MONKEYS AND MACHINE-GUNS:nEVOLUTION, DARWINISM, ANDnCHRISTIANITY by Stanley L. JakinIt often happens that when a Greek or Latin word is givenna new lease on Hfe in one of the major modern languages,nand especially in English, the original meaning ofnthe word may be replaced by a rather different one. This isnparticularly the case when a word, which was a stronglyntransitive erb in the classical context, is resuscitated as angeneric noun in the modern diction. The word evolution isna case in point.nThe root of that all-important modern noun is the Latinnerb evolvere. Whether used by historians like Tacitus andnLiy or by poets like 0id and Catullus or by philosophersnlike Lucretius, Seneca, and Cicero, the erb evolvere eithernmeant to eject something with a rolling or coiling motion,nor to cause something to flow out or roll out fromnsomewhere, or to unwind something, or to unwrap ornuncover something. In all these cases it was clearly assumednthat the thing or the object of the action had already beennthere. Only one and uncertain case is found in classicalnLatin literature for the noun form evolutio of the verbnevolvere, according to the testimony of the two-volumenOxford Latin-English dictionary.nThe aura that has grown around the modern wordnevolution is precisely the make-beliee that something, andnoften something very big, can ultimately come out fromnsomewhere where it had not been beforehand, .proided thensteps of that process are ‘ery numerous and practicallynundetectable.nThis is not a new-fangled diagnosis of the processnimaginatively called evolution. More than a hundred yearsnhave already gone by since the public was regaled with anninimitable dictum produced with an eye on Darwinism: “Anlogical theft is more easily committed piecemeal thannwholesale. Surely it is a mean device for a philosopher toncrib causation by hairsbreadths, to put it out at compoundninterest through all time and then disown the debt.”nThose evolutionists who want no part of an evolutionismnsteeped in the foregoing trick cannot, however, makennonexistent the frequent presentation of evolution in thatndeceitful sense. Furthermore, they should feel gratifiednwhen such a trick is identified and discredited right at thener’ start of the discussion. Clear air is a necessity not onlynfor physical survial but also for mental balance.nOnce castrated of this pseudogeneratie power to producenrabbits and bigger pieces, such as elephants and dinosaurs,nto say nothing of such intangible jewels as the humannmind, from under an empty hat, the word evolution shouldnperhaps better yield to the word development. This word, sonStanley L. jaki is Distinguished University Professor atnSeton Hall University and author of The Road of Sciencenand the Ways to God (University of Chicago Press), thentext of his Gifford Lectures delivered at the University ofnEdinburgh 1974-76.nuseful and modest—just think of John Henry Newman’snmasterful articulation of it—has at least the advantage ofnbeing much closer to the original meaning oi evolvere, thatnis, to the unfolding of something that in essence at least hadnalready been there.nThis substitution will be violently resisted by Darwinists,nfor the essence of Darwinism is that there are no essences,nexcept one essence, which is sheer matter. Liberal Christiannadmirers of Darwin would now recall his reference tonthe Creator at the end of the Origin of Species. They hadnbetter do their homework properly. That reference, insertednonly from the second edition on, prompted Darwin to speaknprivately of his shame for “having truckled to publicnopinion.” The high Victorian times still wanted to have anbit of religious wrapping about rank irreligiosity. Darwinnshould have felt even more ashamed for having spoken innnnAUGUST 1986 / ISn