15 FEBRUARY 1935, Page 3

Back to the Darwin Bugbear There were strange echoes of

nineteenth-century controversy and battles long ago in the meeting on Tuesday, at which Sir Ambrose Fleming denounced the teaching of the theory of evolution and man's kinship with the ape. We had supposed that religion and science in that matter had long since abandoned their quarrel, and found nothing incompatible in the doctrines of natural evolution and the immortality of the soul. Biology, geology and archaeology have all added their quota to the theories which Darwin enunciated, and have provided certain data of knowledge which most religious people of today are not concerned to question. Does Sir Ambrose not believe that man is capable of progressing beyond the point he has now reached ? Does he not think that he has progressed in the past, and, if so, at what particular point in the past is he determined to draw his line between ape-man and man-in-the-image-of-God? It has ceased to be relevant to his issue to state that the doctrine of evolution is not proved. There are other facts which make it necessary to interpret the first book in the Old Testament in the light of history. It is no service to the cause of religion to suggest that its doctrines are incon- sistent with what most of the world is by reason compelled to believe.