of Prisons, Myrl E. Alexander, remarked in an interview recently:
Simply removing an offender to an institution as punishment often only compounds the problem of reintegrating him into the community as a law-abiding citizen. All too frequently it costs him his job, severs his family ties and pins on him a label that makes all of his problems more difficult to overcome. So, as a means at punishment and as an instrument with which to change criminal behavior, imprisonment is still a failure.
We persist in our ways, though. Mr. Alexander says that two-thirds of
could be paroled at once without making our streets any more
dangerous. Dr. Menninger
says that a prison brands a man as hopeless, as a leper, and destroys what good
judgment and common sense and sanity he may have. Mr. Alexander says
do not offer the education and training so many convicts need to
Dr. Mennioger points out what prisons do offer: bitterness, loneliness, hate,
vengeance, sexual frustration, sexual perversion, futility. But we build larger
prisons; we continue to believe that we will secure order and justice
up more of the poor, the marginal,
the badly educated, the sick, the weak and bewildered human beings-the majority
of those who are caught and imprisoned. Meanwhile, crime flourishes, and will
flourish if we build five hundred jails a year and fill them: "And while
an army of men across the country tries to serve our interests and
safety by turning
the wheels of this infernal machine for the grinding up of a minority
of the easily
caught offenders and administering to them the futile ritual of punishment, a
horde of known but immune predatory criminals grows fat and famous in front of
our eyes." Those are the criminals-Meoninger's
have lawyers, who have money to spend on politicians, sheriffs,
and jurors. If such criminals ever go to jail, they go to the few
prisons, where they are still privileged and are soon released on
parole or pardoned.
Money influences the law, and so do the psychiatric experts who advise judges
and juries about insanity, "mental status" and "motives."
Dr. Mennioger says that some of his colleagues use
designations" and "pompous fraternity jargon," and
that the American
Psychiatric Association holds "eighteenth- and nineteenthcentury
FIe will have none of their labels. Psychiatrists, he declares, can be-to use
an old-fashioned word-disedifying. They wrangle with one another, and use words
like "sick" or "pathological" or "abnormal" with
flagrant imprecision, with condescension, with malice; any
disagreement with their
findings is evidence of "sickness," for which, of course,
needs something called "treatment." In a way, psychiatrists
bulwarks for the evils, the caprices, the irrationality of the law.
There is always
the psychiatric "out": the prisoner is "ill," therefore he
must be sent for "observation." Some psychoanalysts, Dr.
out, have even come up with this kind of thinking: People "need" to
see a certain number of criminals severely and arbitrarily punished; inside us,
Nemesis lives and will not be denied; we believe in an eye for an
eye. So psychiatric
and psychoanalytic theory can be used to defend the status quo: What exists in
a society expresses what is emotionally "needed.' Implacable instinct is
everything, and all the social, political, economic, cultural, and historical
forces that shape our ideas and desires are mere reflections of the one great
given, however variously and confusingly it is interpreted, that goes under the
name of "human nature." But to Menninger people respond enormously to
the world they live in. If they are poor and hungry, they turn on themselves,
or they strike out at others and try to take things away from them.
If they have
been brutalized at home and at school and in their neighborhood, they feel brutal toward themselves and they go after others brutally. None of which
means that crime and violence are inevitable. We learn by example,
says that the two great examples of violence are a nation's willingness to wage
war abroad and at the same time to herd many of its own citizens together, give
them wretched food, beat them, flog them, set up conditions that encourage them
to assault, rape, kill.
