Science in Christian Perspective
Letter to the Editor
Re: Smalley's Response
Wm. J. Tinkle
From: JASA 7 (June 1955): 24-25.
Thanks for calling to my attention the comments of William A. Smalley on my paper, "The Principle of Growth as an Obsession," which was published in the journal of Dec. 1954. It is interesting to see how people disagree, for a member who heard this paper read at the Winona Convention wrote me that it was the outstanding paper of the meeting.
It is gratifying to note that Mr. Smalley agrees with me in my principal idea, namely that growth in living things is not innate, therefore growth can not be taken as a substitute for creation. His disagreements are due largely to misunderstanding.
This paper is not intended to be a broad synthesis but is essentially in my own field, since growth is a biological process when it occurs in living things. As an illustration, to make my point clear by contrast, I stated that the growth of human knowledge resembles the accretion which we observe in inanimate things more than it resembles growth in living organisms. There are differences in details to be sure, but I maintain that this is a good illustration.
In Mr. Smalley's second point of disagreement he quite misunderstood my statement, for I did not say that people who have not been influenced by the industrial revolution fail to grow in knowledge, or that knowledge will cease when industrial expansion ceases. These statements are contrary to what I wrote, for I pointed out that the industrial revolution has such limitations that it does not indicate growth to be innate or universal. Although people at present may unduly appreciate the industrial revolution, it really is but temporary and local.
Concerning the exhortation to consult specialists in other fields, who should be consulted? Human knowledge does not belong to anthropology alone but to history, languages, as well as the many branches of science. It is well to compare notes but this is an endless task.1 hope to have an opportunity to discuss these points with Mr. Smalley at a convention, for this is a
April 25, 1955