Is There an Alternative to Organic Evolution? Buswell

                                     Gordon Review 5 (1959) 2-13.

              Copyright © 1959 by Gordon College. Cited with permission.



              ORGANIC EVOLUTION?*



                                    JAMES O. BUSWELL, III



            For over one hundred years there has been a continuous controversy,

between evolutionists and anti-evolutionists over the body of data and

theory of the origin, antiquity, and development of life and of man.

While the controversy has been continuous, it has by no means been

uniform. For a long time each dogmatically defended positions of

some truth mixed with considerable error, in violent and fruitless de-

bate, whose brilliance was in many cases mostly oratorical or literary.

As the factual and scientific aspects of the evolutionary position increased

and became more widely accepted, however, the bases for the anti-evo-

lutionary or creationist1 opposition remained comparatively constant,

with the result that, while the anti-evolutionists continued to actively

oppose the evolutionist position, their attacks were less and less fre-

quently reciprocated. Finally the evolutionist's entanglements with anti-

evolutionists dwindled to an occasional defense or debate, the last of

which of any consequence in this country was the famous Scopes trial of

1925. Interaction still persists in the British Commonwealth, however,

chiefly due to the seemingly tireless efforts of the Evolution Protest

Movement with active branches in London, Australia, and New Zealand.

            Quite another pattern also emerges from a general review of this

question. It is quite evident that in the view each has taken, and still

takes of the other, whether in opposition or reaction, there is a tre-

mendous degree of ignorance as to progress made in the past hundred

years. The creationist exhibits in almost all of his anti-evolutionary

literature an antiquated, "moth-ball" variety of "ever onward, ever up-

ward" conception of evolutionism reminiscent of the latter nineteenth

century, while the evolutionist on his part tends to identify all crea-

tionists with an immutability of species - deluge geology -- Ussher

chronology type of position, sometimes referred to as "hyperorthodox",

or "hyper-traditionalist."2


   * This article constitutes part of Mr. Buswell's chapter in the forthcoming book,

One Hundred Years After Darwin, scheduled for publication by Eerdmans in the late  spring.

    1. For present purposes other "anti-" evolutionary views like neo-Darwinian, or

        neo-Lamarckian, or other variations within scientific circles are ignored.

    2. The term "hyperorthodox" has been recently brought into prominence by Dr.

         Bernard Ramm (1954: 27-31 et passim). Because of its relationship to the

         terms "fundamentalist" and "orthodox" and because of rather consistent objection


3                                  Buswell:  Organic Evolution?


            The complicating factor in all this is that while the anti-evolutionist

is wrong in his usual appraisal of evolution today, the creationist

position is still widely represented by the hyper-traditionalist point of

view, from which has split a Creationist group which seeks to keep itself

up-to-date scientifically while adopting a non-evolutionary rather than


to its use, it should be clearly defined and its usage clarified. The term "funda-

mentalist" is today the most widely known label for the Bible-believing creationist

in scientific circles. It is important, however, to understand the crucial distinc-

tion between at least two meanings of this widely misused term:

            Fundamentalism originally referred to the belief that there are certain great truths in

            Christianity, which, if changed, would dissolve Christianity. Each Christian is allowed

            personal conviction in respect to a great number of doctrines and interpretations but that

            personal liberty is hedged about by key infallible and eternal doctrines. This is the

            term in its historic and good sense. The movement included such stalwarts as James Orr,

            J. Gresham Machen, Benjamin Warfield, W. H. Green and the numerous contributors to

            the famous Fundamentals papers.

                        In more recent years another movement has given the word an odious

            connotation. Alen with much zeal, enthusiasm and conviction, yet lacking frequently in

            education or cultural breadth, and many times individualistic, took to the stump to defend

            the faith. Many times they were dogmatic beyond evidence, or were intractable of

            disposition, or were obnoxiously anti-cultural, anti-scientific and anti-educational. Hence

            the term came to mean one who was bigoted, an obscurantist, a fideist, a fighter and an

            anti-intellectual [Ramm 1955: 131.

The creationist position which this paper attempts to advance is to be identified with the first, and

not the second meaning of "fundamentalist" as defined above. It is fully recognized, however,

that all creationists who do not agree with this position are not automatically considered in the second category.

