SIR,—Mr. P. G. Fothergill seems to imagine there are no answers to the assertions of certain evolutionary dictators who insist on their particular theory of evolution. We cannot blame him, for these gentry sway the secular and even the scientific press to boycott opinions which they neither agree with nor allow free expression of, so that it is difficult to learn the arguments on the other side. Audi alteram partem is not in their vocabulary. Douglas Jerrold has well said that scientific dogmatism is only scientific puppyism grown up. This boycotting is notorious and is equivalent to literary assassination.
Mr. Fothergill does not define his variety of evolution hut calls it a General Biological Theory about which " many Catholic priests and writeis show an unconscious lack of intellectual honesty when on the topic." But why " unconscious "? Our priests devote years to philosophy and logic, and are taught to differentiate. " Modern biologists," he says. " accept it as the self-evident method by which Nature works out the plan of Creation." This reminds me of the visitor from Brazil who exclaimed : "Now I know why you English like tea—I have tasted your coffee!" which no doubt he regarded as scoffee!
He asks. " What is the meaning of the sentence ' for one thing, evolution has never been proved '? What sort of proof do Catholics want? What constitutes proof anyway? Who has ever defined it?" Well. I should humbly propose that proof is invincible demonstration of the truth or falsity of an assertion. Convincing evidence. An impenetrable controversion to satisfy educated reason. Evolution is claimed to be scientific. Biological theory is not " the self-evident method by which Nature works out the plan of Creation." Facts are one thing, their interpretation is quite another— and give much scope to " unconscious lack of intellectual honesty." A common practice of evolutionists is to begin by suggesting a proposition, then to insinuate it as accepted, and conclude by assuming it proved. Q.E.D.!
Mr, Fothergill without knowledge despises Dr. George Barry O'Toole, Ph.D., S.T.D , Professor of Animal Biology, Seton Hall College, and Professor of Theology and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, St. Vincent Archabbey, N.Y. His Case Against Evolution, 1926, pp, 300, is a scientific book that examines impartially and overthrows evolution. Yes, Sir, you may well call it " the Harvard of Anti-Evolutionists."
In his last letter Mr. Fothergill relies much on palaeontology—the geological history of fossiliferous stratifications for proof of evolution. One objection is that stratifications are often very puzzling and at most can be relied on only in limited localities. Another is that age cannot be thus invariably determined. Inferences arc liable to great error. As O'Toole says: we must have absolute
certainty that the reputed " ancestor was in existence prior to the appearance of the alleged " descendant," or the peculiar force of the palaeontological argument is lost. It would be preposterous for the progeny to be prior to the progenitor, and so we must be quite sure that what we call " posterity " is really posterior in time.
Again, if evolution be true, we must have intermediate species, showing gradual development from simpler to advanced types, hut, please, not " at the bottom of the sea." With few exceptions, where these ought to be numerous everywhere, the fossil records fail to show any trace of transitional links. Yet pedigrees made up of diverse genera are poor evidence for filiation or genetic continuity. If gradual evolution—as, say, by natural selection, be true then (as Mr. H. Belloc points out in his Companion to Mr. wells' Outline of History). " What we call a pig is but a fleeting vision; in all the past he has been becoming a pig, and all the future he will spend evolving out of pigdom, and a pig is but a moment's phase in the eternal flux, while all around us should he quarter-pigs, half-pigs, near-pigs. all-butpigs, slightly super-pigs, just becoming, and so on. But there aren't. They are just Pigs."
Finally, resemblances of types are no evidence of genetic link. Descent is succession, but succession is not descent. The snare commonly neglected by evolutionists is the post hoc, propter hoc—after this therefore because of this. F. A. Bather says: " Let us suppose all written records to be swept away, and an attempt made to reconstruct English history from coins. We could set our monarchs in true order, and we might suspect that the throne was hereditary ; but if on that assumption we were to make James I the son of Elizabeth—well, but that's just what palaeontologists are constantly doing."
P. W. O'GORMAN, M.D. Harrow-on-the-Hill.