We seem haunted by "crime on the streets," and many of us believe in longer sentences and more prisoners; so, in a sense, Dr. Menninger's timing is poor. A large number of us don't want to hear his sane voice asking its unsettling questions, its tune of reason and compassion and forgiveness, of concern for both the violated and the violent, whose own sense of violation will not disappear, however solid and dark and bare and cold our dungeons are. What we presumably want to know, he says, is "how to identify, detect, and detain potentially dangerous citizens." Yet the best of our doctors can't be sure which of today's troubled (or, to all appearances, untroubled) children will be tomorrow's killers or thieves. Psychiatrists-and I am one of them can offer a coherent and reasonable explanation of why a person is driven to break the law, but we cannot always do much to change him. There are only a few of us, and a good amount of our time is given over to (purchased by) people whose crimes are often imaginary. Moreover, as we keep saying in all those journals, even the most intact of personalities respond uncertainly to the best of psychiatric care. But the matter of crime does not give us reason only for gloom and despair. Prisoners (among others) do not have to he psychoanalyzed to be rehabilitated. The Bureau of Prisons, which runs far better programs than most of our state prisons, has achieved many notable successes. Meyrl Alexander told his interviewer:
Correction is a continuous and closely interwoven process, no one element of which can he successfully isolated from the others. Juvenile detention, the jail, the court, probation, halfway houses, juvenile institutions, penitentiaries, parole, work-release and pre-release programs, academic education, vocational training, group therapy-all are inseparable in their total impact on delinquent and criminal behavior.
We still do not know why one man falls sick and another stays reasonably well,
why one person's violence becomes a disaster for all of us and another's can be
channeled into useful forms of expression. In fact, the very way we define what
is "normal" and "abnormal" and "good"
will continue to trouble us. (In the British psychoanalyst R. D.
words, "A man who prefers to be dead rather than Red is normal. A man who
says he has lost his soul is mad. A man who says that men are machines may be
a great scientist. A man who says he is a machine is
'depersonalized,' in psychiatric
jargon.") What matters is that, despite all those riddles and
have always shown themselves capable of transformation, of growth, for reasons
no social scientist may ever be able to specify. The ironic title of
book brings to mind Dostoevski. Raskolnikov and Sonia would hardly be
good "treatment risks" by many of our psychiatrists, nor would many
of us find much mercy in our hearts for them. To Dostoevski, however,
is absurd and worthless unless it leads to a new beginning:
They wanted to speak, but could not; tears stood in their eyes. They were both pale and thin; but those sick, pale faces were bright with the dawn of a new future, of a full resurrection into a new life. They were renewed by love; the heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.
I suppose such words can be dismissed as embarrassing sentiment, the prerogative of soft, muddleheaded visionaries-which brings to mind an added embarrassment. We are fast approaching the year 2000, which will again remind us how long ago it was a child was born whom others eventually scorned, arraigned, and punished with the harshest penalty, only to find the man revealed as God Himself.
POLLUTION AND THE DEATH OF MAN: THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF ECOLOGY by Francis A. Schaeffer, Tyndale, Wheaton, Illinois (1970). Paperback, 125 pp.
Connoisseurs of Schaeffer, who know in detail Escape from Reason and The God Who is There, will find in this new book not so much additional material and additional insight, as a powerful application of these basic ideas to the question of man's relationship to nature. Actually only 93 pages represent the text by Schaeffer, the remainder of the book bringing reprints of Lynn White's paper on "The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis" from Science (see also Journal ASA 21,42 (1969) ), and Richard L. Means' paper on "Why Worry About Nature?" from the Saturday Review. Both of these propose solutions to the problem of man's relationship to nature which Schaeffer rejects. The book as a whole gives evidence of having been written in haste with needless repetition and a complete absence of sub-headings within chapters, almost as though spoken talks had been transcribed with little editing. No matter. What Schaeffer has to say is worth reading. There is no answer to the present ecology crisis except in an understanding of the Christian's relationship to the created order.
As always, Schaeffer's prose is worth quoting. A few examples must suffice:
The death of "joy" in nature is leading to the death of nature itself. Men do what they think. Created things have an existence in themselves. They are really there . . . . It is the biblical view of nature that gives nature a value in itself. Christians should be able to exhibit individually and corporately that . . . they can produce something that the world has tried, but failed, to produce. We can love a man for his own sake, for we know who the man is-he is made in the image of God; and we can care for the animal, the tree, and even the machine portion of the universe, each thing in its own order - for we know it to be a fellow creature with ourselves, both made by the same God.