            It is abundantly clear from his discussion of the matter (1954) that Ramm is employing

the term "hyperorthodox" to refer to this second brand of fundamentalist so as not to perpetuate

the "odious connotation" with the term. Ramm's reason for this is that

            we can sin to the right as well as to the left. Patriotism can degenerate into jingoism and

            enthusiasm into fanaticism and virtue into prudishness. It is possible not only to have

            slack theological views, but have views far more rigid and dogmatic than Scripture itself.

            Hyperorthodoxy in trying to be loyal to the Bible has developed an exaggerated sense of

            what loyalty to the Bible means [1954: 291.

He evidently got the term from J. W. Dawson, who, he points out (1954: 28), referred to

"pedantic hyperorthodoxy" in evangelical apologetics in 1877.

            Certain objections to my use of the term have been raised, however, chiefly upon the

basis of a possible mss-identification of this position with sound, theological orthodoxy. Thus the

alternatives "distorted orthodoxy" and "blind orthodoxy" have been suggested. Even more

significant, perhaps, is the objection to the form of the term itself. Thus the Rev. John Buswell,

my brother, wrote me, "Can anyone be hyperorthodox? Is not orthodoxy an ultimate-in one

sphere anyway? In other words, many would regard 'hyper-orthodox' as they would 'hyper-

straight' or 'hyper-sterilized.' "

            Since these objections, and others, seem to have some value, I have chosen to use instead

the term "hyper-traditionalist" suggested by my colleague, Professor Joseph Free. Although a bit

more cumbersome, this term carries none of the theological associations invariably attached to

"orthodoxy" and "fundamentalism", and seems in addition to refer a bit more precisely to those

who being bound by tradition, prefer to retain the peripheral, relative, and changeable

interpretations with the fundamental truths, without being able to distinguish the difference.


Gordon Review 1959                                    4


an anti-evolutionary position. It is this position which the modern

evolutionist has tended to overlook, and which constitutes the alterna-

tive to organic evolution that I wish to set forth here.

The hyper-traditionalist position, however, is the most often heard,

though seldom listened-to, expression of creationism. Thus it is not

without reason that G. G. Simpson could dispense with a consideration

of creationism in a public lecture in Philadelphia in 1950 with words

to the effect that "creationists are found today only in non- or anti-

scientific circles."

One of the chief drawbacks to the anti-evolutionists, from Darwin's

early critics to the present day, familiar as some of their leaders are with

the data, is that their activities and literature have been almost com-

pletely wrapped up in arguments over petty fragments of the record,

assuming that to attack evolution as a total philosophy one must show

the data upon which the assumptions are based to be untrue. Instead of

offering a positive, non-evolutionary interpretation of the data them-

selves, they have been guilty of treating them with scorn and sarcasm

for no other reason than that the evolutionist has done something with

them first.

What results is that both parties claim to have truth on their side

and at the same time charge the other with falsity and ignorance. The

creationist attacks the evolutionist's total philosophy from the stand-

point of revelation, while the evolutionist answers with scientific data.

Since the evolutionist is seldom caught up in an argument over revelation,

the creationist is inevitably drawn to argue on the evolutionist's own

ground in terms of genetic processes or paleontological remains, where

he is generally over his depth. This anti-evolutionary position has been

characteristically negative and unscientific in spite of its strong adherence

to the scriptural fundamentals of the historic Christian faith.



Now to a consideration of the non-evolutionary creationist position.

There are three major areas to consider, each with its relevant body of

evidences and various interpretations. They are:

a. The origin of life.

b. The origin and age of man.

c. The processes of development since their origin.

The consideration of these areas is not simply a question of whether

evolution" or "creation" is the exclusive explanation. Organic evolu-

tion is so inclusive and so complex a system that it must be broken down

into its constituent elements. This may be attempted on various levels

of abstraction. One of the most obvious and important steps which can



5                                  Buswell:  Organic Evolution?


be taken is a separation of the consideration of origins from the con-

sideration of process. I have the impression that British evolutionists are

perhaps oftener involved in considerations of origins than are American

evolutionists. The American, at least in anthropological circles, tends to

leave questions of the origin of the earth and of life to the astronomers.

physicists, and biologists on the one hand, or to the philosophers on the

other. William Howells has stated the position thus:

We are totally bewildered, of course, about the beginnings of life and

the reasons for our existence, and these are questions which have been

grist to the mills of philosophers and myth-makers alike. But we know,

roughly, what happened along the way, and that is the story of human

evolution [1944:3].

