During the next twelve months or so the centenary of “Darwinism” will be attracting a considerable amount of attention and there are already indications that the celebration of this centenary will not disclose a situation of complete harmony within the ranks of the scientists. It is a subject in which the theological world can hardly fail to be deeply interested.
Last May 21st the London Times published a mildly satirical letter from Dr. H. Graham Cannon, F.R.S., Professor of Zoology in the University of Manchester. He referred to the recent appearance in the magazine Endeavour of “a laudatory article in praise of Charles Darwin” in which Sir Gavin de Beer, F.R.S., who is Director of the British Museum (Natural History), stated that “new species have been artificially produced in the laboratory,” and requested that the author give “chapter and verse for this remarkable achievement,” adding that at the same time “it would be useful if he would tell us exactly what he means by the word ‘species,’ ” since “it is one of those little points which Darwin omitted to define.” As Sir Gavin had also written that the French zoologist Lamarck had brought the subject of evolution into disrepute by the “fanciful nature” of his views, Professor Cannon invited him to “give us any examples of ‘what Lamarck really said’ of this nature which cannot easily be beaten by Charles Darwin in his more exhilarating flights of fancy.”
Sir Gavin de Beer’s reply, printed the following day, claimed that certain new botanical species have been produced under experimental conditions, but failed to comply with Professor Cannon’s ...1
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