Sehaeffer demolishes both the solution of pantheism and the solution
nature as effective bases for a view of ecology. He is no less quick to reject
the "other-worldly" brand of Christianity which acts as
though the only
valuable things were heavenly. Pantheism is to be rejected because it
gives no meaning to any particulars, provides no answer for the fact
has two faces (both benevolent and malevolent), and will finally
result in lowering
man to a place in impersonal nature rather than elevating nature. Romanticizing
nature is to be rejected because it again cannot account for the two faces of nature,
it provides no basis for ever utilizing nature for the benefit of
Christian forms must be rejected because their allegiance to a
the material and spiritual deprives them of any opportunity to speak
about the material.
By contrast, Reformation Christianity sees the key to man's relationship to nature in the doctrine of creation. Although man is separated from nature in an upward dimension in that he is created for fellowship with God, yet he is one with nature in his creaturehood in a downward dimension. In terms of God's creation and our own creaturehood, it can truly be said that "we are one with the tree... While we should not romanticize the tree, we must realize God made it and it deserves respect because He made it as a tree." The Christian is delivered from any false concepts of dichotomy by the Incarnation, in which it pleased God to take on the material form of a human body.
In view of this relationship between man and nature, the Christian is called upon to contribute a "substantial healing" to the wounded and suffering universe, As God made it possible for man to be received back into forgiven fellowship and thus to bridge the gap of separation between man and God, so the Christian is called upon to heal in Christ's power the separations between men and men, between man and nature, and even between nature and nature. Thus he carries out here and now the first fruits of Christ's redemptive victory, to be fulfilled and completed when He returns. Schaeffer likens the Christian community to a "pilot plant" in which the life and power of the Kingdom is to be manifest here and now. To be thus successful, it is necessary for Christians to understand the nature of their creation-ordained relationship to nature, to transcend the cultural and economic constraints of modern society, and to be willing to heal the wounds of nature even when it causes wounds in our own pocket books. Preservation is not to be sacrificed to Profit. Nature is not to he treated well because we can get the most out of it that way, but rather because we are responding to the love of God, the Creator.
When we have learned this-the Christian view of nature-then there can be a real ecology; beauty will flow, psychological freedom will come, and the world will cease to he turned into a desert. Because it is right, on the basis of the whole Christian system which is strong enough to stand it all, because it is true -as I stand and face the buttercup, I say, "Fellow creature, fellow creature, I won't walk no you. We are both creatures together."
With these words Schaeffer ends his brief statement on ecology. We can hardly
Reviewed by Richard II. Rube, Deportment of Materials Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305
HEREDITY: A STUDY OF SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE by William J. Tinkle, St. Thomas Press, Houston. 1967. 180 pp. a second review
This very interesting volume contains twelve brief, but fully packed chapters. The information is presented in a simple, clear and well-organized style. Thus it helps to fill the "tremendous gap between the specialist and other intelligent persons" which is the declared purpose of the author.
Following a brief history of genetics, the author deals with classic topics and states that the findings support creation, not evolution. Early in the book it is emphasized that to accept evolution as the final word on the origin of life and the cause mechanism of present forms of life is so to bias science that essential truth may never be brought to light. He suggests that the faith needed to believe the evolutionary theory is no more scientific than the faith needed in Christianity. A part of the conflict lies in the attitudes on the origin of life. Also science which claims to be objective is not. Another problem is the lack of rules to determine the validity of data collected by science. He further states that science must not cast away supernatural acts of God as a possible cause of the universe.
Dr. Tinkle describes the difficult problem of accounting for genes by the process of evolution. He makes much of the fact that Darwin's ideas were framed in a mind not yet enlightened by the genetic findings of Gregor Mendel. He concludes also that since evolutionists cannot agree among themselves that "they should allow other scholars to believe that a wise and intelligent Creator planned and formed the intricate structure of living things".