Considerations of process, then, make up the major concerns of the evo-

lutionist. Therefore let us postpone the consideration of origins to another


I find Simpson's three "modes" or aspects of evolution extremely use-

ful for purposes of analysis, and comparison with the Creationist position.

The first of these is speciation or "splitting" which, as Simpson points out,

"is almost the only mode accessible for experimental biology, neozoology.

and genetics. It embraces almost all the dynamic evolutionary phenomena

subject to direct experimental attack." The second mode Simpson calls

"phyletic" evolution, which "involves the sustained, directional (but not

necessarily rectilinear) shift of the average characters of populations. It is

not primarily the splitting up of a population, but the change of the popu-

lation as a whole." While speciation may be called an explanation for

races, species, and sometimes genera, Simpson points out that the phyletic

mode "is typically related to middle taxonomic levels, usually genera, sub-

families, and families." He also observes that "nine tenths of the pertinent

data of paleontology fall into patterns of the phyletic mode" (1944: 202-203).

Thus, although evolution does not consist of wholly distinct processes,

and a fossil series, for example, can exhibit speciation, or splitting, in a

phyletic pattern through geological time, nevertheless the well documented

data of natural selection on these levels--the genetic and geological pro-

cesses--may be abstracted from the over-all theory of organic evolution.

It is the position of the creationist, at this point, that he can accept all of

the facts within these two areas of consideration. Thus the creationist

need have no quarrel with the transmutation of species or other taxonomic

categories, and may fully accept the genetic explanation for variation.

Similarly he may accept the evidence of the "evolution" of the horse, and

other such well documented paleontological series, upon the basis of the

adaptive dynamic interaction of genetic and environmental change called

natural selection.



Gordon Review 1959                                    6


Turning to more anthropological matters, the creationist accepts the

evidence for the age of prehistoric man and his culture. He has no quarrel

with an antiquity of hundreds of thousands of years; there is nothing in

the Bible to indicate how long ago man was created. The date of 4004

B.C. which has been an item of ridicule by evolutionists and a rallying

point for the hyper-traditionalist, now finds itself a cultural survival, firmly

ensconced in the notes on page 1 of certain editions of the Bible, but with-

out a valid function in either modern Christian theology or chronology.

Neither has the creationist any quarrel with morphological features of

ancient man. The Bible, which is the creationist's basis of belief and life,

simply says nothing about what Adam looked like. And, although the

creationist, Protestant and Catholic alike, must of necessity hold to the

belief (which will be further discussed below) that there was a "first man,"

it is of no consequence whether he looked like a pithecanthropoid or a

Caucasoid. Furthermore, if anthropological opinion swings in favor of

calling some prehistoric types by separate specific or generic names, and

other types Homo Sapiens with modern man, this is of relatively little con-

sequence. For the creationist recognizes the arbitrary and non-qualitative

nature of taxonomic categories and is not bound to equate any one of

them with the "kind" spoken of in Genesis 1.

Thus the creationist looks on with the same interest, or relief, as any

anthropologist, when a classic Neanderthaloid posture is straightened up,

or a Piltdown forgery exposed. Here, of course, is a characteristic difference

from the hyper-traditionalist reaction. When the Piltdown news hit the

press early in 1954 the anti-evolutionist and many religious journals were

full of "I told you so's" and another major pillar of evolution had fallen!

One creationist on the other hand simply expressed "relief that one of the

more perplexing riddles of man's prehistory is finally solved." Presumably

the same sort of reactions can be expected once Professor Strauss's re-analysis

of the La Chappele bones3 gains wider circulation.



So far we have discussed chiefly those areas of concurrence between

the evolutionary and the creationist positions. With the consideration of

Simpson's third mode, however, we introduce the area of disagreement

between the two. Essentially it boils down to a matter of facts vs. theory,

data vs. interpretation, or a matter of attitudes and pre-suppositions.

