Re: [asa] How theistic evolution was explained to kids in 1964

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Tue Jul 29 2008 - 15:55:01 EDT

Interesting re-discovery, Iain! Such findings tend to recall, at least for me, the wonder with which we beheld the universe as children. In my youth, there was a series about Amazing Things, one of the books was called Dinosaurs Do Amazing Things. Yet there were also books about Kids and Daredevils and Animals, etc. all doing amazing things, so I doubt that my interest in science, nature, knowledge and culture somehow became science-centric as a result of reading those books.
Just a question regarding the title of the 1964 book you cite, i.e. your opinion about it. This word 'primitive' gets a lot of flack in 20th century anthropology. I wonder if you would say that yes, there are people living in the world today who are 'primitive,' and if so, on what basis do you apply this term - i.e. what does 'primitive man' mean to you? If not, on what basis can the erasure of the primitive be justified to somehow 'level' the species of humanity as forming a common bond? It is the ethologists and zoologists who are confronting human-social thought, often contemptuously (as from 'hard' to 'soft' scholars), that requires this clarification of the 'primitive' as a legitimate or illegitimate concept in our contemporary vocabularies.
Thanks for this post,

p.s. not sure why you call this 'theistic evolution' as it really seems to be relevant merely as 'theism accepting the limited explanation of biological evolution' or 'evolution in natural sciences that is friendly to theology' rather than a 'marrying of theology with evolutionistic ideology.'

--- On Tue, 7/29/08, Iain Strachan <> wrote:

From: Iain Strachan <>
Subject: [asa] How theistic evolution was explained to kids in 1964
To: "ASA" <>
Received: Tuesday, July 29, 2008, 11:25 PM

I wonder how many people on the list were first inspired to take an interest in science with the "How and Why Wonder Books" series?  The first of these books that I got as a kid was the How and Why Wonder Book of Dinosaurs & the amazing facts presented in it were a true marvel to an 8 year-old and sparked my lifelong interest in science.  All my schoolfriends and I were entranced by the descriptions of these enormous creatures that lived all those millions of years ago.

Today, in clearing out the loft, I came across these books stacked away and long since forgotten.  I found the following marvellous section in the How and Why Wonder Book of Primitive Man, written in 1964.  It struck me as a very inspiring and straightforward explanation of how to reconcile evolution and belief in God:

When Darwin's books on evolution were printed a hundred years ago, many people said Darwin did not believe in God's plan, but in a horrible universe run by lucky accidents and greedy fighting.  They said he was making man out to be nothing more than a brainy ape.  But these people need not have worried.  The theory of evolution says certain things happened.  It does not say, and it could not say, why those things happened.  If God made the world and runs the world, then evolution is God's plan.  And it is a majestic and beautiful plan.  With evolution, even accidents are part of the plan of life, and even the lowest creature is part of the family life.  The theory of evolution does not say man is only a brainier kind of ape.  It says that for two thousand million years living forms were tried and improved and tried and improved in preparation for the arrival of man as we know him upon the scene of life upon the earth.
   Donald Barr - 1964
Just thought I'd like to share it with the list.
Non timeo sed caveo
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Received on Tue Jul 29 15:55:09 2008

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