This book contains practical and helpful information in integrating science and faith. The author stresses that man is not simply controlled by genes and environment but that he is a free moral agent made in God's image. However, genes would seem to offer stability from biological change as seen in the fossil record. He feels that the creation of genes rather than their gradual evolution is favored by the Hardy-Weinberg law.
Spontaneous generation is vividly presented with past, present and future implications. A vital point projected is that if man does succeed in producing life in a test tube it will deserve great acclaim, but will in no sense prove that such took place in the beginning. He writes, "The controlled conditions in a modern laboratory are a far cry from the soup in a primeval, lonely sea." Dr. Tinkle also gives a panoramic view of the theory of the inheritance of acquired characteristics, and states that, "it cannot be denied that he (Darwin) relied upon this theory especially in his mature life." The author reasons that since Darwin was in error by accepting this theory he could have wrong in some of his other ideas.
There is much genetics condensed into the 180 pages of this book, ranging from the nature of the gene to advice to young people contemplating marriage. He suggests two problems: Who will play God when it becomes possible to alter the pattern of DNA? Who will decide what characteristics are the most valuable? Sterilization and segregation are pointed out as negative eugenic methods while low cost housing, tax relief, reduced medical cost are positive eugenic measures.
The theory of heterozygous creation is presented. This is the theory that the original kinds of Genesis were created heterozygous and therefore crossing and mutations were not necessary to get many new smaller groups variously called genera, species, breeds and varieties. In other words, God created various kinds with potentialities for change to meet new conditions.
Natural selection is discussed rather fully in this book. The author maintains that natural selection can not account for the evolution of amoeba to man. He presents his view of natural selection in these words, "Like genetic drift, natural selection also has a function to perform in nature, to eliminate abnormal individuals and so maintain a lower limit."
In his discussion of human progress, he believes that early man did not evolve from a lower life form but was specially created by God in his present form. He further states that original man was capable in his world, had innate ideas, facility of mind and skill of hand. In other words, he was not ignorant. A very suggestive account is given of prehistoric man, and it is made clear that progress of the human race is not synonymous with evolution. The author declares, "Human progress is of the nature of accretion rather than biological growth, and so adds nothing to the argument for a universal material development of living things."
Since embryology, paleontology and comparative anatomy are used as strong support for the theory of evolution, Dr. Tinkle discusses these topics. The recapitulation theory is stated, and some vital and interesting points are made concerning the gills and the heart. Concerning paleontology, the author dwells on its greatest weakness-unproved assumptions. He also declares that uniformitarianism cannot answer some of the basic problems. He mentions that there has been some move hack to catastrophism, but a catastrophism without God. In his judgment the fossil record is not a record of misfits, but a record of animals well suited to their environment.
The author points out that if evolution as taught by such men as G. C. Simpson, is fully accepted it ultimately leads to the rejection of God. He believes that the real conflict is not between the Bible and science, but between the Bible and a group of scientists who reject the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. He reminds the reader that unrealistic ideas such as man being created in 4004 B.C. and the fixity of species, have helped give rise to this rejection of the Bible. Regarding this second idea Dr. Tinkle writes, "This over-zealous claim of no change has done harm to the creationist cause..."
The last chapter deals with the essential nature of man. This chapter declares man to be unique for he uses words as symbols of ideas; he also uses fire, makes and uses tools, loves, cares, worships, possesses a conscience and has a freedom of choice. The author emphatically states that evolution cannot account for this unique nature of man. Religious groups, as well as the government, recognize this essential nature and expect man to regulate his conduct. As the author writes, "Animals and machines never are summoned to court to give account for their conduct."
The ideas found in this hook are not new, but the skill of the author lies in presenting these ideas with zeal and conviction. The data given are not new, but are framed in provocative arguments. These arguments may not convince the saturated evolutionist, but may give food for thought to the person who has left room for new thinking. It is a valuable book for anyone who enjoys scientific thinking. It should rank as a shelf companion to Bernard Ramm's book The Christian View of Science and Scripture and the book Evolution and Christian Thought Today edited by Russell L. Mixter.