Despite the factual basis of speciation and phyletic evolution, there are

what Simpson refers to as "major discontinuities of the record" existing

in the paleontology of the larger taxonomic groups between which there


3. William L. Strauss, Jr., presented before Section H of the 123rd annual meeting

of the AAAS in New York, December, 1956.


 7                                 Buswell:  Organic Evolution?


is no fossil evidence of relationship. The origins of these larger groups  are attributed

to "a particular set of evolutionary events" that are "changes of adaptive zones

such that transitional forms between the old zone and the new cannot, or at any rate

do not, persist" (1953: 389). After showing in some detail how this applies to the

perissodactyls, or horse group, Simpson concluded in 1944 that

this regular absence of transitional forms is not confined to mammals, but

is an almost universal phenomenon, as has long been noted by paleontolo-

gists. It is true of almost all orders of all classes of animals, both verte-

brate and invertebrate. A fortiori, it is also true of the classes, themselves,

and of the major animal phyla, and it is apparently also true of analogous

categories of plants [1944: 107).

Now Simpson's third mode called "quantum" evolution purports to be the

explanation for the jumping of these gaps. In his words, quantum evolu-

tion is "applied to the relatively rapid shift of a biotic population in dis-

equilibrium, to an equilibrium distinctly unlike an ancestral condition.

... It is . . . believed to be the dominant and most essential process in

the origin of taxonomic units of relatively high rank, such as families,

orders, and classes. It is believed to include circumstances that explain the

mystery that hovers over the origins of such major groups" (1944: 206).

Simpson candidly admits this as a "controversial and hypothetical"

attempt to establish the existence of an "inferred phenomena." He points

out that "major incidents of quantum evolution have systematically poor

records, for reasons discussed [above]. Nevertheless, we do have many

partial records of quantum evolution, even at high levels (e.g., origin of

classes), which can be completed by sound and unequivocal inference."4

Of course, Simpson doesn't necessarily represent all evolutionists, but

his three-fold breakdown is, de facto, applicable to organic evolution in

its present-day form. Thus we conclude that it is at this point--quantum

evolution--that the creationist and the evolutionist must part company.

Again the question, "What is the alternative?" needs explicit definition.

In other words, how will "creation" as an alternative to the quantum

interpretation still fit the facts? As mentioned above, it becomes a matter

of pre-supposition: for the creationist, supernaturalism; for the evolution-

ist, naturalism. I propose then that since in a percentage of orders, major

gaps appear between them, perhaps the order is as near to being what

Genesis 1 means by the term "kind" as any single taxonomic category can


4. 1953: 389. It should be added that Dr. Simpson points out as "the most im-

portant point about this mode of evolution and one of the reasons for its separate

designation and special study" that "quantum evolution may lead to a new group

at any taxonomic level. It is probable that species, either genetic or phyletic,

often arise in this way. Certainly genera and all higher categories may do so.

The phenomenon naturally becomes clearer and more readily definable when

the change in adaptation and structure is relatively large, and such changes

commonly eventuate in the development of higher categories. There is no level

at which clear-cut quantum evolution is the only mode of origin of new groups,

but at high levels some element of quantum evolution is usually involved" (Ibid.).

Gordon Review 1959                                    8


be. This proposal implies simply that God created the orders, and natural,

selection took it from there. Of course this cannot be maintained con-

sistently as far as orders are concerned, since in some cases classes or even

phyla could be applied, and obviously in the case of man, a much lower

category, perhaps genus, would apply.5 In other words, "an honest crea-

tionist will ask the paleontologist what he knows of the time of origin of

animals, and draw his conclusions from the data" (Mixter 1953: 18).

Thus, if a supernatural presupposition is allowed, the interpretation

may still remain consistent with the facts. One of the basic postulates of

evolution, for example, is that similarity implies genetic relationship. How

ever, with a supernatural agency pre-supposed, it becomes exactly as reason-

able to postulate that similarity implies a common creator.

The fact that the evolutionary hypothesis as a total explanation for

all major transitions is so firmly established in our scientific and educational

system is due to at least three important factors. 1. Based upon the ex-

perimental knowledge of genetics, the sequential data of paleontology, and

the logical consistency of the processes of adaptation and natural selection

as presently conceived, this major jumping of gaps, in Simpson's words.

