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Creation and evolution. Myth or reality By N.D. Newell. New York Columbia University Press. 1982. xxxii + 199 pp. figures tables references. $19

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discussion of the reasons why timber wolves
are so like the Tasmanian wolf. The similarity is illustrated by what must be a poor
drawing as the two don’t look alike to this
reviewer (p. 177). This similarity can’t be due
to adaptation to similar environments, but
“it is far more probable that there is some
kind of wolf ‘blueprint‘ that determines they
shall evolve as wolves” (p. 180). Of course the
blueprint can’t resemble DNA, but just what
it is isn‘t clear. This “new biology” has not
made much headway for, “as we know, the
overwhelming weight of research during this
century has been in the hands of the population geneticists and the funding of it continues to be so. They have, as one mathematician said, ‘cornered the market.‘ I think
this blanket of orthodoxy, stifling alternative
approaches, is one of the positively harmful
effects of a century and more of uncritical
devotion to Darwin” (p. 196).
Chapter 8, “Monkey Business,” is concerned with the course of human evolution.
Here we do find out about Haeckel’s frauds
and forgeries in establishing his biogenetic
law. The missing link in Haeckel’s and Darwin’s concept was supplied by Haeckel’s student E. Dubois. Just how this could be when
Haeckel was at Jena and Dubois a t Amsterdam I don’t know. But it is even harder to
understand how Dubois could have given a
paper on his important find in 1849 when he
wasn’t born until 1858. But that is a small
We also find that there are serious questions concerning the authenticity of Peking
MYTH OR REALITY? By N.D. Newell. New York: Columbia
University Press. 1982. xxxii + 199 pp.,
figures, tables, references. $ 19.95 (cloth).
This book is a refutation of creationist arguments against and a presentation of scientific evidence for organic evolution from
the point of view of a paleontologist. In general, Newell is concerned with the way in
which the paleontological reconstruction of
the course of evolution is at variance with
the creationists’ literal interpretation of
Genesis. Although Newell is obviously familiar with neo-Darwinian concepts of causation, this is not his major concern. Instead,
“The immediate question is whether ‘crea-
Man or Woman. In fact the original fossils
may have disappeared so as to conceal the
inaccuracies in the reconstruction of “Nellie.” There is a review of Nebraska Man and,
of course, Piltdown, to be immediately followed by a discussion of Johanson’s “Lucy.”
Apparently the protein clock of Wilson and
Sarich is very good as are the various concepts of the cladistic school. Strangely
enough, the recent evolution exhibit a t the
British Museum comes under considerable
The final chapter, “Darwin’s Legacy,” is a
short biography of Darwin with emphasis on
his failure to give credit to others for ideas.
The book concludes: “The new biology is
looking afresh a t living things-at their
shapes, their patterns, their dynamics and
their relationships. If, after more than a century, natural selection has been tested and
found wanting, and if we are left once again
with a sense of ignorance about origins, Darwin would not have minded. Science is a
voyage of discovery, and beyond each horizon
there is another.”
After reading this book I am not sure Darwin went wrong. Perhaps Hitching did not
go wrong. But I have serious doubts about
the publisher.
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri
tionism’ should be regarded as a scientific
theory and be taught in public schools together with, or in place of, a scientific theory
of the universe and life on earth” (p. xxix).
With this problem in mind, the author’s emphasis throughout the book is appropriate.
The first three chapters deal with such
questions as, Who are the creationists? What
is their point of view? What is science? Can
the creationists’ view be scientific? Why do
people, in a supposedly highly educated and
technologically sophisticated society, accept
pseudo-scientific interpretations of the universe?
At the same time Newell is obviously not
an antireligious man. “The sciences . . . can
determine much of what happened long ago:
How, where, and when events occurred. But
they cannot discover the purpose or destiny
of human existence. These ideas lie in the
mind of each individual-and are the domain
of religion, morality, and philosophy” (p.
xxxii). Science has its limitations, and we are
reminded of the admonition concerning Caesar’s share of the world.
Each of the following 11 chapters considers,
and scientifically refutes, a creationists’ argument. Each chapter opens with a quotation from a scientist and one from a
creationist, ably demonstrating the theological orientation of the latter. The discussion
of Noah’s flood and other catastrophes illustrates Newell’s general approach to the problem. There have been floods and catastrophes
in the past. What evidence have they left?
Does such evidence exist on a worldwide
scale? To what extent does the Grand Canyon contain evidence of being produced by a
gigantic flood? The author finds no such evidence, and the creationists produce none.
Along with current scientific evidence,
Newell presents brief histories of scientific
advances. Of particular interest is the discussion of the development of the geologic time
scale. In its main outline, this not only was
established prior to the Darwinian revo-
lution but also was developed by scientists
who accepted a literal interpretation of Genesis, an interesting point omitted by the creationists.
There are probably few bits of information
contained in this book that are unknown to
the general scientific community. The book’s
value lies not in evidence presented but in
the organization of that evidence to refute a
pseudo-scientific argument. The creationists’
view is not one that will go away peacefully,
as any brief review of legislative activity
since the Scopes trial demonstrates. Nor is
this a n argument that science can safely ignore, for “the implications of this question
involve our attitudes toward the nature, origin, and history of the universe-scientific
cosmology-and even freedom of thought” (p.
xxix). This is not an obtuse, academic question; it is one which involves the entire educational process in this and every other
country. Be prepared; read this book before
you debate a creationist.
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri
IN THE AMERI- group of zoo-reared chimpanzees. Thus only
five articles are primarily concerned with
CAS. Edited by J. E. Buikstra. Evanston,
Illinois: Northwestern University Archeological Program. 1981. xii + 182 pp., figures, tables, index. $14.50 (paper).
Since infectious diseases represent significant challenges t o human populations, any
work presenting data on the history of tuberculosis should attract wide interest. Prehistoric Tuberculosis in the Americas does offer
some important new information on the paleopathological expression of TB in skeletal
and mummified material from the pre-Columbian New World. However, the title
promises more than is delivered by this collection of ten articles (plus a n introduction).
Of the ten contributions, two deal with modern clinicaliepidemiological contexts, one is
an experiment with artificially mummified
tissue derived from cadavers, one deals with
macerated remains from a dissecting room
population, and one anomalous offering discusses fungal infection in the bones from a
prehistoric tuberculosis in the Americas (one
dealing partly with mummified tissue and
the other four exclusively with skeletal remains).
In the preface Buikstra promises to present
an integrated medical and anthropological
focus, yet with only a few exceptions this oal
is not attained. Medical expertise is coni?ributed by a microbiologist (Shadomy) and an
immunochemist (Daniel). In neither case,
however, is much useful information presented. Shadomy contributes a clear discussion of differential diagnosis of fungal
infections, but there is little here not already
in the paleopathological literature. Daniel
offers some useful data comparing pulmonary incidence of TB with skeletal TB. Most
of the article, however, concerns itself with
admittedly biased sample data concerning
epidemiological patterns in recent publications. If medical expertise useful to paleopathologists was the aim, contributions by
pathologists andor radiologists would have
been more appropriate.
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creations, figuren, evolution, university, newell, references, xxxiii, myth, new, york, 1982, reality, 199, columbia, tablet, pres
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