Reviewed by Harold E. Snyder, Chairman, Division of Natural Science, Bethel College, Mishowaka, Indiana
A second review of "Heredity: A Study in Science and the Bible"
This hook is essentially a series of twelve antievolution sermons, using various aspects of heredity as a text. The author has been both a minister and a teacher of biology, and is apparently now retired. Although it contains a large amount of genetics, and this is almost entirely free of error, the book is not a genetics text.
I share a conservative (fundamentalist) bias with the author. Therefore, I am happy that Dr. Tinkle points out that harmony between the Bible and scientific belief is less important than eternal truth (p. 7), and that an understanding of the possible origin of DNA doesn't really provide an understanding of the origin of life, since apparently DNA doesn't do anything by itself (p. 52-3). However, he has already weakened his case by casting doubt on the presence of messenger RNA, citing Chargaff. Apparently Tinkle is unfamiliar with the work of Nirenberg and many others, during the early 60's. Our present concept of DNA function, involving all the complexities of sigma factors, ribosomal proteins, etc., casts further doubt on the origin of life being equivalent to the origin of DNA.
Another argument which might have been introduced is that the origin of any single DNA is mathematically unlikely. This has been stated most compellingly by Salisbury (Nature, Oct. 25, 1969).
Tinkle is treading on good ground when he indicts many scientists and others for confusing secular changes with phylogenetic changes, and treating hypothetical examples (fast rabbits evolved from slow ones, etc.) as if they were proven. The fact that belief in evolution relies on faith is also pointed out.
Unfortunately, Tinkle makes some serious errors of logic in this work. One that he shares with many is the claim that since most mutations are bad, mutation cannot produce any beneficial changes. This statement is probably true in the ease of an organism which has become well adjusted to its environment by selection. However, when the environment changes, formerly detrimental mutations may be beneficial. Also, there is experimental evidence indicating that an increase in the number of mutations (For examples, see Science 162: 1456-7, Dec. 27, 1968; Science 169: 686688, Aug. 14, 1970) does benefit organisms in experimental conditions.
Another error of logic is the claim that changes wrought by human selection have not henefitted the organisms involved. Certainly they have, as measured by the biomass of pigs, peas, or whathave-you, compared to what it would be if these animals and their environment, were in their pristine state. It is true that present-day pigs, etc., are not as well fit to live in the wild as their ancestors. Neither is Tinkle! So what? The question of present benefit must be asked and answered on the basis of present conditions. Even grapes are better off for being seedless under present conditions.
Dr. Tinkle asserts (p. 91) that creation is finished, and has been since Genesis; hence genes, and other things, have only changed due to a few mutations. This is supposed to show that genes, or organisms, cannot have improved since this creation. Perhaps not, but what does Genesis 2:1 mean? Surely not that matter cannot be rearranged in many ways, from the "creation" of new islands (Surtsey, for instance) to the alteration of nuclei by the fusion reactions of stars. Thus it does not follow that at least some organisms cannot have improved.
There are a number of places where Tinkle claims that more people are coming to believe in creation all the time. I wish I thought he was correct. (See Davidheiser's quote of Cassel, Journal ASA, p. 120, September, 1970).
In summary, I wish this were a better book. The author's intentions were good. However, neither heredity nor anything else can prove or disprove evolution. It is a matter of faith.
Reviewed by Martin LaBor, Chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics, Central Wesleyon College, Central, South Carolina.
CONFLICT AND HARMONY IN SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE by Jack Wood Sears,
Baker Book House,
Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1969. 97 pp. Paperback. $1.95. (a
This book is based on a series of lectures presented by Professor Jack Wood Sears (Ph.D. from University of Texas), Head of the Biology Department, Harding College, Stacey, Arkansas, at the University Christian Student Center of the University of Mississippi on the subject, "Science, the Bible, and Evolution." In the course of the book the author discusses general considerations relating science and Christian faith, the authority and reliability of the Bible, and the nature of the evidence advanced for the general theory of evolution. Dr. Sears presents one of the better available treatments of these topics from an anti-evolutionary point of view.