"has a probable mechanism and would be expected under given conditions"

(1944: 207).  2. The only alternative, creation, or the allowance of a super-

naturalistic presupposition in the tradition of science, has been considered

as clearly "incredible.”6  3. The creationists, due to their own peculiar tra-

dition of fending off the advances of science, have failed to formulate this

alternative in a scientifically respectable manner.

The primary point of difference, then, between evolutionism and

creationism is not a matter of accepting or rejecting facts. There are no data

as such that conflict with the Genesis account of creation as interpreted in

the context of the author's language and culture. The primary point of

difference is on the level of mechanistic vs. supernatural presuppositions.

Most evolutionists claim with G. S. Carter, that "man is an animal, and


5. Mixter arrives at a similar conclusion suggesting that the order is at present a

reasonable approximation of "kind". The obvious fact that "kind" cannot be

equated consistently with any one taxonomic category is also explained as follows,

"Because marsupials are separated by structural gaps unbridged by intermediate

forms from other orders of mammals, a creationist may conclude that the first

marsupials were specially created, if there are gaps between families or genera

within the order of marsupials, he may believe that such families also had sep.

arately created beginnings. Whenever a gap is filled then a revision of the idea

of what are the special creations should be made" (Mixter 1953: 17).

6. "Evolution itself is accepted by zoologists . . . because no alternative explana-

tion is credible" (Watson 1929: 231). "The only alternative (to evolution) the doctrine

of special creation which may be true but is irrational" (Morf

1925: 22). "... If Darwin's hypothesis be rejected, there is, it must be frankly

admitted, no satisfactory alternative to take its place" (Scott 1917: 26). I am

indebted to Dr. John R. Howitt, Superintendent, Ontario Hospital, Port Arthur

Ontario, for these three quotations.


9                                  Buswell:  Organic Evolution?


however greatly his present state differs from that of the rest of the animal

kingdom, we must accept that he arose from sub-human ancestors by a

process of evolution" (1953: 327). And, despite their acknowledgment that

man is a wholly unique, or culture-bearing animal, most would tend to agree

with Simpson that "man is the result of a purposeless and materialistic

process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned. He is a state

of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates,

akin nearly or remotely to all of life and indeed to all that is material"

(1949: 344-45). The creationist claims that man is more than a unique

animal, and that he was both planned and created by God.

In summary on these three modes of evolutionary process, the crea-

tionist may well hold, with Professor Mixter (1953: 10-11, 23), the fol-

lowing conclusions:

1. Speciation. "Whenever geneticists can show common genes, they

are entitled to infer common ancestry."

2. Phyletic evolution. "When animals are traceable to other animals

by a closely graded series of transitional forms, [the paleontologist is en-

titled to infer that] the early forms have given rise to the later ones."

3. Quantum evolution. "When a group of animals is separated from

another group by an unbridged gap, then until bridges are found, one may

hold that the groups so separated have arisen from independently created




The questions may well be asked, how does this creationist position

differ essentially from the Roman Catholic position, and, does the Catholic

position also constitute an alternative to organic evolution?

The crux of the whole matter lies in the question of origins. The crea-

tionist, while he fully accepts the facts of genetics and the fossil record,

believes that God created life and man, and that man did not arise from

a previously existing organism. This position is frequently, but erroneously,

called "theistic evolution,” because it allows for some process in God's

creative activity instead of necessitating an instantaneous creation. But

while genetics and paleontology have played a big part in the expression

of organic evolution, they neither alone nor in combination constitute evo-

lution. One might as logically call the creationist a "theistic speciationist"

or a believer in "theistic Mendelism" or "theistic stratigraphy" because he

grants that God has instituted the hereditary process of genetics and the

geological dynamics of prehistory or one might call a Bible-believing

weather forecaster a "theistic meteorologist" simply because he believes that

the laws which God instituted at creation, are believed and relied upon by

non-Christian observers as well!


