Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor

Response to Mr. Cole

From: JASA 20 (June 1968): 61

I am pleased to respond to Mr. Cole's letter. I'm sure that in it he has also voiced the thoughts and opinions of others. Indeed, some clarification of points I made in the article are in order. My numbering will follow those of his letter.

1. The phrase "male and female" seemed to precede the phrase "Adam and Eve" in my Bible! It points up that this anthropologist's knowledge of the Hebrew language is as ignorant as most theologians' knowledge of anthropology. Since the morphology of early Hebrew poetry (mythology) reflects the Hebrew's worldview and requires an equilibrium, male and female are neatly balanced by Adam and Eve, both being the same. This is true throughout Genesis 1.

2. I quite agree with some of his points. I would stress my point again: that there were humans in the world other than the children of Adam and Eve whom the latter's children married. To say, "if there was a pre-Adamic race, it appears that it no longer existed since Eve received her name 'Because she was the mother of all living"', is a good example of closing one's eyes to the overwhelming evidence to the contrary in God's revelation in nature.

3. Since evolution is an abstract concept, it can be used in almost any way one wants to use it.

4. The dates given in chart 3 are approximations with the exception of Zinjantbropus, which as a stable date, is 1,750,000 -± 300 years. In capsulating some of the material relating to Zinjanthropus and Homo habilis, I purposely omitted Australopithecus since I considered "it" as "ape" rather than human. I should like to develop this point now: a) It must be kept in mind that there are 77 Australopithecines in Africa alone. These are divided into two groups: "Australopithecus africanus and Austrolopithecus robustus. The " true" Australopithecus, the one giving the name to the group, belongs to the former; Zinjanthropus belongs to the latter. In fact, he is Mr. Robustus himself. Both groups were contemporary. The majority of schol ars feel that Australopithecus africarms was an ape, while Zinjanthropus was hominid or human. The former, A. africanus was probably a random tool-maker though some question even this capability; the latter, A. robustus, was a symbol-maker who purposefully made tools. Although Leaky considers Homo habilis an Australopithecine, Clark, for example, doesn't and it will probably take a while before one will definitely know about the "handy man". He is up for grabs.

Schenk's book, published in 1961 is hopelessly out of date.

Wadjak I and 11 found by DuBois in 1892 were considered as on the same geological level as Pithecanthropus erectus, now called Homo erectus. A re-study of the stratigraphy of Java in the 1930's showed up this error with the result that the Wadjak's are Upper-Pleistocene and Pithecantbropus is Middle Pleistocene, rather than lower as DuBois originally placed him. The Wadjaks to my knowledge, were never placed lower than P. erectus.

5. Mr. Horner was careful NOT to say "that tools is an evidence of being a Homo sapiens". That is contrary to the facts. The point made was that man is unique in his symbol-making ability. The difference between a symbol-maker and a tool-maker is the difference between conceptual and perceptual ability. Man enjoys both. The chimps, porpoises and dogs among other animals enjoy the latter. The choppers made by Zinjantbropus, the religious ceremonies of Peking and Cro-Magnon man are a difference in concept compared to the sharpening of sticks to make tools and playing tic-tac-toe by the chimp, which are perceptual. Man can not live by tools alone!

6. Answered in No. 5. This relationship is not known.

Suggested Bibliography

Adler, Mortimer, The Difference ot Man and the Difference it Makes, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1967.
Buettner-Janusch, J., Origins of Man, Wiley, 1965.
Le Gros Clark, W., Man-Apes or Ape-Men? Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967.

George R. Horner
Department of Anthropology, Eastern Nazarene College, Wollaston, Mass.