The author successfully avoids most of the subjective, emotional and polemical characteristics that such discussions often take on. In the Preface he emphasizes that he is presenting the summary of his present thinking, and that he is open to changes on the basis of now facts or understanding. He sets as his goal a "rational, unemotional presentation of the 'facts' " and sticks with it. He recognizes the importance of interpretation in conflicts between science and Christianity on both sides. He acknowledges that the Genesis account "has not satisfied our scientific desire to understand the mechanism involved," and does not tell us how God made man: "Really the emphasis of this passage is not the how but the fact that God made man."
The author refers to the American Scientific Affiliation in two places, once linking it with the Evolution Protest Movement in England and the Creation Research Society as examples of organizations of scientists to oppose openly the theory of evolution, and once to illustrate the fact that scientists can believe the Bible to be "the inspired Word of God," in the words of the ASA statement of faith, which he quotes. The latter is certainly true, whereas the former constitutes a misrepresentation of the purpose of the ASA, which has never been to oppose or defend evolution.
Dr. Sears confirms his intentions to "examine the evidences" with respect to evolution "upon their own merit and not from a religious or Biblical point of view. He recognizes that "the Theory of Evolution
is not necessarily atheistic or materialistic." He proceeds from the seven assumptions that Kerkut (Implications of Evolution) sees as implicit in the general theory of evolution and examines each in turn. He concludes that none of them have received what can be called experimental verification. Although investigations do "demonstrate the fact that Darwin and those following him had some truth," "the general theory of evolution is not satisfactory," and "the evidence presented and available from paleontology is generally antagonistic to the general theory of evolution."
Having indicated his conclusion that the theory of evolution is unsatisfactory, the reader might then have expected Dr. Sears to analyze the available data from some different perspective that would be satisfactory. After arguing that a scientist today can believe the Bible and making the claims that he believes "the Bible to be accurate when it makes a statement of fact, be it historical, geographical, scientific, psychological or spiritual," however, Dr. Sears offers no alternative position either from science or the Bible, but counsels instead that "since I hold science to be a valid approach to reality, and since I have concluded, upon much and sufficient evidence, that the Bible is inspired and therefore true, the only rational recourse, it seems to me, is to withhold judgment about a seeming contradiction,"
Reviewed by Richard H. Bube, Department of Materials Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California
A second review of "Conflict and Harmony in Science and the Bible"
The concern of this book is an old one: the compatibility of scientific fact and Biblical revelation. Of course, exponents of science and theology have exchanged thoughts on this topic for centuries. When discussion has become debate, the scientist has usually emerged victorious among the intellectual public of his time. The implications of this victory for their religious faith, however, have spurred some scholars to resist a scientific sell-out. Dr. Jack Wood Sears, head of the Biology Department at Harding College, Searcy, Arkansas, joins them with this hook, a series of lectures sponsored by the University Christian Student Center at the University of Mississippi.
Sears' thesis is that any "conflict" between science and scripture is apparent rather than real, resulting from ignorance and prejudice on the part of both scientists and theologians. That there is essential agreement between natural and supernatural modes of God's revelation is an assumption which must be made by all consistent Christians. An effort to establish this crucial assumption logically is indeed noble, but unfortunately Sears' attempt is unsatisfying.
This dissatisfaction results partly from Sears' pervasive preoccupation with generalities. First, he is vague in setting the stage for his discussion. He quotes several sources alluding to a "conflict between science and the Bible," but he never explicates what the conflicts are. He never posits a teaching of science against a teaching of the Bible. While half the Book deals explicitly with the problem of evolution, Sears never states what he believes the Cenevis record of creation means. As a result of this vagueness, the reader must himself decide what the "conflict" under discussion is.