Gordon Review 1959                                    10


The theistic evolutionist, however, while believing that God is op-

crating the process, also accepts the possibility that man could have arisen

for a non-human creature, and that God merely endowed him with a soul,

which act constituted the "creation of man," culturally, mentally, and

spiritually. This position of theistic evolution is typically, but not ex-

clusively, that of the Roman Catholics, who only specify their opposition

to "materialistic" evolution. Dr. J. F. Ewing, in a recent issue of the Catholic

Anthropological Quarterly, summarizing "The Present Catholic Attitude

Towards Evolution" admits that "God may indeed have used a body pre-

pared for the soul as far as possible by evolution. . . ."; that "there is no

defined doctrine which opposes a theory of the evolution of Man's body,

... " and that "the possibility that there were true men before Adam and

Eve, men whose line became extinct (in other words, Pre-Adamites), is


This I find, at present, impossible to accept, on theological as well as

on anthropological grounds. Theologically, the fundamental doctrines of

the original perfection and subsequent fall of man and his consequent need

of redemption; and the role of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Son of God

in dying on the cross to pay the penalty for the fall, for all who will ac-

cept Him, are seriously jeopardized by a first man having descended organ-

ically from pre-human parents. Now theistic evolutionists likewise acknowl-

edge the necessity of retaining this doctrine of original sin. It is inex-

tricably tied up with the necessity of having all mankind arise from one

man. The Catholic statement on this from the Encyclical "Humani Generis"

quoted by Ewing, is as follows:

No Catholic can hold that after Adam there existed on this earth true men

who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from

the first parent of all, or that Adam is merely a symbol for a number of

first parents. For it is unintelligible how such an opinion can be squared

with what the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Magis-

terium of the Church teach on original sin, which proceeds from sin

actually committed by an individual Adam, and which, passed on to all

by way of generation, is in everyone as his own [Cotter 1951: 43].

Thus the theistic evolutionist, if he allows man to have arisen from a non-

human form, is obliged to inject some creative action or other upon his

physical body in addition to giving him a soul, in order to make that body

perfect and not subject to death. To me this is simply an additional and

unnecessary complication of hypotheses to which Occam's razor could

well apply.7

Anthropologically, the theistic evolutionary explanation for the origin

of man seems to run counter to what we have become accustomed to

expect of the cultural assemblages in association with fossil man. The pre-

adamic theory would seem to imply that there were beings morphologically


7. Essentia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.


 11                               Buswell:  Organic Evolution?


human, but without culture. The evidence of human paleontology seems

to argue otherwise. Of course we are at once faced with the question,

What is morphologically human? I believe that the question of "human

or non-human?" cannot be answered categorically upon morphological

grounds. The question must be answered on spiritual grounds, which I

presume are only indicated by cultural remains.

The problem of the interpretation of the Australopithecines imme-

diately arises. So far no definite indication of any cultural assemblage has

been identified.8 I readily accept the facts of the unique Australopithecine

morphology, the marked humanoid conformation of the dentition, the

ilium, and other features indicative of an upright posture.9 Nevertheless,

until such time as the chronological problem of Australopithecine's an-

tiquity in relation to true hominids is resolved, and some identifiable

cultural assemblage is discovered, I prefer to class them as "non-human”

in every sense of the word. I consider Mayr's designation of Homo trans-

vaalensis premature, and cannot yet see Robinson's inclusion of Megan-

thropus in the same genus as Paranthropus without more of the former to

go on. But, as I have attempted to point out to my hyper-traditionalist

friends, should such a cultural assemblage be identified for the Australo-

pithecines, it will necessitate perhaps a drastic revision of what we are used

to considering "human" but nothing more as far as the creationist position

is concerned.

By way of summarizing similarities and differences between the Roman

Catholic view of evolution and the creationist view: (a) The following

points we hold in common (adapted from Ewing 1956: 124)

    1. The body of data and the processes of speciation and the paleon-

tological record are accepted without reservation.

    2. "We know of Adam and Eve only from revelation, and a belief

in an original pair is not in conflict with any real scientific evidence."


8. During the discussion period at the graduate seminar of the Anthropology De-

partment, University of Chicago, February 18, 1957, Dr. F. Clark Howell re-

vealed that according to communications from C. K. Brain in South Africa there

had been some 50 Quartzite pebble tools discovered within the past year in the

Australopithecus-bearing deposits at Sterkfontein which Mr. Brain was cur-

rently investigating.

Dr. Braidwood then offered the thought-provoking suggestion that as far

as he was concerned, the Australopithecines could be a perfectly good tool-making

species, yet without necessarily possessing a "cultural assemblage" as normally

considered with all of its ramifications. Perhaps the Australopithecines will pre-

cipitate a re-definition of "culture" as well as of "human".

9. One anti-evolutionary journal (The High Way, XXVI [Oct.-Dec., 1956), 20-39)

devoted some twenty pages to criticising my inclusion of the Australopithecinae

in an article on fossil man. According to the typical hyper-traditionalist views

expressed in this as well as other like periodicals, my position is that of a

"compromiser" who is "currying the favor of infidel scientists." I am an "in-

tellectual snob" who is blind to the fact that evolutionists are engaged in a

monstrous conspiracy to undermine and overthrow the teachings of the Bible!


Gordon Review 1959                                    12


    3. "All men (and hence the first man) are endowed by God with

spiritual souls."

    4. The first man was constituted a human being "by the direct and

immediate action of God, an action that affected both soul and body."

(b) The differences lie in the question of origins which may be summarized,

as follows

    1. The evolutionary origin of the major taxonomic groups, or of

paleontological series between which there is only inferential evidence of

connection, sometimes referred to as "quantum" or "macro-" evolution,

is accepted implicitly by the Catholic theologian, but is rejected by the creationist.

    2. The evolutionary origin of man from some pre-human form is

allowed by the Catholic theologian but is rejected by the creationist.



For a long time, evolution has been opposed by a hyper-traditionalist 

brand of creationism characterized by a negative, anti-evolutionary approach.

Consequently evolutionists have erroneously considered creationists as in-

evitably of this brand, and have tended to overlook the position of a scien-

tifically-minded creationism which has attempted to be non-evolutionary        

in its thinking rather than purely anti-evolutionary.10 This is not surprising

however, since these creationists have tended to be less vocal and perhaps a

bit more cautious in the expression of their views.

The Roman Catholic theologian has always represented a basically       

creationist position, but has, with many Protestant scholars, accepted more

of evolutionary theory than the facts seem to demand. Thus, with theistic

presuppositions demanded, this position is termed by many "theistic evolution."

Thus we are left with three major groups based upon supernaturalistic

premises, the hyper-traditionalist, the scientific creationist, and the theistic evolutionist.

In restating our question, Is there an alternative to organic evolution?

it would seem that the answer is "yes" regarding origins; "no" regarding

processes; and. that in comparison with organic evolution, creationism is the

alternative, theistic evolution merely a variant.

10. This does not mean that they are any the less aware of the dangerous implica-

tions of evolution which run counter to a biblical position. It does mean that

they desire to concern themselves with more than mere denunciations of these.

They attempt rather to formulate a positive, non-evolutionary interpretation of

the facts which is consistent, both scientifically and theologically.



Carter, G. S., 1953. The Theory of Evolution and the Evolution of Man. In Anthro-

pology Today, ed. A. L. Kroeber and others. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Cotter, A. C., 1951. The Encyclical "Humani Generis" with a Commentary. Weston,

            Weston College Press.

13                                Buswell:  Organic Evolution?


Ewing, J. F., 1956. The Present Catholic Attitude Towards Evolution. Anthro-

            pological Quarterly, n. s. 4: 123-139

Howells, William W., 1944. Mankind So Far. New York, Doubleday.

Mixter, R. L., 1953. Creation and Evolution. 2nd ed. Monograph Two of the

            American Scientific Affiliation, 435 Robinson St., West Lafayette, Indiana.

More, Louis T., 1925. The Dogma of Evolution. Princeton University Press.

Ramm, Bernard, 1954. The Christian View of Science and Scripture. Grand Rapids,

Eerdmans.1955. Quoted in United Evangelical Action, Feb. 15, p. 13.

Scott, W. B., 1917. The Theory of Evolution. New York, Macmillan.

Simpson, George Gaylord, 1944. Tempo and Mode in Evolution. New York, Co-

lumbia University Press.

_____ 1949. The Meaning of Evolution. New Haven, Yale University Press.

_____ 1953. The Major Features of Evolution. New York, Columbia University


Watson, D. M. S., 1929. Nature, August 10. 




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