In addition to this ambiguous statement of the problem, the text dealing with evolution is a conglomeration of general words and phrases throughout; page 28: "the issues," "the crucial evidence from fossils," "other areas of study," "certain places," "certain elements in the scientific community," and "the doctrine." The appearance of such generalities in the introductory pages of a chapter (as this page is) is understandable if their generality is later specified. Further into the book, however, the reader continues to encounter only noncommittal phrases such as "complex chemical reactions," "taxonomic, morphologic, and biochemical relationships," and "the evidence from morphology, embryology, and paleontology."
Hollow language even permeates the author's promise to present evidence relevant to the theory of evolution and to then evaluate (or re-evaluate) this evidence as an objective scientist. Instead of naked evidence, the reader is given a succession of summarized statements about the evidence. Instead of discussing specific biological ceases, Sears simply asserts that "the evidence is that or "this is not supported by the evidence," etc.
Sears' thoughts on evolution revolve around two concepts which he derived from C. A. Kerkut's Implications of Evolution. They are the "general theory of evolution", or the theory that "all living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form," and the "special theory" of evolution which states that "many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed." Sears, though somewhat hesitant to state his own position, apparently agrees with Kerkut that the special theory is realistic while the general theory is not.
The portions of Sears' book dealing with evolution center around seven 'assumptions" which Kerkut says all exponents of the general theory must make: (1) spontaneous generation of "life" from inorganic elements has occurred; (2) this origin of life was a unique event; (3) all living things are genetically interrelated; (4) the metazoans arose from the protozoans; (5) all the invertebrate phyla are interrelated; (6) the vertebrates arose from the invertebrates; (7) the sequence of appearance of vertebrates was fish, then amphibians, then reptiles, then birds and mammals. The first two statements relate to the origin of life, a historical event, while the last five, in general, concern the course of evolution, a historical phenomenon.
Any knowledge of these historical problems must necessarily be inferential. This necessity does not, however, condemn knowledge so obtained to be a priori false, as Sears seems to imply. There is general agreement among evolutionists that available empirical and historical evidence pertinent to the solution of some of these problems is meager indeed. But the fact that little is known about invertebrate phylogeny, for example, does not necessarily mean that the invertebrates have not evolved from a common ancestor.
Sears' argument concerning the validity of the general theory of evolution may be summarized: an incomplete understanding of the origin and sequence of appearance of life forms upon the earth, using the concept of evolution as a guiding principle, requires honest scientists to reevaluate that concept as a logical explanation of that origin and sequence of appearance. Now emphasizing this uncertainty does have the merit of pinpointing where research efforts should be concentrated. But the author's surveillance of what is not known about the historical appearance of life upon earth can unfairly discredit the theory of evolution, especially to the uninformed. What is wrong with Sears' approach is that it implicitly denies the existence of, and explicitly fails to consider those innumerable observations which convincingly uphold the general theory of evolution.
Sears' use of general language, mentioned earlier, is simply one expression of his almost complete neglect
of primary issues. For example, he altogether avoids any significant consideration of ecological and genetical forces such as natural selection, geographic isolation, mutation, recombination, and genetic "drift," of which the evolutionary influence upon populations of plants and animals has been empirically verified. Such a deletion is almost unbelievable considering the centrality of such forces to the modern theory of evolution. The term "mutation" appears but once in the entire book; "natural selection" is used three times, twice in quotations. In a discussion of the peppered moth in England, Scars concedes that "variation does occur and natural selection works to cause variations to be established in populations and that "Darwin had some truth," But he then assertively denies that selection and other forces operating through time could account for the various life forms found upon earth. Forceful assertion is not consistent with an objective treatment of the evolutionary problem.
The author is nearly as shallow in his coverage of the inferential evidence of evolution (paleontology; biogeography, and comparative anatomy, physiology, embryology, biochemistry, and behavior) as he is of the empirical evidence. Only paleontology is even mentioned, and then less than four pages on human and horse evolution constitute the sum total of text discussing specific animals. Although he does not present and evaluate any fossil evidence, Scars claims that the cases for human and horse evolution are very weak. And he implies that only uncritical scientific puppets could believe otherwise.
Such a superficial treatment of a problem can result in absurd conclusions. This is exemplified by Sears' comments on the Cambrian fossils, lie argues that since fossils of all the major animal phyla in existence today appear abruptly in the Cambrian rocks, the record therefore gives no hint of an adaptive radiation of these phyla from a common ancestral stock. He urges that innumerable discontinuities in the fossil representations of related groups discredits the idea of gradual evolutionary transition, and he suggests that all the fossil record demonstrates is that there has been limited "variation and change" within the phyla through time.
These considerations are logical only if one forgets a number of very important facts. For example, the occurrence of Pre-cambrian (the 2,400,000,000 year period preceding the Cambrian) fossils, however sparse they are relative to the Cambrian fossils, is well-known. The appearance of the Cambrian animal phyla was not simultaneous, but was staggered throughout its 100,000,000 year history. The fossil record shows innumerable individual species, genera, and classes within the phyla appearing and/or becoming extinct through time. And there are a number of quite reasonable explanations of why Pre-Cambrian fossils are scarce, why broad levels of biological organization such as the phyla should persist through time, and why some discontinuities of the fossil record exist. These observations alone disrepute Sears' claim that since nearly all the animal phyla are represented in the earliest fossils, the inhabitants of earth today are essentially the same as they always have been. But the singular fact that not one vertebrate fossil has ever been found in the Cambrian rocks alone leaves his argument anemic, to say the least. Yet after this omission of known facts and a castigation of the interpreters of the fossil record for being of "strong philosophical bias," Sears astonishingly concludes that paleontological evidence is "generally antagonistic to the general theory of evolution."
Several brief criticisms of the book should be made: (1) Misrepresentative, out-of-context quotations are common. For example, the contextual implication of one quotation of J. T. Bonner is that biologists have without sufficient reason posited the truth of evolution. A poor knowledge of invertebrate phylogeny, in fact, was the object of Bonner's comment. (2) The majority of quotations, whether validly included or not, are merely inserted without prior or subsequent critical comment by Sears. (3) Too much of the book was written from research in secondary rather than primary sources. One scientist's view on the elemental composition of the primitive atmosphere was even extracted from the Arkansas Gazette! (4) There are factual errors in the book. ATP and ADP are not enzymes, and "Bryophyta" is a taxonomic division of plants, not a geologic time period. (5) The book's sixteen diagrams, fifteen of which are phylogenetic trees, are not self-explanatory and are largely useless for elucidating the text. Despite the profusion of impressive taxonomic names, the diagrams certainly convey no profound meaning for the evolutionary question, as an uncritical reader may naively assume. (6) There is at least one gross publishing error-the subtitle for Figure 9, p. 69, is obviously misplaced.
This review has dwelt, perhaps disproportionately, upon the topic of evolution as presented in this book. Portions of the text, however, are devoted to discussing the nature and limitations of science and the premises underlying the scientific method, the relation of science and scripture to history, and why enmity often exists between scientists and theologians. One chapter is a confession of why the author, as a scientist, unreservedly believes in the inspiration of the Bible. Several pages are also used to contrast how reality is viewed by an uncompromising naturalist as opposed to one who claims belief in the supernatural. While the arguments are not uniformly convincing, the comments made in these parts of the book may he of varying help to different individuals in their quest for a perspective on science and scripture.
In my opinion, most positive content in this book, however, is negated by the spurious treatment of the problem of evolution. On that topic this book is a skillful synthesis of biologic bombast, and it will have the unique effect of confirming the uninformed in their ignorance. An actually superficial and distorted presentation of specific data belie the author's humble claims to be objective. Of those understanding the foundation of the modern evolutionary theory, the non-Christians will be repelled from faith in Christ, and the Christians will be discouraged by the fundamental misrepresentations found in this book.
Reviewed by Eric Dyer, NSF Fellow in Department of Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 61637.